Is The Baptism With The Holy Spirit A Second Blessing?

Baptism With Spirit Second Blessing or not

Is The Baptism With The Holy Spirit A Second Blessing?

(Note that much of this material has been imported from the author’s article on The Baptism With The Holy Spirit.)

The issue that is before us is an issue that is of great importance to the Christian Church today.  For approximately one hundred years there has been a movement that seems to major on emphasizing the working of the Holy Spirit in the lives of saints.  Many (possibly most) of those who are involved in this movement believe “in the baptism with the Holy Ghost subsequent to a clean heart.”  (See http://www.churchofgod.org/about/declaration_of_faith.cfm)  In other words, the belief is that one is baptized with the Holy Spirit after they are saved.  The question that we must ask the Scriptures is whether or not this doctrine is true.

The Seal of The Spirit

“After that ye believed, ye were sealed with that holy Spirit of promise,  Which is the earnest of our inheritance until the redemption of the purchased possession, unto the praise of his glory.”  (Eph 1:13,14 ) KJV 

What is the sealing of the Spirit?  Often we think of the seal in the terms of a seal on a jar, or on an envelope.  We think of it in terms of security.  The context speaks to us of security.  We must, however, take Biblical terms and use them in the manner for which they are intended and not go halfway with them.  The seal is the Spirit.  There is security provided by the Spirit being our seal. The Spirit seals us until Christ comes to redeem our vile bodies and make them like His glorious body (See Php 3:20,21; 1Pet 1:3-9; Rom 8:23).  The seal is something that is enduring, however, it is not a seal of the jar lid sort.  The seal is a sign of authenticity.  It bespeaks of the genuine nature of that which is sealed.  For instance, if I were to buy a car, I would receive a bill of sale.  The bill of sale needs to be notarized before I can register the car in my name. When I get the bill of sale notarized, it is stamped with the “Great Seal of The State of _____________.” The seal is placed on the bill of sale to authenticate that it is a document that is genuine and not a forgery.  In Jesus’ day, the seal was usually made in wax by impressing it with a signet ring. That ring had a particular motif that was unique to the authority who owned it.  Thus, when a seal was set on the tomb of Jesus, it was declared off limits by the authorities.  The seal declared that the order to not open the tomb was an official government order.  When a child of God believes the gospel and is saved, he is sealed with the Spirit which God promised in the Old Testament.  Remember, Paul stated that the seal was with the Holy Spirit of promise. The Spirit within us testifies to the authenticity of our faith.

What did the Old Testament Scriptures promise us concerning the Spirit of God?  We must learn this to know what the sealing with the Spirit of promise is and what it means to us.  Let us look at some of the places where we can read of God’s promise of the Holy Spirit.  (For a more extensive treatment of this promise see the authors article “The Baptism With The Spirit.“)  Below are several passages that present to us the promise of the Holy Spirit.

Isa 44:1-8 Yet now hear, O Jacob my servant; and Israel, whom I have chosen: Thus saith the LORD that made thee, and formed thee from the womb, which will help thee; Fear not, O Jacob, my servant; and thou, Jesurun, whom I have chosen.  For I will pour water upon him that is thirsty, and floods upon the dry ground: I will pour my spirit upon thy seed, and my blessing upon thine offspring: And they shall spring up as among the grass, as willows by the water courses.  One shall say, I am the LORD’s; and another shall call himself by the name of Jacob; and another shall subscribe with his hand unto the LORD, and surname himself by the name of Israel.  Thus saith the LORD the King of Israel, and his redeemer the LORD of hosts; I am the first, and I am the last; and beside me there is no God. And who, as I, shall call, and shall declare it, and set it in order for me, since I appointed the ancient people? and the things that are coming, and shall come, let them shew unto them. Fear ye not, neither be afraid: have not I told thee from that time, and have declared it? ye are even my witnesses. Is there a God beside me? yea, there is no God; I know not any. (KJV)

In this passage, we have a promise of the outpouring of the Spirit of God upon the people of Israel.  The promise from God is a promise that in that day He will deliver and bless His people, and the people would take the name of the LORD unto them.  That is, they would declare Him to be their God and their spiritual husband.  (Compare this with Acts 2:38 and the command to be baptized in the name of the Lord Jesus.  This is nothing more than a call for them to identify themselves with the Christ who had poured out the Spirit in fulfillment of the above prophecy.  What a marked contrast between this simple truth and the heresy of “One-ness” professors!) John was telling the people that the promised redeemer was coming to save Israel.  The baptism of the Holy Ghost is a fulfillment of God’s promise.

