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Terumah (Donate)

Weekly Torah Section: Terumah (Donation) Exodus 25:1-27:19, Haftorah: I Kings 5:12-6:13

Let us start with the Torah Portion which covers the materials used in the construction of the Mishkan (tabernacle). The title of this portion is Terumah. In this word is carried both the thought of an offering but more than that, an offering that is lifted up before G-d.  It is totally set apart for Him.

What was the purpose of the Mishkan? The purpose was for G-d to have a place to dwell among His people. In Hebrew the word Mishkan is from the same root as the word for neighbor. G-d did not leave Israel after the wonderful experience of Sinai but chose to dwell among them each day. John 1:14 carries the same idea about Yeshua. He dwells among us like a neighbor. I think John had the idea of the Mishkan in mind when he wrote this verse. Also, his Jewish audience would have made the same connection immediately.  

We can make many more connections with the Mishkan and our own walk of faith. In the Mishkan there was a lamp stand. Where was the lamp stand located? It was on the southern side of the Mishkan and the only light lighting the way to the holy of holies. Without the lamp stand the priests would have been stumbling in the dark. Yeshua saw himself as the “Light to the world” lighting the way for us to G-d.  The shewbread was on the north side near the lamp stand.  The Hebrew word for showbread could also mean “face bread”. James 1:23 says when a man looks into a mirror he sees his reflection but as he goes away he quickly forgets.  The shewbread, or face bread was there to reveal the inner self.

Now, I want to skip over to the position of the Mishkan. In Exodus 27:13 it says that the front side or entrance of the Mishkan faced eastward. The Hebrew reads, “on the front toward the rising sun.” The important Hebrew word here is, “kedma”. This word goes back to Genesis 2:8 where G-d made Eden to be a garden eastward. Here the word eastward is also a form of the same root word “kedma”. The root meaning of the word is beginning. So, this verse in Genesis 2:8 could be read as, “The L-rd G-d placed man in utter delight from the very beginning. And a river of pure water flowed from it. So both the Mishkan and Temple had the same orientation as the garden.  We can get a picture here of the Mishkan and Temple being a portal between heaven and earth meant to return man to that place of pure delight – a place of walking with  G-d. This was His purpose from the beginning.  This finds it fullest fulfillment in Yeshua. As we find our way to Him we enter into that pure delight of walking with Him in the fullness of joy forever.

So as we understand the meaning of Terumah being lifted up and totally dedicated to G-d, and the purpose of the Mishkan and its later fulfillment in Yeshua, we can get a grasp of what G-d has planned for us. He has plans for a life of pure joy even in the middle of the trials of this world.

As an addition to this thought let us look at the HafTorah in I Kings 5-6:13. What is the connection between the Temple and the Mishkan?  Here we read of Solomon building the Temple. He made a treaty with Hiram for the lumber to be used and for stone cutters to do the work. One thing to notice is in I Kings 5:17, the foundation stones were made of the best material. They were costly stones.  What can we learn from this? We must be as concerned about what is unseen as what is seen. No one saw these foundation stones. Yet they were of the same quality as the ones that were visible.  No matter if our actions or lives are seen or unseen they must be of the highest standard for they are a terumah to G-d. Matthew 6:6 says G-d sees everything.

In I Kings 6:4 it says Solomon made beveled windows. The traditional Jewish interpretation of this passage is that they were large on the inside while tapering down on the outside toward the world. Why? The Temple needed no light from without because G-d’s light was inside. In fact this arrangement of the windows could be looked at like a lens which focused G-d’s light into the world. Yeshua in John 8:12, refers to Himself as the light of the world. Those who follow Him will not walk in darkness. He is that garden of joy, our way back to that perfect fellowship with the Father. Praise G-d.