Friday, March 16, 2018

The Holy Call from the Tent of Revelation | Parashat Vayikra | By His EVERY Word

Parashat Vayikra 

 פרשת ויקרא
“And He Called”

Torah: Leviticus 1:1-5:26
Haftarah: Ezekiel 45:16-46:18
B’rit Chadash: Hebrews I0:1-18

Shabbat | 17 March 2018 | 1 Nisan 5778
Biblical Observances Calendar: 
Passover 2018 
Begins at Sunset, Friday, March 30
and Ends at Sunset, Saturday, April 7 

THIS IS THE EPIC OF EPOCHS, the ultimate revelation of magnificent actualization!

OUT OF PRIMEVAL CHAOS, the Divine proclaimed light and life, setting into motion a grand composition unfurling across time to complete His masterpiece in a glorious celestial crescendo.

WORDS ARE THE RAW MATERIALS with which the Master is building, refining and revealing His Kingdom to His redeemed. From Genesis onward, each word and concept is a revelation of His Divine Character and Will, forming and conforming, be it a Temple in the Wilderness, a Temple of bricks and stone, or temples of living stones.


WE FIND THAT TRUTH IN GENESIS. Israel often compromised or left God’s Word and went astray. Without learning of Adonai’s Nature, His stringent standards, meticulous absolutes, and momentous emphasis on holiness, found in the Hebrew Scriptures, how does one even begin to discern how to separate the holy from the profane, the false from the genuine?

Join us now at the Father’s table as we keep the rhythm of Israel for more than two millennia, anticipating fresh manna from our God and King. As followers of Messiah we have added a corresponding New Covenant portion reflecting the fulfillment and crown of the Torah.

The Book of Leviticus ספר ויקרא

With the first two of the five Books of Moses behind us, we begin the Book of Leviticus—in Hebrew Vayikra ויקרא

Leviticus was originally called “The Law of the the Priests” תורת הכהנים, Torot haCohanim. Vital and fundamental to both the Priesthood and the People of Israel, Leviticus paints with a finer brush those details defining the sacred, the sacrifices, the sanctified life, and the Sanctuary.
The foundation of Holiness continues to be reinforced and emphasized. Purity of life, thought, and action are the Divine Call—and a bulwark against immorality, and the ungodly, heathen influences that threatened the Priestly Nation with inward decay through compromise and assimilation from without.

“You shall be holy, for I the LORD your God am holy,” (Leviticus 19:2) is the Divine Algorithm from which the precepts, principles, and practices spring forth—governing, guiding, and guarding the sons of Israel, and by extension, all who number themselves among the people of God.

Leviticus 1  The Holy Call from the Tent of Revelation
v. 1 “Then the LORD called to Moses and spoke to him from the tent of meeting...” 

Adonai has called Moses from within the burning bush, and from the top of Mount Sinai, ablaze with fire and heaving with thunder. Moses is now privileged to be called by the Voice of the Almighty from the intimacy of the Tent of Revelation.

In Hebrew, the word called is kä·rä' קָרָא, which means to call or call out, from which the name of the parashat is derived,and He called.”

The Tent of Meeting was also called the Tent of Revelation in Hebrew commentaries as it was the place where God revealed His Will to Israel.

Revelation or Reveling?

How often we hear the assembly cry out for prophets, for “personal prophecies,” and for “revelation”—which places people at the center

That is the antithesis of the foundational congregation formed by Adonai—the Dwelling Place of the LORD, the Wilderness Tabernaclethrough generous offerings of their precious resources until they had to be commanded to stop giving. YHVH was the CENTER and His People GAVE to HIM. They didn’t demand of Him to give to them.

v. 2 Now the Sanctuary is complete and Adonai has called Moses to give him instructions:  “Speak to the sons of Israel and say to them, When any man of you brings an offering to the LORD...’” 

The word offering, in Hebrew, kor·bän' קָרְבָּן, is also translated sacrifice. It is a voluntary offering, or gift to the LORD, denoting “that which is brought near” to God.
To most Christians, the Book of Leviticus may seem tedious and irrelevant. Under the prevailing banner, “We are not under the law!” respect for God’s Word in its entirety is often diminished. 
I once read a statement by a “New Testament Pastor” who claimed that although he didn’t reject the Torah, it was not any more profitable to read it than it would be to read the architect’s blueprints for your house. 
This philosophy often leaves the Christian without a plumb line, without the discernment to navigate their course through treacherous waters driven by winds of error, deceptive doctrine, false prophets, compromise, carnality, and a host of other snares.
God, on the other hand, says ALL SCRIPTURE is profitable.  

“All Scripture is inspired by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, for training in righteousness...” (II Timothy 3:16)

The word Scripture in this verse, γραφή graphē in Greek, is the same word Yeshua used speaking of the Hebrew Scriptures in Matthew 21:42, 22:29, 26:54, Mark 12:10, 12:24, 14:49, 15:28, Luke 4:21, 24:27, 24:32, 24:45, John 2:22, 5:39, 7:38, 7:42, 10:35, 13:18, 17:12, 19:24, 19:28, 19:36, 19:37 and 20:9. Selah. Pause and consider that seriously for a moment.
And keep in mind that the Scripture Paul was referring to was that which we call today, the Old Testament.
If we view LORD God Almighty, our Creator, God of the Universe, with the reverence and awe He is due, we will also view His Word as precious, profound and glorious ... the Creator of All communicating with His beloved children!

This is the epic of epochs, the ultimate revelation of magnificent actualization!

Out of primeval chaos, the Divine proclaimed light and life, setting into motion a grand composition unfurling across time to complete His masterpiece in a glorious celestial crescendo.
Words are the raw materials with which the Master is building, refining and revealing His Kingdom to His redeemed. From Genesis onward, each word and concept is a revelation of His Divine Character and Will, forming and conforming, be it a Temple in the Wilderness, a Temple of bricks and stone, or temples of living stones.
It is in man’s nature to go the way of destruction. We find that truth beginning in Genesis and moving forward. Israel often compromised or left God’s Word and went astray. Without learning of Adonai’s Nature, His stringent standards, meticulous absolutes, and momentous emphasis on holiness, found in the Hebrew Scriptures, how does one even begin to discern how to separate the holy from the profane, the false from the genuine?
Jeremiah 23:9 records the anger of God against false prophets 
who have led Israel astray. 
It is a timeless message:

“As for the prophets: 
My heart is broken within me, 
All my bones tremble; 
I have become like a drunken man, 
Even like a man overcome with wine
Because of the LORD 
And because of His holy words.” 

In our generation, we have seen believers in Jesus run to and fro,
 following “prophets” that serve up “drunkenness in the spirit,”
 presiding over unruly and riotous meetings
 filled with people falling down “drunk,”
 unable to control themselves ...
 writhing, crawling, cackling, barking, jerking, laughing hysterically
 ... “prophesying” nonsense ...
 in the Holy Name of Adonai.

