Heave-Offerings and Wave-Offerings.

1869 242 The heave-offering (t'rumah) and wave-offering (t'nuphah) formed part of the provision made by the Lord for the priests and their families. By a grant, everlasting in its duration, God thus endowed the house of Aaron: "And this is thine, the heave-offering of their gifts, with all the wave-offerings of the children of Israel. I have given them unto thee, and to thy sons, and to thy daughters with thee, by a statute for ever: every one that is clean in thy house shall eat of it." (Num. xviii. 11.) To this law there was annexed one exception: "If the priest's daughter be married to a stranger, she may not eat of an offering (t'rumah) of the holy things. But if the priest's daughter be a widow, or divorced, and have no child, and is returned unto her father's house, as in her youth, she shall eat of her father's meat: but there shall no stranger eat thereof." (Lev. xxii. 12, 13.) Whilst the people were in their land, before the captivity as well as after it, the priests received these offerings (Neh. x. 37–39; Neh. xii. 44; Neh. xiii. 5); and when faithfully surrendered by the people, they were found to be a plentiful provision. (2 Chron. xxxi. 10.) When the nation shall be restored, never more to be exiled from the land of their fathers, this grant made in the wilderness shall be again acknowledged; and in God's holy mountain, the mountain of the height of Israel, there will He require their offerings (t'rumah), and the people shall bring them, "that the priest may cause the blessing to rest in their house." (Ezek. xx. 40; Ezek. xliv. 30.) The need of bringing the offerings Malachi iii. 8 makes plain. The returned remnant had robbed God of tithes and offerings: so the announcement of the prophet follows, "Ye are cursed with a curse, for ye have robbed me, even this whole nation. Bring ye all the tithes into the storehouse, that there may be meat in mine house, and prove me now herewith, saith the Lord of hosts, if I will not open you the windows of heaven, and pour you out a blessing, that there shall not be room enough to receive it." The tithes and offerings were God's; though the portion of the priests. Defrauding the priests of their just due, they robbed God and lost the blessing. When finally restored to their country, the law being written on their hearts, they will bring all the appointed offerings, and the priests provided for will cause the blessing to rest in their house.

The terms in which this grant was made distinguish between the heave-offering and the wave-offering. The heave-offering was a portion of their gifts — "heave-offering of all their gifts;" the wave-offering might be the whole of the thing offered. The idea conveyed by a heave-offering was the taking up a part to offer it to God; whereas the idea of the wave-offering is more general, implying consecration to God, for it was waved before the Lord. A gift might therefore be termed both a heave-offering and a wave-offering; but every wave-offering could not be also called a heave-offering. To heave, required a residue from which it was lifted up; to wave, the gift itself only was requisite.

When the people were permitted to contribute of their substance for the tabernacle, their gifts were called heave-offerings (Ex. xxv. 2, 3; Ex. xxxv. 5, 21–24; Ex. xxxvi. 3-6), for they offered of their possessions; but, in Ex. xxxv. 22, Ex. xxxviii. 24-29, the gold and the brass which they brought were called wave-offerings, because consecrated to the service of God. Again, in Leviticus ix. 21, we read of the breasts and right shoulders of the peace-offerings of the congregation, at the consecration of Aaron and his sons, being waved before the Lord. But in Exodus xxix. 28 the breast and right shoulder are termed a "heave-offering from the children of Israel of the sacrifice of their peace-offering, even their heave-offering unto the Lord;" for looked at as a part of the sacrifice of their peace-offering they could together be called a heave-offering. The distinction between these terms is clear, and always kept up; for whilst, as above, the breast and the right shoulder could together be called a heave-offering, Scripture, when describing them as separate portions, with one exception noticed lower down (Num. vi. 19), speaks of the wave-breast and the heave-shoulder; for the whole breast was waved, but only one shoulder was heaved. A portion of that which the shoulders symbolize was thus claimed by God, whilst all that the breast shadowed forth was declared to belong to Him. By the shoulder, capability for service seems to be symbolized; and by the right shoulder, that that which was best able to bear the burden should be yielded up to Him. See Gen. xlix. 15; Joshua iv. 5; Psalm lxxxi. 6; Isaiah ix. 4, 6; Isaiah x. 27; Isaiah xxii. 22. Compare also Neh. 9:29; Zech. 7:11, where disobedience is described as "withdrawing the shoulder." By the breast, affections would appear to be symbolized.

