Monday, October 5, 2009

Why Christ wanted Malachi 3 in the Book of Mormon

There’s an evangelical website that I go to every once in a while just to see what kinds of discussions they have, and one post they had last week was about passing the plate in church. The comments on the post went back and forth between the topic of the most appropriate way to solicit offerings without being disruptive or how to make it seem less uncomfortable and the topic of tithing.

I had to put my little oar in and testify to the truthfulness of the principle of tithing and the blessings that come from it. (I suppose I also got carried away and started suggesting things they should do. I used a lot of shoulds.)

The blog owner replied to my post, “Can you justify tithing as part of the new covenant? No.”

I read that and thought, surely there must be something in the scriptures about tithing! So I went and looked in the Topical Guide under “tithing” and I also looked under “tenth”. You know what? I only found three instances in the New Testament about tithing. Here they are:
Woe unto you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! for ye pay tithe of mint and anise and cummin, and have omitted the weightier matters of the law, judgment, mercy, and faith: these ought ye to have done, and not to leave the other undone. (Matthew 23:23)
But woe unto you, Pharisees! for ye tithe mint and rue and all manner of herbs, and pass over judgment and the love of God: these ought ye to have done, and not to leave the other undone. (Luke 11:42)
9 And he spake this parable unto certain which trusted in themselves that they were righteous, and despised others:
10 Two men went up into the temple to pray; the one a Pharisee, and the other a publican.
11 The Pharisee stood and prayed thus with himself, God, I thank thee, that I am not as other men are, extortioners, unjust, adulterers, or even as this publican.
12 I fast twice in the week, I give tithes of all that I possess.
13 And the publican, standing afar off, would not lift up so much as his eyes unto heaven, but smote upon his breast, saying, God be merciful to me a sinner.
14 I tell you, this man went down to his house justified rather than the other: for every one that exalteth himself shall be abased; and he that humbleth himself shall be exalted. (Luke 18:9-14)
So I felt kind of frustrated and wondered how there was such an oversight. I couldn’t believe that Jesus would not say something about it.

Well, yesterday in my scripture study I was reading in 3 Nephi and I ran across chapter 24.
And it came to pass that he commanded them that they should write the words which the Father had given unto Malachi, which he should tell unto them. And it came to pass that after they were written he expounded them… (3 Nephi 24:1)
8 Will a man rob God? Yet ye have robbed me. But ye say: Wherein have we robbed thee? In tithes and offerings.
9 Ye are cursed with a curse, for ye have robbed me, even this whole nation.
10 Bring ye all the tithes into the storehouse, that there may be meat in my house; and prove me now herewith, saith the Lord of Hosts, if I will not open you the windows of heaven, and pour you out a blessing that there shall not be room enough to receive it.
11 And I will rebuke the devourer for your sakes, and he shall not destroy the fruits of your ground; neither shall your vine cast her fruit before the time in the fields, saith the Lord of Hosts. (3 Nephi 24:8-11)
For many years I have wondered just why these chapters were included. And now it’s clear to me that Heavenly Father knew that people would try to argue that tithing was no longer a commandment after the Law of Moses had been done away. If it had been done away, Jesus would not have given Malachi’s words about tithing to the Nephites. The repetition of them demonstrated they were still in force.


Kathryn Skaggs said...

Isn't it interesting, that the very LAWS that are ignored in the Bible, even completely discarded, are those laws that have the capacity to bring the children of God, His greatest blessings. Excellent post. Thank you for bringing this out.


Jared B. Luther said...

Interesting point. The Book of Mormon is truly for our day. Perhaps why tithing is not in the "new covenant" is because tithing isn't the goal. Full participation in the Law of Consecration is what the Lord wants for us. Yes, tithing is very important and I have a testimony of it. Assuming tithing really is part of the Law of Moses, the Law of Consecration is like most principles of the Gospel... going the extra mile.