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Saturday, August 29, 2015

Tithing: International Sunday School Lesson, August 30, 2015


Russell Earl Kelly rebuts International Sunday School Lesson on tithing, August 30, 2015



Pastor Rick Safrie: preaching since 1973; B.A. of Theology Degree; now at West Lenoir Baptist Church in Lenoir, North Carolina.



Kelly: This is 2015. How does one preach for 42 years (since 1973) and not upgrade his education from an entry-level B.A. degree?


International Sunday School Lesson
Study Notes for August 30, 2015, Malachi 3:1-10


Safrie: The prophet Malachi, whose name means “honoring God” …



Kelly: Wrong. It means “my messenger” in every Bible dictionary and commentary I have read.



Safrie: He was the last of the Old Testament prophets …



Kelly: Malachi is difficult to date. Nehemiah may coincide with Malachi.



Safrie: Little is known about the prophet Malachi but it is clear he was a man of …



Kelly: Nothing is “clear” about the person of Malachi. “My messenger” may have been a pen name for Nehemiah.



Safrie: He preached powerful sermons on some very sensitive subjects.



Kelly: Malachi is 4 short chapters long. This book is one short sermon.



Safrie: Malachi prophesied several decades after the temple was rebuilt.



Kelly: It was sloppy and ugly in 519 B.C. Nehemiah celebrated its refurbishing in 444 B.C. which was also Malachi’s time period.



Safrie: He spoke to a people that had a restored religious system and an outward appearance of being right with God.



Kelly: In 1:1 Malachi addressed “Israel.” In 1:6 and 2:1 the pronoun “you” refers specifically to the dishonest priests and NOT the people. This is a major error of Malachi commentaries and interpreters.



Safrie: They brought their sacrifices and offerings to the temple, but kept the best for themselves (Malachi 1:7-8).



Kelly: According to 1:6 “they” refers to the priests and NOT the people. Read the whole chapter.



Safrie: Malachi’s message contains timely truths for the twenty-first century.



Kelly: List them.



Safrie: For people who are not committed to Christ and His church, Malachi offers a solution.



Kelly: Why is this message NOT repeated to the church after Calvary in terms of grace and faith? O.T. tithe recipients were not allowed to inherit property or gain wealth (Numb 18:20-28).



Safrie:  … we need to hear and heed Malachi’s call to “return to God.”
God’s Promise to His People (Malachi 3:1-4).



Kelly: God was still speaking to the priests in 2:13 who had “covered the altar of the LORD with tears.” The priests in 2:13-17 had mocked God’s judgment. Then God answered the priests with promised judgment in 3:1-5. Read the context. “He shall purify the sons of Levi” (3:3); then the priests shall offer a pleasant offering to the LORD” (3:4). As Safrie correctly points out, Jesus came and cleansed the Temple of the sins of the priests.



Safrie: Sorcery, occultism, unbiblical divorce, perjury, oppression of the poor.



Kelly: For tithe-teachers, these fade into unimportance compared to the sin of not tithing.



Safrie: “For I am the LORD, I change not …



Kelly: Be careful how you interpret this statement. God’s character does not change. The way God deals with mankind through covenants does change radically between the Old and New Covenants (Jer 31:31-36; Heb 8:8-13; Mt 28:19-20; Eph 2:13-17; Col 2:13-17).



Safrie: … therefore ye sons of Jacob are not consumed.”



Kelly: Again, beginning in 1:6 and 2:1 and continuing in 2:13, “you” refers to the dishonest priests and not the people.  Priests are also “sons of Israel.” There is no contextual logic to teach that Malachi is now addressing the people of Israel as a whole.


Safrie: Even when Israel had violated their covenant with God (Malachi 2:10), God had not violated His covenant with Israel (Psalm 89:34).



Kelly: It is ridiculous that Safrie makes 2:10 refer to the people of Israel when the context is about God’s specific covenant with Levi.

