Friday, February 23, 2018

Bearing the Light | Parashat Tetzaveh | By His EVERY Word

Parashat Tetzaveh 

פרשת תצוה

“You Shall Command”

“And you shall command the
 children of Israel
 that they
 bring you pure oil of pressed
olives for the light...”

Torah Portion: 
Exodus 27:20-30:10

 Ezekiel 43:10-27

B’rit Chadash/New Covenant: Hebrews 13:10-17

Shabbat | 24 February 2018 | 9 Adar 5778

Clothed in the Garments of Holiness

The menorah, or seven branched lampstand will be the enduring symbol of Israel, as well as the olive tree. The olive oil ignites the fire, bringing illumination. It is often symbolic of God’s Holy Spirit. Although Adonai is building an earthly tabernacle and priesthood—to scrupulous specifications, they have far-reaching implications.

As is God’s pattern; first in the natural, then the spiritual.
(I Corinthians 15:46) He is illustrating in fine detail every element of that which comprises His Kingdom.

Holiness... A holy place. A holy people. Holy implements. Holy furnishings. Holy garments. A holy priesthood.  He is a Holy God, and all who attend Him, speak for Him, and are called by His Name, are to be holy.
His Presence will burn with fire and light in the midst of a dark and hopeless world—initially from the physical tabernacle in the wilderness; then Israel is called to be His witnesses in the earth (Isaiah 43:10), a light to the Gentiles (Isaiah 42:6) unto the Messiah

Through Yeshua (Jesus), the Light of the World, the Gentiles will join this holy priesthood, and carry the light of Messiah unto the fullness of time, when David will return to his throne, and Holiness will go forth from Jerusalem throughout the entire earth.
A perpetual radiance throughout all generations!

 It may seem that Adonai is unreasonable with the many details, the do’s and don’ts. 

Perhaps His Kingdom isn’t for everyone. 

There are those who will spurn the Rock of their Salvation, casting off all restraint, to run after strange gods and the delight of their eyes, but the end thereof is destruction and death. 
Adonai is the Author and purveyor of Life. Within His gates are the blessings of protection, provision, hope, and eternity. His ways are perfect and just. 
And His Word is, “life to those who find them.” (Proverbs 4:22)
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 27  The Light of the LORD

vv. 20-21“And you shall command the children of Israel that they bring you pure oil of pressed olives for the light, to cause the lamp to burn continually. In the tabernacle of meeting, outside the veil which is before the Testimony, Aaron and his sons shall tend it from evening until morning before the LORD. It shall be a statute forever to their generations on behalf of the children of Israel.” 

The menorah, or seven branched lampstand will be the enduring symbol of Israel, as well as the olive tree. The olive oil ignites the fire, bringing illumination. It is often symbolic of God’s Holy Spirit. Although Adonai is building an earthly tabernacle and priesthood—to scrupulous specifications, these symbols have far-reaching implications.
As is God’s pattern; first in the natural, then the spiritual. (I Corinthians 15:46) He is illustrating in fine detail every element of that which comprises His Kingdom.
Holiness... A holy place. A holy people. Holy implements. Holy furnishings.
Holy garments. A holy priesthood
He is a Holy God, and all who attend Him, speak for Him,
and are called by His Name, are to be holy.

His Presence is to burn with fire and light in the midst of a dark and hopeless world—initially from the physical tabernacle in the wilderness, then Israel is called to be His witnesses in the earth (Isaiah 43:10), a light to the Gentiles (Isaiah 42:6) unto the Messiah. 

Through Yeshua (Jesus), the Light of the World, the Gentiles will join this holy priesthood, and carry the light of Messiah unto the fullness of time, when David will return to his throne, and His Holiness will go forth from Jerusalem throughout the entire earth.

A perpetual radiance throughout all generations!

