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Friday, February 19, 2010

Law: Stealing a Base or a Ball

Pro-tithers often retreat to the last battlefield of Abraham and Jacob and content that tithes were more than food from inside Israel.

For the following reasons I think this hermeneutic is wrong.

1. It ignores the law of the land and refuses to accept anything from outside the Bible regardless of how well it can be verified from extra-biblical sources.

2. It ignores the fact that these pre-Law tithes were not holy tithes from inside God's unique holy land of Israel.

3. It ignores the fact that these pre-Law tithes had not been miraculously "increased" by God's hand rather than by man's hand.

4. Most important, the tithe taught in the Law are, without a doubt, defined by the Law and are not defined by pre-Law tithes. Leviticus 27:34 reminds the reader "These are the commandments, which the LORD commanded Moses for the children of Israel in Mount Sinai." Numbers 18:8 calls itself an "ordinance" of the Law. Nehemiah 10:29, the context of Malachi, says "They clave to their brethren, their nobles, and entered into a curse, and into an oath, to walk in God's law, which was given by Moses the servant of God, and to observe and do all the commandments of the LORD our Lord, and his judgments and his statutes." Malachi 4:4 reads "Remember ye the law of Moses my servant, which I commanded unto him in Horeb for all Israel, with the statutes and judgments." And Matthew 23:23 is in the context of "matters of the law." None of these texts apply to the Church.

5. A court of law would not permit a definition of "tithe" from outside the boundary of the Law being discussed, that is, the Old Covenant Law of Moses given at Sinai.
For example the word "steal" in baseball mans to "steal a base" while the word "steal" in basketball and football means to "steal the ball." It is the same difference trying to define "tithe" from pre-Law when the context is Law.

6. When Jesus used the word "tithe" he used it in the context of its definition from the law.

7. Therefore the argument that tithes can includes money and materials from outside God's holy land should be thrown out on the grounds that neither the Law nor Jesus defined it as such.

Comments?

19 comments:

Byron said...

People like Tim Guthrie and Les Puryear seem unwilling to interact with this. Tithing for believers today has no support from the Old Covenant texts, and when examined objectively, the appeal to Abraham's pre-Law example collapses, taking the whole foundation of modern tithing with it. Good stuff!

Russell Earl Kelly said...

Byron

And, unlike them, I will not censor their comments unless they are profanity or are completely off subject.

Tim G said...

So how do apply the pre-law use of the word tithe to the law when it is PRE? It seems your reasoning breaks down here. I do understand where you are getting this. You have finally documented it well. You have finally revealed that in order to get it, you had to go outside of the Bible. I realize being a history buff that this is ok for greater thought but to make the statement that it critical to your defense is not so good.

Are you saying that you use the terma as you see defined in the law to define the term used pre law?

Tim G said...

If this is the case, HOW? Does not the term in Genesis stand without the law which followed it use? Does not the term stand on it's own definition as used in the language used?

Just a thought.

Russell Earl Kelly said...

Guthrie: So how do you apply the pre-law use of the word tithe to the law when it is PRE?

Kelly: That is the whole point. You cannot. You are attempting to equate stealing bases with stealing balls. The word "steal" refers to different things in those two contexts. One is a well-documented pagan law and the other is God's holy tithe only from inside His holy land.

Guthrie: You have finally documented it well. You have finally revealed that in order to get it, you had to go outside of the Bible.

Kelly: No. I proved it from the Bible and backed it up from extra-biblical sources. That is how good scholarship works. It is God's Word which describes Abraham's tithe from pagan sources.

Guthrie: I realize being a history buff that this is ok for greater thought but to make the statement that it critical to your defense is not so good.

Kelly: My illustrations will stand up in any court in the land and they would throw your argument out as irrelevant.

Guthrie: Does not the term in Genesis stand without the law which followed it use? Does not the term stand on it's own definition as used in the language used?

Kelly: Believe it or not, the answer is "yes." In its context before the law the word "tithe" means "tentn" and "only tenth." But this is where you miss the point --in the Law the word "tithe" is incomplete with the modifying description "of food from inside God's holy land of Israel." It is a holy tithe and acceptable for God's Levites and priests only because it come from His holy land. It is not merely a "tenth" any more. It is a "holy tenth from God's holy land miraculously increased by God Himself." The Hebrews would not accept anything as a tithe from outside God's holy land. Therefore we do not and cannot biblically tithe. We can give a tenth, but we cannot biblically tithe.

Guthrie: Just a thought.

Kelly: Thanks for visiting my blog and posting.

Tim G said...

So, if the law is fulfilled, how can you discredit the pre law in your reasoning. Obviously the "tenth" factor was around pre law. I do not think anyone should seek to only give a tenth - far more is my idea. But to negate the "tenth" as seen pre is to start mid stream and then cease mid stream.

Tim G said...

In other words you are staking everything on the law and neglecting the before and after. This is why I say the "whole of the Bible".

Russell Earl Kelly said...

The fact that the Old Covenant Law was fulfilled has absolutely nothing to do with what preceded it.

Therefore you are free to do as Abraham did:
1. Define tithe in terms of pagan spoils of war.
2. Actually tithe pagan spoils of war.
3. Give whatever you want to give as a freewill being.

