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The Tithe. By Mthobisi.

Malachi 3:10(NIV) BRING THE WHOLE TITHE IN TO THE STOREHOUSE, THAT THERE MAY BE FOOD IN MY HOUSE. Test me in this, says the Lord Almighty, and see if I will not throw open the FLOODGATES OF HEAVEN and pour out so much blessing that there will not be room enough to store it. We still have a lot to study about the word of God and we expect that as we do that, the Holy Spirit will reveal more into the mysteries of God and we will become clearer about the some of the many ministries that God has allocated to us. Most of us have this common question about TITHES (since tithing is our subject of discussion), whether TITHES are part of the New Testament or were they only suppose to be offered in the times of the Law? However we thank God that we have His word to guide us through. The biggest issue that I believe Christianity suffers is denomination which is due to division which resulted from both, a misunderstanding of God's word and the failure of leaving behind old traditions which we practiced before the true salvation of God. As it is, even in churches where Christ is preached, we are still battling with the LAW, BAPTISMS, SPEAKING IN TONGUES and OTHER basic principles of the word of God, BUT Paul says "so Christ himself gave the apostles, the prophets, the evangelists, the pastors and teachers, to equip his people for works of service, SO THAT THE BODY OF CHRIST MAY BE BUILT UP UNTIL WE REACH UNITY IN THE FAITH and in the knowledge of the Son of God and BECOME MATURE..."(Ephesians 4:11-13) - the UNITY OF FAITH is what God requires, that we have no contradicting IDEAS, no DIVISIONS and DENOMINATIONS, but that we "AGREE WITH ONE ANOTHER IN WHAT WE SAY and that there be no divisions among us, but that WE BE PERFECTLY UNITED in mind and thought."(1 Corinthians 1:10). Therefore as a result of division some pay TITHES, some DON'T, but that which God wants, is in His word. One man said "an honest man, cannot WILL one thing and SAY another", so whatever God wills is in His word, so there is no other will of God besides the one in His word - then what is the WILL OF GOD with TITHES? lets look at the WORD. The verses before the opening scripture say "Will a MERE MORTAL rob God? Yet you rob Me.But you ask, How are we robbing You? IN TITHES AND OFFERINGS."(Malachi 3:8-9), the verses are strange, in a sense that God is alerting the people that they HAVE ROBBED HIM but HOW CAN A MAN ROB GOD? We can rob and cheat each other as mortal men but God? How so? then He says "In tithes and offerings". This is the one thing that man is able to rob God off it appears according to the prophet Malachi. One man gave a testimony about going to hell and he said some group of the people who went there had refused to PAY THEIR TITHES on earth, this could be true according to Malachi (not that I am saying it is not) because robbing and cheating is a SIN. Nonetheless the New Testament seems to say nothing about TITHES (Malachi was an Old Testament prophet, prophesying to the Jews who were under the Law) but more about offerings, or maybe the TITHES are part of the offering, however in Malachi, God separates the two. Offerings were given in the Old Testament by those under the Law as a command from God through Moses as He said "tell the Israelites to bring Me AN OFFERING. You are to receive the offering for Me from everyone WHOSE HEART PROMPTS THEM TO GIVE."(Exodus 25:2). God was very careful to say "WHOSE HEART PROMPTS THEM TO GIVE", because He was not

