“When I shut up the heavens so that there is no rain, or command locusts to devour the land or send a plague among my people, if my people, who are called by my name, will humble themselves and pray and seek my face and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven, and I will forgive their sin and will heal their land.” (2 Chronicles 7:13-14)
This passage from 2 Chronicles is the Old Covenant in a nutshell. When the Israelites sinned, God would punish them by crippling the land, specifically by withholding rain and commanding pests to devour their crops. If and when they turned back to Him, He promised to forgive their sin and bless them. He would reverse the punishment and heal the land, sending abundant rain and preventing pests from devouring their crops.
Christians today live under the New Covenant, which works in a completely differently manner. When Jesus died on the cross, He atoned for the sins of all mankind once and for all. There is no longer punishment for unforgiven sin. And where there is no punishment, there is no reversal of punishment.
“Bring the whole tithe into the storehouse, that there may be food in my house. Test me in this,” says the Lord Almighty, “and see if I will not throw open the floodgates of heaven and pour out so much blessing that there will not be room enough to store it. I will prevent pests from devouring your crops, and the vines in your fields will not drop their fruit before it is ripe,” says the Lord Almighty. (Malachi 3:10-11)
Does this scenario from Malachi sound familiar? It’s the Old Covenant in a nutshell. God punished the Levites for their sin of failing to bring the whole tithe of the tithe into the storehouse, which He commanded them to do in Numbers 18:26. If and when they began obeying Him, He promised to forgive their sin and bless them. He would reverse the punishment and heal the land, sending abundant rain (by throwing open the floodgates of heaven) and preventing pests from devouring their crops.
Malachi 3 has everything to do with punishment for sin and forgiveness of sin for God’s people living under the Old Covenant. It has nothing to do with local churches and ten percent of all Christians’ income and financial blessings in return for compulsory giving for God’s people living under the New Covenant.
Both of these passages make for great sermons, but only when they’re misinterpreted. Not every passage of scripture in the Bible applies to Christians living under the New Covenant. A little discernment goes a long way towards understanding the Bible and understanding the truth.
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