says that the "whole nation" in Malachi 3:9 actually refers to the Priests representing the whole nation of Israel.
Russ Kelly's interpretation is acceptable:
Here is one example where one individual is referred as the whole nation of Israel...
So Achan answered Joshua and said, "Truly, I have sinned against the LORD, the God of Israel, and this is what I did:
when I saw among the spoil a beautiful mantle from Shinar and two hundred shekels of silver and a bar of gold fifty shekels in weight, then I coveted them and took them; and behold, they are concealed in the earth inside my tent with the silver underneath it."
However YHWH did not say Achan, son of Carmi from the tribe of Judah sinned against Him but He said Israel has sinned and He also used "they" - which appears to refer the entire nation of Israel.
Israel has sinned; they have transgressed my covenant that I commanded them; they have taken some of the devoted things;they have stolen and lied and put them among their own belongings.
Did the entire nation of Israel sin against YHWH or only one individual?
In Joshua 7:11 YHWH was referring to one individual called Achan as the whole nation of Israel.
Likewise the “the whole NATION of you” in Malachi 3:9 could very well point to the Aaronic priests only or even to one individual - the current Chief Priest serving during Malachi's time (probably that Eliashib, the high priest who colloborated with Sanbalath and Tobiah!)
Here is one more example:
From verse 1 through 13, it is only mentioned as Israel as if it were the whole congregation of Israel. However if we look at Number 25:14 - it is clear that only the tribe of Simeon was involved in committing the sin and once that Simeonite prince Zimri was killed, the LORD's anger against the WHOLE NATION OF ISRAEL ceased.
The Tribe of Simeon
First Census: 59,300
Second Census: 22,200
Total loss for the Simeonites: -37,100
It appears that the tribe of Simeon took the brunt of God's wrath during the Baal worship at Peor which was attributed to the whole nation of Israel in the beginning verses of Numbers 25.
Baal Worship at Peor
1While Israel lived in Shittim, the people began to whore with the daughters of Moab. 2These invited the people to the sacrifices of their gods, and the people ate and bowed down to their gods. 3So Israel yoked himself to Baal of Peor. And the anger of the LORD was kindled against Israel. 4And the LORD said to Moses, “Take all the chiefs of the people and hanga them in the sun before the LORD, that the fierce anger of the LORD may turn away from Israel.” 5And Moses said to the judges of Israel, “Each of you kill those of his men who have yoked themselves to Baal of Peor.”
6And behold, one of the people of Israel came and brought a Midianite woman to his family, in the sight of Moses and in the sight of the whole congregation of the people of Israel, while they were weeping in the entrance of the tent of meeting. 7When Phinehas the son of Eleazar, son of Aaron the priest, saw it, he rose and left the congregation and took a spear in his hand 8and went after the man of Israel into the chamber and pierced both of them, the man of Israel and the woman through her belly. Thus the plague on the people of Israel was stopped. 9Nevertheless, those who died by the plague were twenty-four thousand.
The Zeal of Phinehas
10And the LORD said to Moses, 11“Phinehas the son of Eleazar, son of Aaron the priest, has turned back my wrath from the people of Israel, in that he was jealous with my jealousy among them, so that I did not consume the people of Israel in my jealousy. 12Therefore say, ‘Behold, I give to him my covenant of peace, 13and it shall be to him and to his descendants after him the covenant of a perpetual priesthood, because he was jealous for his God and made atonement for the people of Israel.’”
14The name of the slain man of Israel, who was killed with the Midianite woman, was Zimri the son of Salu, chief of a father’s house belonging to the Simeonites. 15And the name of the Midianite woman who was killed was Cozbi the daughter of Zur, who was the tribal head of a father’s house in Midian.
However in KJV & Dead Sea Scrolls Malachi 3:9 reads as
What is your motive and why do you research about tithing?
Tithe Teachers and their followers often get mad at us, go off on us and their accusations can be paraphrased as:
Why do you and your ilk blow the tithing thing out of proportion?
Why don't you spend your time in telling unbelievers about Jesus instead of wasting your time and our time in creating confusion in the body of Christ by bringing up tithing?
Don't waste your time and our time like this, be productive in the body of Christ and don't cause division and sow discord among brethren!
You and your ilk are obsessed by tithing, you guys don't do anything else other than bringing up tithing over and over again!
You tithe opponents yourselves do not have all answers about tithing and disagree among yourselves, then why do you teach others about tithing in the first place?
Evangelism & Tithing:
To respond to the accusation that we don't spend time on evangelizing:
What makes someone think that we focus ONLY on tithing and do not evangelize, it is a logical fallacy to make such assumption?
