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Category Archives: #KNOWLEDGE

SHOULD I INTERPRET THE BIBLE LITERALLY?


by John MacArthur

Cynics love to mock Christians who believe in a literal interpretation of the Bible. They note supposed absurdities like, the Bible is a sword (Hebrews 4:12); Jesus is a door (John 10:7); and God is a bird (Psalm 61:4). Of course, such caricatures of the process are obvious misrepresentations of proper biblical interpretation.

Serious students of Scripture, committed to its accuracy and authority, follow five basic principles of interpretation in order to understand the Bible how its authors intended.

1. The Literal Principle

When you read the Bible assume God is speaking in normal language, common everyday communication. If it says man, it means man. If it says the man went somewhere, it means he went somewhere. If it says he built a house, it means he built a house. This is understanding Scripture in the literal sense of language.

Scripture employs are similes, metaphors, hyperbole, and figurative language throughout. Even sarcasm is employed as a literary device. Those devices are used alongside normal, literal language to help illustrate or punctuate what Scripture is saying to the reader. There is seldom confusion in what God’s Word says or how it says it.

In everyday conversation, if we hear someone say, “That man is as strong as an ox,” no one is confused. That is simply using a simile to make a literal point or statement. We need to be wary of those who claim to unlock the Bible’s secrets by bending and twisting symbolic language beyond its clear intent. There is no need to extrapolate some mystical interpretation out of the text, nor insert one into it.

2. The Historical Principle

History is not only a gap to be bridged, but a context to be understood. What did the text mean to the people to whom it was spoken or written? What was the situation the author and his audience found themselves in? Historical circumstances not only explain what is written, but often why it is written. Ignoring the historical setting often leads to missing the point of a passage.

3. The Grammatical Principle

Very few people enjoy grammar, let alone remember their grammar lessons. But grammar is the key to meaning. Prepositions, pronouns, verbs, nouns—and the other parts of speech—are the bones that support every sentence. Imagine a medical examiner trying to determine cause of death without knowing basic anatomy. The result would be no less confusing and prone to error than interpreting the Bible without considering its grammar.

For example, consider the great commission: “Go therefore and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them…teaching them to observe all that I commanded you” (Matthew 28:19–20). On first reading, “go” sounds like an imperative (verb) as does “make disciples,” “baptizing,” and “teaching.” But as you study the sentence, you will find that there’s only one imperative—mathēteusate, “make disciples.” “Go,” “baptizing,” and “teaching” are actually all participles which means they modify the main verb. The central command of the great commission is to “make disciples.” How does one make disciples? You go, baptize, and teach. Understanding the grammar makes the fullness of that concept come out in the text.

4. The Synthesis Principle

The synthesis principle is what the Reformers called the analogia scriptura—the Scripture all comes together. In other words, one part of the Bible doesn’t teach something that another part contradicts. So as you study the Scripture it must all harmonize. (By the way, this is another reason a comprehensive Bible-reading plan is critical.)

For example, Jesus’ story of the sheep and the goats (Matthew 25:31–46) cannot be about salvation by works (feeding the hungry, clothing the naked, visiting the prisoner), because Ephesians 2:8–9 tells us that salvation is by grace through faith apart from works. Careful examination reveals that the sheep and the goats in Matthew 25 all thought of themselves as believers—they both call Jesus “Lord” (Matthew 25:37,44). Furthermore, this harmonizes with James 2:17 which says that “faith, if it has no works, is dead.” That’s the synthesis principle.

J.I. Packer has wonderfully said, “The Bible appears like a symphony orchestra, with the Holy Ghost as its Toscanini, each instrument has been brought willingly, spontaneously, creatively, to play his notes just as the great conductor desired, though none of them could ever hear the music as a whole….The point of each part only becomes fully clear when seen in relation to all the rest” (from God Has Spoken).

Do you know what that tells me? There are no contradictions in Scripture. What appear as contradictions can be resolved if we have the information, because the Bible comes together as a whole.

5. The Practical Principle

The final question is: So what? As you try to interpret the Bible, how do you find out what it means for your life? Make sure in your Bible study that you find the practical principle. Read the text and find out what spiritual principle is there that applies to you. But remember that you can’t do that until you’ve gone through the other principles first—literal, historical, grammatical, and synthesis. You know what it means by what it says—now you come to how it applies to you.

Conclusion

You must interpret the Bible rightly. Avoid the common errors, bridge the gaps between the biblical text and your modern setting, and apply the proper principles of interpretation. That brings you to the place where you are ready to engrave God’s Word on your heart (Proverbs 3:3) by meditating on the text. We’ll consider that next time.

 

(Adapted from How to Study the Bible)

 

BRIDGING THE GAPS BETWEEN BIBLE AND BRAIN

by John MacArthur

The Bible has been around for thousands of years. That is a huge gulf of history for the modern reader to cross. How are we to understand what the Bible writers were saying, as well as the various circumstances in which they lived?

One popular answer from modern pulpits to those questions is to transport our modern context into the biblical text. When Scripture tells us that Jesus rode a donkey into Jerusalem (Matthew 21:6–10), prosperity preachers equate this with Jesus driving a Ferrari to the White House. Equally bizarre, social justice advocates think it is a blueprint for organizing a protest. Neither approach deals with what Matthew is telling us. The faithful shepherd (and Bible student) must lead his congregation across the historical bridge and immerse them in the culture and context of the biblical authors.

There are four interpretive gaps that the bridge must cross:

1. The Language

We speak English but the Bible was written in Hebrew and Greek, and a few parts in Aramaic (which is similar to Hebrew). That language gap must be bridged in order to properly understand Scripture. For example, in 1 Corinthians 4:1 the apostle Paul says, “Let a man so account of us, as of the ministers of Christ” (KJV). When we think of the English word minister, we think of a prime minister or the minister of defense. Many people refer to their pastor as a minister. A minister is an elevated thing; it’s a dignified term. But the Greek word is huperetes, which means a third-level galley slave on a ship. Paul wanted others to think of him as a lowly slave—someone without power, authority, or rights—for Jesus Christ. You would never get that out of the English term. Why? Because there’s a language gap.

One of the benefits of newer or updated English translations is that modern translators are able to bring together the best understanding of ancient words with how English words are used and understood today. For example, the New American Standard translates “minister” as “servant” in that text. Thankfully, many Greek and Hebrew words translate well into English, but even modern translations can’t always convey the full meaning of the ancient words.

That’s why it is critical to study the words in the Bible, particularly in the New Testament. What tools do you need for this kind of study? In addition to a good modern translation and a good concordance, you should get W. E. Vine’s An Expository Dictionary of New Testament Words (Moody Press, 1985). It’s very helpful for someone who doesn’t know Greek. You can look up every English word, and it will tell you the Greek meaning. It will be a great help to you as you study the Bible.

2. The Culture

Ancient cultural differences is another gap that must be bridged in Bible study. If we don’t understand the culture of the time in which the Bible was written, we’ll never understand its meaning. For example: “In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God” (John 1:1). What does that mean? Why didn’t he say, “In the beginning was Jesus”? Well, he used “the Word” because that was the vernacular at that time. To the Greeks the term Word was used to refer to a kind of ethereal, spatial energy that was floating around. John said to the Greeks that that floating cause, that thing which caused everything, that spatial energy, that cosmic power, is none other than the Word that became flesh (1:14).

