You shall know the truth and the truth shall set you free
deadly type of sin, (humanity’s position of lostness and cursedness outside the presence of God,) Jesus had to fight sin in the spiritual, as well as in the physical realms. Therefore, the Lord Jesus did not expect any of His creatures, not even the angels, to fight this battle for Him.
“Jesus, being in the form of God, thought it not robbery to be equal with God, but made Himself of no reputation and took upon Him the form of a servant, and was made in the likeness of men. And being found in fashion as a man, He humbled Himself and became obedient unto death, even the death of the cross.” - Phil. 2:6-8.
God the Father “begot” (not created) His Son Jesus, Who became a human being, and He used an ordinary young woman to bring His Son into this world. Not to take over her whole existence as the devil did with Eve, but to redeem her and her entire human race from the unholy siege that occurred in Eden, Jn. 1:14; Heb. 1:5; Jn. 3:16-18.
The main reason for Jesus’ incarnation and His ultimate humiliation at Calvary was to recreate the relationship between fallen humankind and their holy God. As a result, Jesus said in Jn. 17:3, “This is life eternal, that they might [personally] know You, the only true God, and Jesus Christ, Whom You have sent.”
One can only know another through a personal meeting, acceptance of each other, and growth in a personal relationship.
The opposite, not to know God, is to never meet Him personally, and thus to live without a relationship with Him.
“God will punish those who do not know or perceive or become acquainted with Him,” Paul declared in 2 Ths. 1:8, “and those who ignore Him and refuse to obey the [truly Scriptural] Gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ.”
WHY JESUS CAME TO FULFIL BOTH THE CEREMONIAL AND MORAL LAW IN OUR PLACE
God commanded in 2 Cor. 13:5, “[Unless you are counterfeits], you will examine and test and evaluate yourselves to see whether you are holding to [the correct] faith and showing the proper fruits of it.”
If we, as sincere believers, wish to test our beliefs, (even those that seem sacred to us, as they were ingrained into our very being through our inherited culture,) God’s full, contextual Word remains our only reliable directive.
Most nations would like to believe that they, too, are more special to God than other nations - or that they descend from a so-called ‘lost tribe’ of Old Israel, therefore they were ‘foreordained’ to inherit salvation and can live any which way they choose. However, the New Testament dispensation makes it clear that, except for the Hebrews, God never chose any other PHYSICAL race, nation, or denomination to be His PHYSICAL nation on earth, (Jn. 3:16-21; 1:12-13; Tit. 2:11; Rev. 5:9; 7:9.) One of the most misinterpreted portions of the Bible is Rom. 11, which explains God’s plan for the Hebrews and the way in which both born again Jews and non-Jewish believers fit into the New Testament Kingdom of Christ.
It is sound Scriptural fact that all the ritual commandments of the Ceremonial, outward Law of the Old Testament concerned the Hebrew nation only. In the New Testament, the only part of Old Testament law applicable to believers under God’s New Covenant in Christ, is Jesus’ “New Commandment,” the (Old Testament) Moral Law of Love, (Mt. 22:36-40; Jn. 13:34.) As none of the Hebrews or even the Gentiles were, or are capable of keeping the law in its entirety, Jesus came to fulfil the entire law in our place, (both the ceremonial and Moral Law,) so that we can stand guiltless before the throne of God as if we had never broken any precept of the entire Law! (Mt. 5:17; Gal. 2:19-21; Acts 13:38-39.)
When Jesus cried on the cross, “IT IS FINISHED,” He really meant what He declared. At the moment Jesus died, His work for ALL those who would choose to accept Him personally was COMPLETE; NOW, AND FOREVER MORE! Jesus had paid the price in FULL for our entire born again state, or position of salvation, redemption, and blessing in Christ. Hence, not a single work of ours will ever be able to contribute to our salvation, redemption, blessing, or entry into heaven. We will only be able to enter into heaven because of JESUS’ FULL atonement, (His entire fulfilment of the Dual Old Testament Law) in our place! As a result, our ‘good’ works of love for God and man have only one purpose — to glorify and honour God and to build His spiritual Kingdom in the hearts and minds of all those who would sincerely accept and follow Him. Even our best works are incapable of earning us even one moment in heaven — or a tiny grain of His blessings, (1 Cor. 13.) EVERYTHING we receive from God the Father comes through the mercy, which He provided for us in His Son Jesus Christ!
