Torah Portion: Tetzaveh (You shall command) Sh’mot/Ex. 27:20-30:10
Haftorah Reading: Ezekiel 43:10-27
Much of this Torah portion is concerned with the installation and anointing of Aaron as high priest and his children as priests. Their purpose being to serve G-d and the people in the Mishkan or Tabernacle and later in the Temple in Jerusalem. They served the people as their go between with G-d. The office of high priest was passed down through Aaron’s family and descendants over the years. Here in our portion, great care and attention to details were given to everything the priest wore and how Aaron and his sons served the people of Israel.
To give us some insight into this process and how it might apply to our own lives, I would like you to look at Sh’mot/Exodus 29:7. Here we read, “And you shall take the oil of the anointing and you shall pour it on his head and you shall anoint him.” In this verse we read three verbs that will help us grasp more clearly what is being said here. The first verb is v’lakakhta or in English, “And you shall take.” This verb is telling us what Moshe is about to do. He is to take the special oil mixture and use it to set apart Aaron his brother.
Exodus 30:25 explains a bit of the process that was followed to make this anointing oil. The oil, when applied, confers holiness upon the person being anointed. It is a unique level of separation or a set apartness for that person for the service of G-d.
The second verb we read is v’yatzakta or, “And you shall pour.” Moshe used enough of this oil that it ran down off Aaron’s head and flowed over his beard onto his robe. We can read Psalms 133:2 and get a great picture of how this would have appeared. Remember, this oil would have been used only on Aaron. His sons would go through a different process of being sprinkled with the oil.
The last verb is umashakta or, “And you shall anoint him.” This word is also the word later used to describe Yeshua as the Messiah or the Anointed One. This process set Aaron apart from anyone else. Once he was anointed he was no longer to take part in or associate with anything or person that was low or vulgar. So this process symbolically changed Aaron’s status from the profane to the sacred.
In scripture we also read of kings and prophets who were anointed, King David being one of the best examples. We can read of David’s anointing in I Samuel 16:13. Here we see Samuel take a container of oil and anoint David. We also read where the Spirit of the L-rd came upon the future king of Israel. The word used here for “came upon” in I Samuel can also be translated as “set ablaze.”
Now, when we come to the Messianic Scripture we see this process occurs with Yeshua in Mark 1:12, “And immediately the Spirit drove Him into the wilderness.” Like the future King of Israel in I Samuel 16:13, Yeshua was also anointed. However, as we read later in scripture, some people could not see this anointing on Yeshua. Pilot, Herod and others, did not recognize Yeshua for who He was or the anointing that was upon him. In Matthew 11:4-5 Yeshua told those who questioned who He was to go and tell their leader John about the things which they had seen and heard.
So this brings me to the point for us. What does all this teach us about who we are and what our role in this world is to be? First, all of us who have been redeemed have been anointed. Matthew 3:11 teaches us, “He will baptize you with the Holy Spirit and fire.” Yeshua Himself tells us in Acts 1:5, “for John baptized with water, but you will be baptized with the Holy Spirit not many days from now.”
This is our inheritance, our promise, as we live our life as a believer. This same power that worked in these early disciples is still at work in each of us today. We are set apart for His work. G-d is with us. We are to remain set apart as we go about His work. This means not falling into any practice that might reflect negatively on our set-apartness. We are to live holy lives worthy of our calling as children of the King.