To the Jew, the term Word was always the manifestation of God, because “the Word of the Lord” was always God emanating His personality. When John said “the Word was made flesh and dwelt among us,” he was identifying Jesus Christ, the incarnate Christ, as the very emanation of God. In the text, therefore, he meets the Greek mind and Hebrew mind with the right word that grabs both at vital points.

This continues all through the Bible. If you don’t understand the religious ideas of Gnosticism, you’ll miss a lot of meaning from Colossians and 1 John. If you don’t understand the dynamics of Jewish culture in Gentile cities, you’ll miss the reason for Paul’s strong language against the Judaizers in Galatians. If you don’t understand the Jewish mindset, you’ll miss significant aspects of the book of Matthew. There must be cultural comprehension to fully understand the Bible.

Some books that would help you in this area are The Life and Times of Jesus the Messiah by Alfred Edersheim (Eerdmans, 1974) and Barclay’s Daily Study Bible Series by William B. Barclay (Westminster, 1975). Barclay’s insights into culture are very good in spite of his bad theology.

3. The Geography

Geography places a major role throughout the Bible, and therefore joins language and culture as another gap that must be bridged. Understanding directions, distances, terrain, the size of cities and their strategic importance can make a significant difference in your understanding of a particular text. Geographical details will rarely, if ever, change the meaning of the text. However, they add rich color and depth to an otherwise flat and black-and-white page.

The dirty tepid water that flowed into Laodicea was no match for the famous hot springs in nearby Hierapolis, nor the clear cold mountain streams of Colossae. Just that basic information helps bring vivid detail to Christ’s announcement that he would spew the lukewarm Laodiceans out of his mouth as they were neither hot or cold (Revelation 3:14–16). The Mount of Olives, where Jesus prayed in the garden, is where the glory of the Lord ascended after departing from the temple (Ezekiel 11:23). When Jesus returns in all His glory He will descend and His feet will touch down on that very mountain (Zechariah 14:4). Geographical details not only enable us to visualize many passages, they also help us to make connections otherwise hidden. A good Bible atlas is an invaluable reference tool that can help you comprehend the geography of the Holy Land.

4. The History

Finally, knowing the history behind a passage will also help your comprehension. In the gospel of John, the key to understanding the interplay between Pilate, the Jews, and Jesus is based on the knowledge of history. When Pilate came to power in Judea, he infuriated the Jews by bringing what the Jews perceived as idolatrous images into Jerusalem. Sometime later the Jews reported him to Emperor Tiberius when he antagonized them by a similar act. Tiberius was less than sympathetic with Pilate. In an attempt to avoid another confrontation with the Jews, Pilate let Christ be crucified. Why was he afraid? Because he already had a rotten track record, and his job was on the line.

Space doesn’t allow me to go into detail, but a fascinating study that will greatly enrich your understanding is the history between Jews and Samaritans. The history between these two groups will help you understand why any intersection between Jesus and Samaria was scandalous to the Jews, and why a Samaritan village refused to host Jesus and his disciples, prompting James and John to ask Jesus permission to call fire from heaven to consume the village (Luke 9:51-56).

The Bible is a book of history, but there is a lot of history outside the Bible that directly affects what is written in the Bible. A growing understanding of history will open the meaning of the Bible. One excellent source is The Zondervan Pictorial Encyclopedia of the Bible (Zondervan, 1976).

Conclusion

To interpret the Bible means closing those four gaps. As you interpret the meaning of Scripture by using the various sources, you will close the language gap, the culture gap, the geography gap, and the history gap. With those pieces of information in place, you will be ready to apply the principles of Bible interpretation. And we’ll examine that next.

(Adapted from How to Study the Bible)

 

THE ELEPHANT IN THE STRANGE FIRE

by Cameron Buettel

It’s been just over a year since the highly publicized and controversial Strange Fire conference.

As a Grace to You employee with a charismatic background, I watched the buildup to the conference with a considerable amount of interest. I am certainly no stranger to the grievous damage caused by reckless false prophecies in the charismatic church. But since none of that spiritual fallout ever touched me personally, my animosity for the movement did not run deep. In fact, the major gripe I had with my old mainstream Pentecostal church was the same gripe I have with the church growth and emergent movements—a failure to rightly preach the gospel.

But as Strange Fire approached, I had the opportunity to study the charismatic movement with much closer scrutiny than before. In particular, I investigated several influential charismatic leaders, consuming an unhealthy amount of their videos and writing.

That investigation revealed a clear pattern that charismatics follow when engaged in debate. It’s almost a codified playbook of sorts for their self-defense (call it Foxe’s Book of Charismatics With Hurt Feelings), and it goes like this:

  • Dogged insistence that the gifts of prophesy, tongues, and healing continue to the present day.
  • Vague anecdotal evidence in support of the continuation of those gifts.
  • Unshakable confidence that the worst charismatic abusers and charlatans represent only the renegade fringe of the movement, and that they wield limited influence among mainstream charismatics.
  • Staunch refusal to name, criticize, or publically disavow those abusers and offenders at the supposed fringe of the movement.
  • Dire warnings that rejecting anyone who claims to speak on behalf of the Holy Spirit or wield His power is tantamount to rejecting the Spirit Himself.
  • Total disinterest in discussing or debating any doctrinal or ecclesiological issues other than continuationism versus cessationism.
  • Confident assertions about the explosive growth of the charismatic church worldwide, and blithe acceptance that everyone who claims to be a charismatic is an authentic believer.

For many charismatic apologists, their self-defense doesn’t even extend that far. For them, the debate begins and ends with continuationism, so that’s all they ever want to talk about. In fact, most of the responses to Strange Fire have amounted to little more than reviving certain authors’ greatest hits in defense of the continuation of the apostolic gifts.

What’s important about that is this: Strange Fire was not primarily or even significantly about cessationism. Yes, it’s true that one of the keynote sessions made a biblical case for the cessation of the apostolic gifts, while others defended cessationism as the historical position of the church. But it still constituted only one part of a broad response to the charismatic movement as a whole.

In fact, if continuationism was the only issue in the charismatic movement that John MacArthur and the other Strange Fire speakers were concerned about, there likely never would have been a conference or a book to begin with.

Instead, Strange Fire addressed the rampant abuse of the Holy Spirit, the perversion of Scripture, and the danger charismatic teaching and practice represent to hundreds of millions of people around the world. It covered an array of theological and doctrinal issues, and it raised several important questions that charismatics need to address.

And yet a year later, the responses to the conference continue to focus on defending the continuation of the gifts. It makes you wonder whether charismatic leaders are defiant or merely deaf.