Consequently, as Jesus’ sincerely believing disciples, Jesus will NEVER require of us to fulfil any outward, ceremonial or ritual commandment of the Old Testament law that pertained to the old temple dispensation and its norms and forms.
That is why Jesus and all His New Testament Bible writers commanded only ONE part of the Dual Old Testament Law — the Moral, or Royal Law of Love!
Our entire life in Christ revolves around LOVE for God, which has to manifest in obedience to His Moral Law, in love for the truth of His Word, and for our fellow man. In God’s view, outward religious works, (or temple/church service,) means absolutely nothing, expect maybe, to separate us dangerously from His entire grace in Christ to erect our own type of legalistic salvation, redemption and blessing! (Gal. 2:21.)
In fact, keeping certain parts of the Old Testament CEREMONIAL Law, (such as tithing,) brings us back under the entire curse of the Law as explained in Deut. 28, robbing us from our freedom in Christ. Hence, Paul warned in Gal. 5:1; 3:10-14, “Stand fast therefore in the liberty by which Christ has made us free, and do not be entangled again with a yoke of ‘legalistic’ bondage… For as many, as are of the works of the law are under the curse… Cursed is everyone who does not continue in ALL things, which are written in the book of the law, do them… I do not set aside the grace of God; for if righteousness [and blessing] comes through the Law, then Christ has died in vain,” [Gal. 3:10-14; 2:20-21. Read chapters 2 and 3 of Galatians to clarify the function of the Old Testament Law during the New Testament dispensation.]
THE MYSTERIOUS MELCHIZEDEK, THE LORD JESUS CHRIST, CAME TO MEET ABRAM AND TO FEAST WITH HIM
The writer of Heb. 7:1-3 declared, “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 money Abram had earned working,] 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 HIGH] PRIEST continually.”
Most importantly, Abram’s tithe to Melchizedek in Gen. 14 did NOT inaugurate tithing to ‘buy’ the blessing from Melchizedek. Neither does it remain an example of New Testament tithing, as false prosperity teachers allege. They twist the sequence of what was happening in this passage, just as they mix and confuse the different Old and New Testament dispensations or covenants to their own advantage to bring people into bondage to the Old Testament law of tithing — and to their own law of excessive giving to earn blessing.
Whether Old Testament Abram would have tithed to Melchizedek or not, it was not to earn blessing, as he was already fully blessed by this priestly king! Most importantly, Abram tithed the spoils of war to Melchizedek from his position of blessedness in Christ even before the Old Testament temple, or the law of tithing was established!
The context of this passage, described in Gen. 14:10-21, reveals the 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 all the goods the enemy kings had stolen. On his return, the king from the conquered city Sodom, went out to honour Abram.
· Then, Scripture 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, not to ‘earn’ the blessing which he already had, but 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.
None can keep a single statue of the 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, 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 True, spiritual children of God, 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!
LET US LOOK FOR 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 SAYS HE HAS FAITH BUT DOES NOT HAVE WORKS [OF LOVE ACCORDING TO THE MORAL LAW?] 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 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!
WHAT WAS ABRAM DOING WHEN HE TITHED TO MELCHIZEDEK?
It is significant to note that Melchizedek’s meeting with Abram happened long before the Old Testament Law or Covenant was given through Moses. Melchizedek was already High Priest and King long before the Old Testament temple dispensation with its physical Levitical priesthood existed; He would be High Priest and King forever after New Testament Calvary. The Old Testament Covenant was an interlude between humanity’s forfeited perfection in Eden and their new, blood-bought perfection in Christ, the New Testament Covenant, which will last for all eternity, (read Hebrews Chapters 7-10!)
Consequently, this meeting between Melchizedek and Abram was the symbolic inception of two completely different Testaments or Covenants, which God was about to make with humanity. Originally, the physical Old Testament temple with its physical laws and priesthood was NOT God’s idea, but came about on insistence of the nation of Old Israel to imitate the pagan temple religions that surrounded them. (The same happened when Israel rejected God as their Theocratic King, insisting on physical kings to govern them, as the pagan nations have. God then gave them the disobedient King Saul to lord over them.) Hence, Stephen said in Acts 7:37-51, “Our fathers had the tabernacle of witness in the wilderness… but Solomon built Him a house. However, the Most High does not dwell in temples made with hands…”
Therefore, when Abram tithed to Melchizedek, he actually foreshadowed the Levitical priesthood of the OLD Testament in a time before the OLD Testament temple with its OLD physical, ceremonial laws and Levitical priesthood existed.
