He assembled

Exodus 35:1-38:20
1 Kings 7:40-50 (A); 7:13-26 (S)



Exodus 38:21-40:38
1 Kings 7:51-8:21 (A); 7:40-50 (S)

“The Glory of Faith and Works”

by Mark Huey

This week’s Torah reading completes the Book of Exodus, with the final two readings being studied. For a substantial part of the selection, the instructions given to Moses for the construction of the Tabernacle, furnishings, and its components, are essentially a reiteration of the details which have been previously considered (Exodus 35:10-40-33). Apparently, the command to build a formal dwelling place for the Holy One of Israel was of such significance for the chosen people of God, that Moses repeated the specifications for it. After the failings of the golden calf resulted in the execution of some three thousand faithless rebels, Moses and the artisans returned to the work at hand. After an additional forty days and forty nights in the presence of the Lord, the radiating facial appearance of Moses helped further convince the remaining Israelites, that the instructions he was conveying were directly from the Holy One, as noted in the closing verses of the previous parashah:

“Then Moses called to them, and Aaron and all the rulers in the congregation returned to him; and Moses spoke to them. Afterward all the sons of Israel came near, and he commanded them to do everything that the LORD had spoken to him on Mount Sinai. When Moses had finished speaking with them, he put a veil over his face. But whenever Moses went in before the LORD to speak with Him, he would take off the veil until he came out; and whenever he came out and spoke to the sons of Israel what he had been commanded, the sons of Israel would see the face of Moses, that the skin of Moses’ face shone. So Moses would replace the veil over his face until he went in to speak with Him” (Exodus 34:31-35).

With the trauma of violent death having permeated the encampment, the visible reminder that Moses was intimately communicating with the Almighty, prompted the Israelites to respond with willing hearts, as they were stirred to contribute the materials needed for the Tabernacle. Those people, endowed with supernatural skills, were given the opportunity to finally exercise their faith in the Holy One, by completing the work as prescribed:

“Then Moses assembled all the congregation of the sons of Israel, and said to them, ‘These are the things that the LORD has commanded you to do: For six days work may be done, but on the seventh day you shall have a holy day, a sabbath of complete rest to the LORD; whoever does any work on it shall be put to death. You shall not kindle a fire in any of your dwellings on the sabbath day.’ Moses spoke to all the congregation of the sons of Israel, saying, ‘This is the thing which the LORD has commanded, saying, ‘Take from among you a contribution to the LORD; whoever is of a willing heart, let him bring it as the LORD’s contribution: gold, silver, and bronze, and blue, purple and scarlet material, fine linen, goats’ hair, and rams’ skins dyed red, and porpoise skins, and acacia wood, and oil for lighting, and spices for the anointing oil, and for the fragrant incense, and onyx stones and setting stones for the ephod and for the breastpiece. Let every skillful man among you come, and make all that the Lord has commanded” (Exodus 35:1-10).

However, before Moses rested these instructions, there was a key reminder that remembering the Sabbath during the construction of the Tabernacle was not to be abandoned. As important as it would be for the Tabernacle to be assembled, so that God could dwell in the presence of His people—He still desired His people to rest (cf. Exodus 31:13-17).

While reconsidering the different elements of the Tabernacle and the priestly garments, in light of the prohibition to work on the Sabbath, from this week’s Torah reading—it is significant to note the unique intersection of faithful obedience to a command, and the completion of human works resulting in the presence of the glory of the Lord. For assuredly, when the Book of Exodus comes to a close describing the “finished” work of the Tabernacle, there was the incredible blessing of the “glory of the Lord” residing in the midst of the Israelites throughout their desert journeys:

“From it Moses and Aaron and his sons washed their hands and their feet. When they entered the tent of meeting, and when they approached the altar, they washed, just as the LORD had commanded Moses. 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. Then the cloud covered the tent of meeting, and the glory of the LORD filled the tabernacle. Moses was not able to enter the tent of meeting because the cloud had settled on it, and the glory of the LORD filled the tabernacle. Throughout all their journeys whenever the cloud was taken up from over the tabernacle, the sons of Israel would set out; but if the cloud was not taken up, then they did not set out until the day when it was taken up. For throughout all their journeys, the cloud of the LORD was on the tabernacle by day, and there was fire in it by night, in the sight of all the house of Israel” (Exodus 40:31-38).

Glory or Glorify?

In many regards, the description of the blessing of the “glory of the Lord” filling the Tabernacle could be taken as an example of faith and works combining—in what was then among the Ancient Israelites, a tangible manifestation of God. However, over the course of time, the visible evidence of the “glory of the Lord” has no longer centered on a transportable Tabernacle. Instead, since the resurrection of Yeshua the Messiah, the Holy Spirit of God has taken up universal residence in the hearts of God’s people, which “glorify the Lord” in their actions:

“Do you not know that you are a temple of God and that the Spirit of God dwells in you? (1 Corinthians 3:16).

Modern-day Messiah followers can vaguely imagine the majesty of the “glory of the Lord,” filling the desert Tabernacle. The days of the Ancient Israelites, fearfully observing the presence of the Lord, has largely shifted to faithful Believers willingly allowing the Holy One to accomplish His will through their works. There is now a definite, personal responsibility to “glorify the Lord” through faithful acts of obedience, the good works that Yeshua requires of each of us, as they emulate His fulfillment of the Torah:

“Let your light shine before men in such a way that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father who is in heaven” Do not think that I came to abolish the Law or the Prophets; I did not come to abolish but to fulfill. For truly I say to you, until heaven and earth pass away, not the smallest letter or stroke shall pass from the Law until all is accomplished. Whoever then annuls one of the least of these commandments, and teaches others to do the same, shall be called least in the kingdom of heaven; but whoever keeps and teaches them, he shall be called great in the kingdom of heaven” (Matthew 5:16-19).