Jesus not only asked us to evangelize but also to make disciples.
The Greek work for disciple is mathétés simply means a student or a learner. We hear a lot of overtones about discipleship today and most of the discipleship trainers and teachers do not want anyone to learn the truth about tithing, oxymorons!
Ironically, all 5 founders of that diabolical shepherding and discipleship movement were strong proponents of monetary tithing and did not make their disciples to learn the truth about the tithes.
While studying about tithing, we are learning and doing a disciple's job. After evangelizing a person and that person gets born again, we need to make him/her a learner of the scriptures. Tithing is one of the many areas in various topics of the Bible, where a Christian must educate himself/herself.
mathétés: a disciple
Original Word: μαθητής, οῦ, ὁ's
Part of Speech: Noun, Masculine
Phonetic Spelling: (math-ay-tes')
Short Definition: a learner, disciple, pupil
Definition: a learner, disciple, pupil.
If teaching the truth about tithing is a waste of time, then how would tithe teachers respond to Apostle Paul in Acts 20:31
who spent a lot of time in warning about wolves unceasingly instead of winning souls(?!?!)
Therefore watch, and remember, that by the space of three years I ceased not to warn every one night and day with tears.
. Tithe teachers are quick to water baptize anyone with ulterior motives, ie) just to collect money from them (by making them members and regular attendees of their churches)
Are we obsessed ONLY with tithing?
Tithe teachers assume that we are ONLY interested in the topic of tithing and accuse of over emphasizing the topic of tithing, hence going out of balance.
Specializing on a Biblical topic is not over emphasizing nor going out of balance. For example some are specialists in the topic of Christian Apologetics, some are experts in debunking the myth of evolution, some are experts in Biblical languages etc. It does not mean they are one sided. It is like telling a Cardiologist or a Dermatologist about over emphasizing in their respective specialties and not caring about other diseases/areas of the body!
Also tithing is not our ONLY interest. Russel Earl Kelly has done a lot of research about the Seventh Day Adventists, David Croteau is a professor in New Testament Greek and written about various other topics as well. Rory Moore and Eric Hill who have written books about the tithing truth cast out demons when they encounter them which is simply avoided by most of the tithe teachers. A lot of other anti-tithes in Facebook and in the internet have their own areas of expertise and a lot of other things too apart from tithing research.
Disagreement among anti-tithers:
It is true that the tithe opponents have a lot of disagreements about the nuances in the topic of tithing. Some of us have have different views about multiple tithes, how the 3 tithes were paid during the 7 year cycle, whether animal tithes went to the Levites or to the Priests, Whether Abram tithe to Melchizadek was a tax, was Melchizadek was a pagan, tithing during post exile etc.,
Having different views about various aspects of tithing by itself will no prove us wrong, in fact it proves how complex the subject of tithing is. Doing research about tithing and having an honest discussions about tithing is much better that summing up tithing in simplistic terms such as "The local church is the New Testament storehouse, therefore bring 10% from the gross amount from your paycheck to the local church".
Tithing is a complicated topic, even scholars like Russell Earl Kelly and David Croteau do not have all answers and have disagreements
In spite of our differences about the minute details about tithing we all agree on the following important truths about tithing and we have no questions about the following:
1. Tithes were never referred to earned income or money and it was only from the produce of the land and from the livestock
2. Only the nation of Israel was required pay tithes to the Levites ONLY while living INSIDE the promised land
3. In the New Testament Christians are not required to tithe and no one can tithe according to the Biblical prescription, even if they want to, in the New Testament period.
Our modern day tithe teachers are leaving an indelible impression in the minds of their followers that the ancient Jews tithed only 10% of their gross income and demand that Christians must also tithe 10% of their gross income to their local Churches.
However, to make such an assumption is totally false and contrary to the scriptures.
There were multiple tithes prescribed in the Mosaic law contrary to popular opinion. Let us focus on the 3rd tithe in this article.
Definition of the 3rd tithe:
After the Sabbatical year, on every third and sixth year the farm owning Israelites must keep the increase of their produce within their gates and distribute it to the Levites, the widows, the poor and the strangers.
The 3rd tithe is also known as:
The Charity tithe
Tithe for the poor
Some of the distinct things about the 3rd tithe were, little to no traveling and transportation involved and this is the only tithe for which God promises to bless the works of the giver. No promises were given for the givers of the 1st and 2nd tithes in the Mosaic law. Also after paying the 3rd tithe the tithers were required to offer a specific declaration and a prayer as prescribed in Deuteronomy 26:13-15. There are no instructions in the Mosaic law to offer any specific prayer after paying the 1st or 2nd tithes.
