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"...The church of the living God, the pillar and ground of the truth."
I Timothy 3:15
W. Lee Rector
From the Baptist Challenge as printed in the Plains Baptist Challenger, March 2014
"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" (I Corinthians 9:13-14).
Now, students of the Word know that the Aaronic priesthood ministered about holy things and lived of the tithe of the temple, and know that the priesthood partook of the flesh offered upon the altar. In short, the priesthood lived of tithes and offerings.
Now, the Holy Spirit, by Paul, tells us here that the New Testament ministry are preachers of the gospel. But what does "even so" mean? It can mean but one thing, viz., even as the priesthood lived of tithes and offerings, even so should the preachers of the gospel so live.
The Master confirms the tithe (Matthew 23:23) while rebuking men who practiced it, saying, "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 others undone." Here the Master tells these hypocrites that they should have tithed, but puts them on the spot for leaving judgment, mercy, and faith unmet.
The Holy Spirit, by Paul, tells us in Hebrews that the tithe is paid in the priesthood. Illustrating this, he shows us that Abraham paid tithes in the Melchizedekan priesthood, that Israel paid tithes in the Aaronic priesthood, and that we should pay tithes in the priesthood of Christ (Hebrews 7:4-21).
Now here Abram paid tithes through Melchisedec unto the eternal priesthood of Christ, and Israel paid tithes through Aaron to the eternal priesthood of Christ, and we pay tithes through the church of the living God to the eternal priesthood of Christ.
The Holy Spirit gives us a tremendous argument for tithes and offerings in Corinthians. He says: "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 of oxen?" (I Corinthians 9:9).
Accordingly, he who uses the oxen in treading out his corn must not prevent the oxen from eating, by muzzling him. He must live off his job.
Again, it is written, "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" (I Corinthians 9:10).
Here the Lord asserts that the individual had the right to live off of his job.
Thus we understand why the priests ministering about holy things had a right to live off of the holy things, and even so we understand why preachers of the gospel have a right to live off of the gospel today.