“Who Has Bewitched You?” – Part 6

This information may seem redundant to some of you, but I believe it is important to highlight the vast difference between the Old Covenant and the New Covenant. Especially when it comes to the practice of monetary ‘tithing’ which lures Believers back under the yoke of the Old Covenant.

2 Corinthians 3:6 says “This covenant [the new covenant] is not of written laws, but of the Spirit. The old written covenant ends in death; but under the new covenant, the Spirit gives life.”

The tithing laws were a part of the Old Covenant of written laws. The written covenant ended in death because everyone sinned by breaking the law of Moses, and the penalty of sin is death.

The New Covenant on the other hand is not about living by the Old Covenant of written laws. But about living by the power of the Holy Spirit, and the Holy Spirit gives eternal life. The tithing laws never gave anyone eternal life. They aren’t a part of the New Covenant ministry.

2 Corinthians 3:7-8 says “The old way, with laws etched in stone, led to death, though it began with such glory that the people of Israel could not bear to look at Moses’ face. For his face shone with the glory of God, even though the brightness was already fading away. Shouldn’t we expect far greater glory under the new way, now that the Holy Spirit is giving life?”

The Old Covenant engraved on stones was glorious, but even that glory began fading away. The New Covenant is more glorious because the Holy Spirit gives eternal life. The tithing laws were a part of the Old Covenant, and as such they were not as glorious as the New Covenant ministry. Giving by the Spirit excels tithing under the letter of the law.

2 Corinthians 3:9-10 says “If the old way, which brings condemnation, was glorious, how much more glorious is the new way, which makes us right with God! In fact, that first glory was not glorious at all compared with the overwhelming glory of the new way.”

The Old Covenant (including the tithing laws) brought curses and condemnation, because everyone fell short of God’s glorious standard. But the New Covenant is more glorious because it does not curse and condemn us, but rather, God freed us from sin and declared us RIGHTEOUS by faith in His Son, and His Holy Spirit produces godly character in us. The tithing laws do not set us free from sin. They do not play a role in our justification or sanctification in the New Covenant.

2 Corinthians 3:11 says “So if the old way, which has been replaced, was glorious, how much more glorious is the new, which remains forever!”

In this passage, we are given a third reason why the New Covenant is more glorious than the Old Covenant: whereas the Old Covenant was fading away, the New Covenant remains forever. The Old Covenant was temporary. It was not meant to last forever. It has been superseded by a New Covenant which remain forever.

Some people will not understand these things. In fact, many people who claim to believe in Jesus will become offended and hostile when they are shown (from Scripture) that the New Covenant has superseded the Old Covenant. Even after being shown the tithing laws and the difference between the Old and the New Covenant, they still prefer the ministry of curses, condemnation and death over the New Covenant of life, freedom, and justification by faith.

Like Paul wrote, “But the people’s minds were hardened, and to this day whenever the old covenant is being read, the same veil covers their minds so they cannot understand the truth. And this veil can be removed only by believing in Christ. Yes, even today when they read Moses’ writings, their hearts are covered with that veil, and they do not understand.” (2 Corinthians 3:14-15)

A person can have intellectual knowledge of the Old Covenant laws and articulate the Gospel message verbatim — but until they turn to Lord, a veil will remain over their heart and blind them from understanding the truth about Christ and be set free.

“But whenever someone turns to the Lord, the veil is taken away. For the Lord is the Spirit, and wherever the Spirit of the Lord is, there is freedom. So all of us who have had that veil removed can see and reflect the glory of the Lord. And the Lord–who is the Spirit–makes us more and more like Him as we are changed into His glorious image.” (2 Corinthians 3:16-18)

In the next article, I will be sharing from the book of Galatians. This letter speaks directly to the issue of perverting the Gospel by placing Believers in a yoke of religious bondage to the Old Covenant law.

“You foolish Galatians! Who has bewitched you?. . .” (Galatians 3:1a)

Click here for the next article.

