Shalom All, Welcome to Vayakhel (And He Assembled/ Gathered), this week’s Torah / bible study section. Exodus 35:1–40:38; 2 Kings 11:17–12:17; Matthew 25:14–30.
Last week, in study section“Ki Tisa”, the people made a golden calf and worshiped it when Moses did not return from Mount Sinai when they expected. In this week’s Torah / bible study, “Vayakhel”, a team of wise-hearted artisans implements the instructions to build the Mishkan (Tabernacle) and its furnishings, the instruction for which is detailed in the previous Torah readings of Terumah, Tetzaveh, and Ki Tisa. As an alternative support reading could be Ezekiel 45:16 – 46:18, Mark 6:14 or John 6:1-71.
On Moses’ descent from the Mount, the assembled people know the instructions being passed onto them are not of Moses; but Yahweh God. The building was not just Moses’ private project; it was a community affair, so each one contributed what they could from their material resources. Some prepared the holy garments, while others prepared the anointing oil, and the sacred vessels, etc. Everyone worked together toward this common goal. Similarly, none of us can do the work of Yahweh alone. Building up the body of Messiah must be a communal work, each one whose hearts are stirred by the Lord, giving what they are able. Some use their talents and others give their material resources (Romans 12:4-8; Rom 12:5 So we, being many, are one body in Christ, and every one members one of another.
Moses’ message also included a set of instructions for living a Godly lifestyle. This Torah portion takes its name from the first Hebrew word of Exodus 35:1, “vaykhel.” The verb kahal (קהל) means “to assemble,” so vaykhel (ויקהל) means “and he assembled.” “Then Moses assembled all the congregation of the sons of Israel, and said to them, ‘These are the things that YHWH has commanded you to do.’” (Exodus 35:1).
Moses begins by underscoring the importance of the Sabbath. The people stood prepared to begin the construction of the Tabernacle; even as important as this work was, Moses brought to their attention, yet again, that they must not work on the Shabbat (Sabbath). The holiness of the Sabbath was not to be violated even for the sacred purpose of building the Tabernacle. Notice that work during the course of the week is framed as a passive endeavour; in other words, this verse is not commanding that work be done for six days. Judaism understands from this that work is not the source of one’s sustenance; rather, it is the way in which they receive God's blessing (Chabad).
“For six days work may be done, but on the seventh day you shall have a holiness day, a Sabbath of complete rest to Yahweh; whoever does any work on it shall be put to death.” (Exodus 35:2).
The consequence for not keeping the Shabbat is made clear: death. Now one may compare this with the warning given to Adam and Eve in the garden that on the day they disobey they would die and claim Adam and Eve did not mortally die. In their case it was a spiritual death, separation from God. The same as today for not keeping the correct 7th Day Sabbath, the sign of being His. In Ex 35:2 case it is a physical death by stoning. Num15:32 And while the children of Israel were in the wilderness, they found a man that gathered sticks upon the sabbath day. Num15:33 And they that found him gathering sticks brought him unto Moses and Aaron, and unto all the congregation. Num15:35 And the LORD said unto Moses, The man shall be surely put to death: all the congregation shall stone him with stones without the camp. Num15:36 And all the congregation brought him without the camp, and stoned him with stones, and he died; as the LORD commanded Moses.
The Israelites, who entered into covenant with the God of Israel to do what He commanded (Ex 24:7), were not expected to only listen to the message, they were expected to follow through with it, apply it to their owns lives and turn from their former ways. Rom 2:13 (For not the hearers of the law are just before God, but the doers of the law shall be justified. That is true belief in the author of the instruction!
Likewise, we are not just to be hearers of the Word of God; we are also to do what He has commanded us. “Prove yourselves doers of the word, and not merely hearers who delude themselves” (James 1:22). If we think that we know the Word of God just because we have heard it, read it or memorized it, then we deceive ourselves. We know the Word when we are doing it by walking in obedience to God’s commands. In the same way, Yahshua said, “If you love Me, you will keep My commandments” (John 14:15).
Giving for the Mishkan.
"From what you have, take an offering for the Lord. Everyone who is willing is to bring to the Lord an offering of gold, silver and bronze; blue, purple and scarlet yarn and fine linen; goat hair; ram skins dyed red and another type of durable leather; acacia wood; olive oil for the light; spices for the anointing oil and for the fragrant incense; and onyx stones and other gems to be mounted on the ephod and breastpiece" (Exodus 35:5–9).
