“Bring All the Tenth Parts Into the Storehouse”
“Test me out, please, in this respect, . . . whether I shall not open to you people the floodgates of the heavens.”—MALACHI 3:10.
1. (a) In the fifth century B.C.E., what invitation did Jehovah give his people? (b) In the first century C.E., what resulted from Jehovah’s coming to the temple for judgment?
IN THE fifth century B.C.E., the Israelites had been unfaithful to Jehovah. They had withheld tithes and brought unfit animals to the temple as offerings. Nevertheless, Jehovah promised that if they would bring the whole tithe into the storehouse, he would pour out a blessing until there was no more want. (Malachi 3:8-10) Some 500 years later, Jehovah, represented by Jesus as His messenger of the covenant, came to the temple in Jerusalem for judgment. (Malachi 3:1) Israel as a nation was found wanting, but those individuals who returned to Jehovah were richly blessed. (Malachi 3:7) They were anointed to become Jehovah’s spiritual sons, a new creation, “the Israel of God.”—Galatians 6:16; Romans 3:25, 26.
2. When was Malachi 3:1-10 to have a second fulfillment, and what are we invited to do in connection with this?
2 Almost 1,900 years after this, in 1914, Jesus was enthroned as King of God’s heavenly Kingdom, and the divinely inspired words at Malachi 3:1-10 were due to have a second fulfillment. In connection with this thrilling event, Christians today are invited to bring the whole tithe into the storehouse. If we do so, we too will enjoy blessings until there is no more want.
3. Who was the messenger preparing the way before Jehovah (a) in the first century? (b) before the first world war?
3 Regarding his coming to the temple, Jehovah said: “Look! I am sending my messenger, and he must clear up a way before me.” (Malachi 3:1) As a first-century fulfillment of this, John the Baptizer came to Israel preaching repentance of sins. (Mark 1:2, 3) Was there a preparatory work in connection with the second coming of Jehovah to his temple? Yes. In the decades before the first world war, the Bible Students appeared on the world scene teaching pure Bible doctrine and exposing God-dishonoring lies, such as the Trinity and the hellfire doctrines. They also warned of the coming end of the Gentile Times in 1914. Many responded to these light bearers of truth.—Psalm 43:3; Matthew 5:14, 16.
4. What question had to be settled during the Lord’s day?
4 The year 1914 began what the Bible calls “the Lord’s day.” (Revelation 1:10) Momentous events were to take place during that day, including the identifying of “the faithful and discreet slave” and the appointing of that one “over all [the Master’s] belongings.” (Matthew 24:45-47) Back in 1914, thousands of churches claimed to be Christian. Which group would be acknowledged by the Master, Jesus Christ, as his faithful and discreet slave? That question was to be settled when Jehovah came to the temple.
Coming to the Spiritual Temple
5, 6. (a) To which temple did Jehovah come for judgment? (b) What judgment did Christendom receive from Jehovah?
5 To which temple, though, did he come? Clearly not to a literal temple in Jerusalem. The last of those temples was destroyed back in 70 C.E. Jehovah does have, however, a greater temple that was foreshadowed by that at Jerusalem. Paul spoke of this greater temple and showed how grand it truly is, with a holy place in heaven and a courtyard here on earth. (Hebrews 9:11, 12, 24; 10:19, 20) It is to this great spiritual temple that Jehovah came for a judgment work.—Compare Revelation 11:1; 15:8.
6 When did this happen? According to substantial evidence available, in 1918.* What was the result? As for Christendom, Jehovah saw an organization whose hands dripped with blood, a corrupt religious system that had prostituted herself to this world, allying herself with the wealthy and oppressing the poor, teaching pagan doctrines rather than practicing pure worship. (James 1:27; 4:4) Through Malachi, Jehovah had warned: “I will become a speedy witness against the sorcerers, and against the adulterers, and against those swearing falsely, and against those acting fraudulently with the wages of a wage worker, with the widow and with the fatherless boy.” (Malachi 3:5) Christendom had done all of this and worse. By 1919 it was clearly seen that Jehovah had condemned her to destruction along with the rest of Babylon the Great, the worldwide edifice of false religion. From then on, the call went out to righthearted ones: “Get out of her, my people.”—Revelation 18:1, 4.
7. Whom did Jesus acknowledge as his faithful and discreet slave?
7 Who, then, was the faithful and discreet slave? In the first century, it began with the small group that responded to the witness work of John the Baptizer and of Jesus, the messenger of the covenant. In our century, it was the few thousands who responded to the preparatory work of the Bible Students during the years leading up to 1914. These ones endured harsh trials during the first world war, but they demonstrated that their heart was with Jehovah.
A Cleansing Work
8, 9. Back in 1918, in what ways did the faithful and discreet slave need cleansing, and what promise had Jehovah made in this regard?
