SHOULD THE CHURCH TEACH TITHING?
Comparing Kelly and Croteau's Books onTithing
Should the Church Teach Tithing?
LATEST ADDITIONS
SEARCH INDEX
LINKS: SITES AND BOOKS
ARTICLES
FIRSTFRUITS WERE NEVER TITHES
LETTER TO YOUR PASTOR ABOUT TITHING
BUY BOOKS AND VIDEO
BAPTIST ERRORS
ENDORSEMENTS
REBUTTALS OF TITHE-TEACHERS
RUSSELL EARL KELLY, PHD
THEOLOGIANS AND HISTORIANS WHO AGREE
INTRODUCTION
1. Origin and Definition of Tithing
2. Genesis 14:20 Abraham, Melchizedek, Arab Custom and Tithing
3. Genesis 28:22 Jacob's Bargain With God
4. Numbers 18: The Obscure Statute/Ordinance of Tithing
5. Leviticus 27:30-34 Tithing and Holy and Most Holy Statutes
6. Tithes Replaced Land Inheritance
7. How Many Tithes? 10%, 20%, or 23 1/3rd%?
8. Deuteronomy 12 and 14: Strange Facts about Tithing
9. The Poor and Jesus Did Not Tithe
10. Kings, Tithes and Taxes: Levites with Political Jobs
11. 2nd Chronicles 31 Explains Malachi
12. Nehemiah 10-13: Historical Context of Malachi
13a. Commentary on Malachi 1 and 2: Cursing the Priests for Stealing
13b. Malachi 3 and 4
14. Matthew 23:23; Luke 11:42 Supporting the Old Covenant and Its Interpreters
15. Luke 18:12 A Pharisee's Boast about Tithing
16. Acts 15 and 21: Compromise Divided the Jerusalem Church
17. Hebrews 8; 2nd Corinthians 3; A Better New Covenant; MARTIN LUTHER
18. The Mosaic Law and the "Law" of Christ; MATT 5:17-19
19. Hebrews 7: Extremely Important
20. Ephesians 2:14-16; Colossians 2:13-17: Law Ordinances Ended
21. 1 Peter 2:9-10: Your Priesthood Abolishes Tithing
22. 1 Corinthians 9: Using Christian Liberty to Refuse Christian Rights [2007]
23. 1 Corinthians 16: Principles for Giving to the Needy
24. 1 Timothy 5:17: Worthy of Double Honor
25. Miscellaneous Objections
26. Chafer and Walvoord on New Covenant Giving
27. 2 Corinthians 8 and 9: Principles of Grace Giving
28. Acts 20:16-35: Paul's Sermon is Not Preached
29. Secular History of Tithing
30. Tithing Principles for Tithe-Teaching Churches
31. Spreading the Gospel
BIBLIOGRAPHY AND PAGE #
58% of Evangelical Leaders Reject Tithing, April 2011
140 QUESTIONS FOR TITHE ADVOCATES
1873: TITHING FIRST SUGGESTED IN USA
20% OF SBC PASTORS AND 31% OF OTHER PASTORS AGREE
ACCOMPLISHMENTS OF THIS BOOK
AKIN, DANIEL, PRESIDENT SEBTS
ALCORN, RANDY
Amazon.com Reviews
ANTI-TITHING VIDEOS
ASSEMBLY OF GOD TITHING STATEMENT
BACKLASH AGAINST TITHING, WALL STREET JOURNAL
BAKER, ROBERT A: SBC HISTORIAN
BAKER'S EVANGELICAL DICTIONARY OF THE BIBLE
BAPTIST STATEMENTS OF FAITH AGREED UNTIL 1963
BLACK, DAVID ALAN, TH. D.; SBC THEOLOGIAN
BLOGGING CONDEMNED BY GEORGIA BAPTIST LEADERS
BOOKIDEAS: PROFESSIONAL BOOK REVIEW
BROWN, TOM: WOF MINISTRIES
BURKETT, LARRY AND DAYTON, HOWARD; CROWN
CALVIN, JOHN: TITHING
CAMERON, BARRY: TITHING ABCs
CARSON, D A; REBUTTAL ON TITHING
CARTOON
CBS TRANSCRIPT AND COMMENTS
CHARISMA MAGAZINE 3-11-08
CHEUNG, VINCENT: MALACHI
CHRISTIAN TORAH DOCTRINE
CHURCH OF SCOTLAND RECOMMENDED READING
Comparing Kelly and Croteau's Books onTithing
CONNER, KEVIN J; MELCHIZEDEK
COPELAND, KENNETH: TITHING REBUTTAL
CORBAN AND FIRSTFRUIT-TITHING
CROTEAU, DAVID, PHD
CROWN MINISTRIES 2012
DANA, H E: SOUTHERN BAPTIST HISTORIAN
DEJONG, PAUL: TITHING
