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The Modern Church: A Replica of the Levitical System? June 23, 2010

Posted by Henry in Tithing.
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In many respects the modern church seems to be a reproduction of the Levitical system which was operated in Israel under the Old Covenant. Today the pastors seem to occupy the office of High Priest whilst the deacons, junior pastors and elders form the rest of the “priestly” class. Thus there is a division of “labour” between those who are part of the priesthood (the Levites) and those who form the laity (the other 11 tribes).  This importation from the Levitical system seems to be the generally accepted method of “doing church” across the whole of Christendom today. One of the main practices which has been brought along with this system is the paying of tithes to the Levites. Indeed in attempting to justify the tithe many Christians argue that the pastors and leaders do indeed represent or stand in the place of the Levites and thus should be given the tithe. Along with the tithe the Levitical priests would also accept offerings from the people, which they would then present before God their behalf, a practice that is carried on in the church today. Although in today’s terms the symbols of the tithes and offerings have changed (from goods to money) the practice is nevertheless the same, whereby the priest/pastors take the tithes and offerings to the altar and offer them before God. Only the mode, such as burnt offerings, seems to have changed.

The main question here therefore is whether such importations from the Levitical system are Biblical in the context of the New Testament church. Is the church model we have today founded in the New Testament scriptures? For one thing the Levitical system was abolished along with the Old Covenant which decays and vanishes away (Heb 8:13) through the redemptive work of Jesus Christ on the cross. Why then should we even think to seek to try and re-establish a system that has long been abolished? Could the main motive be to guarantee the churches’ finances? And or to establish a system of authority and control?

In looking at the first question aforementioned scripture tells us that in our Gospel we have one High Priest (Heb 3:1, 8:1-2) who is Jesus Christ and who is the one mediator between God and man (1 Tim 2:5). Furthermore in the light of the Gospel all who are in Christ are priests (1 Pet 2:9) and whereas the old priesthood offered tangible items as sacrifices we are required to offer Spiritual sacrifices unto God through our High Priest Jesus Christ (1 Pet 2:5). This is in stark contrast to the Levitical system in which sacrifices of tangible items were given to the priest to make propitiation for the sins of all Israel. The modern church system however seems to have appropriated this system into the new church as a way of ensuring the church coffers are kept fed. Some churches have even gone to the extreme of blatantly suggesting that the church today should observe certain religious dates in the Hebrew calendar, such as the Day of Atonement, and to bring the associated offerings (translated into money of course) to be offered before God. Of course all of this is simply preposterous in light of the Gospel message.

 Under the Levitical system the high priest had a lot of sway in directing the affairs of the tabernacle or temple. His authority derived not only from his senior rank but perhaps also from the fact that only he could enter in to the Holy of Holies to stand before God and as it were “advocate” on behalf of the people of Israel. In today’s churches however many pastor appropriate lofty titles such as, senior pastor, general overseer, bishop in order to establish their rank and authority in much the same way as the high priest. To add to this the vestry (or sacristy) is treated as some kind of Holy of Holies from which the pastor/priest emerges to deliver his sermon and this in turn adds to an air of mystique about the pastor/priest.

 None of these associations with the Levitical system are however biblical. Perhaps it should be said that one of the reasons the traditional churches aren’t growing is because a lot of them have moved away from the examples shown to us in the New Testament scriptures and instead sought to institute man-made structures and organisation based off a defunct system.

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Comments»

1. glasseyedave - July 2, 2010

The man who speaks the truth gets no audience. Lie to us instead. Isn’t that what they wanted the prophets of old to do too?

2. Abah Parmendollar O. - July 13, 2017

I love this. Thanks. Only few things are new to me which has blessed my understanding too. Pls keep saying the truth raw like this, they are meant for people like me. Amen – The narrow way…
These adulterated pastors should study Matt 13:3-23 and follow the 5 processes that creates the approval of Jesus Christ into pastors for healing of their ignorance.
All the best.


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