Old Testament Tithing
Our Lord fully recognized the imperfect and provisional character of the Mosaic Law and the Old Dispensation. Were the Old faultless, no place would have been found for the New. Had grace and truth come by Moses, the advent of Jesus Christ would have been unnecessary.
The Mosaic legislation was not in every part absolutely the best that could be given, but it was such as the Divine wisdom saw best for the time being and under the special circumstances of the Hebrew people.
Not only did the Old Testament set forth a typical economy, to give place to another, but it embodied ethical elements of a defective and provisional kind, which must pass away when the incarnate Son had fully revealed the Father!
The Old Testament is conscious of its own imperfections. Jeremiah writes: “Behold the days come, saith the Lord, that I will make a new covenant with the house of Israel, and with the house of Judah: not according to the covenant I made with their fathers…”
We see this, for example, in the Parable of the Good Samaritan. The Levite, passing by the victim lying on the road, was actually obeying the OT Levitical purity laws. Should the victim die while he attended to him, touching the corpse would be in violation of the OT purity laws.
But the Good Samaritan parable demonstrates the departure from OT law, showing the grace and truth and compassion of Jesus Christ now in the New Covenant. I strongly hold such a New Covenant change to be true for giving.
Now we see “Give to him that asketh thee; and from him that would borrow of thee turn not thou away.” “Freely ye have received, freely give.” “It is more blessed to give than to receive.” “Sell all thou hast, and distribute unto the poor…”
“Rather give alms as you are able, and behold all things are clean unto you.” So to say that “a tithe of mint, and anise, and cummin,” which the Pharisees did, which they “ought to have done,” is a broad and sweeping definitive statement for financial tithing for everyone in twenty centuries to follow – was a matter for Jews of the day.
“Rather give alms as you are able, and behold all things are clean unto you.”
Tithe-paying was enjoined upon the Jews, by God, in the law. So were the purity laws enjoined upon the Jews, by God, in the law. Those today who say Jesus as a Jew paid tithes use the words, “we contend,” “it appears,” “it seems.”
If Jesus were dependent on alms, did he strictly adhere to the Demai chapter of the Mishna? It directed the poor man who received pieces of bread, or fragments of fig-cake, to tithe each piece separately. Can you imagine Jesus doing this every day?
Tithing is not in the Ten Commandments which were and are binding. Our Lord fully recognized the imperfect and provisional character of the Mosaic Law. Tithe if you like. And if unable, “Rather give alms as you are able, and behold all things are clean unto you.”