Tanak Foundations-Concepts in Exodus-Part 48

Exo 25.31-40 tells us about the Lampstand, or “Menorah.” The Menorah consisted of a base, shaft, cups, knops and flowers. The shape of the Menorah is somewhat controversial. Some say it looks like what we see on the Arch of Titus, with its base. Others believe the base was a tripod and the branches were in a “V” shape.

Even though we seldom see it this way, the tripod base may have been how it looked, with branches in a “V” shape, with the middle lamp closest to the Holy of Holies. This lamp had several names, but one of the names was the “western lamp.” That would only make sense if it was in a “V” shape. Another name was the “Ner Elohim” or “light of God. This middle lamp was from a central shaft, with the branches coming out of it. This is what Yeshua had in mind in John 15.5, “I am the vine and you are the branches.”

In the Talmud, Yoma 39b and in the book “History of the Jewish People: Second Temple Era” by Mesorah Publications, p. 153, it says, “During the last forty years before the destruction of the Temple the lot for the Yom Kippur sacrifice did not come in in the right hand of the High Priest, the ribbon did not turn white as a sign of forgiveness, the western lamp on the Menorah did not burn all day, the doors of the Sanctuary opened by themselves indicating that the enemy would enter easily. Then Rabban Yochanon Ben Zakkai rebuked them and said: ‘Temple, O Temple, why are you so frightened? I know that you will finally be destroyed, because Zechariah Ben Ido has prophesied about you (Zech 11.1): Open your doors, O Lebanon, that fire may devour your cedars'” (Yoma 39.b). To have a western lamp, it is thought that the Menorah’s branches were in the shape of a “V” with this lamp closest to the veil in the Holy Place. Also, notice these manifestations started the same year Yeshua was rejected and crucified.

The Menorah was on the southern wall. We would think that the Menorah ran parallel to the wall, and it has been depicted like that, but according to this description in the Talmud (Yoma 39b) the western lamp did not burn all day. If we have a standard “Menorah” at the standard place everyone puts it running parallel to the southern wall, the western lamb would be the one to the far right when looking at it.

However, it is generally thought that the Menorah stood with its back to the paroket (veil) that separated the Holy Place from the Holy of Holies. The branches were “open” facing away from the veil. That would make the Ner Elohim (the middle light) the “western” most lamp and closest to the Holy of Holies. This would then correctly allude to the fact that this middle lamp was a picture of the Messiah, and his life was extinguished (light kept going out). This manifestation started the year Yeshua was killed (30 AD).

Zech 4.1-14 and Rev 11.1-4 tells us about the “two witnesses” personifying the Torah (Moses) and the Prophets (Elijah), and these are seen as the two olive trees and two menorot (menorah’s). Num 16.41 through 17.11 tells the story of why Aaron’s rod budded with almonds. It also alludes to the fact that Messiah would be related to a descendant of Aaron (Zech 6.11-13; Jer 23.5-6, 33.15-16; Yeshua was first cousin and related to Yochanon Ha Matvil, or John the Immerser, who was a priest). The probable site for Mount Sinai is a mountain called “Jabal Al-Lawz” which means “almond mountain.” The Torah may have been given there. Is that where Aaron got his rod? This rod pictures a “dead branch” (Yeshua-Isa 11.1) coming alive (resurrected by sprouting blossoms). An almond tree is called the “hastening tree” because it is the first tree to blossom in the spring.

Jer 1.11-12 tells us about a vision Jeremiah sees, and he sees a rod of an almond tree (shaqed in Hebrew). The Lord says he is “watching” (shaqad) over his word to perform it. This a word play. The almond comes in the spring, so he is saying that his word will come to pass with no delay, an early execution. Yeshua was resurrected in the spring.

Over and over again we have the sign of the almond. The bowls (cups) on the Menorah will be shaped like an almond. This tells us that the Menorah will have some connection to the concept of resurrection (Aaron’s rod budding; Jeremiah’s almond tree vision). We also have the witnesses in Zechariah and Revelation compared to the Menorah. We are told that the Menorah is like eyes of God in Zech 4.10. It symbolizes the light of God that gives us light (understanding), but the other aspect is how the Lord will search out our hearts (Zeph 1.12; Rev 3.16).

So, the Menorah is a very interesting piece of furniture in the Mishkan/Temple, and it is controversial. We have depictions of a menorah on the Arch of Titus, but we have different depictions of it on ancient mosaics and on some drawings found in houses. Solomon made ten menorot (2 Chr 4.7) and it could be possible that the one on the Arch of Titus be one of those. We don’t really know, so we can’t say the one on the arch is the menorah that was in the Holy Place either.

Now we are going to take a look at the curtains of the Mishkan. In Exo 25.1-7, we leran that the Lord wanted certain materials raised as a “terumah” (contribution). It was to be a free-will offering and they were to raise gold, silver, brass, techelet (blue), argamon (purple), tolat shannai (scarlet), shesh (linen), rams skins dyed red, porpoise skins (dugong), shittim wood, oil, spices, onyx stones and setting stones.

Lets talk about the techelet and the argamon colors according to Jewish tradition. After the destruction of the Temple in 70 AD, getting this color was a problem. People were using any type of blue for the tzitzit. The family that produced the two dyes for techelet (blue) and argamon (purple) disappeared. Nobody knew what happened to them. One of the problems is the people who did certain things and made certain things are unknown. There was a special herb in the incense that made it rise straight up. But that herb is a mystery because the family that made it is gone and these “recipes” were passed down from generation to generation. They guarded these secrets and they never told anyone else how to do it. The recipes for some of the bread offerings were hidden, too. These families may have been killed or sold into captivity and the Talmud criticizes these families for keeping these things secret.

Within fifty years of the destruction of the Temple, the availability of the techelet blue was running out. Professor Yigael Yadin discovered in some caves in Qumran a whole packet of letters from Bar Kochba. He gives the letters to David Ben Gurion and says, “We now have the last letters of the last president of Israel two thousand years ago.” In these letters Bar Kochba (who led a revolt against the Romans in 132-135 AD) says they have run out of techelet blue. He asks the Sanhedrin if it was permissible to use other colors of blue for their tzitzit. The letter from the Sanhedrin was in the stack of letters found, and it said they had considered his question and their answer was “No.” If they did not have techelet, then they should not have blue in the tzitzit. Why? Their reasoning was they did not have the authority to change what God said.

There have been various descriptions of the sea creature the techelt came from, but they are vague. It was a creature that washed up on the shore of the every seventy years. You could extract they dye from a gland. This creature is called the “Chilazon” and there were many opinions about what this creature was. Some thought it was a squid, others thought it was a sea shell. They finally came to the conclusion that it was a certain type of murex shell.

Archaeologists discovered that there was a huge dye industry along the coast of Israel at Dor. The Phoenicians were big in this industry and when they didn’t control Dor, Israel did. Some of the techelet blue and the argamon purple came from Dor. They discovered some big pits and the pits were filled with murex shells, the probable creature called the chilazon where the techelet and argamon came from. What was interesting was the shell. At a certain point, there was a hole that had been drilled into this shell. They took a living murex shell and they drilled there , and there was a little gland and it was a deep blue color. They used that gland for the blue and believe they have found the source of the techelet.

To have a Temple, there is a list of things that is needed. This list would include a floor plan, music, a liturgy, ceremonies and all of the things listed in Exo 25.1-17. They not only need the raw materials, but they need the technology and skill needed to make these things. The biblical colors are also needed. The techelet was solved and God had called several people to search out the techelet blue. But they had another problem. They did not know if the argamon was purple, red, orange or whatever, but they knew it came from the same murex shell creature. But, they did not know how to get it.

In Part 49, we will pick up here with the search for the argamon.

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Tanak Foundations-Concepts in Exodus-Part 47

Exo 25.17 tells us that they were to make a “Kapporet” of pure gold, 2.5 cubits long and 1.5 cubits wide. Kapporet is translated as “mercy seat” but it comes from the same word as “kippur” and it basically means a “covering.” The top was a covering for the Ark. Yom Kippur is translated as “atonement” but that is not an accurate translation. English has a hard time translating it. The kapporet is linked to “atonement” and the top of the Ark is a covering. So, Yom Kippur means “Day of Covering.”

The Ark had the two tablets with the ten commandments so it was also called the “Ark of the Testimony” or ‘Aron Edut.” The kapporet is where we will have the two keruvim at the two ends of it. The two keruvim were made of gold and their wings were spread upward, with their faces looking “to his brother” in literal Hebrew and were facing down (Exo 25.18-20). Exo 25.21-22 tells us that God will speak and meet with Moses and the High Priest there, from above the kapporet, between the two keruvim which were upon the Aron Edut. Because of that, in 1 Kings 6.19 the Holy of Holies is called the “inner sanctuary” in the NASB and “the oracle” in the KJV is called the “Devir” in Hebrew because the Lord would speak from there.

The two keruvim not only alludes to Gan Eden (Garden of Eden, but they speak of the two witnesses of the Torah and the Prophets that speak to us (Isa 8.20; Luke 16.31, 24.27; Rom 3.21). John 20.12 tells us that after the resurrection, two angels were seen sitting, one at the head and the other at the feet, of where Yeshua was lying on the slab, very similar to the kapporet. The “covering” and the atonement was complete. We could go on further about the Ark but we are going to move on to the Shulchan Lechem ha Pannim, or the “Table of the Bread of the Faces.”

Most translations render this as the “Table of Showbread.” There will be twelve loaves of bread that will sit on this table that are continuously before the “faces” or presence of the Lord. These loaves were approximately twelve inches long and four inches thick, and arranged on the table in two rows of six loaves. These loaves were placed on the table without a plate or cloth. The whole mass of bread would be two feet long, two feet high and one foot wide (“The Tabernacle of Israel” by James Strong, p. 61). According to Exo 25.23, the table was two cubits long (3.2 feet), one cubit wide (19.2 inches), and 1.5 cubits high (2.4 feet). Lev 24.5-9 gives us some additional information. No other substance was to be set on the table except pure frankincense. It was put on each row in small receptacles or censors.

They were also to make dishes, pans, jars and bowls for the preparation of the bread. Where are they going to make the bread? This bread is going to have a kedusha upon it. It can’t be made outside of an area that does not have the same kedusha as the inner Azarah (court). As a result, a tent will need to be joined to the outer curtain of the Mishkan where this bread could be prepared, opening up to the inner Azarah (Mishnah, Menachot 11.2). It doesn’t tell us that in this passage from the Mishnah, but you had to have an understanding of kedusha and how it works. The bread was to be exchanged with the new bread every Sabbath. The bread has to be on the table at all times. As a result, when the bread was changed, one row was taken off and the new row put on exactly at the same time, always having twelve loaves on the table, no more and no less.

This ceremony is covered in the Mishnah tractate Menachot 11.7, where it says, “In the Porch at the entering of the House (Temple) were two tables, one of marble and the other of gold. On the table of marble they laid the Showbread when it was brought in and on the table of gold they laid the Showbread when it was brought out, since what is holy (kedusha) must be raised in honor and not brought down (in kedusha). And within was a table of gold whereon the Showbread lay continually. Four priests entered in, two having the two rows of Showbread in their hands and the two dishes of frankincense; and four went before them, two to take away the two rows and two to take away the two dishes. They that brought them in stood at the north side with their faces to the south; and they that took them away stood at the south side with their faces to the north. These drew the old loaves away and the others laid the new ones down, and always one handbreadth of the one overlay one handbreadth of the other, for it is written, ‘Before me continually.’ R. Jose says: Although these first took away the old loaves and then the others laid the new loaves down, even this fulfills the rule of ‘continually.’ They went out and laid them (the old bread) on the table of gold that was on the Porch. They burnt the dishes of frankincense and the loaves were shared among the priests. If the Day of Atonement fell on a sabbath the loaves were shared out at evening. If it fell on a Friday the he-goat of the Day of Atonement was consumed at evening. The Babylonians used to eat it raw since they were not squeamish.”

In Part 47 we will pick up in Exo 25.31-40 with the lampstand called the Menorah.

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Tanak Foundations-Concepts in Exodus-Part 46

Exo 25.10 gives the dimensions of the Ark. We have found out that the five hand breadth cubit was used (19.2 inches) by Moses (Kelim 17.9-10). SO, the length was 2.5 cubits (48 inches), the width was 1.5 cubits (28.8 inches) and the height was 1.5 cubits (28.8 inches). The wood of the Ark was covered with gold inside and out. It had a gold molding around it called a “zair.” Four rings were cast for it (arbah = 4).

Now, Revelation 4.1-3 says that there was a throne standing in heaven. We know the Kodesh Ha Kodeshim (Holy of Holies) in the Temple was God’s throne room. We know that what was in heaven was replicated on earth. This room had the Ark, God’s throne. So, what we are looking at with the Ark is a physical manifestation of God’s throne on earth. The number four plays a prominent role in the Temple. We have four corner buildings,we have four horns on two altars, we have four rings on the Ark and so on. Rev 4.6 says there were four living creatures (Chai’yot) around the throne. These chai’yot will equal what we see on the Ark, the four rings. These chai’yot are Keruvim (Cherubim).

These rings are called “taba’ot” and these rings look like a “washer” placed on the corners (the “feet”), two on one side and two on another. The Temple had the “sides” of the courtyards so this concept is important. This will relate to the human sides of a body. Poles (“vadai”) were made of shittim wood and covered with gold. These poles were inserted in the rings, and they remained there because of kedusha. Unnecessary handling of the Ark was forbidden. 2 Sam 6.6-7 says that Uzzah was killed because of this. 1 Kings 8.8 says that the poles were so long that the end of the poles could be seen poking the veil from the holy place. Now, the Holy of Holies was 20 cubits by 20 cubits, so the poles were from the back wall (west) of the Holy of Holies and could be seen poking the veil.

Most pictures of the Ark we have seen are inaccurate. In the Mishnah, the tractate “Yoma 5.1” says that the High Priest had to step over the poles in order to place himself in the middle before the kipporet (mercy seat). He couldn’t go around the poles because the poles touched the veil, so he had to step over them. The poles had to be low so he could put the fire pan down between the poles. S, the rings for the poles were at the bottom, and the poles were put through the rings at this low point.

Some think the rings served as “feet.” The word for circle is “gal” in Hebrew. A “wheel” is “galgal.” We have the word “Galilee” which means “circuit” and we have “Gilgal” which means to “roll away.” What we have with these rings is a “wheel (the pole is round, circular) within a wheel (the ring).” Where do we read about a wheel within a wheel? In Ezek 1.1-28 and the Ma’aseh Merkavah (Work of the Chariot). It explains the workings of the heavenly throne. We have the Holy of Holies on earth with the Ark, the place of the throne of God (Jer 17.12). So, Ezek 1 describes how the throne works.

We read in Ezek 1.4 it says there was “something like flowing metal (or “polished bronze”) in the midst of the fire” and that is the word “Chashmal” in Hebrew. It is a compound word combining “Chash” (silent, as in Ecc 3.7; Isa 62.1, 6) and “mal” (speak, the root for “malak” = messenger, angel). It is proper to be silent about its implications. It is an example of a prophetic idiom and that which is beyond the realm of comprehension. (Artscroll “Ezekiel”, p. 77). It basically means if you had a thousand words you could not describe what is being said. If you saw God and the throne, could you describe it? That is “chashmal.” No human could, and that is why we doubt every claim that says a person died and went to heaven and saw God and the throne. Not even Paul could put it into words (2 Cor 12. 1-4).

Ezekiel 1.5 then says that there were figures resembling four living creatures (“arbah chai’yot”). They were in human form, with four faces and four wings. In Isa 6.2, these creatures had six wings. They talked to God and they are humbled, so the two extra wings in Isaiah covered their face. Here, they were under the throne and they carry out God’s commands. The “face” speaks of the intellect, and the wings speak of spiritual movement to carry out his will. Their legs are straight and their feet like a calf’s hoof and gleamed like burnished brass.

Under their wings, on their four sides were human hands. As for the faces and wings, their wings touched one another and their faces did not turn when they moved, each went straight ahead. As for the faces, each had a face of a man, a face of a lion, a face of a bull and a face of an eagle. Their wings spread out above, and had two touching each other, and two covering their bodies. The Hebrew wording here is poetic and each word will have multiple meanings because they can’t be expressed in a single word. So, when it says the wings were joined together, it also says “like a sister to her sister.” So it doesn’t just mean “joined together” it means more than that. Each one went straight forward wherever the Spirit (purpose) was about to go, they would go without turning.

In the midst of the living creatures there was something like burning coals of fire, like torches darting back and forth among the chai’yot. The fire was bright and lightning was flashing from the fire. The chai’yot ran to and fro like bolts of lightning. As Ezekiel looked at the chai’yot, there was one wheel on the earth beside the chai’yot. The appearance of the wheels and their workmanship was like sparkling beryl and all four of them had the same form, being as if one wheel was within a wheel. These are the “wheels” of God’s chariot (throne). The “Taba’ot” (rings) with the “Vadai” (poles) through them on the Ark is basically a “wheel within a wheel.” The “wheel” is a type of angel called the “Ophan.” We have seen the Keruv (Cherub), but also we will have another type in Isa 6 called a “Seraph.” So, in other words, we have three types of angel here. We have the Ophanim (wheels), we have the Keruvim ( related to the word “karav” meaning to “draw near”), and we have the Seraphim (burning ones). The Ophanim are also called “Galgalim” in Dan 7.9.

Exo 25.13-15 says that the poles to carry the ark were made of shittim (acacia) wood and were overlaid with gold. They were put into the sides of the Ark in order to carry it. The rings will help protect the those carrying the Ark, so they wouldn’t touch it. The Ark was heavy, and these poles were over 20 cubits long, so that meant there could be a number of priests on each side. There may have been up to thirty priests carrying the Ark, so they had to walk in unison or things would get out of balance. This alludes to the fact that our walk should be in union with other believers or things will get out of balance, too. These poles would have to be strong, so there is much more to what we are reading in the Scripture in order to have it performed. The poles were to remain in the Ark and were never removed (1 Kings 8.8). When the Ark was carried it was like carrying a throne, with the long sides coming at you, like someone sitting on a throne. It was not carried with the poles along the long sides, like in movies. A king doesn’t get carried sideways on his throne. Imagine the Lord sitting on the throne, coming at you. That is how it was carried.

