Hebrew Roots/Torah observance/Vayaklhel

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VaYakhel—And He Assembled Shemot/Exodus 35:1-38:20; 1 Melachim/Kings 7:13-50

VaYakhel, “And He Assembled,” has a substantial amount of instruction pertaining to the establishment of the Tabernacle as well as directions from God relating to the Israelites through their honoring of the Sabbath. This portion starts out with Yahweh issuing commandments relating to the Sabbath. Vayak’hel records the actual implementation of God’s instructions on how to build the Mishkan (Tabernacle), recounted earlier in the Parshah of Terumah. It speaks of every man who has a function in the Tabernacle or in building it, the gifts received from the Israelites that would be used for the Tabernacle, and it ends with the Tabernacle’s construction finished. Indeed, much of Vayak’hel is almost an exact repeat of Terumah, the only apparent difference being that the details which in Terumah are prefaced with the words, “And they shall make...” are here presented following the preface, “And they made...”

Keeping Shabbat Shemot/Exodus 35:1-2 “Then Moshe assembled all the congregation of the sons of Israel, and said to them, ‘These are the things that Yahweh 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 Yahweh; whoever does any work on it shall be put to death.’” Our Creator and Designer knew that we needed one day of rest in seven for physical as well as spiritual refreshment. By keeping Shabbat, we place Fellowship and worship of Him above all our needs and all things of interest in this life.

The Israelites who were constructing the Tabernacle, as well as working in their daily tasks in the camp during the exodus were working long and hard hours under difficult conditions. Yahweh told them to take a day of complete and total rest, what the Hebrew calls a holy Sabbath day of rest to Yahweh. Yahweh is reminding the people that even as sacred a work as building the Tabernacle must be suspended on the Shabbat - the day each week which celebrates His eternal covenant with the people of Israel. Every week we are reminded of His faithfulness, His sure Word, that His covenant with us is forever and our ultimate security is that very covenant with Him. While we can understand why this command was given to the Ancient Israelites back then, because they were working under hard circumstances, many would believe that God would not ask us today to take the seventh day and consecrate it entirely unto Him. After all, are there not things that need to be done on Saturday? Contrary to what many believe, God indeed has the right to tell us today that we should consecrate a day entirely unto Him. He wants to commune with His people and by resting in Him we not only rejuvenate our bodies, but we also rejuvenate our spirits by delving deeper and deeper into His Word and removing ourselves from outside worldly influences. While none of us can honor the Sabbath command perfectly, if we follow His example we should strive to honor the Sabbath to the best of our ability. He gave up all for us by coming down to Earth from the right hand of the Father, so what is one day out of our week totally devoted to Him?

Many say that they honor the Sabbath. They will say that they go to church on Sunday. But Sunday is not the seventh day, and their Sabbath is usually between one and two hours long. After their church services, many Christians go out to eat or go shopping, not taking a day of complete and total rest. Their “substitute Sabbath” is really no Sabbath at all.

Others will say that they “rest in Messiah.” After all, as Hebrews 4:9-10 says “So there remains a Sabbath rest for the people of God. For the one who has entered His rest has himself also rested from his works, as God did from His” (NASU).

But is “Sabbath rest” what the text really means? The Sabbath is about rest, but the Greek sabbatismos means “A keeping of a Sabbath, a rest as on the Sabbath.”

The Jewish New Testament renders this as: “So there remains a Shabbat-keeping for God’s people.”

If we understand that keeping the Sabbath today is fulfilled by a spiritual rest in ceasing from our own works, then we have to consider that when God ceased from His works He rested from actual work, also the command is to “Remember the Sabbath day to keep it holy”. It is talking about a day, not a lifestyle of not following our own ways.

Dedicating one day out of our week entirely to our Heavenly Father is not difficult, and while you may get criticism for it from others, the rewards are well worth it. Pleasing God is much better than pleasing man. Yahweh wants to instill the truth of His Sabbath rest in us. It is by experiencing the holiness of Shabbat that we come a little closer to being a living Tabernacle of His presence to those around us. And like the children of Israel at this time, we discover that though we think our work is not done, when we lay it down at the onset of Shabbat, we express our trust in Yahweh that through this day set apart for Him, we will be that much more dedicated, effective and serious in the fulfilling of our responsibilities in the coming week.

The Making of the Sanctuary The Tabernacle is a picture of how God wants to dwell in the midst of His people and how He wants us as His people to honor and obey Him. We all are awed and amazed at the detail that our Father gives to the construction of this mobile “holy place”. It shows the importance He places on having everything according to the correct spiritual pattern.

We are told that it was the chiefs of each tribe that brought the precious stones upon which the names of the tribes were to be inscribed for the Breastplate. (28: 9-12,21,29) The people are told to bring the offerings for the Tabernacle and also this time to give of themselves and their talents for the construction of the Tabernacle and they respond so well that they have to be instructed to cease their offerings.

