RELIGIOUS LAS VEGAS XXVII: TITHE, COVENANT AND TESTAMENT

Posted: October 6, 2013 in Uncategorized

By Olumide G. Adeyinka

Tithe or tithing is not a Covenanted doctrine in what is known as ‘The Old Testament’. It was a specific un-covenanted article of instructions given at a specific time for a specific purpose for a very specific design to a specific people. It was not part of the Old Covenant neither could it have been part of the New Testament. To argue tithe as an eternal covenant is erroneous and intransigent to the faith we profess. Tithe is not a part of the Church Doctrine, not ever taken or received in the over 70 years of documented history of the Church in the New Testament scriptures. Tithe was not intended beyond a certain time of the past history of the settlement of Israel in their given land. Abraham never paid tithe, neither did Peter or Paul received one ever. The history of tithe was first mentioned in the Church of Christ some hundreds of years ago when the Church needed more money. It started as a command of man to man but now assumed a command of God to man through the evangelical Churches. I will try my best to present facts and truth on this ever-touching topic, but until then please do not judge me an anti-Christ or a rebel. Every sincere truth we know today was an object of hate yesterday. It will take some series to take this home, but I have the tenacity to do it. Scripture will prevail, not the wisdom of men or the eloquence of speakers.

Actually the Bible should have rightly been called The Old Covenant and The New Testament. Covenant is an agreement between two or more parties, and that was what God had with Israel. Testament has to do with a ‘Will’ and a disposition made by a person for after death. Jesus Christ had actually made a Will for us after His death to sin so that our sins will forever be removed from us. The Old Covenant was basically an agreement between God and Israel as enunciated in Exodus 19: 4-8

“Then Moses went up to God, and the LORD called to him from the mountain and said, “This is what you are to say to the house of Jacob and what you are to tell the people of Israel: ‘You yourselves have seen what I did to Egypt, and how I carried you on eagles’ wings and brought you to myself. Now if you obey me fully and keep my covenant, then out of all nations you will be my treasured possession. Although the whole earth is mine, you will be for me a kingdom of priests and a holy nation.’ These are the words you are to speak to the Israelites.” So Moses went back and summoned the elders of the people and set before them all the words the LORD had commanded him to speak. The people all responded together, “We will do everything the LORD has said.” So Moses brought their answer back to the LORD.”

From the above, you can see a well spelled out agreement between God and Israel. It was not God and all mankind, but of Israel as a nation and a people. The terms of the covenant were very clear, breaches and repercussions were also clearly stated everywhere. Israel had to obey all instructions from God and then God’s part was to make them a kingdom of priests and a holy nation. God was not going to fail though. Israel agreed to the covenant. Both sides have their obligations spelled out, though it was God who initiated the covenant. It was after the agreement was reached and signed that the Ten Commandments were given along with several other more detailed civil laws, judgments, statutes and precepts. The understanding of this fact is very foundational to unveiling tithes, covenants and testaments. The entire Old Covenant of the Bible pertain primarily to Israel with theirs stories, other writings, and prophecies in relation to the covenant reached in the above passage. You can see very vividly that there was no death of any party to the agreement, hence it is wrong to call it the Old Testament. The problem was when the Bible was been translated into Latin in the 4th Century, the word “Testamentum” was the term used and so it was translated to the English word Testament. The only place in the New Testament where the term “Old Testament” was used is in II Corinthians 4:14, and the Greek word translated as such is “Diatheke” which actually means “Covenant”.

It is important to state clearly here that the civil laws, social laws, communal laws were not part of the covenanted statements or terms of the agreement that we looked at above. For Forty years of Israel’s journey in the wilderness, there was no issue of tithe mentioned anywhere, yet the laws were in effect. Now God did not forget to ask Israel for tithe in the wilderness, it was just not necessary. God did not even ask them for sacrifices. Here is what God succinctly said in Jeremiah 7:22-24. Very clearly stated.

“’This is what the LORD Almighty, the God of Israel, says: Go ahead, add your burnt offerings to your other sacrifices and eat the meat yourselves! For when I brought your forefathers out of Egypt and spoke to them, I did not just give them commands about burnt offerings and sacrifices, but I gave them this command: Obey me, and I will be your God and you will be my people. Walk in all the ways I command you that it may go well with you. But they did not listen or pay attention; instead, they followed the stubborn inclinations of their evil hearts. They went backward and not forward.”

The instructions of the covenant was very clear, premised on this: “Obey me and I will be your God and you will be my people”.

