jump to navigation

Unravelling the tithing dilemma December 9, 2011

Posted by Henry in Tithing.
Tags: , , , , , , ,
trackback

I previously wrote an article on this issue which can be read here. However I thought I would revisit this issue because tithing is one of the most controversial topics in the church today yet I believe it is such a simple issue to deal with once we have disentangled the different myths and arguments. I will therefore try to make this as simple and as clear as possible and I hope this will help others to gain clarity on this matter. In addressing the tithing issue I want to also expand the issue a little bit to include offerings with the hope of bringing some clarity to both subjects given that they usually go hand in hand

Question

The question for most people is whether or not Jesus abolished the tithe and therefore whether or not the New Testament believer is required to pay a tithe and are we robbing God if we don’t pay the tithe? There are several questions rolled into one here but before answering them lets look at some simple points of facts.

Two Approaches to tithes and offerings

Tithes

There are two approaches to the tithe from a Biblical standpoint:

1. Firstly, there is the voluntary tithe (Abraham’s gift to Melchizedek and Jacob’s promise to give a tithe to God)

2. Secondly there is the legal or compulsory tithe (the Mosaic Law on tithes which requiredIsraelto observe several tithes, including the tithe to the Levites from who’s tribe the priesthood came)

Offerings

There are also two approaches to offerings where the Bible is concerned:

1. Firstly, there is the pre-law offering which like the pre-law tithes were voluntarily given (Cain offering a gift from the produce of the land – Able offering a gift from his herds of animals)

2. Secondly, there is the legal or compulsory offerings (like the legal tithes the Mosaic Law instituted there were a number of offerings which God required ofIsraelto perform)

So from this synopsis we can see the two approaches to both tithes and offerings – There was the pre-law position of voluntary giving and the Legal position of compulsory giving. Before the Law anyone could choose whether or not to give a tithe or an offering and they had sole control over the nature or size of the gift – after all this was “freewill” giving. Within the Law however everyone who were bound by it were compelled to give both tithes and offerings and there were specific prescriptions as to the nature and size of the gifts according the legal status of each person.

Answering the Original Question

Going back to the question highlighted above we need to first separate it into its constituent parts because there are a number of issues muddled together there.

Argument 1 – Did Christ abolish the tithe?

Some supporters of the tithe argue that Jesus did not abolish the tithe because the tithe existed before the Law, citing Abraham and Jacob as examples. This argument is flawed primarily because it makes the assumption that the Mosaic (legal) tithe and the voluntary tithe (as per Abraham and Jacob) are one and the same. This is not the case and anyone who argues such is being dishonest. As I have demonstrated under the “Two Approaches” heading above – the voluntary tithe and the tithe required by Law are different (diametrically opposed) and likewise the pre-Law offerings are different from the Legal offerings. When Jesus therefore fulfilled the Law, He abolished the Legal tithes and offerings – NOT the voluntary tithes and offerings. The voluntary tithes and offerings fall under the category of “freewill” giving and Jesus did not abolish such giving.

Argument 2 – Are New Testament Believers required to pay tithes?

Supporters of the tithe believe that since the tithe is pre-Law, as demonstrated by Abraham and Jacob, the church today should also pay tithes (note emphasis added to imply a Legal or compulsory requirement). As I have demonstrated under Argument 1 however Jesus abolished the Law along with all the legal requirements to pay tithes and offerings. The church is therefore under no obligation, legal or otherwise, to observe the Legal tithes and offerings. It is therefore an incorrect position to attach a legal obligation on the church to observe the Abraham and Jacob tithing example. The example of Abraham and Jacob demonstrates “freewill” giving and therefore the church may freely or not as the case may be follow Abraham and Jacob’s example to give a voluntary tithe.

Argument 3 – Are you robbing God by not paying the tithe?

As I have already demonstrated under Argument’s 2 and 3, Jesus abolished the Legal tithes and offerings and to attempt to impose a legal duty to observe an example of voluntary giving by Abraham is completely wrong. Since Jesus abolished the Legal tithe then you are not robbing God if you choose not to observe something that is already abolished. Are you therefore robbing God if you do not observe the “freewill” tithe? Note here that the reference to “robbing God” for not paying the tithe, found in Mal 3:10, is a direct reference to the Legal tithe – NOT the voluntary tithe suggested by Abraham and Jacob. You are therefore not robbing God if you do not choose to exercise your free will by giving a tithe.

Conclusion

This presentation demonstrates that to understand our position in regards to tithing we must make a clear distinction between voluntary tithes and offerings and compulsory tithes and offerings. It should become clear to the reader therefore that whilst Jesus has abolished the Legal tithes and offerings along with the Mosaic Law, we may exercise our free will by giving a voluntary tithe and offering. We should never make the mistake however of attaching legality to what may be given as a “freewill” gift. If we understand these points clearly it then resolves a whole lot of other questions such as whether or not we are required to observe first fruit offerings etc. The abolition of the requirement to observe the legal tithes and offerings leaves us with the voluntary position of Abraham, Jacob, Cain and Able. This falls in line with Pauls teaching on giving, suggesting that we should give not out of necessity or compulsion but according to what you purpose in your own hearts. You may therefore exercise your free will in Christ to give a voluntary tithe or to give another amount according to what you purpose in your own heart.

Advertisements

Comments

1. Russell Earl Kelly - December 9, 2011

1. Why did the un-circumcised Gentile Abram (not Abraham) tithe? The Bible does not say. And was it voluntary? Again the Bible does not say? Much evidence exists that he was obeying a required tradition of returning tithes from spoils of war to his local king-priest.

2. Is Jacob’s tithe an example for us to follow? No. Jacob’s tithe was from defiled pagan lands. He set the rules.

3. The true biblical tithe of the Law (which definition was used in Malachi and by Jesus) was only food from inside God’s HOLy ladn. Only food producers there qualified to pay tithes. Jesus did not qualify. Failure to deal with this causes one to miss the entire argument. Although God owned everything, He only accepted holy tithes from the land He sanctified and miraculously increased.

2. Henry - December 9, 2011

Russell Earl Kelly,

Thank you for your comment. In the first place Abram (who’s name was later changed to Abraham) was NOT a Gentile. The Gentiles are children of Japhet, and Abram (or Abraham) being a descendant of Shem via Peleg was a Hebrew and therefore a Shemite but not a Gentile. At the time of Abram’s meeting with Melchizedec his name was already changed to Abraham. (This statement is not actually true and I apologise if I have mislead anyone.)

In the absence of a legal command we will have to conclude that Abraham gave a voluntary tithe – there is no commandment written in scripture which states that Abraham was compelled to tithe. To say that he was observing a required tradition is speculation at best.

I am not advocating that Jacobs tithe is an example for us to follow but supporters of the tithe do use his case as an example that the tithe existed before the Law. Who are we to say that Jacobs tithe is from pagan lands? All we read in scripture that he would give a tithe to God of everything God blessed Him with. If God gave it to him it is not defiled and he promised to voluntarily return a portion to God. We do not know if he kept his promise, we can only assume.

You spoke truly that the Biblical tithe was agricultural produce and animals and that these were given of the produce within the Land of Israel. In any event it was not necessary to deal with those elements in order to convey the message I intended. The truth is that many in the church today do not care whether the Biblical tithe was food, wood, money, etc they still insist it should be paid in the form of money. So I thought I would leave those elements out of the discussion so that we can make a clear distinction between voluntary tithes and legal tithes. Once they get over the first hurdle of the distinction then they will be able to deal with the other issues surrounding the nature and purpose of the true tithe.

3. Gary Arnold - December 9, 2011

To use the words tithe or tithing in any context other than those commanded by God causes confusion.

Since the word “tithe” merely means a tenth or tenth part, it is meaningless to say one can voluntarily tithe today, and is misleading to those who haven’t studied the topic of tithing carefully. Here is why it is meaningless and/or misleading:

If I reach in my pocket and pull out fifty cents in change, and I give a tenth part of that fifty cents (five cents) to the church, I can say I tithed. I gave a tenth part. Another may give a tenth of their gross income to the church and call that tithing. Another may give a tenth of their net income to the church and call that tithing. Another may give a tenth of their yearly bonus to the church and call that tithing.

God defined His tithe in Leviticus 27:30-33 and to change that definition and apply it as though it is Biblical is at least misleading if not just plain dishonest.

Anyone is free to give any amount one wants to give. Why not call it what it is – freewill giving. It has nothing to do with the Biblical tithe(s) and should not be confused with God’s tithing commands. Why must one let everyone know that he has given a tenth of something?

This whole subject of “voluntary tithing” is, in my opinion, an ego problem. Some just like to put a name on their giving that makes them feel they are doing either something special for God, or they are being obedient. Why should Christians try to bring back something that didn’t work in the Old Testament? Why can’t Christians move forward into a superior priesthood and use a superior way of giving?

Henry - December 12, 2011

Gary Arnold, Thank you for your comment. I totally agree with you that the use of the word “tithe” or “tithing” creates confusion because it immediately implies that reference is being made to the tithes that were instituted by the Mosaic Law. However I do hope you see what I was attempting to do by dividing the tithes into two simplistic categories. I did this because I was attempting to address certain assumptions that I have certainly encountered in previous discussions on the subject. I also deliberately left certain question unanswered in order to stimulate further debate on the subject. Tithe literally means a tenth as you well pointed out.A tenth of a persons income today given to the churchis certainly not to be confused with the Mosaic tithe and I think I made that point clear.The main point I was trying to bring across therefore was that a tenth of someone’s salary should be regarded as freewill giving as opposed to a ‘tithe’ in the context of the Law.It is completely wrong for the church to attempt to re-enact the tithe as per the Law because the Law has been abolished. I therefore used the word “voluntary tithe” looselyto demonstrate that this form of giving should not be confused with Mosaic tithing because it is not one and the same. Abraham gave a tithe (a tenth) of all the spoils to Melchizedec – that effectively was a “voluntary tithe” as opposed to a requirement by covenant. If we followed Abraham’s example then our giving should also be voluntary (freewill)but there are churches that are forcing their members to tithe because Abraham himself tithe – their argument is that this is required because Abraham is our father by faith. I think you will find that we are therefore both on the same page where this matter is concerned. You asked a very important question which I will reiterate here: “Why can’t Christians move forward into a superior priesthood and use a superior way of giving?”

4. glasseyedave - December 17, 2011

Hi Henry,

Simply put, those who advocate tithing or sabath observances because they see principles in scripture before the Law was given are in error of scripture. They brag they are to be followed because they were before the Law yet never being a command before the Law.

If the command before the Law was given is not to be applied to the christian life, how much more those so called principles before the Law. Paul tells the churches of Galatia that they were not to be circumcized or else they have left the one who called them by Christ Jesus (that would be God). And later that Christ will be of no value to them for they will have fallen from grace.

If following the command, which is an an everlasting covenant, to be circumcized 430 years before the Law causes us to fall from grace. How much more will the teaching to tithe or observe the sabbath which follows so called principles observed before the Law qualify those who observe this teaching to fall from grace? To me that is the big question.

The church teaches what it does not know. It has gone in error and can not and will not look at what Paul has taught. They have no understanding that the son of the slave woman, Hagar will not have any share in the inheritance. They sybolize Mt. Sinia, Jerusalem and the Law. Scripture clearly teaches in Galatians to throw the bond woman and her son out!

Yet the appostate church in her wisdom boast of being free from the Law to obey principles found before the Law. So the enmity that Christ obolished (this being the Law) so we gentiles could be included in the promises given to Abraham the church builds anew as the doctrine of men.

So it is true of us, we honor Him with our lips, but our hearts are far from Him, we worship Him but in vain, for our teaching is but the doctrine of men.

If anyone who follows the Law is under the curse how much more are we under a curse who follow the doctrines of men?

Two questions now need to be answered.
1. Are we as the church not to be bound to follow the Law, even the Ten Commandments?
2. If the command to be circumcised is an everlasting covenant how come the believer in Christ is not to be circumcised? How is it scripture now teaches circumcision and uncircumcision is nothing?

Either we are free from the Law, which I believe scripture clearly teaches or we are not. Which is it?

glasseyedave

5. Henry - December 19, 2011

Hi Dave,

You raised some excellent points for the church to consider today. As far as I am concerned those who teach tithing based on scriptures which pertained to the law have no understanding of the gospel whatsoever. They claim to be followers of Christ yet return to the Law or so-called principles that existed before the Law to seek to follow them. In this they ignore the teachings of Christ – Christ being the Head and High Priest of the church and the author and finisher of our faith. By returning to the Law we are in effect saying that Christ did not fulfill the whole Law therefore we the church need to fulfill it on His behalf. Indeed they have departed from Christ’s teachings and have gone away to establish their own doctrine – this is the evidence of the church falling away into apostacy.

6. glasseyedave - December 20, 2011

Hi Henry,

I agree with you.

I am encouraged when I read in scripture that the righteousness of the Law is fulfilled in us who walk according to the Spirit. After all what commandment do we break if we have the fruits of the Spirit in our lives. None!

I like to ask, what is best to keep the believer who struggles with lust from commiting adultry by obeying the Law (by which no man will be saved) or taking the lust out of a man by being renewed by the Holy Spirit? After all are we all not to be born again of the Spirit?

John says we can not sin, if His Spirit remains in us.

I find it very tragic that the chuch tells its converts to obey the ten commandments because God doesn’t want us to commit adultry does He? Instead of teaching their converts to live according to the Spirit.

I have much to say on this, maybe I will do a blog when I get the time.

Nice chatting with you.

7. Henry - December 21, 2011

Hi Dave,

Paul said it best in 1 Tim 1:7 that those who desire to be teachers of the Law (under the new covenant) do not understands what they say or what they are seeking to affirm. It is a fallacy to think that we can walk by the spirit whilst seeking to perform the outward works of the Law at the same time. As you rightly pointed out Christ fulfilled the Law in that the righteousness of the Law maybe fulfilled in us – otherwise none of us could keep the Law.

Nice chatting to you too. Hope the radio project is going well.

Henry

8. Anonymous - December 1, 2012

To those who would mistakenly argue that certain Mosaic laws such as the tithing, dietary, festival, and Saturday Sabbath laws have been abolished, I sincerely ask them: how do you explain Galatians 5:18 which says: “But if you are led by the Spirit, you are not under the law.”? If you interpret this verse as further proof that many Old Testament laws no longer need to be obeyed, doesn’t that idea conflict massively with MANY other major verses, especially two “gold standard” verses: ACTS 2:38: “Repent, and ….. be baptized ….. for the forgiveness of sins; and you shall receive ….. the Holy Spirit” and 1 JOHN 3:4: “…… sin is the violation of the law.”?

To get the vital Holy Spirit in the first place, which is essential for salvation, you need to repent of sinning, which 1 John 3:4 clearly defines as breaking the law or torah. THE ONLY WAY YOU CAN STOP BREAKING THE LAW IS TO OBEY THE LAW!!

Therefore the only interpretation possible of Galatians 5:18’s “not under the law” and similar verses such as “released from the law” and “freed from the law” is that Holy Spirit led Christians are no longer under the penalty (automatic death penalty for many sins) part of the law, but still are under the obedience part of the law, excluding primarily circumcision and the various sacrifices the apostles “went out of their way” to explain as abolished. Romans 8:2: “….. Jesus has made me free from the law of sin and death” shows that death, the penalty part of the law, no longer applies to obedient, law (torah) abiding Christians. In some very concise, abbreviated verses the Apostle Paul does not go to the trouble of “spelling out” which part of the law has now been annulled, the penalty part, not the obedience part of the law.

Galatians 5:18 when turned around also reveals that all non-Christians ARE under the law, showing that much of the law was never really abolished.

Regarding tithing, Jesus Christ very specifically commanded Christians to continue tithing. Also, since He never limited tithing to only one type of tithe, all three different types of tithes absolutely must still be observed.

Visit http://TithingHelps.us to become more knowledgeable about Galatians 5:18 and other pro-law verses that mathematically outnumber by more than 2 to 1 the supposedly, at first glance anti-law verses in the English translations of the New Testament.

9. Henry - December 1, 2012

Anonymous,
Thanks for dropping by. However, I think you ought to apply proper exegesis of scripture before drawing conclusions. You ought to read Galatians 5:1 (and the verses following through to verse 18) before attempting to try to understand verse 18 otherwise you will draw incorrect conclusions. The passage clearly tells us that we are no longer to put ourselves under a yoke of bondage – this yoke of bondage is the Law. We are no longer under any part of the Law as the Law cannot justify anyone before God. If you attempt to observe the Law you have fallen from Grace. This is what the scriptures teach.

Can you please show me where in scripture Jesus specifically commanded Christians to tithe?

10. glasseyedave - December 1, 2012

Anonymous,

I marvel that you can read Galatians 5:18 and conclude that Christians are still bound to the Law. Doesn’t it say that if a person is led by the Spirit they are not under the Law? Yet you put it forth as proof that we are?