Leaders known for their scholarly integrity have fallen prey to such error, enjoying the experience, 
but not testing the word or the prophet. 
They don’t realize this is a sign of judgment, 
not a “holy” party to be sought after!

“They become drunk, but not with wine
They stagger, but not with strong drink.” 
Isaiah 29:9, 51:21

And yet the New Covenant exhorts us repeatedly to be alert and sober!
vv. 10-14 “For the land is full of adulterers; for the land mourns because of the curse. ‘For both prophet and priest are polluted; Even in My house I have found their wickedness,’ declares the LORD. ‘...among the prophets of Samaria I saw an offensive thing: they prophesied by Baal and led My people Israel astray. Also among the prophets of Jerusalem I have seen a horrible thing: the committing of adultery and walking in falsehood; and they strengthen the hands of evildoers, so that no one has turned back from his wickedness. All of them have become to Me like Sodom, And her inhabitants like Gomorrah.’” 
To Adonai, unfaithfulness in our devotion and service
 is infidelity—fornicationwith the world,
 the flesh or the enemy of our soul.

 The Hebrew word for adultery here is nä·af' נָאַף,
 meaning to commit adultery or idolatrous worship

Both physical and spiritual adultery lead man away from God,
 from holiness, and defiles his temple and community.

Adonai finds these prophets reprehensible because they lead His people astray, prophesying by Baal, and walking in falsehood.

The prophets prophesy by bah'·al בַּעַל, which was the supreme god of the Canaanites

The spirit of Ba’al is prevalent in every generation, ensnaring God’s people through
compromise, enticing the weak to sin, devouring the children, and demanding the souls of men to do evil in the sight of the LORD as homage.

These prophets walk, live, operate, conduct their manner of life in falsehood, in Hebrew sheh'·ker שֶׁקֶר, which is lies, deception, falsehood, deceit, or fraud. Yet God’s people do not discern they are evil!
A neon sign that one is false prophet: “they strengthen the hands of evildoers, so that no one has turned back from his wickedness.”

We live in a time in which tolerance is on a pedestal. Intolerance is simply not tolerated, even among God’s people. 
Yet, the Bible makes it clear, God is quite INtolerant! His standards are high and holyIf that offends your sensibilities, perhaps His Kingdom is not for you.
The Scriptures record people turning away from Yeshua because His sayings were too difficultoffensive, convicting, and challenging. Yet He didn’t modify His message in order to please the crowd or build a following. 
 We on the other hand, follow proven “formulas” to build megachurches—
comfortable to all, offensive to none.
 People can be members for years, 
living a life Adonai calls sinful,
 abominable, or abhorrent without discomfort. 
No absolutes, 
no sacrifice, 
no revelation 
of the holiness 
Perhaps we’ve reached that time spoken of in II Timothy 4:3, when men will simply not endure sound doctrine, but seeking to have their ears tickled, they accumulate teachers in accordance to their own desiresnot in accordance to the desire of the LORD.
“Therefore thus says the LORD of hosts concerning the prophets, ‘Behold, I am going to feed them wormwood and make them drink poisonous water, For from the prophets of Jerusalem Pollution has gone forth into all the land.’ Thus says the LORD of hosts, ‘Do not listen to the words of the prophets who are prophesying to you. They are leading you into futility; they speak a vision of their own imagination, Not from the mouth of the LORD. They keep saying to those who despise Me, ‘The LORD has said, ‘You will have peace’; And as for everyone who walks in the stubbornness of his own heart, They say, ‘Calamity will not come upon you.’”

“‘But who has stood in the council of the LORD, That he should see and hear His word? Who has given heed to His word and listened? Behold, the storm of the LORD has gone forth in wrath ... The anger of the LORD will not turn back Until He has performed and carried out the purposes of His heart; in the last days you will clearly understand it.

“‘I did not send these prophets, but they ran. I did not speak to them, but they prophesied.
“‘But if they had stood in My council, Then they would have announced My words to My people, And would have turned them back from their evil way and from the evil of their deeds.’”  Jeremiah 23:15-22
A true prophet turns people from sin, for he speaks GOD’S Word and reveals the Heart of Godthat is true revelation. There is no other foundation or measuring rod that is sure.
“If anyone advocates a different doctrine and does not agree with sound words, those of our Lord Jesus Christ, and with the doctrine conforming to godliness, he is conceited and understands nothing...” II Timothy 6:3-4

And what were those sound words Paul was referring to—what did Yeshua say? 

“Do not think that I came to abolish the Law or the Prophets; I did not come to abolish but to fulfill. For truly I say to you, until heaven and earth pass away, not the smallest letter or stroke shall pass from the Law until all is accomplished. Whoever then annuls one of the least of these commandments, and teaches others to do the same, shall be called least in the kingdom of heaven; but whoever keeps and teaches them, he shall be called great in the kingdom of heaven.” Matthew 5:17-19

This is another clear admonition to revere the Word of God, the Torah from the Master. Further, we are instructed not to follow men who annul, in Greek λύω lyō, subvert,  dismiss, set free from, declare unlawful, do away with, deprive of authority, whether by precept or act, break up, destroy, dissolve, or overthrow the Torah, or teach others to do the same. 

These men would be those spoken of in Jeremiah 23, who speak falsehood—and lead others astray—IN HIS NAME
We encourage you to read through the chapters of this Torah portion, defining the sacrifices, sins, errors and forgiveness.

May you hear His Voice alone, and have a heart that yearns like the Psalmist: “Lead me in Your truth and teach me, 
For You are the God of my salvation; 
For You I wait all the day. 
Teach me Your way, O LORD; 
I will walk in Your truth; 
Unite my heart to fear Your name.” 
Psalms 25:5, 86:11
There is one note we’d like to highlight from a 1938 Hebrew commentary on verse 14 of the first chapter:

“...if his offering to the LORD is a burnt offering of birds, then he shall bring his offering from the turtledoves Hebrew, tor תור or pigeons Hebrew yonah יונה (Leviticus 1:14)

Both of these words are generally translated dove, and are used as terms of endearment.
“Birds were the poor man’s offering, and the Torah did not wish to place an undue burden upon him. The dove is the most inoffensive of birds; and, though attacked by other birds, it never attacks in return. It is a symbol of Israel, say the Rabbis; and teaches the offerer that he should rather be of the persecuted than of those that persecute.” 
Chief Rabbi J.H. Hertz, Pentateuch and Haftorahs, 1938  

NOTE: Rabbi JH Hertz served in Great Britain and published these commentaries on the Torah and Haftarah readings just before the inception of the “Final Solution”—the Holocaust. 
In this light, his commentary is particularly poignant. It is also insightful. Countless are those who have asked, and continue to ask, why six million Jews were so easily rounded up and led as sheep to the slaughter with next to no resistance. Woven into the fabric of this ancient people are standards, ethics, and principles that will forever set them apart. They are holy (“set apart for God’s purposes and glory”) from the beginning of the redemption story; HIS-story until the culmination. All glory and honor be His, amen. —Ed.
To be continued.......

