Warehouses are convenient places for businesses and households to keep their supplies and inventory. This gives them a place to store everything where it will be out of the way and secure. The Israelites of the Old Testament kept the tithes of food for the priests and Levites in a treasury in the Temple (Malachi 3:10).
God’s provision for the Temple’s priests and the Levites, who were not allowed to own property, included a place to store their surplus goods (Deuteronomy 10:9).
In the Bible, “storehouses” are used to refer to both the Israelites’ communal facility and God’s treasuries.
God’s storehouses, on the other hand, don’t refer to physical locations where He keeps food, goods, or riches; rather, they represent His dominion over nature and the generosity with which He showers his followers.
The Old Testament treasuries of God symbolize the spiritual riches found in Christ and are intertwined with Israel’s covenant relationship with the Lord. You’ll find answers to topics such as is the church a storehouse for tithing and spiritual meaning of storehouse in this post.
Storehouse In The Bible
If you’ve ever used a personal balance sheet or budget, then you’re familiar with the concept of a storehouse. A storehouse is a place for safekeeping your assets and income. It’s something we use to track how well we’re doing financially—not only for ourselves but also for our families and anyone else who relies on us. The Bible commands us to tithe (give 10 percent) from our incomes into God’s storehouses because He wants us to bring Him what we have first before spending it on anything else.
Your storehouse is a place for safekeeping. It’s a place where you can safely store your money, seed and faith to ensure they’re protected from thieves and losses.
Your storehouse is a place where you can safely keep what belongs to God, so that nothing happens to it by mistake. If something happens to your possessions while they’re in your care (or if something happens inadvertently), you will have no excuse because it wasn’t really yours anyway!
GOD commands us to bring our tithes into the storehouse.
God commands us to bring our tithes into the storehouse. This means that if you are a believer, God has given you the responsibility of giving 10% of your income to Him.
God desires us to be generous and faithful in our giving.
God desires us to be generous and faithful in our giving. He wants us to trust him with the use of our money, as well as any other resources we might have at our disposal. God also wants us to be generous with others—both those close to us and those who are far away. When we give generously, we are fulfilling one of God’s greatest commandments: “You shall love your neighbor as yourself” (Matt 22:39).
Our generosity isn’t just about money either; it’s also about time and talent. In Matthew 25 Jesus tells a parable where a master gives each servant different amounts of money so he can see how they respond when he returns later that day expecting payment on his investment. One servant was given five bags full of coins while another was given two small coins called “pennies.” Each servant had something valuable that could be used for profit or trade but because they were using their resources differently, they ended up receiving different rewards from their master when he returned from his trip abroad (see vv 17-28).
In the same way that these servants were rewarded differently based upon how they used what little bit was given them by their master (or “lord”), so too will God reward us for how faithfully we use what has been entrusted into our hands through Christ’s death on Calvary…
Tithing is proof that we trust in His provision, not our own.
Tithing is an act of faith. When we tithe, we’re saying that we trust in God’s provision and not our own. It’s also a way to show gratitude for His grace and provision—the same grace He gives us every day! Tithing is a way to honor Him by thanking Him for all that He has given us.
Tithing demonstrates our trust in God’s provision because it shows us how much He loves us and cares for us as His children. We know that whatever amount we spend will be replaced tenfold (Malachi 3:10).
When you think about it this way, tithing seems like one of the best ways to show your faith!
The Bible doesn’t give exact amounts or instructions on how to tithe.
Tithing is not a commandment; it’s a principle. That means that tithing is an important part of God’s plan for your life, but the Bible doesn’t give exact amounts or instructions on how to tithe. The amount you should give is between you and God, who will guide your giving through His Word, prayer, and wise counsel from other believers.
The Bible does give some general guidelines for generosity: “One person gives freely, yet gains even more; another withholds unduly but comes to poverty” (Proverbs 11:24). Also see 2 Corinthians 9:6-7; 1 Timothy 6:17-19; Deuteronomy 15:10-11.
You should tithe on what comes into your household, not just your bank account.
You should tithe on what comes into your household, not just your bank account.
Tithing is a biblical principle that involves giving 10% of all income to the Lord (Leviticus 27:30). This includes any bonuses, gifts from family or friends, etc. It does not mean you can only tithe on money in your bank account—tithewhenever you receive something that counts as “income.”
You should tithe on all forms of income, including bonuses and gifts.
- Don’t forget to tithe on all forms of income, including bonuses and gifts.
- Give 10% of your income to the Lord regardless of what you earn or how much debt you have (that is just my opinion).
- It doesn’t matter if you make $7,000 per year or $70,000 per year, give generously as much as possible – it is God’s money anyway!
When you put God first in your finances, it blesses you!
