On Giving

Offerings as in Sowing

The bible mentions 2 main types of ‘givings’ or sacrifices.
The first type is a “restoration offerings”. It is divided in 4 categories, each meant to restore our closeness to God through a specific atonement to repair specific breaking of the commandments. They form the basis for being allowed into, and partakers of God’s Kingdom.
The second type is a “thanksgiving or sowing offering”. It is divided in 4 categories, each meant to grow us in our relationships with others (including God) by honouring them in specific ways (Parashah #24). They form the basis for establishing God’s Kingdom in our lives and on earth.

Follows the 4 areas of “sowing offerings” and their workings:

  • Great Terumah offering or firstfruit offering: This offering was meant to be lifted up to God Who would then give it to the priests so in NT terms it is to be given to the man/woman of God in your life, or even preferably to your spiritual parent. The amount given is meant to be part or all of the first of what you get through your work (like from your first worked hour of the week for example, or from the first of whatever you get). It used to be done by bringing it in hand, so as to lift it to the Lord then pass it on to the person of God, but the lifting of it to God could be done without being in any one’s presence (it can be lifted up physically or in prayers and then given/transferred). Then person whom it was given to takes it, lift it to God and bless the offering and the one who has given it, again this could be done from afar. It seems to me that the giver chooses when to give the great terumah. Since it represents the first you get of something, it should be given as it is received, for example par or whole of the first worked hour of the week, part of the first monthly payment, etc. It’s between the giver and God, so no one should tell you when and how much. 

    The result is that all the rest of your produce will be blessed.

  • Tithes: There are 3 tithes mentioned in the bible.

    1. First 10% for Yeshua to bless the congregation/ministry;

    2. 2nd 10% to be set aside on years 1, 2, 4, 5. This tithe is to be spent on self or family to enjoy life;

    3. 3rd 10% to be given on years 3 and 6. It is the tithe of the poor and therefore to be given to the poor for them to enjoy a better life.

Tithing is out of what we produce, out of the work of our hands; when it’s a natural produce it can be turn into money, with a fifth (20%) added to its value, if the person wants to keep it. Through tithing  God can bless us personally and bless others through us. Tithing is what opens the fullness of God’s blessing for us. But then to receive that blessing we need to trust the Lord in it.
The last Jubilee year was 2017, making the year 2018 year 1 for calculating tithing.
It’s interesting to note that the year 7, year of rest for the land is not mentioned in the tithing due to the fact that the land was set to rest on that year. But the other offerings not based on crops were still going on which leads me to think that tithing still carry through on year 7 for the 2nd tithe as long as it’s unrelated to cultivating the land. 

  • Alms: It is giving to the poor, separate to the 3rd tithe. This is a compassionate giving, you see a need and you meet it for the person. It is done without letting others know. Since it is about meeting the needs of others, this offering can take lots of different forms, ‘time’ being one of them.
    Giving to the poor will not grow you, we are to do it to show compassion, and we will get this back, but it won’t grow your means to be able to give more.

  • Seeds: This is another 10% coming out of your gross income and should also incorporate a portion of your time. It is for you to put aside to grow.
    This sowing can be done in Christian enterprises, through savings, etc. It also includes the time spent preaching the good news. In the NT it is mainly understood as promoting the Kingdom of God and its righteousness (right ways).
    When done in accordance to the Word it will yield a 30, 60 or 100 fold return.

One of the main topic in the bible, with over 2000 scriptures to it, concerns possessions and finances. This is to show how important it is to God. Why? because it is important to us and as a loving Father that makes it important to Him. And therefore He wants us to know how to profit (also to gain or ascend) and to be prosperous so that we and our descendants can put this area to rest to focus on other things (Isa. 48:17; Psa. 25:12-14). The prosperity that the Word speaks about is not only spiritual or concerning health or relationship matters, but it speaks also of material wealth. 3 Joh. 1:2 is very clear and shows that prosperity and health are not the same but in addition to one another. And the prospering mentioned here means to get help whilst on our journey, to succeed in reaching our goals and also to succeed in business affairs. And it is all linked to the state of our soul, hence the importance of the renewal of the mind, but this is another topic.

The Word states that if we seek the Lord, call upon Him, declare all the time with joy His greatness and the fact that He takes pleasure in us being prosperous (shalom: health, peace, wealth) and, as we turn from our evil ways to follow His and His thoughts then He’ll make us prosperous (Isa. 55:6-13; Psa. 35:27). Then this prosperity that God pours in is for us to give out, it’s for us to become God’s wealth distribution centres of sort. And we are to boast in what He’s doing for this is the foundation of the covenant we have with Him (Deu. 8:18; Gen. 26:4) through the promise given to Abraham (Gal. 3:29).

God wants to bless us so that we can be a blessing to others, and He’s looking everywhere to find a people true to His ways to empower them to bless others at no extra cost to them (2 Chr. 16:9; Pro. 10:22).