8 Even this group needed cleansing, however. Some who had attached themselves to them turned out to be enemies of the faith and had to be cleared out. (Philippians 3:18) Others were unwilling to shoulder the responsibilities involved in serving Jehovah and drifted away. (Hebrews 2:1) Apart from that, there were Babylonish practices remaining that needed to be eliminated. Organizationally too the faithful and discreet slave had to be cleansed. A proper position of neutrality toward this world had to be learned and applied. And as the world became more and more corrupt, they needed to put up a hard fight to keep moral and spiritual uncleanness out of the congregations.—Compare Jude 3, 4.
9 Yes, cleansing was needed, but Jehovah had lovingly promised concerning the enthroned Jesus: “He must sit as a refiner and cleanser of silver and must cleanse the sons of Levi; and he must clarify them like gold and like silver, and they will certainly become to Jehovah people presenting a gift offering in righteousness.” (Malachi 3:3) Starting in 1918, Jehovah, through this messenger of the covenant, has fulfilled his promise and cleansed his people.
10. What kind of offering did God’s people bring, and what invitation did Jehovah give them?
10 The anointed brothers of Christ and the great crowd who later joined them in Jehovah’s service all benefited from Jehovah’s acting as a refiner and a cleanser of silver. (Revelation 7:9, 14, 15) As an organization they came, and still come, presenting a gift offering in righteousness. And their offering is “gratifying to Jehovah, as in the days of long ago and as in the years of antiquity.” (Malachi 3:4) It was these that Jehovah prophetically invited: “‘Bring all the tenth parts into the storehouse, that there may come to be food in my house; and test me out, please, in this respect,’ Jehovah of armies has said, ‘whether I shall not open to you people the floodgates of the heavens and actually empty out upon you a blessing until there is no more want.’”—Malachi 3:10.
Offerings and Tithes
11. Why are offerings according to the Mosaic Law system no longer required?
11 In Malachi’s day God’s people brought in literal offerings and tithes, such as grain, fruit, and livestock. Even in Jesus’ day, faithful Israelites made literal offerings at the temple. However, after Jesus’ death all that changed. The Law was abolished, including the command to present specific material offerings and tithes. (Ephesians 2:15) Jesus fulfilled the prophetic type of the offerings under the Law. (Ephesians 5:2; Hebrews 10:1, 2, 10) In what way, then, can Christians bring in offerings and tithes?
12. What kind of spiritual offerings and sacrifices do Christians make?
12 For them, offerings are outstandingly of a spiritual kind. (Compare Philippians 2:17; 2 Timothy 4:6.) For example, Paul spoke of the preaching work as an offering when he said: “Through him let us always offer to God a sacrifice of praise, that is, the fruit of lips which make public declaration to his name.” He pointed to another spiritual kind of sacrifice when he urged: “Do not forget the doing of good and the sharing of things with others, for with such sacrifices God is well pleased.” (Hebrews 13:15, 16) When parents encourage their children to enter the pioneer service, they may be said to be offering them to Jehovah, much as Jephthah offered his daughter as “a burnt offering” to God, who had given him the victory.—Judges 11:30, 31, 39.
13. Why are Christians not required to give a literal tenth of their income?
13 What about tithes, though? Are Christians obligated to put aside a tenth of their material income and give it to Jehovah’s organization, comparable to what is done in some churches of Christendom? No, that is not required. There is no scripture stating such a rule for Christians. When Paul was collecting contributions for needy ones in Judea, he did not mention a specific percentage that should be given. Rather, he said: “Let each one do just as he has resolved in his heart, not grudgingly or under compulsion, for God loves a cheerful giver.” (2 Corinthians 9:7) In speaking of those in special ministries, Paul showed that while some were quite properly supported by voluntary contributions, he was prepared to work and support himself. (Acts 18:3, 4; 1 Corinthians 9:13-15) There were no tithes assigned for this purpose.
14. (a) Why does bringing in a tithe not represent our giving of our all to Jehovah? (b) What is represented by the tithe?
14 Clearly, for Christians the tithe symbolizes, or represents, something. Since it is a tenth and the number ten often symbolizes earthly completeness in the Bible, does the tithe symbolize our giving of our all to Jehovah? No. When we dedicate ourselves to Jehovah and symbolize this by water baptism, that is when we give our all to him. From the time of our dedication, we have nothing that is not already Jehovah’s. However, Jehovah allows individuals to dispose of what is theirs. So the tithe represents the portion of what is ours that we bring to Jehovah, or use in Jehovah’s service, as a token of our love for him and of our recognition of the fact that we belong to him. The modern-day tithe does not have to be just a tenth. In some cases it will be less. In others it will be more. Each individual brings what his heart impels him to bring and what his circumstances permit.
15, 16. What is included in our spiritual tithe?