So in the interest of advancing the conversation beyond the endless defense of continuationism, let us table that part of the discussion. If it helps, imagine that we’ve conceded that point of debate. (We haven’t, but that’s beside the point at the moment.) There still remains a whole raft of questions and issues that need to be addressed. Questions like:

  • Is there any statistical evidence that proves the so-called “lunatic fringe” of the charismatic world is not actually the mainstream of the movement? Compelling statistics were produced at Strange Fire that indicated the prevalence of prosperity theology in mainstream charismatic churches. Can those numbers be contradicted, or is it time to reconsider who is truly on the fringe?
  • What is the responsibility of charismatic leaders to police their own movement beyond the walls of their individual churches? Who will be willing unequivocally to call out heretics and charlatans? And why are so many charismatics comfortable with false teachers serving as the face of their movement?
  • What constitutes the true, biblical gospel? And what deviations from it qualify as apostasy and heresy? In particular, how do you make sense of the rise of charismatic expressions in the Catholic Church? Is it possible to receive the baptism of the Holy Spirit while continuing to reject the biblical gospel?
  • Is Oneness Pentecostalism heresy? Or is perverting the doctrine of the Trinity not really such a big deal after all?
  • How are manufactured experiences—like seeding air conditioning vents with gold flakes and promoting man-made prophecies—helpful or encouraging for true spiritual growth? Why should the proliferation of phonies give anyone confidence that the real thing even exists?
  • Is the prosperity gospel biblical? If not, doesn’t it fall under the curse of Galatians 1:8–9?
  • When it comes to Scripture’s instructions and prohibitions for life in the church—for example, Paul’s clear teaching about female pastors, or his admonition for only one person at a time to speak in tongues—how seriously do we need to take those things today? Again, are these matters worth dividing over?
  • Does the gift of tongues as practiced in charismatic churches today bear any resemblance to the supernatural events on the Day of Pentecost, or any other expression of the gift of tongues found in the book of Acts? If not, why is the dramatic difference acceptable for continuationists?
  • If today’s prophets are not held to the biblical standard of one-hundred percent accuracy, what standard is there for people who make false prophecies? Or is modern prophecy nothing more than a crapshoot?
  • Finally, in the immediate aftermath of Strange Fire, Phil Johnson made an appearance on Dr. Michael Brown’s radio program. Phil issued Brown a challenge—which Brown accepted—to produce any audio of Mike Bickle or someone of similar influence in the charismatic movement making a clear presentation of the gospel. We’re still waiting for that audio.

We want to see someone—anyone—from the charismatic side take up those important issues. Until then, the persistent debate over cessationism and continuationism feels like little more than a deliberate diversion.

If the charismatic movement were truly as vibrant and Spirit-filled as charismatic apologists claim, John MacArthur would never have needed to host the Strange Fire conference or write the book. The issues he and the other speakers raised at Strange Fire should have been dealt with decades ago by charismatics who were faithful to the biblical gospel and recognized the need to address the many perversions that were gaining traction.

Our preference still is for those faithful believers within the movement—who hold fast to Scripture and love the truth—to step up and clean house. Consider these our suggestions about where they might want to start.


 

How I learned to speak in tongues, and then never do it again Part II

How I learned to speak in tongues, and then never do it again Part II.

 

How I learned to speak in tongues, and then resolved to never do it again

How I learned to speak in tongues, and then resolved to never do it again.

 