Proof from the law of Moses (Scriptures about the 3rd tithe):
“At the end of every third year you shall bring out all the tithe of your produce in that year, and shall deposit it in your town.”
“The Levite, because he has no portion or inheritance among you, and the alien, the orphan and the widow who are in your town, shall come and eat and be satisfied, in order that the LORD your God may bless you in all the work of your hand which you do.”
Deuteronomy 26:12 – 15
“When you have finished paying all the tithe of your increase in the third year, the year of tithing, then you shall give it to the Levite, to the stranger, to the orphan and to the widow, that they may eat in your towns and be satisfied.”
Questions and Answers about the third tithe:
1. What was tithable as the third tithe?
One tenth of the increase in the produce. Money (Shekel) is not mentioned and the cattle are not mentioned either.
2. Who were the recipients?
The Levites, the widows, the poor and the strangers (aliens) were the recipients and the final owners of this tithe.
3. Where should they bring the tithes?
Within their gates and within the boundaries of their town.
4. What was the purpose?
In order that the Lord God of Israel may bless you in all the work of your hand which you do.
5. How often it should be paid?
Every third year, that was on the 3rd and 6th year from the Sabbatical year.
6. Was it redeemable?
No, it could not be redeemed. It must be given out and no redemption option was specified in the Mosiac law. The third tithe must not be converted into money.
7. When it was paid?
At the END of the 3rd year.
8. Were livestock involved?
No, animals were not part of the 3rd tithe.
9. What was the difference between the third tithe and the other two tithes?
First tithe should be brought to the nearest Levite cities and the second tithe should be brought to Jerusalem.
The purpose of the first tithe was to compensate the Levites for their loss of inheritance among the rest of the 11 tribes.
The purpose of the second tithe was to teach the fear of the Lord to the Jews.
Levites become the final owners of the first tithe, the tithers themselves become the owners of the second tithes.
Only the members of the tribe of Levi were the recipients of the first tithe. The tithers themselves consumed the second tithe with their household.
First tithes could be eaten anywhere by the Levites and the 2nd tithes could be eaten only in Jerusalem.
First tithes must be paid yearly and the second tithes must also be paid yearly but only during festival times which included the first born animal.
For the first tithe, if the tither wants to redeem the tithes from the land they must add 20% of the monetary value as a fine and give it to the Levites.
However the livestock were not redeemable.
For the second tithe, no redemption option was specified. The second tithes might be converted into money however in Jerusalem they must use the same money to buy oxen, or sheep, or wine, or strong drink, or whatever their heart desired. No penalty was applicable if the 2nd tithe was converted into money.
Levites got the Livestock (tenth animal that passed under the rod) and the first born male animals were part of feasts and participated the 2nd tithes.
All other tribes traveled an average distance depending upon the location of the Levitical towns to deliver the first tithes. No river crossing involved.
For the 2nd tithe, the Northern tribes like Asher, Naphtali, Zebulen and Issachar traveled the longest distance to Jerusalem. The trans-Jordan tribes had to cross the Jordan river and obviously boats were involved in transportation.
No promise (to bless the giver) associated with the 1st and 2nd tithes in the Law. The promise in Malachi 3 was specific to those who have returned from the exile when they were rediscovering their culture, religion and language. Test me NOW....
Scriptures for 1st tithe: Leviticus 27:30 – 33 & Scriptures for the 2nd tithe: Deuteronomy 12:5 – 7 & Deuteronomy 14:22 – 26
10. Is there proof outside the scriptures?
Yes, there are 2 important proofs outside the 66 books of the Bible.
a) Famous Jewish historian Flavius Josephus who lived in the first century:
Antiquities of the Jews – Book 4, Chapter 8 and verse 22
“Besides those two tithes, which I have already said you are to pay every year, the one for the Levites, the other for the festivals, you are to bring every third year a third tithe to be distributed to those that want; to women also that are widows, and to children that are orphans.”
b) The Apocryphal book of Tobit:
Tobit the son of Tobiel, son of Ananiel, son of Aduel, son of Gabael, of the descendants of Asiel and the tribe of Naphtali in his own words.
Tobit 1:6 – But I alone went often to Jerusalem for the feasts, as it is ordained for all Israel by an everlasting decree.
Taking the first fruits and the tithes of my produce and the first shearings, I would give these to the priests, the sons of Aaron, at the altar.
