Guilty of Witchcraft
by Ronald W Robey
Many a pastor stands behind his pulpit and reads Malachi 3:8-10 to their congregation. Some with an honest heart, some with a dishonest heart.
It is those with the dishonest hearts that this message is for today.
In his epistle to the churches at Galatia, the Apostle Paul warned the saints of the penalty for following after the works of the flesh:
Galatians 5:19-21 Now the works of the flesh are manifest, which are these; Adultery, fornication, uncleanness, lasciviousness, Idolatry, witchcraft, hatred, variance, emulations, wrath, strife, seditions, heresies, Envyings, murders, drunkenness, revellings, and such like: of the which I tell you before, as I have also told you in time past, that they which do such things shall not inherit the kingdom of God.
The word “witchcraft” in verse 20 of the passage above is translated from the Greek word “pharmakeia.” It is where we get our word “pharmacy” from.
The interlinear defines “pharmakeia” in four ways:
1. the use or the administering of drugs
2. poisoning
3. sorcery, magical arts, often found in connection with idolatry and fostered by it
4. metaph. the deceptions and seductions of idolatry
I do not believe that Paul is condemning all uses of “drugs” per se. Rather, he is speaking of one who addicts oneself to the use of drugs simply for the purpose of escape from reality…. mind control. But mind control and drugs are not what my message tonight is about. Nor is it about a physical poisoning, nor of witchcraft in the sense of amulets and charms to ward off certain things.
Tonight’s message is about deception and seduction, the fourth definition in the list I have provided above.
In the first two paragraphs of this message, I said that some pastors read Malachi 3:8-12 with a dishonest heart. It is those pastors that are guilty of a form of witchcraft; specifically, deception and seduction
They are deceptive, in that Malachi 3 is not speaking about tithes of money. God ‘s instruction to Malachi was speaking of a tithe of food; i.e., agricultural crops and livestock. This can be easily seen when one examines the passage and then allows Scripture to interpret Scripture.
“Bring ye all the tithes”
All the what?
“All the tithes”
What tithes? What is God speaking of when He says “All the tithes”? If I were to just read Malachi 3:10, and that verse alone, I would have absolutely no clue as to what tithes God is speaking of. Well, maybe a hint is seen in the word “Meat” (which means food) in verse 10, but just looking at the beginning of the verse and not reading the whole verse would certainly leave one scratching one’s head.
What tithes are to be brought to the storehouse? Thankfully, God did not leave us hanging on what He meant. Rather, He gave us the answer when He continued “that there may be meat in mine house.”
Now, as I said, many pastors have an honest heart. Many will tell their congregations that the word “MEAT” in verse 10 is referring to food. Conversely, many pastors are deceptive and teach their congregations that Malachi 3:8-12 is speaking of money being the titheable item that God demands.
Further, those same teachers and preachers that teach that Malachi 3:8-10 is speaking of a monetary tithe also teach that if the church member will tithe his or her money, God promises to open the windows and pour out a blessing upon them.
There, the minister is using both deception and seduction in order to cause his flock to put 10% of their hard-earned money into a specially marked envelope and subsequently into the coffers of the church they attend.
He first deceives them into believing that a command given to ancient Israel is also meant for the Church.
Secondly, he deceives them into believing the command is for monetary tithes when the Law specifically stated that the tithes were to be agricultural in nature. (Leviticus 27:30-33; Deuteronomy 14:22-29; 26:12)
Lastly, he seduces them into believing they are going to be blessed by God if they “obey” his command to tithe.
Another deception put forth by the pastor is manifest when the pastor says that “to the storehouse” means “to the Church.” Brethren, the storehouse that God was speaking of in the Malachi passage was not the Church… it was a three-tiered structure attached to the Temple at Jersualem. (see 1 Kings 6:6) God never moved that storehouse to another geographical location on the other side of the world. Nor did He give Gentile Churches authority to set up their own “storehouses” all over the world. There is not one instance in the post-crucifixion epistles that instruct Apostles, Prophets, Evangelists, Pastors or Teachers to set up storehouses and require monetary tithes of their flocks.
Do not be deceived. Open your Bibles and study out the passages on tithing. When you do, you will find that the pastor that told you that the pastor that “God requires you to bring tithes of money to the House of God” is lying. He is seducing you with promises that God never gave to you.
In reality, God isn’t demanding the tithe of the church member. The deceptive and seductive preacher is.