Volume 11, Number 1, July-August 2007
<![if !vml]><![endif]>The Apostle Paul wrote in Galatians.3:29: “if we belong to Christ then we are Abraham’s seed.” If we as Christians are Abraham’s seed, then this naturally makes Abraham our father. Christ says that Abraham’s children copy him and follow his example (John ). Genesis 14 describes a practice of our father Abraham—he paid a tithe to Melchisedec.
Paying a tithe is similar to
observing the Sabbath. Both make a statement to others about the God we
recognize, serve and trust for our well-being. What good is lip service if we
do not back it up with our actions and material possessions? This is the
problem with many
Abraham made a powerful statement in Genesis 14 as to whom he viewed as his God and King. Abraham gave a tenth (a tenth is a King’s share, 1 Sam.8:15-17) of all spoils of the victory God had given him. A king should do all he can to ensure victory when his subjects go to war. This tenth was given to God’s representative Melchizedek. It should also be noticed that Abraham viewed this tenth, was a tenth of more than just farm products.
Abraham further reinforced the statement by giving all the spoils, which formerly belonged to the King of Sodom but now were legally Abraham’s, back to the king (minus the real King’s tenth). By doing this Abraham made sure people would never say his possessions came from any other source but God. The paying of a tithe is simply a statement a believer makes, showing to whom he looks and recognizes, as his personal King. Lets face the obvious and admit God needs nothing from us because He owns everything. Fulfilling of our legal responsibility and giving our King what is rightfully His, is for our own benefit. It is difficult for a family to forget the King exists, if they regularly send a tenth to Him. It will be equally difficult for the King to forget a family, from whom He receives a tenth on a regular bases.
Jacob asked God for food, clothes and protection—this is a king’s responsibility to his subjects (in Gen 28:20-22). If God provides these, then Jacob promised to hand over a tenth to him, which would be the King’s rightful share. Jacob, by giving a tenth, announces to the world that the God of Abraham is his King also. It should be also noted that Jacob said he would give back a tenth of all that God gave him (not just farm products) to the person he recognized as his King. People recognizing God as their King encompassed more than just farmers.
As time went on, God made it known that He was giving His Kingly tithe over to the Levites and anyone handing God’s tenth over to the Levites, was recognizing God as their King, just the same as if they were handing it to God:
"For the tithes of the children of Israel, which they offer up as a heave offering to the Lord, I have given to the Levites as an inheritance; therefore I have said to them, 'Among the children of Israel they shall have no inheritance’“ (Num 18:24).
Today it seems we have come full circle, with the King’s tithe going to people that recognize Melchizedek and His office of priesthood again (Heb 7:1-10). Christ has been given the authority (Matt 28:18) to represent the King (His Father), replacing the Levites and receiving the tenth that is rightfully His. The physical temple and Levites may have disappeared but thankfully for us, the King still remains. Our King remains on His throne, faithfully watching over His subjects.
Today, as Christians, our responsibility has increased even more because God is not only our King, but has become our father through the sacrifice of Yeshua, His son. As Christians, is not our primary aim to imitate Christ (1Cor 11:1) and follow His example? That is the meaning of the word. Each person that has put their hands to the plow (Luke 9:62), must ask himself, did Christ pay the tithe? The last command (Mal 4:4) given in the Old Testament (which was all the early Church had to prove all things) was to remember the Law of Moses, with its statutes and judgments. This verse is set in a time frame that is in our future.
It is not difficult to find people today that have a legal claim to the tenth. A person preaching the gospel (1Cor ) and poor people (Matt 25:42-45) are two examples. When a person finds some of the King’s tenth deposited into their hand, they must realize that the ever-watchful eye of the King will be upon them to see how they use it (Matt 25:14-30—talents parable). Right now, I feel the problems of some ministries are self-inflicted encouraging people to claim the Father as their King without giving a tenth of their gain, which is rightfully the Father’s if we claim Him as our King. It is of great importance that Christian Sabbatarian ministries continue. Those served by such ministries could easily assure their existence by simply sending them at least some of our Father’s tenth.
People who give “freewill gifts” after paying for the other needs and wants that bombard us every day often find very little left over to give. Those who set aside the King’s share first must design the rest of their life around living on the remaining 90%. &
by Norman Edwards
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