Tuesday, May 10, 2016

Is Tithing in the New Covenant?

6 But now He has obtained a more excellent ministry, inasmuch as He is also Mediator of a better covenant, which was established on better promises. Hebrews 8:6 NKJV

 A careful study of God's Word will reveal exactly when the New Covenant was instituted. It is clear from Scripture that in order for the Testament or Covenant to begin a death must occur (Hebrews 9). Jesus' birth, therefore, didn't institute the beginning of the New Covenant. Rather it was His death and victorious resurrection. 

 Therefore, when you search the end of the Gospels and the record of Acts and the Epistles and the Prophetic book of Revelation what is conspicuously missing is the instruction to continue the practice of Tithing. Before one cites Jesus own words about the Tithe, understand He was speaking of matters concerning the Law. Still, others will quickly cite Hebrews 7. 

What About Hebrews 7? That's New Covenant!

 This is the most common objection raised when one begins to actually study the New Covenant and dares question the tradition of Tithing. Yes, Hebrews 7 mentions the Tithe. See it in context here. What tradition has done is take verse 8 out of its setting and tried to teach a New Covenant practice of Tithing.
Here mortal men receive tithes, but there he receives them, of whom it is witnessed that he lives. Hebrews 7:8 NKJV
 Tradition interprets this passage this way: Here mortal men receive tithes, "here" means here on Earth. That was before the Cross. Then when it says "But there he receives them," they say this is Jesus in Heaven receiving your money. Therefore, keep giving us 10% of your income. Is tradition correct in their interpretation of this passage?

 Again, go back to context. The context is first the purpose of the Epistle to the Hebrews. In context, it reveals the superiority of Jesus to all else. Jesus is better than the Old Covenant prophets. Better than the Angels, Better than the sacrifices of Old. Hebrews 7 in context reveals the superiority of Christ' Priesthood over the Old Covenant priests. 
Furthermore, here [in the Levitical priesthood] tithes are received by men who are subject to death; but in that case [concerning Melchizedek], they are received by one of whom it is testified that he lives on [perpetually]. Hebrews 7:8 AMP
The Amplified properly translates this misunderstood passage. The writer of Hebrews is conveying the truth that Jesus Priestly ministry supersedes the former Aaronic priesthood. This understanding is instrumental in convincing the Hebrews of their need for the Savior.

 As for Tithing, this is the only New Covenant passage. It is clearly not giving an instruction to continue in this practice. Tradition is quick to proclaim, "We know we are to continue in Tithing because He never told us to stop!" This argument appears strong but in actuality it is really weak. 

 Acts 15 reveals the first official meeting of the Body of Christ to discuss vital doctrinal truths. The need arose because in the beginning only the Jews were given the gospel. After the Apostle Peter had a vision from the Lord the message was beginning to spread to the Gentiles. The Apostle of Grace Paul was there sharing the good news of his ministry to the Gentiles. 

 Take note of this meeting and the results here. Notice how some wished the Gentiles to keep the Old Covenant Law. Tithing would be included in this desire. What was the outcome? James gave some instructions for these Gentile believers. Note what was missing. He gave no instruction for them to give a tenth of their income.

 The reason there is no command to stop Tithing in the New Covenant is because there was never a command to start! These Gentiles would have never read anything from the Old Covenant. They were never given the Law. 

 Some will concur that they may not be a command to Tithe in the New Covenant but we should at least give a tenth because that was the standard in the Old. In this New and better Covenant how much more should we give? This idea sounds real spiritual. However, it is deceptive because it eliminates the Spirit's work in the individual heart of a believer. It makes man the decider on what the individual gives and not the leading of the Spirit.

 The Holy Spirit is the one abiding in the heart of the believer. He will lead and guide His people on where to give and how much to give. He is not a hard taskmaster. He is not an extortioner. He doesn't apply pressure or resorts to fear tactics to produce a giving heart.  

 Is Tithing in the New Covenant? If Tithing was of such importance God sure missed many opportunities to instruct His people concerning the Tithe. In the Law the Tithe allowed the people to set apart certain things as being devoted to God. In the New Covenant we, the Body of Christ are set apart and devoted to God. In the New Covenant, it isn't none of me and all of you Lord. It is all of me in all of You Lord. 

 All of me, includes my finances, my dreams, and my destiny. Tradition fails to understand this New Covenant. In the New, Christ is in us. We must not allow tradition to rob us of the truth. Tradition keeps us working and performing, trying to get closer to God or to "surrender" to Him. What is to surrender when He already has me? 

 He is in me, and I abide in Him. In the New our Father has access to our wallet and checkbook and we freely give what He puts on our hearts. We can trust His leading and guidance because He loves us unconditionally and will never lead us astray or leave us lacking and broken.

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