· The Old Levitical priesthood was inaugurated on the basis of physical birthright. (Levite dads were priests, their sons became priests, and so forth.) That is why the writer of Heb. 7:8 wrote, “Levi, who received tithes, PAID TITHES [hundreds of years before they existed as priests] THROUGH ABRAM, so to speak, for LEVI WAS STILL IN THE LOINS OF ABRAM when Melchizedek met him.”
· Melchizedek’s meeting with Abram was NOT because tithing would become a New Testament requirement to blessing in Christ. This physical Old Testament precept of the Levitical law PERISHED through the spiritual ministry of the New Testament Christ. The first or ‘lesser’ of these two Covenants, its temple structure, Levitical law, and its physical priesthood became “OBSOLETE” and “VANISHED AWAY,” (Heb. 8:7-13.)
· Therefore, the entire focus of this passage in Gen. 14 is on Melchizedek as the representative of the spiritual New Testament Covenant, with a prediction of the impending establishment of the Old Testament temple, its Ceremonial Law, and its physical Levitical priesthood.
· As the PHYSICAL Old Testament temple order came before the New Testament, SPIRITUAL temple of sincere believers in Christ, Melchizedek definitely DID NOT recommend Abram as a “DILIGENT TITHER,” as twisters of truth choose to view this once-off event.
· Here, Abram was merely foreshadowed as the type of the Old Testament, Hebrew temple religion and its ceremonial law!
· Because God eventually, on their insistence, allowed Old Israel to build Him a physical temple, the Old Testament commandment to tithe to the physical Levitical priesthood became the ceremonial or ritual ‘money stones’ for the expensive upkeep of the physical Old Testament temple!
THE SPIRITUAL, NEW TESTAMENT PRIESTHOOD OF MELCHIZEDEK
The fact that Abram tithed to Melchizedek, who had already blessed him before they met and again as they met, was unique, as the Levitical priesthood did not bless the Hebrews before they paid temple taxes. Thus, the confirmation of Abram’s blessed position in Melchizedek before the Levitical law of tithing was instituted, also prefigures the spiritual dispensation of Melchizedek that was inaugurated at Calvary, under the New Testament Covenant. This proves the spiritual New Testament Covenant of Melchizedek is so much “GREATER and BETTER” than the Old Testament dispensation of physical temple law, held up by a physical priesthood, dependant on money tithes.
· When Melchizedek met Abram, God also foreshadowed Jesus’ meeting with every sincere believer that would personally choose to follow Him under the New Testament Covenant of grace. As with Melchizedek’s meeting with Abram long before the OLD temple dispensation was inaugurated, the New Testament Melchizedek would also prepare a feast of bread, (the symbol of His broken body,) and wine, (the symbol of His blood,) for His NEW Testament believers! Consequently, when Melchizedek met Abram, He also demonstrated that Abram would become A-bra-ham, God’s example of Scriptural faith; a very DILIGENT WORSHIPPER and follower of the Lord Jesus Christ.
· Contrary to the physical OLD Testament temple, the NEW Testament, spiritual temple of the Holy Spirit is made of ‘living stones;’ all sincere believers. These “living stones” are the born again believers themselves, (belonging wholly to Christ,) who are cemented into the spiritual temple or body of Christ by His NEW COVENANT OF GRACE; their firm faith in Jesus, and their sincere upholding of the inward, Moral Law of Love, which glorifies God, and proves to which Kingdom they belong!
· Different from Old Testament obedience to the outward ritual or sacramental law, obedience to God’s Moral Law of Love is the mortar, which keeps sincere believers grounded in the spiritual temple of the Holy Spirit, (Read 1 Cor. 3:18-20; Mt. 25:31-40, and Jesus’ warning in Mt. 7:21-24; James 2:14-22.)