Read Malachi 2:1-10! Malachi is speaking to the Levitical priests only.

2:1 “And now o priests, this commandment is for you.”

2:2 [the priests are cursed 3 times]

2:3 dung in their faces

2:4 “And ye shall know that I have sent this commandment unto you, that my covenant might be with Levi.

2:5 “my covenant was with him” [Levi]

2:7 “for the priests lips should keep knowledge”

2:8 “ye have corrupted the covenant of Levi”

2:9 “Therefore have I also made you [priests] contemptable and base before all the people [of Israel].



Safrie: Malachi called Israel “sons of Jacob” to remind them of their covenant relationship with the Lord. Although God may punish and chasten the children of Israel, they will not be “consumed.” 



Kelly: Malachi 3:1-7 is in the context of 1:6-14; 2:1-10 and 2:13-17. Except for the brief 3rd person in 2:11-12, the “you” remains the “priests.”


Safrie: Instead, they responded hypocritically, “Wherein shall we return?” (3:10) Their .. They … we …


Kelly: 1:6-14; 2:1-10, 13-17; 3:1-7 “we” refers to the priests. Here is where the tithe-teachers become obsessed.

(1) They ignore that the priests of 1:6-14 had robbed God by replacing their own healthy vowed animals with sick ones and were cursed in 1:14.

(2) They ignore that the priests of 2:1-10 had broken God’s peculiar covenant with Levi, were cursed 3 times in 2:2-3, and deserved dung in their faces.

(3) They ignore that the priests of 2:13-17 were weeping false tears on the altar and mocked God by daring Him to judge them.

(4) They ignore that in 3:1-7 God promised judgment on the priests who  were marrying pagans, allowing sorcery and mistreating the poor.

NOW all four chapters are all about tithing!!


Safrie: How can humans “rob God?” They were robbing God “in tithes and offerings.”



Kelly: Nehemiah is the context of Malachi. In Nehemiah 13:5-10 the priests had stolen the Levites’ portion of the tithes and forced the Levites to return home for food. The Temple had been closed. If Nehemiah 13:5-10 is the context of Malachi 3:8-10, God is accusing the priests of their sin in Nehemiah 13:5 and God is telling the priests to return the stolen tithes.



Safrie: From Mount Sinai God had said all the tithe of the land belonged to Him and declared “…it is holy unto the LORD” (Leviticus 27:30).



Kelly: Correct. The HOLY tithe was only food from inside God’s HOLY land of Israel which He had miraculously increased (Lev 27:30-33). It could not come from outside that holy land. It could not come from what man increased through his own hands. It could only come from an Israelite under the Old Covenant (27:34).



Safrie: The word “tithe” means “a tenth part.”



Kelly: Yes, but the biblical HOLY tithe was always only FOOD from inside HOLY Israel. 16 texts affirm this from Leviticus 27 to Luke 18. No text defines it otherwise.



Safrie: A “tithe” for the Israelite was 10 percent of their grain, fruits, animals, or money (Nehemiah 13:5).



Kelly: It is a premeditated LIE to say that the HOLY biblical tithe ever included money! Read the text. Read Nehemiah 13:5. The “great chamber” [two large chambers of 10’ by 20’] held food offerings, frankincense and sacrificial vessels AND (PLUS) tithes of grain, wine and oil. It is curious that Safrie uses this text and failed to point out that the priests had emptied it (stolen the Levites’ portion of the tithe) and forced the Levites to close the temple.



Safrie: Walter Kaiser writes, “Christians are not governed by any law that commands us to give a tenth of our earnings to God; however, it must be noted that the practice of tithing precedes any provision of the Law of Moses (see Abram's response in Genesis 14:20 and Jacob's vow at Bethel in Genesis 28:22).



Kelly: Rather than stick his own feet into the mud, Safrie quotes another theologian to argue for him that tithes preceded the law. Yet the tithes of Abram and Jacob were pure pagan in source and not commanded by God. Neither Moses, Nehemiah, Malachi nor Jesus would have included pagan-source tithes as HOLY tithes of the Law.



