Torah Pearls #20 – Tetzaveh (Exodus 27:20-30:10)

Kohen Gado, Torah Pearls Tetzaveh, Torah Pearls, Tetzaveh, Exodus 27:20-30:10, torah portion, Nehemia Gordon, priest, temple, incense, tabernacleIn this episode of The Original Torah Pearls, Tetzaveh (Exodus 27:20-30:10), we begin with a discussion of how modern day synagogues and churches attempt to emulate the commandments for the decoration of the Biblical priests and the Temple.  This leads to an enlightening discussion on the interpretation of Scripture, and who has the right to decide what the scriptures say. Other topics include Josephus's statement that the name of God has four vowels and whether David sinned when he ate the Bread of the Presence.

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Transcript

Torah Pearls #20 – Tetzaveh (Exodus 27:20-30:10)

You are listening to The Original Torah Pearls with Nehemia Gordon, Keith Johnson, and Jono Vandor. Thank you for supporting Nehemia Gordon's Makor Hebrew Foundation. Learn more at NehemiasWall.com.

Jono: It's time for Pearls from the Torah Portion with presidential candidate Keith Johnson and his Secretary of State Nehemia Gordon. G'day, gentlemen.

Keith: He won't play the game.

Nehemia: Now once again he acts like this is Saudi Arabia, I don't understand.

Keith: Are you kidding me? Jono, he won't play the game with me so I'm going to have to find some other people but that's okay. It's good to be on the show. I've got a little time to break away from the campaign to do this.

Jono: Okay, so Nehemia's not playing, you're going to have to come up with your own staff.

Keith: Yeah. Well, no, I've got plenty of staff. I just can't get him. I’m not sure what's going on.

Jono: Alright.

Keith: I think he's raising the bar.

Jono: It'll be on the front-page news tomorrow. But g'day to Wendy and Mary who have been sharing the Torah Pearls on Facebook. Also good day to Ralph in Pittsburgh, and Nick in Tennessee.

Nehemia: I don't have anybody to shout-out. You’ve got to give me a second to go look over who’s sharing it.

Keith: Let's say this, Jono, there are a lot of people out there we want to say…

Nehemia: Oh, no, the timeline.

Keith: Shout-out to all those people that are sharing it on Facebook, and it's really getting exciting. I know you mentioned to us that we're having more and more people that are listening, and so it really is fun to run into people everywhere that are sharing it and talking about it and getting emails and notes. So, a good day to everybody that is listening out there.

Jono: To everybody who's listening, wherever you may be around the world, thank you for your company, because today we are in Tetzaveh.

Nehemia: Tetzaveh.

Jono: OK.

Nehemia: And here's a shout-out to Ed W. over on Facebook.

Jono: G'day, Ed.

Nehemia: Keep listening to the Torah Pearls.

Jono: Nice.

Keith: Alright.

Jono: Keep sharing. Exodus 27, verse 20 to Exodus 30, verse 10. And it begins like this, "You shall command the children of Israel that they bring you pure oil of pressed olives for the light,” we’re talking about the menorah, right? “To cause the lamp to burn continually. In the Tabernacle of Meeting, outside the veil, which is before the Testimony, Aaron and his sons shall tend it from evening until morning before Yehovah. It shall be a statute forever to their generations on behalf of the children of Israel.” Then we get into chapter 28. Is there anything you would say about that, fellows?

Nehemia: Woah. Woah, you want to run past that?

Jono: No. I'm saying here we are and this has got the menorah.

Nehemia: I'm going to pitch Keith a softball. Keith, what is this, “to burn continually?” Is it burning 24 hours a day, seven days a week, or what's the deal with this “continually”?

Keith: Well, all I know is that when we were doing our study in the “Prayer to Our Father,” we were dealing with this word, and I believe it's the word “tamid,” am I correct, Nehemia?

Nehemia: “Tamid,” right.

