Monday, July 28, 2008

Tithe, Tithe Let's Preach the Tithe

What is the tithe? The Bible says that it is a tenth. A tenth of your increase... the things God blesses you with. Malachi 3:10 says "Bring all the tithes (the whole tenth of your income) into the storehouse, that there may be food in my house, and prove Me now by it, says the Lord of hosts, if I will not open the windows of heaven for you and pour you out a blessing, that there shall not be room enough to receive it. I truly believe this verse of scripture, just as I believe all scripture. I have been a tither and have seen God bless me greatly. I also know that tithing is not a requirement for me to receive from God.

Many preachers teach that if you do not tithe you are not going to receive anything from God. This includes healing, provision, blessings and guidance.Or that if you are believing God for something and you haven't seen it happen yet, then you need to tithe if you are not already tithing. If you are tithing, then you need to sow a monetary seed or a bigger monetary seed.If you do this, then what you are believing for will happen. They teach on the tithe to frighten and threaten people into giving. They make a huge production out of the offering. They preach sermons on the dangers of not tithing. They quote Malachi 3: 8-12 and explain that we are robbing God when we don't tithe and that when we do that He rebukes the devourer and we are blessed.... that we receive healing because we are tithers, that circumstances change for our better because we are tithers and that bad things won't happen to us because we are tithers. That we should find good rich ground to sow our tithe into so we can get more back. Give more offerings so we can reap more and more. Get into faith for bigger and better houses, cars, clothes, etc. We should never be satisfied where we are materially or financially..... that would be not using our faith. We need to constantly be believing and using our faith to get more and more material things. We MUST tithe so we can reap.

They don't preach on Malachi 3:1-7, that talks about giving offerings in righteousness, about God's judgement against manipulators, adulterers, those who oppress the hireling in his wages, the widow, the fatherless and those who turn aside the temporary resident from his right and fear not the Lord. What good does it do to tithe if you already have incurred His judgement because you do not treat others right.

Yet after all this was written, Jesus came! He came to set us free. He loved us so much that HE died on the cross for us. He became sin for us so that we didn't have to be ruled by sin, by our flesh and so we didn't have to pay the price for our sin. He became poor so that we could be rich, have provision through Him, and have our needs met according to His riches in glory. He was beaten until He was no longer recognizable as a human being so that we could walk in health.

Oh how we belittle the great, unimaginable, inconceivable price that He paid when it is implied that the tithe has anything to do with us receiving any of this that He so lovingly purchased for us with His own precious blood.

Malachi was written when God's people were under the law. Now we are under the law of love. Faith works by love, not tithe. Why don't we have more preachers that teach love (how to treat others) and then use their faith for God to move on peoples' hearts to give. Why don't they be an example of something that people would want to give to instead of an example of money extractors.

II Corinthians 9 begins talking about an offering that is to be given to the Saints in Jerusalem from the Corinthians. Then in verses 5-7 he says,"That is why I thought it necessary to urge these brethren to go to you before I do and make arrangements in advance for this bountiful, promised gift of yours, so that it may be ready, not as an extortion (wrung out of you) but as a generous and willing gift. (Remember) this: he who sows sparingly and grudgingly, will also reap sparingly and grudgingly, and he who sows generously (that blessings may come to someone) will also reap generously and with blessings. Let each one (give) as he has made up his own mind and purposed in his heart, not reluctantly or sorrowfully or under compulsion, for God loves (He takes pleasure in, prizes above other things, and is unwilling to abandon or to do without) a cheerful (joyous,"prompt to do it") giver (whose heart is in his giving).

I am a tither and a giver because I love Him and I want to give to Him, not because I have to or I am afraid of what will happen if I don't. Yet I want to give to a ministry that is an example of love and not law, humility and not pride, one who gives to the poor and needy, not to the most prosperous ministry or person they can find because they think that this will bring the greatest financial harvest on their seed they have sown.I want to give to someone that is an example of the love, caring and compassion of Jesus and not an example of how to use His word to get rich.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

From: Tithing is not a Christian Doctrine
Russell Earl Kelly

MALACHI: Malachi 3 is the Most Abused Tithing Text in the Bible. The “whole” tithe never was supposed to go to the Temple!

A. CONTEXT: Malachi is Old Covenant and is never quoted in the New Covenant to validate tithing (Lev. 27:34; Neh. 10:28-29; Mal. 3:7; 4:4).

B. CONTEXT: In Malachi 3:10-11 tithes are still only food 1000 years after Leviticus 27.

C. LAW: Malachi’s audience had willingly reaffirmed the Old Covenant (Neh.10:28-29). The blessings and curses of tithing are identical to and inseparable from those of the entire Mosaic Law. The rain in Deuteronomy 28:12, 23-24 and Leviticus 26:1-4 is only obtained by obedience to all 613 commandments. Galatians 3:10 (quoting Deu 27:26) “For as many as are of the works of the law are under the curse: for it is written, Cursed is every one that continues not in all things which are written in the book of the law to do them.” Trying to earn God’s blessings through tithing only brings curses for failure to keep all of the law. See also Galatians 3:19.

D. PRIEST-THIEVES: Beginning in 1:6 “you” in Malachi always refers to the dishonest priests and not the people (also 2:1-10; 2:13 to 3:1-5): “Even this whole nation of you --priests” (3:9). In 1:13-14 the priests had stolen tithed animals vowed to God. In Nehemiah 13:5-10 priests had stolen the Levites’ portion of the tithe. God’s curses on the priests are ignored by most tithe-teachers (1:14; 2:2 and 3:2-4).

E. LEVITICAL CITIES: Point #12. The Levitical cities must be included in a correct interpretation of Malachi 3:10 and they are not. Most tithe-recipients lived outside of Jerusalem.

F. 24 Courses: The 24 courses of Levites and priests must be included in a correct interpretation of Malachi 3 and they are not. Normally only 2% of the total Levite and priest work force served at the temple one week at a time. Subtract wives, males under the age of 30 and daughters. Therefore 2% did not require all of the tithe. See 1 Chron 23-26; 28:13, 21; 2 Chron. 8:14; 23:8; 31:2, 15-19; 35:4, 5, 10; Ezra 6:18; Neh. 11:19, 30; 12:24; 13:9, 10; Luke 1:5.
G. Nehemiah 10:37-39 is the key to understanding Malachi 3:10, The people were commanded to bring their tithes, not to the temple, but to the nearby Levitical cities. Verse 38 says that the priests were with the Levites in the Levitical cities when they received the tithes.

H. STOREHOUSE: According to Nehemiah 13:5, 9 the “storehouse” in the Temple was only several rooms. The real “storehouses” were in the Levitical cites per Nehemiah 10:37b. Only the Levites and priests normally brought tithes to the Temple (10:38). Two rooms in the Temple were far too small to contain the tithe from the entire nation and 98% of the Levites and priests lived too far away to eat from them.

Therefore, Malachi 3:10’s “Bring ye all the tithes into the storehouse” only makes contextual sense if it is only commanding dishonest priests to replace the tithes they had removed from it or had failed to bring to it.

While the 3:10 of the Law in Malachi is so important to tithe-teachers they ignore the 3:10 of the Gospel in Galatians and 2nd Corinthians. Perhaps those wanting to enforce the 3:10 Law of Malachi should also enforce the 3:10 Law of Numbers. They share the same context.

Christian giving is freewill, sacrificial, generous, joyful, regular and motivated by love. That is enough to provide the needs of the Church.