Seventh-Day Adventists/Tithing and the moral law

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Question
Dear Sal:

You claim to accept Godís eternal moral law. Then you tell people not to keep the Sabbath and not to tithe. This is hypocritical. Abraham obeyed Godís commands and was blessed for tithing.  ďAnd the Lord hath blessed my master (Abraham) greatly; and he is become great: and he hath given him flocks, and herds, and silver, and gold, and menservants, and maidservants, and camels, and asses.Ē (Gen. 24:35). So you see that tithing is a moral law like Sabbath keeping.

Todd

Answer
Dear Brother Todd:

First of all I have never told people not to keep the Sabbath or not to tithe. Both of these practices are acceptable under the New Covenant. However, neither of them is required of Christians.

Concerning the blessing of Abraham, you have gotten things backwards. Please reread Genesis 14:18-20. Please note carefully the order that things happen.

"Melchizedek king of Salem brought out bread and wine; now he was a priest of God Most High. He blessed him and said, 'Blessed be Abram of God Most High, Possessor of heaven and earth; And blessed be God Most High, Who has delivered your enemies into your hand.' gave him a tenth of all" (NASB).

Abraham was FIRST blessed and THEN he gave a tithe of the spoils of war. Also Abraham was not blessed by God with wealth because he tithed. Abraham was wealthy before he tithed to Melchizedek. For example before Abraham met Melchizedek we read, "Abram had become very wealthy in livestock and in silver and gold" (Genesis 13:2 NIV).

Further if tithing is an unchanging moral law why does tithing change? The Abraham/Melchizedek incident has Abraham giving 10% to the priest. It is beyond question that the "tenth of all" in v. 20 refers only to the spoils of war since Abraham's personal property was many miles away at his home (cf. Hebrews 7:4). If Moses recognized this incident as teaching an unchanging moral law when he wrote Genesis 14 why did he change it when he wrote Numbers 31?

"From the soldiers who fought in the battle, set apart as tribute for the Lord one out of every five hundred, whether people, cattle, donkeys or sheep. Take this tribute from their half share and give it to Eleazar the priest as the Lord part. From the Israelites half, select one out of every fifty, whether people, cattle, donkeys, sheep or other animals. Give them to the Levites, who are responsible for the care of the Lord's tabernacle" (Numbers 31:28-30 NIV).

In these verses the Levites are only to receive 2% of the spoils while the priest is to only receive 0.2%. This is quite a change from Melchizedek's 10%, don't you agree?

Apart from the spoils of war tithe, the customary tithe was to be taken only from the produce of Israel and from the livestock raised on the land.

"And all the tithe of the land, whether of the seed of the land or of the fruit of the tree, is the Lord��It is holy to the Lord. If a man wants at all to redeem any of his tithes, he shall add one-fifth to it. And concerning the tithe of the herd or the flock, of whatever passes under the rod, the tenth one shall be holy to the Lord. He shall not inquire whether it is good or bad, nor shall he exchange it; and if he exchanges it at all, then both it and the one exchanged for it shall be holy; it shall not be redeemed. These are the commandments which the Lord commanded Moses for the children of Israel on Mount Sinai" (Leviticus 27:30-34 NKJV).

So on what biblical authority has this eternal moral law been changed to a monetary tithe unrelated to produce and livestock?

It is not I who am being hypocritical. You say tithing is an eternal moral law yet you obey tithing laws that have no relation to Abraham's tithe to Melchizedek or to the tithing of the Israelites. Isn't it hypocritical to say you believe in something, but then to not abide by its rules and regulations?   

God Bless You,

Brother Sal  

Seventh-Day Adventists

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Sal

Expertise

I am privileged to be able to offer an alternative insight into the complicated world of Seventh-Day Adventists (SDA) theology. I will rely heavily on the Bible, but will also consider history and use logic in exposing deficiencies in SDA teachings. I would ask anyone who is considering becoming a SDA or if you are already in the SDA church, but are searching for the truth, to please allow me to offer a different explanation for the claims of the SDA. Remember : "The truth will set you free" (John 8:32). I can answer your questions pertaining to the beliefs and history of the SDA. I am not able to answer questions concerning spirituality or church discipline.

Experience

I have extensively studied the theology of the Seventh-Day Adventists (SDA) for a number of years. I have many books and tape sets produced by experts in this field of study. I have debated current members of the SDA church. I have a great desire to help these people see the truth.

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M.S. degree in Food, Nutrition, and Dietetics

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