“Who Has Bewitched You?” – Part 4

The central theme of Romans is the Good News message that God justifies both Jews and Gentiles by grace through faith.

The book of Romans also explains the purpose of the Old Covenant, and how Christ’s redemptive work on the Cross revolutionized how we relate to God and live out our faith in the New Covenant.

Monetary ‘tithing’ on the other hand is not a part of the New Covenant. It is not based on grace through faith. It is based on the Old Covenant (the ministry of condemnation), which was never intended for born-again Spirit-filled New Covenant Believers.

The New Covenant is not about living by the Old Covenant and its stipulations. It’s about living by the power of the Holy Spirit, by faith, and by God’s grace. It’s about Christ, the hope of glory, living in us and us abiding in Him. When the Lord lives in your heart, He changes you from within, and transforms your very desires into WANTING to give cheerfully, with no strings attached. He will show you that the greater blessing is being able to give, and not in the temporal things. For it is MORE BLESSED to give than to receive!~

I hope that you will see that the issue of monetary ‘tithing’ is not about whether Believers should give 10% of our income or not. It isn’t about the percentage at all (God leaves it up to us to decide how much to give). The issue is. . . giving according to the New Covenant (the new life-giving way of living by the Spirit and by faith in Jesus), versus giving based on an old outdated system of law which brought curses and condemnation and could not save anyone.

Trying to live out our faith in an Old Covenant paradigm, when we are meant to live in the New Covenant, can damage our spiritual growth. Jesus stated this when He said that people do not pour new wine into old wineskins — people do not put something that is new into something that is old. The old wineskins would burst from the pressure, spilling the new wine and ruining the skins. New wine must be stored in new wineskins so that both are preserved (Matthew 9:17). Who would patch old clothing with new cloth? For the new patch would shrink and rip away from the old cloth, leaving an even bigger tear than before.

If you are a Believer in Jesus Christ, then you are very different from the Israelites who lived under the Old Covenant, and your relationship with God is very different as well. You have been regenerated, given a new heart, and given a new birth “from above” “from God.” The very Spirit of God lives in you, and you are seated in heavenly places with Christ Jesus. You don’t need to rely on a prophet to give you a word from God — you can hear from God directly! During the Old Covenant, only the priests were allowed to draw near to God, but Jesus leads us beyond the veil into God’s presence for intimate fellowship. The prophets wanted to know more about this gracious salvation and the Good News message that they prophesied of. . . it was a mystery to them — but you are living in the reality of it. It was to you that God revealed these things by His Spirit, so that you can know the wonderful things God has freely given us. This is the awesome privilege of being a NEW Covenant Believer!~

Understanding our position as New Covenant Believers is critical to realizing why the monetary ‘tithe’ is wrong and does not reflect our New Covenant relationship with God.

In the next article, I will share some passages from the book of Romans explaining these things. I appreciate your patience.

Click here for the next article in this series.

The Tithing Laws – Part 2

Before we dig into the tithing laws as compared to monetary ‘tithing,’ I would like to lay a foundation first by sharing the the historical background leading up to the tithing laws.

I believe that one of the reasons why religious leaders are able to persuade people with misinformation about tithing, is because many people do not know the historical background behind the tithing laws. And when we lack knowledge about something, that makes us susceptible to misinformation.

This lack of knowledge enables religious leaders to lift passages out of their historical context and weave them together to promote a man-made form of ‘tithing’ as a “commandment of God.”

To guard against this Scripture-twisting and misinformation about tithing, we must know the historical background leading up to the tithing laws. I believe that this information is requisite to understanding the tithing laws and how tithing was carried out during the Old Covenant.

Some of you may already know this background information, and it may seem repetitive. But if you continue in this series, you will see how this background information provides a historical context to the tithing laws and paints a clearer picture of how tithing was carried out during the Old Covenant.

