As I mentioned earlier, the “One-Two Punch” is the fact of God’s Law in that it limits the tithe to being from food sources only, and was to be given to Levites only.
What do the pro-tithe preachers say about these scriptures? Most say as little as possible; or they ignore the fact of this issue altogether. Others may simply apply these scriptures as if they authorize a modern tithe, without bothering to explain how “food only, specifically for the Levites” magically transformed itself into “cash from all income to the church corporation”.
In order to avoid dealing with what God’s Law has to say about the tithe, one pro-tithe preacher made a creative attempt to address the “one-two punch” by inventing the twin doctrines that he calls the “Abrahamic Covenant Precedent” and the “Melchizedek Model”.
This man claims to be an “evangelist and Law teacher” as well as a strict pro-nomian in regard to the Law of Moses. He regularly claims that he “loves God’s Law”, but he did an about-face after reading the first draft of my position. He now says he is not really concerned with that old Mosaic Law Covenant anyway (from and about which he’s been preaching for years). Suddenly that law is all apparently irrelevant; particularly regarding the tithe.
That is quite an odd response, even by tithe-supporting standards. Many of the scriptures they use in preaching the tithe, including Malachi, are based on Mosaic Law scriptures, but now he is willing to throw that all under the bus in order to side-step the “one-two punch” scriptures that I have just presented and that he has no answer for. He has no answer for it because there is no answer for it – the Law says what it says, and it says it clearly.
Rather than face the facts of God’s Law, the suddenly anti-Mosaic preacher jumped ship from the defined terms of God’s written Law to the less defined narrative story in Genesis of Abraham. He has hitched his tithe wagon to what he has given the scholarly sounding moniker of “The Abrahamic Covenant Precedent” which that preacher now claims to be the real source for tithe authority (not to be confused with the legitimate and well known Abrahamic Covenant).
The gist of this maneuver is that Abraham tithed before the Levites existed, so it does not matter what that musty Old Covenant Law says. Instead, it is the “Abrahamic Precedent” that we need to pay attention to, not the tithe law of Moses. Basically we are looking at an attempted end-run around God’s Law by someone who otherwise claims to teach that Law faithfully.
Technically Abraham’s presentation to Melchizedek is a tithe. Therefore it is fair game for the tithe promoters to make all kinds of hay with if they can keep us from looking at it too closely. This is not a tithe with any direct relevance to the Levitical tithe, but this particular tithe promoter says that is OK. According to him it is the tithe to Melchizedek that is the real thing – the standard that we are supposed to follow, and it is the Levitical tithe that we suddenly find is unimportant.
I could not find “Abrahamic Covenant Precedent” in a web search, so I am thinking that this preacher created this term one morning while brushing his teeth, as some kind of pretentious academic title, to give his flawed, made-up idea the guise of an established concept, rather than admit to what it really is: a flawed, made-up idea.
It is apparent and understandable that the pro-tithers would want to latch onto a great figure like Abraham and try to ride his robe-tails by associating their false doctrine with him. The intent seems to be to take the established, legitimately recognized Abrahamic Covenant and then associate it with a bogus but similarly sounding false doctrine called “The Abramic Covenant Precedent”. This is a deceptive name-game just like the Federal Reserve which is not federal, nor is it a reserve, but it sure sounds good, doesn’t it?
Having listened to these preachers for decades, I have never heard of two different God-ordained tithe paradigms, the Levitical and the pre-Levitical, until recently discovering it for myself. Now that the cat is out of the bag, the pro-tithe damage control department has to come up with something, anything to neutralize and obfuscate the fact that the nature of Abraham’s tithe was nothing like the Levitical tithe.
Thus, the “Abrahamic Covenant Precedent” is born. They can not dispute the fact of two very different tithes, so instead they go with the inevitable flow of newly found facts and temporarily play along with it; manipulating the information the best they can in order to salvage some of their lost credibility.
So, the pro-tithers abruptly contradict themselves as well as contradicting the theoretically continuous, monolithic Law of God that supposedly existed from Adam up to today that some of us have heard so much about. Instead of the ever present, one and only, no-fooling-around “law of the tithe” doctrine that has saturated the minds of some congregations, we are suddenly introduced to the stopgap doctrine of “Tithe A” and “Tithe B”.
A new doctrine suddenly emerges that allows for a mysterious different tithe with an occult origin and basis; one that is somehow the same as the Mosaic tithe while being totally different; yet supposedly it is a tithe that now supersedes the known Mosaic Law tithe. A tithe called the “Abrahamic Precedent”.
