Parashiot Vayakhel & Pekudei (and he assembled, commands)
Exodus 35:1-38:20 and Exodus 38:21-40:38
Maftir: Exodus 12:1-20
Haftarah: Ezekiel 45:16-46:18
This Shabbat is called Shabbat HaChodesh because it is the Shabbat before Rosh Chodesh (the new month) Nissan or Aviv. This is the month of redemption because Passover, the feast of redemption, occurs in this month. Redemption brings change and this is what we learn from the special reading from the Prophets. The focus of this passage from Ezekiel is one who is called the Prince. There are two words in Hebrew that can be translated as prince. The one which is used in this Haftarah is derived from a word which means to “lift up” or taken away. Most see the Prince is this passage as referring to Messiah and therefore it is most interesting that this word was chosen. It reflects the fact that Messiah Yeshua was lifted up on the cross and this was for the purpose of taking away sin. This root for the word “Prince” in this section is often used within the context of forgiving sins.
This word also appears in Ezekiel 37:25 where it is clearly a reference to Messiah,
“And they shall return to the land which I have given to My servant Jacob (Israel) which their forefathers dwelt there, and they shall dwell on it, they and their sons and their son’s sons forever, and David My Servant-the Prince will be for them forever.”
In studying this prophetic passage we read that the Prince will enter and exit the Temple through the eastern gate. This is most significant as we are told earlier in the prophecy that this gate must be permanently closed. The fact that during the Kingdom only Messiah may pass through it is very important. What was the reason that the gate was closed? We are told by Ezekiel that the Glory of G-d departed from Jerusalem just prior to the Babylonian Captivity through this gate (see Ezekiel 11:23) and that the Glory of G-d will return through this same gate at the beginning of the Kingdom period (see Ezekiel 43:2, 4). This is why one reads,
“And the L-rd said to me, this gate will be closed and shall not be opened and no man may enter through it, it shall be closed.” Ezekiel 44:2
In the next verse the reader is informed that the Prince will eat there. The expression which is used emphasizes that there will be fellowship between HaShem and Messiah, i.e. that they will have a unique relationship.
I mentioned earlier that redemption brings change and this is exactly what one finds in this passage. Worship in the Kingdom will be different from what one reads in the Torah. In fact Ezekiel receives new instructions and laws concerning worship in Ezekiel 44 beginning in verse 5. The important thing to understand is what is said in the very first verse of the Haftarah,
“All the people of the earth will have a (connection) to this offering of the Prince in Israel.” Ezekiel 45:16
What is being referred to in this verse? The answer is Messiah’s sacrificial death. If one reads the entire Haftarah, one will find that the emphasis is Passover. This is the exact time that Messiah Yeshua was lifted up on the cross for the forgiveness of sins. Remember the significance of the root word from which the term “the Prince” is derived. If one reads carefully not only is the eastern gate mentioned, but so is the mountain on the eastern side of Jerusalem which is the Mount of Olives (Ezekiel 11:23). This is the mountain from which Yeshua ascended into the heavens (see Luke 24:50-53 and Acts 1:2-11) and when Yeshua returns He will come from the heavens and arrive upon this mountain (see Zechariah 14:3-4).
Finally the reader is told that that the Prince will be in the midst of the people when they come to worship in the Temple and He will not depart until they depart (see Ezekiel 46:10). What is the significance of this verse? This verse reveals that worship cannot take place without the presence of Messiah. This means that until one shares in the redemptive work of Messiah, Who was lifted up for the forgiveness of sin, one cannot worship the Living G-d. In other words, without Yeshua it is impossible to worship. Remember that the context for this entire prophecy for Shabbat HaChodesh is Passover. This is when HaShem told Moses to inform Pharaoh that the reason the people were leaving Egypt was to worship the L-rd. Hence Passover (redemption) is a prerequisite for worship.
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