Ezek 11:19-20  And I will give them one heart, and I will put a new spirit within you; and I will take the stony heart out of their flesh, and will give them an heart of flesh: That they may walk in my statutes, and keep mine ordinances, and do them: and they shall be my people, and I will be their God. (KJV)Ezek 36:25-26 Then will I sprinkle clean water upon you, and ye shall be clean: from all your filthiness, and from all your idols, will I cleanse you.   A new heart also will I give you, and a new spirit will I put within you: and I will take away the stony heart out of your flesh, and I will give you an heart of flesh. (KJV)

Note that once again we have before us a promise of God giving His Spirit.  This promise is to the end that men would be changed to ones who would love and worship God instead of idols.

Zech 12:9-10  And it shall come to pass in that day, that I will seek to destroy all the nations that come against Jerusalem.   And I will pour upon the house of David, and upon the inhabitants of Jerusalem, the spirit of grace and of supplications: and they shall look upon me whom they have pierced, and they shall mourn for him, as one mourneth for his only son, and shall be in bitterness for him, as one that is in bitterness for his firstborn. (KJV)

Here, too, we have a promise of God pouring out His Spirit upon His people at the time of the end.  At this time they shall be delivered, restored, and saved.

After many years of expecting God to send His blessing and John declaring that the blessing was at hand, Jesus stated that the blessing of the outpouring of the Spirit was near.  Jesus stated before He ascended to Heaven, Acts 1:4  wait for the promise of the Father, which, saith he, ye have heard of me. (KJV)  Luke 24:49 And, behold, I send the promise of my Father upon you: but tarry ye in the city of Jerusalem, until ye be endued with power from on high.  (KJV)    Jesus let His disciples know that God was soon to fulfill the promise that He had given them so many years before. Finally, on the day of Pentecost, it came.  Acts 2:1-4  And when the day of Pentecost was fully come, they were all with one accord in one place.   And suddenly there came a sound from heaven as of a rushing mighty wind, and it filled all the house where they were sitting.   And there appeared unto them cloven tongues like as of fire, and it sat upon each of them.  And they were all filled with the Holy Ghost, and began to speak with other tongues, as the Spirit gave them utterance.  (KJV)

Acts 2:16-21  But this is that which was spoken by the prophet Joel;   And it shall come to pass in the last days, saith God, I will pour out of my Spirit upon all flesh: and your sons and your daughters shall prophesy, and your young men shall see visions, and your old men shall dream dreams:   And on my servants and on my handmaidens I will pour out in those days of my Spirit; and they shall prophesy:   And I will shew wonders in heaven above, and signs in the earth beneath; blood, and fire, and vapour of smoke:   The sun shall be turned into darkness, and the moon into blood, before that great and notable day of the Lord come   And it shall come to pass, that whosoever shall call on the name of the Lord shall be saved.  (KJV)  The Holy Spirit fell upon the people and they were baptized in the Spirit.  As the saints began to praise God, some observers mocked and stated that the saints were drunken. Peter’s defense was two-fold: it was too early in the morning to be drunken, and this was the fulfillment of the Old Testament promise that God had given.  The PROMISE had arrived!

