THE TRUTH ABOUT THE BOOK OF MALACHI
Remember the former days when a Holy Day came along and we would sit and listen to an offertory, just before the offering was collected? Quite often a verse would be read from the Book of Malachi to impress upon the brethren that God would curse them if they were skimpy in offerings or tithing. Certainly we all fall short of pleasing God, but I will now present proof that the often quoted scripture from Malachi was not written to correct the brethren, but rather the ministry!
Mr. Armstrong taught us that we sometimes find the answers in the very same place we ask questions. The answer of who Malachi is addressing is very clearly answered in the opening verses of the book. Take a quick tour of the first two chapters and it will become evident that the admonition is specifically addressed to the priests, the tribes of Levi and Judah as well as the master and the scholar. The subject is their failure to honor God on several levels.† In chapter three we see that God was going to purify the sons of Levi like gold and silver, most likely because they were the ones in charge, and thus responsible. Then we read an indictment that someone was not only cheating the hired help, but also abusing widows and orphans; and somebody was also failing to bring the full measure of tithe into the storehouse at headquarters. So who was being addressed here, the leaders, or the systematically oppressed lowly brethren?
A huge part of the mystery has been a misunderstanding of who was responsible for bringing tithes and offerings to the storehouse at headquarters. Did the individual brethren take their own tithe and offerings to the temple, or was it someone elseís responsibility? A careful reading of Numbers 18 and Nehemiah 10 will reveal that this was the responsibility of the Levites and the Priesthood to collect tithe and offerings at the local level and then carry the correct portion to headquarters. Since the book of Malachi specifically reprimands someone for failing to bring the specified tithes and offerings to the storehouse, it is obvious that it was the leaders of Israel who were the selfish and derelict failures who would bring a curse to the whole nation. In fact, the brethren at the local level may have been quite innocent.† The leaders chose to take the best of tithes and offerings for their own personal piggy bank, and then use the remaining leftovers for Temple service!
In this authorís mind, it was entirely inappropriate for the modern day masters and scholars to beat the humble sheep with any scripture that was specifically written to leaders! Duality of scripture suggests that Malachi was written to Church leaders of our day, to correct them for abusing the sheep as well as tithe and offerings!