Over 400 years before the Levitical priesthood was established, Abraham paid tithes to Melchizedek, priest of the Most High God. Paul shows that Abraham's descendents paid tithes through Abraham to Melchizedek. "Even Levi, who receives tithes, paid tithes through Abraham, so to speak" (verse 9). But the Levitical priesthood passed away with the founding of God's church. Jesus Christ is now our High Priest, and because a change in the priesthood requires a change in the law (verse 12), we are to pay tithes to Him, as Abraham did when He appeared as Melchizedek.
John O. Reid (1930-2016)
Tithing: God's Financial System
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the Levitical priesthood has no authority under the New Covenant, the ritual laws pertaining to the priesthood are no longer valid.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
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