Those Who Preach the Gospel Should Live By Means of the Gospel????
By Brother Eric Nelson
-1st Corinthians 9:13 “Do ye not know that they which minister about the holy things live off of the things of the temple? and they which wait on the altar are partakers with the altar?”
-Paul was not referring to money.
-In order to understand 1st Corinthians 9:13 correctly---a good starting place is 1st Corinthians 9:4 “Have we not power to eat and to drink?”
-As with many of Paul’s writings Paul makes reference back to the Old Testament in order to prove his point. In this instance, Paul is making reference to Numbers the 18th chapter.
-Numbers the 18th chapter makes reference to the FOOD ITEMS eaten by the entire Levite priesthood when they ministered at the sanctuary.
Before we go any further we first need to discuss the difference between tithes vs. offerings in ancient Israel. In ancient Israel only those who raised agriculture and/or livestock paid tithes.
None of the following occupations and/or individuals paid tithes in ancient Israel: fishermen, inn keepers, carpenters, tent-makers, ship builders, widows, foreigners, women, children, slaves, indentured servants, hunters, sellers of cloth, shepherds, soldiers, jailers, leather makers, blacksmiths, architects, teachers, doctors, lawyers, scribes, copper-smiths, donkey/taxi drivers, dye/color makers, weavers, masons, metal workers, potters, tanners, silversmiths, goldsmiths, bankers (YES indeed! They had bankers back then. Jesus even made reference to money in a bank drawing interest: Matthew 25: 14-30 & Luke 19: 12-28. Remember: they were still under the auspices of the Old Testament Covenant simply because Jesus had not yet died for our sins.), cup-bearers, the fuller, singers, instrument players, prophets, news runners, armor-bearers, etc.
In order for those who did not pay tithes to offer one or more of the following offerings aka.: sacrifices mentioned in Numbers the 18th chapter (meat offerings, sin offerings, wave offerings, heave offerings & trespass offerings), they had to purchase the food items needed in order to offer the appropriate sacrifice(s).
-The Jews did not tithe money to the ministering class known as the priests, nor the assistants to the ministering class known as the Levites, but rather, they paid their tithes directly to the Levites----who in turn paid tithes to the priests----in the form of food items----exactly as God had commanded them to do----this is what Paul was referring to when he made the statement: “Do ye not know that they which minister about the holy things live off of the things of the temple? and they which wait on the altar are partakers with the altar?”
-At least five times in Numbers the 18th chapter alone, the word eaten is used in regard to tithes and offerings.
-1st Corinthians 9:14 “Even so hath the Lord ordained that they which preach the gospel should live of the gospel.” So exactly what did Jesus Christ ordain in this capacity? Luke 10:5-9 & Matthew 10:1-7 should help answer this question quite nicely. Please take special note how Jesus refers to eating and drinking as the appropriate pay for the laborer who is worthy of his wages----this is exactly what Paul was referring to.
Luke 10:5-9 New International Version (NIV)
5 “When you enter a house, first say, ‘Peace to this house.’ 6 If someone who promotes peace is there, your peace will rest on them; if not, it will return to you. 7 Stay there, EATING and DRINKING whatever they give you, for the worker deserves his wages. Do not move around from house to house.
8 “When you enter a town and are welcomed, eat what is offered to you. 9 Heal the sick who are there and tell them, ‘The kingdom of God has come near to you.’
Matthew 10:1-10 King James Version (KJV)
10 And when he had called unto him his twelve disciples, he gave them power against unclean spirits, to cast them out, and to heal all manner of sickness and all manner of disease.
2 Now the names of the twelve apostles are these; The first, Simon, who is called Peter, and Andrew his brother; James the son of Zebedee, and John his brother;
3 Philip, and Bartholomew; Thomas, and Matthew the publican; James the son of Alphaeus, and Lebbaeus, whose surname was Thaddaeus;
4 Simon the Canaanite, and Judas Iscariot, who also betrayed him.
5 These twelve Jesus sent forth, and commanded them, saying, Go not into the way of the Gentiles, and into any city of the Samaritans enter ye not:
6 But go rather to the lost sheep of the house of Israel.
7 And as ye go, preach, saying, The kingdom of heaven is at hand.
8 Heal the sick, cleanse the lepers, raise the dead, cast out devils: freely ye have received, freely give.
9 Provide neither gold, nor silver, nor brass in your purses,
10 Nor scrip for your journey, neither two coats, neither shoes, nor yet staves: for the workman is worthy of his MEAT.