RELIGIOUS LAS VEGAS XXVIII: Abraham and Jacob Never Paid Tithe! (Part 4)

Posted: October 23, 2013 in Uncategorized
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By Olu G. Adeyinka

 

First. Let me do what I have never done before in this series on RLV. I want to thank, sincerely, the many people who sent me email asking me deep seated questions on the last 3 parts of the series on Tithe. Many of whom are ministers with a true heart for God. One senior Pastor said “I will find a way to readdress this issue with the Church members because I see the truth you presented tallied with God’s word”. Isn’t that a delight? Many wants to continue reading the series to see if all their questions will be answered. I do not promise to answer all questions, but will present the Biblical truths without fear or favor. Thank you for the encouragement.

We must acknowledge here that the only possible excuse that can make Tithe or Tithing appropriately acceptable or doctrinally plausible in the New Testament dispensation is to present it as an everlasting or eternal principle of God. That is exactly what the pulpit has done successfully in the last 200 years of Church history. They have successfully fixated on that aspect and  pushed it down the throat of believers perfectly with the mention of Abraham and Jacob. Some even referred back to the days of Cain and Abel as when Tithing actually began. I have heard several messages on the eternal patriarchal chain of ‘Tithers’ from Adam to Moses and to the popular misread and misapplied Matthew chapter twenty-three. The brinksmanship of the Evangelical pulpit and the competing Orthodoxy clergies in establishing the teachings on Tithe are continued from generation to generation is not totally innocent. The second tool that have helped in securing a ‘place’ for Tithe is the passage in Malachi chapter three, where God’s anger was registered around the topic (again a complete misapplication of the scripture). The final instrument being used to capture the harvest of Tithe is the FEAR tactics deployed.

 

Believers are simply fearful folks! Many of us are so afraid of the preachers that even God cannot compete with them. We do so many things right before the “man of God” and do worse things in the secret where the man is not present, yet we claim we know God who sees all things. The Church is very TIMID! We have doubts, but will rather ask amongst ourselves where such doubts could not be clarified. When we eventually get so bold to ask our pastors, whatever they say, along with an unqualified passage of the scripture is suffice for our ignorance. That is why the Church is in dark corners but claiming to be in great lights. We claim we have deep revelations when we actually grope in darkness of self consciousness

In the last part (part 3), I refuted the teachings that Tithe is even an Old Covenant doctrine. It was never an Old Mosaic law of covenant, but an appendage or an attached instruction to have enough provisions for certain people. And that in itself is enough to make it sacrosanct, but not enough to make it a covenanted law.

Here, we will look critically at Abraham and Jacob, a major link that has made Tithing seem eternal and presentable in our days. We must set some parameters of history about the two patriarchs of the faith we profess, first.

Abraham was born an Idolator. He worshipped the moon-god along with the traditions of his father Terah in the Chaldees before God called him and made him a believer in the one and true God (Joshua 24”2-3). The very common pagan tradition that is as old as man is for the army generals to consult the gods before going to war. They make ablutions and vow as to what to do for the gods if and when they return. Abraham also came from that tradition of paganism. Remember, he had learnt it for 75 years before God Almighty started with him. Here is the scripture, in the Genesis Fourteen chapter.

 

“And the king of Sodom went out to meet him at the Valley of Shaveh (that is, the King’s Valley), after his return from the defeat of Chedorlaomer and the kings who were with him. Then Melchizedek king of Salem brought out bread and wine; he was the priest of God Most High. And he blessed him and said: “Blessed be Abram of God Most High, Possessor of heaven and earth; And blessed be God Most High, Who has delivered your enemies into your hand.” And he gave him a tithe of all. Now the king of Sodom said to Abram, “Give me the persons, and take the goods for yourself.” But Abram said to the king of Sodom, “I have raised my hand to the Lord, God Most High, the Possessor of heaven and earth, that I will take nothing, from a thread to a sandal strap, and that I will not take anything that is yours, lest you should say, ‘I have made Abram rich’– except only what the young men have eaten, and the portion of the men who went with me: Aner, Eshcol, and Mamre; let them take their portion”. (Genesis 14: 17- 24).

What Abraham did was very consistent with traditions then. The encounter he had with Melchizedek, king of Salem, in this storyline was overwhelming to know that Melchizedek was a priest of the most high God. Melchizedek blessed Abraham and told him the reason why he won the war – “And blessed be God Most High, Who has delivered your enemies into your hand”. A priest of God just told Abraham that God fought and delivered Abraham’s enemies into his hands, and he prayed for Abraham too. It must be a miracle for Abraham and his limited men (318) to have defeated strong armies of four powerful nations. It was just right for Abraham to be a blessing to the man of God, and he settled to give Melchizedek a tenth of all, which is now called Tithe (in the parlance of the pulpit). Here is the difference.

