January 2014


Many, in an attempt to justify the monetary tithe requirement doctrine, will tell their congregation to turn to the 31st Chapter of 2nd Chronicles in the Old Testament.

They will then read the first five verses, and when they get to verse five, they will tell the congregation that it is clearly a verse that demonstrates a monetary tithe. The verse states

2 Chronicles 31:5 And as soon as the commandment came abroad, the children of Israel brought in abundance the firstfruits of corn, wine, and oil, and honey, and of all the increase of the field; and the tithe of all things brought they in abundantly.

The pastor (or teacher) is quick to point out that agricultural products were brought to the Levites AND the tithe of all things. Their argument is that “all things” is speaking of not just an agricultural tithe, but a clothing tithe, a monetary tithe, etc.

They usually will not take their congregations past verse five. If they did, no doubt some eyebrows might be raised and brows would be wrinkled.

Verse 10 is especially important in this passage. But when one is proof-texting, pulling verses out that seem to teach what they want their congregations to think, they play a dangerous game that has the propensity to deceive many who fail to study or are ignorant of what the Word of God actually says. Here are verses 9 & 10:

2 Chronicles 31:9-10 Then Hezekiah questioned with the priests and the Levites concerning the heaps. And Azariah the chief priest of the house of Zadok answered him, and said, Since the people began to bring the offerings into the house of the LORD, we have had enough to eat, and have left plenty: for the LORD hath blessed his people; and that which is left is this great store.

As the reader can clearly see, what was brought to the Levites, and subsequently lay in heaps, was food. All in keeping with the only titheable produce that God ever required of man in His Holy Word; i.e., the tithe of crops, flocks and herds.

Leviticus 27:30-33 And all the tithe of the land, whether of the seed of the land, or of the fruit of the tree, is the LORD’S: it is holy unto the LORD. And if a man will at all redeem ought of his tithes, he shall add thereto the fifth part thereof. And concerning the tithe of the herd, or of the flock, even of whatsoever passeth under the rod, the tenth shall be holy unto the LORD. He shall not search whether it be good or bad, neither shall he change it: and if he change it at all, then both it and the change thereof shall be holy; it shall not be redeemed.

Consistently throughout the Mosaic/Levitic Law, the tithes that we see people bring are agricultural in nature. They are eaten. Not spent, not worn, but eaten.

And in 66 A.D., when the author of the epistle to the Hebrews wrote down what God would have him write for our learning, the command concerning the tithes was still as it was commanded in the early stages of the Law… tithes of the Israelites to go to their brethren the Levites.

Numbers 18:24 But the tithes of the children of Israel, which they offer as an heave offering unto the LORD, I have given to the Levites to inherit: therefore I have said unto them, Among the children of Israel they shall have no inheritance.

Numbers 18:26 Thus speak unto the Levites, and say unto them, When ye take of the children of Israel the tithes which I have given you from them for your inheritance, then ye shall offer up an heave offering of it for the LORD, even a tenth part of the tithe.

Numbers 18:28 Thus ye also shall offer an heave offering unto the LORD of all your tithes, which ye receive of the children of Israel; and ye shall give thereof the LORD’S heave offering to Aaron the priest.

Hebrews 7:5 And verily they that are of the sons of Levi, who receive the office of the priesthood, have a commandment to take tithes of the people according to the law, that is, of their brethren, though they come out of the loins of Abraham:

No mention of Gentiles being required to tithe at all.

…And that is something to think about!

Lately, I have had tithers try to convince me that we are to tithe our money, and that they have Scripture to prove it.

Their proof-text?  2 Chronicles 31:5, which reads:

2 Chronicles 31:5 And as soon as the commandment came abroad, the children of Israel brought in abundance the firstfruits of corn, wine, and oil, and honey, and of all the increase of the field; and the tithe of all things brought they in abundantly.

They argue that the phrase, “tithe of all things” is proof that not just agricultural products were tithed, but everything; i.e., crops, livestock, clothing, cookware, and yes,… even money.

Proof-texting always leads to wrong conclusions.  When studying the Bible, or preaching from the Bible, it is important to keep Scripture in its proper context.  Yes, the verse above does say “and the tithe of all things brought they in abundantly.”  And when read alone, it appears that tithes may have been more than agricultural.  After all, the Bible clearly says they brought agricultural products AND the tithe of all things, does it not?

