- Abraham did not pay tithe, but gave tithe to Melchizedek. To him therefore, tithe was a freewill offering, which was not prompted by a law or a religious custom. (Gen. 14:18-20; Heb. 7:1-4)
- Abraham’s giving of tithe was not done in order to be blessed. Melchizedek blessed Abraham first before the latter gave tithe to the former. The giving of tithe was only a sign of appreciation to Melchizedek, not an inducement to receiving blessings.
- Abraham gave a tenth of the spoil of war and not out of his own personal property or earning. (Heb. 7:2) If we wish to follow Abraham’s example strictly, we have to fight a war, win, take spoil and then give a tenth of it.
- There is no Scriptural evidence that Abraham passed on the ordinance of tithing to his offspring as an obligation. If he did, it would be out of place for Jacob to be promising God tithe, which would be obligatory anyway. I doubt if it is necessary to promise God what is already an accepted tradition.
- Tithing entered into the Law of Moses partly to make provisions for the sons of Levi who had no inheritance in the Land of Promise. Now that all believers are priests, who pays to whom? (Num 18:20-24; Lev. 27:30-33; Num. 18:25-29; Deut 12:14-7, 11, 17, 18; 14:22-27; Lev. 25:1-12).
- Now that the Levitical priesthood has been abrogated, the law of tithing that used to keep that institution functional has to go too. This, I think, is the conclusion of Heb. 7:1-12.
- The summary of Heb. 7:1-12 can be stated in three sentences:
(i) Tithing started with Abraham as a freewill offering. (Heb. 7:1-4).
(ii) It entered into the Law of Moses to provide for the Levitical Priesthood, and so became obligatory for everybody under the Law (Heb. 7:5:10).
(iii) Now that the priesthood has been changed because it could not bring perfection, the law that came with it (including tithing) has to be changed also. (Heb 7:11, 12).
- Every other practice that came before the Law, which entered the Law, perished with the Law. Saturday Sabbath is no longer required to be observed, not even to be observed as Sunday. (Col. 2:16; Gal. 4:9-11; Rom. 14:1-14) Discrimination between clean and unclean animals is no longer valid. (Acts 10:9-15; I Tim 4:1-5; Gen 7:2,3) Circumcision as a means of entering into Abraham’s covenant is now replaced with water baptism (compare Gen. 17:9-13 with Col 2:11-13). Tithing is now replaced with freewill offering. (2Cor. 9:7) Even Barnabas (a Levite) gave according to NT principle, (Acts 4:36-37) to fulfill Malachi 3:3.
- The Decalogue, which is the nucleus of the whole Mosaic Law, is described by Paul as:
(i) Ministration of death (2Cor. 3:7). Is it not the Decalogue that was engraved on stones?
(ii) Ministration of condemnation (2Cor. 3:9);
(iii) That which is passing away. (2Cor 3:11)
If Paul used such description for the Law, then, why will a New Testament believer dwell so much on the Law? (Gal. 2:21)
10. Paul seems to suggest in 2Cor. 3:13-15 that the veil that Moses put upon his face is the reason why many people, till today, have not seen the end of the Law Covenant. “Their minds are blinded”.
11. Moses failed to reach his destination just because he relied on a previous instruction to handle a new, though similar, situation. At Rephidim, he was instructed to strike the rock with his rod to supply water for the children of Israel and he did. (Ex. 17:1-7) But at Kadesh, he was commanded to speak to the rock for the same reason, but he struck it twice instead. (Num. 20:1-13) That incidence became a reference point of regret for Moses. (Num. 27:14; Deut. 1:37; 3:26) Hence, he could not finish his race.
12. If Moses forfeited his destiny just on that one point, it is possible for any of us to lose his for that same simple reason. Ignoring the NT provisions is like trampling on the Son of God, counting His blood unholy and insulting the Spirit of grace. God will not leave anybody in such situation unpunished. (Heb. 10:2, 29) “How shall we escape if we neglect so great a salvation?” (Heb. 2:3)
13. It is true that God commanded tithe under the Law of Moses, but now under the gospel age, what is His command on giving? (2Cor. 9:7) See Galatians 3:23, 24.
14. In Matt. 5:17, Jesus said that he did not come to cancel the Law but to fulfill it, but in Luke 24:44 he also said he had fulfilled it all by His death.
