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Wednesday, November 12, 2014

Did Abraham Fail to Tithe Before the Law?








Did Abraham Fail to tithe,  before the law?




We were often taught to pay tithes of 10% on income to our churches... Abraham "before the law" was often cited to make this appeal to our congregation.

But, as Paul Harvey said "Here's the REST OF THE STORY"...   

The reasoning went because Abram gave the king-priest "Melchizedek" tithes from the spoils of battle, we should follow suit if we are true to God. 
An emotional appeal to show our own thankfulness to God through a 10% expression may be followed by a verse or two read from the Bible, usually a passage from the law such as Malachi 3:9-10.   

What is NOT pointed out by well-meaning leaders that may benefit from those tithes is: 
 1. Abram only tithed ONCE........... *once in scripture*
   (Genesis 14:20)

 2. Abram then gave the other 90% away also! ........**hmmm** ......:
     (Gen. 14:23)

 3. A few chapters later, we find out a little secret, that in Genesis 20:14 Abraham was bestowed with sheep, oxen, and servants as a free gift, including a financial increase.
   And Abimelech took sheep and oxen, and men-servants and women-servants, and gave them to Abraham, and restored him Sarah his wife. (16)  And unto Sarah he said, Behold, I have given thy brother a thousand pieces of silver....

 -What?!  1k of SILVER, besides "sheep and oxen and women servants"? 
What happened to Melchizedek?
What happened to faithful Abraham tithing?
Where's the tithe on his increase?

Did Abraham "rob God"?
How come the Man of God in the Suit behind the pulpit did not notice this passage "before the law"?
What if he is blinded by tradition and dependence on tithe-income from the pew?  

Abraham paid no tithes on all that money and livestock... "before the law".
Of course the people who may financially benefit most from the unscriptural tithes collected from the trusting folks in the pew, will rarely admit the error and missing the Genesis 20 details. ..........
Using the example of Abram's one-time  tithe from material he captured in war and not from his own wealth, should be strongly challenged as a "pay your tithes" church doctrine. 
The Biblical reality that good 'ole Abraham paid no tithe in Genesis 20 exposes the fact that many are defrauded by the teaching that we should pay tithes based on the "before the law" reasoning... 

Have you ever heard "the children of the kingdom are free" as Jesus said, as the plate was passed? 

A warning from Colossians 2:8 (NIRV) 
See to it that no one takes you captive through philosophy and empty deception, according to the tradition of men, according to the elementary principles of the world, rather than according to Christ. (Christ never taught money-income tithes)
Pastor, will you cease from teaching the error of tithing from income based on "before the law" now?

****************************************************************
Regarding Genesis 20, Let's point out:
1.  there is no mention of tithes, therefore we cannot add or assume what is not stated.
2.  No other writer in scripture witnessed to Abraham tithing in Gen. 20.
3.  Of note, Abraham was rich long before he tithed in Gen. 14.
4.  The tithe to Melchisedek was not from Abraham's own wealth. -it was spoils of war.
5.  Abraham gave the other 90% away also. Gen 14;23
6.  God did not establish tithing in the Abrahamic covenant
7.  Abraham was given a covenant of circumcision which was confirmed as an on-going obedience.
8.  "BEFORE THE LAW"; what other matters are found?
a. Abraham had children by his maid servant without sin.
b. Abraham married his niece, his brothers daughter.
c. Abraham wore a robe, like Jesus, and like God gave Adam and Eve, (ok, humor me). 
THINK! -We do not follow other "before the law" practices such as circumcision (and it was a command), plural marriage, having concubines, or slavery.  
9. Therefore we cannot use Abraham's example to justify tithing nor did the apostles instruct so in the New Covenant


We should never "cherry pick" what we like or don't like from scripture to impose as doctrine something the apostles never instructed or commanded the saints to do. Abraham's failure to pay tithes in Genesis 20 illustrates the error of using him as an example for us to pay 10% of our income to a pastor or denomination.

Tuesday, November 4, 2014

Acts 15: Apostolic Decrees and Old Testament Laws


Acts 15: The Feasts, Sabbaths, Dietary Laws, Tithing, and other Matters..
Should WE be Observing Them?




-according to the Jewish apostles and the Holy Spirit.

Let's define the problem.
Question: In the New Testament, are the churches instructed or commanded to observe the Jewish feasts, sabbaths, ordinances, or dietary laws, which were given to Israel in the Old Testament?
It may surprise you to know that this became a HOT, hot topic in the early years of the church.
The apostles and others were confronted by this burning question as the Good News spread across Asia.

Let's see about the Jewish apostles and what they did or did not write in the New Testament scriptures for us to believe and do.

