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The Parable of Leaven and Meal “The kingdom of heaven is like leaven, which a woman took and hid in three measures of meal till it was all leavened.” – Matthew 13:33 The Kingdom of heaven simply put consist of … Continue reading

The Malachi Lie: You Can’t Afford Not To Give

Will a man rob God? Yet you have robbed me! But you say, ‘In what way have we robbed You?’ In tithes and offerings. You are cursed with a curse, for you have robbed Me, even this whole nation. Bring all the tithes into the storehouse, that there may be food in my house, and try Me now in this, says the LORD of hosts, if I will not open for you the windows of heaven and pour out for you such blessing that there will not be room enough to receive it~ Malachi 3:8-10

money 3There are three words which describe how the church in the last century has been so successful in obtaining the tithe, fear, guilt and intimidation. Pastors have quoted this passage using every cliché imaginable, “Tithe up brother,” If you don’t tithe, you are cursed,” and “You can’t afford not to give,” are but a few used to induce the fear that if you don’t give at least 10% of your gross income, you are out of God’s favor and in jeopardy of God’s scourging.

When compared to Numbers 18:21-24 and Nehemiah 10:37, the usual interpretation of “bring the whole tithe into the storehouse” has been turned into an appalling lie which, for the integrity of God’s truth and for what is advantageous to Christ’s church, must stop immediately. To gain a clear understanding of what and of who Malachi is speaking about all four chapters should be read and the context considered. Several questions should be considered when reading all four chapters such as, “Who is God speaking about?, Is he speaking to one group of people or many? Does he address more than one group of people? It becomes clear in the first chapter that Malachi addresses the open contempt of the priests for the braking of the Law and their negative influence upon the people. Just six verses into chapter one he says, “To you priests who despise My name.” And following through to chapter two Malachi opens by saying, “And now, O priest, this commandment is for you. If you will not hear, and if you will not take it to heart, to give glory to My name, says the Lord of host, I will send a curse upon you, and I will curse your blessings. Yes, I have cursed them already, because you do not take it to heart.

moneyThe natural result of corrupt leadership becomes the bane of the people, an epidemic which produces bankrupt values. In effect, the priest offered what was blind, lame and sick as a sacrifice, the priest broke their vows, corrupted the covenant and did not regard the offering as a good will offering, and by doing so provoked the LORD of host to curse the nation.

Malachi 1:6 and 2:1 offers evidence that God is specifically addressing the priest, not the people! These two verses are the keys which unlock the entire book of Malachi. God is rebuking His ministers, the priest who are guilty of dishonoring God and despising His name, not the people. This is confirmed if you follow the pronoun “you” from Malachi 1:6 on through the end of the book. Chapter 2:1 becomes the greatest key as for the second time God distinctly makes it clear He is specifically addressing the priest, not the people. Since there is no corresponding text anywhere else in the book of Malachi that God has changed his primary audience, then the conclusion must be that God did not change his audience for the remainder of the book.

The word “curse” occurs seven times in the book of Malachi, 1:14, 2:2, 3:9, 4:6, and again are all directed towards the priests themselves, not the people (See Footnotes)[1] How is it then that so many preachers ignore the many uses of the word “curse” in Malachi when they preach on the curse of Malachi 3:9? And lastly, there is the issue of the law, the priest self-deceivingly claimed the privileges of the covenant, while neglecting the conditions of it as if God were bound by it to bless them. The covenant is said to be not merely “of life and peace 2:6,” but “life and peace” for the keeping of the law. The priest neglected their covenant relationship with God by robbing Him of the tithes and offerings 3:8-12. Nothing is said here of the people, in fact, all indication is given that the people gave tithes according to the law. Which brings us to the most important part of our discussion here, the New Testament Church is not bound by the law, either for blessings or curses. “Christ has redeemed us from the curse of the law, having become a curse for us (for it is written, Cursed is everyone who hangs on a tree” ~ Galatians 3:13. The law makes demands no one can keep, and obedience to the law is to be absolute in every detail. A feat only Christ Himself accomplished!

