It is the book of Malachi that today’s Pastors uses as their main authority for promulgating the doctrine of “Christian tithing.” Christian tithing means that everyone must give 10% of their gross income or they will be “cursed with a curse.” It will be well worth your time to read the real meaning of Malachi’s prophecy. Mostly, one will hear only three verses of Malachi quoted by those attempting to wrest a doctrine of Christian tithing from this prophecy. Here are the “cursing” verses: “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.” (Malachi 3:8-9) Here is the “blessing” verse: “Bring ye all the tithes into the storehouse, that there may be meat (bread) in Mine house, and prove Me now herewith, says the Lord of hosts, if I will not open you the windows of heaven, and pour you out a blessing, that thee shall not be room enough to receive it” (Malachi 3:10).
Their interpretation of these proof texts are as follows: Rob God of His ten percent of your salary and be CURSED, or pay God ten percent of your salary and be BLESSED.
Just who is cursing whom in this Malachi prophecy? Does God, indeed, say, “You are CURSED with a curse” (Mal. 3:9)? This definitely sounds as if it is GOD Who is doing the cursing, doesn’t it? But say, did you notice that the word “are” in your Bible (Old King James Version) is in italics? That means that the word was supplied by the translators and was not in the original manuscripts. Remove it, and the verse says: “You cursed…” rather than “You are cursed…” Is it God, or Israel, who is doing the cursing in this verse?
We must always keep in mind that when the Bible says “tithes” it means products from the land—as grains and cattle. But when the Pastors say “tithes,” it always means money. Because the Ministers prefers to be paid in money, it therefore, became necessary to change the Biblical use of the word “tithes” to now include money. And if “money” can now be shown to be a tithable commodity, guess what? Every believer, of every occupation in the whole world (not just the farmers as in the Law of Moses), now is required to pay ten percent of his income to the Church. They increased their base of productivity a hundred fold. What then is the 21st Century application of this Malachi Prophecy? Are we now to tithe money?
Let’s read Malachi 3:10very carefully: WHAT were they robbing God of? “tithes AND offerings.” Tithes of what? Products from the land—grains and cattle. WHERE were they to bring the tithes? To the “STOREHOUSE”. WHY did God want these tithes of the land brought to the “STOREHOUSE”? “That there may be meat (BREAD) in Mine house” (God’s house, Not the granary).” If there is no spiritual application of these statements and we rather take them literally, there appears to be a contradiction here. Why should the people bring the tithes to the “storehouse” (a granary for storing grain) when what God wanted was “bread in His house,” (the tabernacle / Temple, and not the “storehouse”)? The only food in God’s house—the tabernacle, was a dozen loaves of bread. And that bread was for the Priests only, not for the tribe of Levi. Since there were only twelve loaves of bread in the Tabernacle / Temple of God, are we to believe that the whole nation of Israel did not bring enough grain to the storehouse to make even twelve loaves of bread? God does not contradict Himself, there needs to be something other than a need for enough grain from the whole nation of Israel to make twelve loaves of bread! Just what does God mean, “that there may be meat (bread) in Mine house?” Is God really reprimanding Christians of the 21st Century through Malachi’s prophecy to bring our checkbooks to church, “that there may be money in Mine house?” Yet this is the teaching of the Church regarding Malachi’s message.
What is the Truth? Does God ask Israel to bring all the tithes and offerings into the storehouse, or treasury, or granary, so that there will be “tithes and offerings in Mine house?” No. God says so, “that there may be meat in Mine house.” We know that they did not bring the tithes and offerings into the holy place of the tabernacle. Only bread was kept in the holy place. The “bread” in the holy place was a type of something future, just as everything that happened to Israel and all of their offerings and ceremonies were a type of something future (I Cor. 10:11).
He must indeed be spiritual blind who cannot see that the”bread” in the holy place foreshadows “The True Bread of Life—Jesus Christ.” If God wanted more money in His house, why did Jesus do what He did in the House of God? “And Jesus went into the temple of God, and cast out all them that sold and bought in the temple, and overthrew the tables of the MONEY changers… and said unto them, It is written, My house shall be called the house of prayer; but ye have made it a den of thieves” (Matt. 21:12-13).
The Christian interpretation of Malachi 3:10 is this: “Bring ye all the tithe MONEY and extra offerings of money to the church bank, that there may be money in the Church.” Granted, they might not enunciate it that crudely, but that is what they teach. Ask virtually any pastor of any church, “How do I, starting today, actually obey this prophecy of Malachi to stop “robbing God of His tithes and offerings?” and he will tell you to write out a check in the name of his church, for 10% of your salary (plus an offering), and that check will then be deposited into the church bank account. Then ask these same pastor what kind of blessings you will receive for obeying this procedure, and they will probably tell you stories where people received huge amounts of material goods and even huge amounts of more money. This is their interpretation of God “opening the windows of heaven and pouring out a blessing.” And there are ministers by the tens of thousands at this very moment preparing more stories and more yarns on how blessed one will become in every imaginable physical, earthly, and material things for giving them (they would say, giving God) your money. Is this really how God wants us of the 21st Century to apply Malachi’s prophecy to our lives?