Safrie: “If it was appropriate under the law to give a tenth, Christians will want to give no less than a tenth insofar as we have received and known so much more!”



Kelly: This apparently logical argument is, in fact, illogical. It falsely assumes that every O. T. Hebrew began his/her level of giving at 10%. That is a false assumption; you cannot sustain a logical argument on a false basis. The fact is that only food producers living inside HOLY Israel qualified as tithers. Therefore, Jesus (a carpenter), Paul (a tentmaker) and Peter (a fisherman) could not and did not tithe.



Safrie: (3:9) “cursed with a curse”



Kelly: Priests were cursed once in 1:14 and three times more in 2:2-3. To be consistent with the context, priests are still being cursed in 3:9, This is consistent with the events of Nehemiah 13:5-10.



Safrie: (3:9b) “even this whole nation.”



Kelly: “This whole nation of you” (NAS, RSV, NIV). In context, “of you priests” makes sense.



Safrie: The language of this verse states that the whole nation was guilty before God in this religious plot to rob Him (Malachi 1:14; 2:2).



Kelly: 1:14 and 2:2 are in the context of 1:6-13 and 2:1 and only refer to the priests. Read the context.



Safrie: Therefore, they were “cursed with a curse.” The details of this “curse” are not given in this verse, only the fact of it.



Kelly: The context of the curse in :14 is 1:6-13; and the context of the curses of 2:2-3 is 2:1-10. God promised to spread dung in their faces (2:3) because they continued to disobey His unique covenant with Levi (2:1-10).



Safrie: This “curse” is best described in Proverbs 11:24



Kelly: Wrong. Nehemiah 10:29 and Malachi 4:4 place this curse in the context of the whole law. The Apostle Paul said in Galatians 3:10 “For as many as are under the works of the law are under the curse: for it is written, Cursed is everyone that continueth not in all things written in the book of the law to do them.” Paul was quoting Deuteronomy 27:26 “Cursed is he that continueth not in all the words of the Law to do them. And all the people shall say, Amen.”



Safrie: Malachi 1:8



Kelly: Ignores 1:6



Safrie: breaking their marital vows 2:10)



Kelly: Ignores context of 2:1-10; 13-17.



Safrie:  and defrauding the helpless (Malachi 3:5).



Kelly: Ignores context of 3:1-7


God’s Program for His People (Malachi 3:10)



Kelly: In the Old Covenant God’s people were only literal Israelites (Hebrews, children of Jacob, descendants of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob) (Ex 19:5-6).

The New Covenant changed all that and included all people from all nations who would accept Jesus Christ (Matt 28:19-20; Eph 2:11-22; Col 2:13-17).


Safrie: Mal 3:10 “Bring ye all the tithes into the storehouse …”



Kelly: There is not a word of a huge tithe storehouse in the many chapters which describe God’s sanctuary and Temple in God’s Word. Moses’ tent had none. Solomon’s Temple had none; Hezekiah erroneously added a large room to Solomon’s temple (2 Chron 31:1-19); Nehemiah 13:5 mentions a great room; Neh 10:37b tells the people to bring the tithes to the Levitical cities.

In fact, it makes absolutely no sense whatsoever for God to tell the people to bring all the tithe to a central location in Jerusalem; Levites and priests could not possibly be expected to travel long distances to pick up food. The only logic for 3:10 is that God was still speaking only to the priests. He was telling the dishonest priests to return the tithe they had stolen in Nehemiah 13:5.



Safrie: … that there may be meat in mine house …



Kelly: “meat” means “food” – HOLY food from inside God’s HOLY land miraculously increased by God. The definition never changed in 1500 years from Moses (Lev 27) to Jesus (Mt 23:23).