The wonderful thing about this blessing is the fact that it is a universal promise.  The promise is available to all who call upon the name of the Lord. This statement is a quote of Joel 2:28.  Peter mentioned that the outpouring of the Spirit was in fulfillment of the promise in Joel 2. He also told those men to call upon the name of the Lord to be saved.  This is especially interesting to note when you contrast the present day misrepresentation of Acts 2:38 which people use to teach baptism in Jesus’ name in order to obtain the forgiveness of sins.  One thing is certain, Acts 2:38 does not contradict the plain statement “whosoever shall call upon the name of the Lord shall be saved.”  When Peter said, Acts 2:38  Repent, and be baptized every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins, and ye shall receive the gift of the Holy Ghost.  (KJV) he was simply stating that men must receive Jesus as the Christ and embrace Him as the true King of Israel.  Not only so, but one of the things that is characteristic of those upon whom the Spirit is come is the fact that they identify themselves with the Lord who poured out His Spirit  (See Isa 44:5).  If this is characteristic of those who have received the promise, is it any wonder that Peter would tell the Jews who rejected Christ that they must repent, accept Jesus as their Messiah, and identify themselves with Christ to be saved?  Salvation is not through the identifying, but those who deny the Lord are denied of Him (See Matt 10:32,33).  No one need think himself to be forgiven of sin if he will not confess Jesus as the Christ and as his savior. This is simply another part of Scripture being fulfilled which says, Isa 44:3-5 I will pour water upon him that is thirsty, and floods upon the dry ground: I will pour my spirit upon thy seed, and my blessing upon thine offspring:   And they shall spring up as among the grass, as willows by the water courses.  One shall say, I am the LORD’s; and another shall call himself by the name of Jacob; and another shall subscribe with his hand unto the LORD, and surname himself by the name of Israel. (KJV)

Seeing that the Holy Spirit of promise is the seal (sign of the genuine nature) of our redemption, and that the promise of the Spirit is to everyone who believes Jesus, we must ask ourselves one more question. That question is this: when does the believer receive the seal of the Spirit?  Is it received simultaneously with regeneration, or is it sometime subsequent to the new birth?  The text that states to us that the Spirit is the seal of our redemption sets the time of the sealing, too.  Eph 1:13 after that ye believed, ye were sealed with that holy Spirit of promise.  (KJV)  The apostle Paul asked the question of the Galatians, Gal 3:2  This only would I learn of you, Received ye the Spirit by the works of the law, or by the hearing of faith?  (KJV)  Paul reminded the Galatians that their receiving of the Spirit and blessing came through faith, not works of the law.  He also told them that the reason Jesus died was that we could receive the promise of the Spirit through faith.  Gal 3:13-14  Christ hath redeemed us from the curse of the law, being made a curse for us: for it is written, Cursed is every one that hangeth on a tree: That the blessing of Abraham might come on the Gentiles through Jesus Christ; that we might receive the promise of the Spirit through faith.  (KJV)  Finally, Paul lets us know that this receiving of the Spirit was not an indwelling alone, but a baptism.  Gal 3:26-29 For ye are all the children of God by faith in Christ Jesus. For as many of you as have been baptized into Christ have put on Christ.  There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither bond nor free, there is neither male nor female: for ye are all one in Christ Jesus.  And if ye be Christ’s, then are ye Abraham’s seed, and heirs according to the promise.  (KJV)   It is important to note that the baptism in Gal 3:27 is of necessity a Spirit baptism.  The word “for” is a word that joins the statement to be made with the foregone statements.  We have believed in Christ and have put on Christ when we were baptized with the Spirit into Christ.  This baptism happens when we become children of God by faith in Christ. In Christ there is equality and no distinctions.  (This would not be so if the baptism were water baptism into the local body, for we know that God has placed different people in different positions of authority in the local body.)  This baptism is part and parcel of our belonging to Christ and being of Abraham’s seed.  In short, the baptism of the Spirit comes to everyone who believes in Christ to the saving of his soul: and that according to the promise of God of which we have already studied. As a matter of fact, we are told that the only ones who do not have the Spirit of God are the ones who are not saved.   Rom 8:9 Now if any man have not the Spirit of Christ, he is none of his. (KJV)  It can be safely concluded, then, that the baptism with the Holy Ghost is not a “second blessing” but occurs at the very moment one believes and is born again.

 

 

A Consideration of Two Texts That Seem to Support The Doctrine of The Second Blessing

The following passages seem to support the doctrine of the second blessing.  The question we must ask is, “Do they indeed support the doctrine of the second blessing?” The first thing we must note is the fact that it has already been determined from the Scriptures that the Baptism with the Holy Spirit is not a second blessing.  At the same time, we must do justice to hard texts that seem to point in the other direction.  They cannot be dismissed.  Let us now examine these two texts.

