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31. Concerning Contributions (Exodus 35:1-36:7)

Then the LORD spoke to Moses, saying, “Tell the sons of Israel to raise a contribution for Me; from every man whose heart moves him you shall raise My contribution. And this is the contribution which you are to raise from them: gold, silver and bronze, blue, purple and scarlet material, fine linen, goat hair, rams’ skins dyed red, porpoise skins, acacia wood, oil for lighting, spices for the anointing oil and for the fragrant incense, onyx stones and setting stones and setting stones, for the ephod and for the breastpiece. And let them construct a sanctuary for Me, that I may dwell among them” (Exodus 25:1-8).

Then Moses assembled all the congregation of the sons of Israel, and said to them, “These are the things that the LORD has commanded you to do. For six days work may be done, but on the seventh day you shall have a holy day, a Sabbath of complete rest to the LORD; whoever does any work on it shall be put to death. You shall not kindle a fire in any of your dwellings on the Sabbath day.” And Moses spoke to all the congregation of the sons of Israel, saying, “This is the thing which the LORD has commanded, saying, ‘Take from among you a contribution to the LORD; whoever is of a willing heart, let him bring it as the LORD’S contribution: gold, silver, and bronze, and blue, purple and scarlet material, fine linen, goats’ hair, and rams’ skins dyed red, and porpoise skins, and acacia wood, and oil for lighting, and spices for the anointing oil, and for the fragrant incense, and onyx stones and setting stones for the ephod and for the breastpiece. And let every skillful man among you come, and make all that the LORD has commanded’” (Exodus 35:1-10).


There is a wide-spread attitude among Christians that the Old Testament concept of giving differs from that of the New Testament as day differs from night. This is only partially true. It would be more accurate to think of Old Testament giving as differing from New Testament giving as Old Testament salvation differs from New Testament salvation. While there are distinctions between the old dispensation and the new, so there is continuity. In this account of the generous, free-will offerings of the Israelites, we will seek to identify those points of continuity with the New Testament teaching on giving. In this way we will focus on the application of this text to our own lives.

To accomplish this purpose I will begin by characterizing the contributions of the Israelites. We will make seven observations about the nature of Israel’s giving, as described by Moses. We will then briefly compare the giving of the Israelites with that of the Corinthians in the New Testament. Finally, we will seek to apply what we have seen to our own giving in our own day and time.

The importance of this portion of Scripture can be discerned from several important factors. First, the importance of this passage can be discerned from its proportions. Note that the commandments pertaining to the construction of the tabernacle (Exod. 25-31) and the account of its being carried out (Exod. 35-40) take up 13 chapters out of a total of 40 for the entire book. This is approximately the same amount of space devoted to the deliverance of Israel from Egyptian bondage. Thus, the construction of the tabernacle is of great importance in the Book of Exodus, as judged by the space devoted to it.

Second, the significance of our passage can be determined on the basis of its position in the book. In a word, the text we are considering (that is, chapters 35-40)121 is the conclusion to the Book of Exodus. We should no more minimize the importance of this conclusion than we would the conclusion to any book. The events of the entire book are all seen as having their importance in relationship to the goal of the book, that to which the author brings us as the fulfillment of the account and its completion.

Third, the significance of this text is evident by its principle theme. The theme of this section is the presence of God in the midst of His people. The final verses of chapter 40 describe the cloud descending to cover the tabernacle and the glory of the LORD filling it. That which Moses valued most highly, for which he petitioned God most fervently—the presence of God in the midst of His people—is the major theme of our passage. It is for these three reasons, then, that we must conclude that we have come to the high water mark of the Book of Exodus. Let us listen well to the words of this text.