The two tablets of stone with the ten commandments were put inside the Ark (Exo 25.16) and the tablets were probably square shaped, one cubit square, and sat at the bottom of the Ark. There was also enough room for the fingers in order to handle them (“The Tabernacle of Israel” by James Strong, p. 90-94). We usually see the tablets of stone rounded at the top and large, but they would have never fit into the Ark. The Ark gives us an idea of their size. How did Moses carry these down from the mountain?

He has been there forty days and forty nights without food or water. He is in a supernatural state as it is, so were the people. They were provided water for millions of people a day, their clothes didn’t wear out, food was provided and they didn’t get sick. Moses was as strong at 120 as he was at 80, but his 80 is not our 80. He was not weak in any way, so the fact that he could carry these tablets of stone is not surprising. He was in a supernatural environment.

In Part 47 we will pick up in Exo 25.17 with the “Kapporet” or mercy seat.

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Tanak Foundations-Concepts in Exodus-Part 45

We are going to go back now and take a look at the Ark of the Covenant and pick up some valuable concepts. The Ark was seen as the Throne of God (Jer 17.12; Ezek 43.7). God planted the Garden of Eden “eastward in Eden” and the question is, eastward of what? The answer is “his throne.” Now, that becomes an important concept because the Garden of Eden was a place of kedusha. Man also had a kedusha so he was able to be Eden. When Adam sinned, man was changed and was no longer in the image of God. He had lost the kedusha that was upon him, and man lost the knowledge of kedusha. God institutes a “house of kedusha” as a place where he can be in the midst of the people. Not only could the people meet with him, but he can teach them about kedusha.

The Ark stood on a stone, and this stone is called the “Even (stone) Shetiyah (foundation).” Why is it called that? Because it is said that from this stone creation began. With this being the throne of God on earth, the exact location of this throne would have been in the Garden of Eden. So, Eden may have been the Temple Mount and God planted a garden east of that (Gen 2.8).

The Ark is called the “Aron Kodesh” (Holy Ark) and anytime you have the word “kodesh” or any derivative of it you want to take notice of that. There will be special restrictions and limitations related to anything with “kodesh” associated with it, it had a kedusha (remember the definition of kedusha). The restrictions may be different, and what you can do with it may be different, but that is what makes it to have a kedusha. The Ark had more restrictions and limitations than anything else.

The kedusha is what made it that way. You couldn’t touch it. Some have believed that the Ark was a weapon, or some kind of conductor, and many other things. If you touched it, it could kill you. But, that wasn’t why that happened. It was the kedusha that made it special. Now we are going to cover some concepts about the Ark and the acacia wood.

Acacia is also called “Shittim” in Hebrew and the Ark was 2.5 cubits long, 1.5 cubits wide and 1.5 cubits high. Now, we need to go over the length of a cubit. There were three cubit lengths used in the Mishkan/Temple. You will find many scholars with different lengths, but they have found three different lengths in the Temple. The Royal cubit used in the 500 x 500 cubit Temple Mount was 20.67 inches. In the Court of the Women it was a five hand-breadth cubit of 19.2 inches. In the Azarah there was a six hand-breadth cubit of 23.04 inches. A “hand-breadth” in Hebrew is called a “tefach.” The plural is “tefachim.” One tefach is 3.84 inches.

So, is there a way to find out what cubit Moses used in the Mishkan? Yes, there is. In the Mishnah, Kelim 17.10 it says, “R.Meir says: All measurements in the Temple were according to the cubit of the middle size (standard) excepting those of the Golden Altar and the horns and the circuit (saviv) and the base (yesod) of the Altar. R. Judah says: the standard of the cubit used for the Temple building was six hand-breadths and that for the utensils five hand-breadths.” Let’s go back to Kelim 17.9. This verse tells us the five hand-breadth cubit of 19.2 inches was used in the Mishkan and it was the cubit of Moses. The word “amah” means cubit in Hebrew and the five tefachim cubit was used in the Mishkan. This became known as the cubit of Moses. With this information, we can do some measuring (later).

Shittim wood, or Acacia, is the wood for the Ark. An Ibex goat plays a role in this. The acacia is a family of tree and in the southern desert it is a unique wood. Weapons were made from choice materials, and so was the Mishkan. Shittim was a special wood. It is a tree with a flat top. It has long thorns and if you put your arm into its branches, it would be torn up. It has a short trunk. So, how did they make the boards of the Mishkan?

The tree puts out this root, and it is said, that when you look at an acacia tree, two-thirds of it will be below ground. Some have found roots one hundred feet below when digging the Suez Canal in the 1800’s. The root goes that deep to find water. When it does, it can send that energy to the top of the tree. We have found and discussed the same water system in the Temple earlier in this teaching. From this material, all the wooden articles of the Mishkan were made. It has a unique root.

In Job 14.7-9 it talks about “hope for a tree” and when it is cut down, that it will sprout up again, and its roots shall not fail. Though its roots grow old in the ground, and its stump dies in the dry soil, at the scent of water it will flourish and put forth sprigs like a plant. Isa 11.1,10 tells us the root of the olive tree will come back. Rom 11.17-24 tells us that Paul is talking about Israel as an olive tree, and if the root is “kodesh” so are the branches. But if some were cut off, a “wild olive” is grafted in. The wild olive is the Oleaster tree. It can be grafted into the olive tree but it is not an olive tree. The olive tree is Israel and the oleaster is the non-Jews. Here is what Paul is saying here. The oleaster tree is cut down and burned, and the only branches that “get saved” are the ones grafted into the olive tree. They will not produce olives because they are not an olive tree, no family resemblance to the olive tree. But the only way these “saved” branches can have “life” is to be grafted into the olive tree. That is a complete refutation of Replacement Theology.

It has berries but you can’t eat them. It has an oil in the wood that makes it great for burning. It was a preferred wood for the altar in the Temple because it burned long and clean. The only problem with the oleaster or “oil tree” (etz shemen) is that it did not have much of a root. Big storms are usually devastating. The only way it can survive is if it is grafted into another tree. The non-Jews are the “etz shemen” and they need to be grafted into the olive tree to “live” because it has a good root (Rom 11.18).

The materials of the Ark and the shittim wood teach us that we need to have a good root (like the olive tree). It should extend down below the surface, and deep. Many so-called believers are only “surface people” and everything they do is for show. They appear “flowery” and full of spiritual one-liners, but deep down there is nothing. They all repeat the same platitudes. Contemporary Christian music is full of these people, for example, and their songs are amateurish and repetitive. They just borrow from whatever the secular music business is sounding like, put some spiritual words to the music, and then they try to get the next big worship song that can be sung in a church. Their songs are just lip-service. They sing about following the Lord, but then reject the Torah. Believers need to have deep roots that extend down deep, not visible to to people. These roots have a “desire” for water, even in very difficult circumstances (a desert). We need water to exist, and good water. Bad water will kill you.

The berries of the shittim wood also give us instruction, and this is where the ibex goat comes in. These goats (Ya’el) can eat them even though people can’t. There is a coating around the berry that protects the seed inside. If it falls on the ground it dies. But, if the ibex eats it, the acid in the stomach eats the coating of the berry. When the ibex defecates, the seeds are inside the manure and protects the seeds, and gives the seed the nutrients in order to grow. Whenever you see an acacia (shittim) tree, or a number of them, you know that an ibex was there.

Why was the shittim chosen by God? Like the root and the berry, there is a lesson to it. This tree was knotty but inside the wood there was a potential board. Once you see a potential board in a crooked tree, it is marked for its potential. This is like us. God can see us in all our “crookedness.” He chooses us and we have been marked since before the world was (Eph 1.4). We are “hidden” in the Messiah. We must be severed from our roots by a sharp saw (sword is the word of God). Then it lays there helpless. Then the log goes through a process where the branches are cut off and the bulges and crooked places are made straight. The tree must die. We must die or this process would be too painful. The workmen will seem “irksome” but this is the process. The sap inside is like our anger and bitterness and must be “dried out.” The log goes through further “hewing” until the board fits into its role in the Mishkan, then it is clothed with gold, which is the glory of God.

In Part 46, we will pick up here in our look at the Ark.

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Tanak Foundations-Concepts in Exodus-Part 44

In 1 Kings 7.51, the word for “completed” (ended, finished) is “shalem” and when it says all the work was “completed” (v’tishlam) it indicates why he was named Solomon. God completed his work of the six days of creation through him, says Berman. What did Yeshua say as his last word on the cross? He said, “It is finished (nishlam). Let’s look at some words now. Solomon’s name was “Shelomo”, “shalem” means completed or finished, “v’tishlam” also means completed and “nishlam” means finished. You can see the common root in these words.

The concept of “evening” (erev) has an allusion to “chaos and disorder.” The word for “morning” (boker) alludes to discernible order. The Lord infused his design into the creation. On the seventh day, erev (evening) and boker (morning) are omitted because his work was completed.

We mentioned earlier about the word “rest” or “menuchah.” It is loosely translated as “rest.” This concept links the Sabbath and the Sanctuary in the following ways. The word “menuchah” implies not the cessation of rigorous activity, but a state of being that stems from “completion” (Ovadiah Soforno, 16th century scholar in a commentary on Exo 20.11). So, when God rested it means he had completed the creation on the Sabbath. What does that mean to us? How does this apply?

We are to “rest” on the Sabbath. It is not a rest, such as a nap, although you can. This concept carries the idea that your week is now complete, and you accomplished what you needed to accomplish, no “loose ends.” We need to have an end to the week. We need to have peace about where the work left off. Following the Sabbath, we begin a new week. We need to come to that understanding when we look at the concept of resting on the Sabbath.

The sense of “rest” or “menuchah” as a completion is exhibited in both the Mishkan and the Temple. When David moves the Mishkan and the Ark to Jerusalem, he declares that God should come to his “resting place” (l’menuchataycha) in Psa 132.8. God replies, “This is my rest forever (menuchati)” in Psa 132.14. When Solomon brings the Ark into the Holy of Holies, he brings out this concept of “rest” (menuchah) in 2 Chr 2.6-41 with “l’nuchaycha.”

There is a whole commentary on this but we will not spend a whole lot of time on that, but in Heb 3.7 we have a quote from Psa 95.7-11 and it goes all the way to Heb 4.11. It is Paul’s commentary on “rest” (completion). The passage tells us we have other levels of menuchah. The Sabbath is a menuchah, the Temple was a plcae of menuchah, the land of Israel is a menuchah, the Messianic Kingdom is a menuchah (Sabbath of God), and there is a menuchah in Messhiah as a believer. So, let’s go back to Exo 31.12-17, and keep in mind that it is purposefully put here as he is talking about the Mishkan/Temple.

The Sabbath was one of the pillars of kedusha, and the Mishkan/Temple was another pillar of kedusha. Balance is a major thems in the Scriptures. We will never be “stable” without it. The verses say, “And the Lord spoke to Moses saying, ‘But as for you, speak to the sons of Israel, saying, “You shall surely observe my Sabbaths; for this is a sign between me and you throughout your generations, that you may know that I am the Lord who sanctifies you (he gave them a kedusha). Therefore, you are to observe the Sabbath, for it is holy (has a kedusha from Gen 2.4) to you. Everyone who profanes it shall surely be put to death; for whoever does any work on it, that person shall be cut off from among his people (no work on the Mishkan). For six days work may be done, but on the seventh day, there is a Sabbath of complete rest, holy (a kedusha) to the Lord. Whoever does any work on the Sabbath day shall surely be put to death. So the sons of Israel shall observe the Sabbath, to celebrate (enjoy the rest and completion) the Sabbath throughout their generations as a perpetual covenant. It is a sign between me and the sons of Israel forever, for in six days the Lord made heaven and earth, but on the seventh day he ceased (completed), and was refreshed (ceased from working).'”

Now let’s go to Exo 35.1-3 where it says, “And Moses assembled all the congregation of the sons of Israel, and said to them, ‘These are the things that the Lord commanded you to do. For in six days work may be done, but on the seventh day you shall have a holy (kedusha), s Sabbath of complete rest to the Lord; whoever does any work on it shall be put to death. You shall not kindle a fire (a work fire for the Mishkan or any other work) in any of your dwellings on the Sabbath day.'” Where was the work for the Mishkan done? There were no factories. The term “kindle a fire” can mean several things, not necessarily “to cook.” Don’t start work fires at home for the Mishkan is the intended meaning. Remember, the commands are purposefully put here because he is talking about building the Mishkan.

Did God have an afterthought here and say, “I better tell them about the Sabbath again.” Or did he plan on saying this at this time, before we reach the portion about the Golden Calf? We believe it is here on purpose because the Sabbath and the Mishkan/Temple are linked.

There is another interesting note on the word “holy.” When it is referring to God in Leviticus, it is spelled in Hebrew with a vav (kof, dalet, vav, shin). When it is referring to man it is spelled without the vav (kof, dalet, shin). This tells us that the kedusha of man will never equal the kedusha of God, so man’s kedusha is diminished. So, now we are going to talk about the Ark of acacia wood. In Exo 25.10-22 we have a description of the Ark of the Covenant. You will notice right off that when the Lord gives the instruction for the Mishkan in Exo 25.8-9, he begins to give the description of the items of the Mishkan, and he begins from the the Holy of Holies and the Ark (inside), and moves outward.

When Josephus gives a description of the Temple, he comes from the south, then moves through the Soreg, enter through the Eastern Gate to the Court of the Women. He moves through into the Holy of Holies. What does this tell us? The Mishkan is like us (1 Cor 6.19-120; Jer 7.4; Mal 4.1; 1 Pet 2.1-3) and it is built from the inside, moving out. But when we approach God and come into his presence, we come from the outside, moving in. We encounter the anointed priest at the door (Yeshua as Messiah), then we come to the altar (cross). Then we come into the Heichal and the Shulchan Ha Lechem Ha Pannim (The Table of the Bread of the Faces, the Word of God, God’s provision). Then we come to the Menorah (understanding) and the Mitzbayach Shell Zahav (The Golden Altar, prayer). Then beyond the paroket (veil) we come to the Ark (the throne of God, where the commandments are). This is how we come to the Lord.

But many stop at the Golden Altar (prayer). They have a problem moving beyond the veil to the Ark with those commandments in there. They have a problem with that “servant” business. They say, “All I need is Jesus” (the anointed priest at the door) or they say, “All I need is back out there on the Altar” (the cross). But when it comes to the Ark of the Covenant they say, “I want the mercy but I don’t want what is down there in that box!”

However, in the Brit Chadasha (New/Renewed Covenant) it says that the Torah will be written on our hearts. Are we following the tavnit (blueprint) he gave us on how to approach him? How does a believer today react when he encounters these symbols? Will they follow God’s blueprint given to Moses? Many Christians say “Following the Torah (the blueprint) is legalism.” We have heard this many times. But our response is, “But God calls it obedience.” How is our Mishkan set up?

When things don’t go right, we need to make sure things are set up “according to the pattern (blueprint)” as stated in Exo 25.9. Is everything in order and in the right place? We need to ask ourselves, “Have I got fire on my altar (Is the lamb/Messiah there? Is there bread on my table (studying and feeding on the Word of God)? Is my Menorah still lit (understanding)? Is there incense on my altar (prayer)? Are the commandments in my ark (heart)?

In Part 45, we will pick up here and continue to talk about concepts associated with the Ark.

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Tanak Foundations-Concepts in Exodus-Part 43

Earlier we had mentioned the element of time and its association with kedusha. Some “moedim” (appointed times) have a kedusha. You don’t do the same things for every festival. Yom Ha Bikkurim (First Fruits) is not a shabbaton (Yom Tov), neither is Pesach (Passover). There is no kedusha associated with it. So, as a result, people could work, buy and sell, and do ordinary things on Passover and First Fruits..

Man was created with a kedusha because he was made in the image of God. The Lord is a God with a kedusha (a holy God). When man sinned, he lost his kedusha and was no longer in God’s image because God does not sin. In the process, man lost the concept of kedusha. So, moving ahead to the time of Moses, the children of Israel are brought out of Egypt by God, led by Moses, to Mount Sinai. They will worship the Lord there. Josephus records that Israel came to the mountain for two reasons. First, to receive the Torah. The second reason was to receive the Mishkan.

The Mishkan was a traveling place of kedusha, where God would dwell among the people of Israel. The kedusha that was on Mount Sinai in Exo 3.5 was now “transferred” to the Mishkan. You could not just go into the Mishkan, there was a way to do it. There were parts you could enter, and there were parts you could not enter. That was the situation with Nadab and Abihu in Lev 10.1-2. They “crossed the line” and they died by the hand of the Lord.

We have, according to Josephus, where Israel came to have the Mishkan. When they left Sinai, the Lord would “travel” with them and be in their midst. He could meet with them, teach them, instruct them about the concept of kedusha and how to approach him. Otherwise, if they didn’t have the Mishkan, they would need to travel to Mount Sinai in order to meet with the Lord.

So, with that in mind, we know that the first “holy” is in regards to the Sabbath in Gen 2.4. The second “holy” is in regards to Mount Sinai in Exo 3.5. But, this kedusha would ultimately be moved to the Mishkan, and later the Temple. These became the two principles of kedusha. The Sabbath, the “king” of all holy days, and the Mishkan, the place of kedusha.

Berman, in his book, talks about the covenant of time (Sabbath) and space (Mishkan). He says, “The status of the Sabbath as the first entity endowed with kedusha lies hidden until the time when the children of Israel crossed the Red Sea, from that moment on it emerges in the Bible as the preeminent symbol of the covenant between God and the Jewish people. The most evident, where he brings it to its fullness, is Exo 31.13-17. That is where we are here. The Sabbath was to be set apart (Gen 2.3) and it is mentioned in the Ten Commandments (Exo 20.8). Here in Exo 31 it is being developed, where it says, “Speak thou also unto the children of Israel, saying, ‘Verily my sabbaths you shall keep: for it is a sign between me and you throughout your generations; that you may know that I am the Lord that sanctifies you. You shall keep the sabbath therefore, for it is holy unto you; every one that defiles it shall surely be put to death; for whosoever does any work therein, that soul shall be cut off from among his people. Six days may work be done; but in the seventh is the sabbath of rest, holy to the Lord; whosoever does any work in the sabbath day, he shall surely be put to death. Wherefore, the children of Israel shall keep the sabbath, to observe the sabbath throughout their generations, for a perpetual covenant. It is a sign between me and the children of Israel for ever; for in six days the Lord made the heaven and earth, and on the seventh day he rested, and was refreshed.”

