WHICH LAW HAS THE DEATH OF JESUS CHRIST ANNULLED?
Which aspect of the Law of Moses does Paul affirm that the death of Jesus Christ has annulled, is it the Ten Commandments or the ordinances of worship of the OT?
Some people say that the law is divided into moral and ceremonial parts.
There is no dichotomy between the moral and the ceremonial in Paul’s theology. The teachings of Paul are by direct revelation of Jesus Christ, (Gal. 1:12; 1Cor. 14:37) and all the other apostles endorsed them. (Gal. 2:9, 10) The Ten Commandments is the nucleus of the whole OT ordinances of worship. It is sin against the Ten Commandments that necessitates the ordinances of worship for purification; and the ordinances of gifts for the priests and Levites were meant to keep and maintain the human resources under the law. There is no distinction between moral laws and ceremonial laws in the literature of the NT. The law which Paul says works death is the tenth commandment; (Rom.7:7-13; Ex.20:17) and the ministration of death is written on stones. (2Cor. 3:7-11)
“What shall we say then? Is the law sin? God forbid. Nay, I had not known sin, but by the law: for I had not known lust, except the law had said, Thou shalt not covet. 8But sin, taking occasion by the commandment, wrought in me all manner of concupiscence. For without the law sin was dead. 9For I was alive without the law once: but when the commandment came, sin revived, and I died. 10And the commandment, which was ordained to life, I found to be unto death. 11For sin, taking occasion by the commandment, deceived me, and by it slew me”. (Rom.7:7-11).
The above shows that the Decalogue is part of what gives sin power, and by it the accuser comes and opens the door for the enemy to take over. It is the law which empowers sin, so that death is able to sting.
“The sting of death is sin; and the strength of sin is the law”. 1Cor.15:56.
It is the Ten Commandments written and engraved in stones, that is the nucleus of all other rules, statutes, ordinances, and judgments of the OT. This same Decalogue is called ministration of condemnation and that which is passing away. (2 Cor.3:7-11). “But if the ministration of death, written and engraved in stones, was glorious, so that the children of Israel could not steadfastly behold the face of Moses for the glory of his countenance; which glory was to be done away: 8How shall not the ministration of the spirit be rather glorious? 9For if the ministration of condemnation be glory, much more doth the ministration of righteousness exceed in glory. 10For even that which was made glorious had no glory in this respect, by reason of the glory that excelleth. 11For if that which is passing away was glorious, much more that which remaineth is glorious”.
Many of us behave as if we were more knowledgeable on spiritual things than Apostle Paul. We could even suggest that all his epistles be removed from the Bible. But unfortunately, we are the people in error. Jesus Christ is the final revelation of God to humanity and His NT must prevail over the OT. It is God’s plan.
“Wherefore the law was our tutor to lead us to Christ, so that we might be justified by faith. But when faith has come, we are no longer under a tutor.” Gal.3:24, 25
God spoke through Prophet Ezekiel that the Law He gave then was not good, and the judgment emanating from the law could not give anybody life. Eze. 20:24.
It is quite unfortunate that the church has abandoned the truth for so long that she is now used to falsehood, and does not like to go back to the truth. People generally think that whatever is biblical is a strange doctrine; and that whatever is generally accepted, which brings result and which looks convenient is the truth. When people see what the Bible says on a point, they want to accept on the condition that it is convenient to their taste or a highly respected person is the one saying it.
Let us consider the following dialogue between God and man.
MAN: Father God, what is your opinion about the Law of Moses?
GOD: I have annulled it, (Heb.7:18); I have made it obsolete, (Heb.8:13); I have changed it, (Heb.7:12); I have wipe it out, (Col.2:14); and I have cast it out because it is the seed of the bondwoman, (Gal.4:30); and in its stead I have made a new arrangement. (Heb.8:7-8).
MAN: Can we not borrow some of the precepts of the OT for our worship services?
