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Can Certain Old Testament Laws Add to Jesus’ Atonement and Blessing, so that New Testament believers must ‘tithe to Melchizedek’?
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· The New Testament Covenant Differs Drastically from the Old Covenant
· The Dual Old Testament Law
· The Curse of the Law is a spiritual place or position without Jesus Christ
· The Mysterious Melchizedek came to meet Abram and to feast with him
· The Meaning of what happened at the meeting with Melchizedek
· The Old Testament ‘law’ of tithing in the context of Jesus’ New Testament Covenant
THE NEW TESTAMENT COVENANT DIFFERS DRASTICALLY FROM THE OLD TESTAMENT COVENANT
Personal faith is the first and most important requirement of redemption, salvation, and blessing in Christ. The physical or national Old Testament feasts and covenants pertained to the Old Hebrew nation as a whole. They were never meant for Gentile or non-Hebrew nations, but some of them do relate to Jesus’ New Testament/Covenant atonement and body of believers in a figurative sense, (Heb. 8:6-13; 9:15; 1 Pet. 2:9-10.)
It is important to understand that the Old Testament Covenant foreshadowed the spiritual content and regulations of the New Testament Covenant and was “done away” with or annulled at the cross to establish Jesus’ Eternal New Testament Covenant, (Heb. 8:13; chapters 7-9.) All the Old Testament events were recorded for us “as examples, [how to keep God’s Moral Law and not old temple, ritual or ceremonial laws,] so we should not lust after evil things as they also lusted... and become idolaters as were some of them…” (Heb. 10:1; 8:5; 7:22, 18-19; 1 Cor. 10:6-14.)
Furthermore, God does “not dwell in temples made with [human] hands…” (Acts 7:47-48.) His New Covenant temple is the entire blood-cleansed, believing body of Christ, (1 Cor. 6:15-20.)
Þ Therefore, it is completely unscriptural to apply any of the Old Testament covenant’s outward, ceremonial, temple laws to Jesus’ Scripturally born again, New Testament/Covenant temple of believers. E.g., the masonic murderer and secret Mary worshipper John Calvin translated the Old Testament, physical circumcision for Hebrew babies into his so-called “covenant of circumcision” for his Dutch and other Reformed Churches as their ‘baptism’ of babies.
THE DUAL OLD TESTAMENT LAW
During the Old Testament Covenant, God dealt with His physical or national nation, Old Israel, according to both the Ceremonial and Moral Law. The Ceremonial or Ritual Law pertained to everything tangible: the physical old temple, its physical sacrifices, physical priesthood, physical precepts of the law such as tithing, etcetera. The Moral Law is God’s eternal and unchangeable Royal Law of Love, written on the heart (or human spirit) of every person on earth, (Rom. 2:12-16; 1 Ths. 5:23.) However, during the New Testament dispensation, God deals differently with His New Covenant believers, who were bought with the blood of Jesus from every tribe, tongue, and nation; believing Hebrews included. At Pentecost, His spiritual nation of believers themselves became the unchangeable spiritual temple of the Holy Spirit. (1 Pt. 2:9-10; 1 Cor. 6:15-20.)
As such, all the ceremonial or ritual laws, and everything physical that pertained to the Old Covenant temple, “became obsolete and vanished away” at the cross and with Jesus’ resurrection from the grave, (Heb. 8:13; 9:15.)
The Old Testament was the Covenant of the Dual Law for the Old Hebrews, (Gal. 3:10-14.)
The New Testament is the Covenant of Grace through Jesus Christ for all sincere believers worldwide, (Heb. 1:1-3.)
Jesus fully fulfilled both the old ceremonial temple law and the Moral Law in our place, (Mt. 5:17.)
Then, Jesus commanded only one law to govern His spiritual body of believers: the inward Moral Law of Love and all its precepts, as taught in the entire Bible, but especially under His eternal New Covenant, (Gal. 2:19-21; Jn. 13:34-35.)
We can never and must never attempt to return to the Old Covenant with its physical structures and ceremonial laws.