Keith: Yeah, “tamid.” So now, of course, that doesn't show up in my Methodist Bible here, but it just kind of brings it to memory. Actually, I have two things I think about when I read this short passage. One, I think about the time that we went through at the end of last calendar year, at the time of Hanukkah, and this whole discussion of the oil that was burning in the lamp, and the need for oil to be able to keep his command of keeping the light burning. The other issue has to do with this issue that Nehemia just brought up. So really, we've talked about the one but we haven't talked about the second. So even though he's handing me the softball, I mean I've got to pitch it back to him and say, Nehemia, what jumped out at you when you read this?

Nehemia: Well, you know I think the word in English,continually, implies that it's all the time, whereas, in Hebrew, it really implies that it's daily, it's done continually, not as in an unbroken period of time, but day after day after day, and then it says, "forever". And you know, the first thing that jumps out at me when I see that phrase, the Hebrew “ner tamid,” which is the perpetual lamp or the continual lamp, but really, it's the daily lamp, is that growing up in an Orthodox Jewish home, we'd go to the synagogue and at the front of every synagogue, I think in the world, they have what's called a “ner tamid,” which is the perpetual lamp, the continual lamp. It's exactly patterned after this verse, and what they've done is said, well, we don't have the temple anymore, so we're going to light a lamp at the front of the synagogue in commemoration of that lamp.

Actually, they specifically put it in front of the place, the cupboard in which the Torah scroll is kept, and they call the Torah scroll, the Ark of the Covenant. Excuse me, they call it the Holy Ark, “Aron HaKodesh,” and in front ofAron HaKodesh, the Holy Ark, in which the Torah scroll is kept, is the “parochet,” the veil. Same word used in the tabernacle, and later in the Temple, and in front of that is the “ner tamid,” the continual lamp.

So what they've done, essentially, is patterned the synagogue after the tabernacle and later, the Temple, which I kind of have mixed feelings about. On the one hand, I think, well, that's beautiful. They're preserving in people's lives these symbols. On the other hand, the thing it reminds me of is the high places that they built in ancient Israel, that on top of every hill and under every leafy tree, it says they built these, what were called, high places. The Hebrew word for high place is “bama,” and they would bring sacrifices at these places outside of the legitimate tabernacle and later Temple. This was one of the great sins of ancient Israel that repeatedly is mentioned in the book of Kings. For example, it'll say, you know, so-and-so was king and he did right in the eyes of the Lord, or he didn't do right in the eyes of the Lord, and then it’ll say, only he continued to offer sacrifices at the high places. You know, that's, like, the exception…

Jono: Sure.

Nehemia: …that all of the kings, except for two, continued to follow that sin. This includes David and it includes Solomon. They sinned with the sin of the high place. The only two kings to attempt to stamp them out were King Hezekiah and King Josiah. And so this is one of the reservations that I have with the synagogue that, you know, synagogue is great, I mean the word means gather, in Hebrew it's called “beit knesset,” house of gathering. But when you turn it into a “Mikdash me’at,” that's the term that's used sometimes, a little Temple, then you've got a problem because you've turned it into a high place. So I have a little bit of hesitation about these symbols in the synagogue, which then turn it, essentially, or potentially could, into a temple. And here's a really interesting little tidbit, and I'll end with this, is that the platform on which they read the Torah scroll is called the “Bima,” which is from the same root, essentially another form of the word “Bama,” a high place.

Jono: True.

Keith: You know, Jono, the other thing about this that Nehemia is bringing up, and I think we'll be able to talk about this as we go through this portion, it's sort of the idea - and I actually had a conversation yesterday with my wife - we were talking about that yesterday, was the new moon, and this sounds like I'm diverting from the portion, but yesterday was the new moon in Israel. Am I right, Nehemia?

Nehemia: And remember guys, this is a pre-recorded program.

Keith: It’s a pre-recorded program

Nehemia: When it’s actually broadcast, what Keith is saying makes no sense. So yes, yesterday there was a new moon in Israel.

Keith: Okay.

Jono: So, everyone is now confused. It happened to be that we’re pre-recording.