15. Even for the people of Israel, the Law was not meant to be an everlasting arrangement. It only came because of the hardness of the hearts of the people, (Mk. 10:5; Ez. 20:24, 26) to keep them in custody until the coming of the savior (Gal. 3:23-25). The coming of the Law was an aberration, and not in the original plan of God; (Gal 3:23-25) and it was administered by angels. (Acts 7:30-36, 38, 53; Gal 3:19; Heb. 2:2). Jesus is better than angels in all things. (Heb 1:1-14)
16. Satan and the Law of Moses perform practically the same function before God – accusing people. (Rev. 12:10; Jn. 5:45; Rom. 7:9). Anybody under the Law has a permanent accuser before God, even now.
17. The Law is faulty (Heb. 8:7-13), unprofitable and weak, hence the need to change it. (Heb. 7:18, 19)
18. The NT method of giving is based on freewill as stipulated in 2Cor. 9:6, 7.
19. With all the wonderful teachings of Paul on giving, he never at any time appealed to the law of tithing. Why didn’t he if the Law is still for us Christians?
20. There is a clue in Malachi to the fact that the Law should be operational until the coming of “the Lord whom you seek…the massager of that covenant in whom you delight…” (3:1) The implication is that they no longer had delight in the old order; hence they abandoned tithe payment which should keep Levi in office. Prophet Malachi was raised to call the people back to follow the Law of Moses. Without restoration of tithing, the priesthood could not be restored, and without the priesthood, the Law could not be restored. This is why Malachi spoke so forcefully in support of tithes.
21. Nobody can follow the Law of tithing as stipulated under the Mosaic Law. Farmers must not bring money but crops and livestock to be stored in a storehouse. If anybody would convert the farm produce to money, he should add another one-fifth to it. (Lev. 27:31) If we are to follow the law of tithing, we must not amplify it, water it down, put our own idea or panel-beat it to suit our own condition. This is the meaning of not turning to the right hand or to the left as in Josh. 1:7; Deut. 5:32; 17:20.
22. There must be a year of tithe and a mandatory declaration before God that all the tithes have been paid without holding anything back. (Deut 26:12-15).
23. Anybody who stays under the Law of Moses has fallen away from grace (Gal. 5:4) and, like Hagar and her son, must be cast out. (Gal. 4:23-30)
24. The Law has become obsolete (Heb. 8:13), changed (Heb. 7: 11-12); cast out (Gal. 4:30), cancelled (Col. 2:14) and annulled (Rom. 3:27-28). What is the implication of this?
25. For us New Testament believers, we don’t refrain from sin because of what the Law says, but because our new nature puts us above the dictates of the Law (Rom 6. 1-4). The Law was there before our conversion, but yet we broke it. (Jas. 2:10).
26. If anybody gives because of the law of tithing, he has violated a New Testament principle of giving – “Let everyone give as he has purposed in his heart, not grudgingly or of necessity (as under the Law), for God loves a cheerful giver.” (2Cor. 9:7) “He who sows…bountifully will also reap bountifully” is an eternal law of giving that is not restricted to the OT!
27. The New Testament of Jesus started at His death (Heb.9:16-18). The Law of Moses was still in operation while Jesus was alive in the flesh; hence he spoke about tithes, offering of sacrifice commanded by Moses for any leper that was healed. It was his death that brought an end to the Law of Moses. (Gal. 4:1-5; Col. 2:14; Eph. 2:13-15). Read the Amplified version.
28. Stephen testified that the people who were given the Law could not keep it. (Acts. 7:51-53) Peter said that keeping people under the Law is like tempting God and putting a yoke upon the disciples, which the original owners of the Law could not carry. (Acts 15:10)
29. Peter suggested building three tabernacles on the Mount of Transfiguration, but God overruled by saying, ‘this is my beloved Son: hear him’, and allowed Moses and Elijah to fizzle out. (Lk. 9:28-36; Mk. 9:5-8; Mt. 17:4-8). This is a testimony that Jesus Christ is the final revelation of God’s mind to humanity. (Heb. 1:1-4). There cannot be three tabernacles; God’s Son must have the last say. Mingling the old and the new is not profitable to God’s Kingdom at all. (Matt. 9:16-17)
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