When you put God first in your finances, it blesses you!
- Your money will work for you instead of against you. As a Christian, you have the ability to make wise decisions with your money. You can use it to help others, and know that God will provide for all of your needs (Matthew 6:31-33).
- You’ll have peace of mind. When we put our trust in God and love Him more than anything else, we can rest assured knowing He will take care of us (Psalm 27:1).
Your storehouse helps you keep track of what you have and what you owe.
Your storehouse is a place to keep track of all your hopes, dreams, and blessings.
You can also use it to keep track of all your tithes and offerings.
The Bible is full of financial advice for Christians, which is great news for us because we need all the help we can get! The key to understanding this topic is learning how to manage your money in a way that honors God. This will not only give you peace of mind but also protect you from making bad decisions like spending too much or failing to save money for emergencies.
Is The Church A Storehouse For Tithing
In this next installment of our ‘Tithing on Trial’ series, we’ll take a closer look at some of the most frequently-used defenses of tithing. So, let’s assess yet another case made in favor of tithing.
Since Israel tithed to the Temple, it follows that Christians should do the same.
“Bring the whole tithe into the storehouse, that there may be food in my house,” says Malachi 3:10.
Some helpful principles can be gleaned from Malachi 3, but the storehouse cannot be used to justify reintroducing tithing into the Church. Yes. The principle of Malachi 3:10 is about meeting the needs of others, not about giving 10% to a Church, though we should provide ministers and the Church body with food and provisions for their needs. Here are three reasons why the Church is not a repository for tithing.
Only 1% It to the Temple Treasury!
Just one percent of Israel’s increase was placed in the temple’s treasury; the remaining nine percent was kept in Levitical cities, rather than a place of worship.
Nehemiah 10:37-38 tells us to give the tithes of our land to the Levites, because the Levites should receive the tithes in all our farming communities, as well as the firstfruits of our bread, our offerings, the fruit of all kinds of trees, the new wine and oil.
In addition, the priestly line of Aaron shall accompany the Levites when they collect tithes, and the Levites shall bring a tenth of the tithes to the temple of God, to the rooms of the storehouse.
The Israelites were tasked with delivering their tenth to the Levites, who were then obligated to contribute one tenth of that sum to the temple treasury. Israel allocated one percent of its economic growth to the maintenance of its holy temple. I have no doubt that the current percentages are far lower than this one. According to the most recent data on charitable donations, 85 percent of what churches receive is used for administrative costs. Only ten percent (or one percent of Israel’s growth) was allocated to the Priests.
The decree in Malachi 3:10 was not meant to apply to the entire Israelite nation, which is ironic. Since the Levites alone were tasked with providing the one percent of food for God’s Temple, this passage could only be directed at them. Church leaders who happen to read this: in Malachi 3, the people who were receiving the tithe were the ones who were shirking their responsibilities to give. Considering that 85% is used to maintain the company itself, I fear we are in an even worse position than the people of Malachi.
The Levitical cities are first described in Numbers 35:2-3, and references to the tithe and offering storage facilities located there are scattered throughout the Bible.
A storehouse? Did your church construct one?
A storehouse serves a functional purpose in society. Duh! Right! Having a grain storage facility on your farm indicates that you save your harvest for later consumption or planting. Nothing is preserved or distributed from the Church building. Easy to grasp, wouldn’t you say?
Usually, people don’t notice that Malachi 3:10 refers to two different locations. God first makes reference to a “storehouse,” and then later to a different location, referring to it as “my house.” These two alternatives cannot be combined. The warehouse is not God’s dwelling place, and God’s dwelling place is not the warehouse. You probably thought the grain was stashed in the Most Holy Place, didn’t you? Who knows, maybe they even put some of their corn in the Ark of the Covenant. The grain storage facility’s roof did not feature the Shekinah Glory. Bringing material possessions into God’s house was not permitted. Neither could purchases or sales be made there.
Jesus went into the temple courts and chased away the merchants. He threw over the benches where the dove sellers were sitting and the tables where the money changers were working. His words to them were, “It is written, ‘My house will be called a house of prayer,’ but you are making it a den of robbers.
In a mighty move, God drove out every single one of the money changers. No one, honest or dishonest, was spared the consequences. Jesus taught that when people were in God’s presence, they should pray instead of conduct business.
I know I just said that the temple is not the Church building today and that the restrictions of the Temple don’t apply to modern houses of worship, but if that’s the case, then the Church building is not a replica of the Storehouse or the Temple either.
The treasury was not a place of worship or veneration. There would have been no need for a warehouse if there hadn’t been food to put away. In case you’re unfamiliar, the “temple tax” was a mandatory monetary contribution to the Temple’s maintenance and upkeep. There was never a vault where the temple tax was stashed away. And so God doesn’t require a warehouse to inspire benevolent giving on our part.