Gal 5:18

But if ye be led of the Spirit, ye are not under the law.

Since, you are in the book of Galatians, let me ask you, what does the book of Galatians reveal about our receiving the Holy Spirit? Since you mentioned the Holy Spirit. Does it come to us from the Law? In Galatians 3 it says that Christ became a curse on the tree so that the promises of Abraham might come onto the gentiles by which we receive the Holy Spirit. So the Holy Spirit you are trying to attach to the Law actually comes to us through Christ by including us in the promises given to Abraham.

If you keep reading in Galatians chapter 3 you will discover that Paul taught that the Law which was 430 years after the promise (Abrahamic promises) did not do away with the promise, that we as gentiles are now grafted into through Christ. Any Christian boast of being the temple of the Holy Spirit is tied directly to the promises given Abraham that the Law did not nullify.

If you read just a little bit further in Galatians chapter 3 you will see that Paul taught that the Law was only in affect 430 years after the promise to Abraham until the time of the Seed which is Christ. This is why Paul in the book of Colossians taught that the Law was nailed to the cross. Unless your in the habit of taking things off the cross, like your sin, I would suggest leaving the Law up there too.

I could go on and on scripturaly about no longer being under the Law and living in the Spirit. But to keep it short, what fruit of the Spirit violates the Law? Have you never read that those who live in the Spirit fulfills the righteousness of the Law. Not because they live unto the Law, but rather because they live unto the Spirit.

This is why Hebrews says we are no longer under the ordinances of Law but the power of an endless life. This is why Hebrews also says that we have a priesthood not under the order Arron but of Melchizedek. This is why it says with the coming of the new priest hood comes the changing of the Law. This is the Law of the power of the endless life, not the ordinances of the Law. This is why Hebrews says the Law is passed away.

Back to Galatians. Paul taught in Galatians chapter 4 the Law is representing the Mt Sinai, Hagar and Jerusalem that is now, all of which are in bondage. It is the children of promise like Isaac (believers) that are from Jerusalem which is from above. This is why scripture teaches that we look for a heavenly city and testifies that Abraham looked for a city not built by human hands.

Paul taught those who wanted to belong to the Law are under Hagar and they have no part in the promise. Those of the promise are sons. Those of the bondage, which is those under the Law, persecute those of the Spirit. But the bond woman and her son shall have not part of the promise.

Soooo… do you want to belong to the Law which is Mt Sinai and Hagar oooorrr… do you want to be those of the promise and the Holy Spirit? Put another way, do you want to be of the Law or of the Spirit?

Again, what fruit of the Spirit violates the Law? None! Those who are of Christ are included in the blessings of Abraham by which we receive the Holy Spirit. It does not come from obeying the Law. Yes, the Law is dead in Christ. Now go live in the power of the endless life.

glasseyedave
thegospleaccordingtothegospel.com

Anonymous - December 2, 2012

MATTHEW 23:23: “…….. You SHOULD TITHE, yes, but do not neglect the more important things. — New Living Translation
“…….. You OUGHT TO TITHE but without forgetting about those more important matters.” — Common English Bible
LUKE 11:42: “…….. You should be fair and kind to others and still GIVE A TENTH to God.” — Contemporary English Version
“…….. You SHOULD TITHE,yes, but do not neglect the more important things.” — New Living Translation
“…….. And you should also continue to do those other things–{LIKE GIVING ONE – TENTH}.” — Easy – to – Read Version

I realize that the above reputable translations are not literal word for word translations of the original Greek. The translators, though, to remove any confusion or doubt about what Jesus meant, went ahead and directly stated what Jesus strongly and obviously implied, that we must tithe. Since Jesus is Who He is, even the slightest hint or indirect command should be considered a direct, clear command.

Matthew 23:23: “WOE UNTO YOU, SCRIBES AND PHARISEES, …..FOR YOU PAY TITHE OF MINT AND ANISE…..AND HAVE OMITTED…..MERCY AND FAITH: THESE OUGHT YOU TO HAVE DONE, AND NOT TO LEAVE THE OTHER UNDONE.” — New King James Version, a fairly literal translation.
The “other” must, using reasonable logic, refer to tithing.

Regarding Galatians 5:1-17, are you not aware of the realistic possibility that you may be putting too much emphasis and trust in the English words “yoke of bondage” and not concentrating more on the words “justified by law” in verse 4? Paul went to Galatia to try to persuade Christians there to trust more and put more faith in the sacrificial death of Jesus to save them really by grace, instead of relying SOLELY on the Mosaic law to be justified before God. The hard core Jews were trying to convince the wannabe Christians to rely only, repeat, only on the Mosaic laws for salvation instead of grace provided by Jesus’ death. Paul, on the other hand, tried to teach grace combined with obedience to many, but not all Mosaic laws. Many verses that you are “sweeping under the rug” confirm or support observing certain Old Testament laws while still relying on grace for ultimate, complete justification.

The English translations are not always 100% reliable. Proof of that idea is the following verse.

Mark 7:18-19: “…….. Do you not perceive that whatever enters a man from outside cannot defile him, 19 because it does not enter his heart but his stomach, and is eliminated, thus purifying all foods?” The NIV, NASB, and most other English translations, incredibly, BRAZENLY ADD the following or similar very misleading anti-Old Testament comment at the end of Mark 7:19: “(In saying this, Jesus declared all foods clean.),” a comment that IS NOT found in the more accurate King James and New King James versions, and certainly not in the original Greek.

In other words, many to most English translators are biased against the Mosaic laws. So the words “yoke of bondage” need to be very, very carefully analyzed according to the original Greek as to which meanings and translations are potentially correct.

In some of your previous writings you have said that Jesus fulfilled the law. I hope that you are not using Matthew 5:17 to support that idea.

11. Anonymous - December 2, 2012

My last comment was a reply to Henry, in which I forgot to mention the big issue of circumcision, which the hard core Jews were trying to convince the Galatian Christians to observe. Paul tried to tell the Galatians that if they insisted on using ONLY the Mosaic law (and forgetting about grace) to be justified, then they were obligated to obey all the laws, which would include circumcision. Circumcision, though, had been abolished by the apostles.

The rest of this comment is to glasseyedave, which at this time will only be about the book of Hebrews.

Glasseyedave, I and many others believe that the following explanation of Hebrews is the most correct and most reasonable:

Hebrews 7:11,12,15-19,27,28: “If perfection could have been attained through the Levitical priesthood …….. 12 For when the priesthood is changed, the law must be changed also ……… 15 And what we have said is even more clear if another priest like Melchizedek appears, 16 one who has become a priest NOT ON THE BASIS OF A REGULATION AS TO HIS ANCESTRY but on the basis of the power of an indestructible life. 17 For it is declared: ‘You are a priest forever, in the order of Melchizedek.’ 18 THE FORMER REGULATION IS SET ASIDE because it was weak and useless 19 (for the law made nothing perfect), and a better hope is introduced, by which we draw near to God …….. 27 Unlike the other high priests he does not need to offer sacrifices day after day …….. He sacrificed for their sins once for all when he offered himself. 28 For the law appoints as high priests men in all their weakness; but the oath, which came after the law, appointed the Son, who has been made perfect forever.” — Today’s New International Version

ANALYSIS: The subject here in verse 18 is the annulling of ONLY ONE specific law concerning the physical, Aaronic priesthood, NOT ALL of the Mosaic laws. Verse 19: “(for the law made nothing perfect).” Which law made nothing perfect? Verse 11 pinpoints the exact law that made nothing perfect: the Levitical priesthood law. Many reputable translations explain in a more understandable way the transition (and abolishment or annulling) of the old Mosaic, Aaronic priesthood to the new priesthood led by Jesus Christ. By reading the following 10 additional translations you can see that the emphasis is on ONLY a genealogical qualification or ONLY the law requiring an ancestral line of priests to serve that was nullified, not the entire law of Moses. Also, since when does one equal many? I thought one always equals one, not many dozens of laws. The above words “former regulation” contain no “s” in the word “regulation,” so it is far more likely only one specific law is being referred to here, not multiple laws.

Hebrews 7:16-18: “who was appointed to be a priest, not on the basis of a regulation concerning his ancestry, but rather on the basis of the power of an indestructible life. 17 For it is declared about Him, ‘You are a priest forever according to the order of Melchizedek.’ 18 Indeed, the cancellation of the former regulationhas occurred because it was weak and ineffective.” — International Standard Version

“Who has been constituted a Priest, not on the basis of a bodily legal requirement [an externally imposed command concerning His physical ancestry], but on the basis of the power of an endless and indestructible Life. 17 For it is witnessed of Him, You are a Priest forever after the order (with the rank) of Melchizedek. 18 So a previous physical regulation and command is cancelled because of its weakness and ineffectiveness and uselessness–” — The Amplified Bible

“who doesn’t become a [priest] based on a legal command concerning physical descent but based on the power of an indestructible life. 17 For it has been testified: You are a priest forever in the order of Melchizedek. 18 So the previous commandment is annulled because it was weak and unprofitable.” — Holman Christian Standard Bible

“who has become a priest, not on the basis of a legal requirement, concerning bodily descent, but by the power of an indestructible life. 17 For it is witnessed of Him, ‘You are a priest forever, after the order of Melchizedek.’ 18 On the one hand, a former commandment is set aside because of its weakness and uselessness.” — Holy Bible, English Standard Version

“one who has become a priest, not through a legal requirement concerning physical descent, but through the power of an indestructible life. 17 For it is attested of Him, ‘You are a priest forever, according to the order of Melchizedek.’ 18 There is, on the one hand, the abrogation of an earlier commandment because it was weak and ineffectual.” — The New Revised Standard Version

“who has been made, not after the law of a fleshly mitzvah, but after the power of an endless life: 17 for it is testified, ‘You are a Kohen forever, According to the order of Malki-Tzedek.’ 18 For there is an annulling of a foregoing mitzvah because of its weakness and uselessness.” — Hebrew Names Version of World English Bible (Mitzvah refers not to all the Mosaic laws, but to only one of them.)

“He became a priest, not by meeting the old requirement of belonging to the tribe of Levi, but by the power of a life that cannot be destroyed. 17 And the psalmist pointed this out when he said of Christ, ‘You are a priest forever in the line of Melchizedek.’ 18 Yes, the old requirement about the priesthood was set aside because it was weak and useless.” — The New Living Translation

“who becomes, not after the torah of a fleshly misvah, but after the dynamis of an endless life. 17 For he witnesses, You are a priest to the eons after the order of Malki-Sedeq. 18 For indeed there becomes a putting away of the preceding misvah because of its frailty and unbeneficialness thereof.” (A misvah is about the same as a mitzvah.) — exeGeses Companion Bible

“16 for he is appointed not for possessing any legal physical qualifications, but by virtue of a life that cannot end.” — Goodspeed New Testament

“16 who is appointed not on the basis of a physical qualification but on the basis of a power flowing from a life that cannot end …….. 18 …….. the rescinding of a previous regulation takes place …….”— Williams New Testament

Again, what was annulled in verse 18 was the continuance of the Aaronic priesthood, not Old Testament laws as a whole. Old Testament laws certainly cannot be described as useless, weak, ineffective, unprofitable, or frail. Those laws literally save lives, preserve health, allow prosperity, and show reverence and obedience to our Creator. Many New Testament verses describe the “law,” which includes the Mosaic laws, as good, profitable, holy, just, and worthy of being upheld and established. The law referred to in verse 19 that made nothing perfect only refers to the law requiring the Levitical priesthood to teach righteousness, described specifically in verse 11 as a failure in perfection. Verse 28 further identifies what is weak: the Levitical high priests. The better hope brought in or introduced by Jesus involves the addition (not the abolition of anything except the Levitical priesthood law) of the gift of the Holy Spirit (not available in the Old Covenant), the gift of eventual immortality (also not available in the Old Covenant), and the gift of complete forgiveness of sin through the sacrifice of Jesus. Also, if the above Hebrew verses mean that all Old Testament laws have been done away with, we can now break laws of basic decency that even most pagan societies do not break, laws not specifically listed in the New Testament, such as the laws forbidding bestiality, bribery, membership in vandalizing mobs, removing property landmarks, convicting a son of a crime his father committed, eating parasite infested mice and rats, eating boiled poison dart frogs which can still kill you a year later, and incest which of course is a ridiculous supposition. For further study go to thercg.org/books/tbdse.html#heb7 and scroll down to Hebrews 7:18-19.

12. Henry - December 3, 2012

Anonymous,
You make some very bold statements which in fact are not supported by scriptures. What you have presented contradicts the very message Paul taught. Paul makes it clear that those who seek to follow the Law have fallen from Grace (Gal 3). Paul wrote extensively to the church at Galatia because they began in the faith and then wanted to return to the Law which was folly. Paul pointed out in Gal 3:15-21 that no one is justified by the works of the Law and that if righteousness came by the law then Christ died in vain. See the following verses of Gal 3 which demonstrates that we are no longer under the Law:

23But before faith came, we were kept under the law, shut up unto the faith which should afterwards be revealed. 24Wherefore the law was our schoolmaster to bring us unto Christ, that we might be justified by faith. 25But after that faith is come, we are no longer under a schoolmaster.

You cannot be justified by faith and the Law at the same time. Gal 5:4 tells us this:

4Christ is become of no effect unto you, whosoever of you are justified by the law; ye are fallen from grace.

I think if you understand that we are no longer under the law then all your misunderstandings to do with tithing will dissolve. You need to study Matt 23 more carefully. Jesus most certainly did not issue a command to Christians, implicitly or otherwise to tithe. Jesus was rebuking the Pharisees and Scribes that they performed the tithing requirements but neglected the weightier matters of the LAW. The Scribes and Pharisees of course were not Christians but were still subject to the Law since it was not fulfilled yet. But of course when you arrive at a faulty conclusion that parts of the Law is still in force then I can see how you are able to arrive at a conclusion that we are still under the tithing Law.

You need to understand however that the Law was given only to the Jews and that those outside the commonwealth of Isreal can now obtain salvation through Jesus’ death and resurrection which has done away with the old priesthood and the entire Law. We are however to observe the new Law in Christ which is to Love thy neighbour as yourself.

Anonymous - December 4, 2012

Henry,

It seems that most people would agree with me and the translators of the 11 different translations of Hebrews 7:16-18 above that I listed in my last comment, that it was only one specific regulation within the many Mosaic laws that was annulled when the Levitical priesthood ended. Yet you believe the entire set of Mosaic laws was abolished, including the laws forbidding the removal of property landmarks, the law forbidding membership in vandalizing mobs, the law forbidding bribery, the law forbidding arson, the law forbidding eating leprosy carrying armadillos, and on and on. On that specific point we have a very strong disagreement, but I guess we can peacefully agree that we do disagree.

Concerning Matthew 23:23 and Jesus’ very specific, though indirect command to tithe, I believe that if it was put to a vote, most people would side with me and agree that, since an indirect command is just as good as a direct command if it comes from Jesus, tithing has definitely been commanded by Jesus. I guess we will have to peacefully agree that we disagree on that point, too.

Regarding being justified by law keeping, I should have made it more clear in my last comment that I certainly do understand and agree that Christians cannot justify their salvation SOLELY, repeat, SOLELY by any kind of law keeping. It is by grace, by the sacrificial, perfect death of Jesus that now saves us, not our own efforts. You believe, though, that grace has now become a license to ignore many Mosaic laws, a pardon from breaking those laws. Don’t you think that the abstract issue of grace versus works and justification is SEPARATE from the day to day application and practice of many Mosaic laws, some of which are literally quite life saving such as those concerning diet and the third year charity (food) tithe? Does not Romans 6:15 and 3:31 and many other verses almost “spell out” that we cannot use grace to cease observing many Mosaic laws? The Greek word nomos, Strong’s 3551, which refers overwhelmingly to the Mosaic laws, is in both of those verses. I think that if a vote was held on that issue with a large group of nonreligious, open minded, unbiased people, they would agree with me that the New testament still commands Mosaic law observance among Christians to maintain a high standard of conduct, to remain holy and maintain holiness, fully realizing though that salvationis a gift and cannot be earned.

Concerning Galatians 3:24,25 which says: “Wherefore the law was our schoolmaster to bring us unto Christ, that we might be justified by faith. 25 But after that faith is come, we are no longer under a schoolmaster.”

The original Greek word for “schoolmaster” is paidagogos, Strong’s number 3807. This special word is used in the New Testament only 3 times, and according to Strong it basically means “guardian” or “disciplinarian,” NOT “teacher” or “instructor,” which is a significant difference. Verse 25 therefore does not say that we are no longer under a teacher of the law or no longer under what the law says or teaches, but rather that we are no longer under the penalty, punishment, or disciplinary part (potentially death for disobedience) of the Old Testament laws. Disciplinarians chastise, penalize, and punish people for breaking rules.

