Malachi 3:7-10 Even from the days of your fathers ye are gone away from mine ordinances, and have not kept them. Return unto me, and I will return unto you, saith the LORD of hosts. But ye said, Wherein shall we return? 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.

The above passage is one that most church members have heard preached from the pulpit time and again. When reading Malachi 3, there are many important points concerning that must be considered.

1. Context reveals that the book of Malachi was written to the children of Israel. (Malachi 1:1)

2.  Context will show that the command of Malachi 3:10 was to the Priests, not the congregation. (Malachi 2:1)
3. Tithing is an ordinance. (Malachi 3:7)
4. God was being robbed because the tithes were removed from the storehouse. (Malachi 3:8-9; ref. Nehemiah 13:1-12))
5. God declared that food in His house was a necessity.

The word “meat” in verse 10 is important to the discussion. For it reveals that at the time Malachi was instructed to convey the message of rebuke to the Priests of Israel, God’s Holy tithe had not changed from what He originally told Moses He required as a tithe. In Leviticus 27, we read:

Leviticus 27:30-34 And all the tithe of the land, whether of the seed of the land, or of the fruit of the tree, is the LORD’S: it is holy unto the LORD. And if a man will at all redeem ought of his tithes, he shall add thereto the fifth part thereof. And concerning the tithe of the herd, or of the flock, even of whatsoever passeth under the rod, the tenth shall be holy unto the LORD. He shall not search whether it be good or bad, neither shall he change it: and if he change it at all, then both it and the change thereof shall be holy; it shall not be redeemed. These are the commandments, which the LORD commanded Moses for the children of Israel in mount Sinai.

Here, we discover that God set the boundaries and the limitations concerning His Holy tithe.

1. His Holy tithe consisted of the seed of the ground, the fruit of the trees, and flocks & herds only.  Only those who owned farmland and livestock were bound to the command to tithe. (v.30-33)
2. The seed and fruit tithes could be bought back for the value of the tithe plus an additional 20%. If a basket of corn was valued at ten shekels of silver, the farmer could buy it back after he tithed it for twelve shekels of silver.  (v.31)
3. The livestock tithe could not be bought back.  (v.33)
4. The tithe was a command for the children of Israel. There was no requirement for Gentile nations to tithe.  (v.34)

Now, remember point 2 I made in the Malachi passage? That tithing was an ordinance? The very fact that the Word of God says it is an ordinance frees us from the law of tithing. The Apostle Paul, writing under the inspiration of God, states:

Colossians 2:14 Blotting out the handwriting of ordinances that was against us, which was contrary to us, and took it out of the way, nailing it to his cross;

The ordinances have been taken out of the way and nailed to the cross. What gives a pastor or church leader the right to teach its members to tithe when the tithing ordinance has been nailed to the cross? What gives the pastor the right to teach his congregation that God’s Holy tithe is now money instead of the original crops and livestock that God required of the Israelites only?

Christians, don’t allow yourselves to be hoodwinked into obeying a man-made doctrine. Don’t continue the teaching of the man-made doctrine of tithing by telling your children they are to tithe their money to God. If you do, you are guilty of teaching for doctrines the commandments of men and God says your worship is in vain.

Matthew 15:9 But in vain they do worship me, teaching for doctrines the commandments of men.

When tithing is preached from the pulpit, it should be preached as God ordained it, not as man imagines it to be.