2 - Tithing - Legalism - Malachi 3:8-10Is the failure to TITHE robbing God by robbing the priests? No. Malachi said: And now, O PRIESTS, this commandment is for YOU. Malachi 2:1
Malachi 3 defines music as marks of Sorcerers when Messiah came.
Malachi 4 defines the "baptism" of Spirit (Wind) and Fire for this Viper Race.
Ken Cukrowski, Mark Hamilton God's Holy Fire
Whatever our religion, most of us have a deep itch to know what the Bible teaches and are deeply troubled when it is used to whack people over the head. These notes are from our web page and are prompted by one of the most popular questions on the Internet: "Do Christians have to tithe?" The Bible clearly says, "No." Everyone is free to give everything but no one is free to demand anything but love. Romans 13:8.
Similarly, when Nehemiah left the captivity in Babylon and began to build a temple he said that he was not like the previous leaders. "The previous leaders who were before me were very harsh on the people and took bread and wine from them" (Nehemiah 5:15). They did not take any tax except money and besides taking a tax of money they also took the crops of the field and the wine of the vineyards. Since he maligned the first leaders, he was not worthy that his book be called by his name. Rather, it is known as Ezra. [Translator's note: In early times the Book of Nehemiah was simply known as Ezra 2.] http://tckillian.com/greg/parashiot/ellul960.html
Review of Tithing - Number One
In our Tithing - Number One, we heard Malachi speaking for God asking:
Will a man rob God? Yet ye have robbed me. But ye say, Wherein have we robbed thee? In tithes and offerings. Mal 3:8
Based on the whole story of tithing in the Bible, the natural question is: If I do not tithe, am I, like the TV man said, a robber posted on God's Ten Most Wanted list? The Bible answer is, No. Everyone is free to give everything but no one is free to demand anything but love. Romans 13:8.
We noted that God gave Israel The Book of the Covenant at Mount Sinai. When they practiced an Egyptian form of worship, God gave them The Book of the Law or the Law of Moses. In this system of law, the individual lost the right to approach God.
We saw that the tithe was to feed the Tribe of Levi to care for and to keep the people away from the Tabernacle. In addition, the Levite priests offered sacrifices for the people who were more "audience" than worshipers:
"And, behold, I have given the children of Levi all the tenth in Israel for an inheritance, for their service which they serve, even the service of the tabernacle of the congregation. Num 18:21
"Neither must the children of Israel henceforth come nigh the tabernacle of the congregation, lest they bear sin, and die. Nu 18:22
The tithe was ten percent of the yearly increase of grain from the land, fruit from the trees and animals from the pasture. Jews who lived outside of Canaan and wage earners did not tithe because they were not God's tenants. Furthermore, this 10% was for both civil and religious services:
"These tithes in early times took the place of our modern taxes, us well as of gifts for the support of religious institutions." Smith's Bible Dictionary
The tithe, like all of this Second Law, was given because of sin and not as a spiritual blessing (Galatians 3:19). Liberty under Christ now makes us all a priesthood of believers able to "come boldly before God's throne." Sacrifice is the fruit of the lips of each believer. No Levitical worship leader or "team" should ever presume to perform worship for the believer:
By him therefore let us offer the sacrifice of praise to God continually, that is, the fruit of our lips, giving thanks to his name. Heb 13:15
But to do good and to communicate (freely-given fellowship including financial help) forget not: for with such sacrifices God is well pleased. Heb 13:16
People do presume to take the place of Christ or the worshiper or to stand between the two. The power to shake off that power can only come from understanding the history of tithing.
In the first paper, we looked at voluntary tithing during the PATRIARCHAL period, during the WILDERNESS WANDERING and in Canaan under the JUDGES. The next period of Bible history is the UNITED KINGDOM where tithing, along with Israel's worship, was like the nations.