If someone has truly been born from above, indwelt by the Spirit of God, and given a measure of faith (Romans 12:3)—there should be a heartfelt willingness to want to obey the Torah (which has not been abolished or nullified). Such a trusting obedience to the commandments of God should evidence itself in faith, combined with good works, which together ultimately brings glory to the Lord. In his epistle, James the Just specified how it was faith combined with his works, that reckoned Abraham righteous. Faith alone was not enough, because only by demonstrating the right actions could Abraham be truly said to have faith:

“What use is it, my brethren, if someone says he has faith but he has no works? Can that faith save him? If a brother or sister is without clothing and in need of daily food, and one of you says to them, ‘Go in peace, be warmed and be filled,’ and yet you do not give them what is necessary for their body, what use is that? Even so faith, if it has no works, is dead, being by itself. But someone may well say, ‘You have faith and I have works; show me your faith without the works, and I will show you my faith by my works.’ You believe that God is one. You do well; the demons also believe, and shudder. But are you willing to recognize, you foolish fellow, that faith without works is useless? Was not Abraham our father justified by works when he offered up Isaac his son on the altar? You see that faith was working with his works, and as a result of the works, faith was perfected; and the Scripture was fulfilled which says, ‘AND ABRAHAM BELIEVED GOD, AND IT WAS RECKONED TO HIM AS RIGHTEOUSNESS’ [Genesis 15:6], and he was called the friend of God. You see that a man is justified by works and not by faith alone. In the same way, was not Rahab the harlot also justified by works when she received the messengers and sent them out by another way? For just as the body without the spirit is dead, so also faith without works is dead” (James 2:14-26).

While this passage from James is commonly quoted to emphasize the relation that faith and works have together, Paul’s teaching is not at all devoid of an emphasis on faith and works. In his letter to Believers in Asia Minor, Paul stated that eternal salvation only comes from grace and not from works—but that we have been created to walk in good works, surely something resultant of salvation:

“For by grace you have been saved through faith; and that not of yourselves, it is the gift of God; not as a result of works, so that no one may boast. For we are His workmanship, created in Messiah Yeshua for good works, which God prepared beforehand so that we would walk in them” (Ephesians 2:8-10).

Notice that in God’s sovereign will for humanity, He has actually chosen certain faithful people to glorify Him, by performing good works that were prepared beforehand that they should walk in them. This can refer to artisans like Bezalel and Oholiab (Exodus 31), who had the privilege and God-given skill to help assemble the Tabernacle. It can also surely refer to the Prophets, the Apostles, or for that matter, a multitude of people down through the ages who have been used for critical tasks to glorify the Lord—especially by bringing others to Himself.


As we come to the end of the Book of Exodus, in considering this week’s reading and trying to imagine the majesty of the glory of the Lord residing in and around the Tabernacle—it would be beneficial to make a personal assessment of just how we are individually seeking to glorify the Lord. After all, since through the ages, the Lord has chosen to use mere mortals to bring glory to Him through their faithful works—we each should take some time to introspectively challenge ourselves, to see that we are fulfilling our God-ordained destinies.

  • Are we truly walking by faith?
  • Are we living and walking by sight?
  • Are we obeying the commandments of God? Or are we trying to pick and choose which to obey?
  • Are we willfully available to let the Lord use us for His glory? Or are we seeking personal glory?
  • Are we doing the good works prepared for us to do? Or are we avoiding works due to selfishness?
  • Are we glorifying the Lord in our marriages, family, and relationships?
  • Are we glorifying the Lord in our neighborhoods and the marketplace?

This sampling of questions only scratches the surface of personal self-examination. More can be added to the above list, but what is most critical is taking the time as admonished by Paul in his instruction to the Corinthians, to test and examine ourselves so we might bring glory to the Lord:

“Test yourselves to see if you are in the faith; examine yourselves! Or do you not recognize this about yourselves that Yeshua the Messiah is in you—unless indeed you fail the test?” (2 Corinthians 13:5).

May we each be strengthened in our resolve to glorify the Lord, by our faithful works to persevere to the end!

Ki Tisa

Ki Tisa

When you take

Exodus 30:11-34:35
1 Kings 18:1-39 (A); 18:20-39 (S)

“Faith Contrasted”

by Mark Huey

This week’s Torah portion, Ki Tisa, is perhaps best remembered for the infamous golden calf incident. Because of this, it is significantly easy to overlook a variety of other details, ranging from the required half-shekel offering,[1] the anointing oil formula,[2] a description of the skilled artisans,[3] reminders about the Sabbath,[4] appeals to the Lord and His response including a description of Himself,[5] and a return to the mountain to receive yet another set of instructions after the first tablets were shattered at the base of the mountain.[6] The differences between how Moses handled his responsibility, versus how Aaron and a certain segment of the Israelite population, impatiently rebelled, is difficult to ignore (Exodus 32:1-10, 19-35). Recorded for future generations to ponder is the human proclivity that is prone to wander away from the Creator. Nevertheless, some benefits for His people accrue, as incredible insight into the essence and attributes of the Holy One are communicated to Moses, as he implored the Lord for mercy (Exodus 33:19; 34:6-7). Thankfully, because the Lord has an ultimate plan for His Creation, this potential deviation from following Him is averted, but not without commensurate punishment for the malefactors.

However, before getting into some of the details about consequences of false worship, it is critical to note that our Torah reading initially delineates more instruction about what the Lord expects from His chosen people. In our previous Torah portion, Tetzaveh (Exodus 27:20-30:10), the Lord had communicated considerable detail about the high priest, the institution of the priesthood, and its respective duties for service in association with the Tabernacle. But now as Ki Tisa continues the record in the Book of Exodus, there is the imperative that individual responsibility is expected of all the people of Israel:

“The LORD also spoke to Moses, saying, ‘When you take a census of the sons of Israel to number them, then each one of them shall give a ransom for himself to the LORD, when you number them, so that there will be no plague among them when you number them. This is what everyone who is numbered shall give: half a shekel according to the shekel of the sanctuary (the shekel is twenty gerahs), half a shekel as a contribution to the LORD. Everyone who is numbered, from twenty years old and over, shall give the contribution to the LORD. The rich shall not pay more and the poor shall not pay less than the half shekel, when you give the contribution to the LORD to make atonement for yourselves. You shall take the atonement money from the sons of Israel and shall give it for the service of the tent of meeting, that it may be a memorial for the sons of Israel before the LORD, to make atonement for yourselves” (Exodus 30:11-16).

In this instruction, it is noted that a wide segment of the Israelite community, regardless of its financial wherewithal, was required to make a contribution. The blessing of compliance to this was an avoidance of plagues. The essential principle established by this instruction was that every person would be responsible for his own actions. While such a “ransom” was useful to conduct a census, the Lord was requiring Ancient Israel to literally entrust its wealth to those responsible for continually ministering unto Him. In some regards, this foreshadows a similar principle enunciated by Yeshua the Messiah, when He was telling His followers about where they should direct their resources:

“Do not store up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moth and rust destroy, and where thieves break in and steal. But store up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust destroys, and where thieves do not break in or steal; for where your treasure is, there your heart will be also” (Matthew 6:19-21).

