Studies in Torah

Parashat Tetzaveh (תצוה): Exodus 27:20-30:10

“For we do not have a high priest who is unable to sympathize with our weaknesses, but one who in every respect has been tempted as we are, yet without sin.” (Hebrews 4:15 ESV)

What does is mean that Yeshua is our “high priest”? We can learn a lot about that role from the inauguration of the first high priest of the people of God, described in detail in this week’s Torah reading, תצוה Tetzaveh (“you shall command”), covering Exodus 27:20-30:10.

The standard Haftarah (Writings and Prophets) reading for this week is Ezek. 43:10-27.

The following are study notes and recorded discussions by Hallel Fellowship teachers on passages in and related to Tetzaveh.

Tetzaveh discussions

Exodus 27:20–30:10: High priest foreshadows Messiah Yeshua’s redeeming humanity

The garments of Israel’s High Priest, detailed in Torah reading תצוה Tetzaveh (“you shall command,” Exodus 27:20-30:10), mark him as the highest representative of the people before God. Messiah Yeshua, equally God and equally man, is uniquely qualified to fill that role completely.

The connection between the menorah, the altar of incense and the people of Israel is equally profound as the work of their hands and their prayers are lifted to God symbolically by Aharon the High Priest and literally in Heaven by Messiah Yeshua, our eternal High Priest.

Exodus 27:20–30:10: When suffering is a ‘soothing aroma before the LORD’

Some think the sacrifices detailed in the Torah reading תצוה Tetzevah (“you shall command,” Exodus 27:20–30:10) are simply to appease an angry God. But when you read about the Tabernacle and the sacrifices in the Prophets section of the Bible, you see there’s a lot more here than just butchery and blood.

These were not the sacrifices surrounding pagan nations of the time performed. The purpose of these sacrifices do not mirror the sacrifices of the pagan nations. The foundation of the Torah points to the Messiah. We have the benefit of hindsight to see that.

Journey to the 10

Exodus 12–20 recounts a transformation of Israel from a people in bondage to a truly free nation of ambassadors of the Kingdom of God. This “Journey to the 10” is a path each believer should take before and after baptism to become fully mature, not lacking anything. (Start the series of studies from the beginning.) This is the backdrop for Exodus 27-30.

Exodus 27–28

Lessons of the returning Messiah in the High Priest’s clothing

What does it mean to be “a statute forever” when the Tabernacle and Temple haven’t been standing in a long time? We are told that all the elements of the Tabernacle made after a pattern shown in Heaven. How do the stones representing the tribes of Israel, who lived on earth, have a pattern in Heaven? These patterns reveal things about the returning Messiah.

Design for the ark of the Testimony and Tabernacle items

There is a lot of information in these next two chapters. We are continuing learn more about the template of the Tabernacle that God gave to Moses on Sinai. “… as it was shown to you in the mountain, so they shall make it” (Ex. 27:8). We will learn about the altar, the utensils of the altar and the architecture of the outer courts. God also calls upon Aaron and his sons to serve Him as High Priests in the Tabernacle. They were called to be the intermediaries between God and the people. The people are commended to their own service for the Tabernacle as well.

Exodus 29–30

Consecration of the High Priest reveals Messiah

Moshe (Moses) is still on the mountain and receiving the instruction from God about how to build the Tabernacle but in this chapter, God is telling Moshe the procedure He wants Moshe to do to prepare Aharon (Aaron) and his sons for ministry in the Temple. Why does God ask Moshe to this complicated, seven-day ritual? The end of the chapter tell us the punchline. Although Moshe will be doing all of this but it really God will do all the sanctification, not Moshe.

“I will consecrate the tent of meeting and the altar; I will also consecrate Aharon 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 the LORD their God.” (Ex. 29:44–46)

The entire purpose of ordaining Aharon in this laborious process is shown at he end of the chapter. Moshe did all this so God could dwell with His people in the Tabernacle and so Aharon and his sons could perform all the duties of the Tabernacle. Yeshua did what He did so God can dwell with us.

Design for the clothing and ordination of the high priest

Moses was shown many wonderful things on the Mountain, including the ritual to anoint his older brother Aaron and Aaron’s four sons as priests before Him. The overall theme of these two chapters is atonement: atonement for the people and for Aaron and his sons. Even inanimate objects, such as Aaron’s wardrobe, the altar and the Tabernacle itself have to be atoned before they can perform a sacred use.

From Trumpets to Coverings: 10 days from the Feast of Trumpets to the Day of Atonement

The seventh month of God’s calendar has three appointments with Him that follow in quick succession — Feast of Trumpets to Day of Atonement to Feast of Tabernacles. Richard Agee explores Exodus 29-30 how the calling and the santification of the High Priest coincides with the calling and sanctification of the Messiah.


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