Yahweh calls for those of a willing heart or - “who was ready to volunteer” (Targum ; Ibn Janach). Literally, ‘whose heart lifted him up.’ Or, ‘whose natural talents were awakened’ (Ibn Ezra; Ramban; see Exodus 35:26). Or, ‘each person brought according to the dictates of his heart’ (Saadia).

“And let all who are skilled” - There were a great variety of skills amongst them from their time of sojourn in Egypt which means that they must have been trained in Egypt for a great variety of trades. (35:10)

“And they came, the men along with the women"--they came one on top of another, men and women together in an intermingled throng, and in two mornings they had brought all the necessary donations... The princes then wished to bring their donations but could not, because Moshe had already given orders: “...Let neither man nor woman bring any more...” The princes were distressed, and said: “Seeing that we were not privileged to participate in the offerings to the Mishkan, let us give towards the garments of the High Priest...” This is why when the Mishkan was completed the princes took the initiative, and were the first to bring offerings for its dedication (cf. Numbers 7). (Midrash Rabbah)

Valuing His Presence In Chapter 38:24 twenty nine talents of gold were used in the tabernacle. A talent is approximately ninety-eight pounds. There were 2,842 pounds of gold in the tabernacle. This means that, of the six hundred thousand adult males, each contributed about four and two thirds pounds to the making of the temple. This does not include silver, precious stones and other materials used in the temple. Figuring the price of gold at four hundred fifty dollars per ounce, the total value of the gold used would be about twenty million dollars. There is no way to calculate the value of the precious stones and other material used but I would guess that there was another fifteen or twenty million in materials used in constructing the tabernacle.

The Creative Gifting And Moshe said to the Children of Israel, “See, Yahweh has called by name Bezalel, son of Uri son of Chur, of the tribe of Judah. And He has filled him with the spirit of God, with wisdom, with insight and with knowledge and with all work (MELACHAH); and to make plans (MACHASHAVOT), to work in gold, and in silver, and in copper; and in the cutting of stones for setting, and in carving wood, to make all the work of planning (MELECHET MACHASHAVET). And to [be able to] teach has He put in his heart; he, and Oholiav, son of Achisamach, of the tribe of Dan. He filled them with wisdom of heart to do all the work (MELECHET) of the craftsman and weaver and embroiderer in blue and in purple, in scarlet and in linen, and weaving, makers of all work (MELACHAH) and makers of plans” (35:30-35). MELACHAH is used for creative work, the type of action in which man emulates the Creator, and is the word used for the creative acts of Yahweh in Genesis 1. The word for normal ‘work’ is AVODAH.

Bezalel and Oholiab: Yahweh asked Moshe to appoint Bezalel from the Tribe of Judah, (representing the Southern Kingdom) and Oholiab from the Tribe of Dan, (representing the Northern Kingdom) to be the craftsmen overseeing all the work of the Tabernacle. Bezalel and Oholiab represent the ‘Ministry of the Two Houses’ united and working together.

It’s interesting to look at their names: Bezalel’s name means (Strongs # 1212) Be’ - ‘tzel’ - ‘el’ means “under- the shade/shadow of - God” or ‘under the overshadowing presence or protection of God” i.e. ‘in the shadow/protection of Yahweh’ True to his name he was under a special overshadowing of the Almighty, specially chosen and anointed for the task of working the gold, silver, and bronze and every form of carved work.

Oholiab’s name means (Strong’s # 168/TWOT 32/32c) ‘the (divine) Father is my tent/tabernacle’, or the ‘Father is my tent’. The implications of his name are that he was one who lived in the presence of Yahweh and that was where he chose to dwell. Only one who had such a relationship could be used as an anointed vessel for the impartation of His presence into the physical things which he wove, the designs and embroidering of blue, purple and scarlet wool and linen and for the hangings and the carved work.

The team of “wise-hearted” artisans, headed by Bezalel ben Uri from the tribe of Judah and Oholiab ben Achisamach of the tribe of Dan, set about the task of fashioning these 15 materials into a dwelling for the Divine Presence. Notice all the different abilities of these two men. Firstly - a special calling from Yahweh with - a divine gifting; to use - special skills; and - special abilities with - special knowledge of every craft; they had ability to actually make the things, as well as the ability to teach, instruct and oversee others in the performance of those things. Their anointing was with “wisdom, understanding and knowledge” (31: 3) They had been filled with the Spirit of Yahweh in these things. The Hebraic understanding according to Rashi is that - Wisdom is what one hears from another and learns. Understanding is what one understands on their own out of the things that they have learned, and Knowledge is divine inspiration. Rashi 0p. cit. p.431

They as vessels had been previously prepared and anointed in these qualities. Yahweh filled Bezalel and Oholiab with all the wisdom and skill to create ‘exactly’ the correct designs for the assembly of the Tabernacle. Not one design was added or deleted, all was done according to the ‘heavenly’ pattern. The curtains, veils and coverings are described in great detail and all relate to ‘ministries’ of Yahweh, through the Body of Yeshua.

