Wednesday, February 12, 2014

Parashat Ki Tisa ("when you take")- Exodus 30:11-34:35

Parashat Ki Tisa ("when you take")-  Exodus 30:11-34:35
The LORD said to Moses, "When you take the census of the people of Israel, then each shall “give” (Hb: ve’natnu - וְנָתְנוּ) a ransom for his life to the LORD when you number them, that there be no plague among them when you number them”. Exodus 30:11-12

This offering was taken up to “atone” for the children of Israel.

It is interesting to note that the word ve’natnu (וְנָתְנוּ) is a palindrome, producing the same word regardless of direction i.e can be read forward or backward.  Giving goes both ways, or as Yeshua said, “Give, and it will be given to you. Good measure, pressed down, shaken together, running over, will be put into your heart. For with the measure you use it will be measured back to you" (Luke 6:38).  

Might I add here, that whilst Luke 6.38 has overreaching symbolism (can be used for money or talents), in context Yeshua was speaking about judging and forgiveness of each other.

In verse 13 and 14 of Exodus 30, the verses begin with a clear statement of crossing over, “Each one who crosses over (v13)…… All who cross over (v14)”.   The very first person in the Bible to “cross over” was Abraham.  The Hebrew word for a "Hebrew" person is עברי (Ivri) – one who has crossed over.  

But now we read in Exodus that all who have had their ransoms paid and have been atoned for, have crossed over.  Yeshua has redeemed and atoned for us by paying our ransom and we have “crossed over” (become Hebrew) from the darkness into the light.

Moving on, after some explanation about the wash basin, anointing oil and incense rituals, we finally get to one of the most important persons in the whole Tanakh.

The Lord says to Moses, “See, I have chosen Betzalel son of Uri, the son of Chur, of the tribe of Judah”.    He was to help build the Tabernacle.

According to Josephus,  Betzalel was not only the grandson of Chur, he was the husband of Moses' sister Miriam (Antiquities 3:2).   

What a great spiritual inheritance, remembering that Chur (of the tribe of Judah and ancestor of King David) was with Aaron, holding up the arms of Moses during Israel's first war against Amalek (Ex. 17:8-13).

What an honour to be granted the skills to build the Tabernacle.  In this way he was a type of Kingly Messiah and there are some strong similarities between him and Yeshua:

1.    Betzalel was unusually filled with the Ruach Hakodesh.
2.    His name,  Betzalel (בְּצַלְאֵל Betzal ‘El), means “in the shadow of God”.
3.     His assistant (from the Tribe of Dan which often symbolises Torah – Dan means “judges me”) had the name Oholiab (אָהֳלִיאָב   Aholi ‘Av) means “the Father’s tent”
4.    He was born into the tribe of Judah (the King’s tribe)
5.    He was a carpenter.
6.    His father’s name was Uri which means “my light” (son of Uri- בֶּן-אוּרִי – son of my light).
7.    It was he rather than Moses who built the Tabernacle; As it is written in Hebrews 3:1-6: “For Yeshua has been counted worthy of more glory than Moses - as much more glory as the builder of a house has more honor than the house itself…. Now Moses was faithful in all God's house as a servant, to testify to the things that were to be spoken later, but Christ is faithful over God's house as a son. And we are his house if indeed we hold fast our confidence and our boasting in our hope.”

The Passage then continues with the Instruction for all Israelites to observe the Shabbat – as a Holy sign between them and HaShem.   Disobedience meant death.  

Without going into 2000 years of arguments about the Shabbat, I can sum up with these simple terms:

·         Shabbat is a still on ongoing sign between Israel and HaShem which we can choose to enter into that agreement for all intents and purposes but it is not the way to Salvation.

·         The only true works we need are explained by Yeshua in John 6:29 “This is the work of God, that you believe in Him whom He sent.”

·         I like Shabbat because having a day off just makes plain sense. 
·         I also see it as an act of Faith (surely another day of work will make me rich?).  As we read in James 2:18, “I will show you my faith by my works.”

·         Yeshua is our Rest and we who believe enter His rest as we read in Hebrews 4:4,9-10,  “For we who have believed enter that rest (v4)... For he who has entered His rest has himself also ceased from his works as God did from His.” NKJV

·         Interestingly, the Talmud teaches that if all Jews would observe two Sabbaths in a row, the Messiah would come immediately.  (Shabbat 118b)

And without taking too much more time, this is the parasha where Adonai gives Moses the two tables of Covenant Law written by His own finger.  But when Moses saw the sin of the Golden Calf, he threw the tables down and they broke into pieces.  

This all sounds pretty bad until we see that it was only after this disappointing experience, the betrayal, the broken covenant and the tablets smashed that Moses was shown the “goodness of the Lord” pass before him.  Sometimes at our lowest point in life, when we are broken and crying out to HaShem for His goodness that we see a special revelation of His Mercy.

In Exodus 34-67 we read,  "And the LORD passed by before him, and proclaimed, The LORD, The LORD God, merciful and gracious, longsuffering, and abundant in goodness and truth, keeping mercy for thousands, forgiving iniquity and transgression and sin, and that will by no means clear the guilty; visiting the iniquity of the fathers upon the children, and upon the children's children, unto the third and to the fourth generation." Exodus 34:6-7 (KJV)

The parashah ends with Moses coming down the mountain with his face shinning. 

These points are connected, in that that it was after this revelation that Moses' face began to shine with the glory of Adonai.  It was also after Hashem had given a new set of tablets representing the New Covenant with the people.  

In this context then, this revelation of His mercy brings and gives LIGHT.    

Jon Eaton

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