Acts 8:14-17  Now when the apostles which were at Jerusalem heard that Samaria had received the word of God, they sent unto them Peter and John:  Who, when they were come down, prayed for them, that they might receive the Holy Ghost:  (For as yet he was fallen upon none of them: only they were baptized in the name of the Lord Jesus.)   Then laid they their hands on them, and they received the Holy Ghost. (KJV)  As we study this passage we must first understand the context.  The disciples had stayed in Jerusalem until persecution caused many of them to flee to other places.  As they fled, they preached.  As they preached, people were converted.  In Samaria folks believed on Jesus.  Let us not forget that the Samaritans and Jews were not friendly to one another.  We must also recall that the Jewish people had a very strong spirit of nationalism, and especially was it strong in relation to their religious views.  The Scriptures show us evidence that it was difficult for the early church to accept that there were those who were not of Jewish descent who could be saved.  It is no wonder that, when the church at Jerusalem heard of converts at Samaria, they sent some down to look into the matter.  When Peter and John arrived in Samaria, they prayed for the new converts and laid their hands upon them.  When this was done, the Samaritan believers received the gift of the Spirit.

Why did this happen in this manner, and what did it signify? First of all, this happening demonstrated to the Samaritans their acceptance into the body of Christ. They were received as true Christians by the apostles who were chosen by Christ to be His witnesses.  There should be no doubt that this caused them much comfort.  Not only so, but this action demonstrated that the apostles and the Jerusalem church were willing to share the honor of the gifts of the Spirit with the Samaritans.  The laying on of hands signified their willingness to share with the Samaritans the blessings that they had enjoyed because of Jesus (compare Num 27:18-23). This happening was not something that was normal.  In other words, we need not expect the coming of the Spirit to happen in this manner as a matter of course.  These events happened in this manner because God was working through this to emphasize the unity that is in the body of Christ.  This unity was taught by Paul when he said,“ As the body is one, and hath many members, and all the members of that one body, being many, are one body: so also is Christ.   For by one Spirit are we all baptized into one body, whether we be Jews or Gentiles, whether we be bond or free; and have been all made to drink into one Spirit.”  (1 Cor 12:12,13)  KJV 

Acts 19:1-7  And it came to pass, that, while Apollos was at Corinth, Paul having passed through the upper coasts came to Ephesus: and finding certain disciples,  He said unto them, Have ye received the Holy Ghost since ye believed? And they said unto him, We have not so much as heard whether there be any Holy Ghost.   And he said unto them, Unto what then were ye baptized? And they said, Unto John’s baptism.   Then said Paul, John verily baptized with the baptism of repentance, saying unto the people, that they should believe on him which should come after him, that is, on Christ Jesus.   When they heard this, they were baptized in the name of the Lord Jesus.   And when Paul had laid his hands upon them, the Holy Ghost came on them; and they spake with tongues, and prophesied.   And all the men were about twelve.  (KJV)  What happened here?  First of all, we must see that these disciples were ignorant of the Holy Ghost.  How could that be?  If there baptized with John’s baptism, or unto John’s baptism, they should have heard of the Holy Spirit.  John preached and told men that they should believe on Jesus, who would baptize them with the Holy Ghost (Matt 3:11,12).  The preaching of John was calculated to lead men to faith in Jesus. It is obvious that these people had not heard the gospel message correctly.  Because of this, they did not receive Jesus as their savior.  They were not true disciples of Christ.  Having heard the truth, they evidently embraced it, as they were baptized into Christ.  After that, Paul laid hands on them and they received the Spirit.  This happening can easily be explained by the fact that the laying on of hands and the receiving of the Spirit happened for the purpose of giving these people the assurance that they needed that their faith was indeed genuine and was honored by God.

While these may not be what some would call “water tight” explanations, we can at least say that they are as plausible as any other we know of. These explanations also seem to fit well with the facts that we know.  What we must realize is that passages such as these do not change the fact that the baptism with the Holy Spirit is not a second blessing, but occurs when one is converted.  The occasional obscure passage must never be used to negate that which is plain and easily understood.

