About Jesus Steve Sweetman
Does The New Testament Say?
popular book from the 1990’s was right when it stated that our society
is being “dumbed down”, meaning we’re not interested in taking the
time and effort to learn the details.
We’d rather hear sound-bites and not the whole story.
Christians today tend to want Biblical truth presented to them in
dumbed-downed sound-bites too. We
have no interest in the details, resulting in wide spread Biblical
illiteracy. Well, the
important issues of tithing are found in the details. If you neglect
these details you won’t understand tithing, and that’s why most
Christians really don’t understand tithing.
of this lack of Biblical understanding we pick certain rules from the
Law of Moses and Christianize them.
How this works with tithing is that it’s impossible to tithe as
the Law of Moses specifically demands in our day and age, so we change
the tithing rules to make them convenient for today’s church.
But once you change the tithing rules they become different rules
and you’re not obeying what God originally commanded. This is exactly
what the Pharisees did. There’s
no New Testament support for this practice.
This tells me that we don’t understand how to view the Old
Testament as New Testament Christians.
This is the fundamental problem with modern day tithing, as well
as other similar subjects associated with the Law of Moses, the Sabbath
rules being one other such example.
will now turn to the New Testament to see what it has to say.
First of all the word " tithe" only appears twice in
the King James New Testament. The word "tithes" (plural) is
found four times, all in the same passage. In the New International
Version, the words "tithe" or " tithes" occurs zero
times. The NIV replaces the word tithe with the word tenth, because a
tithe means a tenth.
biggest problem the early church faced was over the issue of
obedience to the Law of Moses. When the whole Law is in question,
there’s no need to point out specific
rules within the Law like tithing as being problematic, although circumcision was
centered out as being a problem. The
issue of tithing did arise in the early church, but it was within the
context of the whole Law not be relevant for New Testament Christians.
simple fact is that the love and pursuit of money has always been a
problem with humans. Paul
says it causes all sorts of problems.(1 Tim. 6:10) So
New Testament has lots to say about Christians and money, but nothing to say about
tithing for Christians.
And The Pharisees
mentioned Matt. 23:23 above. Jesus
told the Pharisees that even though they tithed they neglected the
weightier issues of the Law, but He didn’t tell them to stop tithing.
He told them to both tithe and to act justly.
people suggest that because Jesus told these Pharisees to tithe He was
teaching tithing as a New Testament practice and therefore we should
tithe. This is not so.
Both Jesus and the Pharisees were still living in Old Testament
times. He had no other choice but to obey the Law and teach others to do
most important reason why Jesus told the Pharisees to tithe is found in
Matt. 5:17 where He says that He came to “fulfill” the Law.
How you view these words will determine how you view the Old
Testament and subsequently how you live as a Christian. The
use of the word “fulfill” tells me that the Law was just as much
prophetic as it was a list of rules to obey.
The Law of Moses is one big prophecy concerning the life of
Jesus. One example of
how the Law prophesied about Jesus would be the blood sacrifices.
They spoke of Jesus’ atoning death.
Jesus Himself fulfilled, or was the completion to what the Law
was all about. I’ll
explain the significance of this later.
secondary way in which Jesus fulfilled the Law is that He
obeyed it perfectly. Through
His obedience He fulfilled the Law’s demands before God.
And most importantly, He obeyed the Law for us.
God could now look down on earth and say that the Law of Moses
was finally obeyed. When we
place our lives into Jesus’ hands God views us as being totally
righteous, even as He Himself is righteous, even though we are far from
being righteous. Jesus
didn’t only die in our place, He lived the perfect life in our place
as well. If He had told the
Pharisees not to tithe, He would have broken the Law and would not have
fulfilled it on our behalf, and we’d be lost in unrighteousness to
this very day. This is why
Jesus told the Pharisees to tithe. He
never meant for us to make a New Testament tithing teaching from His