The Promised Land

10307241_592781507486680_1728088630461635987_n

The first historical point is that the Biblical tithe had to come from within the promised land (the holy land of Israel), so we will begin there.

In Genesis 12:1-3, God called Abraham out of his native country “to a land” that He would show him. This land was the promised land (the holy land of Israel).

Just a few verses down in Genesis 12:7, the Lord told Abraham that He would give this promised land to his descendants. These descendants were the Twelve Tribes of Israel whom God delivered from slavery in Egypt.

In Exodus 3, the Lord spoke to Moses from a burning bush and told him that He came down to deliver His people from slavery in Egypt and bring them into the promised land, a land flowing with milk and honey.

In Joshua chapters 3-5, the children of Israel finally entered the promised land, and for the first time “the Israelites ate from the crops of Canaan.” (Joshua 5:12)

This was the land that God commanded the children of Israel to tithe from. As we study the tithing laws and you see the word “land”, you will know that God was referring to the promised land (the holy land of Israel).

The Old Covenant

10325624_593610404070457_7231563997413174876_n

The second historical point is that the tithing laws were a part of the Old Covenant, which included blessings for obedience and curses for disobedience.

After God delivered the children of Israel from slavery in Egypt, He brought them to Mount Horeb and made a covenant with them. This covenant was the Old Covenant.

The Old Covenant is also called the book of the law of Moses, the book of the covenant, and the law of Moses. Many Believers also refer to the Old Covenant as the Mosaic Covenant, the Mosaic Law, and the Sinaitic Covenant.

The Old Covenant contained many instructions and stipulations. The children of Israel had to keep ALL of its laws to be blessed. But if they broke even ONE law, they broke the entire covenant and received curses (Deuteronomy 28).

The tithing laws were a part of the Old Covenant, and as such, they had to be fully obeyed to the letter for the children of Israel to receive God’s blessings. A failure to tithe properly as God instructed resulted in a curse (as we see in Malachi 3:8-9).

The Tribe of Levi (The Levitical Priests & Their Levite-Assistants)

10170764_594325820665582_4152629696059447595_n

The third historical point is that the tithing laws required the Tribe of Levi (the Levitical priests and their Levite-assistants).

The Tribe of Levi descended from Levi, one of the twelve sons of Israel. The Tribe of Levi were also called Levites.

Moses and his older brother Aaron were Levites. Aaron was the firstborn son in their family.

Since Aaron was the firstborn son in his family, God set him and his sons apart from the rest of the children of Israel to minister as priests (Exodus 28-29). From this point on during the Old Covenant, Aaron and his male descendants were the only ones who were allowed to come near God to serve as priests. Together, the sons of Aaron composed the Levitical priesthood.

What about the Levite-assistants?

In Exodus 32 during the false worship of the golden calf, the Tribe of Levi were the only ones who didn’t participate in the idolatry.

When Moses came down the mountain and saw the rebellion, he stood at the entrance to the camp and shouted “All of you who are on the Lord’s side, come here and join me.” And all the Levites gathered around him.” (Exodus 32:25-26)

Moses told the Levites that God said to take their swords and kill everyone who committed idolatry by worshiping the golden calf. “The Levites obeyed Moses’ command, and about 3,000 people died that day. Then Moses told the Levites, “Today you have ordained yourselves for the service of the Lord, for you obeyed him even though it meant killing your own sons and brothers. Today you have earned a blessing.” (Exodus 32:28-29)

Since they remained faithful to God during the rebellion and obeyed Him when He said to kill the idolaters, the Levites ordained themselves for service unto God. Through this act, they became assistants to the Levitical priests.

So, to recap. . . Aaron and his male descendants were the Levitical priests. And the rest of the male Levites were assistants to the priests.

Both the Levitical priests and their Levite-assistants played an integral role in Israel’s tithing system. It is not possible to keep the tithing laws without them.

In the next article, we’re going to dig into the tithing laws and compare them to the monetary ‘tithe.’

Click here for the next article in this series.