Safrie: … and prove me now …



Kelly: It is absurd to teach that God obligates Himself to bless tithers who break the remainder of His law (Gal 3:10; Deut 27:26). The whole law was a test: obey all to be blessed; break one to be cursed.



Safrie: “… blessing, that there shall not be room enough to receive it.”



Kelly: This alone should prove post-Calvary tithing to be wrong. The great majority of tithers do not receive so many blessings that they cannot hold them. And the great majority of tithers are not paraded to the front of the church to give their tithing testimony. If tithing worked, there would be no desperate Christians.



Safrie: “All the tithes” is a mathematical phrase meaning “the whole or the entire tithe.”



Kelly: Read 2 Chronicles 31:1-5. The tithes were rotting in the streets because King Hezekiah erroneously thought they belonged in Jerusalem. After consultation, he built storerooms at the temple and returned the great majority of tithes to the Levitical cities (31:15-19). [Nobody preaches on these verses.]



Safrie: God wanted “all the tithes” or the “whole.” That meant if their heart was not in it, it was not acceptable.



Kelly: The text does not say that. God wanted tithes from food producers inside His HOLY land whether their heart was in it or not. That’s like saying our government does not want our taxes unless we want to pay them.



Safrie: The “storehouse” was the chamber in the Temple where the “tithes and offerings” were kept.



Kelly: Safrie is alluding to Neh 13:5 while ignoring its context. Again, “chambers” inside the temple could not possibly hold the whole tithe of the whole nation. Common sense argues otherwise. Both Levites and priests had 24 courses which served a week at a time. It was only necessary to keep enough tithe-food in the temple chamber to feed Levites and priests for one week at a time.



Safrie: The principles for Christian giving are clearly defined in the Pauline epistles. (1 Corinthians 16:2; 2 Corinthians 8:2, 7-9, 12, 19-20; 9:5-12). According to the Scriptures, giving must come from a willing heart and on the basis of grace, not Law. That is God’s program for this day of grace.



Kelly: Yes. Yes. Yes. Yes. Yes. Stop there.



Safrie: How could anyone saved by grace give less to the Lord than someone under the Law?



Kelly: A person saved by grace does not look to the law for his/her guidance or suggestions. He looks to the teachings inspired by the Holy Spirit to the assembly of believers after Calvary. Sacrificial giving may be 40% for some and 2% for others “that there may be an equality” (2 Cor 8:12-14).



Safrie: Under the old covenant, tithes and offerings go to the Levites to provide for their needs as they ministered to in the Temple (Numbers 18; Nehemiah 10:36-39). Today, the offerings of God’s people maintain church facilities, provided for the pastor and church staff, and provide funds for fulfilling the Great Commission and taking care of local and world-wide needs (1 Corinthians 9:14; 2 Corinthians 8:1-15; 1 Timothy 5:17).



Kelly: Safrie will lnot let go. Regardless of how much tithe-teachers say that they do not teach tithing – they use it at every opportunity. They still go back to the tithe as their minimum starting point. In fact, most expect (and some demand) that every Christian give MORE than 10% of his/her gross income to the church regardless of whether or not essential bills get paid. They violate 1st Timothy 5:8.



Safrie: “Prove me now“ literally means” ….



Kelly: The literal text of 3:10-11 refers only to RAIN and FOOD. Safrie makes it refer to something else.



Safrie: While New Testament believers cannot personally claim God’s promise to His covenant people in Malachi 3:10 …



Kelly: Then why keep on repeating that promise?



Safrie: This Sunday's lesson should be very interesting.

Friday, March 14, 2014

Missouri Baptist Pathway Does Double-Take on Tithing


Rob Phillips

Amazing double-talk! My PHD was on the subject of tithing and I would sincerely desire a dialog with you.

Your video agrees with my views 99% and that means it disagrees with most SBC writers on the subject.  May I suggest your own Broadman & Holman Perspectives on Tithing edited by David Croteau.

