As we continue our ‘Tithing on Trial’ series, we will evaluate the most common tithing arguments used to defend its practice. So let’s evaluate another argument used to promote tithing.
Argument: Israel Gave their Tithes to the Storehouse, So We Should Give our Tithes to the Church.
Malachi 3:10 – “Bring the whole tithe into the storehouse, that there may be food in my house.”
There are good principles we can draw from Malachi 3, but using the storehouse as an argument to bring tithing to Church is not accurate. Yes. We should supply ministers and the Church body with food and provisions for their needs, but the principle in Malachi 3:10 is about supplying for the needs of others; it is not about giving 10% to a Church. Here are 3 areas to review on why the Church is not a storehouse for tithing.
Only 1% Made it to the Temple Storehouse
The temple storehouse only received 1% of Israel’s increase, the other 9% was stored in Levitical cities – not at a place of worship.
Nehemiah 10:37-38 to bring the firstfruits of our dough, our offerings, the fruit from all kinds of trees, the new wine and oil, to the priests, to the storerooms of the house of our God; and to bring the tithes of our land to the Levites, for the Levites should receive the tithes in all our farming communities. And the priest, the descendant of Aaron, shall be with the Levites when the Levites receive tithes; and the Levites shall bring up a tenth of the tithes to the house of our God, to the rooms of the storehouse.
The Israelites were responsible for giving their tithe to the Levites and in turn, the Levites were then responsible for giving a tenth of the tenth towards the temple storehouse. 1% of Israel’s increase was used for the support of those ministering and serving in the House of God. I’m sure the percentages today do not come anywhere close tho this figure. The latest giving statistics state that 85% of the offerings received by Churches are used for internal operations. The Priests only absorbed 10% of what was given to the Levites (or 1% of Israel’s increase)
The irony of all this is that the decree in Malachi 3:10 was not addressing the whole Israelite nation. It was only addressing the Levitical tribe since they were the only ones responsible for the 1% that was supposed to bring food to God’s StoreHouse. As a word of wisdom to leaders in our Churches who may be reading this – In Malachi 3, it was those who received the tithe that was neglecting their duties to give. Considering 85% is spent on internal operations, I don’t think we’re any better off than those in Malachi were . . . what a scary thought!
If you wish to read more about the Levitical cities, they are first outlined in Numbers 35:2-3, while other references can be found throughout scripture in regards to the storage of tithes and offerings within these cities as well.
Did Your Church Build a Storehouse?
A storehouse actually STORES something. Duh! Right! If you had a storehouse for your farm, that means you are safekeeping your grain to be used later for feed or for seed. The Church building, is not used as storage to preserve or distribute anything. Quite simple to understand, don’t you think?
Most people don’t pick up on the fact that Malachi 3:10 mentions two different places. First, God mentions a “storehouse”; then, God mentions a separate place and calls it “my house”. The two are exclusive of one another. God’s house is NOT the storehouse, and the storehouse is NOT God’s house. Did you think the grain was sitting in the Holy of Holies? Maybe they stored some of their corn in the ark of the covenant? There was no Shekinah Glory sitting above the grain house. God’s house was not a place to bring your goods or possessions. Neither was it a place to make transactions.
Matthew 21:12-13 Jesus entered the temple courts and drove out all who were buying and selling there. He overturned the tables of the money changers and the benches of those selling doves. “It is written,” he said to them, “ ‘My house will be called a house of prayer,’ but you are making it ‘a den of robbers.’”
God kicked ALL the money changers out. There were no exceptions for those who were honest and those who were dishonest. Jesus statement was that in the presence of God, there was to be prayer, not business.
I know that I stated the temple is not the Church building today, so it’s not like these restrictions in the Temple are applicable to worship buildings today, but this means if these restrictions aren’t applicable, then it also means that the Church building is not a resemblance of the Storehouse or the Temple.
The storehouse was was not considered a holy place or part of the worship process. The only reason why a storehouse was needed was because there was food to store. If you are unaware of the temple tax; it was a monetary offering required for everyone to pay for the upkeep and maintenance of the House of God. The temple tax was never kept in a storehouse. So, God doesn’t need a storehouse in order for us to have a reason to give to support His work.
One last note. If you observe the New Testament, there is no reference to a Church storeroom to bring your tithes or offerings. Nor was the word ‘storehouse’ mentioned whatsoever.