Keith: So, the point was that the day before, let me just put it this way, there was a new moon, the day before that new moon, it wasn't sighted in Israel, but it was sighted here in the United States. It was as beautiful as you could see, beautiful and clear. And we're talking about the issue about what happens in Israel and what happens in other people's parts of their life.

Now, for me, the reason there's a connection with what Nehemia just said and that, is that what sometimes happens inmy tradition is, we take what portions we want from the Tanakh, or what portions we want from ancient Israel, or what portions we want from the temple, and then attempt to recreate them in the church. So, for example, if you go into the church, there'll be the altar, and the altar actually is the place that you come in…and there's also a place where the preacher will preach, and they will sometimes use some of the same terms.

Jono: Sure.

Keith: I guess what's interesting about this is, what part of that is good and what part of that causes there to be a problem. So, what you're talking about the high place, Nehemia, is the part where I get a little nervous. I think, well, wait, so when there's no temple and there's no ability for them to be there, and they're dispersed around the world, they're attempting to take the part of the command, or a part of the Tanakh and the idea of approaching God, and putting it in a place where they can do that. So it seems like it's a tension. I mean you know what I mean? It's like I realize…

Nehemia: Well, I have nothing inherently against the place of gathering, where people want to come together and pray together and study Scripture. Those are wonderful things. My concern is when it, and I'm not saying it always does, but sometimes it crosses the line, I think.

Jono: From being an object into something that's…

Nehemia: Where, actually, it's essentially a replacement for the Temple…

Jono: Sure.

Nehemia: …for some people, and in some contexts. Another thing that jumps out at me when I read the phrase “ner tamid,” eternal lamp or perpetual lamp, continual lamp, is the verse in Proverbs, chapter 6, verse 23. It says, “For the commandment is aner,” a lamp, “the teaching is a light, and what the teaching,” I mean that's my JPS translation, “the teaching of the light and the way to life is the rebuke of this discipline.” Let's see what we have in the King James Version. “For the commandment is a lamp,” isner, “and the law of the Torah is light; and reproofs of instruction are the way of life.” What it's essentially saying is that the commandment is a light, it's something that sheds light on you, and it teaches you how to live. And the Torah, which are the instructions, a more correct translation is light. So, we have this, and that's also a play on words; I think Keith can tell you about that, as well. Torah, “Or,” light. Keith can tell a whole sermon about it.

Jono: Yeah, no, that's right. So, it's…

Nehemia: So, the word “light,” and “Torah,” sound very similar in Hebrew.

Jono: So, while we’re talking about it, it did actually remind me of Psalm 119, verse 140, if I remember correctly. “Your word is very pure, therefore, your servant loves it,” is what I've got there. And also, when I went over just to have a look at that, you also have in Psalm 119, verse 105, “Your word is a lamp to my feet and a light to my path.” So yeah…

Nehemia: Amen.

Jono: …verse 20 just reminded me of those.

Nehemia: Wait, can you sing that for us with the Amy Grant tune?

Jono: Oh, please.

Nehemia: “Thy,” that might be…I don’t know. “Thy word is a lamp unto my feet.”

Keith: It's a beautiful song.

Jono: Alright. Chapter 28, this is where Aaron gets decked out, right? This is everything that he and his sons…

Nehemia: No, this is all about the bling, it's all about the bling.

Jono: It's the bling; it's the bling.

Keith: Yes.

Jono: “Now take Aaron your brother, and his sons with him, from among the children of Israel, that he may minister to Me as priest, Aaron and Aaron’s sons, Nadab, Abihu, Eleazar, and Ithamar.” Is that correct?

Nehemia: It’s actually Ele-azar.

Keith: Yes.

Nehemia: Those are two separate names in Hebrew, Eliezer, and Eleazar.

Jono: Ah.

Nehemia: This is Eleazar.

Jono: Eleazar. “And you shall make holy garments for Aaron your brother, for glory and for beauty.” Is that what you've got?

Nehemia: I have “kavod” and “tifaret,” And those are, really, I suppose, two different words for glory.