Lev 19.30 says, “You shall keep my sabbaths and revere my sanctuary; I am the Lord.” Lev 26.2 says, “You shall keep my sabbaths and reverence my sanctuary; I am the Lord.” These are the exact same concepts. These are the only passages like this in the Tanak. We have the Sabbath as the foundation of kedusha. It is “equaled” by the Mishkan/Temple. They are the pillars in any understanding of kedusha. We have the “mother of all chapters” dealing with the festivals in Lev 23. In that chapter, what is the holiest festival? Most people will say “Yom Kippur” but it isn’t. It is the Sabbath. It is at a higher level of kedusha than any other festival, even Yom Kippur. So, let’s look at that concept.

We have an aspect here of what do we know about the Sabbath? Most people who begin in Torah studies will begin with the Sabbath as the very first thing they will pick up and start to observe. But, what about the Mishkan/Temple? We know it had the same status in kedusha (Lev 20.30, 26.2)? But do we know equally about the Sabbath and the Mishkan/Temple? Is our understanding “one sided” or even “no sided?” Some people know nothing about the Sabbath or the Mishkan/Temple. We believe it is at least one sided. Most believers know almost nothing about the Mishkan/Temple, the priesthood, the korbanot (offerings), the furniture, the vessels and the services. And on top of that, most of the general understandings that most people have is inaccurate.

The Sabbath was the culmination of the week of creation. We are told that the Lord “rested” and so man was told to “rest.” So, the question is, what does “rest” mean? Was God tired? No, he wasn’t tired because it says that God “spoke” and it was “done.” It was not a process of millions of years, as some believe. It is impossible for God to become tired. There is a relationship between the Lord creating the universe and the building of the Mishkan.

Gen 1.31 says that the Lord saw everything that he had made and it was “good” (which is the absence of evil). We have a parallel to that in Exo 39-40. Gen 1 tells us about the creation of the universe. Gen 2 tells us about the institution of the week of creation and Sabbath. Exo 39-40 has the institution of the Mishkan and how it was being put into service. Exo 39.43 says, “And Moses examined all the work (melakah = effort with your hands for your own benefit) and behold, they had it; just as the Lord commanded, this they had done. So, Moses blessed them.”

Gen 2.1 says, “Thus the heavens and the earth were completed and all their hosts.” Exo 39.32 says, “Thus all the work of the tabernacle of the tent of meeting was completed and the sons of Israel did according to all that the Lord had commanded Moses; so they did.” We have almost the same wording between the creation of the universe and the creation of the Mishkan. In Gen 2.2 it says, “And by the seventh day God completed his work which he had done; and he rested on the seventh day from all his work which he had done.” We are going to have a parallel of that in Exo 40.33 where it says, “And he erected the court all around the tabernacle and the altar, and hung up the veil for the gateway of the court. Thus Moses finished the work (melakah).”

Gen 2.3 says, “The God blessed the seventh day and sanctified it (gave it a kedusha), because in it he rested from all his works which he had created and made.” Exo 39.43 says, “And Moses examined all the work (melakah = effort with your own hands for your own benefit) and behold, they had done just as the Lord had commanded, this they had done. So Moses blessed them.” Tradition says that Psa 90 was written and composed as a result. Again, we have the same language between the creation of the universe and the creation of the Mishkan.

Gen 2.3 says that God gave the seventh day (sabbath) a kedusha, and Exo 40.9 says, “Then you shall take the anointing oil and anoint the tabernacle and all that is in it, and shall consecrate it and all its furnishings; it shall be holy (have a kedusha).” So, hopefully, we can begin to see the parallels.

Berman says, “The initial relationship between the sabbath and sanctuary implied by the closing chapters if Exodus sheds light on the Temple narrative of 1 Kings as well. Just as language of the Sabbath narrative of Genesis 2 is present in the Tabernacle sections of Exo 39-40, Sabbath imagery is likewise present in the narrative of the completion of the First Temple. The Biblical nation that the number seven represents “wholeness and completion begins with the sanctification of the seventh day as the Sabbath following the completion of the universe in Gen 2. The number seven figures prominently throughout the Temple narrative of 1 Kings. The Temple took seven years to complete (1 Kings 6.35), it was dedicated on the festival of Sukkot, a holiday that occurs for seven days during the seventh month of the year (1 Kings 8.2). Finally, Solomon’s dedication address is composed of seven petitions (1 Kings 8.12-53).”

So we see there was a plan, and this had to do with “remez”, where one passage alludes to another. Berman continues, “The notion that the erection of the sanctuary completes the process of creation is explicitly in the midrash concerning the completion of the First Temple. The midrash says, “All the work that King Solomon had done in the house of the Lord was completed (1 Kings 7.51). Scripture does not say ‘the work’ but ‘all the work’ which refers to all the work of the six days of creation, as it says, ‘And God completed all the work that he planned to do.’ When Solomon completed the Temple God proclaimed that ‘Now the work of the heavens and earth are complete.”

In Part 44 we will pick up here and continue to develop the concept of “rest” on the Sabbath and what it means.

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Tanak Foundations-Concepts in Exodus-Part 42

We are continuing our search to find a command that is not directly related to the Mishkan. We started in Exo 25 and have moved to Exo 40 and we have found that all 16 chapters are related to the Mishkan. Now we are moving to the book of Vayikra (Leviticus).

Lev 1-7 have all the korbanot connected to the Mishkan/Temple. Lev 8 has the consecration of Aaron and his sons. Lev 9 tells us that the ministry of the kohanim has begun. Lev 10 tells us of the death of Nadab and Abihu when they offered the incense at a time and way not commanded in the Torah. Lev 11 is where we have the forbidden and permitted foods related to the Miahkan/Temple. It tells us about the concept of Tamai and Tahor, unclean and clean. This is to be understood as pertaining to the Mishkan. These are Mishkan and Temple commands.

We know from Lev 10 that Nadab and Abihu burned “strange fire” before the Lord. First off, what was strange about it? It was the same incense that was used earlier. But, they are launching a new priesthood and it took seven days to consecrate them. The eighth day of their consecration was supposed to be a happy day for them, but these two sons burned strange fire. It was the same incense but they came at a time that was not allowed by God. There was an appointed time for burning the incenses. Certain people were selected to do this, and they were not to come two at a time. They did not “keep” the tavnit (blueprint).

We learn later in Lev 10.17-20 that Aaron and the remaining sons Abiathar and Eleazar did not eat the sin offering as required. Moses is upset with them and confronts Aaron. Aaron says they let it burn (not on the altar) where they were cooking it. Aaron and his sons did not eat it because of what just happened. Aaron asks whether God would have accepted it or not? Their hearts were grieving and there was no joy. In other words, their attitude was not right, and Moses let it alone.

Lev 11 goes into what animals and creatures can be eaten or not. It is directly related to what just happened in Lev 10, a Mishkan and Temple command. The word “clean” is “tahor” and it basically proper, in place. The word for “unclean” is “tamai” and it means improper, out of place. The idea of “keep and observe” is defined as the “incorporation of the things of God into our lives (in this case eating) and to stay true to the tavnit (blueprint) that God has given for specific thing to be done at specific times, at a specific place by specific people.” This cpater also goes into the vessels these creatures are cooked in.

Lev 12 deals with a woman after childbirth and what she must do in order to enter the Mishkan/Temple again. Lev 13 deals with Zara’at (leprosy) and another Mishkan/Temple command. Lev 14 it the ceremony for cleansing a Metzora (one with zara’at). Lev 15 deals with discharges that make one unclean (tamai) and unable to enter the Sanctuary. Lev 16 deals with the Yom Kippur ceremony and Lev 17 deals with the sanctity (kedusha) of blood.

It is not till Lev 18 that we have a command not directly related to the Mishkan/Temple. So, we have 33 chapters directly related to the Sanctuary. First off, we would think that the Lord is putting an emphasis on these things. He has 33 chapters of what “you shall do or not do” until he goes into other commands not directly related to the sanctuary.

Right there, that should get our attention. It causes us to realize that the Lord is putting an emphasis on this. If we do not understand the commandments connected to the Mishkan/Temple, we will not understand the other commandments. So, what about the Sabbath law given at the end of Exo 31? First, we have the word “kodesh” that is usually translated as “holy.” Then we have the Beit ha Mikdash (Temple) and we can see right away that the word “kadosh” is in the word “Mikdash” so Beit Ha Mikdash means “House of Kedusha.”

Kedusha has “levels” and most people think they know what “holy” or “holiness” means, and most think it means “to set apart.” But, that is an incomplete definition. There is a book called “The Temple: Its Symbolism and Meaning Then and Now” by Joshua Berman. The first chapter of that book is called “What is Kedusha?” There is no way one can understand the Temple, the House of Kedusha, without understanding kedusha.

So, Berman asks some questions in his book like, “How many times is the word “holy” used in Genesis?” The answer is, one time (Gen 2.3). It is used in reference to the Sabbath, where God “sanctified” it. Abraham, Isaac, Jacob, Joseph, Moses, Aaron, Noah, David, Elijah are never called “holy.” There is a passage in 2 Kings 4.9 that says in English bibles, “Behold, now, I perceive that there is a holy man of God passing by us continually.” She is talking about Elisha. But, in Hebrew, it says, “a man of a holy God.” Other than that, we never see a man called “holy.” The Lord is holy, Israel as a nation is called a holy nation (Exo 19.6), we have offices that have a kedusha on them, like the high priest, but never people.

Now, if we go through and see “kadosh” or any of its derivatives, you will see there are restrictions. So, let’s define “kedusha.” It means “to designate, to set apart for the service of God by formal and legal restrictions and limitations. The kedusha of periods of time are marked by limits on what man’s activities are in regards to work and construction.” Israel has a kedusha and is called a holy nation “if you keep my commandments.” We have the kohanim at large (priests), but they have restrictions and limitations like who they can marry, where they can wear their garments, avoiding contact with the dead and many others.

There are items with a kedusha, like the Ark of the Covenant. You can’t touch it and it needs to be handled a certain way. The Menorah, the table of bread, the incense altar, the great altar all have a kedusha. The vessels used have a kedusha. The garments of the priests have a kedusha, and certain places in the Temple have levels of kedusha. Certain times have a kedusha, like the festivals and on certain ones no work was allowed. The Sabbath has a kedusha, and no work is allowed, and “rest” is the key word. So, “work” and “rest” need to be defined. On the high Sabbaths (called a Shabbaton or Yom Tov). One is not allowed to work, or customary or servile work.

When is the second time “kadosh” is used? We have the one time in Genesis, and the next time is in Exo 3.5. This is where Moses sees the burning bush and goes up Sinai to investigate. God tells him to stay way from the bush and to take off his sandals because the he was standing on holy ground (adamat kodesh). We know that kedusha (kadosh) can apply to certain offices, but not to individuals. It can apply to items set apart for the Mishkan/Temple. There are no items with a kedusha that were not for use in the Mishkan/Temple.

We have heard people say, “He is a holy man of God” but they don’t know what they are saying. We have been places where people say, “this is a holy building” or place. No, its not. We can’t make something holy. A church or synagogue is not considered holy. A bible is not holy. Only the Mishkan/Temple and the vessels associated with it have a kedusha. There are items that are dedicated to God, like the tithe, that has a kedusha on it because there were restrictions and limitations associated with it like where it was grown or raised, who it was to be given to, when it was given, and how it was to be distributed.

We have heard the teaching where people were to “bring their tithe” into a church. This is done all over the world in Christianity, but these people don’t know what they are saying. We also have what is called the “terumot” (contributions) or free will offerings. You can have terumot that are actually “required.” It says it is “free-will” but you have the “Hotzi Shekel” (half shekel) that is required (Exo 30.11-16) and it is called a “terumot” or contribution (verse 15). This was to be given when a census was taken to number warriors, potential life takers. In later ages, the half shekel became another tax devoted to Temple maintenance. So, how can it be a “required” free will offering? It is going to deal with attitude.

In Part 43, we will pick up here with the kedusha of time.

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Tanak Foundations-Concepts in Exodus-Part 41

There have been water surveys done on the Temple Mount subterranean features and we know where the Temple building stood. There are no cisterns in the immediate area. We know the location of the building where the Kior stood, and it is called Beit Avtinas. It sits right over a cistern called the “Beer (well) Gulah” meaning the “cistern of the round/bowl.” There is a tunnel system where they operated the cistern from and we are told that it is a permanent (fixed) cistern.

Wells don’t move and a “fixed” well is one that is supplied by its own source of water. It was not dependent on rain water or a conduit bringing water into it, it was “independent.” The tunnel system is 45 feet below the surface of the Temple Mount. The cistern is below the tunnel system but it has not been located yet.

Water is heavy and there had to be a technology in place in order to drop the Kior below the tunnel system (45 feet) in order to bring water back up. It makes more sense that there was a pumping system in order to get the water into the Kior. Each evening they would drain the Kior and then fill it back up in the morning.

Two hundred years before Yeshua, there was a Greek inventor and mathematician named Ctesibius who invented the water organ, an air pump with valves at the bottom, a tank of water in-between them, and a few pipes on top. Also, the Archimedean Screw was developed well before that. A screw system that brought water up from low laying areas was used in Babylon. Josephus and the Letter of Aristeas both record that Ptolemy from Egypt requested seventy scribes from Jerusalem to come and translate the Scriptures into Greek. He gave great gifts to Jerusalem. The high priest had gifts to give Ptolemy of great value also.

Aristeas is sent by Ptolemy to bring these gifts. So, he wrote about his journey and Jerusalem. He described the Temple and the surrounding area (the fortress called the “Baris” for example). He described the Altar and said around the Altar, every few seconds, a mist of water came out from the base in order to wash the blood down. That is a “water clock” and the water clock was already in Jerusalem before Ctesibius “improves” it. It is our opinion that the high priest gave to Ptolemy the plans for the water pump and the water organ, and he gave that to his inventor Ctesibius in Alexandria who got credit for it in history.

It is thought that the Magrefah, an instrument used in the Temple, was two items. It was a loud instrument and described as a “rake” with “pipes” (like a bag-pipe). Bag-pipes were not invented in Scotland. But the Magrefah could have also been a water organ, but Ctesibius is also credited with inventing that also. We believe the Jewish people had that type of technology from the First Temple period because God gave it to them. It was part of the “Tavnit.” They could pump water from down deep and do fantastic things with it. This technology was what God gave David, and David to Solomon when he actually built the Temple (1 Chr 28.9-19). Now, this is our opinion, but we know they had a water technology that even Aristeas saw around 200 BC.

In short, we don’t think there were “images” of oxen on the Kior as depicted, but they were vessels of utility that the Kior sat on. However, the legs were used as part of the pumping in order to bring water up from a cistern below. For more information on the Kior, there is a book called “Measure the Pattern” by Joseph Good of Hatikva Ministries that will have more detail on this.

Exo 30.22-33 will give us instruction about the anointing oil. They were to take the finest of spices. We are also going to see how the word “karet” (cut off) is used in these passages. They were to take myrrh (500 shekels in weight), cinnamon (250 shekels), calamus (250 shekels) and cassia (500 shekels), according to the shekel of the Sanctuary (at the time). They were also to take a hin (5.5 qts) of olive oil. A shekel weighed a half an ounce, so 500 shekels weighed 250 ounces (15.625 lbs). Then they were to mix it all together and anoint the Ohel Moed, the Ark, the Table for the bread, the Menorah and the Incense Altar. They also were to anoint the Altar of Burnt Offering, its utensils and the Kior, with its stand. They were to consecrate them so that they were “Kodshai Kodeshim’ (most holy) and whatever touches them should be most holy already.

They were to take Aaron and his sons and consecrate them so that they may minister as kohanim. They were to tell the sons of Israel that this shall be the anointing oil to God for all generations (used only for the Lord). They were not to use it on their body, nor were they to make any like it in the same proportions. Whoever mixes any like it, or puts any of it on a non-priest or a lay person shall be “cut off (karet) from his people.

Now, there are three types of “karet” in Jewish thought. First, you could die but you are still a part of the redemption. This karet affected only the body. The second type is, you could live physically but you do not have a part in the redemption. This affected the soul only. The third type is you would die, and the soul is cut off, too (body and soul).

Now, let’s move on to the incense found in Exo 30. 34-38. The following spices were used. The first one was Stacte, a drop which is extracted from a drop of a balsam tree. Next we have Onycha, and has its name from the color of a man’s nail, like the onyx. It is the door membrane of a snail-like mollusk found in the Red Sea. Next we have Galbanum, an arromatic gum resin from a certain species of plant genus called Ferula. Last we have Frankincense which is a resin obtained from trees of the genus Boswellia.

These are mixed together only after they have been left alone. Then it is salted, like the korbanot were. It is beaten very small so that they can mix together better and it is easier to spread. It is used on the altar of incense to be burned, not looked at and smelled. They were not to make this incense for their own use, like for their houses. It was to be used entirely for the service of God (the Avodah). To do so, one could be “karet.” Now, let’s go back to Exo 25 and the command to build the Mishkan. In that command we have the command to build the Temple (Mikdash).

Moses has gone up the mountain to God. The Ten Commandments have already been audibly given, which terrified the people. So, when Moses goes up, the first actual command that is given to him is found in verse 2. They were to bring a terumah (contribution) or a free will offering of gold, silver, bronze, techelt, argamon, tolat shanni and shesh of goat hair, ram’s skins dyed red, acacia (shittim) wood, oil, spices, onyx stones and setting stones.

Then in Exo 25.8-9 the Lord tells Moses “and let them construct a sanctuary (mikdash) for me that I might dwell among (“in”) them. According to all that I am going to show you as the pattern (tavnit/blueprint) of the tabernacle (mishkan) and the pattern (tavnit/blueprint) of all its furniture, just so shall yo construct them.” It is important that Moses is going up the mountain. People know he went up for the Torah, but most people don’t know that he also went up to receive instructions for the Mishkan.

Now, when do we receive a command that is not directly related to the Mishkan or the services? The answer will be amazing. We started out with Exo 25.1 and we go to Exo 31.11. We know that Exo 31.12-17 deals with the sign of the Sabbath, and it is related to the Mishkan/Temple also. It just wasn’t put in these verses about the Temple and its services as an after-thought, it is related. God had already given the Ten Commandments audibly, and in Exo 31.18 they are written down and given to Moses. So, all these verses are related to the Mishkan.

