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Malachi 3:6-12 (ESV):

6 “For I the Lord do not change; therefore you, O children of Jacob, are not consumed. 7 From the days of your fathers you have turned aside from my statutes and have not kept them. Return to me, and I will return to you, says the Lord of hosts. But you say, ‘How shall we return?’ 8 Will man rob God? Yet you are robbing me. But you say, ‘How have we robbed you?’ In your tithes and contributions. 9 You are cursed with a curse, for you are robbing me, the whole nation of you. 10 Bring the full tithe into the storehouse, that there may be food in my house. And thereby put me to the test, says the Lord of hosts, if I will not open the windows of heaven for you and pour down for you a blessing until there is no more need. 11 I will rebuke the devourer for you, so that it will not destroy the fruits of your soil, and your vine in the field shall not fail to bear, says the Lord of hosts. 12 Then all nations will call you blessed, for you will be a land of delight, says the Lord of hosts.

Many Christians believe that the curse for not tithing and the blessings for tithing mentioned in Malachi 3:6-12 apply to the New Testament Church as well. In other words, they believe that Malachi 3:6-12 teaches spiritual laws (curses/blessings) whose scope encompasses both Testaments, not just the first. In their view, Christians who do not tithe would be under a curse, and those who do tithe would be able to enjoy the promised blessings.

What is the biblical basis for the belief that curses and blessings regarding tithing in the Old Testament still apply to the New Testament Church?


Optional follow-up:

A natural extension of this question would be to ask the same thing about every promised curse and blessing found in the Old Testament. Which Old Testament blessings/curses still find application today?

As an example, Ephesians 6:1-3 comes to mind "Children, obey your parents in the Lord, for this is right. 2 “Honor your father and mother” (this is the first commandment with a promise), 3 “that it may go well with you and that you may live long in the land.”, which is a clear New Testament validation of a blessing promised in the Old Testament (Exodus 20:12). Should we see this as evidence that all promised curses/blessings in the Old Testament still apply? Or should we be more cautious and approach this on a case-by-case basis?

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  • I think you sort of answer you own question, there are some people who "believe that Malachi 3:6-12 teaches spiritual laws (curses/blessings) whose scope encompasses both Testaments, not just the first." This passage is the biblical basis for their belief, it is an interpretive assumption on the other hand, which you point out can be supported by examples like Eph. 6:1-3. They might call people who deny the relevance of tithing laws in the OT antinomian, arguing that although the exact application of OT laws, blessings, and promises is dependent on the exact situation, they are remain true.
    – ninthamigo
    Nov 21 '21 at 17:50
  • @ninthamigo - but the passage doesn't explicitly state that this applies to the New Testament Church. That's an additional claim. What is the biblical basis for that additional claim? Nov 21 '21 at 17:56
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    It's an interpretive leap based on passages like Eph. 6:1-3 that do apply OT laws/promises to the NT church. This is a view I do not hold, but additional arguments would include the fact that Tithing occurs before the law was even given by Abraham to Melchizedek. This article does a better job than me: newcreeations.org/god-promises-benefits-tithing
    – ninthamigo
    Nov 21 '21 at 18:02
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The curse of the fall is already part of the order of the fall. So. it’s more like a reciprocity principle is being taught in this passage. The blessings discovered in giving (order of preservation) is something that even secular non believers can experience. God is a giving God who created us in his image.

We rob God of the opportunity to bless us (as he likes to be bound to his Word) when we live a stingy life - especially in relationship to supporting the kingdom of God. The Bible says, “Do good to all people, especially the household of God.”

God’s blessings are not necessarily material, as spiritual blessings can come upon us that money can’t buy. The tithe (10%) in the New Covenant is more like a guideline. It’s like saying, “honor your parents by talking with them at least once a week.”

In Martin Luther’s Large Catechism (4th commandment) there is an exhortation to support spiritual fathers (i.e. priests) financially. I suspect Luther was just repeating catholic theology on this point. By giving to clergy there are promised blessings attached. The early church (Didache, etc.) considered tithing to church ministries as a good thing to do.

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