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The Discovery that Changed My Live IV

This is the continuing series I am doing on my exploration of the Tithe. If you wish to read previous entries, and I recommend you do then begin here.

The Discovery that Changed My Live I
The Discovery that Changed My Live II
The Discovery that Changed My Live III

you are ready to continue then please read on…

Jesus Said it That Settles It.

 

Many people rely on the fact that Jesus talked about the tithe to make the argument that it applies to the church and I think that is a very powerful argument so I looked long and hard at this passage because I want to be sure I understood it in its entirety and context.

Woe unto you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! for ye pay tithe of mint and anise and cummin, and have omitted the weightier matters of the law, judgment, mercy, and faith: these ought ye to have done, and not to leave the other undone. Math 23:23

I made the point earlier to distinguish my hermetical understandings to alleviate confusion at this point. I believe, although this passage comes from the New Testament it is a part of the Old Covenant. Jesus came as a man born under the law (Gal 4:4). He lived under the Old Covenant and in this particular passage he is speaking to men under the Law, rebuking them as such. He in no way indicates that the tithes would continue, in fact he refers to the tithe as the lesser matter here. It would be safe to assume that Jesus never paid a tithe, as we learned from the Old Testament scriptures, it was only paid by the land owners and since Mary gave the sacrifice of a poor woman after Jesus birth we could assume they owned no land.

It Seemed Good to the Holy Ghost and US.

Acts 15 is one of my favorite passages in the entire Bible, it shows that people started arguing almost as soon as Jesus left, but more importantly it answers a question I have had since I became a Christian: “how much of the Law applies to me?”

Acts 15:1 Some men came down from Judea to Antioch and were teaching the brothers: “Unless you are circumcised, according to the custom taught by Moses, you cannot be saved.” 2 This brought Paul and Barnabas into sharp dispute and debate with them. So Paul and Barnabas were appointed, along with some other believers, to go up to Jerusalem to see the apostles and elders about this question. 3 The church sent them on their way, and as they traveled through Phoenicia and Samaria, they told how the Gentiles had been converted. This news made all the brothers very glad. 4 When they came to Jerusalem, they were welcomed by the church and the apostles and elders, to whom they reported everything God had done through them.

A group of men were trying to judaize these new Gentile believers, which meant they wanted to bring them into agreement with Jewish tradition. This of course ticked off the Apostle Paul, which I think is what is mean by “sharp dispute.” After some time when an agreement could not be reached, they decided to defer to the apostles and elders of Jerusalem.

5Then some of the believers who belonged to the party of the Pharisees stood up and said, “The Gentiles must be circumcised and required to obey the law of Moses.”

There have always been Pharisees, and their continue to be those people who insist on adding things to the word of God, or clarifying it to the point it becomes a burden on the people trying to follow it, I am trying to respect the Word of God more than that, it really does not require my help. These men were believers but like most Jewish believers of the time it seems like they saw Christianity as an adhesive bandage solution to Judaism as opposed to an entirely new Covenant with man.

6 The apostles and elders met to consider this question. 7 After much discussion, Peter got up and addressed them: “Brothers, you know that some time ago God made a choice among you that the Gentiles might hear from my lips the message of the gospel and believe. 8 God, who knows the heart, showed that he accepted them by giving the Holy Spirit to them, just as he did to us. 9 He made no distinction between us and them, for he purified their hearts by faith. 10 Now then, why do you try to test God by putting on the necks of the disciples a yoke that neither we nor our fathers have been able to bear? 11 No! We believe it is through the grace of our Lord Jesus that we are saved, just as they are.”

I believe it is obvious from v10 that the apostles were no longer just talking about circumcision when referring to this yoke. The Jews were able to bear circumcision, that was never an issue, but the remainder of the Law and the rules of the Pharisees were unbearable, and useless as far as the matter of salvation according to Gal 5. They were at this moment exercising their authority as the apostles, given to them by Jesus to make a decision with the input of the Holy Spirit of God. The answer took the form of a letter sent with Paul back to those Gentile believers:

To the Gentile believers in Antioch, Syria and Cilicia:

Greetings.

24 We have heard that some went out from us without our authorization and disturbed you, troubling your minds by what they said. 25 So we all agreed to choose some men and send them to you with our dear friends Barnabas and Paul– 26 men who have risked their lives for the name of our Lord Jesus Christ. 27 Therefore we are sending Judas and Silas to confirm by word of mouth what we are writing. 28 It seemed good to the Holy Spirit and to us not to burden you with anything beyond the following requirements: 29 You are to abstain from food sacrificed to idols, from blood, from the meat of strangled animals and from sexual immorality. (Emphasis mine) You will do well to avoid these things.

Farewell.

There are four things that are given as requirements for believers listed here in v28 and 29, it was not the will of God to burden believers with another set of 600 rules to be obeyed, but as we learn later from the Apostle Paul we are to listen to the Holy spirit for our own lives. Additionally, the New Testament has a great deal to say about the Law like Ephesians 2:14-15

By his death he ended the whole system of Jewish law that excluded the Gentiles. His purpose was to make peace between Jews and Gentiles by creating in himself one new person from the two groups.

Paul had very little patience for the observation of Judaism by Gentile believers, even going to the point of saying “If you let yourselves be circumcised, Christ will be of no value to you at all” Galatians 5:2. The idea that we should be forced to continue to obey these rules that not even the Jews were able to keep up with is an affront to the sacrifice of Jesus Christ.

This, to me, is one of the most compelling arguments in scripture. If God wished believers to continue in the Law in any matter, he would have listed it here. There could have been no better place to list the tithe if that is the way God intended his people to give, but I don’t believe that it is.

The Discovery that Changed my life I
The Discovery that Changed my life II
The Discovery that Changed my life III
The Discovery that Changed my life IV
The Discovery that Changed my life V

 

1 reply on “The Discovery that Changed My Live IV”

I made the point earlier to distinguish my hermetical understandings to alleviate confusion at this point. I believe, although this passage comes from the New Testament it is a part of the Old Covenant. Jesus came as a man born under the law (Gal 4:4)

In my mind, this is one of the most crucial distinctions to make when reading the Gospels. The Old Covenant is still in effect all during Jesus’ earthly ministry and everything He says has to be read in that context. So of course He talks about the tithe as if it’s still in effect. That’s because it is. Another thing I think people forget is that “Counselor” has not come yet. But we read really tough sections like the sermon on the mount as if He(the Spirit) has come. The question I wonder about is what were these people thinking when Jesus told them their righteousness had to exceed that of the Pharisees.

Enough rambling for now…

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