THE RAPTURE IS A FAMILY MATTER

Lately I am meeting some new friends by emails who are interested in discussing the rapture of the church in more detail. The vast majority of the people in the world are disinterested in all this (to say the least), reflecting the fact that Jesus Christ is the most hated man who ever lived.
Brenda Peterson has written a light-hearted book, “I Want to be Left Behind: Finding Rapture Here on Earth.” As a girl she attended a Southern Baptist evangelical church where she “accepted Jesus Christ as her personal Savior,” and where she learned a lot of fine old hymns, whose titles make convenient chapter headings in her book. She has an obvious love of nature and for greener living, but further thoughts about the real, living God soon fade from consideration as one gets into her book.
At times, I, too, would like to escape from the insane stressed-out life of the city, but then I am instantly reminded that nature is broken too, not just us people who live here on God’s green earth.
“…if Christ is in you, the body is dead because of sin, but the Spirit is life because of righteousness. But if the Spirit of Him who raised Jesus from the dead dwells in you, He who raised Christ from the dead will also give life to your mortal bodies through His Spirit who dwells in you. Therefore, brethren, we are debtors–not to the flesh, to live according to the flesh. For if you live according to the flesh you will die; but if by the Spirit you put to death the deeds of the body, you will live. For as many as are led by the Spirit of God, these are sons of God. For you did not receive the spirit of bondage again to fear, but you received the Spirit of adoption by whom we cry out, “Abba, Father.” The Spirit Himself bears witness with our spirit that we are children of God, and if children, then heirs–heirs of God and joint heirs with Christ, if indeed we suffer with Him, that we may also be glorified together. For I consider that the sufferings of this present time are not worthy to be compared with the glory which shall be revealed in us. For the earnest expectation of the creation eagerly waits for the revealing of the sons of God. For the creation was subjected to futility, not willingly, but because of Him who subjected it in hope; because the creation itself also will be delivered from the bondage of corruption into the glorious liberty of the children of God. For we know that the whole creation groans and labors with birth pangs together until now. Not only that, but we also who have the first fruits of the Spirit, even we ourselves groan within ourselves, eagerly waiting for the adoption, the redemption of our body,” Romans 8:10-23
Just a few years ago, it seemed to me that many churches oversimplified the gospel message. Jesus Christ, alive from the dead, does indeed offer himself to us as Savior, Lord, Friend and Lover. His ability to offer Himself to us so generously, so freely, is based on his own voluntary death by crucifixion, for each one of us. “…He Himself is the propitiation (Greek: hilasterion, http://www.raystedman.org/new-testament/romans/but-now ), for our sins, and not for ours only but also for the whole world.” (1 John 2:2) Ray Stedman explains that the issue of all human sin, for all time, has been paid for in full by Jesus Christ the Son of God,
Now, why does John say, “he is the expiation for our sins, and not for ours only but also for the sins of the whole world?” Why does he put that in? Obviously he is drawing a contrast between Christians and non-Christians. He is reminding us that when the Lord Jesus died upon the cross 1900 years ago, he not only paid the debt of our sins, he not only took our guilt, as Christians, but he took the guilt of the whole world. He paid the price for every man. There is no man who will be kept away from God because of his sins, if he accepts the work of Christ on his behalf. Sin can never separate an individual from God, because of the cross of Christ. No matter how bad the sins, no matter how extreme it may be, or how long continued, sin can never separate anybody, anywhere, in any time, or any age, from the heart of God, if the work of the cross be received. That is the extent of the expiation mentioned here. But why does he remind us of that in this context?
The answer is: It is to help us see ourselves.
Why is it that all the world is not reconciled to God? Why is it that these others, whose sins have been already settled for on the cross, are living in estrangement and hostility to the God who loves them and who seeks after them? Why is it that men are still defying God, and blaspheming God, and turning and running from him, and experiencing the death, darkness, and degradation that comes from not knowing? You know the answer: Because they will not believe him. They will not accept his forgiveness. He has forgiven them, but they have never forgiven him. As Paul puts it in Second Corinthians 5, “We are ambassadors for Christ, for God was in Christ, reconciling the world unto himself, not imputing their trespasses unto them. Therefore, we beseech men, be ye reconciled to God,” (2 Corinthians 5:20). We do not have to say to God, “be reconciled to men”; we are saying to men, “be ye reconciled to God,” (2 Corinthians 5:20b KJV).
Now, that is the very same reason why we Christians are not enjoying the full flow of the Spirit of power, life, love, and wisdom, in our experience. It is all available to us, but we will not receive it. That is what John means. Like the world, we are turning our back on it. We are saying to God, “I’m not interested in cleansing because, you see, I really don’t need it. After all, this is not a sin, it’s simply a weakness, just an inherited tendency, something I got from my family. I can’t help it.” That kind of thing is cutting the ground out from under the whole redemptive work of Jesus Christ on our behalf. Though his power is all-available, it is not experienced because of that. Now let us bow before him. In a moment of quietness before God, let us confess this terrible tendency that each of us has unquestionably experienced, to rationalize sin, to excuse it, justify it, call it something else, doll it up, sprinkle perfume on it and make it look better, instead of calling it exactly what it is. Christ has found a way below, around, and above our circumstances. He can reach us despite the pressures; it is just that we do not want it. (http://www.raystedman.org/new-testament/1-john/the-man-who-rationalizes-sin ).
The kind and quality of the boundless love Jesus offers us demands a wholehearted response from us. True, we have nothing to offer Him but ourselves, but that is exactly what He is asking from us. Our Lord is also offering each of us a place in his kingdom, and a place of intimacy with Him as well–as indicated by the symbols of heavenly Bridegroom courting and becoming one with his gentile, virgin Bride. (Never mind that the bride-to-be may have previously been a spiritual adulteress, or worse–the forgiveness package offered covers any and all kinds of sin. Only sinners need apply).
In spite of much pleading by God, and much love poured out on our generation, history has shown that only a small number of people are accepting the courtship offer God still offers mankind. The time period Jesus has been calling a Bride to Himself has now been about 2000 years. Many believed in Jesus after the Creation of the world but before the Flood of Noah. Most of the people of Israel have not as yet responded to the calling of their Messiah.
The offer of Jesus — in the role of a Bridegroom seeking a Bride — is not the whole story of God’s love for the world. It is but one, one facet. Evangelism of the whole world will pick up again after the rapture of the church–with great power and conviction, but many of these last-minute converts will pay by experiencing their own immediate martyrdom. Trying to stay alive on earth for even a short time after the Rapture will involve a series of horrific, cascading nightmares whose primary purpose is to deal with layers of human evil and corruption which must be purged away before the rebuilding of earth can begin.
