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ARE YOUR TITHES BEING MISHANDLED?: Book explains misinterpretation of Malachi 3:10.

March 21, 2007 by  
Filed under Religion

The scriptural basis for tithing, Malachi 3:10, has been erroneously misinterpreted for years Dr. Russell Ear Kelly argues in his book, “Should  the Church Teach Tithing?”  In his opinion the storehouse referred to in the scripture (“Bring ye all the tithes into the storehouse”) is the community-not the temple itself.  A thorough exegesis of the scripture is given in the following press release:. . .First, the Levitical cities must be included. God never told ordinary Israelites to bring the whole tithe to the Temple in Jerusalem. According to Nehemiah 10:38 that duty belonged to the Levites and priests. The Levites lived on borrowed land surrounding 48 cities. After the exile they lived in the 13 priestly cities in Judah such as Jericho and Hebron. Nehemiah 10:37b makes it clear that the people were to bring the tithes to those cities. Numb 18:21-24; 35 all; Josh 20, 21; 1st Chron 6:48-80; 2nd Chron 11:13, 14; 31:15-19; Neh 12:27-29; 13:10 and Mal 1:14.

      Second, the correct interpretation of Malachi 3:10 must include the 24 courses of the Levites and priests. Only the older males ate tithes at the Temple and then normally only one week out of 24 weeks! Do the math! That is only 4% of the total work force! And with the wives and younger children staying at home it is only 2% of the total work force who needed to eat tithes in the Temple! 1 Chronicles, chapters 23-26; 28:13, 21; 2 Chron. 8:14; 23:8; 31:2, 15-19; 35:4, 5, 10; Ezra 6:18; Neh. 11:19, 30; 12:24; 13:9, 10; Luke 1:5.

      Third, the word “you” of Malachi is referring to the dishonest priests and not the people: “Even this whole nation of you –priests.” In Nehemiah 13:5-10 the priests had clearly stolen the Levites’ portion of the tithe. Also, in Malachi 1:14 the priests had stolen that portion of the tithed animals which they had vowed to God from their herds. Read all of Malachi. God’s anger towards the priests and His curses on them are ignored by most interpreters (1:14; 2:2 and 3:2-4).

      When the Levitical cities, the 24 courses and God’s anger towards the priests for stealing are considered, then Malachi 3:10 only makes sense when it only refers to priests who had stolen from God. Proof-text hermeneutics cause error.

      It makes no sense to tell the people to bring 100% of the tithe to the Temple when 98% of those who needed it for food were still in the Levitical cities.

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