The way home is open
Torah Portion: T’rumah (Donations) Sh’mot/Ex. 25:1-27:19
Haftorah Reading: I Kings 5:26-6:23
Our Torah portion this week gives us a detailed list of the donations the people of Israel brought to be used in the building of the Mishkan or Tabernacle. It also tells us, in Exodus 36:5, that Moshe had to eventually tell the people to stop donating. They had given more than was needed.
Before we go on I have to take a moment to make a few points that should speak to us. First, the Hebrew word translated as Tabernacle is Mishkan. This word has at its root the Hebrew word shahunah, meaning neighbor or neighborhood. Does this give you any insight into what was in G-d’s heart in the building of this structure? It tells me G-d is interested and needs to be closer than a neighbor in our life. He desires to be in a relationship with us all the time, not just now and then. G-d did not leave Israel after the experience at Sinai. He chose to dwell among them every day. We see the same idea in John 1:14 where John talks about Yeshua dwelling among us like a neighbor. I expect John had the idea of the Mishkan when he wrote these words. Also, his Hebrew audience would have been able to make that same connection. I pray each of us will explore, in our own lives, what this means to us as believers.
Another question for us to ponder, how would you characterize the people of Israel up to this point? Thinking back, it seems to me that up until this point the Exodus had been marked by a series of complaints. No water, no meat, on and on the list went. Even after the building of the Mishkan was finished we see complaining raising its head again.
However, here during the process of building the Mishkan we hear not one complaint. In fact, as we read, Moshe had to tell them to stop donating. What made the difference? Here, the people were united with one common goal. No longer were they focusing on their own personal issues. They were entirely focused on what G-d’s desire was for them. They became a nation working together, not just a group of people looking out for number one. They became the people of G-d, focused on His will and desire for them at that moment. This also is a lesson for us all. We are all called on to be part of building the kingdom of G-d in our own life. We are called to reach out to those around us. Ephesians 2:19 tells us, “So then you are no longer strangers and aliens, but you are fellow citizens with the saints and members of the household of G-d.” As you read on in verses 20-21 we read how we all share in the duty of building the place for G-d to dwell. I pray this will help us see our part in this on-going construction of a place for our Heavenly Father to dwell among us.
Now, finally to my questions for the week. It concerned the tearing of the veil which we read about in Mark 15:38. First, it is important for us to remember this veil mentioned in Mark is the same veil mentioned in our Torah portion in Exodus 26:33. This veil separated the Holy of Holies from the holy place where the priests preformed their functions such as lighting the menorah and changing the show bread. When we read the verse in Mark, where the veil is torn, what have we usually thought of this event? How has it been explained or taught in Christianity? Many Christian scholars have taught that the verse in Mark meant that G-d was displeased with the people of Israel and was finished with the Temple. About forty years after Messiah’s death and resurrection the temple was destroyed by the Romans and until today has not been rebuilt. This is often looked to as proof of G-d’s displeasure with the Jewish people.
Let me offer another way of looking at this. In Hebrews 10:19-20 we read where the veil symbolizes the Messiah’s body. He is the veil. As He breathed His last breath the veil was torn in two. This was to show us that we have access to the throne of Glory in the Heavenly Temple through Him. The tearing of the veil dramatized what the death of Messiah accomplished for us. We now have access to the Father through Yeshua’s suffering.
The two cherubim on the veil bring us to remember the two cherubim that guarded the access to the Tree of Life in the garden. In His death and the tearing of the veil it symbolizes for all of us, the way was open to us spiritually to the Tree of Life.
I pray this encourages us all in our spiritual life. Before the foundation of the world G-d in His mercy had planned a way home for us all. Bless you all this week. May the Father touch your life and give you peace and rest,