If that preacher has bailed out on the Mosaic Covenant Law in favor of this Abrahamic thing, then here is a question for you: Where are the details and terms of the governing law of the “Abrahamic Covenant Precedent”, so we can learn them and apply them to our lives? What are all those laws that Abraham followed that exempts this preacher from addressing the Law of Moses and the words of Jesus? The answer is basically “Whatever the preacher can find or make up, and convince you of.” Since we have no codified itemized terms of conduct for the
Abrahamic Covenant Precedent the way we do for the Mosaic Covenant which defines God’s Laws and His morality, we are in uncharted territory and this man can invent whatever he thinks he can get away with, claiming that it supersedes what Moses wrote. For example the invented tale of Cain’s “first fruit tithe” (see below under “First Fruits Free for the Taking).
On the other hand, if this newly-minted “Abrahamic Precedent” is not meant to alter anything other than the tithe-related parts of God’s Law, the same question applies: Where are the rules that define the actions that are taking place in the story of Abraham?
You see, God’s Law and the Mosaic Covenant are pretty clearly written, and the “one-two punch” in particular can hardly be disputed. The story of Abraham on the other hand is in the form of a narrative which can easily be manipulated and have ideas read into it as to “why this happened” or “what Abraham was thinking when that happened”. The preacher can steer a trusting audience any way he wants to.
Trying to delve deeper into Bible stories like this is fine if it is based on scriptural or other reliable evidence to prove the conclusions or expand Biblical understanding. But as Paul warned us, there are preachers who use such opportunities to invent their own doctrines, and we need to keep them in line by pressing the buzzer every time they start fictionalizing the truth to fit their own self interest. After all, in this case we’re dealing with one single sentence, upon which they have built their doctrine – Gen 14:20 “And blessed be the most high God, which hath delivered thine enemies into thy hand. And he gave him tithes of all.”
In truth, this tithe is not an “Abrahamic precedent” for anything. That is because it was done under conditions and in a situation that has never been seen since, and not likely to occur in the future.
In this case, scripture gives us a significant, once-in-history event that involves one great historical figure doing homage in the symbolically significant form of a tithe, to another greater historical figure. The pro-tithe preacher takes that scripture and applies the cheapest, most unexamined view while propagating the most extreme, unwarranted conclusion from it.
Once all the self-contradicting preaching has settled, at the end of the day the song will be the same, and the lyrics of the tune will be “everyone should
tithe on everything they get, and give it to the preacher, because Abraham tithed to Melchizedek”.
This is all done in the face of the fact that the story indicates that Abraham gained nothing at that time for him to tithe on, that this was a unique significant event, and that the mysterious Melchizedek had the highest “Biblical rank” in scripture second only to Jesus Christ Himself. This preacher then calls his half-baked loaf of intellectual Wonderbread “The Abrahamic Covenant Precedent” to impress his listeners.
Anyone who gives this “Abrahamic Covenant Precedent” nonsense any credence whatsoever should also consider the alternative conclusion to the one promoted by that preacher. The alternative being that a more literally accurate “precedent” created by Abraham would be this:
- We should tithe directly to Melchizedek, and only to Melchizedek.
- We should tithe only when God causes us and 318 compatriots to destroy an army of 800,000 men, or 80,000, or perhaps even 8,000.
- We should tithe only when Melchizedek blesses us and gives us bread and wine.
Is this not a correct observation of the “precedent” that Abraham set, if any? Is this conclusion any more ridiculous, partisan or extreme than the pro-tithe interpretation is?
I mean, if they want to play self-serving baby games with words in order to justify a doctrine, anyone else can do so as well just to show how silly their rationalizations are; whether or not they have a fancy name for it.
The relevance of the Mosaic Law
Before we toss aside the bona-fide Law of God and adopt this preacher’s tithe-friendly “Abrahamic Precedent” doctrine, let us read what Jesus had to say in John 5:45-47 “Do not think that I will accuse you to the Father: there is one that accuseth you, even Moses, in whom ye trust. For had ye believed Moses, ye would have believed me; for he wrote of me. But if ye believe not his writings, how shall ye believe my words?”
In other words – Old and New Covenants fit together to form the big picture. Jesus did not mention an interaction with Melchizedek as being any kind of precedent, instead He identified the Mosaic Law as being the authoritive influence. You do not fully understand the teachings of Jesus if you brush aside the writings of Moses. This pro-tithe preacher is arbitrarily tossing out the writings of Moses that he does not like with this “Abrahamic Covenant Precedent” puffery, even though Abraham himself endorsed the Law and teachings of Moses in Luke 16:29-31.
Jesus said to the Pharisees in John 7:19 “Did not Moses give you the law, and yet none of you keepeth the law?”
They only kept parts of the Law, just like this man is doing. So who should we believe – Abraham as told by Jesus, or the overblown arguments and pretentious precedents of self-contradicting preachers?