Those who carry the exalted Name of YHVH through faith in the Messiah of Israel are ministers of His Kingdom, with every obligation of holiness and righteousness before God and man—messengers of flaming fire as the Psalmist says, (Psalm 104:4) to show forth the Light of Redemption, not only in word, but through their lives.
“I am the LORD, I have called You in righteousness, I will also hold You by the hand and watch over You, and I will appoint You as a covenant to the people, as a light to the nations, to open blind eyes, to bring out prisoners from the dungeon And those who dwell in darkness from the prison.” (Isaiah 42:6-7)

“Then Jesus again spoke to them, saying, ‘I am the Light of the world; he who follows Me will not walk in the darkness, but will have the Light of life.’” (John 8:12)
Exodus 28  The Priesthood of the LORD

Holy Garments for Glory and Honor

vv. 1-2 “Then bring near to yourself Aaron your brother, and his sons with him, from among the sons of Israel, to minister as priest to Me—Aaron, Nadab and Abihu, Eleazar and Ithamar, Aaron's sons. You shall make holy garments for Aaron your brother, for glory and for beauty. 

The sacred duty and privilege of ministering as priest to YHVH was by Divine appointment. Aaron and his sons and their descendants after would serve in this capacity. In Hebrew, the word priest is cohen כהן.
The descendants of Aaron are still identified today by the last name Cohen, or a derivative. Recent DNA testing believes to have identified the genetic marker of this Levitical descendant of Moses. A list of known candidates for a revived priesthood to serve in a rebuilt Temple is maintained in Israel, and a priesthood is being trained and prepared by the Temple Institute in Jerusalem. While they await the birth of a sacred red heifer, a necessary element for purifying, they are dedicated to reproduce all of the sacred furnishings, tapestries, and priests’ garments in readiness for the Third Temple, which they believe will be rebuilt in the near future.
In Hebrew the word beauty is tipherah תפארת.
 It also means honor, splendor, and glory.
The garments worn by the priests were to be honoring to Adonai. The splendor, beauty, and glory were not for the wearer, but to set them apartto identify the garments for service unto the LORD. They added to the awe of the sanctuary service, befitting the Almighty.
As the verse reminds us,
the priests were to minister
to Me
to YHVH.
 Their garments did not elevate them before men,
 but rather indicated the reverence due their God.

This is an all but a foreign concept to today’s worshiper or minister. When we come together in the sanctuary, whether the manner of the community is casual or formal, our dress rarely reflects a consciousness of the Holy God in whose presence we serveor how we represent Him to others. 

From immodest and revealing dress that is unloving to the brethren, to other forms of dress for the purpose of attracting attention, all serve to distract from the only One worthy of worship and attention.

Psalm 132, verses 9 and 16 speak to such a contrast: 

“Let Your priests be clothed with righteousness,”

whereas “His enemies I will clothe with shame.”

How honest and circumspect are we as we dress and prepare our appearance to leave the house—or to attend fellowship meetings?
Would we make any changes if we truly believed we would be standing face to face before Adonai?
Guess what...we are.
v. 3 “You shall speak to all the skillful persons whom I have endowed with the spirit of wisdom, that they make Aaron’s garments to consecrate him, that he may minister as priest to Me.” 

In Hebrew the word skillful is chakam-lev חַכְמֵי־לֵב which is translated wise-hearted. The biblical Hebraic view of the heart is that it is the seat of understanding and intellect—not feeling. The Hebrew commentary notes that this verse does not indicate that certain men had been specifically gifted with extraordinary talents to serve in this capacity. Rather, those men who possessed these natural skills (endowed by Adonai) should consecrate them to the LORD for this use.

Bearing the Names of Israel Before the LORD

vv. 4-12 THESE ARE THE GARMENTS which they shall make: a breastpiece and an ephod and a robe and a tunic of checkered work, a turban and a sash, and they shall make holy garments for Aaron your brother and his sons, that he may minister as priest to Me. They shall take the gold and the blue and the purple and the scarlet material and the fine linen. 

“They shall also make the ephod of gold, of blue and purple and scarlet material and fine twisted linen, the work of the skillful workman. It shall have two shoulder pieces joined to its two ends, that it may be joined. The skillfully woven band, which is on it, shall be like its workmanship, of the same material: of gold, of blue and purple and scarlet material and fine twisted linen. 