 

After thoroughly and correctly debunking tithing, you keep your paycheck by finally calling NT tithing a “principle” without defining the word (See the Position Paper). An “eternal moral principle” must be written in the heart of man by conscience and nature (Rom 1:18-20; 2:14-16; John 1:9). “Giving” is an eternal moral principle”; tithing is not.

Please dialog with me.

Russell Earl Kelly, PHD.

http://www.mbcpathway.com/2014/03/13/what-does-the-bible-really-say-about-tithing/

Friday, August 17, 2012

Reply to Dallas Baptist Standard, Aug 17, 2012


Barber said: “Nowhere can it be found in Scripture to hold back the tithe until you're debt-free. By paying debt instead of the tithe, are we not putting other gods before God? We are responsible to pay both the tithe and our debts."



Comment: Nowhere in Scripture can it be found that non-food producers who lived outside of Israel and non-Hebrews should tithe at all. “We” of the commanded Law never included Gentiles or the post-Calvary church.

Ramsey said: “Giving a tithe—10 percent of income—to God's work teaches lessons about stewardship.”



Comment: The biblical definition of the HOLY tithe as used by Malachi and Jesus in Matthew 23:23 was always only food from inside God’s HOLY land which God had miraculously increased. Holy tithes could not come from Gentiles, from income or from outside Israel. Jesus, Peter and Paul did not qualify as tithe-payers. While money was very common in Genesis and required for sanctuary worship, money was never a tithed item.

Ramsey said: "God doesn't ask us to tithe because he needs the money. He asks us to tithe for our own benefit. Tithing allows you to put God first in your life and become a less-selfish person."



Comment: Without a “thus saith the Word of God,” this statement has no value at all. Contrary to what tithe-advocates teach, tithes and firstfruits were never the same thing in Scripture. Firstfruits were only very small token offerings as in Deut 26:-4 and Neh 10:35-37a.

Ramsey said: "Even if you're working to get out of debt, you should still continue tithing.”



Comment: Again, without a “thus saith the Word,” this statement has no value. It is merely Ramsey’s personal opinion. There is no record of the early post-Calvary church teaching tithing. Paul taught sacrificial equality giving; for many that means more than ten percent; many more are giving sacrificially even though less than ten per cent. God does not want the first ten per cent of a sick widow’s welfare check when it means doing without medicine and food. The typical application of tithing today should be criminal.



Dickie said: "The Bible encourages us to honor God from our first-fruits, meaning that we should apportion part of our income to him.



Comment: 1 Tim 5:8 But if any provide not for his own, and especially for those of his own house, he hath denied the faith, and is worse than an infidel.



I invite an extended open public discussion from any of your three experts but seriously doubt that they will engage me in such a discussion.



Russell Earl Kelly, PHD

Author of Should the Church Teach Tithing? A Theologian’s Conclusions about a Taboo Doctrine

Reply to Dallas Baptist Standard, August 17, 2012, Drowning in Debt






Sunday, July 22, 2012


Russell Kelly Rebuts Baker’s Evangelical Dictionary of the Bible on

Tithing, July 22, 2012

www.tithing-russkelly.com



Baker’s Evangelical Dictionary of the Bible probably reflects the Southern Baptist understanding which teaches only one tithe (http://tithing-russkelly.com/id20.html).



Baker: Giving a portion of one's profit or the spoils of war was known in the ancient world from Greece to China.



Kelly: In other words, tithing SPOILS OF WAR did not originate in the Bible. They were not the same as tithes under the law which were only food from inside God’s HOLY land (http://tithing-russkelly.com/id11.html).



Bakers: Tithing first appeared in the Bible when Abraham gave one-tenth of the spoils of war to Melchizedek, the priest-king of Salem (Gen 14:18-20 ).



Kelly: Only spoils of war from Sodom (http://tithing-russkelly.com/id12.html).



Baker: The writer of Hebrews presumed that tithes were paid to a higher authority and inferred that there was a greater priesthood than Aaron's (Hebrews 7:4 Hebrews 7:9 ).