The Structure of the Passage

We are now dealing with the concluding section of the Book of Exodus. In chapters 1-18 we have read of the plight of the Israelites, the call of Moses, the plagues on Egypt, Israel’s escape from Egypt, and her arrival at Mt. Sinai. Chapters 19-24 detailed the giving of the Law from atop Mt. Sinai, including the ratification of the Mosaic Covenant. Chapters 25-31 then contain the design specifications and instructions for the construction of the tabernacle, by which means God will dwell in the midst of His people. The fall of Israel in the incident of the golden calf, the breaking of the covenant, and Moses’ mediation for the people are reported in chapters 32-34. Chapters 35-40 conclude by describing the construction of the tabernacle, climaxed by God’s descent into the midst of the camp.

In outline form, chapters 35-40 can be summarized as follows:

      A. Contributions—the offerings of the Israelites for the tabernacle: Exodus 35:1—36:7.

      B. Construction—the making of the tabernacle: Exodus 36:8—39:43.

      C. Consecration and condescension—the dedication of the tabernacle and God’s occupation of it: Exodus 40:1-38.

This message will focus on the contributions of the Israelites, as described in chapter 35 and the first 7 verses of chapter 36. The final two messages will deal with the construction and the consecration of the tabernacle.

Israel’s Offerings

The events of chapters 35-40 can only be understood in the light of God’s instructions concerning the construction of the tabernacle, given to Moses as recorded in chapters 25-31. There is a great deal of similarity between these two accounts, as has been observed.122 The first nine verses of chapter 25 serve as the introduction to God’s instructions concerning the tabernacle, including the divinely appointed means of providing the needed materials from which the tabernacle, its furnishings, and the priestly garments will be made.

One may very well wonder why God would take so much (“valuable”) space to report to us God’s instructions in chapters 25-31, only to repeat nearly the same words in chapters 35-40 to report that these commands were carried out. Let me suggest that this repetition is by divine design, and is intended to convey an important truth, a truth worth the repetition.

The repetition of chapters 25-31 and 35-40 underscores the fact that those things which God had commanded in chapters 25-31 were carried out to the letter. What is even more amazing is that God’s instructions were willingly and precisely carried out by this people who were “stiff-necked” and rebellious. All this happened in spite of the “fall” of the nation, the account of which interrupts the two major sections dealing with the tabernacle. The lesson to be learned is this: WHAT GOD PURPOSES TO DO, HE WILL DO, AND JUST AS HE SAID HE WOULD DO IT. This can be seen in all of the fulfilled prophecies of the Bible. Better yet, we can be assured that those unfulfilled prophecies of the Bible will be fulfilled to the letter. What God says, He will do. That is a lesson well worth a little repetition.

In comparing chapters 25-31 with chapters 35-40 it is interesting to note that just as the first portion ended with instructions regarding keeping the Sabbath (31:12-17), so the first verses of the latter portion begin with Sabbath instructions (35:1-3). The Sabbath was, of course, the sign of the covenant, and thus a very significant observance. It is also possible, as Keil and Delitzsch suggest,123 that this command is given here to insure against Israel’s violation of the Sabbath in the construction of the tabernacle. The undertaking of such a project might have seemed so holy that a Sabbath rest could be set aside to work on the construction of the tabernacle.

Characteristics of Israel’s Contributions

There are many details concerning the contributions of the people in this account, but for our purposes we shall attempt to focus our attention on some of the more general characteristics of the contributions to the tabernacle. We shall then compare these characteristics of Israel’s giving with the giving of the Corinthians in the New Testament. Consider the following characteristics:

(1) Israel’s contributions were voluntarily given. There is an interesting comment given to us in verse 20 of chapter 35 which reinforces the voluntary aspect of Israel’s gifts. After Moses had given God’s instructions to the people, explaining the opportunity that each had to make a contribution, he dismissed them: “Then all the congregation of the sons of Israel departed from Moses’ presence” (Exod. 35:20). It is not until later, after the people had been dismissed, that the people began to bring their offerings to the Lord.