GOD: Anybody who wants to borrow part of the law must be prepared to keep everything as stipulated. (James 2:10; Gal.5:3) Nobody is permitted to amend the Law of Moses to suit his own condition. (Deut.5:32; 17:20; 28:14; Jos.1:7) But let anyone who puts himself under the law know for sure that he has no part with Jesus Christ, the mediator of the New Testament, (Gal.3:10; 5:4) because he makes void the death of Jesus.(Gal.2:21). Do you want to go back under the curse from where Jesus has redeemed you?
MAN: Father, will people not violate your law when we say that they are not under the law?
GOD: Have they not been violating it before? When the Law of Moses was fully operational, people broke it; even the Israelites who were given the law first hand could not keep it. (Acts 7:53; 15:10) Let me tell you plainly, I did not design that the law should save anybody; rather it was designed to condemn people so that they might realize that they need a Savior. Anyone who accepts Jesus and stays in His teaching is the one who will be delivered from the bondage and condemnation that the law brings. (Rom.6:3-14) Nobody who puts himself under the law will have a part in my kingdom. (Gal.5:4)
MAN: But Jesus said that He did not come to cancel the law but to fulfill it. (Mat.5:17). What about that?
GOD: Yes He came to fulfill the law and that is why He said in Lk. 24:44 that He had now fulfilled all. After fulfilling the law, the Law of Moses had spent its force and it is not binding on the NT believers. Only those who love Christ will stay under the New Covenant, Many who pay tithe today do so either for the fear of a curse or because they want blessings. Hardly do we see people who contribute money because of their love for me. My son Jesus said, “My yoke is easy ….” If anybody decides to carry the yoke of Moses, he finds trouble for himself. (Gal.5:1)
MAN: If the Ten Commandments had been abrogated, does it mean we can continue to sin?
GOD: You have to know that the moral standard of a new creature in Christ is above the dictates of the Law of Moses. The law says, “You shall not commit adultery,” but my son Jesus said that anyone who lusted after a woman had already committed adultery in his heart. (Mt.5:27-28) Anybody who accepts the Lordship of Jesus is declared righteous. (2Cor. 5:21; Rom.5:17) Paul, my beloved servant said that the law was not for the righteous but for sinners. (1 Tim. 1:9-10). If you desire to remain under the law, it is your problem. In my own program, the law is obsolete and I have annulled it. Go and study 2 Cor.3:7-11 properly and you will see that the law is a ministry of death, of condemnation, and that which is fading away. Why will you like to stay on what I have abandoned? It cannot profit you.
MAN: Father does it really matter what we do or believe? I think sincerity with You is the most important thing.
GOD: You may be sincere all you want to but as long as you go against my blueprint, you will not be pardoned. Moses was sincere, yet he missed the Promised Land. Uzzah was sincere and yet he died a sudden death. King Saul was sincere and yet was rejected. Your sincerity is not enough, follow my own blueprint. Only those who bow to my will shall rejoice in the end.
MAN: There are so many popular and charismatic preachers who believe, teach, and collect tithes. Can all these people be wrong?
GOD: You have your Bible where you can see how I dealt with people in the past. None of the people you talk about can be more popular and charismatic than Moses, who shook Egypt to its very foundation. Moses missed his target simply because he used an old revelation and set aside the new one. I am not partial in any way, so if Moses could miss his destiny on account of one instance of disobedience, anybody who ignores the New Testament provisions is in trouble! (Heb. 2:3).
MAN: Thank you Father, it is now clear to me. But I want you to clarify 2 Sam. 24:24 where David said, “…Nor will I offer burnt offerings to the LORD my God with that which costs me nothing…” Some preachers told us that even if we don’t have we could borrow in order to give. They encouraged us to give above our resources. Is that in order?
GOD: Read the whole passage from verse 11 to the end and you will see that nothing there suggests what your preachers are telling you. David as a king was wealthier than Aruanah who wanted to give him objects he needed free of charge. David declined because he could afford to pay for those items. Look at my final revelation from the Jerusalem Bible, “As long as the readiness is there, a man is acceptable with whatever he can afford; never mind what is beyond his means. This does not mean that before you give relief to others you ought to make things difficult for yourselves…” (2Cor. 8:12-14) The unfortunate thing about you humans is that you still want to stay around the stake to which you were tied even after your chains had been broken. It is not the fault of those preachers who take advantage of you; it is your fault because you are too lazy to find out the truth for yourselves.
