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 Vol. 6, No. 5 

May 2004

Since You Asked

~ Page 18 ~

Image Names may be included at the discretion of the Editor unless querists request their names be withheld. Please check our Archive for the answer to your question before submitting it; there are over 1,000 articles in the Archive addressing numerous biblical topics. Submit a Question to GGO.

Tithing Today?

By Louis Rushmore

Image Could you explain fully the subject of tithing? I am a member of a church of Christ. Our minister says that tithing was 400 yrs. before the law and hence it never left; would that be binding today? ... He also gives the verse, Matt.23:23,24. Money is not the issue here for me, it's understanding.

Matthew 23:23-24 reads, "Woe unto you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! for ye pay tithe of mint and anise and cummin, and have omitted the weightier matters of the law, judgment, mercy, and faith: these ought ye to have done, and not to leave the other undone. Ye blind guides, which strain at a gnat, and swallow a camel" (Matthew 23:23-24). This passage has nothing to do with whether one tithes in the Christian Age. I can only surmise based on the question and the reference to Matthew 23:23-24 that (1) Jesus mentioning tithing is imagined to be sufficient justification for tithing to continue in Christianity, and (2) verse 24 is cited in an attempt to disarm critics and that anyone who disagrees with the proponent of tithing in Christianity is nit-picking or fault-finding.

Jesus Christ lived and died under Judaism. Since he died under Judaism and tithing was not one of the teachings that he applied to the Christianity or the church, one cannot appeal correctly to Jesus for justification of tithing under Christianity or in the church.

Tithing was practiced under Patriarchy before the institution of Judaism. Abraham tithed of the spoils of war to Melchizedek (Genesis 14:20; Hebrews 7:4, 6). However, Patriarchy as a law system was replaced for the Israelites with Judaism at Mount Sinai, and Patriarchy as a law system was replaced for Gentiles with the Gospel of Christ. Of course, Judaism was also replaced with the Gospel of Christ (Ephesians 2:15; Colossians 2:14; Romans 7:6-7). Everyone now living is amenable only to the Gospel of Christ, and tithing has not been re-instituted in the Gospel of Christ.

Therefore, tithing is not authorized by the Gospel of Christ to be required of anyone today. Rather, under Christianity, Christians are to give according as they purpose or choose for themselves (2 Corinthians 9:7) with respect to their prosperity (1 Corinthians 16:1-2). Consequently, that amount may be less than, equal to or greater than ten percent (the tithe).

Appealing to Patriarchy for authorization for acts under Christianity, one might as well imagine that he is to build an ark like Noah or offer his son on an altar like Abraham. It has always been the case that whoever proves too much (by bringing one's argument to its logical conclusion) fails to prove anything at all.Image

Tree of Life?

By Louis Rushmore

Image Brother Rushmore, Did Adam and Eve eat of the tree of life? If they did what would have happen if they would have stopped? ~ Al Lawson

What happened if someone tried to enter the Garden of Eden? ~ Austin Chambers

The Tree of Life was in the middle of the Garden of Eden (Genesis 2:9). Were Adam and Eve or anyone else to have continual access to the Tree of Life, he would never die (Genesis 3:22). Therefore, after Adam and Eve sinned, God made them leave the Garden of Eden, and to keep them or anyone else from returning to the Garden of Eden and eating from the Tree of Life, God placed angels called Cherubims with flaming swords at the entrance of the Garden of Eden (Genesis 3:24). The implication is that the Cherubims at least prevented anyone from entering the Garden and accessing the Tree of Life, and they may have been prepared to kill anyone attempting to enter the Garden. Presumably not literally, but figuratively, the Tree of Life has been transplanted in heaven, where according to the figure or symbolism, the saved will live with God forever (Revelation 2:7; 22:2, 14).

Presumably, Adam and Eve for a time ate from the Tree of Life. After they sinned and were driven by God from the Garden, mankind has never eaten from the tree again, and experiences death.Image

James in Galatians 1:19

By Louis Rushmore

Image Dear sir, I do not know if you have had some article in the past that has dealt with the subject of James' Apostleship, but I am having a tuff time figuring out what is what. I read in Gal 1:19 that James the Lord' brother is an apostle, but I can not find where the "Apostle" received his apostleship. I have read the accounts where the original 12 are named (Lk 6:13-18; Mat 10:1-4; Mk 3:14-19); I also read the account in Acts 1: 13-26 of where the 11 are named and Mathias is chosen, and I know that Paul in 1 Cor 9:1 says he was an apostle and was chosen by Christ. I can not however find the account where James the Lord's brother became or is chosen as an apostle of the Lord. Could it be possible that Paul in Gal 1:19 is saying his spiritual brother? I know it does not make sense to me, or using the term apostle in a broad sense as in one sent? I don't think either of these fit the context of Gal 1:19. Do we need to change what we teach or kids saying there is 15 Apostles? Paul, James the Lord's brother, Judas the betrayer, Mathias and the other original 11 apostles. I would appreciate any information regarding this matter. I am indeed confused on the matter. Thanks In Christ our Lord, Ben Stewart