 

The tenth Abraham gave to Melchizedek was not a new harvest or stolen properties or added ones. It was all recovered properties stolen by the four powerful kings who were oppressors. What Melchizedek got from Abraham was not any property of Abraham, no, it was all properties of the people of Sodom and Gomorrah and other three cities. The issue to consider is that the people would have lost all of their properties if Abraham had not been helped by God to recover it all. Now that all was recovered, what old tradition stipulates was to present a tenth to the gods. Mind you, the people of Sodom et al are not believers in the one true God, and they would have given the tenth to their idol that was not able to deliver them anyways. Now that Melchizedek presented himself, it was just right to present him with the tenth of all the spoils. Abraham could have been entitled to the tenth as a war merchant, but he gave it to the priest of God.

It is didactic to learn that nothing of all Abraham gave was his. Nothing! It is also important to note that the tenth given to Melchizedek by Abraham cost him nothing except the war that God gave him victory on. It is also instructional to observe that Abraham never took any of the spoils home to himself except his 318 men who were allowed to take their portion. Actually Abraham made a statement that completely makes the case a vow as he said to Bera, king of Sodom –

“I have raised my hand to the Lord, God Most High, the Possessor of heaven and earth, that I will take nothing, from a thread to a sandal strap, and that I will not take anything that is yours, lest you should say, ‘I have made Abram rich”.

That was a very powerful statement of vow Abraham made before the battle. He never took anything even though he was asked to keep everything, except that he gave the tenth to the priest of the most high.

Now, for those who claimed this was Tithe demanded by God, it is important to note that Abraham had nothing in the deal from the onset. For those who will claim Melchizedek represents the ministers of these days, it must be noted also that Abraham had many other enriching encounters after this episode and never again paid any tithe to anyone. It was a vow!
Let someone tell me how this story validates what the Church calls the tithe today? How is this event related to Abraham’s hope or faith for God’s provision tomorrow?

The Tithe of the era of Moses was not attached to man setting a goal and conditions. It was a mandate the farmers (only land related husbandry) were obliged to pay without condition. It does not have to do with the size of your harvest or anything. God’s promise of increase is done after you fulfill the Tithe. In the case of Jacob, God was not involved at all. It was a private dealing Jacob had with God, called a vow. Tithe is not a vow!  Jacob asked God to bless him FIRST, and then he will give God a tenth of such blessings in return. Hear Jacob.

“Then Jacob awoke from his sleep and said, “Surely the Lord is in this place, and I did not know it.” And he was afraid and said, “How awesome is this place! This is none other than the house of God, and this is the gate of heaven!” Then Jacob rose early in the morning, and took the stone that he had put at his head, set it up as a pillar, and poured oil on top of it. And he called the name of that place Bethel; but the name of that city had been Luz previously. Then Jacob made a vow, saying, “If God will be with me, and keep me in this way that I am going, and give me bread to eat and clothing to put on, so that I come back to my father’s house in peace, then the Lord shall be my God. And this stone which I have set as a pillar shall be God’s house, and of all that You give me I will surely give a tenth to You”. (Genesis 28: 16- 22)

 

God appeared to Jacob in a dream and made some promises that were profound. The promises were not attached to any condition other than what God had promised Jacob’s descendants. The dream experience was very surreal for Jacob. It was the first of an encounter that is providing him an opportunity to hear God speak, and he was dumbfounded. Jacob was so reverent of that encounter that he reduced God to that location and poured oil on a stone (idolatry). However, he tied God Almighty into it, and then made a vow (which was out of doubt, really). God just made a declaration to bless you, and now you are attaching a mundane earthly reward to God who owns the earth and the fullness therein. God bypassed all the mistake of Jacob to honor His promise.
Could it be that Jacob forgot Tithe was a compulsion before making it a vow? Why was he not aware of Tithe since he grew up with a father that walked with God, and a lineage of Godly people?

The part that is most interesting is that all we know was that Jacob made a vow. We never saw where he fulfilled the vow he made. I guess, all the vows Jacob made was out of flesh, and God was not attaching any importance to that kind of vow when already a pronunciation of blessing had been made. God never asked Jacob for it because God does not feed on vows (though we should have enough integrity to stand by what we vow).

Where was this notion of Tithe as a generational eternal covenant coming from when no mention of it even when God was providing the Israelites free food in the wilderness? Joseph had the whole land of Egypt and never heard of Tithe from his godly parents or grandparents, really? The same Jacob worked for Laban for 20 years, and he kept the entire Tithe to himself and God still blessed him, right?

 

Nobody should stand on God’s word to pronounce Abraham or Jacob paid any Tithe at any time in their lifetime. The pew should also learn that the attempt to tie in Abraham and Jacob into the frenzy of Tithing was to ‘make holy what was not holy’. Until the book of Leveticus, no mention or instructions on Tithe was ever given by God Almighty. None whatsoever!

Next time we will look at the first mention of Biblical Tithe and explore what God was saying, and to who. Please do read parts 1 through 3 and this part to come along.

Olu Goodness Adeyinka can be reached at nigardgroup@yahoo.com

 

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