Reply to Brad Beaman by Russ Kelly, 7-18, 2009
Brad: Tithing began before the law and continues after the law.
Russ: So also does idolatry, child sacrifice and temple prostitution. Being old and common does not make something moral or eternal.
Brad: Christians ought to tithe.
Russ: Where are your texts? There is no commandment to the Church to tithe after Calvary. Christians ought to give as they are increased and motivated by the Holy Spirit through love. This often means more than 10% but it might mean less for many.
Brad: The minimum standard for Christian giving is the tithe, one tenth.
Russ: This is a modern myth. Even in the OT it was only a minimum for food producers who lived inside Israel. Although money was common even in Genesis and essential for sanctuary worship, money is never included in 16 texts which describe the contents of th tithe for over 1500 years from Leviticus to Luke. Jesus, Peter and Paul did not qualify as tithe-payers and neither did the poor nor those who lived outside Israel.
Brad: Hebrews 7 underscores that tithing is an eternal principle….It is a moral principle.
Russ: Wrong. Tithing from Hebrews 7:5 "must be changed" in 7:12 and the "necessary change" was the "annulment of the commandment going before" (in 7:5) per 7:18. That is the context. The only eternal principles mentioned in Hebrews 7:16 deos not include tithing.
Brad: Who was the greatest man of the Old Testament? If you look the answer might surprise you. It is Melchizedek. Wow and he is only mentioned twice in the Old Testament Genesis 14:18-20 and Psalms 110:4.
Russ: If so, then why is he not even mentioned ouitside of of Hebrews? Why did not Jesus mention him? It is not the historical man who is so important. Rather it is the ORDER of his office as priest-king. The importance of Psalm 110:4 is that it necessitates the eventual total replacement of the Aaronic priesthood, including the law of tithing which supported it from Hebrews 7:5.
Brad: In Geneses 14 Melchizedek is observed historically.
Russ: True. And only historically. None of his historical attributes qualified him as a priest in Israel. Yet all of his historical attributes quallified him as a type of Christ for all nations.
Brad: In Psalm 110 he is spoken of prophetically.
Russ: True. His ORDER, not his person, is a type of the Messiah. David had to go outside of Israel to find this type because Israel had no priest-kings.
Brad: … and in Hebrews 7 Melchizedek is applied doctrinally.
Russ: He is chiefly applied TYPICALLY.
Brad: He was met by Melchizedek the priest of the Most High God.
Russ: The Hebrew for "Most High God" is El Elyon -- God Most High. The word is only found once in Genesis. God Most High was the most common pagan title for God. It is important to note that Melchizedek did not know or worship God as Yahweh, Jehovah.
Brad: This mysterious priest is also the King of Salem. A king and a priest. This is a unique combination to be a priest and a king.
Russ: It was unique to Israel but very common for the rest of the known world of Abram's time and very common in Canaan.
The Encyclopedia Britannica says that Salem was also the name of a consort of Zedek, also known by Canaanites as Jupiter.
Brad: Abram gave a tithe, a tenth to this priest/king.
Russ: Why? The Bible does not say that he gave it voluntarily. Genesis 14:21 suggests that the well-known Canaanite requirement to tithe spoils of war to one's local priest-king was the real motive.
Brad: Hebrews 7 lays out the doctrinal significance that I want us to look at.
Russ: Yes. Everything negative in Genesis 14 which disqualified the historical Melchizedek from being an Aaronic priest actualy qualified him to be a type of the Messianic king-priest, the God of all nations.
Brad: The principle of tithing precedes the law by hundreds of years. Abraham (Abram) paid tithes to the priest of the Most High God, not under the law.
Russ: As previously discussed, this proves nothing.
Brad: We find that Melchizedek is a type of Christ. Melchizedek means King and Tsedek means righteousness. He is the King of righteousness. He is the King of Salem. The word Salem means peace. Melchizedek is the King of Peace.
Russ: He is all of these things "by interpretation of his name," by "similitude" and "after the order" --- typology.
Brad: Abraham giving tithes to Melchizedek typified New Testament Christians giving tithes to Christ.
Russ: This is a total maniupulation of the text and context. Abraham gave pagan spoils of war which were not acceptable as holy tithes under the Law. Hebrews 7 uses the tithe as a vehicle to prove that Jesus is superior to Abraham and Aaron.
Brad: The principle of the tithe precedes and transcends the ceremonial law.
Russ: Abraham and Jacob's pagan tithe was not equivalent to the holy tithe off the holy land by a holy people to a holy God as obedience to a holy law.
Brad: It is better for us to bring tithes to Jesus Christ who is the eternal high priest. It is better than the tithes of the Old Covenant system.
Russ: This is not found in the Bible. Hebrews 7:12 and 7:18-19 clearly annul the tithing law of 7:5.
Brad: God will bless you when you give your tithe with the right motive.
Russ: Tithes were cold hard law and were to be given regardless of one's motives or feelings.
Brad: It is no wonder that the Macedonian Christians begged for the opportunity to give. (2 Corinthians 8:3) As we give God blesses us.
Russ: 2 Cor 8 and 9 is a discussion of freewill giving of food for famine rellief. It is not a discussion of church support or pastoral support per se.
The key tithing passage is Numbers 18. Those who received the first whole Levitical tithes were only the Levite SERVANTS to the priest. This is ignored today. The priests only received one per cent. That is ignored today also. Both Levites and priests who received this tithe were forbidden from owning property. This is ignored today. They were to KILL anybody who dared to worship God directly. This is ignroed today. It is wrong to obey only a small part of the tithing statute/ordinance. Either obey all of it or none of it.
Russell Earl Kelly, PHD