DOLLAR, CREFLO: TITHING REBUTAL
DONATIONS
Et essay: Tiende er ikke en kristen lære
Dizimar não é uma doutrina cristã
Un ensayo: el diezmar no es una doctrina cristiana
TONY EVANS
EZEKIEL'S TEMPLE: NO TITHING
FLOYD, RONNIE
GEORGE, WILLIE; REBUTTAL
GOD'S PLAN OF SALVATION
GRACE-GIVING CHURCHES
GRAHAM, BILLY: TITHING
GRAHAM, FRANKLIN: SALARY-TITHING
HAGEE, JOHN
HAYFORD, JACK; TITHING
HEMPHILL, KENNETH, TITHING; SBC SPOKESMAN
KEN HEMPHILL AND BOBBY EKLUND
HINN, BENNY: TITHING
HOBBS, HERSCHEL: TITHING
HOUSTON, BRIAN: HILLSONG, TITHING
HOW TO BECOME A PROSPERITY PREACHER
If We Don't Preach Tithing, How Do We Pay the Church Bills?
JAKES, TD; 49 LIES TOLD ABOUT TITHING
JEREMIAH, DAVID: TITHING
JEWISH TITHING CONCEPTS
JOYNER, RICK: TITHING REBUTTAL
KENDALL, R T: TITHING
KENNEDY, JAMES, PHD: TITHING
KOSTENBERGER, ANDREAS: 12-4-2007
"LAW" IN THE BIBLE
LIST OF TITHING OPPONENTS THROUGHOUT HISTORY
LIST OF UNSCRIPTURAL BAPTIST TITHING ERRORS
LONDON DEBATE: POINT BY POINT COMMENTS
LONDON DEBATE, MAR 30, 2011 TRANSCRIPT
LONDON TV DEBATE DETAILS PLUS
LUTHER, MARTIN REJECTED TITHING: 1525
MALACHI 3:10 HAS BEEN MISINTERPRETED
MALACHI 3:10: THE TEST-GOD TITHE MYTH
MARINELLI, CHAD, WORD OF FAITH
MARTIN, ERNEST L; THE TITHING DILEMMA
MATTHEW 5:17-19
MAXWELL, JOHN C
MELCHIZEDEK: WAS HE A PAGAN GENTILE?
MEYER, ALLAN: TITHING
MONEY WITH GENTILE IMAGES WAS BANNED
MORRIS, ROBERT: Jesus is the Tithe
MORMON-LDS TITHING
NORTH, GARY COVENANTAL TITHE
NORTH, GARY PERSPECTIVES ON TITHING
NORTH, GARY WIKIPEDIA
OWEN, JOHN --DID NOT TEACH TITHING
PAGAN CHRISTIANITY: BOOK REVIEW
PINK, A W: TITHING
PIPER, JOHN: TITHING
POEMS BY H. K. PYWELL
POSITION PAPER FORCES EMPLOYEES TO TEACH TITHING
PREACHERS, EVANGELISTS AND THEOLOGIANS SPEAK OUT
PRINCE, JOSEPH
PROSPERITY GOSPEL: AVANZINI PLUS
PROSPERITY GOSPEL: Jones and Woodbridge
PROSPERITY GOSPEL REFUTATION
RAMSEY, DAVE: TITHING
RHODE ISLAND BAPTISTS: 1638-1770S
RICH PREACHERS WHO TEACH TITHING
ROBERTSON, NORMAN: TITHING
ROGERS, ADRIAN: Tithing Rebuttal
ROGERS, ROD: PASTOR DRIVEN STEWARDSHIP
ROSS, CHARLES: TITHING
SBC CHURCH WANTS YOUR BANK ROUTING NUMBER FOR TITHE
SBC FINANCIAL ABUSE
SBC SCHOLARS: THEOLOGIANS AND HISTORIANS WHO AGREE
SCHREINER, THOMAS R, PHD, SBTS, TITHING
SIX MOST QUOTED LIES ABOUT TITHING
SOUTHERN BAPTIST ENCYCLOPEDIA: TITHING
SOUTHERN BAPTIST TITHING BROCHURES
SPROUL, R C: TITHING REBUTTAL
SPURGEON, CHARLES H
ST PETERSBURG TIMES
STOREHOUSE TITHING ERROR
SUBMISSION THEOLOGY
SUNDAY SCHOOL LESSON ON TITHING; JANUARY 28, 2007
SWAZILAND, POVERTY, AND PROSPERITY PREACHERS
SWINDOLL, CHARLES (CHUCK): TITHING
TBN: THE CROUCHES: TITHING
TEXT INDEX FOR 2007 EDITION
THEOLOGICAL DOUBLE-TALK
TIMELINE: BAPTIST, SBC and REK BOOK
TITHE MAPS IN 18TH CENTURY EUROPE
TITHES: NEW ADVENT CATHOLIC ENCYCLOPEDIA
TITHING ABUSE STORIES
TITHE AND OFFERING SCRIPTURES.COM/LEON
WALL STREET JOURNAL: RUSSELL KELLY LETTER
WARREN, RICK ON TITHING
WARREN, RICK: TITHING 2015
WE ARE NOT ALONE: VERY STRONG SUPPORT
Web Sites Which Discuss This Book and Tithing
WESLEY, JOHN
Where in the Bible Were Tithes Abolished?
WIDOW'S MITE
WOODWARD, GEOFF: TITHING
WYCLIFFE DICTIONARY OF THEOLOGY; F F BRUCE
WYTSMA, KEN: TITHING REBUTTAL
YOUNG, ED: TITHING REBUTTAL

