Israel has come out of Egypt, crossed the Gulf of Suez (Yom Suf/Red Sea), took a road northeast to the Derek Seir (Way to Seir), went east to the northern tip of the Gulf of Aqaba, had a battle with the Amalekites in the area, then turned right and went down to Mount Sinai on the border of Midian. Eventually, they will go to Canaan, almost straight north from where they are. Remember, when Moses went to Mount Sinai the first time, he saw a burning bush that was not consumed. He is told to take off his sandals because the ground he was standing on was “adamat kodesh” (holy ground). In this we learn that Mount Sinai has a kedusha, but we have a problem.
As the people travel to Canaan and live there, they will have to travel south to Mount Sinai every time they were to meet with God. That is where the kedusha was. The environment that is needed in order for man to meet with God has to have a certain level of kedusha. The land did not have it by itself for God to be in their “midst.” So, the Lord makes a place of kedusha for the people called the Mishkan, and later the Temple. That is why the festivals can’t be kept today. There is no place with that level of kedusha in order for man to meet with God.
Now Moses is on the mountain in Exo 24 to hear the word of God, and that brings us to Exo 25.1-9. The betrothal is in place, the vows have been made and ratified in blood, and a covenant meal has been shared (24.4-13). Moses will now be shown the “House of Kedusha.”
This is the beginning of the Torah portion called “Terumah” which means “contribution” and it goes from Exo 25.1 to 24.17. Terumah is a free will offering. After the list of things needed has been given (v 2-7), we come to a very important verse in verse 8 where it says, “Asooli mikdash, v’shkanti b’tawcham” or “They shall construct a sanctuary (mikdash) for me, that I may dwell within them.” We know the word “kodesh” or “kadosh.” Mikdash has the same root (miKDASH) meaning a sanctuary, but that can mean anything in English. The word “mikdash” has a relationship with the Lord and basically means “kedusha.”
When man was created he had a kedusha. How do we know that? Because we are told that the Lord said “I am holy (kadosh), you shall be holy (kadosh).” We know that man was created in the image of God, so he had a kedusha until he sinned. When he sinned, he lost his kedusha and he also lost the knowledge of kedusha. That is the case even today among believers. They have no true concept of kedusha.
We have the word “holy” and we use this word all over the place for many things. For instance, when money is collected for the poor some will say this is a “holy work.” No, it is a righteous work, and a righteous work does not make it a holy work. Every time you see the word “holy” in the Scripture there will be formal, legal restrictions on time, activity, location and people.
For example, the office of the High Priest has a kedusha. If someone other than the High Priest goes into the Kodesh Ha Kodeshim, he should expect to die. Even the High Priest cannot go in whenever he wants because of kedusha. He can only go in one day a year (Yom Kippur) and only in the prescribed manner. He can’t say, “oops. I forgot.”
Everything in the Mishkan and the Temple will evolve around the concept of kedusha. We will not be able to understand the Mishkan/Temple without it. Because man originally had a kedusha and lost it, the Mishkan will be more than just a place to meet with the Lord. It is a place where man learns how to approach God. It is a place where we learn to dwell in his presence. The message is, everything that is there specifically is there for a purpose and a reason. Even the measurements mean something. You could not come in and change something because it had a kedusha.
They were to make a Mikdash. Then the Lord will “v’shkanti” (dwell) in their midst. The people will be instructed to build the Mishkan right away, no delay. In all, there will be eight phases to the Mikdash. The “first” phase will be the Mishkan (meaning to dwell). Then we have the Mishkan on the other side of the Jordan. This was different than the Mishkan in the wilderness. They didn’t use the same Mishkan and it was expanded, but the principles will remain the same. The third phase will be the first Beit Ha Mikdash or the First Temple., also called Solomon’s Temple.
Now, Moses was told to build a “mikdash” but then he built a “mishkan.” Why did the Lord say “build me a mikdash?” First of all, the people had to learn about worship in the Temple but they weren’t ready for a Temple yet. They had no concept of kedusha. We all want our children to drive a car, but we get them a tricycle first. In time, they will desire more, and then we get them a bike with training wheels. Later, we can get them a regular bicycle, then a 10-speed and finally they will drive a car. God will do the same thing. He will add to the fullness of the worship so that he can enlarge the revelation of himself.
The first Beit Ha Mikdash (House of Kedusha) will be after the conquest of the land and then we have the Kingdom. If you have a kingdom, you must have a king. At the end of the First Temple period, the kingdom is gone. Two items will disappear, the Temple and the kingship. The Temple is coming back, but the kingship will not come back until Yeshua the Messiah.
The fourth phase was the second Beit Ha Mikdash, and it will be extended but with minor changes. In the first Beit Ha Mikdash, the palace of the kings was adjacent to it. In the second Temple, this will not be there. This Temple (second) will have three periods. The period of Ezra and Zerubbabel at the beginning of the return from Babylon (the fifth phase), then we will have the Hasmonean period and the Maccabees and they will enlarge the Temple. Then we have the sixth phase with the Herodian period with further enlargements. The ceremonies are based on the Torah and will not change.
The coming Temple is called “The Third Temple” and it has not been built yet, and this is the seventh phase. The eighth and final phase will be Ezekiel’s Temple in the Messianic Kingdom, after the Messiah returns. So, Moses was told to build a mikdash (sanctuary), but he built a mishkan (tabernacle) with the understanding that there would be additional phases to it. He did not understand the Mishkan only, but the mikdash also.
An example of this concept can be seen when God told Abraham that the land he was giving him was “all that he could see.” But, could he see everything? No, there were mountains in the way, there was more. In the same way, the Mishkan was going to be more, a “mikdash” that he couldn’t see with the natural eye.
We will pick up here in Part 54.