The covenant made at Sinai witnessed the era of Israel’s birth as a nation. It was then that God created them as a people for His own possession (Malachi 2:10). The law revealed the holiness of God and the sin of the people and serves as a reminder that the law only condemns. It could not save but was the schoolmaster to Christ (Galatians 3:24). The covenant of Grace unlike that of the law is an unconditional, everlasting covenant spoken of as “The New Covenant” or “The New Testament,” and was an agreement ratified by the shed blood of Jesus Christ. The New Covenant is referred to as a “Better Covenant” (Heb 7:22; 8:6) because it was established on grace and truth, plus the reality of Christ’s Covenant exceeds that of the Levitical priesthood just as substance surpasses shadow. Why then do we see a bleeding over of a legalistic system where it concerns giving (tithing) into the Covenant of Grace? For far too long Pastors have used the iron fist of the law as a money 2means of obtaining finances. The very fabric of the modern Church structure is manufactured on an outdated form of economics using the machinery of archaic times. As it was during the era of Malachi, spiritual decline produces failure in the stewardship of possessions. The old garments of the law have been cast off, the Levitical priesthood failed to reach perfection so another priest after a better order has appeared. Just as there has been a change in the priesthood it was of necessity there is also a change of the law (Heb 7:12). Jesus Christ, who’s priesthood is in the likeness of Melchizedek has come, not according to the law of a fleshly commandment, but according to the power of an endless life (Heb. 7:14-16).

For the modern Church, tithing has become the anvil for profit seekers and hirelings who’s objective is personal gain rather than the care and provision of the needy. For example, Ed Young’s recent sermon “Show Me The Money.” Ed Young delivered a tithing sermon to scare, humiliate, intimidate, and offend his church members into giving 10% of their income. If you go to a church where the preacher tells the people that they are obligated to give 10% of their income to the church, you probably have heard many of these same things. But Mr. Young puts them all together in one single mammoth of a manipulative, self-serving, heretical sermon. There is nothing new under the sun and these types of tactics have been advocated across denominational lines. So I ask you, when your preacher has to use fear, guilt, intimidation, humiliation, and manipulation as methods of securing finance, is he doing so through a legalistic approach or do you really believe he is operating via the principles of grace? Preachers who use unsympathetic techniques to assure income either for themselves or the church organization do so out of concern for their own livelihood. For a pastor to say you’re doing the church no good by just showing up and not tithing, that you’re better off staying home or, if you don’t tithe don’t bother coming back, is uncaring, indifferent, and uncaring for the body of Christ.

money 4Just as Salvation is by Grace through faith, New Testament Giving is regarded as the gift of grace. Believers don’t give because they have to or because they are compelled or commanded to. Believers don’t give to secure an extravagant lifestyle for its leadership so that they can live in expensive mansions, drive luxury cars, or purchase privet jets. No, believers give simply to exemplify Jesus. For the believer, giving is not just a part of our created make up, it is an expression of the nature of God within us to others. The grace we receive from God finds expression in the grace we give to others. New Testament giving should be patterned after the Divine example revealed in Jesus. Giving should always be on the bases of love, love for God, for other believers and for the lost. Grace is a universal principle that Christ gave us through the cross. He gave all, His very life for the sake of the world.

Grace however becomes contaminated anytime the jurisdiction of the law is set over the values of New Testament giving. It is not the amount that is as important as it is the motive in the giving. Prior to any legal requirement, Abraham responded to Melchizedek’s office, generosity, and blessing by giving a tithe of all the spoils gathered in a recent war (Gen. 14:18-20). Abraham received the grace in giving that was not found in the Livitical Law. It is the priestly order of Melchizedek that Christ’s priesthood rises from (Hebrews 7), thus, giving today is a matter of liberty. The dispensation of the law is a parenthesis between Abraham’s dispensation of promise and its enduring fulfillment at Christ’s coming. Abraham’s act affirmed Melchizedek’s superiority even to the Levitical priest themselves. Now here is where an argument can be made in defense of the tithe, Abraham gave a tenth. And pastors are quick to point that fact out, however, the tenth Abraham gave was strictly a free will offering. A study of the context reveals Abraham kept nothing for himself, he gave it all, a tenth to Melchizedek and the rest was divided up between his men. A tithe may be implied through the example of Abraham but still cannot be imposed. There are many examples of Grace giving in the New Testament, examples which would serve the Church well, if practiced. (Acts 4:32-35; 2 Corinthians 8-9)


[1] Curse 2764 ḥērem: To be set aside for destruction. Example: The entire city of Jericho was a deadly threat to the formation of God’s people and fell under a ban, except for Rahab and her family (Jos_6:17-18), and was set aside for destruction.

