Wednesday, March 21, 2012

The Tithe: Malachi and the Curse

Judged and found guilty as charged, they were under a curse. As a result they suffered at the hands of the devourer, who was destroying their crops and ruining their lives. The prophet was sent to deliver the truth, to help them understand why things were as they were. Malachi was not sent to offer a get rich quick scheme. He was sent to help people understand God’s judgment and His offer of salvation.

The people were guilty because they did not trust God. Instead of appealing to the Lord they had declared obedience a waste of time, following their own way. Malachi used the tithe as an example of how far they had fallen from God’s requirements. John the Baptist came with a similar message, declaring the need for repentance. The Kingdom of God was at hand. Those who chose not to believe faced judgment and a fate much worse than having the devourer destroy the land. John’s teaching warned of something worse than a curse, something that could only be removed by the Chosen One of God.

In Malachi’s time obedience in things such as paying tithes was the path away from suffering under judgment. The prophet described the obedience of faith, manifested in actions such as paying tithe. Repentance involved changing what the people thought about God and demonstrating this change in thinking with obedience. What Malachi described foreshadowed the way established in Christ.

With His death and resurrection Christ established the path by which we satisfy the verdict pronounced over all people. The Bible tells us that all have sinned, falling short of God’s standard. As such we have been judged worthy of death and are in need of being saved. As Malachi described the path for avoiding the devourer, so the Gospel describes the path by which we avoid this curse of death. The Tithe was required as a demonstration of faith, by which a person moved into position to be blessed by God. Receiving the sacrifice of Christ as sufficient to pay for our sins is required under the New Testament.

Under the New Testament salvation comes only by faith in Christ, trusting God when He says He accepts Jesus’ death as payment for our sins. The curse of death was lifted by Jesus on the cross. In deciding if the tithe is required today we must assess its place in demonstrating our faith. We have to consider what Malachi describes as well as the descriptions of the tithe given in other Old Testament Books. Knowing the intent of the tithe as shown in the Old Testament does the Tithe we return to the question: Does the Tithe fit in the Christian Church?

See Also: “Does the Tithe Fit the Christian Church?”
“The Tithe: Its Early Structure”
“The Tithe: the Book of Malachi”

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