A number of modern-day fund-raisers would never think of dismissing a congregation until after they had made a commitment to give a particular sum. They would have pressed the Israelites to make an on the spot commitment. They would have passed out pledge cards to sign, so that the enthusiasm of the moment was not lost. Moses dismissed the people, so that they had time to themselves, apart from outside pressure, to determine what they could and should contribute. This insured the fact that the gifts were indeed voluntarily donated, and not obtained under some kind of emotional or psychological duress.

(2) Israel’s gifts were willingly, joyfully given. God instructed Moses to collect an offering from “whoever is of a willing heart” (Exod. 35:5), and the text frequently informs us that this was the case (cf. 35:21, 22, 26, 29). Every indication of our text is that the people gladly gave their gifts so that the tabernacle could be built.

(3) The gifts of the Israelites were abundantly given. The excitement and enthusiasm of the Israelites is evident by the abundance of their gifts. In fact, the text informs us that the gifts exceeded the need, so that Moses was requested by the workers to command the people to stop giving (Exod. 36:2-7). This is the first time in the history of mankind that I know of that people were told to stop giving because all that was needed was given. Today, there might have been a proposal to enlarge the tabernacle, so that donations would keep coming in. How wonderful it would be, just once, to be told not to give.

(4) The giving of the Israelites was unanimous. While all were free to give or not to give, the text strongly suggests that there were few, if any, who refused to have a part in contributing toward the construction of the tabernacle (cf. 35:23-28).

(5) The giving of the Israelites was proportionate. While virtually everyone gave something for the tabernacle, each one gave in accordance with what he or she had to give.

Everyone who could make a contribution of silver and bronze brought the LORD’S contribution; and every man, who had in his possession acacia wood for any work of the service, brought it. And all the skilled women spun with their hands, and brought what they had spun, in blue and purple and scarlet material and in fine linen. And all the women whose heart stirred with a skill spun the goats’ hair. And the rulers brought the onyx stones and stones for setting for the ephod and for the breastpiece; and the spice and the oil for the light and for the anointing oil and for the fragrant incense. The Israelites, all the men and women, whose heart moved them to bring material for all the work, which the LORD had commanded through Moses to be done, brought a freewill offering to the LORD (Exod. 35:24-29, emphasis mine).

Those who were wealthy gave what only the wealthy would possess—the finest stones and gems, the most precious oils and fragrances. Those who had lesser means gave what they had.

(6) The giving of the Israelites included both material goods and technical services. The building of the tabernacle required two essential elements: goods and services. That is, there must be the raw materials from which the tabernacle and its furnishings were to be constructed. This included gold, silver, precious stones, animal skins, spices and ointments, and fine cloth. Then there must be skilled workers, both men and women, who would fashion these raw materials into objects of beauty. Some of those who gave to the tabernacle gave of their goods, while many others gave of their skilled abilities, to create a place of great beauty and worth.

(7) The contributions of the Israelites were of the highest quality. The tabernacle was to be of such quality and craftsmanship that it would befit the God who was to dwell within it (cf. Exod. 25:8). Thus, the materials used in building it were the finest that were available (cf. 35:6-9). So, too, with the craftsmen who were to create the intricate and beautiful works of art within the tabernacle (35:30-35). God was given the finest men had to offer, and all of these fine things, whether goods or skills, were God-given in the first place.124

A Comparison of 2 Corinthians 8 and 9

As we compare the characteristics of the contributions of the Israelites in our text with the contributions of the Corinthians (as described in Paul’s Corinthian epistles125) we find that there are some remarkable parallels. Consider some of the similarities of the principles and practices which Paul teaches in his epistles with what we have just observed of the Israelites’ giving in Exodus.

(1) Neither were compelled to give, but encouraged to do so voluntarily (cf. 2 Cor. 8:3). The Corinthians were given time to think about what they would give, and were not put under any pressure. They were given time to raise their contributions (1 Cor. 16:1-4; 2 Cor. 9:2-5).

(2) Both were giving willingly, cheerfully, and bountifully (cf. 2 Cor. 8:1-3; 9:7).

