Vol. 6, No. 6
~ Page 17 ~
A correspondent writes, "There is a book out advocating tithes and offerings under the Christian Age or the New Covenant. Could you help me with Malachi 3:8, 10, which speaks of tithes and offerings."
There is much in the Old Testament about tithing, beginning with Genesis 14:20 and ending with Malachi 3:8, 10. The word "Malachi" means "My Messenger." He was the prophet appointed to convey the "oracle of the word of Yahweh to Israel" about 436-420 B.C. He condemned the selfishness of the Jews in robbing God by keeping their tithes for themselves, and so were cheating themselves of God's multiple blessings. If they would be liberal, God promised that he would "open for you the windows of heaven, and pour out for you a blessing until there shall not be room enough to receive it" (Malachi 3:10).
However, the divine law for tithing, both in Patriarchy (Genesis 14:20) and in Judaism (Deuteronomy 14:22), came to an end when Jesus took it "out of the way, having nailed it to the cross" (Colossians 2:14). Now "If you are led by the Spirit you are not under the law" of Moses (Galatians 5:18). In "the law of the Spirit" (Romans 8:2), in the "New Covenant" (Hebrews 8:8), in "the Christian Age," in the New Testament books, there is not a word commanding tithing for Christians. But there is much about Christian liberality.
The Corinthian Christians were taught to give, not by measured tithing, but as God prospered them (1 Corinthians 16:1-2). They so responded, in their love for their Lord, that Paul said "it is superfluous for me to write to you about the ministry to the saints" (2 Corinthians 9:1). Yet Paul proceeded to write a whole chapter, fifteen verses, on that very subject (2 Corinthians 9). He thought that "covetousness" is a sin (2 Corinthians 9:5).
Similarly, the Macedonian Christians were so converted to Jesus, their "heavenly gift" (Romans 5:15; 2 Corinthians 9:15; Hebrews 6:4),
that, in a great ordeal of affliction, their abundance of joy and their deep poverty overflowed in the wealth of their liberality. For I testify that according to their ability, and beyond their ability they gave of their own accord, begging us with much entreaty for the favor of participation in the support of the saints, and this, not as we had expected, but they first gave themselves to the Lord and to us by the will of God (2 Corinthians 8:2-5).
Paul bragged on the liberality of both the Corinthian and the Macedonian Christians in his letter to the Roman Christians:
Macedonia and Achaia [Corinth was in Achaia] have been pleased to make a contribution for the poor among the saints in Jerusalem. Yes, they were pleased to do so, and they are endebted to them. For if the Gentiles have shared their spiritual things, they are endebted to minister to them also in material things (Romans 15:26-27).
The Galatian Christians received the same non-tithing teaching from the inspired apostle Paul (1 Corinthians 1:1; 2:13) about their giving, as he had taught the Corinthian and Macedonian Christians (1 Corinthians 16:1-2; 2 Corinthians 8:25), except he went beyond "the support of the saints" (2 Corinthians 8:4) to help non-saints: "So, then, while we have opportunity, let us do good to all men, and especially to those who are of the household of the faith" (Galatians 6:10).
Thus it seems strange that anyone would write a book for "the Christian Age," for people under "the New Covenant," advocating tithing.