PARASHA: “Tetsaveh” (you shall command)
EXODUS 27:20-30:10.............EZEKIEL 43:10-27..............MARK 5:1-6:56
In this parashah, we will see the preparation of the Menorah, and the clothing of the priests. The study starts out with preparing olive oil to fill the lamps of the Menorah, The Torah tells us that it was a “permanent light” (Ner Tamid). It would be the only light outside of the “Kadosh Kedoshim” (The HOLY of Holies) where the “Shekinah” illuminated that small area where the only article was the “Aron Ha Kodesh” (The Ark of the Covenant.
Verse 20 states; “And thou shalt command the children of Israel that they bring unto thee pure olive oil beaten for the light, to cause a lamp to burn continually.” In the original Hebrew, this verse has 15 words. The word “Shemen” (oil) is the “eighth” word. It is the “middle word” with 7 words before and after. Is this a coincidence? from the word “Shemen”, we get “Shemini” (eighth). What does the number 8 symbolize? It symbolizes a “New Beginning.”
This is a “New Beginning” after their slavery in Egypt. While in Egypt, Pharaoh symbolized the “light of Ra!” yet now, the “light of Elohim” would be the light of “Yeshuah” (OR YESHUAH) the Light of Salvation. The instrument of light would be the Menorah, which would hold the “shemen” the “Olive Oil.”
The “Ner Tamid” (eternal Light) also reminds us of Isaiah 60:19 which states; …YHVH shall be unto thee an everlasting light, and thy God thy glory”
The Menorah was “outside” the curtain, yet still inside the tabernacle. In the same room with the Menorah was the Table of Shewbread, where the 12 loaves of bread were, and the Table of Incense. Here we have a three-fold symbolism of Messiah Yeshua. The table of Shew Bread, “Yeshua HaLechem Chaim” (Yeshua the Bread of Life) and the incense altar, where our “Prayers go upward to heaven” and where “Yeshua intercedes on our behalf. The Menorah is “Yeshua HaOr Olam v'ha Or Tamid” (Yeshua the Light of the World and the Eternal Light.
The Menorah was to burn all night, and in the morning, the high priest (Aaron) would come in to trim the wicks and prepare the Menorah for the evening lighting. The Menorah was all about “Light” in the words “from Morning to evening” (the lamps of the Menorah were to burn” we can see the Hebrew word “Ad” (ayin and dalet)
The word “Ad “means “witness” during the evening, the Shekinah Elohim was the outside light, while the lamps were the inside lights. During the day, the Shenika glory which was above the Mercy Seat of the Aron Ha Kodesh (Ark of the Covenant) was the inner light of the Mishkan (Tabernacle).
There is a difference between light and darkness, Good and Evil, Holiness and Sin, Lost and saved. The olive oil in the lamps symbolizes the anointing of the Holy Spirit, which the wicks can symbolize every believer. If we are to burn bright, we must be in constant contact with the oil, if not, we will “burn out”
In pagan cultures, darkness was when evil came about, demons, etc. In ancient Egypt, their god “Ra” went to sleep at night, so the Egyptians were without protection against the “evils of the night”. Those who ventured out usually took a cat with them, symbolizing “Bastet” goddess of the night, who would protect the person against “evil”. Wow, what if the cat saw a mouse or a dog, and....ran off? Oh, well.
The Menorah that burned during the night symbolized “Elohim” who would be the “light in the evening” as well as in the day. The light was inside the tabernacle, and also, outside in the form of the “column of Fire” We are blessed by the presence of the Ruach HaKodesh (The Holy Spirit) at all times, in the day and during the night, inside and out, the believer is NEVER alone, the Light of G-d is forever with us.
The Menorah had seven branches, it was made of pure gold, the middle branch was called the “Shamash” or the “helper”. “Seven” is the perfect number of holiness. “Six” branches (six is the number of mankind) are on either side of the Shamash, three on the right and three on the left. Mankind needs the presence of Yeshua, to fulfill his destiny, to get right again, into a right relationship with his creator through Yeshua, through the “New birth” (John 3:3). The wicks are “all of us” and the oil that goes into the lamps, the “Holy Spirit” we need to be in continuous contact and communion with the Ruach HaKodesh so that our lamps will “shine brightly” continuously, after all, Yeshua said to his followers, “Ye are the Light of the world” (Atem ha Orot ha Olam). Israel's purpose was to be the “light to the gentiles” to go into the world and teach the pagan peoples who worshipped idols, that there was only ONE GOD, to bring the Torah to the world.
This is what happened during the “scattering” of the tribes of Israel to the nations, now, there are “Y'hudim” in all nations, and in all nations, there are many who worship our LORD and God. Even among the Jewish peoples of the world, there are many Messianic believers who embrace Yeshua HaMashiach.