Romans 8:2 tells us that we are no longer under the law of sin and death, meaning no longer under sin and the chastizing, penalizing punishment of death (assuming of course that we are obeying those still applicable Biblical laws).

Matthew 13:41,42 reveals that Mosaic law violators will ultimately be literally incinerated. In what way do you disagree with that verse? Isaiah 66:23 reveals that every person on the earth in the distant future will be forced to worship the Lord on the Saturday Sabbath, Sunday. In what way do you disagree with that verse? Zechariah 14:16-19 reveals that entire nations that refuse to attend the Feast of Tabernacles in the distant future will be chastized by drought and plagues. Isaiah 66:17 reveals that everyone who violates the dietary laws by eating pork and/or mice will literally be killed for that offense. In what way do you disagree with that verse? Matthew 7:23 reveals that Jesus will totally reject, and will not forgive, on a certain day in the distant future, Christians (apparently prominent, respected Christians, too) who have consistently, deliberately refused to obey certain Mosaic laws. Nomos, Strong’s 3551, is in that verse, too. In what way do you disagree with that verse?

13. Anonymous - December 4, 2012

Correction, Isaiah 66:23 says that everyone in the distant future will be forced to worship the Lord on the Saturday Sabbath, NOT on pagan Sunday.

russkelly - December 4, 2012

Why don’t you observe the new moon sabbaths?

14. Anonymous - December 4, 2012

Righteous Christians are not currently obligated, in this premillennial era at least, to observe New Moon Sabbaths because they are conspicuously absent in the list of feasts in Leviticus 23, which includes the weekly Sabbath and the annual holy days. There is no Biblical evidence that the New Moons were regarded as actual holy days or Sabbaths in the Bible. New Moons were prominent among the ancient Israelites, but they never achieved the status of Sabbath or Holy Day.

However, in the future during the millenium, Biblical verses indicate certain new laws will be instituted, and apparently the “New Moons” will be among them. For a more elaborate explanation, click or go to http://members.ucg.org/papers/newmoons.pdf

russkelly - December 4, 2012

Exodus 31:13-17 clearly teaches that the Sabbath was a sign and seal of the Old Covenant only for national Israel. It cannot at the same time be a unique seal for Israel and also be required of others.

You break the sabbath as much as non-sabbatarians. Every time you turn on a light switch or heaters or flush a toilet or drive on the sabbath you cause others to have to work. The 4th commandment even assumes you own slaves; do you?

Anonymous - December 5, 2012

Your conclusion that Saturday rest cannot be required of today’s Christians merely because it was a sign at one time for ancient Israel, does not even come close to being persuasive, unless you want to “throw out the window” a handful of Biblical verses. Exodus 31:13-17 also does not specifically even say that other nations or groups of people will never be able to join Israel in establishing a covenant/Sabbath observance style relationship with the Lord.

Mark 2:27: “……. the Sabbath was made for man …….” confirms quite overwhelmingly that Saturday rest is for everyone now. Isaiah 66:23 even reveals that Saturday rest will be universally practiced in the distant future. Isaiah 56:6,7 is another verse showing that Sabbath observance will be practiced by everyone in the distant future. Hebrews 4:9 and Matthew 24:20 also strongly support Saturday rest for all people now and in the future.

I do not own any slaves. I and many others vigorously disagree with you that turning on a light switch, driving a car, flushing a toilet, or turning on a heater breaks a Sabbath law. Those are “man made” ordinances. The Bible advises us to not “destroy ourselves” trying to be over-righteous in Ecclesiastes 7:16, which those 4 examples represent. Exodus 35:3’s Sabbath prohibition against kindling or lighting a fire also technically involves an entirely different kind of “fire” compared to the electrical spark in a car’s spark plugs, an electrical heater, a light switch, or in a toilet flushing mechanism. The intent or spirit of the verse is about conserving energy, or avoiding work which would have to be expended in keeping the apparently wood fueled fire going. Assuming wood had been gathered on another day, just lifting enough wood to keep the fire burning, and placing the heavy wood in the fire would be the forbidden part primarily, not the actual fire.

I do not understand your comment “……on the sabbath you cause others to have to work.” Exactly how do I cause others to have to work?

15. glasseyedave - December 5, 2012

Anonymous,

Just to point out, you never answered what fruit of the Spirit violate the Law. We are supposed to be filled with the Spirit and have the Spirit Himself produce this fruit. So what of the Spirit violates the Law?

Now to your points:

You said Circumcision was abolished by the Apostles. It was not abolished, it was actually confirmed by Jesus who was a minister of circumcision. (your versions will translate “circumcision” as Jew” which is wrong) as Paul says in Romans chapter 15. What was Jesus confirming about circumcision? What Paul calls circumcision in Romans chapter 4, “seal of the the righteousness of the faith” and why Abraham is the father of circumcision to both Jew and Gentile. This is why the Colossians chapter 2 says we are circumcised with out hands and Philippians actually calls us the circumcised.

Conclusion on circumcision is… it has not been done away with but went from the Law to the Spirit, that is why physical circumcision or noncircumcision is not what matters, since now it is the circumcised heart done through the Spirit that now matters. This is what Galatians chapter 3 means when it says we gentiles are included in the promises given to Abraham by which we receive the Holy Spirit. Without the righteousness we receive, like our father Abraham, we do not get the Holy Spirit.

Concerning your New Age translations interpretation of Hebrews 7:15… it is not “if” another priest like Melchizedek, as if it is only used for example purpose. Rather it is far more evident that a priest has come in the likeness of Melchizedek

Your extrapolation of verse 12 only meaning the setting aside of the one regulation that pertains to the priesthood is incorrect. Hebrews 8 says that believers have a better covenant and not according to the one from Mt. Sinai. The old covenant was only a shadow and in verse 13 says the first covenant is old and passing away. That is the whole Law.

This is why Paul was able to say:

Rom 3:21 KJVBut now the righteousness of God without the law is manifested, being witnessed by the law and the prophets;

But, Paul still understood the Law was the gospel and the Law pointed to this righteousness of God. So the Law and the Prophets were Paul’s gospel although he never taught men had to follow the ordinance of the Law, because no man is justified by following it. Proof of Paul’s gospel is found in the last chapter of Acts where Paul finally makes it to Rome and is found to be preaching of Jesus and His kingdom from the Law of Moses and the Prophets.

Conclusion on your thoughts on Hebrews, they are in error with what Hebrews further testifies to. Your devotion to your many New Age versions is no standard for interpretation.

I will give you credit because you do understand the Law is to preserve life, property and etc. The natural, ungodly man needs to be ruled by the ordinances of the Law or the “moral code” found in the Old Testament or we will destroy ourselves. But those who are supposed to have their natural man crucified with Christ and buried with Christ and risen to a new life in Christ (Rom 6) are supposed to born of the Spirit and live above the Law, and actually fulfill the righteousness of the Law as we walk in the Spirit. (Rom 8:4)
Rom 7:6

But now we are delivered from the law, that being dead wherein we were held; that we should serve in newness of spirit, and not in the oldness of the letter.

Again, what attribute of the Christian life in the Spirit violates the Law?

My position on the Law and tithing does not mean that Christians are not to be generous because we are supposed to. Nor does it mean that we are not to be giving, because we are. Nor does it not mean that we are to support those who devote their lives to ministry because we are supposed to support those who give and teach us the gospel.

Please do not think that I am using my convictions concerning the Law and the life in the Spirit for a reason to be stingy.

Thanks for your time.

David Griffin

thegospelaccordingtothegospel.com

16. Henry - December 5, 2012

Anonymous,
You keep emphasising the word SOLELY to suggest that we are not saved by the LAW SOLELY or by Grace SOLELY. However, this is an incorrect view of the gospel which reflects a lack of understanding on your part. The scriptures did not say that we are saved by grace and the law but it saids specifically that we are save by Grace through faith.

Eph 2
8For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God: 9Not of works, lest any man should boast.

Moreover Christ has abolished the Law. This is a point that many people do not get but it is spelt out clearly in scripture here:

Eph 2
15Having abolished in his flesh the enmity, even the law of commandments contained in ordinances; for to make in himself of twain one new man, so making peace; 16And that he might reconcile both unto God in one body by the cross, having slain the enmity thereby: 17And came and preached peace to you which were afar off, and to them that were nigh.

If Jesus did not abolish the law of commandments contained in ordinances we who were outside of the commonwealth of Israel could not have obtained salvation. It is because it has been abolished and a new priesthood established why we can now obtain mercy together with Israel. So your use of semantics to say that Heb 7 refers to law in the singular does not hold water because not only is the preisthood system abolished but the commandments and ordinances went with it as the scripture above clearly shows. The commandment of tithes has also been abolished along with all the laws. Note that for the law to be in force then the priesthood must still be in force but we have a new priest in Jesus Christ and consequently a new Law (Heb 7:12).

In support of Eph 2:15, Heb 7:18 also clearly shows that the Law was disannulled:

18For there is verily a disannulling of the commandment going before for the weakness and unprofitableness thereof. 19For the law made nothing perfect, but the bringing in of a better hope did; by the which we draw nigh unto God. 20And inasmuch as not without an oath he was made priest:

To attempt to return to legalism is actually to deny the finished work of Grace – you have fallen from Grace according to Paul.

Anonymous - December 5, 2012

Henry, let me back up a little and reword what I mean. Yes of course I understand and agree that it is grace that actually saves us. I do not make the mistake of thinking like an orthodox Jew. However, you almost constantly concentrate on grace. You and others seem to refuse, absolutely refuse under all circumstances, apparently to your last dying breath, immediately throwing up grace as an excuse, to explain what Matthew 7:23 and Matthew 13:41,42 really mean. Grace saves us, but law keeping is so important that if we are deficient enough in that department, it will literally kill us, spiritually, physically, and in every other way, permanently, for all eternity. Don’t you think the following verses need to be emphasized more into your thinking?

ROMANS 3:24,25: “…… GRACE, through …… Jesus: 25 …… in His pity, God let the SINS of EARLIER TIMES GO UNPUNISHED.” — Bible in Basic English
So grace IS NOT a pardon or license to commit NEW, FUTURE sins after initial repentance and baptism.

2 PETER 3:17: “Dear friends …… So be on your guard. Then you won’t be led down the wrong path by the mistakes of PEOPLE WHO DON’T OBEY THE LAW. You won’t fall from your safe position.” — New International Reader’s Version
The words “law,” “lawless,” “unlawful,” or “without law” also appear in 2 Peter 3:17 in at least 29 other translations of the Bible.

HEBREWS 10:16: “This is the covenant that I will make with them after those days, says the Lord: I will put my LAWS into their hearts, and in their minds I will write them.” — New King James Version
The Greek for “LAWS” in the above verse is nomos, 3551, which refers primarily to the MOSAIC LAWS.

MATTHEW 23:27: “Woe to you ….. For you are ….. full of ….. ALL UNCLEANNESS.” — New King James Version
The Greek for “UNCLEANNESS” is akatharsia, Strong’s 167, which is derived from the same Greek word, akathartos, Strong’s 169, used in Acts 10:14 to describe the type of uncleanness of the forbidden foods listed in the MOSAIC LAWS.

JUDE 1:4: “Some godless people ….. EVEN DENY THAT WE MUST OBEY JESUS …..” — Contemporary English Version

MATTHEW 23:27,28: “Woe to you ….. 28 ….. you also outwardly appear righteous to men, but inside you are full of ….. LAWLESSNESS.” — New King James Version
The Greek for “LAWLESSNESS” is anomia, which means being “destitute of the MOSAIC LAW.”

MATTHEW 5:20: “FOR I SAY TO YOU PEOPLE, YOU WILL NOT ENTER THE KINGDOM OF HEAVEN UNLESS WHAT YOU DO THAT IS RIGHT EXCELS WHAT THE EXPERTS IN THE LAW OF MOSES AND THE PHARISEES [i. e., a strict sect of the Jewish religion] DO THAT IS RIGHT.” — An Understandable Version
The Scribes and Pharisees Jesus was referring to were deficient in mercy and fairness in their dealings with some people, so we need to be more righteous in that department as well as copycat the strict observance of many Old Testament laws as the Scribes and Pharisees observed them.

JUDE 1:4: “…… some people …… are SHAMELESS SCOUNDRELS. Their design is to replace the sheer GRACE of our God with sheer LICENSE ……” — The Message

Many people do not understand how you can use Ephesians 2:15 to support your belief. I wish that you would very carefully analyze from the original Greek each word in that verse. Since you probably will not do that, in my next comment I probably will present that analysis which will show that the verse in no way supports mainstream, or your theology, which are basically the same.

17. russkelly - December 5, 2012

PRO: Your conclusion that Saturday rest cannot be required of today’s Christians merely because it was a sign at one time for ancient Israel, does not even come close to being persuasive …

CON: Your admission that the Sabbath “at one time” was a “sing” for OT Israel defeats your argument. Again, it cannot at the same time be a unique sign for Israel and also be expected of everybody else.

PRO: … Exodus 31:13-17 also does not specifically even say that other nations or groups of people will never be able to join Israel in establishing a covenant/Sabbath observance style relationship with the Lord.

CON: Again, you are admitting that it only applied to national Israel as long as the Old Covenant was in place.

PRO: Mark 2:27: “……. the Sabbath was made for man …….” confirms quite overwhelmingly that Saturday rest is for everyone now.

CON: “Man” in Mark 2:27 could just as easily refer to IN CONTEXT to (1) THE Hebrew man, (2) THE Son of Man, Jesus Christ. See my book, Exposing Seventh-day Adventism, page 141.

PRO: Isaiah 66:23 even reveals that Saturday rest will be universally practiced in the distant future.

CON: Some interpret “new moons” and “sabbaths” to mean “every day.” How can you ignore the very next verse and not give it the same kind of interpretation?

PRO: Isaiah 56:6,7 is another verse showing that Sabbath observance will be practiced by everyone in the distant future.

CON: Not if it refers to the Old Covenant.

PRO: Hebrews 4:9 and Matthew 24:20 also strongly support Saturday rest for all people now and in the future.

CON: You ignore the context of Hebrews 4:9. Israel already had the 7th day sabbath rest and it was not enough.

PRO: Mt 24:20

CON: Mt 24:20 refers to the last-day Israelites who have returned in unbelief and who have reinstated the Old Covenant law.

PRO: I do not own any slaves.

CON: The point it that the Sabbath commandment is in the context of an approval of slavery and it allows you to own slaves even today if interpreted literally out of its Old Covenant context.

PRO: I and many others vigorously disagree with you that turning on a light switch, driving a car, flushing a toilet, or turning on a heater breaks a Sabbath law. Those are “man made” ordinances.

CON: You are a hypocrite by parsing and sub-dividing the Sabbath commandment to avoid its literal meaning. I was an SDA and lived in an SDA community (Collegedale, Tn). SDAs worked harder on the Sabbath than any day of the week — they did not rest at all.

PRO: The Bible advises us to not “destroy ourselves” trying to be over-righteous in Ecclesiastes 7:16, which those 4 examples represent. Exodus 35:3′s Sabbath prohibition against kindling or lighting a fire also technically involves an entirely different kind of “fire” compared to the electrical spark in a car’s spark plugs, an electrical heater, a light switch, or in a toilet flushing mechanism. The intent or spirit of the verse is about conserving energy, or avoiding work which would have to be expended in keeping the apparently wood fueled fire going.

CON: The Pharisees circumvented the literal meaning of the law the same way you are doing right now. You to cause electrical workers, gas company employees, sewage workers and policemen to work on the Sabbath by not resting.

PRO: I do not understand your comment “……on the sabbath you cause others to have to work.” Exactly how do I cause others to have to work?

CON: If you have to ask, then the answer is beyond your comprehension. As a born-again believer, I rest –as did Adam and Eve before sin—in the imputed righteousness of Jesus Christ 7 days a week 24 hours a day. The Saturday Sabbath is not written in the heart, conscience and nature and does not apply to New Covenant believers.

Anonymous - December 5, 2012

Resting on Saturdays in a fully built house causes electrical workers, policemen, sewage workers, and gas company employees to sinfully work on Saturdays when I flip a light switch, flush the toilet, turn on the heater, or jump into my car and drive it around the block from Friday sunset to Saturday sunset?

I definitely need to write that one down so that it will be recorded.

Yes I admit, the issue of the Saturday Sabbath being written in the heart of New Covenant believers is not so easily explained, or rather it is harder to convince you about that. That leads to another hot topic, whether people are “called” by the Lord to be among those in the first resurrection, and who the “called and chosen” are. There definitely are a handful of verses about that, but they are extremely unpopular with mainstream Christianity. Even many worshippers of Jesus totally abandoned Him because of that issue, even while He was still walking around on the earth. Let us continue to confine this discussion, though, to why the Mosaic law still needs to be obeyed, excluding circumcision and the many types of sacrifices, which the apostles explained were truly abolished.