As noted by Paul in Romans 8, nature (“the creation”) is fatally broken and running down and must be completely remade. Evil men who insist on running their lives by their own selfish rules must be dealt with by force; justice must be dispensed, the “unrighteous” of earth will find themselves soon evicted. They have been living on borrowed time and borrowed land. The Landlord wants His property back. Whole (holy) men and women need to will be housed in a holy place, in an all new-creation. Sin is terribly contagious and must be eradicated one step at a time, until we come to a time of a “new heavens and new earth.” What will survive the coming great purges are the deeds God have done though His people.
In chapter after chapter, whole books of the Bible tell us what the future of life on earth will be like when Jesus Christ returns in power as Ruling King of all the nations (Psalm 2). We might wish for more detail, but there is actually plenty already written down for us by the ancients.
The big event called the “second coming” of Jesus is described in the New Testament by the use of the Greek words “parousia,” and “epiphaneia.” The first aspect of the return of Jesus, is popularly known as the rapture of the church. (See “Aspects of the Return of the Lord Jesus Christ,” http://ldolphin.org/Return.html). After that event, history will move rapidly ahead to the visible appearing of Jesus Christ on the Mt. of Olives in Jerusalem. The Rapture may be largely unseen and unnoticed in the daily news but radical, major shifts in world, power will follow the rapture in short order. Bible buffs are quite busy tracking down the major shifts in the world one can see were foretold long ago in the Bible. We are already seeing a small foretaste of bad things to come down here on earth in recent months.
God surely grieves when men reject the gift He offers, yet for God the consent of a few to follow Him is apparently reward enough. Most of us know that the news media of our day do not usually report on those issues that are of major importance to God and His kingdom. Not many Christians may be leaving with us at the rapture, because many who say they are in the family of God, aren’t. It is a wonderful topic to study and think about. The devil will soon cover up the exit from earth of that small band of “fundamentalists.” Were they “merely” abducted by alien space ships? Probably it won’t be all that big a deal to most of those who out to tidy by the gardens. As Ray Stedman noted above, unbelief is the biggest obstacle to our faith most all the time.
Back to the Rapture: All three Persons of the godhead are involved in the approaching and scheduled consummation of the 2000 year courtship story concerning the Lord Jesus Christ and his Bride, the true church. Like any good Jewish father, God the Father has carefully chosen each of us, and called us. He is taking the responsibility of preparing us to be THE Bride for His beloved son. We who are gentiles are being invited to marry into the Jewish family of Jesus. (But there are multitudes of Jews who are in the church as well). As a very rough guess I estimated that the true church (all believers in Christ since that Pentecost day which immediately followed the resurrection of Jesus), could easily be billion of people in numbers! Ten billion is a possibility.
Local churches, as described in the New Testament, are supposed to be families who take in the refugees of our fallen world. Imagine the diversity of persons in the finished church of Jesus Christ we are being invited into. The heavenly family of Jesus surely contains many children: orphans, throw-away kids, victims of abortion, war, disease. There will be old and wise folks in heaven and every age in between, all in different states of spiritual and emotional maturation (I would think). Part of growing up as humans is experiencing nurturing and receiving training and instruction in a family. Local churches are supposed to be doing as much of this as possible here and now, but I wonder how much healing-of-families goes hand in hand with the rapture?
The sanctifying work of the Holy Spirit (already mightily at work in all of us who know the Lord) is in making once derelict sinners into all-new godly men, woman and children. Jesus evidently looks forward to sharing a home with Him in the heavenly places (probably the orbiting City of New Jerusalem). At most weddings, the Bride is featured as the center of attraction. Although the Lord Jesus is the Most Honored One at this coming union with His Church, it should be obvious that every good wedding should involve a good match between Lover and Beloved, between Bride and Bridegroom. In this case the Holy Spirit (He is fully God in every respect) will surely know what wedding dowry is best suited for the virgin spouse of Jesus. Getting the Bride sanctified is a very tall order for which the Spirit of God has always been the Healer and the Giver of Life.
The Song of Solomon is a wonderful love study about a very plain peasant girl who receives a complete wedding endowment from the Spirit of God so that she arrives at her wedding day fully equipped to provide a wonderful match for a great King. Psalms 45 further hints at the union of the Lord and his church.
Ecosystems and infrastructure matter to man–one sees that in the way we were created in Genesis 1-2. I suppose heaven will have sanctuaries for shy persons, garden spaces, libraries, and plenty of comfort for each of us. Man was created last, after the rest of the created universe. God delights in variety, in gardens, in places for rest and meditation. Like C.S. Lewis, I hope heaven has room for our close animal companions from this life.
I think our immediate home after the Rapture is indeed the heavenly city of New Jerusalem, Revelation 21-22. The heavenly city seems to me to be a district in heaven, not the sum total of what the Third Heaven is). While we are waiting to go there, I hope some gifted artists and architects of our day might allow their sanctified imaginations to tell us what the City of God might be like? My earliest childhood thoughts of heaven hardly went further than thinking of fluffy clouds in an otherwise boring “place” free from sin, pain and sorrow. A few years ago while visiting Israel I found that was attractive to a simple, low-profile assignment in New Jerusalem, “For a day in Your courts is better than a thousand. I would rather be a doorkeeper in the house of my God Than dwell in the tents of wickedness.” (Psalm 84:10)
Knowing the one true God is about being in a very diverse family of men, women, boys and girls–all ages all backgrounds, all cultures, all callings. The Rapture is very much a family reunion where we are all on common ground. For some, God helps us find the right place in his cosmic family by sending us pain and grief. Hebrews 12 tells that all legitimate children of God are disciplined–even scourged. The list of those whom the father “scourges” includes Jesus. Getting us adjusted, and our brothers and sisters as well, may mean He must send us trials, tests and suffering. (I don’t see heaven as a deserved reward for the righteous at all. I think it is the next big step God has for us to continue to enjoy being the objects of His love and grace. We each have a unique place in God’s affections, but being a follower of Jesus is still a family matter.) The world around us could care less about everlasting happiness with Jesus, and this is very sad indeed. For now, there is still time to say “yes” to the healing love of Jesus. All who will may come.
“God is going to invade this earth in force. But what is the good of saying you are on His side then, when you see the whole natural universe melting away like a dream, and something else — something it never entered your head to conceive — comes crashing in; something so beautiful to some of us, and so terrible to others, that none of us will have any choice left? For this time it will be God without disguise; something so overwhelming that it will strike either irresistible love or irresistible horror into every creature.
“It will be too late then to choose your side. There is no use saying you choose to lie down when it has become impossible to stand up. That will not be the time for choosing; it will be the time when we discover which side we have really chosen, whether we realized it before or not. Now, today, this moment, is our chance to choose the right side. God is holding back, to give us that chance. It will not last forever. We must take it or leave it.” (C.S. Lewis)
Lambert Dolphin
 