The Tithe Under the United Monarchy
You will remember that at the end of the period of JUDGES, Samuel grew old and appointed his own unqualified sons to be Judges. Because their sins included taking money for their services, the tribal elders demanded a king like the nations (1 Sam 8:5). God answered their prayer because they had already rejected His theocratic rule. He told Samuel to warn the elders:
Now therefore hearken unto their voice: howbeit yet protest solemnly unto them, and shew them the manner of the king that shall reign over them. 1 Sam 8:9
God explained that human kings exempt their sons and tax the poor. While the princes rode in their chariots, the sons of the poor ran before the horses tooting everyone out of the way:
And he said, This will be the manner of the king that shall reign over you: He will take your sons, and appoint them for himself, for his chariots, and to be his horsemen; and some shall run before his chariots. 1 Sam 8:11
As a secular king, he would build a government like those in Egypt and Babylon. He would build a "ministry system" like a pyramid with the king at the top dominating the people. He would even try to take over the role of priest.
And he will appoint him captains (dominant leaders) over thousands, and captains over fifties; and will set them to ear (till) his ground, and to reap his harvest, and to make his instruments of war, and instruments (musical), of his chariots. 1 Sam 8:12
This was fulfilled when David used men in "like-the-nations" practices of warfare, for dedication of structures or kings, and for purification rituals. For instance, of these same dominant captains,
David, together with the (captains) commanders of the army, set apart some of the sons of Asaph, Heman and Jeduthun for the ministry of prophesying, accompanied by harps, lyres and cymbals. Here is the list of the men who performed this service: 1 Chronicles 25:1
As one example, one of the guild leaders was "Asaph, the collector." In Hebrew his name means: "To gather in, receive, consume, destroy or utterly take away." The guilds had Ugaritic names.
God warned the elders what would happen when they were ruled like the nations and worshipped like the nations:
And he will take the tenth (tithe) of your seed, and of your vineyards, and give to his officers (keepers of the harem) and to his servants (slaves). 1 Sam 8:15
The king, like the nations, took the money from the poor and gave it to his friends and family. They, in turn, enslaved the "tithers" to carry out the king's plans:
And he will take your menservants, and your maidservants, and your goodliest young men, and your asses, and put them to his work. 1 Sam 8:16
And ye shall cry out in that day because of your king which ye shall have chosen you; and the Lord will not hear you in that day. 1 Sam 8:18
Nevertheless the people refused to obey the voice of Samuel; and they said, Nay; but we will have a king over us 1 Sam 8:19
After this new system of government and worship was forced upon the people and led to captivity, Ezekiel reminded them that their effort would never have God's blessing:
You say, "We want to be like the nations, like the peoples of the world, who serve wood and stone." But what you have in mind will never happen. Ezekiel 20:32
The United Kingdom
The period of the KINGDOM united by war lasted through the reigns of Saul, David and Solomon who used slave labor to build the temple. He spent even more time on his own palaces, and temples for his wives to practice idolatry.
As in the temple-states of the nations, the king claimed to be God's Agent. As a result, what should be given to God by giving to the poor and faithful workers was spent on rituals "to lead the worshipers into the presence of God."
The Divided Kingdom
Because the temple-state enslaved the people, as God has promised, when Solomon died the people asked for relief. The older people's advice was ignored and the burdens were increased. The nation then divided with ten tribes called ISRAEL living in the north and two tribes remaining in Jerusalem called JUDAH (Jews). Within five years of Solomon's death, the temple was stripped, according to some estimates, of a trillion dollars of treasure while the people were hungry for food and the Word.
Israel (north) erected idols like the golden calf at Mount Sinai and restored Egyptian forms of worship. They invented frequent religious festivals so that the Word of God was ignored. These tribes went into Assyrian captivity and never returned. They are called the "Lost Tribes of Israel."
Why Israel Went Into Assyrian Captivity
Israel went into captivity because the princes took money from the poor and used it for their own benefit. They were the robbers:
Forasmuch therefore as your treading is upon the poor, and ye take from him burdens of wheat: ye have built houses of hewn stone, but ye shall not dwell in them; ye have planted pleasant vineyards, but ye shall not drink Amos 5:11
These festivals became a daily, jubilant activity of "wine, women and song." Their worship was the Marzeah which is defined as a "feast with and for dead ancestors" who must now be worshipped. They believed that the "feelings" created by play or drama or music proved that the gods were actually in their bodies.