From the census instructions is witnessed another principle that applied originally to the Levitical priesthood, but now is applicable to a wider community of God’s people. This was the requirement that in order to appropriately minister to the Lord or approach Him, one should do so in a state of cleanliness, respecting the sanctity of presenting oneself before Him as the Holy One:

“The LORD spoke to Moses, saying, ‘You shall also make a laver of bronze, with its base of bronze, for washing; and you shall put it between the tent of meeting and the altar, and you shall put water in it. 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, so that they will 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, so that they will not die; and it shall be a perpetual statute for them, for Aaron and his descendants throughout their generations” (Exodus 30:17-21).

This basic principle, of cleanliness before the Lord, was expanded upon by King David, as he had the privilege of approaching His presence after the Tabernacle was relocated to Mount Moriah. Note the reverence and awe emoted in this Psalm, which takes the concept of clean hands to a much higher level, as it concerns the need for a pure heart:

“A Psalm of David. The earth is the LORD’s, and all it contains, the world, and those who dwell in it. For He has founded it upon the seas and established it upon the rivers. Who may ascend into the hill of the LORD? And who may stand in His holy place? He who has clean hands and a pure heart, who has not lifted up his soul to falsehood and has not sworn deceitfully. He shall receive a blessing from the LORD and righteousness from the God of his salvation. This is the generation of those who seek Him, who seek Your face—even Jacob. Selah. Lift up your heads, O gates, and be lifted up, O ancient doors, that the King of glory may come in! Who is the King of glory? The LORD strong and mighty, the LORD mighty in battle. Lift up your heads, O gates, and lift them up, O ancient doors, that the King of glory may come in! Who is this King of glory? The LORD of hosts, He is the King of glory. Selah” (Psalm 24:1-10).

From the opening verses of Ki Tisa, the Lord communicates some universal principles regarding individual responsibilities, and how He wants people to approach Him. So while contemplating the balance of this reading, it will be personally edifying for us to reflect upon just how well we are accepting our individual duties before the Lord and how we are seeking Him. If our hearts are focused on the things of this world, or we have impurities impeding our relationship with Him—perhaps this would be an appropriate time for us to confess our transgressions. For in further reading, we will not only discover how the Lord deals with idol worship, but most crucially that He is a compassionate and merciful God who is slow to anger. He is surely willing to forgive those who faithfully come to Him with a broken spirit and contrite heart (Psalm 51:17).

Idol Worship

Once the issues of personal responsibility and properly approaching the Holy One are addressed, we see various instructions about the fragrant anointing oil with some prohibitions about its usage, a brief description about the artisans designated to make the Tabernacle and the elements of priestly, and a reminder about the importance of remembering the Sabbath rest (Exodus 30:22-31:18). After this, Ki Tisa turns to focus on the tragic golden calf incident. The Israelites were unaware that Moses was receiving two tablets with the testimony of God etched by His own finger, on what would be his first ascent of Mount Sinai (Exodus 24:16-18). But being accustomed to his role as mediator, while viewing from a distance the glory of the Lord like a consuming fire in a cloud shrouding the mountaintop, some became frightfully anxious about his lengthy absence. At this relatively early stage in the desert sojourn, it is safe to say that the faith of the Ancient Israelites was being tested.

After a number of weeks, a segment of the impatient population turned to Aaron, the designated leader in Moses’ absence, and they made an idolatrous request of Aaron to make a tangible “god” which they could follow. In much of the Ancient Near East, the bull was a symbol of lordship, leadership, strength, vital energy, and fertility—and was either deified and worshipped, or used to represent fertility. Aaron complied with their demand. Ironically, not yet aware of the silver half-shekel requirement that was to be instituted, Aaron without any apparent resistance to this unfaithful appeal, perhaps fearing for his own life, asked the people to donate their gold jewelry for the fashioning of a molten calf:

“When He had finished speaking with him upon Mount Sinai, He gave Moses the two tablets of the testimony, tablets of stone, written by the finger of God. Now when the people saw that Moses delayed to come down from the mountain, the people assembled about Aaron and said to him, ‘Come, make us a god who will go before us; as for this Moses, the man who brought us up from the land of Egypt, we do not know what has become of him.’ Aaron said to them, ‘Tear off the gold rings which are in the ears of your wives, your sons, and your daughters, and bring them to me.’ Then all the people tore off the gold rings which were in their ears and brought them to Aaron. He took this from their hand, and fashioned it with a graving tool and made it into a molten calf; and they said, ‘This is your god, O Israel, who brought you up from the land of Egypt.’ Now when Aaron saw this, he built an altar before it; and Aaron made a proclamation and said, ‘Tomorrow shall be a feast to the LORD.’ So the next day they rose early and offered burnt offerings, and brought peace offerings; and the people sat down to eat and to drink, and rose up to play” (Exodus 31:18-32:6).

It is difficult to fathom why Moses’ older brother Aaron succumbed to this demand. After all, Aaron had been with Moses from the very beginning of his role as deliverer of Israel, being used as the spokesperson (Exodus 4:14-16) for the inarticulate Moses. Aaron had witnessed all the miracles, from the courts of Pharaoh to an intimate Mount Sinai dinner with the Holy One (Exodus 24:9-11). Aaron’s personal involvement in, or observation of, the Lord’s activities, required him to know that the Lord forbade the making of idols (Exodus 20:3-4). Yet, because of either social pressure or the threat of physical harm, Aaron not only requested the gold jewelry, but he also fashioned the golden calf—even though he later protested to Moses that the golden calf simply emerged from the fire (Exodus 32:24). Aaron’s direct participation and culpability, for these idolatrous acts, were later confirmed during Moses’ reiteration of these events in the Book of Deuteronomy. Apparently, the Lord was about to execute judgment on Aaron, but Moses interceded for him:

“The LORD was angry enough with Aaron to destroy him; so I also prayed for Aaron at the same time” (Deuteronomy 9:20).

In studying the incident of the golden calf in a variety of Torah commentaries, one discovers different interpretations found in assertions made by the Jewish Sages, which in various degrees are intended to provide excuses for Aaron’s actions.[7] Whether it is blaming the idol worship on the non-Israelite “mixed multitude” (Exodus 12:38) that departed Egypt, or avoiding the threat of death, Aaron was involved in the sin and still bore some guilt.