Curse 779 ’ārar: This verb, in a more specific sense, means to bind (with a spell); to hem in with obstacles; to render powerless to resist. It is sometimes used as an antonym of bāraḵ (H1288). In Genesis 3, God renders curses on the serpent, the woman, and the man for their sins in the Garden of Eden

Curse 3994 me’ērāh: It refers to God’s sending evil or destruction on His disobedient people (Deu_28:20; Mal_2:2; Mal_3:9)

Christian Illiteracy

My people are destroyed for lack of knowledge. Because you have rejected knowledge, I also will reject you from being priest for Me” Hosea 4:6

The Hebrew word for “destroyed” in the text above is damah and means to be cut off at sight of the theophany. Essentially, it is talking about people who loose or lack in the perception of the essential nature of God manifested. Theophany is the appearance of God in visible form to a human being and interesting enough the Hebrew word for “knowledge” (daat) is not talking about knowledge one gains from study, but is defined as having skill in perception, discernment and understanding. “daat” comes from the verb ‘yada‘, meaning “to know” occurring more than 90 times in the Old Testament. The lack of the knowledge of God, that is, the peoples lack of discernment shows us that their ignorance was willful, they ought to have known God having had the opportunity. In effect, the people’s lack of knowledge was more than just neglect, they rejected it choosing false gods in place of the God of Israel and the priests had been poor examples, leading the people of Israel into apostasy. You’ve heard the saying, “those who don’t learn from history are doomed to repeat it.” Those that rebel against the truth can expect nothing other than to perish in the dark. A close examination of current events reveals that history is indeed repeating itself. Today there is very little Godly example to be found in church leadership, and very little real spiritual knowledge with God’s people. Truthfully, false teachers have had a heyday over the last generation or so amassing huge numbers of unregenerate, unrepentant, biblically challenged and morally apathetic followers.  Much of our leadership is intimidated by others maturity in their churches, the very thing they are to nurture and cultivate.  they promote the illiteracy and immaturity of their congregants for their own benefit, it strokes their ego to have people dependent on them.

Sound doctrine is simply correct teaching, in keeping with that of the apostles (1 Tim 1:10; 6:3; 2 Tim 1:13; 4:3). The teaching is called ‘sound’ not only because it builds up in the faith, but also because it protects against the corrupting influence of false teachers, prophets, and apostles. In 1 & 2 Timothy and Titus the use of the word ‘sound’ occurs eight times (Titus 1:9,13; 2:1-2; 1 Tim. 1:10; 6:3; 2 Tim. 1:13; 4:3), and in the Greek it means “to have sound health, to be uncorrupt.” Clean, healthy teaching is to be the core of what we call, doctrine. Everything taught is to be judged by its harmony with the words of our Lord Jesus Christ; “If anyone teaches otherwise and does not consent to wholesome words, even the words of our Lord Jesus Christ, and to the doctrine which accords with godliness, he is proud, knowing nothing, but is obsessed with disputes and arguments over words, from which come envy, strife, reviling, evil suspicions, useless wranglings of men of corrupt minds and destitute of the truth…” 1 Tim. 6:3-5. Sound doctrine which conforms to the teachings of the Apostles fulfills two purposes, it instructs believers in matters of faith and godliness, and it is used to prove conclusively the heresy of false teachers.

Globe - Americas [Converted]There are several characteristics which contribute to the biblical illiteracy of our time, all of which have become an epidemic to church orthodoxy. Unbiblical worldviews have infected biblical teaching in that the majority of Christians in America have developed their own faith system. Division has never been as apparent as it is today. All denominations have their pet doctrines dividing them from the rest of Christ’s body. Today you have to be politically correct and culturally sensitive resulting in a watered down version of the Gospel message. Spirituality is being built on private emotional attachments rather than on clear concise biblical teachings. And lastly, false prophets and apostles are flooding into the church with teachings contrary to that of Jesus and the founding Apostles. These characteristics are so blatant today that those who do adhere to ‘sound doctrine’ and by faith follow the teachings of Scripture are criticized, denounced, and ostracized by mainstream Christianity. Church culture today is dramatically captured in the distorted mirrors of contemporary art and the media. Destructive worldly thinking has now turned the professing church in general to pervasive heresy and compromise. Christians choose to capitulate rather than suffer criticism for standing on Biblical values and exposing the false corrupt teachings of liars. The majority lack the commitment to maintain doctrinal purity, consequently condone and even promote every sort of false teaching and practice imaginable, all in the name of Jesus Christ.

