Fundamentalism has unconsciously imposed an Enlightenment Rationalist Worldview upon the Gospel writers, who never intended the Gospels to be interpreted simply as a strict chronological recounting of historical events. They were writing theological pamphlets intended to prove that Jesus was the fulfillment of the prophetic types present in Genesis to Joshua. By arguing as Enlightenment Rationalists, Fundamentalists have undermined their own efforts because they have not understood the original writers’ intent.
What I am about to say will frighten a lot of pastors who teach tithing to their congregations. Tithing is an old word meaning “giving one tenth.” The Law of Moses required that all Covenant people give ten percent of their income (their herds, grain, oil, etc.) to God (Lev. 27:32) in order to feed and house the priests and the Levites (teachers of the Law – Num. 18.21). Jesus spoke about tithing, saying in Matthew 23:23 “Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! for you tithe mint and dill and cummin, and have neglected the weightier matters of the law, justice and mercy and faith; these you ought to have done, without neglecting the others.” Considering that Jesus agreed with the tithe, many interpret the tithe as a Law carried over into the New Covenant, binding on all believers. But after the Gospels, tithing is only mentioned once in the rest of the New Testament in Hebrews (7:4), and that is in regard to the New Covenant in Christ being anticipated in the Law of Moses. In fact, Paul says plainly in Romans 10:4 “Christ is the end of the law so that there may be righteousness for everyone who believes.” Jesus … Read more
I thought about titling this article “Jesus is More Jewish Than You,” because most people don’t understand just how Jewish Jesus and the early church were. I just want to point out some things from history that may strike you. Jesus was called “Rabbi” (John 4:31) Along with all the teachers of the Law of God, given to Moses, many of whom had their disciples, Jesus was a wandering rabbi who debated the interpretation of the Law with other rabbis. So, if we think about the debates between schools’ interpretations during First Century Judaism, there is nothing unusual here. Gamaliel is probably the most famous of the other rabbis of that period (Acts 5:34). Paul was a member of Gamaliel’s school. Jesus kept Kosher Laws. Jesus never violated the Law of God. He never ate pork or shellfish or anything forbidden. He participated in the Passover and all other feasts in the Hebrew cycle. He tithed to the Temple. All his followers did the same. The disciples continued to worship at the Temple after Jesus’ crucifixion (Acts 2:46 – 5:25). The proof of just how Jewish Jesus was is written in Acts 10, which happens about 9 years after Jesus’ crucifixion and resurrection, … Read more
Dear Mark and Reba,