tithingbookcove.jpg

video essay

Video tithing debate

Comparing/COMPARING

 

Should the Church Teach Tithing by Russell E Kelly, PHD.

(Not in capital letters.)

 

YOU MEAN I DON’T HAVE TO TITHE BY DAVID CROTEAU, PHD.  (CAPITAL LETTERS.)

 

Length of Book:         274 (279) plus Biblo. & Author

LENGTH OF BOOK:     269 (395) with Major Appends

……….

Dedication                          v 

DEDICATION                      xi-x11

…..   

PREFACE                            ix-x 

……..

Introduction                       1-3

INTRODUCTION                 1-8

……...       

ABBREVIATIONS                13-15       

……….

Tithing Texts Section         5-125, 147-169 (longest section)

TITHE TEXTS                      88-138, 131-138, 219

……….      

New Covenant Giving         181-209, 224-234 major focus

NEW COVENANT                139-148, 247-251

……….

Other Key Chapters           126-132, 170-180, 210-223, 235-245

……….

Hermeneutics                    133-146

HERMENEUTICS                 151-237, 298-309 major focus  

…..   

History of Tithing               246-262

HISTORY                            9-82, 271-302 major focus

…..   

Scripture Index                  (At Web Site)

SCRIPTURE INDEX             347-363

…..

NAME-SUBJECT INDEX      365-380

        

1.      Define Tithe               5-12

         MONEY                       102

         FOOD INCREASE        108

 

GENESIS 4                          83-87

 

2.      Genesis 14, Abram    13-29

GENESIS 14               88-90, 111-113

…..

Numbers 31               25-26

NUMBERS 31             112

 

3.      Genesis 28; Jacob      30-31

GENESIS 28               91-94, 114-115

 

4.      Numbers 18               32-38

NUMBERS 18             103-104

 

5.      Leviticus 27               39-45

LEVITICUS 27            102-102

 

6.      Land Inheritance       46-48

 

7.      How Many Tithes       49-55

THREE TITHES           106-110

 

8.      Deu 12/14 Odd Texts        56-60

 

9.      The Poor                    61-66

 

10.    Taxes                         67-72

TAXES                        109

 

11.    2 Chronicles 31          73-78

2 CHRONICLES 31     117

 

12.    Nehemiah                  79-88

NEHEMIAH                119-120

 

13.    Malachi                      89-114

MALACHI                   121-127

 

MATTHEW 22                     138-139

 

14.    Matthew 23:23          115-121

MATTHEW 23             129-130

 

15.    Luke 18-19                122-125

LUKE 18                     131

 

16.    Acts 15, 21                126-132

         ACTS 15,21                65, 95, 148, 162, 195, 202, 231

 

17.    New Covenant           133-139

18.    Law: Dispensational  140-146

         HERMENEUTICS                 151-237, 298-309 major focus

        

19.    Hebrews 7                 147-169

HEBREWS 7               131-138

 

20.    Ephesians 2; Colossians 2  170-175

         Ordinances Abolished    14 references 360-361

 

21.    Priesthood-Believers 176-180

         1 Peter 2:9-10; Rev 5:10  

PRIESTHOOD             157, 159, 218

 

22.    1 Corinthians 9          181-198

1 CORINTHIANS 9             140-145, 149 23 references

 

23.    1 Corinthians 16        199-209

1 CORINTHIANS 16           146; 23 references

 

Galatians 6:6                      141, 179

GALATIANS 6:6                  148-150

 