Next we come to the Golden Calf incident. In this chapter, Levi is the first tribe to repent, and they will be chosen to serve in the Mishkan/Temple. This is also a Mishkan/Temple command. All of Chapter 32 is related to the Mishkan/Temple.

In Exo 33 we have the Lord saying they will leave Sinai and the command to build the Ohel Moed (tent of meeting). This tent will be outside the camp, used until the Mishkan was built, then it moved to the Mishkan inside the camp, called the Heichal.

In Exo 34 Moses goes up the mountain again. Exo 35 takes us right back into the Sabbath and the work of the Mishkan. They were not to make “work fires” in their dwellings for work on the Mishkan. There were no factories or Home Depots in the wilderness, these fires were needed for work. Exo 36-40 is about the Mishkan. SO, from Exo 25 to Exo 40 we have a chiastic structure. Moses goes up, then we have Exo 32 and the Golden Calf, then he comes down and we have corresponding passages.

So far, we have 16 chapters with commands relating to the Mishkan or the services. In Part 42, we will move on to the book of Vayikra to find out where we find a command that is not directly related to the Mishkan or the services.

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Tanak Foundations-Concepts in Exodus-Part 40

Let’s go back to the Mishnah, Middot 3.6, where it says, “The Kior (laver) stood between the porch and the altar, towards the south (remember that). The porch and the altar was 22 cubits and there were twelve steps there.” The way this is worded sounds like the kior was where most everyone puts it. However, when you put Kelim 1.6-9 with it and Exo 30. 17-21, you cannot approach this area until you have washed your hands and feet. If you do, the Temple guards are going to come and get you.

So, placing the kior in the traditional spots that you see on most illustrations will not work. The key to all this is the term, “towards the south” in Middot 3.6. The Temple Scroll, part of the Dead Sea Scrolls, and in Josephus, help explain this problem. The kior was in another place, and we will discuss that later. In the Mishkan, the laver was called the Kior. In the First Temple period it was called “the Sea” and in the Second Temple it was called the Kior again. Of course, the Kior in the Mishkan will be smaller than in the Temple.

We are going to attempt to answer several questions. First, how do we solve the problem of water left overnight in a bronze vessel? Second, what was the Muchni? Third, where was the Kior and how does it relate to the phrase “towards the south?” Lastly, where did the water come from?

As we have said before, Exo 25-40 is set up in a chiastic style. Exo 25-31 gives instruction for the Mishkan. Exo 32 is a central issue dealing with the Golden Calf. Exo 33-40 deals with the execution of Exo 25-31. So, as we can see, Exo 32 is the pivotal point in this structure. We are getting close enough to that to keep our eyes on it.

We have learned from Exo 30.17 that God told the people to build a “laver” of bronze. In the First Temple it is called “Ha Yam” (the Sea). In the Second Temple it went back to the Kior. But, they are one in the same. Inside the Tempe building, it will be equivalent to the Mishkan, with the exception of the porch. In the Temple building, everything is made of gold. On the Porch (Ulam), you had a silver table on the right side of the door where the new bread would be placed for the Table on the Sabbath. This bread would be taken in during the Mussaf (additional) service (Num 28.9-10). Then it is taken into the Sanctuary (Heichal) and placed on the Shulchan Lechem Ha Pannim (Bread of the Faces), which was a golden table.

On the other side (right side as you walked out of the Heichal) there was a table of gold. The old bread that was taken of the table of bread was placed on that table because the bread cannot go down in kedusha once it had ascended onto the golden table. Outside, we have the Bronze Altar, and we have the Kior of brass, and pans and other brass utensils. But once in the Sanctuary building, everything was gold.

Now, let’s go to Gen 3.1, where we are going to pick up a word. We have the word “serpent” there and in Hebrew it is “nachash.” The word for brass is “nechoshet.” Now, we have the story of the Bronze Serpent in Num 21.8-9. God tells Moses to make a “fiery serpent.” That word “fiery” is “saraph” meaning “burning one” and this alludes to the righteousness of God. They were to put the “saraph” on a standard and to lift it up for the people to see. The word for standard is “nes” and it is a term for the Messiah (Isa 11.10, 13.2, 18.3).

Poisonous serpents were biting the people and so when this standard was lifted up, if the people looked to it, they would not die because of the serpent’s bite. The word for serpent there is “nachash” and this relates back to Gen 3. So, God saw the “saraph” (burning one) on a pole, which is a type of angel (Seraphim). When the people looked, they saw a “nachash” (serpent), something that was cursed hanging on a pole. In the case of Yeshua on the cross, when God looked he saw a saraph, a sent one (angel). When the people looked, they saw someone cursed. And yet, if you look to him you will live from the bite of the serpent. This is what Yeshua told Nicodemus in John 3.14. He was telling him to “look upon me when I am crucified. People will say that I am cursed, but I am the sent one, the saraph, from God. Look to me Nicodemus.”

We have other allusions to this in Exo 4.1-8 when Moses is given two signs. Moses is told to take the staff and throw it to the ground. It became a “nachash” (serpent). Moses fled from it (Exo 4.1-5). Then the Lord tells him to “grasp it by the tail.” That is not where you pick up a serpent. Moses did it by faith, and it became a staff again. The staff is a picture for the Messiah, but it becomes a nachash (one cursed), or a “bronze serpent” (Num 21). He grasped it by faith.

There is a second sign in Exo 4.8. God told Moses to put his hand (clean) into his bosom. He did it, and then the Lord told him to take it out. When he did, his hand was leprous (unclean). Then he told him to do it again, and when he did, his leprous hand (unclean) was restored (clean). The message of the second sign is this. That which was clean became unclean, and that which was unclean became clean. That is the message of the Messiah. Now, bronze is the metal of judgment. Our sins must be judged.

The bronze Kior deals with washing, but it also deals with judgment. We must judge ourselves and was with the “water of the Word of God” which is the Torah (Eph 5.26). The kior was only for the kohanim (priests). When you went to the slaughtering area, lay Israelites did not wash at the kior. Where everyone places the kior will not work. You cannot go into that area without washing your hands and your feet (Tosefta, Kelim 1.6). The key to all this is the phrase “towards the south” in Middot 3.6 because we obviously have a problem.

The answer is found in what is called the Temple Scroll, which is a part of the Dead Sea Scrolls. A man named Yigael Yadin translated it. Yadin is a legendary Israeli archaeologist who helped obtain the dead Sea Scrolls. One scroll was missing, and Yadin knew where it was. When Bethlehem was liberated, Yadin drove ahead of the army and went into the house where he knew it was and grabbed it.

In The Temple Scroll it talks about the “Beit Kior” or “House of the Kior.” It had a room of lockers and it matches the description in the Mishnah where they stored the priestly garments. This text answers the problem of how one could go to the kior if it is placed in an area you can’t go into. The Mishnah says the kior is between the porch and the altar. This eould be between the wedtrrn side of the porch to the eastern side of the altar, everything in between. This alse extended southward and northward. At the corners of the Azarah there were buildings that had gates on the east side of the building. If a gate or building opens up onto a court, it had the sanctity of that court, with one exception. The Nicanor Gate does not.

You cannot go into the Azarah “proper” unless you have washed at the kior. In Beit Avtinas (southeastern building), the kior was in the northwest corner of that building, between the porch and the altar as the area in between extended south. The priests came in with their course and were examined by the Sanhedrin, and you were ruled eligible to serve or not. If eligible, they had to go into another room where they took off their street clothes, and placed them in the lockers. Then they have an assistant (probably a Levite) who helps them dress in their priestly garments. Then they will wash their hands and their feet. Then they can go into the Azarah. Everything comes down to kedusha. So, the middle court encompasses the four buildings, around the front to the other side and to the back of the sanctuary. Then the Azarah proper was the inner court.

Now, let’s look at what is called in our English Bibles the “oxen” in the Yam in the First Temple. 2 Chr 4 has a description of the kior and it will be called the Sea, or Yam. It is described as a mikvah for the kohanim, and it was used for washings (see our article on “Tevilah (immersion) and Rachatz (washing) on this site, in particular Part 3 for more information on this concept). A detailed description of it is given in 2 Chr 7.23-37.

In 1 Kings 7.24-25 it says it had gourds surrounding it and “twelve oxen”, with three facing north, south, east and west. The word for “oxen” is “pekar” and it is used in modern Hebrew for “plumbing fixtures.” Some believe that water for the Yam (Sea) was pumped into it, and the water came trough the feet of the “oxen.” This word is not seen as “oxen” but like our word for “sawhorse.” It doesn’t look like a horse, and these “oxen” did not have an image of an animal on it. It carried the same idea as a sawhorse. They were hollow and water was pumped into them. Solomon also had ten bronze wheeled lavers (1 Kings 7.27-39; 2 Chr 4.6). They were for washing the korbanot.

In Part 41, we will pick up here and begin to talk about the water system in the Temple.

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Tanak Foundations-Concepts in Exodus-Part 39

The phrase in Exo 30.16, “that it may be a memorial” is discussed in the “Pentateuch and Haftorahs” by Rabbi Joseph Hertz, p. 353, where it says it was a memorial “that the Lord would remember the children of Israel in grace and grant them atonement for the blood shed in battle. In later ages, the half-shekel became an annual tax devoted to maintaining the public services of the Temple; daily worship was thus carried on by the entire people and not by the gifts of a few donors. The fact the rich were not to give more, nor the poor less than a half-shekel taught that, ‘weighed in the balance of the Sanctuary’ (which is the literal meaning of ‘b’shekel ha kodesh’), differences of rank and wealth do not exist. The fact, furthermore, that only a half-shekel was to be paid, taught that an individual’s contribution to the community was but a fragment. For any complete work to be achieved on behalf of the Sanctuary, the efforts of all, high and low, rich or poor alike, are required.”

“The Jews outside Palestine were throughout the ancient world, as zealous in their contributions of this Temple tax as the inhabitants of Judea. Antisemites, in consequence, even raised the cry that the Jews were sending too much money out of the country. One of the Roman provincial governors, who seized these offerings, was defended by Cicero in an anti-Jewish speech. After the destruction of the Temple, the Jews of the empire were compelled to pay this contribution to the Temple of Jupiter in Rome. When this iniquitous tax was eventually abolished, the contribution from the Jews in the diaspora was used for the support of the rabbinical academies in Palestine.”

“At the present day, the memory of the half-shekel is still kept alive by the reading of Exodus 10.11-16 on the Sabbath before the month of Adar, with a special haftorah, Shekelim; and by donating half the value of a current silver coin to some worthy charitable cause on Purim. With the rise of the Jewish Nationalist Movement, the payment of the shekel of an amount roughly equivalent to it in some modern currency, was revived as a token of sympathy with the aims of the movement.”

The word “memorial” is the word “zikoron” and this word is important in Hebrew. We have a festival called “Yom Ha Zikaron” or Yom Teruah (Rosh Ha Shannah). We have a book that is mentioned in Mal 3.16 called “the Book of Remembrance (Sefer Ha Zikaron). It was written before the Lord “for those who fear the Lord and who esteem his name.” This is one of the books that are opened on Yom Teruah (Dan 7.10). Saying “memorial” in English does not have the same impact as “zikaron” in Hebrew. In Exo 17.14 it says, “Write this in a book as a memorial and recite it to Joshua that I will utterly blot out the memory of Amalek from under heaven.” It carries the idea of not only something you are to remember, but it also means you are to remember “continually.”

Exo 30.17-21 talks about the Kior, or the bronze laver. The kior is a vast subject and very interesting, but we can only touch on a few things right now. The idea was, until recently, that in the Temple the Kior was to the left of the door leading into the Ulam (porch) of the Sanctuary. The water was emptied out of the Kior at night because leaving water in a brass container made it impure. Then it was lowered into a cistern overnight, and filled up every morning. Supposedly, a machine was made called the “Muchni.” It was developed by a man named Ben Kattin, who was a high priest. Ben Kattin added ten spigots to it, for a total of twelve. There are writings about this. We are going to read about the kior here and look at several issues.

In Exo 30.18, it says the kior is to be placed “between the tent of meeting (Ohel Moed) and the altar.” Now, reading that, it seems like the kior should be placed between the Mishkan and the altar (east and west). The Temple Institute has a picture of it there, as does most pictures of the Mishkan we will see by many artists. They were to put water in it because “Aaron and his sons shall wash their hands and their feet from it; when they enter the tent of meeting, they shall wash with water that they may not die; or when they approach the altar to minister, by offering up in smoke a fire sacrifice to the Lord. SO they shall wash their hands and their feet, that they may not die and it shall be a perpetual statute for them, for Aaron and his descendants throughout their generations” (Exo 30.19-21).

If they did not wash their hands and feet with water, the penalty was death. The word for wash is “rachatz” and that is not a full immersion of the body here. That would be “taval” where we get the word “tevilah” from. You cannot “approach” the Ohel Moed without washing the hands and the feet first. This is also true of the altar. So, here is a question. What does it mean “to approach?” Does it mean stepping into a room, or getting close to it? If so, how close? We need to have this defined because their life depended on it. We need to know the boundaries so we need to go to the Mishnah.

In Kelim 1.6-9 it says there are levels of kedusha. The Mishnah is not making these up, it is telling us what they were. Most people have an incorrect concept of kedusha (holiness). The Temple is called the “Beit Ha Mikdash” or House of Kedusha. The previously mentioned book will help develop this concept correctly, but we will need to start over in our understanding if we want to understand the Mishkan and the Temple. The levels of kedusha are: the land of Israel, the walled cities at the time of Joshua, within the walls of Jerusalem, the Temple Mount, the Chel, Court of the Women, Court of Israel, Court of the Priests, between the porch and the altar, the Heichal and the Holy of Holies.

Between the tent of meeting (ohel moed) and the altar is between the eastern side of the Mishkan and the eastern side of the altar. In the Temple, it was between the western wall of the Ulam (porch) and the eastern side of the altar. This area in the Temple was 77 cubits, or 147.8 feet wide. Priests went to the kior that was located in building in the southeast corner of the Azarah called Beit Avtinas. This building opened up to the Azarah and it was between the porch and the altar. None who had a blemish or “wild hair” (priests were to have short hair) may enter there (between the porch and the altar).

There are five things where the space between the porch and the altar would be equal to the Heichal because none may enter there that has a blemish, wild hair (long, uncut), has drunk wine, or has crushed hands and feet. Men must keep far from between the porch and the altar at the time of the burning of incense. The kior, according to our passage, must be between the porch and the tent of meeting and the altar. You cannot approach this area unless you washed your hands and feet.

In the Tosefta (additions to the Mishnah), Kelim 1.6, it says that those whose hands and feet are not washed cannot enter the area between the porch and the altar (R. Meir). The Sages say they do not enter. When it says, the Sages say” that means it was a ruling of the Sanhedrin. R. Shimon the Modest said before R. Eleazar that he entered the area between the porch and the altar without having washed his hands and feet. R. Eleazar said “who is more beloved, you or the high priest? Shimon was silent. He said that “you are ashamed that even the dog of the high priest is more beloved than you.” Shimon said “You have said it.” He said that even the high priest, who without washing hands and feet, enters the area without washing hands and feet, enters the area between the porch and the altar, they break his hands with clubs. He then asks what Shimon is going to do that the guards not find him. Anyway, this was a serious offense if one was ever negligent.

In Part 40, we will pick up here and pick up some additional information about the Kior from the Mishnah, Middot 3.6, where it says that “the kior stood between the porch and the altar, towards the south.” We will develop this statement then.

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Tanak Foundations-Concepts in Exodus-Part 38

Everything in the Holy Place and the Holy of Holies was gold. Everything outside was bronze, like the Bronze Altar in the courtyard, or Azarah. The ALtar of Incense will have similarities with some of the other items that were built for the Mishkan. It was made of Shittim wood (Acacia) and covered with gold. It was square and had four horns on the corners. We will have more on the shittim wood later. Notice that this altar was square, but why would that be important? There are Torah teachers who say that the Mishkan was circular (Breaking Israel News article called “Biblical Tabernacle is Nothing Like What You Think, Says Bible-Savvy Engineer” and available on the Internet). This is not true. The Mishkan was not circular. There are “corners” and the actual dimensions are given in the Scriptures. This teaching cannot possibly be true, but it is accepted. Why?

Antisemitism is rising in this country. Even in Bible teaching you will hear “The Jews are wrong” and is a Replacement Theology and antisemitism. There is another teaching that says the Temple was not on the Temple Mount, but near the Gihon Spring. That is impossible according to the archaeology, but it is taught and accepted by many. The bottom line of all this is if the Jews are wrong, then we must replace their error with something else, resulting in Replacement Theology.

This altar was overlaid with gold, as we have said, and its horns (power of God) were at the corners. There was a gold crown or molding around the top. It had two rings on two sides so that the poles to carry it could go through them. These poles were also made of shittim wood and covered with gold. It was applied like paint. This altar was put in front of the paroket (veil) in the Mishkan that was nearest to the Ark of the Covenant, in front of the kipporet (mercy seat) where God spoke (the Devir).

In 1 Cor 11.1-3 we have an example of order. We have God, Messiah, Man and Woman. This order does not mean man is above woman in the Kingdom of God, but it deals with roles and hierarchy. When we think of the Ark of the Covenant, we think of the Ark as the Ark. In Exo 30.6 we see something different. It says, “And you shall put the altar before the paroket that is before the Ark of the Testimonial Tablets (Aron ha Edut), in front of the kipporet (mercy seat) that is over the testimonial tablets, where I will meet with you.” This is saying that what makes the Ark important is the tablets (luchot), the two tablets of stone with the Ten Commandments. But it is giving special significance to the kipporet, which is translated as “mercy seat” in English and that is a terrible translation. What is even more significant than the kipporet, is where God meets “with you.” The actual point of meeting in the Mishkan with the Lord himself.

Now, we have read that there is an atonement that is received by certain items, vessels and garments. We have all heard of Yom Kippur, or Day of Atonement. What needs to be conveyed is this. Our concept of atonement is greatly lacking. What we don’t understand about atonement is a lot. Our definition falls far short. There is more to it than what we see. Where is this brought out? In the Mishkan/Temple and its ceremonies.

