Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Reply to John D on Blog "Tithing"

John D: It is true that tithing was an OT law established in the giving of first fruits to God.

Russ: Although money was very common even in Genesis and essential for sanctuary worship, tithes were always only food from inside Israel which God had miraculously increased. Not being food producers, Jesus, Peter and Paul did not tithe. Firstfruits were never the same as tithes per Deu 26:1-4 and Neh 10:35-38. Firstfruits were very small token offerings taken to the Temple and eaten there by the priests. Most tithes were eaten by their Levite servants in the 48 Levitical cities.

John: It also true that we get our 10% number from Abraham's tithe to Melchizedek as Blake alluded to.

Russ: Abraham and Jacob's tithes were not HOLY tithes from inside God's HOLY land. Defiled pagan dust could not produce holy tithes. Abraham's tithe of spoils of war was common in all surrounding lands of his time. The spoils' tithe in Numbers 31 from the Law was much smaller.

John: The reason we still ascribe to this precedent is that Hebrews 7 shows that the priesthood of Jesus has replaced the OT Levitical priesthood.

Russ: When comparing Hebrews 7:5, 12, 18 the commandment to tithe to support OT priests was "annulled" in 7:18. It was not transferred to the Church.

John: Jesus was a priest in the order of Melchizedek (Psalm 110:4, Hebrews 7). Therefore b/c Abraham gave a tenth tithe to that priesthood we do as well.

Russ: After the ORDER of Melchizedek which was that of a king-priest. The New Covenant priesthood consists of every believer who do not tithe to themselves.

Why do you not obey any of the tithing statute of Numbers 18:21-29? (1) tithes are only food from inside Israel, (2) Levitical tithes go to the servants of the priests such as guards, janitors, musicians, singers and politicians, (3) the priests only received a tenth of the tithe, (4) priests were to kill anybody trying to enter the sanctuary and worship God directly and (5) tithe-recipients were not allowed to own property.

John: Not all of the OT is out the window now in the New Covenant as it seems Russell is suggesting.

Russ: I doubt that you can correctly define the words "law" and "tithe" and consistently use them. (1) The Old Covenant was only commanded to national Israel and not to the Gentiles or the Church. Can you disprove this? (2) That part of the Old Covenant which is an eternal and moral reflection of the character of God has been re-stated in the New Covenant after Calvary to the Church in terms of grace and faith. Rom 8:2 "For the law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus hath made me free from the law of sin and death."

John: And Russell, Hebrews does not say that the Old Covenant Law has vanished but simply the Old Covenant.

Russ: The Old Covenant, the Law of Moses and the Law of God in the Old Testament are the same thing.

John: Some parts about the OT law still apply today (such as the 10 commandments, Ex. 20, the greatest commandment, Duet. 6:5, and the golden rule, Lev. 19:18)

Russ: NONE of them apply to Christians as "Thou Shalt NOts" and none of them were given as such to the Church. Born-again Christians are "new creations" in Christ and have the indwelling Holy Spirit; The "Thou Shalt Nots" have been replaced by "as a new creation you will not …"

John: Just b/c some of the OT law still applies does not mean all of it does (such as Ex. 21:15,17) and does not mean the Old Covenant is still in effect.

Russ: You show inconsistent hermeneutics. You take what you want and discard what you don't want. Please tell me what principle you use in doing this consistently. According to Mt 5:19-48 the Law is an indivisible whole consisting of commandments, statutes and judgments. It is either all or none.

John: To Russell... I believe you are missing the heart of tithing (mostly) in this discussion b/c you are focusing on rules and regulations of each covenant. Correct me if I'm wrong but it sounds like you're trying to come up with an excuse not to give $$ to God??

Russ: You are very wrong and judgmental. The equality principle of 2nd Cor 8:12-15 means that many should give more than ten per cent but others are giving sacrificially even though less than ten per cent. Would you equally dare to accuse Martin Luther, John MacArthur, Merrill Unger, Lewis Sperry Chafer, Craig Blomberg and their associated seminaries of the same thing? Shame on you.

John: Really the first and foremost concern is that we give every part of us to God, including money. Will hits it on the head when he mentioned Paul's exhortation to us to give what we have decided in our heart cheerfully (2 Cor. 9:7).

Russ: I agree, but that is not a discussion of tithing.John: … Gal. 3:10 … This verse does not mean, as you stated, "If we are still to observe the law, then we should observe all of it". It means that God demands PERFECTION from all of us and any who aren't perfect are condemned and can either suffer Hell by choosing law or enter heaven by choosing GRACE.