25.    1 Timothy 5               210-216

1 TIMOTHY 5             167,170,233,234, 264

 

25.    Objections                 217-223

 

26.    Acts 20                      235-245

         ACTS 20                     144, 218, 219, 242, 244

 

27.    2 Corinthians 8 and 9  227-234

2 CORINTHIANS 8-9  146-149, 241-256

 

28.    Chafer and Walvoord 224-226

         CHAFER: 17 REFERENCES  367

 

29.    History of Tithing      246-262

         HISTORY                   9-82, 271-302 major focus

                 

30.    Summary: Tithing      263-271

SUMMARY                  293-297

 

31.    Gospel Priority          272-274

 

About the Author               279

 

Note: The following is merely the start of banter between good friends.  Our agreements are far too numerous to mention and we even reach the same conclusions in all of the following discussions that tithing is wrong for the church. For theologians this kind of banter is enjoyable.  Dr. Croteau’s expected response will be posted when available.

 

Genesis

 

Croteau: “This text (14:21) says that Abraham had already sworn not to keep any of the booty. Therefore he gave an offering of ten percent to Melchizedek and the rest he gave away, all as part of a vow” (89).

 

Kelly: Croteau draws too much from the vow in 14:21. The text does not state when the vow was made or how it was made. The vow could have been made either before or after the battle was won. The vow could be “If you give me the victory, I will keep nothing.” Or the vow could be “Having been blessed by victory, I vow to keep nothing.” There is no evidence that the vow concerned a freewill gift of spoils of war to the local king-priest.  The spoil was not something to be vowed; it was an expected payment.

 

Croteau: “Furthermore Selden connects the concepts of giving tithes from spoils of war and vow making in ancient Near East practice“ (88).

 

Kelly: Again this does not prove that the spoils of war were controlled by a freewill vow.

 

Croteau: “It seems most probable that Abraham was borrowing a practice from the surrounding Babylonian culture and this is where he learned of tithing” (90).

 

Kelly: More information is needed. Did the Babylonian tradition require tithes from spoils of war or was it controlled by freewill vows?

 

Croteau: “Therefore Abraham’s giving of a tithe is directly connected with his vow to God… No evidence exists that Abraham was commanded to tithe … he gave voluntarily …” (90).

 

Kelly:  Not convincing. There is no evidence that Abraham was commanded to tithe “by God.” There is good evidence from Babylonian culture that he was expected to obey the law of the land. My book quotes 5 commentaries on pages 24-25 which admit to pagan influence controlling the 90%.

 

Croteau: “Genesis 14 should not be understood as a reference to tithing consisting with Mosaic law tithing” (111).

 

Kelly: Agreed. This is the important conclusion reached by both of us. There is no comparison of contents or reasons for giving.

 

Croteau: “Abraham’s offering is not consistent with the requirements of the Mosaic Law “ [see Numbers 31:27-29].

 

Kelly: Since Abraham’s spoil of war offering is not consistent with spoil of war in the Mosaic Law, neither are other tithes comparable.

 

Leviticus 27

 

The only complaint I find here is Croteau’s failure to engage tithing advocates in their frequent use of this text describing the tithe as “holy to the Lord.” It would have been helpful to our cause had he spent time revealing the context of “holy” and “most holy” in Leviticus. Two pages (100-101) are simply not enough compared to the tremendous weight given by pro tithers.

 

 

Numbers 18

 

Croteau: “These verses … should be regarded as … systematizing a common cultural practice. This offering was compulsory. And it was used for the livelihood of the Levites.  … Levites may eat the tithes anywhere” (103).

 

Kelly: This is the little-discussed letter of the “statute-ordinance” of Levitical tithing and, as such, deserves major discussion. Biblically speaking, it is far more important than Malachi which only contains the word “tithes” once. Two pages is woefully insufficient for such an important passage.

 

I also think that it is important to point out that the tithe was far from being the “livelihood” for te Levites and priests. See my chapter on First Chronicles 23 to 26.

 

Second Chronicles 31

 

Croteau: “This passage in Second Chronicles does not add significantly to the discussion on tithing. … Second Chronicles 31:10-12 is important for an understanding of Malachi 3:10 since it depicts the tithes that were left over from the offerings of the Israelites. Therefore Azariah (the chief priests) had rooms prepared to store the collected tithes. This is the beginning of the use of the storehouse” (117).

 

Kelly: Where I devote 6 pages to this (73-78), Croteau gives it two paragraphs and concludes that it is not that significant.

 

The historical context is ignored. The Temple had been closed for many years prior to Hezekiah. When he began his reform, Hezekiah commanded the people to bring all of the tithes to the Temple (31:4). The result was super abundant “heaps” of grain rotting in the streets of Jerusalem (31:5-7).