As a result, God warned:
And I will turn your feasts into mourning, and all your songs into lamentation; and I will bring up sackcloth upon all loins, and baldness upon every head; and I will make it as the mourning of an only son, and the end thereof as a bitter day. Amos 8:10
Behold, the days come, saith the Lord God, that I will send a famine in the land, not a famine of bread, nor a thirst for water, but of hearing the words of the Lord: Amos 8:11
The Babylonian Captivity of Judah
Judah controlled Jerusalem and a small population. They were finally captured and went into Babylonian captivity which lasted roughly 70 years.
Ezekiel warned the people that they would remain in Babylon because they treated God like a prostitute entertainer (Eze 33). They were interested in "exciting, performance worship" but they had no intention of changing their lives. This has been called, "the idolatry of talent."
In the next chapter, Ezekiel asked:
Seemeth it a small thing unto you to have eaten up the good pasture, but ye must tread down with your feet the residue of your pastures? and to have drunk of the deep waters, but ye must foul the residue with your feet? Ezekiel 34:18
And as for my flock, they eat that which ye have trodden with your feet; and they drink that which ye have fouled with your feet. Ezekiel 34:19
Because the people were so evil, God always planned to be His own Intercessor. (Isaiah 59:16). And, as Chief Shepherd, He would feed the flock rather than have the flock feed Him:
And I will set up one shepherd over them, and he shall feed them, even my servant David; he shall feed them, and he shall be their shepherd. Ezekiel 34:23
In chapter 40, Ezekiel began to describe the Idealized Temple where the Levites who caused Israel to go astray (Eze 40:10) would be demoted. The Zadokite priests could continue to serve (44:15) because they rejected Israel's festivals.
Moreover the prince (the Hebrew means something like a "Martha White self-rising mist") shall not take of the peoples inheritance by oppression, to thrust them out of their possession; but he shall give his sons inheritance out of his own possession: that my people be not scattered every man from his possession. Ezekiel 46:18
The Period of the Return
When the Persians under Cyrus defeated Babylon, the Jews were allowed to return to Jerusalem. Sheshbazzar led the first return with the vessels taken from the temple (Ezra 1:11). Many of the people returned under Zerubbabel (Ezra 1-2). The foundation of the temple was laid but because of the fear created by the loud choirs (Ezra 3), the temple was delayed for 16 years. Finally, Nehemiah returned to rebuild the city (Neh. 2).
It wasn't long before the nobles began to oppress the people. Nehemiah spoke to them and said:
Restore, I pray you, to them, even this day, their lands, their vineyards, their oliveyards, and their houses, also the hundredth part of the money, and of the corn, the wine, and the oil, that ye exact of them. Neh 5:11
To take even 1% of the money by law was like taking the lands, vineyards and even houses.
Tobiah and Sanballat tried to hold a "conference" with Nehemiah who was too busy building the walls. He knew that they were just trying to break down the walls to stop the work in the name of unity.
However, when Nehemiah returned to Babylon, Eliashib the priest, who controlled the tithed food, made friends with the enemy, Tobiah, and made him a grand apartment in the food storehouse in the temple.
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. Neh 13:5
- "Therefore, I have made you contemptible in the eyes of all the people; for you have not obeyed me, but you let your favorites break the law without rebuke." Mal 2:9
Nehemiah came back to Jerusalem and threw lazy Tobiah and his "stuff" out of the "food pantry."
And I perceived that the portions of the Levites had not been given them: for the Levites and the singers, that did the work, were fled every one to his field. Neh 13:10
Then contended I with the rulers, and said, Why is the house of God forsaken? And I gathered them together, and set them in their place. Neh 13:11
Then brought all Judah the tithe of the corn and the new wine and the oil unto the treasuries. Neh 13:12
And I made treasurers over the treasuries, Shelemiah the priest, and Zadok the scribe, and of the Levites, Pedaiah: and next to them was Hanan the son of Zaccur, the son of Mattaniah: for they were counted faithful, and their office was to distribute unto their brethren. Neh 13:13
Spending the time and resources on "friendship with the world" was the sin of the rulers (Neh 13:11) and not of the tithers. Once order was restored, the people began to bring in their tithes (Neh 13:12).