In the next chapter, it talks about the vestments of the priests. Clothing has always been a thing of importance. The world says, “according to how a person dresses, that person IS” a “bum” or “hobo” (a word of the 1930s), usually has dirty and torn clothes, unkempt hair and a scraggly beard, HOWEVER, that “bum” or “hobo” might be a “born again believer” who is going through hard times, maybe being chastised by God for some sin.
I think that everyone has his or her favorite “Super Hero” like Superman, Batman, The Flash, etc…All these superheroes wear special clothing, uniforms, which make them “stand out” from the regular crowd. Their mission is to protect “Joe Citizen” and uplift honor and the law. The Cohenim were the same, their “special clothing” lifted them “above the rest” as “reps for God” going on “their behalf” before a righteous and holy God.
Many ask what was the first “clothing” like? How were Adam and Eve dressed? If we go back to Genesis, we can get an idea and answer that question to the best of our ability. “And they were both naked, the man and his wife, yet they were not ashamed; Gen 2:25. This verse is insinuating that there IS SHAME connected to nakedness, yet, Adam and Eve did not have any physical clothing at that time. This was before their sin. But was there something that covered their bodies? If we remember, Moshe was with the LORD for 40 days and nights. When he came down from Mt. Sinai, he was “aglow” He was shining with the Ruach HaKodesh. Could that be the case with Adam and Chavah?
Many believe that they were covered with a “skin of light” (a play on words) Since these two Hebrew words are the same pronunciation; “OR” yet the first letters are different. “Light” is spelled with an “Aleph” which symbolizes the spiritual essence of Adonai (Aleph, Vav, Resh)
The other word “OR” (skin) is spelled with an “Ayin” (Ayin, Vav, Resh) . The letter “Ayin” symbolizes, the “eye” or “insight” “Skin” is something we can “see” Our souls/spirits are inside our bodies, and our bodies are covered with “skin” on the outside. So the “light” covered the “skin” meaning the oneness in the relationship with the Creator.
However, after the sin of Adam and Chavah, we read the verse; “Then the eyes of both of them were opened and they knew that they were naked” (Gen 3:7) …” I was afraid because I was naked so I hid myself (Adam) Gen 3:10. Here we can relate “nakedness” with “fear” yet not before, only NOW. How is it that NOW they realized that they were naked? It was because the covered of light was lifted up, taken away from their bodies, leaving them only with their “skin”. “Nakedness” And “shame/fear = broken relationship with the Creator!
Adonai made them new clothing, an “animal skin covering” which required the sacrifice and death of an innocent animal. This first material clothing symbolizes our Messiah who died and not only “covered” our sins, but completely “atoned for” them. With physical clothing, Adam and Eve could now have fellowship with the creator again. YHVH looking down at them and seeing the animal skin covering would think of the future blood covenant of Yeshua.
When my family went to worship at our congregation, we all put on our suit and ties, and mom wore her best dress. Yet today, some come to synagogue or church dressed as if they were going on a walk in the park, or to the beach. I mean, God still sees our hearts, even if we wear a sport shirt or long sleeve shirt with a suit and tie, BUT... if we are going to meet with the KING of Kings, shouldn't we wear our BEST? What would you wear if the president of your nation invited you to his house?
In different Jewish denominations, different clothing is worn, some causal, some dressed up, some only wear “black and white” (Ashkenazim/orthodox). Some wear black and white to be reminded of the destruction of the Temple, others because they are reminded that physically, we are in the state of sin, our bodies are corrupt, yet inwardly, we are like Yeshua, “white” and “Pure” yet only through the blood of Yeshua! Not by our own merit. The priests had their own vestments.
The completely white tunic was worn on Yom Kippur when the Cohen Gadol would enter the “Holy of Holies” to meet with YHVH. Perhaps this completely white tunic reminds us of the white glowing light that must have covered the bodies of Adam and Eve before their sin. We are also reminded that the clothing of Yeshua was “glowing white” when He was on Mt. Tabor when he met with Moshe and Eliyahu. There the three represented the whole Torah! Moshe, the Torah, Eliyahu, the Prophets, and Yeshua, the Brit HaDashah, “The New Covenant”
As you read the parashah chapters and verses, we see the tunic/robe, bonnet, ephod, breastplate, etc., all meaningful. The onyx stones on the priests’ shoulders had the names of the tribes of Israel engraved, the priest would “shoulder the burden” of the nation, taking the animal sacrifices (that represented Yeshua's death) would intercede before YHVH on the nation's behalf. Now, Yeshua intercedes before the Father on our behalf with his “once only” death/sacrifice for all sin ALL the time.
