Non-tithers will split hell wide open, some religious quacks claim. God is disgusted by the fact that some people actually have the nerve to use “God’s” (their) tithe money to buy groceries or go to the dentist. Sure, Christians aren’t under the Law, but certain Old Testament PRINCIPLES (air-brushed laws) are preached by the head honchos of the institutional church , and if Christians don’t obey them, they supposedly don’t really love Jesus. But the key question is: which Jesus do these greedy hirelings really represent (2 Cor.11:4)? They usually push a “prosperity” Jesus Who promised His followers an easy life and worldly riches. But what about the REAL Jesus, Who had nowhere to lay His head and never solicited donations unless it was for the poor (Matt.8:20; Matt.19:21). Today’s preachers would urge the rich young ruler to sell everything and give it to THEM, and you can imagine what they’d do with it!
Prosperity preachers used to focus on “plant a seed to meet your need”. Now that so many have been burnt by misapplied scripture and can see through their scam, the most desperate preachers are bringing out the claws. Regardless of the fact that NO scripture in either testament commands anybody to tithe on cash wages, guilt is being heaped on churchgoers who don’t tithe, even poor, sick people on government benefits.
Malachi 3:8-10 is the WMD preachers use to bully non-tithers:
Mal.3:8: Will a man rob God? Yet ye have robbed me. But ye say, Wherein have we robbed thee? In tithes and offerings.
Verse 9 Ye are cursed with a curse: for ye have robbed me, even this whole nation.
Verse 10 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.
Does that sound like God is cursing people who refuse to fork over ten per cent of their paychecks to preachers? HOLD IT! Let’s backtrack a couple of verses to find out who God is REALLY warning, before you cough up cash your family needs:
Mal.3:3: And he (God) 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.
Verse 4: Then shall the offering of Judah and Jerusalem be pleasant unto the LORD, as in the days of old, and as in former years.
Verse 5: And I will come near to you to judgment; and I will be a swift witness against the sorcerers, 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.
Verse 6: For I am the LORD, I change not; therefore ye SONS OF JACOB are not consumed.
Are YOU a son (male descendant) of the Patriarch Jacob? Most likely not, unless you’re a physical Jew. You MIGHT have a drop of Jewish blood in you somewhere, but you probably couldn’t be too sure of it. Chances are you don’t have any reliable genealogical records or DNA evidence to prove descent from Jacob. God was speaking to the SONS OF JACOB in this passage, and preachers know it!
More specifically, in verse 3 God rebukes the SONS OF LEVI, the priestly tribe. For all the bragging preachers do about being “spiritual Levites”, they neglect to mention the fact that only ONE clan of the tribe of Levi served as altar priests, the sons of Aaron, brother of Moses (Num.18:3). In Numbers chapter 16 Korah, son of Levi, led a rebellion against Moses and lost the priesthood for all his descendants (the Kohathites) , relegating them to a humbler role of Outer Court service away from God’s altar. All other Levites were servants of the priesthood. They had lost their priestly office because of their forefather’s rebellion in the Wilderness in the days of Moses (2 Kings 23:8). They were NOT ALLOWED to touch any of God’s Holy things.
Numbers 4: 17: And the LORD spake unto Moses and unto Aaron, saying,
18 Cut ye not off the tribe of the families of the Kohathites from among the Levites:
19 But thus do unto them, that they may live, and not die, when they approach unto the most holy things: Aaron and his sons shall go in, and appoint them every one to his service and to his burden:
20 But they (the Kohathites) shall not go in to see when the holy things are covered, lest they die.
Centuries later, qualification for the priesthood within the tribe of Levi was further restricted after certain priests in 2 Kings chapter 23 presided over the worship of idols. Afterward, God determined to restrict the priesthood to sons of Zadok, who remained loyal to Solomon, David’s choice as next in line for the Throne of Israel. The priest Abiathar was stripped of his priesthood by Solomon, fulfilling a prophecy given to Samuel that Eli’s descendants would suffer the consequences of sins committed by Eli and his two sons (I Sam.2:31-35; I Kings 2:26-27).
This passage in Ezekiel is part of a section of scripture which speaks of the Millennial Temple in Jerusalem. Even then the Kohathites will be prohibited from participating in the priesthood. The descendants of Zadok will be the ones who officiate at the altar.
Ezek. 44:10: And the Levites that are gone away far from me, when Israel went astray, which went astray away from me after their idols; they shall even bear their iniquity.