“You shall take two onyx stones and engrave on them the names of the sons of Israel, six of their names on the one stone and the names of the remaining six on the other stone, according to their birth. As a jeweler engraves a signet, you shall engrave the two stones according to the names of the sons of Israel; you shall set them in filigree settings of gold. You shall put the two stones on the shoulder pieces of the ephod, as stones of memorial for the sons of Israel, and Aaron shall bear their names before the LORD on his two shoulders for a memorial.

Adonai gives detailed instructions for each of the elements that comprise the holy garments the priests are to wear: a breastpiece, an ephod, a robe, a tunic, a turban, and a sash.

The Ephod

The ephod is a colorful garment in which the holy tekhelet blue is utilized. As noted in last week’s parasha, the formula for creating this specifically commanded color for the Holy Tabernacle and Temple was lost for nearly 2,000 years. The Temple Institute is able to reproduce the garments according to Scripture now that it has been recovered.

The most notable features of the ephod are the onyx stones affixed to the shoulders of the ephod engraved with the names of the sons of Israel. These are the stones of memorial, a visible reminder of the promise that Adonai will never forget His People Israel. As they face heavenward, the names of the sons of Israel will ever be before the LORD. For the priests who wear the stones, they will ever be aware that they bear the weight of the burden of the spiritual well-being of the entire community of Israel.

The Breastpiece of Judgment

vv. 15-21“You shall make a breastpiece of judgment, the work of a skillful workman; like the work of the ephod you shall make it: of gold, of blue and purple and scarlet material and fine twisted linen you shall make it. It shall be square and folded double, a span in length and a span in width. You shall mount on it four rows of stones; the first row shall be a row of ruby, topaz and emerald; and the second row a turquoise, a sapphire and a diamond; and the third row a jacinth, an agate and an amethyst; and the fourth row a beryl and an onyx and a jasper; they shall be set in gold filigree. The stones shall be according to the names of the sons of Israel: twelve, according to their names; they shall be like the engravings of a seal, each according to his name for the twelve tribes. 

The Breastpiece of Judgment, Choshen Mishpat חֹשֶׁן מִשְׁפָּט in Hebrew, is so called as the woven fabric that held the stones was a sacred pouch designed to hold the Urim and Thummim. These the High Priest would use to seek the judgment of Adonai on difficult decisions affecting the community of Israel.

This priestly garment also displayed the names of the sons of Israel—this time engraved upon precious stones. This calls to mind how Adonai calls Israel His Am Segulah—His Treasured People.

vv. 28-29 “They shall bind the breastpiece by its rings to the rings of the ephod with a blue cord, so that it will be on the skillfully woven band of the ephod, and that the breastpiece will not come loose from the ephod. Aaron shall carry the names of the sons of Israel in the breastpiece of judgment over his heart when he enters the holy place, for a memorial before the LORD continually. 

The breastpiece with the precious stones engraved with the names of the sons of Israel is to be fastened securely with a cord of the holy tekhelet blue. The High Priest is to carry the names of the sons of Israel close to his heart  every time he enters the Holy of Holies as a memorial before Adonai forever.
“The stones on his heart are Aaron’s silent prayer to God on behalf of his entire people.” B. Jacobs, Pentateuch and Haftorahs, 1938
The Urim and the Thummim—The Lights and the Perfection

v. 30 “You shall put in the breastpiece of judgment the Urim and the Thummim, and they shall be over Aaron's heart when he goes in before the LORD; and Aaron shall carry the judgment of the sons of Israel over his heart before the LORD continually.” 

Urim ü·rēm' אוּרִים means “lights” in Hebrew,
and Thummim tüm·mēm' תֻּמִּים is “Perfection.” 

