This is their back-stop to the “prophesy says that we’re Levites” doctrine.
Typology is a theory that certain people, places, and events in the Old Covenant called types, have a corresponding and greater counterpart in the New Covenant which are called antitypes. For example the stone temple where God resided was a type for which the antitype is now the Christian’s human body in which the Spirit of God now lives; the heart now being the innermost holy of holies. The type of the sacrifice of animals is now replaced with the antitype of personal heartfelt repentance, prayer, and submission to God.
There is some Scriptural justification for this idea, but like so many things it can be carried on to excess or manipulated. For example the type of Christ is claimed to be, depending on who you talk to, either Adam, Aaron, Melchisadek, or King David. Like the interpretation of prophesy, typology is a field wide open to conjecture, error, and abuse, often limited only by the preacher’s creativity.
The idea promoted by pro-tithers is that Levites were the type and today’s preachers are the antitype. Some of these preachers then expect us to assume that agricultural products are the type, and cash, check or credit cards are the anti-type, all of which being without a stitch of substantiating evidence.
In one of the few statements that actually dealt with the tithe issue and not red-herring diversions or false accusations, a Nebraska preacher wrote to me back in 2008: “Your position stands or falls on whether you have adequately answered Paul’s New Covenant application of the temple tithes”.
He was referring specifically to 1Corinthians 9:7-14.
In answering that, let me ask you, the reader, a strange question as a means of illustration. Are you ready? Here’s the question:
What was Humpty Dumpty?
Nearly everyone says “an egg”.
My next question is:
How do you know that?
The rhyme indicates nothing of the sort. So then, why do we picture that character as an egg?
This rhyme that is said to originally have had political origins and allusions in the early 1800’s, but other information leads to the theory that it originated in the 1600’s and was about a huge cannon and not a person at all.
We picture the egg-like character because that is what some illustrator drew, and put in a popular book. Then over the next couple of hundred years others followed suit, and now everyone knows that Mr. Dumpty was an egg, and this assumed knowledge is based on someone else’s opinion, interpretation, or invention of the character.
This is exactly what happens when, instead of reading the Bible for yourself, you listen to a preacher give his interpretation of what the Bible says, and this man’s take on 1 Corinthians 9:7-14 is a case in point.
Let’s read this scripture and see what it says about “temple tithes”:
“Who goeth a warfare any time at his own charges? who planteth a vineyard, and eateth not of the fruit thereof? or who feedeth a flock, and eateth not of the milk of the flock? Say I these things as a man? or saith not the law the same also? For it is written in the law of Moses, thou shalt not muzzle the mouth of the ox that treadeth out the corn. Doth God take care for oxen? Or saith he it altogether for our sakes? For our sakes, no doubt, this is written: that he that ploweth should plow in hope; and that he that thresheth in hope should be partaker of his hope.
If we have sown unto you spiritual things, is it a great thing if we shall reap your carnal things?
If others be partakers of this power over you, are not we rather? Nevertheless we have not used this power; but suffer all things, lest we should hinder the gospel of Christ.
Do ye not know that they which minister about holy things live of the things of the temple? and they which wait at the altar are partakers with the altar?
Even so hath the Lord ordained that they which preach the gospel should live of the gospel.”
Neither “Levite” nor “tithe” is mentioned here, and you can see for yourself that there is no indication of Paul talking about a type or antitype of anything at all, let alone a tithe.
This preacher’s use of the term “temple tithes” is very presumptive and misleading; invented would be the more apropriate word, and perhaps concocted is even more accurate. It indicates his pre-concluded state of mind – In other words, a subjective interpretation or even a blindness or delusion. “Temple tithes” is there only because that preacher wants it to be there, because that is how they can convert the term live of the gospel (basic sustenence) into million-dollar businesses.
