Hebrews Study: The Tithing Principle :: By Sean Gooding

Hebrews 7:4-10

“For this Melchizedek, king of Salem, priest of the Highest God, who met Abraham returning from the slaughter of the kings and blessed him, 2 to whom also Abraham gave a tenth part of all, first being translated ‘king of righteousness,’ and then also king of Salem, meaning ‘king of peace,’ 3 without father, without mother, without genealogy, having neither beginning of days nor end of life, but made like the Son of God, remains a priest continually.

4 Now consider how great this man was, to whom even the patriarch Abraham gave a tenth of the spoils. 5 And indeed those who are of the sons of Levi, who receive the priesthood, have a commandment to receive tithes from the people according to the law, that is, from their brethren, though they have come from the loins of Abraham; 6 but he whose genealogy is not derived from them received tithes from Abraham and blessed him who had the promises. 7 Now beyond all contradiction the lesser is blessed by the better. 8 Here mortal men receive tithes, but there he receives them, of whom it is witnessed that he lives. 9 Even Levi, who receives tithes, paid tithes through Abraham, so to speak, 10 for he was still in the loins of his father when Melchizedek met him.”

We established last week that Jerusalem is the beloved city of God. He treats her like a wife, and His love for her is clearly stated in the scripture. Jesus, as we see from the Abrahamic Encounter in Genesis 14, is Melchizedek, a man without mother or father, with neither beginning nor end, and He is the King of Peace and King of Salem. He is also the High priest of God, and this all happened before the Law was ever in existence. This ‘man,’ we are told in verse 6, blessed Abraham, and we are told in verse 7 that the lesser is blessed by the better.’ Abraham was the revered Patriarch of Israel; very few men on this planet, if any, would have been revered as greater than Abraham, but we are told that this Melchizedek was greater than Abraham.

Back to God’s love for Jerusalem. It is no small feat that Jerusalem is alive and well, relatively speaking, in these last days. God, as He has clearly done, has focused the whole world on the city of Jerusalem. Every US president in the past 50 years has had a Jerusalem agenda. Every leader of Palestine, Syria, Iraq, Iran, the EU and the UN have had summits, votes and negotiations about the city of Jerusalem and her land and surrounding areas. I am reading a book right now called Eye to Eye by William Koening about this very subject. It is quite the read.

Today, however, I want to visit an old doctrine that continues to be attacked in the Lord’s churches, and I see many sermons and videos about this tithing principle. There are many that simply cannot see it in use today; they teach against it, and most, if not all, often use the idea that it was a part of the Law and thus has passed since Jesus fulfilled the Law and we are no longer under the Law. But we can clearly see that tithing as a principle was established before the Law, and as we have learned over the past few weeks, Abraham paid this tithe to Melchizedek, who, as we have discovered, is Jesus directly. So let us look at what happened and then apply it to us.

  • Abraham paid from the spoils of war, verse 4

Abraham paid a tithe from the profit of the war he just fought to get his nephew Lot back. God blesses his efforts; he won the war and gained the spoils or the profits that came with it. Abraham immediately went and paid tithes to the High Priest of Salem, the King of Salem, who we now know to be Jesus. Tithes, then, are to be paid to God from the profits that we make when He blesses our endeavors. Thus, there is no set amount that we are to give to God. Each man, each household, simply gives a tenth of the profits that they make from the Lord. In our case, my wife and I tithe from our income after taxes and then on the tax return. We also tithe on any and all financial gifts that we receive. Simply put, any profit that we make, we tithe on before we pay any bills or buy anything.

  • Abraham paid tithes before mandated by The Law of Moses, verse 4

Abraham set a principle, a standard that we should follow. This standard was not a part of the Law at the time since the Law did not exist for hundreds of years later. Abraham understood that his victory and all the spoils he made were because God allowed him to win and to have the spoils. As such, he paid back a tenth, the tithe, to God. You and I should be just as conscious that all we have, all we get, every time we get a paycheck, a gift or some kind of income, it is from God, and to give Him back a tenth is not an unreasonable request. We should do so joyfully and willingly. The context of the passage in Genesis 14 does not give us the impression that Abraham went to pay the tithe begrudgingly. He went out of obedience and true gratitude to the Lord; we should give our tithes with similar feelings.

  • Abraham was Blessed by Melchizedek, verse 6

Abraham received a further blessing from the King. Abraham was already blessed; he had won a great victory, recovered his nephew, and did not suffer death to the men who went with him. He had been blessed beyond measure already. But he received a further blessing from the King, this High Priest of God, in the city of Salem. Later on in Malachi 3:8-10, the Lord asks a question of the nation of Israel;

“Will a man rob God? Yet you have robbed Me! But you say, ‘In what way have we robbed You?’ In tithes and offerings. You are cursed with a curse, for you have robbed Me, even this whole nation. Bring all the tithes into the storehouse, that there may be food in My house, and try Me now in this,’ says the Lord of hosts, ‘If I will not open for you the windows of heaven and pour out for you such blessing that there will not be room enough to receive it.”

Notice that there is a curse for robbing God and a blessing for paying our tithes. The tithe belongs to God; it is not yours/mine to use and keep. It is God’s. The principle still existed in Malachi’s day that if we willingly give God the tithe, then He will bless us and, in fact, provide more than we need. This principle still exists today. God will provide for us when we honor Him with the tithe and rightfully show our gratitude that He would allow us to have anything at all.

  • Abraham set a precedent for his descendants, verse 10

In principle, all of Abraham’s children paid tithes to the King of Salem as they were still in his body when he paid the tithe. This became a statute for all of his physical children. As such, according to Romans 4, he is the father of all who believe by faith. This is a pre-law statute that is still in play today. Don’t rob God. You are stealing from yourself and your family. Follow Abraham’s example; pay the tithe. Notice that he paid it to Jesus directly, on earth. The local New Testament church carries out Jesus’ business, so find a good, Bible-teaching, obedient local church to give your tithes to.

God bless you,

Dr. Sean Gooding
Pastor of Mississauga Missionary Baptist Church

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