going to bless an OFFERING that is given by COMPULSION as even Paul says in the New Testament that "each of you should give what you have decided in your heart to give, not reluctantly or UNDER COMPULSION, for GOD LOVES A CHEERFUL GIVER."(2 Corinthians 9:7). The offerings were for God's work, to make sure that the work of God progresses and that's the reason we give in church today. We can only give bountiful in church once we have realized what the offering is going to do - it is suppose to take the gospel to greater heights and have others brought in to the Kingdom as well and that should be our motivation, to see SOULS SAVED. We indirectly bring people to salvation by offerings and that's the MAIN POINT, SALVATION. When a person offers to God, it says a lot about that person's FAITH, it also identifies that person's SOURCE OF INCOME. Let us look at David for instance, when wanting to build God a house, God transfers the duty to his son Solomon and because the house was to be great, David begins to make preparations for him by OFFERING HIS RESOURCES for the work of the building, however not just his resources but ALSO HIS PERSONAL TREASURES(1 Chronicles 29:3) and also the leaders of the father's house offered WILLINGLY, and afterwards he makes a speech after praising and says "but who am I, and who are my people, that we should be able to offer so willingly as this? FOR ALL THINGS COME FROM YOU, AND OF YOUR OWN WE HAVE GIVEN YOU."(1 Chronicles 29:14) - POWERFUL. Have we not heard "the earth is the Lord's, AND EVERYTHING IN IT"(Psalm 24:1), there is nothing that you can OFFER that comes from you because ALL THINGS ARE HIS. Nonetheless God allows us to make the decision whether to give or not, anyway let us come back to tithing. Tithes did not originally come from the Law, it was first revealed to Abraham who was not under the Law, as it is written "for the promise that he(Abraham) would be the heir of the world was not to Abraham or to his seed THROUGH THE LAW, but through the righteousness of faith."(Romans 4:13). After the great slaughter of the kings who had defeated Sodom and Gomorrah and took Lot with them, Abraham went to get him back and after his success, he meets a Priest of God Most High, King of Salem, Melchizedek, and as the bible records in Hebrews "and Abraham gave him a TENTH of everything."(Hebrews 7:2). Tithe actually means TENTH, so Abraham gave Melchizedek TITHES, Moses puts it this way in Genesis "and he gave him a TITHE of all."(Genesis 14:20). Tithes were paid by Abraham before the Law, to a PRIEST Melchizedek, who according to the Holy Spirit is "without father, without mother, without genealogy, having neither beginning of days nor end of life, BUT MADE LIKE THE Son of God, remains a priest continually."(Hebrews 7:3), this is the SAME Melchizedek that the priesthood of Jesus is established upon since He said to Jesus "You are a priest forever according to the ORDER of Melchizedek."(Hebrews 7:17). Now Abraham paid tithes not being under the Law to a priest and a king, who was not under the Law, meaning that tithes were paid before the Law was ever established. This very Melchizedek can be likened to Jesus, whom Abraham paid tithes to. There is also another man who pays tithes to God being shown a blessing that would come to him; that man was Jacob, that same Israel by which the children derive their name, THE CHILDREN OF ISRAEL. This man had been charged by his father Isaac to get a wife from Padan Aram and as he went towards Haran it was getting dark so he lodged there and he had a dream and he saw angels of God and God above them, where God made him a promise and after he woke up he said something quite extraordinary, he said "surely the Lord is in this place, and I did not know it. and he was afraid and said, How awesome is this place! THIS IS NONE OTHER THAN THE HOUSE OF GOD, and this is the GATE OF HEAVEN!(Genesis 28:16-17), now afterwards he takes the stone he had slept on that previous night, set it up as a pillar and anointed it and said "and THIS STONE which I have set as a pillar SHALL BE GOD'S HOUSE, AND OF ALL THAT YOU GIVE ME I WILL SURELY GIVE A TENTH TO YOU(Genesis 28:22). This man was making a vow to God to pay tithes of all that God gives

to him, and amazingly he signals where he is going to pay the tithe; IN GOD'S HOUSE. Let us understand that Jacob says this is the GATE OF HEAVEN and also THIS IS NONE OTHER THAT THE HOUSE OF GOD meaning the house of God is connected to the GATE OF HEAVEN, that is why we pay our TITHES in the HOUSE OF GOD to connect to the GATE OF HEAVEN. Now God says in Malachi, bring the tithes to my STOREHOUSE, that there may be food IN MY HOUSE, the tithes are for the house of God, so that there may be FOOD in His house, WHAT FOOD? spiritual food - the WORD OF GOD. Also Jacob says "and this is the GATE OF HEAVEN", like God says in Malachi "I'll open the FLOODGATES OF HEAVEN", and Jacob understood that by TITHING one declares that the gates of heaven have been opened for him - he had seen it in a dream but Malachi prophesies it years later. The tithes are to encourage the pastors who are also the priests since priests are "the messengers of the LORD Almighty and people seek instruction from their mouth."(Malachi 2:7), King Hezekiah knew this that is why "he commanded the people that dwelt in Jerusalem to give the PORTION OF THE PRIESTS AND THE LEVITES, that they might be ENCOURAGED in the law of the Lord, and as soon as the commandment came abroad, the children of Israel brought in abundance the first-fruits of corn, wine, and oil, and honey, and of all the increase of the field; and THE TITHES OF ALL THINGS brought they in abundantly."(2 Chronicles 31:4-5). The priests were teachers and leaders and they needed to be ENCOURAGED in the work they do, in the LAW OF THE LORD, which now we recognize as the WORD OF GOD. God had commanded by the mouth of Moses that "behold, I have given the children of Levi ALL THE TITHES IN ISRAEL as an inheritance in return FOR THE WORK WHICH THEY PERFORM, the work of the tabernacle of meeting."(Numbers 18:21), however even the Levites paid TITHES in this way "when you take from the children of Israel the tithes which I have given you from them as your inheritance, then you shall offer up a heave offering of it to the Lord, A TENTH OF THE TITHE."(Numbers 18:25) - a tenth of the tithe, is a TITHE OF THE TITHE. There is still too much to be said about tithes and offerings, but we would like to end the topic here. We all have to pay our tithes if we expect God to greatly bless us, tithes have nothing to do with Testaments, Abraham and Jacob paid tithes before there was ever an establishing of covenants meaning they knew more than the Law, they saw beyond "the requirement of the Law". Additionally we need to see that our tithes and offering are doing a great work for the kingdom of God, and whatever we offer we never really lose but we get back. Solomon says "Honor the Lord with all YOUR POSSESSIONS..."(Proverbs 3:9) God Bless You.