“They shall bring you clear oil of beaten olives for the light, to raise up a lamp perpetually…” (Exodus 27:20—See Torah Section below)
“You, O LORD, keep my lamp burning; my God turns my darkness into light”
(Psalm 18:28 NIV)
The readings for this week 10-16 February 2019 are called Tetzaveh—“You Shall Command”:
Lights and Illumination
This week’s Torah reading begins and ends with Light and Illumination (Exodus 27:20-21; 30:7-8); and within the middle are “Lights and Perfections” (See Urim & Thumim below).
Moses is instructed to command the Children of Israel to bring to him “clear oil of beaten olives for the light, to raise up a lamp perpetually.” Near the close, the High Priest’s duties will include servicing the wicks and flames each morning and evening, at which time he will also be burning incense before the LORD.
Chapter 28 contains instructions related to preparation of the holy garments for Aaron the High Priest and his sons, with special instructions regarding the clothing of the High Priest: the ‘breastplate’, the ‘ephod’, the robe, tunic, turban, and sash.
Chapter 29 addresses the consecration and ordination of priests, the altar at which they will be serving and the sacrifices required.
Chapter 30:1-10 describes the Alter of Incense, which will be placed before the veil.
All of this is “Holy Ground” indeed! Ask the Lord to “illumine” your reading! We would also recommend reading along with this Zechariah 3, where the LORD Himself is revealed as standing against our Accuser, and supplying the purification truly necessary for His priests in ministering righteously before Him.
*Exodus 27:20; 30:7,8: “And you shall command the children of Israel that they bring you clear, pure oil of pressed olives for the light, to cause the lamp to burn continually…And he shall burn it [fragrant incense] every morning when he trims the lamps. When Aaron lights the lamps at twilight, he shall burn incense…”
Plain olive oil doesn’t burn well if at all. It needs to be zach—refined, pristine, transparent, pure, clear. The Light from the Menorah illuminated the Holy Place; its lamps were also positioned so as to shine onto the table bearing the Bread of His Presence. Pray that we keep the lamps of our spirits trimmed, and fueled with the Holy Spirit, so that the truth of His Word and Presence will be illuminated.
“Be dressed ready for service and keep your lamps burning . . .” (Luke 12:35 NIV);
“You, O LORD, keep my lamp burning; my God turns my darkness into light” (Psalm 18:28 NIV).
“For it is the God who commanded light to shine out of darkness, who has shone in our hearts to give the light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Yeshua the Messiah” (II Corinthians 4:6).
*Exodus 28:3: “So you shall speak to all who are gifted artisans (Heb: “wise-hearts”), whom I have filled with the spirit of wisdom, that they may make Aaron’s garments, to consecrate him, that he may minister to Me as priest.”
Pray for those whom God has especially gifted in the Body of Messiah as ‘craftsmen’, that they realize their talent and grace in developing their artistic skills have been breathed into them by the Holy Spirit—and that they will devote their creativity to that which is holy. In Israel as in other countries, there is a ‘thief’ waiting to divert the artistic giftings of God’s people away to the adulation of the world.
Urim and Thumim
*Exodus 28: 29-30. “Aaron shall carry the names of the sons of Israel in the breastplate of judgment over his heart when he enters the holy place, for a memorial before the LORD continually. You shall put in the breastplate of judgment the Urim and the Thummim, and they shall be over Aaron’s heart when he goes in before the LORD; and Aaron shall carry the judgment of the sons of Israel over his heart before the LORD continually.”
The exact nature of the Urim and Thumim and how they were used is no longer known to us.
But we may assume this: they were a divine means supplied by God to the High Priest for making ‘wise judgment’ for Israel (Num. 27:21; Nehemiah 7:65). Urim is a special superlative for “Light”—as it were, “Light of Lights” – and Thumim a superlative for “Perfection”—as it were, “Perfection of Perfections”. Light (Hebrew: or) is related to “revelation and illumination”, while (Hebrew: tome) the Hebrew root for the word perfection is often translated “integrity” (cf: Psalm 25:21—“Let integrity (tome) and uprightness preserve me, for I wait in hope for You.”).
It is fascinating to note that while all the other garments and accoutrement of the High Priest mentioned in this chapter were to be “made” by human artisans, this is not mentioned to be the case for the Urim and Thumim! They are simply mentioned as “being there”—presumably supplied by God Himself.
There was to be a place prepared for them in the Breastplate of Judgment, where they would be positioned “over the High Priest’s heart.” God is the Righteous Judge; Righteousness and Justice are the foundation of His throne (Psalm 96:13; 89:14). Righteous judgments on behalf of His people is near to His Heart. There would be occasions when a supernatural illumination and integrity would be necessary; an enablement for this was supplied and to placed in a pocket above the hearts of His high priests.
Finally, Urim begins with the first letter of the Hebrew alphabet ALEPH, while Thumim begins with the last TAV. Aleph and Tav (Hebrew) / A and Z (English)/ Alpha and Omega (Greek). In the Hebrew translation of Revelation 22:18, Yeshua (Jesus) declares,
“I am the Aleph and the Tav, the Beginning and the End, the First and the Last”.
He, who is One with the Father, is also a Righteous Judge. “He is called Faithful and True, and in righteousness He judges and wages war” (Revelation 19:11).
PLEASE PRAY: that intercessors in Israel would be guided by a longing for righteous judgment, a plea for revelation and integrity to the One who is the “FIRST and the LAST,” the “Righteous Judge” (II Tim. 4:8)—the true Light shining in Darkness, who illumines everyone who comes into the world (John 1:9).
* There is a Hebrew tradition that the Urim and Thumim were a form of “lots” (as with dice), which would be tossed to ascertain judgments—but there is really nothing in the Scriptures to support this. Their appearance and nature remain a mystery—but obviously their use released a supernatural insight and verdict by the “Righteous Judge”.
*Exodus 29:43-46. “I will meet there with the sons of Israel, and it shall be consecrated by My glory. I will consecrate the tent of meeting and the altar; I will also consecrate Aaron and his sons to minister as priests to Me. I will dwell among the sons of Israel and will be their God. They shall know that I am the LORD their God, who brought them out of the land of Egypt, that I might dwell among them; I am YHVH their God” (Emphases ours).
We called attention last week to God’s desire to “dwell with”, to “neighbor closely”, to shokhen with His people.
PLEASE PRAY: for a longing among the sons and daughters of Israel after the presence of our LORD—for an awakened desire to be “consecrated” by HIS glory.
In the Synagogues there is an oft-recited prayer for the Shekinah (manifest presence of His glory) to return to Zion. He longs to “dwell among the children of Israel and to be their God”—but there must be a purification and consecration to prepare the way (Malachi 3:2-3).
– Your Friends in Jerusalem
[The readings for next week (17-23 February 2019) are called Ki Tisa—“When You Elevate”: TORAH: Exodus 30:11—34:35; HAFTARAH: I Kings 18:1-39]