By: Undre Griggs, Jr.
The Old Testament (OT) is an excellent source to better understand God and His relationship with man. We can see His holiness exhibited throughout Scripture, while seeing the desires of man drawing them away from God. We can see God is a righteous God who keeps His promises, and we can see the confirmed prophesies in the OT showing its inspiration. The OT provides immense value to Christians in a variety of ways, but should it be used today to make rules for the Christian church?
Hebrews 10:1-4 (ESV): For since the law has but a shadow of the good things to come instead of the true form of these realities, it can never, by the same sacrifices that are continually offered every year, make perfect those who draw near. Otherwise, would they not have ceased to be offered, since the worshipers, having once been cleansed, would no longer have any consciousness of sins? But in these sacrifices there is a reminder of sins every year. For it is impossible for the blood of bulls and goats to take away sins.
For many, it depends on the rule being discussed. There are Christian churches today who believe tithing is a part of worship, without advocating for the sacrifice of animals on an alter. They recite Malachi 3:8-10, which speaks on robbing God by not giving tithes and contributions. But they ignore the OT passages that command burnt offerings be offered to God (Leviticus 1:1-3). How do we reconcile bringing in some laws of the OT, while leaving others out?
Hebrews 8:3-5 (ESV): For every high priest is appointed to offer gifts and sacrifices; thus it is necessary for this priest also to have something to offer. 4 Now if he were on earth, he would not be a priest at all, since there are priests who offer gifts according to the law. 5 They serve a copy and shadow of the heavenly things. For when Moses was about to erect the tent, he was instructed by God, saying, “See that you make everything according to the pattern that was shown you on the mountain.”
Jesus Christ came to create a new covenant, and in doing so, He would make the old convent “obsolete and ready to vanish away” (Hebrews 8:13). Jesus brought many laws from the OT into His church, but it is not our place to bring anymore. Jesus is the perfect one-time sacrifice that removes the requirement of us needing to continually deliver burnt offerings. Likewise, since God instructs Christians to give cheerfully and as they feel compelled in their heart (2 Corinthians 9:7), there no longer remains a requirement to tithe. We will be judged by heart; if we give $10 but wanted to give $5, our judgement will be based on $5. As Paul put it, “If I give all I possess to the poor and give over my body to hardship that I may boast, but do not have love, I gain nothing” (1 Corinthians 13:3).