The breastplate would have 12 stones engraved with the names of the tribes of Israel, “Israel was/is next to YHVH's heart! As we are too since we are all part of the commonwealth of Israel. Two interesting things are the “Urim and Thumim” no one knows exactly what they were, there are suggestions, they might have been two stones which lit up and glowed when the priest would ask YHVH a question, the “Urim and Thummim' (Lights and perfections) were placed under the breastplate. When the priest went before YHVH seeking an answer to some judgment concerning the people, the stones would light up “illuminating” the priest with perhaps special wisdom from God, and it would be a “Perfect” response from God.
name of God (Y H V H) on it, and placed inside the breastplate, and then, some think, that the letters of the names of the tribes of Israel that were engraved on the stones, would glow. The priest under the anointing of the Spirit of God, would then put the letters together and would “read” God's answer. But these are just ideas, nothing 100% certain. In heaven, we will discover what the “Urim and Thumim were/are! “
Today, we have the Word of God. YHVH speaks to us through His written Word, but also, through dreams, at times, through other people who are very sensitive to the Holy Spirit. Sometimes, YHVH conveys messages through events in our lives. If we look back in our lives, we can see that YHVH has been right there working and preparing events/people to bring us to where we are now.
In chapter 29, we have the anointing/dedication of Aaron and his sons for the ministry. The sacrifices were a bullock and two rams, unleavened bread with olive oil. All these point to Yeshua, these were clean animals, whose blood symbolizes the blood of our Messiah, just like the unleavened bread, “Yeshua the Bread of Life” and the oil, the “Ruach HaKodesh” a little bit of the blood was placed on Aaron's right ear lobe, right thumb, and on the right toe, the same was done to his sons. What does this symbolize? We could say that as priests, “May they always HEAR, LISTEN TO the voice of God, that they might DO his will, and follow his commandments, and WALK in HIS footsteps, FOLLOWING the path of Torah.
This would be the same expectation of ministers who are anointed as rabbis, chaplains, pastors, priests, etc. that they might always listen to the voice of God, and follow/do his will through his Word, to serve those who are placed under their leadership. We don't use blood today, but we do use anointing oil, so, the next time you might be called to anoint a minister, place some anointing oil on the right ear lobe, on the right thumb, and the right toe, (or on top of the shoe) since most don't use sandals today, (except on Purim).
Chapter 30 talks about the altar of incense, this was made of shittim wood overlaid with gold, again, the humanity of Yeshua and the purity of HIM who is God. On this altar, the incense was burned, symbolizing our prayers that go up to YHVH as a sweet savor.
A final thought on “clothing” let us “clothe” ourselves in the Spirit of God so that we might be spiritually controlled. Just as the Ark of the Covenant was “clothed” inside and out by pure gold, we should also be “clothed” inside and out with vestments that are God-honoring.
EZEKIEL 43: 10-27
The prophet receives a vision of the heavenly temple, which is an exact replica of the tabernacle and temple on earth. When YHVH gave the instructions to Moshe to make the tabernacle and later, when Solomon built the temple, it was with the plan of the heavenly temple that was in mind. When Yeshua died for our sins, He went up to the Heavenlies and placed his own blood on the mercy seat of the Ark of the Covenant, meaning that our sins are forgiven, erased, blotted out forever!
This is when Yeshua heals the man who was possessed by demons. There were one thousand demons inside the body of this man since demons are in the spirit world, the physical body is not an obstacle, no, they didn't feel “crowded”. And since the demons have to obey the voice of God, they left, and as we read, they went into the bodies of swine.
we can see how far away some Israelites were, from walking in fellowship and obedience to the Torah, since they herded swine, which was and still is, an unclean animal, unsuitable for eating although many Christians believe the contrary. When the swine took a suicide leap from the cliff into the Sea of Galilee, they told Yeshua to “Leave”! Imagine that, telling “God” that he was not welcome in their city. “Hey, you just ruined our business, get out of here!” well, THEY had no business herding and raising pigs, to begin with. Sheep and goats would have been better.
How do we react when God calls our attention to something, do we tell him to “get away from us?” or do we “welcome” his visit and correct our sinful ways? The man who was demonized, now in his right mind wanted to follow Yeshua, yet Yeshua told him; “go and tell what has happened to you to your family and people”
Even though he wanted to follow Yeshua personally, Yeshua sent him on another mission, to “evangelize and be a living witness” He had credibility, since everyone knew him. YHVH sends each and everyone on us has a special mission to fulfill while we are on earth, He has equipped each and every believer with the gifts of the spirit to fulfill our mission. Let us be faithful to HIM who has provided us with such a blessing as eternal life.
Sabbath Shalom Ben Avraham