I mean, let’s put this all in perspective. Can you refuse to help your neighbor who is dying on your doorstep, and then hide behind a moral defense of the “Noahistic Defense Precedent” that you just made up? No, of course not. When Noah refused those who were pleading to get into the ark, that was not a precedent for us because it was a unique event in history, just as Abraham’s tithe was.
In this case, the preacher gives lip service to “loving God’s Law”, but then proceeds to do his best to negate that Law the minute it gets in the way of his financial interest vis-à-vis the tithe doctrine.
The “Melchizadek Model”
The joined-at-the-hip sister of the brainy-sounding “Abrahamic Covenant Precedent” is the “Melchizedek Model”, a term of equal academic-sounding flashiness, which also leeches its assumed credibility by using the name of a prominent scriptural figure. It apparently was unheard of until this pro-tithe preacher invented it to lend credulity to his tale.
This “model” states that since Jesus is a priest of the order of Melchisadek, and since Abraham tithed to the first Melchisadek, then we should be tithing to the preachers. Yes, 2 plus 2 equals 17. Apples equal oranges. It is the same slanted thought process as the previous pro-tithe creation.
Aside from the obvious self-interested, anacronistic conclusion of their logic, this theory of theirs brings us to the question of “What are the principles and rules for living under a Melchizedek Priesthood, as opposed to living under God’s Law as written by Moses?” We do not see those available to us in this short story any more than we see the rules for living under an “Abrahamic Precedent”.
What we see is an event. If this event reflected precepts written in God’s Law, we would then use it as an example for us to take note of. It is a vaguely described event that, while not breaking the Law of God, is certainly anomalous to that Law. Preachers take advantage of this vagueness by adding their own smoke and mirrors; avoiding the facts by filling in the gaps with the most lucrative commentary possible.
The rules of conduct under the first Melchizedek Priesthood are unavailable to us. He appears in scripture for that moment in history, and then disappears again. There is a passing reference to him in Psalms, and then he is the subject of Hebrews chapter 7 which gives us the most information about him. There is not anything to be found on him in history books, and commentaries on him are either speculation, or reiterations of what scripture already tells us.
Even if there were some indications of what Melchizedek was all about, there is nothing that says that the rules in the first Melchizedek era were exactly the same as they are in the second Melchizedek era that we are in now. So it behooves us to pay close attention to the words of the one and only, currently abiding Melchizedek Priest that we have any detailed knowledge of, and that is Jesus Christ, our one and only true Melchizedek model.
If I said it once, I said it a hundred times – the words of Jesus and the narratives of His example take priority over everything else in scripture. If He is the one High Priest, then He is a living example that we should be emulating as being the sum of God’s morality from the time of Genesis through to today. I think Christ knew and understood God’s Law and God’s will just a little bit better than the tithe-taking preachers do. There are many fundamental conflicts between the pro-tithe preacher’s teachings and the instructions of Jesus. We will certainly cover some of them in the New Covenant section of this book.
The emphasis that tithe-takers place on this notion of Abraham’s tithe, and particularly on this “Melchizedek Model” is just a red herring; a false issue used for psychological more than factual purposes. It is no more conclusive or binding upon us than the fact that the Israelites once tithed to their Levite kinsmen. The New Covenant has some new rules, which makes some of the old rules old, and tithing, as we shall see, is one of them that Hebrews 8:13 talks about when it says “Now that which decayeth and waxeth old is ready to vanish away.”
Strangely, after the audience forgot what the question was, this pro-tithe preacher flip-flops back and proceeds along, with claims of his (the pro-tithe preacher’s) Levites’ birthright of accepting tithe. So now, the Levites become relevant again as it suits the pro-tithe purpose, and the “Abrahamic Covenant Precedent” and “Melchizedek Model” quickly become half-forgotten footnotes in tithe propaganda.
The Changing, Unchanging Law
These are just a few of the problems and inconsistencies that we run into when we examine a man-made law (of a modern tithe) that is palmed off by preachers as being God’s Word, and which is in contradiction to so many plain and understandable scriptures that indicate otherwise. This sets the stage for a multitude of fallacies and self-contradictions that become necessary in order for pro-tithe preachers to prosper; and it necessarily makes deception the bedrock of this false doctrine.
To quote this same pro-tithe preacher: “Any tithe preached that is not Lawful is not Biblical.” Yet with astounding hypocrisy he and others promote a modern tithe that is very unlike either the Lawful scriptural tithe, or Abraham’s tithe. The only definitive Law that we have is the Mosaic Law, and this preacher has selectively disavowed that in an attempt to make his tithe doctrine appear to be viable.
Theories without substance that are given pretentious titles like “Abrahamic Precedent” and “Melchizedek Model” are simply marketing ploys. They are distractions from the facts, and they embody the manipulative psychological techniques of false teachers that the Apostles Peter and Paul emphatically warned us to steer clear of.