 

 

 

 

 

Suggested Reading

Suggested Reading

Frame “Apologetics To The Glory Of God”

Warfield “Inspiration And Authority Of The Scriptures”

Edwards “The Trinity

Pendleton “Christian Doctrine

Masters “Physicians Of Souls”

Piper “Brothers We Are Not Professionals

Steve Lawson Nehemiah 8(audio)

Watson “Body Of Divinity”

Bridges “Trusting God, Even When Life Hurts”

Masters and Whitcomb “Charismatic Illusion”

Spurgeon “Lectures To My Students”

Feed My Sheep: A Passionate Plea For Preaching

E.S. Williams “The New Calvinists”

Flavel “The Providence Of God”

Mortenson “Coming To Grips With Genesis”

Broadbent “The Pilgrim Church”

Lloyd-Jones “Preaching And Preachers”

Edwards “The End For Which God Created The World” or Piper “God’s Passion For His Glory” (Which includes the Edwards book)

Isaac Watts “Logic; Or The Right Use Of Reason”

Owen “The Glory Of Christ” abridged

Norman Geisler “Chosen But Free”

Keathley “Salvation And Sovereignty”

Lloyd-Jones “Spiritual Depression”

Piper “The Pleasures Of God”

MacArthur “How To Get The Most From God’s Word”

Geoffrey Bromiley “Historical Theology”

Edwards on “The Excellency Of Christ

Athanasius on “The Incarnation

Piper “Fifty Reasons Jesus Came To Die

Piper “Desiring God”

John Bunyan “Pilgrim’s Progress”

“Baptism And Baptisteries”

Adoniram Judson “Christian Baptism”

Bobgan “Person To Person Ministry”

Donald A Carson “The God Who Is There” (bookAudio and video

Newton & Schmucker “Elders In The Life Of The Church”

Hezekiah Harvey “The Church” & “The Pastor”

J.R. Graves “Old Landmarkism”

Bob Ross “Old Landmarkism And The Baptists”

Pendleton’s Church Manual

J.M. Pendleton “An Old Landmark Reset

Edwards “Sinners In The Hands Of An Angry God” & “Heaven, A World Of Love

Randy Alcorn “Heaven”

Asahel Nettleton, The Forgotten Evangelist

Ian Murray “Revival And Revivalism”

Edersheim “Old Testament History”

David Alan Black “The New Testament”

MacArthur’s Handbook To The Bible

Strong’s Concordance

Vine’s Dictionary

Ussher’s Chronology

  1. Gresham Machen “The New Testament: An Introduction”

Is Tithing Biblical?

Is Tithing Biblical

The question that is before us today is, “Is tithing Biblical?”  That being the question, we are sure that the Word of God will provide an answer for us.

Tithing Before The Law

If we are to search the Scriptures to determine if tithing is Biblical, we should start from the beginning.  Tithing is first mentioned as occurring in the days of Abraham (Abram). “Melchizedek king of Salem brought forth bread and wine: and he was the priest of the most high God.   And he blessed him, and said, Blessed be Abram of the most high God, possessor of heaven and earth:  And blessed be the most high God, which hath delivered thine enemies into thy hand. And he gave him tithes of all.”  (Gen 14:18-20) KJV  Abram gave to Melchisedec ten percent of the goods of Sodom which he had recovered from their enemies.  Due to the fact that tithing is often considered to be legalistic we should ask ourselves a few questions about tithing.  Who gave Abram a law that caused him to tithe?  The answer is simple: no one gave Abram a law. Abram simply gave a tithe, and we should be able to easily discern why he did so.  We should then ask where Abram got the idea of tithing. There are four ways in which we can answer that question:  first we could say that the devil led Abram to tithe, then we could say that Abram’s flesh led him to tithe, we could then say that Melchisedec demanded the tithe, finally we could answer that God led Abram to tithe.  Which answer do you think is most acceptable? Is it not obvious that the only sensible answer would be that God led Abram to tithe?  When we also take the time to consider that Melchisedec was a type of Jesus, our high priest,  we find ourselves under just as much, if not more, obligation to tithe to the Lord Jesus who fulfills the type of Melchisedec..