Jono: Okay.

Nehemia: Glory and splendor, you could translate it.

Jono: Glory and splendor. “So you shall speak to all who are gifted artisans, whom,” now, Keith, “whom I have filled with the spirit of wisdom.”

Nehemia: Whoo!

Keith: What's interesting here is it says, "make sacred garments for your brothers Aaron to give him…” and in my version, it says, “…to give him dignity and honor.”

Jono: Oh, wow.

Keith: What I think is interesting about this is there's this, and this is always what I've experienced is, the preachers will read this and say, okay, so I'm the priest and so that's why I've got to have this certain level of, you know, and I'm obviously not going to wear exactly what Aaron and his sons wore, but I'm going to try to wear something that also gives, in my version it says, “to give me dignity and honor.”

So, there's this kind of pulling away from the text and saying, okay, so where do I apply this? Where do I apply this? Where to apply this? And this comes to a technical term since the idea that we're going to kind of replace the works of the Temple, replace the people of God, replace all of those ideas and pick out and choose out different aspects and attempt to imitate those things. And this just happens to be one of them.

Jono: It’s just curious, Keith, is the Methodist tradition a tradition that has some sort of priestly array?

Keith: Look, this year they'll have the General Conference. It happens once every four years, and I think it's going to be in Orlando, Florida. Every year they have the regular conference, but at the General Conference, they have all the bishops of all the world come together. And I'm telling you, when they have the processional and the bishops get up there with their robes, and everybody puts on their robes and they put on all these things, I'm telling you, there's definitely a little competition. I think even with the Catholic Church sometimes, when you look at the kind of…

Jono: Really?

Keith: …yeah, the kind of vestments and things they put on. I mean, certainly, it came from some idea that if you're going to be operating in that role, you've got to have the bling, as you guys said. You've got to be dressed up and all. So anyway, I'm not too much into it. If you know me, I won't even wear a tie.

Nehemia: I tried to get him to wear a tie.

Keith: Nehemia argues about the dress code. He wears this tie every time we go out to speak, it doesn't matter. I'm like, Nehemia, take your tie off, he's like no. We go to Hanukkah and he wears a Hawaiian shirt, I couldn't believe it. But that's another discussion.

Jono: Alright.

Nehemia: Hey, can I read a verse in Isaiah?

Jono: Please.

Nehemia: Isaiah 52 verse 2.

Jono: Yeah.

Nehemia: I'm reading it because it has the same word here, the word “tifaret,” the word I translated as “glory”. Here in the King James Version, this is a Christian translation by the way. Even though I'm Jewish, I'm reading a Christian translation. It says, “Awake, awake; put on thy strength, O Zion; put on thy beautiful garments, O Jerusalem,” the word “beautiful” there is the same word here that they’re translating as “honor”, “glory”, "beauty", whatever. “Put on thy beautiful garments, O Jerusalem, the holy city, for henceforth there shall no more come into thee the uncircumcised and the unclean. Shake thyself from the dust; arise, and sit down, O Jerusalem…”

Jono: Beautiful.

Nehemia: “…loose thyself from the bands of thy neck, O captive daughter of Zion. For thus sayeth the LORD,” in Hebrew, Yehovah. “You have sold yourselves for nought; and ye shall be redeemed without money.”

Jono: That’s awesome.

Nehemia: Can I get an Amen?

Jono: Amen.

Keith: Wow.

Jono: That's great. We're going to be referring to the prophets a number of times in this portion, I think. “And these are the garments which they shall make: a breastplate, anephod, a robe, a skillfully woven tunic, a turban, and a sash. So, they shall make holy garments for Aaron your brother and his sons, that he may minister to Me as priest.” And then it goes on to describe theephod. Nehemia, what exactly is anephod?

Nehemia: Anephod is usually translated as an apron, but it basically was some kind of an outer garment that they wore…

Jono: Okay.