Haftarah Vayikra
Ezekiel 45:16-46:18

Our designated text of Scripture for this week’s Haftarah portion is Ezekiel 45:16-46:18. It dovetails off of our Torah portion of Leviticus 1:1- 6:7. As we launched into this new book of Leviticus it was immediately obvious we were continuing on previous subject material, the Tabernacle or Temple. In Exodus we saw God give instructions for the building of the structure. Now that we are in Leviticus we’ll see God laying out just how the Tabernacle worship is to be performed. And it will carry over into the eventual Temple to be built by Solomon. 

Our Haftarah portion in Ezekiel is similar. Ezekiel as well gives instruction on Temple worship. But something is dramatically different. You’ll recall from our previous discussion of Ezekiel, that this prophet was given a vision of the future and told to pass it along. That vision passed along and in our hands today is God’s design for the future of the Nation of Israel. In the latter half of his book, Ezekiel records for us, among other things, how there will be a massive resurrection from the dead, the rebirth of a nation ruled by the Messiah, a new Temple, and a new order of worship.

Recall with us for a moment that the Bible must be understood literally (just as God says it) as opposed to allegorically (what else it could mean if we can’t accept what God is obviously saying). Viewing the Word of God this way makes future events—even those of Ezekiel—pretty straightforward. That said and skipping some of the “also included happenings” the next of the major events, are the taking away of the Church (a.k.a. the Rapture), the seven years of Tribulation (possibly delayed for a time after the removal of the Church), and then the Millennium—one thousand years of God dealing in a special way with His regathered children of Israel. And that brings us here to our considered text.

The specific verses designated by the sages for this Haftarah deal with Millennial Temple  sacrifices. Let's expand this just a little further to include Ezekiel 44:1-46:24. Looking at this as a unit, we will see the larger view of the Millennial system of priesthood and sacrifice. And that brings us to the aforementioned something that is dramatically different. It is so dramatic in fact, that it kept the rabbis from including the book of Ezekiel in the Hebrew canon for some time. So here it is.

There are similarities with the Mosaic sacrificial system. However, the dissimilarities between the Mosaic system of Temple sacrifice and the Millennial  system to be instituted in the new Temple show that these two systems are not the same. Here are just a few.

In the consecration of the altar (Mosaic: Exodus 29:1-37; Millennial: Ezekiel 43:18-27) seen are these differences:
  • Mosaic—anointing of the alter, Ezekiel—no anointing
  • Mosaic—one bullock for a sin offering for each of seven days, Ezekiel—one bullock offered on the first day only
  • Mosaic—offered no goat, Ezekiel—offers goats for the last six days
  • Mosaic—applied blood only on the horns of the alter, Ezekiel—applies blood on the horns, the corners, and upon the lower molding
  • Mosaic—for the burnt offering a ram every day, Ezekiel—both a ram and a bullock every day
Further, the Mosaic—had the Ark of the Covenant, The Millennial—will not have the Ark (Jeremiah 3:16). For the Mosaic Law the observance of the Feast of Tabernacles was mandatory for only Jews, while under Kingdom Law it will be mandatory for both Jews and Gentiles alike (Zechariah 14:16-21). Under Mosaic Law only Jews could be priests, while under Kingdom rule Gentiles will be priests as well (Isaiah 66:18-21). All told there are at least twenty-five distinct differences between Mosaic worship and Kingdom Temple practices found on this topic. This shows that there is no return to the Mosaic Law, rather a new system under Kingdom Law.

The ramifications of this to the Jewish mind of old was staggering. As previously noted, this obvious truth kept Ezekiel’s book out of the Hebrew Bible for some time. Ezekiel’s format for sacrifice was obviously contrary to the laws set forth in the Torah, that which you read above, and this was not easily dealt with. After all, contradictions in Scripture are automatically looked upon as being illegitimate. For any writing to be considered for addition to Hebrew cannon it had to compliment or agree with the Torah. So how was this to be resolved?

Well, the Talmud tells the story of a sage named Chananiah ben Hezekiah. He is reported to have taken three hundred barrels of oil for lamp light  to an upper room. There, he stayed until he had resolved every contradiction. Sadly though his work was lost and we don’t know what it was he came up with

Next we have the story of Rabbi Yochanan. He simply accepted Ezekiel as inspired. He said that Elijah the prophet would explain the discrepancies. And there were other sages with other approaches. Even more, though still inadequate (let’s not forget Nadab and Abihu, Leviticus 10), was that which said Ezekiel was giving additional sacrifices for special occasions or that he was augmenting the Torah’s regularly prescribed sacrifices and stipulations. The truth of the matter is that as hard as one might try there is no way to show that the sacrificial system to be implemented in the Millennium does not contradict the Mosaic sacrificial system. It simply does. And that means the Mosaic sacrificial system will not be implemented in the Millennium, at least not in whole. It is set aside for Ezekiel’s.
I sympathize with those who have great difficulty seeing that God will not strictly adhere to the Mosaic system of sacrifice found in the Torah. This system is God’s original Law. It is the schoolmaster that led us to the one true Messiah. (Galations 3:24) So for those of us who dearly love the Torah and follow it as best we understand its use for today, the dilemma is no different than that of those sages who balked at allowing the book of Ezekiel into the Cannon of Scripture.
Before us though, lies the same question that the sages had to face. What provision would, or has, taken place that allows God to change His dealings with His people? For when the Messiah sits on His Millennial throne the sacrificial system will be markedly different.

I believe the answer to that question is to be found in our B’rit Chadashah.
Let’s take a look.

B'rit Chadashah Vayikra
Hebrews 10:1-18

We closed off our Haftarah selection by asking a question. When examining the Millennial Temple sacrifices we found that they were significantly different than those of the Mosaic sacrifices to be used in both the Tabernacle and the first and second Temples. Moses laid out a very detailed format for worship in both. And the penalty for violating the stated procedure was severe.

“If you are not careful to observe all the words of this law which are written in this book, to fear this honored and awesome name, the LORD your God, then the LORD will bring extraordinary plagues on you and your descendants, even severe and lasting plagues, and miserable and chronic sicknesses.” Deuteronomy 28:58-59

And again, “... I command you today to love the LORD your God, to walk in His ways and to keep His commandments and His statutes and His judgments, that you may live and multiply, and that the LORD your God may bless you in the land where you are entering to possess it. But if your heart turns away and you will not obey, but are drawn away and worship other gods and serve them I declare to you today that you shall surely perish.” Deuteronomy 30:16-18

As far as Moses and the Israelites were concerned, all of this included Tabernacle and later Temple worship, and had no terminus. Everything including Temple worship was to be done only in the way prescribed, or the penalty from God would be of the severest kind. Thus, when the sages read Ezekiel, realized that he was saying Temple worship during the future reign of the Messiah on earth was to be very different in its procedure, they naturally at first could not accept this at face value. But, eventually they did, believing that somehow the issue would resolve itself; and so they received the book of Ezekiel into the canon of Scripture.

