You shall know the truth and the truth shall set you free
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
· During the Old Testament Dispensation, the Hebrews were God’s physical nation
· 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 Spiritual Meaning of what happened at the meeting with Melchizedek
· The New Testament/Covenant “law” of Tithing in the Context of Jesus’ New Testament Covenant
THE NEW TESTAMENT COVENANT DIFFERS DRASTICALLY FROM THE OLD TESTAMENT COVENANT
The reason why we should study the Old Testament, (as all sincere believers belong to the covenant of the New Testament,) is because the physical temple, priesthood, wars, etc. of the Old Testament Covenant, merely foreshadowed all the spiritual regulations of the New Testament Covenant. Thus, all these Old Testament happenings were recorded for us “as examples, [how to keep God’s Moral and not old temple, ceremonial laws,] to the intent that 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.) Therefore, it is completely unscriptural to apply any of the Old Testament covenants to Jesus’ Scripturally born again, New Testament/Covenant believers. (Physical, outward laws such as the so-called “covenant of circumcision,” which the Dutch Reformed Church and other Calvinists turned into the ‘baptism of babies.’)
All the physical or national Old Testament covenants pertained to the Old Hebrew nation as a whole and can only relate to Jesus’ New Covenant, body of spiritual believers in a figurative sense, thereby fitting into the full context of God’s New Covenant for all of humankind on a global scale, (Heb. 8:6-13; 9:15; 1 Pet. 2:9-10.) For example: God cut a blood covenant with Abram in Gen. 15 to establish a national covenant, which would make him the physical ‘father’ of a multitude of Hebrew descendants, and He gave the land between the rivers of Egypt and the Euphrates as their physical country. The entire bulk of Old Testament Covenant promises and structures rest on this national covenant with the Old Hebrew nation. However, in Gen. 17:1-7, God made a second “everlasting” covenant with Abram, renaming him “Abraham;” extending his spiritual offspring of sincere believers internationally to “many [or in fact all] nations,” not only to believing Old Hebrews. This prophecy became a reality when God “made the first, [national or Hebraic] covenant obsolete to establish His New Covenant in Christ… [Everything physical — a physical nation, temple, altar, country, rituals, priesthood... in the Old Testament Covenant] “became obsolete, and vanished away” when Jesus died, was risen from the dead, and ascended to heaven. (All non-Hebrews are Gentiles.) This promise was fulfilled in Jn. 1:11-13; Gal. 4:6; Rom. 1:16; 4, 1 Cor. 12:13; Gal. 3:26-29; 13-14; Heb. 7:13; 11:12-13. Hence, Peter wrote in 1 Pt. 2:9-10, “[People who want to place themselves under the Old Hebraic Covenant; rejecting Jesus, God and Christ of the Everlasting New Covenant,] stumble, being disobedient to the Word… But you [true believers from all nations] are a chosen generation, [because God chose to love the whole world and gave Jesus to pay for all sin, but only those, who personally accept this great Gift, are His chosen generation of global believers,] a royal priesthood, a holy [spiritual] nation, His own special people, that you may proclaim the praises of Him who called our [completely] our of darkness [and fully] into His marvellous [spiritual Kingdom] of light.”
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 and priesthood, and physical precepts of the law such as tithing, etc. 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 Testament “Israel;” spiritually born from every tribe, tongue, and nation. His spiritual nation of believers themselves became the spiritual temple of the Holy Spirit. As such, all the ceremonial or ritual laws, and everything physical that pertained to the Old Covenant temple, “became obsolete and vanished away,” (Heb. 8:13; 9:15.)
The New Testament is the Covenant of Grace through God’s Savior, Christ Jesus, (Heb. 1:1-2.)
Jesus fulfilled both the ceremonial and Moral Law in our place, (Mt. 5:17.)
We can never and must never attempt to return to the Old Covenant with its physical structures and ceremonial laws. 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 context of the entire Bible, but especially under the New Covenant in Christ, (Gal. 2:19-21; Jn. 13:34-35.)
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 humankind into transgressing the Law in Eden, because through their disobedience, the devil managed to lure humanity 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 condition of spiritual, emotional, and physical wholeness and well-being — they occupied a complete, blessed state in God. However, Adam and Even 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 Pet. 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 sin and cursedness without God, (Rom. 5:12-13.)
