Beth Elohim Messianic Synagogue
Parashah #19: T’rumah (Contribution) Sh’mot (Exodus) 25:1-27:19
Haftarah: M’lakhim Alef (1 Kings 5:26-6:13
B’rit Chadashah: Hebrews 8:1-6; 9:23; 10:1
The Priestly story of the Tabernacle in Exodus 25–27 echoes the Priestly story of creation in Genesis 1:1–2:3. As the creation story unfolds in seven days, the instructions about the Tabernacle unfold in seven speeches. In both creation and Tabernacle accounts, the text notes the completion of the task, the work done is seen to be good; when the work is finished, God takes an action in acknowledgement. In both creation and Tabernacle, when the work is finished, a blessing is invoked. And in both creation and Tabernacle, God declares something “holy.” The Tabernacle exhibited similarities with Mount Sinai. Both Mount Sinai and the Tabernacle had three separate areas with increasing levels of exclusivity — one for the people generally, one for the anointed class, and one for only the single representative of the people; the tablets of the law a cloud; and God’s presence. And God spoke to Moses at both Mount Sinai and the Tabernacle.
But in contrast to Mount Sinai, with the Tabernacle God’s presence was constant; God’s presence was in their midst, no longer distant; and God’s presence was no longer rooted to a fixed place.
This week we read the detailed instructions given by G-d to Moshe for the Ark of the Covenant, the tabernacle, and all its furnishings. Whoever said G-d is not a G-d of detail has never read G-d’s Torah including this parashah. Let’s examine the gold, Acacia wood, and the contents of the Ark of the Covenant in more detail. There is great need for education on this subject as evidenced by the wide variety of explanations of the Ark’s electrical properties; one of which includes the idea that there was a large battery carried inside the Ark to keep it charged! This idea is contradictory to scripture and illustrates the profound ignorance of man without serious Biblical inquiry.
“Gold” is cognate with similar words in many Germanic languages, deriving via Proto-Germanic *gulþ from Proto-Indo-European *ghel (“yellow/green”).
The symbol Au is from the Latin: aurum, according to some sources meaning “shining dawn” from Sabine ausum “glowing dawn.” Characteristics.
Gold is the most malleable of all metals; a single gram can be beaten into a sheet of 1 square meter, or an ounce into 300 square feet. This has significance in the creation of the Menorah and the k’ruvim out of single pieces of gold (Ex. 25:18,36) Gold leaf can be beaten thin enough to become transparent. The transmitted light appears greenish blue, because gold strongly reflects yellow and red. Such semi-transparent sheets also strongly reflect infrared light, making them useful as infrared (radiant heat) shields in visors of heat-resistant suits, and in sun-visors for spacesuits.
Gold readily creates alloys with many other metals. These alloys can be produced to modify the hardness and other metallurgical properties, to control melting point or to create exotic colors. Gold is a good conductor of heat and electricity and reflects infrared radiation strongly. Chemically, it is unaffected by air, moisture and most corrosive reagents, and is therefore well suited for use in coins and jewelry and as a protective coating on other, more reactive, metals. However, it is not chemically inert. Gold is almost insoluble, but can be dissolved in aqua regia (a strong acid made of 1 part nitric acid and three parts hydrochloric acid).
Acacia seyal, the Red acacia, known also as the shittah tree (the source of shittim wood), is a thorny, 6–10 m (20–30 ft) high tree with a pale greenish or reddish bark. Acacia wood is beautiful, light, and practical indestructible. It was used extensively in the structural framework of the Tent of Meeting and in Tabernacle furniture. Poles made of Acacia seyal wood were used to transport Tabernacle furniture, e.g., Ark of the Covenant, Table of Showbread, and Altar of Incense. God would not allow these sacred objects to be transported in wagons or carts. Rather, G-d instructed that they be carried on the shoulders of the Kohathites (second son of Levi) by means of the wooden acacia poles that were part of their construction (Numbers 4: 1 – 15).
Acacia trees and acacia wood has taken on meaning beyond a common wood used in construction. The acacia wood used as the foundation of the Tabernacle symbolizes the humanity of G-d in the role of Yahshua while the gold overlay of the boards and poles symbolizes His deity. Isaiah (53:2) describes Yahshua as “a root out of dry growth” similar to the acacia tree growing out of arid desert soil. Volume and shape of acacia timber is very durable, hard, and tough; has good strength and flexible qualities, it has low shabbiness (it is resistant to scrape). It is impermeable and it is water resistant. From the European woods acacia is the most durable. Unprotected and untreated will last 40 years. It is immune to dry rots and pest infestation.
Could the acacia wood represent the humanity of Yahshua enveloped with the glory of YHVH? In other words, could the acacia wood represent the humanity symbolized by wood that was created and grows from the ground “up” to the deity of the G-dhead symbolized by gold that has been discovered to have come from meteors “down” to the earth as G-d came down to Sinai? This hypothesis provides one explanation of the acacia wood and the overlaying gold — the incorruptible humanity and the absolute deity of the Son of G-d and G-d as YHVH. May it be a theme of precious meditation and worship here, as it will be throughout eternity, where the glories of Yahshua are displayed in all that is perfectly human and all that is divine, in one Person, the “Echad.” As the acacia wood and gold overlay are inextricable, so is the “Echad” of G-d. YHVH/Yahshua is the Way to YHVH’s salvation by His very Name! Yet, He is G-d as evidenced by the Alef-Tav in Genesis 1:1 and in many other places in the Old and” New” (Renewed, refreshed Covenant) Testaments.