And here we are. We are left to answer the question, to resolve this seeming discrepancy between Mosaic and Millennial Temple procedure. Put succinctly the question is: What provision would, or has taken place that allows God to change His dealings with His people? Much, well, even volumes, could be written in answer to this question. But since we made the question succinct let’s do the same with the answer. And that is this, the death and resurrection of the Messiah to pay the price for the sins of all of mankind, “... and He Himself is the propitiation for our sins; and not for ours only, but also for those of the whole world.” (I John 2:2)

This event as a future happening was not unknown to the Jews of old. They read  in Isaiah 53, of the Suffering Servant. Traditional Jewish interpretation was that this was speaking of the coming Messiah. This belief was held by the Jewish mainstream until the 12th century when it became popular to see this passage as speaking of the nation of Israel. This same Messiah was seen as the one who would establish the Millennial kingdom.
“Then he led me to the gate, the gate facing toward the east; and behold, the glory of the God of Israel was coming from the way of the east. And His voice was like the sound of many waters; and the earth shone with His glory. And it was like the appearance of the vision which I saw, like the vision which I saw when He came to destroy the city. And the visions were like the vision which I saw by the river Chebar; and I fell on my face. And the glory of the LORD came into the house by the way of the gate facing toward the east. And the Spirit lifted me up and brought me into the inner court; and behold, the glory of the LORD filled the house. Then I heard one speaking to me from the house, while a man was standing beside me. He said to me, "Son of man, this is the place of My throne and the place of the soles of My feet, where I will dwell among the sons of Israel forever. And the house of Israel will not again defile My holy name, neither they nor their kings, by their harlotry and by the corpses of their kings when they die.” Ezekiel 43:1-7
It is here that our B’rit Chadashah reading, Hebrews 10:1-18, comes into play. Take a moment now to read it. While some very significant points come out of this passage, one is that salvation from sin was never and will never be obtained through Tabernacle or Temple sacrifices. (That would include “works” today. Ephesians 2:8-9) Indeed, the only event that ever did, will now, or ever will, was and is the death and resurrection of the Messiah. 

“By this will we have been sanctified through the offering of the body of Jesus Christ once for all. Every priest stands daily ministering and offering time after time the same sacrifices, which can never take away sins; but He, having offered one sacrifice for sins for all time, sat down at the right hand of God...” Hebrews 10:10-12

These three verses tell us that Temple sacrifices never did and never will take away sin guilt. The only way of appropriating that is through the once for all sacrifice, that of the Messiah. The purpose of the Tabernacle and Temple sacrifices, both Mosaic then and Millennial to come, was and will be for the restoration of fellowship with God. But that still doesn’t tell us how it is that the Mosaic Temple process and the Millennial Temple process can be different. 

I believe that the answer lies in the fact that when the Messiah died, something “old” and in process was accomplished, and then was needed no more. Colossians 2:13-14 lends light on this point.
“When you were dead in your transgressions and the uncircumcision of your flesh (We were on our way to Hell because of the sin in our life.), He made you alive together with Him (The path to salvation was established through His death and resurrection.), having forgiven us all our transgressions (All of our guilt was simply forgiven by accepting His work for us.), having canceled out the certificate of debt (This document delineated our sinful acts and declared us guilty of them.) consisting of decrees against us (These decrees were God’s Law that when matched against how we lived showed us how miserably we had failed God’s standard.), which was hostile to us (His decrees were hostile because we could not meet up to His righteous standard.); and He has taken it out of the way, having nailed it to the cross.”
What got nailed to the cross was not God’s standard, the Law. NO. It was the document upon which the acts of our lives were compared to God’s standard as delineated by that Law and the certification of debt or condemnation to death that it brought. That document was the evidence that condemned us. It was that document that was nailed to the cross, not God’s holy standard. 

Consider that a document was needed to validate the charges and thus the condemnation. What was placed on that document was God’s standard, His Law. It was His Law that testified against the accused. The sinner’s life could not match the standard and thus he was always found guilty. But now that the Messiah had died, and in His death removed that document, there is no longer a charge of guilt. For those having received Messiah as their Savior, His death paid the price for the sin guilt that had been  proven by the document. ”There is therefore now no condemnation for those found in Christ Jesus.” Romans 8:1

So what was it that was “old” and in process? Let’s not think that it was the Law and that it has been done away with. Matthew 5:18 says, “For truly I say to you, until heaven and earth pass away, not the smallest letter or stroke shall pass from the Law until all is accomplished.” Certainly “all” has not been accomplished and won’t be for some time. Therefore it could not have been the Law that was nailed to the cross. So what was the “old?” It was the relationship between the Law, or God’s righteous standard, and the certificate of death. It was the document that once contained the condemning proof that would always have sent the unrepentant sinner to Hell. It is this relationship that was “old” and that has now been done away with.

Note as well that it was the Law or God’s righteous standard that drew us to the Messiah. Galatians 3:23-29 says, “But before faith came, we were kept in custody under the law, being shut up to the faith which was later to be revealed. Therefore the Law has become our tutor to lead us to Christ, so that we may be justified by faith. But now that faith has come, we are no longer under a tutor. For you are all sons of God through faith in Christ Jesus. For all of you who were baptized into Christ have clothed yourselves with Christ. There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither slave nor free man, there is neither male nor female; for you are all one in Christ Jesus. And if you belong to Christ, then you are Abraham's descendants, heirs according to promise.”

Not only was the Law used on the certificate of debt to show how we had failed God’s standard, but it was also used to “lead us to Christ.” It was for the human race a teacher, a custodian, a guide to lead us to something else. While it was guiding us we were under its direction. We were supposed to do as it said, even though we failed time and again. But now that we have arrived are we still under its direction? See again what verses 24 and 25 say, “Therefore the Law has become our tutor to lead us to Christ, so that we may be justified by faith. But now that faith has come, we are no longer under a tutor.” So, the Law has not been done away. It is still very much alive and well, still being used, and to be used for God’s purposes. The only thing that has changed in this instance is the relationship the believer in Christ has to that Law that once tutored him.

What one begins to see as these points are considered is not that the Law has ceased to be of importance, or even ceased to exist. No. It is rather that the relationship the Law has changes based on the plan of God for its use. In the case of the “certificate of debt” the Law was no longer necessary. It had performed its intended function of showing how guilty man was when his life was compared to God’s standard. The Law did not cease. It was simply not used in this manner for the believer.

In the case of its tutorial role the Law was used to guide us to a personal relationship with the Messiah who died for us. By showing us our sinfulness and utter helplessness in reaching God’s standard we are compelled to turn to a Savior as our only hope. In Him we have the righteousness of God. Certainly none of that can be found in ourselves. The Law, or "Torah," which means “teaching,” did and still does tutor us in that. It guided us to that understanding. Now that we are there is the Law of no value to us any more? Of course not. It is still God’s standard and has not been done away with, even though one of its aspects
that of tutorialhas accomplished one of its missions, that of bringing us to Christ. 

