Reply to COG Perspective 3 on Tithing
Tithing, Part 3: Who Receives 1st Tithe?
Per: The first tithe is the one that was holy and dedicated to God.
Kelly: The pagan spoils of war tithes paid by Abraham and Jacob do not qualify as holy tithes of the law.
Per: God then gave this tithe to the Levites because they had no land inheritance.
Kelly: According to Numbers 3 and 18 and 1st Chronicles 23 to 26 the Levites did everything but offer sin and trespass offerings. The modern Levites would correspond to our ushers, deacons, choir, musicians, treasurers and politicians. Why are these not given the first tithe today? And why are modern tithe-recipients not forced to forfeit property ownership?
Per: A subset of the Levites was the Aaronic priesthood, and the Levites further tithed to the priests.
Kelly: The priests only got a tenth of the tenth, or one per cent. How many churches limit the ministerial staff salary to 1% of the total tithe?
Per: This helped to feed and clothe the Levites and priests so they could be free to perform the functions of the tabernacle and, later, the temple.
Kelly: These served in the Temple one week out of 24. The remainder of the time they stayed in their Levitical cities and worked as farmers and herdsmen to care for the tithed animals or learned and worked trades necessary for Temple maintenance.
Per: It was holy to God. It was to be used to carry out His work.
Kelly: 90% of it was used for non-priestly functions. None of it was used for missionary work to convert the Gentiles.
Per: So, what does this mean for us today? First of all, there are no Levites working in a tabernacle or temple and no Aaronic priesthood. Second, there is no temple. Thirdly, what is God’s work today that we are supporting? Until these questions are answered, it is impossible to know for sure that we are tithing in a manner consistent with God’s desires.
Kelly: They mean absolutely nothing for the New Covenant Church which was never under the Old Covenant given only to national Israel per Heb 8:8-13.
Per: If therefore perfection were by the Levitical priesthood, (for under it the people received the law,) what further need was there that another priest should rise after the order of Melchisedec, and not be called after the order of Aaron? Heb 7:11
Kelly: The "law" of tithing from 7:11 must refer to 7:5 which stated that the priests had a commandment to take tithes of the people according to the law. That is the context of law.
Per: For the priesthood being changed, there is made of necessity a change also of the law. 7:12
Kelly: Again the context of "law" in Hebrews 7 absolutely must go back to 7:5 where the words "commandment," "tithes" and "law" fist appear in Hebrews.
Per: For he of whom these things are spoken pertaineth to another tribe, of which no man gave attendance at the altar.
For it is evident that our Lord sprang out of Juda; of which tribe Moses spake nothing concerning priesthood. 7:13-14
Kelly: These texts prove that law of tithing must be changed since it only applied to the tribe of Levi.
Per: In this section the author, whom I believe to be Paul, tells us the priesthood has changed. It is no longer after the order of Aaron.
Kelly: Agreed. But how was it changed?
Per: Quotes Hebrews 7:1-6.
So, even as Aaron was high priest, Jesus Christ is now our high priest.
However, the priesthood consists of more than one man. Aaron had help, and Jesus Christ today works through His Church.
Quotes Hebrews 10:21-25 and 13:7.
You will find the priesthood, then, in God’s Church. God’s Church is the spiritual temple.
Kelly: Yes, but the priesthood is not the elders and bishops. It consists of every single believer who does not tithe to self. Compare Ex 19:5-6 with 1 Pet 2:9-10.
Per: So, where is the temple on earth? It is the Church!
Kelly: The church assembly of the body of Christ --not the church building.
Per: 1 Cor 3:16-17; 6:15-16; 12:12-14 (cf. Jn 2:19-21)
Kelly: Like I said in my last statement.
Per: So, where is God’s Church? It is made up of His people. His people are the ones who keep His commandments (1Jn 2:3-4; Rev 12:17; 14:12).
Kelly: These are favorite SDA texts to prove that they are the only true church because they are the only ones keeping all of the Ten Commandments. John did not use the word "commandments" to mean the Ten Commandments.
Per: If God’s temple was where God’s work was being carried out in the OT, then we must look to see where His work is being done now. What is His work?
Kelly: I smell a skunk coming. You are going to change the definition of church to a building.
Per: Quotes Mt 28:19-20; Mt 24:14
Notice that God’s Church will be:
1. Keeping His commandments, even that 4th one!
Kelly: Aha. You are a cultic offshoot of the COG. See Exposingseventhdayadventism.com
Per: OT Example of Giving to a Non-Levite. Notice that Elisha was a man of God. He was not a Levite.
Kelly: Elisha did not receive tithes.
Per: 2Ki 4:38, 42-44
A man came to Elisha and gave him of the firstfruits, something usually only given to Levites in the tabernacle/temple.
Kelly: The text does not say that he gave him "the" firstfruits. He merely says he gave him from the first of his harvest. There is a lot of "first" when the firstfruit was a very small token offering per Deu 26:1-4.
Per: God’s Church is where His work is being done. That identifies where your first tithe should go.
Kelly: No texts whatsoever.