Tithing, Sabbath arguments similar
The writer is a member of the Living Church of God.
By Robert Thiel
ARROYO GRANDE, Calif.--While reading Garry Pifer's editorial "What Does the Bible Say About Tithing?" (in the April 30 edition of The Journal), I could not help but notice that the arguments he brought up against tithing seemed quite similar to those that are brought up to invalidate keeping the Sabbath.
He wrote, "Tithes and tithing are mentioned only two times before Moses and the Exodus" (Genesis 14:17-20; 28:20-22).
Keeping the Sabbath is mentioned only two times before Mount Sinai (Genesis 2:1; Exodus 16:23-26, 30). Mr. Pifer argues that these scriptures do not prove tithing was required before the Exodus just as many argue that the Sabbath scriptures do not mean that the Sabbath was required before Mount Sinai.
He mentions that at times people did not tithe (for example, on manna). Others have argued that the Hebrews did not keep the Sabbath when they were slaves in Egypt.
Mr. Pifer wrote: "The tithe went to the Levites. Why? It was in lieu of inheritance." Then he argues that, since the Levitical priesthood has been changed, tithing is no longer required.
In like manner, some have argued that the Sabbath was given to the children of Israel to show them the rest we would receive in Christ, and, since Christ has come, no more Sabbath rest is required.
Remember, however: "There remains therefore a Sabbath rest for the people of God" (Hebrews 4:9), and "How shall they preach unless they are sent?" (Romans 10:15; note that this verse also says those sent are sent to "preach the gospel").
Mr. Pifer mentions that in various parts of the Bible "you find absolutely no mention of tithes or tithing."
It is also true that in various parts of the Bible you find absolutely no mention of keeping or violating the Sabbath.
It is also true that throughout the Bible no one ever called of God is shown to have violated the Sabbath or ever been reported not to tithe.
That Jesus said tithing was to be done (Matthew 23:23-24) is discounted, just as the facts that Jesus kept and taught the Sabbath are discounted by those who argue against the Sabbath.
(For details, see the articles at my Web site "Jesus and the Ten Commandments" and "What Did Paul Actually Teach About the Ten Commandments? They are at members.aol.com/cogwriter/home.htm).
In Mr. Pifer's article he argues that Hebrews 7 does not really say that tithes are to be paid to the ministry now.
In like manner, those opposed to the Sabbath argue that Hebrews 4:9 does not really mean that Christians are to rest on the Sabbath.
It is also interesting that Mr. Pifer wants to discount historical corroboration for tithing such as Josephus, just as those opposed to the Sabbath want to discount the historical fact that the early church kept the Sabbath.
Many argue about various parts of God's law. If we are to accept the arguments against tithing, we may as well accept those against the Sabbath.
However, as God's people, we ought to obey God rather than men (Acts 5:29).
Remember that God praises the Philadelphians because they "have kept My word" and "kept My command to persevere" (Revelation 3:8,10).
By tithing, I feel we are keeping God's Word and supporting those who are persevering to preach the gospel.
By not tithing, what does Mr. Pifer actually support?
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