THE CURSE OF THE LAW IS A SPIRITUAL POSITION OR PLACE WITHOUT JESUS CHRIST
Every creature of God lives under His universal Law and His universal Law judges every creature, (Rom. 2:14-16.)
Satan coaxed humanity into transgressing the Law in Eden because, through their disobedience, he managed to lure them away from their Godly condition, position or place of spiritual life and blessing in the Garden. Before the fall, Adam and Eve lived in a position of spiritual, emotional, and physical wholeness and well-being. They occupied a complete blessed state in God. However, Adam and Eve fell from this position of life and blessedness when they disobeyed God.
Thus, the curse of God’s Law does not merely pertain to our finances or our outward condition in this world, as some would like to believe. Peter described humankind’s condition of sin without Christ and called them “cursed children,” (2 Pt. 2:14.) Adam and Eve’s disobedience in Eden transgressed God’s entire holy Law and gave Satan the legal right to keep all of humanity in a state, place, or position of bondage, sin, and cursedness without God, (Rom. 5:12-13.)
Þ Therefore, the curse of the Law as described in Deuteronomy Chapter 28, just as the state of bondage and sin, is a spiritual place without God. This condition of cursedness, which began with humanity’s sudden spiritual death in the Garden in Eden, gradually extended to every aspect of their lives on earth. Even the richest and most popular unbelievers still live in a condition of cursedness. From a human standpoint, no one can do anything to rectify this.
According to Deut. 28, a single act of disobedience caused Old Israelis to transgress the entire Law and fall under every facet of its curse. To remain in God’s blessing and receive His favor, the Old Hebrews had to adhere to every aspect of the Dual Law, the ceremonial or ritual temple laws as well as the Moral Law written on their hearts – which was completely impossible for them to do. Jam. 2:10, “Whoever keeps the whole law but stumble in one point, is guilty of all.”
Þ To break this cursed position and to bring humankind back to their blessed position in God, Jesus had to pay the total price, which the Dual Law demands. As soon as Jesus paid the price in full at the moment when He sighed, “It is finished,” Satan had to set all of sincerely believing humankind free. But note that humanity is not saved ‘automatically.’ As Adam and Eve used their free will and chose to sin against God in the garden, so humanity has to personally believe in Jesus Christ and choose the redemption, salvation, and blessing, which can only be found in Him, (Jn. 1:12-13; Gal. 4:6.)
Jesus’ redemptive mission, therefore, was to fulfil the entire Law of God, (His Ceremonial and Moral Law), thereby doing the entire will of God in the place of all humanity, (Mt. 5:17-19.) Hence, Jesus stated in Mt. 15:9, “Uselessly do they worship Me, for they teach as doctrines the commands of men.” And His servant Paul commanded in Col. 2:8, “See to it that no one carries you off as spoil or makes you captive by his [church] philosophy, intellectualism, and vain deceit, following human tradition, men’s ideas of the material rather than the spiritual world; crude notions following the rudimentary and elemental teachings of the universe and disregarding the [spiritual] teachings of Christ.”
Þ All those who choose to accept Jesus as their Christ, also choose to accept His fulfilment of the Dual Law in their place. The just Judge of the universe finds all those “not guilty,” who fulfil the entire Dual Law through the complete atonement of their Christ. Once vindicated from all our transgressions of the Dual Law, we can stand “justified” before the throne of God as if we have never sinned, and God will accept us wholeheartedly as He did with sinless Adam and Eve before the fall, (Rom. 8:1-4, 10:4; Heb. 10:14; Jer. 23:6; 1 Jn. 1:7-9.)
The price that broke humankind’s position of cursedness was, therefore, the same price that broke our state of bondage and sin. Hence, the blood of Jesus had to be shed, His body had to be bruised, and He had to become a curse in our place, (Gal. 3:10-14; Jn. 10:10; Isa. 53:3-5.) For this reason - praise God - Paul could proclaim in Gal. 3:6-14 that every genuine, New Testament believer in Christ inherits (or freely receives) the complete spiritual position of blessedness, into which Adam and Eve were created before The Fall! Of course, the sin polluted mind still has to be renewed to know God’s will, (Rom. 12:1-3.)