The Holy Spirit spoke through the writer to the churches in Galatia:
...that we might be justified by faith in Christ, and not by the works of the law: because by the works of the law shall no flesh be justified.

In Christ's Will, his Testament, we are directly instructed (as a command) to be baptized, assemble ourselves, work, love, to pray, and given instructions that are “written”. One instruction is that we are "NOT go beyond that which is written”. -1Cor. 6:4.

Paul wrote Timothy to deliver commands to the churches, but there is no mention of dietary laws, Sabbaths, feasts, or even tithing1Timothy 4:11  These things command and teach.
Then we need to read what he wrote "these things" were in order to know His Will, and those commands to teach are in the preceding passages.

-again, notice the how Peter reminded the saints in Christ in
2Peter 3:2 that ye should remember the words which were spoken before by the holy prophets,
                         and the commandments of the Lord and Saviour
                         through your apostles:
So Peter, a Jewish apostle obeyed and wrote “the commandments” that Jesus gave us in the NEW Covenant as directed by the Holy Spirit.
Paul, another Jewish apostle, wrote the saints at Corinth which included BOTH Jews and gentiles and knew the OT Law.
Look here:
1Corinthians 14:37 If any man thinks himself to be a prophet, or spiritual,
                                       let him take knowledge of
                               ==> the things which I write unto you,
                                       that they are the commandment of the Lord.

But today we encounter many among us that want to bring us back under "bondage" to laws and ordinances
that Christ never gave as commandments through the apostles to the church.

The problem of the law and grace in the church.
As it happened in the early church as they transitioned the covenants and began to live New Testament life.
The Jewish  APOSTLES and ELDERS of the ORIGINAL church dealt with this question of the OLD Covenant law and NEW Covenant disciples, in Acts 15 especially.

Let’s read what the (Jewish) apostolic writer said in Acts 15
5)  But there rose up certain of the *sect of the Pharisees who believed
     saying, It is needful to circumcise them, and to charge them to keep the law of Moses.

WHOOPS!  -They had a BIG problem early in the NT church.
How did they resolve this controversy with the law as an “issue” and debate among the churches?
The apostle (Luke) wrote about this important meeting:

6)  And the apostles and the elders were gathered together to consider of this matter. (following Moses' law)
7) …   Peter rose up, and said to them, Brethren, you know that a good while ago God made choice
            among you, that by my mouth the Gentiles should hear the word of the gospel, and believe.

 Peter points out that non-Jewish gentiles were now partakers of the gospel through faith.

8)  And God, who knows the heart, bare them witness, giving them the Holy Spirit,
     even as he did to us ( Jews)
9)  and He made *no distinction between us and them*
              -->   cleansing their hearts by faith. <--

Let's continue to see if the Jewish apostles instruct the churches to be cleansed by faith AND keeping laws or points of law from the OLD Covenant.

10)      Now therefore why make a trial of God,
           that you (the pharisees that believed and sought to make the gentiles keep the law of Moses in vs.5)
should put a yoke upon the neck of the disciples
           which neither our fathers nor we were able to bear?

 What "yoke" were they talking about?

-it was the LAW of the OLD Covenant of course,  remember verse 5?
“certain of the *sect of the Pharisees who believed*,
      saying, It is needful to circumcise them,
     and to charge them to keep the law of Moses
11)   But we believe that we shall be saved through the grace of the Lord Jesus,
         in like manner as they.

Did you see that?

 “WE (Jews) shall be saved … in LIKE MANNER as THEY (the gentiles)”.

Did Peter get out of the boat again and someone need to correct him here, as Paul would later do later with Peter when Peter reverted to a law observance in Galatians 2?

Witness James, another apostle,  the brother of Jesus speaks to the assembly:
13)   And after they had held their peace, James answered, saying, Brethren, give ear to me…
(skipping down)
19)  Wherefore my judgment is that we (Jews)  *trouble not*  them from among the Gentiles turn to God…

What kind of "trouble" was he referring to?
It is written right there in the passage:
24)   Forasmuch as we have heard that certain who went out from us have
        --->  troubled you with words,
        --->  subverting your souls;
        ---> to whom we (Jewish apostles) gave no commandment;

Now hold it right there!
The apostle James, one of the Jews who were given
the commandments of the Lord”, said to the  assembly regarding people who were “troubling” the disciples, and “subverting”  their souls, went on to say about the people bringing Christians back under law:
"to whom we gave NO SUCH COMMANDMENT"?

Again, what was the problem?
-remember, verse 5):
“ certain of the sect of the Pharisees who believed, saying,
   It is needful to circumcise them, and to charge them to keep the law of Moses."