In fact the term “temple tithe” does not exist anywhere in the KJV, NAS, NIV, or other less known Bible translations including Catholic versions. It is another fanciful invented term. As you may recall, the temple of the Israelites was never given tithes. Tithes went to the Levites only, because tithes were food. What does a building need with food? The temple building and upkeep was always funded by freewill offerings of money, building supplies, and labor. So “temple tithes”, like “first-fruit tithes” is a meaningless, fabricated propagandic term in regard to Israelite or Christian religion. It may have been something that existed in various pagan idolatrous religions, but not in the Christian Bible.
A rule of physics is that: “Any theory that relies more on assumptions than facts, is probably not true.” This applies to many subjects, and the tithe issue is a good example.
This is all readily apparent even while reading the pro tithe preacher’s translation of choice, the King James Bible, which obfuscates the meaning of this passage, particularly the last two verses: “Do ye not know that they which minister about holy things live of the things of the temple? and they which wait at the altar are partakers with the altar?
Even so hath the Lord ordained that they which preach the gospel should live of the gospel.”
More accurate translations use food-related terms in these verses, such as The Rotherham Bible “Know ye not that they who labour at the holy rites do eat the provisions out of the holy place?”or the NAS “Do you not know that those who perform sacred services eat the food of the temple,…” and even the New King James version has had to ‘fess up to a slightly less muddled translation: “Do you not know that those who minister the holy things eat of the things of the temple,…”
In fact it takes some looking to find a Bible version other than the old KJV to see a translation that does not indicate food or eating.
Rather than go through the various Bible versions, let us just cut through it all and go by Strong’s definitions and figure it out for ourselves.
“Do ye not know that they which minister about holy things live(The word “live” is Strong’s #2068 “eat” in the common sense of the word, like “eat a sandwich”) of the things of the temple? and they which wait at the altar are partakers with the altar? (the word “altar” automatically implies food of some sort, usually meat)
Even so hath the Lord ordained that they which preach the gospel should live(#2198, “to live” be alive, exist) of the gospel.”
Pro tithers take advantage of the KJV poor translation by equating the first “live”, with our modern term “make a living” or to make money at preaching. Then they tie that thought in with “live of the gospel” to come up with the doctrine of paid preachers whose financial prosperity is limited only by their ability to acquire it.
|“…I can’t ‘adequately answer Paul’s application of temple tithes’ because such application does not exist. Paul never ‘applied temple tithes’.”
As we can see, that first word “live” has no business even being there, because it should without doubt be translated as eat or subsist.
1Corinthians 9:7-14 has no financial prosperity connotation to it at all, particularly in light of the verses leading up to it that allude to serving as a soldier (“who goeth a warfare”), or eating grapes or grain, drinking milk, or the analogy to the humblest of laborers, the lowly ox.
So to answer the corn husker’s request – I can not “adequately answer Paul’s application of temple tithes” because such application does not exist. Paul never “applied temple tithes”.
That preacher’s little challenge turned out to be yet another red herring – a diversionary prank. He could just as well have said “Your position stands or falls on whether you have adequately answered Peter’s New Covenant application of submarine warfare techniques”. It is a non-existent fiction dispersed like squid’s ink to distract and confuse the issue.
This preacher inexplicably still uses this “temple tithe” term in relation to this scripture, even after it was pointed out to him the reality that there is no “tithe” mentioned here.
The temple/altar/tithe connection?
Paul was using a pagan temple simply as an analogy, but for the sake of argument let us humor the pro-tithers basic assumption that Paul was using some kind of Hebrew temple as a point of reference to these pagan Greeks in Corinth. We will proceed for the moment, using their assumption as a basis:
There were lots of various non-tithe offerings and sacrifices for workers in any temple to “eat of”; whether it is in Hebrew or pagan society. While performing “service to the temple” is a more general term, “Attending the altar” by definition indicates sacrificed food items or offerings. The sacrifices and offerings were eaten by priests, temple workers, and in some cases by the congregation members as well.
