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The Tithe

A recent discussion on the Puritan Board has prompted me to reexamine the present day emphasis on tithing.

It seems obvious to me that the one of the beginning treatments must be to address different types of biblical giving. I see in early writings that there was ‘offerings’.

Genesis 4:3-5 3 And in process of time it came to pass, that Cain brought of the fruit of the ground an offering unto the LORD. 4 And Abel, he also brought of the firstlings of his flock and of the fat thereof. And the LORD had respect unto Abel and to his offering: 5 But unto Cain and to his offering he had not respect.

4503 hx’n>mi minchah {min-khaw’}
Meaning: 1) gift, tribute, offering, present, oblation, sacrifice, meat offering 1a) gift, present 1b) tribute 1c) offering (to God) 1d) grain offering
Origin: from an unused root meaning to apportion, i.e. bestow; TWOT – 1214a; n f
Usage: AV – offering 164, present 28, gift 7, oblation 6, sacrifice 5, meat 1; 211

These ‘offerings’ are different than tithes.

There is Melchezidek, who was a priest; he gave tithes:

4643 rfe[]m; ma`aser {mah-as-ayr’} or rf;[]m; ma`asar {mah-as-ar’} and (in pl.) fem. ma`asrah {mah-as-raw’}
Meaning: 1) tithe, tenth part 1a) tenth part 1b) tithe, payment of a tenth part
Origin: from 06240; TWOT – 1711h; n m
Usage: AV – tithe 27, tenth part 2, tenth 2, tithing 1; 32

Genesis 14:18-20 18 And Melchizedek king of Salem brought forth bread and wine: and he was the priest of the most high God. 19 And he blessed him, and said, Blessed be Abram of the most high God, possessor of heaven and earth: 20 And blessed be the most high God, which hath delivered thine enemies into thy hand. And he gave him tithes of all.

Then there is the command in regards to the Levite priests:

Numbers 18:20-24 0 And the LORD spake unto Aaron, Thou shalt have no inheritance in their land, neither shalt thou have any part among them: I am thy part and thine inheritance among the children of Israel. 21 And, behold, I have given the children of Levi all the tenth in Israel for an inheritance, for their service which they serve, even the service of the tabernacle of the congregation. 22 Neither must the children of Israel henceforth come nigh the tabernacle of the congregation, lest they bear sin, and die. 23 But the Levites shall do the service of the tabernacle of the congregation, and they shall bear their iniquity: it shall be a statute for ever throughout your generations, that among the children of Israel they have no inheritance. 24 But the tithes of the children of Israel, which they offer as an heave offering unto the LORD, I have given to the Levites to inherit: therefore I have said unto them, Among the children of Israel they shall have no inheritance.

The tithe was to support the priest whom had no inheritance.

Moving further ahead, we have now a high priest, according to the order of Melchezidek; who reigns forever. Surely a priest is worthy of tithes. Does Christ eat or need support? His inheritance is:

Hebrews 1:1-14 KJV Hebrews 1:1 God, who at sundry times and in divers manners spake in time past unto the fathers by the prophets, 2 Hath in these last days spoken unto us by his Son, whom he hath appointed heir of all things, by whom also he made the worlds; 3 Who being the brightness of his glory, and the express image of his person, and upholding all things by the word of his power, when he had by himself purged our sins, sat down on the right hand of the Majesty on high; 4 Being made so much better than the angels, as he hath by inheritance obtained a more excellent name than they. 5 For unto which of the angels said he at any time, Thou art my Son, this day have I begotten thee? And again, I will be to him a Father, and he shall be to me a Son? 6 And again, when he bringeth in the firstbegotten into the world, he saith, And let all the angels of God worship him. {again…: or, when he bringeth again} 7 And of the angels he saith, Who maketh his angels spirits, and
his ministers a flame of fire. {And of: Gr. And unto} 8 But unto the Son he saith, Thy throne, O God, is for ever and ever: a sceptre of righteousness is the sceptre of thy kingdom. {righteousness: Gr. rightness, or, straightness} 9 Thou hast loved righteousness, and hated iniquity; therefore God, even thy God, hath anointed thee with the oil of gladness above thy fellows. 10 And, Thou, Lord, in the beginning hast laid the foundation of the earth; and the heavens are the works of thine hands: 11 They shall perish; but thou remainest; and they all shall wax old as doth a garment; 12 And as a vesture shalt thou fold them up, and they shall be changed: but thou art the same, and thy years shall not fail. 13 But to which of the angels said he at any time, Sit on my right hand, until I make thine enemies thy footstool? 14 Are they not all ministering spirits, sent forth to minister for them who shall be heirs of salvation?

Christs atonement was sufficient:

Hebrews 10:10 10 By the which will we are sanctified through the offering of the body of Jesus Christ once for all.

Are we not all priests?

Revelation 1:5-6 5 And from Jesus Christ, who is the faithful witness, and the first begotten of the dead, and the prince of the kings of the earth. Unto him that loved us, and washed us from our sins in his own blood, 6 And hath made us kings and priests unto God and his Father; to him be glory and dominion for ever and ever. Amen.

Has not the physical temple where the Levites worked destroyed? Are we not the temple now?

1 Corinthians 3:16 16 Know ye not that ye are the temple of God, and that the Spirit of God dwellet

It has been posed that the NT does not mention the tithe; my response to this treatment is that it is poor hermenuetics and dispensational at best. However, after looking at a passage in Acts, it seems obvious that the Apostles were not holding to the idea:

Acts 5:1-4 KJV Acts 5:1 But a certain man named Ananias, with Sapphira his wife, sold a possession, 2 And kept back part of the price, his wife also being privy to it, and brought a certain part, and laid it at the apostles’ feet. 3 But Peter said, Ananias, why hath Satan filled thine heart to lie to the Holy Ghost, and to keep back part of the price of the land? {to lie to: or, to deceive} 4 Whiles it remained, was it not thine own? and after it was sold, was it not in thine own power? why hast thou conceived this thing in thine heart? thou hast not lied unto men, but unto God.

As well, as expressed earlier in this thread, was the tithe ever monitary?

So, my question is, if we are priests, if Christ is high and lifted up, a priest forever according to the order of Melchezidek, not needing Earthly provision and support as the former priests that die and in need of physical sustanence, the temple destroyed and we now temples of the HS, one that cannot be destroyed, how can we be under this mandate to tithe if Christ does not need inheritance nor support?

Conclusion:

The tithe is an old testament principle that has past away with the passing of the destruction of the temple and priestly offices. To press anyone to tithe would, in my humble opinion be judaizing.

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