Keith Hunt - Tithing? #5 - Page Five   Restitution of All Things

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Tithing? #5

Is the law of tithing for us today?


                       BOOK OF HEBREWS

                             by

                         Keith Hunt




  The book of Hebrews is recognized by nearly all Bible scholars
as the most so-called "Jewish" book of the entire New Testament,
written mainly for Jewish Christians, or Jews in general who
would become Christians.
  Internal evidence would indicate that it was written shortly
before 70 A.D. and the destruction of the Jerusalem Temple and
the end of the Old Covenant priesthood. The very wording of
chapter 8:13 clearly indicates the author (who I believe was
Paul) knew the time was at hand for the Old Covenant to "vanish
away" through the destruction of the physical Temple of God in
Jerusalem.

  It would have been important for Paul to have addressed some
"Jewish" questions,to make it clear to Jewish readers or converts
the truth concerning some theological issues that would have been
considered very Jewish, such issues as the Priesthood under
Moses, which was ordained of God, the physical temple which was
also allowed to be build under Solomon originally, hence also
coming from God, the function of animal sacrifices which was also
ordained from the Eternal God, and the practice of tithing to
that priesthood, also ordained as a law to Israel from the Lord
God, being a law that gave physical support to a physical full
time ministry, and the observance of the 7th day Sabbath.  Paul
would feel it necessary to answer in what way these institutions,
so long held dear by all religious Jews, would continue when the
old covenant had finally "vanished away."  
  From the book of Acts, chapter 20, we see that many Jews were
still very zealous for the laws of Moses. They may have come to
see some of them in a new and different light under the New
Covenant, but the fact remained many still observed Temple and
Priesthood laws, that were still in function in Jerusalem. It was
NOT a sin to observe these Temple laws, they were ordained of
God, and until they "vanished away" completely, many Jewish
Christians especially, did continue to practice and observe them,
even Paul was not against so doing them himself, as Acts 20
proves.

  As my NKJV Study Bible points out in its introduction to
Hebrews: "Almost all of Hebrews is exposition of Old Testament
passages. The author uses Jewish methods of interpretation common
in the synagogue of his day.....he sees Christ as the fulfilment
of the Old Testament....God's final Word who makes sense out of
God's previous revelation...."

  So, a large portion of the book of Hebrews is devoted to
explaining some of the Old Covenant laws, the most important ones
to the mind of a Jew, and how they fit into the scheme of things
in the full and greater plan of God, now that His Christ had
come, and the New Covenant had been introduced.
  A Jewish mind would certainly have wanted to know if there was
going to be an END to a Priesthood, and to tithing which was such
a daily part of their lives, as they counted (so to speak, see
Mat.23:23) their tithes throughout their lives, to give their 10
per cent to the priesthood God had established for those priests
to live on.

  Paul very early on in this book, calls Christ the APOSTLE and
HIGH PRIEST of the Christian confession (chap.3:1). He had
already, from the beginning of the book, shown the GREATNESS of
Christ  ABOVE everyone, even the angels.  
  He comes back to the subject of High Priest once more in
chapter 4 and verse 14, going on into chapter 5.  Though
expounding on some other things as he goes into chapter 6, he
comes back to Christ as High Priest once more at the end of that
chapter, where he then starts to introduce and answer more
questions the Jewish mind would be asking. 
  He has said that Jesus Christ has now become High Priest AFTER
the order of Melchizedek, king of Salem, mentioned in Genesis 14.