Nehemia: …that is frankly mysterious. There's this interesting scene in, let's see, it's in Samuel. I think it's got to be 2 Samuel, I would think, and it talks there about how David is taking thisephod and he's…it's a weird thing.

Jono: He’s dancing.

Nehemia: He is doing stuff with it. The whole thing is, we're kind of missing something. Here it's, “David danced before Yehovah with all his might,”

Jono: “With all his might,” yeah.

Nehemia: “And David was girded with a linenephod.” What’s a linenephod, and what's he, you know, what?

Jono: Is that all he was doing?

Nehemia: It’s strange. 1 Samuel 30, verse 7. It says, “And David said to Abiathar the priest, Ahimelech's son, ‘I pray thee, bring me hither theephod’. And Abiathar brought thither theephod to David.” So, what is he doing here with thisephod? And then it goes on and says, “And David inquired of the LORD, saying, Shall I pursue after this troop? Shall I overtake them? And he answered him, Pursue; for thou shalt surely overtake them, and without fail recover all.” It sounds like David is using thisephod as some kind of device to help him in his prayer to communicate with God, which is kind of mysterious but there you have it.

Jono: It's kind of mysterious, isn't it?

Nehemia:Yeah.

Keith: Wow.

Jono: Interesting. And the other thing that I found interesting about theephod is in verse 9, “Then you shall take two onyx stones and engrave on them the names of the sons of Israel: six of their names on one and six names on the other, in order of their birth. With the work of an engraver in stone, like the engravings of a signet, you shall engrave the two stones with the names of the sons of Israel.” And he wears them on the shoulders. And there it says in verse 12, is they're “memorial stones for the sons of Israel.” Keith, how do you understand that?

Keith: Well, the only thing I keep thinking about when I read this, and I'm so glad that, in the last portion, there was a discussion about the pattern, and the pattern and Moses actually getting a chance to see what it is that was going to be built within the tabernacle. And I've seen different renditions of this and actually, I'm kind of looking forward to getting a chance to try to look at this a little more. Some people do a lot of study in the very specifics of what happened in the Temple, and what happened with the breastplate, and what happened with the clothes, the vestments, all of this sort of thing. And I've never really done much with that, so I was kind of looking forward to this portion.

But I wanted to ask a question, and this can be for you, Jono, or you, Nehemia. Do we actually have examples, pictures, not of that time, of course, but where people have attempted to recreate this, where we could say it matches the Biblical description? Because to be honest, I'll see all these different variations, this is what this looked like, and I mean, really, it doesn't, I don't think it actually…

Nehemia: Well, there have been different attempts at recreating it.

Keith: Yeah.

Nehemia: There’s The Temple Institute in Jerusalem, and there are several other similar organizations, some in Israel and some around the world, that have taken these descriptions, and other descriptions that appear in other sources and put them all together…okay, well this is what it will look like in the next Temple, this is what it will look like in the Second Temple. And we don't really know. I mean, you're right, some of these descriptions are kind of vague.

Keith: Yeah.

Nehemia: We have some idea of what these are but what exactly these things looked like, we don't really know that.

Jono: And as much detail as we find in here, there are variations. I've seen variations of replicas.

Nehemia: And I think that's why it's so important. In verse 3, he says, “All who are wise of heart who I have filled with the spirit of wisdom.”

Jono: Ah.

Keith:There it is.

Nehemia: So, they weren't just doing it based on, Oh, I read this book and I'm figuring it out for myself, but they were, as Keith's people would say, being Spirit-led, but really Spirit-led, not, no offense but… Not just saying, “oh.”

Jono: Alright. It's this…

Nehemia: Edit that out.

Jono: Okay, so but…

Nehemia: Don’t leave it in.

Jono: With all the details that we have…

Nehemia: There, I said it.

Jono:Nehemia?

Keith: He is out of control, Jono. There’s just no…

Jono: Come back to earth.

Keith: We've got to reel him back.

Jono: I'm just wondering, that you know of, how much archeological evidence do we have for the priestly array?