It was told to me by my daughter of two girls who went to Seminary. In Seminary they discovered that the doctrines they believed in were wrong. So instead of embracing new found truth, they both left Seminary to continue in their belief system. Sadly, this is the norm today, I have spoken to many Christians challenging them in Scripture to adhere to Biblical truth. In every case both myself and the Word of God was rejected. To most Christians today, ignorance is bliss, it’s easier to get caught up in the emotion of the moment. To those who love truth, adhere tdreamstime_3595118o sound biblical teaching, none of the above should come as a shock as Scripture is clear that this time would come. “And so we have the prophetic word confirmed, which you do well to heed as a light that shines in a dark place, until the day dawns and the morning star rises in your hearts” 2 Peter 1:19. We are witnessing prophetic Scripture come to pass before our very eyes. One such Scripture is 2 Timothy 4:3-4; “For the time will come when they will not endure sound doctrine, but according to their own desires, because they have itching ears, they will heap up for themselves teachers; and they will turn their ears away from the truth, and be turned aside to fables.

Paul was describing a time in the future when “they” (Paul was referring back to chapter 3), the church collective, would no longer view doctrine as valid or true but would gravitate to the dictates of their own hearts. A time when the professing church would have a propensity for falsehood. He describes them as having itching ears, desirous of hearing something pleasant and positive. A time when they will accumulate a great number of teachers who will have no problem scratching their itch. A time when the church will turn away from hearing the truth having a preference for myths/fables. A time when illiteracy to Biblical truth will replace ‘sound doctrine,’ a time of apostasy, a time like today. A time when Christians will have no foundation in the Word of God. Professing Christianity today flourishes in the mega-church because both sides of the transaction cooperates. The people want the feel good, and the teachers love to give it. Those who despise sound teaching have sought out teachers like themselves, both suit their depraved tastes. The people want teachers who will give them pleasure and the teachers do not offend by teaching truths that would be rasping to their ears. Novelty is the passion of the present Church Structure as entertainment peeks the interest bringing the next wave of excitement to the crowd. Thus, Biblical illiteracy reigns over the shepherd and the sheep, or should I say, over the wolves and the goats. It seems it’s hard to discern these days between the two.

Right or wrong, good or bad, our lives are influenced by what we believe! Paul exhorted the Corinthians to “Awake to righteousness, and do not sin, for some do not have the knowledge of God...” 1 Cor. 15:34. The phrase “do not have the knowledge of God” express ignorance of God in the Greek. The Corinthians ignorance was enveloped in a wrong belief of the resurrection which lead them to deny there was a resurrection. Illiteracy leads to a skewed view of the Word of God which always leads into error. Paul finished his exhortation by saying to the Corinthians, “I speak this to your shame.” Worse yet, to remain illiterate to Spiritual truth is both unrighteous and sinful. Illiteracy is an intoxication of carnality as those who remain ignorant to Spiritual truth are over thrown by the influences of false teachers who would keep them there. Many who identify themselves as Christians today have an habitual ignorance, a willful ignorance of God in that they prefer to keep their false teachings, rather than part with them in order to know God. It is prideful, selfish, and fleshly to cling to false teachings and to remain illiterate to truth only to appease one’s own interpretation of Spirituality.

In 1 Corinthians 15:34, ignorance of God is a critical miscalculation and misapprehension of God’s moral character and of His redemptive scheme (disbelieving the resurrection) which leads to a libertine and hedonistic ethic.1 The Corinthians often boasted of their knowledge and wisdom yet we find Paul correcting them for their illiteracy in Spiritual matters. As it turns out, like today, the Corinthian Christians were freethinking in religious matters and sought self-gratification in their view of God, and this Paul says, is to their shame. Sounds a lot like what Hosea dealt with when he said “ My people are destroyed for lack of knowledge. Because you have rejected knowledge, I also will reject you from being priest for Me…” Hosea 4:6. Just as the children of Israel lacked in their perception of the essential nature of God, and the Corinthians were missing God altogether, we see today it’s a free-for-all when it concerns God Word and Will. What it all comes down to is both Hosea and Paul are describing a people who really don’t know God at all. Their view of God Himself was not only partial, but slanted. This in itself will lead into all sorts of abnormal practices and deviant behavior, all in the name of Jesus Christ.

1 Hebrew-Greek Key Word Study Bible New International Version; Copyright 1996 AMG International, Inc. p1574 Number 57.