Literally then, “the Lights and Perfection” are objects, likely stones, which were kept in the Breastpiece of Judgment pouch. The words are superlatives in Hebrew, perhaps indicating idiomatically Perfect Light or Clarity [from God]. They were used before the LORD to obtain guidance over weighty matters concerning the community of Israel. This exercise should not be mistaken for divination which is strongly and specifically forbidden as an abomination by Adonai. These intriguing items remain among the most obscure areas of the priesthood.

A Robe Trimmed with Bells

vv. 31-35 “You shall make the robe of the ephod all of blue. There shall be an opening at its top in the middle of it; around its opening there shall be a binding of woven work, like the opening of a coat of mail, so that it will not be torn. You shall make on its hem pomegranates of blue and purple and scarlet material, all around on its hem, and bells of gold between them all around: a golden bell and a pomegranate, a golden bell and a pomegranate, all around on the hem of the robe. It shall be on Aaron when he ministers; and its tinkling shall be heard when he enters and leaves the holy place before the LORD, so that he will not die.” 

The Hebrew commentaries note the importance once again of the tekhelet blue used for this priestly robe.

Holiness to the LORD

vv. 36-38 
“You shall also make a plate of pure gold and shall engrave on it, like the engravings of a seal, ‘Holy to the LORD.’ You shall fasten it on a blue cord, and it shall be on the turban; it shall be at the front of the turban. It shall be on Aaron's forehead, and Aaron shall take away the iniquity of the holy things which the sons of Israel consecrate, with regard to all their holy gifts; and it shall always be on his forehead, that they may be accepted before the LORD. 

The plate is a seal that is affixed with the holy tekhelet blue cord to the priest’s turban. As a testimony, the High Priest held this sacred oath, literally: “HOLINESS TO THE LORD,” ever before men and the Almighty.

Zechariah 14 speaks of the Day when the LORD will go forth and fight against all the nations on behalf of Jerusalem. His feet will stand on the Mount of Olives, splitting it from east to west, creating a way of escape for His People. 

It will be a Day like no other, which is known only to the LORD. Living waters will flow out of Jerusalem and the LORD will be King over all the earth. All the nations of the earth will be required to go up to Jerusalem from that time to celebrate the Feast of Tabernacles and worship the King, the LORD of Hosts, or they will receive no rain.

And in that Day, “there will be inscribed on the bells of the horses, ‘HOLY TO THE LORD.’ And the cooking pots in the LORD's house will be like the bowls before the altar. Every cooking pot in Jerusalem and in Judah will be holy to the LORD of hosts; and all who sacrifice will come and take of them and boil in them. And there will no longer be a Canaanite in the house of the LORD of hosts in that day.” (Zechariah 14:20-21)

v. 39 The priestly garment was completed by a tunic of fine linen, woven in a plaited pattern, a linen turban and sash. 

Anointing Aaron’s Sons
Filling their Hands with the Sacrifice

v. 41 Instruction was then given for tunics, sashes and caps of glory and honor to be worn by Aaron’s sons, and consecrating them for service. “You shall put them on Aaron your brother and on his sons with him; and you shall anoint them and ordain them and consecrate them, that they may serve Me as priests.”

To ordain and consecrate them is literally, to "fill their hand," male’ yad מלא ידin Hebrew.

The hands of the sons of Aaron would be filled with the first sacrifices of the LORD. This is the technical term for installing a priest into office according to the Hebrew commentaries.
We who are priests in the Kingdom of the Living God through faith in His Messiah Yeshua are similarly called to lift up clean hands before the LORD, filled with the sacrifice of praise, and bless His Holy Name!

“Behold, bless the LORD, All [you] servants of the LORD, Who by night stand in the house of the LORD! Lift up your hands [in] the sanctuary, And bless the LORD. The LORD who made heaven and earth Bless you from Zion!” (Psalm 134:1-3) 

“Therefore I want the men in every place to pray, lifting up holy hands.” (1 Timothy 2:8)
How is it we see so little of this in our main line Bible believing congregations?
Modesty Before Adonai—a Life and Death Issue

There was one last garment to be produced—trousers for modesty for all ministering within the holy place.

vv. 41-43 “You shall make for them linen breeches to cover their bare flesh; they shall reach from the loins even to the thighs. They shall be on Aaron and on his sons when they enter the tent of meeting, or when they approach the altar to minister in the holy place, so that they do not incur guilt and die. It shall be a statute forever to him and to his descendants after him.”

