Tithing and Biblical Giving-Part 2

There are several things we are going to deal with in giving, and that is “stinginess” and “abuses in faith.” On the receiving end, “pride” can enter in if you don’t want people to know your needs. Pride is an attribute of Leviathan in Job 41.34 and he is picture of the false messiah and Satan (Ezek 28.17). The first sin in the Bible was pride. Now, does the Lord need whatever we have? In Gen 15.1-21 God makes a covenant called the “Covenant between the pieces.” The ones making this covenant would stand between the two halves of the animals and make a figure 8 between the pieces. Your assets and liabilities were listed and exchanged. God doesn’t need our assets and performed this covenant ceremony alone, while Abraham slept, signifying he only wants our heart, and we benefit, so, he doesn’t need our “assets.” Where is the emphasis put to see where we really stand? By what you have, how you treat it. It is also in how you act when you don’t have what you did have, or don’t have anything at all. Are you going to be caught in pride, or admit to God you are without. You also must come to the place appointed for you to receive, just like the people did in the Scriptures who went to the Temple every day to receive alms or blessings. These concepts can apply to salvation, redemption or anything we may need from the Lord. The emphasis on giving in the Scriptures was not on building buildings. The Temple was built with freewill offerings, but it also was designed and commanded by God. It was a joy for the people to give. When Moses was collecting for the Mishkan, the people gave so much he had to tell them to stop. The question is, how much should you give. The School of Shammai said that you had a “good eye” (generous) if you gave 60%, the School of Hillel said 50%. Shammai said you had a “middle eye” if you gave 50%, Hillel said 40%. Shammai said you had an “evil eye” (idiom for stingy) at 40% while the School of Hillel said 30%. This does not include tithing, leaving the corners of your fields and so on. You were not to appear before God “empty handed” or without a gift when you went to the festivals (Deut 16.16; Acts 24.17). Biblical giving requires the “chachmah” (wisdom) of God and being led by him. In Hag 1.1-11 God commands them to build the temple, but they had forgotten the Torah. Hos 4.6 is a familiar passage, but it is misquoted and misunderstood. It says in literal Hebrew, “My people are destroyed for the lack of the knowledge (notice the definite article there, it shows up in Hebrew but not English). Because you have rejected the knowledge (a specific kind of knowledge) I will also reject you from being my priest, since you have forgotten the Torah of your God, I will also reject your children (the specific knowledge referred to by “the knowledge” is the Torah).” In Isa 58.11-12, Isa 61.4 and 62.10-12 God is calling many to repair (tikun) the ancient ruins, walls and gates like Nehemiah. People perish for a lack of the knowledge, whether it is understanding the festivals, eschatology, immersions, tithing, the Kehilat or whatever. People do not know the Scriptures. The “exceptional” believer today thinks he knows the Bible, but doesn’t know the Torah or the prophets (like in Hosea 4.6). Anybody can tell you what God said, but not everybody can tell you what he means. We are to take care of the physically starving (in the literal, or “peshat” level). But, we are also to take care of the spiritually starving (in the mystical, hidden or “sowd” level). How do we do that? In study groups, pooling money to buy materials for study, building a library or going somewhere to learn. This can be done by going to a good study group with an anointed teacher. You can go to art exhibits, buy books and recordings, go to Israel. Can investing in these things be giving to God? We believe it can, if you are led to buy the correct materials. People invested in the Mishkan and the Temple didn’t they? They brought “dedicated” things to God. People gave themselves as a Nazarite. Personal belongings were given to Yeshua, like a donkey and a colt, and an upper room was given for Passover. What are some other examples?