We also find that Jacob promised to give God a tithe.  “Jacob vowed a vow, saying, If God will be with me, and will keep me in this way that I go, and will give me bread to eat, and raiment to put on,  So that I come again to my father’s house in peace; then shall the LORD be my God:  And this stone, which I have set for a pillar, shall be God’s house: and of all that thou shalt give me I will surely give the tenth unto thee.”  (Gen 28:20-22) KJV  Jacob had a dream while he slept at Bethel.  When Jacob awakened he was aware that he had experienced the presence of God.  As a result of this he promised to honor the God who had given great promises to him.  One of the ways by which Jacob would honor God would be by giving Him the tenth of all the God would prosper him to get. Again, there is only one who motivated Jacob to make this promise, and that one is God.

One may ask in what manner these instances are relevant to a discussion of tithing. The answer is this:  before the law was given people tithed. Not only did people tithe before the law was given, but God motivated people to tithe, and the people who gave the tithe did so willingly.  Abraham and Jacob were not constrained to give the tithe because they had no choice.  Abraham’s and Jacob’s tithes were offerings to God of their own free will.

 

Tithing Under The Law

What did God require under the law?  To gain an understanding of the Biblical way of giving we must get the whole picture.  To do so, we must determine what God required under the law.  Moses told Israel, “All the tithe of the land, whether of the seed of the land, or of the fruit of the tree, is the LORD’s: it is holy unto the LORD.”  (Lev 27:30) KJV Ten percent of all vegetation that was grown for food or profit was required to be given to God.  “And concerning the tithe of the herd, or of the flock, even of whatsoever passeth under the rod, the tenth shall be holy unto the LORD.”  (Lev 27:32) KJV  Of the herds of the children of Israel one tenth of all of the animals were to be given to God.  This tithe was for the maintenance of the Levites that they might attend to the work of God in the tabernacle.  “Behold, I have given the children of Levi all the tenth in Israel for an inheritance, for their service which they serve, even the service of the tabernacle of the congregation.   Neither must the children of Israel henceforth come nigh the tabernacle of the congregation, lest they bear sin, and die.   But the Levites shall do the service of the tabernacle of the congregation, and they shall bear their iniquity: it shall be a statute for ever throughout your generations, that among the children of Israel they have no inheritance.   But the tithes of the children of Israel, which they offer as an heave offering unto the LORD, I have given to the Levites to inherit: therefore I have said unto them, Among the children of Israel they shall have no inheritance.” (Num 18:21-24) KJV

There was another tithe that was not for the maintenance of the Levites, but for the purpose of worshiping God.  “Unto the place which the LORD your God shall choose out of all your tribes to put his name there, even unto his habitation shall ye seek, and thither thou shalt come: And thither ye shall bring your burnt offerings, and your sacrifices, and your tithes, and heave offerings of your hand, and your vows, and your freewill offerings, and the firstlings of your herds and of your flocks:  And there ye shall eat before the LORD your God, and ye shall rejoice in all that ye put your hand unto, ye and your households, wherein the LORD thy God hath blessed thee.”  (Deut 12:5-7) KJV  This tithe was to be taken to Jerusalem and eaten in worship of the LORD with rejoicing for His great goodness toward the people.  Moses further explained this tithe saying, “The Levite that is within thy gates; thou shalt not forsake him; for he hath no part nor inheritance with thee.   At the end of three years thou shalt bring forth all the tithe of thine increase the same year, and shalt lay it up within thy gates:  And the Levite, (because he hath no part nor inheritance with thee,) and the stranger, and the fatherless, and the widow, which are within thy gates, shall come, and shall eat and be satisfied; that the LORD thy God may bless thee in all the work of thine hand which thou doest.” (Deut 14:27-29) KJV  Moses reminded the people of the need to support the Levite with his tithe.  At the same time, they were to bring the tithe of their increase every third year for the purpose of worship, helping the poor, and giving additional support to the Levites.