The tithe was only one part of a much bigger picture of Israelite contributions to the temple religious system, so just because there is something on the altar to partake of, does not mean that anyone tithed anything to anyone. In fact it indicates just the opposite; food on the altar was there because of an offering or sacrifice, never a tithe. Never a tithe.
Remember – tithes were given for Levites’ private, personal use, never for public sacrifices. Levites did not do their home cooking on God’s altar, any more than a surgeon would chop onions for soup on his operating table.
An altar is by definition a place for certain sacred or holy purposes like presenting things to God Almighty; not for the mundane things like cooking tithed oatmeal or grilling tithed hamburgers. So, no matter who was “partaking of the altar” it was certainly not a tithe that they are partaking of, because the tithes went to the storehouse, and from there they were allotted to the Levites to prepare and eat at home, not at any altar. So the preachers’ spin on those scriptures alluding to a tithe makes, once again, no sense at all.
Just to cover all the bases – if you are hung up on the term “live of the temple” as having something to do with tithed items – we have already established that tithes never went to the temple but to Levites. Food for Levites may have been stored in the temple somewhere but it was a segregated account from the temple treasury itself. The treasury would have held money and material gathered from freewill offerings to maintain the temple building and equipment.
Any food to be partaken of that was “of the temple” came from ongoing sacrificial operations. It could be possible, if you would really want to stretch things, to say that Paul meant “eating tithed food” when he said “live of the temple”, but that would have made his choice of words seem very odd. If that was Paul’s meaning, you would expect him to have said “live of the tithes”.
In any case, even if Paul was including a tithe as part of an illustration of a Hebrew temple (which he was not), that would not be a type/antitype teaching by any stretch of the imagination. Paul would have been merely making an analogy to something that his listeners presumably are familiar with, and not be reinstituting a modern tithe by doing so.
|“This is all working under the false assumption that Paul was even referring to a Hebrew temple in these scriptures to begin with.”
If it was Paul’s intent to reinstitute the tithe, as the Nebraska preacher insists is the case, then Paul would also have been reinstituting animal sacrifices as well, because he equates “live of the temple” and “partake of the altar” by tying these two separate aspects together in the same sentence and as part of the same basic activity.
“Do ye not know that they which minister about holy things live of the things of the temple? and they which wait at the altar are partakers with the altar? “
So if the tithe were presumed to be still valid based on this statement (“live of the things of temple”) as pro-tithers say, then the animal sacrifices which were performed on the altar would have been validated right along with it (“partaker with the altar”), and we know that that is not what Paul intended.
This is all working under the false assumption that Paul was even referring to a Hebrew temple in these scriptures to begin with. The facts of scripture indicate quite clearly that he was not.
The fact that Paul merely mentions a temple and altar as an example in 1Corinthians 9 means nothing in regard to a type-antitype theory, despite the overemphasis that pro-tithe propagandists put on it.
Paul may very well have been referring to the Temple of Diana, or some other pagan temple that they were familiar with. This is certainly not unusual. Paul related to pagans on their own terms. He talked to the Athenians about the temple of the “unknown god” in Acts 17, for example.
Paul’s use of the term “holy place” is not an issue, since, again, he was relating to these people in their own terms. “Holy” simply means “set aside as special”, or “spiritually significant”. These pagan sites were holy to them; at least previously, so Paul refers to them as such so they would know what he was talking about.
Sure, the New Covenant does speak of the Israelite altar, but it logically does so in Hebrews 13:10-12 in a letter addressed to Hebrews who are familiar with those religious customs; but not here, where Paul is talking to Greeks living in a pagan culture. What sense would that make?
The pro-tithe presentation of these scriptures would have to assume that Paul was some kind of bumbling fool who could not identify his audience. Or are they attributing this inept foolishness to the Holy Spirit, since these very same preachers will recognize and proclaim that Paul’s writings were Holy Spirit inspired?
