READINGS: Torah T’rumah: Exodus 26:31–27:23
Haftarah: I Kings 6:8-13
B’rit Chadasha: Matthew 5:33-37
“ . . . As it has been shown you on the Mountain,
so shall they make it”
With today’s aliyah of Torah we will conclude our study of parsha T’rumah and enter into blessed Sabbath rest. But be assured that Moshe’s magical mystery tour is far from over. The Mish’kan discourse will continue through our next parsha [Tetzaveh], and even to the approximate midpoint of the parsha after that [Ki Tisa].
When we leave the T’rumah narrative, however, the focus of the Holy One’s instructions will undergo a dramatic shift — from the structures the Holy One wants us to visualize and build to the people He intends to ordain to mediate His truths within those structures.
Ah, but there will be plenty of time to talk about that next week. For now, let us prepare our hearts for the Sabbath by returning our focus to the text of parsha T’rumah and to the marvelous structures, shapes, colors, and stunning images that our Divine Bridegroom is showing Moshe.
The week began, you will recall, with a Divine call for the taking of a t’rumah – i.e., something “lifted up” to the Holy One.
At first we thought that just meant we were to bring “stuff” – silver, gold, bronze, cloth dyed in sky blue, dark red, and crimson dyes, pure virgin olive oil, and precious jewels and spices — things the Egyptians had showered on us as we were leaving Mitzrayim in the middle of the night.
As the week progressed, however, we realized that what the Holy One really wanted us to “lift up” to Him was not our stuff, but US.
We learned that the essence of of our Divine Bridegroom’s T’rumah call was that our eyes and our hearts are to be perpetually lifted up to gaze upon and internalize the Heavenly realities He pulled back the veil for Moshe.
We discovered that it is actually our Divine Bridegroom’s intention to train us to become Bridal in orientation by focusing our minds and our souls and our wills and our spirits intently on the blueprint of Heavenly reality which He has revealed to Moshe during these forty days in “the Cloud”.
Wherever we are – forever – He wants us to always be able to picture in our mind’s eye, if not our physical sight both the stunning beauty and the essential characteristics of the very special place He has prepared for us as His Bride.
It is His plan that every experience, every interaction, every relationship, every triumph, trial, and trauma which will ever be part of our lives is to be approached, viewed and interpreted by us through the prism of the Heavenly Throne room vision which He is making a part of our spiritual DNA.
No matter what might befall us, or in what depths of despair we might [and will soon] enter, He wants to equip us to remember that we are now the Holy One’s Betrothed – and thus always have an eternal means of access to Him, through Heavenly protocol.
We are forever to long for, and seek after, higher ground.
We are to let the realization sink in that we will never be citizens – only sojourners – anywhere else.
With the psalmist, we are to forever sing:
How lovely are your dwelling places, Oh Holy One of Hosts!
My soul longs, and even faints for the courts of the Holy One.
My heart and my flesh cry out for the living God.
Yes, the sparrow has found a home,
And the swallow a nest for herself,
where she may have her young, near your altars,
Oh Holy One of Hosts,
my King, and my God.
Blessed are those who dwell in your house.
They are always praising you. Selah.
Never forget, the place our Bridegroom has prepared for us.
It is not a church, a synagogue, a temple, or a mosque.
It is the place where His train fills the Temple, where keruvim and serafim fall down before His Throne and cry “Holy, Holy, Holy, is the LORD God Almighty! The whole earth is filled with His Glory!” It is the place where a thousand thousands minister in awe and reverence, and where ten thousand times ten thousand stand before Him to serve Him. It is the place where the court of Heaven is seated, and the books of life are open. It is the place where every creature which is in heaven and on the earth and under the earth and such as are in the sea, and all that are in them, will one day proclaim with one voice:
“Blessing and honor and glory and power
be to Him who sits on the throne,
And to the Lamb, forever and ever!”
Keep looking up.
There is a place prepared for you.
The Veil . . . and Beyond
We have discussed this week that the Mish’kan which the Holy One told Moshe to build was to consist of three parts – first, the outer courts, second, the ‘holy place’, and finally, the k’dosh ha-k’doshim [the Holy of Holies, also called the “most holy place”].