In this instance, upon the delay of Moses’ return from the mountain, the people insisted that Aaron “make a god” to go before them. The proper, faithful reaction, would have been to refuse the request regardless of the consequences. But this is not what Aaron did. Instead, because Aaron complied with their demands, when the golden calf was presented to Israel, the people actually declared that this “god” had brought them out of Egypt! How absurd this exclamation must have been to Aaron, and many within the crowds who had escaped bondage in Egypt—but such sentiments were enough to prevent a wide number from wanting to worship their new deity. We see a classic example of mixing the holy with the profane, and Aaron should have known better. This is a vivid reminder to Messiah followers today, how it is possible for anyone—including designated leaders—to have a lack of, or lose faith, and fall into error.

Several centuries later, history would repeat itself. When King Solomon died, and his realm was split in two, King Jeroboam of the newly established Northern Kingdom resorted to this same practice of fashioning golden calves. His intention was to divert worship from the Lord in Jerusalem, to the false gods set up in Bethel and Dan, so there would be no demand for reunification with the Southern Kingdom:

“So the king consulted, and made two golden calves, and he said to them, ‘It is too much for you to go up to Jerusalem; behold your gods, O Israel, that brought you up from the land of Egypt.’  He set one in Bethel, and the other he put in Dan. Now this thing became a sin, for the people went to worship before the one as far as Dan. And he made houses on high places, and made priests from among all the people who were not of the sons of Levi” (1 Kings 12:28-31).

Apparently, these people did not learn their lesson from the golden calf incident that their ancestors had participated in, and were beguiled by a desperate leader to worship false idols. This should be a warning alarm to all who currently follow the One True God, especially in light of another spoken word. Yeshua the Messiah spoke the following, per the days that would transpire prior to His return:

“And Yeshua answered and said to them, ‘See to it that no one misleads you. For many will come in My name, saying, “I am the Messiah,” and will mislead many” (Matthew 24:4-5).

In a similar manner to Aaron invoking the name of the Most High for a feast before a false idol, there are going to be some teachers or leaders who come via the guise of proclaiming Yeshua in some way—but in reality will be misleading people, unable to discern the mixing of the holy and profane. This is why it is imperative that the faithful followers of Yeshua invest the time to truly understand the ways of the Lord in His Word, so that they may avoid being deceived. In the case of the Ancient Israelites in this week’s Torah reading, the result of false idol worship was a devastating death:

“Now when Moses saw that the people were out of control—for Aaron had let them get out of control to be a derision among their enemies—then Moses stood in the gate of the camp, and said, ‘Whoever is for the LORD, come to me!’ And all the sons of Levi gathered together to him. He said to them, ‘Thus says the LORD, the God of Israel, “Every man of you put his sword upon his thigh, and go back and forth from gate to gate in the camp, and kill every man his brother, and every man his friend, and every man his neighbor.”’ So the sons of Levi did as Moses instructed, and about three thousand men of the people fell that day” (Exodus 32:25-28).

The golden calf incident is one of the main examples to be considered from the Torah, as warnings have been issued to all of God’s people throughout the ages (cf. 1 Corinthians 10:11-14). So, as today’s Messianic Believers study the Torah and consider its applications elsewhere, in the Tanakh and Apostolic Scriptures, the multiple warnings that have been issued by God need to be heeded. The fact that every person is individually accountable for his or her own relationship with the Lord—and that people are required to approach Him with cleans hands and pure hearts—should make true worshippers more discerning when tempted by misguided leaders or false teachers.

God’s Merciful Solution

Thankfully, this Torah portion also establishes a foreshadowing of the arrival of the Messiah, often in how a mediator has to bridge the gap between the Eternal and humanity at large. In Ki Tisa, we see how Moses intervened on behalf of the Ancient Israelites, pleading before the Holy One for mercy to be shown to them:

“Then the LORD spoke to Moses, ‘Go down at once, for your people, whom you brought up from the land of Egypt, have corrupted themselves. They have quickly turned aside from the way which I commanded them. They have made for themselves a molten calf, and have worshiped it and have sacrificed to it and said, “This is your god, O Israel, who brought you up from the land of Egypt!”’ The LORD said to Moses, ‘I have seen this people, and behold, they are an obstinate people. Now then let Me alone, that My anger may burn against them and that I may destroy them; and I will make of you a great nation. Then Moses entreated the LORD his God, and said, ‘O LORD, why does Your anger burn against Your people whom You have brought out from the land of Egypt with great power and with a mighty hand? Why should the Egyptians speak, saying, “With evil intent He brought them out to kill them in the mountains and to destroy them from the face of the earth”? Turn from Your burning anger and change Your mind about doing harm to Your people. Remember Abraham, Isaac, and Israel, Your servants to whom You swore by Yourself, and said to them, ‘I will multiply your descendants as the stars of the heavens, and all this land of which I have spoken I will give to your descendants, and they shall inherit it forever.’” So the LORD changed His mind about the harm which He said He would do to His people” (Exodus 32:7-14).

It is notable in this passage that the Lord’s first inclination upon speaking to Moses about the rebellious acts of the obstinate Israelites was to eradicate the Ancient Israelites, and to start over with Moses to make a great nation. In capacity as mediator, Moses immediately questioned the Lord’s statement, by reminding Him of His promises to Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob. Then in a statement that has raised eyebrows for centuries, the text states that the Lord “changed His mind.” This passage illustrates for Bible readers, how the role of a mediator before the Father, is ultimately consummated in the atoning work of the Son. He is currently seated at His right hand, interceding:

“Who will bring a charge against God’s elect? God is the one who justifies; who is the one who condemns? Messiah Yeshua is He who died, yes, rather who was raised, who is at the right hand of God, who also intercedes for us” (Romans 8:33-34).

Additionally, while noting the critical role of a mediator in God’s plan for the ages, our Torah portion also goes on to reveal some magnificent attributes about Him. After God’s justice is executed by the Levites (Exodus 32:28), Moses still wanted to know more about the One he served. Noting that he had found favor in the sight of the Lord, Moses wanted to know not only the ways of the Lord, but know Him in a more intimate way:

“Then Moses said to the LORD, ‘See, You say to me, “Bring up this people!” But You Yourself have not let me know whom You will send with me. Moreover, You have said, “I have known you by name, and you have also found favor in My sight.” Now therefore, I pray You, if I have found favor in Your sight, let me know Your ways that I may know You, so that I may find favor in Your sight. Consider too, that this nation is Your people.’ And He said, ‘My presence shall go with you, and I will give you rest.’ Then he said to Him, ‘If Your presence does not go with us, do not lead us up from here. For how then can it be known that I have found favor in Your sight, I and Your people? Is it not by Your going with us, so that we, I and Your people, may be distinguished from all the other people who are upon the face of the earth?’ The LORD said to Moses, ‘I will also do this thing of which you have spoken; for you have found favor in My sight and I have known you by name.’ Then Moses said, ‘I pray You, show me Your glory!’ And He said, ‘I Myself will make all My goodness pass before you, and will proclaim the name of the LORD before you; and I will be gracious to whom I will be gracious, and will show compassion on whom I will show compassion.’  But He said, ‘You cannot see My face, for no man can see Me and live!’ Then the LORD said, ‘Behold, there is a place by Me, and you shall stand there on the rock; and it will come about, while My glory is passing by, that I will put you in the cleft of the rock and cover you with My hand until I have passed by. Then I will take My hand away and you shall see My back, but My face shall not be seen’” (Exodus 33:12-23).