After instructing the people regarding the Shabbat, God commands the people to bring donations for the building of the Mishkan. In response to this call, the people open their coffers and give wholeheartedly. [Remember they had received a lot from the Egyptians Exo 3:22 But every woman shall borrow of her neighbour, and of her that sojourneth in her house, jewels of silver, and jewels of gold, and raiment: and ye shall put them upon your sons, and upon your daughters; and ye shall spoil the Egyptians. Exo 12:36 And the LORD gave the people favour in the sight of the Egyptians, so that they lent unto them such things as they required. And they spoiled the Egyptians].
In fact, they donate so much material, gold, silver and copper; blue, purple and red-dyed wool; goat hair; spun linen; animal skins; wood; olive oil; herbs' and precious stones, that Moses has to tell them to stop giving. God loves a cheerful giver to His ministry; but avoid prosperity preachers whose aim is for their own belly. “Each of you should give what you have decided in your heart to give, not reluctantly or under compulsion, for God loves a cheerful giver. And God is able to bless you abundantly, so that in all things at all times, having all that you need, you will abound in every good work.” (2 Corinthians 9:7–8) Rom 16:18 For they that are such serve not our Lord Jesus Christ, but their own belly; and by good words and fair speeches deceive the hearts of the simple.
From the resources donated by Israel, the artisans made the following: three layers of roof coverings, 48 gold-plated wall panels, 100 silver foundation sockets, the parochet (curtain) that separates the Holy Place and the Holy of Holies, the ark and its cover with the cherubim, the table and its shewbread, the seven-branched menorah with its specially prepared oil and other items. “And so at last the Tabernacle was finished. The Israelites had done everything just as Yahweh had commanded Moses” (Exodus 39:32). When the tabernacle is completed Israel would have a righteous way of living like no other nation and a way to get forgiveness if transgress that way. They were to assemble (congregate) to learn that way. As a noun, the Hebrew word kahal means “assembly,” “congregation,” or “community.” The Torah refers to the community of the tribes of Israel as the kahal, i.e., “the assembly or congregation” a common Bible term denoting all “Israel”. The group formed of people from many ancestral birth places. The word kahal passes into the Greek Septuagint version of the Bible as ekklesia (ἐκκλησία). The Greek word ekklesia appears throughout the Greek version of the Old Testament to speak of the assembly of Israel or an assembly of worshippers in the Temple. However, when it occurs in the New Testament, English translators rarely render it as “assembly.” Inexplicably, English translators substitute the theologically charged term “church” to match in what they worshipped at the time.
The “church” translation of ekklesia has misled us. Because of the double standard in translation, it appears to most readers that “the church” first appeared in the New Testament, completely disconnected with the Old Testament and the nation of Israel. After all, the word “church” never appears before the book of Matthew. In reality, the word “church” does not appear in the Bible at all. By translating ekklesia as “church,” our English Bibles have led us to believe that “the church” is a new institution outside of Judaism, the Jewish people and the Old Testament teachings.
All of this information about the original languages implies that the New Testament church needs to be understood in continuity with the Jewish people, not as a disjuncture. In the broad sense, the church is the nation of Israel. Act 7:38 This is he, that was in the church in the wilderness with the angel which spake to him in the mount Sina, and with our fathers: who received the lively oracles to give unto us:. The Messiah will gather all Israel into His assembly. In the narrow sense, the church is a subset of the larger assembly of Israel, consisting of believers who have identified Yahshua as the Messiah and cast their allegiance with Him. This is the teaching of Romans 11. Believers of gentile nations, are to be grafted into one of the two Israel branches of which there are two, believers in the Messiah and non believers. Both of which also believe in keeping the commandments of God. Rom 11:17 And if some of the branches be broken off, and thou, being a wild olive tree, wert graffed in among them, and with them partakest of the root and fatness of the olive tree; Rom 11:18 Boast not against the branches. But if thou boast, thou bearest not the root, but the root thee. Rom 11:20 Well; because of unbelief they were broken off, and thou standest by faith. Be not highminded, but fear: Rom 11:23 And they also, if they abide not still in unbelief, shall be graffed in: for God is able to graff them in again. Rom 11:25 For I would not, brethren, that ye should be ignorant of this mystery, lest ye should be wise in your own conceits; that blindness in part is happened to Israel, until the fulness of the Gentiles be come in. Rom 11:26 And so all Israel shall be saved: as it is written.