140 QUESTIONS TITHE-TEACHERS SHOULD HONESTLY ANSWER

1.       According to Genesis 14:11-16 were the spoils of war Abram received holy tithes from God’s holy land? Would they have been “holy” tithes in the Law?
Answer: Of course not. There was no holy land yet. They do not fit the description of “holy” tithes under the Law and could not have been used to support the Levites and priests as Levitical tithes.
2.       According to Genesis 14:18-20 and Hebrews 7:4 does the Bible say that Abram freely gave tithes of spoils of war to the priest-king Melchizedek?
Answer: No. Genesis 14:21 suggests that he was obeying the Arab law of the land which required tithes from spoils of war be given to the local king-priests.
3.       According to Numbers 31:21-30 what percentage did the statute of the Law for Israel later require as a tithe from spoils of war?
Answer: One tenth of one per cent (.1%) (One half of one five hundredth): this was only one tenth of what Abram paid to Melchizedek.
4.       Why did Abraham tithe 10% of spoils when the Law later required far less? What controlled his actions?
Answer: The Bible does not say “why”. Recorded tradition found in archaeology suggests it was the required law of the land throughout his world.
5.       From Genesis 14:20-21 could there be another law or Arab tradition involved?   Yes, No, Perhaps. Do some deep research on this.
Answer: This is repetition of previous questions. Research many commentaries for a surprise answer.
6.       Would Abraham’s tithe have been accepted as a holy tithe to enter the Temple?
Answer: Only that which could be purified after passing through fire. And then it could only be used for temple maintenance.  Compare First Samuel 30:20-35.
7.       How often did Abraham tithe?
Answer: The Bible does not record any other instance. Therefore, we really do not know.
8.       Is Abraham an example of tithing personal property and tithing regularly?
Answer: Not at all. If we followed his example, we would only tithes from spoils of war and only once.
9.       Is Abraham’s example of giving 90% to the king of Sodom an example for Christians to follow?
Answer: Not at all. Yet tithe-preaches do not discuss this.
10.     From Genesis 20 and 21 is it possible that Abraham also paid tithes to the Philistine priest-king Abimelech whom he served?
Answer: It is possible if it was required by their law. He obeyed the law of the land.
11.     Referring to Genesis 28:20-22 would Jacob’s tithe from Haran have been accepted as a holy tithe to enter the Temple system?
Answer: It does not fit the description of a holy tithe to be used for normal sustenance of Levites and priests.
12.     Referring to Genesis 28:20-22 should we follow Jacob’s example and only tithe after God has met our conditions?
Answer: No.  Yet this is not discussed by tithe-teachers.
13.     According to Genesis 28:20 was Jacob’s tithe a freewill “vow” or a commandment of God?
Answer: A freewill vow. And there is no record that he kept the vow.
14.     Is Jacob an example of tithing for Christians to follow?
Answer: Not at all.
15.     How common was money, gold, silver, precious stones and shekels in Genesis?
Answer: The word “money” occurs 32 times in Genesis. Check an exhaustive concordance.  
16.     According to Genesis 13:2 and 20:16 did Abraham have a lot of money?
Answer: Yes. It was already an important part of that economy.
17.     Was money essential for routine worship in the sanctuary?   
Answer: Very much. Do your own research on the words “money” and “shekel.”
18.     Is it honest to teach that tithes were only food because money was not common?
Answer: No. It is dishonest and comes with dishonest ulterior motives to change God’s Word.
19.     According to Exodus 19:5-6 was tithing part of God’s “original plan” before the incident of the golden calf?
Answer: No. Tithing is not mentioned in Exodus. While Aaron’s house was intended to be resident priests, every Hebrew from every tribe was to be his/her own priest before God. Levitical priests were not mentioned.
20.     According to Leviticus 25:3-7 no food tithe could be taken every seventh year. Why is this ignored by churches today?
Answer: Churches would have no grounds for collecting tithes every seventh year.
21.     According to Leviticus 25:12-13 no food tithe could be taken every fiftieth year. Why is this ignored by churches today?
Answer: If one followed all of the OT tithing law, tithes could not be requested every 7th and 50th years.
22.     According to Leviticus 27:30, 32 (and 14 other texts), tithes were only food from the land of Israel and herds inside God’s holy land of Israel which God had miraculously increased. Where in the Bible –over 1400 years from Leviticus to Luke — are tithes defined as income or money?
Answer: Nowhere. God’s definition of a holy tithe never changed.
23.     According to Leviticus 27:30, 32 the tithe was the tenth of the total crop and the tenth animal. Since the word “tithe” means “tenth” when did it change to become the “first” in the Bible?
Answer: Nowhere. This is man’s change of God’s Word.
24.     According to Leviticus 27:34 the first tithe was not the “best.” Where in the Bible does the first whole tithe become the “best”?
Answer: Nowhere. Tithe-teachers dishonestly change God’s Word and ask for the first tenth of one’s paycheck.
25.     According to Leviticus 27:34 tithing was part of the Law given only to national Israel as a unique covenant.  When were the Gentiles, (pagans) or Church commanded to tithe in the Bible?
Answer: Nowhere. None qualified as tithe-payers. They were not Hebrews and they did not grow food inside God’s holy land.
26.     Since only farmers and herdsmen living inside Israel produced tithes, where is the principle that says everybody was required to begin their level of giving at 10%?
Answer: Nowhere. It is a tradition of man.
27.     Where does the Bible say that non-food income was tithed and that carpenters (Jesus), fishermen (Peter), tentmakers (Paul) and tradesmen tithed?
Answer: Nowhere.  It is a tradition of man.
28.     Did God command the pagans to tithe?
Answer. Absolutely not.
29.     Would Israel have accepted tithes from the pagans or pagan lands?
Answer: No. And that should also be true today since God never changed the definition of holy tithes.
30.     Although Psalm 24:1 says “The earth is the LORD’s, and the fullness thereof; the world, and they that dwell therein” this was not given as a reason to collect tithes from pagans and from lands outside of Israel. Why is that true?
Answer: Holy tithes were limited to food from God’s holy land of Israel.
31.     Why don’t Christians observe all of the other things called “holy” and “most holy” in Leviticus?
Answer: They say that these do not apply to the Church today because they were fulfilled or ended at Calvary. 
32.     Where in the Bible is the exact wording of the ordinance or statute of tithing?
Answer: Numbers 18.
33.     What is the difference between tithes and first-fruits?  Compare Lev 27:30-35; Num 18:13-18, 20-24; Deut 26:1-4; Neh 10:35-37; Prov 3:9.
Answer: Tithes were tenth-fruits from God’s holy land which were brought to the Levitical cities where they were needed for food per Neh 10:37b. Firstfruits were very small token offerings which were brought to the Temple and eaten by the priests on duty. See Deu 26:1-4 and Neh 10:35-37a.
34.     Where are tithes equated with first-fruits in the Bible?
Answer: Nowhere. This is a tradition of man designed to scare believers into giving their first to God whether or not they had met their family essentials per First Timothy 5:8.
35.     Weren’t first-fruits very small token offerings from the first of the harvest?
Answer: Yes, as previously discussed.
36.     OT Levites who received the first whole tithe were merely servants to the priests and later political workers. How is this principle applied in churches today?
Answer: It is totally ignored.
37.     OT Levites gave the best tenth of their tithe to the priests –only one per cent of the total. How is this principle observed today? See Num 18:25-28.
Answer: It is totally ignored.
38.     OT priests and Levites who received the tithes were not allowed to own or inherit property. Why isn’t this principle observed today (Num 18:20, 23)?
Answer: Modern tithe-teachers ignore every single OT principle concerned with tithing. They only apply their own re-definition.
39.     The OT tithe was never used for mission work to evangelize the pagans. What biblical principle authorizes it for missions today?
Answer: None. This is a tradition of man.
40.     According to Deuteronomy 12 and 14:23-26 a festival tithe was to be eaten in the streets. Why is this tithe principle ignored by churches today?
Answer: Their idea of tithing is not biblical.
41.     According to Deuteronomy 14:26 some festival tithes could be turned into alcoholic strong drinks. Why is this principle ignored by churches today?
Answer: It does not fit into their change of God’s Word to suit their own needs.
42.     According to Deuteronomy 26:12-13 every third year a tithe was kept in the homes for the poor.  Why is this principle ignored by churches today?
Answer: Again, it does not fit into their own change of God’s Word to suit their own needs.
43.     According to Deuteronomy 26:12-13 the Levites were included among the poor, strangers, fatherless and widows. Does this mean that the Levites and priests were to be counted among the poor?
Answer: Yes.  It is highly likely that God expected the Levites to give away much of what they received to the poor at all times.
44.     Where does the Bible say that the poor were required to tithe?
Answer: Nowhere, unless they were landowners or herdsmen living inside Israel.
