“You Shall Command”
Torah: Exodus 27:20–30:10
PROPHETS: Ezekiel 43:10–27
APOSTOLIC WRITINGS: Hebrews 13:10–16
These devotionals are designed to supplement, not replace, your Bible reading.
Torah 1 & 2
Illuminating the Presence of The Lord
Last week God gave Moses instructions to build the Mishkan (Tabernacle), the earthly dwelling for His habitation. How many pieces of “holy furniture” can you remember? Can you remember where these pieces of furniture were located (hint: one main piece in the inner Most Holy Place and two pieces so far identified in the Holy Place)? This week God sculpts His “set apart ones” (kohanim=priests) to “light” the way by clothing and consecrating them. (The actual ceremony to ordain and set apart the kohanim happens in Leviticus 8 after the Mishkan is constructed.)
God instructs Moses to “command” the Israelites to bring pure olive oil to keep the holy Menorah glowing before the presence of the Lord (27:20–21; cf. Leviticus 24:1–4). He also gives instructions to prepare holy vestments/garments for the kohanim who will minister before Him. The garments for the Kohen Gadol (High Priest) are the main focus. The Kohen Gadol wears many layers, beginning closest to the skin and working outward: the linen undergarment covering the area below the waist, the tunic secured around the waist with a sash, a robe covered by an ephod over which is secured the breastpiece. The ephod (28:6–12) is most likely a sleeveless overgarment with shoulder pieces that is secured by a skillfully woven waistband.
Serving The Lord in Holy Garments
The breastpiece (vv. 13–30) is made of linen and wool (could this sacred “mixing” of materials be the basis for preventing such mixing in secular contexts, Deuteronomy 22:11?), is about 9 inches square, and the “folded-over” material probably created a pouch in which the Urim and Thummim were kept (Leviticus 8:8). The Kohen Gadol bears the community he represents upon his shoulders and upon his heart.
Yeshua is our Kohen Gadol and He carries our burdens on His shoulders and our heart in His hands. He is alive at God’s right hand in the heavenly Mishkan interceding for you now (cf. Hebrews 7:24–25 and 9:11, 24)! When do you most often come to Him in prayer? Do you come mainly when you want certain “needs” met? Messiah lives – and His love for you is beyond measure. Respond to His invitation in Matthew 11:28–30 today!
Torah 3 & 4
Garments for Priestly Service
Under the ephod, the Kohen Gadol wears a blue knit robe. The hem is embroidered with pomegranates and golden bells that could be heard jingling during his ministry in the Ohel Moed (Tent of Meeting).
Upon his head is a turban that contains a frontlet, a small golden plate, bearing the inscription “Holy to the Lord.” This inscription identifies that he is “set apart” to fulfill God’s purposes, uphold His holiness, minister His mercy, and display His glory. Just as the priest is set apart among the nation in this way – so to, the Sinai covenant set Israel apart among the nations for these priestly purposes (cf. Jeremiah 2:3). Also in this way, Yeshua became the Kohen Gadol to save us through our faith and lead us in His power (cf. Hebrews 5:1–10).
The tunic and sash, the turban, and the linen undergarments are not just for the Kohen Gadol (v. 39), but also for the rest of the kohanim (priests, the descendants of Aaron) as well (vv. 40–43).
Preparing Kohanim for Priestly Service
Just as materials needed to build the Mishkan are listed (Exodus 25:1–7) before the instructions are given to actually build it (25:8–27:19), so too are the materials listed first before the instructions for installing the kohanim (i.e. three animals and matzah in a basket).
All the kohanim are to be washed (v. 4) and dressed (vv. 8–9) but only Aaron, the Kohen Gadol is to be anointed with oil (vv. 5–7).
The first animal to be sacrificially used in the installation process is a bull for the chatat (sin or purification offering).
The second sacrificial animal is a ram for the olah (ascent or burnt offering). These two sacrifices prepare and set apart the kohanim for priestly service. The kohanim perform s’micha (laying on of hands) for both of these animals (vv. 10, 15). When blood is involved in ritual ceremonies there is great theological significance to where this blood is applied. Where is the blood from the chatat applied (v. 12)? Compare this blood manipulation to the covenant ceremony at Mt. Sinai that set apart Israel as a holy and priestly nation among the nations of the world (24:6).
If worship and fellowship happen “at the altar,” how does this innocent blood of chatat cleanse the place where God in His holiness will meet with man in his unholiness (cf. Leviticus 16:19)? Meditate on this and why it’s so important. Now read Hebrews 9:11–14. How does Messiah’s innocent blood cleanse your heart and conscience as the place where God dwells through faith in Yeshua and by the power of His Spirit? Meet with Him at your “heart altar” now through prayer and worship Him. Read Psalm 99 and personalize it as a song of praise from your heart directly to the Throne of Grace for the precious privilege of our access to Him! Ask Him to stir you with passion for the lost from Israel and the Nations that God in His glory and splendor will reign on earth!
torah 5 & 6
Ordaining Kohanim for Fellowship
(cf. Being Disciples)
The third sacrificial animal is the other ram for the ordination offering (a special kind of sh’lamim, [fellowship or peace offering]). After s’micha and slaughter, where is the blood applied (v. 20)? Compare this blood manipulation to the covenant ceremony at Mt. Sinai that set apart Israel as a holy and priestly nation among the nations of the world (24:8).
