Summary: Teachings on the Hebrew word "towdah" and how it applies to our worship experience.
In American criminal law, a trial is an event in which parties to a dispute present information (in the form of evidence) in a formal setting, usually a court, before a judge, jury, or other designated finder of fact, in order to achieve a resolution to their dispute. Courts use various terms to identify the role of a particular party in civil litigation, usually identifying the party that brings a case as the plaintiff; and the party against whom the case was brought as the defendant. The defendant is entitled to be confronted by the witnesses against him or her. As stated by the U.S. Supreme Court in California v. Green, this confrontation “(1) insures that the witness will give his statements under oath thus impressing him with the seriousness of the matter and guarding against the lie by the possibility of a penalty for perjury; (2) forces the witness to submit to cross examination, the “greatest legal engine ever invented for the discovery of the truth”; (3) permits the jury that is to decide the defendant’s fate to observe the demeanor of the witness in making his statement, thus aiding the jury in assessing his credibility.” These witnesses are notified to appear in court to give their confession by a legal document known as a subpeona. Often times, because the defendant’s fate rests in the confession of a witness, they are in danger of hostile acts and must be placed in witness protection programs. They have to change their name, move away from their homes and families, and assume a completely new identity elsewhere. You can imagine how uneasy they get while they have this information. You can also imagine then that once the witness finally appears in court, raises their hand and gives their confession, that a huge weight is lifted off of them! Their mind is now clearer! They can get on with their life without anymore hassle or worry!
I’m going to make my connection now to Towdah. The Hebrew word Towdah comes from Yadah and also means to extend the hands. More specifically it means to lift up the hands. To declare openly, freely, unreservedly. Admit as real or true. Confession. In the Old Testament of the King James version of the Bible, every time you read “confess, confessed, confesseth, confessing, or confession,” know that they are translated from the word Yadcih except in two references which are translated from Towdah. In the New Testament these same words are translated from Homologeo, Exomologeo or Homologia and mean "to speak the same thing."
The implication is that we are to raise the hands as in a court of law swearing to speak the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth. The Catholics use confession as a way to have their sins absolved or pronounced forgiven. This helps clear their mind so they can go on with their lives not in shame. I agree with their concept but their methodology is all wrong. In the first place, God didn’t say confess your sins to man! For all have sinned and fallen short of the glory of God! So how is man going to acquit me and forgive me of my sins? In the second place, my confession ain’t supposed to be me all sad and head down in some dark closet like it’s the end of the world! When you confess, what you’re saying is “God, I admit that I messed up and I admit that I’m too weak to handle this on my own! I need your help to keep me from doing it again!” I need your help! So instead of bowing down all sad I will lift up mine eyes to the hills from whence cometh my help! Knowing that my help cometh from the Lord! How many of you know that your confession is in your praise!
I praise you because when I messed up, you didn’t give up! I praise you because when I fell, you picked me up! I praise you because when I messed up, you gave me sense enough to know I did mess up! I praise you because you didn’t take me out when you had the chance! I praise you for giving me one more shot at this thing! I confess that I don’t deserve your mercy! I confess that I don’t deserve your grace! I know I’ve done wrong in this life and I confess that but I praise you! If I made this confession to man, he might lock me up but I praise you that who the son set free is free indeed! Somebody in here oughta TOWDAH! Somebody in here oughta confess!
The first time TOWDAH appears in the Bible is in connection with the peace offering in the eleventh verse. When this sacrifice was offered it represented either a thanksgiving as it says in verse twelve, or a service as it says in verse sixteen. If it was a fellowship offering of thanksgiving, they had to approach God through sacrifice! Keep in mind that the sacrifice is a symbol of Christ. You can grow in the peace and fellowship of God only as you grow in Christ! They also had to offer several kinds of bread with the sacrifice: cakes, wafers, and loaves mixed with oil. But note, the bread was to be made without leaven or yeast. This symbolized sin and corruption. Nobody can grow in the peace and fellowship of God if you have sin in your life! The offering with leaven or yeast is unacceptable to God just like our offering with sin and corruption is unacceptable to God! He don’t care how much you plan to give; you can keep it if your mind ain’t right! That’s why he says before you give you need to TOWDAH! You know God is special because he’s the only person who can say you aren’t worthy of giving me anything! But look at verse fourteen: here is where the yeast bread comes into play. God’s instructions are clear: the people of God are to support God’s ministers. Feeding and providing a livelihood for the minister of God is the clear duty of God’s people. And note: the ministers of God are to lead the people to support God’s servants. Finally, in a fellowship offering of thanksgiving, they had to eat the meat on the very day it was offered, leaving none until morning.