Nehemia: Oh, very, very little. And later on, or I'll mention it now. There used to be this thing on display at the Israel Museum, an artifact that was bought on the antiquities market, which is kind of unusual because most of the things the museum come from proper archaeological excavations carried out by professionally trained archaeologists, not just people who call themselves archaeologists, but real archaeologists.

But this particular item on display at the museum was bought on the antiquities market and because of that, its authenticity has been cast into doubt. In fact, if you go to the museum today, you won't find it on display.

Keith: Wow.

Nehemia: Which is kind of intriguing, considering they paid a half a million dollars for it.

Jono: Oh, wow.

Nehemia: And I don't know if it's real or not, and really no one knows. But what this artifact is, or maybe fake, who knows, is a pomegranate, a purplish pomegranate that says on it, “Kodesh lebeit Yehovah.” Holy to the house of Yehovah.

Jono: Aha.

Nehemia: I think when it showed up at the museum, people thought well, this is too good to be true. This isthe only artifact we have that we know for sure comes directly from the Temple, and this type of pomegranate is described later on in the section, it talks about the pomegranates, it says, “of blue…

Jono: Yes.

Nehemia: …and of purple,” etc. Maybe somebody can…in verse 24, or hold on a second, no, that’s a different chapter. Sorry. Anyway, it's somewhere there in the description, here in the chapter about the pomegranates.

Jono: Yeah.

Nehemia: So they found the pomegranate, supposedly. But again, its authenticity has been called into question. And so that leaves us with nothing, essentially.

Jono: Really? That's really…and even that is in question? So that’s verse 31 to 36, and we're going to come to that in just a minute because there's a couple of questions there. But again, as I mentioned, there's a lot of detail, but even so, there's a lot of questions. One of the things that I get people asking about a lot of the time, and I've got no idea, it goes on to talk about the stones, it says, to make the breastplate and…

Nehemia: Before we get to that.

Jono: Yeah?

Nehemia: I've got to comment something on verse 12, I might ask Keith…

Jono: Oh, sure.

Nehemia: …if he sees something significant here? So I'll read it in Hebrew. It says, “ve-nasa Aaron et shmotam lefnei Yehovah al shtei ktefav le-zikaron.” And Aaron shall carry their names before Yehovah on his two shoulders as a “zikaron,” as a memorial, which could also be translated, legitimately, as a mention.

We have two things in juxtaposition here that jump off the page at me, the word “name,” it's the name of Israel in this case, and the word “zikaron,” or mention, which also means memorial. That jumps off the page at me because we have those two words in juxtaposition next to each other when it comes to the name of the creator, the name of the Father, Yehovah, that his name is as a "zikaron", is to be mentioned as well. I think that's very interesting that it has the names here being borne on the shoulders, and these aren't names obviously in the context that are supposed to be hidden and covered up. They are names that are very clearly supposed to be there, inscribed, with the inscribing of a signet ring, it says.

Jono: Yes.

Nehemia: Which means, you know, there's a certain technique of inscribing, we find it in archaeological excavations on signet rings. It's very small, it's almost microscopic, but it's legible. And I think that's very interesting, that juxtaposition. And we have the same thing in regard to the breastplate that we are going to get to.

Keith: Yeah. And I think what's interesting about it, Jono and Nehemia, is just the idea that these names that he's carrying before Yehovah, certainly, the names aren't simply just to be…how can we put this? Remembered simply, but they're being written; they're being seen, and can I go so far as to say it, sometimes maybe even spoken?

Nehemia: I'm pretty sure they spoke the names of the twelve tribes of Israel. Absolutely.

Keith: Absolutely. And so the idea being is they are speaking these names. And I think Nehemia, that's one of those verses that, if you take the time and you slow down and you look through it, it's just, we can probably say, well, those names are really, “zicharon,” that just simply means that they were thought about or remembered, rather than he was bringing them before Yehovah.