It has been a week of mystery, symbolism, architecture and interior design.
It started with the Holy One giving instructions to Moshe concerning an aron [ark], which we are to build from gold and shittim wood, which is to house the precious Words the Holy One has spoken over us as a people, and which is to be located in the k’dosh ha-k’doshim.
The Holy One then proceeded to give Moshe instructions regarding the menorah and the shulchan [table] with which He wanted us to furnish the antechamber known as the ‘holy place’.
But, so far, we have not been told what is to separate the holy place, where the menorah and the shulchan will be stationed, from the k’dosh ha-k’doshim [holy of holies], where the aron will reside.
Will it be a permanent, impassible barrier that separates the area of the menorah and the table [and, we will eventually find, the golden altar of incense], from the ark?
No, – it will not. The ‘wall of separation’ marking off the holy place from the k’dosh ha-k’doshim we are to build on earth will simply be a fabric ‘veil’.
You heard me right — a veil.
Every bride-to-be needs one, right?
And at the proper time, under the proper circumstances, our veil, as every other bridal veil, will be lifted.
But alas, now we are really getting ahead of ourselves, aren’t we?
Our Bridal Veil
Today’s aliyah begins with the instructions given by the Holy One for the parochet [VEIL] between the holy place and the k’dosh ha-k’doshim
Since no human was to enter the k’dosh ha-k’doshim [except Moshe, and later the kohen g’dol (high priest)], this parochet was to be ultimate boundary line for the Redeemed Community. She herself could come into the courtyard. Her designated “friends of the Bride” could enter on her behalf into the k’dosh [the holy place where the menorah, the table of showbread, and the golden altar of incense were located]. These two areas, however, were simply antechambers. The parochet was as far as the Bride-to-be, or her designated representatives could, for the time being, go.
Beyond the parochet, you see, lies an intimacy with the Holy One for which the Bride-to-be was not yet ready.
Here are the words the Holy One used to instruct us on the fashioning and erection of the parochet.
V’asita parochet techelet
Make a veil out of techelet [sky-blue],
v’argaman v’tola’at shani v’shesh moshezar
argaman [dark red], and tola’at [crimson] [wool, woven] with twined linen.
ma’aseh choshev ya’aseh otah keruvim
Cherubim are to be woven into it [they should be seen on both sides].
* * *
v’heveta shamah mibeit l’parochet et Aron ha-Edut
Into the space behind this curtain you are to bring the Ark of Testimony.
V’hiv’dilah ha-parochet lachem beyn ha-kodesh
This curtain will thus divide between the Holy Place
uveyn k’desh ha-k’dashim.
and the Holy of Holies.
Note that the purpose of the veil is not to close off access into the Holy of Holies from the Holy Place and the other areas of the Mish’kan. It is, instead, the other way around. The access that is closed off by the veil is access from the Holy of Holies to the Holy Place and to other areas of the Mish’kan.
A veil, as you will recall, is not for the Bridegroom — it is for the bride.
A veil does not cover the Bridegroom’s face – but the bride’s.
What does it mean when a bride wears a veil? First of all, it declares to the world that I recognize, and want everyone else to know, that I am set apart to — and for – my Beloved, and therefore I do not reveal my face – my emotions or my beauty — to any other but Him. Secondly it proclaims to the Bridegroom My union with You, My Beloved, is certain . . . but it is not time — not now, not yet.
The veil in the Mish’kan is the veil of a fervent, but immature, Bride-to-be, Beloved. It is a veil appropriate for one who, on her betrothal day,
. . . perceived the thunder and the lightning flashes
and the sound of the trumpet
and the mountain smoking;
and . . .TREMBLED
and STOOD AT A DISTANCE.
Then . . . said to Moshe,
‘Speak to us yourself and we will listen;
but LET NOT GOD SPEAK TO US, or WE WILL DIE.’
At the proper time, our Bridegroom will lift our veil, Beloved.
And we shall see Him . . . face-to-Face.
