TITHING: THE EXAMPLE OF FATHER ABRAHAM WHOSE PAYMENT OF TITHE PREDATES THE LAW
(Chapter 6 of Pastor Sam Aweda's book "Worshipping God with Our Substance)
f we say that the payment of tithe belonged to the Old Covenant, the foundation of which was laid on rigid set of rules and commandments, but the Partriach Abraham, the first person on record who paid tithe did it outside the law system. And this was 430 years (Gal.3:17) before the arrival of Moses, who was the courier of the Old Covenant. Why then did Christ and the apostles not approve of it nor preach it?
Paul wrote in Romans 4:1-3: "What were his (Abraham) experiences concerning this question of being saved by faith? Was it because of his good deeds that God accepted him? If so, then he would have something to boast about. But from God's point of view Abraham had no basis at all for pride. For the Scripture tells us: Abraham believed God, and it was counted unto him for righteousness i.e. God canceled his sins and declared him 'not guilty" (Gen 15:6).
This plan to save through faith, had been signed by God, revealed and promised to Abraham more than 430 years before God made the covenant of the Law system to Moses in the wilderness (Gal 3:17).
Paul made this clearer by saying that: "even in every day life a promise made by one man to another, if it is written down and signed, cannot be changed. He cannot decide afterward to do something else instead" (Gal 3:15).
Therefore, Paul said, "God's promise to save through faith, which He had promised Abraham and signed, could not be canceled or changed 430 years later when God gave the ten commandments" (3:17).
Earlier in verse 7, Paul wrote: "Know ye therefore that they which are of faith i.e. those who trust in Jesus other than their efforts for salvation the same are the children of Abraham" (reason why Abraham is regarded and referred to as 'Father of Faith').
As Moses was the courier of the law covenant, so is Abraham the courier of the Covenant of salvation by Grace through Faith, even though it was sealed up for hundreds of years "Until the coming of Christ, the child to whom God's promise was made" (Gal.3:19). So, everything that Abraham did was perfectly in line with what is obtainable today under the New Covenant even though he had died before the system was generally operated (before the system came into effect).
His payment of a tenth of the spoil from the war of kings was not dictated to him by anyone. It was not a levy. It was what he purposed in his mind in consonance with the New Covenant teaching on 'Giving', which says: "Upon the first day of the week let everyone of you lay by him in store, as God has prospered himů" (ICor 16:2) or as in 2Cor 9:7, which says: "Every man according as he purposes in his heart, so let him give, not grudgingly, or of necessity: for God loves a cheerful giver". Written in the LB as: "Every one must make up his own mind as to how much he should give. Don't force anyone to give more than he really wants to, for cheerful givers are the ones God prizes".
So Abraham could have as well given more or less depending on the dictate of his mind or as his spirit directed him. The same applies to Jacob, Abraham's grandson. We should also note that Abraham's payment of tithes was a one time event. We do not have a record that it continued on any periodical basis; unlike after it was instituted under the law well over 430 years later.
It must be added however, that if anyone today under Grace (New Covenant) purposes in his mind to imitate Father Abraham to give to God's work, a tenth of his earnings, it will be in order and if a mistake is made in his calculation, there will be no curse of God on him as it would have been when a mistake was made under the law system. He will only receive a reward proportionate to what he gives. And such a person must resist the temptation to teach what he does as the standard or as if it is what is required of every Christian because that will amount to a 'levy' and will be inconsistent with the new system of salvation by faith. Also he has no justification to restrict anyone's blessings to that of a tenth giver because there will be those who will have faith to give more than a tenth and receive in return a blessing, which is proportionate and no preacher has the right to limit the blessings of those.
Sam Aweda, Pastor, Jesus for the World Revival Mission (Peoples' Church)