 

Something was wrong. This was Solomon’s Temple and it had far insufficient storage room for all the tithes of Hezekiah’s vastly smaller nation (much less for Solomon’s empire). Where did Solomon store the tithes? (31:8).

 

Solomon called together the priests and Levites to ask them how to prevent the food from rotting in the streets (31:9). Azariah, the chief priest, does not appear to have an answer (31:10).

 

Hezekiah commanded that storage rooms be cleared inside the Temple to hold tithe (31:11).  According to First Kings 6:6 the largest of these rooms was a little over 10 feet square. And, according to Nehemiah 13:5 a “great chamber” held the tithes. Many guess that this was two combined rooms about 10 feet by20 feet total – still a small room for the tithes of all the farms of Judea.

 

My point is this: the store-“house”, rather the “storerooms” in the Temple could not have possibly held the tithes of the nation – and it never was intended to do so. 

 

According to Nehemiah 10:37b-38 the great abundance of the Levitical tithe was to be stored by the Levites in the Levitical cities where 98% of them lived most of the time. See discussion at Malachi 3:10-12.

 

Some unrecorded accurate advice must have been given to King Hezekiah. He stocked the storerooms inside the Temple and placed trusted men in charge (31:12-14).

 

Since Croteau stopped his study at 3:12 he missed the extremely important events of 3:15-19 which have a direct bearing of the correct interpretation of Malachi 3:10. If Hezekiah is “the beginning of the use of the storehouse.” We must conclude that it had not been necessary during Solomon’s time and that somebody had erred to assume that all tithes should be brought to the Temple in Jerusalem.

 

Because of 31:15-19 it must be concluded that the storerooms of 3:11-12 were only intended to hold that portion of the tithes needed to feed the current course of Levites and priests as they rotated in and out of the Temple on a 24 week cycle.

 

Second Chronicles 31:15-19 describes the re-distribution of the tithes from the rotting heaps in Jerusalem to the storage facilities inside the scattered Levitical cities. In 31:15 the king had appointed representatives stationed inside the Levitical cites to make sure that everybody got their share – from the great leaders to wives, children and babies. In 31:16-17 the older males received their daily portion from the Temple storeroom. In 31:18 the wives, sons, daughters and babies received their portions while in the Levitical cites. It makes no sense whatsoever to expect the Levites and priests scattered far away throughout the land to travel to the Temple every time they needed food! In 31:19 we are reminded that the priestly males who were still in their cities (23 of 24 courses) also ate tithes which had been stored there.

 

These are common sense conclusion based primarily on the text itself (2 Chron 31:15-19 and Neh 10:37-38). And they fundamentally change the typical interpretation of Malachi 3:10.

 

Nehemiah

 

Croteau: “Nehemiah 10:37 describes the Levites as going out to the towns and collecting the tithes (as opposed to having the tithes brought to them). A priest was to accompany the Levites during their collection, and the Levites, when they brought the tithe back to the temple, were to give a “tithe of the tithes” (Neh 10:38) to support “the priests that minister and the gatekeepers and the singers (Neh 10:39).” (p120)

 

Kelly: Although it has absolutely no effect on our final conclusions, I find this the second most important text where Croteau and I disagree (second only to Heb 7:12).

 

I begin with the proposition that it makes no sense to store the tithes of the nation in one place (the Temple) when those who needed it for food lived far away.

 

The disputed texts are Nehemiah 10:37b-39.

 

Neh 10:37a “And that we should bring the firstfruits of our dough, and our offerings, and the fruit of all manner of trees, of wine and of oil, unto the priests, to the chambers of the house of our God;

 

“We” and “our” from 10:30 to 10:37 refers to all the people except when the people are bringing things specifically to the priests. From 10:35 to 10:37a it is “we” the people who bring only the firstfruits and firstborn to the temple for the priests.

 

In 10:37b “we” the people “bring” tithes, not to the Temple, but to the Levites. This also makes logical sense. 

 

Neh 10:37b “… and the tithes of our ground unto the Levites…”

 

In my opinion this is the norm rather than an aberration imposed by Nehemiah. “We” the people were to “bring” their tithes, not to the temple, but to the Levites. Again this is logical and does not contradict the Law in Numbers 18:21-24.

 

Neh 10:37c “… that the same Levites might have [receive: NAS] [collect: RSV, NIV] the tithes in all the cities of our tillage.” KJV

 

This is the most contested line. Does this mean that the Levites went to all the cities to forcibly collect tithes? Or does it mean that the some Levites now lived in all the cities to minister to them?

