Parashah #20: Tetzaveh Sh’mot ( Exodus) 27:20-30:10

Beth Elohim Messianic Synagogue
Parashah #20: Tetzaveh (You are to order) Sh’mot (Exodus 27:20-30:10
Haftarah: Yechezk’el (Ezekiel 43:10-27)
B’rit Chadashah: Philippians 4:10-20

The focus of this week’s parashah is the designation of the Aaronic priesthood, the holy garments, and the instructions for consecrating Aaron and his sons as a perpetual priesthood to serve G-d and the people.
Interestingly, the specific term Levitical Priesthood is not found in the Old Testament, and it is only written once in the B’rit Chadashah (Heb. 7:11).
There are several similarities made between the high priest and Yahshua and of the relationship to the tabernacle, its furnishings, and rituals. Indeed the tabernacle and everything associated with it serves as an antitype of what exists in heaven. This is one reason why G-d was so detailed in all His instructions for the construction of the tabernacle, the designation of a specific priestly line, and everything related to this place that G-d would “meet” the Israelites through Aharon as the intermediary between G-d and the people. This change “reigned in” the priesthood to a central source being Aharon and his sons, rather than the old system where the heads of families inherited the role.
It is critical to realize that since Yahshua’s earthly ministry, the role of the human high priest was no longer necessary. It was only through G-d’s acceptance of the sacrifices and the prayers of the high priest that the people were forgiven for their various types of sin on a daily basis. Unlike the Catholic church who takes the position than man (a priest) can absolve man of his sins, Yahshua taught that no man has the power to absolve man of sin (Isaiah 43:25;1John 1:9; Heb. 9:22; 1 Peter 1:19;2:22).
We may wonder why G-d chose to designate the Levitical priesthood over the original nation of priests accomplished by sanctifying all the firstborn males. There are several scriptures that mention this (22:29; 34:19 Ex. 13:11-13; Num, 18:15). It was first commanded not long after the death of the Egyptian firstborn at the time of the Exodus.
The event that catalyzed the change in the priesthood system can be found in Exodus 19:5. The privlege of being a kingdom of priests depended upon their obedience to the covenant. Being included as one of G-d’s children today requires the same obedience to G-d’s commands/instructions/Torah. Exodus 32 describes the breaking of the covenant when the nation worshiped the golden calf. This choice resulted in the loss of the national priesthood status. It was then that the Levites were chosen, replacing the firstborn. The sons of Levi were chosen because they separated themselves from the rest of the nation. G-d immediately called for the death of the remainder of the people who continued to rebel (Ex. 32:26-28) at the hands of the Levites who kept the covenant (Deut. 33:9). They had an honest zeal to serve G-d and they were blessed for their loving obedience; just as true believers will enjoy at the resurrection of the saved soon, hopefully in our lifetime. Those who are counted true believers according to YHVH/Yahshua’s definition found in the Seven-fold witness in the Book of Revelation, Romans 1-3, and John 14 are now considered a new priesthood (1 Pet. 2:9). This is because the role of the Levitical priesthood was no longer needed after Yahshua’s sacrifice. He became the one perfect olah(burnt) offering providing the only way for man to be reconciled to G-d through loving obedience of His commands/instructions.