MAN: Father, would you advise us these days to give all just like people did in Acts of the Apostles? Your Son Jesus commended the widow who gave all as the best giver. What do you say?
GOD: Really, giving all is the spirit of the New Testament. But I must quickly add that the situation then made giving all practicable. When people gave all, they were sure to have their needs met afterwards. A situation whereby giving all will only service the lusts and luxuries of a cabal, is unacceptable. Listen to what I inspired Paul to say in 2Cor. 8:13-14, “I am not trying to relieve others by putting a burden on you; but since you have plenty at this time, it is only fair that you should help those who are in need. Then when you are in need and they have plenty, they will help you. In this way both are treated equally.” That was the case in the early church. Today when all that your leaders emphasize is giving, but the needs of the poor are not catered for, you must be careful. You can have a project of ministering to the poor yourself if your church does not take it seriously.
CAN SOMEBODY GO TO HELL FOR FAILING TO PAY TITHE?
1. Some prominent and popular preachers have proved that because those who fail to pay tithes are actively robbing God, they will not enter the kingdom of God. This assertion is quite logical because nobody expects to see a thief in the kingdom of God. A robber possibly adds violence to his stealing, so he cannot be considered a candidate of heaven. Robbery in the sense here means withholding something unjustly or injuriously from somebody or depriving someone unjustly of something that lawfully belongs to him.
2. The allusion to robbery is found in Malachi 3:8-10 which is the last book of the Old Testament. This is the focus of our study in lesson seven. Incidentally, throughout the Old Testament, no single promise of possessing God’s kingdom is given to anybody. The punishments for offenders under the Law of Moses were restricted to poverty, sickness, captivity and physical death. It is under the New Testament of our Lord Jesus Christ that the promise of entering the kingdom is given.
3. There seems to be more evidences to prove that those who pay tithe will not make it to the kingdom of God than that those who fail to pay will not get to heaven. Since right judgments are normally based on evidences and relevant laws, it is more likely that payers of tithes will go to hell and not non-payers, all other things being equal.
4. If it is possible for Moses to lose his destiny of reaching the Promised Land just because he used the instruction God gave him at Rephidim to act at Kadesh. Moses ignored the new revelation and used the former one, so he missed his destiny. In the same way, if anybody gives tithe in the NT and ignores 2Cor. 9:6, he may also forfeit his destiny.
5. Tithing is an OT ordinance and it is not incorporated in the NT. The fact that Jesus mentioned it is no proof that he sanctioned it or that the NT commands it. We have seen this in lessons 8.
6. Paul the apostle says in Gal. 5:4, “You are cut off from Christ, you who want to be justified by the law you have fallen from grace.” Since anyone who pays tithe will want to receive credit from God for his action, then he has fallen away from grace and may not make it to the kingdom of God. What do you think is the implication of being cut off from Christ and falling away from grace? Can anyone fall away from grace and still possess the kingdom of God?
7. If people under the law are likened to Hagar and her son who were excluded from inheriting the blessings of Abraham, (Gal. 4:19-30) then payers of tithes could be excluded from the kingdom also.
8. If the law has been set aside because it is weak and useless according to Heb. 7:18, then those who hold on to tithe, which is part of the law, are likely to be excluded from the kingdom of God for continuing to do what God no longer upholds. Num. 14:39-45 shows that when God changes his mind on an instruction, it is dangerous to still hold on to it.
9. If Heb. 8:7, 8 clearly states that God finds fault with the law, and somebody still holds on to a faulty document, then he is likely to miss the kingdom where only the will of God is respected. Can you imagine someone citing the 1922 constitution in Nigeria to prove a case?