45.     Many OT Levites who received the first whole tithe were political servants of the king (1 Chronicles 23 to 26). Why is that principle ignored today?
Answer: Again, it does not fit into their own change of God’s Word to suit their own needs.
46.     In the OT the first and best tithe went to the king. Why is that principle ignored today (1 Sam 8:14-17)?
Answer: We are not under a theocracy. Under Roman rule the first tithe went to Rome and often even the second tithe of fruits.
47.     Where did the Levites and priests live most of the time? See Joshua 20-21, Numbers 35 and First Chronicles 6.
Answer: Far away from Jerusalem in their Levitical cities. At first there were 48. Judah had 13 originally but may have expanded them later.
48.     How often did the Levites and priests serve in the Temple?  See 1 Chron 28:13, 21; 2 Chron 8:14; 23:8; 31:2, 15-19 35: 4, 5, 10; Neh 11:30: 12:24; Luke 1:5-9.
Answer: At a minimum of once every 24 weeks in a rotation (cycle). They spent the other 23 week either raising tithed animals or learning trades necessary for temple maintenance.
49.     ***Since 98% of the Levites and priests were not working in the temple most of the time, why would God tell the people in Malachi 3:10 to bring all of the tithe to the Temple when 98% of it was needed for food elsewhere?
Answer: He did not. The “you” of Malachi 3:10 only makes sense if it only refers to the priests. The typical interpretation of Malachi 3:10 contrasts with Nehemiah 10:37b and common sense.
50.     What covenant was the curse of tithing part of?   See Neh 10:29; Deu 28:12, 21-22; Gal 3:10-13.
Answer: Only the Old Covenant.  God is today dealing with His Church in terms of the New Covenant (Heb 8:8-13).
51.     According to Nehemiah 13:5-10 who was guilty of stealing the Levites’ portion of the tithe?
Answer: The priests.
52.     ***According to Nehemiah 10:37b where were the people commanded to take the tithes?  Why? Why is this text ignored today?
Answer: (1) To the Levitical cities. (2) That is where 98% of those who needed it for food lived most of the time. (3) Again, it does not fit into their own change of God’s Word to suit their own needs.
53.     According to Nehemiah 10:38 where were the priests located when they received the tithes? Why is this text ignored today?
Answer: In the Levitical cities. Again, it does not fit into their own change of God’s Word to suit their own needs.
54.     According to Malachi 1:6-14 who was guilty of stealing vows of tithes?
Answer: The priests from 1:6.
55.     Who was cursed in Malachi 1:14?
Answer: The priests. They were not commanded to tithe, but they were expected to give generous vow offerings from the tenth of the tithe which they received from the Levites. Num 18:21-28.
56.     Who was cursed 3 times in Malachi 2:2?
Answer: The priests.
57.     Who is questioning God in Malachi 2:17?
Answer: The priests from 2:13-17.
58.     To whom is God replying in Malachi 3:1-5?
Answer: The priests from 2:1-10, 13-17.
59.     Are the priests also “sons of Jacob” in Malachi 3:6-7?
Answer: Of course. They text does not have to refer to all sons of Jacob.
60.     Cannot Malachi 3:8 be referring to the priests stealing a third time?
Answer: It makes sense that God has not changed from cursing the priests.
61.     “Curse” refers to the priests four times in 1:14 and 2:2. Is it possible that God is still cursing the priests in 3:9 instead of suddenly having pity on them?
Answer: Common sense says yes.  God has not suddenly changed to feeling sorrow for priests. The “you” of 1:6 and 2:1 has never changed away from the priests.
62.     Does the pronoun “you” refer to the priests from Malachi 1:6 to 3:5?
Answer: If it has not clearly changed, then it must.
63.     Is there concrete evidence that God has changed his address from the priests to the people in Malachi 3:6-7?
Answer: Not in the context.
64.     Has God changed from cursing the priests to having pity on them in Malachi 3:8-10?
Answer: This would be illogical.
65.     Since “you” has thus far referred to the priests and since Nehemiah 10:37 proves that the people brought their tithes to the Levitical cities, then is it reasonable to conclude that “you” in Malachi 3:10 also refers to the priests of Nehemiah 10:38?
Answer: Yes.
66.     Again according to Nehemiah 10:37 where was most of the tithe needed and stored?
Answer: In the Levitical cities.
67.     According to Nehemiah 13:5-10 how large was the storeroom in the Temple?
Answer: If it was made from combining two rooms, the largest would be about 10 ft by 20 ft. Compare 1 Kings 6:6 for room size.
68.     Could the Temple have physically held all of the tithe of the nation in Solomon’s time or Nehemiah’s time?
Answer: Absolutely not.
69.     Is it possible that the Temple “storehouse” idea has been misunderstood?
Answer: Yes. Levites and priests living far away from the Temple would have to travel long distances for food. And the early church had no legal buildings for almost 300 years after Calvary.
70.     In Second Chronicles 31:15-19, why did King Hezekiah choose to relocate the tithes from rotting heaps in the streets of Jerusalem to the Levitical cities?
Answer: After consulting with Levites and priests, they realized that it was the logical thing to do. The temple storerooms only supplied food for the Levites and priests who ministered in the temple on weekly rotations.
71.     The “outlaw” early church met in secret in catacombs and graveyards for over 200 years after Calvary. They had no building to call “storehouses.” Why does the modern church use the term “storehouse tithing”?
Answer: It is dishonest and wants ignorant believers to think that they must bring the first ten per cent of their paycheck to the church.
72.     The OT Temple has been replaced, not by a building (1 Cor 3:16; 6:19), but the body of individual believers. Why does the modern church ignore this and teach that tithes should be brought to the church building as a replacement of the Temple?
Answer: Again, it does not fit into their own change of God’s Word to suit their own needs.
73.     Matthew 5:19-48 refers to all 600+ commandments of the Law. Why is 5:17-18 used only to argue that tithing is still valid? The text is self-destructive for that argument.
Answer: Again, it does not fit into their own change of God’s Word to suit their own needs. The text must be interpreted to teach that we are either under all of the law or none of it.
74.     Did Jesus (a carpenter), Peter (a fisherman) and Paul (a tentmaker) qualify as tithe-payers under the Law?
Answer: No. They were neither landowners nor herdsmen inside Israel. That which the produced was from their own increase and not from God’s miracle.
75.     How do you explain Matthew 5:19 “Whosoever therefore shall break one of these least commandments, and shall teach men so, he shall be called the least in the kingdom of heaven: but whosoever shall do and teach them, the same shall be called great in the kingdom of heaven.”?
Answer: It means that you cannot keep tithing while discarding most of the law. A consistent principle of interpretation is needed.
76.     Does not Matthew 5:19 obligate one to keep all 600+ commandments of the Law?
Answer: In its context, yes.
77.     According to Matthew 12:1-2 Jesus and his disciples gleaned food on the Sabbath Day. Were they accused of not tithing?  Why?
Answer: No. Because by allowing them to glean, the law recognized them as poor. It also proves that the poor were not expected to tithe from gleanings.
78.     According to Mark 12:42-44 a widow gave at the Temple. Was she tithing or giving a freewill offering?
Answer: She was giving a freewill offering of money. Money was never a tithed item.
79.     Since Paul’s tents came from pagan lands, did his income from selling tents qualify as tithe-able income under the Law?
Answer: Absolutely not.
80.     According to Matthew 23:2 who were the recognized interpreters of the Law?
Answer: The scribes and Pharisees.
81.     According to Matthew 23:2-3 why did Jesus tell his Jewish disciples to obey the scribes and Pharisees?
Answer: They were the current recognized authorities who sat in Moses seat to interpret the law.
82.     According to Matthew 23:3-4 did the addition of herbs and spices change the tithing law into a burden?
Answer: Yes. Counting small seeds would be a great burden.
83.     Did the Law command tithes from garden spices and herbs?
Answer: The tithing law did not include those items.
84.     Why did Jesus tell His Jewish disciples to tithe garden spices and herbs?
Answer: They were partially responsible for allowing the scribes and Pharisees to sit in Moses seat.
85.     In Matthew 8:4 why did Jesus command the Jews he healed to show themselves to the priests?
Answer: The Law was still in full effect before Calvary.
86.     Why did Jesus NOT command the Gentiles he healed to show themselves to the priests?
Answer: They were not under the Law.
87.     Did Jesus tell his Gentile disciples to tithe to the Temple system?
Answer: No. It would not have been allowed. It was illegal.
88.     To whom does the word “you” refer in Matthew 23:23?
Answer: The scribes and Pharisees.
89.     What three words in Matthew 23:23 describe its context?
Answer: “of the law”
90.     Is Matthew 23:23 an Old Covenant command or a New Covenant command?
Answer: Old Covenant before Calvary.
91.     Why did Jesus tell the rich young ruler and Zaccheus to give their money to the poor instead of the Temple as tithes?
Answer: Their wealth must not have been in land and animals inside Israel. Jesus was not breaking the law which required tithing.
92.     Do pastors today allow visiting evangelists to tell their congregation to “sell all that you have and give it to the poor”?