What is translated as breeches in this verse, mik·näs' מִכְנָס in Hebrew, are specific priestly undergarments of fine linen, made to cover their ervah עֶרְוָה, translated nakedness, but the Hebrew word goes further, speaking of shameful nudity, indecency, improper exposure, dishonor

It is the word used for Noah’s “nakedness” and shame which Ham revealed improperly.

Adonai is concerned with modesty
Although only men would be ministering in the holy place, He is teaching something about holiness and modestyin all circumstances—not only between men and women. 
In a continuum of creating His holy people, separating them from the nations, YHVH is elevating their sensitivities from base instincts to walking circumspectly. 

This not only to show Adonai the honor due Him, but that a fallen world would easily recognize the lightbearers—those who honor YHVH and walk the path of eternal life.

Many of the pagan religious practices of Israel’s neighbors
 incorporated sexual rituals and nakedness

 in their worship and sacrifice unto their gods.
 This is utterly abhorrent to the God of Israel.

The style of dress may be different today,
but the one of darkness still calls worshipers 
to debase themselves and entice others to fall
through sexual immorality and indecent dress.

Really, whose uniform do we wear?
Do we present ourselves 
in such a manner
 that draws attention away from

God's Holy Spirit and to the flesh?
Are we assisting satan in his relentless war against God and man,
creating stumbling blocks and temptation,
or are we lightbearers
allowing the light of the LORD
that leads to life to
shine through us
that others
may find

Exodus 29  A Consecrated Priesthood and Continual Sacrifice

vv.1-11 “Now this is what you shall do to them to consecrate them to minister as priests to Me: take one young bull and two rams without blemish, and unleavened bread and unleavened cakes mixed with oil, and unleavened wafers  spread with oil; you shall make them of fine wheat flour. You shall put them in one basket, and present them in the basket along with the bull and the two rams. Then you shall bring Aaron and his sons to the doorway of the tent of meeting and wash them with water. You shall take the garments, and put on Aaron the tunic and the robe of the ephod and the ephod and the breastpiece, and gird him with the skillfully woven band of the ephod; and you shall set the turban on his head and put the holy crown on the turban. Then you shall take the anointing oil and pour it on his head and anoint him. You shall bring his sons and put tunics on them. You shall gird them with sashes, Aaron and his sons, and bind caps on them, and they shall have the priesthood by a perpetual statute. So you shall ordain Aaron and his sons. Then you shall bring the bull before the tent of meeting, and Aaron and his sons shall lay their hands on the head of the bull. You shall slaughter the bull before the LORD at the doorway of the tent of meeting...” 
We find a complex set of instructions for the ordination of Aaron’s sons, which includes bathing and a burnt offering. This is a somber and serious business, intended to fill the priesthood with awe and reverence for the LORD Almighty.
Next, the High Priest would be anointed by oil poured lavishly over his head and consecrated for singular service in the Divine Presence. The entire ceremony would last seven days.

The word anoint is mä·shakh'  מָשַׁח in Hebrew. 

Kings such as King David were also anointed. 
Yeshua, as the long-awaited Messiah of Israel, is the Mashiach משח which means Anointed One
This is translated in Greek to Christos, from which we derive Christ.

A Lamb on the Altar Continually

vv. 38-43 “Now this is what you shall offer on the altar: two one year old lambs each day, continuously. The one lamb you shall offer in the morning and the other lamb you shall offer at twilight; It shall be a continual burnt offering throughout your generations at the doorway of the tent of meeting before the LORD, where I will meet with you, to speak to you there. I will meet there with the sons of Israel, and it shall be consecrated by My glory.” 
Besides the daily sacrifices, a lamb will be offered at the beginning and end of each day, continually burning before the LORD throughout all of Israel’s generations. Adonai will meet with Israel at the doorway and it will be consecrated, or made holy by His Glory.

