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What the Bible says about Tithing, In Effect Before Moses
(From Forerunner Commentary)

Genesis 14:18-20

Jacob must have been taught about tithing by his grandfather, Abraham, and his father, Isaac. Genesis 14 succinctly reveals several principles of tithing. First, the tithe goes to God through His representative, the priest. Second, the Bible repeats that it is one-tenth. Third, this law was in effect long before God commanded it through Moses. Fourth, Abram, blessed for his faithfulness to God, gave tithes in recognition of God's rulership and providence.

Richard T. Ritenbaugh
Tithing

Genesis 14:20

Abraham returned from the war against the kings, bringing back a great deal of booty.

The speaker in verse 20 is Melchizedek, and the "he" who gave Him tithes refers to Abraham, as Hebrews 7 clearly states. This occurred around 430 years prior to the making of the Old Covenant. Tithing is not stated here as a law but is introduced into the flow of the story of the Bible as an already ongoing practice, which Abraham already knew. How did Abraham know to give ten percent?

How did Abraham know God's laws, which were formally written 430 years later? By God's own testimony, Abraham kept them and was faithful (Genesis 26:5). There are two possible answers.

First, in James 2:23, Abraham is called "the friend of God," indicating a close relationship. He is the only one in the Book who is called God's friend. In John 15:14, Jesus said to the apostles, "You are My friends. And, do you know what? Because you are My friends, I am going to tell you what I am going to do."

God told Abraham His laws! God says Abraham heard and obeyed in Genesis 26:5. How did he know about tithing? God told him about it. Abraham was God's friend, and God wanted Abraham to act righteously. Because God did not want his life to be a mess, He instructed him in His way, His laws, and commandments!

Secondly, God told Adam and Eve His laws, being their Father. What kind of Parent would He be if He sent them out into life without instruction? That is a parent's responsibility, and God instructed His children.

Consider Genesis 4, in which Cain and Abel made their sacrifices. How did Cain and Abel know what to sacrifice? Did it just pop into their minds? Adam and Eve, who had walked with God in the Garden, told Cain and Abel what the appropriate sacrifices were. When the time came to sacrifice, Abel was obedient, while Cain was not. In Romans 4:15, Paul said that where there is no law there is no transgression. God spoke harshly to Cain, and pronounced a curse on him. If Cain did not know better, then God would have been unjust in His punishment.

Abraham knew God required tithes. If we follow tithing through the Bible, it does not even appear as a law until the book of Leviticus and Numbers 18 for the priesthood.

Next, Jesus Christ commands tithing in Matthew 23:23. Our Lord and Savior was in favor of tithing. He should be, because He gave it at the beginning. He told Abraham about it. He assigned it to the Levitical priesthood. Then, by very strong implication in Hebrews 7, tithing is assigned to the church. There has never been any deviation. Tithing has always been God's manner of financing His educational service.

John W. Ritenbaugh
The Covenants, Grace, and Law (Part 19)

Leviticus 27:30-33

God has always used giving as a means to carry out whatever commission He gives to His people. The Bible first mentions tithing when Abraham gives tithes to Melchizedek, a priesthood that predates even the patriarchs (Genesis 14:18-20; Hebrews 7:1-10). By the time of the Exodus, the descendants of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob had grown from a small patriarchal family to a great multitude of upwards of two million people. The size of the population dictated the need for a written code of law, yet the principles of giving remained the same. Numbers 18 records that God turned His tithe over to the Levitical priesthood for their use in the administration and conduct of His work (Numbers 18:20-24). By the time God formally instituted Israel's civil code, tithing had long been an ongoing financial law.

Martin G. Collins
Tithing: First Tithe

Hebrews 7:1-17

A vital principle to remember concerning the Old and New Covenants is that what did not originate with the Old Covenant did not die with it. The gist of the argument in Hebrews 7 is that, since the Levitical priesthood has no authority under the New Covenant, the ritual laws pertaining to the priesthood are no longer valid. The priesthood has been conferred on Christ, now our High Priest "according to the order of Melchizedek" (Hebrews 6:20). This "change of the law"—the ceremonial law of sacrifices, ritual washings, and other rites pertaining to the Tabernacle/Temple and priesthood—applies only to the administration of tithing (verse 12). Since the tithing law predates the Levitical priesthood, and is thus still in force, tithes are now to be given to Jesus Christ, our High Priest, for use by the church. The church is commissioned to preach the gospel free of charge. The tithe pays for this important responsibility.

The principle of supporting the ministers of God's work is still in force in the New Testament church (Matthew 10:8-10; 24:14; 28:19-20; Mark 16:15; I Corinthians 9:13-14).

Richard T. Ritenbaugh
Tithing


 




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