Drinking Deeply

Saturday, February 11, 2006 at 2:36 PM

Tithing (3)

All my planned posts on tithing are complete:

Tithing: Part 1, Part 2, Part 3, Part 4

There seem to be two underlying questions at play here, and I'll try to summarize the questions for my readers. It seems we have been approaching things backwards, so I will be cutting and pasting a little bit, to put the questions in a more logical order than a chronological one.

1) Is the OT Law still a moral obligation?
2) Is tithing part of the OT moral Law or has it passed away with the Levitical priesthood?

If the OT Law is no longer a moral obligation, then the fact that tithing was taught under the OT is now irrelevant and has been wiped away.

If it is, we must answer the second question.

Puritan Belief writes:

(quoting me)
> Wait a moment here. Are you claiming that we are not commanded to perform
> justice? To have mercy? To practice steadfast love?
> No, I am sure you didn't get this from what was said. I was saying that the
> but now that Jesus has appeared TITHING is abolished and replaced with a
> more excellent way (See my blog). If you want to do some of the ordinances
> related to keeping the LEVITICAL PRIESTHOOD such as tithing that Jesus
> fullfilled and hence go back under the old covenant then you would need to
> complete all of them not just tithing eg not just the 10 commandments but
> all the ordinances which spoke against us. EG this is an impossibility as
> was discovered by Israel and all who were under the law then and even those
> who are trying to live under it now. (Everyone but the sanctified)

We both agree here that the Levitical priesthood laws (ceremonial laws) have passed away (that is clear from Hebrews 7). What we are discussing is if the moral commands of Scripture (Like the 10 commandments) have passed away as well. I don't know of your personal convictions on this, but it does sound as if you are claiming they have by your next few sentences.

> For the sanctified are NOT UNDER THE LAW but under Christ. (many scriptures
> to back this statement up)

We agree that if one is to be saved by the keeping of the Law, one must keep the whole law. Where it looks like we disagree here is if the Law is still an obligation upon the NT Christian. I've made it a point to say that we are not looking to justify ourselves before God on the basis of our tithe, and I will say again that tithing is just like loving God. It is part of the commands of the Law, and we ought to obey it, and it's only in view of the cross that we are able to do so joyfully as God intended.

You have said over and over that we are not under law but we are under Christ. Once again I am saying that "under law" is "under the condemnation of the law" and not "under the obligation of the law." After getting through the curse of the law in Romans 7, Paul opens up Romans 8 joyfully "Therefore there is now no condemnation in Christ Jesus." This is what I believe the "under law" refers to, the condemnation of the law. I believe that the law is still binding upon our consciences and that a Christian is sinning when he doesn't obey the law, but I deny that the law has any more power to condemn those who are in Christ.

If you deny that the "under law" refers to "under the condemnation of the law" I would request a passage with corresponding interpretation that dictates that it is "under the obligation" of the law. And we both agree that the ceremonial and the civic laws have passed away, what we are discussing is the moral aspects of it.

Thus I would say that the moral law is still applicable.

> I have been debating this topic through email and comments for a while now
> and are now going to move on as it is wearing me down. (Law has a way of
> doing this)
> I will continue to answer your questions if you can meet me on this one
> challenge. (Not reading and commenting on your blog on other topics of
> course)
> Have you throughout your whole life fulfilled tithing?
> Condition: I am not talking just your income I am talking everything. Every
> week, every asset on a weekly basis never failing once. Eg like mint cummon
> etc. From the time you were born until now? On everything?
> I will come out straight and say this I FAIL MISERABLY

In answer to your question, I would say no, I have not obeyed the tithing laws completely, but by the grace of God, He is molding me to obey him more completely as time goes on. This means I am able to more freely give in a growing knowledge that I have received so much.

You asked one question, I would ask mine:

Do you believe one of God's elect, after being regenerated and born from above, can sin?

I would say "yes, he sins when he disobeys God's commands."

> Nowhere does it say Abraham tithed to Melchizedek for once and for all.
> 1. Abraham was not commanded to tithe, he did it voluntarily.

1) It doesn't say anything about Abraham's tithe as voluntary. Examining Hebrews 7 and Genesis 14 there is no evidence either way. To claim one or the other is to read our own interpretation into the text.

> 2. He tithed the spoils of his warfare, not his income. He was already rich
> in livestock and goods, but was never commanded to tithe, and never did
> tithe, as far as the scriptures say.

2a) This is debatable as well. The Hebrews 7 passage says he tithed of "the spoils." The Genesis 14 says "a tenth of everything." It might be that the spoils includes all that he conquered but he was just recovering things for Lot, so did the 1/10th come from Lot's wealth? It might be that the Genesis 14 "everything" refers to every "spoil." This may be decidable, but it certainly requires some textual references and exegesis to back it up.

2b) Just because Scripture does not record a regular tithing habit does not imply that he did not regularly tithe. Scripture does not record a regular "burnt offering" habit, but from Abraham's (and Isaac's) behavior in Genesis 22 it seems that they are both familiar with what a burnt offering is, what it required, and how to go about it. This lends strong evidence that they did it in a somewhat regular manner, yet Scripture does not record a command nor a habit.

In the same way, I feel it is unfair to claim that Abraham did not tithe regularly. In fact, the evidence might be in favor of Abraham's regular tithing on the basis that Scripture does not record a command by Melchizedek. Otherwise how would Abraham know what to do?

> 3. He tithed those spoils of war only one time.

3) You repeat the conclusion that I disagree with. The text does not say "only one time." Nor does it say "once for all."

> Also Yes it does say that his tithe was sufficient for all the future
> tithes.


> And as I may so say, Livi also who receiveth tithes, payed tithes in Abraham
> This was because when Abraham tithed it was evidently because the sacrifice
> Jesus was to make was once and for all hence the reason why Melchisedec
> bought --you guessed it-- bread and wine.

The fact that Levi paid tithes through Abraham is a demonstration of the superiority of the Melchizedek priesthood. If this means the abolishment of the tithe, you have yet to demonstrate it. I would say that the passage tells us that even those who are priests (today's pastors and elders) are to tithe.



"Is tithing part of the Levitical priesthood laws (ceremonial) or is it a moral law?"

I have been arguing that tithing is a moral obligation rather than a ceremonial law, and I have pointed to 1 Cor. 9 and 1 Timothy 6 and Matthew 23 where Paul and Jesus give explicit commands about tithing (or devoting money we earn and sharing it with those who teach us).

I also pointed out that Abraham tithed to Melchizedek, and there is no evidence in the text that this was a "once and for all" tithe. The argument that Levi paid tithes through Abraham is only part of the superiority of the priesthood rather than a completion of the tithe.

Puritan Belief - Thank you for the continued dialogue on this, and I'm hoping we can continue it.

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Blogger Puritan Belief said...

Thank you for what you bring to this topic. Your tithing (4) is brilliant because all of it until the end was of grace and the joy in giving and the new covenant. AMEN

I personally believe from what I have said I have shown that tithing was abolished. Therefore if you are to prove that I am wrong here you will need to show me just one verse in the new testament where it tells of any of these people actually performing the act of tithing.

Jesus, Paul, Peter, Anyone in acts anyone in any of the epistles or the letters.

NOT GIVING; I mean tithing 10% of their assets each week.

Please do not answer the following question because it could be a big debate, but I think it is worth while pointing out that no one actually properly tithed in the old tesatment either hence Malachi.  


Blogger Theophilus said...



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