The Spirit Filled Bible explains, “Melchizedek is a typical representative of Christ Who is alive forevermore…. The fact that Christ was born of the tribe of Judah not Levi, emphasises the inauguration of [AN ENTIRELY] NEW PRIESTLY ORDER. The priesthood of Christ supersedes [or “betters”] the physical Levitical priesthood…”
It is important to understand that the physical Levitical priesthood, opposed to the spiritual priesthood after the Order of Melchizedek, ministered under a different type of covenant in a completely different dispensation, and with drastically different goals in mind.
· The Old Testament Levitical priesthood, inaugurated through physical decent, ministered nationally to only one specific nation, Old Israel. They had a physical temple and a physical kingdom of God here on earth in mind. As their entire temple dispensation and their Levitical law, this was a temporal priesthood, which was ousted at the inauguration of God’s New Testament Covenant in Christ, (read Hebrews Chapters 7-9.)
· The new Testament priesthood consists of ALL sincere believers in Christ, bought with His own blood from every tongue, tribe, and nation across the globe. Hence, they are an international priesthood. Spiritually, they all descend directly from Melchizedek Himself. They belong to Jesus’ international, spiritual nation. As such, they have God’s eternal, spiritual Kingdom, and the souls of all humanity in mind. These priests of Melchizedek will remain priests forever in Christ.
As Old Testament Abraham, Jesus’ priests after the Order of Melchizedek are not blessed because they tithe to Him, but BECAUSE MELCHIZEDEK MET THEM PERSONALLY AND FEAST WITH THEM ON THE TRUTH OF HIS WORD!
Heb. 7:7-9 teaches, “Now beyond all contradiction [or human arguments] the LESSER IS BLESSED BY THE BETTER.”
1. The ‘lesser,’ which is ‘blessed by the better’ of the two Testaments or dispensations, is the physical Old Testament Covenant of the Ritual or Ceremonial Law, which also pertained to paying tithes to a physical priesthood. It was replaced entirely by the eternal, spiritual, NEW COVENANT IN CHRIST with its MORAL LAW OF LOVE, AND ABSOLUTE FREEDOM FROM THE CEREMONIAL TEMPLE LAWS OF THE LEVITICAL PRIESTHOOD! (Gal. 2:21; 3:10-14; 5:1.)
· Thus, the ‘lesser’ in Abram’s meeting with Melchizedek, is the Old Ceremonial law, or Abram with his tithes.
2. The “Better” of the two Covenants, which “blesses” even the nation from the Old Covenant, (the Hebrews who personally accept Jesus as their Christ,) is the spiritual, New Testament covenant of Grace in Jesus Christ.
· This “Better” High Priest and priesthood, is the eternal, priestly order of Melchizedek, (READ verses Heb. 7:11-28; 1 Pet. 1:9.)
· Just as their ever-living High Priest, the sincerely born again priests of Melchizedek will live and reign forever with Him in His eternal Kingdom and spiritual temple.
Heb. 7:8, “Here [during the OLD Testament dispensation,] mortal men receive tithes, but there, [during the NEW Testament dispensation,] He, [MELCHIZEDEK,] receives them, [JESUS’ BORN AGAIN DISCIPLES WERE RECEIVED AND BLESSED IN TOTALITY THROUGH THEIR REBIRTH OF FAITH IN HIM, Jn. 1:12-13, ] of whom it is witnessed that He lives… “Therefore, if perfection was through the Levitical priesthood (for under it the people received the law,) what further need was there that another Priest should rise according to the order of Melchizedek… For the PRIESTHOOD BEING CHANGED, of necessity there is also a CHANGE OF THE LAW. [THE CEREMONIAL TEMPLE LAWS BECAME OBSOLETE IN FAVOUR OF THE MORAL LOVE OF LOVE!] For He of Whom these things are spoken belongs to ANOTHER TRIBE, from which no man has officiated at the [DIVINE, HEAVENLY] altar… For on the one hand there is an ANNULLING of the former commandment [to tithe to earn blessing, etc.!] because of its weakness and unprofitableness, for the law made nothing perfect; on the other hand, there is the bringing in of a better hope, through which we draw near to God [THROUGH JESUS’ FULL ATONEMENT IN OUR PLACE]…” As a result, Jesus Christ “BECAME a curse” in the place of all humanity so that all His sincerely born again, New Testament believers could forever and in all fullness “INHERIT ALL THE BLESSINGS of Abraham,” simply because they BELONG to Melchizedek through sincere faith in Him, (Gal. 3:10-14.)