Parashah 22: Vayak'hel (He assembled)
Exodus 35:1 through 38:20

Parashah 22: Vayak'hel (He assembled), Exodus 35:1 through 38:20

Haftarah (Writings and Prophets): 1 Kings 7:40-50; 1 Kings 7:51 - 8:21

B'rit Hadasha (New Testament): 2 Corinthians 9:1-15; Hebrews 9:1-14; Revelation 11:1-13; Revelation 15:5-8

Tanach Scriptures are from Stern's Complete Jewish Bible; B'rit Chadash Scriptures from the Aramaic English New Testament.

Welcome "newbies" and "oldies!" As you all know, Torah was written by Moshe (Moses) and consists of the first five Books of the Bible which contain God's original Divine Instructions in Righteousness. Since this is a Netzarim (Nazarene/Messianic) website, we refer to God by His proper Name: Yud-Hey-Vav-Hey, transliterated into English as YHWH, and most likely pronounced "Yah-way" (see Exodus 3:13-15). His Son's Name is Y'shua (most likely pronounced "Ye-shoo-ah"). Enjoy this week's Torah portion!

This parashah largely outlines the crafting of YHWH's Tabernacle and everything contained within, and of the holy garments worn by the priests. Before we begin, however, let's take another look at some of the awesome scriptures we read last week:

Exodus 33: 17 ADONAI said to Moshe, "I will also do what you have asked me to do, because you have found favor in my sight, and I know you by name." 18 But Moshe said, "I beg you to show me your glory!" 19 He replied, "I will cause all my goodness to pass before you, and in your presence I will pronounce the name of ADONAI. Moreover, I show favor to whomever I will, and I display mercy to whomever I will. 20 But my face," he continued, "you cannot see, because a human being cannot look at me and remain alive. 21 Here," he said, "is a place near me; stand on the rock. 22 When my glory passes by, I will put you inside a crevice in the rock and cover you with my hand, until I have passed by. 23 Then I will remove my hand, and you will see my back, but my face is not to be seen."

In the scripture above, we see YHWH's great love for, and mercy towards, His creation! And in the scripture below, He pronounces His Name for Moshe again, just as He did in Exodus 3:13-15! (For more on this, please see The Refiner's Fire's article, The Name of God.)

Exodus 34: 5 [YHWH, pronounced Yah-way] descended in the cloud, stood with him there and pronounced the name of . 6 passed before him and proclaimed: "YUD-HEH-VAV-HEH!!! Yud-Heh-Vav-Heh [] is God, merciful and compassionate, slow to anger, rich in grace and truth; 7 showing grace to the thousandth generation, forgiving offenses, crimes and sins; yet not exonerating the guilty, but causing the negative effects of the parents' offenses to be experienced by their children and grandchildren, and even by the third and fourth generations." 8 At once Moshe bowed his head to the ground, prostrated himself 9 and said, "If I have now found favor in your view, Adonai, then please let Adonai go with us, even though they are a stiffnecked people; and pardon our offenses and our sin; and take us as your possession."

Moving on to today's parashah we see how very adamant YHWH was about obedience. And once again we see that YHWH's Sabbath is on the seventh day, not on the first. (The scripture below echoes Exodus 34:21 and a host of others throughout the Tanach!)

Exodus 35: 1 Moshe assembled the whole community of the people of Isra'el and said to them, "These are the things which ADONAI has ordered you to do. 2 On six days work is to be done, but the seventh day is to be a holy day for you, a Shabbat of complete rest in honor of ADONAI. Whoever does any work on it is to be put to death.

It is so clear that we are to "work" for six days and then REST on the Seventh! Back in olden days before matches or electricity, people had to "work" to cut and gather the wood. To keep from being guilty of "working" they had to cut and gather wood before Shabbat. Today, all we need to do to have heat in our homes is to flick a switch; same with "building a fire" to cook meals. It's no longer "work" to do these things, but cooking, for instance, is work - and that is why it's best to prepare our Shabbat meals ahead of time. (Please see this article for some ideas on how to keep the Sabbath.)

Note that Exodus 35:21 reveals exactly what it means to have "Torah written on our hearts". These people who were earlier guilty of building a golden calf, had done the proverbial "180" and decided to live their lives for God:

Exodus 35: 20 Then the whole community of the people of Isra'el withdrew from Moshe's presence; 21 and they came, everyone whose heart stirred him and everyone whose spirit made him willing, and brought ADONAI's offering for the work on the tent of meeting, for the service in it and for the holy garments. 22 Both men and women came, as many as had willing hearts;

Notice who was charged with the construction of the Tabernacle:

Exodus 35: 30 Moshe said to the people of Isra'el, "See, ADONAI has singled out B'tzal'el the son of Uri, the son of Hur, of the tribe of Y'hudah. 31 He has filled him with the Spirit of God -with wisdom, understanding and knowledge concerning every kind of artisanry. 32 He is a master of design in gold, silver, bronze, 33 cutting precious stones to be set, woodcarving and every other craft. 34 [ADONAI] has also given him and Oholi'av the son of Achisamakh, of the tribe of Dan, the ability to teach others. 35 He has filled them with the skill needed for every kind of work, whether done by an artisan, a designer, an embroiderer using blue, purple and scarlet yarn, and fine linen, or a weaver - they have the skill for every kind of work and design.