(3) The Corinthians, like the Israelites, gave out of those things which they had, out of what God Himself had provided (2 Cor. 9:8-11). The Corinthians were encouraged to give only as they themselves had prospered (2 Cor. 8:12-15).

Comparing the giving of the Israelites in Exodus 35 and 36 with that of the Corinthians, we can safely conclude that with regard to voluntary giving, the principles and practices of both testaments are nearly identical.126 But what about the many Old Testament texts which command the people to give in a very different way? The majority of Old Testament instances where giving is taught involve mandatory contributions, not voluntary gifts. For example, in Exodus chapter 30 the same term for giving found in Exodus 35 and 36 is found, but in a distinctly mandatory context:

“When you take a census of the sons of Israel to number them, then each one of them shall give a ransom for himself to the LORD, when you number them, that there may be no plague among them when you number them. This is what everyone who is numbered shall give: half a shekel according to the shekel of the sanctuary (the shekel is twenty gerahs), half a shekel as a contribution to the LORD. Everyone who is numbered, from twenty years old and over, shall give the contribution to the LORD. The rich shall not pay more, and the poor shall not pay less than the half shekel, when you give the contribution to the LORD to make atonement for yourselves” (Exod. 30:13-15).

Notice that there are at least two ways in which this contribution differs from that of chapters 35 and 36, in spite of the fact that the same term127 for giving is used in both passages. First, the contribution is not a voluntary matter, but is compulsory. Second, the contribution is not one that is proportionate to one’s financial status, but all, rich or poor, are to give the same amount.

In the New Testament our Lord affirmed the legitimacy in principle of this compulsory “temple tax”:

And when they had come to Capernaum, those who collected the two-drachma tax came to Peter, and said, “Does your teacher not pay the two-drachma tax?” He said, “Yes.” And when he came into the house, Jesus spoke to him first, saying, “What do you think, Simon? From whom do the kings of the earth collect customs or poll-tax, from their sons or from strangers?” And upon his saying, “From strangers,” Jesus said to him, “Consequently the sons are exempt. But, lest we give them offense, go to the sea, and throw in a hook, and take the first fish that comes up; and when you open its mouth, you will find a stater. Take that and give it to them for you and Me” (Matt. 17:24-27).

While our Lord, as the “king’s son,” was not obliged to pay the temple tax of Exodus 30, His payment of the tax underscored the legitimacy of such a tax for Israelites in general.

The Old Testament, then, has at least two different types of giving: (1) that which is voluntary and free-will; and (2) that which is obligatory or mandatory. Few would dispute this fact, but many seem reluctant to acknowledge that the same two categories of giving are found in the New Testament. Voluntary giving, as we have already seen, can be found in the Corinthian epistles. It is also shown to be an accepted principle by Peter’s response to Ananias:

But Peter said, “Ananias, why has Satan filled your heart to lie to the Holy Spirit, and to keep back some of the price of the land? While it remained unsold, did it not remain your own? And after it was sold, was it not under your control? Why is it that you have conceived this deed in your heart? You have not lied to men, but to God” (Acts 5:3-4).

I believe that in the New Testament, as in the Old, two types of giving are described: the first is voluntary giving, and the second is mandatory. Consider the following texts, and see if there is a not a kind of giving taught in the New Testament which is obligatory and binding:

“Give to him who asks of you, and do not turn away from him who wants to borrow from you” (Matt. 5:42).

“In every thing I showed you that by working hard in this manner you must help the weak and remember the words of the Lord Jesus, that He Himself said, ‘It is more blessed to give than to receive’” (Acts 20:35).

Contributing to the needs of the saints … (Rom. 12:13).

And recognizing the grace that had been given to me, James and Cephas and John, who were reputed to be pillars, gave to me and Barnabas the right hand of fellowship that we might go to the Gentiles, and they to the circumcised. They only asked us to remember the poor—the very thing I also was eager to do (Gal. 2:9-10).