18. Henry - December 6, 2012

Anonymous,
Perhaps the discussion should be moved to this post as this (current) post in particular is related to tithing. Nonetheless I would encourange you to read my post as it relates to the issue of whether or not we are to observe the old Law or not.

https://spiritofdiscernment.wordpress.com/2012/03/16/the-law-of-christ/

Without responding to everything you have said in your last reponse to me I really do not see what Matt 7:23 or Matt 13:41,42 has to do with the Old Law. Attempting to observe the old law by letter can actually send you to hell. Please read my other post.

19. Mike - January 16, 2013

Which old testament law, including the one regarding tithing, didn’t work when followed? None, correct? The problem was in mans inability to follow those laws. We now, through the new birth, have the ability to do all the law commands. Why then shouldn’t we willingly choose to follow that which came from the heart of God for His people? The fact that tithing is in scripture makes it relevant and applicable regardless of times and seasons. We don’t have to tithe, but we sure get to. And if it worked under the law for old testament saints, how much more will it work for us under the new covenant! The scriptural function of the tithe is honor and partnership with God. The principle works for whatever it is applied to, be it produce or livestock or money which those things would represent modernly. The tithe, like all laws or commandments of God, are no longer obligations to be observed but have become invitations for us to align our lives with His heart in every area. It’s a joy to obey God!

20. Henry - January 16, 2013

Mike,
Christ did not die so that we might return to the Old Testament Laws to observe them as to letter. In fact Christ died in order to ABOLISH the LAW which was enmity between us and God (Eph 2:15). Heb 8 also tells us that Jesus is the mediator of a better covenant and in verse 13 it says that the old covenant wax old and vanishes away. Scripture also says that those who seek to return to the Law has fallen from Grace (Gal 5:4).

Please have a read of this article https://spiritofdiscernment.wordpress.com/2012/03/13/tithing-not-a-matter-of-salvation-is-that-so/

21. Mike - January 16, 2013

You are so right Henry, there is no need to return to the law. The law has returned to us, “…I will put my laws into their mind, and write them in their hearts…” (Hebrews 8:10). That’s the beauty of the New Birth, we’re born again… not under the law, but one with it. Also, regarding Ephesians 2:15, it’s not the law that is being abolished, but the enmity caused by the law. Where was that enmity? In the mind – Romans 8:7 – because the carnal mind cannot be subject to the law of God. But, we have the mind of Christ! (1 Corinthians 2:16).

Tell me, which law of God was Jesus Christ interested in breaking? Or, was He busy trying to free Himself from the law of God? Why would He? And, therefore, why should we?

I fulfill the righteousness of the law by walking after the Spirit (Romans 8:4), and loving people (Galatians 5:14). I don’t have to try and “keep” the law, all I have to do is be led of the Spirit (Galatians 5:18), and the more led of the Spirit I am, the more delighted in the law of God I become (Romans 7:22). The law is perfect. (James 1:25, Psalm 19:7). The law doesn’t make me perfect (Hebrews 7:19), but I am made perfect (Hebrews 12:23) so that I can do that which is perfect (2 Timothy 3:17).

I love it!

russkelly - January 16, 2013

Mike: The law has returned to us, (Hebrews 8:10).
Russ: You really need to read all of Hebrews 7 and 8. (1) According to 7:5 the “commandment to take tithes according the law” supported the Aaronic priesthood. The priesthood being “changed” from Aaron to Melchizedek required a “necessary change” of that law in 7:12. And that “change” was the “annulment” of the “commandment going before in 7:5 to “take tithes according to the law” in 7:18.
Chapter 8 is just as strong. If Christ were on earth he would not be a priest “according to the law” (8:1-5). Christ is the “mediator of a better covenant established on better promises (8:6). The first covenant had its faults; the second covenant is not a repeated first covenant (8:7). The New Covenant is NOT the same as the Old (8:8-9). The basic definition of “law” is “the revealed will of God” and the revealed will of God is the New Covenant (8:10).
Since the “Law” of the Old Covenant included all of the commandments, all of the judgments and all of the ordinances, it is clear that that “law” has “vanished” (8:13).

Mike: That’s the beauty of the New Birth, we’re born again… not under the law, but one with it.

Russ: News flash! Gentiles and the Church never were under ANY of the Old Covenant Law. The “moral law” of Romans 1:18-20 and 2:14-16 and Exodus 34 is that eternal principle of the character of God. How do you define “law”? Where are your texts! What gives you the right to delete some parts of the Law and not all of it? (Mt 5:19-48) You want to stop killing disobedient children (Ex 21) but retain tithing and then allow gospel workers to both receive tithes and own property contrary to the law (Num 18:21-28).

Mike: Also, regarding Ephesians 2:15, it’s not the law that is being abolished, but the enmity caused by the law.

Russ: The Greek word translated “ordinances” is “dogma” – meaning “teachings.” Are you saying that all of the civil judgments and ceremonial ordinances are still valid? Deuteronomy alone says that Law is an indivisible whole scores of times. Do you worship at sunset Friday and own slaves as the Sabbath commandment allows?

Mike: Where was that enmity? In the mind – Romans 8:7 – because the carnal mind cannot be subject to the law of God. But, we have the mind of Christ! (1 Corinthians 2:16).

Russ: My Bible says that that the “enmity” was “the law of commandments contained in ordinances.” While God’s Word breaks down the separation between Jew and Gentile, you want to rebuild those barriers and make them different again.

Mike: Tell me, which law of God was Jesus Christ interested in breaking? Or, was He busy trying to free Himself from the law of God? Why would He? And, therefore, why should we?
Russ: Jesus was born, lived and died under the full jurisdiction of the Law. If He had disobeyed one small part or had taught others to disobey one small part, He would have had to die for His own sins. When Jesus died and said “It is finished,” the Law ended for Jews. Did Jesus tithe? Was he a farmer or herdsman? NO. And He did not tithe.

Mike: If I fulfill the righteousness of the law by walking after the Spirit (Romans 8:4), and loving people (Galatians 5:14). I don’t have to try and “keep” the law, all I have to do is be led of the Spirit (Galatians 5:18), and the more led of the Spirit I am, the more delighted in the law of God I become (Romans 7:22).

Russ: Paul is not consistently using the word “law” to mean the “Old Covenant” in Romans 7 and 8 and you cannot prove that to be wrong. . It is the revealed will of God.

Mike: The law is perfect. (James 1:25, Psalm 19:7). The law doesn’t make me perfect (Hebrews 7:19), but I am made perfect (Hebrews 12:23) so that I can do that which is perfect (2 Timothy 3:17).

Russ: You can prove anything bouncing from text to text without context. It is wrong to refer to Hebrews 7:19 and ignore 7:5, 12 and 18. Again how do you define law consistently in your argument?
Russell Earl Kelly, Author of Should the Church Teach Tithing?

Anonymous - January 17, 2013

I really do not understand how anyone can say that Jesus did not tithe when He actually commanded tithing as shown in the following verses:

MATTHEW 23:23: “…….. You SHOULD TITHE, yes, but do not neglect the more important things. — New Living Translation

“…….. You OUGHT TO TITHE but without forgetting about those more important matters.” — Common English Bible

LUKE 11:42: “…….. You should be fair and kind to others and still GIVE A TENTH to God.” — Contemporary English Version

“…….. You SHOULD TITHE,yes, but do not neglect the more important things.” — New Living Translation

“…….. And you should also continue to do those other things–{LIKE GIVING ONE – TENTH}.” — Easy – to – Read Version

I also do not understand how anyone can try to use Ephesians 2:15 as evidence that certain Old Testament laws no longer need to be obeyed. Read the following, then come to your own conclusion about that verse:

EPHESIANS 2:14,15: “For He Himself is our peace, who has made both one, and has broken down the middle wall of separation, 15 having abolished in His flesh the enmity, that is, the law of commandments contained in ordinances, so as to create in Himself one new man from the two, thus making peace.” — New King James Version

Paul apparently describes the very much man made, burdensome Oral Torah as “the law of commandments contained in ordinances.” Context is very important to understand this verse. Verse 14 sets the stage for understanding verse 15. Verse 14: “He ……. has broken down the MIDDLE WALL OF SEPARATION.” The phrase “middle wall” is helpful to understand verse 15 because it identifies and concentrates only on a wall or barrier made by man, not a barrier made by God or His divine laws. The Greek for “middle wall” is mesotoichon, Strong’s 3320, a special, rare word appearing only once in the Bible in Ephesians 2:15. The word mesotoichon was used by the famous Jewish historian Flavius Josephus to refer specifically to a balustrade in the Jewish temple in Jerusalem to keep gentiles from entering the holy section of the temple. That balustrade (the Jews built the barrier because they wanted to build it, not because of any Scripture) was definitely a man made barrier, not a divinely made barrier or wall created by any Scripture. The Greek for “of separation” is phragmos, Strong’s 5418, which means a “fence” or “railing.” In his book Wars of the Jews Josephus used the terms mesotoichon and phragmos for a particular balustrade or barrier in the Jewish temple (Book 5, chapter 5, section 2 and 6). This barrier was built by the Jews to isolate the outer court where the gentiles were, from the inner part of the temple where all gentiles were banned. Written notices in Greek and Latin were posted at the bottom of the steps leading to the inner area, warning gentiles that death would be the penalty for entering the inner area of the temple. Two of those notices were found, one in 1871 and the other in 1935. The actual, physical “middle wall” was demolished when the temple was destroyed in 70 A.D. by the Romans. Several years before the middle wall was destroyed, though, Paul pointed it out as an appropriate symbol of racial and religious barriers separating people.

In verse 15 the Greek for “law” is nomos, Strong’s 3551, which can refer to man made laws depending on the context since there are more than seven definitions of nomos. “Commandments” in the Greek is entole, Strong’s 1785, which can also refer to rules and laws created by men. The Greek word for “ordinances” is dogma, Strong’s 1378. This word appears only three other times in the Bible besides Ephesians 2:15 and Colossians 2:14, which refers to man made opinions, judgments, or decrees (in Colossians 2:14, according to the context of Colossians 2:13, dogma logically refers to the written or somehow recorded record [apparently in heaven] of people’s sins). In the other three times dogma is used, it never clearly refers to the Bible’s written Mosaic laws. In two cases dogma refers to secular regulations devised by a non-Christian Roman ruler, Caesar, not to God’s holy laws:

1) Luke 2:1: “…….there went out a decree from Caesar Augustus, that all the world should be taxed.” The Greek for decree is dogma.

2) Acts 17:7: “……… these all do contrary to the decrees of Caesar saying that there is another king …….” The Greek for decrees is dogma.

3) Acts 16:4: “And as they went through the cities, they delivered them the decrees for to keep, that were ordained of the apostles and elders which were at Jerusalem.” Again the Greek for decrees is dogma. The man made decrees in this verse were formulated by the apostles and elders in Jerusalem to primarily inform church members that circumcision was no longer required.
Ephesians 2:15: “having abolished in His flesh the enmity, that is, the law of commandments …….” The words “that is” is actually an artificial addition to the verse, added by translators. The only Greek word between “enmity” and “law” is the word that has Strong’s number 3588, usually translated as “the.” Also, remember that scholars believe that the original Greek probably contained no punctuation, so translators put in commas where they think they should be, hoping that they are correct.

Since “the law of commandments contained in ordinances” is nonspecific, if this verse really did mean that the Mosaic laws have been abolished, then a large number of very good, common sense laws also would have been done away with by Jesus Christ Himself, which is absurd, demonstrating another glittering flaw in mainstreamers’ reasoning that Ephesians 2:15 proves that the written Mosaic laws were annulled. Very good, common sense Mosaic laws not specifically listed in the New Testament that even most pagan societies would not break include laws prohibiting removing property landmarks, prohibiting the mingling of lepers with the general population, forbidding incest, forbidding punishing a son for a crime his father committed, forbidding eating animals like armadillos which often carry leprosy (just handling them before cooking them can give you leprosy), prohibiting being a member of a vandalizing mob, prohibiting bribery, prohibiting bestiality, prohibiting putting stumbling blocks in front of blind people, and on and on.

Do you really think that Jesus thought that the law forbidding putting stumbling blocks in front of the blind created “enmity” between Jews and gentiles?

Concluding, there is no reasonable way that Ephesians 2:15 can be used to support the mistaken idea that most of the Mosaic laws have been abolished. Only the man made, burdensome Oral Torah additions were done away with, not the written Old Testament laws in the Bible.
It is the gentiles that need to become slightly “more Jewish” than the Jews slightly “more gentile,” one might say, so that the two become one according to Ephesians 2:11-14, 3:6, John 4:22, Galatians 3:28, and Romans 1:16, 10:12, 11:11,26.
Some good sites for further study include http://www.ucg.org/booklet/new-covenant-does-it-abolish-gods-law/peace-and-unity-christ/, and thercg.org/questions/p154.a.html#c.

22. Mike - January 17, 2013

Russ: I’m fine with your interpretation of “law” being the revealed will of God.

And if, as you say, the law ended, why did Paul find it necessary while defending himself to say this, “Neither against the law of the Jews…have I offended any thing at all?” (Acts 25:8).

Did Pharisees tithe? Matthew 23:23 insists that they did. Were they farmers and herdsman? That I don’t know.

Was Paul a Pharisee? Philippians 3:5 assures us that he was.

Did Paul tithe? Maybe he did maybe he didn’t.

Regardless, Jesus makes this clear, “…that except your righteousness shall exceed the righteousness of the scribes and Pharisees, ye shall in no case enter into the kingdom heaven.” (Matthew 5:20). Now, I know that we do not establish our own righteousness (Romans 10:3), and that righteousness is a gift (Romans 5:17), but nonetheless righteousness is a way of life (Titus 2:12).

Jesus makes it very clear throughout that passage in Matthew 5 that grace demands much more than old testament law did. The standards are higher, and most importantly the desire and ability to rise to meet those standards is present by the Holy Ghost.

There is no more enmity because the desire and ability is present to do all that God requires. The difference is that we are governed from the inside out, by the law written on our hearts and not by the law written on stone or with ink.

Things have changed, and thank God for that! Some things have not changed, and still – thank God!

Bottom line: In ever single instance, let us find out how we may cooperate with God according to His revealed will. And again, there is the whole idea of tithing again… right there, in the revealed will of God; an invitation, not an obligation.

It’s the same with anything. Do you want to? If not, why don’t you want to? That’s how God deals with His children today, He deals with our “want to’s”.

Blessings!

23. Henry - January 17, 2013

Mike,
In your last response to Russ Kelly you asked, were the Pharisees farmers. That is a very good question. Do you know what the Pharisees gave tithes on? Farm produce, i.e., mint, dill and cumin. Farming might not have been their main vocation but they ONLY TITHE ON FARM PRODUCE – NOT MONEY, although scripture tells us that the Pharisees loved money!! Afterall it was the commandment of God that Israel tithe on the PRODUCE OF THE LAND – not money (see Lev 27). The same passage will tell you that the tither could redeem the tithe (or buy back the farm produce with money) but he had to add one fifth or 20% of the value on top if he did so. Why is it then that when people read Matt 23:23 they see dollar signs? In any event are you also telling me that we should observe an eye for an eye in Lev 24:17-23? If not why not? Why do you seek to import the tithing law into the New Covenant but not the other laws with them?

24. Henry - January 17, 2013

Anonymous,
Assuming we were required to tithe then Matt 23:23 confirms that only farm produce can be tithed, yes? So why are you changing God’s law to suggest that we should substitute mint, dill and cumin with money? You use Greek but you lack some basic understanding of the scriptures. Matt 23:23 was not a New Command by Jesus but an affirmation of the Pharisees responsibility under the Old Covenant to tithe and a rebuke that they should not have neglected the weightier matters. Why then are you attempting to twist this verse to make it sounds as if Jesus was talking to the Church here? Yet you talk about context. There is not a single scripture in the New Testament which endorses tithing in the church. Heb 7:5 clearly tells us that only the Levites had a commandment to take a tithe of their brethren. So even if we should tithe as per the law only the Levites should get it NOT THE CHURCH. So where are the Levites today?

Anonymous - January 17, 2013

Henry, it seems that sometimes we need to use a little common sense and sometimes assume 2+2 still equals 4, even though the Bible doesn’t say specifically it equals 4, figuratively speaking, concerning some issues. What are you going to do with the following 1 Corinthians and Genesis verses, “throw them out the window”? Tithing, to help make sure the people understood it thoroughly, was described in agricultural terms because the people were farmers and ranchers.