Paul is writing here to the Corinthians. Were not Corinth and Athens in pagan Greece? What, more likely, would they be more familiar with – the many pagan altars that existed in Greece, or the Hebrew altar in far away Jerusalem? Just one chapter before, 1Corinthians 8:1, Paul states “Now concerning idol-sacrifices we are aware, because we all have knowledge…”
Why do they “all have knowledge”? It is because they were immersed in a pagan society and (except Paul) were probably all former pagans (1Corinthians 12:2). In fact all of the previous chapter, 1Corinthians 8, is about eating of idol-sacrifices. Is it that difficult to imagine that, just a few verses later in chapter 9, Paul would still be referring back to those rituals and the pagan altar, instead of suddenly switching his frame of reference to the Israelite temple and the Levitical tithe which these people would have little or no knowledge of?
Paul referred to these altars as being pagan and of “sacrificing to demons” in 1Corinthians 10:18-21: “Behold Israel after the flesh: are not they which eat of the sacrifices partakers of the altar? What say I then? that the idol is anything, or that which is offered in sacrifice to idols is anything? But I say, that the things which the Gentiles sacrifice, they sacrifice to devils, and not to God: and I would not that ye should have fellowship with devils.
Ye cannot drink the cup of the Lord, and the cup of devils: ye cannot be partakers of the Lord’s table, and of the table of devils.”
Does this sound like an altar of Yahweh God to you? It has to, if you swallow the pro-tithe story that Paul is speaking of an altar to the God of Israel in chapter 9.
Just to clarify Paul’s statement: “Israel after the flesh” is talking about these pagan Greeks that Paul was evangelizing. Evidence indicates that these areas were Paul travelled were all settled by the “lost” ten-tribes of Israel.
Why do you think Paul and the elders, writing a letter containing minimal requirements for new Christians, had to include “abstaining from idol sacrifices” (Acts 15:29)? Because that was the predominating culture at that time, and had been their culture immediately prior to their conversion to Christianity. They were in a transitional learning period; breaking old habits.
Paul also describes something like the Greek Olympics in 1Corinthians 10:25. He again uses an illustration from their own culture that they were familiar with.
If Paul related to the Athenians using pagan examples and terms about the “unknown god”; you would expect him to also use cultural examples as reference points with the Corinthians. Paul went directly from Athens to Corinth (Acts 18:1), so why not use the same method of relating to each of them?
Read 1Corinthians chapters 8 and 9 again, if you need to; and think it through for yourself whether the altar that Paul was talking about to the Corinthians was most likely that of the Israelites in Jerusalem, or if it was one of the pagan altars that were common to Greece.
While you are at it, look for evidence, any evidence at all that indicates that Paul was talking about an Israelite altar to Yahweh and linking it to the tithe. You will not find it because it is all one big fat fabrication.
Metaphors – and Real Antitype Examples
We have gone through the scriptures that pro-tithers claim to be type/antitype examples which supposedly justify a modern tithe, so let us look at what real type/antitype scriptures look like.
Paul said in 2Corinthians 1:13 “For we write nothing else to you than what you read and understand, and I hope you will understand until the end.” The Amplified Bible and Jerusalem Bible clarify this verse even more by the words “there are no secret or hidden meanings in what we write”. This fits with how we see Paul explaining things, but it contradicts the pro-tithe assertion that Paul was cryptically talking about the tithe in various passages of Scripture.
Paul said “No secret meanings”. Should we believe Paul, or some preacher that says Paul really meant something other than what he was saying?
Paul, like any good teacher, used metaphors. He mentioned the plowman and thresher as examples, so does that mean that Christians need to also be farmers? He later mentions running a race. Do we all have to be athletes as well? Of course not; these are metaphors and similes – common teaching tools as old as language itself.
Paul points out that he is speaking in allegorical terms, so no one misses the point that he is trying to make. An example is Galatians 4:23-24 “But he who was of the bondwoman was born after the flesh; but he of the freewoman was by promise. Which things are an allegory: for these are the two covenants; the one from the mount Sinai, which gendereth to bondage, which is Hagar.