The name of B'tzal'el is interesting because his name provides a fascinating clue about his gifting. His name comes from the combination of three Hebrew words: Be (in), tz'el (shade), and El (Elohim). It can be translated "in the shadow of Elohim." The name Oholi'av means both Father's Tent and Father's Shine. This is remarkable because the meaning of the name of Oholi'av's colleague B'tzal'el is "In The Shadow of Elohim". The shade or shadow (tz'el) of Elohim is a special place of refuge. The most Kadosh item in the Mishkan was the Aron Habberit (the Ark of the Covenant), made by B'tzal'el (in the shadow of YHWH) as the artisan's name indicates!

Josephus tells us in in the Antiquities 3.8.4 that B'tzal'el and Oholi'av appeared to be the most skillful of the workmen; for they invented finer works than what others had done before them, and were of great abilities to gain notions of what they were formerly ignorant of, and of these, B'zal'el was judged to be the best.

This parashah mainly concentrated on the gifts YHWH gave His people so that they could accomplish their work in the building of the Tabernacle wherein He was to dwell, and the willingness of the people to start properly obeying Him once more. For more information, please take some time to read the following links containing (1) general information about the Tabernacle, along with (2) a YouTube video describing the inside of the Tabernacle.

There's an interesting footnote in Stone's Tanach on Exodus 37, which tells us the account of the Tabernacle's construction ends with the vessels that represent the essence of the Sanctuary's teaching. These vessels, contained in the Tabernacle structure, symbolize the innermost of human ideals: The Ark contains YHWH's teachings; the Table reflects man's struggle to sustain his physical being by fighting for his daily bread {c.f. Gen. 3:17-19}; and the Menorah reflects man's obligation to spread the light of Torah beyond himself. {Matthew 5:16}.

Y'shua tells us to "Let your light shine like this in front of the sons of men that they should see your good works and they glorify your father who is in heaven (1 Peter 2:9, "But you are an elect race," - according to prophecy of Isaiah 66:20-21 - "officiating as priests of the Kingdom, a Set-Apart people, a redeemed congregation; that you should proclaim the praises of Him who called you out of darkness to His precious light.") The Ark that is in the Holy of Holies radiates its holiness to the Table and Menorah, and through them to the entire world.

We're not told about the exact length of time it took to build the Tabernacle, but it must have been an extraordinary feat for people who possessed only hand tools. This is what makes the following passage extremely powerful - just put yourself in Moshe's place and try to imagine how he must have felt when the people had accomplished all that ADONAI had ordered - as shown in part of the next parashah:

Exodus 39: 42 The people of Isra'el did all the work just as ADONAI had ordered Moshe. 43 Moshe saw all the work, and-there it was! - they had done it! Exactly as ADONAI had ordered, they had done it. And Moshe blessed them.

One important thing to glean from this week's parashah is that Moshe reiterated the importance of the Shabbat and made it clear that the offerings for the Tabernacle was voluntary. (The people donated so much at that point in time that they had to be told to stop!) Beginning in Exodus 36 we also see that YHWH Himself selected individuals and gave them the wisdom to craft/build the parts for the Tabernacles! In Exodus 35: 34-35, we see He gave His servants Oholi'av and Achisamakh of the tribe of Dan the ability to teach others....We know that He "qualifies the called" even today - Halleluyah!

Brit Chadashah reading:

While reading today's B'rit Chadasha portions, the significance of the Tabernacle becomes clear, as YHWH not only sent us His Messiah who chose to martyr Himself on our behalf, but reveals that He will also be meting out justice from the Third Temple, once it is built:

Hebrews 9: 1. Now, under the first (covenant), there were ordinances of ministration and an earthly sanctuary. 2. For in the first tabernacle which was erected there was the menorah and the table and the bread of the presence; and this was called the Sanctuary. 3. But the inner tabernacle which was within the second veil was called the Kadosh Kadoshim (Holy of Holies).

NOTE: Kadosh Kadoshim (Set Apart of the Set Aparts) translated as "Holy of Holies"; however, it is important to note that many religions use "holy" as a term to denote what is sacred unto them. In the Malchut Elohim, the term Kadosh denotes the "nature" of YHWH. YHWH is the sole Creator and sustainer of Life; He has made distinct "boundaries" in Himself which He reveals according to His Word and through the Ruach haKodesh.