Come To the Altar
Next the Holy One directs us to build in the outer court of the Mish’kan a community altar – an altar made of brass (or bronze) — upon which He specifically invited every member of the Redeemed Community to approach Him for intimate forms of communion.
Yes, you read that correctly. The brazen altar was designed to be a place of Divine encounter every bit as much as the mercy seat in the holy-of-holies was. The brazen altar was the place ordained by the Holy One for ordinary men to come to surrender and put to death in the Divine Flame all things that hinder a human being from experiencing true love and intimacy with the Divine Bridegroom.
I know that is not the image most people have of the brazen altar. I know that most Christians and many Jews have been taught erroneously that the only one who could meet with the Holy One at the Tabernacle was the anointed High Priest, and that this meeting could only occur once a year. I know that there is a ton of un-Biblical nonsense being preached about the High Priest having to tie a rope around his foot before he went into this meeting so that if he died in the Holy One’s presence his body could be dragged out without anyone else going into the Holy of Holies. That kind of thing would be comical if it not so patently unscriptural yet so often taught as if it were truth. The truth is that there is not a single passage anywhere in either the Bible or the holy books of Judaism which speaks of this. It is nothing but a figment of someone’s fertile imagination.
While the Bible does speak of a once-a-year meeting to take place between the High Priest and the Holy One, that special purpose meeting is NOT by any means the only meeting that the Holy One planned to have with His people in the Tabernacle. The once-a-year meeting in the holy-of-holies had a very specific purpose – to deal with important national issues, not personal ones. That once-a-year meeting was designed to deal prophetically with end-time issues of ultimate atonement for the nation of Israel [when, as Shaul of Tarsus taught, “all Israel will be saved”] not to deal with day-by-day recurring issues of intimacy between us as individual bride-in-training candidates and the Holy One as our Divine Bridegroom.
We are going to learn in the next book of Torah, Leviticus, that there were five very different kinds of very personal, intimate meetings the Holy One wanted to have with ordinary people – people like you and me — at this location.
Personal issues between the Holy One’s chosen Bride-in-training and the Holy One Himself were not designed to be resolved in the Holy of Holies once a year – they were to be dealt with at the Brazen Altar, in the outer court of the Tabernacle, any time our hearts longed to experience our Bridegroom’s presence.
Much, much more detail will be provided on the marvelous truth associated with this revelation in connection with our study of Leviticus. For the time being, however, please just understand that the brazen altar the Holy One instructed us to build in the outer court of the Mish’kan, visible and accessible to all, was definitely not, as you may have been taught, designed to be a place of ‘appeasement’ of God through animal sacrifice. What this altar was instead designed by our Divine Bridegroom to be was a place of regularly re-enacting, on earth, for all to see, the before-the-foundation-of the-world event in connection with which the Holy One, with each one of us individually and all of us collectively in mind, caused a perfect, sinless Lamb to be slain on behalf of all human beings.
You will notice that I just described what was to be done at the brazen altar as ‘re-enacting’. I am aware that some ‘time bound’ readers will argue I should not have said that. They will protest that what I should have said instead of re-enacting was ‘pre-enacting’ or ‘prefiguring’. And they will be offended that I referenced something that took place ‘before the foundation of the world’ as the focal point of all that ever took place at the brazen altar, instead of the bloody act of crucifixion that took place on the hill called Golgotha on Passover, c29CE.
Some may think that I am guilty of ‘denigrating the Cross’.
It anyone thinks that, however, they will be dead wrong. I am not denigrating the Cross and the Crucifixion. To the contrary, I am attempting to put the Cross and the Crucifixion into proper perspective. I am trying to point the reader to the Torah-based origin, the purpose, and the true, deep, eternal meaning behind the drama that played out before the eyes of the world on the hill called Golgotha.
From the perspective of our Covenant Partner in Heaven, you see, the event that Scripture refers to as occurring before the Foundation of the World and the one that Scripture refers to as occurring on Golgotha’s hill were one and the same event. The Holy One is ‘outside’ of time. Time is merely a creation of the Holy One, a stage for human beings to inhabit. Time provides a convenient frame of reference for human minds. But the Holy One is He who was, who is, and who will be. He can, and does, inject His words, manifestations of Himself, and His will, into what we call ‘time’ at will. He does it regularly. And when He does so, the words and images He thus injects –which are eternal, as He is eternal, and infinite as He is infintite — are not bound or limited by time in any way.