In this compelling passage, Moses was able to observe some of the glory of the Lord passing by, with only His “back” viewable. In the course of this interaction, the Lord noted that He was gracious and compassionate. This brief description of the mercy of God was followed by a much more complete explanation, after Moses was commanded to return to the mountain with two new tablets. Now, rather than the Lord exclusively producing the stone tablets, the responsibility of mortals to be involved, in the process of receiving the commands, is noted. But beyond the principles communicated, the Lord expanded upon the description of Himself that eloquently detailed His mercy and forgiveness:

“The LORD descended in the cloud and stood there with him as he called upon the name of the LORD. Then the LORD passed by in front of him and proclaimed, ‘The LORD, the LORD God, compassionate and gracious, slow to anger, and abounding in lovingkindness and truth; who keeps lovingkindness for thousands, who forgives iniquity, transgression and sin; yet He will by no means leave the guilty unpunished, visiting the iniquity of fathers on the children and on the grandchildren to the third and fourth generations.’ Moses made haste to bow low toward the earth and worship. He said, ‘If now I have found favor in Your sight, O Lord, I pray, let the Lord go along in our midst, even though the people are so obstinate, and pardon our iniquity and our sin, and take us as Your own possession.’ Then God said, ‘Behold, I am going to make a covenant. Before all your people I will perform miracles which have not been produced in all the earth nor among any of the nations; and all the people among whom you live will see the working of the LORD, for it is a fearful thing that I am going to perform with you’” (Exodus 34:5-10).

The Almighty Creator God is the epitome of love. In all other Ancient Near Eastern societies, when the people worshipping a god or goddess would demonstrate disloyalty—their mythologies describe how great catastrophe and penalties would often immediately come—perhaps by them destroying the nation. Here in the Torah, we do not see this. We see the great disloyalty of the Ancient Israelites who worshipped the golden calf, and the significant restraint of God’s judgment upon His chosen ones.

Faith Contrasted

Ki Tisa commences by emphasizing individual responsibility and accountability for Ancient Israel, with the admonition that approaching the Holy One requires a cleanliness before Him that is more than just physical. It continues with a vivid reminder that faithless impatience can result in following after false idols, and even infect those who are placed in positions of leadership. But the teaching and parallel readings also illustrate that a loving and merciful God will respond to the pleas or actions of a mediator, as was the case when Moses’ pleadings for God’s mercy on Aaron were heeded.

As we each read and reflect upon our parashah for this week, it is crucial to recognize that people are ultimately going to be held accountable for their actions, before a holy and righteous Creator God. But will you be evaluated for punishment, or for the dispersement of rewards for your good works? Many are susceptible to a lack of faith, impatience, impure thoughts, a lack of discernment, and a bevy of iniquities that can seriously impede our relationship with the Holy One of Israel. Hence, it is beneficial to frequently go before the Lord—if and when any thoughts or actions disrupt the blessing of intimate fellowship with Him. The beloved Apostle John honestly described the need for those called into the light of truth, to faithfully confess whatever sin might darken the soul:

“If we say that we have fellowship with Him and yet walk in the darkness, we lie and do not practice the truth; but if we walk in the Light as He Himself is in the Light, we have fellowship with one another, and the blood of Yeshua His Son cleanses us from all sin. If we say that we have no sin, we are deceiving ourselves and the truth is not in us. If we confess our sins, He is faithful and righteous to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness. If we say that we have not sinned, we make Him a liar and His word is not in us” (1 John 1:6-10).

May we all forever embrace this eternal truth!


[1] Exodus 30:11-16.

[2] Exodus 30:22-33.

[3] Exodus 31:1-11.

[4] Exodus 31:12-18.

[5] Exodus 32:11-14; 33:12-23.

[6] Exodus 34:1-35.

[7] Cf. Nosson Scherman, ed., et al., The ArtScroll Chumash, Stone Edition, 5th ed. (Brooklyn: Mesorah Publications, 2000), 495; Nahum M. Sarna, “Exodus,” in Etz Hayim, 531.



You shall command

Exodus 27:20-30:10
Ezekiel 43:10-27

“Faithful Priests Minister to God”

by Mark Huey

This week, our Torah portion Tetzaveh, deals with the specific commands of the Lord regarding the attire and anointing of the high priest (ha’kohen ha’gadol), and the priesthood that was originally designated to serve the community of Ancient Israel. At this juncture in Israel’s desert sojourn, after details regarding the Tabernacle had been articulated and responded to by heartfelt offerings of the materials required for their construction, Moses now turned to deliver the Lord’s instructions regarding the Levitical priesthood. However, before the meticulous aspects of this priesthood were elaborated upon, there was a request that the Israelites bring purified olive oil, for a lamp that would burn continually before the Lord:

“You shall charge the sons of Israel, that they bring you clear oil of beaten olives for the light, to make a lamp burn continually. In the tent of meeting, outside the veil which is before the testimony, Aaron and his sons shall keep it in order from evening to morning before the LORD; it shall be a perpetual statute throughout their generations for the sons of Israel” (Exodus 27:20-21).

From the onset of our Torah reading, despite the concentration of instructions devoted to the specifics of the priesthood, it is useful for us to consider how just as a light was to burn continually before the Lord—so are His people throughout all generations to function as a light to a world darkened by sin. The image of contributing to, or being a light to the world, is required by Yeshua the Messiah by all of His followers:

“You are the light of the world. A city set on a hill cannot be hidden; nor does anyone light a lamp and put it under a basket, but on the lampstand, and it gives light to all who are in the house. Let your light shine before men in such a way that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father who is in heaven” (Matthew 5:14-16; cf. Isaiah 42:6-8).

