“ Will a man rob God? Yet you have robbed Me! But you say, ‘ In what way have we robbed You?’ In tithes and offerings. You are cursed with a curse, For you have robbed Me, Even this whole nation. Bring all the tithes into the storehouse, that there may be food in My house, And try Me now in this,” Says the LORD of hosts, “ If I will not open for you the windows of heaven And pour out for you such blessing That there will not be room enough to receive it. (Malachi 3:8-10)
My family and I were members of a particular church. We loved the congregation, the pastors, and we loved the worship experience. I have talked to one of the pastors over the phone on the issue of tithing. I have asked him the following questions:
If someone has a family member in dire need of financial support, is it okay to suspend tithing temporarily to help your family member? Is it also permissible for someone to pay his debt and skip tithing if he has no money left to pay the debt?
The answer to my questions is absolutely "NO!" Why? "Because the whole tithe belongs to God and must be brought to the local church."
To give or not to give? That is not the question! We should give freely and generously to support the works of the Kingdom of God through the local church! To tithe or not to tithe? That is however a valid question! It is a question that cannot simply be brushed off! I do not believe that tithing is applicable to the New Testament Church. If tithing is still binding today, then Christians are supposed to give a tenth of everything? If someone has a garden, should they bring one out of every ten tomatoes or jalapeño peppers? If not, should they give the value plus twenty percent? If a Christian is a cattle rancher, should he bring every tenth animal to the church on Sunday when he tithes? (Leviticus 27:30-33)
I was a tither up until a few months ago when I stumbled upon a study on the subject of tithing on a Christian community website. Based on what I now know from the scriptures, if I were to pastor a church, I could not in "good conscience" preach tithing as a requirement or obligation to the church. Since this law was prescribed to the nation of Israel, I have also called a local Rabbi in Atlanta to inquire about tithing in the Jewish Faith community. According to the Rabbi, they do not adhere to the kind of tithing such as was prescribed in the Old Testament because the Levitical Priesthood and the temple no longer exist. The Levites were the rightful recipients and administrators of all the tithes. Pastors cannot claim the position of the Levites because first of all, it is wrong from a scriptural stand point, and secondly, as opposed to the Levites, they own houses, lands and properties.
This passage of scripture in Malachi 3:8-10, when put in the proper historical context, reveals God's dealings with the nation of Israel regarding the subject of tithing. ( Vs 9 "You are cursed with a curse, For you have robbed Me, Even THIS WHOLE NATION.")
From what we just read from vs 9 of Malachi 3, we can deduce it is quite obvious that God was very serious about this business of tithing. Since God was so serious about tithing, we must ask the question as to what was the purpose for tithing?
As you study the Old Testament Scriptures, you will discover that Israel as a nation is composed of 12 tribes. The tribe of Levi was appointed by God to be His priests to manage the affairs of the temple. In contrast to the other 11 tribes, the Levites were given no land and no property as an inheritance according to Joshua 13:33.
The Lord spoke to Aaron, the chief priest, and told him how he and his fellow Levites would be provided for.
"The LORD said to Aaron, “You will have no inheritance in their land, nor will you have any share among them; I am your share and your inheritance among the Israelites. “I give to the Levites all the tithes in Israel as their inheritance in return for the work they do while serving at the tent of meeting." (Numbers 18:20-21)
There was in fact 3 or 4 different types of tithe the nation of Israel, which was governed by a "Theocratic System" then, was commanded to observe.
The Levitical Tithe: Numbers 18:20-21, Leviticus 27:30-33
The Festival Tithe: Deuteronomy 14:22–27
The Poor (or Welfare Tithe) Deuteronomy 14:28-29
The Levitical Priesthood and the temple no longer exist today. Therefore, the need to tithe no longer exists! Many Pastors insist that tithing is still in effect in the new Testament, but this erroneous position has no scriptural leg to stand on. Suppose that it is true that tithing is still in effect today? Do not Pastors own houses and lands? Do not Pastors own properties? Where is the consistency in this picture??? They will be quick to say that Jesus talked about tithing in the New Testament and He did not say to stop tithing. However, Jesus Himself was born under the law. The New Covenant had not yet been established and sealed because Jesus had not yet died and His blood which would seal the New Covenant had not yet been spilled.