Verse 6 brings out an order, culminating in a place where God himself will speak with you. 1 Kings 8.6 says, “Then the priests brought the Ark of the Covenant of the Lord to its place into the inner sanctuary (called the Devir) in the house, to the most holy place, under the wings of the cherubim.” Solomon made these cherubim out of shittim wood, covered with gold, and were around 20 feet high, and the wing of one touched the north side wall of the most holy place, and the wing of the other touched the southern wall. Then, the two remaining wings were stretched over the Ark (1 Kings 6.26-28; 1 Chr 3.10-13). This is in the Kodesh Ha Kodeshim (Holy of Holies), also called the “Devir” in Hebrew which is a word related to “Davar” meaning “oracle or speaking.”

Any priest can burn the fragrant incense on the altar of incense, and he shall burn it every morning during the Shacharit service, when he trims the lamps of the Menorah. When he trims the lamps at “twilight” (bein ha eruvim), he shall burn incense again. There was to be incense before the Lord continually, so that is why it was done during the Tamid service twice daily. They were not to offer strange incenses on this altar, or an olah, or a minchah, or at a time not appointed by the Lord, and not two or more at a time. They were not to pour out a libation on it. These are some of the restrictions for this altar. Atonement is made on its horns on Yom Kippur, with the blood of the sin offering (blood of a bull and and goat-Lev 16.18).

Exo 30.11-16 tells us about the Law of the Shekel. Whenever a census of warriors was done, every adult Israelite was to pay a half-shekel, called the “Hotzi Shekel.” It was a ransom (“kapper”) for his soul as a potential life-taker, though not a deliberate murderer. This is done so that there be no plague among them. The word for plague there is “negef” and it has the same root as the Hebrew for “slaughter in battle.” Again, the word ransom is “kapper” (atonement, like “kippur”) and there is much more to this word than we realize.

The “soul” in Exo 30.11-15 is the word “nafshu” and it is related to the word “nefesh.” We are talking about an individual life, and blood sustains life. The life of the flesh is in the blood because it sustains life. The ruach is the spirit of man, and neshemah is the “God consciousness” that we have when born again. Everyone that passes before the officers mustering the forces to battle shall give a “hotzi shekel”, the full weight used in conjunction with the holy things. It is a “terumah” or contribution to the Lord. The same phrase is used in Num 31.52. A terumah is freely given, not a “i have to” attitude, so the heart plays a role here.

The rich did not pay more, and the poor did not pay less because all souls are of equal value in the eyes of the Lord. They have the same ransom. Everyone was mustered for war, from 20 years old and over. They all will give the half-shekel. The money raised was then taken and given for the service of the Sanctuary, “that it may be a memorial” for the sons of Israel before the Lord (Exo 30.16). The silver was used for the bases of the pillars and for the hooks to keep the borders of the Mishkan together (Exo 38.27).

We will pick here in Part 39, beginning with an explanation of the phrase, “that it may be a memorial” from the book “The Pentateuch and Haftorahs” by Rabbi Joseph Hertz.

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Tanak Foundations-Concepts in Exodus-Part 37

We are going to go back to the book “Vayikra” by Mesorah Publications on the Miluim (consecratioon offerings) and pick up a quote, where it says, “The chatat (sin offering) was a young bull. Its blood was applied to the Outer Altar, its emurim (innards) were burned upon it, and the rest of it was burned outside the camp (Exo 29.1, 10-14; Lev 8.1-17). In this last facet it resembled an inner chatat offering (blood offered inside the Mishkan), and it (and Aaron’s chatat on the eighth day) is the only outer offering which is treated so. Its purpose was to purify the Altar and to render it most sacred (Kodshai Kodeshim-Exo 29.36-37; Lev 8.15). The olah (elevation offering) was a ram which was offered in the conventional way (Exo 29.15-18; Lev 8.18-21). The last offering in this group was the shelamim (peace offering-Exo 29.27; Lev 8.22). Its blood service was similar to that of a regular shelamim offering, but it had kodshai kodeshim status, and it was therefore eaten exclusively by the Kohanim, in the courtyard of the Mishkan, and for only a day and a night (Exo 29.31-34).”

“In addition to the regular blood applications, its blood was also applied to the right ear, thumb, and big toe of Aaron and each of his sons. The disposition of the offering meat was unique. Its breast and right hind thigh were removed and waved (together with the emurim) as the regular shelamim offerings, but the thigh was burned (and not given to the Kohanim as usual). The breast was given to Moshe to eat (Exo 29.22, 24-26; Lev 8.29); and the rest went to the Kohanim. This offering was accompanied by three types of breads, each consisting of ten loaves: chalot (matzah) loaves; rekikim (wafers); and revuka (scalded loaves). Like the todah and nazir offerings, one loaf of each type was waved together with the emurim and breast and right hind thigh; however, these waved breads were not eaten by the Kohanim, like ordinary breads, but were burned upon the Altar. The rest of the loaves were eaten by Aaron and his sons for up to a day and a night, in the Courtyard of the Mishkan (Exo 29.22-32; Lev 8.26-28).”

“On the eighth day, the day of the inauguration, another complement of offerings were brought. Some were offerings for Aaron and others for the people. Aaron’s offerings were: a male calf as a chatat; its blood was applied to the Outer Altar, its emurim (innards) were burned on the Altar, and the remainder was burned outside of the camp (Lev 9.2, 8-11); a ram for an olah, offered according to the regular olah procedure (Lev 9.12-14). The people’s offerings were: a he-goat for a chatat offering; a male calf and a lamb as an olah offering; a bull and ram for a shelamim offering (Lev 9.2-3, 15-16, 18-21); a minchah offering; its kometz was offered on the Altar and its remainder was eaten by the Kohanim in the Tabernacle Courtyard (Lev 9.4, 17, 10, 12-13).”

The eighth day is after a period of seven days, and this is eschatological. We have Passover and Hag Ha Matzah, and Shemini Atzeret, the concluding eighth day of Sukkot. We also have the Parah Adumah (Red Heifer) ceremony which is seven days, and on the eighth day you can participate in the Mishkan/Temple. In Hebrew thought when you have similarities like this it means they are connected. We know about the seven thousand year plan of God, and after that we have the Olam Haba, which is also known as the “eighth day” or new beginning.

So, the miluim offerings are specifically those that were only done one time. These were historic things and it was done at the installation of the kohanim (priests) and the altar. The Torah is giving us the instruction about how to do these offerings (Exo 29). As we get on into the Book of Vayikra (Leviticus) we will see the doing of it. So, we need to keep that in mind and put two and two together because there will be certain pieces of information that are present on one that is not present in the other account. But that is not unusual in Scripture.

Exo 25 through 40 is set up in what is called a Chiastic Structure. The Torah is set up in a chiastic structure, and they can be found all through the Scriptures. It is a Hebrew form of poetry. The classic form is “a, b, c, b, a.” It starts and builds to the center theme, then goes back with variants of the first ones. The Torah and the Psalms are set up this way. When you look at Exo 25 through 31, it then goes to Chapter 32, the Golden Calf incident. We have just gone through the consecration of Aaron and his sons for the priesthood, and Moses goes away and leaves Aaron in charge. What happens? Aaron builds the calf and leads the people into idolatry. They mixed the worship of God with idolatry and this is not a good thing. He was one of the first to repent, along with his family, and this tells us it isn’t what we have done, it’s how we repent before the Lord. Exo 33 through 39 is another chiastic structure, with Exo 40 being when the Mishkan is actually set up and God’s Sh’kinah and Kivod settle upon it, and Moses could not even enter into it.

We are going to pick up now with several different items in Exo 30, like the Altar of Incense, the Hotzi shekel (known later as the Temple tax), the Kior (laver), the Anointing Oil and the Incense. So, let’s begin with the Altar of Incense. In the Stone Edition of the Chumash, p.481-483, it says concerning the Incense Altar, “The last of the Tabernacle’s vessels is the Altar upon which incense was burned, every morning and every evening. It is known as the Mitzbe’ach Ha Kitoret, the Incense Altar, the Mitzbe’ach Ha Zahav, the Golden Altar; and the Mitzbe’ach Ha Panimi, the Inner Altar. The obvious difficulty, which is discussed by many commentators is why this Altar is not mentioned earlier, together with the Menorah and the Table, its neighbors in the Tabernacle. Rambam explains that the Golden Altar’s function was entirely different from that of the Tabernacle as a whole. As stated in the last few verses of the previous chapter, the Tabernacle provided an appropriate setting for God to rest his Presence upon Israel. However, his proximity creates the danger that those who do not honor his Presence are subject to the Attribute of Justice, which would not tolerate their infractions. Such was the case with Nadab and Avihu, who lost their lives when they brought an unbidden, and therefore forbidden, offering (Lev 10.1). Therefore, by means of this Altar and the incense service, God provided a means to shelter the nation from potential danger. When offered in obedience to God’s command, incense has the unique property of being able to quench the fire of Divinely inflicted plague. Consequently, once the agency of bringing his Presence to the nation was provided, God now gave Moses the means of protecting the people.”

“Sforno suggests that the Incense Altar was different from the other parts of the Tabernacle. The Tabernacle structure brought God’s glory to the nation (Exo 25.8-9) and the sacrificial offering created the “meeting place” of God and Israel (Exo 29.43). Once the Tabernacle and its service brought his Presence to Israel, the incense was the prescribed means to welcome the King and show him honor. Therefore, because the Incense Altar was necessitated by the successful completion of the entire complex, it is mentioned at the very end.”

This altar was for prayer and it was located before the paroket (veil) that separated the Holy Place and the Holy of Holies. As a side note here, the Menorah may have been shaped like this “/\” facing out, not like the menorot that are usually shown. The Scriptures say that the middle lamp, a type of Yeshua, was placed closest to the paroket. This lamp was called the “Ner Elohim” or the light of God. The only way that middle lamp could be the closest to the Holy of Holies is it had to be in this shape “/\” with the “point” closest to the paroket.

The Holy place is called “Ha Kodesh” in Hebrew and it is known as the Ohel Moed (Tent of Meeting). In the Temple, this room is also called the Heichal. Outside we have the Brazen (bronze) Altar, and animals will be offered there. The altar of incense will never be used that way. However, blood at times was placed on this inner altar. Certain ceremonies are called “outer ceremonies” and others are called “inner ceremonies.” There are korbanot, based on what happens with the blood, that are designated as “inner” and “outer” korbanot.

In Part 38 we will pick up here.

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Tanak Foundations-Concepts in Exodus-Part 36

We are going to continue discussing the consecration of the priest and also the consecration of the altar (Exo 29.36-46). What is so important in these passages is that we are told that the altar is “Kodesh Ha Kodeshim” (Holy of Holies) in Exo 29.37. The altar had the the same kedusha as the Holy of Holies in the Mishkan and Temple, except that the priest could minister there. Only the high priest could enter the Kodesh Ha Kodeshim in the sanctuary. So, the rules and regulations of the altar are going to be very rigorous.

If you walk into the area that surrounds the altar without washing your hands and your feet at the Kior (laver), there was a death penalty. That is why the Kior was not located in the courts, as seen in most pictures of the Mishkan and Temple. It was in the southeast corner, in a tent, in the Mishkan, and in a building once the Temple was built called Beit Avtinas. If you were to come into this area and you were not a kohen, or a kohen not dressed in the priestly garments, there was a death penalty. This is because of the kedusha of the altar.

For a seven day period atonement is made for the altar and it is consecrated, then the altar will be “kodesh ha kodeshim” (most holy) and whatever touches the altar will need to be holy already. Hag 2.11 says that things were not made holy by touching them. This idea is being expressed by Yeshua in Matt 23.19. The altar is what gives the korban its kedusha. Before it was brought, it was common. But now that it is being brought to the altar, it must have the proper kedusha. Now, let’s move on to Exo 29.38-46.

Two one year old lambs were offered everyday, called the Tamid service. One lamb was offered in the morning, “bein ha boker” (“between the morning”) and the other was offered in the afternoon “bein ha eruvim” (“between the evenings”). Tamid means “eternal” or “continuous.” This will be discussed in more detail when we get to Concepts in Numbers (28.1-8). But, let’s talk about time in the Mishkan/Temple. You will have twelve hours in the day, and twelve hours in the night, for the most part. In the summer, we have longer days and shorter nights, and in the winter we have shorter days and longer nights. That is not the way it was done in the Mishkan/Temple.

You have twelve hours in the day, and twelve at night. So, sunrise to sundown was considered a day. Sundown to sunrise was considered a night. However long that time is, you will divide by ywelve. That will give you an “hour.” An “hour” is one-twelfth of the daylight. So, an “hour” in the summer is longer than an hour in the winter in the Mishkan/Temple. This also applies to the night time “hours.”

The day is divided into two parts, called morning and afternoon. The morning will be called “boker” and the afternoon will be called “evening” or “eruvim.” This confused people because “evening” means “after dark” to them, but in Hebrew thought it is afternoon. The word for “night” in Hebrew is “Lailah.” Bein ha Boker is the time you offer the Shacharit (morning) Tamid. It means “between the mornings.” It is the half-way point between the sunrise and high noon.

Then we come to the Mincha (afternoon) Korban which is offered “bein ha eruvim” or “between the evenings.” Eruvim means “mixture” and this alludes to the time between high noon and sunset. Basically, we are talking about 9 AM and 3 PM. They will offer these lambs in that time frame. In addition to the lamb, there will be one-tenth of an ephah of fine flour (solet) mixed with one-tenth of a hin (a hin is 1.5 gallons) of beaten oil, and one-fourth of a hin of wine for a libation. The other lamb was offered “bein ha eruvim” and the same things were offered as in the morning. It was a continual burnt offering (Olah Tamid) at the doorway of the tent of meeting. God will meet and speak to the sons of Israel there. It will have a kedusha on it. They will also consecrate the tent of meeting and the altar, along with Aaron and his sons. The Lord will “dwell” (shkan’ti) among the sons of Israel (v 45). This alludes right back to Exo 25.8. Then they shall know (“yada”) that the Lord is their God who brought them out of the land of Egypt, that he may dwell (shach’ni) among them.

In the book “Vayikra” by Mesorah Publications, there is a section at the end of Vol 1 called “The Summary of the Laws of Korbanot”, p.305. It will discuss the consecration offerings of the Mishkan, so we are going to be dealing with the korbanot for the priests and the altar as well. This was done only once. “When the Mishkan (Tabernacle) was first erected and Aaron and his sons were inducted into the Kehunah (priesthood), a special set of offerings were made. These are known as the “miluim”-inauguration offerings. The procedure for these was as follows. The Mishkan was inaugurated on the the first of Nisan, the year after the Exodus. On each of the seven days before then, a group of extraordinary offerings was brought, whose purpose it was to formalize the installation of Aaron and his sons as Kohanim. The group consisted of three offerings: a chata’at, an olah, and a shelamim. It is tha latter which the verse refers to as the miluim, inauguration offering.”

So, they were to bring three korbanot. The chata’at is a sin offering, and it is burned outside of the camp (except the innards). Then there was the olah (burnt) offering that is totally consumed on the altar. Last, we have the shelemim (peace) offerings. They were instructed to cook and eat the breast and the right thigh of the peace offering. Now, where did they cook it? They can’t take it into the camp to cook it because it had a kedusha. They can’t cook it inside the courtyard because it had restrictions on what you could do there, and having a bunch of cooking pots out in the open just wasn’t “kosher.” They can’t hold them over the fire on the altar to cook them, the altar also had strict rules. What did they do?

There had to be tents set up on the corners, like the corner buildings of the Temple, to cook the korbanot. Even though it is peace offering and they can be cooked in the camp (the Passover lamb was a peace offering), this particular offering had special rules. They needed tents, with openings leading into the Mishkan courtyard, for the Kior, fire wood, the garments of the priests, to cook in, and many other things that had to stay in the Mishkan. The priests had to have a place to change that was not in the open, and they couldn’t enter the courtyard or go near the altar without their garments on, or having their hands and feet washed, so there had to have been a place for them to change out of view. The Kior (laver) could not be in the courtyard near the altar as in most pictures of the Mishkan. They couldn’t cook in pots in the open court, and where was the firewood for the altar stored? So, the conventional pictures of the Mishkan that we have all seen is not a functional facility without these corner tents. Later, these concepts and usages translated over into the corner buildings of the Temple, with a gate opening up to the courts.

In Part 37, we will pick up with more from the book “Vayikra” on the miluim (consecration offerings).

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Tanak Foundations-Concepts in Exodus-Part 35

Now we are going to discuss the consecration of a priest from Exo 29. It begins with the Lord saying, “This is the word (davar) you shall do to them” and goes on to give what is needed for this ceremony in verses 1-9. They will need one young bull, two rams with unleavened bread (lechem matzot), unleavened cakes (challot matzot), oil, unleavened wafers (mishuchim matzot) with oil, made with wheat flour (solet). These are placed in one basket and was presented with the bull and the two rams.

Then Aaron and his sons were brought to the doorway of the tent of meeting (Ohel Moed) and immersed in water. Then Aaron was clothed with the high priestly garments, and anointing oil was poured on his head and anointed. Then his sons were clothed in their priestly garments. So, let’s develop this.

The Mishkan had two rooms, one was called the Ha Kodesh (Holy Place) and the other was called the Kodesh Ha Kodeshim (Holy of Holies). Another name for this room was the “Devir” (1 Kings 6.16, 20, 21) which means “word.” It is because that is where the Lord would speak, between the wings of the Cheruvim on the Ark (Exo 25.22). The Ha Kodesh is the Ohel Moed. The expression “to bring near” to the doorway of the tent of meeting means the entry gate to the inner courts, the main door where the common people could enter.

We are told that on the southeast corner the Kior was placed, outside of the court area, in a tent. Josephus mentions it and we can assume there were other tents on the other corners where they cooked the most holy (korbanot (kodshai kodeshim). They could not cook these meats in the courtyard, so there had to be an area to do this. The Kior was also in a tent on the southeastern corner because the priests had to wash themselves before entering the courts. They also had to get dressed there.

Remember, these would have had gates opening to the inner courts. Now, we know that if a gate opened up to the inner courts in a building (tent), the tent had the kedusha of the inner court. In the Temple building, the Nicanor Gate is where they would have stood to be near the Ohel Moed. The Sanhedrin met in the chamber called “Beit Avtinas” and it opened up to the inner courts so they were “before the tent of meeting” or Ohel Moed (before the Lord). That building had the kedusha of the courts. This is why it is so important to know the words that are being communicated in the Scriptures. The words are going to define what is trying to be said.

