Change Worth Making Blog: 1-14-2010
CWM: Should believers in the Lord Jesus Christ practice the principle of Tithing?
Kelly: Your so-called "principle of tithing" has not been correctly defined. In my opinion, nothing, absolutely nothing about Old Covenant tithing is followed by the Church today. See Numbers 18.
CWM: Christians are not Under the Law. … It means that believers do not have to observe the rituals, succeed in getting every minute command right, or suffer the consequences of failing the Old Testament Covenant.
Kelly: The Old Covenant was only given to national Israel. In other words, Christians never were under that law as their covenant.
CWM: It is not that the law expired, but that rather it was fulfilled. It finished.
Kelly: If you define "law" to mean "commandments, statutes and judgments", then it did expire as a covenant when Jesus died and the veil in the Temple split, It ended for Hebrews because it was "until Christ" (Gal 3:19) and was "disannuled" (Heb 7:18).
CWM: It taught "us" the holiness and righteous standard of God, and brought us to the realization that we could not keep it, but Jesus did, and so we will stand in Him by faith, and have His righteousness and obedience imputed to us.
Kelly: The Law "taught" Israel (not us) and separated Israel from the other nations of the world. It was unique to Israel. Is that correct or not? See Exodus 19:5-6; Lev 27:34; Mal 4:4.
CWM: Christians are to Learn the Principles of the Old Testament - The issue or the question of the tithe is not a “law” issue, but rather an Old Testament issue.
Kelly: Yes, but why? As examples of where others failed (1 Cor 10:11-12). Tithing is an Old Covenant issue which is inegrally connected to tithing. Num 18.
CWM: There are many people today who do not believe that Christians ought to tithe …
Kelly: There is no text demonstrating that Jesus, Peter or Paul tithed or qualified as tithe-payers because of the biblical definition and use of the word "tithe."
CWM: It has been rightly pointed out that it existed before, during, and after the law.
Kelly: What is your principle? Does the fact that something existed prior to th law automatically make it an eternal moral principle? If that is true, then you must include idolatry, child sacrifice and temple prostitution.
CWM: It existed after the law in the sense of the oft quoted Matthew 23:23.
Kelly: Matthew 23:23 is NOT "after the law." It is before Calvary and is a discussin of "matters of the law." Jesus could not and did not command his Jewish disciples to tithe to hm. And Jesus could not and did not command his Gentile disciples to tithe at all.
CWM: “the law and the prophets were until John, and since that time the Kingdom of God has been preached.”
Kelly: The law ended when Jesus said "It is finished" and died. The era from John to Calvary was a transformational era.
CWM: Much of the Old Testament today is still stunningly current with our times.
Kelly: How much of English Law applied to the colonies after they signed the Declaration of Indepence? None. Not even the good parts of that Law applied. However, the US Constitution took that which was good from English law and included it in US LaW UNDER THE NEW BASIS. Similarly, the "Thou shalt nots" of Hebrew law are now "we will" obey as born-again Christians with new natures indwelt by the Holy Spiirit.
CWM: The prohecies of Daniel, and Zechariah, and Ezekiel, concerning the millennial reign, and the tribulation, have yet to come to pass, and so we still vigorously study them.
Kelly: I am also dispensational and think that you have forgotten the dispensational principles of Larkin, Chafer, Under, Elwell, Ryrie and Scofield. They all reject tithing because it was never commanded to the Church.
CWM: No Christian ought to get the idea that the Old Testament has nothing to do with us anymore.
Kelly: You need to define the diffeence between the Old and New Covenant. I am not under English or Hebrew law as a covenant --and never have been.
CWM: While we are not under the law, there is much more than law in the Old Testament. … Old Testament scriptures are still scriptures intended to be for our learning.
Kelly: There is a great difference between "for our learning" and "for our copying." That is why we study history.
CWM: even though there is not a specific command about tithing, there is much more.
Kelly: The coclusions reached in both Acts 15 and 21 were that the Gentiles would not be placed under any of the law. Acts 2:46 and 21:20-21 strongly suggests that the Jewish Christians in Judea were still paying tithes to the Temple system over 30 years after Calvary.
CWM: “The law is an expression of God’s righteousness and is intrinsically good.”
Kelly: Everything the law says about the character of God, the Gospel says about Jesus Christ. God now judges sin according to Jesus per John 16:8-9.
