TITHING: UNDERSTANDING HEBREWS 7
Wednesday, July 29
Chinaemerem Joshua Ibezim
Hebrews 7 comes up in discussions about tithing as it affects us in the New Testament, especially verses 8-10. That’s because it’s the only verse in the New Testament that talks about the tithe.
Hebrews 7.8-10 “Here mortal men receive tithes, but there he receives them, of whom it is witnessed that he lives. Even Levi, who receives tithes, paid tithes through Abraham, so to speak, for he was still in the loins of his father when Melchizedek met him.”
Now, from the above, people argue and teach that Jesus receives tithes in Heaven. Is that correct?
First, 2 Corinthians 13.1 says that “By the mouth of two or three witnesses every word shall be established.” So assuming that thought is correct, we must be able to support it with other verses of the Bible. Is there any that says Jesus is in Heaven receiving our offerings and tithes? The answer is no. God recognizes our offerings and He loves cheerful givers; He also rewards giving, but there’s no storehouse in Heaven where God puts our tithes and offerings.
What’s Hebrews 7 really talking about.
The author was making comparisons between Jesus our High Priest and the high priests of the Old Testament. He was letting them know that high priests then were Levites, in the order of Aaron, because to them was given the priesthood. But Jesus wasn’t a Levite, He was from the tribe of Judah. Meaning that His Priesthood isn’t after the order of Aaron. Now, there was another priest who wasn’t a Levite – Melchizedek. The author of Hebrews therefore compares Jesus with Melchizedek, letting us know that Jesus, though not a Levite, is a High Priest in the order of Melchizedek. Therefore, Him not being a Levite doesn’t disqualify Him from being a Priest. As a matter of fact, priesthood in the order of Aaron was abolished when a new testament came into effect, that’s why you and I are priests today!
But let’s look at Hebrews 7.8-10 again. It says, “Here mortal men receive tithes, but there he receives them, of whom it is witnessed that he lives. Even Levi, who receives tithes, paid tithes through Abraham, so to speak, for he was still in the loins of his father when Melchizedek met him.”
People have been confused by the words “here” and “there”. They think “here” means the Earth, while “there” means heaven. But that’s not true. By “here”, the author of Hebrews referred to the priests in the order of Aaron, and by “there” he referred to Melchizedek. Let’s look at other translations.
Amplified: “Furthermore, here [in the Levitical priesthood] tithes are received by men who are subject to death; while there [in the case of Melchizedek], they are received by one of whom it is testified that he lives [perpetually].”
Young’s Literal Translation of the Holy Bible, “And here, indeed, men who die do receive tithes, and there [he], who is testified to that he was living.”
New Living Translation “The priests who collect tithes are men who die, so Melchizedek is greater than they are, because we are told that he lives on.”
GOD’S WORD® Translation “Priests receive a tenth of everything, but they die. Melchizedek received a tenth of everything, but we are told that he lives.”
The Bible in the Basic English “Now at the present time, men over whom death has power take the tenth; but then it was taken by one of whom it is witnessed that he is living.”
Message: “Or look at it this way: We pay our tithes to priests who die, but Abraham paid tithes to a priest who, the Scripture says, ‘lives.'”
It’s obvious that Hebrews 7:8 has always been misinterpreted.