The reason I am writing this blog is because I am in a series entitled “All About the Benjamins” at the Equation Church this month! While studying & preparing for this series I ran across some interesting facts that made me dig a lot deeper into Scripture! I am believe it is my responsibility as Pastor to give the people the entire counsel of the Word of God & not just my doctrine and/or personal beliefs. I am to be an apologist for Scripture and preach it with sincerity & integrity. I have been taught – You don’t tell the Bible what to believe, you let the Bible tell YOU what to believe!
So that everyone is aware, I don’t have a vendetta against Tithing and/or giving to the Church! I TITHE & GIVE myself! However, I believe that the prosperity gospel has gotten out of hand & has become a big deterrent to people coming to church. So as I share with you my thoughts on Malachi 3 – keep that in mind! I used to believe that you were cursed with a curse if you didn’t tithe, however I don’t anymore! Please read the thoughts below & read the Scripture references before you draw your conclusions! Feel free to share with me your thoughts & disagreements!
Will you be exceedingly blessed if you tithe?
Malachi 3:10 clearly states, “Bring ye all the tithes into the storehouse, that there may be meat in mine house, and prove me now herewith, saith the LORD of hosts, if I will not open you the windows of heaven, and pour you out a blessing, that there shall not be room enough to receive it.”
So this means you will be blessed right? Let’s take another look at the phrase “open up the windows of heaven”. Look at Genesis Gen. 7:11-12 & Gen. 8:2. Also, look at 1 Kings 8:35. You see, God wasn’t promising blessings. He was promising RAIN! This is why God continued in Malachi 3:11 by saying, “And I will rebuke the devourer for your sakes, and he shall not destroy the fruits of your ground; neither shall your vine cast her fruit before the time in the field, saith the LORD of hosts”. You see, the Israelites inheritance was conditional also. If they obeyed God’s commandments, He would continue to pour rain from the windows of heaven and their seeds would be blessed. If they disobeyed God’s commandments, he would shut up the windows of heaven and stop the rain, causing a drought.
Was the nation cursed for not tithing?
Malachi 3:8-9 clearly states: “Will a man rob God? Yet ye have robbed me. But ye say, Wherein have we robbed thee?” In tithes and offerings. Ye are cursed with a curse: for ye have robbed me, even this whole nation.”
Now the first thing one must ask of one’s self is this. Who was God talking to? Was He talking to the nation of people, or the priests?! Think of this. Why would God say, “even this whole nation”, if he were talking TO the nation?
But let’s backtrack. Look at Neh. 10: 37-39. This describes the process in which the Levites would collect the tithe from the Israelites. They would first take the tithe and then they would bring 1/10th of the tithes brought to them, up to the storehouse. In verse 39 it says that the children of Israel and the Levites would bring the tithes to the storehouse. So, my point is, whenever the bible says, “Bring tithes into the storehouse” it doesn’t necessarily mean the people. It could mean the Levites and/or priests.
So who was robbing God? Could it have been the priests? Well, it wouldn’t have been the first time. If you readNeh. 13:3-14, you’ll see what I mean. You see, a few priests were always put in charge of the storerooms. It was the job of those priests to distribute the tithe to all of the rest of the priests and Levites. In this case, the priest Eliashib was in charge. He was crooked, and he had formed a partnership with Tobiah. Tobiah was an Ammonite. The Ammonites were known for worshipping the pagan-god Molech, described in many verses in the bible (Lev. 18:21, Lev. 20:2-5, Jer. 32:35). Eliashib was letting Tobiah get some of the tithe that the priests’ should have been getting.
Eliashib was giving Tobiah some of the Levite priests’ tithe, so the Levites had to go out into the fields and work in order to survive. More trustworthy priests had to be put in charge of the storeroom. This is an example of robbery by a priest.
Now, I would suggest that everyone read the entire book of Malachi, but I will highlight a few verses. Look at Malachi Mal. 1:6-7 & 2:1. This entire book is God’s message to the priests! As a matter of fact, God tells the priests specifically in Malachi 2:2, “If YE will not hear, and if YE will not lay it to heart, to give glory unto my name, saith the LORD of hosts, I will even send a curse upon YOU, and I will curse YOUR blessings: yea, I have cursed them already, because YE do not lay it to heart.” God had ALREADY told the priests that the curse was because of their doing!
It was the priests who were robbing the tithe. God said to them, “YE have robbed me, even this whole nation.” Even the nation was suffering under the curse due to the actions of the priests. So, God’s message to the priests was this. Bring ALL the tithes into the storehouse, that there may be meat in MY house. If you do this, I will then free the nation of the curse, by letting it rain and ending the drought.
Why would God be talking to the priest the entire book of Malachi, and then suddenly in chapter 3 and verse 8, start talking to everyone? And what does the word rob mean? Does it mean not to give what is owed? Or does it mean to take what has already been begotten? How did we reach a point were we read this and assumed that God was talking to the nation of people? Check some of the later translations of the Bible and you may see. So, why is our nation so broke? Maybe it’s because the priests that are in charge of the storeroom are stealing the tithe.
Let me stop here to say this. I am not trying to bash churches or preachers. You have to understand that preachers go to school to become preachers. In most cases, they teach what they have been taught. So I believe that most preachers have good intentions (with respect to tithing).
The tithe was set up for the Israelites under the Mosaic law. All Christians should know what I am about to write by now. We are not under the Mosaic law anymore! Jesus fulfilled (or accomplished) the law, when He died on the cross! The Old Covenant was passed away and has been replaced with the New Covenant (Luke 18:31-34, Luke 24:44, Acts 13:27-33). Now why would we pick one Mosaic law (out of all of them) and just decide that we wanted to keep doing that one?
In the New Covenant, Heaven is the promised land (our inheritance), we are all priests (1 Peter 2:5, 1 Peter 2:9,Rev. 1:6), and we all are entitled to our share. Here is a description of the original Church. Acts 4:32-37, Acts 2: 42-47. You see, in this Church, there was no such thing as a person in church that was in need. People sold their possessions and divided them amongst everybody! Since they were all priests, they all got their cut. So the people that were in need were not giving, they were receiving!
My thoughts – Either what Galatians 3:13 says is true or it’s not! Anyone who properly does an exegesis study onMalachi 3 would come to the same conclusion that I have! God was not talking to the people (Israelites); He was talking to the priests! Which leads me to say that as pastors the burden of this Scripture lies on us, not the people! We should be dealing with how we handle the money of the people who give instead of pronouncing curses on the people because they don’t give!
Rom 8:1 – There is therefore NOW NO condemnation to them who are in Christ Jesus – who walk not after the flesh, but after the Spirit!
With freedom comes responsibility! Just because you’re not cursed for not tithing doesn’t mean you shouldn’t! – God has an agenda & a goal for the earth & our money is needed to advance the Kingdom of God unto the ends of the earth!
Things I keep in mind while studying subjects like this:
Context is King!
Hermeneutics – The art of biblical interpretation
Ask Questions of the Text – Who, What, When, Where, Why?
What I believe in one area will affect what I believe in another! Challenge what I believe in the light of Scripture!
Read the words, but ask THE WORD (JESUS) what He is saying! Revelation is only given to those with a pure heart!
When an honestly mistaken man is confronted with the truth, he must either cease being mistaken, or stop being honest. – Author Unknown