Type Here to Get Search Results !

Christians And The Tithe - Part 6

THE CONTEXT IN MALACHI

As we begin our study of tithes from the book of Malachi, you will be better equipped to study it if you have previously studied Second Chronicles 31 and Nehemiah in the previous parts. 

This post and the upcoming parts will show from God's Word that Malachi 3:8-10 has been misinterpreted and misapplied by the majority of Christians.

malachi-book-image

 

Please read the previous parts of this series here: PART 1, PART 2, PART 3, PART 4, and PART 5.

It will demonstrate that the priests, not the people, are robbing God in Malachi 3:8. So the priests are condemned in Malachi 3:9 for violating the Old Covenant. 

Compared to Numbers 18:21-24 and Nehemiah 10:37, the customary interpretation of "bring the entire tithe into the storehouse" has become a horrible deception that must cease immediately for the sake of God's truth and the church of Christ.

Aside from adding wage earners to the list of widows, orphans, and foreigners, Malachi echoed Moses and Amos. A judgment was coming for all exploited. 

The "sons of Jacob's" transgression extended beyond non-tithing and non-offering. The people did not fear God. They had ceased following God's ordinances as a consequence. 

WHO DID GOD ADDRESS?

Although Malachi is just four chapters long, many have never read it in one sitting. After reading this paragraph, please read all four chapters of the book of Malachi attentively and thoughtfully. 

As you read, ask yourself: To who is God communicating in this section? When did He begin speaking to this group? Is He addressing a new set of people? If true, what proof exists that He has switched from speaking to one group to another? Stop here and read Malachi.

MOCKING QUESTIONS

Looking at the book as a whole helps. The critical explanation or interpretation of a text as a whole is very important when you study a book. Malachi was mainly directed to priests. 

God spoke through the prophet to expose their hearts and wickedness. Although the Lord begins by addressing Israel, He quickly moved to the priests as we shall see in this post.

Malachi 1:1 -- This is an oracle, the LORD’s message to Israel through Malachi..."

Throughout the book, God responded to their taunting and mocking questions. God never ceased speaking to them even when they kept mocking God with their questions. 

Malachi 1:2 -- “I have shown love to you,” says the LORD, but you say, “How have you shown love to us?” “Esau was Jacob’s brother,” the LORD explains, “yet I chose Jacob

Malachi 1:6 -- “A son naturally honors his father and a slave respects his master. If I am your father, where is my honor? If I am your master, where is my respect? The LORD of Heaven’s Armies asks you this, you priests who make light of my name! But you reply, ‘How have we made light of your name?’

Malachi 1:7 -- You are offering improper sacrifices on my altar, yet you ask, ‘How have we offended you?’ By treating the table of the LORD as if it is of no importance!

Malachi 1:12 -- “But you are profaning it by saying that the table of the Lord is common and its offerings despicable. You also say, ‘How tiresome it is.’ You turn up your nose at it,” says the LORD of Heaven’s Armies, “and instead bring what is stolen, lame, or sick. You bring these things for an offering! Should I accept this from you?” asks the LORD.

Malachi 2:14 -- Yet you ask, “Why?” The LORD is testifying against you on behalf of the wife you married when you were young, to whom you have become unfaithful even though she is your companion and wife by law.

Malachi 2:17 -- You have wearied the LORD with your words. But you say, “How have we wearied him?” Because you say, “Everyone who does evil is good in the LORD’s opinion, and he delights in them,” or “Where is the God of justice?”

Malachi 3:7 -- From the days of your ancestors you have ignored my commandments and have not kept them! Return to me, and I will return to you,” says the LORD of Heaven’s Armies. “But you say, ‘How should we return?’

Malachi 3:8 -- Can a person rob God? You indeed are robbing me, but you say, ‘How are we robbing you?’ In tithes and contributions!

Malachi 3:13-15 -- “You have criticized me sharply,” says the LORD, “but you ask, ‘How have we criticized you?’ You have said, ‘It is useless to serve God. How have we been helped by keeping his requirements and going about like mourners before the LORD of Heaven’s Armies? So now we consider the arrogant to be happy; indeed, those who practice evil are successful. In fact, those who challenge God escape!’”

He reprimanded the priests for giving impure sacrifices including the stolen, lame, and ill.

Malachi 1:13 -- You also say, ‘How tiresome it is.’ You turn up your nose at it,” says the LORD of Heaven’s Armies, “and instead bring what is stolen, lame, or sick. You bring these things for an offering! Should I accept this from you?” asks the LORD.

He begins in the second chapter by continuing to address them.

Malachi 2:1 -- “Now, you priests, this commandment is for you.

GOD CURSED THE PRIESTS

He had already cursed their blessings yet the Lord confirmed His "covenant with Levi."

Malachi 2:2 -- If you do not listen and take seriously the need to honor my name,” says the LORD of Heaven’s Armies, “I will send judgment on you and turn your blessings into curses – indeed, I have already done so because you are not taking it to heart.

Malachi 2:4 -- Then you will know that I sent this commandment to you so that my covenant may continue to be with Levi,” says the LORD of Heaven’s Armies.

But the priests had caused many to stumble at the law by corrupting His covenant. The people despised the priests because the Lord had caused this to happen.

Malachi 2:9 -- “Therefore, I have caused you to be ignored and belittled before all people to the extent to which you are not following after me and are showing partiality in your instruction.”

ADDRESSING THE PRIESTS

People of God, please understand that from Malachi 1:6 onwards, The Lord speaks to priests and ministers only. Trace the word "you" to see if and when he stops speaking to priests.

Malachi is specifically addressed to dishonest priests, that is the Old Covenant priests in Malachi 1:6 and Malachi 2:1. These two verses are the KEYS to understanding Malachi. For the most part, we have been taught the opposite throughout our lives. 

Remember the context of these two passages as you examine the rest of Malachi. God is chastising His priesthood and not the people. The priests are the first "you" in Malachi 1:6. They dishonoured God and despised His name.

Malachi 1:7-8 -- You are offering improper sacrifices on my altar, yet you ask, ‘How have we offended you?’ By treating the table of the LORD as if it is of no importance! For when you offer blind animals as a sacrifice, is that not wrong? And when you offer the lame and sick, is that not wrong as well? Indeed, try offering them to your governor! Will he be pleased with you or show you favor?” asks the LORD of Heaven’s Armies.

DEFILED FOOD OFFERED

God rebuked the priests for giving Him as offering what no one else desired. The priests so despised the "table of the LORD." God did not claim they lacked an appropriate sacrifice to give to Him. Defiled food was not offered by the priests because they had nothing else to offer but because of the evil in their hearts.

But God only chastised the PRIESTS and not the people. He claimed their governor would not even eat the lame and ill. He knew these ministers had enough of healthy animals for sacrifice from the firstborn offerings and tithed animals. 

BACKGROUND IN NEHEMIAH

Why is it so? Because Nehemiah had commanded the people to deliver these gifts, storehouses were required.

Nehemiah 10:35-38 -- We also accept responsibility for bringing the first fruits of our land and the first fruits of every fruit tree year by year to the temple of the LORD. We also accept responsibility, as is written in the law, for bringing the firstborn of our sons and our cattle and the firstborn of our herds and of our flocks to the temple of our God, to the priests who are ministering in the temple of our God. We will also bring the first of our coarse meal, of our contributions, of the fruit of every tree, of new wine, and of olive oil to the priests at the storerooms of the temple of our God, along with a tenth of the produce of our land to the Levites, for the Levites are the ones who collect the tithes in all the cities where we work. A priest of Aaron’s line will be with the Levites when the Levites collect the tithes, and the Levites will bring up a tenth of the tithes to the temple of our God, to the storerooms of the treasury.

Nehemiah 12:44 -- On that day men were appointed over the storerooms for the contributions, first fruits, and tithes, to gather into them from the fields of the cities the portions prescribed by the law for the priests and the Levites, for the people of Judah took delight in the priests and Levites who were ministering.

Nehemiah 12:47 -- So in the days of Zerubbabel and in the days of Nehemiah, all Israel was contributing the portions for the singers and gatekeepers, according to the daily need. They also set aside the portion for the Levites, and the Levites set aside the portion for the descendants of Aaron.

Nehemiah 13:4-5 -- But prior to this time, Eliashib the priest, a relative of Tobiah, had been appointed over the storerooms of the temple of our God. He made for himself a large storeroom where previously they had been keeping the grain offering, the incense, and the vessels, along with the tithes of the grain, the new wine, and the olive oil as commanded for the Levites, the singers, the gate keepers, and the offering for the priests.

Nehemiah 13:12-13 -- Then all of Judah brought the tithe of the grain, the new wine, and the olive oil to the storerooms. I gave instructions that Shelemiah the priest, Zadok the scribe, and a certain Levite named Pedaiah be put in charge of the storerooms, and that Hanan son of Zaccur, the son of Mattaniah, be their assistant, for they were regarded as trustworthy. It was then their responsibility to oversee the distribution to their colleagues.

THE "STOLEN" ANIMALS

Malachi 1:13 -- Ye said also, Behold, what a weariness [is it]! and ye have snuffed at it, saith the LORD of hosts; and ye brought [that which was] torn, and the lame, and the sick; thus ye brought an offering: should I accept this of your hand? saith the LORD.

This is a fascinating text. The KJV says “torn,” the NIV “injured,” the NAS, NKJV, and TLB “robbed” or “stolen,” and the RSV “violently taken.” If stolen, the priests took “more” than their fair share. There could be no theft of first-fruits or sacrifices because they were straight to the priests according to Nehemiah 10:35-37. But the priests had collected the Levites' tithe.

CURSED ARE YOU, PRIESTS

Malachi 1:14 -- But cursed be the deceiver, which has in his flock a male, and vows, and sacrifices to the LORD a corrupt thing: for I am a great King, said the LORD of hosts, and my name is dreadful among the heathen.

Those who just read Malachi 3:9 are unaware that Malachi had previously used the word "curse" four times in condemning the priests. The first curse mentioned is in Malachi 1:14 that clearly targets the Old Testament priests and pastors. 

The priest already HAS appropriate sacrificial animals. God did not forgive them since the people did not pay tithes. In addition to the tithes and sacrifices they received, priests were obliged to give freewill offerings which they vowed. Their fault was to promise God the best and then deliver the worse.

We will continue with our study of the book of Malachi in the upcoming posts before moving to the New Covenant, I hope you are being built on a good and clear foundation to understand tithes. 

Feel free to comment or email me. I will try and reply as soon as possible.

Stay safe, healthy, and growing in Christ.

Blessings,

Godwin.


Post a Comment

0 Comments
* Please Don't Spam Here. All the Comments are Reviewed by Admin.

Below Post Ad

Ads