The heave-offering included the right shoulder of the peace-offering (excepting in the case of the Nazarite referred to below), and one cake out of the whole, but which accompanied the animal offered up as a peace-offering; the first of the dough (Numb. xv. 20), and all the tithes (Num. xviii. 24) including the corn, wine, and oil for the priests' use. (Nell. x. 39.) Besides these regular heave-offerings, the atonement money when the congregation were numbered (Ex. xxx. 13–15), the Lord's portion of the spoil of Midian (Num. xxxi. 21), and the king's present, and that of his counsellors, with the offering of the children of Israel for the second temple (Ezra 8:25), are called heave-offerings. And when the land shall be divided among the tribes afresh, the portion to be set apart for the Levites and the sanctuary will be regarded as a heave-offering. (Ezek. xlv. 6, 7; Ezek. xlviii.) Differing as these offerings do, the one from the other, they have one feature in common, viz., that they are all portions taken out of a residue, whether of fruits, of animals, of money, or of land, and as such are called heave-offerings.

Turning to the wave-offerings, beside the breast of the peace-offering, and the rites at the consecration of Aaron and his sons already referred to, there was the sheaf waved before the Lord, the firstfruits of the harvest, on the morrow after the sabbath in the passover week; and the two wave-loaves with their accompanying sacrifice offered in the feast of weeks. (Lev. xxiii. 10, 17–20.) In addition to these were the offerings of the leper on the eighth day of his cleansing (Lev. xiv.); the jealousy-offering (Num. 5); that of the Nazarite at the completion of his vow (Num. vi.); and the taking of the tribe of Levi for the service of the priests in lieu of all the firstborn of Israel. (Num. viii.)

Understanding by the act of waving before the Lord consecration to Him, the breast of the peace-offering was waved in token that the affections should be in Him whom the sacrifice prefigured — would be consecrated to God. So also the waving of the sheaf on the morrow after the passover sabbath, typified the sanctification, or consecration, as risen from the dead, of Him who is the firstfruits (1 Cor. xv. 23), and who rose on that day. At the expiration of the seven weeks, the two loaves baked with leaven were brought out of their habitation, and were waved before the Lord with the prescribed offerings. But here we meet with a most significant injunction. They were waved with the sacrifices still entire, though killed. Death had taken place, but not dismemberment. The whole animals were waved with the two loaves. (Lev. xxiii. 19, 20.) Remembering what these two loaves typified — the Jew and Gentile together offered to God as the firstfruits of the harvest (James i. 18), we can see the reason of this peculiar feature in that day's ritual, the whole animals waved, but waved after death. It is the Church publicly, as it were, consecrated to God as a whole. But since the Church was only formed after the resurrection of the Lord, and has its standing in resurrection, the animals were first killed and then waved. Death took place before the significant act of consecration was performed. Then death having taken place, the animals were waved whole before the Lord by the priest, presenting thus in type the Church as a whole consecrated to God, belonging for evermore to Him.