1 Corinthians 9:13-14: “Do you not know that those who minister the holy things eat of the things of the temple, and those who serve at the altar partake of the offerings of the altar? Even so the Lord has commanded that those who preach the gospel should live from the gospel.” The only source of income the ministers have are church members’ tithes. Otherwise they would almost starve to death. People claiming incorrectly that tithing is only for agricultural and ranching profits seem to not know about Jacob’s vow in Genesis 28:22 to tithe on his profits from all sources, which we can reasonably assume still applies to us and all future Christians. Jacob was considered righteous by the Lord, so we need to copycat Jacob’s tithing practices. One of the Mosaic tithes consist of the 10% festival tithe. Zechariah 14:16-19 reveals that attendance at the Feast of Tabernacles in the distant future will be enforced. Guess which of the 3 different tithes is specifically meant to finance attendance at the feasts each year? It is the festival tithe, which therefore must still be in force if it will be in force in the future. If the festival tithe is still in force then very logically the first, or regular tithe is still in force.

Hebrews 7:18 only proves that the law about Levitical priests serving, from an ancestral line of priests, has been abolished. Just one law, not many Mosaic laws, was annulled, obvious from the context, don’t you think so?

Matthew 7:23 is a threatening warning to continue obeying the Mosaic laws, or else. Those laws include tithing. This prophetic verse applies to the distant future, to all Christians, not just those who literally heard verse 23 from Jesus Himself speaking about 2,000 years ago. Verse 23 will be fulfilled on “Judgment Day.”

25. Mike - January 18, 2013

Henry,

Why do I import the tithing law? Of course, we know that the tithe existed long before the law… where did the idea come from? Why did Jacob make his vow? It came from his heart did it not?

To enforce the tithe for the sake of the law is wrong, but to follow it because it is in the heart of God is right.

God later made the tithe part of the law, perhaps out of honor for Abraham and Jacob who first introduced it. Much like Jesus honored John the baptist who introduced water baptism. Where did John get the concept for baptism from? From the heart of God.

Our only motive for doing anything should be to please God. To find out what is in his heart, and to do it. It’s a safe assumption that if it’s in His word, that it is in His heart for His people.

It’s unfortunate that so many of God’s people try to find excuses not to do something, rather than cooperating with God to the fullest extent. Old Testament men of God who knew God pulled New Testament realities into their time. We can now look into the whole council of God’s word, new and old testament, and determine what is of value. The tithe is of immense value, but it is not an end in itself. I would love to give 90%, perhaps one day I’ll be able to.

Perhaps God limited the tithe to farm produce in the old so that we would have the opportunity to take it to a whole new level in the new. Just like adultery is no longer the act but the thought, and murder no longer the action but the heart. Grace exceeds the law.

Also, did you ever consider why God would put one of the premier tithe teachings just pages before the New Testament began… it begs the question, as if God is asking, “do you want it? Here it is, it’s yours if you are willing!”

And finally, what makes the tithe stand apart from the rest of the law? Well, it’s the only conditional promise in which God actually issues a challenge. Test me.

I concur, for those who don’t tithe, they are missing a wonderful opportunity to accept God’s challenge. And it looks to me that the whole issue of “why money, and why not just herbs” comes down to a major matter of our heart. For where you treasure is, there your heart will be also.

russkelly - January 19, 2013

Mike: And if, as you say, the law ended, why did Paul find it necessary while defending himself to say this, “Neither against the law of the Jews…have I offended anything at all?” (Acts 25:8).

Russ: The Law ended as our standard of righteousness and was replaced by the standard of Jesus Christ (John 16:8-9).
The Law was an indivisible whole of over 600 commands including commandment, judgments and ordinance which was only given to Old Covenant Israel (Ex 19:5-6).
What Paul meant in Acts 25:8 is not clear but it is clear that Paul taught Christian Jews to stop attending their temple, to stop honoring their high priest and to stop offering sacrifices – all clearly contrary to the law.

Mike: Did Pharisees tithe? Matthew 23:23 insists that they did. Were they farmers and herdsman? That I don’t know.

Russ: Since Pharisees were often wealthy and influential, it is logical that they were probably large land owners. Why would carpenters and tent-makers living inside Israel tithe if that which they earned a livelihood from did not qualify as a tithed item?

Mike: Was Paul a Pharisee? Philippians 3:5 assures us that he was. Did Paul tithe? Maybe he did maybe he didn’t.

Russ: There is no “maybe” to it unless Paul either farmed or herded animals inside God’s holy land of Israel. HOLY tithes could not come from non-food producers in Israel, from Gentiles, or from outside Israel. Period. Tithes are only food in Leviticus 27:30-34 and they are still only food in Malachi 3:10 and Matthew 23:23. That never changed.

Mike: Regardless, Jesus makes this clear, “…that except your righteousness shall exceed the righteousness of the scribes and Pharisees, ye shall in no case enter into the kingdom heaven.” (Matthew 5:20).

Russ: You conveniently omit Matthew 5:19 and 21-48 which uses illustrations from the whole law: commandments, judgments and ordinances. The righteousness of the Pharisees was to the letter or the and not to the spirit of the law.

Mike: righteousness is a way of life

Russ: As a trained lawyer, Paul used the word “dikaiosune” to mean “justification” much more than “righteousness.” It was our legal standing before Go.

Mike: Jesus makes it very clear throughout that passage in Matthew 5 that grace demands much more than Old Testament law did. The standards are higher, and most importantly the desire and ability to rise to meet those standards is present by the Holy Ghost.

Russ: Yes, but there never was a STANDARD in the Old Covenant which required EVERYBODY to begin giving at ten per cent. Sacrificial freewill giving may mean more than 10% to many but it means less for the very poor and destitute.

Mike: There is no more enmity because the desire and ability is present to do all that God requires.

Russ: There is no more enmity because now all believers are priests before God and there are no more echelons of persons like the temple worship demanded: priests, Levites, Hebrew men, Hebrew women, Gentiles.

Mike: The difference is that we are governed from the inside out, by the law written on our hearts
Russ: It is not the same law (Rom 8:2-3).

Mike: cooperate with God according to His revealed will. And again, there is the whole idea of tithing again… right there, in the revealed will of God

Russ: Where are you texts? Where does God’s HOLY Word say that every single believer must BEGIN giving at the level of ten per cent of income before taxes??? You cannot simply invent God’s Word to suit your own opinion.

russkelly - January 19, 2013

Afraid to Be Identified: Tithing, to help make sure the people understood it thoroughly, was described in agricultural terms because the people were farmers and ranchers.

Russ: Within a few generations of “double portion to the firstborn” most Hebrews would have left the farms and taken up jobs as carpenters, blacksmiths, pottery makers, jewelry makers, sculptors, brick masons, tentmakers, bakers, etc, etc. None of those occupations would be tithers of food from God’s HOLY land.

Anon: 1 Corinthians 9:13 “Do you not know that those who minister the holy things eat of the things of the temple, and those who serve at the altar partake of the offerings of the altar?

Russ: 1 Cor 9:13 is not limited to tithes (of which the priests received one tenth of one tenth (1%) per Num 18:25-28; Neh 10:38). 1 Cor 9:13 opens the door for ALL times of payment given to priests and Levites in Numbers 18. To use 1 Cor 9:13 would necessitate including much more than tithing for gospel workers.

Anon: 1 Cor 9:14 Even so the Lord has commanded that those who preach the gospel should live from the gospel.”

Russ: The principle begins in 9:6. Each occupation had its own rules of support. The rules for gospel workers are gospel principles – living from the gospel – that is, depending on giving by grace and faith.

Anon: The only source of income the ministers have are church members’ tithes.

Russ: Where is this found in the Bible? No sacrificial freewill giving? Read Acts 20:29-35. Paul boasted of being self-supporting. While I do not disapprove of full-time ministry, it is not commanded in the Bible. Even OT Levites and priests spent 23 of 24 weeks working and learning trades to be used in the temple. They mostly worked as farmers and herdsmen (Num 35; Joshua 21; 1 Chronicles 23 to 28).

Anon: People claiming incorrectly that tithing is only for agricultural and ranching profits seem to not know about Jacob’s vow in Genesis 28:22 to tithe on his profits from all sources, which we can reasonably assume still applies to us and all future Christians. Jacob was considered righteous by the Lord, so we need to copycat Jacob’s tithing practices.

Russ: Jacob was a schemer, a supplanter, who told God what to do; he set the condition. Jacob only promised to tithe AFTER God first blessed him. This is not an example of gospel giving. Jacob’s tithe was from pagan Haran of Babylon and it would not have been accepted by the Law, Moses, Mal 3:10 or Jesus in Mt 23:23 as a holy tithe.

Anon: the 10% festival tithe

Russ: Do you teach the festival tithe? Why not?

Anon: Hebrews 7:18 only proves that the law about Levitical priests serving, from an ancestral line of priests, has been abolished. Just one law, not many Mosaic laws, was annulled, obvious from the context, don’t you think so?

Russ: If just one law is involved in Heb 7:18, then that law must be the law of tithing from 7:5 and 7:12.

Anon: Matthew 7:23 is a threatening warning to continue obeying the Mosaic laws, or else.

Russ: If so, then you must continue obeying all 600 plus commands – OR ELSE.

Anon: Those laws include tithing.

Russ: And tithing recipients were not allowed to own or inherit land. Do you enforce that also? They were to KILL anybody other than priests attempting to enter the tabernacle. Do you enforce that?

26. Mike - January 19, 2013

Russ,

It’s clear that you don’t “want” to tithe money or that you don’t encourage it, because you don’t “have” to. That’s fine. It’s your prerogative.

Technically, we don’t “have” to do anything. And we can do whatever we “want” to.

“All things are lawful for me, but all things are not expedient: all things are lawful for me, but all things edify not.” (1 Cor. 10:23)

The standard, then, is whether or not a thing is expedient / profitable, or whether or not it does edify.

Is tithing monetary income expedient, profitable, or edifying to the kingdom of God and body of Christ? You have to determine that for yourself. As for me, I know that it is.

At any rate, the law of first mention in the bible shows us that long before tithing was obligated for vegetables and the like, it was born in the heart of a man named Abraham who is called the father of our faith. And the principles were passed on to his children, which we see in the life of Jacob. Their desire to tithe came from a heart of gratitude for the blessing of God on their lives. I believe a similar response today is biblical, right, and should be encouraged.

Anonymous - January 19, 2013

I see you are a fervent anti-tither. The way most English versions of the Bible read, I can understand why a person initially would believe that way. Did you not make a mistake when you asked Mike where did it say in the Bible that a 10% tithe was required on PRE-TAX income? The Bible says that we are to tithe on our “INCREASE,” which would be our net increase, or net income, which would therefore, logically, be our income AFTER all federal and state income taxes have been deducted. Some high income Europeans are forced to pay about 70% of their income in taxes. When they pay a pre-tax 10% tithe and an additional 10% festival tithe, that would leave them with only 10% to live on, which is ludicrous.

Yes, I do “preach” the festival tithe, plus the third year charity or food tithe. For decades tens of thousands of Christians in ultra-conservative, restored churches like the United Church of God, an International Association, and the Church of God, a Worldwide Association, have been paying all 3 tithes, and generally they have been prospering.

You said, “Russ: If just one law is involved in Heb 7:18, then that law must be the law of tithing from 7:5 and 7:12.” Don’t you think that linking Hebrews 7:5,12 to the abolishment of BOTH tithing and the genealogy based Levitical priesthood is risky, weak speculation at best? Tithing is part of the Mosaic law. Are you telling me that it is not true that over 90 pro-Mosaic law keeping verses exist in the New Testament? Are you really willing to “sweep those 90+ verses under the rug”? Do you really want to “delete” them?

The tabernacle no longer exists, so the killing question cannot be asked.

Present day Christian ministers accepting tithes are not Levites, therefore they can own land, etc.

Of the 600+ commands, tell me 5 that would be impossible or difficult for me to obey.

27. russkelly - January 19, 2013

Mike: Of course, we know that the tithe existed long before the law… where did the idea come from?

Russ: Correction – “A” tithing law existed long before the law – in ancient pagan lands like Babylon, Assyria and Egypt. The same is true of idolatry, child sacrifices and temple prostitution, but that does not make them eternal moral principles.

Mike: Why did Jacob make his vow? It came from his heart did it not?

Russ: Why don’t you play God and re-write Scripture? God’s Word does not say that Jacob’s vow to tithe came from his heart. He was still “Jacob, the supplantor, the schemer” and not Israel at this point. He told God what the conditions were and that is NOT an example for Christians.

Mike: To enforce the tithe for the sake of the law is wrong, but to follow it because it is in the heart of God is right.

Russ: The law of tithing, like the Old Covenant, was never commanded to Gentiles or the Church. Abram and Jacob’s tithe was of pagan origin and did not come from the holy land of Israel. The heart and conscience of man teaches giving, not ten per cent tithing –therefore tithing is not an eternal moral principle.

Mike: God later made the tithe part of the law,

Russ: The pagan tithe and the holy tithe off the holy land of Israel are completely different. Malachi and Jesus would not have described the holy tithe from pagan sources.

Mike: perhaps out of honor for Abraham and Jacob who first introduced it?

Russ: This kind of mindless speculation accomplishes nothing.

Mike: Much like Jesus honored John the baptist who introduced water baptism.

Russ: John’s baptism and Jesus’ baptism were completely different.

Mike: Where did John get the concept for baptism from? From the heart of God.

Russ: More mindless speculation.

Mike: Our only motive for doing anything should be to please God. To find out what is in his heart, and to do it. It’s a safe assumption that if it’s in His word, that it is in His heart for His people.

Russ: O.T. tithing only applied to food producers who lived inside God’s holy land. Tithing was never commanded to or practiced by the church until it became law in AD777.

Mike: It’s unfortunate that so many of God’s people try to find excuses not to do something, rather than cooperating with God to the fullest extent.

Russ: Now you are judging those who disagree with you.

Mike: Old Testament men of God who knew God pulled New Testament realities into their time.

Russ: What is your CONSISTENT hermeneutic for bring material from the Old Covenant over to the New Covenant after Calvary?

Mike: Perhaps God limited the tithe to farm produce in the old so that we would have the opportunity to take it to a whole new level in the new.

Russ: And perhaps God meant exactly what He said – HOLY tithes were always only FOOD from inside His HOLY land which He had miraculously increased.

Mike: And finally, what makes the tithe stand apart from the rest of the law? Well, it’s the only conditional promise in which God actually issues a challenge. Test me.

Russ: The whole law was a test. Read Deuteronomy 28 to 30. Break one and lose all its blessings. Keep all to claim any of its blessings. That is why Gal 3:10 is so important.

Mike: And it looks to me that the whole issue of “why money, and why not just herbs” comes down to a major matter of our heart.

Russ: It comes down to a major matter of literally interpreting God’s Words as He intended.

28. Mike - January 19, 2013

Russ:

To make it very clear, I have no objection to the kind of giving and supporting of ministers that is free from a legal stipulation. I do not believe people should feel forced or be coerced to follow a system of any kind, because as we both know, no such legal system exists in the New Testament.

However, I do object to the idea that the tithe cannot fit into the context of New Testament living. Your consistent argument that the tithe is not money fails to take into account that the currency of the days of Moses’s and the currency of the modern day are completely different.

The tithe that supported the old testament priesthood is gone forever. We live under a new covenant, and each one of us must determine how we wish to contribute to the cause of Christ in the earth. The tithe principle is a great place to start, but as I’ve stated before, it is not an end in itself.

If Christ has your heart, He has your wallet too.

And, when it comes to giving, it is the motive of the heart that matters the most.

russkelly - January 19, 2013

Mike: Your consistent argument that the tithe is not money fails to take into account that the currency of the days of Moses’s and the currency of the modern day are completely different.

Russ:This argument is neither biblical nor historical. Genesis alone contains money in 32 texts and the word occurs 44 times before the holy tithe is described in Leviticus 27. Gold is in Genesis 2:12. The words jewelry, gold, silver and shekel also appear often from Genesis to Deuteronomy.

Abram was very rich in silver and gold (Gen 13:2); money in the form of silver shekels paid for slaves (Gen 17:12+); Abimelech gave Abraham 1000 pieces of silver (Gen 20:16); Abraham paid 400 pieces of silver for land (Gen 23:9-16); Joseph was sold for silver pieces (Gen 37:28); slaves bought freedom (Lev 25:47-53). Court fines (Ex 21 all; 22 all), sanctuary dues (Ex 30:12+), vows (Lev 27:3-7), poll taxes (Num 3:47+), alcoholic drinks (Deu 14:26) and marriage dowries (Deu 22:29) included money.

Joseph gave Benjamin 300 pieces of silver (Gen 45:22). According to Genesis 47:15-17 food was used for barter only after money had been spent. Banking and usury laws exist in Leviticus even before tithing. Therefore the argument is false. Yet the holy contents from Leviticus to Luke never include money from non-food products and trades.

Mike: The tithe that supported the old testament priesthood is gone forever.

Russ: And so also is the Old Testament priesthood, temple and laws supporting both of those such as tithing. The New Covenant teaches a priesthood of every believer.

Mike: We live under a new covenant, and each one of us must determine how we wish to contribute to the cause of Christ in the earth.

Russ: True.

Mike: The tithe principle is a great place to start, but as I’ve stated before, it is not an end in itself.

