The word gift in Hebrew has two meanings: Minchah and Mattanah. We will be looking at the difference between these two words and their significance in the Hebrew Bible.
Minchah and Mattanah
Minchah is the most common word for ‘gift.’ It is used over 200 times in the Bible. It means present, donation, tribute, or sacrifices (most often to God).
Its first appearance is in Genesis 4, where Cain and Abel presented an offering or minchah to God. “In the course of time, Cain brought some of the fruits of the soil as an offering to the Lord. And Abel also brought an offering—fat portions from some of the firstborn of his flock. The Lord looked with favor on Abel and his offering, but on Cain and his offering, he did not look with favor.” (v. 3-5)
Although there were still no teaching given concerning sacrifices and gifts, why was Abel’s “minchah” accepted and Cain’s not?
The answer is found in Hebrews 11:4. It says, “By faith, Abel brought God a better offering than Cain did. By faith, he was commended as righteous when God spoke well of his offerings. And by faith, Abel still speaks, even though he is dead.”
His faith joined Abel’s minchah. Thus, God was pleased with it since it is impossible to please God without faith (Hebrews 11:6).
Gift for God and from God
If minchah is a gift given to God, mattanah is a gift from God.
James 1:17 says, “Every good and perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of the heavenly lights, who does not change like shifting shadows.” Also in John 4:0, “Jesus answered her, ‘If you knew the gift of God and who it is that asks you for a drink, you would have asked him, and he would have given you living water.'”
So, what is the good and perfect mattanah that comes down from the Heavenly Father? It is Jesus Christ; we experience the Living Water and eternal life, bringing reconciliation to the Father of lights through Him.
Reference: Living Word
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