He moves on to prove to the Jewish mind, that their great father
Abraham paid a tithe or tenth to this great king and priest of
the Most High God.  Proving the practice of tithing did not start
with Moses and the Leviticus priesthood.  Then with good logic
concerning the genes of the body, he proceeds to show that Levi
actually tithed through the person of Abraham, as being in
Abraham's genes (verses 1-10).
  Paul go on to show perfection in salvation (the plan and way of
salvation as intended by God from the beginning) was not to be
found in the Levitical priesthood, but through the one that would
take the Melchizedek priesthood, and not after the Aaronic
priesthood (verse 11).
  Paul does not say the Priesthood has or will come to an end, or
"vanish away." He has proved that there has come about through
Christ, and the plan of God from the Old Testament scriptures
themselves, a new Priesthood, that was already spoken about
beforehand.  There was to be a CHANGE in the "priesthood" of God,
and so a change in the law.  The Old said the priesthood of
persons was to be only from Levi. Now that law of old was to
CHANGE. A new law concerning a priesthood was to take effect.  A
CHANGE was to come.   
  He has really already proved WHAT that change was in the
preceding verses and other sections of his letter so far written,
the Christ of God was to be the High Priest of that new
priesthood.  But to drive the truth home he goes on to again say
what he has already said. Jesus the Lord came from the tribe of
Judah not Levi.  But it was God's intention that His Christ would
be High Priest after the order of the great priest Melchizedek,
who lived before Levi, and whom even Abraham, and Levi in the
genes of Abraham, gave a tithe to, as found in Genesis 14.
  The Father was in a sense re-establishing the great Priesthood
of Melchizedek (verse 17), and the commandment of the priesthood
established under Moses, that the Jews were very familiar with,
the priesthood persons having to come from the tribe of Levi, was
now DISANNULLED....cancelled....changed, just as he had already
stated in verse 12.
  The disannulling of the commandment was not regarding the issue
of tithing, but the issue of the PRIESTHOOD! The law or
commandment that stated under Moses that only men from Levi could
be priests was now CHANGED or disannulled, for the Christ was
evidently not from Levi but from Judah, and it was the Lord
Christ, who was now the great High Priest, not after the law or
commandment of Levi under Moses, but the law BEFORE Moses and
Levi, the law of the Melchizedek priesthood.
  Paul further establishes this law change of the priesthood by
showing that God never gave an OATH when establishing the
Levitical priesthood under Moses, but God did SWEAR BY AN OATH,
BY HIMSELF, to Him that would be the Christ, that He would be
High Priest FOREVER, with endless life, in the priesthood order
of Melchizedek (verses 20-25).

  Tithing in this section is a side issue, yet part of BOTH
Priesthood laws as far as Paul was concerned.  Nothing in this
expounding by Paul of the MOVING, the CHANGING, of the one law of
priesthood under Moses and Levi, the disannulling of that law of
priesthood, to establish the law of priesthood as given by OATH,
in the order of Melchizedek,  given to Christ,  disannuls the
tithing aspect  of that order of Melchizedek. Paul has never
mentioned the vanishing away or disannulling of the tithing law
in any of these verses, and it would have been quite easy for him
to have said something like: "the tithing law has now been
abolished" or "since the coming of the new Melchizedek
priesthood, there is no more law of tithing."
  As we saw in the previous study (part 4) on this topic, the
persecuting Jewish leaders when they had the chance before the
authorities of the land, could find NOTHING to accuse Paul in his
life or teaching concerning the word of God (read again the last
number of chapters of the book of Acts) or what they considered
their Jewish religion, except he taught Jesus was the Christ.  If
Paul believed and taught that tithing was "done away with" you
can bet those religious Jews would have discovered such a
teaching in his theology, and used it against him.  Oh, it is
written they laid many and grievous complains against Paul,
"which they could not prove" (Acts 25:7).  All of this, while he
answered for himself: "Neither against the law of the Jews,
neither against the temple, nor yet against Caesar, have I
offended any thing at all" (verse 8).

  Paul said he was personally taught by Christ (Gal.1:12).  If
Christ had taught Paul that the law of tithing was, under the New
Covenant, now abolished, he never said one word about it in any
of his 14 epistles. Neither did any other writer of any books of
the New Testament. 
  We have seen in the past WHY Paul and other apostles could not
demand that tithes only come to them.  And reading 1 Corinthians
9 in a modern translation such as the Amplified Bible, will show
you other reasons as to why Paul did not use the authority he
had in God, to stop secular working to support himself, and live
off the physical assets of the people in the church at Corinth.

  The bottom line is that Christianity is a religion of Christ. 
A Christian is so called because he/she is supposed to be a
follower of one called Jesus Christ.  In this particular
case, we do have recorded specific words from the lips of Christ
regarding the practice of tithing.   

  Jesus not only said He came to DO the Father's will and not His
own, but He also said he came not to speak His own WORDS.  Read
it for yourself in John 12:47-50.

  Read all of those early chapters of the gospel of John. Those
are very sobering words over and over again that Jesus spoke
about His life and His words of teaching.

  Now, once more read Matthew 23:23.  Not His own words, but
words the Father taught Him to say.

  Jesus clearly taught that people should TITHE!

  As a servant of the most high God, I have tried to show you in
these five studies that the doctrine of tithing to the Eternal
WAS and STILL IS a law that God says His true children are to
practice.  Now the ball is in your court as to what you will do
with one of the laws the Father gave to Christ to speak, to
teach, and to uphold.

                    ...................................

Written July 1999


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