To be true to His ways means to have the right approach about money and possessions:

  1. This starts by realising that they aren’t evil in themselves, the love of them is the problem, in other words greed and coveting (1 Tim. 6:10). As a matter of fact, as seen before God takes pleasure in us being prosperous in all possible ways and Jesus Himself had wealth (Joh. 12:6; 19:23-24).

  2. Then it follows with the understanding that there are 2 kingdoms opposed to one another and at play around us and in our lives: the kingdom of God and the kingdom of darkness (Mat. 6:33; Mat. 12:25; Col. 1:13). The former is based on the principles of sowing and reaping, and where the things sold or given are to help others; the latter is based on the Leviathan’s state under the Babylonian ruling, that is buying, selling to help yourself, and where the things sold or given are to empower yourself at the expense of others. In the kingdom of God being indebted and slavery are a temporary state, with an elite class ruling as in serving the others whilst in the kingdom of darkness these states are more of a permanent condition with an elite class ruling as in controlling the others (Luk. 22:25-26).
    The word is clear in stating that God is a giver (Joh. 3:16; Joh. 10:10), whilst the enemy is a taker. So in the kingdom of darkness people work for a living, the help
    provided by the governments being a way to keep the people in check and under control. In the kingdom of God people have their needs taken care of by God Himself (Gen. 22:14; Luk.11:5-13; Php. 4:19), the persons working for a giving to thank God for looking after them and to help with the needs of others (Pro. 11:24-26; Eph. 4:28); this being part of how God provides for everyone’s needs: some get much, others less, but all end up with enough for themselves (Exo. 16:16-18)

  3. Finally we have to understand that we are to change where and how we store our finances and possessions. We are not to store them in the world anymore but in Heaven, so in another word we are to change for a new bank where God is in charge (Mat. 6:19-24; Luk. 12:32-33). To do this we are to give our raised offerings (terumah), our tithes and be generous in helping others (Pro. 3:9-10; Mal. 3:8; Mat. 19:21; Luk. 12:32-33). And as we do this everything else will be added onto us (Mat. 6:33-34; Luk. 6:38; Mal. 3:10-12). For giving is an exchange; we give what we have in order for God to release what He has for us (Gal. 6:6-10). And God encourages everyone to give (Mat. 10:8), for everyone has something to give (1 Pet. 4:10), and to give cheerfully or in other words to be happy to do so (Deu. 26:10-11; Jam. 1:16-17; Luk. 6:38; 2 Cor. 9:6-7) for if not you won’t get anything back out of what was given (the love that God has for the cheerful giver means that He’ll provide for the giver’s needs).

For each type we sow, or give, we reap or receive a different produce, each being stored in heaven, all being calculated from the gross income (God coming first in everything, since everything belongs to Him):

  • Great Terumah offering or firstfruit offering: there are a lot of different terumot offerings mentioned in the bible (about 100 occurrences for the word terumah, Strong’s H8641, 70 occurrences for the words firstfruits Strong’s H1061 and H7225, most of them with different values given). Sometimes they are once off for specific temporal requirements from God, with specific quantities; at other times they are ongoing without any specifics mentioned. Sometimes they also are dependent on specific places or structures (the land of Israel; the Temple; etc.).

    The word terumah comes from the Hebrew word ‘rum’ meaning to be high, exalted, to rise or to lift up; for this is the action involved with this type of offering.

    The focus here will be on what is known as terumah gedolah or great terumah which was a voluntary gift offering to the priests (Deu. 18:4). The bible says that this was to be set aside immediately as the first and the best to return to God as a voluntary offering of praise and thanksgiving. It came just before the tithes and was usually a lot smaller in quantity.

    Rabbis use to teach that there was no minimum quantity to be given or kept. It was all based on the person’s generosity (Mishneh Torah, Sefer Zeraim book, Terumot 2, Halachah 2-4). It was said in regard to giving the great terumah that separating 1/60th was a parsimonious measure, 1/50th was an average measure and that separating 1/40th for the great terumah was a generous measure (the Hebrew expression referring to a generous person as one having good eyes or with light in their eyes, having light in their life). This said the measure was to be just an approximation.

    The produce from this sowing is a blessing to the rest of what the person is to get or/and of who the person is (Num. 18:11, 19; Neh. 10:37; Eze. 48:10; Rom. 11:16; Pro. 3:9-10).

    So when you give the great terumah, all the rest of what you get is set apart and holy, and also all your barns (where you store your produce, i.e. bank accounts for most people) will be full (well provisioned) and all your wine presses/vats (revelations/understanding, and also fresh anointing from God) will overflow.

    The blessing is on and from this offering type. This offering was for the priests and was meant to be lifted up to God, Who would then give it to the priests.

