3. SHABBAT READINGS & COMMENTARY

Friday, March 10, 2006 | 
Tetzave(You shall command): Exodus 27:20 – 30:10; 1 Samuel 15:1-34

This weekly reading portion (parasha) speaks about the priestly garments and follows the blueprint of the tabernacle. Holy garments were to be made for the High Priest (cohen gadol), Aaron, and his sons Nadab, Abihu, Eleazar and Ithamar, “to minister as priest to Me.”

“For glory and for beauty” they should be made with a “wise heart” and “filled with the spirit of wisdom.”

We start with the ephod of blue, purple and scarlet material and twisted linen that had two onyx stones on the shoulder “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” (verse 12). So we, who believe today that Yeshua is our High Priest, that Yeshua will never forget his brothers, his people, but carry forever them, “on his shoulder for a memorial.” That’s encouraging! We, as part of this “priesthood,” should follow his example!

The breastpiece (choshen) held 12 precious stones. Also here they were: “according to the names of the sons of Israel… each according to his name for the twelve tribes.” (verse 21) .

On the heart, the High Priest donned the mysterious objects, called Urim and Thummim. For judgment “… of the sons of Israel over his heart before the LORD continually” (verse 30). Supernaturally, the Urim and Thummim shone when judgment was passed.

Then we read about the golden bells all around the hem of the robe. “Tinkling shall be heard when he enters and leaves the holy place before the LORD, so that he will not die” (verse 35). Did you know that when the High Priest entered once a year into the Holy of Holies he had a rope tied around him. The reason being, if he was found “unclean” in the presence of the Lord and died, his body could be pulled out because no one else was allowed – and even afraid - to enter.

The head covering of the High Priest (mitznefet) had a golden piece on the forehead that read ‘Holy to the LORD’ (kodesh le-Adonai). The sons of Aaron had a different head covering called migba’at. Head coverings required for priests worn during while in service is one reason why some Messianic Jews wear a kippa (yarmulke) today.

After putting on the holy garments, the priest must be cleansed inwardly before he enters the Holy of Holies. Interestingly, the instruction of the sanctuary, spoken of in the last parasha, started by giving one’s heart to the Lord (terumah) and now it ends with the heart. They priest must be cleansed from the inside “so that they do not incur guilt” and can serve the Lord with their heart (verse 43).

It is the same principle today. God hasn’t changed. We must be holy and clean beginning and ending with our hearts! That should be our thought before we enter the house of the Lord or any ministry to God.

Chapter 29 speaks about the sanctification of the priests, the servants of God, through sacrifices of atonement. Verses 13 and 14 show that laying hands on the sacrificed animal symbolizes that Yeshua takes our sin on him. What has happened to him should happen to us - through sanctification our innermost parts are received by God and the flesh should be “burned outside the camp.”

“I will meet there with the sons of Israel, and it shall be consecrated by My glory… I will dwell among the sons of Israel and will be their God. They shall know that I am the LORD their God… that I might dwell among them; I am the LORD their God.” (43-46)

In chapter 30, we read about another altar, much smaller, “for burning incense” (ketoret). It stands inside the tabernacle “in front of the veil that is near the ark of the testimony.” A symbol of our prayers that are lifted up to heaven – “every morning” - as we can read in verse 7. King David wrote in Psalm 5:2-3, “Heed the sound of my cry for help, my King and my God, for to You I pray. In the morning, O LORD, You will hear my voice; In the morning I will order my prayer to You and eagerly watch.”

Also in Revelation 8, we find reference: “And the smoke of the incense (ketoret), with the prayers of the saints, went up before God out of the angel's hand.”

To conclude, the Feast of Purim is coming up on March 14 and 15. So let us come before “the King” as Queen Esther did, with courage and ask for the redemption of the Jewish people (like Mordecai), who still do not see “the King of Kings!” - Michael Schneider –

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