Kelly: Tithes were abolished in the greater priesthood per 7:12 and 7:18. The “change” in 7:12 was from Levites and priests to “annulment” in 7:18 (http://tithing-russkelly.com/id8.html).



Baker: Tithing as a tribute to God appeared later in Genesis when Jacob promised to give a tenth to God if he returned home safely (28:22 ). But these tithes were spontaneous and no details were given.



Kelly: Correct. Neither Abraham’s nor Jacob’s tithes were commanded by God or holy. Abram’s was probably in obedience to the law of the land and Jacob’s was a freewill conditional vow in which he set the conditions (http://tithing-russkelly.com/id12.html; http://tithing-russkelly.com/id25.html).



Baker: The Book of Exodus required giving only firstfruits (Exodus 23:16; Exodus 23:19 ; 34:26 ) and is not clear whether the tithe later specified the percent of the total to be given as firstfruits or was a separate gift.



Kelly: There was originally no tithing because all Israelites were to be priests (Ex 19:5-6). The incident of the golden calf changed that (http://tithing-russkelly.com/id24.html).



Baker: Sometimes firstfruits and tithing appear to be identical (Deut 26:1-14 ), other times separate (Neh 12:44 ).



Kelly: Never. How can “first” mean “tenth”? The tenth could only be counted after the whole crop had been harvested. Deuteronomy 26:1-4 clearly teaches that tithes were very small token offering which could be carried in a small basket. That is not true of tithes.



Baker: Tithes were awarded to the Levites for their priestly service because they would not receive land in Canaan (Num 18:19-21 ).



Kelly: This is wrong and dishonest and the texts are wrong. Read Num 18:21-24 and Neh 10:37b. The Levites who received the whole first tithe were only servants to the priests (http://tithing-russkelly.com/id21.html).



Baker: They, too, gave a tenth of what they received (v. 26).



Kelly: This is wrong in what it omits. Read Numbers 18:25-28 and Neh 10:38. The Levites gave a tenth of the holy food they received (as servants) to the priests (sons of Aaron).



Baker: If a person did not want to give what he produced he could give 120 percent of its value (Lev 27:31).



Kelly: Dishonest again. If a farmer wanted to keep all of a field (for next year’s seed), he could substitute food from another field and add 20%. The “value” added was not money. Tithes were never money and could not come from defiled pagan land.



Baker: For livestock, however, there could be no substitute. Animals passed single file under a rod dipped in coloring and every tenth one was marked. Selecting inferior animals was prohibited (vv. 32-33).



Kelly: This is dishonest in its assumption. If the “inferior” animal was the “tenth,” it was still selected by the count itself. Verse 33 specifically forbids any selection of good or bad.



Baker: Deuteronomy instructed households to bring their tithes to the sanctuary for a joyous sacrificial meal.



Kelly: Wrong. It directed a second tithe be brought to the STREETS OF JERUSALEM (not the sanctuary) during the 3 yearly festivals to be eaten in the streets by everybody. This tithe was NOT brought to the sanctuary (http://tithing-russkelly.com/id29.html).



Baker: If it was too far, the offerer was told that the goods could be sold locally and the money used near the sanctuary to buy "anything you wish" including oxen, sheep, wine, or strong drink (Deut 14:22-26) (http://tithing-russkelly.com/id30.html).



Kelly: “Goods” should read “HOLY food from God’s HOLY land.” It was temporarily converted to money for ease of transport –then it was converted back into clean food for consumption. You cannot eat money. See http://tithing-russkelly.com/id30.html.



Baker: Every third year tithes remained in the hometown and were given to the Levite, alien, orphan, and widow (vv. 28-29).



Kelly: Wrong. They did not “remain” there; this was a separate tithe. If the third year tithe replaced the festival tithes, there would be no food for the three required festivals every third year (http://tithing-russkelly.com/id29.html).