In 1Corinthians 10, Paul lists some incidents with the Israelites in the desert after leaving Egypt. In verse 11 Paul clearly states that these were types, and were written for our admonition.
Look at Hebrews 9, the whole chapter. Paul is explaining the type of the old temple and priests, to the antitype of our living temples wherin dwells the Holy Spirit, and to the ultimate Priest, Jesus. These are what legitimate type-antitype scriptures look like, because Paul tells you what they are, which is very much unlike Paul’s metaphorical explanation of “muzzle the ox” in 1Corinthians 9:7-14 which pro-tithers claim is proof of their tithe-receiving entitlement.
By the way, do you see anything even resembling a type/antitype of the tithe in Hebrews 9 where it would have fit in nicely with the other temple type-antitypes? No, sorry, I guess not.
1Corinthians 9:8-11 “Say I these things as a man? or saith not the law the same also? For it is written in the law of Moses, thou shalt not muzzle the mouth of the ox that treadeth out the corn. Doth God take care for oxen? Or saith he it altogether for our sakes? For our sakes, no doubt, this is written: that he that ploweth should plow in hope; and that he that thresheth in hope should be partaker of his hope.
If we have sown unto you spiritual things, is it a great thing if we shall reap your carnal things?”
Those who may think this “muzzle the ox” statement is a type/antitype for modern tithing are missing the obvious: If it really was a type/antitype reference of any kind, the ox would have been the type, and human labor (of any sort) the antitype. It is right there as plain as can be, and Paul explains the metaphor as such. How much more clearly could he have explained it? There is no indication of tithing or Levites here at all.
Levites were a higher class of Israelite society just below priests and royalty, with no analogies anywhere in scripture equating them with the lowest servants on the totem pole: the brutish, hardworking ox. I mean, how many farmers have ever given one tenth of their income to their ox? It is a ridiculous concept and a totally inappropriate analogy.
On the other hand, when the Levite/tithe intrusion is eliminated from Paul’s message, “muzzle the ox” can be seen as a totally apt metaphor for the humble, indigent, hardworking position held by Paul and his co-workers, because they required only food, shelter, and basic necessities.
An example of the intent of the Law against “muzzling the ox” is James 5:4 “Behold, the hire of the laborers who have reaped down your fields, which is of you kept back by fraud, crieth: and the cries of them which have reaped are entered into the ears of the Lord of sabaoth”.
God ordained a fair exchange of service for reward, which is the point that Paul is trying to make. In this case, those who have devoted themselves to preach, teach, discuss, and most of all truly live the truth about God’s Kingdom plan as per the terms for preachers set down by Christ Himself, deserve the consideration of food and a place to stay, just as any other laborer that provides a service, whether human or animal. Today however, first we have to find one of these workmen of God who is qualified. Someone who is uncontaminated by materialistic self-interest, and who fits the bill of sincerity, dedication, and humble selflessness. Until you find one of these legitimate workers, you need not be overly concerned as to what to give him.
Stopping a billionaire from manipulating the corn market in order to rip off a multitude of farmers is not an example of “muzzling the ox”, and neither is denying million-dollar bonuses to crooked bank executives. Likewise, the fat, phony and “financially comfortable” preachers that we are stuck with today do not qualify as being part of Paul’s subject matter here at all. This law is geared toward honest work of productive value for honest payment that has a tangible worth.
I understand that the social event and common bonding experience known as “going to church” has a significant perceived value to many people, so some of you may be offended at the thought that your preacher does not make the grade, but odds are, that he does not.
I am also not trying to tell you what to do with your money. You can spend it whenever and wherever you decide to, and pay your preacher whatever you wish, based on how you value this church-going experience. This is a purchase that is made much like a theater pass, ticket to the circus, membership in a social club, buying an ice cream cone, or any other worldly activity. Just do not confuse this type of personal spending in any way with what scripture defines as giving to God, or honoring God with your wealth because it is not; it’s way, way not.