The ordination process also includes:
a) Mixing blood from the altar with anointing oil and applying it directly on all kohanim and their garments (v. 21)
b) Burning the fat, right thigh, and Matzah from the basket after the kohanim wave these in their hands before the Lord (vv. 22–25)
c) Moses, as the officiating priest, eating the breast portion (v. 26)
d) A concluding fellowship meal in the presence of the Lord (vv. 31–34)—compare this climactic fellowship experience to the one that concluded the covenant ceremony at Mt. Sinai (24:11)
e) A 7–day process with daily chatat offerings that render the bronze, outer altar “Most Holy” (vv. 35–37).
Using Kohanim to Serve Man in Worshiping God
(cf. Making Disciples)
This ordination ceremony frees the kohanim to minister and worship before the presence of the Lord and also to serve the people in drawing close to God in worship and sacrifice. The regular daily olah involves beginning the day and ending the day with gifts to God (cf. Numbers 28:1–8).
Read vv. 43–46 for a summary of God’s plan and purpose previewed in Exodus 25:8. Old Covenant Tabernacle priests foreshadow New Covenant believer priests! Can you see how the process of preparing these kohanim for priestly service in 29:1–18 foreshadows the way God’s Spirit drew you and prepared you to serve Him? How does the process of ordaining these kohanim foreshadow the way that God set you apart by His Spirit purifying and renewing you? Priests must first “be” in His presence before they can serve others in drawing near to Him (“making” worshipers/disciples).
Read John 15:5–8 and listen to God’s word to you in regarding “being” His set apart follower. Also consider how He wants you to go about “making” other set apart followers. How might beginning and ending each day in communion with God through prayer and Bible reading parallel the daily olah?
torah 7 &
Inside the Holy Place is another smaller altar for burning incense.
God tells Moses how to make it (vv. 2–5), where to put it (v. 6), when to use it (vv. 7–8), how NOT to use it (v. 9), and to do a once–a–year “house–cleaning” during Yom Kippur (v. 10).
The maftir begins in v. 8 where this portion, T’tsaveh, began – lighting the Menorah (27:20–21).
How can you apply the priestly ministry at the inner golden altar to your New Covenant priestly ministry according to Revelation 5:8 and 8:3–4?
Quoted from Feinberg, J., Walk Exodus! 1999, p. 150:
“The prophet sees Israel re–enacting the Sinai covenant in the Land. Coming in the midst of Ezekiel’s vision of New Jerusalem, this particular chapter (Ezekiel 43) describes God’s return to the temple. But it is not the second temple, it is the temple to come [Radak]! Parallel with the consecration of the copper [bronze] altar in the parashah (Exodus 29:36–37), Ezekiel requires that a chata’t… be offered each day, for seven days, to cleanse the altar. Then the altar is anointed, sanctified as most holy (Ezekiel 43:26–27). Israel will not pollute this temple as they polluted the former temple (Ezekiel 44:6–10). Indeed, only Zadokites will serve (these are priests who remained loyal to David, Ezekiel 44:15–16). In this vision, Ezekiel is mystically transported from exile to Jerusalem (Ezekiel 40:1–4). One can wonder which kohanim will be transported and consecrated to ‘present your burnt offerings [olah] on the altar and your peace offerings’ (Ezekiel 43:27). Read Exodus 24:3–11. Notice that our people ratified Sefer haB’rit (Book of Covenant) in blood, and that young men made offerings in the Presence of God. Explain how redeeming the nation requires a cleansed altar in the Land.”
Continue Daily Offerings
Quoted from Feinberg, J., Walk Exodus! 1999, p. 151:
“Gifts of praise and thanksgiving characterize life in the time to come. Motives ‘for doing good and sharing with others’ (Hebrews 13:16) should not be entangled with desires for the respect or acceptance of others, but solely to please God. Believers ‘must not seek respect or inclusion on any terms except God’s’ [Stern, 1992, p. 722]. Yeshua’s sacrifice, taking place ‘outside the camp,’ is perceived by the world as ‘disgraceful’ (Hebrews 13:11–13). If Yeshua couldn’t avoid such disgrace when sacrificing to please God, how should we expect anything different? The rabbis point to fulfillment of the covenant sacrifices: ‘In the time to come, all sacrifices will be annulled except for the sacrifice of thanksgiving’ [Leviticus 9:7]. These special sacrifices are called todah (thank offerings) (Jeremiah 33:11), special sh’lamim (fellowship or peace offerings) eaten in one day (cf. John 6:50–59). Though mysterious, we share His disgrace in order to appropriate His grace. Read Psalm 51:17–18, 21 [15–16, 19 TaNaCh], Romans 12:1–2, Hebrews 13:16. Distinguish the offerings that are acceptable on the golden altar from the offerings that the nations might bring. What sacrifices will be acceptable at the temple?”
Rest. Fellowship. Discussion.