Finally, a word. Those who follow the New Testament closely will notice that there is no instruction on where to bring tithes and offerings. There was also no mention of a warehouse.
The World Beyond is Not Where We Keep Our Goods
Leave the semantics and grammar behind and consider the spiritual significance of a storehouse instead. Some of you have drawn spiritual parallels between the Storehouse in the Old Testament and the church of today. I can see how most people could have this idea. Let me contrast a church with the Temple and a warehouse to show you two key distinctions.
To begin, God’s abode was a structure (1 Kings 8:27; 1 Chronicles 17:6; Isaiah 66:1-2).
Acts 7:48; John 1:14; 1 Corinthians 3:16-17; Our Very Being Is Now His Dwelling Place
Old Testament believers looked to the temple as God’s dwelling place, but New Testament believers understood that God does not reside in man-made structures. We, ourselves, serve as God’s house of worship.
Second, perishable items should not be kept in a warehouse (Luke 12:16–21; Matthew 6:19).
Incorruptible Treasures in Heaven: Matthew 6:20, Matthew 19:21, 1 Peter 1:3–4
The earthly Storehouse represents the goal of an eternal storehouse; it has nothing to do with a church’s physical worship space or other infrastructure.
In Matthew 6:19–20, Jesus gives us clear instructions about the symbolic meaning of the storehouse, telling us to put our wealth in heaven rather than on earth.
It does a disservice to think of your church as God’s treasury. There are many worthwhile initiatives and activities that originate from certain local churches and their buildings, but I am confident that God did not intend for us to place our emphasis on material heirlooms. To him, it was important that we think about leaving behind something that would last forever. Malachi 3:10 is a reminder to store up wealth in heaven, not to bring a check to the next service.
Spiritual Meaning Of Storehouse
Test Me now in this, says the LORD of hosts, and see if I will not throw open the floodgates of heaven and pour out for you an abundance of blessing until it brims over.
How often have we heard zealous and possibly unscrupulous ministers urge their congregations to bring their ten percent tithe and other “offerings” to the church in the hopes that God will bless them? They tell the congregation that God requires them to put money in the offering plate.
Pastors often cite Malachi 3:10 to “prove” their case. In addition, they assure the congregation that God will provide for them materially if they are willing to tithe. Do you think this passage means exactly this? Does God really want to teach us this through the book of Malachi?
Where do we fit into the larger picture of this passage? Malachi, the last prophet of the Old Testament, wrote his book around 400 B.C., right before the 400 “silent years” that followed before John the Baptist began his preaching (about whom Malachi writes, 3:1). He addressed his letter to the survivors of Israel, who had just emerged from Babylonian exile into a nation again bound by the strict regulations of Moses’ Law.
Who is Malachi’s intended audience?
It has been wisely said that “a text without a context is a pretext.” The passage we are analyzing will make more sense if we learn its background. Read Malachi 3 and you’ll see that the prophet is thinking about “Judah and Jerusalem” (v. 4). In fact, he speaks directly to Israel, saying, “For I, the LORD, do not change; therefore you, O sons of Judah, are not consumed” (v. 6). The “sons of Judah” are flesh-and-blood Israelites who have returned to the land of Israel following the Babylonian exile. Take note that this is not a call to Christians of all nations.
According to Malachi chapter 1, verse 8, God asks, “Will a man rob God?” And yet you’re stealing from Me! Now you might be wondering, “How have we robbed You?” Tithing and offering” In light of this interpretation, the “you” of verse 6 would be the Israelite people. Later in verse 9, he adds, “You are cursed with a curse, for you are robbing Me, the whole nation of you!” Whose “nation” is this, exactly? The Israelites who had been exiled would have come back to settle the land. After that, in verse 12, we are told, “All the nations will call you blessed, for you shall be a delightful land,” uttered by the LORD of hosts. The restored Land of Promise would be a delightful place to live, and the nations of the world would hail Israel as blessed.
Obviously, God is speaking to the Israelites through Malachi at this point. Where’s the basis for applying this to Christians, who come from every nation on earth but are themselves a separate and distinct nation called a “holy nation” (1 Peter 2:9)?
In what other ways are the addressed individuals identifiable?
In the passage from Malachi that we’re looking at, God chastises Israel for not bringing enough “tithes and offerings” (v. 8). This is an allusion to the Mosaic Law, which mandated that the Levites receive a tenth of all produce (cf. Nehemiah 13:10-13).
