Tuesday, March 5, 2013
Vayakhel / Pekudei
Vayakhel "And he assembled," Pekudei "Accounting of"Shemot 35:1 - 40:38
This weeks sidra is a double reading from Vayakhel and Pekudei and it begins, "Moses assembled the whole Israelite community and said to them, ‘these are the things the Lord has commanded you to do:’" Both of these readings discuss primarily the collection for the tabernacle, the items of the tabernacle and the construction of the tabernacle. The giving and the acceptance of the Ten Commandments had taken place in our last portion and now it is important to move the Nation forward and begin to teach them the importance of sanctification. Sanctification of time, place and people. Although the sanctification of time wont really begin to be taught until next week with the various daily offerings, this week we begin to see the sanctification of a place including artifacts for the Tabernacle as they are part of the Tabernacle in total.
As I read these portions I can’t help but to put a visual picture in my mind of what this all would of looked like. To enter into the Outer Court and to have in front of me the Altar that would consume my sin offering. Then right behind there the Basin where the priests would cleanse themselves with water after performing their duties for my atonement. And not much further past the Basin the vision of the curtain that leads to the Holy Place, a place that I would never had the privilege to witness with my own eyes. But this is not the picture the Torah is painting for us in this parasha. Instead of leading us first from outside the camp into the Tabernacle and ultimately to the Holy of Holies, it’s leading us backwards and begins with the Throne Room of HaShem and leads us out to the courtyard.
Without any doubt this description has great significance from the time it took place in history till the present, but I find it more relevant from the time of Yeshua’s sacrifice to His return. As believers and followers of Yeshua we have access and abilities to places that the ancient Israelites would have never dreamed of. The gift of the baptism of the Holy Spirit makes this access as real to the believer as the believer is willing to receive it, and I believe the descriptions of the Tabernacle items described in Vayakhel outline that.
To begin, lets take a brief look at the man chosen to build the items of the Tabernacle, Betzalel. Batzalel was a type or picture of Yeshua in several ways. 1. He was from the Kingly tribe of Judah, 2. he was a young carpenter, 3. he was unusually "filled with the Spirit of God," 4. his assistant (Oholiav) was from the tribe of Dan (i.e., "judge," symbolizing the legal aspects of the Torah), and 5. it was he (rather than Moses) who actually built the Mishkan, which was the pattern for the spiritual temple, as stated in 1 Peter 2:5, "you also, like living stones, are being built into a spiritual house to be a holy priesthood, offering spiritual sacrifices acceptable to God through Jesus Christ."
As we examine the order given here in this Torah portion with the items of the Tabernacle we begin with the Ark, or the Throne of HaShem. As we know inside the Ark there are three items. First the Ten Commandments which represent how to live the ways of HaShem. Second is Aaron’s staff that budded which represents divine authority and lastly the Jar of Manna which represents divine provision. Since the giving of the Holy Spirit we now are able to fully access the contents of the Ark and allow them to have authority in our lives. But only when we have fully establish HaShems Throne in our hearts will these contents of the Ark be able to be released through us and in our lives.
Next in the Torah, we are given the description of the Table of Shewbread. This represents our fellowship with HaShem through our study of the word, as it being the bread of life, the word of God. We must daily sit at this table and partake of the bread to transform our hearts and souls to be conformed into the image of Yeshua. Of course this is not possible without the anointing of the Holy Spirit guiding us which leads us to the next item described, the Lamp Stand. This represents the ministry of the Holy Spirit within the soul of the believer. Yeshua promised us in John 16:13, Howbeit when he, the Spirit of truth is come, he will guide you into all truth: for he shall not speak of himself; but whatsoever he shall hear, that shall he speak: and he will show you things to come. We must daily sit under the light and anointing of the Holy Spirit for full revelation of what we receive at the Table. Next we find the Altar of Incense described. Once Yeshua went into the heavenly Holy of Holies and offered His blood upon the true mercy seat in Heaven, there was a change. The Altar of Incense was moved before the throne of Hashem. This incense represents the prayers of the Saints. Rev 5:8, and when he had taken it, the four living creatures and the twenty-four elders fell down before the Lamb. Each one had a harp and they were holding golden bowls full of incense, which are the prayers of the saints. We also see from the results of Yeshua that the Altar can dwell in the Holy of Holies. Hebrews 9:3-4, Behind the second curtain was a second section called the Most Holy Place, having the golden Altar of Incense and the Ark of the Covenant covered on all sides with gold, in which was a golden urn holding the Manna, and Aaron’s staff that budded, and the tablets of the covenant. An illustration that our prayers are not only received from the Holy place but are also offered in the Holy of Holies.