This prophecy has absolutely nothing to do with tithing money to the Church. Does God suggest somewhere in this prophecy that there isn’t enough “money in His house?” Is Jesus Christ coming back to this earth to judge these “pastors” because the “people” failed to bring enough money to the storehouse so that there would be money in God’s house? Is it a lack of money that concerns God in this prophecy? No, it is both the people and the ministers who have corrupted themselves according to this prophecy. But like always, God holds the pastors to a much higher standard and therefore they receive the greater condemnation.
Malachi contains a prophecy and information “for OUR admonition upon whom the ends of the world are come” (I Cor. 10:11). There is no tabernacle / temple administered by the priests of Levi today, nor for two thousand years. Malachi is not speaking to Christians about tithing money to the church. The literal physical circumstances extent in the Church in Malachi’s day is but a type, a shadow, of a spiritual reality for our day and for all those called since the Resurrection of Jesus Christ. It was from the tithes that the Priests of Levi selected the “sacrifices.” There lies the problem for ancient Israel and the problem for the Church today.
God says: “In tithes and offering” (3:8). God uses “tithes and offerings” to illustrate their attitude of mind and heart behind their giving. Tithes and offerings were all that God asked of the people to give Him. Everything else they could keep for themselves. But how much did they love God. How much did they appreciate God and all His goodness to them? What was their attitude of heart and mind toward God? Their “tithes and offerings” say it all: “You offer POLLUTED BREAD UPON MINE ALTAR.” (1:7) All that was included in their “tithes and offerings”—firstfruits, tithes of the land, tithes of the herds, and altar offerings of every sort, were to God: “polluted bread upon Mine altar.” They gave offerings (they were tithing), but they were totally unacceptable. “…NEITHER will I accept an offering at your hand” (1:10).
Jesus Christ did not come to destroy the “prophets,” but rather to “fulfill the prophets” (Matt. 5:17). Under the Prophet Moses, God fed the nation of Israel bread in the wilderness. “Our fathers did eat manna in the desert; as it is written, He gave them bread from heaven to eat” (John 6:31). Under the Prophet Malachi God said they should bring the tithes into the storehouse so that there would be “…meat in My house, and prove me now herewith, says the Lord of hosts, if I will not open you the windows of HEAVEN, and pour you out a (keep in mind that this blessing is singular—a blessing) blessing that there shall not be room enough to receive IT.” (again, singular) (Mal. 3:10). This may well be one of the most misunderstood and wrongly preached verses in the Bible.
Now then, listen and learn what I have to show you next, and you will know and understand more about the Old Testament Prophets than do most theologians. What did Jesus have to say to the Jews about the “bread from heaven” which they said their fathers ate in the desert?
“Then Jesus said unto them, Verily, verily, (truly, truly), I say unto you, Moses gave you NOT THAT BREAD FROM HEAVEN; but My Father gives you the TRUE BREAD from heaven. For the bread of God is HE which comes down from heaven and gives life unto the world!” (John 6:32-33) What? How can Jesus say that? The Jews said that their fathers ate “bread from heaven.” Moses said that, “He gave them bread from heaven to eat.” But Jesus said, “Moses gave you NOT that bread from heaven; but My Father gives you the TRUE bread from heaven.” Is Jesus contradicting the very Word of God? No, a thousand times No: He is fulfilling the words of the prophets just as He said in Matt. 5:17.
The bread in the desert was only the type of bread from heaven, which in reality, and in fulfillment, pointed to Jesus Christ, the “TRUE bread from heaven.” The same is true for Malachi. The “polluted bread” of Malachi is but the type of the unpolluted, pure, “TRUE bread from heaven,’ which is Jesus Christ. But to receive this “blessing from heaven,” we must bring all our tithes, all that we have to offer God, into the storehouse so that there will be “meat (unpolluted bread) in Mine house.” Now then, does God want unpolluted animals? No. Does God want unpolluted produce from the land? No. Does God want unpolluted money? No. Well what kind of sacrifice does He want then? God wants you! All of you! You, yourself, are the sacrifice that God wants. “I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that ye present your bodies a living sacrifice holy (not polluted), acceptable (not like in Malachi where God says, ‘neither will I accept an offering at your hand’), unto God, which is your reasonable service” (Rom. 12:1). As it is our ‘bodies’ that house our mind, heart, and spirit, we will also cover those attributes which are necessary in order for our “living sacrifice” to be acceptable unto the Lord. Seriously, of what value are physical material offerings to God, if the ones making the offerings are themselves, “polluted bread?” Does God really desire physical things? God has already created BILLIONS OF GALAXIES full of “physical things.” Billions of galaxies do not fulfill God’s desire for the love, obedience, and admiration of children. God wants children. —Sons and Daughters in His Own image. But God will not accept children whose character is likened to “polluted bread.”