"But when the set time had fully come, God sent his Son, born of a woman, born under the law, to redeem those under the law, that we might receive adoption to sonship." (Galatians 4:4-5)
I humbly and earnestly urge all Pastors to stop using Malachi 3:8-10 out of context. By doing so, you erroneously obligate your members from a legalistic approach, as to manipulate and force them to observe this law, or else??? Instead, you should teach and promote joyful and generous giving to your members without coercion! This is the proper New Testament approach to giving according to the scriptures.
Read the portion of scriptures below to learn how New Testament giving should be done:
2 Corinthians 9:5-15
"So I thought it necessary to urge the brothers to visit you in advance and finish the arrangements for the generous gift you had promised. Then it will be ready as a generous gift, not as one grudgingly given.
Remember this: Whoever sows sparingly will also reap sparingly, and whoever sows generously will also reap generously. Each of you should give what you have decided in your heart to give, not reluctantly or under compulsion, for God loves a cheerful giver. And God is able to bless you abundantly, so that in all things at all times, having all that you need, you will abound in every good work. As it is written: “They have freely scattered their gifts to the poor; their righteousness endures forever.
Now he who supplies seed to the sower and bread for food will also supply and increase your store of seed and will enlarge the harvest of your righteousness. You will be enriched in every way so that you can be generous on every occasion, and through us your generosity will result in thanksgiving to God.
This service that you perform is not only supplying the needs of the Lord’s people but is also overflowing in many expressions of thanks to God. Because of the service by which you have proved yourselves, others will praise God for the obedience that accompanies your confession of the gospel of Christ, and for your generosity in sharing with them and with everyone else. And in their prayers for you their hearts will go out to you, because of the surpassing grace God has given you. Thanks be to God for his indescribable gift!"
In conclusion, why I am writing about the subject of tithing? As a christian, there has been times when I have fallen short regarding tithing, and I have always felt guilty as a result. I have always felt guilty because I thought I was breaking God's command. I thought I was stealing from God according to how I previously understood Malachi 3:8-10 due to erroneous teachings I have received on the subject.
I am writing because I am a real person who has been affected by this subject in a real way. I do not appreciate the fact that I was made to feel guilty for no good reason at all. Preachers like to use Malachi 3:8-10 as a legal hook to subject Christians to obligatory giving when giving should be done voluntarily! We are a homeschooling family who live on a single income. My wife teaches our two children at home and I go to work to support the family. Additionally, my parents who live in my homeland Haiti depend on me for a monthly financial support. I grew up in Haiti and I am well familiar with hunger pain. There were times when my parents did not have any food for us to eat and I would just put a few grains of salt under my tongue to appease my pain from not eating. You see, when someone tells me that I should not send support to my family if it would prevent me from tithing, I have a BIG PROBLEM with that! Especially since this atrocious position cannot stand when tested by the Scriptures!
Furthermore, I am writing because I am obligated to let others know the truth about this matter and help them to be free from any guilt they might be feeling, or might have felt in the past, because of this false teaching.
"It is for freedom that Christ has set us free. Stand firm, then, and do not let yourselves be burdened again by a yoke of slavery." (Galatians 5:1)
"To the Jews who had believed him, Jesus said, “If you hold to my teaching, you are really my disciples. Then you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free.” (John 8:31-32)
Good for you, you are STARTING to see with understanding that you were getting "erroneous teaching," maybe now that the DOOR has opened A LITTLE, you will be able to see how many more erroneous teaching you have been taught...
As you said; "STAND FIRM, THEN, AND DO NOT LET YOURSELVES BE BURDENED AGAIN BY A YOKE OF SLAVERY." I have been on a quest for truth for many years, when God tells me to do something I SUBMIT, my faith is in God not man, not religion, because of that I am no longer in a BRAINWASHED state of mined...Being a SLAVE to religion, not being able to talk without quoting scriptures, that's what being brainwashed will do, it keeps you from being able to help people that really need help (truth)...
Thanks for your comment. My goal is to be in the CENTER of the Truth (Jesus)! There are extremes on the right and on the left. I am interested in having a healthy and well balanced understanding of scriptures. While scriptures can be used out of context by some to manipulate others into subjection to their own tradition and system, each individual is accountable to God for his or her own conduct vis a vis His Holy Word! That is why the bible tells us in 2 Timothy 2:15 "Do your best to present yourself to God as one approved, a worker who does not need to be ashamed and who correctly handles the word of truth."