Answer: Of course not. They do not tell their congregations to do this either. Again, it does not fit into their own change of God’s Word to suit their own needs.
93.     Why do not pastors today command their church members to tithe garden spices as Jesus commanded in Matthew 23:23?
Answer: Again, it does not fit into their own change of God’s Word to suit their own needs. They have no consistent hermeneutic.
94.     According to Luke 22:20 when did the Old Covenant end and the New Covenant begin?
Answer: The Old Covenant ended and the New Covenant began when Jesus shed His blood at Calvary.
95.     According to Acts 2:42-47 and 4:32-35 did God command the disciples to share communally or did they make a freewill choice?
Answer: There is no record that Cod commanded this. It is very possible that it was done in anticipation of Christ’s imminent return.
96.     According to Acts 2:42-47 and 4:32-35 were the disciples tithing to church leaders or sharing everything equally?
Answer: This is not an example of tithing. It is an example of sacrificial freewill giving at the extreme. It should not be preached as an example of tithing because everybody shared equally.
97.     According to Acts 2:46 did the early church withdraw itself from worship in the Temple?
Answer: Not at all. Evidence is that they continued supporting the Temple. If they had stopped financially supporting the Temple, they would not have been allowed to use it.
98.     According to Acts 15:10 did Peter argue against putting the yoke of the law on Gentile Christians?
Answer: Most definitely.
99.     According to Acts 15:19-20 did James agree with Peter?
Answer: Most definitely. Yet most pastors today place their churches under the law of tithing while rejecting most of the law as irrelevant.
100.   According to Acts 20:29-35 was Paul self supporting most of the time?
Answer: Yes. He even boasted about it.
101.   According to Acts 20:35 did Paul expect church elders to follow his example?
Answer: Yes, but it was not a command.
102.   According to Acts 20:35 whom did Jesus tell to work and give to the weak?
Answer: Church elders. This has been reversed by the modern church.
103.   According to Acts 21:20 were the Christian Jews in Jerusalem still “zealous of the law”?
Answer: Yes, and this was 30 years after Calvary. The compromise of Acts 15 split the church and still required Jewish Christians to obey all of the Old Covenant Law.
104.   According to Acts 21:20 is it logical to conclude that the Christian Jews in Jerusalem were still paying tithes to the Temple system?
Answer: Yes, otherwise they would not be “zealous of the law.” The Law required payment of tithes to the Levites and priests and not to gospel workers.
105.   According to 1 Corinthians 9:7-14 did the vocations of soldier, herdsman, farmer, mill-grinder, temple worker and gospel worker each operate under different principles of support?
Answer: Yes. Each had its own principle.
106.   Comparing 1 Cor 9:13 with Numbers 18 and Leviticus, were temple workers supported from tithes, offerings, vows, freewill gifts, portions of sacrifices and many other sources?
Answer: Yes. Far more than tithing. Levites only received the tithe while priests had many sources of income other than a tenth of the tithe.
107.   Comparing 1 Cor 9:13 with Numbers 18 and Leviticus, was tithing the only “thing of the temple”?
Answer: Of course not, but this fact is ignored.
108.   Referring to 1 Cor 9:14 does even so (“in the same way”) command gospel workers to be supported by every means of support used for temple workers?
Answer: Of course not. The argument used by tithe-teachers is self-defeating. It proves too much.
109.   Referring to 1 Cor 9:14 does “even so” command gospel workers to be supported by ‘gospel principles’ of grace and faith “in the same manner” as the previous six vocations had been supports by their own principles?
Answer: Yes. The principle refers to all vocations mentioned in verses 7 to 14.
110.   Referring to 1 Cor 9:14 is it dishonest to teach that 9:13 only referred to tithing? Does not the text teach too much and destroy the tithing argument?
Answer: It is very dishonest. Paul knew that holy tithes were only for Levites and priests and could not come from Gentiles lands. Again, the text is self-defeating for tithe-teachers. It proves too much.
111.   According to 1 Cor 9:12, 15-19 did Paul accept tithes as a salary?
Answer: Absolutely not. He usually did not even accept freewill offerings. As a highly educated rabbi, Paul had been taught that teaching God’s Word for pay was not the manner of rabbis.
112.   Comparing 1 Cor 9:14 with 9:12, 15-19 if Jesus commanded tithing to support gospel workers, was not Paul disobeying that command?
Answer: Yes, but this fact is ignored by tithe-teachers.
113.   According to 2 Cor 3:10, how much glory does the OT have in comparison to the New Covenant? 
Answer: Zero glory.
114.   Where is tithing repeated to the Church in New Covenant terms of grace and faith?
Answer: Nowhere. And neither are gospel workers required to forfeit land inheritance rights and obey any of the tithing statute of Numbers 18.
115.   According to 1 Peter 2:9-10 has the OT priesthood been replaced by church leaders or by every believer?
Answer: By every believer. And this should have enormous implications against New Covenant tithing.
116.   Referring to 1 Peter 2:9-10, how does the “priesthood of believers” affect tithing?
Answer: Believers do not tithe to themselves, plus Old Covenant priests were never commanded to tithe.
117.   Were non-Levite OT prophets supported by tithes?
Answer: Absolutely not. They were either self-supported or received freewill offerings.
118.   Were OT and NT Jewish synagogue rabbis supported by tithes?
Answer: No. Never. And this should be important. The synagogue system using rabbis did not replace tithing to the Temple.
119.   Are NT pastors and elders supported similar to OT priests or prophets and rabbis?
Answer: The comparison is better to OT prophets and rabbis.
120.   Is First Timothy 5:1-20 a discussion of discipline or pastoral salary?
Answer: Discipline.
121.   According to First Timothy 5:8 are family essential needs more important than church support?
Answer: Definitely.
122.   How can First Timothy 5:8 be true if the first 10% of income must be given to the church?
Answer: Both cannot be true for the Church.
123.   Does “double honor” in First Timothy 5:17 refer to “double caution in discipline” or “double salary”?
Answer: The context is discipline.
124.   According to First Timothy 6:6-11 should gospel workers expect to be better off financially than most?
Answer: No.
125.   According to Hebrews 7:5, did the Law give the priests authority to receive tithes?
Answer: Yes.
126a. Were the OT priests also kings?
Answer: Not the HOLY Hebrew priests defined by the Law.
126b.  What does Hebrews 7:8 refer to?
Answer: The priests who were still literally receiving tithes before A.D.70.
127.   According to Hebrews 7:11 and Psalm 110:4 was the Messiah to be a priest-king?
Answer: Yes.
128.   According to Hebrews 7:11-12 did the prophecy that the Messiah would be a priest-king necessitate a change in the law?
Answer: Yes.
129.   According to Hebrews, chapters 5 to 7, was OT Melchizedek qualified to be a priest under the Law?
Answer: No.
130.   According to Hebrews 7:13-17 was Jesus qualified to be a priest under the Law?
Answer: No.
131.   According to Hebrews 7:18 how was the Law which also commanded tithing in 7:5 “changed” in 7:12?
Answer: It was disannulled, or abolished. It ended. It was not carried over into the New Covenant.
132.   According to Hebrews 7:12, 18, why was the Law which also commanded tithing to support the Levitical priesthood “annulled” or “set aside”?
Answer: It was weak and not profitable. It had been replaced with better New Covenant principles of sacrificial giving.
133.   According to Hebrews 7:16-28 was the king-priesthood of Messiah to be based on eternal moral principles?
Answer: Yes and those include sacrificial freewill giving which are written in the heart and conscience.
134.   Tithing existed in most nations long before Abraham’s time and those nations also practiced idolatry, child sacrifices and temple prostitution. Does the fact that tithing existed before the Law make it an eternal moral principle?
Answer: No. The HOLY tithe was only given later by special revelation to Old Covenant Israel.
135.   According to the entire book of Leviticus, how can tithing be retained as  a “holy” principle and almost everything else called “holy” and “most holy” in Leviticus be discarded?
Answer: By using poor principles of interpretation.
136.   According to Hebrews 8:6-13 Christ’s “more excellent ministry” replaced the Old Covenant on stones and paper with the New Covenant in the heart. Does a new-creation Christian know in the heart that he/she must give a ten per cent tithe to support the church?
Answer: No.
137.   According to Second Corinthians 8 and 9, does a new-creation Christian know instinctively to give: freely, sacrificially, generously, joyfully, not of commandment, regularly and motivated love for God and love for lost souls?
Answer: Yes. It is part of the new creation with the indwelling Holy Spirit.
138.   According to Second Corinthians 8:12-15, what is the “equality” principle of giving?
Answer: Many give much more than 10% while some cannot give that much. Yet both give sacrificially.  The giving equals out.
139.   According to Second Corinthians 3:10-18 which principle of giving has the blessing of the Holy Spirit?
Answer: Post Calvary New Covenant Holy Spirit blessed giving (and every other doctrine).
140.   Should most affluent Christians lower their standard of living in order to give more to promote the gospel?
Answer: Yes.