Today we might see depictions of “Jesus” in a church; but he, Yahshua, never went to “church” but a synagogue. Nor worshipped His Father in the way many churches do today. There were no churches and even the New Testament believers did not go to a church but the synagogue Act 13:42 And when the Jews were gone out of the synagogue, the Gentiles besought that these words might be preached to them the next sabbath. Act 18:4 And he reasoned in the synagogue every sabbath, and persuaded the Jews and the Greeks. Act 22:19 And I said, Lord, they know that I imprisoned and beat in every synagogue them that believed on thee: Act 26:11 And I punished them oft in every synagogue, and compelled them to blaspheme; and being exceedingly mad against them, I persecuted them even unto strange cities. See Also Acts 6:9, 13:14, 14:1, 17:1. The purpose was to worship and expound the scriptures to their brethren who were awaiting the Messiah. Act 24:11 Because that thou mayest understand, that there are yet but twelve days since I went up to Jerusalem for to worship. Act 24:14 But this I confess unto thee, that after the way which they call heresy, so worship I the God of my fathers, believing all things which are written in the law and in the prophets:.
Mentioned last week, how God filled specific persons with His spirit. Exo 35:31 And he hath filled him with the spirit of God, in wisdom, in understanding, and in knowledge, and in all manner of workmanship; Exo 35:32 And to devise curious works, to work in gold, and in silver, and in brass,… In other words to edify the work of God not oneself. In this case His tabernacle. That is the sign of a true gift of God. 1Co 14:12 Even so ye, forasmuch as ye are zealous of spiritual gifts, seek that ye may excel to the edifying of the church.
In building their communal place of worship where God said He would meet with them, the Israelites did not veer away from the plans given to them by God to do their own thing. They faithfully carried out His directions. Likewise, we need to make sure that our works and worship service are what our Father is asking us to do, the way He is asking us to do it and that we are not just doing our own thing as we like. Hearing from God and receiving His Divine guidance comes out of a close, intimate relationship with Him, there is no other way. A relationship with God, like any other relationship, requires time and meaningful communication including diligent studying of His word. Yahshua invested time in His relationship with the Father and like Moses, did everything according to His Father’s will. “So Yahshua explained, ‘I tell you the truth, the Son can do nothing by Himself. He does only what He sees the Father doing. Whatever the Father does, the Son also does.’” (John 5:19).
And He said, “I have come down from heaven not to do My will but to do the will of Him who sent Me.” (John 6:38).
In the end, our works will be judged and the fire will test each work. Only those done in accord with the will of the Father will endure and be rewarded (1 Corinthians 3:13–14). When the people completed the work, Moses blessed them. It is as if Moses looked at all that had been accomplished and said to the people, “Well done, good and faithful servants.” Exo 39:42 According to all that the LORD commanded Moses, so the children of Israel made all the work. Exo 39:43 And Moses did look upon all the work, and, behold, they had done it as the LORD had commanded, even so had they done it: and Moses blessed them. Notice that the blessing didn’t come when they began the work, but when they completed it. Beginnings are easy. When we are fired up by enthusiasm and zeal, we can undertake almost anything, but it takes endurance to make it to the end. Completions are both difficult and rare. Nevertheless, it’s when we complete the work that we receive the blessing. The Book of Ezra provides a powerful picture of this. In 538 BC, King Cyrus decreed that the Jews could return to their beloved city of Jerusalem and begin the work of rebuilding the Holy Temple, which the Babylonian armies had destroyed. All too soon, however, they forgot their purpose and lost sight of their priorities. Opposition and apathy brought this important work to a standstill (Ezra 4:4–5). The people languished because they were more concerned with their own personal needs than with doing God’s will. That is why we are told in Mark 13:13 and Mat 24:13 But he that shall endure unto the end, the same shall be saved. It is NOT as many believe on baptism.
In the same way Moses completed building the Tabernacle, Solomon completed building the Temple, and the Jewish exiles of Babylon completed building the restored Temple (books of Ezra and Nehemiah), we must bring our work to completion. Bring our calling into salvation. Most people are taught they are saved when called. When beginning the work. Biblical precepts should show it is the end result that counts not the beginning. Completing our work doesn’t mean that all the loose ends have been tied up or that there is nothing left to do; it means that we have done what God specifically commissioned us to do.
We know from this week’s study section that once the work is finished, not only does the blessing come, but also the glory—the glory of God that filled the Tabernacle when Moses finished building it! In that same pattern, Yahshua declared how He had completed His work and brought glory to the Father: "I have brought You glory on earth by completing the work You gave Me to do. And now, Father, glorify Me in Your presence with the glory I had with You before the world began" (John 17:4–5).