Yeshua said, “Truly, truly, I say to you, I am the door of the sheep ... if anyone enters through Me, he will be saved.” (John 10:7,9) For He has provided the perfect sacrifice for sin, once for all, and now lives to make intercession for all, day and night as our High Priest. (Hebrews 7:25-28)
vv. 45-46 “I will dwell among the sons of Israel and will be their God. They shall know that I am the LORD their God who brought them out of the land of Egypt, that I might dwell among them; I am the LORD their God.” 

Once again, Adonai promises His enduring faithfulness to Israel as He continues to reveal His holiness and form a People through whom He will work His glorious redemption for the world.

Exodus 30  The Altar of Incense

vv. 1-9 “Moreover, you shall make an altar as a place for burning incense; you shall make it of acacia wood. You shall put this altar in front of the veil that is near the ark of the testimony, in front of the mercy seat that is over the ark of the testimony, where I will meet with you. Aaron shall burn fragrant incense on it; he shall burn it every morning when he trims the lamps. You shall not offer any strange incense on this altar, or burnt offering or meal offering; and you shall not pour out a drink offering on it.” 

What is strange incense?
The Priests would know as they were instructed in detail what Adonai desired before His Presence. Therefore, anything "other than" was strange, zür  זוּר in Hebrew. It is the same word used in Numbers 3:4 when Nadab and Abihu offered strange fire before the LORD.

The same Hebrew word, zür, is applied to outsiders, laymen, and foreigners who tried to draw near to the LORD, and to mixing the sacred with the common—doing the commanded of God in the way a man sees fit.

In Deuteronomy 32:15-18zür  is applied to idolatry, the worship of foreign gods, which Adonai calls abomination. “Then he forsook God who made him, And scorned the Rock of his salvation. They made Him jealous with strange gods; With abominations they provoked Him to anger. They sacrificed to demons who were not God, To gods whom they have not known, New gods who came lately, Whom your fathers did not dread. You neglected the Rock who begot you, And forgot the God who gave you birth.” 

How have we come to the belief that God is so thankful for ANY attention, that He will accept just anything that appeals to our flesh and sensibilities that we call worship? 
Our Bible reveals a God who is scrupulous, exacting, meticulous, punctilious, and precise. His LOVE is expressed in its promises, covenants, faithfulness, and unchangeableness, in contrast to a volatile and unstable world.
The gates to His glorious Kingdom are open.
He beckons.
All who thirst, come! (Isaiah 55)

But we want to bring OUR kingdom with us...
We want all the benefits of the Kingdom without becoming citizens—surrendering to His Kingship.

Perhaps we are not ready for His REIGN...

To Be Continued...

Haftarah Tetzaveh
Ezekiel 43:10-27

This week’s Torah section has given us more information on the Jewish nation’s evolving worship center. It was the Tabernacle, the first one, but not the last. In fact if we were to count them up we would find there are to be a total of five. Can you list them? First, the wilderness Tabernacle; second, Solomon’s Temple which was destroyed by Nebuchadnezzar; third, the rebuilt Temple—after Nebuchadnezzar’s deportation of the Jews—and later to be known as Herod’s Temple, but destroyed in 70 A.D; fourth, the Temple standing during the tribulation into which the man of sin will enter at mid-point to declare himself as God; and fifth, the Millennial Temple.