CWM: Why are we not to steal? – Because God does not want us to. Why are we not to kill? Because God does not want us to.
Kelly: You do not explain Scripture like a dispensationalist. According to Romans 8:2 "the law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus hath made me free from the law of sin and death." It is not correct to say that we do not kill or steal "because God does not want us to." Rather we do not kill or steal because we are new creations in Christ, are indwelt by the Holy Spirit and have new desires. God does not tell us "do not kill." He says "by beholding him we become changed" per 2 Cor 3:18.
CWM: Romans 7:22 – “I delight in the law of God after the inward man.” Paul was saying that “my desire” is to do what “God desired.”
Kelly: Here the "law of God" is not the "commandments, statutes and judgements." It is the "principle" of what God has revealied of Himself in and through Jesus Christ. See Romans 7:24-25. The answer was the WHO of Jeus.
CWM: We learn according to Hebrews 7:4-5 to learn of Abraham who gave a tenth of his spoils to Melchizedek.
Kelly: That only authorizes tithes from pagan spoils of war which were not holy. Hebrews 7:5 and 18 make it clear that the "necessary change of the law" was its "annulment" --not the transfer of tithes to Gospel workers.
CWM: We learn in Leviticus … that a “tenth” was the place that God began.
Kelly: The tenth could only come from food from inside His holy land of Israel which He had miraculously increased. It could not come from man's ability or from outside of Israel.
CWM: Most of the OT tithes dealt in food and seed, and animals which were means of support for the OT ministry.
Kelly: ALL of the OT tithes came from food from inside Israel. Although money is common and mentioned 44 times before tithing, and although money was essential for sanctaury support, money is never a titheable item. Why?
CWM: We also learn according to Hebrews 7:8 that at the time of the writing of that book the practice of tithing existed … indicating a current and repeated practice at the time of writing.
Kelly: Of course. It was written before AD70 when the temple was destroyed.
CWM: Now we no longer give in food, seed, or animals for the support of the ministry, or generally anything else for that matter, except for money.
Kelly: How do you explain that tithes could only come from inside Israel because that was God's holy land?
CWM: Now we can see a principle in the command to give the seed in Leviticus 27:30 and 32 that “a tenth is holy unto the Lord.” – Holiness doesn’t change.
Kelly: And God never changed His definition of tithes as ONLY holy food from inside His holy land of Israel. The defintion has been changed by man.
CWM: The law is an expression of the righteous heart of God.
Kelly: The whole indivisible law of commandments, statutes and judgments --47 texts.
CWM: “I delight in t he law of God after the inward man.”
Kelly: Surely you do not interpret "law" to mean the Old Covenant commandments, statutes and judgments. That law commanded killing disobedient childen in Exodus 21:15, 17. If you mean "God's revelatiion of His character," then we must look at what was commanded to the Church after Calvary.
CWM: Romans 8:3-4
Kelly: Why skip 8:2?
CWM: Tithing is not a matter of obeying rules, it is a matter of CORRECTLY using our freedom to willfully do what we know God did.
Kelly: Says who? Does declaring it so make it so? How do you explain the 11 texts which forbid tithe-recipients from owning and inheriting property? Why is that part of the tithing statute ignored? That same statute also commands ministers to KILL anybody who dares to enter the sanctuary and worship God direcly in Numbers 18.
CWM: There is only one right way to use our freedom and that is the way the the Lord has taught us.
Kelly: Did not the same Lord teach the Hebrews to kill disobedient children and Sabbath breakers? Again, what is your hermeneutic to decide what to bring from the OT into the NT? The common dispensational hermeneutic is this: That which applies to the Church has been repeated to the Church after Calvary in terms of grace and faith. And tithing was replaced by freewill, generous sacrificial giving motivated by love which is better than tithing.
CWM: I encourage you to want to practice the princple of tithing.
Kelly: It was only a principle for food producers who lived inside Israel. It never did apply to craftsmen and trademen inside Israel or anything outside of Israel.
2 Cor 8:12-15
12 For if there be first a willing mind, it is accepted according to that a man hath, and not according to that he hath not.
13 For I mean not that other men be eased, and ye burdened:
14 But by an equality, that now at this time your abundance may be a supply for their want, that their abundance also may be a supply for your want: that there may be equality:
15 As it is written, He that had gathered much had nothing over; and he that had gathered little had no lack.