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Yahweh favors capitalism because it fosters ingenuity, self-reliance, and economic success. But capitalistic societies tend to be hard on the poor. So Yahweh put safeguards in place to make sure that the poor always have a safety net. In this way, society can benefit from capitalism, and the poor among us can still survive.
Yahweh provided for the poor when He commanded that a third tithe be collected “every third year.” This tithe is used to support the poor, the widow, the orphan, and the believing convert within our gates.
Devarim (Deuteronomy) 14:28-29
28 “At the end of every third year you shall bring out the [third] tithe of your produce of that year and store it up within your gates.
29 And the Levite, because he has no portion nor inheritance with you, and the stranger and the fatherless and the widow who are within your gates, may come and eat and be satisfied, that Yahweh your Elohim may bless you in all the work of your hand which you do.”
As we show in The Torah Calendar, the “third year” in verse 28 actually refers to the third and sixth years of the Shemittah (land rest cycle).
Vayiqra (Leviticus) 25:20-22
20 “And if you say, ‘What shall we eat in the seventh year, since we shall not sow nor gather in our produce?’
21 Then I will command My blessing on you in the sixth year, and it will bring forth produce enough for three years.
22 And you shall sow in the eighth year, and eat old produce until the ninth year; until its produce comes in, you shall eat of the old harvest.”
[Because Yahweh promises to double the harvest in Israel in the sixth year, this means that the third tithe in the sixth year will be double the third tithe in the third year.] Because Yahweh has a special place in His heart for the poor, Yahweh calls the year of the third tithe “the Year of Tithing.” We utter a special oath in that year.
Devarim (Deuteronomy) 26:12-15
12 “When you have finished laying aside all the tithe of your increase in the third year — the Year of Tithing — and have given it to the Levite, the stranger, the fatherless, and the widow, so that they may eat within your gates and be filled,
13 then you shall say before Yahweh your Elohim: ‘I have removed the set-apart tithe from my house, and also have given them to the Levite, the stranger, the fatherless, and the widow, according to all Your commandments which You have commanded me; I have not transgressed Your commandments, nor have I forgotten them.
14 I have not eaten any of it when in mourning, nor have I removed any of it for an unclean use, nor given any of it for the dead. I have obeyed the voice of Yahweh my Elohim, and have done according to all that You have commanded me.
15 Look down from Your set-apart habitation, from heaven, and bless Your people Israel and the land which You have given us, just as You swore to our fathers, “a land flowing with milk and honey.”‘”
The exact timing of the next Year of Tithing is subject to debate, but as we explain in The Torah Calendar, we believe 2015 to be a Shemittah year; so the next Year of Tithing would be 2018, and then 2021 (and then 2025 and 2028, and then 2032 and 2035). Regardless of what year in the cycle it is, Yahweh takes note of who pays their tithes.
When everyone tithes faithfully in the land of Israel, there is enough to support all the poor, widows, orphans, and believing converts. However, in the dispersion, not everyone understands the third tithe, so funds are often very limited. This may be why Shaul gave Timothy such high standards for enrolling widows in the third tithe.
TimaTheus Aleph (1 Timothy) 5:3-16
3 Honor widows who are really widows.
4 But if any widow has children or grandchildren, let them first learn to show piety at home and to repay their parents; for this is good and acceptable before Elohim.
5 Now she who is really a widow, and left alone, trusts in Elohim and continues in supplications and prayers night and day.
6 But she who lives in pleasure is dead while she lives.
7 And these things command, that they may be blameless.
8 But if anyone does not provide for his own, and especially for those of his household, he has denied the faith and is worse than an unbeliever.
9 Do not let a widow under sixty years old be taken into the number, and not unless she has been the wife of one man,
10 well reported for good works: if she has brought up children, if she has lodged strangers, if she has washed the saints’ feet, if she has relieved the afflicted, if she has diligently followed every good work.
11 But refuse the younger widows; for when they have begun to grow wanton against Messiah, they desire to marry,
12 having condemnation because they have cast off their first faith.
13 And besides they learn to be idle, wandering about from house to house, and not only idle but also gossips and busybodies, saying things which they ought not.
14 Therefore I desire that the younger widows marry, bear children, manage the house, give no opportunity to the adversary to speak reproachfully.
15 For some have already turned aside after Satan.
16 If any believing man or woman has widows, let them relieve them, and do not let the assembly be burdened, that it may relieve those who are really widows.
In the land of Israel under a true Torah government, all tithes are based on gross income. However, in the dispersion all tithes are based on net income, because in some countries the rate of taxation is so high it is not possible to tithe on the gross. If we make a thousand dollars and the government takes five hundred, we should tithe on the remaining five hundred (e.g., fifty dollars for the first tithe, fifty dollars for the second tithe, and fifty dollars for third tithe in the third and sixth years of the Shemittah). If the state later gives two hundred dollars in benefits, we should tithe on that when it comes in (twenty dollars for the first tithe, twenty dollars for the second tithe, and twenty dollars for the third tithe in the third and sixth years of the Shemittah). This is one way we can be a living sacrifice, helping Yeshua’s kingdom be established here on earth.
When we live in the land of Israel under a true Torah government, the first and third tithes are brought to the place Yahweh chooses to place His name. However, in the dispersion we are to bring our tithes to the congregational elders. They send a tithe of the first tithe to the priesthood, and use the rest of the first tithe to conduct the Great Commission in their town. They also disburse the third tithe to the local needy. If there are no needy people in their congregation, the third tithe can also be sent to the priesthood, to be distributed to the needy in other parts of the body. In this way, all parts of the body look out for each other, and take care of one another. This is what Shaul refers to in Ephesians 4, when He says that the whole body is to be joined and knit together by what every joint supplies, so that every part of the body does its share. This is how the body grows in love.
Ephesim (Ephesians) 4:16
16 from whom the whole body, joined and knit together by what every joint supplies, according to the effective working by which every part does its share, causes growth of the body for the edifying of itself in love.
When we live in the land, we bring our first tithe up to the temple during the pilgrimage festivals. However, in the dispersion, we bring our first tithe to the elders of our congregation. In the dispersion we can bring our first tithe weekly, monthly, annually, or whenever Yahweh blesses us.
Satan wants us to think that Yeshua’s worship should be free—and that we should not have to give of our money. However, tithing provides Yahweh an opportunity to see who is truly willing to give with an eager heart in order to build His Son’s kingdom.
Ya’akov (James) 2:14-17
14 What does it profit, my brethren, if someone says he has faith but does not have works? Can faith save him?
15 If a brother or sister is naked and destitute of daily food,
16 and one of you says to them, “Depart in peace, be warmed and filled,” but you do not give them the things which are needed for the body, what does it profit?
17 Thus also faith by itself, if it does not have works, is dead.
Yahweh’s faith is not dead. That is why He commands us to take care of the poor, the widows, the orphans, and the believing converts among us. And that is why He tells us to take care of them not only as individuals, but also as part of the body.