Tanak Foundations-Concepts in Exodus-Part 51

Now we are going to look at the curtains in the courtyard. (Exo 27.9-18). On the south side there were hangings for the court of twisted linen, 100 cubits long (160 feet) on that side. The court was a space enclosed around the Mishkan, and the Mishkan always faced east. The outer court of the Mishkan was 100 cubits long and 50 cubits (80 feet) wide. The pillars on the south side were 20, with their 20 sockets of bronze. The hooks of the pillars and their bands will be silver. It was the same on the north side.

On the west there were hangings of 50 cubits with 10 pillars and 10 sockets. The width on the east side was 50 cubits. The hangings for one side of the gate was 15 cubits (24 feet) with 3 pillars and 3 sockets. On the other side it was the same.

The gate of the court was a screen of 20 cubits (32 feet) which was made from techelet, argamon, tolat shanni and shesh (fine twisted linen). It was the work of a weaver with their 4 pillars and 4 sockets. They were using the 5 handbreadth cubit called the “cubit of Moses” which was 19.2 inches (Mishnah, Kelim 17.9-10). All the pillars around the court will be furnished with silver bands with hooks of silver and sockets of bronze. The length of the court was 100 cubits (160 feet), the width was 50 cubits (80 feet). The height was 5 cubits (8 feet) of fine twisted linen, and sockets of bronze.

Exo 27.19 tells us that all the utensils and the pegs used in the Mishkan and the services were bronze. Then Exo 27. 20-21 tells us that they were to bring clear oil of beaten olives for the Menorah. In the Ohel Moed (tent of meeting/holy place) outside the veil which is before the Ark, the priests were to keep the Menorah burning continually, from evening to morning. They were to “arrange” and tend to the Menorah, to keep the wicks burning. The lamp burning continually called the “Ner Tamid.” In a synagogue you will see a light always on near the Ark that contains a Torah scroll. This is also called the Ner Tamid, in remembrance of the Menorah that was to burn (be lit) continually. It was also something that recalled the fire on the altar that was to burn continually also.

There are many laws concerning the Ohel Moed. This was the area in the Mishkan that was outside of the Kodesh Ha Kodeshim (Holy of Holies), and where the Menorah, the Shulchan Ha Lechem Ha Pannim and the Mitz’bay’ach Shell Zahav were located. The Sanhedrin could not give a death sentence unless they were before the Ohel Moed and a metzora (leper) must conduct their ceremony of cleansing before the Ohel Moed. So, what constitutes being “before the tent of meeting (ohel moed)?”

One of the main concepts contained in the Torah is that it is about boundaries and declarations. This is a very, very important concept. For example, the Sabbath has boundaries on what you can and can’t do, what we can eat has boundaries, all the ceremonies in the Temple are declarations. What constitutes being before the tent of meeting? This concept will pass from the Mishkan to the Temple also. The inner courtyard is defined as being “before the tent of meeting.” That would include being “behind the Mishkan” on the west side. You were still considered to be “before the tent of meeting.”

When there is a commandment for Aaron to do such and such in the services, it also means his sons (27.21). This applies to everything except the Yom Kippur service. He is the only one that can do that service. In fact, the High Priest can do any service he wants, but he doesn’t have to. He can delegate those duties to other kohanim, but they must be chosen by lot, which means by God. But he can’t do that on Yom Kippur unless something tragic happens like he falls sick or becomes unclean. In that case, the service falls to the deputy High Priest called the “Sagan.”

As you can see, there is a lot more information here than the casual reader will pick up. The detail is important. The Lord wrote the Scriptures, having in mind that the reader would have been instructed in these details, the idioms, the phrases and the concepts. That is what is missing in churches and that is why they either don’t know anything, or what they do know is wrong. We talked to a woman the other day that was a churchgoer and she said, “I have never read the Bible.”

The phrase in v 21 “perpetual statute” is an interesting term. It is “chukat olam” in Hebrew and it means a command that we do, even if we don’t understand why. There are five basic terms we need to know that are used throughout the Scriptures about the word of the Lord. The word “Law” is “Torah” and it means “teaching, instruction and guidance.” The word “Commandments” is “Mitzvot”{ and it is the moral laws fulfilled by certain actions. Then we have “Statute” and that is the word “Chukim” and these laws can’t be understood, but we do them anyway. Next we have the word “Judgments” and that is the word “Mishpatim” and these are the ordinances and decrees, the social laws that we can understand. Lastly, we have “Testimonies” and that is the word “Edut” and it means evidences and this would include prophecies and the idea of a witness. Psalm 119 is the longest portion of Scripture with 176 verses. Every verse talks about the Scriptures using these words, or “word” or “precept” or something related to the Scriptures.

Let’s touch on the word “kedusha” and the High Priest. Kedusha is defined as the “setting apart or the designation of something or someone to be used in the service of God. This is done by formal restrictions and limitations. For example, the kedusha of time is marked by limits on what man can and can’t do in the area of work and construction.” The office of High Priest (Kohen Ha Gadol) has a kedusha on it. It is to be understood that no individual is ever called “holy” or having a kedusha in the Scriptures. In other words, the High Priest as a man is never called “holy” but the office of the High Priest has a kedusha. The garments and the kelim (vessels) have a kedusha on them once they have been set apart to God.

We have many misconceptions about the concept of “holy” or “kedusha.” We confuse the word “holy” with the word “righteous.” How many times have we heard that a building was “holy?” Have you ever heard that the “pulpit is holy?” Look at many bibles, does it say “Holy Bible?” This is a misuse of the word. We are trying to see bible results by using biblical terms. We are not saying we have to use Hebrew, but we need to have the proper meanings applied to words. These concepts are very important to having a proper foundation to the Tanak.

In Part 52, 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

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