Verse 11: Yet they shall be ministers in my sanctuary, having charge at the gates of the house, and ministering to the house: they shall slay the burnt offering and the sacrifice for the people, and they shall stand before them to minister unto them.
Verse 12: Because they ministered unto them before their idols, and caused the house of Israel to fall into iniquity; therefore have I lifted up mine hand against them, saith the Lord GOD, and they shall bear their iniquity.
Verse 13: And they shall not come near unto me, to do the office of a priest unto me, nor to come near to any of my holy things, in the most holy place: but they shall bear their shame, and their abominations which they have committed.
Verse 14: But I will make them keepers of the charge of the house, for all the service thereof, and for all that shall be done therein.
Verse 15: But the priests the Levites, the sons of Zadok, that kept the charge of my sanctuary when the children of Israel went astray from me, they shall come near to me to minister unto me, and they shall stand before me to offer unto me the fat and the blood, saith the Lord GOD:
Verse 16:They shall enter into my sanctuary, and they shall come near to my table, to minister unto me, and they shall keep my charge.
I read a fascinating news item which said that a DNA test is available to determine descent from Levi, patriarch of the priestly clan of Israel. This test is of great importance because of the Jews’ loss of ancient genealogical records over many centuries of persecution and exile to far-flung lands. An unusual variation is present in a particular DNA chromosome of young men in modern Israel who are currently in training to officiate as priests and Levites once Israel rebuilds her Temple. These Temple trainees study in special rabbinical schools called “yeshivas”. There they learn all about the furniture and implements of Temple worship, and the order of Temple service. Those people who have such surnames as “Levi”, “Levine”, or “Cohen” share a strong likelihood of descent from Aaron. “Cohen” means “priests” in Hebrew. Can your tithe-collecting preacher present any reliable evidence that he’s descended from the clan of Zadok, or even from the tribe of Levi? Only SONS OF AARON were allowed to collect the Biblical tithe (Heb.7:5).
Melchisedek, a non-Levite, received a VOLUNTARY tithe of the spoils of war from Abraham (Gen.14:20; Heb.7:4). Preachers rush to grab onto this example of pre-Law tithing as being binding on all believers. But Abraham’s ONE-TIME act of tithing is nowhere quoted in the Bible as binding on believers. Preachers who use Abraham’s tithe to Melchisedek to take people’s money are stepping into Jesus’ shoes and elevating themselves above the rest of Christ’s flock as overlords. They demote God’s people to being slaves of the “clergy”, to work to earn money so they don’t have to! Jesus is the ONLY High Priest after the order of Melchisedek (Heb.5:6). We belong to His royal priesthood (I Pet.2:5,9). God’s original intent was to have ALL the nation of Israel of priests (Ex.19:6). That was before Israel worshipped the Golden Calf a few chapters later and God restricted the priesthood to the tribe of Levi, later narrowing it down to descendants of Aaron and, centuries later, further restricting the priesthood to sons of Zadok. But we, God’s New Testament church, never lost our position of priesthood because of sin, as ancient Israel and most of the tribe of Levi did. God counts us as righteous in His Son (Col.1:21-22). We are made ONE SPIRIT with Christ the Lord (I Cor.6:17). When preachers tax us, they also tax Jesus!
In other articles I explain that while lower-ranking Levites paid tithes from the tithes they received from the people, the Old Testament priesthood did not pay any type of tithes. Payment of religious tribute was not to be imposed upon the priesthood (Ezra 7:24). In Matthew 17:26, when queried by Peter about paying the Temple tax, Jesus explained that the children (God’s children) are free of such tax. Jesus paid the Temple tax, but only to avoid offending the collector. Even then, it cost Him nothing. Instead of paying it out of money He’d labored to earn, Jesus took the money out of the mouth of a fish caught by Peter.
Even under the Law, no one was ever required to tithe on cash money. Ruth the Moabitess didn’t have to convert ten per cent of the grain she gleaned into cash in order to buy some preacher a new donkey. Laborers were not required to tithe on their wages. Instead, poor people were FED from the true Biblical tithe, which consisted only of farm produce contributed by owners of (not hired hands on) farms and ranches. Poor people were sustained by EDIBLE tithes which were laid up within the gates of cities (not some church bank vault) as emergency food rations (Deut.14:22-29; Lev.27:30-34). Today, this old law of Moses has been twisted by preachers who rob poor people of their daily bread by holding the “curse of Malachi” over their heads! SHAME ON THOSE GREEDY WOLVES!