It seems easy to conclude now a couple of things: 

  • One, the Law has never been done away. There are times when it is not prominent, as in the Christians life in His form of worship for example. (We don’t have a working Temple now and therefore cannot see that that aspect of the Law is performed in our lives.) But there is never a time when the Law is not present. It has not been done away with. It is still God’s standard by which holy living is judged (Thank goodness we as believers are cloaked in Christ’s righteousness for that judgement.)
  • A second is that the function of the Law changes in relation to other events in God’s plan.  Understanding that a relational change does happen from time to time it is easier to see how Millennial Temple worship will be different than Mosaic. Certain aspects are suspended. Others are maintained. (Regarding the two major areas of suspension for today - No Temple, no obligation to follow the Law as it relates to Temple worship. No civil Law as laid out in the Torah, no obligation to follow those particular directives.)  This does not mean that those aspects of the Torah not used have been done away with or even changed. And so just as God has modified the role of the Law in the believers life today, He will change that role in the Millennial Temple worship. Some things old will not be used. Some things new will be used. In this there is no violation of consistency only the addition of other practices that God chooses to employ.

The importance of this to us is that we have a God who is multifaceted. In the Mosaic He can do things one way. And in the Millennial another. We are not to question how or why, only to trust Him in all things. 

And yes, if He is big enough to handle this Millennial Temple issue, He must be capable enough to handle everything in our lives as well. 

How is it going with you in the matter of putting all things in His hands?  

Shabbat Shalom!

In Messiah's Love,
His EVERY Word Ministries

Thursday, March 8, 2018

The Glory of the LORD Fills His Tabernacle! | Parashat Vayakhel-Pekudei | By His EVERY Word

Parashat Vayakhel-Pekudei

פרשת ויקהל־פקודי 

The Glory of the LORD Fills His Tabernacle! 

Torah: Exodus 35:1 - 38:20
Haftarah: I Kings 7:40 - 50 
B’rit Chadash: II Corinthians 9:6-11

Shabbat | 10 March 2018 | 23 Adar 5778

In Hebrew, Vayak’hel וַיַּקְהֵל literally means “and he assembled,” as our parashah begins with Moses assembling all the “congregation of the sons of Israel” for instruction from the LORD regarding the Sabbath, the Tabernacle, and congregational life.

The second Hebrew word in the title of our Parashah, Pekudei פְקוּדֵי is translated “accounts," "sum” or “records.” This portion opens with an accounting of all the materials gathered for building the Tabernacle
—and a record of the stunning generosity of the assembly.

With these final portions we complete the book of Exodus. Adonai has formed His congregation of the sons of Israel, who have devoted their resources, gifts, and talents to preparing a dwelling place on earth for His Divine Presence according to the heavenly blueprint shown Moses. 

Upon completion of this holy enterprise, their efforts are rewarded as His awesome Shekhinah filled the Tabernacle, a celestial acceptance of their labor of love.
Adonai is still building His congregation until the final redemption when we will at last see the Heavenly Tabernacle, which is created by His eternal presence. 
As we take the time to read through the Torah, Haftarah, and B'rit Chadashah, we see His plan and pattern—lovingly, painstakingly, and oft times heartbreakingly, wrought in flesh through the millennia—generation to generation.

Join us now at the Father’s table as we keep the rhythm of Israel for more than two millennia, anticipating fresh manna from our God and King. As followers of Messiah we have added a corresponding New Covenant portion reflecting the fulfillment and crown of the Torah.

Exodus 35  The Holy Congregation—Assembled for a Holy Purpose

vv. 1-3 “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.'” 

The Hebrew word assembled is 'kä·hal קהל, meaning to assemble, to gather, to call together.

From kahal is derived the word kehillah, the Hebrew word for ASSEMBLY, SYNAGOGUE, or CONGREGATION. Kahal is also the Old Testament Hebrew equivalent of the Greek word ἐκκλησία or ekklēsia

Most are familiar with its English usage in the New Testament: CHURCHan assembly or gathering of “the called” among the Jews or Gentiles who believed in Yeshua.
Most are familiar with the admonishment in James 2:2-4, regarding treating the wealthy better than the poor:

“...if a man comes into your assembly with a gold ring and dressed in fine clothes, and there also comes in a poor man in dirty clothes, and you pay special attention to the one who is wearing the fine clothes and say, ‘You sit here in a good place,’ have you not made distinctions among yourselves, and become judges with evil motives?”

However, very few realize that the described scenario—involving believers in Yeshuatakes place in a synagogue.
The word assembly in James 2:2 is συναγωγή synagōgē. It is the Greek word for kehillah from the Septuagint (the Greek translation of the Tenakh, the Old Testament). 

In the B’rit Chadashah/New Covenant/New Testament, synagogue generally refers to the assembling of the Jews, and ekklesia or church generally speaks to the assembly of believers—Jews and Gentiles. However, in first century lingo, ekklēsia and synagōgē were used interchangeably.
We find another very familiar verse in Hebrews 10:25 that most can quote by heart. Yet it may surprise some to find out it utilizes the word synagogue, not church:

“...not forsaking our own assembling together, as is the habit of some, but encouraging one another; and all the more as you see the day drawing near.” 

This is ἐπισυναγωγή episynagōgē, which also occurs in 2 Thessalonians 2:1: “Now we request you, brethren, with regard to the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ and our gathering together to Him...”
Many have a myopic view built around the word “church.” Even those who know the word church does not mean a building that people go to on Sunday, but rather the people who are called [out of the world, together for worship] assembling together, often have somewhat of a skewed or narrow view. This view paints a picture of the glorious church, birthed at Pentecost as an entirely new and unique thing, as contrasted with "the corrupt synagogue of the Jews," an idea graphically portrayed on the edifices of some of the grand cathedrals of Europe in the characters of Ecclesia and Synagoga.

There is no dispute that “the church,” the Body of Messiah, the assembly of believers is a glorious thing! 

Entirely new, however? Not entirely.
For thousands of years, 
Adonai has been forming His Congregation. 
As we take the time to read through the Torah and Haftarah,
we see His plan and pattern—lovingly, painstakingly,
and ofttimes heartbreakingly,
wrought in flesh—generation to generation

Israel in the wilderness at Mt. Sinai is referred to as "the church" in Acts 7:38 in the KJV, again using the Greek word for church/assembly/congregation: ἐκκλησία ekklēsia.

Something Old, Something New

The believers were together “in one place” on the day of Pentecost in Acts 2, oft noted as the “birth of the church.” The reason they were together was not a new thing—this was the ancient practice of the congregation of the sons of Israel.” Exodus 35:1

In the New Covenant, Shavu’ot is called by the Greek word, Pentecost, but it is the pilgrimage festival from Leviticus 23:15-22, when the men of Israel were called by Adonai to come up to Jerusalem fifty days after Passover. Paul continued to observe this rich festival as noted in Acts 20:16 and I Corinthians 16:8.