It does.  But again, one must read that verse in its proper context.  When one does, one can clearly see that the “all things” is speaking about all things that the Law required to be tithed.  Notice:

2 Chronicles 31:5-10 And as soon as the commandment came abroad, the children of Israel brought in abundance the firstfruits of corn, wine, and oil, and honey, and of all the increase of the field; and the tithe of all things brought they in abundantly. And concerning the children of Israel and Judah, that dwelt in the cities of Judah, they also brought in the tithe of oxen and sheep, and the tithe of holy things which were consecrated unto the LORD their God, and laid them by heaps. In the third month they began to lay the foundation of the heaps, and finished them in the seventh month. And when Hezekiah and the princes came and saw the heaps, they blessed the LORD, and his people Israel. Then Hezekiah questioned with the priests and the Levites concerning the heaps. And Azariah the chief priest of the house of Zadok answered him, and said, Since the people began to bring the offerings into the house of the LORD, we have had enough to eat, and have left plenty: for the LORD hath blessed his people; and that which is left is this great store.

The chief Priest Azariah reveals in the text what the “all things” that were in heaps in verse 5 was referring to.  Something that was to be eaten.  Keeping in perfect harmony with Leviticus 27:30-33; i.e., the only tithe that God ever required the children of Israel to give… agricultural products.

Leviticus 27:30-33 And all the tithe of the land, whether of the seed of the land, or of the fruit of the tree, is the LORD’S: it is holy unto the LORD. And if a man will at all redeem ought of his tithes, he shall add thereto the fifth part thereof. And concerning the tithe of the herd, or of the flock, even of whatsoever passeth under the rod, the tenth shall be holy unto the LORD. He shall not search whether it be good or bad, neither shall he change it: and if he change it at all, then both it and the change thereof shall be holy; it shall not be redeemed.

The “tithe of all things” in 2 Chronicles 31:5 is clearly a tithe of agricultural products only.

 

There is a doctrine being circulated today amongst Christians that Melchizedek of Genesis chapter 14 was actually a Christophany.  That is, a pre-incarnate appearance of Jesus Christ.

Many base this doctrine on a passage in Hebrews that states

Hebrews 7:2-3 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.

They say because Melchizedek was said to have had no beginning of days, nor end of life and without descent, he must be Jesus Christ.

However, a proper study of Scripture reveals that Jesus and Melchizedek were not the same person. 

1.  Melchizedek was said in the passage above to have been “without mother, without father.”  Yet the Bible tells us Jesus had both a mother and a Father.  God was His Father, Mary was His mother.  This alone should refute the notion that Melchizedek was Jesus.  Sadly, with many it does not.

The statement that Melchizedek had no mother, nor father is simply stating that there is no record of his birth parents.  The Bible clearly gives man the record of Jesus’ birth, His parents names, His life, His death, and His subsequent ascension to His throne.

2.  The Bible says of Melchizedek that he was “without descent.”  The Greek for “without descent” is the word “agenealogētos” and is defined as “one whose descent there is no record of, without genealogy”.  The inspired author of the book of Hebrews wrote that there is no record of Melchizedek’s descent.  But we have the genealogy of Jesus Christ in Matthew chapter 1 and Luke chapter 3.  Clearly, the two are not the same person.

3.  The Bible says of Melchizeddek that he had “neither beginning of days, nor end of life.”  Now, if this statement were the only thing that the Bible told us concerning Melchizedek, the argument that he was Jesus might hold to be true.  But because of the facts mentioned in point #1 above, we must come to no other conclusion than that Jesus and Melchizedek could not have been the same person.  Therefore, the statement that Melchizedek had neither beginning of days, nor end of life more than likely refers to what was previously said before… that there is no genealogical record of his being born or of his death.  This is not to say he never was born.  It simply means we have no record of his birth.  Since Hebrews 7:4 identifies Melchizedek as a man, it is obvious that Melchizedek had to have been born of a woman.  This means he had a beginning.  This forfeits any possibility of him being Jesus Christ in Genesis 14.

4.  The Bible says of Melchizedek that he was “made like unto the Son of God.”  “Like unto” does not mean “is.”  If “like unto” means “is” we have a serious problem.  Jesus said the kingdom of Heaven is like unto grain of mustard seed.  To say “like unto” means “is,” would mean that the kingdom of Heaven is not “like” a mustard seed, but that it is a grain of mustard seed.

Just as Jesus was comparing the Kingdom of Heaven to a mustard seed, the author of Hebrews was comparing Melchizedek to Jesus Christ.

And his comparison of the two shows that the two clearly are not the same person.