Þ In the light of the New Covenant, Deuteronomy Chapter 28 also declares the following to all those who sincerely chose to accept Jesus as their Personal Redeemer or Deliverer, Savior, and Blessor, “All these blessings shall come upon you and overtake you: Blessed shall you be in the city and in the field, in the fruit of your body and the fruit of your ground and the increase of your cattle and the young of your flock, in your basket and your kneading trough… when you come in and… when you go out. The Lord shall cause your enemies who rise up against you to be defeated before your face; they shall come out against you one way and flee before you seven ways. The Lord shall command the blessing upon you in your storehouse and in all that you undertake. He will bless you in the place that He gives you [to inhabit.] He will establish you as a [spiritual nation] holy to Himself... [1 Pet. 2:9-10.]”
As nothing and no one else could atone for humankind’s position of cursedness, no other sacrifice would ever be acceptable to God. “If it is the adherents of the Law, [or the so-called ‘predestined’ Hebrews or certain Christian denominations,] who are to be the heirs [of redemption, salvation, and blessing], then faith is made futile and empty of all meaning, and the promise of God, [to old Abraham in Gen. 15:5-10,17,] is made void and has no power.” None of us can come into a right standing with God, [fulfil the Dual Law and earn righteousness], or earn even one of His blessings by keeping any [or, if it were possible, all] of His commandments, (Gal. 2:20-21.)
THE MYSTERIOUS MELCHIZEDEK CAME TO MEET ABRAM AND TO FEAST WITH HIM
If we can say anything about Melchizedek, the Wonderful King of Salem, it is that He is God, Christ Jesus Himself, (Heb. 1:1-14.) This is evident from the fact that Jesus is the Eternal High Priest of His New Testament priesthood of believers. Jesus is the Eternal High Priest after the Order of the spiritual priesthood of Melchizedek, not after the human hierarchical order of Levi as the Old Covenant priests were. Together with the Old Covenant, God also annulled the Old temple with its Levitical priesthood to inaugurate His new spiritual priesthood of sincere believers, who, together, form the spiritual temple and spiritual nation of God, (1 Pt. 2:9-10; 1 Cor. 3:16-17, Heb. 7:11-28.)
Þ There can never and will never be another human high priest, just as there will never be another church or temple priesthood. That old temple system was entirely done away with in Christ, (Heb. 8:13; Chapters 7-9.)
Þ The writer of Heb. 7:1-3 explained, “For this Melchizedek, King of Salem, Priest of the Most High God, Who met Abram returning from the slaughter of the kings and blessed him, to whom also Abram gave a tenth part of all [Abram's spoils of war not his earnings,] first being translated ‘king of righteousness,’ and then also ‘king of Salem,’ meaning, ‘king of peace,’ without father, without mother, without genealogy, having neither beginning of days nor end of life, but made like the Son of God [or born as a mere human,] remains [The Eternal] High Priest continually.”
Þ What is significant about Abram’s tithe to Melchizedek in Genesis 14, is that this meeting does not command New Testament tithing to ‘buy’ blessing from Melchizedek, as false prosperity teachers allege.
In this passage, Abram actually foreshadowed the physical Old Testament temple priesthood, while the physical king and priest Melchizedek foreshadowed Jesus’ New Covenant position as Eternal High Priest of a different, spiritual priesthood, (1 Pt. 2:9-10.) Prosperity teachers twist the deep spiritual meaning of what happened in this passage, just as they mix and confuse the different Old and New Testament covenants to bring people into bondage to the ousted Old Testament law of tithing, among other things, (Heb. 8:6-13, 9:15.) “Even Levi, who received [physical] tithes through Abram, so to speak, paid [Old Covenant] tithes through Abram, for Levi was still in the loins of his father when Melchizedek met him. But now [Jesus] has obtained a more excellent ministry, inasmuch as He is also Mediator of a better covenant, which was established on better promises. For if the first covenant had been faultless, then no place would have been sought for a second… In that He says “a New Covenant,” He has made the first obsolete… to vanish away,” (Heb. 7:4-28.)