The believers were “...continuing with one mind in the Temple, and breaking bread from house to house, they were taking their meals together with gladness and sincerity of heart, praising God and having favor with all the people. And the Lord was adding to their number day by day those who were being saved.” Acts 2:46-47
The life of faith is meant to be shared, as exemplified in this week’s parasha. Each member, alone being limited, contributes an essential piece for the vitality of the “...whole body, being fitted and held together by what every joint supplies, according to the proper working of each individual part, causes the growth of the body for the building up of itself in love.” Ephesians 4:16

In Exodus 35, we see Moses assembling the congregation together to hear the Word of the Lord:

Observe the Sabbath, Do Not Create Fire

vv. 2-3 “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.” 

The issue of the Sabbath seems to be one of extreme importance to Adonai, as often as He revisits the subject! Embodied in the Sabbath observance is a weekly demonstration of TRUST for provision, thus recognizing and testifying to the world that the LORD God is a faithful provider. How many times do the Scriptures entreat, exhort, and admonish those who fear the LORD to trust the LORD, as in Psalm 115:11? 

It is also a reminder and testimony of His magnificent work of Creation. Why would Adonai command us not to kindle a fire on the Sabbath? 
Making light is an act of creation. God rested from His work of creation on the seventh day, and sanctified it for man to rest with Him. Therefore observant Jews prepare for the Sabbath, lighting their candles before sunset, turning on lights, preparing foods, etc., that they may rest with their Creator on this blessed day—His first appointment with His beloved in the Leviticus 23 list of mo’edim, or "appointed times."
No Fundraising Schemes ... Receive from Those Who Had a Heart to Give

vv. 5-9 “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 (or tanned 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.” 

Adonai must have had faith in His People and His plan, as He didn’t employ persuasive or clever fundraising principles to raise the resources needed to build His Tabernacle!

Let Each Joint Supply Accordingly and Liberally

vv. 10-29 “Let every skillful man among you come, and make all that the LORD has commanded: the tabernacle, its tent and its covering ... the ark and its poles, the mercy seat ... the table and its poles ... the lampstand also for the light ...the oil for the light ... the woven garments for ministering in the holy place, the holy garments for Aaron the priest and the garments of his sons, to minister as priests. 

“Then all the congregation of the sons of Israel departed from Moses' presence. Everyone whose heart stirred him and everyone whose spirit moved him came and brought the LORD'S contribution for the work of the tent of meeting and for all its service and for the holy garments. Then all whose hearts moved them, both men and women, came and brought brooches and earrings and signet rings and bracelets, all articles of gold; so did every man who presented an offering of gold to the LORD.” 

Skinscloths of Tekhelet blue and scarlet were brought by every man who had them in his possession, and all who could contribute silver, bronze, and acacia wood brought it forth. 
Women whose hearts were stirred, spun fine linen, goats’ hair, and materials in Tekhelet blue, scarlet, and purple. The onyx stones, and precious stones for the ephod and breastpiece were contributed by the rulers. All that was needed, was given by a “freewill offering to the LORD. (v. 29)

vv. 30-33 Moses proclaimed that the LORD had called by name, Bezalel of the Tribe of Judah, filling him “with the Spirit of God, in wisdom, in understanding and in knowledge and in all craftsmanship; to make designs for working in gold and in silver and in bronze, and in the cutting of stones for settings and in the carving of wood, so as to perform in every inventive work.” 

vv. 34-35 Not only was Bezalel gifted to do the work, but Adonai also has put in his heart to teach, both he and Oholiab, the son of Ahisamach, of the tribe of Dan,” filling them with “skill to perform every work of an engraver and of a designer and of an embroiderer...” 

Here we see a practical application of the Congregation working together—each one utilizing his skill, and teaching and equipping others—to build the earthly dwelling place for the LORD. Isn’t this an apt picture of Ephesians 4:16 where, “...every joint supplies, according to the proper working of each individual part?”

This is the Body, formed by Adonai to build a habitation for His Divine Presence on earth ... then and now. In the time of Moses, His Glory would reside in the Tabernacle and then the Temple crafted by human hands—“the congregation of the sons of Israel.” Today, Adonai dwells in tabernacles of flesh and blood, who together form His Body for His Kingdom purposes on earth.
Exodus 36  Sufficient Unto His Purpose

Just as in verse 1, where we are told, “Bezalel and Oholiab, and every skillful person in whom the LORD has put skill and understanding to know how to perform all the work in the construction of the sanctuary, shall perform in accordance with all that the LORD has commanded,” each member of His Body performs an essential function for Adonai's eternal purposes.

There are those who seek to know what God has for them to enhance their own life, and those who conform the Scriptures to what is comfortable, palatable, culturally relative, or popular. There are those who “go to church” on Sunday and then live the rest of the week for themselves—although they may pray for theirs’ and others’ needs, and seem very "spiritual." 

God, however, is forming a Body for His purposes. A body that only puts forth a foot or an eye for serviceon its own termsand even then, only one day a week is seriously handicapped.
God is seeking a Holy Tabernacle from which His Holy Presence may penetrate this dark world as a beacon, exposing the deadly deceptions of wickedness, compromise, and rebellion. He is defining the Way that leads to Life. If we are conformed to the darkness of this age, we have dimmed that light. “If then the light that is in you is darkness, how great is the darkness!” Mark 6:23

As we are yielded to HIS purposes, HIS desires, and seeking HIS willnot ours, we will be sufficiently supplied to fulfill His purposes through us. 

And that chief purpose is this: that God be glorified—in His people ... in the earth.

Dayeinu! It is Sufficient!

v. 7 As suspected, Adonai knew what He was doing in taking an offering from His People “as stirred by their heart.” 

They gave ... and gave ... and gave! In fact, they gave sufficient materials for the entire Tabernacle, and even more than enough for all the work, to perform it.” 
Have you ever heard of such a thing? Without a fundraising strategy or clever gimmicks—the people gave more than was needed! 
Moses had to issue a command and a proclamation to circulate throughout the camp, saying, “Let no man or woman any longer perform work for the contributions of the sanctuary” (v. 6) to restrain the people from bringing any more!

The Passover Seder (traditional supper) contains a song called Dayeinu (pronounced die-ā-noo), a Hebrew word דַּיֵּנוּ, meaning “it would have been sufficient.”