Tithing And The Pharisees

“Woe unto you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! for ye pay tithe of mint and anise and cummin, and have omitted the weightier matters of the law, judgment, mercy, and faith: these ought ye to have done, and not to leave the other undone.”  (Matt 23:23) KJV

This verse will almost invariably arise in any discussion of tithing.  Often it is used to support tithing, but is given with almost no comment.  On the other hand, it has been said that one who uses this verse to support tithing is joining with Jesus in calling people hypocrites.  To ever come to the understanding that this verse teaching tithing to be hypocrisy requires a somewhat clever form of exegesis that this writer has not learned.

The question is, of what benefit is this verse in the discussion of tithing?  A very simple and straight forward answer is that the verse shows that Jesus, in New Testament times, told the Pharisees that tithing was something that they ought to have done.  The Pharisees were very conscientious in their tithing; giving ten percent of even the smallest of herbs in their gardens. The problem was that they had neglected more important matters.  Though Jesus rebuked the Pharisees for omitting the more important matters (judgment, mercy, and faith), he told them that their tithing was something that they ought to have done.  In other words, Jesus commended the Pharisees for tithing, thus teaching that the commandment concerning tithing was valid in His day.

 

Tithing And The New Testament Christian

The question that is still before us is the question of whether or not tithing for the support of the ministry is obligatory upon the New Testament Christian.  We have already seen that Jesus approved of giving the tithe. While this should settle the issue, it is almost certain that, for many, it will not.  One thing we must bear in mind, however, is the fact that we must hold this teaching to be true unless we have Scriptural proof that Jesus annulled the command to tithe.

Those who declare that the commandment concerning tithing has indeed been annulled refer us to Paul’s statements in 1 Cor 9 where he addresses the issue of ministerial support.  Let us view these verses.  “Do ye not know that they which minister about holy things live of the things of the temple? and they which wait at the altar are partakers with the altar?  Even so hath the Lord ordained that they which preach the gospel should live of the gospel.”  (1 Cor 9:13,14) KJV  The apostle is stating in no uncertain terms that, if those who ministered under the law were supported in their labors, the ministers of the gospel should be supported as well as they were.  Those who are opposed to tithing tell us that those who minister about holy things and those who minister at the altar are the priests whose means of support were offerings and not tithes.  If both are priests we have an unnecessary redundancy in the verse. In reality, those who minister about holy things and partake of the things of the temple are the Levites. “Thus shalt thou separate the Levites from among the children of Israel: and the Levites shall be mine.  And after that shall the Levites go in to do the service of the tabernacle of the congregation.” (Num 8:14,15) KJV  “Thou shalt appoint the Levites over the tabernacle of testimony, and over all the vessels thereof, and over all things that belong to it: they shall bear the tabernacle, and all the vessels thereof; and they shall minister unto it, and shall encamp round about the tabernacle.” (Num 1:50) KJV  “Behold, I have given the children of Levi all the tenth in Israel for an inheritance, for their service which they serve, even the service of the tabernacle of the congregation.”  (Num 18:21) KJV  The Levites were supported in their service by the tithes of the people.  Those who ministered at the altar were the priests, and they were supported by God allowing them to take a portion of the sacrifices that they offered.  “When any will offer a meat offering unto the LORD, his offering shall be of fine flour; and he shall pour oil upon it, and put frankincense thereon:  And he shall bring it to Aaron’s sons the priests: and he shall take thereout his handful of the flour thereof, and of the oil thereof, with all the frankincense thereof; and the priest shall burn the memorial of it upon the altar, to be an offering made by fire, of a sweet savour unto the LORD:  And the remnant of the meat offering shall be Aaron’s and his sons’: it is a thing most holy of the offerings of the LORD made by fire.   And if thou bring an oblation of a meat offering baken in the oven, it shall be unleavened cakes of fine flour mingled with oil, or unleavened wafers anointed with oil.   And if thy oblation be a meat offering baken in a pan, it shall be of fine flour unleavened, mingled with oil.   Thou shalt part it in pieces, and pour oil thereon: it is a meat offering.   And if thy oblation be a meat offering baken in the fryingpan, it shall be made of fine flour with oil.   And thou shalt bring the meat offering that is made of these things unto the LORD: and when it is presented unto the priest, he shall bring it unto the altar.   And the priest shall take from the meat offering a memorial thereof, and shall burn it upon the altar: it is an offering made by fire, of a sweet savour unto the LORD.   And that which is left of the meat offering shall be Aaron’s and his sons’: it is a thing most holy of the offerings of the LORD made by fire.” (Lev 2:1-10) KJV  “This is the law of the meat offering: the sons of Aaron shall offer it before the LORD, before the altar.   And he shall take of it his handful, of the flour of the meat offering, and of the oil thereof, and all the frankincense which is upon the meat offering, and shall burn it upon the altar for a sweet savour, even the memorial of it, unto the LORD.   And the remainder thereof shall Aaron and his sons eat: with unleavened bread shall it be eaten in the holy place; in the court of the tabernacle of the congregation they shall eat it.   It shall not be baken with leaven. I have given it unto them for their portion of my offerings made by fire; it is most holy, as is the sin offering, and as the trespass offering.   All the males among the children of Aaron shall eat of it. It shall be a statute for ever in your generations concerning the offerings of the LORD made by fire: every one that toucheth them shall be holy.”  (Lev 6:14-18) KJV While the main intention of this verse is to simply demonstrate that those who minister the gospel should be given material sustenance and financial support we also find that it does not annul the commandment to give the tithe for the support of the ministry. In fact, if we use the methods by which the priests and Levites were supported for the pattern by which New Testament ministers of the gospel should be sustained, we find that these verses upholdthe support of ministers by tithes and offerings.