In Exo 29.1, we mentioned that in Hebrew “the thing” (KJV) is the word “ha davar.” It is a very powerful word. It alludes to John 1.1 where it says, “In the beginning was the Word.” It has the definite article “the” before it meaning the Davar was the expression of God, or in other words, Yeshua had to be as divine as the Father, the exact expression (John 1.18) and in the “bosom” of the Father. Yeshua is the personification of the Davar (like words are the “logos” of thought). He is introducing to the readers of John someone whom he first names in verse 17 by using Divine conceptual pictures and paints an incredible picture of Yeshua by introducing titles and concepts from the Torah, including our verse in Exo 29.1. Notice that “davar” is used there in conjunction with the introduction and consecration of a priest! The priests are getting ready for spiritual warfare. Num 4.3 says, “From thirty years and upward, even to fifty years old, all who enter the service (Hebrew “Tza’va” meaning warfare-4.23, 4.30) to do the work (melakah) in the tent of meeting (Ohel Moed).”

Exo 29.10 says the bull is going to be brought to the doorway before the tent of meeting and they will do “semicha” or the laying on of hands. Now, the semicha, or laying on of hands, is not what is practiced today in some areas of Christianity. It is not a magical gesture establishing contact between man and God, or to symbolically imply that the bull was a substitute for Aaron and his sons. Instead, it is a solemn attestation that the bull has come from Aaron and his sons who are performing the semicha on the animal’s head.

In Exo 29.11-14 the bull is slaughtered and some of the blood was put on the horns of the altar with the finger. Then the rest of the blood was poured out at the base (yesod) of the altar. The flesh of the bull, its hide, shall be burned outside the camp because it is a sin offering (Korban Chata’at). We want to make sure that we know that this first offering was a sin offering. Nobody was going to eat the bull. The fat (chelev) and the inner organs will be burned on the altar. Everything that is left will be taken outside of the camp.

Now, what do we know about that? North of the altar and the camp is where they would have gone, outside of the place where anyone has camped. It is the most holy of the kornanot. It is slaughtered north of the altar (Lev 1.1-12). When one came to Jerusalem, there was a place called the “Beit Seraph” meaning “House of Burning.” It is also called the “Beit Ha Deshen” or “House of Ashes.” Why is this important? Everything in Scripture means something. If the Lord gives us a detail it is for a reason. We may not know why a detail is important at first,but it is important because he put it there and eventually we will know why.

In the Scriptures we are going to have the House of Burning mentioned many times. Most people are totally unaware of it. In the Mishnah, it is mentioned hundreds of times. In the Talmud, even more times. We have something mentioned over and over again, and most people are unaware of it. So, when we think about it, we have to ask questions. Is it possible that this is an important concept?

Exo 29.15-35 tells us about the rest of the ceremony. The blood of the bull is put on the horns of the altar with his finger, and the remaining blood poured out at the base of the altar, as we have mentioned. Now, who is doing all this? It can’t be Aaron or his sons, they are the ones being consecrated. It is Moses doing all this. It will be the only time he was allowed to perform this function because from now on, Aaron and his sons will be doing the offerings.

We also know that the blood is put all around the altar, but how was this done. It will be put on all four sides of the altar. Moses took the blood which was in a vessel and he hits the corner of the altar, hitting two sides at once. Then he goes to the opposite side and does it there, hitting the two other sides. The first ram is cut into its pieces (called “rightly dividing”), and washes the entrails and the legs, and puts it with its pieces, with the head. The entire ram is then offered up on the altar as a Korban Olah (burnt offering) and it is treated differently than the bull (only the innards were burnt). So, so far, we have had a Korban Chata’at and a Korban Olah.

Now the other ram is brought, and Aaron and his sons lay their hands on its head (semicha). The ram is slaughtered, and some of its blood is put on the right ear, the right thumb and the right big toe. The rest of the blood is put on the four sides of the altar like we described before, hitting the four corners. Remember, the priests are standing at the doorway (entrance) to the Mishkan. each priest will stick his head, hand and foot inside the door, facing the Mishkan, but not entering the court. This ceremony is similar to the cleansing of a Metzora (leper) in Lev 14. SO, what is being communicated here?

The right side is the side of strength. The ear symbolizes what we hear coming into our head, and it is going to be blessed of God. We should be governed by what we hear from God. That is why the Shema (“hear”) is so important and said daily in prayer. Hearing is one thing, but doing is another. That is where the right thumb comes into focus. What are we putting our hand to? It should be directed by the Lord. Where we go and what we participate in is where the right big toe comes into play. Where are we walking, and what are we walking in? All that we hear, do and walk should be in line with the Word (Davar) of God.

Then some of the blood and the anointing oil is sprinkled on the garments of Aaron and his sons. As a result, the garments are consecrated and have a kedusha. Then the fat of the ram and the fat tail, and the fat that covers the entrails, the fat that covers the lobe of the liver and the two kidneys, plus the right thigh are put in the hands of Aaron and his sons.

So, we have the bull as a Korban Chata’at, the first ram as a Korban Olah, and the second ram is called the Korban Miluim, or “consecration offering.” Then , one cake of bread (lechemL, one cake of bread mixed with oil, and one wafer (rekik) from the basket of unleavened bread (matzah) is also put into the hands of Aaron and his sons, and it is waved (tenufah) before the Lord. All of this will be together. After it is waved, it is taken from his palms, and offered up on the altar of burnt offering, an offering by fire.

The waving (tenufa) is done by waving three times toward the Holy of Holies, three times to the north, three times to the south, three times to heaven and three times to the earth. The breast of the Korban Miluim (second ram) is waved before the Lord in like manner, along with the right thigh. These portions will belong to Aaron and his sons. So, when someone brings an offering, unless it is an Olah, the breast and the right thigh belong to the priests.

The garments of sanctity (beged kodesh) shall be for distinction, that in them they may be consecrated and anointed. For seven days in a row the priests will put these garments on when they enter the Ohel Moed to minister. The ram of consecration is boiled in a place with a kedusha. They will eat the flesh of the ram and the bread that is in the basket at the doorway of the Mishkan. A layman cannot eat them because of kedusha. It is set aside for the priests. If any of the flesh or bread is left over in the morning, they are burned with fire because of kedusha. Each of the seven days a bull is brought for a Korban Chata’at and the altar is purified. Whoever touches the altar will have a kedusha already (Hag 2.11; Matt 23.19; 1 Tim 4.1-4).

In Part 36, we will pick up here and talk about the consecration of the altar in Exo 29.36-46.

Posted in All Teachings, Articles, Idioms, Phrases and Concepts, Prophecy/Eschatology, The Feasts of the Lord, The Tanach, Understanding the New Testament

Tanak Foundations-Concepts in Exodus-Part 34

We learn that the priests have their garments when they come on duty on the Sabbath. The Mishmar (course) that is coming off duty will do the morning service and the oncoming Mishmar will do the afternoon service. The oncoming Mishmar must appear before the Sanhedrin first, however, before they can enter the service. The Sanhedrin will question each one to see if there were any ritual impurities among them. This was done person by person.

If everyone is ritually pure, a special feast was held. Then, they select the priests that will be serving on the first day (they will all serve for one week-Sabbath to Sabbath-2 Kings 11.7) Minchah (afternoon) service. There will be thirteen priests that will do this, and they go in and an attendant (a Levite) will help them get dressed in their priestly garments. They have their lockers and their garments. They start with thirteen at first, but eventually all the priests will need to be dressed, hundreds at one time. The garments would then be replaced as they were taken. These lockers would be in the chamber called Beit Avtinas, next to the Kior (laver), at the southeastern corner of the Azarah.

In the Mishkan, we always see the usual layout. The problem is, it won’t work. Josephus mentions a gate in the southeast corner of the Mishkan. So, if you look at a typical layout of the Mishkan, this gate would be at the southeast corner. Josephus says that the Kior was in this gate, and that is where it was placed in the Temple. So, there had to be a tent that was next to the Mishkan where they stored all the priestly garments, and they had to wash in the laver and have their garments on before they entered the courtyard. It is possible that they had tents in all four corners of the Mishkan, just like the four corner buildings in the Temple.

The high priest would have his garments in his chambers, which was called by three names. It is called Ha Etz (chamber of wood), Lishkat Palhedrin and Lishkat Parhedrin. This is also in Beit Avtinas at the southeast corner. When a priest was not on duty, they could wear their garments, except for the sash because it was wool and linen. They will stand in the Ezrat Kohanim.

Now, why can’t he wear the sash? Because there is a Torah command that says they were not to mix wool and linen. The only reason a priest can wear the sash when he is serving is because his priestly duty supersedes that command. He is in a different environment in the Temple and he is a picture of a glorified believer. The high priest wears garments of wool and linen because he is a picture of the perfect man. But, when he is not on duty, he cannot wear those particular items.

Whenever the Torah uses the word “Shesh” it is referring to flax (linen). Whenever the word “Techelet” is used it refers to wool, which is dyed sky blue. The term “Argamon” (purple) comes from the same murex shell from the creature called a “halozon.” It is wool dyed purple. Tolat Shanni (scarlet) is wool dyed with an insect called the “Tola” and it secretes a scarlet or crimson fluid. Whenever the Torah uses “Shesh” or “spun” it is necessary the strand be six-fold. Shesh, argamon, techelet and tolat shanni are six-ply threads, and six times four equals twenty-four.

When the Torah uses the term “a work of embroidery” it means that a design is woven into the fabric and can be seen on one side of the fabric. When it uses the term “a work of a craftsman” the intent is the design will be seen on both sides of the fabric (front and back).

The tunic of the priest was made with a box-like net. It had squares. The sleeves were sown on the tunic and made separately. The length of the tunic went to slightly above the heel (he is barefoot). The sleeve went to the wrist. The leggings extend from the loins to the thighs (knees). They had strands (suspenders) and they did not have an opening for the private parts. That means, every time a priest had to use the restroom they must take all these garments off, and the sash and the turban was very long. You had to be assisted and aware that these items had a kedusha. The turban was 25 feet long and the sash was three finger breadths. How much organization does it take to dress two thousand priests? How much room do you need? The sash was 51 feet long, twice as long as the turban. The priest would wrap it around himself, widening it slightly.

The Tzitz of the high priest (forehead plate) was two finger breadths wide and it extended over the forehead of the high priest, from one ear to the other. On it was written “Kodesh YHVH” written in Hebrew. It is said that “YHVH” was written, and below that “Kodesh” was written. At times they were written on one line, and it has been settled that it will be written on one line now. The letters projected outwards. A craftsman would engrave the letters on the back of the plate. It had holes on the two ends, and a techelet strand ran from hole to hole, and it tied at the back of the neck. What is interesting about all of this is that age old questions are being answered as they make these items and prepare for the coming Temple. What is controversial in the Mishnah or Mishneh Torah has now been settled in many areas, such as the color of argamon (purple) and how was Kodesh YHVH written on the tzitz.

The blue cloak (Me’il) was techelt wool, and its strands were twelve-fold (each thread) and it was like a “poncho.” It was joined at the throat. You couild not tear the opening or you would receive lashes (Exo 28.32). This applied to all priestly garments. We know that Caiaphas tore his garments, but he was in street clothes because he was not in the Temple courts (Matt 26.65).

Techelet, argamon and tolat shanni are spun eight-fold (8 x 3 = 24). They made pomegranates for the hem of this garment. They are made into shapes whose mouth are not open, and hung. He brings 72 cups and 72 clappers made of gold. From the cups and the clappers were hung were a series of bells and pomegranates suspended on the hem, 72 bells and 72 pomegranates.

The gold woven into the ephod and the breastplate is mentioned in the Torah. A strand of pure gold was taken and placed with six strands, making seven strands, for total of twenty-eight strands (7 x 4 = 28). The breastplate was woven from gold, techelet, argamon, shesh and tolat shanni. The only garment with gold in them was the ephod and breastplate of the high priest. The breastplate was 19.2 inches long and 9.6 inches wide, folded in two. This made it 9.6 inches square. Four rows of stones were fixed to it, square and set in gold. On these square stones were written the names of the twelve tribes, in their birth order.

Four gold rings were made for the four corners of the breastplate. The two upper rings held the breastplate and two cords were placed. In the two lower rings, two cords of techelet are placed. You will notice that these things are “cornered” alluding to the regathering of the exiles from the four corners of the earth.

The ephod is the width of the person’s back from shoulder to shoulder. Its length was from the elbow to his feet.. Two bands extended from it and fastened, called the “belt of the ephod.” The entire garment was woven with gold, techelet, argamon, tolat shanni and shesh, making 28 strands. Two shoulder straps will extend to the shoulder of the high priest. On each shoulder there was a square sardonyx (black) stone, set in gold. The names of the tribes were engraved, six names on one stone and six on the other, according to their birth order.

Joseph’s name was written with the Hebrew letters “yod, heh, vav, samech and a closing “peh” (“f” sound). This will give 25 letters on one stone and 25 on the other. This speaks of balance. The stone with Reuben’s name was placed on the right shoulder, and the stone with Shimon’s name was on the left shoulder, then Levi on the right, Judah on the left and on down. Isa 9.6 alludes to this. Two rings were on each shoulder, one above the shoulder and one below the shoulder above the belt. Two gold cords were placed in the two upper rings. He places the end of the cords of the breastplate in the upper rings that are on the shoulders of the ephod, and he he placed two cords of techelet on the hem of the breastplate into the rings that are above the belt of the ephod.

The gold cords that are in the rings on the shoulders of the ephod should descend until the reach the upper rings of the breastplate so that they will be joined to each other and not separate. When he wears the ephod together with the breastplate, the breastplate will be flat over his heart. The belt of the ephod is tied over his heart below the breastplate. The two shoulders of the ephod lie on his two shoulders. The two cords of gold extend down from his shoulders on either side from the shoulders of the ephod to the rings of the breastplate. The two strands of techelet are tied below his elbows from the two lower rings of the breastplate from the two lower rings of the breastplate of the two lower rings of the shoulders of the ephod which are above the belt.

What is the order for putting on these garments? He puts on the leggings first, tying them above his navel, then the sash at elbow height. He would wind it fold after fold until it ends, and then tied. The sash and where it can be placed is according to tradition (Ezek 44.18) and it is not to be in a place where one perspires (arm pit) but over the heart. Afterwards he would arrange the headpiece as a hat. There was a Levite to help him dress. The high priest puts on the leggings, sash, the cloak and then the ephod and breastplate. The belt of the ephod over the cloak, below the breastplate. The cloak was called the “cloak of the ephod.” Then he winds the headgear like a turban. He ties the head plate behind his head above the turban.

Now, all of this takes time and it takes help from others. You didn’t just put on a 52 foot sash by yourself. We know that you also needed room to do this. The priests would get up very early and take an underground stairway through a tunnel to go to a mikvah for an immersion (tevilah). There were toilets there and it had locks so you could have some privacy (like stalls). Once you get into these garments, which takes time, you had to take them off to use the toilet. So, you would need a Levite to help you take them off. You could not wear them outside of the area with a certain kedusha (Ezek 44.19). When the priest was done, he had to have a Levite help him get dressed again. What we are talking about is time, a lot of space, and organization.

If the high priest or any priest served with less garments on than what he was required to wear, his service was invalid and he was liable to the death penalty at the hands of God. A non-priest who drew near to the service of the Mikdash shall die. This applied to one who wore extra garments also. That means the story about the high priest who wore a rope into the Holy of Holies is false and spread by people who don’t know what they are talking about, and that story is still out there.

Nothing should intervene between his flesh and the garments. If it did, his service is declared invalid. This holds true for immersions, which were done in the nude. Nothing should come between the water and the flesh (no jewelry, rings) and the hair was loosed.

The Urim and Thummim was not used in the Second Temple because the Ruach was not vested there, and there was no Ark of the Covenant. Whenever a priest does not speak with the Ruach Ha Kodesh (Holy Spirit), and the Shk’inah does not rest there, inquiry was not made. Inquiry should not be made by an ordinary person when the Urim and Thummim was used. It is said that only a king, the court, or one who the community at large requires can inquire. This is derived from Num 27.21, “Before Eleazar the priest shall he stand…(he and all the children of Israel with him, and the entire congregation).” the “he” there refers to the king, “all the children of Israel” is the priest anointed for war, or someone whom the people need to make inquiry for them; and “all the congregation” refers to the court.

When inquiry was made, the high priest would face the Ark. The inquirer would ask “Should I go up to war or not?” He would ask in a low voice (not loud), like someone praying. The Ruach Ha Kodesh would come upon the high priest and he would get the answer through the Urim and Thummim. Then the high priest would give the answer. Two questions were not asked at one time If they were asked, one replies only to the first question. Of course, this was how this procedure was perceived to have happened.

In Part 35, we will pick up here with the consecration of the priest and the altar from Exo 29.1-46.

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Tanak Foundations-Concepts in Exodus-Part 33

The tzitz is on the forehead of the high priest, so he shall “bear (“nasa” meaning “to lift, forgive”) the iniquity” of the holy things which the sons of Israel consecrated in regard to all the holy gifts and it shall always be on his forehead (when he officiates). This is so that they may be accepted before the Lord. In other words, he “lifts their loads” and cares for these things. It was his responsibility to make sure they were ritually acceptable.

In the “The Pentateuch and Haftorahs” by Rabbi Joseph Hertz, on p. 343, it says about Exo 28.38, “Aaron shall bear….The meaning is probably this: What is presented to God must be without blemish, and the mode of presentation must be in agreement with the prescribed rites. Should there, however, be any imperfection in the sacrifice, or any error in the manner of offering, the High Priest assumes responsibility. He is the custodian of the Sanctuary; and, by virtue of his sacred office, exemplified by the gold plate on his forehead, he can secure Divine acceptance of the offerings brought to the altar of God.” They were also to make a tunic (Bitonet) of linen, with a sash (avnet), the work of a weaver (ma’aseh rokem). It was wool and of a bright color.

