Tithing and Biblical Giving-Part 4

The word “tzedekah” means “righteousness” and walking upright. The Hebrew word for “saint” is “tzaddik” which is related to tzedekah. Tzedekah is often associated with justice (“mishpat”) and truth (“emet”). The word “tzedekah” is first used in Gen 15.6 with Abraham. Emunah, which is the Hebrew word for “faith” is an attribute of tzedekah, or one who walks in tzedekah. In Deut 24.13 it is associated with an act of kindness. Now, this word will eventually be associated with charity. There are seven biblical commandments addressing charity. They are; Payah, the corners of your field and the gleanings in Lev 19.9; the forgotten sheaves in Deut 24.19; defective grape clusters in Lev 19.10; grape gleanings in Lev 19.10; the poor man’s tithe in Deut 14.28 and loans in Exo 22.25. Added to these, you should not hold back loans as you get close to the Sabbatical year in Deut 15.8-11; the obligation of people who go to Jerusalem to provide for the poor in Deut 16.11 and the provision of leaving produce for the poor in the Sabbatical year in Exo 23.11. Contributions of food were the main form of charity. Money only involved loans, which was also seen as charity. A righteous king is defined as one who has pity on the poor and needy (PSa 27.13). The Woman of Valor in Prov 31.20 stretched her hand out towards the poor. The pious man gives to the needy, and his “righteousness endures forever” (Psa 112.9). Consequently, righteousness is associated with the giving of alms (Prov 10.2). In the book of Tobit, a third century B.C. document, righteousness is beginning to be used as a synonym for “charity” (Tobit 4.10; 12.8-9). The Talmud adopted this saying, “Charity is an obligation based on justice, rather than an optional act based on compassion.” Of course, giving won’t deliver you from death, but faith without works is dead. Now, emunah is the Hebrew word for faith and it means confidence, action. There are three elements to faith. To get a visual of this, draw a triangle. On one side write “mitzva’ot” which means “commandments” or “good works.” On another side write “Da’at” which means knowledge. On the third side, write “ahav” which means love. Now love is translated “charity” in 1 Cor 13.13 and we know charity is associated with “tzedekah” and justice, a social giving for charitable purposes (p. 16 and p. 635, Hertz Daily Prayer Book). All three elements must be working in conjunction to have faith. The Rabbi’s taught that charity and kindness are as important as all the “mitzvot” put together, and so did Yeshua in Matt 22.37-40, where he said that we should “love our neighbor.” Now, love is the same as charity, and charity is the same as the Hebrew “tzedekah” which means something you do that will benefit and assist others. Like immersion (tevilah), this was part of everyone’s daily life. There are many layer’s of biblical giving, and the people kept back some in order to give. 1 Cor 11.1-2 says that we are to imitate the Messiah. It doesn’t need to be “showy” or “gimmicky” which is rampant today because people are encouraged to give “to something” rather than “to someone in need.” Greater love (to benefit or assist) has no man, than he lays down his life (gives) for his friends. God doesn’t need our assets, he wants our hearts, and we benefit. In Part 5. we are going to get into this subject a little deeper. We will begin by talking about tithing, the “terumah”, tzedekah and alms. We will start with Mal 3.8 and talk about how this is a deceptive verse in the way it is translated. The word for contributions, or offerings, is the word “terumah” in Hebrew. So, what is a “terumah?” We will look into the “ma’aserot and the terumot” (tithes and offerings/contributions) and we will see why it is not taught and why so many teachers of the Scriptures don’t know enough about it. Because of that, these teachers threaten people who do not tithe or give offerings with a curse (Mal 3.8-9) for “robbing ” God, but that is not correct and good people have suffered a lot of guilt because their “teachers” are ignorant. We are going to break all of this down and show you the truth in this teaching on Tithing and Biblical giving. Hopefully, it will set some of you free from the guilt that has been put upon you over the years and will shed some light on these verses. Remember, the truth that you know will set you free.

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

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