10. If the law does not rest on faith according to Gal. 3:12, and whatever is not of faith is sin according to Rom. 14:23; then those who pay tithe according to the law are sinning. In that case, no tithe payer will get to heaven judging from the declarations of Rev. 21:27 and Matt. 13:41.
11. Jesus Christ’s death has abolished the law of commandments and ordinances that constituted the dividing wall of hostility between Jews and Gentiles according to Eph. 2:14, 15. Also Col. 2:14 says, “He has overridden the Law, and cancelled every record of the debt that we had to pay; he has done away with it by nailing it to the cross.” Anybody who seeks approval from God by any aspect of the law seeks to make the death of Christ a nullity. (Gal. 2:21) Nobody in that category will make it to the kingdom of God.
12. Reading through Gal. 3:22-25, we can confidently affirm that NT believers have no obligation to the OT laws and customs. If anybody decides to put himself under such, he cannot have a part in the kingdom of Christ, which rests absolutely on faith.
13. Heb. 7:1-12’s discussion on the origin of tithe, its entrenchment into the law to cater for the priesthood concludes by saying that the priesthood having been abolished, the law of tithe meant to provide for the priesthood has to go also. Upholding what God has abolished is an insult to the Almighty and anybody who insults God cannot be admitted into his kingdom. “If I build up again those things which I tore down, then I prove myself a transgressor.” (Gal. 2:18).
14. Many people think like King Saul, who imagined that God was more interested in sacrifice than in obeying him, and so they are hell bent on paying tithes. But Heb. 10:5-9 reveals that God prefers obedience to sacrifice. God has abolished the old order so as to establish a new one. Only those who bow to the will of God will get to the kingdom of God. (Matt. 7:21-23)
15. 2Cor. 9:6 says, “Let everyone give as he has purposed in his heart; not grudgingly or of necessity (as it is under the law); for God loves a cheerful giver.” Tithe payment is a giving as “of necessity” therefore it violates the NT which is the current mind of God for all believers. (Heb. 1:1-14)
16. One who violates the provision of the NT in order to uphold the OT may have the material blessings promised in the OT to tithe payers, but may be cut off from the kingdom which is the peculiar blessing promised only under the NT. (Gal. 5:4)
17. It is possible to enjoy God’s abundant provisions and yet be excluded from the kingdom of God just as majority of the people of Israel enjoyed God’s wonderful provisions and yet did not get to the Promised Land. (1Cor. 10:1-12)
18. Before anybody can successfully prove that non-payers of tithe will not get to the kingdom of God, he must be able to prove points 4 to 17 above wrong, then give just two NT references to support his claim. Without this, the claim that non-payers of tithe will go to hell is totally baseless and false. If anybody will go to hell over the issue of tithe, I believe it will rather be the payer of tithe and not the non-payer.
19. “Blessed are the poor in Spirit for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.” (Mt. 5:3) One who is poor in spirit is one who does not approach the written word of God with a mind-set or a personal opinion or a denominational bias. In other words, he is lacking in a preconceived notion and therefore finds it easy to submit absolutely to what the word of God says. The second part of verse two of Isaiah 66 says, “But on this one will I look: on him who is poor and of a contrite Spirit, who trembles at my word.” One who has a broken spirit has a poor spirit which is not hardened against God’s word. Ps. 51:17; 34:18.
20. Anybody who seeks to uphold the payment of tithe from the NT document is not of a poor spirit because he must be doing that from a mind-set. No part of the NT upholds the payment of tithe and therefore it is not a kingdom principle of giving.
21. In any court of law, right judgment is always based on current law, evidences and precedence; and not on obsolete law, personal testimony and sentiment. If anybody decides to continue tithing with all the evidences against its validity in the NT, he must be an unrighteous judge who is not qualified to enter the kingdom of God.
22. In a particular case in court, someone was convicted of robbery and murder. His lawyer now rose to say that the man should be pardoned on the grounds that he recently lost his wife and that he always spend his loot from robbery to do charity work. If you were the judge, will you sentence him or pardon him? You cannot uphold tithing just because you are being blessed whenever you paid. Look at the evidences from the word of God.
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