The song has 14 verses recounting the many wonderful things Adonai did for our people in the Exodus story, “If He had brought us out from Egypt, and had not carried out judgments against them ... Dayeinu! It would have been sufficient! If He would have supplied our needs in the wilderness for forty years, but not given us manna ... given us the Shabbat, but not brought before Mount Sinai, etc., etc. ...Dayeinu!
Dayeinu is formed from the Hebrew word dai די in verse 7: “they gave sufficient materials...” This is the same word translated as overflows in Malachi 3:10: “Bring the whole tithe into the storehouse, so that there may be food in My house, and test Me now in this," says the LORD of hosts, "if I will not open for you the windows of heaven and pour out for you a blessing until it overflows.
Exodus 37-39  The Tabernacle Constructed

According to Adonai’s meticulous instructions, with the over-abundant supply of
materials and willing craftsmen, the Wilderness Tabernacle is constructed.
An interesting insight from the Jewish commentaries on Exodus 38:8: “Moreover, he made the laver of bronze with its base of bronze, from the mirrors of the serving women who served at the doorway of the tent of meeting.”

In keeping with the theme of consecration for the service of the LORD, it is thought these women sacrificed their mirrors—essentially renouncing their vanity—as a demonstration of their devotion to Adonai and His service. 

“So the sons of Israel did all the work according to all that the LORD had commanded Moses. And Moses examined all the work and behold, they had done it; just as the LORD had commanded, this they had done. So Moses blessed them. Exodus 39:42-43
Moses had been given a view of the Heavenly Tabernacle—the Divine Blueprints for Adonai’s dwelling place among His People. (Exodus 25:9) He was able to bless the congregation for their zealous dedication to the sacred task of preparing God’s Tabernacle in the Wilderness.

Exodus 40  The Glory of the LORD Fills His Tabernacle

vv. 1-16 “Then the LORD spoke to Moses, saying, ‘On the first day of the first month you shall set up the tabernacle of the tent of meeting.’ ...You shall put the holy garments on Aaron and anoint him and consecrate him, that he may minister as a priest to Me. You shall bring his sons and put tunics on them; and you shall anoint them even as you have anointed their father, that they may minister as priests to Me; and their anointing will qualify them for a perpetual priesthood throughout their generations.’ Thus Moses did; according to all that the LORD had commanded him, so he did.” 

The Tabernacle had been scrupulously prepared for the Almighty.
The priesthood is now to be prepared with holy garments.

Holy garments represent consecration unto Adonai, being undefiled, and separated unto Him for His service and glory. 

“Who may ascend into the hill of the LORD?
And who may stand in His holy place?
He who has clean hands and a pure heart,
Who has not lifted up his soul to falsehood
And has not sworn deceitfully.”

Psalm 24:3-4

vv. 17-34 “Now in the first month of the second year, on the first day of the month, the tabernacle was erected. ...He erected the court all around the tabernacle and the altar, and hung up the veil for the gateway of the court. Thus Moses finished the work. Then the cloud covered the tent of meeting, and the glory of the LORD filled the tabernacle. 

Some may say that God is too demanding.
Why so many details?

But this was the reward for the generosity and months of dedication
 in the desert for the congregation of the sons of Israel—
the glory of the LORD filled the Tabernacle they had built for Him!

The awesome Divine Presence was His seal of approval on their completed work.

How many long to hear, “Well done, good and faithful servant!” Matthew 25:21

v. 35 “Moses was not able to enter the tent of meeting because the cloud had settled on it, and the glory of the LORD filled the tabernacle.”

The Hebrew sages spoke of the manifest Divine Presence as the Shekhinah שכינה (Pronounced: sheh-kee-nah), which has been adopted by Christianity. 
The word Shekhinah does not appear in the the Bible, but is likely derived from the word, shakhan שכן, translated as settled in verse 35. Shakhan is also translated abide, dwell, tabernacle. 
Thus, in Judaic tradition, Shekhinah is defined as the Divine Presence of the Almighty.
Follow Me!

vv. 36-37 “Throughout all their journeys whenever the cloud was taken up from over the tabernacle, the sons of Israel would set out; but if the cloud was not taken up, then they did not set out until the day when it was taken up.” 

Thus the congregation of the sons of Israel would learn to follow the LORD in the wilderness. Again, we find  a parallel—something old, something new

And much like Israel, who had to learn to follow Adonai so many generations ago, we too, are called to follow. For Yeshua entreats us: follow me!” “My sheep hear My voice, and I know them, and they follow Me.” (John 10:27) “If anyone serves Me, he must follow Me; and where I am, there My servant will be also; if anyone serves Me, the Father will honor him.” (John 12:26) Do you hear His voice today?

v. 38 For throughout all their journeys, the cloud of the LORD was on the tabernacle by day, and there was fire in it by night, in the sight of all the house of Israel.”

When we finally see the Heavenly Tabernacle, which is the LORD Almighty Himself, we will finally walk perfectly by His Divine Light...

“The nations will walk by its light, and the kings of the earth will bring their glory into it. In the daytime (for there will be no night there) its gates will never be closed; and they will bring the glory and the honor of the nations into it; and nothing unclean, and no one who practices abomination and lying, shall ever come into it, but only those whose names are written in the Lamb's book of life.” Revelation 21:27

With This We Complete the Book of Exodus!

Chazak! Chazak! Be strong, be strong! And let us strengthen one another! These are the words of the ancient warrior paraphrased from 2 Samuel 10:12, and are customarily  proclaimed upon completing each of the five books of the Torah.

To be continued...

Haftarah Vayak’hel Kings 7:40-50

Well, here we are again with more information on the Tabernacle being given in our Torah portion of Scripture. That which we have already seen in Exodus is a preliminary to what God is going to do when He has Solomon build the first permanent Temple. In the Exodus 35:1-38:20 portion there are some things of note that reflect upon this week’s Haftarah and B’rit Chadashah. First though, some dissimilarities between the Torah (Tabernacle) and Haftarah (Temple) passages.

The first is that the opportunity to contribute to the construction of the Tabernacle was extended to all of the congregation. (Exodus 35:4-5) That’s everyone. “Moses spoke to all the congregation...”(v.4) With Solomon’s Temple there was no contribution of wealth from the people. David had either provided it prior to his death or it came from taxation. 

The second is that the giving for the Tabernacle was done willingly and not out of compulsion. “...whoever is of a willing heart, let him bring...” (v.5)  Moses was quite clear on both of these points when he spoke to the people. “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...’” (Exodus 35:4-5) Significant here is that the laborers on Solomon’s Temple were not voluntary, but conscript.

And the third dissimilarity is that this giving to the Tabernacle's construction seemed to just pour out of the proverbial horn of plenty. It just never stopped. “They received from Moses all the contributions which the sons of Israel had brought to perform the work in the construction of the sanctuary. And they still continued bringing to him freewill offerings every morning.” (36:3) This could be summed up by saying that with the Tabernacle God’s children were invited to participate and willingly did so; whereas with the building of the first Temple they were commanded to. They had no choice in the matter. Ouch, that must have hurt. And so...

I Kings 7:40-50 is the Haftarah selection of Scripture to which we are comparing the Torah. While these verses deal solely with some construction issues of Solomon’s Temple there are unspoken points of similarity. What might some of them be? Why would the Sages have chosen these verses as a compliment—or substitutionary reading—to the Torah portion?