15 What is included in this spiritual tithe? For one thing, we give Jehovah of our time and energy. The time we spend at meetings, in attending assemblies and conventions, in the field service, all of this is something given to Jehovah—a part of our tithe. The time and energy we spend visiting the sick and helping others—again, these are part of our tithe. Assisting in constructing Kingdom Halls and sharing in the work of maintaining and cleaning the hall are likewise a part.
16 Our tithe also includes our financial contributions. With the extraordinary increase of Jehovah’s organization in recent years, financial obligations have increased. New Kingdom Halls are needed, along with new branch facilities and new Assembly Halls, together with the upkeep of those already built. Covering the expenses of those who have made themselves available for special service—often making great personal sacrifices to do so—also constitutes a formidable challenge. In 1991 the cost of maintaining missionaries, traveling overseers, and special pioneers alone amounted to more than 40 million dollars, all of which was provided by voluntary contributions.
17. Just what should we give as our spiritual tithe?
17 Just what should we give as our spiritual tithe? Jehovah does not set a percentage. Nevertheless, a sense of dedication, a genuine love of Jehovah and the brothers, as well as a sense of urgency from realizing that there are lives to be saved, encourage us to bring in our whole spiritual tithe. We feel impelled to serve Jehovah to the greatest extent possible. If we were to stint or give grudgingly of ourselves or our resources, this would be tantamount to our robbing God.—Compare Luke 21:1-4.
Blessed Until No More Want
18, 19. How have Jehovah’s people been blessed for bringing in their whole tithe?
18 Since 1919, Jehovah’s people have responded generously with their time, energy, and financial resources to the needs of the preaching work. They have truly brought the whole tithe into the storehouse. As a result, Jehovah has fulfilled his promise and poured out a blessing until there is no more want. This has been seen most dramatically in their numerical growth. From the few thousand anointed ones serving Jehovah when he came to his temple in 1918, they have grown until today the anointed along with their companions, the other sheep, number many more than four million in 211 different lands. (Isaiah 60:22) These have also been blessed with a continuing growth in understanding of the truth. The prophetic word has been made more sure to them. Their confidence in the outworking of Jehovah’s purposes has been firmly established. (2 Peter 1:19) They are truly a people “taught by Jehovah.”—Isaiah 54:13.
19 Through Malachi, Jehovah foretold a further blessing: “At that time those in fear of Jehovah spoke with one another, each one with his companion, and Jehovah kept paying attention and listening. And a book of remembrance began to be written up before him for those in fear of Jehovah and for those thinking upon his name.” (Malachi 3:16) Of all the organizations claiming to be Christian, only Jehovah’s Witnesses both think upon his name and magnify it among the nations. (Psalm 34:3) How happy they are to be assured that Jehovah remembers their faithfulness!
20, 21. (a) What blessed relationship do true Christians enjoy? (b) As to Christianity, what distinction is becoming clearer and clearer?
20 The anointed remnant are Jehovah’s special people, and the great crowd, flocking to associate with them, reap with them the blessings of pure worship. (Zechariah 8:23) Through Malachi, Jehovah promises: “‘They will certainly become mine,’ Jehovah of armies has said, ‘at the day when I am producing a special property. And I will show compassion upon them, just as a man shows compassion upon his son who is serving him.’” (Malachi 3:17) What a blessing that Jehovah has such tender regard for them!
21 Indeed, more and more the difference between the true Christians and the false is becoming manifest. As Jehovah’s people strive to keep to his standards, Christendom sinks further and further into this world’s morass of uncleanness. Truly, Jehovah’s words have proved true: “You people will again certainly see the distinction between a righteous one and a wicked one, between one serving God and one who has not served him.”—Malachi 3:18.
22. What blessings can we be confident of enjoying if we continue to bring in the whole tithe?
22 Soon, the day of reckoning will come for the false Christians. “‘Look! the day is coming that is burning like the furnace, and all the presumptuous ones and all those doing wickedness must become as stubble. And the day that is coming will certainly devour them,’ Jehovah of armies has said.” (Malachi 4:1) Jehovah’s people know that he will protect them at that time, as he protected his spiritual nation back in 70 C.E. (Malachi 4:2) How happy they are to have that assurance! Hence, until that time let each of us show our appreciation and love for Jehovah by bringing the whole tithe into the storehouse. Then we can be confident that he will continue to bless us until there is no more want.
For further information, see the June 15, 1987, Watchtower, pages 14-20.
Can You Explain?
□ In modern times, when did Jehovah come to the temple with his messenger of the covenant?
□ Who is the faithful and discreet slave, and what cleansing did they need after 1918?
□ What kind of spiritual offerings do true Christians bring to Jehovah?
□ What is the tithe that Christians are invited to bring to the storehouse?
□ What blessings do God’s people enjoy by offering spiritual tithes?
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Our spiritual tithes include offering our strength and resources to build Kingdom Halls
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Because of Jehovah’s blessing on his people, much construction has been needed, including Kingdom Halls and Assembly Halls