Adrian’s Midrash (A-Drash)
This Week’s Torah Portion: Terumah “Heave Offering”
1 Kings 5:26-6:13
“YHWH said to Moses, ‘Speak to the people of Israel that they take for me a contribution. From every man whose heart moves him you shall receive the contribution for me’” (emphasis mine, Exodus 25:1-2). The common rendition of this verse reads, “heave offering” instead of contribution; however, if you’re like me, I have no clue what a heave means! Does heave mean something I heave into the air, or does it mean when I take my wallet from my back pocket I heave it up into my lap because it’s so heavy? Yeah, I know I am making fun of the word; however, it seems pretty amazing to me how this simple verse is ignored by so many ministers-Jewish and Christian teachers, alike. The emphasis is usually on all the items of the Tabernacle—the ark, the table of showbread, etc.—not to take away from them, but this simple word and its meaning, to heave is often ignored, which is crucial to understanding the giving of YHWH’s people.
Therefore, this Midrash will take a closer look at this word, Terumah (heave) and discover the true meaning behind the idea to heave. Granted, the amount of space I have to accomplish this is rather small—I promised to limit these A-drashes to a page so that you’ll keep reading them—so, I’ll do my best.
The word Terumah in Hebrew means, contribution or offering, although the idea is to lift up or to separate unto. Thus, a heave offering in this context means to bring up or to lift up (take up) a separate offering, or to set apart a contribution of your own free will and bring it up to the presence of Yahweh. Now, this seems to be a very simple conclusion to the word, and it is; however, the process in which the Body of Believers have made it is far from simple.
YHWH makes it clear in this passage the He will only accept an offering of the people from the willingness of their hearts (NKJV). This has not changed. And, although there is no physical Temple due to its destruction in 70 A.D., there is indeed a type of the temple in the people of God due to the Brit Chadashah (New Covenant) found in Jeremiah the prophet, “Behold, the days are coming declares YHWH . . . I will put my Torah within them” (emphases mine, Jeremiah 31:31a, 33b). Contrary to popular belief, a church building or a synagogue is not, “The House of God;” rather, it is the people of God which are the Temple today. The Apostle Paul (Shaul) piggybacks on the New Covenant when he rebukes the immature Corinthians about their sexual immorality by stating, “your body is the temple of the Ruach HaKodesh . . . so glorify God in your body” (1 Cor. 6:19). What Shaul was concluding was that no longer will the Divine Presence (Holy Spirit) dwell in a temple made of human hands, but the body of believers which were bought with a price (the blood of the lamb) are now made of YHWH as a set apart (holy) temple (according to the New Covenant) and He was going to dwell within them.
Therefore, that being said, how are we to give to YHWH today? If He is the same yesterday, today, and forever (Hebrews 13:8), then what was true in the Tanakh then is, true today. YHWH will not accept an offering from his people without the willingness and desire of their hearts to give it freely. On giving according to the Renewed Covenant, Shaul instructs believers regarding their giving, “Each one must give as he has decided in his heart, not reluctantly or under compulsion, for God loves a cheerful giver” (emphases mine, 2 Corinthians 9:7). If YHWH wanted only the offerings that were given from their hearts to build the temple in the desert, then He would want no less from those that have been set apart as the Body of Yeshua.
Amazingly, those that preach that Yeshua died for the Law and that it was nailed to the cross at his crucifixion, are the same ones who impose on you that if you don’t tithe 10 percent, you are robbing from God according to Malachi (taken out of context, of course). Don’t you think that if He died for the Law, then the LAW of the tithe is also dead? The reality is this: (1) the sacrificial aspects of the Torah were completed because Yeshua was the crucified Lamb of Yahweh which brought atonement and forgiveness to all those that believe on the Father and the one He sent, the Mashiyach! And, (2) because the Temple was destroyed there is no need for the Temple tithe of 10 percent, which is why synagogues don’t have a tithe but membership dues, and righteous offerings are done on your own free will. Thus, the heart of giving found in the Tanakh (Exodus 25:2) is the same as that of the Renewed Covenant (2 Corinthians 9:7; Romans 12:8).
Furthermore, the giving of the believers in Acts 4 is how it should be done today. Let’s take a look: Now the multitude of those who believed were of one heart and one soul; neither did anyone say that any of the things he possessed was his own but they had all things in common . . . and they laid them (their possessions) at the apostles’ feet and they were distributed to each as anyone had need (Acts 4:32-35). Our hearts should be willing to give to those that are in need; sadly, church programs and building projects have left the people in the Body impoverished. Many have the lights turned off while they have to jump through hoops and scale a mountain of red-tape to get a helping hand from the congregation. Shame on us! If we are the Temple of the Ruach HaKodesh, then should we do whatever we can to be a blessing to one another freely and joyfully? Yes, we should not parade around our giving in the streets, or allow our left hand to see what our right hand is doing (basically, letting others know about “how” much we are giving and to whom), but we should give, nevertheless. We should be creative, wise, and prayerful over our giving, but if you lack the willingness of the heart to give, then don’t give. It’s really that simple.
So, the next time you are told that are robbing from God by not giving your 10% to the church, then return the favor and say, “The “Law” was nailed to the cross” and find a congregation of believers where you can be a blessing to others and give cheerfully to the people and the work of YHWH. A congregation (church) or synagogue is simply the gathering of the God’s people not the focus of God’s people. For we (those that are set apart (holy by His righteousness)), are His temple. And for those that would argue for the tithe by quoting, “Give to God what is God’s, and give to Caesar what is Caesar’s” don’t understand that what is God’s is, the willingness of the heart! Therefore, give joyfully! And make it according to what you’ve determined to give in willingness to YHWH in your heart.
Copyright 2010, All Rights Reserved, by Adrian A. Bernal