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Thoughts on the Parashah...
Law of Love

Shadows and Substance

Further thoughts on Parashat Terumah

by John J. Parsons

THOUGH MOSES WAS INSTRUCTED to make the Tabernacle according to the "pattern" revealed at Sinai (Exod. 25:9,40), King David -- by direct revelation of the Holy Spirit -- later changed the size of the Tabernacle and its vessels, made additions to the original design, and even changed the priestly order of service itself (see 1 Chron. 28:11-20). King David's vision shows us that both the structure and service of the Tabernacle were provisionally intended to give physical expression to a deeper spiritual reality, and indeed the New Testament calls the service of the Temple "a copy and shadow (ὑποδείγματι καὶ σκιᾷ) of the heavenly things" (Heb. 8:5). But what were these heavenly things if not the ministry of Yeshua as our High Priest of the New Covenant? The New Covenant (בְּרִית חֲדָשָׁה) is called a "better covenant based on better promises" (Heb. 8:6), that was "not like the covenant that I made with their fathers on the day when I took them by the hand to bring them out of the land of Egypt" (see Jer. 31:31-33). Our Scriptures comment: "In speaking of a new covenant, he has made the first one obsolete, and what is becoming obsolete and growing old is ready to vanish away" (Heb. 8:13). Likewise we read, "When Messiah appeared as high priest of the good things that have come, then through the greater and more perfect tabernacle (not made with hands, that is, not of this creation), he entered once for all into the holy places, not by means of the blood of goats and calves but by means of his own blood, thus securing an eternal redemption" (Heb. 9:11-12). The earlier Levitical priesthood and its sacrificial system was "a shadow (σκιᾷ) of the good things to come, and not the true form (i.e., substance) of these realities" (Heb. 10:1).

Moses was at first commanded, "Follow the pattern of the vision..." (Exod. 25:40); King David later instructed his son regarding the inspiration for the Holy Temple, "do the work according to the revealed plan..." (1 Chron. 28:19); but Yeshua our LORD declared: "The One greater than the Temple is here" (Matt. 12:6).

    "And they came to Jerusalem. And He entered the Temple and began to drive out those who sold and those who bought in the Temple, and he overturned the tables of the money-changers and the seats of those who sold doves. And he would not allow anyone to carry any vessel through the Temple" (Mark 11:15-16).

Note that during this "cleansing of the Temple," Yeshua actually stopped the performance of the priestly duties: he "would not allow anyone to carry any vessel through the Temple," which included the sacrificial vessels used for the priestly avodah itself.... 

A principle of valid interpretation is that "a text without a context is a pretext." Therefore it is important to remember to carefully study the Torah of Moses, the prophets, and the Writings, since without the Tanakh (i.e., the "Old Testament") the new covenant scriptures are without context (1 Cor. 10:6; 2 Tim. 2:15, etc.). Moreover, Yeshua himself said: "Search the Scriptures, for in them you think you have eternal life, yet these very Scriptures testify of me" (John 5:39). Indeed Yeshua preached that he came to fulfill the true purpose of the law (Matt. 5:17-19), and to his disciples he interpreted that fulfillment: "And beginning with Moses and all the Prophets, he interpreted to them in all the Scriptures the things concerning himself.... "Then he said to them, 'These are my words that I spoke to you while I was still with you, that everything written about me in the Law of Moses and the Prophets and the Psalms must be fulfilled.'  And then he opened their minds to understand the Scriptures" (Luke 24:27,44-45). The New Testament itself assumes that followers of Yeshua would be study and be familiar with the Hebrew Scriptures. When Paul wrote, "All Scripture is breathed out by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, and for training in righteousness" (2 Tim. 3:16), he was referring to the Jewish Bible, since the New Testament writings had not yet been compiled.

As for the moral aspect of the law, however, the Torah of Yeshua is superior to that of the lawcode of Moses (especially as it was interpreted by the Pharisees), since Yeshua constantly focused on the heart and its inner motivations... That's the essential point of the Sermon on the Mount and the description of the law's true requirement (see Matt. 5:21-48). Notice how Yeshua quotes from the law and then moves it "inward," to be about the heart rather than mere external conformity.

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