Russ: Why don't you let the verse speak for itself?
Gal 3:10 "For as many as are of the works of the law are under the curse: for it is written, Cursed is every one that continueth not in all things which are written in the book of the law to do them."
In Galatians 1:8,9 Paul was clear that he did not permit the Jewish fanatics from Acts 15 and 21 to place his Gentile converts under any part of the Law. In Galatians 3:1 he compared it to being bewitched. Yet you want to place Gentiles under the law of tithing but not under the law of Sabbath, circumcision or unclean foods. They all stand or fall together. Faulty hermeneutics.

John: The heart behind this question is a legitimate and worthy one. The PRIMARY END-purpose of giving as highlighted in 2 Cor. 8 is so that those who have can share with those who do not so there will be equality. It is the church's authorities' responsibility to ensure this happens. There are many churches who do not.

Russ: Of course, but why are you trying to tie this to tithing?

John: Furthermore it is completely biblical that those in full-time ministry should receive their salaries from these tithes.

Russ: All what tithes? It is not biblical at all. Tithes were never acceptable from outside Israel. And gospel workers are not the replacement of Old Covenant Levites and priests. There is not legitimate church historian who will agree with you that tithing was taught or practiced in the early church for at least the first 200 years.

John: The precedent was first set in the OT Levitical priesthood who received all their food from the grain and bull/goat offerings of the Israelites from the other 11 tribes.

Russ: And they were not allowed to own or inherit property. What principle allows preachers to both receive tithes and own property?

John: This is much like a salary today because we don't barter with animals... we go to the store to buy our food.

Russ: See point #3 of my essay at Genesis alone contains “money” in 32 texts and the word occurs 44 times before the tithe is first mentioned in Leviticus 27. Gold is first mentioned in Genesis 2:12. The words "jewelry," "gold," "silver" and shekel also appear often from Genesis to Deuteronomy.

Many centuries before Israel entered Canaan and began tithing food from God’s Holy Land money was an essential everyday item. For example Abraham was very rich in silver and gold (Gen 13:2); money in the form of silver shekels paid for slaves (Gen 17:12+); Abimelech gave Abraham 1000 pieces of silver (Gen 20:16); Abraham paid 400 pieces of silver for land (Gen 23:9-16); Joseph was sold for silver pieces (Gen 37:28); slaves bought freedom (Ex 23:11). Court fines (Ex 21 all; 22 all), sanctuary dues (Ex 30:12+), vows (Lev 27:3-7), poll taxes (Num 3:47+), alcoholic drinks (Deu 14:26) and marriage dowries (Deu 22:29) included money.

John: A NT precedent for this is set by Paul in 1 Cor. 9:14 when he states that "those who preach the gospel should receive their living from the gospel."

Russ: The principle found in 9:7-14 is that each occupation has its own rules. The gospel worker is controlled by gospel rules of grace and faith, not law. If 9:14 only referred to 9:13 instead of 9:7-13 then it is self defeating because 9:13 included dozens of forms of support in addition to tithes. You cannot pluck tithing out of 9:13 and ignore everything else.

John: Will, to answer your question, "When Christ died, did he not abolish the OT law?" No. He came to fulfill it as Schuette stated (see Matt. 5:17-18 and the whole Sermon on the Mount Matt. 5-7).

Russ: Again, look at 5:19-48 which uses the word "law" to include ALL of the commandments, statutes and judgments. You are violating 5:19 when you want to throw out most of it and keep tithing. It is either all or none. Compare 1776 when the entire English law ended --both god and bad. Then the USA re-stated the good in its own Constitution. God did that.

1 comment:

Marylee said...

John MacArthur & Pretrib Rapture

Who knows, maybe John (Reformedispy) MacArthur is right and the greatest Greek scholars (Google "Famous Rapture Watchers"), who uniformly said that Rev. 3:10 means PRESERVATION THROUGH, were wrong. But John has a conflict. On the one hand, since he knows that all Christian theology and organized churches before 1830 believed the church would be on earth during the tribulation, he would like to be seen as one who stands with the great Reformers. On the other hand, if John has a warehouse of unsold pretrib rapture material, and if he wants to have "security" for his retirement years and hopes that the big California quake won't louse up his plans, he has a decided conflict of interest. Maybe the Lord will have to help strip off the layers of his seared conscience which have grown for years in order to please his parents and his supporters - who knows? One thing is for sure: pretrib is truly a house of cards and is so fragile that if a person removes just one card from the TOP of the pile, the whole thing can collapse. Which is why pretrib teachers don't dare to even suggest they could be wrong on even one little subpoint! Don't you feel sorry for the straitjacket they are in? While you're mulling all this over, Google "Pretrib Rapture Dishonesty" for a rare behind-the-scenes look at the same 180-year-old fantasy.