In the end, after we bring our works to completion, may we receive the blessing and hear those words: “Well done, good and faithful servant.” May we also be able to declare, like the apostle Paul, “I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith.” (2 Timothy 4:7)
Exo 30:11 And the LORD spake unto Moses, saying, Exo 30:12 When thou takest the sum of the children of Israel after their number, then shall they give every man a ransom for his soul unto the LORD, when thou numberest them; that there be no plague among them, when thou numberest them. Just like the blood painted on the door post in Exodus 12:13 protected those inside, the ransom could be seen as an identification of those to be protected.
Recently was the “Jewish” festival of Purim in memory of the event in the book of Esther (9:21). This is not a festival given by God i.e. in Lev 23. Passover and Unleaven Bread is one of God’s feasts and should be kept by all who accept Him as their God. It is simple to keep. Simply take all products containing leaven / yeast products out your house and take the 1st and last days of Unleaven Bread off work and keep as a Sabbath, including a holy convocation to YHWH. It is worth it to get closer to Him and even affect your salvation. The word “Passover” is used both for the single Passover day and the following eight days of Unleaven Bread.
Also as part of the given, every Jewish adult male (20 years and older) was required to give half a Biblical shekel toward the building and maintenance of the Tabernacle. Nationally, rich and poor alike set aside personal interests and united by contributing equally to the goal of building the Tabernacle.
“All who cross over, those twenty years old or more, are to give an offering to the Lord. The rich are not to give more than a half shekel and the poor are not to give less when you make the offering to the Lord to atone for your lives. Receive the atonement money from the Israelites and use it for the service of the tent of meeting. It will be a memorial for the Israelites before the Lord, making atonement for your lives” (Exodus 30:14–16).
During Temple times, the half-shekel tax, called machatzithashekel, was due yearly on the first of Nissan (1st month of God’s year). The collection of this tax was significant and practical since Passover occurs from Nissan 14 and these extra funds allowed for the purchase of cattle for the communal sacrifices. The call for the tax was issued to the people at the start of the previous month, Adar, giving people time to prepare their payment before the annual pilgrimage to Jerusalem for Passover. Funds also contributed to the upkeep of the Temple and its vessels, the roads and pathways to the Temple, wages, and the maintenance of the ritual baths called mikvot for the customary pre-Passover purification. If a mikvah were not properly maintained, then it would not be kosher (holy) and could not be used for ritual purposes.
2 Kings 11:17–12:17 Tells the account of the reforms instituted by king Jehoiada in bringing Israel back to the worship system instituted by God through Moses in Exodus 25 plus.
2Ki 12:2 And Jehoash did that which was right in the sight of the LORD all his days wherein Jehoiada the priest instructed him. 2Ki 12:3 But the high places were not taken away: the people still sacrificed and burnt incense in the high places. 2Ki 12:4 And Jehoash said to the priests, All the money of the dedicated things that is brought into the house of the LORD, even the money of every one that passeth the account, the money that every man is set at, and all the money that cometh into any man's heart to bring into the house of the LORD,…
Matthew 25:14–30Mat 25:21 His lord said unto him, Well done, thou good and faithful servant: thou hast been faithful over a few things, I will make thee ruler over many things: enter thou into the joy of thy lord. Have you been faithful in obeying the commandment of God given through Moses? Are you able to teach and judge others as one knowing the law?
Mat 25:24 Then he which had received the one talent came and said, Lord, I knew thee that thou art an hard man, reaping where thou hast not sown, and gathering where thou hast not strawed: Mat 25:25 And I was afraid, and went and hid thy talent in the earth: lo, there thou hast that is thine. Have you been complacent in your understanding of God’s ways by relying on the pastors or easy listening sermons and song singing rather than studying from God’s actual words (Gen – Deut) to understand what He desires? No one, not even Paul can change it, only try to explain it. Rather than rely on Paul’s explanations of God’s word, why not go to the word itself?
Mat 25:29 For unto every one that hath shall be given, and he shall have abundance: but from him that hath not shall be taken away even that which he hath. Mat 25:30 And cast ye the unprofitable servant into outer darkness: there shall be weeping and gnashing of teeth. Mat 25:31 When the Son of man shall come in his glory, and all the holy angels with him, then shall he sit upon the throne of His glory. Let us labour to be one of those who have in abundance; knowledge and action of His ways. The more you have in the bank the secure you are compare to those who have little. The more you have the more you get through the ability to take investment opportunities. If you only have £100.00 you cannot invest in the product that cost £200 and returns £300 in profit!!! Let us build up our knowledge of what God instructed and do them. Hos 4:6 My people are destroyed for lack of knowledge: because thou hast rejected knowledge, I will also reject thee,..
Shalom and happy studying.
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