Baker: The offerer had to "say before the Lord" that the tithe had been properly given (26:13-14).Thus tithing taught the people to "revere the Lord" always (14:23), and supported the poor and the priests.



Kelly: This only applied to the second and third tithes. The whole first tithe went to the Levites and priests in their Levitical cities (Num 18:21-28; Neh 10:37b-38).



Baker: Samuel later warned Israel that an earthly king (whom they desired against God's wishes) would require a tenth to sustain his rule (1 Samuel 8:151 Samuel 8:17).



Kelly: This new “first” tithe-tax was in addition to the other tithes and included even people and resources ((http://tithing-russkelly.com/id20.html).



Baker: The difference between instructions in Deuteronomy and Numbers led some rabbis to believe that there were two tithes each year, one for the Levite and one to be eaten before the Lord. Yet it is unlikely that the text would institute a second tithe the way it does, without introduction or clarification. Some also believed that the triennial tithe was additional, making a total of three tithes. But it is unlikely that the offerer would have to affirm that such tithe was given properly while saying nothing of the first, or primary tithe.

It is possible that there was only one tithe and that the differences in descriptions were due to changing circumstances.



Kelly: There were clearly three different tithes for three different purposes, to three different groups of people and kept in three different places (http://tithing-russkelly.com/id29.html



Baker: Numbers, written during the period of wandering, instructs the people to give their tithes to the Levites.



Kelly: See Deuteronomy 12:1. Since nobody had land yet, nobody tithed until they entered the land and had a harvest.



Baker: Deuteronomy, written as Israel entered the land and began a more settled existence, required that tithes be eaten in the sanctuary (where the remaining portion was no doubt left).



Kelly: Without a clear text, Baker says “where the remaining portion was no doubt left.” What he really wants to say is that the Bible has an ERROR HERE and that Deuteronomy contradicts or changes Numbers 18.



Baker: It seems every third year the tithe was given to the poor.



Kelly: That would mean no yearly feasts every third year. No record of this.



Baker: Tithing indicated Israel's devotion to God, and the people did not always give as they should.



Kelly: Only food producers who lived inside Israel were required to tithe. Jesus and Paul did not even qualify.



Baker: Withholding tithes and offerings was regarded as robbing God, but great prosperity was promised if they would obey (Mal 3:8-12).




and




Baker: When the people forsook worship of Yahweh their tithes went to idols (Amos 4:4).



Kelly: True.



Baker: Hezekiah oversaw a restoration of obedience to God during which so much was given in tithes and offerings that rooms had to be prepared in the house of the Lord (2 Chron 31:10-11).



Kelly: Half-truth.  Hezekiah’s temple was still Solomon’s Temple. It is absurd to assume that Hezekiah’s poor half-nation (the northern tribes were already gone) had more tithes than Solomon during times of great wealth. Why did Solomon’s temple NOT have storerooms for tithes? – because they were kept in the Levitical cities where they were needed for food (2 Chron 31:15-19; compare Neh 10:37a-38). The reason the streets were used to hold large piles of food-tithes is because the Temple was never intended to store more than enough to feed one course (of 24) Levites and priests. That is why it was re-distributed to the cities in verses 15-19. http://tithing-russkelly.com/id7.html



Baker: Upon return from captivity Nehemiah led another restoration and made sure tithes and offerings were collected (Neh 12:44) so the Levites would not have to work in the fields (13:10) (http://tithing-russkelly.com/id4.html).



Kelly: Nuts. See Numbers 35 and Joshua 20-21 (http://tithing-russkelly.com/id26.html). From the very beginning Levites and priests were expected to work in the fields to provide food for the tithed-animals they would receive. Baker ignores Nehemiah 10:37b-38. There were far too many Levites and priests to serve in the Temple at one time. Solomon’s “storehouse” of Malachi 3:10 was only a large “storeroom” as indicated by Nehemiah 13:5 and First Kings 6:6 (http://tithing-russkelly.com/id20.html).