 

Croteau interprets 10:37c as a command to send Levites out to the cities and collect the tithes by force. However I understand it to mean that the people were simply to bring their tithes to the Levites who were already living among them.

 

Nehemiah 11:3 tells us that the people, priests and Levites “lived in his possession in their cities.” Nehemiah 11:20-21 repeats this “And the residue of Israel, of the priests, and the Levites, were in all the cities of Judah, every one in his inheritance. And Nehemiah 11:36 says "And of the Levites were divisions in Judah, and in Benjamin."

 

We really do not know exactly where the returned Levites lived. They had lost all 35 of their cities in 722 B. C. and Judah originally only had 13 priestly cities (Josh 21). From 11:3 and 11:20-21 they had been given new “possessions” and new “inheritances” inside Judea. It is possible that some lived in every town. Therefore the text (10:37c) could easily mean “in all the cities of our tillage” –where they already lived.

 

Neh 10:38a “And the priest the son of Aaron shall be with the Levites, when the Levites take [receive: NAS] tithes …”

 

There is no textual justification for concluding that the people had stopped paying tithes.

 

Neh 10:38b “…and the Levites shall bring up the tithe of the tithes unto the house of our God, to the chambers, into the treasure house.” KJV

 

Croteau says “… and the Levites, when they brought the tithe back to the temple.”

 

Thus he concludes that the Levites were to bring ALL the tithes back to the Temple and give the priests a tenth of the tithe which they brought back. First, the text does not say that the Levites were to bring back ALL the tithes. Second, the temple store-rooms could not hold ALL the tithes. Third, again, it makes no sense to store all the tithes one place when those Levites and priests who needed it for food lived far away in other cities. Fourth, what would the priests’ families eat if all their portion of the tithe was stored far away in the temple?

 

Neh 10:39 “For the children of Israel and the children of Levi shall bring the offering [contribution: NAS] of the corn, of the new wine, and the oil, unto the chambers, where are the vessels of the sanctuary, and the priests that minister, and the porters, and the singers: and we will not forsake the house of our God.” KJV

 

Verse 39 is a summary of verses 335-38. In this verse “offering, contribution” refers to both the firstfruits and firstborn offerings brought by the people in verses 35-37a and also the “tithe of the tithe” brought by the Levites in verse 38. It cannot possibly refer only to the tithe because porters (gatekeepers) and singers are Levites and would not receive from the “tithe of the tithe.”

 

Attempting to be honest with what Croteau has written, this is how I perceive his interpretation of 10:37b-38:

 

“The Levites (accompanied by a priest) shall go out to the rural towns of Judea and collect the tithes by force from the people at their towns. The Levites will then bring ALL the tithes back to the Temple.” Croteau

 

This is how I interpret the texts:

 

“The Levites (accompanied by a priest) shall be in the rural towns of Judea where they receive the tithes from the people in their own towns. The Levites will then bring ONLY the priests’ portion of those tithes (the tenth of the tenth) back to the temple as needed to feed the ministering priests. They will keep the other 90% in their own storage rooms.” Kelly

 

Croteau: "Nehemiah 13:5-12 describes the situation in which Nehemiah found the temple and the Levites upon his return from Persia. The Levites had not been receiving their portion and had returned to their fields to survive, thus neglecting the house of God. (13:5-10)

 

Kelly: Croteau fails to point out that the priests had not returned because of lack of food –only the Levites. In my opinion this is the very context of Malachi 3:8-10. The priests had “robbed God” by removing (stealing) the Levites’ portion of the tithes from the storeroom mentioned in Nehemiah 13:5. And God commanded the priests in Malachi 3:10 to bring back those tithes.

 

Croteau: Neh 13:11-13 “… Nehemiah appointed faithful men to oversee the collection [of the tithe] to make sure it was done properly (Neh 13:13). (p120)

 

Kelly: This was a one-time emergency restocking to immediately re-establish temple services.

 

Croteau: “How does the firstfruits command apply?” (p120)

 

Kelly: Since Croteau later points out that tithes and firsfruits were never the same thing, we agree.

 

Croteau: “The problem in Nehemiah’s time was that the people were not bringing in the tithes, so his solution was to go and collect them. “ (p120)

 

Kelly: Pure conjecture with no textual validation.

 

Croteau: “Nehemiah may provide some valuable insight for Malachi 3.” (p121)

 

Kelly: Very much so as stated previously.

 

Croteau: “When Nehemiah left Palestine for a time, the people ceased to tithe, and the temple staff had to leave the temple to support themselves.” (p121)

 

Kelly: The priests, not the people are guilty. The priests removed the tithe from its storage rooms in Neh 13:5 and the Levites returned home—not the priests.