Exo 28.40-43 tells us about the priestly garments. They made tunics, sashes, headgear and linen breeches. These four articles of clothing was worn by all the priests, even the high priest. Again, from the book “The Tabernacle of Israel” by James Strong (writer of Strong’s Concordance), on p. 97-100, these garments are described, and we quote, “For all priests, however , a peculiar costume of “uniform” was imperatively ordered, while they were officially serving at the Sanctuary, although, of course, on other occasions and elsewhere they wore the ordinary dress of plain citizens. It is described in Exo 28.40-43 and 29.8-9, as consisting substantially of four articles, in which we may easily recognize the most essential of the above Oriental elements of apparel, with one additional note. This appears to be all that the ordinary priests were to wear, while the High Priest was to have the same with certain peculiarities and additions. In the case of common priests it served as a distinction from laical apparel and also from the Levitical, by being of a more ornamental style (A.V. lit. “for glory and for beauty,” the latter word being the same which we have above translated “ornament,” but here enhanced by a stronger term prefixed as an adjective, i.e., “an honorary ornament” or official badge).”

“THE DRAWERS OR TROUSERS…First was a pair of linen drawers worn for the sake of decency (as is expressly stated). These, we understand, were not in the Occidental form of trousers, but the outer covering for a modern Oriental dragoman or other elegant person, consisting merely of a single piece of linen cloth, but thin and of natural color. In the case of ordinary priests, they were about a yard wide and two yards long, doubled transversely into a square bag, stitched together at one side and at the bottom. With the selvedge top open so as to be drawn together by a cord around the waist, and a hole left in each bottom corner for the legs, they could be gathered by a similar cord at the upper part of the calf like a garter. It is loose and cool, and though somewhat clumsy (as the width hangs in folds between the legs, and stretches out in walking), yet not ungraceful, presenting a decent medium between frock skirts and pantaloons. Common people, who otherwise go entirely naked while at work in the open fields, especially in the sultry climate of Egypt, wear, in lieu of this, a simple loin cloth.”

“THE TUNIC…Next came the tunic either of unbleached linen of of wool, according to weather (plain for the ordinary priest), not long, for it was no doubt tucked into the drawers, like a shirt, and with sleeves, although none are alluded to in the Scriptures, and the statements of Josephus and the Rabbins are too late for this period, being evidently the common Oriental undress of the present day as above.”

“THE SASH…At the middle, where theses two articles met, and covering their union, was the sash consisting of a broad band of woolen cloth usually of bright color. In the case of an ordinary priest, to be different it is most likely at least two yards long, wound in the a girdle about the waist, and tied together in front, the ends hanging down like tassels. The high priest’s sash was quite different.”

“THE CAP…Surmounting the figure, and completing the sacerdotal apparel, was the cap (the material again not prescribed), for which a different term is employed respecting ordinary priests from that used in the case of the high priest. In the absence of all distinctive details, we are left to the mere etymological force of the word, aided some what by the customs of ancient and modern Orientals. There fore, we hazard the conjecture that the common priestly head covering was simply a skull cap, which is now worn by Syrian Mohammedans night and day (being frequently changed, of course), as they generally shave the head. The Hebrews, however, appear to have kept their full hair, and to have dispensed any headdress in ordinary avocations. We presume, however, that when greatly exposed out of doors, they wore something corresponding to the Beduin kefiyeh for men, and the veil for women. Both of these are nothing but a square piece of cloth cast over the head and hanging down over the shoulders, the men usually fancy gay colors, and holding theirs on by a cord around the head. If we are correct, the priestly cap was made to fit the head, and of this we shall find some confirmation when we come to consider the high priest headdress.”

There are three types of priestly garments. We have the garments of the High Priest called the Golden Garments. Then we have the garments of the ordinary priest (trousers, tunic, sash and cap), and then we have the white garments of the high priest. The sash alone was made of embroidered with techelet (blue wool), argamon (purple wool), tolat shanni (scarlet wool) and shesh linen.

So, we have a mixture of wool and linen which is prohibited by the Torah. We will talk about that later. The High Priest had four garments of the ordinary priest, plus four golden garments (blue tunic, ephod, breastplate and the headpiece of gold). The turban was the same as an ordinary priest, with the difference of the the high priest turban was more “coiled” than that of the ordinary priest according to Strong. Maimonides says they were the same in the Mishneh Torah (Repetition of the Torah) which he wrote expounding on the Torah.

The sash of the High Priest when he goes into the Holy of Holies is not wool and linen, but only linen. He also had two other tunics for Yom Kippur, one was worn in the morning and the other in the evening. When the leggings and sashes of the priests became soiled, they were used as wicks for the Menorah and the four lights at Sukkot. New ones were used from that point.

When the garments of the High Priest were soiled, they were buried. The white garment of the high priest on Yom Kippur were not worn again. They were buried where he took them off (Lev 16.23). He could not “benefit” from them. This called “meilah” which means “deriving benefit from something consecrated to the Temple.” The worn out or soiled leggings of ordinary priests were used as wicks for the lights at Sukkot, and the sashes were used as wicks for the Menorah. They could make an unbelievable amount of garments for the priests.

There will be 96 lockers in the Temple to place the priestly clothes. Four lockers for each course (Mishmar) with the name of the course on the lockers. These four lockers were for the four sets of garments they were to wear. In Tamid 1.1 of the Mishnah it says, “The priests kept watch at three places in the Temple: at the Chamber of Avtinas, at the Chamber of the Flame, and at the Chamber of the Hearth. The Chamber of Avtinas and the Chamber of the Flame were on the upper story and there the young men (from the priests) kept watch. The Chamber of the Hearth was vaulted; it was a large chamber and around it ran a raised stone pavement; and there the eldest of the father;s house used to sleep with the keys to the Temple Court in their hand. The young priests had each his mattress on the ground. They did not sleep in the sacred garments but stripped them off, folded them up and put them under their heads and dressed themselves in their own clothes. If one of them suffered a pollution he would go out and go along the passage that leads below the Temple building, where lamps were burning here and there, until he reached the Chamber of Immersion. There was a fire there and a privy, and this was its seemly use: if he found it locked he knew that someone was there; if open he knew that no one was there. He went down and immersed himself, came up and dried himself, and warmed himself before the fire. He returned and lay down beside his brethren the priests until the gates were opened, when he went out and left the Temple.” The priests would take their priestly garments off, place them under other clothing, and then use them as pillows when they slept.

In Part 34 we will pick up here.

Posted in All Teachings, Articles, Idioms, Phrases and Concepts, Prophecy/Eschatology, The Feasts of the Lord, The Tanach, Understanding the New Testament

Tanak Foundations-Concepts in Exodus-Part 32

Hos 3.4-5 says, “The sons of Israel will remain for many days without king or prince, without sacrifice or pillar and without ephod (with the Urim and Thummim) or household idols. Afterward, the sons of Israel will return and seek the Lord their God and David their king (Messiah) and they will come trembling to the Lord and do his goodness in the last days.” So, for many days, they will be without these things, like the ephod with the Urim and Thummim. All of the things mentioned above were means of knowing future things, either lawful or unlawful (Psa 74.9; Matt 16.3). But, in the last days they will seek true knowledge and worship and the service of the Lord.

Neh 7.65 says that when the people came back from captivity, there were those who said they were priests but couldn’t prove it. They could not eat from the kodshai kodashim (most holy things) until a priest arose with the Urim and Thummim. Num 27.15-21 says that Joshua would be the successor to Moses. He will inquire of the high priest with the Urim and Thummim and he shall tell Joshua what to do.

This is what the rabbis have never had since the Babylonian Captivity in order to judge cases, like they did before (Deut 17.9). Who says the rabbis are the judges today anyway? Deut 17 was written in the context that gives a hierarchy with a person at the top getting a direct answer from the Lord. If a person does not listen to that ruling, he is put to death. This is not the system the rabbis have invented. In fact, we have gone over the story of the Kosher Stove. That story teaches that the rabbis don’t need to listen to heaven (Bava Meztia 59b of the Talmud).

The robe was all techelet (blue) and wool, reaching down to about the knee. The bottom fringe had bells of gold and artificial pomegranates (alternating) made from techelt (blue), argamon (purple) and tolat shanni (scarlet). The pomegranate is a picture of the Messiah and it symbolized kingship and protection. For more information on the pomegranate, see the article “The Pomegranate and the Star of David” in our Temple 101 series on this site. The bells were there to draw attention to the pomegranates, and the pomegranate was red in color with many seeds inside (Gen 3.15).

The high priest did not wear this robe on Yom Kippur into the Holy of Holies. The Temple of Solomon was full of pomegranates (1 Kings 7.18). 1 Kings 7.42 says there were 400 pomegranates and we know that the Temple was seen as the Garden of Eden, it had a kedusha. Jewish coins had pomegranates on them. Archaeologists have found pomegranates on top of a staff with God’s name (YHVH) on it. It is believed that this staff was for the king or the high priest. The Menorah had pomegranates on it, and on Shavuot one of the Sheva Minim (seven species) was a pomegranate (Deut 8.8; 2 Chr 31.4-7).

We mentioned before that the pomegranate was a symbol of protection. The numerical value (gematria) of “tzitzit” is 613, which is the number of the commandments. a pomegranate was many seeds inside. Jewish tradition says there are 613, and these are the precepts of the Torah of God. There are 248 positive commands and 365 negative commands. Of course they know this is just a teaching, but it is said to illustrate the importance of the pomegranate.

Now, the word “magen” means “shield” (Psa 84.9; Prov 30.5-6; Isa 21.5). Psa 91 has every letter of the Hebrew alphabet in it except “zayin” which means “weapon.” Psa 91.4 has the word “pinion” which has the numerical value of 613, and a pinion resembles and arm. A “wing” in Hebrew is “kanaf” and that is where the tzitzit hang on a four cornered garment. These symbolize the commandments, and his truth is a “shield” (Psa 91.4). A six petaled pomegranate will form a “Magen David” (shield of David) if you fold the petals back. We have done this in a store, try it some time. In other words, all of this is not a new concept. Six petaled pomegranates have been found in a synagogue on Capernaum.

We also mentioned that a pomegranate symbolized kingship. The Kingdom of God is God’s rule in our life, and eventually in the world. The sceptor (kingship) will not depart from Judah (Gen 49.10). Num 24.17 says, “A star will come out of Jacob, and a sceptor shall rise from Israel.” Rev 22.16 says that Yeshua is the “offspring of David, the bright and morning star.” This verse is a direct allusion back to Gen 49.10 and Num 24.17. The Chachmim (wisemen) followed the “star” and this is because it was linked to the Messiah and prophecy (Matt 2.1-11).

So, the pomegranate had a lot of meaning in Hebrew thought and it was linked to protection and kingship, the commandments and the Messiah. One of the golden bells of the high priest may have been found in the City of David they believe. For more information on this, go to “City of David. Org.” The bells could be heard as the high priest ministered and moved about, but he did not wear the bells into the Holy of Holies as we have said (Exo 28.35). There is a myth that we have heard (and you can still find on the Internet) for over thirty years that says a rope was tied around the waist of the high priest as he ministered in the Holy of Holies so they could pull him out of there if he died if they could not hear the bells. However, this is not true for the following reasons. The high priest did not wear the golden vestments into the Holy of Holies, which had the bells. There were two veils that separated the Holy of Holies and the Holy Place. These were very thick (four inches thick) and large (60 feet long, 30 feet wide, 300 priests were needed to manipulate it) and it would have been impossible to pull him out anyway because of the way the veils were configured.

The golden Plate was made of pure gold and it had the name of God written on it in the phrase “Holy to YHVH.” This crown was called the “Tzitz” (“to see”). Quoting from “The Tabernacle of Israel” by James Strong, p. 101-102, it states, “A noble addition to this pontifical headgear was a gold tablet tied with a violet string, doubtless by passing ti through a hole at each end around the head, displaying on the front the engraved motto, in the old Hebrew characters, ‘Sanctity to Jehovah,’ i.e., consecrated to his exclusive service. As the early Jewish writers are not agreed upon the width of this golden plate, nor whether the inscription was in one line or two, we have consulted the properties of the case, and the good taste of the majority of archaeologists, in the matter. Josephus states that the pontifical frontlet made by Solomon was in existence in his own day. In that case it was probably among the spoils of Jerusalem exhibited at the triumph of Titus, and finally deposited in the temple of Peace at Rome. Origen, however, asserts that it was the original one of Aaron, and that it remained till his time. Also it was inscribed with Samaritan characters by which, of course, he means antique Hebrew.”

The name of God was on his forehead, the seat of the intellect and it shows the headship of God (Exo 28.38). It is the outward expression or action of his acceptance of God and the Torah. Exo 13.8-16 tells us that the keeping of Hag Ha Matzah (Unleavened Bread) shall serve as a sign to you on your hand (action) and as a reminder on your forehead (intellect) that the Torah may be in their mouth (profession). They were to bear a clear testimony. This gives us insight into the usage of these same terms when talking about what the “mark of the Beast” is in Rev 13.16. The followers of the False Messiah will be bearing a clear testimony by their actions (hand) and thinking (forehead) that they reject the Lord and his Torah. This is how one can be a “marked” person (Ezek 9.1-8). This can be seen even today with people who reject God. They disregard the Sabbath, eat food that God has forbidden, teach and believe that the Torah does not apply to them. You know them by their actions and what they teach.

The “tzitz” goes on the front of the turban (miznefet) of the high priest. It literally means “to see.” Later, when we finish with these garments, we will go into more detail in the Jewish writings on them. The word “tzitzit” is a related word and it also means “to see.” This is very interesting when we talk about the tzitzit because it is worn in order to “see” them and remember the Torah. Now, here is a concept that is not generally taught. The tzitzit are for our own benefit, not necessarily for others to see. If the tzitzit are seen by others, that doesn’t necessarily benefit the person seeing them. The one wearing the tzitzit is the one who benefits.

We have a difference between western thought and eastern thought. To “see” in western thought means to visualize it, it is right in front of our eyes. But in Hebrew thought, it doesn’t always mean that. It means to be “aware of” in many cases. Sometimes it does mean to literally see. Many Orthodox Jews wear their tzitzit on the inside of their clothing, but they are aware of them (Num 15.39). They are not for someone else to see. The tzitz worn by the high priest was not for the high priest to see, it was far out of his range of vision. It was for the Lord to see. The golden vestments are going to represent royalty. The high priest represents Adam before he sinned. Adam had a kedusha and he was made in the image of God. When Adam sinned, he lost that kedusha. But now, in the golden plate called the “tzitz” it says that he has a kedusha (“Kodesh to YHVH”) and it shows that the high priest has a kedusha like Adam did in the Garden of Eden

In Part 33 we will pick up on this and more.

Posted in All Teachings, Articles, Idioms, Phrases and Concepts, Prophecy/Eschatology, The Feasts of the Lord, The Tanach, Understanding the New Testament

Tanak Foundations-Concepts in Exodus-Part 31

The Breastplate of Judgment is called the Choshen Mishpat. It is square (four corners) and it is 9.6 inches square. When unfolded it is rectangular. When the high priest wears it, it is square because it is folded, making a small pouch. It will be 9.6 inches and it had four rows of stones set in it. So, let’s look at these stones and what they symbolize.

The first stone is “Odem” and a ruby, and it stands for the tribe of Reuben and is red. The second stone is “Pitdah” is an emerald and it stands for the tribe of Shimon, and is green. The third stone is “Bareket” and is for Levi. It is a topaz and is red, white and black striped. The fourth stone is “Nophek” and it is for Judah. It is a carbunkle and is bluish green. The fifth stone is called “Sapir” and it is for Issachar. It is a sapphire and is blue. The sixth stone is called “Yahalom” for Zebulon. It is a quartz crystal and clear. The seventh stone is “Leshem” for Dan. It is a jacinth and the color blue. The eighth stone is “Shevo” for Naphtali. It is an amethyst and purple in color. The ninth stone is “Achlamah” for Gad, and is an agate that is grey in color. The tenth stone is “Tarshish” for Asher, and is a aquamarine, blue and green in color. The eleventh stone is “Shoham” for Joseph, which is an onyx, black in color. The twelfth stone is “Yashfeh” for Benjamin, which is an opal, which possessed all colors.

The Temple Institute went to great trouble to research theses stones when making the garments of the high priest, including this breastplate. They said that there is no way they can be definite about all of these because there are 30 or more opinions. The color of each stone is certain and the color matched the background of the flags of each tribe. The stones were arranged three across, and four down. These were also for remembrance (Exo 28.29).

There are two main opinions of how they were arranged. One by Yonaton Ben Uzziel that had it “Reuben-Simeon-Levi”, then “Judah-Dan-Naphtali”, then “Gad-Asher-Issachar”, then “Zebulon-Joseph-Benjamin.” Another Aramaic translation called the Targum Jerushalmi” places the order according to the matriarchs, “Reuben-Simeon-Levi”, then “Judah-Issachar-Zebulon”, then “Dan-Naphtali-Gad”, then “Asher-Joseph-Benjamin.” Both views are held in high esteem, but there are many more views. You can see the actual stones on the internet at the Temple Institute site, and there are others.

There were chains of twisted cord work for the breastplate that were all gold (all God). There were two rings of gold and they were on the two ends of the breastplate (two is the number of witness). These rings were in each corner, the two at the top were joined to the ephod by the twisted chains attached to the shoulder. The two bottom ones were attached by a cord to rings at the point where the straps branch off. This kept the breastplate extended and closed at the middle of the breast (the seat of affection). This breastplate was called the “Breastplate of Judgment” because it contained the Urim v’ Thummim.

There is a good book on the Mishkan called “The Tabernacle of Israel” by James Strong. He is the one who compiled Strong’s Concordance. In this book, Strong has a good and balanced description of the Urim v’ Thummim on page 110-112, which we would like to submit for you to read.

“The Urim and Thummim”
“Finally, the sacred pocket thus suspended over the very heart of the high priest, where it would be inviolably safe, and at the same time accessible at a moment’s notice, was designed, in a manner analogous (as we shall presently see fore fully) to the inmost Ark of the Sanctuary, as a place of deposit for the most priceless blessing of God to his fallen, erring children, a mode of ascertaining his will. The physical instrument of this form of divine communication was the famous Urim and Thummim, Hebrew terms that have greatly vexed the learning and ingenuity of interpreters, with less satisfactory results, perhaps, than any other part of the whole Tabernacle apparatus. The following is a condensed summary of all the positive information that philology and the Scriptures afford on this difficult but interesting topic. Neither Josephus not the Rabbins seem to have had access to anything further, while the conjectures of modern writers are mostly worse than worthless.”

