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Abram's Obedience Test

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“And Melchizedek king of Salem brought forth bread and wine: and he was the priest of the most high God. . . . And he gave him tithes of all.” (Genesis 14:18, 20)



This is one of the more curious passages of the Old Testament. Abram had rescued his nephew Lot, along with the people of Sodom and Gomorrah, after a fierce running battle with a five-king federation ... More...t28wU336LYs

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Tithing was indeed in place long before Abram gave tithes to Melchizedek.

It was practiced by the ancient Babylonians more than 275 years before Abram met Melchizedek in the Valley of Shaveh. (Valley of the kings)  The ancient Babylonian's would give tithes of war spoils to kings every time they were victorious in battle.

In 1906, the curator of the British Museum, Charles Pinches, acquired two clay tablets etched in cuneiform.  The tablets were dated 2200 BC, and depicted ancient Babylonians, victorious in war, giving tithes from war spoils to their king.

Abram, having lived previously in Ur of the Chaldees, a country in the region of ancient Babylonia, would have been well aware of the practice. 

Interestingly, when the children of Israel destroyed the enemies of God upon entering the land of Canaan, they were not told to tithe the spoils of war.  They were told to destroy most of the spoils, but to take 100% of the silver and gold, and the vessels of brass and iron, to the Tabernacle.

 

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Posted (edited)

I don't know who writes these RSS feeds, but sometimes they make me shake my head. There is no indication in scripture anywhere that God told Abraham to tithe of his spoils. Nowhere. Thus, there is no way it was a "test of obedience". One cannot obey a directive if no directive has been given. It's true that it was indeed a cultural, secular practice among the heathen that would have been a part of Abraham's society his entire life that he would have been a part of, and to me this just strengthen's the position that it was not then a new , divine institution set up by God at that particular incident. 

Tithing was not instituted as a commandment by God before the law. It was not instituted for any people outside of the Law. It was not carried over to the New Testament Church. Jesus told the Pharisees, who were Jews still under the law at that time, that they were still beholden to keep the law, yes, but they also had to not neglect the weightier matters of the condition of their fellow man. Read Isaiah chapter 1. The exact same problem was addressed. To the exact same people.

After the resurrection, ascension and founding of the church, tithing is never mentioned again. Instead, we get the following;

Acts 21:21-25

Galatians 2:1-4

Galatians 5:1 (speaking specifically about being under the law)

2Co 9:7 Every man according as he purposeth in his heart, so let him give; not grudgingly, or of necessity: for God loveth a cheerful giver.

And please, If one is going to pull out I Corinthians 16:2, read it in context first. Paul was on his way to Jerusalem, and was collecting relief for the folks there who were suffering. He did not know how much time he would have in port with the ship's layover on the way through, so he's telling them to have whatever they are giving gathered and waiting so as to not waste time. Has absolutely NOTHING to do with taking up the collection in church every Sunday so that the good Christians can pay their bound Temple tax tithes.

We need to give. We need to give generously and often. We need to give to those in need, to the church to help pay the bills, to properly support the ministers who watch for our souls, to missions, and sometimes even to just be a blessing to someone who is not necessarily in need. But if we do not give willingly, cheerfully, generously and freely out of our liberty in Christ, we might as well keep the Sabbath day and forbid pork.

Now. It's time for breakfast, I wonder if Momma has any bacon in the 'fridge ... ? :)

 

Edited by weary warrior
Unintentionaly ugly, offensive tone in my writing. Sorry

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On 4/21/2017 at 0:59 PM, weary warrior said:

I don't know who writes these RSS feeds...

All link you to the original, this one at ICR.org.  The report from this feed was written by Henry Morris III.  

The only ones that are "broken" (Link doesn't work) seem to always come from Lighthouse Trails Research and you can most usually find the report there with a simple search. Or better yet... you can subscribe to their RSS with your own Reader and everything will work (at least it does for me).  RSS is a great tool for keeping up....

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That particular post and most from ICR, have a "more" link at the end of the snippet. That link will take you to the original, entire article.

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Good article.

Abraham willingly gave the tithes to Melchizedek, "... as he was the priest of the Most high God." Genesis 14:18

The title of the article could have been better, but, the article itself was good. For those with a problem linking to the article, here is a copy of it (in blue color).

Abram's Obedience Test

by Henry M. Morris III, D.Min.

“And Melchizedek king of Salem brought forth bread and wine: and he was the priest of the most high God. . . . And he gave him tithes of all.” (Genesis 14:18, 20)

This is one of the more curious passages of the Old Testament. Abram had rescued his nephew Lot, along with the people of Sodom and Gomorrah, after a fierce running battle with a five-king federation led by Chedorlaomer, the king of Elam (Genesis 14:1-17).