Let him who steals steal no longer; but rather let him labor, performing with his own hands what is good, in order that he may have something to share with him who has need (Eph. 4:28).

Instruct them [those who are rich] to do good, to be rich in good works, to be generous and ready to share (1 Tim. 6:18).

And do not neglect doing good and sharing; for with such sacrifices God is pleased (Heb. 13:16).

This is pure and undefiled religion in the sight of our God and Father, to visit orphans and widows in their distress, and to keep oneself unstained by the world (Jas. 1:27).

If a brother or sister is without clothing and in need of daily food, and one of you says to them, “Go in peace, be warmed and be filled,” and yet you do not give them what is necessary for their body, what use is that? (Jas. 2:16).

Beyond the meeting of the needs of the poor and the afflicted, there is the obligation to support those who minister the Word of God:

And let the one who is taught the word share all good things with him who teaches (Gal. 6:6).

Let the elders who rule well be considered worthy of double honor, especially those who work hard at preaching and teaching. For the Scripture says, “You shall not muzzle the ox while he is threshing,” and, “The laborer is worthy of his wages” (1 Tim. 5:17-18; cf. also 1 Cor. 9:1-14; 2 Tim. 2:4-7).

Thus, while there are some areas where giving is optional, a matter of individual leading, there are also obligations which no Christian should dare to neglect because they are mandatory, not optional.

THE QUESTIONS MUST ARISE, THEREFORE, “WHY ARE THERE TWO DIFFERENT APPROACHES TO GIVING IN THE BIBLE, ONE WHICH IS VOLUNTARY, AND THE OTHER COMPULSORY? I think that our text and others suggest some very practical reasons, all of which are wrapped up in the nature of men and in the nature of different kinds of needs.

Giving for the tabernacle did not need to be mandatory because the motivation of the Israelites was extremely high. The tabernacle was the means of God’s personally dwelling among His people (Exod. 25:8). This was a one-time need, for which the people had been amply enabled to contribute. This was an opportunity which would be of great personal benefit to the donor. Which such motivation, God could easily allow the nation to provide the skills and materials for the tabernacle voluntarily. This is not meant to diminish the enthusiasm or the generosity of the people, but simply to explain why such generosity would be easy to practice in this instance.

There were other needs in Israel, however, which were not so glamorous, and which were of a much longer duration. To insure these needs being met, God made giving a compulsory matter. There was an on-going need for the support of the priests and Levites, who devoted themselves to the service of God in the tabernacle. Once in the land of Canaan, these servants of God would not be able to serve God and support themselves and their families at the same time. God therefore prescribed a set “contribution” at a stipulated interval, so that the tabernacle services could be constant. Returning to the “temple tax” of Exodus 30, this was for the support of the service of the tent of meeting, so that this memorial would be continual: “And you shall take the atonement money from the sons of Israel, and shall give it for the service of the tent of meeting, that it may be a memorial for the sons of Israel before the LORD, to make atonement for yourselves” (Exod. 30:16).

I fear that in some of our Christian circles we have overreacted to the compulsory element of our giving. Rightly, I believe, we point out that the tithe was a binding obligation on Israel, and should not be brought directly over to the New Testament church, to be imposed upon the saints of this age. Wrongly, however, we have concluded that all of our giving in this age is always of the free-will type, of the kind where we give because we feel like doing so. While the tithe percentages of the Old Testament economy are nowhere reiterated in the New Testament for the church to follow, we should nevertheless see the applicability of giving on a regular, consistent, and sacrificial basis. Thus, Old Testament sacrificial terms and imagery are frequently used in reference to New Testament giving (cf. Phil. 4:15-18; Heb. 13:15-16).