Tithe came in several years after, when God was settling Israel in their allotted land and the Levites were separated unto the Lord as Priests as against the entire people of Israel (the original agreement was that the whole Israel will be a kingdom of Priests). The tribe of Levi was not given inheritance like the rest of the people because they have shown to be ready to stand by God and for God alone (Exodus 32:25-29), so God became their portion and inheritance (they were not chosen or called by God as in the New Testament Preachers). So as recompense, God became their inheritance and asked Israel to make regular provisions for them along with the poor and the widows of the land. To lump this specialized provision as a part of the Old Covenant is to reduce the meaning of covenant. Tithe was a social law to the people of Israel in their land as a means to provide for the needs of the Levites as they perform their duties of the Temple. They were restrained from having possessions or land of their own but scattered all over the land of Israel among the people (the preachers today own much more land and possessions than the people).

In contrast to the above is the covenant that culminated in the death and resurrection of our Lord Jesus Christ. The agreement was between Him and God on behalf of mankind, and the richness of which is the salvation by remission of the sins of all mankind. Israel was divorced for a new marriage with he entire human world. It is more than a covenant because it has a Will associated with the death of a party. God Himself initiated it and perfected it without any human involvement. Actually the role man played was to effect it. The Will is that, at His death and resurrection, all souls that believe in Him will be saved from their sins. That covenant was in His blood, which He shed totally for man’s salvation. Unlike the Old Covenant, where blood of bulls and goats were offered as sacrifices regularly, and which is insufficient, in the New Testament, Christ settled it all.

“He did not enter by means of the blood of goats and calves; but he entered the Most Holy Place once for all by his own blood, having obtained eternal redemption. 13 The blood of goats and bulls and the ashes of a heifer sprinkled on those who are ceremonially unclean sanctify them so that they are outwardly clean. 14 How much more, then, will the blood of Christ, who through the eternal Spirit offered himself unblemished to God, cleanse our consciences from acts that lead to death, so that we may serve the living God! (Hebrews 9: 12-14

In regards to a Will, same chapter in Hebrews said “In the case of a will, it is necessary to prove the death of the one who made it, 17 because a will is in force only when somebody has died; it never takes effect while the one who made it is living”

Now, who died in the first covenant? Not God and not Israel! Goats and bulls were killed as symbols of what was to come in Christ.

I said all the above to clear the air on the premise under which tithe is being preached as part of the law or the Old Covenant, and so still as effective as then. Nothing can more far from the truth as that.

Tithe is exactly like the instruction on Year of Jubilee and the Sabbath Year. This can be found in Exodus 25: 1-55. I will only touch few verses here
“The LORD said to Moses on Mount Sinai, 2 “Speak to the Israelites and say to them: ‘When you enter the land I am going to give you, the land itself must observe a Sabbath to the LORD. 3 For six years sow your fields, and for six years prune your vineyards and gather their crops. 4 But in the seventh year the land is to have a Sabbath of rest, a Sabbath to the LORD. Do not sow your fields or prune your vineyards….
10Consecrate the fiftieth year and proclaim liberty throughout the land to all its inhabitants. It shall be a jubilee for you; each one of you is to return to his family property and each to his own clan. 11 The fiftieth year shall be a jubilee for you; do not sow and do not reap what grows of itself or harvest the untended vines…”

Like the tithe, Year of Jubilee and the Sabbath Year, are social principles and instructions and not laws. Even though it is written and documented in the Old Covenant, it is not actually part of the statement of the covenant enacted. Not at all! These are civic responsibilities of the people towards others and themselves. I wonder why the Church is not demanding Jubilee or the Sabbath or the year of the Sabbath. That is when preachers will surreptitiously tell the congregation that those are “Old Testament” doctrines and are not applicable to the New Church. Same instructions, but separated because one seems unacceptable and the other is preferred. If Tithe is eternal, so is Jubilee, so is Year of the Sabbath and so is the Sabbath too.

Actually Christ Jesus made mention of this things when he had a meeting with the scribes, Pharisees and Sadducees when they came asking him questions from the book of Matthew starting at chapter twenty two. Jesus talking to the people started to rebuke the scribes and Pharisees regarding how they have turned religious duties into burdens for the people. It was not so much about willingness but compulsion. Jesus then said in the popular Matthew 23: 23 that tithe is a not a “weightier” matter of the law like justice, mercy and faith.

I will continue.

Olumide G. Adeyinka can be reached at nigardgroup@yahoo.com

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