In Christianity being "holy" is often thought of as "being like Jesus" although most Christians wouldn't dare to live like Y'shua and His Talmidim for fear of being "too Jewish," or being labeled as legalists! Y'shua and His followers were Torah Observant; it is within Torah Observance that one can truly define what it means to be "Set Apart unto YHWH." "But know that YHWH has Set Apart him that is Chasid (righteous) for Himself: YHWH will hear when I call unto him." (Psalm 4:3).

Hebrews 9: 4. And there were in it the golden censer and the ark of the covenant which was all overlaid with gold; and in it were the golden urn which contained the manna and the rod of Aaron which sprouted, and the tables of the covenant; 5. and over it were the cherubim of glory which overshadowed the mercy seat. But there is not time to speak particularly of each of the things which were so arranged. 6. And into the outer tabernacle the priests at all times entered and performed their ministration.

7. But into the inner tabernacle, once a year only, the high priest entered, with the blood which he offered for himself and for the sins of the people. 8. And by this the Ruach haKodesh indicated that the way to the Set Apart (places) was not yet manifested so long as the first tabernacle was standing: 9. and it was a symbol for that time during which oblation and sacrifices were offered that could not make perfect the conscience of him who offered them: 10. but (they consisted) only in food and drink and in the ablutions of diverse things which were flesh ordinances, and were set up until the time of restoration.

Hebrews 9: 11. But the Mashiyach who came was a High Priest of the good things which he created: and he entered into the great and perfect tabernacle which was not made with hands and was not of these created things. 12. And he did not enter with the blood of goats and calves; but with the blood of himself he entered once into the sanctuary and obtained eternal redemption.

13. For if the blood of goats and calves, with the ashes of a heifer, was sprinkled upon them that were defiled and sanctified them as to the purification of their flesh; 14. then how much more will the blood of the Mashiyach, who by the eternal Spirit offered himself without blemish to Elohim, purge our conscience from dead works so that we may serve the living Elohim? 15. And for this reason he became the Mediator of the renewed covenant, that he might by his death be redemption to them who had transgressed the first covenant; so that they who are called to the eternal inheritance might receive the promise.

Now take a look at what's to come:

Revelation 11: 1. And a reed was given to me, like a rod; and the Messenger stood, saying, Arise and measure the temple of Elohim, and the altar, and them that worship inside it. 2. But the court which is without the temple, leave out, and measure it not, because it is given to the Gentiles; and they will tread down the Set Apart city forty and two months. 3. And I will give my two witnesses; and they will prophesy a thousand and two hundred and sixty days, clothed in sackcloth. 4. These are the two olive-trees and the two menorahs which stand before Master YHWH of the earth.

5. And if any person will harm them, fire comes out of their mouth and consumes their adversary; and if any one will harm them, thus must he be slain. 6. They have power to shut up heaven so that the rain will not fall in those days: and they have power over the waters, to turn them into blood; and to smite the earth with all plagues as often as they please. 7. And when they will have completed their testimony, the beast of prey that came up from the abyss will make war upon them and will overcome them. 8. And their dead bodies (will be) in the open street of that great city which is spiritually called Sodom and Egypt, where also their Master (Y'shua) was executed on the stake. 9. And (they) of the nations and tribes and peoples and tongues will look upon their dead bodies, three days and a half; and will not suffer their dead bodies to be laid in the grave.

10. And they who dwell on the earth will rejoice over them and will be merry, and will send presents to one another; because those two prophets tormented them who dwell on the earth. 11. And after these three days and a half, the Spirit of Life from Elohim entered into them, and they stood upon their feet: and great fear fell on those who saw them. 12. And they heard a great voice from heaven, which said to them: Come up here. And they ascended to heaven in a cloud; and their enemies saw them. 13. And in the same hour there was a great earthquake, and the tenth part of the city fell: and the persons killed in the earthquake were seven thousand names: and they who remained were afraid and gave glory to Elohim.

2 Corinthians 9:6-8 to echoes the importance that we have the same wiling heart as did the people who prepared the Tabernacle in today's parashah:

2 Corinthians 9: 6. And this (I say): He that sows sparingly will also reap sparingly, and he that sows generously, will also reap generously. 7. Every man, according to his own views, not with sadness, not by constraint: for Elohim loves a joyous giver. 8. For it is in the power of Elohim, to make all good abound to you, so that you may have, at all times, and in everything, what is sufficient for you; and may abound in every good work.

There is so much more that could be said about today's study, and we wholeheartedly urge you to read the cited scriptures through, if you haven't already done so. If you have any questions or comments, please don't hesitate to write! Thank you for reading our Torah study notes for this week, and we pray for you a blessed week ahead, that may you ever grow in your knowledge of YHWH. And, as always, please let us know if you ever see anything in our studies that sounds "off the mark"! Nobody has the market cornered on absolute Truth; we are all learning and obeying to the best of our abilities....

The next parashah reading will be:

Parashah 23: P'kudei (Accounts) - Exodus 38:21 through 40:38.

Haftarah (Writings and Prophets): 1 Kings 7:51 - 8:21.

B'rit Hadasha (New Testament): Revelation 15:5-8.

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