“Howbeit that was not first which is spiritual, but that which is natural; and afterward that which is SPIRITUAL” (I Cor. 15:46). Now then, was that bread that the fathers ate in the desert the “TRUE bread from heaven?” No, it clearly was not, Jesus said it was not! And so, can we not see, can we not believe, can we not understand, that Jesus Christ IS “…the TRUE bread from heaven. For the bread of God IS HE which comes down FROM HEAVEN and gives life unto the world” (John 6:32b-33).
And now back to Malachi again: “Bring ye all the tithes into the storehouse that there may be meat (bread) in Mine house, and prove me now herewith, says 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” (Malachi, 3:10). This is vital to understand: God does not berate the people or the priests for the lack of quantity in their tithes and offerings and sacrifices, but rather a lack of quality. Here is absolute Scriptural proof. They brought offerings, but why would God not accept their offerings? Because they offered “blind, lame and sick sacrifices.” And why did they do that? Because they themselves were spiritually blind, lame and sick. There was quantity to their offerings, but not quality. “And if ye offer the blind for sacrifice, is it not evil? And if ye offer the lame and sick, is it not evil? Offer it now unto your governor; will he be pleased with you, or accept your person? Says the Lord of hosts” (Mal. 1:8).
The type and shadow of Jesus Christ, the True Bread of life, was the physical bread that Israel ate in the desert. The desert doesn’t produce enough food to sustain an army of people—it had to be supernaturally supplied by God. The desert and wilderness of our carnal nature does not produce enough spiritual food to sustain us either. Only the True Bread of LIFE from Heaven in the person of Jesus Christ can supply our spiritual needs. We must eat this spiritual bread in order to have spiritual life. The sacrifices spoken of in Malachi were not suitable for God’s house. They offered “POLLUTED BREAD” and we saw some of the many sins that constituted this polluted bread. Here are the only sacrifices that are fit for God’s storehouse: “The sacrifices of God are A BROKEN SPIRIT: a broken a CONTRITE HEART…” (Psalm 51:17). And in Psalm 34:18 David reverses the order: “The lord is nigh unto them that are of a BROKEN HEART; and saves such as be of a CONTRITE SPIRIT.” It is all about attitude: REPENT, HUMBLE YOURSELF, and OBEY! Then follows the Blessing: People always want to do physical things to prove their spirituality. But God doesn’t want your physical things. God wants a broken heart and a contrite spirit and a willingness to OBEY: “Behold, to OBEY is better than sacrifice, and to hearken than the fat of rams” (I Sam. 15:22). The sacrifices of a broken heart, a contrite spirit, and a willingness to always obey are always acceptable to God. BRINGING GOD YOUR SPIRITUAL TITHES WILL REAP A SPIRITUAL BLESSING. “Bring ye all the tithes into the storehouse, that there may be meat (bread—pure and fine bread—not polluted bread of a carnal mind filled with evil deeds and doctrines), and prove Me now herewith, says the Lord of hosts, if I will not open you the windows of HEAVEN.” (Mal. 3:10) “For the bread of God is He which come down from heaven… For I came down from heaven… I am the bread which came down from heaven.” (John 6:33, 38, 41) and pour you out a blessing (Jesus Christ, The Bread of Life is this blessing), that there shall not be room (‘Now unto Him that is able to do EXCEEDING ABUNDANTLY ABOVE ALL THAT WE ASK OR THINK’) (Eph. 3:20) to receive it” (Mal. 3:10). God is saying to us: “Give Me your pure bread offerings of a “broken heart, contrite spirit, and attitude of obedience,” and I will give you, “The TRUE BREAD OF LIFE from HEAVEN.”
Now, is a blessing beyond our ability to make “room to receive it.” Jesus Christ is the True Bread in God’s house. Jesus Christ is the personification of LOVE, LIGHT AND LIFE. Jesus is the ultimate, the apex, the primer, the zenith, the HIGHEST OF EVERYTHING! Jesus Christ is the Tree of Life, The Hope of Glory, The Saviour of the World—all that we and the entirety of the universe will ever need for all eternity is found in Him! But God demands purity. All the polluted bread has got to go: “Behold, what manner of love the Father has bestowed upon us, that we should be called the SONS OF GOD: therefore the world knows us not, because it knew Him not.” “Beloved, now are we the SONS of God, and it does not yet appear what we shall be: but we know that, when He shall appear, we shall be like Him, for we shall see Him as He is.” “And every man that has this hope in him PURIFIES HIMSELF, even as He [Jesus] IS PURE” (I John 3:1-3). And the pastors would have us believe that God’s message through Malachi is a quest for MORE MONEY! Unbelievable!