Tithing and the Priesthood

Tithing and the Priesthood

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The book of Hebrews makes it clear that Aaron and his line are no longer the high priests.

So did the priesthood pass away? No, we still have a High Priest—Jesus Christ. Did the law of tithing pass away? No, it did not originate with the codification of the law at Mt. Sinai and it did not end with Christ's crucifixion and subsequent resurrection.

Tithing preceded the Old Covenant and extends on into the New Covenant. It is not like certain physical ordinances and washings associated with the temple liturgy, which were rendered no longer necessary (Hebrews 9:9-11).

Hebrews 7 explains how a change in the priesthood relates to tithing. It says: "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; but he whose genealogy is not derived from them received tithes from Abraham and blessed him who had the promises" (verses 5-6).

This passage is referring to Melchizedek, who received tithes from Abraham long before his great-grandson Levi was even born.

Notice verses 7-10: "Now beyond all contradiction the lesser is blessed by the better. Here mortal men receive tithes, but there he receives them, of whom it is witnessed that he lives. Even Levi, who receives tithes, paid tithes through Abraham, so to speak, for he was still in the loins of his father when Melchizedek met him."

Now read verse 11: "Therefore, if perfection were 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, and not be called according to the order of Aaron?" So were the people perfected spiritually under the Levitical priesthood? Clearly not!

Continue in verse 12: "For the priesthood being changed, of necessity there is also a change of the law."

What was changed? The priesthood was. Was the law of tithing changed? Yes, but only in the aspect of the recipient of the tithe. Tithing is first mentioned with Melchizedek, and this law continues throughout all generations of humankind.

Notice verse 13: "For He of whom these things are spoken belongs to another tribe . . ." Jesus Christ was a Jew belonging to the tribe of Judah—not of Levi. Under the terms of the Old Covenant, Jesus would have had to be a son of Aaron to be a priest—descended from the tribe of Levi.

Therefore, Christ's divine office as High Priest has superseded the Levitical priesthood!

Verses 14-16 explain: "For it is evident that our Lord arose from Judah, of which tribe Moses spoke nothing concerning priesthood. And it is yet far more evident if, in the likeness of Melchizedek, there arises another priest who has come, not according to the law of a fleshly commandment, but according to the power of an endless life."

So again, there was a change in the law in terms of who actually receives the tithes. This role reverts back to the model of the Melchizedek priesthood. Verse 17 explains that Jesus Christ is "a priest forever according to the order of Melchizedek."

Christ built His Church nearly 2,000 years ago and works through it today just as He has all through the intervening centuries. As the priests and tribe of Levi were God's designated representatives on earth in ancient times, today the ministry of His Church, the Body of Christ (Ephesians 4:11-12), has been designated to represent Him. GN