As Abram returned victorious from the battle, he was met by Melchizedek, the king of Salem, who seems either to represent or actually be the pre-incarnate Person of Jesus Christ (Hebrews 7:1-3). Melchizedek greeted Abram with words of victory and praise, to which Abram responded with a no-nonsense declaration of his service to the “most high God” (Genesis 14:22-24).

The king of Sodom offered to let Abram take the spoils of war. The custom was (and is) well established that the victor was due all the value of the conquered land. Abram’s response was most gracious. Not only would he take nothing for himself other than what was due his servants and confederates, but he would return everything outside of the tithe to the original owners. “Now consider how great this man was, unto whom even the patriarch Abraham gave the tenth of the spoils” (Hebrews 7:4).

It is here that tithing is established in Scripture, long before the Mosaic law. The event is so incidental that it seems the custom had already been in practice for some time. Whatever the case, Abram offers “tithes of all” to Melchizedek without a second thought. Centuries later, the Lord Jesus told the Pharisees that they ought to pay their tithes “and not to leave the [weightier matters] undone” (Matthew 23:23). It is interesting how much the tithing practice is still debated among God’s children.

HMM III

God bless!

Alan

 

 

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I am not convinced that Abram's tithe was a "willing" tithe.  It may not have been.

The ancient custom at that time was that kings were to receive tithes of war spoils.  If Abram was observing custom, then the tithe may not have been willing.

Biblical text may reveal that Melchizedek went to the Valley of Shaveh expecting the customary tithe of spoils.  We do see that Bera went with the expectation that Abram allow the people of Sodom to return to Sodom.  So, Melchizedek may have journeyed from Salem to Shaveh with expectation of receiving something as well,... receiving the customary tithe that was given to kings by those who were victorious in battle.

He clearly had heard of Abram's defeating the rebellious and wicked kings, for he brought refreshments (bread and wine) with him.

 

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59 minutes ago, Standing Firm In Christ said:

I am not convinced that Abram's tithe was a "willing" tithe.  It may not have been.

The ancient custom at that time was that kings were to receive tithes of war spoils.  If Abram was observing custom, then the tithe may not have been willing.

 

Abraham was commended by God Himself. Isn't that enough to convince a saint? 

It was also the custom of the heathen to sacrifice. Did Abraham sacrifice due to the custom of the people? No, Abraham sacrificed because he loved the Lord and obeyed the Lord. Abraham was a man of faith. Abraham gave his tithes (as a lot of other fine saints), by faith, by love, and by a willing heart. Customs have nothing to do with the giving  of the tithes by Abraham.

 

Edited by Alan
grammer

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1 hour ago, Standing Firm In Christ said:

I am not convinced that Abram's tithe was a "willing" tithe.  It may not have been.

The ancient custom at that time was that kings were to receive tithes of war spoils.  If Abram was observing custom, then the tithe may not have been willing.

Biblical text may reveal that Melchizedek went to the Valley of Shaveh expecting the customary tithe of spoils.  We do see that Bera went with the expectation that Abram allow the people of Sodom to return to Sodom.  So, Melchizedek may have journeyed from Salem to Shaveh with expectation of receiving something as well,... receiving the customary tithe that was given to kings by those who were victorious in battle.

He clearly had heard of Abram's defeating the rebellious and wicked kings, for he brought refreshments (bread and wine) with him.

 

There is so much in this that is simply not biblical.

Willing or otherwise is irrelevant in this point - Abram gave the tithe - fact.

I would ask you to prove BIBLICALLY that Melchizedek came for that precise purpose rather than speculating as you do here.

I would ask you to prove BIBLICALLY that Melchizedek knew of Abram's victory.

He had bread and wine with MOST LIKELY because people didn't travel without food in those days. That proves nothing.

Edited by DaveW
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According to historical documentation, the tithing of war spoils to kings was practiced as early as 2200 BC,... a full 287 years prior to Abram meeting Melchizedek.

I am more inclined to believe that Abram tithed due to custom than I am to beleive that he tithed due to faith, love and willingness.

Biblical text reveals that Bera expected the people of Sodom returned to him. I see no reason to doubt that Melchizedek was in expectation of that which had been customary practice for at least two and three quarter centuries.

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In other words you have NO BIBLICAL PROOF, and in fact no proof at all, for the statements you made.

It is 100% speculation that fits with your ideas.

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I have historical documentation that tells of the practice of giving war spoils to kings.  That's proof enough.
There's no biblical proof of a lot of things that are preached in our churches today.  But many are documented in historical records.

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20 minutes ago, Standing Firm In Christ said:

I am more inclined to believe that Abram tithed due to custom than I am to beleive that he tithed due to faith, love and willingness.

Deep in my heart, I feel sad that you believe that Abraham tithed due to a custom of the people that he lived around and not due to Abraham's faith, love, and a willing heart.