THE MEANING OF WHAT HAPPENED DURING THAT MEETING WITH MELCHIZEDEK: THE OLD AND NEW COVENANTS WERE SHOWCASED THERE
It was not to earn blessing that Abram gave a tenth of his spoils of war. The truth about all church doctrine is always there, in the context of the Testament, chapter, and verses. Hebrew 7:6-17 plainly states, “[When he met Melchizedek, he was immediately blessed by him,] although Abram already had the promises. Now, beyond all contradiction the lesser, [the Old Testament Covenant with its mortal priesthood,] is blessed by the better, [the New Covenant with its Eternal High Priest and spiritual priesthood.] Here, [under the Old Covenant] mortal men receive tithes [to be accepted,] but there, [under the New Covenant,] God receives them [through their faith in Him,] of whom it is witnessed that He lives [eternally.]”
So, this meeting actually symbolizes the very different Old and New Testaments! It symbolizes Old Testament, outward “giving to God” versus New Testament “God giving His Son,” as His full and eternal blessing to them!
Þ True believers, “who already have all the promises in Christ” just as Old Abram had, (Gal. 3:10-14,) must be willing, constant, living, New Covenant sacrifices to God, which is “their reasonable [or normal] service to Him,” (Rom. 12:1-3.) At their rebirth, they received complete redemption, salvation, and blessing in Christ, (Gal. 3:10-14.) They can never sacrifice anything to earn anything from God under the New Covenant — not even all their goods or their own bodies, (Gal. 2:19-21; 1 Cor. 13:3.) God freely gave us Himself in the form of His only begotten Son; all of His love; all of His life; all of His atonement in our place. He took care of everything we owed; all our bondage, lostness, sin, and cursedness... So, Jesus wants us, not just our goods. To give our goods in His service to glorify His Name is necessary — but to give things such as ‘tithing’ instead of simply giving ourselves to Him in totality, is a gross insult to God’s New Covenant Love for us, which He proved through His incomprehensible atonement in our place!
Instead of confirming the practice of New Testament ‘tithing,’ the context of this passage, described in Genesis 14:10-21, destroys that outward, literal, Old Covenant doctrine and reveals God’s New Covenant, spiritual truth in Jesus Christ.
Lot and other inhabitants of Sodom were taken captive by a cartel of evil kings. When Abram, not only wealthy but a remarkable military man too, heard this, he led his servant-soldiers in battle and brought back Lot, the other captives, and the goods the kings had stolen. On his return, the king from the conquered city Sodom went out to thank and honor Abram.
· Then, the scene changes and tells how Abram attended a feast of bread and wine, (just as in the New Testament Lord’s Supper,) prepared by king Melchizedek, who was also a “priest of God Most High.”
· As priest, king Melchizedek blessed Abram spontaneously as He greeted him, and also blessed the Most High God, Who has delivered Abram’s enemies into his hand. Then, Abram gave king Melchizedek a tenth of all his spoils of war.
Note that primarily, Abram’s motive to battle against the kings was not for personal gain or self-enrichment, but because of his love and concern for Lot and the other captives. He refused to take even a ‘shoelace’ from the spoils of war, in case someone related his full blessedness by grace, to tithing or any other outward practice. His motive to deliver them was to obey God’s Moral Law of Love to glorify Him, not to do ceremonial offerings such as tithing to receive ‘blessing’ by supposedly “appeasing” God as people do in the occult! Let us remember that Abram already had God’s full blessing; and became the spiritual “father” of all true believers who are fully blessed in Christ, (Gal. 3:10-18.)
The Real New Testament ‘spoil’ of spiritual battles, (as in the case of Abram’s meeting with king Melchizedek,) are the souls of those whom God entrusted to us by His the grace. We must, as His instruments, be grateful for every opportunity to rescue them from the clutches of the devil by preaching His one and only Scriptural Truth to them, (Mt. 28:18-20.) And of course, to do the other Moral works of love required by the Holy Spirit, which also glorify His Wonderful Name.
· In response to the priest Melchizedek’s spontaneous blessing, which came first, Abram then gave Melchizedek a tenth of his spoils of war. He did this in thanksgiving to God for victory over evil and for the blessing that the priest Melchizedek bestowed on him when they met, not to get rich!