Perhaps the most obvious link the Sages saw between this and the Torah portion is that both speak of the collection of materials for, and the construction of God’s House. But beyond that, this process was to make a place for God to meet His people, and be a place from which God’s people would offer their sacrifices to Adonai.

We must not forget as well that both the Tabernacle and Temple reflected the best that could be given to the task of creating these structures at that time.

At this point, let’s hold off making any application for now and move on to our B’rit Chadashah portion. I think we’ll see the application there.

B'rit Chadashah Vayak’hel-Pekudei
II Corinthians 9:6-11

As we move into our B’rit Chadashah passage of II Corinthians 9:6-11 we are introduced to a portion of the doctrine concerning New Testament giving. As you read these verses see if your able to find similarity and contrast with the previous Tabernacle and Temple passages. Here we go.

“Now this I say, he who sows sparingly will also reap sparingly, and he who sows bountifully will also reap bountifully. Each one must do just as he has purposed in his heart, not grudgingly or under compulsion, for God loves a cheerful giver. And God is able to make all grace abound to you, so that always having all sufficiency in everything, you may have an abundance for every good deed; as it is written, ‘HE SCATTERED ABROAD, HE GAVE TO THE POOR, HIS RIGHTEOUSNESS ENDURES FOREVER.’ Now He who supplies seed to the sower and bread for food will supply and multiply your seed for sowing and increase the harvest of your righteousness; you will be enriched in everything for all liberality, which through us is producing thanksgiving to God.”
The Apostle Paul was on a mission. The believers in the Jerusalem church were in financial need and Paul was committed to meeting that need through offerings from other churches. So he writes to the Corinthian church regarding a commitment they had made to contribute to this circumstance. “So I thought it necessary to urge the brethren that they would go on ahead to you and arrange beforehand your previously promised bountiful gift, so that the same would be ready as a bountiful gift and not affected by covetousness.” II Corinthians 9:5
With the thought of an impending collection in mind Paul pulls out some of those Tabernacle giving principals. 

  • First of all, the opportunity to contribute was extended to all the saints in Corinth. In 8:1 Paul addresses the “brethren.” Paul has been speaking to the whole church in this letter and goes right on doing so as he launches into this portion on giving. No one was to be excluded from this opportunity. All were invited to share in the blessing.
  • Secondly, Paul wanted only what was going to be given willingly and not because one felt they had to. In 9:7 he says, ”Each one must do just as he has purposed in his heart, not grudgingly or under compulsion, for God loves a cheerful giver.”

As the Holy Spirit brought these points to Paul’s thinking for the process of the divinely inspired act of pen to paper, this educated Pharisee’s mind had to leap back to the process whereby the Tabernacle was “funded.”  Both of these points must have reminded Paul of Exodus 35:4-5. Remember how... “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 35:21 then goes on to say, “Everyone whose heart stirred him and everyone whose spirit moved him came and brought the Lord’s contribution for the work of the tent of meeting and for all its service and for the holy garments.”

  • The third point could be no different in the Apostle’s thinking. He must have recalled how Moses, in recounting this Tabernacle event, wrote of those giving, “They received from Moses all the contributions which the sons of Israel had brought to perform the work in the construction of the sanctuary. And they still continued bringing to him freewill offerings every morning.” Exodus 36:3

These giving Israelites, one and all, were first, offered the opportunity to give. Then they were, instructed how to give. It had to be out of a willing heart. And lastly the fruit of this was that they just didn’t stop giving.

What a contrast we see when we consider the construction of Solomon’s Temple. Let’s first understand though, that the building of the Temple was of the Lord. God had instructed King David to prepare much of what would be needed. He just could not do the building himself. Solomon, his son and the next King, was to use what had been assembled along with other materials acquired largely from a foreign country. This was God’s plan. It was a blessed and divinely led endeavor. But there were major differences.

These differences centered around the interaction of the Jewish people with the project of building the Temple. 

  • First, there was no offer made to them to contribute goods or wealth to the project. 
  • And so, secondly, there could be no giving out of that willing heart so openly seen in the construction of the Tabernacle. 
  • This meant that, third, there was no continual giving and no consequential blessing in their lives which would have come as a result of that giving.

As we move on in the story of the Temple building we see that it was successfully finished and it was the grandest of structures. Not only had David planned and then Solomon erected the Temple, but they completed many other building projects in each of their respective reigns. 

The Temple itself was seven years in the making and then after that there was another thirteen years to build Solomon’s house. And after that there was more building.  

II Chronicles 8:1-6 tells us that Solomon built city after city. How this was accomplished was warned of by Samuel. Let’s visit that.

It is in I Samuel 8 that the children of Adonai come to Samuel and ask for a king to  rule over them. Up until then they had what would be called a theocratic kingdom. In other words, God was their King. He ruled over them through appointed representatives. But these Israelites wanted to be like all the other folks and do things the way everyone else did, the world’s way. Samuel warned them of the bad consequences of this desire. We find it in I Samuel 8:1-22, especially verses 9 and 16.

Here God says to Samuel, “Now then listen to their voice; however you shall solemnly warn them and tell them of the procedure of the king who will reign over them” (v.9). And then Samuel says to the people speaking of these kings they want, “He will also take your male servants and your female servants and your best young men and your donkeys and use them for his work.” v.16

The people would be used to serve the king. But they insisted, and so God allowed the institution of the monarchy. This system was oppressive and was abused. When Israel finally divided into two separate  kingdoms the specific reason given for initiating its division was the oppressive labor forced on the people by Solomon.

You’ll see this in I Kings 12:1-16. In verse four, Jeroboam, soon to be the first king of the new Northern Kingdom, says to Rehoboam, at that point the next king of Israel after his father Solomon, Your father made our yoke hard; now therefore lighten the hard service of your father and his heavy yoke which he put on us, and we will serve you." Ultimately this agreement was not reached and Israel was thus divided into two separate kingdoms.

Suffice it to say that where the Tabernacle was concerned there was much blessing. Where the Temple was concerned that blessing which comes from giving did not exist. Two ways of building, two different outcomes when it comes to the blessing of giving or not giving. The way of blessing came because the process of building the Tabernacle was done under God’s rule, done His way. The missed blessing happened because the people were under a King’s rule and things were just done differently.
So where does all of this lead us? Hopefully as believers in Yeshua and therefore members of the Body of Messiah, it impresses upon us the necessity of giving in a Biblical way.
There are many gimmicks, schemes, programs, rallies, and the like to get believers to give.  Let's recognize them for what they are; man-made substitutes for giving God’s way. But God’s way, the right way, is found in Scripture—a bit of it in our II Corinthians passage.

Why don’t we just stick with that. The opportunity to give is open to all. Those that give willingly and not out of compulsion will be blessed. 

And our God will supply the need, even meet it with excess.

Have a blessed Shabbat!

In Messiah's Love,
His EVERY Word Ministries