Our Storehouse is Not in This World
Let’s set aside the technicalities and semantics and focus on the spiritual application of a storehouse. Some of you believe that the Storehouse in the Old Testament, through spiritual meaning, is comparative to a church today. I get why this thought occurs to most people. But let me show you two significant differences between a church and the Temple and a storehouse.
1. A Building was Where God Dwelt – Isaiah 66:1-2, 1 Chronicles 17:6, 1 Kings 8:27
Our Soul Is Where He Dwells Now – Acts 7:48, John 1:14, 1 Corinthians 3:16-17
In the Old Testament, the temple was known as the House of God, but in the New Testament, we know that God does not dwell in houses made with hands. We are the temple of God.
2. A Storehouse Stores Corruptible Things – Luke 12:16-21, Matthew 6:19
Heaven Stores Incorruptible – Matthew 6:20, Matthew 19:21, 1 Peter 1:3-4
The earthly Storehouse symbolizes the purpose of an eternal storehouse, it does not symbolize a worship building or any other form of infrastructure you may have for the local Church. The storehouse symbolism is perfectly described in Matthew 6:19-20 where Jesus commands us not to store up treasure on earth, but to store treasure in heaven.
It’s a disservice to consider your worship building God’s Storehouse. I know there are many great programs and actions that come through some local churches and their facilities, but certainly, God did not want us to focus on earthly legacies. He wanted us to focus on eternal legacies. If anything, Malachi 3:10 should be a reminder to lay up treasures in heaven, not to bring a check to the next service.
Here is a review of the key points from the article.
- Only 1% of Israel’s tithing increase was used to support the service in God’s house while 9% was NOT used within God’s House
- The Temple was not a building to store money or goods, and was not used for any financial transactions. A Storehouse was Not needed unless there was something to store.
- God no longer resides in a building and our storehouse is found in heaven, not on earth.
If a Church wants to consider itself a storehouse for tithing, then by all means make sure they follow the guidelines in the Old Testament. Otherwise, let’s not call the Church building a storehouse. In the mean time, let’s encourage one another to give as God leads us. May it be sacrificially, liberally and cheerfully.
You Be the Judge
Now that the evidence has been given in this court of law, it is your turn to decide
Bob Baker says
It still amazes me that you who are supposed to be scholars in your field pick and chose what you want. If you read all the instructions in the Old Testament books: one, you stated everyone gave a temple tax which is not true. only males 20 yrs old to 50 yrs old were required to give the same half shekel tax once a year. 2.Read the 7 year cycle of how tithing was to be used. It was not given 100% to the Levites each year. 4 of the years every one came together for a party and the left overs went to the Levites and it was not stored for the use of Priests or Levites, it was to be given to the poor, widows and orphans, only 2 years out of 7 did 100% go to the Levites again 1% to Priests and then the rest to the poor. etc. 3. The
7th year was a Sabbath rest and no crops were planted, NO TITHES that year. 4. The offerings are what supported the Priests and Levites because they got part of most offerings. 4. The Levites had 48 cities were they grew crops and had livestock. Priests were not poor. They were able to buy property.
How about you guys do your jobs and know what the Bible says instead of picking and choosing to suit your view instead of the truth.
what i tookaway from this was the erroneous held belief that we are to be giving a tenth of our labor to a church.
Does it matter Bob ??
The point is the church is not a storehouse
Nor the temple of God
Nor is the storehouse and house of God the same thing
Get the points of the article
Details does not change the fact for tithing to a church
There were three tithes if you studied the OT not one. Only one of them was used for Levite’s, a convenient fact you left out. The third tithe was given every three years which you also something you neglected you include for your readers. The temples themselves had storehouses up against the holy of Holies. You grossly distort NT tithing when Hebrews is clear that Christ has stepped in place of Melchezideck To receive tithe post resurrection and Melchezideck recieved tithes before the law.
Jared Brian says
These are just your opinions and theories that many have debated over.
Sacrifices, the Sabbath, unclean meats, slavery, and circumcision were all before the law.
Then do you still sacrifice? Or did Jesus become the sacrifice? Why can you see that as being fulfilled and not see that the tithe was fulfilled as well?