Some of us, when encountering a Torah reading like Tetzaveh—and all of its details surrounding a Levitical priesthood that has been pretty much gone since the destruction of the Second Temple—have a little bit of difficulty understanding it. While most of us are not Levites, all of us who have confessed the God of Israel as the Creator are to represent Him and serve Him, representing Him as intermediaries to a world that has widely rejected Him and His ways. For, the true chosenness, of being of the Israel of God (Galatians 6:16), is that we are all living forth the imperatives of the priestly calling (cf. Exodus 19:5-6; 1 Peter 2:9; Titus 2:14).

The High Priest

As the revelation came forth from the Most High to Moses, during Ancient Israel’s desert sojourn, while many of the elements of a Tabernacle, priesthood, and animal sacrifice might seem strange to us as modern Bible readers in the Twenty-First Century C.E.—they were not strange to people in the Thirteenth Century B.C.E. The basic elements, of Ancient Israel’s worship system, were not dissimilar from those of their pagan neighbors in the Ancient Near East. This, at least, can help establish for us that what is described in the Torah, especially in the later Books of Leviticus and Numbers, is something historically viable.

What Believers in Yeshua tend to do, in reading the Torah’s instruction about the high priesthood and Tabernacle—obviously looking back many centuries, and considering what took place in history via His arrival and sacrifice for sinners—is thinking on how it was beneficial for the Israelites to have a high priest like Aaron, whose responsibilities foreshadowed the arrival of the ultimate High Priest, Yeshua. The Tabernacle on Earth is regarded to be a copy of the Tabernacle in Heaven (Hebrews 9:23).

Of course, on a larger scale, God’s people themselves—those who are not Levites—still bear a priestly calling as His servants. Non-Levites can still learn important lessons about obeying God and representing Him, by examining the Levitical priesthood. The challenge throughout the millennia, and up until today, is whether we will adequately apply such lessons.

One critical facet, of God’s plan for the ages, has been to utilize specifically chosen representatives who were designated to perform intermediary roles between Himself and His chosen people. Moses was uniquely chosen to communicate His Law to the people. The high priest would perform sacred duties in worship, ritual, and sacrifice. Even the kings of Ancient Israel would function as representatives of God to the people. And, on a bigger level once again, the people of Israel were to serve as representatives of God to the nations at large.

In Tetzaveh, we find that the description of the Tabernacle is essentially complete, but in the course of making known the details, there is specific mention of altars (Exodus 27:1). Obviously, the Holy One of Israel desired to be worshipped by His people, and sacrificial offerings were an integral part of this, as seen as far back as Cain and Abel (Genesis 4:3-5), Noah (Genesis 8:20), and Abraham (Genesis 12:7-8). The positions of the high priest, and the associated priests, were specific—in that they would minister in the Tabernacle. The Hebrew noun most often rendered as “priest” is kohen; the related verb kahan basically means “minister in a priest’s office, act as priest” (TWOT):[1]

“Then bring near to yourself Aaron your brother, and his sons with him, from among the sons of Israel, to minister as priest [kahan] to Me—Aaron, Nadab and Abihu, Eleazar and Ithamar, Aaron’s sons. You shall make holy garments for Aaron your brother, for glory and for beauty. You shall speak to all the skillful persons whom I have endowed with the spirit of wisdom, that they make Aaron’s garments to consecrate him, that he may minister as priest [kahan] to Me. These are the garments which they shall make: a breastpiece and an ephod and a robe and a tunic of checkered work, a turban and a sash, and they shall make holy garments for Aaron your brother and his sons, that he may minister [kahan] as priest to Me” (Exodus 28:1-4).

Throughout Tetzaveh, the concept of ministering unto the Lord indicates that each of the specific actions, to be taken by the priests, were a means of worshipping the Lord that generated His approval. Not only was the Lord detailing the role and responsibilities of the high priest as the sacrificial system was being formalized, but these actions were definitely ways for the priests to please the Lord. Whether it was the consecration of the priests or the sacrificial offerings, by ministering to the Lord, He promised to dwell among Israel and be their God:

“You shall put them on Aaron your brother and on his sons with him; and you shall anoint them and ordain them and consecrate them, that they may serve Me as priests [kahan]” (Exodus 28:41).

“Now this is what you shall do to them to consecrate them to minister as priests [kahan] to Me: take one young bull and two rams without blemish,” (Exodus 29:1).

“It shall be a continual burnt offering throughout your generations at the doorway of the tent of meeting before the LORD, where I will meet with you, to speak to you there. I will meet there with the sons of Israel, and it shall be consecrated by My glory. I will consecrate the tent of meeting and the altar; I will also consecrate Aaron and his sons to minister [kahan] as priests to Me. I will dwell among the sons of Israel and will be their God. They shall know that I am the LORD their God who brought them out of the land of Egypt, that I might dwell among them; I am the LORD their God” (Exodus 29:42-46).


With ministering to the Lord a major theme of Tetzaveh, the designation of the high priest to meditate between God and people, is described. As the Levitical priesthood was being established, God once again reminded His people about His extreme holiness, and how as a Perfect Creator He is widely unapproachable by sinful human beings. In this case, the Levites were chosen, with particular emphasis on the office of the high priest. Upon surveying the details of the high priest’s attire, it is particularly notable that weaved into the construction of the various garments, is his representation for all Twelve Tribes of Israel before the Holy One:

“You shall take two onyx stones and engrave on them the names of the sons of Israel,  six of their names on the one stone and the names of the remaining six on the other stone, according to their birth. As a jeweler engraves a signet, you shall engrave the two stones according to the names of the sons of Israel; you shall set them in filigree settings of gold. You shall put the two stones on the shoulder pieces of the ephod, as stones of memorial for the sons of Israel, and Aaron shall bear their names before the LORD on his two shoulders for a memorial. You shall make filigree settings of gold, and two chains of pure gold; you shall make them of twisted cordage work, and you shall put the corded chains on the filigree settings. You shall make a breastpiece of judgment, the work of a skillful workman; like the work of the ephod you shall make it: of gold, of blue and purple and scarlet material and fine twisted linen you shall make it. It shall be square and folded double, a span in length and a span in width. You shall mount on it four rows of stones; the first row shall be a row of ruby, topaz and emerald; and the second row a turquoise, a sapphire and a diamond; and the third row a jacinth, an agate and an amethyst; and the fourth row a beryl and an onyx and a jasper; they shall be set in gold filigree. The stones shall be according to the names of the sons of Israel: twelve, according to their names; they shall be like the engravings of a seal, each according to his name for the twelve tribes” (Exodus 28:9-21).