 

Note: I have two chapters with this material on my web site and in my book.

 

Malachi

 

Croteau: “The fact that the Jews were withholding tithes is an indication of a greater disobedience of the nation. … In spite of the people’s sins, God loved them and patiently waited for them to return” (121).

 

“Malachi 3:6 opens with a shift in its addressees; the prophet is now addressing Israel, not just the priests” (121).

 

“When faced with the charge that they had robbed God, the people (naturally) asked, ‘How have we robbed God?’” (123).

 

“The prophet tells the sons of Jacob to bring the “whole” tithe into the storehouse. … it most likely means that the people were giving, but holding back the full amount required” (124).

……………………………………..

 

Kelly: I disagree for the following reasons:

 

First, up to this point the priests have been the guilty party, not the people.  

 

Second, the priests had already been cursed in 1:14 and 2:2.

 

Third, the priests were guilty of stealing their own best vow offerings from the tithe in 1:13.

 

Fourth, the priests were guilty of stealing the Levites’ share of the tithe in Nehemiah 13:5-10.

 

Fifth, God specifically used the pronoun “you” to address the priests in 1:6 and 2:1. If He were to change His addressee, one would expect a specific declaration similar to that found in 1:6 and 2:1 – and there is none.

 

Sixth, Croteau gives none of his own biblical reasons for stating “Malachi 3:6 opens with a shift in its addressees; the prophet is now addressing Israel, not just the priests”.

 

Seventh, the phrase “Even from the days of your fathers ye are gone away from mine ordinances” in 3:7 could just as easily refer to only the priests and not the whole nation.

 

Eighth, “Even this whole nation” in 3:9 could just as easily mean “this whole nation” –of you

priests—every priest in the nation.

 

Ninth, “Bring ye all the tithes into the storehouse” in 3:10 does not apply to the people. They were commanded to bring their whole Levitical tithe to the Levites (Neh 10:37b) and only the Levites were commanded to bring the “tithe of the tithe” to the storehouse (Neh 10:38). Finally the priests had removed the tithe in Nehemiah 13:5-10, therefore a precedent exists.

 

Tenth, and most important, there is no logic in bringing the whole tithe to the Temple when 98% of those who needed it for food lived far away most of the time. There were 24 courses of priests and each normally served one week at a time every twenty-fourth week – 4% total. After subtracting the wives and younger children – 2% total served in the Temple.

 

Croteau:  “The storehouse was an actual building used by the Levites to store all they received, like grains and livestock. The Levites would either use or sell these items as they saw need (124).

 

Kelly: First, due to the fact that 98% of those who needed the tithe for food lived far away, this argument is illogical.

 

Second, Croteau offers no validating evidence that all the tithes were stored in Jerusalem.

 

Third, According to Nehemiah 13:5 the so-called “storehouse” was actually two combined rooms totaling somewhat larger than 20 feet by 40 feet according to Fist Kings 6:6.

 

Fourth, the only “portions” of the tithe required were small enough to be brought to the Temple by the Levites and priests as they journeyed for their one-week rotations. There was no need for a large storehouse.

 

Croteau: The storehouse is referenced in 2 Chronicles 31:10-12 and is not mandated in the Mosaic law but was added on for storage purposes” (124).

 

Kelly: Hezekiah’s temple was also Solomon’s temple. And the tithes of Solomon’s time would have been many times greater than the tithes of Hezekiah’s time or Nehemiah’s time. If God had intended for all the tithes to be stored at the temple, He would have certainly included such storehouses in the original plan. Rather than “adding” storage space by new building, Hezekiah only had to clear out two large rooms. Again compare Nehemiah 13:5 with First Kings 6:6.

 

Croteau: “The invitation to test God is limited to the context of Malachi 3 and should not be universalized” (125).

 

Kelly: I disagree. The whole law was a test. Obey all the law to be blessed; break one part of the law to be cursed per Galatians 3:10 and Deuteronomy 27:26. If one expected God to bless him for tithing, one must also keep all 600 plus commands of the same law.

 

Hebrews

 

Croteau: “The shift at Hebrews 7:10 is a median-level shift since the theological exposition continues utilizing the foundation that was laid in Hebrews 7:1-10 to prove the superiority of Jesus’ priesthood: (132).

 

Kelly: My greatest disagreement with Croteau surrounds Hebrews 7:12 and 7:18. Croteau dismisses the importance of these verses with his above statement which is repeated on page 317 and does not pursue the argument beyond 7:10. All this while he admits that “the theological exposition continues utilizing the foundation that was laid in Hebrews 7:1-10.” The “foundation” of an argument (7:1-10) should produce a “closing” argument (7:11-19).