Therefore, the curse of the Law, just as the state of sin, is a spiritual place without God. This dreadful condition of cursedness, which began with humankind’s sudden spiritual death in the Garden in Eden, gradually extended to every aspect of their lives on earth. As it happened in Eden, only a single act of disobedience caused Old Israel to transgress the entire Law and fall under every facet of its curse, as described in Deut. 28. To remain in God’s blessing and receive God’s favour, the Old Testament 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.
To break this cursed position and to bring humankind back to their complete, blessed position in God, Jesus had to pay the total ransom fee, which the Dual Law demands. As soon as Jesus paid the price in full, Satan had to set humankind free. However, 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 salvation, redemption and blessing, which can only be found in Him, (Jn. 1:12-13; Ga. 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.) During this mission, Jesus never took much notice of the doctrines of men but stated in Mt. 15:9, “Uselessly do they worship Me, for they teach as doctrines the commands of men.” Thus, 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 co-called philosophy and 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.”
All those who choose to accept Jesus as their Christ personally, 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 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 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. 53:4-5.) Through His fulfilment of the Dual Law, (the ceremonial or ritual law AND the moral law,) Jesus bought back our entire state of salvation, redemption and blessing, as also described in Deut. 28. For this reason - praise God! - Paul could proclaim in Gal. 3:6-14 that every genuine, New Testament believer in Christ inherits, (come into, or receive freely) the complete position of blessedness, into which Adam and Eve were created before The Fall!
“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 people holy to Himself, [1 Pet. 2:9-10...] He shall make you the head and not the tail…”
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’ Jews or certain Christian denominations], who are to be the heirs [of salvation and blessing], then faith is made futile and empty of all meaning, and the promise of God, [Gen. 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.
Under the Old Covenant, every aspect of the curse comes upon everyone that does not abide to all the requirements of the Dual Law, and none of us is able to keep the law in its entirety. Keeping only certain parts of the Law, especially parts of the old, outward, Ceremonial Law, can never buy any salvation or blessing from God; in reality, it buys only the entire curse! Any attempt to earn salvation and blessing by works, is the attempt to add to Jesus’ completed work at Calvary. Our attempt to add to Jesus’ work, declares that His atonement for us was insufficient. Therefore, through legalistic works, we reject the grace of God in Christ, and thus, we reject Jesus Himself and His full atonement in our place, (Gal. 3:10-14; 2:21.)
THE MYSTERIOUS MELCHIZEDEK CAME TO MEET ABRAM AND TO FEAST WITH HIM
If we can say anything about Melchizedek, it is that He is God, Christ Jesus Himself, (Heb. 1:1-3.) 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 human priesthood to inaugurate His new spiritual priesthood of sincere believers, who, together, from the spiritual temple and spiritual nation of God, (1 Pt. 2:9-10; 1 Cor. 3:16-17, Heb. 7:11-28.)
There can never and will never be another human high priest, just as there will never be another human priesthood. That old temple system was entirely done away with in Christ. (Heb. Chapters 7-9.)
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,] 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, remains [The Eternal High Priest] continually.”
What is significant about Abram’s tithe to Melchizedek in Gen. 14, is that this meeting does not command New Testament tithing to ‘buy’ blessing from Melchizedek, as false prosperity teachers allege.
In this passage, Abraham actually foreshadowed the physical Old Testament temple-covenant priesthood, while Melchizedek foreshadowed His New Testament Covenant as High Priest of a different, spiritual priesthood. 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, (Heb. 8:6-13, 9:15.) “Even Levi, who received [physical] tithes through Abraham, so to speak, paid [Old Covenant] tithes through Abraham, 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 SPIRITUAL MEANING OF WHAT HAPPENED AT THAT MEETING WITH MELCHIZEDEK
Whether Old Testament Abram would have tithed to Melchizedek or not, it was not to earn blessing that he gave a tenth of the spoils of war. Heb. 7:6-17 plainly states, “[When He met Melchizedek, He was blessed by that meeting,] but he 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 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.]” True believers themselves are living, New Covenant sacrifices to God, (Rom. 12:1-2.) At their rebirth, they received complete salvation, redemption and blessing in Christ, (Gal. 3:10-14.) They can never sacrifice anything to earn anything under the New Covenant, (Gal. 2:19-21.)