So the Jewish apostles and elders there in the heart of law-observant Israel,  who gave us the commands of the Lord in the New Covenant said:

20) .... that we write to them, that they abstain from the pollution of idols and from fornication,
           and from what is strangled, and from blood.
so they WROTE DECREES TO THE CHURCHES:
23) and they wrote this to them,
     The apostles and the elders, brethren, to the brethren who are of the Gentiles in Antioch
     and Syria and Cilicia, greeting:
For as we have heard that certain who went out from us have troubled you with words, *subverting your souls; to whom we gave no commandment; (*subvert means to trouble, upset. Evidently gentiles became alarmed by the legalists imposing the many laws, ordinances, and commands for the Law of Moses)

Here is what the apostles who gave us the New Testament  "wrote the churches":
28)  For it seemed good to the Holy Spirit, and to us,
        ---> to lay upon you no greater burden
        ---> than these necessary things:
29)   that you abstain from things sacrificed to idols, from blood, from things strangled,
        and from fornication; from which if you keep yourselves,  it shall be well with you.
        Fare you well.

‎So they said "NO GREATER BURDEN"
from all the laws, ordinances, commands, and statutes from the Law of Moses where we find the feast laws, tithing laws, Sabbath laws, stoning law breakers, animal sacrifices, and more????

Brother, this was THE place and time to either affirm matters of the law or free the disciples from them!  And letters in writing were sent out to the churches with the "decrees" of the apostles and elders from Jerusalem.

If you are a bit shaken, go back to Acts 15:5 one more time to see what the problem was.
Then go forward to verses 28-29 to conclude what the HOLY SPIRIT, the apostles and elder who knew a thing or two from Jesus wrote.

What is significant is what they purposely left out.
Flesh circumcision omitted.
Tithing omitted.
Sabbath observance was left out.
Mandatory feast observances according to the law were abolished,
-especially the three required feasts to be kept in Jerusalem, and not somewhere else.
- the complex dietary laws were dropped (except blood). ‎
-they did not even tell the churches they had to learn the Hebrew names or language!

Now when the apostles delivered the "decrees" from the Holy Spirit to the churches,
 there was no debate.  The saints did not argue, contend for the law, or accuse Paul of being a heretic.
Here was their reaction:
31) And when they had read it, they rejoiced for the consolation.

After those days, the issue of keeping the laws continued to trouble the churches and Paul wrote to New Testament churches regarding these same matters of the law warning them. He warned them of being "bewitched" by those that would compel you to observe what the apostles of the NEW Covenant church had already set in order regarding the OLD Covenant laws, statutes, commands, and ordinances, which "troubled" and "subverted" the souls of the disciples:
"A LITTLE LEAVEN LEAVENS THE WHOLE LUMP"

Gal 5:9   A little leaven (from the law) leavens the whole lump.
Gal 3:10 For as many as are of the works of the law are under the curse:
                for it is written, Cursed is every one that continues not in all things which are written
                in the book of the law to do them.

After Acts 15, we never, never read where either  the Sabbath, the feasts, tithing, circumcision, or even stoning someone for Sabbath breaking was given to any church or saint. 
But there are still many today who would “trouble” the disciples and “subvert your souls”,  and teach contrary to what the Jewish apostles wrote “as seemed good to the Holy Spirit”.

Galatians 1: 6)
     I marvel that ye are so quickly removing from him that called you in the grace of Christ
     unto a different gospel;
7)  which is not another gospel only there are some that trouble you,
      and would pervert the gospel of Christ.

Heb 7:18 For there is VERILY (indeed-truly) A DISANNULLING OF THE COMMANDMENT
               going before  the weakness and un-profitableness thereof,
          19)  for the law MADE NOTHING PERFECT, but the bringing in OF a BETTER HOPE,
       by which we draw nigh unto God

Please, do not let them "subvert" your soul, or "bewitch" you into thinking we have commandment to observe laws which are IMPOSSIBLE to keep.

In addition to what the Holy Spirit directed in Acts 15, Peter, Paul, James, and John
never wrote a command to keep the feasts, sabbaths, dietary laws,
circumcision, tithing, or the many matters of the 613 ordinances in the Old Covenant law.

They DID write:
Col. 2:14
having blotted out the bond written in ordinances  that was against us,
which was contrary to us: and he hath taken it out that way, nailing it to the cross;
And they did write the commandments of Jesus to the mixed Jewish gentile church at Ephesus:
Eph. 2:15
     having *abolished* in the flesh the enmity,
     even the law of commandments contained in ordinances;
     that he might create in himself of the two  (Jews and gentiles)
     one new man,  (in Christ)
     so making peace

 Acts 16:4   And as they went through the cities, they delivered them the decrees to keep,
                  that were ordained of the apostles and elders which were at Jerusalem.

Fare ye well.