Parashat Terumah

Parashat Terumah

A famous rabbinical commentator from Italy was Obadiah ben Jacob Sforno. He lived from 1475-1550. He was well known for his interpretations of the Hebrew Bible. He had some interesting views concerning the incident with the Golden Calf. Sforno saw the Tabernacle and for that matter the Temple as only necessary because of man’s refusal to draw near to the living G-d. Had Israel received G-d’s revelation at Mt. Sinai rather than falling into sin, Israel would have been changed on the spot by receiving the Holy Spirit and thereby truly becoming a “light to the nations.”

In this week’s Torah portion we learn about the Tabernacle and its vessels. HaShem gives to each Jew the opportunity to contribute an offering (terumah) to the building of the Tabernacle. This is not because the L-rd needs our help, but because it is a privilege for man to play a role, even a small one, in the work of G-d. In essence what Rabbi Sforno taught was that worship based upon a building made by the hands of man is inferior to worshipping G-d being endowed with the Holy Spirit. Because of man’s tendency to rely on our physical senses, G-d met us where we were and established a system of worship based on the physical.

Judaism sees the Temple that will be built by Messiah at the end of this age as eternal. This means that the opportunity to worship G-d in the way that He originally intended was lost at Mt. Sinai, and Israel (and the rest of the world) will never be able to know what G-d wanted us to experience. This is not the view of the New Covenant. Through the perfect work of redemption of Messiah Yeshua, Israel and the rest of the world can be fully and perfectly redeemed and worship G-d in Spirit and truth. When Messiah redeems, He redeems all who place their faith in Him totally and we can regain the status that G-d’s perfect plan intended.

In the book of Revelation chapter twenty one Scripture reveals a great message of the sufficiency of Messiah’s work. In verse three one reads,

“And I heard a great voice out of the heavens saying, Behold the Tabernacle of G-d is with men, and He will dwell with them, and they shall be His people, and G-d Himself shall be with them and be their G-d.”

This verse does not imply that a physical structure will be with man, but G-d Himself. This is why in the same chapter John (the author) writes concerning the New Jerusalem,

“And I saw no Temple there: for the L-rd G-d Almighty and the Lamb (Messiah) is the Temple. Revelation 21:22

Believe in Messiah Yeshua and allow your life to become a living terumah unto the L-rd and begin to experience what was lost 3,500 years ago.

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