The one to which we will give consideration here is the last of the five, the Millennial Temple. Our Haftarah text for this week is Ezekiel 43:10-27. Our key verses in this passage would be vs. 10-12: “As for you, son of man, describe the temple to the house of Israel, that they may be ashamed of their iniquities; and let them measure the plan. If they are ashamed of all that they have done, make known to them the design of the house, its structure, its exits, its entrances, all its designs, all its statutes  and all its laws. And write it in their sight, so that they may observe its whole design and all its statutes and do them. This is the law of the house: its entire area on the top of the mountain all around shall be most holy. Behold, this is the law of the house.”
...First some background.
Who is Ezekiel? Well, we know that one of the books of the Old Testament was named after him, and that he made some very significant prophecies in that book. But how did all this come about? After King Solomon died Israel was divided into two kingdoms. The Southern kingdom was named Judah and had Jerusalem as its capitol. Both kingdoms had been suffering at the hands of foreign powers. This had come upon them as a result of their breaking the covenant arrangement they had with Yahweh. He was trying to get their attention and now He was to bring more pressure to bear.
It’s 597 B.C. Nebuchadnezzar’s armies are in Judah to put down a Judean revolt. He orders the deportation of the country’s King and all the leaders of the kingdom. (II Kings 24:14-16) This includes thousands and among them is a young priest, Ezekiel. A large contingent of these exiles settle in the region of the Babylonian city of TelAviv along the river Chebar. Five years later the Lord appears to Ezekiel in a vision and commissions him as a prophet.  Ezekiel then delivers all of his prophesies over the next twenty-two years while living in this region.
The first twenty-four chapters of his book concern the impending destruction of Jerusalem and its crown jewel, Solomon’s Temple. Included with this was to be another deportation; and in 586 B.C this all came to pass.

The remaining chapters of his book turn to the future hope of Israel. Both the Northern and Southern Kingdoms are to be reunited into one nation. The Davidic monarchy will be restored. Their will be large numbers of Israelites resurrected from the dead. And then, a description of the Millennial Temple is given to capstone the book.

It is most likely that the sages chose this week’s Haftarah portion because it mirrors so closely this week’s Torah portion. Both speak of Jehovah’s Temples, the first one and the last one. Ezekiel 43:10-27 describes the future priestly inauguration with amazing similarity to that found in our Exodus portion. “For seven days you shall make atonement for the altar and consecrate it; then the altar shall be most holy, and whatever touches the altar shall be holy.” (Exodus 29:37) And,“For seven days you shall make atonement for the altar and consecrate it; then the altar shall be most holy, and whatever touches the altar shall be holy.” (Ezekiel 43:26)

Ezekiel spends eight chapters describing the future Messianic Temple. This Temple has not yet been built and will not be built until until Messiah returns and establishes the Millennial period of one thousand years. It is Messiah, Yeshua then that will build this Temple. (Zechariah 6:12-13)

The Temple was in the past and will be in the future a place for the offerings of sin guilt to be made. These offerings, whether past or future, are not meant to pay the price for sin that would secure eternal life for any one.

This sacrificial system only enabled the worshiper to draw near to God within the Temple on earth. “For the Law, since it has only a shadow of the good things to come and not the very form of things, can never, by the same sacrifices which they offer continually year by year, make perfect those who draw near. Otherwise, would they not have ceased to be offered, because the worshipers, having once been cleansed, would no longer have had consciousness of sins? ... For it is impossible for the blood of bulls and goats to take away sins.” (Hebrews 10:1-4)

Note the words of Hebrews 10:10-14: “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, waiting from that time onward. ...For by one offering He has perfected for all time those who are sanctified.” It is the once and for all sacrifice for the sins of all mankind that secured the only path to eternal life.
The purpose of this Temple in the Millennium may be seen as two-fold. First, it will be a place for the Messiah to sit upon His throne. “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 ...’” (Ezekiel 43:6-7) And second, this glorious Temple structure will simply reflect the holiness of God. What place where God sits could not?
Glorious times are ahead for Israel. Lets rejoice for and with them. But let’s not forget that Yahweh revealed the plans of the future Millennial Temple to the Israelites of Ezekiel’s day that they might be ashamed of their iniquities. And because they were, Ezekiel went on to tell them of that future Temple’s design, statutes, and laws.
Leaping ahead centuries to today, none of us should forget that we are recipients of the benefit of that once for all sacrifice made by the Messiah King so long ago. We each came to the Cross convicted of our sin, yes even ashamed. God saved us, made us each a living temple. (1 Corinthians 6:19-20) And now we learn day by day of our design as new creations in Christ (2 Corinthians 5:17) and the way in which He would have us live. (John 15:10-17) Not so very different from the experience of the Israelites of Ezekiel’s day, is it?