    This offering is to be given with a willing heart, or by those with a willing heart as they feel they should or want, and it is to be done cheerfully.
    In NT terms it is to be given to the man/woman of God in your life, or even preferably to your spiritual parent. The amount given is meant to be part or all of the first of what you get through your work (like from your first worked hour of the week for example, or from the first of whatever you get). It used to be done by bringing it in hand, so as to lift it to the Lord then pass it on to the person of God, but the lifting of it to God could be done without being in any one’s presence 
    (it can be lifted up physically or in prayers and then given/transferred). Then person whom it was given to takes it, lift it to God and bless the offering and the one who has given it, again this could be done from afar. It seems to me that the giver chooses when to give the great terumah. Since it represents the first you get of something, it should be given as it is received, for example par or whole of the first worked hour of the week, part of the first monthly payment, etc. 

The result is that all what you do (as long as in agreement with scripture) and all the rest of your produce will be blessed so that God can bless others through you (Gal. 3:29; Deu. 8:18; Gen. 26:4; Pro. 11:24-26). Since this giving is associated with generosity, and is between the giver and God, it makes sense that it’s left to the discretion of the person how much they want to give and when.

[As a side note, this is separate and not the same as the Feast of Firstfruits (Yom Bikkurim) which is centred around the temple (now destroyed), and comes once a year. The setting apart of that offering use to come before setting apart the great terumah].

  • Tithes (Gen. 14:19-20; 28:20-22; Lev. 27:30-34): There are 3 tithes (tithe meaning a 10th) mentioned in the bible.

  1. First 10% for Yeshua to bless the congregation/ministry (Num. 18:21, 24);

  2. 2nd 10% to be set aside on years 1, 2, 4, 5 (Deu. 14:22-27). This tithe is to be spent on self or family to enjoy life;

  3. 3rd 10% to be given on years 3 and 6 (Deu. 14:28-29). It is the tithe of the poor and therefore to be given to the poor (that included the Levites), to the widow, to the orphan and the foreigner for them to enjoy a better life.

Tithing is out of what we produce, out of the work of our hands; when it’s a natural produce it can be turn into money, with a fifth (20%) added to its value, if the person wants to keep it (Lev. 27:31).
According to the rabbis every offering was to be given in their specific order. The first tithe comes after the great terumah was given and the second tithe or tithe of the poor comes after the first tithe. What’s given is on the net of what is left in each instance (Mishneh Torah, Sefer Zeraim book, Terumot 2, Halachah 2-4).
For example, if a person gives 2.5% (1/40th) of their total income as great terumah, then the first tithe is on the remaining 97.5%, not on the total of 100%, and the second tithe or the tithe of the poor (depending on the year) is on the remaining 87.75%. In numbers, if you get $100 and decide to give $2.5 as great terumah, then your first tithe would be $9.75, and your second or third tithe would be $8.775. This said I haven’t personally found explicitly that it had to be this way, and the rabbis didn’t punish anyone who wasn’t giving in the right order, which leads me to think that it doesn’t matter that much. After all it’s all about where a person’s heart is in regards to generosity (keeping with the previous example, the other way to do it would be to give out of $100 respectively $2.5, $10 and $10).

Through tithing God can bless us personally by providing fully for our needs, enriching us so that we can be generous to others. In conjunction with the great terumah, tithing is what opens the fullness of God’s blessing for us and God invites us to test Him on this (Mal. 3:10). But then to receive that blessing we need to trust the Lord in it.
The last Jubilee year was 2017, making the year 2018 year 1 for calculating tithing.
It’s interesting to note that the year 7, year of rest for the land is not mentioned in the tithing due to the fact that the land was set to rest on that year (Lev. 25:4-7). But the other offerings not based on crops were still going on which leads me to think that tithing still carry through on year 7 for the 2nd tithe as long as it’s unrelated to cultivating the land. 

 

  • Alms: It is giving to the poor specifically (that didn’t include the Levites) and is therefore separate to the 3rd tithe. This is a compassionate giving, you see a need and you meet it for the person. It is done without letting others know. Since it is about meeting the needs of others, this offering can take lots of different forms, ‘time’ being one of them. It is meant also to be done in secret (Mat. 6:1-4).

    Giving to the poor will not grow you, we are to do it to show compassion, and we will get this back (Pro. 19:17), unless you make a show of giving, but it won’t grow your means to be able to give more.

Seeds: This is another 10%, coming out of your gross income and should also incorporate a portion of your time. It is for you to put aside to grow. It represents what the landowners would keep aside as grain to sow their fields again. This amount is calculated from what was necessary to sow a field from its produce in a sustainable way before the ‘green revolution’. From this setting aside, it’s easily understandable why it needs to be from the gross, for if it was not so a person would have less and less to sow after each passing year.
This sowing can be done in Christian enterprises, through savings, etc. It also includes the time spent preaching the good news. In the NT it is mainly understood as promoting the Kingdom of God and its righteousness (right ways).
When done in accordance to the Word it will yield a 30, 60 or 100 fold return (Mat. 13:3-8, 18-23).

Comments are closed.