Tobit 1:7 – Of all my produce I would give a tenth to the sons of Levi who ministered at Jerusalem; a second tenth I would sell, and I would go and spend the proceeds each year at Jerusalem;
Tobit 1:8 – the third tenth I would give to those to whom it was my duty, as Deborah my father’s mother had commanded me, for I was left an orphan by my father.
11. Are there any objections about the 3rd tithe?
Yes, there are.
a) The 12 century Jewish Halachic arbitrator Moses ben-Maimon called Maimonides also known as HaRambam
Maimonides: “On the third and sixth years from the sabbatical year, after they have separated the first tithe, they separate from what remains another tithe, and give it to the poor, and it is called the poor’s tithe; and not on those two years is the second tithe, but the poor’s tithe.” — Gill on Deuteronomy 14:28; Maimonides, Hilchot Mattanot Anayim, c. 6, sect. 4. See also Speaker’s Commentary on Deuteronomy 14:28-29, and McClintock and Strong’s Cyclopaedia, vol. 10. p. 433.]
b) Selden and Michaelis also argue in the same direction, saying that a third tithe should be an excessive demand upon the income of a man who had already expended two-tenths of his increase (McClintock and Strongs Cyclopaedia, vol. 10, p. 434).
c) Peake likewise says: “It may be urged that it is not probable that a double tribute should be exacted from the crops.” And again: “Nor is it probable that a tax of nearly one-fifth of the whole produce should be imposed on the farmers.” (Article “Tithe,” in Hastings Dictionary of the Bible, I, p. 780.)
d) Jewish Talmud (Mishna & Gemmarah)
12. So did the Jews pay only the welfare tithe (which we call as the 3rd tithe) on the 3rd and 6th years instead of the 1st and/or 2nd tithes?
Here are the answers to the objections:
a) Deuteronomy 26:12 mentions about “the year of tithing” because years 3 and 6 were the most expensive year for the Jews.
b) If the 3rd tithe had replaced the 1st tithe how did the Levites survive for those 2 years because they paid this tithes only at the end of the 3rd and 6th years
c) If the 3rd tithe had replaced the 2nd tithe did the Jews not celebrate the 3 pilgrimage festivals during the 3rd and 6th years or did they celebrate the 3 pilgrimage festivals without bringing any food to Jerusalem?
d) The Levites needed to survive during the sabbatical year. Therefore they got tithes twice during years 3 and 6, especially on year 6.
e) There is no verse in the Old Testament which says (as its primary subject) that the 3rd tithe should be replaced by 1st and/or 2nd tithes during the 3rd and 6th years.
f) Christians do not believe in the Jewish concept of the oral law. Post-exile Jewish Rabbis added a lot of man made laws and interpretations into their lives. Therefore the 39 books of the Old testament is enough to justify that there was a 3rd tithe apart from the first two. We need not rely upon the interpretations of HaRambam and Rashi.
g) Even though Jewish commentators overwhelmingly agree with Maimonides’ interpretation of the 3rd tithe, Abraham Ibn Ezra, a contemporary of Maimonides who was also a great Jewish commentator recognized that the 3rd tithe was distinct from the other two.
13. Did the Christian Church Fathers write about the 3rd tithe?
Yes, a few of them wrote about the 3rd tithe.
a) Jerome who included the book of Tobit in the Latin Bible (Vulgate)
Jerome says one tithe was given to the Levites, out of which they gave a tenth to the priests; a second tithe was applied to festival purposes, and a third was given to the poor (Commentary on Ezekiel 45:1, 565. quoted in McClintock and Strong, 10, 434).
b) John Chrysostom who was Archbishop of Constantinople (349–407 A.D) and a contemporary of Jerome believed that multiple tithes existed:
Homily 64 on Matthew 19:27 section 4
And how much did they bestow in alms? One may ask. For this very thing, I am minded to say now, that they who do not give may be roused to give, and they that give may not pride themselves, but may make increase of their gifts. What then did they give? A tenth of all their possessions, and again another tenth, and after this a third, so that they almost gave away the third part, for three-tenths put together make up this. And together with these, first fruits, and first born, and other things besides, as, for instance, the offerings for sins, those for purification, those at feasts, those in the jubilee, those by the canceling of debts, and the dismissals of servants, and the lendings that were clear of usury. But if he who gave the third part of his goods, or rather the half (for those being put together with these are the half), if then he who is giving the half, achieves no great thing, he who does not bestow so much as the tenth, of what shall he be worthy? With reason He said, “There are few that be saved.”
