But grow in grace and in the knowledge of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ. To him be glory both now and forever. Amen.
2 Peter 3:18
THE TEN COMMANDMENTS AND CASE LAW
The Ten Commandments declare certain broad principles of God's Moral Law. But the Bible doesn't stop there. It also gives “Case Law” to develop the implications of those principles. For example, the Eight Commandment “Thou shalt not steal” is a broad principle.
This Commandment shows God's approval and protection of PRIVATE PROPERTY. Any theft of private property is NOT JUST sin against the lawful owner. It is also SIN AGAINST GOD. This is true of any of the Ten Commandments. Transgression is sin against God.
The Bible, by citing a minimal type of “case”, reveals the extent of the Law. God gives us His own interpretation of the Law in this way. Here's an example.
“Thou shalt not steal” (Exodus 20:15 -- broad principle)
“Thou shalt not muzzle the ox when he treadeth out the corn.” (Deuteronomy 25:4 -- Case Law).
“.... Thou shalt not muzzle the mouth of the ox that treadeth out the corn. Doth God take care for oxen? Or saith he it altogether for our sakes? .... Even so hath the Lord ordained that they which preach the gospel should live of the gospel.” (1 Corinthians 9:9-10 & 14)
The last passage just quoted above is a New Testament interpretation and application of Case Law. If it is a sin to defraud an ox of his livelihood, then it is also a sin to defraud a man of his wages -- it is THEFT in both cases.
If theft against an ox is sin, how much more is it a sin to hold back wages from an Apostle, an ordained Minister of the Gospel? Even more deadly is robbing God.
“Will a man rob God? Yet ye have robbed me. But ye say, Wherein have we robbed thee? In tithes and offerings. Ye are cursed with a curse: for ye have robbed me, even this whole nation.
Bring ye all the tithes into the storehouse, that there may be meat in mine house, and prove me now herewith, saith the LORD of hosts, if I will not open you the windows of heaven, and pour you out a blessing, that there shall not be room enough to receive it.” (Malachi 3:8-10)
NEW COVENANT TITHING
“Do ye not know that they which minister about holy things live of the things of the temple? and they which wait at the altar are partakers with the altar? Even so hath the Lord ordained that they which preach the gospel should live of the gospel.” (1 Corinthians 9: 13-14) (Emphasis mine)
It was Israel's tithe to the Levites that supported them (Numbers 18:25-26). It was the Levite's tithe that supported the High Priest and his family. “EVEN SO” Paul says, the Lord ordained that Gospel Preachers should live of (the tithes and offerings of God's people for) the Gospel.
“Now concerning the collection for the saints, as I have given order to the churches of Galatia, even so do ye. Upon the first day of the week let every one of you lay by him in store, as God hath prospered him, that there be no gatherings when I come.” (1 Corinthians 16:1-2)
Note that on the Lord's Day the tithes and offerings should be laid up “IN STORE”. This is a direct reference back to Malachi 3:10 “Bring ye all the tithes into the STOREHOUSE”. Note also that Tithing (10%) is in direct proportion to income “as God hath prospered him”.
Some object that tithing is a legalistic principle. They argue that New Testament believers are free to give as the Spirit leads them. They are not required to tithe. Are they correct? Consider Abraham, the father of the faithful.
The first mention of “tithes” is in Genesis 14 where Abraham gave tithes to Melchizedek, King of Salem and Priest of the Most High God. The last mention of “tithes” is in Hebrews 7 where this same incident is referred to in the New Testament.
The book of Hebrews holds up Melchizedek as a “type” of Christ, our great High Priest. Abraham, father of the faithful, is tithing to his High Priest. Believers are the children of Abraham through faith in Christ. (Galatians 3:7).
Therefore we should follow Abraham's example. We TITHE to our great High Priest -- Jesus the Messiah -- a Priest forever after the order of Melchizedek (Psalm 110:4 and Hebrews 7).
WHERE TO TITHE?
Normally, the tithe should be laid up (a definite, predetermined act) on the first day of the week IN STORE (1 Corinthians 16:1-2). The storehouse in Malachi's day was the Temple (the house of God). In the New Testament, the house of God is the Church (1 Timothy 3:15).
Thus, we should tithe to our Lord Jesus, through a Bible-believing, New Testament Church of which we are baptized members. In some instances, however, this may not be possible. There may be no Church worthy of support in our area.
Then we should pray about moving or starting one. Until then, the tithe should be directed to our Lord, through the most faithful Gospel ministry that we can support. The Hebrew was not tithing if his tenth went to a faithless storehouse.
He had to judge between godly and ungodly Levites. Today's Christian is not tithing unless his tenth goes to truly godly work -- Churches, Missionaries, Schools, and Gospel Preachers that teach God's Law-Word faithfully.
In summary, the Law first asserts broad principles (the Ten Commandments). Second, it cites “Case Law” to show the implications of those principles. Third, the New Testament interprets and applies Case Law as valid today (1 Corinthians 9:9-14 and 1 Timothy 5:18).
George Theiss is a combat veteran of Vietnam who now follows Lamb of God. He and his wife, Christy, have been married 42 years (in 2019). They have 8 grown children. You can contact George at firstname.lastname@example.org
Copyright © 2002 through 2019 by George Theiss