As the Torah moves to the Outer Court items, we find ourselves at the Altar of Sacrifice. This of course is where we lay the sin in our lives to be consumed on the Altar. As believers we know this as repentance, but I don’t think many fully understand this concept of placing our repentance on the Altar. When sacrifices were given and placed on the Altar, the sacrifices were not complete until the sacrifice was fully consumed to ash. Thus leaving the one offering the sacrifice at the Altar until his sacrifice was fully consumed. A step in our daily repentance that is often overlooked and that causes us to struggle with receiving the benefits we are given as believers in Yeshua. We are to be living sacrifices in order to learn the will of HaShem, not just His will that is revealed to us in scripture, but His will that is revealed to us by the Holy Spirit and it begins at the altar. Romans 12:1-2 says, Therefore, I urge you, brothers, in view of God’s mercy, to offer your bodies as living sacrifices, holy and pleasing to God - this is your spiritual act of worship. Do not conform any longer to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. then you will be able to test and approve what god’s will is - His good pleasing and perfect will. this also takes fire to do this. We know that the priests were responsible for keeping the fire on the Altar burning. It takes a really hot fire to consume an entire sacrifice. If we are called to be priests we are responsible to keep our own fires burning hot. And sadly enough in the greater Christian community, the Pastor, Minister or Reverend is responsible to be the fire for their entire congregation since most congregations have not been taught the activities of the Outer Court and the Holy Place. We may even find that the leaders of these congregations are lacking enough fire for themselves. To continue and to finish with the Outer Court items we have the Laver. At the Laver, our hands and feet are not the only things that are now washed, but also our hearts. Hebrew 10:22, Let us draw near with a true heart in full assurance of faith, with our hearts sprinkled clean from an evil conscience and our bodies washed with pure water. We are washed to cover what we do, and now our walk is different in that we no longer offer the members of our bodies unto unrighteousness. Romans 6:13, Do not offer the parts of your body to sin, as instruments of wickedness, but rather offer yourselves to God, as those who have been brought from death to life; and offer the parts of your body to Him as instruments of righteousness.
If we experience the Tabernacle beginning from the Outer Court and work our way through to the Holy of Holies, it makes sense to us. We Repent, Mikveah, Pray, get in the Spirit, Study the Word, enter the Holy of Holies and experience the Throne of HaShem. But if we model our experience from this Torah portion we can see that the message has deeper meaning for you and I. That by Yeshua He has given us access first hand to the items in the Throne Room. It doesn’t mean we are able to receive the items but we are given the opportunity. In fact most of us are thrown out of the Throne Room because we have some unfinished business in the Holy Place, either with our prayer life (the altar of incense) or our time under the guidance of the Holy Spirit in study at the Table of Shewbread. Or we might have things to burn up on the Altar. Maybe we only grilled them to medium rare in the five minutes we spent there earlier. But this is the pattern that Yeshua wants us to live. Time in the Holy of Holies, living the ways of HaShem through the Tablets, exercising divine authority as represented by Aaron’s staff, and receiving divine provision from HaShem as represented by the jar of manna. This model can be lived out if we truly establish the throne of Hashem in our hearts. As the items in the Tabernacle had been sanctified for Holy use, lets continue our efforts to be sanctified in ourselves. Hebrews 10:19-22 says, Therefore, brothers, since we have confidence to enter the Most Holy Place by the blood of Jesus, by a new and living way opened for us through the curtain, that is, his body, and since we have a great Priest over the house of God, let us draw near to God with a sincere heart in full assurance of faith, having our hearts sprinkled to cleanse us from a guilty conscience and having our bodies washed with pure water.
May HaShem be blessed forever.