Yeshua is the physical representation of the Tabernacle and everything in the Tabernacle points to Him, and His Ministry. ‘We’ are made in the image and likeness of Yahweh. ‘He’ lives in us and therefore the design of the tabernacle is the design of His Body as well. One of the reasons for the building of the Tabernacle was that it would be a visible and constant reminder to the children of Israel that each of them was created to be a Tabernacle of His presence, every bit as powerful as the Mishkan itself. Every detail mattered, even down to the the pegs and cords which held the Mishkan erect and in position on the ground. They were as important as the sacred vessels. All components of His tabernacle, even though their functions differ and the appearance varies so that some do not have a becoming appearance, all are a necessary part of His Tabernacle. In the same way each individual member of His spiritual Tabernacle matters and no part can regard the other as unnecessary or unimportant. 1 Corinthians 12:20-27

Therefore the ‘work’ in constructing the Tabernacle needed to be inspired by the mind of the One who conceived it. All of the production of the raw materials, their construction and finishing work was the inspiration of Yahweh through His chosen vessels. Therefore it came into the category of ‘creative work’. The hands of those used in its making were inspired, energised and controlled by the Spirit of Yahweh and carried the impartation of His anointing in their very fibre. This, as we are told when Bezalel is designated by Moshe, is called MELECHET MACHASHEVET, ‘purposeful work’ (“artistic workmanship” NKJ), the closest man can come to the Divine synthesis of design and execution.

When Bezalel is appointed to build a sanctuary for Yahweh, He brings to fulfillment His desire to have a dwelling-place on earth, that is for Him to take up His abode with us. The full realisation of which will be in the new heaven and the new earth. And when we safeguard Shabbat, we build Him a sanctuary in time, in our lives.

How much effort do we go through before entering the holy place with God? To have the glory of God to fill our tabernacles, we should complete spiritually what Moshe did physically. Cleanse, anoint, and prepare the sanctuary, hang the curtains, offer sacrifices and sweet smelling incense (prayers) unto Yahweh and then He will come into our temple with glory and with power.

“For we are the temple of the Living Yahweh. As Yahweh has said: “I will live with them and walk among them, and I will be their Elohim, and they will be my people. Therefore come out from them and be separate, says Yahweh. Touch no unclean thing, and I will receive you. I will be a Father to you, and you will be my sons and daughters, says Yahweh Almighty. Since we have these promises, dear friends, let us purify ourselves from everything that contaminates body and spirit, perfecting holiness out of reverence for Yahweh”. 2 Corinthians 6: 16-7:1

Restoration of the Sanctuary The great beauty and glory of the natural tabernacle was an earthly representation of the spiritual glory of the ‘heavenly’ tabernacle and its ministries, the final demonstration of which will be manifested in the New Jerusalem. In John’s vision, we see all manner of precious stones representative of the spiritual glory of that city. Rev. 21:10-21

The scriptures begin in Genesis with a sanctuary in the Garden of Eden, an enclosed place where Adam and Eve had a meeting with Yahweh in time. They enjoyed this fellowship while they kept the covenant to not eat of the Tree of the Knowledge of good and evil. After they sinned the cherubim were placed at the entrance to guard the way to the Tree of Life.

The Tabernacle constructed in the wilderness and later in the land, formed the second place of meeting of Yahweh with His people. It was an enclosed place separated and sanctified from this world to accommodate a physical manifestation of His Presence.

In the Tabernacle, the Holy of Holies represented the environment of the Garden of Eden - its perimeter having the cherubims embroidered into the curtains which enclosed it, representing the cherubim which stood at the entrance to the literal garden.

Upon the cover of the Ark also within the Most Holy Place were the two cherubim facing each other with wings stretching over the Ark. They also were placed in a position of covering or guarding the Ark.

The Garden of Eden represents the spiritual environment that Yahweh intended for His children to fellowship with Him. After they sinned, the two cherubim were placed at the entrance to the garden to guard the way to the Tree of Life so that it would not be available to them while in their sinful state. Genesis 3:24

Upon the cover of the Ark, the cherubim are overshadowing and guarding the contents of the two tablets of stone that contain the covenant between Yahweh and His people - the terms of the agreement, which are His laws/principles - the Torah. The cherubim over the Ark are guarding the way to the Tree of Life - covenant relationship in the Torah.

The way back to the Garden of Eden, the full restoration of relationship with Yahweh, is through the covenant He has made in the keeping of His life-giving principles. As the cherubim were placed at the entrance to the Garden, so the cherubim are placed at the entrance into the Ark. The way in is first through the Brazen Altar of sacrifice (salvation), then the Laver (Mikvah/Baptism), then into the Holy Place and the ministry of the Holy Spirit, then within the veil in the final step of complete sanctification of the self-life (the Day of Atonement experience), where the true worshipper can enter His glorious Presence.

Yeshua our High Priest has entered in behind the veil and sprinkled the mercy-seat on our behalf to make atonement for our sin. He has entered in between the cherubim and partaken of the Tree of Life for all who have come into covenant relationship with Him. Revelation 22: 1-5

We must follow He Who has gone before us in full surrender of our lives to His will and purpose, obeying His principles by the Spirit in complete obedience to Him in order to enter into His glory.