What would it have meant for the Israelites at large to hear this instruction regarding the high priest, as one who was to represent them all before the Holy One—especially in the sanctuary and through the various offerings made to atone for the sin of the people? The names of Israelites would be literally borne on the breastpiece, over the heart of the high priest. Does this mean that the high priest was to carry all of the hopes, concerns, and fears of the people in before the Lord when serving Him?

“Aaron shall carry the names of the sons of Israel in the breastpiece of judgment over his heart when he enters the holy place, for a memorial before the LORD continually. You shall put in the breastpiece of judgment the Urim and the Thummim, and they shall be over Aaron’s heart when he goes in before the LORD; and Aaron shall carry the judgment of the sons of Israel over his heart before the LORD continually. You shall make the robe of the ephod all of blue. There shall be an opening at its top in the middle of it; around its opening there shall be a binding of woven work, like the opening of a coat of mail, so that it will not be torn. You shall make on its hem pomegranates of blue and purple and scarlet material, all around on its hem, and bells of gold between them all around: a golden bell and a pomegranate, a golden bell and a pomegranate, all around on the hem of the robe. It shall be on Aaron when he ministers; and its tinkling shall be heard when he enters and leaves the holy place before the LORD, so that he will not die. You shall also make a plate of pure gold and shall engrave on it, like the engravings of a seal, ‘Holy to the LORD.’ You shall fasten it on a blue cord, and it shall be on the turban; it shall be at the front of the turban. It shall be on Aaron’s forehead, and Aaron shall take away the iniquity of the holy things which the sons of Israel consecrate, with regard to all their holy gifts; and it shall always be on his forehead, that they may be accepted before the LORD” (Exodus 28:29-38).

Additionally, we read how the Lord required a golden plate, engraved with the notation qodesh l’ADONAI—which was yet another symbol that the high priest had been separated apart from others. The high priest was specially consecrated to deal with the iniquities of the people, and his mind was to be definitively focused on the holiness of God.


After more details are given, about the garments of the rest of the priesthood (Exodus 28:40-43), the specifics of how the priesthood was to be consecrated are recorded (Exodus 29:1-9). The Levitical priests were be washed, anointed with fragrant oil, and their being separated out involved some specific sacrifices (Exodus 29:4-21). As important as these things were for the Levitical priesthood, we might be able to see some significant foreshadowing for Yeshua’s own consecration, as it involved His ministry in the Gospels. Yeshua began His ministry with water immersion (Matthew 3:16), He was anointed with a costly perfume (Matthew 26:7), but most significantly His being offered up as the sacrificial Lamb (John 1:29).

For the Levitical priests, identification with the sacrificial offerings was critical for their service unto the Lord. They had to know how animal blood was shed, in order to cover their limitations as humans (Leviticus 17:11). Additionally, by placing the blood of the ram on the right ear lobe, right thumb, and right big toe, the priests were to be totally dedicated to the service. Presumably, the right ear symbolized how they were to listen wisely before making decisions. The right thumb meant that the work of their hands was to be focused to the labor of the Lord. The right toe pointed to everywhere they walked. Being consecrated as Levitical priest was a service of total dedication to God’s work:

“Then you shall bring Aaron and his sons to the doorway of the tent of meeting and wash them with water. You shall take the garments, and put on Aaron the tunic and the robe of the ephod and the ephod and the breastpiece, and gird him with the skillfully woven band of the ephod; and you shall set the turban on his head and put the holy crown on the turban. Then you shall take the anointing oil and pour it on his head and anoint him. You shall bring his sons and put tunics on them. You shall gird them with sashes, Aaron and his sons, and bind caps on them, and they shall have the priesthood by a perpetual statute. So you shall ordain Aaron and his sons. Then you shall bring the bull before the tent of meeting, and Aaron and his sons shall lay their hands on the head of the bull. You shall slaughter the bull before the LORD at the doorway of the tent of meeting. You shall take some of the blood of the bull and put it on the horns of the altar with your finger; and you shall pour out all the blood at the base of the altar. You shall take all the fat that covers the entrails and the lobe of the liver, and the two kidneys and the fat that is on them, and offer them up in smoke on the altar. But the flesh of the bull and its hide and its refuse, you shall burn with fire outside the camp; it is a sin offering. You shall also take the one ram, and Aaron and his sons shall lay their hands on the head of the ram; and you shall slaughter the ram and shall take its blood and sprinkle it around on the altar. Then you shall cut the ram into its pieces, and wash its entrails and its legs, and put them with its pieces and its head. You shall offer up in smoke the whole ram on the altar; it is a burnt offering to the LORD: it is a soothing aroma, an offering by fire to the LORD. Then you shall take the other ram, and Aaron and his sons shall lay their hands on the head of the ram. You shall slaughter the ram, and take some of its blood and put it on the lobe of Aaron’s right ear and on the lobes of his sons’ right ears and on the thumbs of their right hands and on the big toes of their right feet, and sprinkle the rest of the blood around on the altar. Then you shall take some of the blood that is on the altar and some of the anointing oil, and sprinkle it on Aaron and on his garments and on his sons and on his sons’ garments with him; so he and his garments shall be consecrated, as well as his sons and his sons’ garments with him” (Exodus 29:4-21).

The Work of the Ministry

After the seven-day process of consecrating the priesthood and purifying the altar, we see how the altar was to be most holy, and that whatever touched the altar would also be holy. A description of the evening and morning sacrificial offerings, and the need to continually offer them, indicated that the Lord desires His people to be perpetually at service to Him (cf. Romans 12:1). The benefit of so doing was to be communion with Him, and the constant reminder that He would speak to His people and dwell among them, in order that they would know that the Holy One is their God as they ministered unto Him:

“Thus you shall do to Aaron and to his sons, according to all that I have commanded you; you shall ordain them through seven days. Each day you shall offer a bull as a sin offering for atonement, and you shall purify the altar when you make atonement for it, and you shall anoint it to consecrate it. For seven days you shall make atonement for the altar and consecrate it; then the altar shall be most holy, and whatever touches the altar shall be holy. Now this is what you shall offer on the altar: two one year old lambs each day, continuously. The one lamb you shall offer in the morning and the other lamb you shall offer at twilight; and there shall be one-tenth of an ephah of fine flour mixed with one-fourth of a hin of beaten oil, and one-fourth of a hin of wine for a drink offering with one lamb. The other lamb you shall offer at twilight, and shall offer with it the same grain offering and the same drink offering as in the morning, for a soothing aroma, an offering by fire to the LORD. It shall be a continual burnt offering throughout your generations at the doorway of the tent of meeting before the LORD, where I will meet with you, to speak to you there. I will meet there with the sons of Israel, and it shall be consecrated by My glory. I will consecrate the tent of meeting and the altar; I will also consecrate Aaron and his sons to minister as priests to Me. I will dwell among the sons of Israel and will be their God. They shall know that I am the LORD their God who brought them out of the land of Egypt, that I might dwell among them; I am the LORD their God” (Exodus 29:35-46).