Galatians 1:18-19 read, "Then after three years I went up to Jerusalem to see Peter, and abode with him fifteen days. But other of the apostles saw I none, save James the Lord's brother." Commentators are unsure, or those who venture an opinion disagree, whether "James the Lord's brother," appearing in Galatians 1:19 was an apostle in the same sense that the chosen 12, plus Matthias, plus Paul were apostles of Christ. Hicks lays before us the array contradictory conclusions to which different commentators have arrived regarding the James in Galatians 1:19.

Some contend that the James mentioned by Paul had to have been an apostle because of the way the verse reads. Others argue that he was not an apostle in the primary sense, but was Christ's brother (Mary being their mother) and an apostle in the secondary sense, as was Barnabas (cf. Acts 14:14). Advocates of another position insist that this James was an apostle in the primary sense, but a brother to Christ in a secondary sense (a cousin or near kinsman, but not actually a brother). Then, there is the view that this James was not an apostle in any sense, but that he was Mary's son and the Lord's brother. (374)

If this James, a fleshly, half-brother of Jesus Christ, was an apostle of Christ, Boatman suggests the how and when he may have become an apostle. "He may have been made an apostle by a special appearance of the Lord. I Cor. 15:7 'then he appeared to James; then to all the apostles'" (38). After all, it was "by a special appearance" that Saul of Tarsus (Paul) became an apostle.

Some commentators offer no explanation but restate what they believe Galatians 1:19 says, namely that James, the half-brother of our Lord, was an apostle (Wycliffe; Henry; Jamieson, Faussett and Brown). "That the James here referred to was an apostle is clear. The whole construction of the sentence demands this supposition. ...Commentators have not been agreed as to what is meant by his being the brother of the Lord Jesus" (Barnes). "The construction in the Greek indicates that James was one of the apostles Paul saw. He was not one of the Twelve however, since the brethren of our Lord did not believe on Him at the time of the choosing of the Twelve. The expression 'James the Lord's brother' means that he was the son of Joseph and Mary by natural generation. He is the same James mentioned in Mark 6:3; Galatians 2:9, 12; I Corinthians 15:7; Acts 15:13, 21:18. It is supposed that he was led to believe in the Lord Jesus by reason of the fact that he saw our Lord in His post-resurrection ministry (John 7:5; I Corinthians 9:5, 15:7). He was the Moderator of the church in Jerusalem (Acts 15:13, 21:18)" (Wuest).

Adam Clarke mentions that there may have been three persons named James whose names are associated in Scripture with the Jerusalem church, but Clarke offers no information, not even restating the verse respecting the brother of our Lord being an apostle, or denying that he was an apostle in the sense of the apostles of Christ. Nelson's Bible Dictionary notes that James was not among the original 12 apostles and seems to intimate that he was nevertheless an apostle of Christ in the same sense Paul was an apostle. "He called James an apostle (Gal 1:19), though like himself, not one of the original Twelve (1 Cor 15:5,7)."

Vincent views James, the brother of Jesus Christ, as an apostle in a different sense than being an apostle of Christ. "'I saw no one except James.' Not, 'I saw none other of the apostles, but I saw James.' James is regarded as an apostle, though not reckoned among the twelve apostles. ...The Lord's brother. Added in order to distinguish him from James the son of Zebedee (Matt 4:21; 10:2; Mark 10:35), who was still living, and from James the son of Alphaeus (Matt 10:3)." Robertson likewise views this James as both a brother of Jesus and an apostle, but not in the same sense of the apostles of Christ; oddly, though, Robertson imagines that Barnabas is an apostle of Christ in the same sense as the original 12, Matthias and Paul. "James the son of Zebedee was still living at that time. The rest of the twelve were probably away preaching and James, brother of the Lord, is here termed an apostle, though not one of the twelve as Barnabas is later so called. Paul is showing his independence of and equality with the twelve in answer to the attacks of the Judaizers." Coffman also views James, the brother of Jesus, as an apostle, but not in the same sense as one ordinarily thinks of the apostles of Christ. "...his being called an apostle here must be understood (a) either as a complimentary title bestowed upon him by the early church due to his close personal relation to Jesus, or (b) because he was an apostle in the secondary sense, like Barnabas.  James was not a plenary apostle like the Twelve and Paul." Pendleton concurred with this view of James as well (255).