 

Croteau: “Melchizedek is shown to be greater than Abraham because of Abraham’s voluntary offering to him” (133).

 

Kelly: As discussed in Genesis 14, I believe that Abraham was not giving voluntarily except for the 90%. The 10% was in obedience to the law of the land. A king-priest would expect such an offering.

 

Croteau: Kauffman quote about 7:8: “Even if the ‘he’ refers to Melchizedek, Jesus would still be entitled to tithes because he is made a high priest forever after the order of Melchizedek” 135).

 

Kelly: Although Croteau disagrees with Kauffman, not enough is said about this often-quoted text by pro tithers. Acts 21:20-21 describes these Jewish Christians near A. D. 70 as “zealous of the law.” They were still tithing to the current temple system. And, as God, Jesus Christ was still receiving those Old Covenant tithes.

 

Croteau: “The reference to tithing is an illustrative, secondary statement. There mere description of tithing having taken place at any time does not necessitate its continuation. Description does not equate prescription” (136).

 

Kelly: Agreed. Good point.

 

Croteau quoting Morris: “Three phrases in Hebrews 7:11-19 also place doubt on the validity of continuing to practice aspects of the Mosaic law (7:12, 18, 19) (p137).

 

Kelly: Croteau does not agree with and use this argument.

 

Croteau: “Some have used 7:12 to argue for the abrogation of tithing. … However the flow of thought is broken in Hebrews 7:11 (a median-level shift) and a new section begins. Therefore, while it may be a reference to the fact that the tithe laws cease, it would be an indirect reference not specifically intended by the author” (137).

 

Kelly: I seriously disagree for the following reasons:

 

First, there is no “may be”; it “is” “a reference to the fact that the tithe laws cease.” The theological argument did not cease at 7:10. Croteau himself connects it to the overall argument of 5:10 to 6:20 and 7:1 to 7:25 on page 132.

 

Heb 7:5 And verily they that are of the sons of Levi, who receive the office of the priesthood, have a commandment to take tithes of the people according to the law, that is, of their brethren, though they come out of the loins of Abraham.

 

Second, yes, tithing is secondary but it is also fundamentally important in Hebrews 7 as a key evidence that Christ’s priesthood is legitimate. It is not by accident that 7:5 is the first use of the words “commandment,” “tithes” and “law” in Hebrews. Any subsequent use of these three words in Hebrews must, at the very least, include the concept of tithing. The tithing statute-ordinance of Numbers 18 is THE law which allowed the priesthood to exist by supporting it.

 

Heb 7:11 If therefore perfection were by the Levitical priesthood, (for under it the people received the law,) what further need was there that another priest should rise after the order of Melchisedec, and not be called after the order of Aaron?

 

Third, whatever grammatical disconnect might have occurred in 7:10, it is immediately re-connected in 7:11 by the first three Greek words –therefore (oun) if (ei) on the one hand (men). In other words, one cannot understand 7:11-19 without first understanding 7:1-10.

 

Notice Croteau’s use of “therefore” here. Paul used “therefore” 23 times in Romans. The old axiom tells us to look at what has just been said to see what “therefore” is “there for.”

 

Fourth, while it is true that the word “law” in 7:11-12 refers to the entire Mosaic law, in context it refers to those laws which established and facilitated the Aaronic priesthood –including tithing.

 

Fifth, another very important point missed by Croteau is the phrase “after the order of.” Jesus was not “after the person of” Melchizedek but “after the order of” Melchizedek and his “order” was that of a king-priest. This quotation from Psalm 110:4 occurs 7 times in Hebrews and connects the theological argument at 5:6, 10; 6:20; 7:11 twice), 17 and 21.

 

7:12 For the priesthood being changed, there is made of necessity a change also of the law.

 

Fifth, this (7:12) is not a minor indirect reference. Rather it has major bearing on the argument from 7:1-10. The priesthood failed (7:11). The priesthood must be changed (7:12).Therefore the law(s) of the priesthood must be changed (7:12). And a fundamental part of that law was tithing. The law describing the duties and support of the Aaronic priesthood said nothing about a priest from Judah (7:13-14). The law describing the duties and support of the Aaronic priesthood definitely said nothing about a priest outside of Israel (7:15). The law which controls Christ’s priesthood is eternal (7:16-17).

 

7:18 For there is verily a disannulling of the commandment going before for the weakness and unprofitableness thereof.

 

Sixth, the law was “of necessity” “changed” by being “disannulled.” While the phrase “the commandment going before” may not refer back to 7:5, it certainly has the strength of being the nearest antecedent of the word “commandment”! And that is hard to ignore.

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