Russ: Stop saying that without verifiable texts. It was NEVER a “good place to start” or “beginning standard” in the Old Covenant except for food producers who only lived inside Israel.

Anonymous - January 19, 2013

Russkelly, Matthew Luke 18:12: “……….. I pay the tithe on all my gains.” — Weymouth New Testament

The definition of the Greek word for “all” in the above verse literally means “all,” and “everything.” Although Jesus criticized the tithing Pharisee for being snobbishly proud in this verse, the fact that the Pharisee paid, to be truly righteous, tithes on all his profits provides additional confirmation of the need to tithe on all sources of income, including wages, trading, investments, etc. as well as farming and ranching operations. This Pharisee, if he really believed that tithing on non-farm income was not proper and not commanded at all, most probably would not have tithed on all his income, which most likely was not farm income. The Pharisees were located mostly in Jerusalem, which has no farms and ranches in the city. The Pharisees were a political and religious group most likely, according to historians, earning a living being judges, scribes copying and reproducing documents, bureaucrats, and teachers. Their income was not primarily from agricultural profits. Yet this Pharisee in verse 12 bragged that he tithed on all his income.

Yes, Paul never mentioned tithing as a command, but he also never mentioned that he (most likely) regularly visited some type of toilet for his physical needs, either. Since he never mentioned the toilet or such physical needs, can we really safely assume that he never used a toilet? Therefore we cannot assume Paul rejected tithing just because he never mentioned it. That is admittedly a poor comparison, but it does prove my point, logic-wise. Paul also never mentioned the command to not use the Lord’s name in a vain manner. Can we therefore really assume that Paul rejected obedience to the commandment to not use God’s name in vain?

You need to delete Paul’s lack of discussion about tithing, as supposed evidence that tithing is no longer valid. The reasonable logic is just not there.

russkelly - January 20, 2013

Mike: It’s clear that you don’t “want” to tithe money or that you don’t encourage it, because you don’t “have” to. That’s fine. It’s your prerogative.

Russ: You don’t catch on. It is not “my prerogative”: neither of us can literally give “holy tithes” today. We do not qualify if you define them as did Moses, Malachi and Jesus.

Mile: Technically, we don’t “have” to do anything. And we can do whatever we “want” to.

Russ: I “want to” and I “do” give sacrificially and generously to the best of my ability and often beyond. That does not mean that I give less than 10% (but it could).

Mike: The standard, then, is whether or not a thing is expedient / profitable, or whether or not it does edify.

Russ: You still don’t get it. There was no such thing as a “minimum standard” of ten per cent in the Old Covenant for non-food producers and for anybody living outside holy Israel. You have invented a false “standard” by which to judge me.

Mike: Is tithing monetary income expedient, profitable, or edifying to the kingdom of God and body of Christ? You have to determine that for yourself. As for me, I know that it is.

Russ: Is freewill sacrificial giving of monetary income expedient, profitable, or edifying to the kingdom of God and body of Christ? Yes, and it has the blessing of the Holy Spirit to the Church after Calvary…

Mike: At any rate, the law of first mention in the bible shows us that long before tithing was obligated for vegetables and the like; it was born in the heart of a man named Abraham who is called the father of our faith. And the principles were passed on to his children, which we see in the life of Jacob.

Russ: You are confusing the law of first mention of the word “tithe” with the law of first mention of the HOLY tithe (Lev 27:30-34)).

Mike: Their desire to tithe came from a heart of gratitude for the blessing of God on their lives.

Russ: Now you are lying and pretending to be God and re-writing Scripture. The Bible does NOT say that either Abram or Jacob freely chose to give from the heart. They could have both merely been following well-known pagan custom learned from Babylon.

russkelly - January 20, 2013

Afraid to Identify: I see you are a fervent anti-tither.

Russ: I am fervent pro-Bible-truth-in-context. The Gentiles and Church never were under the Old Covenant which was only commanded to Israel.

Anon: The way most English versions of the Bible read, I can understand why a person initially would believe that way.

Russ: I have a degree in Biblical Greek and Chinese Mandarin plus substantial knowledge of Hebrew. I understand languages.

Anon: Did you not make a mistake when you asked Mike where did it say in the Bible that a 10% tithe was required on PRE-TAX income? The Bible says that we are to tithe on our “INCREASE,”

Russ: Read the context of those “increase” texts. They all refer only to FOOD from inside God’s HOLY land of Israel. The same is true of FIRSTFRUITS. There is not a hint of proof from the Bible that tithes could come from what man’s skill increased or from outside the HOLY land.

Anon: risky

Russ: Not at all. Since Hebrews 7:5 is the first mention of “commandment, tithes, and law” it is logical that “change of the law” in 7:12 refers back to 7:5 and the “commandment going before” in 7:18 also refers back to 7:5. That is good contextual hermeneutics.

Anon: Tithing is part of the Mosaic law. Are you telling me that it is not true that over 90 pro-Mosaic law keeping verses exist in the New Testament? Are you really willing to “sweep those 90+ verses under the rug”? Do you really want to “delete” them?

Russ: That part of the Old Covenant which applies to the post-Calvary church in the New Covenant has clearly been REPEATED and tithing is not among them. What is your CONSISTENT hermeneutic for bringing OT teachings over into the New? Or do you dare answer?

Anon: Present day Christian ministers accepting tithes are not Levites, therefore they can own land, etc.

Russ: Wow! You seem to re-write Scripture as you see fit as you go along. What is your CONSISTENT hermeneutic for doing this?

Anon: Of the 600+ commands, tell me 5 that would be impossible or difficult for me to obey.

Russ:
1. Kill children who curse parents.
2. Klll children who strike parents.
3. Do not share your covenant with other nations.
4. The Sabbath applies to those living above the Arctic Circle.
5. Women who are accused of infidelity must eat the dirt of the tabernacle to show if they are guilty.
6. Persons who have physical disorders are not allowed to worship in our sanctuaries.

russkelly - January 20, 2013

Afraid to be Identified: Matthew Luke 18:12
Russ: CONTEXT: “Matters of the law”
CONTEXT: Before Calvary.
CONTEXT: The Law was still in full jurisdiction.
CONTEXT: Jesus MUST teach the whole law or be a sinner and die for His own sins.

Anon: confirmation of the need to tithe on all sources of income, including wages, trading, investments, etc. as well as farming and ranching operations.

Russ: Where are your Bible texts or even early historical validation?

Anon: This Pharisee, if he really believed that tithing on non-farm income was not proper and not commanded at all, most probably would not have tithed on all his income, which most likely was not farm income.

Russ: Irrelevant. The context is still “matters of the law.” And that same law would not allow Levitical tithe-recipients to own or inherit property.

Anon: The Pharisees were located mostly in Jerusalem, which has no farms and ranches in the city.

Russ: Yes, but they owned farms and herds which others tended outside the city.

Anon: The Pharisees were a political and religious group most likely, according to historians, earning a living being judges, scribes copying and reproducing documents, bureaucrats, and teachers.

Russ: They still limited the argument to mint and cumin – garden herbs they grew on their back porches inside the cities. Why did they not include money to make their point?

Anon: Their income was not primarily from agricultural profits.

Russ: And they did not tithe from that income.

Anon: Yet this Pharisee in verse 12 bragged that he tithed on all his income.

Russ: Of “all” which was tithe-able. You still ignore the context of “matters of the law.”

Anon: Yes, Paul never mentioned tithing as a command, but he also never mentioned that he (most likely) regularly visited some type of toilet for his physical needs, either.

Russ: You are losing the argument so you resort to this kind of low language. Is that the best you can do?

Anon: Therefore we cannot assume Paul rejected tithing just because he never mentioned it.

Russ: In all the letters of Paul we find no evidence of tithing being taught. In Acts 15 James refused to place Gentile Christians under any part of the law.

Anon: Paul also never mentioned the command to not use the Lord’s name in a vain manner.

Russ: He spoke a lot about holy actions, lifestyles and conversations.

29. Mike - January 20, 2013

Russ,

You accuse me of lying for assuming that a man of God did something for God because he wanted to, when you have no proof to conclude otherwise. Who’s pretending?

Melchizedek = a type and shadow of Jesus
Abraham = the “father of our faith”

“And the father of circumcision to them who are not of the circumcision only, but who also WALK IN THE STEPS of that faith of our father Abraham, which he had being yet uncircumcised.” Romans 4:12

Abraham is called a man of faith. To conclude that he gave by faith is the best conclusion we can make. He gave 10% by faith to a priest who was a type and shadow of Jesus. But he wasn’t Abraham yet, he was still Abram (I can almost hear the argument). Regardless, he was the same guy.

Today, if a man or woman of faith wants to follow in the steps of Abraham, and they want to present 10% of their income to Jesus Himself, through the local church… do you honestly think that Jesus – the Head of the Church – has a problem with that?

Perhaps you are the one who is confused. If you don’t like the word “standard” then use a different word. However, the Kingdom of God has “standards” and the Law of God is a great place to start no matter how you want to look at it. In fact, the Law is the only Bible the founders of our faith had. Period.

Tithing money is not in the law – fine – we don’t have to beat that dead horse anymore. What is in the law? What was before the law? Abraham etc. Giving 10% of something – that is what is called “tithe”, something you incessantly compare with “holy tithe”.

More importantly, what is after the law? Giving by faith from a cheerful heart.

I don’t care what you give or don’t give. That’s between you and God. If a child of God wants to give 10% because the principle is biblical, and that happens to be 10% of his or her income, and they choose to call it a tithe because that too is a biblical word, then there is absolutely nothing wrong with it. Period.

I don’t pretend to know it all, which is why I’m entertaining this conversation. This issue of giving is not something I’m legalistic about either. What is your motive?

russkelly - January 20, 2013

Mike: You accuse me of lying for assuming that a man of God did something for God because he wanted to, when you have no proof to conclude otherwise. Who’s pretending?

Russ: You made a statement with no proof and I challenged it. You still provided no proof. Don’t feel alone. Almost every commentary on Genesis 14 makes the same conclusion with no proof whatsoever – that Abram was either commanded by God to tithe or that he freely chose to tithe. It is wrong to make either statement without proof.

Mike: Melchizedek = a type and shadow of Jesus

Russ: Wrong. M the historical person is NOT a type of Christ. It is only his ORDER as a king-priest which is a type of Christ. It is only by INTERPRETATING his name that he becomes a type of Christ.

Mike: Abraham = the “father of our faith”

Russ: Abram (not Abraham) an uncircumcised Babylonian Gentile became the father of faith for all nations before he was circumcised.

Mike: Abraham is called a man of faith. To conclude that he gave by faith is the best conclusion we can make.

Russ: So your speculation becomes law! Real good! We have a new infallible Pope!

Mike: He gave 10% by faith to a priest who was a type and shadow of Jesus.

Russ: No. We are not told WHY he gave and you are still acting like an infallible interpreter. He gave 10% to a priests whose ORDER was a type of Christ and the INTERPRETATION of his name makes him important. You give far too much credit to the HISTORICAL M that Scripture does.

Mike: Today, if a man or woman of faith wants to follow in the steps of Abraham …

Russ: Not everything Abram/Abraham did was by faith. (1) He would only give once, (2) He would only give that which he recovered as booty from unbelievers, (3) He would only give spoils of war, (4) He would flee to Egypt during a famine rather than staying in the Promised Land, (5) He would lie to Pharaoh about the identity of his wife, (6y He would question God about whom his heir would be. Where does the Bible say that Abram tithed by faith?

Mike: .. and they want to present 10% of their income to Jesus Himself, through the local church… do you honestly think that Jesus – the Head of the Church – has a problem with that?

Russ: No. Just do not call it a HOLY Old Covenant tithe. Call it sacrificial freewill giving if it is from the heart. Otherwise it is meaningless.

Mike: Perhaps you are the one who is confused.

Russ: I stand with Martin Luther, Moody Bible Institute, Dallas Theological Seminary, Masters Seminary, John MacArthur and scores of top theologians through the centuries.

Mike: If you don’t like the word “standard” then use a different word. However, the Kingdom of God has “standards” and the Law of God is a great place to start no matter how you want to look at it.

Russ: If God’s Word does not teach that tithing was a minimum beginning standard, then neither should you.

Mike: In fact, the Law is the only Bible the founders of our faith had. Period.

Russ: Many of them used the correct hermeneutic of “to whom was this written” and realized that not everything in the Bile was addressed to Gentiles and the Church.

Mike: Tithing money is not in the law – fine – we don’t have to beat that dead horse anymore.

Russ: Now you mock God’s Word. The food from God’s HOLY land was acceptable only because it came from what God Himself miraculously increased from His HOLY land by His HOLY hand. It did not come from what man increased.

Mike: What is in the law? What was before the law? Abraham etc. Giving 10% of something – that is what is called “tithe”, something you incessantly compare with “holy tithe”.

Russ: Yes, because the FIRST USE of the HOLY TITHE is found in Leviticus 27:30-34 and it is only FOOD from God’s HOLY land.

Mike: More importantly, what is after the law? Giving by faith from a cheerful heart.

Russ: Finally, you see the light.

Mike: I don’t care what you give or don’t give. That’s between you and God. If a child of God wants to give 10% because the principle is biblical, and that happens to be 10% of his or her income, and they choose to call it a tithe because that too is a biblical word, then there is absolutely nothing wrong with it. Period.

Russ: If they are giving “by faith from a cheerful heart,” then they are not looking at percentages and would not call it tithing at all.

Mike: I don’t pretend to know it all, which is why I’m entertaining this conversation. This issue of giving is not something I’m legalistic about either. What is your motive?

Russ: My motive is “truth from true context.” In my opinion those who teach tithing are confused about the law. It was an indivisible whole comprised of commandments, judgments and ordinances for Old Covenant Israel. Period.

Anonymous - January 20, 2013

Russkelly, I wish I had a B.A. in Biblical Greek. That definitely is an asset to better understand the Bible. However, I was referring more to sloppy, anti-Old Testament English translations and incredible, outright lying, such as most translators’ addition to the end of Mark 7:19.

My consistent hermeneutic for bringing OT teachings into the New Covenant is simply that the Old Covenant cannot be equated with all the OT laws. Yes, of course, the Old Covenant has been abolished. The laws of sacrifices and offerings and the Levitical priesthood were almost “spelled out” as done away with in the book of Hebrews, chapter 7, and circumcision was explained as abolished in the book of Acts, chapter 15. But that is about all the laws that were abolished, leaving a significant number of other laws as still in force, common sense, beneficial Mosaic laws.

Most people are not aware that the Old Covenant is basically a promise of God to physically bless and protect Israel, AND NOTHING MORE. The New Covenant promises much more to the church membership now, such as IMMORTALITY, THE HOLY SPIRIT, AND THE COMPLETE FORGIVENESS OF SINS THROUGH THE SACRIFICIAL DEATH OF JESUS. Over 90+ verses in the New Testament that demand obedience to the remaining, beneficial, unabolished Mosaic laws are proof that certain, but not all, OT laws are still valid. Tithing is one of those laws that was never singled out as abolished. Matthew 23:23, though an indirect command to tithe, is quite sufficient proof that the tithing law is still in force. Romans 2:6-15 reveals that everyone, including the Jews and “Greeks,” will someday be judged by nomos, Strong’s 3551, the remaining Mosaic laws, which include tithing.

2 Chronicles 31:5 shows that Israel “brought in …….. abundantly THE TITHE OF E-V-E-R-Y-T-H-I-N-G. The word “everything” leaves a wide open gap as wide the Grand Canyon to include all non-agricultural profits. That is so simple that you would need someone else to help you misunderstand that. Proverbs 3:9: “Honor the Lord with your wealth and with the first and best part of A-L-L your income.” — God’s Word Translation

That Proverbs verse alone certifies that tithing applies to every kind of income, not just to farming income.

It is also simply illogical and highly impractical to believe tithing was limited to agricultural profits.

1. The new New Testament command to obey local civil laws, which include the prohibition of murder, now preclude killing children for cursing parents.

2. Christians can no longer kill children for striking parents for the same reason as above.

3.Jesus’ command to spread the gospel internationally and the NT offer to “graft in gentiles to the spiritual inheritance of Israel” now void the prohibition to share the covenant.

4. Unfaithful wives have been released from this because both the Levitical priests that are ordered to carry that ordeal out no longer exist because that particular priesthood has been thoroughly abolished, and the entire spectrum of physical offerings has also been abolished.

5. People with all kinds of physical handicaps, excluding one type, can now and always were able to attend services, unless they wanted to be or serve as a Levitical priest before the death of Jesus. Since the Levitical priesthood is abolished now, even handicapped people can now be Christian ministers. The one handicap, an emasculated man, being prohibited from church attendance is truly a difficult, stressful law to enforce, but it can be done. That handicap, though, is an extreme rarity. I need to write to the letter answering department of one of the remnant churches of the former Worldwide Church of God to better understand their official policy on enforcing that law.