I have always believed and have heard others teach that Galatians 1:18-19 refer to Peter as the only apostle Paul saw on that visit to Jerusalem, and that he also saw James, the brother of Jesus, who was prominent in the Jerusalem church. Consequently, I and others with whom I am familiar teach that there were 13 apostleships of Christ and 14 men who served as apostles of Christ: the original 12, Matthias and Paul. Barnabas was an apostle of Christ in the sense of one sent (by the church in Antioch of Syria, Acts 13:1-3; 14:4, 14) and not in the sense of an apostle of Christ. Jesus Christ was an apostle in the sense of one sent by the Father from heaven (Hebrews 3:1).

Lenski, then, concisely states what Galatians 1:19 appears to me to state.

When he adds: "save James, the brother of the Lord," we should at once see that, having just denied seeing a single other apostle, his meaning cannot be that he after all saw another apostle, namely this James, but that Paul feels that he must name the one other person of special importance whom he saw although without really getting acquainted with him. (61)

Merideth adds:

The expression used in Greek (ei me) does not necessarily imply that Paul is here reckoning James as one of the apostles. Grammarians have suggested that the word translated "except" may be translated "only." If this be accepted, Paul would not be calling James an apostle but rather saying that the only one of the apostles he saw was Peter but incidentally he did see James. (55)

Guy N. Woods noted, "The marginal reading of Gal. 1:19, in the American Standard Version has the phrase, "but only" thus making the passage mean, "I saw none of the apostles; I saw only James, the Lord's brother (240)."

For me, the preponderance of evidence weighs heavily in favor of Galatians 1:18-19 meaning that Paul on that particular visit to Jerusalem saw only one apostle, Peter, plus one other prominent and noteworthy person, James, the half-brother of Jesus (not an apostle). Unfortunately, the foregoing is not decisive enough for some to settle in their minds the uncertainty about Galatians 1:19 respecting whether the half-brother of Jesus Christ, James, was an apostle, and if so, in what sense. Fortunately, that is not a salvation issue.Image

Works Cited

Barnes, Albert. Barnes' Notes. CD-ROM. Seattle: Biblesoft, 1997.

Boatman, Don Earl. Guidance from Galatians. CD-ROM. Joplin, MO: College Press, 1961.

Clarke, Adam. Adam Clarke's Commentary. CD-ROM. Seattle: Biblesoft, 1996.

Coffman, James Burton. James Burton Coffman Bible Study Library. CD-ROM. Abilene: ACU Press, 1989.

Henry, Matthew. Matthew Henry's Commentary on the Whole Bible: New Modern Edition. CD-ROM. Peabody, MA: Hendrickson Publishers, 1991.

Hicks, Tom. "Difficult Passages in Galatians No. 1." Studies in Galatians. Dub McClish ed. Denton, TX: Valid Publications, 1986.

Jamieson, Fausset, and Brown Commentary. CD-ROM. Seattle: Biblesoft, 1997.

Lenski, R.C.H. The Interpretation of St. Paul's Epistles to the Galatians to the Ephesians and to the Philippians. Minneapolis: Augsburg Publishing, 1962.

McGarvey, J.W. and Philip Y. Pendleton. Thessalonians, Corinthians, Galatians and Romans. Cincinnati: Standard Publishing.

Merideth, J. Noel. A Commentary on Galatians. Lawrenceburg, TN: Merideth Publishing, 1981.

Nelson's Illustrated Bible Dictionary. CD-ROM. Nashville: Thomas Nelson Publishers, 1986.

Robertson, Archibald Thomas. Robertson's Word Pictures in the New Testament. CD-ROM. Seattle: Biblesoft, 1997.

Vincent, Marvin R. Vincent's Word Studies in the New Testament. CD-ROM. Seattle: Biblesoft, 1997.

Woods, Guy N. Questions and Answers, Vol. II. Nashville: Gospel Advocate, 1986.

Wuest, Kenneth S., Wuest's Word Studies in the Greek New Testament. Grand Rapids: Eerdmans, 1997.

The Wycliffe Bible Commentary. CD-ROM. Chicago: Moody Press, 1962.

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