BIG QUESTION: Are you living a life that reflects this reality?

B'rit Chadashah Tetzaveh
Hebrews 13:10-17

Our Bʼrit Chadashah selection fits right in with the topics of both our Torah and Haftarah texts. The Torah portion concerned the wilderness Tabernacle, those who ministered in it, and some of the things that were to be done. The Haftarah reading was a call to shame over sin, and a description of the Millennial Temple. Both the wilderness Tabernacle and the Millennial Temple are places where sacrifices to God were and are to be made.
Our Hebrews 13:10-17 passage starts off with a view to the Supreme sacrifice, Jesus. It then moves to what believers are to do as a result of His sacrifice, and that is to offer up sacrifices of our own to God. “Through Him then, let us continually offer up a sacrifice of praise to God, that is, the fruit of lips that give thanks to His name. And do not neglect doing good and sharing, for with such sacrifices God is pleased.” (vs. 15-16)
The word sacrifice here is best understood as “offering.” In the Tabernacle or Temple sense it was something that cost the offerer something. It had value or worth and presumably was first obtained because of the expenditure of wealth or labor. In one sense this is what made the individual sacrifice valuable in Godʼs eyes. And our sacrifices as believers today are valuable to Him as well.

Did you notice that of among the sacrifices available to us our verses above list three the believer can make right now? 
  • The first is, “a sacrifice of praise to God.” And what is this? Why it is the verbalization of thanksgiving to God, “the fruit of our lips that give thanks to His name.” Imagine, every time you say “thanks” to God you are offering a sacrifice to Him. And how often should this particular sacrifice be brought to the alter? I Thessalonians 5:18 says that this sacrifice should be offered with regard to everything in your life. “In everything give thanks; for this is God's will for you in Christ Jesus.”

Just think, if you were to follow just this one precept you would be in a continual state of spiritual sacrifice to God.
Are you thanking God for EVERYTHING?

  • The second is, “doing good.” “And do not neglect doing good...” (vs.16) James 5:17 says, “Therefore, to one who knows the right thing to do and does not do it, to him it is sin.” The words “doing good” and “right thing” are the same in the original language. That word is “kalos” and has a very long dictionary definition. But simply put, it means ... “good.” And if that is not...good enough...letʼs say it means, excellent in its nature. So what is this particular spiritual sacrifice? Itʼs doing anything that is good in Godʼs eyes, or anything having the quality of godly (not human) excellence. How often do you suppose the Lord brings a potential task of godly excellence across your path and says, “Now, get it done.” Thatʼs a spiritual sacrifice that if not made, “it is sin.” So we better get to work on that sacrifice and...get it done.
  • The third is, “sharing.” This word is “koinonia.” It is used alternately as in financial contribution (Romans 15:26) or fellowshipping. (Acts 2:42) Another way of understanding this is, “participation.” Now I know that contributing financially can be a real sacrifice for some of us, even though it shouldnʼt be, but did you ever consider that just hanging around with other Christians is an act of worship. Really, God looks at saints fellowshipping with one another as a spiritual sacrifice of Temple quality. And Hebrews 10:24-25 says, “... and let us consider how to stimulate one another to love and good deeds, 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." One might conclude that spending time with other believers is so essential to our successful Christian walk that God gives it, spiritual sacrifice status.
Well thatʼs just three of the sacrifices available to us as believers. Consider Romans 12:1-2 as another, “I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that ye present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable unto God, which is your reasonable service.” 

Think you can find more of these temple worthy sacrifices Yahweh has made available to us as believers in His Son, Yeshua?

After all, how was it that Hebrews 13:16 concluded?
“...for with such sacrifices God is pleased.” Maybe this is our challenge;
spiritual sacrifices,
temple quality deeds that are pleasing to our God.

Now there is something we can work on.

Shabbat shalom!

In Messiah’s Love,

His EVERY Word Ministries