Consecration entails separating something completely, in this case setting the priesthood of Aharon apart from the rest of the Levitical priesthood. The timing and manner of consecration was also different. The fundamental difference between them is that the Aaronic priests ministered to G-d, whereas the Levites ministered to the priest. The entire nation was called to the door of the tabernacle for the presentation of the Aaronic priesthood; Aharon as the high priest, the only representative to G-d. The washing and donning of the priestly garments were symbolic of the repentance of sin and the donning of the “fine linen bright and clean” which will be worn by Yahshua’s bride described in Revelation 19:7;14. Unfortunately many are being misled to believe that the bride of Yahshua will be the “Church.” This is a serious error and true believers have the responsibility to lovingly correct anyone who has ears to hear concerning the truth that the bride will be all true believers defined by YHVH/Yahshua (John 14; Rom. 1-3; and the Seven-fold witness found throughout Revelation ( search “Seven-fold witness).
Regardless of their special consecrated status, those in the Aaronic priesthood were still required to make the offerings as the other Israelites. This was necessary because they all needed atonement, unlike Yahshua who knew no sin. There was a difference in the instructions related to the sin offering. The blood of the high priest’s sin offering was usually taken to the sanctuary (Lev. 4:5-7)and the flesh was usually eaten by the priests. But in this case neither of these usual activities was done. This is because Moshe acted in the priestly capacity because Aharon and his sons had not yet been officially consecrated.
It is worth noting the special application of the ram’s blood used for the consecration of Aharon and his sons. The blood was applied to the right ear, the right thumb, and right great toe. The blood on the ear signified that they were to hear and obey G-d’s commands/laws/statutes. The blood to the thumb signified the use of their hands for priestly tasks, and the blood on the toe signified that they were to always walk in G-d’s ways. This is no different for the true believer today. Deuteronomy 6:4-11 alludes to this same responsibility for those who love G-d.

Haftarah: Ezekiel 43:10-27
In this Parashah Moshe is told to perform certain rituals to purify both the Kohanim and the Mizbayah (Incense Altar). These rituals took seven days.
In the Haftarah, Yechezk’el receives an image of what the Temple will look like. He is to transmit this image to B’nai Yisra’el (children of Israel). At the same time, the prophet is given a ritual that must be performed for seven days. Its purpose is also to consecrate the Kohanim and the Mizbayah.
Now let me add a little about the Menorah or the Golden Lampstand in the Mishkan and in both Temples. It is perhaps the greatest of all Messianic symbols. It seven arms represent the biblical number of completion. More than that, the arrangement of the Menorah elevates the Shamash, or Servant lamp, to a position of dominance. This lamp occupies the center position among all the other lamps. It was also called Ner Elohim, the “Lamp of G-d” as well as the Shamash. It typifies the person and work of the Messiah.
Each morning, a priest would service the lamps, except the two most easterly. If he found any lamp extinguished, he relighted them. The two eastern lamps were left burning until after the morning service. The Servant Lamp was left burning all day and was refilled in the evening. There are stories that the Shamash lamp could continue to burn for as much as a day longer on the same amount of oil. Rabbis called this “the miracle of the Menorah.”
Let’s revisit Genesis 1:1 that forms a Menorah. In Hebrew we have the following words: B’resheit (in the beginning) barah (created) Elohim (G-d) eht (Aleph/Tav) hashamayim (the heavens) va eht (and) haeretz (the earth). The fourth word את eht pronounced as eight) represent the Servant (Shamash) Lamp. It contains two Hebrew letters, the aleph א and the ת tav, the first and last letter of the Hebrew alphabet. They correspond to the Greek letters Alpha and Omega or the English letters A and Z.
The Hebrew Text in Gen. 1:1 read from right to left:
“Haeretz va eht hashamayim eht Elohim barah B’resheit”
Rabbinical scholars call the א aleph and ת “the word of creation.”
The opening chapters of the book of Revelation reveal that Yahshua executed his Father’s instructions; (Rev. 1:1) “This is the revelation which G-d gave to Yahshua the Messiah, so that he could show his servants what must happen very soon.” Yahshua as the Servant lamp shone His light to his servants that include us if we are faithful to “keep a lamp burning continually… this is to be a permanent regulation through all the generations of the people of Israel.” (Exodus 27:20-21) This scripture, is the opening statement in our parashah! The alef- tav (eht), what we now understand to represent Yahshua in the first statement of Genesis is the 4th word in the first seven, taking the position as the center of the menorah! He is the aleph א and the ת tav. He is claiming the position of “the world of creation” featured in Genesis 1:1.
In addition to the seven lamps of the Menorah, Zechariah was introduced to “Two Olive Trees” who in Revelation 11:4 are called “two candlesticks.” The implication is that these two are added to the other seven of the Temple Menorah, making a total of nine lamps, a Hanukkah Menorah. In Revelation 11:4 we are told that two witnesses are fulfillment of the two olive trees in Zechariah’s prophecy. These two witnesses represent Law and Grace. Represented today as Judah and Ephraim. Torah and Grace. This duality is also demonstrated in Revelation by the singing of the Song of Moshe (Law) and the Song of the Lamb (Grace). It represents the bringing together again of Judah/Israel and Ephraim/Israel along with their fellow travelers Gentiles into one stick Israel.
Consider the Shield of Israel. It corresponds to the vision seen by Zechariah. Two Olive Branches standing beside Israel’s Menorah, one on each side. These two branches are referred to as the two anointed ones that stand by the Lord of the whole earth. Could these two individuals also represent G-d’s grace and law? We cannot know for sure until they appear, but they seem to correspond to the k’ruvim that stand with outstretched wings over the Ark of the Covenant. Notice there are twelve leaves with what appears as a flame over each branch making 24. In Revelation 4:4 we see twenty-four elders sitting around the throne of HaShem with crowns of Gold on their heads. Comparing this imagery to the Shield of Israel we can see that these two Olive Branches represent the Twelve Patriarchs and the Twelve Apostles united into one commonwealth: Jew/Gentile, Law/Grace under the Kippur (Blood) of Yahshua our Kohen Gadol and Melech ha Olam in the Theocracy of Israel.

