Adonai said to Moses, “Tell the people of Isra’el to take up a collection for me — accept a contribution from anyone who wholeheartedly wants to give.“-Exodus 25:1
Today, finally, we’re actually going to move into the text of Exodus chapter 25, but we’re only going to progress by one verse.
Two quick points first.
Notice before we’re even given the blueprint of the Tabernacle, we’re first given the construction details of the many pieces of sacred furniture and sacrificial tools and instruments that will be placed inside.
Then afterwards, when we are given the instructions on how the Tabernacle is to be built, you’ll notice that the construction follows an interesting logical progression.
It is to begin from the inside and work its way outward.
So the Holies of Holies, where the ark will be placed, is to be built first.
This will be followed by the construction of the Holy Place where the Menorah, the Table of Shewbread and the Altar of Incense will be placed.
Finally, the outside courtyard, where the sacrificial altar will be placed, is to be erected.
So, in verse one, God commands Moses to collect the necessary materials from the people to be used for the heavy construction about to begin.
However, he adds this one interesting caveat: ONLY ACCEPT A CONTRIBUTION FROM THOSE WHO WHOLEHEARTEDLY WANT TO GIVE.
There is to be no pressure or guilt trips.
Neither is there to be any grand, flowery speech about how if the necessary funds or materials aren’t provided, God’s work for the kingdom will not be fulfilled blah, blah, blah.
Moses, in a calm, cool, and collected manner states the need and in a calm, cool, and collected manner, the need is met, done minus any fuss or high emotions.
As we move forward in the Torah, we’ll be exposed to many different kinds of offerings.
In Hebrew, this particular kind of offering is called a TERUMAH.
In English, it is sometimes called a “heave offering”.
This type of offering always carries the sense of the giver CONTRIBUTING to a common need or cause.
The reason it is called a “heave offering” is because this phrase is meant to be descriptive of how a priest of Israel would present an offering to God.
He would lift up the offering above his shoulders and wave it back and forth like one would “heave” underhanded a bag of grain (except in this case, the “heaving” took place above the head).
Now there is an important distinction I need you to understand.
It is vital that you understand the difference between a “SACRIFICE” and an “OFFERING”.
It is precisely the failure to make this distinction that has led many a church to MISTAKENLY characterize our tithes and offerings as a kind of New Testament version of the Old Testament sacrificial system.
This is NOT true and there is ZERO Biblical support for this.
The difference is this.
First, SACRIFICES are REQUIRED to pay for some violation of the law or used to fulfill some type of celebration or covenant ritual.
Second, most SACRIFICES are burned up.
Notice I said “most”, because it is true that some sacrifices involved the giving of grain, wine or money.
However, by contrast, an OFFERING always has an element of freewill to it.
It had nothing to do with paying a penalty for breaking the law.
A sacrifice is a sacrifice and an offering is an offering and neither the twain shall meet.
These two are COMPLETELY DIFFERENT in purpose and nature.
In addition, if Yeshua has once and for all already fulfilled every requirement of the Torah’s sacrificial system, then that means neither our offerings nor tithes can be classified as a sacrifice.
Our offerings to our congregation is a privilege, in some cases it may be a duty, but Biblically speaking, it is NOT a “SACRIFICE“.
To conclude, a very positive God-principle is established for us right here in the very first verse of Exodus 25.
Give with a joyful heart, freely and out of gratitude or DON’T GIVE AT ALL.
CONNECTING THIS TEACHING TO THE NEW TESTAMENT
“Each of you should give what you have decided
in your heart to give,
not reluctantly or under compulsion,
for God loves a cheerful giver.”
-2 Corinthians 9:7