The context of this passage, described in Gen. 14:10-21, reveals more spiritual truth
Lot and other inhabitants of Sodom were taken captive by a bandit 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 honor Abram.
· Then, Scripture mysteriously changes the scene and tells how Abram attended a feast of bread and wine, (just as in the New Testament Lord’s Supper,) prepared by the mystical King Melchizedek, “priest of God Most High.”
· 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 Melchizedek a tenth of all his spoils of war.
Note that primarily, Abram’s motive to war against the kings was not for personal gain or self-enrichment, but because of his love and concern for his kinsman Lot and the other captives. His sole motive to go to war was to obey God’s Moral Law of Love, not to do ceremonial offerings such as tithing to God!
· Spiritually, we can relate Abram’s motive to rescue Lot and the other captives to our preaching of the Gospel, and the teaching of the truth of God’s Word, to save spiritual captives from Satan’s stranglehold.
· In response to Melchizedek’s spontaneous, divine blessing, which came first, Abram then gave Melchizedek a tenth of all his spoils of war. He did this in thanksgiving for victory and the blessing that Melchizedek had already bestowed on him when they met!
· Abram’s encounter with 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 ‘saving’ and ‘blessing’ church ‘sacraments!’
No one can ‘earn’ merits with God to enter into His New Testament Covenant in Christ.
No one can keep a single statue of the Dual or Two-part Law to ‘join’ God’s Kingdom, or ‘gain’ His salvation, redemption and blessing, (Gal. 2:21.) Under the Covenant of Grace, ALL sincere disciples of Christ have to be born spiritually into Jesus Christ Himself, as clarified in Galatians Chapters 2-4, and in Rom. chapters 2-4.
Of course we all have to “give [freely] from the heart AS the Holy Spirit leads us.” This does not relate to giving our money only. We have to give without counting how much we will get back, everything, which God asks of us. Spirit-led giving of ourselves, even our very lives, (Rom. 12:1-2,) our time, our prayers, our Godly wisdom, our Holy Spirit entrusted gifts, our charity, etc., are all ‘giving’ to advance the True, Spiritual Kingdom of God and to provide for the spiritual children of God, (the priesthood of Melchizedek,) not to foster the false church systems of Satan. Giving God’s Way versus legalistic ‘New Testament’ tithing, are two distinctly different attitudes, motives, and gospels!
THE OLD TESTAMENT LAW OF TITHING IN THE CONTEXT OF NEW TESTAMENT COMMANDMENTS
· Under the New Testament Covenant of Moral Law, “God desires mercy and not physical sacrifice,” (Mt. 9:13.)
· We have to “walk in love, 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.)
· “As living stones… [all sincere believers are] a spiritual dwelling of the Holy Spirit, a holy priesthood, offering up spiritual sacrifices acceptable to God through Jesus Christ,” (1 Pt. 2:5.)
· “Concerning the ministering to the saints… he who sows bountifully will also reap bountifully. So, let each one GIVE, [which has nothing to do with tithing!] as he purposes in his heart, not grudgingly or of necessity…” (2 Cor. 9:1, 6-8.)
· James declared boldly, ‘What will it profit if someone say he has faith but does not have works [of love according to the Moral Law? Instead, false teachers bind ‘sacrifice’ 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 Royal Law of Love,] 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.)
Spiritually, and in context of the New Testament Covenant dispensation, we can view Abram’s ‘tenth’ of the spoils of war, as a symbol of our Holy Spirit-led works of love for Christ. Among these truly Moral works will be the ‘crowns,’ which sincere, obedient disciples or followers of Jesus will ultimately receive from Christ — with the difference that, as everything belongs to Him already, we will give back to Him everyone and everything to crown our King, that day when we see Jesus! The Real New Testament ‘spoil’ of spiritual warfare (as in the case of Abram’s meeting with Melchizedek,) are the souls of those whom God, in His infinite grace, gave us the mercy to rescue from the clutches of the evil one by preaching HIS truth to them!