Paul spent the whole Book of Galatians explaining that God’s people only make needless trouble for themselves by returning to the Law or any part of it. In the case of Gentiles (non-Jews), perhaps “returning to the Law” doesn’t quite fit, since no other nation except Israel was ever given the Law of Moses, which includes the tithing ordinance (Lev.27:34; Psalms 147:19-20; Rom.3:1-2). How can you possibly return to a place where you’ve never been to begin with? Paul had the problem of Gentile converts to Christ trying to keep the Law of Moses, even though the first Church council at Jerusalem in Acts Chapter 15 said that Gentiles had “no such commandment” to keep the Law.
Acts 15:24: Forasmuch as we have heard, that certain which went out from us have troubled you with words, subverting your souls, saying, Ye must be circumcised, and keep the law: to whom we gave no such commandment:
Verse 25: It seemed good unto us, being assembled with one accord, to send chosen men unto you with our beloved Barnabas and Paul,
Verse 26: Men that have hazarded their lives for the name of our Lord Jesus Christ.
Verse 27: We have sent therefore Judas and Silas, who shall also tell you the same things by mouth.
Verse 28: FOR IT SEEMED GOOD TO THE HOLY GHOST, and to us, to lay upon you no greater burden than these necessary things;* * *Some preachers profit (temporarily) from arguing with the Holy Ghost and opposing His plainly stated will!
Verse 29: That ye abstain from meats offered to idols, and from blood, and from things strangled, and from fornication: from which if ye keep yourselves, ye shall do well. Fare ye well.* * *Where does tithing appear on this list? NOWHERE!
We are reconciled to God solely by grace solely through faith in Jesus and the price He paid on Calvary. Paul issues this terrible warning to those tempted to pay God their two cents’ worth of law-keeping in order to be accepted by Him:
Galatians 3:1: O foolish Galatians, who hath bewitched you, that ye should not obey the truth, before whose eyes Jesus Christ hath been evidently set forth, crucified among you?
Verse 2: This only would I learn of you, Received ye the Spirit by the works of the law, or by the hearing of faith?
Verse 3: Are ye so foolish? having begun in the Spirit, are ye now made perfect by the flesh?* * *Some teach “Saved by grace, kept by gifts”.
Verse 10: For as many as are of the works of the law are under the curse: for it is written, Cursed is every one that continueth not in ALL things which are written in the book of the law to do them.* * *The Law is a package deal. If you allow just ONE point of Mosaic Law into your home, it will bring along all its baggage, not just tithing: circumcision, animal sacrifice, food laws, Sabbath laws, and every other rule and regulation written by Moses. Break one Law, you break it ALL!
11 But that no man is justified by the law in the sight of God, it is evident: for, The just shall live by faith.
12 And the law is not of faith: but, The man that doeth them shall live in them.* * *I was astonished to read this verse, because there’s another verse which says: Whatsoever is not of faith is SIN (Rom.14:23). Whenever a Christian believer puts himself under the Law of Moses and tries to earn God’s favor by keeping it, it’s a SIN!
13 Christ hath redeemed us from the curse of the law, being made a curse for us: for it is written, Cursed is every one that hangeth on a tree:* * *This “curse of the Law would cover EVERY curse written in the Old Testament for imperfect Law-keeping, and it would even wipe out the so-called “curse of Malachi” for those Jews who qualified to tithe in the first place (before the cessation of the Mosaic priesthood ended their tithing system).
14 That the blessing of Abraham might come on the Gentiles through Jesus Christ; that we might receive the promise of the Spirit through faith.
God promises us BLESSING! God says Christ ENDED the curse of the Law for us! Who are you going to listen to, scary preachers bellowing threats from a fancy TV studio, or to the apostle Paul, who worked to earn his own living and NEVER collected illegal tithes from anybody? Contrary to what “faith” preachers teach, we do not receive favors from God through tithing or keeping any other aspect of the Law of Moses.
Talk about reverse psychology! Preachers use a defunct curse in Malachi to chase the flock of Jesus Christ over the cliff of the Law, where they fall into the deep abyss of the curse which comes from imperfect law-keeping. I would hate to stand in their shiny shoes on the Day of Judgment when they appear before the Righteous Judge to collect their reward.