The sacrifices of the leper on the eighth day of his cleansing bring before us another thought, beautiful surely because true, and clearly shadowed forth in the act of the priest. In the leper cleansed we have an individual formerly redeemed, now restored to communion with God's people. The disease which had its seat in his flesh having broken out, he had been put outside the camp — was healed, the priest had looked on him and pronounced him clean, and his offerings had to be completed on the eighth day of his cleansing. "And he shall take two he-lambs without blemish, and one ewe-lamb of the first year without blemish, and three tenth deals of fine flour for a meat offering mingled with oil, and one log of oil, and the priest shall take one he lamb, and offer him for a trespass-offering, and the log of oil, and wave them for a wave-offering before the Lord: and he shall slay the lamb in the place where he shall kill the sin-offering and the burnt-offering, in the holy place; for as the sin-offering is the priest's, so is the trespass-offering: it is most holy." (Lev. xiv. 10, 12, 13.) On the day of Pentecost they waved the sacrifices after they had been killed, here the trespass-offering was waved with the log of oil before death. Why this marked difference? In both cases the whole animal was waved, to show that all connected with or typified by the sacrifice should be held as consecrated to God. In the case of the leper, however, the living animal was waved, to show that man as alive on earth should be really given up to God. Redeemed by blood, a member of the assembly which had God dwelling in their midst, all his life ought to be consecrated to God. In this he had failed, so the offering waved was a trespass-offering, not a peace-offering. The peace-offering spoke of communion enjoyed, the trespass-offering, of communion interrupted by sin on the part of the offerer. With the trespass-offering there was waved a log of oil, with which the quondam leper was to be anointed on the tip of his right ear, his right thumb, and the great toe of his right foot, and the rest of the oil in the priest's hand was poured over him, in token that now his ear must hear, and his hand act, and his feet walk as directed by the word of God, and the rest poured over him to show that whilst he had failed before, he was to remember he had been consecrated to God, because redeemed by the blood of the Lamb.

The jealousy-offering, too, was waved. The charge against the woman was one of unfaithfulness to her husband, so the offering (a tenth part of an ephah of barley meal) was waved before the Lord. Consecration to her husband as his wife should characterize her: this the offering spoke of, and this her husband had charged her with violating. So the priest was to take the jealousy-offering from her hand, and wave it before the Lord. (Num. 5:25.)

In the Nazarite we have special consecration, separation unto the Lord. When that time of special dedication was ended, the Nazarite presented himself at the door of the tabernacle of the congregation, and brought his sin-offering, his burnt-offering, and his peace-offering with the accompanying meat and drink offerings. The sin and burnt-offerings having been properly offered up, he presented his peace-offering, a ram, with the basket of unleavened bread. The rain was brought because it was a question of special dedication to God, just as in the consecration of the priests the ram of consecration was enjoined to be offered up. When the ram had been killed and dismembered, the right shoulder sodden, with one unleavened cake and one unleavened wafer, was placed in the Nazarite's hand by the priest, and then waved by him (i.e., the priest) for a wave-offering before the Lord. (Num. vi. 19, 20.) In the ordinary peace-offerings the shoulder was heaved with the cakes, here it was waved; for this offering did not spring from a thankful heart rejoicing in its blessings, and desiring to present something of its substance to the Lord in recognition of His goodness: but it was the public declaration that the time of special separation to God had ended, so the right shoulder with the cakes was waved before the Lord. The man had been wholly separated by his vow to God; now he was to pass out of that state which he had voluntarily entered. Hence all was waved not heaved, and the shoulder symbolizing service was the portion commanded thus to be offered.

One more wave-offering has to be noticed — that of the Levites, taken for the Lord's service, instead of the firstborn in Israel. When that was done in the wilderness, the Levites did not bring a burnt-offering and sin-offering, but were waved by Aaron as an offering themselves. "And Aaron shall wave the Levites before the Lord for a wave-offering of the children of Israel that they may execute the service of the Lord." (Num. viii. 11, 13, 15-21. See marginal reading.) On that day all the Levites were publicly consecrated to God's service — all the firstborn in Israel belonged to him (Ex. xiii. 2), but He accepted the Levites in their stead as far as they would go man for man. A heave-offering here as in the other cases would have been out of place. It was not some of the firstborn whom God claimed, nor some of the Levites that He accepted. He claimed all the firstborn, but took all the Levites as far as they would go in their stead, a wave-offering of the children of Israel.

Comparing the different passages then in which the heave-offerings and wave-offerings are mentioned, the distinction between them comes out, and the teaching regarding more especially the latter is made plain. We see that the language of scripture is indeed accurate, and may note, in this, as in other things, that the substitution of one term for another (often found in the writings of men) would introduce confusion in the things of God, and mar the beauty of the lessons intended to be conveyed by the divine author of the book. C. E. Stuart.