In the name of New Testament liberty and individual leading Christians have given more by impulse and feeling. All too often the more gullible saints have given in response to the subtle (or not-so-subtle) persuasive techniques of unscrupulous “hucksters” (cf. 2 Cor. 2:17; 4:2). Financial crises must occur (or perhaps are even “created” by those with few scruples on this subject) in order to prompt people to make a contribution. Consistency in giving is too seldom evident in individual giving. We can see the devastating results in almost every church and in every Christian organization. The income of some months (e.g. December—tax deductible gift time) is high, while at other times (e.g. the summer months—vacation time), it falls off significantly. Meanwhile, while giving vacillates radically, financial needs and obligations are consistent.

The saints are often fickle in their giving. Most of us would rather designate our giving to projects which capture our imagination or give the appearance of significance than to pay the rent or the light bill. We would rather support prominent and visible individuals (as the Corinthians did), rather than those with quiet, substantial, but unseen, ministries. Rather than giving consistently to the general fund, we divert our gifts from one cause to another, creating financial havoc. Those experienced in the financial end of Christian ministries call this “the old general fund problem.”

I have said that Christians (and others, too) are more eager to create than to maintain. Looking at giving in another way, people are much more inclined to give toward something which they can see, something tangible (such as a building), than they are to give to other, more abstract needs (such as operational expenses). This is a bit inconsistent when we remember that faith focuses not upon what is seen, but on what is not seen. Why is it that we can say we trust in what we don’t see, but we won’t give to anything we can’t see?

What am I suggesting? Simply this. We should delight in those opportunities to give which are exciting, dramatic, and of obvious significance. On the other hand we must be faithful in giving to those more mundane needs which must also be met. These obligations may not be a delight as much as they are a duty, but if they are our duty then let us give to them with diligence, with discipline, and with regularity. And when special opportunities arise when we have the occasion to give, let us not neglect the mundane in providing for the magnificent.

Does this sound a bit legalistic to you? Structure, consistency, and discipline may become legalistic, but it need not do so. The lack of any structure is just as wrong as having too much rigidity. We must have both form (structure) and freedom (individual leading) in our giving.


This principle pertaining to money also applies to ministry, in two ways. First, ministry, like money, involves both the exciting tasks, which stir us to action, and those routine tasks, which must be done and are our duty to carry out. I see many Christians in churches who seem to disdain regular, routine, consistent ministry, especially that ministry which isn’t public and doesn’t smack enough of being “spiritual.” They are continually waiting and looking for a “significant ministry” that really grabs them, that is exciting, that they are eager, at any given moment, to perform. The reality of the Christian life is that the great bulk of Christian ministry is that of “maintenance” work, of doing those things which must be done to carry on the work of our Lord. Week after week, Sunday school classes and nurseries must be staffed. Week after week, the church must be cleaned and the lawn mowed. Is this glorious and exciting? Not really, at least not all the time. But these are the things which we are obligated to do.

There are those few opportunities which arise in our lives which really do catch our imagination, which inspire in us a vision and an enthusiasm. These are the exciting kinds of ministry, which should not supplant those mandatory maintenance kinds of ministry. In fact, I would go so far as to suggest that those exciting ministry opportunities often arise in the process of our being faithful to perform our more mundane ministries.

Thumbing through the New Testament I found that Zacharias was visited by God’s angel and told of the birth of his son, and thus of the coming of Messiah, in the course of doing his duty (Luke 1:8ff.). Anna, the prophetess, never left the temple, serving there night and day for what must have been more than 50 years. On one such day, the Christ child was brought to the temple, where God privileged her to witness His arrival (Luke 2:36-38). Barnabas and Saul were set apart for missionary service while they were actively engaged in ministry (Acts 13:1-4).

Second, money and ministry are related in that proving ourselves faithful in the “little thing” of money is often the test which God requires us to pass before He gives us greater responsibilities. Jesus said,

“He who is faithful in a very little thing is faithful also in much; and he who is unrighteous in a very little thing is unrighteous also in much. If therefore you have not been faithful in the use of unrighteous mammon, who will entrust the true riches to you? And if you have not been faithful in the use of that which is another’s, who will give you that which is your own?” (Luke 16:10-12).