But you still must obey the law of the land if it requires tithes of spoils of war to a king-priest whose territory you pass through.

And you still cannot call any of your tithe a holy tithe because it did not come off God's holy land.

The New Covenant does not tell anybody to seek to give only a tenth. It gives no percentage at all. It clearly teaches us to give freely, generously and sacrificially. To many that means more than a tenth. To others who cannot even afford to buy medicine and food, every gift is sacrificial.

""But to negate the "tenth" as seen pre is to start mid stream and then cease mid stream.""

Tithe = pre law = pagan law of the land
Holy Tithe = Law = from God's holy land = food from that land

God's Word is clear on that.

Russell Earl Kelly said...

In other words you are staking everything on the law and neglecting the before and after. This is why I say the "whole of the Bible".

Not I, but God's Word does that!

When Moses discussed tithes in Leviticus, Numbers and Deuteronomy he was strictly limiting the tithe to the tithe of the Law. Why would he want to define tithe in pagan terms and pagan context?

When Malachi used the word "tithe" it was strictly limited to "food" -- "that there may be food in my house." And he was discussing the Law in 4:4 and Neh 10:29.

When Jesus used the word "tithe" it was strictly limited to "food" -- mint and cumin -- as desribed in "matters of the law." Why would Jesus want to define tithe as something outside of the Law?

Gary said...

Tim,

As Dr. Kelly has correctly pointed out, tithe before the law merely means a tenth. During the law, God defined His tithe in Leviticus 27:30-34.

It is not correct to say that a tenth of one's income is The Lord's Tithe, or that it belongs to The Lord. Everything belongs to The Lord, but to say that a tenth of one's income belongs to The Lord is to infer that it fits the definition of God's tithe, which it does not. We can't change God's definition of His tithe.

I have no problem with those who wish to give 10%, 20%, 100% of their income. Giving is good. God wants us to be generous givers. I do, however, have a problem saying that a "standard" is given in the Bible because that is not true. There is no standard for giving. The Lord's tithe was a tax, not a gift.

Tim G said...

Sorry guys,
not buying it especially when one looks at Proverbs.

Byron said...

Tim G, that's because your method is basically to assume a position then open the Bible to find Scriptures that prove it. Sorry to put it that way but it is true, because you don't accept the Old Covenant definition of a tithe, so you try to use the example of Abraham which was a non-recurring payment of a pagan tithes from war spoils and not even his own money. Either way, you do not have a foundation for going elsewhere (such as Proverbs) and trying to build your methodology of stewardship on top. And you just won't deal with the relevant Scriptures.

By the way, you never did acknowledge my comment on your board (or at least acknowledge receipt of it). I have been patient enough to allow for two posts and a couple of comments on the latest post after I submitted my comment. Maybe your spam filter ate it?

Russell Earl Kelly said...

Tim

You are comparing apples to oranges.

In the Law the tithe could not possibly be the same as the firstfruit. It could not be counted until all the harvest was complete. Is this correct or not?

In Proverbs 3:9-10 we have the blessings of firstfruits. According to Deuteronomy 26:1-4 and many other passages, the firstfruit was a very small token offering which could fit in a small basket. One wave sheaf counted for the firstfruit of the entire nation. As I said before (probably in one of your infamous deletions), the Anglican scholar and historian Alfred Edersheim said that one pack animal could carry the firstfruit of an entire village. Firstfruits came off the top and were not tithes.

The "reap what you sow" Proverb is a third principle.

And, to top it all off, First Timothy 5:8 clearly says that Christians should use (the first) of their income to buy medicine, food and essential shelter.

You can call oranges apples all day long but you will not get any orange juice out of an apple. You keep squeezing the wrong definition of tithing.

Sorry, your logic is wrong and your Bible knowledge is lacking.

Russell Earl Kelly said...

Byron and company

You are welcome to post any deleted material on this site. That is why I stopped posting on Guthrie's site. It was a waste of my time and shows a non Berean attitude.

Gary said...

Tim,

In the Old Testament, EVERY time firstfruits is mentioned it is referring to crops. Nothing else. Not the first of one's income. Not the first fish caught by the fishermen. Not the first anything else. Like God's tithe, firstfruits came from God's increase, NOT man's increase.

Tim G said...

Gary,
Are you sure about that "everytime..."?

I know of one that is not talking about crops or fruits.

Russell Earl Kelly said...

Ex 23:16, 19; Ex 34:22, 26; Lev 2:12, 14; Lev 23: 10, 17, 20; Num 18:12; Num 28:26; Deu 18:4; Deu 26:2, 10; 2 Kg 4:42; 2 Chron 31:5; Neh 10:35-37; Neh 12:44; Neh 13: 31; Prov 3:9; Jer 2:3; Eze 20:40: Eze 44:20; Eze 48:14

Not in the OT.

Tim G said...

Based on your interpretation or based on the word used?

Big difference.

Russell Earl Kelly said...

Please, please, please, please preseent your evidence and logic. Stop playing games with God's Word. In myk opinion the way you toy with the Bible is a mockery to God. Either discuss it or go play with your tinker toys.