Another verse that is used to combat tithing is found in 2 Cor.  “Every man according as he purposeth in his heart, so let him give; not grudgingly, or of necessity: for God loveth a cheerful giver.”  (2 Cor 9:7) KJV What is this verse saying? Is it telling us that, if tithing is required, we are giving because we are constrained to do so?  No, indeed.  As a matter of fact, this passage has nothing at all to do with tithing or giving to the support of the ministry.  This passage is speaking about giving to the relief of the poor. As always, when studying God’s word, we must be careful to read it in context.  Paul is simply stating that one must not give to the poor because he feels that he must do so, nor grieve in parting with his money for the good of others.  The giver must joyfully give.  God loves those who joyfully give to meet the needs of others.  “Blessed is he that considereth the poor: the LORD will deliver him in time of trouble.”  (Ps 41:1) KJV

The New Testament refers back to the Old Testament when speaking of the need for the ministry to be supported. Paul stated , “Who goeth a warfare any time at his own charges? who planteth a vineyard, and eateth not of the fruit thereof? or who feedeth a flock, and eateth not of the milk of the flock?   Say I these things as a man? or saith not the law the same also?   For it is written in the law of Moses, Thou shalt not muzzle the mouth of the ox that treadeth out the corn. Doth God take care for oxen?   Or saith he it altogether for our sakes? For our sakes, no doubt, this is written: that he that ploweth should plow in hope; and that he that thresheth in hope should be partaker of his hope.”  (1 Cor 9:7-10) KJV  Paul appealed to the Old Testament when he taught the Corinthians to give to the support of the ministry.  Again, Paul said, “ Do ye not know that they which minister about holy things live of the things of the temple? and they which wait at the altar are partakers with the altar?   Even so hath the Lord ordained that they which preach the gospel should live of the gospel.”  (1 Cor 9:13,14) KJV  Surely Paul was not seeking to bring the Corinthians under the bondage of the law.  Paul was simply demonstrating from Scripture that the ministry should be supported.  Just as surely as Paul was not being legalistic in doing this, it is not legalistic to declare that men should tithe for the support of the ministry.  As a matter of fact, we have seen that Jesus, the one who has liberated us from the bondage of the law, declared that men ought to tithe (See Matt 23:23). In like manner, we have learned that tithing predates the law and is not legalistic, but a duty placed upon all men in all ages by God.  There is no doubt that we should discharge our duty without compulsion. Neither should we grieve to part with our goods for the furtherance of the gospel and the glory of God. Certainly we should give cheerfully.  As a matter of fact, we have a statement within our church covenant where we agree to give regularly and cheerfully to the support of the gospel.  These things being so, we must conclude that there is no annulment of the obligation of the Christian to tithe for the support of the work of God.