#09b A Couple More curiosities - From the Old Testament

[Editor's Note: In response to the previous study one of the students wrote with some observations and questions. The student's comments are in blue.]

> > The Lord captured this rabbi's heart with one word. The WHOM
> > brought him to Jesus. (Interesting, no?)
> What a wonderous lesson! I may have been able to find the Hebrew
> word here, but not knowing the Hebrew alphabet, I would have missed
> this important point. God certainly know how to guide the hands of
> His servants. Like Jesus said (KJV style) "...not one jot, or one
> tittle will pass..." This bringing a devout Jew, even a rabbi, to
> Christ makes the discovery even better!


Most Christians would be amazed at the Rabbis who have turned to Jesus through the years. As ardent students of God's Word, they often find themselves confronted with Scriptures that do not line up with their tradition. I am sure it is the Holy Spirit who brings these Scriptures to bear on their hearts.

> > The ancients were commanded to put something in their hand when they
> > came to the Lord. (Cf. Deut14:22-29) Failure to do so was considered
> > the mark of a backslider. It was believed that all physical,
> > spiritual, and financial blessings backslid with the backslider.
> This is very illuminating. Would this possibly fall into the
> category that you mentioned concerning the "Laws of God"?

Yes indeed. But we have to understand how it relates to the new covenant. I don't mean to drag this out, this is an area that God's people need to have a better understanding in.

In the new covenant, we are under the Law of God as it is presented in the Law of Christ. But we are not under the Law of the Moses. The Law of Christ is designed for a different people. Yet, any of God's eternal laws that were included in the Law of Moses, will also be included in the Law of Christ. (We just have to decide what an eternal law is. I'll explain more in a bit.)

First let's hear the prophecy concerning God's new covenant in Christ:

"'But this is the covenant which I will make with the house of Israel after those days,' declares the Lord, "I will put **MY** law within them and on their heart I will write it; and I will be their God, and they shall be My people. They will not teach again, each man his neighbor and each man his brother, saying, "Know the Lord," for they will all know Me, from the least of them to the greatest of them,' declares the Lord, 'for I will forgive their iniquity, and their sin I will remember no more.'" (Jer31:34,35)

Some folk think that God is speaking of the Law of Moses here, but this is not the case. It is God's eternal (love) laws that are to be written in the spirits and minds of God's new covenant 'spiritual' people.

And this brings us back to what I shared about the tithe, and to your question. Does the Holy Spirit place in our spirit to tithe? The answer is, yes, but it takes on a different nature in the new covenant. (Even if we don't wish to call it a tithe.)

Paul is careful to bring this out. The apostle says, "The one who is taught the word is to share all good things with the one who teaches him." Then he says, "Do not be deceived, God is not mocked; for whatever a man sows, this he will also reap." (Gal6:6,7) When Paul speaks of sharing good things with him who teaches, this is a Hebraism that includes the tithe.

In another book, Paul brings this home by quoting directly from Moses. But he puts it into a spiritual context. Listen; "For it is written in the Law of Moses, 'You shall not muzzel the ox while he is threshing.' God is not concerned about oxen, is He? Or is He speaking altogether for our sake? Yes, for our sake it was written, because the plowman ought to plow in hope, and the thresher to thresh in hope of sharing the crops. If we sowed spiritual things in you, is it too much if we reap material things from you?" (1Co9:9-11)

See how this works. God's eternal-spiritual laws of love, that is, sharing, caring, and provided are in the new covenant. It is these laws that are written in our hearts.

And this is where some believers get confused over 'we are not under the law,' thinking. Paul said, "The Law is holy, and the commandment is holy and righteous and good." Then he said that the Law was spiritual. (Rom7:12,14)

Think for a moment --- If the Law [of Moses] is holy, righteous, good, and spiritual, wherein is the problem? The problem is in understanding the purpose of the Law. The Law [of Moses] was never intended as a means of salvation. Its design was to harness the people for God's purposes. This is why the Law was considered a 'yoke.'

Its purpose was for the sanctification of Israel, so she could fulfill her role as a priestly nation. But its greater purpose was to bring her to Christ. In Christ she would be given a new covenant. And when Christ came, He would bring with Him a different yoke. It would be the yoke of His presence in our lives on a daily basis, helping us walk in pathways of rightness.

But here is where one purpose of the Law [of Moses] can be realized in our lives. As we study the Law of Moses, our hearts begin to understand something awesome about God's eternal laws. For example, you can write across the ten commandments one word --- LOVE. To love God and to love our neighbor fulfills the very intent of the law.

I realize you didn't ask for all this, but I thought it would be good to provide some extra instruction for the benefit of other members who may be struggling in this area.

> > So, when it came to repentance, the peoples were told to show their
> > repentance, by coming to the Lord by adding an extra fifth to their
> > tithe. Why is this? It was an issue of right-heartedness. (Cf.
> > Lev27:30,31)
> God certainly know how define balance, along with recovery!

Isn't it awesome?!

Here is what I have found as a pastor. We don't pass offering plates, and rarely do I even teach on the issue of finances. In the back of our sanctuary is a box. What happens is that as God's people study the Scriptures for themselves, they find something being written in their hearts. Next thing they are making trips to the box. This way their giving is coming from their hearts, that is, from personal instruction of the Lord, and not for any other reason. (I never worry about my needs as a minister. God can send a raven to the table of someone who is not in accord with Him, and bring their steak to my table. Kidding) : )

> > Isn't it interesting how our purse can become a measure our walk
> > with the Lord. Paul added; "Do not be deceived, God is not mocked;
> > for whatever a man sows, this he will also reap." (Gal6:7)
> >
> > This isn't an issue of New Testament tithing. But it does appear
> > that no one fools God, tithe or no.
> Jesus did tell the lawyers "Render unto Caesar the things that are
> Caesar's and render unto God the things that are God's."

Yes he did. Good point.

> Thanks for another fine lesson!

You are most welcome.

Previous: #09a - A Couple More Curiosities - From the Old Testament
Next: #10 (Acts 4:23-31) The Provision of the Spirit

This study on Acts was originally part of a series on the book of Acts given to members of Hebraic Foundations from July 10, 2002 through January 19, 2003. They were written by Pastor Buddy Martin, Founder and Senior Pastor of Christian Challenge International.

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