B’rit Chadashah: Philippians 4:10-20
Sha’ul (Paul) explains in these passages that the object is not for us to try and isolate ourselves from an evil world, but to insulate ourselves spiritually as Noah did when he applied pitch to the ark. Insulating our minds with Torah helps us to maintain our peace in a chaotic environment, no matter where we may find ourselves.
In verse 9, Sha’ul again makes himself an example (compare 3:17).
11–13 The movement is accused of fostering both asceticism and greed. The teaching of these verses, based on Sha’ul’s personal experience (11:21–33), is that the Messiah offers power to cope with both penury and luxury, indeed power to do all things as we live to glorify G-d.
19 This is the ultimate assurance of G-d’s providence and sufficiency (Rom. 9:5). In these verses we have the grateful acknowledgment which the apostle makes of the kindness of the Philippians in sending him a present for his support now that he was a prisoner at Rome. Here, he takes occasion to acknowledge their former kindnesses to him, and to make mention of them, v. 15, 16. Sha’ul had a grateful spirit; for, though what they did for him was nothing in comparison of what he deserved from them. Yet he speaks of their kindness as if it had been a piece of generous charity, when it was far short of the debt they owed to him. They could not have given him too much, since they owed to him even their own souls; and yet, when they send a small present to him, how kindly does he take it, how thankfully does he mention it, even in this epistle which was to be as a record, and read in the assemblies, through all ages as a memorial to their kindness. He reminds them that in the beginning of the gospel no assembly communicated with him as to giving and receiving but they only, v. 15. They not only maintained him comfortably while he was with them, but when he departed from Macedonia, they sent tokens of their kindness after him; and this when no other assembly did so. None besides sent after him of their carnal things, in consideration of what they had reaped of his spiritual things. In works of charity, we are ready to ask what other people do lest G-d forbid, we give too much! But the assembly of the Philippians never considered that. It showed so much more to their honor that they were the only assembly who were just and generous. “Even in Thessalonica (after he had departed from Macedonia) you sent once and again to my necessity” v. 16. It was but little which they sent; they sent only to his necessity, just things he had need of; perhaps it was according to their ability, or he did not desire superfluities nor dainties. It is an admirable thing to see those to whom God has given in the gifts of his grace abounding in grateful returns to his ministers and people, according to their own ability and their necessity: “You sent once and again.” Many people make it an excuse that they have given once; why should they have to do so again? This was not the attitude of the Philippians who sent once and again. They often relieved and refreshed him in his necessities. He makes this mention of their former kindness, not only out of gratitude, but for their encouragement. This is the message of our parashah. We as the new priesthood are to become attuned to the needs of our people, to listen, to be quick although discerning with our giving, and ready to carry our lights to wherever G-d requires us to go. We must let our lights perpetually shine in daylight and in darkness as the Light of G-d’s Torah provides the lamp unto our feet and a Light unto our paths (Psalm 119:105).
Shabbat Shalom,
Rabbi Tamah Davis-Hart