Read the Melchizedek story more carefully. Abraham gave a tenth of the spoils of battle. He didn’t give anything out of his own stuff and nothing that he gave was connected to his occupation or any profits and money made from it. This is not a foundation for the New Testament tithe on income. And Abraham only did it once, and anyone that says otherwise is simply making it up. Also, don’t ignore the priesthood of the believer. Priests receive, not give, tithes. Jesus fulfilled the tithe, just as he fulfilled the law.
It’s just ALL sooo confusing and I’m 67 years old and was taught from a very young age to NOT cheat God and therefore we can NEVER beat God In giving and I find it totally APPALLING that ANYONE would have a problem with giving 10%of their paychecks to the Church and me myself I’ll CONTINUE to pay my 10% every time he blesses me with money and for you out there who thinks it’s ok to debate this remember God LOVES the cheerful giver!!! And not those with a Contentious spirit…..
You have done well serving the Lord. Of course he sees your sacrifice and love for him. But, think about this. Are you open to the possibility that God loves you so much that he blesses you without you having to earn it or give anything back in return. All he wants is you. If so, then the unimaginable love of God is already working in your heart.
charles masenda says
you give to the church, read acts 7:48 and acts 17.24. the only way that can help you is by doing what is instructed by JESUS in Mathrew 25:31-46
do not harden your heart hebrews 3:15
It’s appalling that you wouldn’t give more than only 10%
You people love Grace
Saved by Grace
But you and most think their is a number on Giving
Grace giving is giving whatever you feel
Without any guilt
Wether it be a dime or 90%
Give to the needy
The church that runs 1.5 million below budget don’t need your money
God doesn’t need your money or want it
Give to the needy. They do
God doesn’t need your money to get his work done
He needs your soul heart mind
Give to others not the church
Whatever you have done for the least of these you have done to Christ
I believe all my income belongs to God, He instructs me how to use it.
Charles Baguma says
I do agree with the author. The church is not a store house. Secondly, God did not authorise anyone to collect tithe on his behalf therefore, the notion of giving money to some pastor and say or believe you have given it to God does not add. Tithe started with the levites as God instructed the other 11 tribes to give their tithe to the levites because they were not given land when they entered Canaan.
Beloved, believe not every spirit, but try the spirits whether they are of God: because many false prophets are gone out into the world. Hereby know ye the Spirit of God: Every spirit that confesseth that Jesus Christ is come in the flesh is of God: and every spirit that confesseth not that Jesus Christ is come in the flesh is not of God: and this is that spirit of antichrist, whereof ye have heard that it should come; and even now already is it in the world. Ye are of God, little children, and have overcome them: because greater is he that is in you, than he that is in the world. They are of the world: therefore speak they of the world, and the world heareth them. We are of God: he that knoweth God heareth us; he that is not of God heareth not us. Hereby know we the spirit of truth, and the spirit of error.
1 John 4:1?-?6
and the Spirit of the LORD shall rest upon him, the spirit of wisdom and understanding, the spirit of counsel and might, the spirit of knowledge and of the fear of the LORD;
Howbeit when he, the Spirit of truth, is come, he will guide you into all truth: for he shall not speak of himself; but whatsoever he shall hear, that shall he speak: and he will shew you things to come.
charles masenda says
i agree with the author, today’s believes must not tithe, now you tell me one verse in the bible that says tithe is money. dont say there was no money during that time because in genesis 23 Abraham bought a burial place with 400 shekels of silver, money was there as far back as in genesis. secondly tithe was done yearly how did it evolve to be done monthly- give me a verse for that shift. finally it was only done by israel , we are not israelites if you read your bible.
Then I guess to honor God your way you should grow some carrots and give them to God….
Michelle Sanchez says
Well, these are all good considerations. It is sad to me that by there love for one another all people will know you are my disciples. While the bible does say it is for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness, that is to be done with respect. What is being modelled to anyone on this page? Can we explore different views as Romans 14 states we can and each be fully convinced in our own mind with love and respect please?
Michelle S. says
Sorry, the last comment there are some typos and it was not worded ideally. I am not sad we are to love one another, but sad some comments don’t seem loving if we are all bible scholars trying to learn and we learn to love God, and when we love God we are loving-especially to the family of believers. I could could not edit this once posted. Sorry about the mess.
Opal Clark says
This is a very good article and explains clearly the truth concerning tithing. I will sure add to my collection of articles on tithing for future reference. Thank you.