LET’S LAY SOME FOUNDATION.
What we believe and eventually act upon is dependent of some foundational concepts that shape our belief systems. So, before I state what I think of the tithe, let me share what shapes my belief.
Does the Old Testament have any place in my life as a Christian?
“The Old Testament explains what the New Testament contains”, I can’t remember who said that originally. The lives and the records in the Old Testament are for our benefit. They are examples to us. 1 Corinthians 10:11.
The canonized Old Testament contains not just the law of Moses (as it is called), but also the Abrahamic covenant, the covenant God made with Noah on behalf of mankind (Noahic sounds weird to me but just bear with me), the word of God through various prophets, inspired poetry and history.
“Noahic” covenant: I will not judge the earth again using water, (which, by the way means all those tsunamis are not “acts of God”) I will maintain the seasons, seed time and harvest time will not cease.
Abrahamic covenant: Through you, all nations of the earth will be blessed.
The prophets: communicating the mind and plan of God for mankind and the world, which cannot change since God cannot change.
The poetry: expressing relationship, prophecies, celebration of God and His goodness.
The History: recording the journey of faith of various persons and people, many of whom are recorded in the faith hall of fame of Hebrews 11, extolling attributes for which God commends them.
The Torah: The Law of Moses is just one part of the written works of Moses. There are also the ordinances or protocols which are based on the Law. The law tells you what you must do and what you must not do while the ordinances tell you how to go about doing or not doing them. A careful study of the law will show you that they refer to things that God wants man to do but doesn’t explain why God wants man to do them.
The law only focused on external actions because that’s what it was meant to do. It was never meant to change man. The fact that the law could not change man is not a discovery that God made along the way. It was the plan right from the start. It was designed to hold mankind, via the firstborn nation Israel, in place on the operating table while God got to work on the heart. He always said in the Old Testament, I will give them a new heart, a new spirit will I put within them, I will write my laws upon their hearts and many such clauses. And this includes the whole world, not just the nation of Israel, for He said via the prophets many times that the Gentile nations of the earth would say “let us go to the house of the God of Jacob and He will teach us His ways.” Interestingly, there are no such clauses in the New Testament, instead we have things like the Spirit of God dwells in you, live like the new man not like the old. No more promises but a commandment to utilize what has been provided as a fulfillment of the promises.
The ordinances were a collection of protocols surrounding corporate worship, management of societal issues such as marriage, rape, criminal law, farming, employment and slavery, prevention and control of communicable diseases, social security, immigration and nationalization and many other issues which, if we check well, we will find are similar to and the basis for many of the things we do in our current societies, though unfortunately, we are departing from them in the name of freedom and rights much to our own pain.
I cannot ignore the Old Testament because, though we call it old, it was not replaced because it became or grew old but because a better covenant came, or more accurately, finally arrived to take the place of and complete the work of the covenant based on the law of Moses. The “Noahic” covenant still stands, the Abrahamic covenant still stands, the prophets still stand, the poetry still stand, the history still stands. The only thing that changed was the law as the basis of a certain covenant, viz, the Abrahamic covenant. That covenant is now based on Jesus Christ. And if we check all the arguments Paul made in comparing with and outclassing the “old” covenant by the “new” covenant, we’ll find that he stuck to the Law of Moses and left out every other thing which we included in the canonized Old Testament.
The covenant established on the Law of Moses was to keep Israel in line in order to keep the Abrahamic covenant active till Jesus arrived (Galatians 4:1-4) to take the Abrahamic covenant global and thus fulfill the promise of redemption God made in the Garden of Eden in Genesis 3: 15 and of the global blessing He made to Abraham in Genesis 12: 3b (Galatians 3:7-8). That’s why Jesus is called the last Adam.
The intervening arrangement was not an invention to salvage mankind which then failed and forced God to find a new approach otherwise it would mean God is probably seated in heaven right now working on another salvation plan since it seems the world is not accepting Jesus either. But no, God does not make discoveries, nor does He learn anything. He does not improve, get wiser or have a rethink. What He set out to do from eternity past is what He did, is what He is still doing, and is what He will do. This is still Plan A.
Still to come …Part 3
TITHES AND THE NEW TESTAMENT CHRISTIAN… 1 – http://wp.me/p6rlMY-1E