 

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How childish.....

Mine was a legitimate questioning - yours is simply childish "payback".....

However, apart from common knowledge and plain good sense, even today people do not travel distances without ensuring they can access food, either by supply on the way, or by carried provision.

Your made up speculation that Melchizedek brought food SPECIFICALLY FOR THE PURPOSES OF ACCEPTING THE TITHE is nothing more a guess because you want it to fit your position.

Edited by DaveW
Phone spelling

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39 minutes ago, Standing Firm In Christ said:

I have historical documentation that tells of the practice of giving war spoils to kings.  That's proof enough.
There's no biblical proof of a lot of things that are preached in our churches today.  But many are documented in historical records.

SFIC Your proof is flawed, because this "king" you refer to was no ordinary king. Rather he was "Melchisedec, king of Salem, priest of the most high God, who met Abraham returning from the slaughter of the kings, and blessed him;" The priest of the same most high God who led Abraham to leave "Ur of the Chaldees" by faith.

Hebrews 7:2 To whom also Abraham gave a tenth part of all; first being by interpretation King of righteousness, and after that also King of Salem, which is, King of peace;
Hebrews 7:3 Without father, without mother, without descent, having neither beginning of days, nor end of life; but made like unto the Son of God; abideth a priest continually.
Hebrews 7:4 Now consider how great this man was, unto whom even the patriarch Abraham gave the tenth of the spoils.

Now after you're done considering "how great this man was" consider Jesus Christ who gave himself for all men, how great this God is. Stop ranting about those who of our own free will give not only a tenth but more; including the wallet with the tenth, the pocket with the wallet, the pants with the pocket, and the man wearing the pants.

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5 hours ago, Alan said:

Deep in my heart, I feel sad that you believe that Abraham tithed due to a custom of the people that he lived around and not due to Abraham's faith, love, and a willing heart.

 

No need to feel sad for me. 

I find it sad that so many pastors often use historical facts when giving background of biblical events, yet are afraid to speak on the historic background of Abram's time.

4 hours ago, 1Timothy115 said:

SFIC Your proof is flawed, because this "king" you refer to was no ordinary king. Rather he was "Melchisedec, king of Salem, priest of the most high God, who met Abraham returning from the slaughter of the kings, and blessed him;" The priest of the same most high God who led Abraham to leave "Ur of the Chaldees" by faith.

Hebrews 7:2 To whom also Abraham gave a tenth part of all; first being by interpretation King of righteousness, and after that also King of Salem, which is, King of peace;
Hebrews 7:3 Without father, without mother, without descent, having neither beginning of days, nor end of life; but made like unto the Son of God; abideth a priest continually.
Hebrews 7:4 Now consider how great this man was, unto whom even the patriarch Abraham gave the tenth of the spoils.

Now after you're done considering "how great this man was" consider Jesus Christ who gave himself for all men, how great this God is. Stop ranting about those who of our own free will give not only a tenth but more; including the wallet with the tenth, the pocket with the wallet, the pants with the pocket, and the man wearing the pants.

Though Melchizedek was Priest of the Most High God, he was still an ordinary king.

Without mother, without father, having neither beginning of days, nor end of life simply speaks of there being no record of who his parents were, where he was born, or where he died. 

He wasn't a Christophany.  He wasn't a Theophany.   He wasn't an angel.  He was a Canaanite king ruling over the city of Salem.

And, for the record, I said nothing of present day tither's. 

Edited by Standing Firm In Christ

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SFIC, you missed Hebrews 7:3, as clearly pointed out above by I Timothy 115. Melchisidec was "made like unto the son of God." He had "neither beginning of days nor ending of life"' That is not the description of a just a plain, ordinary Canaanite king. Maybe he wasn't a Christophany. Maybe he wasn't a Theophany. I don't know. I do agree he certainly wasn't an angel. But he was definitely was more than you give credence too.

And this has nothing to do with the tithe, I've already made my position clear on that subject. 

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48 minutes ago, weary warrior said:

SFIC, you missed Hebrews 7:3, as clearly pointed out above by I Timothy 115. Melchisidec was "made like unto the son of God." He had "neither beginning of days nor ending of life"' That is not the description of a just a plain, ordinary Canaanite king. Maybe he wasn't a Christophany. Maybe he wasn't a Theophany. I don't know. I do agree he certainly wasn't an angel. But he was definitely was more than you give credence too.

And this has nothing to do with the tithe, I've already made my position clear on that subject. 

Since Melchizedek/Melchisedec was, by interpretation, "king of righteousness" and "king of peace", I believe Hebrews 7:3 is referring to these qualities.

He didn't take a side and go to war with the five kings, nor with the four kings.  He stayed out of the battle.  He was indeed, a king of righteousness and peace.

 

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