Anonymous - January 20, 2013

The Lord logically will not hold someone living above the Arctic Circle, accountable to obey the Saturday Sabbath law, if it is physically impossible to obey it. That person would be exempt from that law.

30. Mike - January 20, 2013

Russ,

Accusing me of “mocking God’s word” shows who really reads too deeply into things. But since you like to go deep let’s take a look at 1 Corinthians 9.

You also rightly stated at the end of you last commentary that is was…”In your opinion”. Rightly said, I’m glad you are willing to call it what it is.

Now, what was Paul’s opinion and who’s should we consider? Yours or his?

“Or I only and Barnabas, have not we power to forbear working? (you see, that is the plan of God for His ministers). Who goeth a warfare any time at his own charges? who plants a vineyard, and eats not of the FRUIT thereof? (do you really think Paul just wants fruit? Or is fruit an obvious reference to money) or who feeds a flock, and eats not of the milk of the FLOCK? Say i these things as a man? or says not the LAW the same also? For it is written in THE LAW OF MOSES (oh no! not that dirty three letter word, and of Moses even – aaah * sarcasm alert * dont’ want to be accused of mocking God again lol), you shall not muzzle the mouth of the ox that treads out the corn. Does God take care of oxen? Or says he it altogether FOR OUR SAKES? For our sakes, NO DOUBT, this is written: that he that plows should plow in hope; and that he that threshes in hope should be partaker of his hope. If we have sown unto you spiritual things, is it a great thing if we shall reap your carnal things (money)? If others be partaker of this power over you, are not we rather? Nevertheless we have not used this power (because there is no law to bind us); but suffer all things, lest we should hinder the gospel of Christ. Do you not know that they which minister about HOLY things live of the things of the temple? and they which wait at the altar are partakers with the altar?” (you tell me, what holy things, besides the tithes of the people, as well as their offerings, were ministers supposed to live from and partake of?)

Now of your own admission… we’ve got all the ingredients for a good old fashioned holy tithe, we’ve got the LAW, we’ve got MOSES, we’ve got FRUIT from vineyards and milk from COWS, we’ve got HOLY things. And we have all of this in the context of new testament ministry.

Just because it wasn’t happening this way then doesn’t mean it wasn’t God’s plan. Paul obviously stressed that this is the way it should be. It wasn’t, and it was no big deal… God will still provide and we’re not going to make a law out of it… that is all inferred by Paul’s message.

Oh, and how you deduct that M was not a type of Christ when the scripture plainly says, “And it is yet far more evident: for that after the SIMILITUDE of M there arise another priest,” is beyond me. Being a type of something just means that it is similar… the similarities, though, are meant to teach us. What we learn from this similarity is that Christ is the ultimate recipient of the tithe.

It’s been interesting, and I’ve enjoyed looking into all these scriptures with you. Perhaps I’ll put it all together and make a nice little book about the usefulness of the tithe in modern day ministry. I might even like to cite you, would that be okay?

Mike

31. Henry - January 27, 2013

I must confess that other matters have not allowed me time to engage with this discussion for a while now though I have read all that has been said thus far.

@ Russ Kelly,
Thank you for your sterling efforts in attempting to correct the arguments presented by both Mike and Anonymous on the proper context of tithing.

@ Mike and Anonymous,
Both of you have attempted to justify tithing in the New Testament church by suggesting that the Law of tithing has been carried over into the New Covenant. This is of course false and I will demonstrate why. Mike you attempt to justify tithe using Abraham’s giving to Melchizedek in Genesis 14. However Abraham gave a tithe from goods he recovered from a war – goods that he did not want and which did not belong to him in the first place. In Gen 12 we are told that Abraham was rich in gold and silver etc yet we are not told in scripture that he ever gave a tithe to anyone of all his wealth – however he gave tithes of all the spoils of war only. How can this example be used to justify tithing in the church? In any event the issue at the heart of this debate has nothing to do with whether one should or may follow Abraham’s example, the issue here is whether the Mosaic law still compels New Testament believers to tithe. So you have muddled the debate by introducing Abraham’s example. The same can be said of Anonymous by citing both Abraham and Jacob. We cannot use these examples to institute a law in the church. If people want to follow these examples they are free to do so but to say that someone is obligated to follow their examples is folly. Suppose the church starts to teach that if our wive’s can’t give us children we should follow Abraham’s example and get a concubine? How about Jacob who was married to two sisters? But hold on, the Mormon church is doing exactly these things, aren’t they? So you can see we can justify anything using scriptures out of context.

The issue at the heart of this debate is not whether one can or should use a benchmark of 10% to give to their local church. The issue here is when we attempt to make this benchmark a Law and try to justify it by saying that we are still bound today to tithe as per the Mosaic Law. If this were true this would leave us with some problems.

The first problem is that we are not living in the land of Israel (the Promised Land). The Laws and commandments were to be performed when the Israelites entered the Promised Land and not before (see for example Lev 25:1-2). The Bible does not give any commandment to tithe prior to entering into the Land. This is why Russ Kelly has been emphasizing the point that the legal tithe constituted that which the Promised Land brought forth. God gave the nation of Israel (Jacob) the Land but Levi was not to have any inheritance. God instead gave them the heave offering (a tithe of the increase of the Land) as their inheritance whilst all the other tribes got a piece of the Land. Today we do not have Levites to receive tithes because the Levitical priesthood has changed and a change in the priesthood necessitated a change in the Law (Heb 7:12). How can the tithing Law be in force today if the Levites no longer exists? Only they had a commandment to take a tithe of their brethren – and that tithe constituted a tenth part of the increase of the Promised Land.

Under the Law a tithe was NEVER 10% of anything (read Lev 27). It was every tenth (e.g. ox) that passed under the rod. If a man had an increase of 25 sheep, he did not tithe 2.5 sheep because it was every tenth one – not 10%. Anonymous introduced Prob 3:9 to argue that this verse supports tithing and that it should be the first and best part. Here is the truth however: the tithe did not have anything to do with first-fruits nor was it the best part of anything. The scriptures make clear that it was every tenth and the tither should not search it out whether it be good or bad.

32The entire tithe of the herd and flock—every tenth animal that passes under the shepherd’s rod—will be holy to the LORD. 33He must not pick out the good from the bad or make any substitution. If he does make a substitution, both the animal and its substitute become holy and cannot be redeemed.’” Lev 27

In Anonymous’ zeal to try to find support for tithing in the church he ends up using scriptures totally out of context here to make a statement that is not true. First fruits were given as a separate offering to the priests than the tithe. Anonymous attempts to bring further confusion in his attempt to use Matt 23:23 to argue that Jesus commanded tithing. If matter 23:23 is a command to tithe, it was a command only to the Jews (the Pharisees in this instance) as they were still under the Law and were legally obliged to continue to tithe to the LEVITES who were still in existence at that time. The priesthood had not yet changed hands (Heb 7:12) and therefore the Law had not yet changed.

Since the Law has now changed with the Priesthood of Christ being established, who would the Mosaic Law be commanding to tithe and to whom were those tithes be given? Lets bear in mind here that under the New Covenant all Christians are priests (1 Pet 2:5, 9) serving in the Temple of God which is Christ’s body the Church. Are priests now commanded to tithe to each other?
Mike uses 1 Cor 9 here to again try to re-establish the practice of tithing under the Law within the church but not only that – he has also attempted here to translate the Mosaic tithe into money which only serves to bring confusion. It should be made clear here that Paul by no means was seeking to re-establish the Law here. Paul uses the example found in the Law to establish the point he was making that those who ministered at the altar partook of those things. Likewise in the church today Jesus ordained that those who preached the gospel should be fed from it. The measure or the extent to which they were to be fed was not spelt out here – particularly since the temple did not only receive tithes at the altar. In any event Paul made it clear here in verse 12 that he did not use this right lest he hindered the gospel of Christ. It is interesting to see how often we take away focus of the scripture to establish our view. Paul did not command tithing in this passage or advocate for it. Why do ministers not follow Paul’s example here then so as not to hinder the gospel?

Anonymous - January 28, 2013

Henry, do you believe Zechariah’s prediction that all people will someday attend the annual Feast of Tabernacles, is a valid prophesy? If you do, how will people pay for the expense of going to the Feast? Traditionally, a special Mosaic 10% tithe saved each year financed attendance, so if the Feast has not been abolished, logically the festival tithe also has not been abolished. If the festival tithe has not been abolished, then logically the other 2 types of Mosaic tithes are still in force, too. If you believe Zechariah’s prediction will never come true, are you advocating that we call him a liar or an incompetent prophet?

The book of Hebrews of course explains that the ancestral line of Levitical priests has been done away with, replaced by the ministry of Jesus, now represented by a large number of Christian ministers, since Jesus is no longer with us, physically. Are you really sure it is really logical to assume that since Levitical priests are no longer around to accept tithes, that the tithes also have been abolished with the Levitical priests? Hebrews does not specifically say that the tithing system itself has been abolished, too. Is not an assumption like that a risky, high stakes gamble?

Figuratively it makes sense to call all Christians priests, but it does not make good sense to say that all Christians are, for practical purposes, actual full time priests performing traditional priestly duties. Therefore the problem of Christians tithing to each other is not even worth considering.

Concerning Abraham’s tithing on war derived profits, why does it matter if he wanted those profits or not? That is an irrelevant issue according to some people. Also, just because the Bible does not say specifically that Abraham tithed on his gold and silver wealth, can you really be 100% certain that he did not tithe on other forms of wealth? The Bible does not say that he drank some type of liquid at least once every 2 days, so can you really safely assume Abraham did not drink a liquid at least once every 2 days? Likewise you cannot have certainty that Abraham did not tithe on other income besides his war booty, just because the BIble does not mention it.

Do you realize that abolishment of the 3 tithing laws would (and has already caused) cause many innocent needy people to starve to death who were formerly dependent on the third year food or charity tithe? Is it really logical to take away such a basic tool to prevent death by starvation?

32. Mike - January 28, 2013

Henry,

There is no compulsion or law for tithing in the NT, just scriptural precedence throughout the Word of God – the principle is what remains for us today, which when chosen willfully is of great benefit to the plan of God being fulfilled.

No minister should demand anything from anyone, but like Paul we should encourage people to obey God.

It’s simple really. Give 10% if you want to, if you don’t want to, don’t. Give more, give less… do what you want. Where your treasure is, there your heart is also. The principle of 10% is scriptural, and when practiced brings great blessing. That is without argument. Those who wish to argue and discourage people from giving 10%, or any amount, should probably find something better to do.

33. Henry - January 28, 2013

Anonymous,

Where does it say in scripture that the Feast of the Tabernacles was funded by a special Mosaic tithe?

You make logical deductions and assumptions that are neither here nor there. Let us stick to scriptural facts. Hebrews makes clear that the priesthood has changed and the Law has changed without needing to refer to specific Laws.

I am not interested in speculating as to whether Abraham tithe on his wealth or not – I have stated that scripture does not tell us that he did so and regardless the church should not use his example to establish an obligation in the church.

If you are a Christian and a follower of Christ you should not need to ask if I realise that the abolishment of the 3 tithes would cause needy people to starve to death. Does Christ not give us numerous commands to give to the poor and the needy without referring to tithes? Similarly in Acts 2 and Acts 4 the church at that time took ALL they had and laid it at the Apostles feet who in turn distributed it so that no one lacked. Can you now see the responsibilities that Christians have? Within the early church it is clear to see that tithing was not practised because they did not give 10% then give ALL (Acts 2:44-46; Acts 4 32:35).

Paul who took the message of the gospel to the Gentiles did not command or even hint to the church to tithe though he had ample opportunity to do so in all his writings see for example:

6Let him that is taught in the word communicate unto him that teacheth in all good things (Gal 6)

17Let the elders that rule well be counted worthy of double honour, especially they who labour in the word and doctrine. 18For the scripture saith, Thou shalt not muzzle the ox that treadeth out the corn. (1 Tim 5)

During the Jerusalem council in Acts 21: 17-26 it was emphasized that Paul did not instruct the Gentiles to follow the law of Moses or the customs of the Jews. Trying to re-enact the law goes against scripture and Paul makes it clear in Gal 5 that those who seek to do the works of the law have fallen from grace, for the righteousness of the law is already fulfilled in us who walk not after the flesh but after the Spirit (by faith in Christ Jesus) (Rom 8:4).

34. Henry - January 28, 2013

Mike,
I can see you are half-way there in that we agree that there is no compulsion or law in the NT for the church to tithe. However you are still seeking to be dogmatic by saying that it is the “principle” that is left for us today. Well I do not need a principle since we have the specific commands of Christ to love our neighbours and to give to the poor and needy. If a man chooses to express this giving in 10% increments he is FREE to do so. Let each man give according to what he purposeth in his own heart. This is what Paul taught.

No one here is discouraging anyone from giving 10%. That was never the argument. The argument is about establishing the truth and countering the falsehoods that the church is under an obligation (Mal 3:10) to observe tithing. Church members are obliged to support those in ministry as paul taught in 1 Tim 5:17 and Gal 6:6 but no percentages are introduced here. One may therefore freely use a benchmark according to what they purpose to give.

35. Mike - January 28, 2013

Henry,

It’s not a matter of dogma, it’s a matter of scriptural application. The old testament is full of principles and truths which absolutely have new testament application. To ignore that is to throw away 3/4 of the word of God.

Every new testament truth is derived from old testament truth. So, to get God’s full perspective on giving, one must look at the old testament as well as the new, and that provides the “whole council of God” on the matter. (Acts 20:26-27)

Remember, “All scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness, that the man of God may be complete, thoroughly equipped for every good work” (2 Timothy 3:16-17).

Anonymous - January 29, 2013

Henry, many dozens of ultraconservative Christian churches observing Mosaic laws such as the tithing ones commonly interpret Deuteronomy 12:17 as commanding the festival tithe, or the tithe to be used to observe primarily the Feast of Tabernacles. The Bible does not specifically mention the Feast of Tabernacles in that Deuteronomy verse, but logically that is the only application possible. The really accurate Septuagint in Deuteronomy 12:17 describes the festival, or second tithe, as the “additional tithe.” The bulk of the festival tithe is to be used for eating the tastiest foods you want, but part of that tithe could, reasonably, be used also for transportation to the feast site.

Are you really sure Acts 21:17-26 can be used as evidence that Paul did not instruct the gentiles to obey the Mosaic laws? Acts 21:25 is simply a re-affirmation of Acts 15:19,20.

Acts 15:19,20,28,29:”Therefore I judge that we should not trouble those from among the Gentiles who are turning to God, 20 but that we write to them to abstain from things polluted by idols, from sexual immorality, from things strangled, and from blood. ……. 28 For it seemed good to the Holy Spirit, and to us, to lay upon you no greater burden than these necessary things: 29 that you abstain from things offered to idols, from blood, from things strangled, and from sexual immorality …….”

When the book of Acts was written the dominant Greek and Roman cultures at that time were centered around idol worship and even had many local pagan temples. Christian Gentiles assembled, literally with the sizable Jewish community, in the synagogues each Saturday. Bibles were extremely expensive at the time since Scrolls were hand written, and very few people had them except the very rich. Synagogue services were the only opportunity most Gentile Christians had to hear the Scriptures and learn Christianity since new Christian congregations had not yet been established in many areas. The Jews welcomed the new people, but they needed to be assured that the Gentiles had genuinely forsaken any form of idolatry. The apostles therefore required the Gentile believers, to get along with the Jews, to accept certain rules (generally man made rules or customs that were not necessarily always required for salvation) showing that they had rejected idolatrous practices: 1) they should not become involved in any ritual involving animal strangulation, 2) they should not participate in any ceremony misusing blood in sacrifices, 3) they should not become involved in any meal associated with idol worship, and 4) they should completely avoid any contact or dealings with temple prostitutes. Verse 21: “For Moses has had throughout many generations those who preach him in every city, being read in the synagogues every Sabbath.” This last verse shows that the apostles were motivated to help make the Jews accept the new Christian converts into the synagogues to regularly hear and learn what Moses was recorded to have said. If Acts 15:20,29 is a complete, exhaustive list of laws for Christians to obey, Gentile believers can now murder, cheat, lie, remove property landmarks, commit bribery, abuse the name of the Lord, work on the Sabbath, eat an animal torn by a wild animal, consult wizards, eat trichinosis infected pork and other toxic, scavenger meat, forget about tithing which often saves the helpless hungry from starving to death, curse their parents, covet, divorce for frivolous reasons and marry someone else, look at women adulterously, etc. which of course is a ridiculous conclusion. Acts 15:20,29 therefore does not even remotely begin to prove that the Mosaic laws have been nullified.

the word “customs” in Acts 21:21, New King James Version, refers to the man made additions to the written Mosaic laws, not the written Mosaic laws themselves. The only Mosaic law abolished in Acts is circumcision, not the Mosaic law in general. If you think you can use Acts 15:24 as more evidence, I’m ready to convincingly refute that one, too.