Malachi And SEED Money Giving
Paul warned about the hucksters or peddlers (2 Cor 2:17). He claimed that he was not a "trained retailer" of God's Word. This does not prevent some "ministries" from promising that God will send you five thousand dollars if you send them one thousand dollars as the "seed." We used to fool the laying hens with that scheme!
One of many comparisons shows that the robbery was the same in Malachi and Nehemiah:
Remember them, O my God, because they have defiled the priesthood, But ye are departed out of the way; ye have caused many to stumble at the law; and the covenant of the priesthood, and of the Levites. Neh 13:29 ye have corrupted the covenant of Levi, saith the Lord of hosts. Mal 2:8
In Malachi chapter two, the priests refused to give the glory to God and to teach knowledge as the messenger of the Law. Furthermore, they refused to feed the true workers from the temple store room:
AND now, O ye priests, this commandment is for you. Mal 2:1
If ye will not hear, and if ye will not lay it to heart, to give glory unto my name, saith the Lord of hosts, I will even send a curse upon you, and I will curse your blessings: yea, I have cursed them already, because ye do not lay it to heart. Mal 2:2
For the priests lips should keep knowledge, and they should seek the law at his mouth: for he is the messenger of the Lord of hosts. Mal 2:7
Therefore have I also made you contemptible and base before all the people, according as ye have not kept my ways, but have been partial in the law. Mal 2:9
The wage earners did not need to be purified. Therefore, they were not the robbers of whom God said:
And he shall sit as a refiner and purifier of silver: and he shall purify the sons of Levi, and purge them as gold and silver, that they may offer unto the Lord an offering in righteousness. Mal 3:3
Then shall the offering of Judah and Jerusalem be pleasant unto the Lord, as in the days of old, and as in former years. Mal 3:4
While in Babylonian Captivity, the people were somewhat cured of paganism or idolatry. However, the priestly class and false prophets (male and female) always held "seminars" to "steal" their messages from one another. Jer 23:30). Then they "muttered and whispered" into old wineskins (the familiar spirit or drum of the witch of Endor) and pretended that their non-biblical message was from God. They were really practicing a form of ancient and modern witchcraft. Therefore, God warned:
And I will come near to you to judgment; and I will be a swift witness against the sorcerers (whisper a magic spell), and against the adulterers, and against false swearers, and against those that oppress the hireling in his wages, the widow, and the fatherless, and that turn aside the stranger from his right, and fear not me, saith the Lord of hosts. Mal 3:5
It was the priestly class who were violating the law and causing the whole nation to fail:
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? Mal 3:7
Will a man rob God? Yet ye have robbed me. But ye say, Wherein have we robbed thee? In tithes and offerings. Mal 3:8
Ye are cursed with a curse: for ye have robbed me, even this whole nation. Mal 3:9
Remember that the tithe was never more than the food from the ground, tree, vine or herd. It was only the food increase from lands "rented" from God. Therefore, the blessing from tithing speaks only of bringing this food into the local or temple storeroom to feed the poor or Levite:
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 (rain) of heaven, and pour you out a blessing, that there shall not be room (storage bins for tithed food) enough to receive it. Mal 3:10
Freewill giving in the New Testament is understood from Paul's reminder to Corinth about their year-old voluntary offer to help the poor in Judea. While the famine was no longer severe, Paul appealed to the highest motives to urge them to go onward with the offering.
Unfortunately, this giving is now equated to the legal tithe. Therefore, our next issue on Tithing will have Paul say that his urging of Corinth to give to the poor was not a command or an "act.".
The remaining law is still the law of love. Churches are free to collectively look for good works based upon this principle which feeds the poor with food and the poor in spirit with the Word.
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