In our desire to do what is a delight, let us not neglect our greater responsibility to do our duty. In our desire to be fulfilled, let us not forget our greater obligation to be faithful. In our giving to such majestic causes as that magnificent tabernacle, let us not neglect the on-going duty to maintain the works that God is performing in our midst.

121 “An interesting feature of these chapters [35-40] is that the LXX translation of them differs more markedly from the Hebrew text than does any other portion of the OT of similar length. The Greek translator often uses different Greek words for the same Hebrew words than those used in the Greek of chapters 25-31. He has some glaring omissions, such as the incense altar, the boards (or frames) of the Tabernacle, the goats’ hair curtains, and the two sets of skin coverings. He describes the making of the various items in a different order—e.g., he describes the making of the priestly vestments in chapter 36, whereas in the Hebrew they are in chapter 39. Occasionally he adds some information not in the Hebrew. …” J. P. Hyatt, Exodus (Grand Rapids: Wm. B. Eerdmans Publishing Co., 1980), pp. 328-329.

122 “In many cases the wording of the former chapters is repeated verbatim, with the tense of the verbs simply changed from future to past. In some cases there are abridgements or minor omissions, and there are some expansions, especially at the beginning (35:4–36:6), and at the end, where chapter 40 relates the setting up of the Tabernacle and its equipment, and the descent of the glory of Yahweh upon it. Occasionally these chapters add some new information to the chapters 25-31, but taken as a whole they contribute little to our understanding. …” Ibid, p. 328.

Elsewhere, Hyatt says of 35:4–36:7: “An expansion of 25:1-9 and 31:1-11. This is a long narrative about how the Israelite men and women contributed offerings of various kinds and their own work for making the Tabernacle. It adds in 35:22 the offering of personal jewelry (cf. 33:6), and in 35:25f. the spinning of cloth by the women. In 35:34 the statement that Bezalel and Oholiab were inspired to teach the other workers is a new element. 36:3-7 emphasizes the overwhelming response of the people to the point of their having to be restrained.” Ibid, p. 329.

123 C. F. Keil and F. Delitzsch, Biblical Commentary on The Old Testament, Vol. II, The Pentateuch, trans. by James Martin (Grand Rapids: Wm. B. Eerdmans Publishing Company [reprint], 1968), p. 245.

124 The “gifts” which were given by the Israelites to build the tabernacle were the “spoils of war” which were obtained from the Egyptians. In the New Testament, the gifts which God has given His saints to build up the church are also spoken of as spoils of war in Ephesians 4:7-13. Is there a parallel here?

125 The central texts are 1 Cor. 16:1-4; 2 Cor. 8 and 9.

126 I believe that there is a principle illustrated here which should be applied whenever we compare the Old Testament teaching on a particular subject with that of the New. The principle is this: THERE IS BOTH CONTRAST AND CONTINUITY TO BE FOUND BETWEEN THE OLD AND THE NEW TESTAMENTS. Dispensationalism, for example, tends to focus on the differences between the two testaments, sometimes to the neglect of that which is common to both. Covenant theology, on the other hand, can so emphasize the continuity of the testaments that it minimizes the distinctions which must be taken into account. Ideally we should be striving to see both the continuity and the contrasts between the Old and New Testaments.

127 Of this term Keil and Delitzsch write, “… to swing or move to and fro, is used in connection with the sacrificial ritual to denote a peculiar ceremony, through which certain portions of a sacrifice, which were not intended for burning upon the altar, but for the maintenance of the priests (Num. xviii. 11), were consecreated to the Lord, or given up to Him in a symbolical manner (see at Lev. vii. 30). Tenuphah, the wave-offering, accordingly denoted primarily those portions of the sacrificial animal which were allotted to the priests as their share of the sacrifices; and then, in a more general sense, every gift or offering that was consecrated to the Lord for the establishment and maintenance of the sanctuary and its worship.” Keil and Delitzsch, p. 246.