“Thou shalt not make unto thee any graven image, or any likeness of anything that is in heaven above, or that is in the earth beneath, or that is in the water under the earth. Thou shalt not bow down thyself to them nor serve them: for “I the Lord thy G-d am a jealous God” (Ex. 20: 4, 5). G-d is jealous of giving His glory to another, but that only emphasizes the fact that Yahshua is one with the YHVH. All images that man might make can but provoke to jealousy but here is “the image of the invisible G-d.” He is jealous for His only begotten Son, “that all men should honor the Son even as they honor the Father.” “Worthy, O Lamb of G-d, art Thou that every knee to Thee should bow.”
Another explanation for the lining of the Ark inside and out over the acacia wood with gold is found in the rabbinic literature of the Chumash. The dual covering symbolizes the Talmudic dictum that a Torah scholar (anyone for that matter) must be consistent; his or her inner character must match his or her public demeanor. An individual’s actions must conform to professed beliefs. Bais Halevi (House of Levi) derives from this inner-outer coating of gold that the community should feel a responsibility to provide an adequate livelihood for its Torah teachers; that they should be prosperous inside their own homes as well as in their outer service of the public.
Finally, if we use the concept of deity to which the gold is ascribed, we may deduce that G-d knows our inside (heart and motivation) above and beyond the outside behavioral manifestations. Nothing is hidden from the L-rd. (Mark 4:22; Luke 8:17; Hebrews 4:13). Our soul that resides in our deepest being is from and will return to G-d when our physical being (acacia) returns to the earth. Then there will be nothing to separate the inside (soul) and outside (the gold= totality; unity) from its Creator.
Haftarah: M’lakhim Alef (1 Kings) 5:26-6:13
This week’s haftorah describes the construction of the Holy Temple under the direction of King Solomon, echoing this week’s Torah portion which discusses the construction of the desert Tabernacle.
The haftorah discusses the manpower — both Jewish and non-Jewish — that Solomon recruited for the building of the Holy Temple. Also discussed are the hewing and transportation of the stone, the laying of the foundation, as well as the dimensions of the Holy Temple, its components and materials.
The haftorah ends with G‑d’s word to King Solomon: “This house which you are building, if you walk in My statutes, and execute My ordinances, and keep all My commandments to walk in them; then will I establish My word with you, which I spoke to David your father. And I will dwell among the children of Israel, and will not forsake My people, Israel.” We cannot deny the existence and truth of G-d’s requirement to follow His ordinances and commands; this mandate is written throughout the entire Bible.
B’rit Chadashah: Hebrews 8:1-6; 9:23; 10:1
All passages listed for this week refer to the earthly copies of the things in heaven. That is, every detail of the Tabernacle was patterned after the heavenly Temple and associated concepts. This may explain the fastidious detail G-d demands of humans as the pattern of the heavenly Temple is copied on earth. The purification process required of Yahshua as He ascended into heaven after his death was far and above the purification process mandated and performed with earthly sacrifices. Heb. 10:1 pulls these passages together: “For the Torah has in It a shadow of the good things to come, but not the actual manifestations of the originals.” We cannot get to heaven by “toning down”, abrogating G-d’s commands and ordinances by our own authority, or re-translating G-d’s Torah into politically correct verbiage for the time. In today’s terminology Yahshua might tell those such as Nadav and Avihu who tried to worship G-d their way: “My Torah (instructions) are what they are; in other words, I am that I am.” He says just this in Ex. 3:14; Is. 44:6-8; and the following verses in John:
John 4:26 Yahshua *said to her, “I who speak to you am He [ego eimi].”
John 6:20 But He *said to them, “It is I [ego eimi]; do not be afraid.”
John 8:24 “I said therefore to you, that you shall die in your sins; for unless you believe that I am [ego eimi], you shall die in your sins.”
John 8:28 Yahshua therefore said, “When you lift up the Son of Man, then you will know that I am [ego eimi]”
John 8:58 Yahshua said to them, “Truly, truly, I say to you, before Abraham was born, I am. [ego eimi]”
John 9:9 He [man born blind] kept saying, “I am [ego eimi] the one.”
John 13:19 “From now on I am telling you before it comes to pass, so that when it does occur, you may believe that I am” [ego eimi].
John 18:5 They answered Him, “Yahshua the Nazarene.” He *said to them, “I am [ego eimi].” And Judas also who was betraying Him, was standing with them.
John 18:6 When therefore He said to them, “I am,” [ego eimi] they drew back, and fell to the ground.
John 18:8 Yahshua answered, “I told you that I am [ego eimi]; if therefore you seek Me, let these go their way,”
Precision matters. Order matters. The misplacement of even a few of the 3.1 billion letters in the human genome can lead to devastating genetic conditions. The famous “butterfly effect” – the beating of a butterfly’s wing somewhere may cause a tsunami elsewhere, thousands of miles away – tells us that small causes can have large consequences. That is the message the tabernacle was intended to convey.
“God creates order in the natural universe. We are charged with creating order in the human universe. That means painstaking care in what we say, what we do, and what we must restrain ourselves from doing. There is a precise choreography to the moral and spiritual life as there is a precise architecture to the tabernacle. Being good, specifically being holy, is not a matter of acting as the spirit moves us. It is a matter of aligning ourselves to the Will that made the world. Law, structure, precision: of these things the cosmos is made and without them it would cease to be. It was to signal that the same applies to human behaviour that the Torah records the precise dimensions of the tabernacle and Noah’s ark” ( Rabbi Jonathan Sacks)
I think the above references suffice to demonstrate that only One is qualified to instruct humans on construction of a heavenly likeness of that in heaven and that every detail has significance. Let us not forget this truth as we continue our spiritual walk. There are no shortcuts. Matthew 7:13-14 validates this statement: “Go in through the narrow gate; for the gate that leads to destruction is wide and the road broad, and many travel it; but it is a narrow gate and a hard road that leads to life, and only a few find it.” Let us not skip the details; the Blueprint is perfect.
Rabbi Tamah Davis