Where exactly is this “storehouse” God spoke of in verse 10? David the elder envisioned the temple that Solomon constructed in Jerusalem. In the treasuries of the house of the LORD, the silver, gold, and vessels were kept (1 Kings 7:51, ESV). They brought “the contributions, the tithes, and the dedicate things” later, after Hezekiah had prepared “chambers in the house of the LORD” (2 Chronicles 31:11-12). “all Judah brought the tithe of the grain, wine, and oil into the storehouses” (after the exile, in the newly constructed temple) (Nehemiah 13:12). The “storehouse,” as can be seen, does not refer to the local church or assembly, but rather to the outer walls of the rebuilt Temple in Jerusalem.
A second clue suggests the setting is the Jerusalem temple. Test Me now in this, says the LORD of hosts, if I will not open for you the windows of heaven and pour out for you a blessing until it overflows. Then the LORD of Hosts says, “I will rebuke the devourer for you, and it will not destroy the fruits of the ground, nor will your vine in the field drop its grapes” (Malachi 3:10b-11). This would be a reiteration of the Old Covenant promise made by God to Israel through Moses (or the First Covenant). This is what the guarantee says:
The skies above will be opened by the LORD in order to shower your land with timely rain and bless all your labor. And to many nations you will lend, but you will never borrow (Deuteronomy 28:12).
The people of Israel were promised rain and material blessing and even economic prosperity if they followed the rules laid out in the Law of Moses. Since faithful Christians are dispersed across the globe, this cannot be used to group them together. Also, contrary to the promises of health and prosperity given to Israel if they would obey the Mosaic Law, we know that many true and obedient Christians are poor, despised, rejected, and persecuted (cf. Leviticus 26; Deuteronomy 28).
Again, it’s clear that the physical nation of Israel is being referred to when the passage says, “All the nations will call you blessed, for you shall be a delightful land” (Malachi 3:12). When the rest of the world sees how abundantly God has blessed this holy nation that has obeyed the Lord, they will consider Israel blessed. The Old Covenant, or the Law of Moses, would also bring prosperity to the land itself. Christians constitute a “sacred people” (1 Peter 2:9). They are believers from “every tribe and tongue and people and nation” (Revelation 5:9), so the issue of God blessing a physical nation that resides in a given earthly land is completely irrelevant.
It’s also worth noting that the New Testament never once commands Christians to give 10% of their income to the church. There is no indication that the tithe (10%) was to be bound on Christians, even though Jesus rebukes the Pharisees for their tithing practices (Matthew 23:23-24). In fact, you may be aware that the ancient Israelites were commanded to tithe not just 10% but 20% of their income to the Lord, with a further 10% tithe due every three years. That works out to about 23% annually.
Those who call themselves Christians are urged to give to the Lord and to the needs of others in proportion to what God gives to them (see especially 2 Corinthians 8-9; 1 Corinthians 16:1-2; Galatians 6:6). There is no evidence, however, that this was intended as a tithe. Sadly, millions of people have rationalized their greed by citing the tithe. People believe that if they give only 10% of their income to charity, God will be pleased. And yet, they take great pleasure in their enormous salaries and rationalize lavishing thousands upon thousands upon such things as automobiles, homes, wardrobes, vacations, and whatever else the world has to offer. (For more on this topic, check out our extensive research on Christian tithing.)
To avoid eisegesis, let’s engage in exegesis.
We’ve all heard the admonition to engage in “exegesis,” a Greek word for interpretation grounded in a specific Biblical text. “Eisegesis,” on the other hand, is an interpretation that “reads into” the text what we want it to read. It’s a form of dishonesty toward the Bible’s original text that we must reject. As we’ve seen, understanding the intended audience, reading a passage in its original biblical context, and analyzing every verse, phrase, and word are all necessary to arrive at the intended, God-given meaning.
Let’s stay away from the dishonest interpretation of the Bible that’s common today. It was an issue even in the very first century. The apostle Peter issued a stern warning, writing, “As also in all his [Paul’s] letters, speaking in them of these things, in which are some things hard to understand, which the untaught and unstable distort, as they do also the rest of the Scriptures, to their own destruction” (2 Peter 3:16). This demonstrates the seriousness of misunderstandings. Any attempt to twist God’s Word is a serious offense. Peter warns that the unlearned and unstable (including pastors, teachers, preachers, ministers, priests, etc.) “distort” the Scriptures “to their own destruction.” To their own detriment, these individuals “twist” (ESV, RSV, NKJ), “wrest” (KJV), “misinterpret,” (NEB), or “distort” (NASB, NIV, Philipps) the Bible.
The verses we’re working with in Malachi 3:12 should not be treated like that. We must not treat any other part of the Bible with such disrespect. Let us treat the Word with respect (2 Timothy 2:15) and refuse to add to it or take away from it any meaning other than what God intended!