15. (N.T.) Tithing as discussed in the book of Hebrews

The Tithe?

15. New Testamet
Tithing as Discussed in the Book of Hebrews
(Please read all previous articles on tithing first)

 The book of Hebrews carries an unknown author; however, most evangelical scholars designate its authorship to the Apostle Paul. It was written to Jewish believers living in Jerusalem at a critical time in their history, just shortly before the destruction of their temple in 70 A.D.  Persecution was high, although martydom had not become a practice in Jerusalem as of yet.  It was a time of real uncertainly for Israel. As was their custom, all Jew who had become believers since the time of Christ, had been celebrating with other Christian believers on the first day of the week; however, they still considered themselves Jewish in faith and practice, and went to the temple on the Sabbath to worship, gave sacrifices, tithes, and obeyed the law.

The whole book of Hebrews gives honor and precedence to Jesus, explaining that He is better than Jewish sacrifices, tithing, and the law. Given as a prophetic word to Jews who were about to lose their temple to Roman invasion, the book of Hebrews was meant to lift up Jesus above Abraham or Melchizedek, tithing or the law, and even Moses, stating Jesus is the High Priest over all. Within a few years (70 A.D.) a Roman army came in and destroyed the temple in Jerusalem, not allowing any Jews to enter the ruins to rebuild their temple. Consequently, the high priest and all other priests, including the Levitical priests were not allowed to perform any sacrificial services. The Jews and Christians alike fled the city and scattered to other parts of the world. The reason for the tithe was no longer in effect because: 1) the Jews no longer had their land in Canaan to plant and harvest, and, 2) there was no priesthood to give their tithes.

It was essential for the writer of the book of Hebrews to convince the Jewish believers that their current earthly city of Jerusalem with its temple, high priesthood, sacrifices, and support structure were no longer a necessary part of God’s plan for the Church. They needed, therefore, to break away from their immature faith and mistaken dependence upon the city of Jerusalem, its temple, the high priest and priesthood. The book of Hebrews contains strong words for Jewish believers to stop going to the temple for festivals, vows and sacrifices. They were told to stop accepting the Levitical priesthood as legitimate, along with the tithes that it supported. The stoppage of the tithe then became an important part in the dismantling of the Jewish priesthood. While Hebrews, chapter 7 gives a brief description of Abraham giving tithes to Melchizedek, the emphasis should not be on them, but on Jesus our High Priest who is above all. [i]

To continue on to chapter 16 on tithing, click here


[i] ibid

Written by Pastor Joyce A. Erickson

Believers Bible School, Founder https://believersbibleschool.com/