Finally, some details about the altar of incense are delineated, as the God of Israel desired a pleasant aroma before Him. Included within this was a prohibition against burning “strange incense” (qetoret zarah):

“Moreover, you shall make an altar as a place for burning incense; you shall make it of acacia wood. Its length shall be a cubit, and its width a cubit, it shall be square, and its height shall be two cubits; its horns shall be of one piece with it. You shall overlay it with pure gold, its top and its sides all around, and its horns; and you shall make a gold molding all around for it. You shall make two gold rings for it under its molding; you shall make them on its two side walls—on opposite sides—and they shall be holders for poles with which to carry it. You shall make the poles of acacia wood and overlay them with gold. You shall put this altar in front of the veil that is near the ark of the testimony, in front of the mercy seat that is over the ark of the testimony, where I will meet with you. Aaron shall burn fragrant incense on it; he shall burn it every morning when he trims the lamps. When Aaron trims the lamps at twilight, he shall burn incense. There shall be perpetual incense before the LORD throughout your generations. You shall not offer any strange incense [unauthorized incense, ESV] on this altar, or burnt offering or meal offering; and you shall not pour out a drink offering on it. Aaron shall make atonement on its horns once a year; he shall make atonement on it with the blood of the sin offering of atonement once a year throughout your generations. It is most holy to the LORD” (Exodus 30:1-10).

As the details of what the Levitical priesthood, and specifically the high priest, were specified, it was apparent for the need to separate out a specific group of people to perform these tasks. Aaron and his sons were chosen, and consequently the sons of Levi became the priests who worked in and around the Tabernacle, and eventually the First and Second Temples. The Levitical priesthood functioned as a form of “aristocracy” for Ancient Israel, as those who served within it, played a specific function, and were born into the task. Many of the Levitical priests served their purpose, and demonstrated godly patterns and principles which were greatly influential for the Ancient Israel, the Ancient Jewish people, and certainly Believers in Yeshua the Messiah for millennia—to strengthen their worship and pursuit of the Holy One. While the Levitical priesthood is to be regarded as a special group of people, there are undeniably key lessons to be appropriated from their service, as we all must represent the Lord to a world that has largely rejected Him.

Faithful Priests Minister to God

As the details found in Tetzaveh are enunciated, we as Believers in the ultimate High Priest, Yeshua the Messiah (Jesus Christ), can draw many parallels between what was received by Moses—and what is currently taking place in Heaven, as the Son intercedes before the Father (Hebrews 7:25). When we review some of the temporal elements of the Levitical priesthood, and the grand service that it offered Israel in the past—we should have a greater appreciation for the permanent atonement offered by Yeshua, and the everlasting priesthood which He occupies. The author of Hebrews addresses this:

“Now if perfection was through the Levitical priesthood (for on the basis of it the people received the Law), what further need was there for another priest to arise according to the order of Melchizedek, and not be designated according to the order of Aaron? For when the priesthood is changed, of necessity there takes place a change of law also. For the one concerning whom these things are spoken belongs to another tribe, from which no one has officiated at the altar. For it is evident that our Lord was descended from Judah, a tribe with reference to which Moses spoke nothing concerning priests. And this is clearer still, if another priest arises according to the likeness of Melchizedek, who has become such not on the basis of a law of physical requirement, but according to the power of an indestructible life. For it is attested of Him, ‘YOU ARE A PRIEST FOREVER ACCORDING TO THE ORDER OF MELCHIZEDEK’ [Psalm 110:4]. For, on the one hand, there is a setting aside of a former commandment because of its weakness and uselessness (for the Law made nothing perfect), and on the other hand there is a bringing in of a better hope, through which we draw near to God. And inasmuch as it was not without an oath (for they indeed became priests without an oath, but He with an oath through the One who said to Him, ‘THE LORD HAS SWORN AND WILL NOT CHANGE HIS MIND, YOU ARE A PRIEST FOREVER’ [Psalm 110:4],) so much the more also Yeshua has become the guarantee of a better covenant. The former priests, on the one hand, existed in greater numbers because they were prevented by death from continuing, but Yeshua, on the other hand, because He continues forever, holds His priesthood permanently. Therefore He is able also to save forever those who draw near to God through Him, since He always lives to make intercession for them. For it was fitting for us to have such a high priest, holy, innocent, undefiled, separated from sinners and exalted above the heavens; who does not need daily, like those high priests, to offer up sacrifices, first for His own sins and then for the sins of the people, because this He did once for all when He offered up Himself. For the Law appoints men as high priests who are weak, but the word of the oath, which came after the Law, appoints a Son, made perfect forever” (Hebrews 7:11-28).

In God’s infinite wisdom, He established a Levitical priesthood that was responsible for revealing His laws, ordinances, statutes, and regulations to Ancient Israel. This was a critical institution. As multiple examples have indicated, unredeemed people need a mediator between themselves and their Creator, in order to avoid His righteous judgment. The arrival of Yeshua the Messiah on the scene of human history, and His exaltation into Heaven, have certainly changed the dynamics a bit. The power of His priesthood transcends the limited abilities of the Levitical priesthood.

As we consider the grand service of the Son of God for each of us (cf. Philippians 2:5-11), should we not be able to offer ourselves up to His service, and faithfully minister to the Lord in His tasks? He has, after all, bought each of us with a price:

For you have been bought with a price: therefore glorify God in your body” (1 Corinthians 6:20).

The overarching and underlying themes of Tetzaveh should illuminate each of us, so that we might be motivated to serve and minister to the Holy One. But, whether one is extracting the purest of oil for the lamps of the sanctuary—or sharing the light of His salvation from the rooftops—the key is faithfully offering your worshipful service to Him. May we all be counted among those “priests,” who are called to continually and faithfully minister unto Him!


[1] J. Barton Payne, “kahan,” in TWOT, 2:431.