Wednesday, February 16, 2022

Thoughts from Parashat Ki Tisa

 In this week’s Parasha (Ki Tisa) YHVH appoints a very specific person to be the craftsman to make the holy items for the Mishkan. He anoints him with His Spirit; that is with wisdom, understanding and knowledge.  What is interesting is the order in which these are given.  How many of those claiming to function in the fivefold ministry (according to Ephesians 4:11), who are to be involved in the building the living Mishkan of YHVH, have really been called and anointed with the Spirit, having first wisdom, then understanding, and lastly the knowledge to carry out the task?  I am afraid that most try first to gain the knowledge of how-to. Afterward, through trial and error, obtain understanding of what Yeshua is asking of them, and perhaps after experiencing burnout, end up with wisdom.   In this regard it is also interesting to note a familiar scripture about the “Shoot out of the stump of Jesse”:  “The spirit of YHVH shall rest on him, the spirit of wisdom and understanding, the spirit of counsel and might, the spirit of knowledge and the fear of YHVH.  His delight shall be in the fear of YHVH” (Isaiah 11:2-3).  Again, notice the order of the ‘spirits’.

Starting in Exodus 24:12 through 32:14 Moses (with Joshua who is stationed on a lower level) is on the mountain, receiving the blueprint and all the instructions for building the Mishkan.   “Now YHVH said to Moses, ‘Come up to Me on the mountain and remain there, and I will give you the stone tablets with the Torah and the commandment which I have written for their instruction.’ So Moses arose with Joshua his servant, and Moses went up to the mountain of Elohim” (Exodus 24:12).  That is the last time the people will see Moses until he returns with the stone tablets in the middle of chapter 32.

What stands out are YHVH’s words of instruction just before He hands to Moses the tablets: “You shall surely observe My sabbaths; for this is a sign between Me and you throughout your generations, that you may know that I am YHVH who sanctifies you…   "It is a sign between Me and the sons of Israel forever; for in six days YHVH made heaven and earth, but on the seventh day He ceased from labor, and was refreshed"  (Exodus 31:13 - 32:1).  

Why is YHVH stressing the Shabbat rest above any of the other laws that He could have mentioned, especially the one to remember to love Him and one another? Are His people to first and foremost believe that He is the Creator of the heavens and the earth, and that He rested on the seventh day? What is so significant about His Shabbaths? In verse 13 YHVH states that, “you may know that I am YHVH who sanctifies you”. This is the only Shabbat passage in which Elohim makes a reference to this day’s origin, being the Creation’s seventh day, and in which He Himself is said to have been “refreshed”. In this way, Elohim is pointing to a different era, to the Edenic age, and what’s more, He is emphatically tying His “sign” between Him and His people and His “perpetual covenant” with them to the Source, to Himself and to a sin-devoid world of complete rest. Is the One Who Knows the end from the beginning intimating that all His dealings with Israel, the sign, the covenant, the Mishkan, the sanctification (which is mentioned here in v. 13) are all pointing to a time and a place of purity, to what was designated in the first place? Additionally, is the Shabbat rest to be a foretaste of this kingdom that is yet to come, and is Israel to be the chief actor (and beneficiary) on humanity’s stage to rehearse, practice, and demonstrate this reality to the rest of mankind? Hence, just before handing down the instruction manual for the life that would be lived toward this goal, YHVH elevates the Shabbat as His main representation in its prophetic role. 

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