Thus what happened on Golgotha in c.29 CE (approximately) is the same event that happened ‘before the foundation of the world’ – at Golgotha what happened outside of time, before the foundation of the world, was merely made manifest for human eyes to see, and thereby brought into the consciousness of we who live in the realm of and are able only to think of things in terms of time.
Passover circa 29 CE is not when the critical spiritual event happened; it is merely when human eyes drank in the spectacle of it.
The Lamb, you see, was slain before the foundation of the world. From the Holy One’s perspective, He was slain before there were any Jewish people either to accept Him, deny Him, cry ‘Crucify Him’, or mourn Him. From the Holy One’s perspective the Lamb was slain before there was a Pontius Pilate to issue the order or any Roman soldiers to carry it out.
Do you understand? The human beings who were involved in the ‘Passion’ story of Golgotha were merely actors, following a Divine script. The same Lamb was merely made visible to us all on Golgotha.
Understanding this spiritual reality allows us to understand why neither the Jews nor the Romans, nor Pilate, nor Herod, nor Caiphas, nor Judas nor Barabbas can be blamed for ‘murdering’ Y’shua. From the foundation of the World, He laid down His life voluntarily. The Holy One Himself issued the decree and struck the blow.
And that, Beloved, is the true testimony the brazen altar was designed by the Holy One to proclaim to us.
Some Assembly Required
Here are the words with which the Holy One introduced us to the brazen altar on which we are to approach and meet with Him, surrendering all which hinders intimacy and love:
V’asita et ha-mizbe’ach atsei shitim
“Make the altar of shittim wood . . .
* * *
Make its horns on its four corners;
its horns are to be of one piece with it;
and you are to overlay it with brass.
Make its pots to take away its ashes,
its shovels, its basins,
its flesh hooks, and its fire pans:
all its vessels you are to make of brass.
Make a grating for it of network of brass
* * *
Make poles for the altar, poles of acacia wood, and overlay them with brass.
Its poles are to be put into the rings,
. . . Make it, as it has been shown you on the mountain . . .
The Holy One designed this altar so that each time we brought an animal or a portion of grain, or of wine, we would see a picture, and would remember the eternal truth that lay behind the “replica” at which we performed our ritual – the Lamb slain before the foundation of the world.
This was the same Lamb whose skin was provided to Adam and Chava in exchange for their fig leaf coverings.
It was in the virtue of, if not in memory of, this same Lamb that we appropriated blood for our doorposts on the night the Holy One slew the firstborn of Egypt.
It was never the Holy One’s intention for us to trust in the blood of bulls and goats slain at the brazen altar – what happened there was only to be a symbolic representation of the eternal truth the Holy One revealed to Moses on the mountain.
It was to be the eternal truth revealed to Avraham our father on Mount Moriyah in which we trusted.
We were – we are — to live our lives in acceptance of the truth Avraham prophesied so many years before:
“on the mountain of the Holy One,
He will be seen”.
What part of the Heavenly Throne room is the brazen altar designed to replicate you ask? Consider the following passage from the Heavenly Throne Room scene as reported by the prophet Daniel:
His throne [was] a fiery flame, its wheels a burning fire;
A fiery stream issued and came forth from before Him.
A thousand thousands ministered to Him;
Ten thousand times ten thousand stood before Him.
[Daniel 7:6(b) -7]
Remember that the source of the fire on the brazen altar was not of human origin – instead, Torah tells us that fire fell from Heaven. See Leviticus 9:24. Torah also tells us that the holy fire was to be kept burning on the brazen altar continually and never allowed to go out. Leviticus 6:12-13.
Think also, therefore, of the experience Yeshayahu [Isaiah] described in Isaiah 6, where the prophet describes a seraf [burning one] as taking ‘a live coal’ from the altar with tongs. We know what altar the prophet is talking about, don’t we?
 Other than in an Islamic society, that is.