Hebrew words used regarding the 3rd tithe:
al-maw-naw’ – Widow
ger – alien, stranger, immigrants, sojourner
yaw-thome’ – orphan
teb-oo-aw’ – Produce, revenue, gain
NASB Word Usage
crop (4), crops (6), gain (1), harvest (4), income (4), increase (3), produce (10), product (3), revenue (2), yield (5), yield may increase (1).
We have been taught by our modern day word of faith preachers that tithing is a “law of prosperity” and they demand tithes from widows, orphans and aliens contrary to what the Israelites practiced. If widows, poor, aliens and orphans were the recipients of the tithe, then how would their “law of prosperity” become applicable to windows, orphans, poor and aliens? In fact many mammon loving preaches live a luxurious life using tithes from widows who live from their social security/pension. They misuse Malachi 3:10 where it says “Bring the whole tithe into the storehouse…” but totally ignore about this important triennial tithe which actually promises ” in order that the LORD your God may bless you in all the work of your hand which you do” – Deuteronomy 14:29b.
In many Churches tithing is a requirement for membership. Why don’t they deny membership to those who refuse to tithe to the widows, orphans, poor and strangers? How can they deny membership to widows and poor who cannot afford to tithe especially if they have huge medical bills to pay as in the case of Loretta Davis. Please read how Loretta was kicked out of the Church for not paying tithes.
A 65-year-old wheelchair-bound woman with congestive heart failure was kicked out of her church because she was not paying her tithe, NBC 4 reported. Loretta Davis told NBC 4’s Mike Bowersock she was shocked when she received a letter saying she was no longer considered a member of her church, The Living Word Tabernacle. Davis made an agreement with the church that she would give 10 percent of her income. Then she became ill and stopped making payments, so the church revoked her membership. “Since Jan. 5, I’ve been in the hospital 15 times,” Davis said. “I’ve suffered with cellulites since I’ve had the open heart (surgery).” Davis is no longer paying the church $60 per month from her $592 per month Social Security check, Bowersock reported. “I have my tithes that I was supposed to pay, but I have not paid them since this has went on,” Davis said. “In the time of (Davis’) need, they should be caring, supporting, asking what she needs — help her if she needed help,” said Teresa Meeks, who is Davis’ daughter. “I was so hurt on what they did to her.” The church moved out of its building in Waverly earlier this year and Davis’ dismissal has become the talk of the town, Bowersock reported. In a letter to the editor of the local paper, the former pastor said it is true that Davis lost her membership for not paying her tithes. In the same letter, he said Davis was not kicked out of the church for not paying her tithes. The Rev. Paul McClurg, who started the church, said Davis is still welcome to attend church but is not allowed to be a member. The issue upset Davis’ 83-year-old mother so much that she quit the church. The members have been holding services in a Lion’s Club hall while waiting to build a new church. There are at least two former members who will not be attending with them.”
Only for the 3rd tithe a return blessing is promised in the Mosaic law unlike the first 2 tithes. Why this principle is ignored by the prosperity preachers today? Testing God in Malachi 3:10 was specific to the Jews who returned from the Babylonian captivity and not to the Christian Church!
Tithe teachers gleefully quote Jerome and Chrysostom as tithe proponents in the early Christianity but hide the fact those 2 men also believed in multiple tithes.
Christians, please understand, how tithing was practiced in the Old Testament period and be on guard against the mammon loving wolves.
How many tithes? Here is a brief description about all 3 tithes:
Tithe # 1 – Ma’aser Rishon was a tenth of the crops and the tenth animal that passes through the rod every year. The Levites were the recipients and this tithe could be eaten anywhere in Israel. Sub-tithe: A tenth of this tithe must be given to the Priests. Livestock was not redeemable but the crops were by paying 20% of money in addition to the actual value.
Other name(s): Levitical tithe, first tithe
Tithe #2 – Ma’aser Sheni was a tenth of the crops only, not livestock. But Jews were commanded to add the firstborn animals, but not a tenth of the animals. The original owners are the recipients, could be eaten only in Jerusalem. Buy back option not available. This tithe could be converted to money for transportation purposes only but in Jerusalem the same money must be used to buy food and it must be eaten by the owners, their families, relatives and the Levites. This tithe must be paid every year in one of the 3 festivals. No sub-tithe involved.
Other name(s): Festival tithe, feast tithe
Tithe # 3 – Ma’aser Ani every 3rd year of the 7 year cycle. Windows, orphans, Levites and the poor were the receipients and it should be only eaten within the gates of the city. No sub-tithe involved.
Other name(s): Welfare tithe, charity tithe, poor tithe
The total of all three tithes = 20% over a 7-year period / 23.3% over a 6 year period as follows: