Nehemiah 10:37-38 And that we should bring the firstfruits of our dough, and our offerings, and the fruit of all manner of trees, of wine and of oil, unto the priests, to the chambers of the house of our God; and the tithes of our ground unto the Levites, that the same Levites might have the tithes in all the cities of our tillage. And the priest the son of Aaron shall be with the Levites, when the Levites take tithes: and the Levites shall bring up the tithe of the tithes unto the house of our God, to the chambers, into the treasure house.

To break it down and make it easier for all to understand, suppose a farmer from the tribe of Benjamin grew 100 bushels of wheat during the year of the Levitical tithe.  That farmer would take ten bushels of wheat to a Levite in one of the 48 Levitical cities that the Levites lived in.  That was his tithe.  The Levite, would then bring one of those bushels that he received to the Temple and take that bushel into the storehouse there.  As you can see, only 1% of that Benjamite farmer’s crop was to go to the Temple storehouse, not 10%.

Numbers 35:1-8 And the LORD spake unto Moses in the plains of Moab by Jordan near Jericho, saying, Command the children of Israel, that they give unto the Levites of the inheritance of their possession cities to dwell in; and ye shall give also unto the Levites suburbs for the cities round about them. And the cities shall they have to dwell in; and the suburbs of them shall be for their cattle, and for their goods, and for all their beasts. And the suburbs of the cities, which ye shall give unto the Levites, shall reach from the wall of the city and outward a thousand cubits round about. And ye shall measure from without the city on the east side two thousand cubits, and on the south side two thousand cubits, and on the west side two thousand cubits, and on the north side two thousand cubits; and the city shall be in the midst: this shall be to them the suburbs of the cities. And among the cities which ye shall give unto the Levites there shall be six cities for refuge, which ye shall appoint for the manslayer, that he may flee thither: and to them ye shall add forty and two cities. So all the cities which ye shall give to the Levites shall be forty and eight cities: them shall ye give with their suburbs. And the cities which ye shall give shall be of the possession of the children of Israel: from them that have many ye shall give many; but from them that have few ye shall give few: every one shall give of his cities unto the Levites according to his inheritance which he inheriteth.

An oft-used passage that pastors say proves we are to tithe our money is found in the last book of the Old Testament.

Malachi 3:8-10 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. 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.

Now, when used by itself, one might be convinced that the passage is speaking a command to the members of the New Testament Church to tithe their money to the Church.

But is that what that verse says?  Let’s be as the Bereans and search the Scriptures to see if it is as it is being preached…

First, we must see who is being addressed in Malachi 3.  Was it the entire nation of Israel?  If one rightly divides the Word of Truth, one will find that it was not the people.

If not the people, then who?

Let me give you just a little bit of historical background, specifically the time period when Malachi delivered this harsh rebuke and stern instruction.

Malachi delivered this message from God in the year 430 B.C., most pastors will agree that this is the correct date.  What they don’t tell you is that Nehemiah was a contemporary of Malachi’s, and to properly understand Malachi’s address one needs to know what is going on in the book of Nehemiah.

As I said, Nehemiah was a contemporary of Malachi.  This means they both lived in the same generation.  Malachi’s address was in 430 B.C., Nehemiah’s story was in 433 B.C…. just three years prior to Malachi delivering the message from God.

So how does Nehemiah fit into this, you may ask?  Let’s look at the Scripture…

We have already addressed the fact that the Levites were the ones who brought the tithes into the storehouse according to Nehemiah 10:37-38.  We have pointed out the fact that what was tithed to the Temple was not tithed by the Israelites, but by the Levites.

So was it the Levites robbing God?  No, it was not the Levites… it was the Priests, the sons of Aaron who were robbing God.  Notice:

Nehemiah 13:1-5 On that day they read in the book of Moses in the audience of the people; and therein was found written, that the Ammonite and the Moabite should not come into the congregation of God for ever; Because they met not the children of Israel with bread and with water, but hired Balaam against them, that he should curse them: howbeit our God turned the curse into a blessing. Now it came to pass, when they had heard the law, that they separated from Israel all the mixed multitude. And before this, Eliashib the priest, having the oversight of the chamber of the house of our God, was allied unto Tobiah: And he had prepared for him a great chamber, where aforetime they laid the meat offerings, the frankincense, and the vessels, and the tithes of the corn, the new wine, and the oil, which was commanded to be given to the Levites, and the singers, and the porters; and the offerings of the priests.

Did you catch that?  Eliashib, one of Aaron’s sons cleared the room where the tithes were kept and moved an Ammonite into the Temple storehouse.

The Priest robbed God!  He took the tithes that the Levites had brought into the storehouse out and moved God’s enemy into the storehouse.

Blasphemy!

Malachi’s rebuke becomes clear now.  The rebuke was to the Priests.  They had taken the tithes out of the storehouse.  They were the ones guilty of robbing God.  The congregation was not guilty, they had taken the tithes where they were supposed to take them.  The Levites were not guilty, they had brought the tithes into the storehouse as they were supposed to.  The Priests were guilty.  They removed the tithes so they could move the enemy of God in.

Malachi was telling the Priests that they had robbed God.  They also robbed the whole nation because the food that was supposed to be in the storehouse was not there.  Because they had removed the food, the Levites had no food to sustain them at the Temple.  They had to return to their cities so that they could survive.

Haggai 1:9-11 Ye looked for much, and, lo, it came to little; and when ye brought it home, I did blow upon it. Why? saith the LORD of hosts. Because of mine house that is waste, and ye run every man unto his own house. Therefore the heaven over you is stayed from dew, and the earth is stayed from her fruit. And I called for a drought upon the land, and upon the mountains, and upon the corn, and upon the new wine, and upon the oil, and upon that which the ground bringeth forth, and upon men, and upon cattle, and upon all the labour of the hands.

Do you see the result of rightly dividing?  The truth is known when one rightly divides.  Because the Priests robbed God by removing the tithes, the Levites had to return to their land and the House of God laid waste.  The Priest’s actions infuriated God and He withheld the rain and allowed the locust to eat what little there was.  The actions of the Priests oppressed the widows, the orphans, the Levites, and the foreigners taking refuge in Israel.  It oppressed them because the food that should have been there was not there.

Why is it that the Church teaches its members that God requires 10% of their money (as tithes) when God only required 1% of Israel’s total increase to be put in the Temple storehouse in Jerusalem?  It was not the congregation’s responsibility to tithe to the Temple.  The responsibility to tithe to the Temple fell solely upon the Levites.  They kept 90% of the tithe that they received in their Levitical cities, while the remaining 10% of that tithe they were required to take to the Temple.

The Church has lied to its members ever since it first taught they were to tithe of their money. God never required a tithe of money. The Church is teaching for doctrines the commandments of men, and God says of those who do such, “Even your worship is in vain.”

What has happened to the Church? The Apostles never taught the Church was to tithe.

Psalms 106:38-39 And shed innocent blood, even the blood of their sons and of their daughters, whom they sacrificed unto the idols of Canaan: and the land was polluted with blood. Thus were they defiled with their own works, and went a whoring with their own inventions.

The Bible reveals that God’s Holy tithe was not money, and yet, man (whether out of greed, or out of ignorance of what God’s Holy Word says) has invented a doctrine of a monetary tithe… and the Church has gone a whoring after that invention of man.

 

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