Yes, the book of Hebrews explains that the Levitical priesthood law was abolished, but it describes that specific law in the singular, as “one law” that was abolished, not multiple laws, as in the Mosaic laws. I’m ready to convincingly refute any verse in Hebrews you want to use as further evidence the Mosaic laws have been done away, supposedly, too.

36. Anonymous - January 29, 2013

The large number of offerings and sacrifice laws, though, of course, as Hebrews explains, have been annulled, but not the tithing, festival, or dietary laws.

37. Henry - January 29, 2013

Anonymous,
Let us not waste any more time going over issues that are not relevant and let us look at what the scriptures clearly teach about the Law. I am not interested if some churches are incorrectly interpreting and following the Law. It is clear to me that the festival tithe and the feast of Tabernacles are two distinct and separate things. The feast of Tabernacles involved burnt offerings but the festival tithe did not. All of this are besides the point at any rate.

The scriptures are very clear to me that the law (the entire book of the law) has been set aside. So say that some of the law has been abolished and some are still in tact is completely wrong.

Paul says here in Romans 1
17For therein is the righteousness of God revealed from faith to faith: as it is written, The just shall live by faith.

Paul again in Romans 3
28Therefore we conclude that a man is justified by faith without the deeds of the law.

Paul in Gal 2
16Knowing that a man is not justified by the works of the law, but by the faith of Jesus Christ, even we have believed in Jesus Christ, that we might be justified by the faith of Christ, and not by the works of the law: for by the works of the law shall no flesh be justified.

21I do not frustrate the grace of God: for if righteousness come by the law, then Christ is dead in vain.

You see Anonymous, I do not need to guess as or use logical deduction as it is clearly spelt out in all of Paul’s writings that we are not under the law – for the rigtheousness of the law is fulfilled in us who walk by faith in Christ Jesus (Rom 8:1-5).

I think I have said enough on this topic.

Anonymous - January 29, 2013

Henry, what about the 90+ verses in the New Testament (not Old Testament) strongly actually ordering, commanding obedience to the remaining Mosaic laws? Even non-religious people can plainly see, if it was brought to their attention, that you are “sweeping under the rug,” “throwing out the window,” and trying to “delete” those verses. What is your answer to that? It must be answered. How do you explain those 90+ verses? Yes, I fully understand and agree that it is faith and grace that really justifies us, not any kind of righteousness or law keeping on our part. But guess what? The entire idea of justification is merely an abstract, intellectual idea that puts law keeping in its proper place, but does not destroy law keeping or obedience. There is a HUGE, HUGE difference between the very abstract concept of justification and the application of extremely good, protective Mosaic laws in practical, day to day living.

2 PETER 3:17: “Dear friends …… So be on your guard. Then you won’t be led down the wrong path by the mistakes of PEOPLE WHO DON’T OBEY THE LAW. You won’t fall from your safe position.” — New International Reader’s Version

The words “law,” “lawless,” “unlawful,” or “without law” also appear in 2 Peter 3:17 in at least 29 other translations of the Bible.

JUDE 1:4: “Some godless people ….. EVEN DENY THAT WE MUST OBEY JESUS …..” — Contemporary English Version

JUDE 1:4: “…… some people …… are SHAMELESS SCOUNDRELS. Their design is to replace the sheer GRACE of our God with sheer LICENSE ……” — The Message

What about the Zechariah and Isaiah verses showing that after the millennium the Mosaic dietary, festival, and Saturday Sabbath laws will be enforced worldwide? Do you want to delete those verses, too? If those laws will be in force in the future, it is only common sense that they must be valid, now, too.

Don’t you think there is the possibility that you are using grace as a license to break divine laws? Grace only covers old prebaptismal sins, not future ones (Romans 3:24,25), unless repented of again and confessed to Jesus. Romans 2:11-13 explains that it is the doers of the law that will be justified, not just the hearers. Many verses explain that law obedience accompanies grace, and that it is actually grace that saves us, not law keeping. But the Bible explains that such justification, an abstract concept, is not a pardon for continued law breaking. Romans 2:11 reveals that some day everyone will be judged by the same law for the Jews as for the gentiles. There will be no partiality.

Now I fully understand that some Christians are under intense peer pressure to believe as mainstream Christianity believes. I hope that you can recognize that, if it applies to you, and ignore that pressure.

Again I ask you Henry, how do you explain and account for the 90+ law keeping verses? Those verses will not go away. Readers want an answer, not just a refusal to discuss it further, if you want their respect. Romans 8:2 explains that we have been freed from the law of sin and DEATH, freed from the penalty of the law, which is death. It does not specifically say we have been freed from obedience to the law. You are reading that yourself into that verse. Those Roman verses are talking about law keeping Christians, but placing obedience and law keeping in its proper perspective.

Does not Matthew 7:23 scare you? Matthew 13:41,42 reveals that the same Mosaic law breakers in Matthew 7:23 will be incinerated, permanently.

There is no law that says the Mosaic laws cannot be amended by Jesus for New Testament Christians. The sacrifices, Levitical priesthood, and circumcision laws have been abolished, which the Apostles “went out of their way” to explain have been abolished.

Again, please tell us why the 90+ law keeping verses are in the Bible. Please?

38. Henry - January 29, 2013

Anonymous,
All your answer are in this post which I previously directed you to:
https://spiritofdiscernment.wordpress.com/2012/03/16/the-law-of-christ/

But to summarize:
The entire law is summed up in a single command: “Love your neighbor as yourself. (Gal 5:14, also Matt 7:12) NIV

Love does no harm to its neighbor. Therefore love is the fulfillment of the law. (Rom 13:10, also Jam 2:8) NIV

If you have the love of Christ, you fulfill the whole law so don’t worry about the 90+. This is why scripture says that Christ died so that the rigtheousness of the law is fulfilled in us who walk not after the flesh but after the Spirit (in Christ Jesus).

39. Henry - February 1, 2013

Mike,
As much as you would like to derive a “principle” of tithing from scriptures, the truth is that the “principle” you intend to establish is not borne out by scripture. One may voluntarily give 10% of their income to their local church if one wishes but this practice bear no relations to what was done under the Law, even if we set aside the argument that the tithe was not money. There were namely three tithes in scripture. The tithe that the tither ATE year on year him and his household (Deut 14:22; the tithe that was given to the Levites, orphans, poor in the THIRD YEAR, the year of tithing (Deut 26, Amos 4:4); and a tithe of the total tithes that went directly to the priests. The priests therefore got 1% of the tithe ever 3 years. There was no tithing done in the seventh year as it was a sabbath of rest on the land and there was no tithing in the 50 year, which was the year of Jubilee. The tithe was NOT used to finance the temple or the personages of the priest or Levites but was used to provide food. There were other sources of money which flowed in both to maintain the temple and the personage of the priests and I have written two articles already on this if you care to read them under the tithing category. So how does these practices relate to a perpetually giving 10% of one’s gross income every week or every month? It doesn’t, does it? Twisting the Word to make it fit our purpose is not acceptable to me and it should not be acceptable to any Christian. I am all for taking the whole counsel of God’s word but I am not into twisting it for personal gain. The problem is though that pastors are too fearful of teaching the truth because they do have faith enough to believe that the church members will give enough money to sustain them so they resort to using tactics such as saying that tithing is a principle. This is WRONG.

40. Mike - February 2, 2013

Well that is a sad accusation against pastors, and I don’t pretend to know what your experience has been Henry, whether you serve in any full time ministry capacity or not. Sure, there are those who have wrong motives, but I know plenty of pastors whose churches practice giving generously through collecting tithes and offerings.

If anyone reads their bible with an open heart, they will undoubtedly come to their own conclusions. On the subject of giving, we can see in the old testament that men of God gave and that God established a system of giving… in the new testament we see the consistent admonishment to give generously. Simple deduction takes all these examples into account and derives conclusions. For me it’s simple:

1. Abraham “father of our faith” gave 10% on at least one occasion.
Jacob did the same – and God didn’t have any objection on either account.

2. God commanded His people to tithe as you’ve pointed out in different ways on different occasions, though you didn’t mention the fact that God considered 10% to belong to Him completely (Lev. 27:30) and therefore giving it or not wasn’t even an issue – it is His – thus it is equated to robbing God when withheld. Mal 3:8.

All increase either comes directly or indirectly from the “fruit of the earth” and God lays claim on 10% of it, it’s a question of honoring Him. Seedtime and harvest is an eternal principle (Genesis 8:22), and God has not changed. What has changed is how God deals with us, we are no longer obligated by law but can choose to honor God by grace.

3. The principle of “first fruits” is also biblical. Again the question of honor. Prov. 3:9.

4. When entering the promised land, Jericho was to be completely untouched by Israel – the first fruits of their conquest. Again, showing their honor for God.

— this is biblical principle —

Move into the new testament… Give, be generous, follow your heart, etc. Do all this in light of God’s holy word from beginning to end. Decide how to apply scripture. Choose to honor God from whom all blessings flow.

Not to teach this is what is WRONG.

Let us find ways to apply scripture, not look for ways to wiggle ourselves out of it.

41. Henry - February 5, 2013

Mike,
You yourself is also guilty of twisting the word of God here to suit your own preconceived notions. I am not sure what your motive is for doing so. In your previous post you talked about the Old Testament setting out principles in accordance with the New Testament to provide the “whole council of God” on the matter of giving yet you ignore clear scriptures that I have put to you.

So, let’s put aside your preconceived ideas for a minute and take an objective look at scripture – let’s also assume that the tithing scriptures lay a template for giving under the New Covenant and let’s assume that the tithe of produce can be substituted by money. In the verses of Lev 27 which you quoted, whilst it says there that a tithe (a tenth part) of all that the Promised Land produced belonged to God, does it say there TO WHOM should this tithe be given or the frequency? Taking the whole council of scripture therefore we need to look at the other scriptures which directs how, when, where, to whom and why the tithe is given. Let’s look at the “whole council of God’s Word” then:

Deut 12
5But unto the place which the LORD your God shall choose out of all your tribes to put his name there, even unto his habitation shall ye seek, and thither thou shalt come: 6And thither ye shall bring your burnt offerings, and your sacrifices, and your tithes, and heave offerings of your hand, and your vows, and your freewill offerings, and the firstlings of your herds and of your flocks: 7And there ye shall eat before the LORD your God, and ye shall rejoice in all that ye put your hand unto, ye and your households, wherein the LORD thy God hath blessed thee.

The Word of God here clearly states that I should EAT my tithes (if I was a “tither” in the Holy Land at that time) ME and MY HOUSEHOLD. If it was not clear in those verses the command is repeated again in the following verses:

11Then there shall be a place which the LORD your God shall choose to cause his name to dwell there; thither shall ye bring all that I command you; your burnt offerings, and your sacrifices, your tithes, and the heave offering of your hand, and all your choice vows which ye vow unto the LORD: 12And ye shall rejoice before the LORD your God, ye, and your sons, and your daughters, and your menservants, and your maidservants, and the Levite that is within your gates; forasmuch as he hath no part nor inheritance with you.

Note that the tithe that was to be given to the Levites was to be a heave offering (Num 18:24) so the tithe that the “tither” is commanded to eat before God is not the same as the heave offering. Num 18 further states:

21And, behold, I have given the children of Levi all the tenth in Israel for an inheritance, for their service which they serve, even the service of the tabernacle of the congregation.

28Thus ye also shall offer an heave offering unto the LORD of all your tithes, which ye receive of the children of Israel; and ye shall give thereof the LORD’S heave offering to Aaron the priest.

Whilst some of the Levites served in the outer courts of the Temple they were not all priests and so the Levites were commanded to give a tenth part of all the tithes they received to Aaron the priests.

Where you are twisting scriptures Mike is to imply that the priests got a tenth part of all the Land and further that they received this year on year. The scriptures however make it clear that this is NOT true. The priests only received a tenth of a tenth part or approximately 1%. This is not the main point however. The main point here is that they DID NOT get tithes year on year but ONCE every three years.

Deut 14
22Thou shalt truly tithe all the increase of thy seed, that the field bringeth forth year by year. 23And thou shalt eat before the LORD thy God, in the place which he shall choose to place his name there, the tithe of thy corn, of thy wine, and of thine oil, and the firstlings of thy herds and of thy flocks; that thou mayest learn to fear the LORD thy God always.

This verse tells us clearly that the tithe of the produce that the land brought forth year by year was to be consumed by the tither himself in line with the verses of Deut 12 cited earlier. To have given this away to someone else would have been to disobey God as the purpose was that all Israel would learn to fear God and be reminded when they go to the meeting place to eat it. It was only the tithe at the end of three years that was stored up for the Levites, fatherless, widows etc (see Deut 14:28-29). Deut 26:12 also makes it clear that the Levite’s tithe was done in the 3rd year (or every three years). There was no tithing done in the 7th year (and every seventh year there after) as this was a Sabbath of rest on all the land. The 50th year was also a Jubilee year when no tithing was done.

Lev 25:
4But in the seventh year shall be a sabbath of rest unto the land, a sabbath for the LORD: you shall neither sow your field, nor prune your vineyard.
5That which grows of its own accord of your harvest you shall not reap, neither gather the grapes of your untended vine: for it is a year of rest unto the land.
11A jubilee shall that fiftieth year be unto you: you shall not sow, neither reap that which grows of itself in it, nor gather the grapes in it of your untended vine. (If you were not allowed to sow or reap how could you tithe?)

Mike can you now see that your idea of a perpetual tithe year on year given to someone else, be it the local church or other does not fit with scripture? Will you therefore now admit that your principle is flawed?

42. Mike - February 5, 2013

Henry,

How, when, and to whom the tithe was distributed is not the point, since the law with it’s rules and regulations is no longer enforcing it. The concept of giving 10% is in the Bible. That is the point.

43. Henry - February 5, 2013

Mike,
Correction! The concept of giving a tenth part is in the Bible and a tenth part does not necessarily equal to 10%. You claim the how, when, and to whom is not the point yet you dare to use Mal 3:10 to argue that one is robbing God and if one doesn’t teach this it is wrong. Simply amazing, when your purpose is to convey the view that one is obligated to give 10% month after month, year after year when under the Law this was not so.

Nothwitstanding, the point is that under the New Covenant our giving is not limited to a specific fraction. We are called to a higher standard. We are called to love our neighbour as ourselves. Is your love limited to 10%? But we all have freedom in Christ to give whatever we purspose in our own hearts, not out of necessity or COMPULSION, for God loveth a cheerful giver.

44. Mike - February 6, 2013

Henry,

Their are many concepts of giving in the Bible, just as praying and fasting… all things we DO (which Jesus also promises rewards for), but must find biblical guidance on. The Bible exists to reveal God’s heart on every matter. Arguing N.T. versus O.T. is immature.

Every believer is obligated to obey God, that’s all. Whether the truth obeyed is found in N.T. or O.T. is irrelevant. Obedience is a fruit of honor.

The tithe, the tenth part, 10%, or whatever else you want to call it is a wonderful way to biblically honor God with our income; as are first-fruits, offerings, cheerful giving etc. The list goes on and on, and each of us are responsible for obeying God and encouraging others to do the same.

Let us not forget that Jesus is King, we are part of His Kingdom, and His Kingdom has order, priorities, and principles. Our money is not exempt from Godly order, priority and principle.

Your reasoning that obeying God has nothing to do with tithing income is a personal conviction that you seem to be comfortable with. If others choose to honor God in that way it is their choice, and at least, we should rejoice in their choice.

I would also suggest that you don’t turn the issue of “not tithing” into a law of your own.

45. Henry - February 6, 2013

Mike,
The point is your arguments are very deceptive and when you are challenged on a point you shift the goal-post in order to try and claim the moral high ground. Scriptures must be read in context and not be weilded to deceive people. It is necessary to make a distinction between the requirements of the Old Covenant and those of the New Covenant and their is nothing immature about that. Seeking to obey God under the Old is preposterous considering the fact that the Old now decays and vanish away. Today we are called to walk by faith and we obtain salvation by Grace through faith in Christ. To seek to observe the Old Covenant is to fall from Grace (Gal 5). Tithing therefore has no place within the New Covenant church and it is clear that the early church did not practice it. Today we have a practice of giving 10% (of one’s income) to the local church, which purports to equate to what was done under the Old Covenant. This however is not so and neither should scriptures such as Mal 3:10 be used to convict believers to support this practice.

One however may give 10% of their income if they so wish to their local church but they should NEVER consider this as obedience to the Law otherwise any attempt to practice the Law would result in such a person falling from Grace. I have never argued for anyone to not give 10% of their income to their church if this is what they purpose but this should NOT be confused with Law keeping. Today we have freedom in Christ to give what we purpose to give whether to the church or to those outside the church who are in need.

This post have been blown out of all proportion why is why I have now decided to close the comments.


Sorry comments are closed for this entry