· Abram’s encounter with the royal priest Melchizedek was not about Abram’s religious works — just as our meeting with God is not about the false gospel of New Testament tithing, our personal ‘good’ works, or so-called ‘redeeming,’ ‘saving,’ and ‘blessing’ church ‘sacraments!’
No one can ‘earn’ merits from God to enter into His ‘all inclusive’ New Testament Covenant in Christ — meaning Jesus, at the cross, already ‘earned’ everything we will need, (Gal. 3:10-14.)
No one can keep a single statute of the Dual or Two-part Old Covenant Law, (the ceremonial temple laws and the inward Moral Law,) to ‘join’ God’s Kingdom or to ‘gain’ His salvation, redemption, salvation, and blessing, (Gal. 2:21.) Under the New Covenant of Grace, all sincere disciples of Christ must be spiritually born into Jesus Christ Himself, as clarified in Galatians Chapters 2-4, and in Romans chapters 2-3.
· Of course, we all have to “give [freely] from the heart” as the Holy Spirit leads us to do — and this does not relate to giving money only. We must give without counting how much we will get back, everything, which God asks of us. Everything belongs to God in any case and was merely entrusted to us. Spirit-led giving of ourselves, even our very lives, (Rom. 12:1-3,) our time, our prayers, our Godly wisdom, our Holy Spirit entrusted gifts, our charity, etcetera, are all ‘giving’ to advance the True, Spiritual Kingdom of God and to provide for the children of God, (the spiritual priesthood of Melchizedek,) not to foster false church systems, (1 Pt. 2:9-10.) Giving God’s Way versus legalistic and thus unbiblical ‘New Testament’ tithing, are two distinctly different attitudes, motives, and gospels!
THE OLD TESTAMENT LAW OF TITHING IN THE CONTEXT OF JESUS’ NEW TESTAMENT COVENANT
Under the New Testament Covenant of the Moral Law, “God desires mercy and not [literal] sacrifice,” (Mt. 9:13.)
· We must “walk in love, which is an offering and a sacrifice to God for a sweet-smelling aroma,” (Eph. 5:2.)
· We are required to “continually offer the sacrifice of praise to God… the fruit of our lips… And do not forget to do good and to share, for with such sacrifices God is well pleased,” (Heb. 13:15.)
· True believers are “living stones… a spiritual dwelling [or temple] of the Holy Spirit, and a [spiritual] holy priesthood, who must offer up spiritual sacrifices acceptable to God through Jesus Christ,” (1 Pt. 2:5.)
· “Concerning the ministering to the saints… [not Old Testament tithing] he who sows bountifully will also reap bountifully. So, let each one [freely] give, [which has nothing to do with tithing] as he purposes in his heart, not grudgingly or of necessity…” (2 Cor. 9:1-8.) Even giving is not a requirement; it shows our willing love for God and people. So, Jesus commanded to continue in His Moral Law of Love, the only New Covenant law, to glorify Him, (Jn. 13:34.) We cannot say we love Jesus if we do not practically, in deed and truth, love people, (Mt. 25:31-46.)
· James boldly declared, “What will it profit if someone says he has faith but does not have works [of love according to the Moral Law? Instead, false teachers bind outward, so-called sacrifice to God to their love of money!] Was Abraham not justified by works when he, [in loving obedience to God,] offered Isaac on the altar? [When did you hear a sermon on spiritually and emotionally sacrificing those whom you love dearly to keep God as the highest priority in your life?] Do you see that faith was working together with his [Moral] works, and by [Moral] works of faith he was made perfect? …You see then that a man is justified by works [of the Moral Law] and not by faith only… For as the body without the spirit is dead, so faith without works [of the Holy Spirit-led, Moral Law] is dead also.” (James 2:1-26.)
According to these works of Moral obedience will be the ‘crowns,’ which sincere, obedient disciples or followers of Jesus will ultimately receive from Christ — with the difference that, as everything already belongs to Him, we will give everyone and everything to Jesus to crown our King during our lives on earth and on That Day when we see our God!
Related article: “New Testament Tithing and excessive giving