“The words ‘Urim and Thummim’ are not proper names. ‘Urim’ is simply the plural of ‘ur’, which is occassionally used in the singular for ‘light’ (as is its congear ‘or’ constantly) in the sense of flame (Isa 31.9, 44.16, 47.14, 50.11; Ezek 5.2; for it is merely the infinitive of the common verb meaning ‘to shine’), and for ‘Ur’, the birthplace of Abraham; while the plural (besides the distinctive use here considered, occurring singly in Num 27.21; 1 Sam 28.6; and elsewhere in the compound phrase, Exo 28.30; Lev 8.8; Deut 33.8; Ezra 2.63; Neh 7.65) is used for the region of lights, i.e., the East (Isa 24.15, A.V. ‘fires’). ‘Thummim’ likewise is only the plural form of ‘tum’, meaning perfection, and usually rendered, in the singular, ‘integrity’ (Gen 20.5-6; 1 Kings 9.4; Psa 7.8, 25.21, 26.1,11; Psa 41.12, 78.72; Prov 19.1, 20.7), ‘uprightness,’ ‘upright,’ or ‘perfection’ (Psa 101.2; Isa 47.9), ‘simplicity’ (2 Sam 15.11), ‘full’ (Job 21.23), ‘at a venture’ (1 Kings 22.34; 2 Chron 18.33), but in the plural only in connection with the Urim. The plural form of both words does not necessarily imply that there were many of each kind of object, nor even that the two were distinct articles; but rather according to a frequent Hebrew idiom, these peculiarities of the phrase express as follows: the plural, emphasis or quantity; and the duplication, attribution or quality. Thus a free translation would be full light as to amount and perfect as to kind, i.e., complete illumination; in modern terminology, a definite oracle, in distinction from the vague and ambiguous intimations from other sources, whether heathen shrines, providential auguries, or even inspired vaticinations, such as had been the only resource of previous ages and other nations.”

“As to the actual applications of this instrumentality for predicting events, we find various significant facts. The object in question was small, light and non-fragile in order to be easily carried in the pouch of the breastplate. It (or its equivalent) was duplicated freely in the pontifical family (1 Sam 22.18), but the acting high priest alone had the prerogative of consulting it (1 Sam 23.2,4,6). The secret of using it was at length lost even to the hierarchy (Ezra 2.63). The questions put by its means were categorical, and the answers were explicit, although not only always a simple affirmative or negative (1 Sam 23.9-12; 2 Sam 5.23-24); and sometimes refused altogether (1 Sam 28.6). All this implies a material apparatus, a public consultation, and a palpable reply, either by visible or audible signs. It excludes all theories of priest craft, fortunetelling, or legerdemain, making the whole a bona fide supernatural indication of what no mortal could of himself discover or predict. Beyond this everything concerning it is uncertain, and the speculations of scholars are scarcely worth recounting.”

“Without entering in detail into the hopeless discussion on this mysterious object, we may safely say, in brief, that these terms designate some means of oracular response, on questions of public importance, by Jehovah through the high priest. The manner in which they are introduced (‘the Urim and the Thummim,’ like ‘the Cherubim,’ on their first mention), yet without any explanation, shows that they were well known already to the Israelites. This adds force to the presumption, confirmed by an inspection of the monuments, that they were originals of which the symbolical images, known to Egyptologists as those of the double goddess of Truth and Justice, and probably also the idolatrous Teraphim of the early Mesopotamians and later Syrians, were the counterfeits. We risk the opinion that this species of augury was by means of an image (probably of clay rudely modeled) representing truth as the essential attribute of the deity. It was worn on the bosom, which is the Oriental pocket, in order to be always at hand. Like the Cherubim, its purely ideal character relieved it of the charge of idolatry. The only clue to its mode of manipulation for obtaining an oracular response is given in 1 Sam 14.19 (for the ephod and not the ark must be there referred to; comp. v. 3, and Keil on the passage), where the expression ‘withdraw’ (literally ‘gather up’) thy hand’ shows that it was held in the open hand during consultation. It does not seem, however, to have been absolutely necessary in the process at all, for on occasions no mention of it whatever is made (1 Sam 23.2-4; 2 Sam 5.19, 23; 21.1). In one instance at least it was impliedly absent, the priestly vestment itself being an ordinary one of simple linen, such as appears to have been worn by the whole lineage of high priests (1 Sam 23.6; comp 22.18). This lends color to the suspicion that the response was not given by any peculiarity of the object in question itself; but was merely divined through some professional skill acquired by the officiator (comp. John 15.11). Finally, inasmuch as in several of the above cases even the priestly intervention is not positively stated, it may be that the king or any other public functionary was qualified to ascertain divine will by this means.”

“However that may be, we find this mode of divination in use among the Hebrews from this time forward, as it appears to have been in the patriarchal days (Gen 25.22-23), down to a late period of the Jewish commonwealth, when it suddenly and silently disappears altogether from history. This was because it was superseded by the clearer and fuller lights and perfections of personally inspired prophets, whose oral deliverances, afterwards compiled by themselves in permanent documents, have survived the vicissitudes of transcription and denationalization, and still guide and cheer the saints on their march to the heavenly home.”

In Part 32 we will pick up here.

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Tanak Foundations-Concepts in Exodus-Part 30

There is a term that we need to look at that is found throughout the Tanak and that term is “Before the Tent of Meeting” (Ohel Moed). Many actions and details will relate to this term and it relates to the Holy Place of the Mishkan, and later the Temple. Now, what constitutes being “before the tent of meeting?” One of the concepts that we need to know is the Torah is going to be about “boundaries” and “declarations.” That is an important concept to remember. In addition, there is going to be a great difference between Hebrew thought and Greek/western thought.

For example, the Sabbath is to be set apart from the rest of the week. There is a boundary, and there is a boundary on what you may or may not do on that day. There is a boundary between what food can be eaten and what cannot be eaten. There are boundaries in the Temple as to where one can go and not go. The Torah commands are boundaries. So, let’s get back to the term “before the tent of meeting” and what this means. The tent of meeting is “ohel (tent) moed (meeting/appointment)” in Hebrew. This term will pass from the Mishkan to the future Temples that followed. The inner courtyard is defined as being “before the ohel moed.” However, some say that if you are “behind” the Mishkan or Temple, it still meets the requirement of being before the ohel moed.

In Exo 27.21 it says that the high priest or his sons can trim the Menorah. The High Priest can do it in any service he chooses. If he isn’t going to do it, a kohen (priest) is designated by lot to do it. There will be one exception to this, only the High Priest will officiate at the Yom Kippur service and he is required to do all of it. He will start all of the rituals, but another priest can finish them as the High Priest moves to do another part of the ritual service. This is called a “chukat olam” (everlasting statute) throughout the generations of the sons of Israel. So what is a “chukat?” Let’s look at some definitions that one must memorize in order to understand what is being communicated in the Scriptures. The word “Torah” means instruction, guidance and teaching. “Mitzvot” means commandments, or good works, that are fulfilled by a specific act. “Chukim” (like the above “chukat”) means statutes that can’t be explained, like the clean and unclean animals, or tevilah (immersion), that are hard to explain but you do them anyway. “Mishpatim” means ordinances and decrees. “Edut” means testimonies, witness and evidences (like prophecy). These terms must be understood.

Exo 28.1-2 begins to talk about the garments of the priests, and we have gone over them in our Temple 101 and 201 series, but we are going to discuss them again with more information. Garments with a kedusha will be made for Aaron, for “glory and for beauty.” So, let’s talk about kedusha. It is defined as the designation or the setting apart of something for the service of God. This done by formal and legal restrictions and limitations. The kedusha of time is marked by limitations an man’s activities concerning work and construction.

The position of high priest has a kedusha or sanctification. No individual in the entire Tanak is ever called “holy.” Aaron is never called holy. However, the office of high priest is called holy because it has a kedusha on it, but not the individual fulfilling that office. The garments and the vessels, once they are consecrated to God, has a kedusha. We have many misconceptions about the concept of “kedusha” (holy). We confuse the word holy with righteous. How many times have we heard that a Bible or a building is holy? That is a misuse of the word. We aren’t trying to put the Bible or a building down, but we need to understand what kedusha means. We need to use biblical terminology with correct meanings. Some will point to 2 Kings 4.9, where it says that a woman perceived that Elisha was a “holy man from God” in the KJV translation. But, in Hebrew it reads, “a man from the holy God” (“ish elohim kadosh”). Also, keep in mind, she would be referring to the office of prophet that Elisha was filling, not Elisha himself. The office of prophet had a kedusha on it, like the high priest, the priests, the king, and others had a kedusha, but at different levels.

The garments had a kedusha and when the priest puts on these garments he will be in a state of kedusha (Exo 28.3). That is why he must take the garments off in a consecrated area (Ezek 44.19). They cannot wear these garments outside of the areas with that level of kedusha. In other words, he can’t wear them in the streets, or even in parts of the Temple that have a lower kedusha.

Before these garments are set apart they do not have a kedusha. People have touched the garments of the coming high priest and the kohanim before they have been sanctified. But once they are, nobody but the kohanim can touch them and they are to remain in the proper sanctified areas because of kedusha. There comes a point when there is a boundary and a declaration. Now, let’s look at Exo 28.1-2 again.

These verses tell us that these garments will be made for “glory (kivod) and beauty (tiferet).” The Temple or Mishkan is about many things and there are objectives and accomplishments that happen within the Mishkan and Temple, but there are two primary aspects. We need to see the Temple as a place where people can come to worship God. That is an important aspect of the Mishkan/Temple. However, there is a difference in the Mishkan and the Temple, but the worship was designed by God and given to the people as a “tavnit” or blueprint.

So, while we have the Mishkan and Temple as a place to worship God, it is also a place for God to show man “how” to worship. The high priest is a picture of the “perfect man.” Adam was created in the image of God, so his garments are “L’kivod (for glory) ul tiferet (and beauty)” so that we can see man in this glory and beauty as he was created to be. Exo 28.3 says that his garments were to be made by people with a “ruach chachmah” (spirit of wisdom) from God, who are “chach’may lev” (wise in heart). There are many people who are followers but their hearts aren’t in it. They are double-minded and are unstable in all their ways (James 1.8). What it is referring to here in 28.3 are those whose face is turned towards God totally.

Exo 28.4-39 tells us what garments they are to make for the high priest. There will be eight garments in all (eight = new beginning). When we talk about the Mishkan or Temple, numbers will always be coming up and involved. We want to pay attention to those numbers because the Lord does not include them for no reason. God doesn’t waste words. If he is giving us a number it is for a reason. We may understand what it means or not, but it is still important.

Paul will allude to these garments in Eph 6.10-17. A priest was seen as engaging in spiritual warfare (Num 4.3). The word for service there is “tzava” and it means warfare (see also Psa 93.1; Isa 63.1-2). Each of the following will make one “thread” for the high priest garments. There will be one “strand” of zahav (gold) joined to six strands of techelet (blue) wool, six strands of argamon (purple) wool, six strands of tolat shanni (scarlet) wool, and six strands of shesh (linen) wool. That makes a strand of seven when you add one strand to each one, and with the gold it is the total of 28 strands to make one thread (4 x 7 = 28). In the paroket (veil) it was 24 (4 x 6).
Each color had six threads, plus a gold one. Six is the number of man (Hebrew letter “Vav”) and man was made in the image of God. The gold is added to the six, making it complete, or seven in total, to the garments of the high priest. Man (6) in incomplete without God (gold).

They were to take two onyx stones (shoham) and engraved on them will be the names of the sons of Israel. There will be six on one stone and six on the other, according to their birth order. These stones were on the shoulder. The stones on the breastplate will also be according to the birth order (Reuben to Benjamin). This engraving speaks of the eternal security of the believer, on the shoulder of the Lord. The shoulder speaks of strength and security. Israel is “borne” (Hebrew “nasa”= “to lift up”) on the shoulders of the Messiah (Isa 9.6). These stones are called the “Avnay Zikron” or “Stones of Remembrance.”

In Part 31, we will pick up here with the Breastplate of Judgment (“Choshen Mishpat”).

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Tanak Foundations-Concepts in Exodus-Part 29

Isa 22.20-25 starts out with the eschatological term “in that day ” and we know this term talks about the coming of Messiah and the Redemption. Then it goes on to talk about Eliakim, who is a type of the Messiah. His name means “God will establish.” Eliakim will replace Shebna, who is a type of the False Messiah. Eliakim will be driven like a “yotaid” (tent peg, nail) into a firm place (v 23) and they will “hang on him all the glory of his father’s house, offspring and issue, all the least of vessels from bowls to all jars.”

Now, one or all of the five pillars that were at the doorway to the Mishkan are called “the Yotaid” because they had pegs/nails in the pillars in order to hang all the vessels used in the Mishkan and at the Altar. Ezra 9.8 says that God will have an escaped remnant and will give the people a “yotaid” (peg) in his Holy Place. Isa 22.25 says, “In that day (when Messiah comes) declares the Lord of Hosts, the peg (yotaid) driven in a firm place will give way and it will even break off and fall (the False Messiah) and the load hanging on it will be cut off (those who follow the False Messiah), for the Lord has spoken.” In other words, those that depended on the False Messiah will fall with him.

The yotaid looks like a nail and is the number six in Hebrew, the letter Vav. Three vavs together will look like the Hebrew letter Shin (this letter sands for God), but it isn’t that letter, but it will look like it if you don’t have wisdom. It will be just three vavs together (6,6,6). That will be the case with the False Messiah, he will “look like” people think the Messiah looks like, but he is a “false shin.” Eliakim is a type of the Messiah, a true yotaid, who will not fall when he driven into a firm place. Everything “hangs” on him (Matt 22.40). The vessels are the people who follow the true Messiah, and they will not fall. The vessels who hang on the false yotaid will fall.

The Mishkan itself was a huge building, woven with complex threads and massive panels. It had materials that were very expensive. Whether we are talking about cloth, gold, wood, silver or brass, it was expensive. Then we have the labor that went along with fashioning these things into what the Lord wanted. How many sheep do you need to sheer to get the wool that was needed? How many people would it take to get all of this together and work on it? This was a massive undertaking, and they were in the wilderness. They couldn’t just run down to Home Depot.

What about the crews that went out to cut down Acacia trees in order to get the boards? Some trees were very large and you had to trim and plane the trees so that you could use them. Everything had to be sturdy and put together as one unit (echad-Exo 26.6). All the parts of the Mishkan meant something and they had many applications, not just the Messiah.

In Exo 27.1-8 we have the Altar. It was made of acacia wood and it was five cubits (8 feet) long and three cubits (4 foot) high. It was overlaid with bronze, with four horns (power) on the four corners. Bronze is “nachoshet” in Hebrew and the same word is used when describing the Bronze Serpent in Num 21.9. There is a relationship between “nachash” (serpent) in Gen 3.1 and “nachoshet” (bronze) here.

Pails were made to remove the ashes from the Altar and it had shovels, basins, forks and fire pans also made of bronze. A grating work, a net of work (or lattice) was also bronze, with bronze rings attached to the grating. Wood and the korbanot were on this grate, half way down inside. It had poles made of acacia wood, overlaid with bronze to carry it. These poles were on two sides when carried. The Lord showed Moses how to make all these things on Mount Sinai. He had a picture of them and what the Lord wanted them to look like. This is a very important concept to remember. This altar was where you did “business” with God, a place of judgment and reconciliation, if you had the right motive and intent (kavanah).

Now, these verses about building the things for the Mishkan are telling us something. If you notice, starting in Exo 25.10, that these descriptions start from the inside, out. They come from the Lord’s perspective as he looks “inside” (Luke 17.21; Heb 8.8; Jer 31.31-34). This is how he builds us. We are assembled from the inside, out. Like us, the Mishkan was assembled, starting from the inside (Exo 40).

However, when coming into his presence the opposite is true. The first thing you encounter is the veil at the door. Then you encounter an anointed priest (Yeshua), then the altar (cross); then the Menorah (light and understanding); then the Shulchan Lechem ha Pannim (Table of the Bread of the faces, the Word of God, our daily bread); then the Altar of Incense (prayer). We are standing before the paroket (veil) which tells us we are going into a place with a higher kedusha. Then we encounter the Ark of the Covenant (the Throne of God, and his commands await us). This is how we come to the Lord, but many stop at the Altar of Incense. They have a problem with that “servant business.” They say, “All I need is back there on that altar.” They also say, “I want the mercy of God, but I don’t want what is down there in that box!” But in the New (means “Renewed”) Covenant, the Torah is written on our hearts (our “Ark”-Jer 31.33).

Are we following the tavnit (blueprint) that God gave us to approach him? How does a believer today react when he encounters these symbols? Will they follow God’s pattern given to Moses? Many Christians say if you follow the tavnit (blueprint), it is “legalism.” But God calls it obedience!. So, here is what to do when things aren’t going right.

Begin to do some checking and ask, “How is my Mishkan set up?” Evaluate whether you have everything, and is everything in the right place. Is there a fire on your altar? Is there bread on your table? Is your lamp lit? Is there incense on your table? Is the Ark of Testimony in your heart with the Torah deep inside? These are the things we need to check out if things aren’t right.

Exo 27.17-19 tells us that there were pillars around the outer courtyard. The dimensions of this courtyard was one hundred cubits long (160 feet) by fifty cubits wide (80 feet), and the height was five cubits (8 feet). The pillars had silver (redemption) bands with their hooks of silver, and their sockets were bronze (judgment). These “fence posts” were made of acacia wood and about five inches around. At the bottom they were held in place by a plate, or socket. They stayed upright by cords (Exo 38.18) fastened to pegs (Exo 27.19) driven into the ground (a yotaid).

Exo 27.20 tells us about the oil that was made of beaten olives. This was for the Menorah so that the lamps would “burn continually” (Ner Tamid). In a synagogue, there is a light near the Ark where the Torah scrolls are. This light is called the New Tamid. This was to bring to mind the light of the Menorah and the light of the Altar that burned continuously. Exo 27.21 says that the priests were to keep the tent of meeting, which is before the veil that separated the Holy place from the Holy of Holies, in order from evening to evening. This verse tells us that the Holy Place is the Ohel Moed (Tent of Meeting) now, replacing the Ohel Moed that was outside the camp. This is because the Mishkan is now built. There will be many laws in the Torah that are related to the Ohel Moed and there will be many details that will relate to this place. You will see the phrase “before the Lord” many times and this phrase relates to the Holy Place of the Mishkan, and later to the Holy Place of the Temple.

We will pick up here in Part 30.

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