Storehouse and the Local Church
I hate to have another heavy blog, but the Lord has really lain this on my heart for a while. I am sure you have all heard these verses below.
Malachi 3:9-10 (King James Version)
9Ye are cursed with a curse: for ye have robbed me, even this whole nation.
10Bring 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.
I have heard so many preachers use this and say that the local church is the storehouse. This is what I have problems with because in the Bible the storehouse is not the local church, in fact, it is far from it. Let me show you what the storehouse was.
This is a model of the Jewish temple in a museum in Amsterdam. On the left hand side of the picture, you see the three windows in what looks like steps on the side of the temple. These are the storerooms of the temple. They were three stories tall on both sides of the temple and were divided into individual rooms the length of the temple. These were sometimes called “chambers in the courts of the house of God.” The priests used these chambers to store the tithes and offerings. See the verses below.
Nehemiah 10:36-38 (King James Version)
36Also the firstborn of our sons, and of our cattle, as it is written in the law, and the firstlings of our herds and of our flocks, to bring to the house of our God, unto the priests that minister in the house of our God:
37And 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.
38And 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.
As you can see, the storehouse is a very specific place and the next verses will show the storehouse must be a very specific place.
Deuteronomy 12:5-6 (King James Version)
5But unto the place which the LORD your God shall choose out of all your tribes to put his name there, even unto his habitation shall ye seek, and thither thou shalt come:
6And thither ye shall bring your burnt offerings, and your sacrifices, and your tithes, and heave offerings of your hand, and your vows, and your freewill offerings, and the firstlings of your herds and of your flocks:
Deuteronomy 14:22-26 (King James Version)
22Thou shalt truly tithe all the increase of thy seed, that the field bringeth forth year by year.
23And thou shalt eat before the LORD thy God, in the place which he shall choose to place his name there, the tithe of thy corn, of thy wine, and of thine oil, and the firstlings of thy herds and of thy flocks; that thou mayest learn to fear the LORD thy God always.
24And if the way be too long for thee, so that thou art not able to carry it; or if the place be too far from thee, which the LORD thy God shall choose to set his name there, when the LORD thy God hath blessed thee:
25Then shalt thou turn it into money, and bind up the money in thine hand, and shalt go unto the place which the LORD thy God shall choose:
26And thou shalt bestow that money for whatsoever thy soul lusteth after, for oxen, or for sheep, or for wine, or for strong drink, or for whatsoever thy soul desireth: and thou shalt eat there before the LORD thy God, and thou shalt rejoice, thou, and thine household,
Both of these verses say that the tithe is to be brought to the “place the Lord your God shall choose.” Without argument, all scholars would tell you that this is Jerusalem and the temple there. Therefore, the storehouse in the verse above cannot be the local churches all over the world. It was Biblically mandated to be in the Jerusalem temple.
Before I finish my argument, I must also point out some very interesting points from the verses above. First, is what I think is the best definition of what the tithe is, “Thou shalt truly tithe all the increase,” therefore, any increase, not just money, but anything that you receive in increase. Most people want to make the tithe just about money and it is not, you are to give 10% of anything that God blesses you with. This is mind blowing. As the first verse says, we are all robbing God because no one is giving 10% of their entire increase to God.
Second, look closely at Deuteronomy 14:26. They were to take a portion of the tithe and have a celebration in the Lord’s house thanking Him for what He had given them. We do not do that at all as God wants us to do. I would love to be a part of a celebration like what God wants. This gives a completely new meaning to praising the Lord.
The last point is also from Deuteronomy 14:22-26. If the storehouse or “which he shall choose to place his name there” is too far, they are to sell it and bring the money to the storehouse and buy stuff so you can have a celebration unto the Lord. This again shows that there was just one place to bring the tithe, not to the local church on every street corner.
This leads to a real dilemma, the temple is no longer there in Jerusalem, therefore we cannot bring our tithe to the temple, so where do we bring it? One extreme is that the local church is now the storehouse and that you must bring your tithe to the church and if you give money to anyone or anything else, you are violating God’s Word. I have had several pastors tell me that Para-church organizations (organizations that come along side and help the local church) are against God Word and they are stealing from the local church (notice, not God). I feel this is very unfair to several Para-church organizations, for example, Focus on the Family and Evangelism Explosion both tell you to give to your local church first, and if you have extra then give to them. In fact, when we were training with Evangelism Explosion they told us that if we knew that someone was giving us their tithe money that we must give it back.
The other extreme of this I read while doing some research for this blog and it uses the verse that says,
1 Corinthians 6:19
What? know ye not that your body is the temple of the Holy Ghost which is in you, which ye have of God, and ye are not your own?
This camp says that since we are the temple of God the tithe belongs to the people of God to do God’s will, therefore, they keep the tithe to do as they wish. As you figured, most churches do not support this view.
First, let me say that I believe that what God truly wants is somewhere in the middle of these two extreme views. I believe that we must give to the local church and I believe that Para-church organizations are also to be given to. I know that we are to give a minimum of 10 % of our increase to God. The real question is, without the temple in Jerusalem, who gets the tithe. My simple answer is God. Follow what the Holy Spirit leads you to do. I know we all need to pray about this subject a lot more. In addition, please let God guide you in your giving, this will bless you and God’s people.