Hebrews 7 and Tithing
One fact is certain: Tithing is found in the Bible long before the time of Moses. Abraham gave tithes to Melchisedek. The statement in Genesis 14:20 is the link to what Paul tells us in Hebrews 7. Melchisedek was a tithe-receiving priest. Christ is also. Christ is now our great high priest after the order of (with the same rank as) Melchisedek (Heb. 6:20). Paul describes Melchisedek: "To whom also Abraham gave a tenth part of all; first being by interpretation King of righteousness, and after that also King of Salem, which is, King of peace; Without father, without mother, without descent, having neither beginning of days, nor end of life; but made like unto the Son of God; abideth a priest continually" (Heb. 7:2–3). This cannot be talking about any man. This description clearly refers to an immortal being. Since Christ has the same rank as Melchisedek, the conclusion is inescapable. Christ is Melchisedek, the priest of God.
As high priest, Christ has a ministry. That ministry is the New Testament ministry of Jesus Christ (2 Cor. 3:6). From the Old Testament we find that the tithe is the Lord's, not the Levites' (Lev. 27:30). The tithes were given to the Levites for their service, but the tithe is the Lord's to use as He sees fit. Jesus Christ, as Melchisedek, has always had the authority to receive tithes. By the sacrifice of Christ, the Levitical priesthood came to an end, and the tithe was transferred back to Melchisedek. Paul tells us, "If therefore perfection were by the Levitical priesthood, (for under it the people received the law,) what further need was there that another priest should rise after the order of Melchisedec, and not be called after the order of Aaron? For the priesthood being changed, there is made of necessity a change also of the law" (Hebrews 7:11–12).
What law is Paul talking about here? The tithing law! See verses 5–6, 8.
Tithing remains but the administration is different. Now there is a spiritual administration. No longer is there a Levitical Priesthood. Instead there is a New Testament ministry—the ministry of Melchisedek, or Jesus Christ. To support that ministry, Paul says the tithe has been transferred back to Christ (Heb. 7:12–16). It is used in His work. Perfection could not come under the Levitical priesthood (Heb. 7:11); it can come only under a spiritual administration. Christ, was manifested in a physical life, lived a perfect, sinless life, and was sacrificed in our stead. By the acceptance of that sacrifice and our repentance, we can receive the power of God by means of the Holy Spirit. We can then have the strength to overcome the pulls of human nature and to qualify to enter the Kingdom of God.
Some argue that the law in Hebrews 7:12 refers to the Law of Moses and has no bearing on tithing. Paul supposedly stated this to demonstrate the superiority of Christ's priesthood over the Levitical. It makes little sense to exclude tithing from the subject of this chapter when tithing is mentioned three times. And if the chapter is talking about the Law of Moses only, why is tithing specifically mentioned? The fact is: Even if tithing had not been mentioned in this chapter, the Law of Moses includes tithing! Paul says the priesthood was transferred to Melchisedek including the right to receive the tithes. They were given to the Levites, but now have been returned to Christ! He is our eternal, everliving High Priest who guides and directs His Church today through His chosen ministers.
Melchisedek was a tithe-receiving priest. So is Christ. The New Testament ministry is His ministry. Hebrews 7 does not abolish tithing. Rather, it substantiates the perpetuity of the priesthood of Melchisedek—an everlasting priesthood. Jesus, the great High Priest in heaven, seated at the right hand of God the Father (Heb. 4:14) guides and directs His true Church today. He uses a ministry to do His work. When we give to the Church, we give to Christ. The priesthood of Christ is the restored priesthood of Melchisedek. Tithing is an act of worship. All true worship of God is voluntary. This is the basis of the New Testament administration. And, it should be the basis of our tithing today.
Some will continue to insist there is no tithing law today, that we come under the principle of "Christian giving." Whatever the view one holds, this fact is certain: Every instruction regarding tithing in the Bible clearly reveals that God claims the tithe as His. Those who adhere to the belief of "Christian giving" must surely acknowledge that nowhere, in either the Old or New Testament, does God endorse a tithe figure of less than ten percent. Those Christian givers, who wish to abound, will not hesitate to recognize this.
How did the people of Israel rob God? In tithes and offerings (Mal. 3:8). If an attitude of voluntary cheerfulness is not there, it makes little difference, however, whether one adheres to the principle of Christian giving, or to the principle of tithing. When it comes to contributions, the Apostle Paul instructs, "But this I say, He which soweth sparingly shall reap also sparingly; and he which soweth bountifully shall reap also bountifully. Every man according as he purposeth in his heart, so let him give; not grudgingly, or of necessity: for God loveth a cheerful giver" (2 Cor. 9:6–7).
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