Now, the first fruits were called “bikurim” and it was the first tithe (ma’aser rishon) given at Shavuot. This is primarily wheat, and this should not be confused with the first fruits (bikurim) of the barley given during the week of Unleavened Bread. In Lev 23.9-14 we have the First Fruits of the barley mentioned. This was the day that Yeshua rose from the dead (1 Cor 15.20-28). In Lev 23.15-22 we have the First Fruits of the wheat harvest given at Shavuot. The coming of the Holy Spirit (the Ruach ha Kodesh) to believers happened as they were gathered in the Temple in Acts 2. Other names for this day was the Feast of Harvest (Exo 23.16); the Feast of Weeks (Deut 16.10-12); Yom ha Bikurim (Num 28.26) and it was also known as the “betrothal” when God gave the Torah at Sinai on that day (Jer 2.1-3). Shavuot is linked to Sukkot because of the tithe and giving: John 4.35; 2 Chr 31.4-7; Deut 16.13-17; Exo 23.14-18; Num 29.12-38; Deut 14.22-29; Exodus chapters 19-20; Ezek 43.1-5 (which is the haftorah for Shavuot, teaching the return of the Kivod and Spirit to the Temple and was read the day the Ruach fell on the believers in Acts 2-remember it was Shavuot). At Sukkot, the ceremony with the willows taken from the Valley of Motza (sent) into the Temple, making a “wind rush” sound as they went was rehearsing Acts 2. Let’s look at the Spring Festivals a little deeper. For a visual, you might want to run a straight line across a piece of paper and right down from left to right what we are going to bring out here. On the 14th of Nisan we have Passover and the lambs were killed. That night begins Nisan 15 and begins the seven days of Unleavened Bread which lasted till Nisan 21. That goes for seven days. The days between the 15th of Nisan and the 21st of Nisan are called the “Chol ha Moed” or the intermediate days. On the morrow after the seventh day Sabbath of this week the barley is waved before the Lord on the festival of First Fruits, the day Yeshua rose from the dead. You begin to count 50 days (Lev 23.16) and you must have seven Sabbaths, or 49 days. The next day is day 50, and Shavuot. It always landed on the first day of the week. During the days leading up to Shavuot, you “counted the Omer” or measure. Remember Yeshua is the first fruits. Counting the Omer brings order to counting it and it is a picture of the resurrection. 1 Cor 15.23 says, “For each in his own order, Messiah the first fruits, after that those who are Messiah’s at his coming.” Shavuot is a connecting link to Shemini Atzeret (concluding eighth day) of Sukkot. The Spring Festivals are not over till Shavuot. This teaches that when Yeshua rose, our work had just begun. It’s not over, more to go. You count the days to the appointed time of Shavuot, “filling the measure.” Each one of us, starting at Bikurim after Yeshua rose, will come in his own order. Shavuot is not over till Shemini Atzeret of Sukkot (2 Chr 31.4-7). Passover is not over till Shavuot. Therefore, Passover isn’t “over” till Shemini Atzeret of Sukkot. The festivals overlap, and all are related to the harvest and the giving at the beginning is linked to the giving at the end. In Heb 9.10 it talks about the “time of reformation.” This would be the end of the Messianic Kingdom (Acts 3.21; Matt 19.28). Ezek chapters 40 through 48 teach a Temple in the Messianic Kingdom, with the korbanot (sacrifices). 1 Cor 15.20-28 talks about when everything is restored. But it all starts at the festival of First Fruits (Bikurim) with the resurrection (1 Cor 15.20). You count the Omer to “fill the measure” of each believer resurrecting in his own oreder. Then you come to the end of the Messianic Kingdom and the last day of Sukkot (seventh) is called “Hoshanna Rabbah” or the great salvation. This teaches the time where we enter the “Olam Haba” or the “World to come” which is also called the “eighth day” or Shemini Atzeret (1 Cor 15.28). So, the harvest is linked to the eschatology of the Messiah, his coming, his death and resurrection, all of it. Bikurim is from “bikar” which means “first born” or dedicated to God. Even the name points to Yeshua. The Sheva Minim are given at Shavuot. This means the “seven species” and they include, wheat, barley, grapes, figs, pomegranates, olives and dates (Deut 8.8). In the Scriptures, every one of these teach concepts relating to the Messiah and the redemption. In Part 3, we will pick up here with the ceremony of the First Fruits (Bikurim) and how it was done by the pilgrims who came up to the festival of Shavuot.

Posted in Articles, Idioms, Phrases and Concepts, Questions, The Tanach, Understanding the New Testament

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