Fat Shepherd Antitypes Among Us
Ezekiel 34 supports Hebrews 7 and the dismissing of the Levites from their special position. Ezekiel rails on and on against the “fat shepherds” who are consumed in greed and self-interest. Verses 10-12 states: Thus says the Lord GOD, “Behold, I am against the shepherds, and I will demand My sheep from them and make them cease from feeding sheep. So the shepherds will not feed themselves anymore, but I will deliver My flock from their mouth, so that they will not be food for them.
For thus saith the Lord GOD; Behold, I, even I, will both search my sheep, and seek them out. As a shepherd seeketh out his flock in the day that he is among his sheep that are scattered; so will I seek out my sheep, and will deliver them out of all places where they have been scattered in the cloudy and dark day.”
This “ceasing” was fulfilled at least once, when the Levitical priesthood was removed from authority. In theory, we should now have the new breed of unpaid, non-materialistic, uncorruptable men of God of the New Covenant; of which John the Baptist, Peter, and Paul are prominent examples. There is no indication that God intended to replace one set of fat shepherds with another that we see today. A group of hireling-fat shepherds that today’s pro-tithe preachers are in effect admitting themselves to be the analogy of, when they claim “Levite” antitype status.
It seems obvious that the same self-serving spirit of greed testified against in Ezekiel 34, and which was embodied later in the Pharisees for example, is also flourishing among us at this very moment those who get paid to preach, and particularly those who knowingly promote a fraudulent tithe.
Ezekiel 34:10-12 and the entire chapter is in direct contradiction to the pro-tithe position which states that today’s preachers have been chosen to take over the Levites’ position.
|“Paul is just using an illustration, not creating a basis for a type and antitype doctrine.”
We understand that impostors claim the heritage of the true Israelites in the world today, claiming to be the “chosen people”, but when will we open our eyes to the impostor nature of those within true Israel (among others) that claim the heritage of the Levites in order to make merchandise of God’s people?
The No-Type-Antitype Realty
Even if Paul was talking to the Corinthians about the Hebrew temple, (which it appears he is not, but I am trying to exhaust all possibilities) it really does not matter. Whether Hebrew or pagan, this analogy is (again) in reference to food,
- a well-deserved meal; it is just being used somewhat metaphorically. Paul is using an illustration, not creating a basis for a type and antitype doctrine. His statements are in reference only to the idea of the preacher/teacher of God’s Word having the consideration of a little respect and decency from those that benefit from his teaching.
Paul could easily have said “Look mates, if you wanna be a Christian, ya gotta tithe. I need the dough, see? So hand it over.” Like many preachers today do.
If ever there was a rational and logical time for Paul to use the word “tithe” or “the law of the tithe”, if it were applicable, 1Corinthians Chapter 9 would have been it, but as we can see, it is not there.
The Apostle Peter stated of the Apostle Paul in 2Peter 3:16-18: “…according to the wisdom given to him, wrote unto you; as also in all his epistles, speaking in them of these things; wherein are some things hard to be understood, which the ignorant and unsteadfast wrest, as they do also the other scriptures, unto their own destruction.
Ye therefore, beloved, knowing these things beforehand, beware lest, being carried away with the error of the wicked, ye fall from your own steadfastness. But grow in the grace and knowledge of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ.”
Paul may have been hard to understand on some subjects, but the tithe issue is not one of them.
Even so, the ignorant and unsteadfast preachers still manage to “wrest, as theydo also the other scriptures, unto their own destruction”, when they fabricate these allegedly pro-tithe scriptures, but not without taking their congregations down with them.
Peter has given us fair warning, stating in that last sentence that the teachings of Christ are the authority and example that we should strive for, not the error of the wicked.