Jono: And in verse 10, it does say that they were written in order of their birth. Which makes me wonder, as we come down to “the breastplate of judgment,” is what I've got, it's called here in verse 15. And it says, “And you shall put settings of stones on it, four rows of stones; the first row shall be sardius, topaz, emerald," that'll be the first. The second is, “turquoise, sapphire, and diamond; the third is jacinth, agate, amethyst; and the next is, beryl, onyx, and jasper.” And so people say to me, well, which stone represents which tribe? Nehemia, do we know the answer to that question?

Nehemia: Oh, we don't really know that. What I find more interesting is what are these stones? We don't really even knowthat.

Jono: Okay.

Nehemia: You know, we have these 12 different stones, and some of them I suppose we know. Some of them are kind of obvious. Like, if you just look really quickly here through the list, we have…

Keith: One second, before…

Nehemia: …in the second row, the second one is called “Sapir,” which is obviously sapphire. It's the same word that survived down to modern times, but a lot of these… and then we have in the fourth row, “Tarshish,” which is a name of a city, Tarsus, in Turkey. So presumably, it was some stone mined in the mountains around Tarshish. Most of these, we really don't know what they are.

Jono: Keith?

Keith: So, the question is this. At least when I when I read this sentence before I get to the actual stones and what they're called. It says, and I just want to slow down here. It says, “Fashion a breastpiece,” but then it says these three words and this throws me off, “for making decisions."

Jono: Ah. So yours says, “for making decisions.” I've got…

Keith: What does yours say?

Jono: I've got, “breastplate of judgment.”

Keith: Uh-uh, we better ask Nehemia.

Nehemia: What do you have after that?

Keith: What's the obvious in the Hebrew, I mean what's the obvious?

Nehemia: What do you have after breastplate of judgment?

Keith: “The work of a skilled craftsman.”

Nehemia: Okay. Oh, is that what yours…so yours says what, Keith?

Keith: “Fashion a breastpiece for making decisions, the work of skilled craftsman.”

Nehemia: Oh, okay, so you're talking about the…and what translation is that?

Keith:What are you talking about?

Jono: That's the Nearly Inspired, right?

Keith: What are you talking about? This is in my Methodist Bible.

Jono: It also appears in verse 29. It says, again…

Nehemia: Alright, so basically, they just added the wordsfor making decisions.

Jono: Well, Alright, okay. So, it is judgment…

Nehemia: No, it doesn't say that. It says, breastplate of “hoshen mishpat,” breastplate of judgment. Why is it called the breastplate of judgment? Well that's a whole separate question. But it literally means “the breastplate of judgment.” Are we going to talk about the stones or are we going to talk about the breastplate of judgment? Which one do you want?

Keith: How can we talk about the stones if we…

Jono: We better.

Keith: No, just a second.

Jono: Yeah?

Keith: How can we talk about the stones?

Nehemia: Yeah.

Keith: You guys want to talk about what kind of stones they are. I want to talk about the purpose, which is what said here in the first verse…

Jono: Let's do that Keith.

Nehemia: Alright.

Jono: Because, let me…

Nehemia: What I want to do…

Jono: Well before we talk, can I just continue with verse 29? We'll come back to the stones because it says, “So Aaron shall bear the names of the sons of Israel on the breastplate of judgment over his heart, when he goes into the holy place, as a memorial before Yehovah continually. And you shall put in the breastplate of judgment the Urim and the Thummim,” if that’s pronounced correctly, “and they shall be over Aaron’s heart when he goes before Yehovah. So Aaron shall bear the judgment of the children of Israel over his heart before Yehovah continually.” Now, I'm not really sure what that means, but it sounds almost dangerous to me.

Nehemia: Really?

Keith: Now, what verse are you in?

Nehemia: Okay, why dangerous?

Jono: I don't know, it sounds kind of scary. It sounds like an incredibly heavy responsibility.

Nehemia: What is this bearing the judgment? What is that?

Jono: Yeah.

Nehemia: Well, we find that out later in the Tanakh. If we can turn just for a minute to Numbers chapter 27, it says, in verse 18, and I’ll just read it quickly.

Jono: Sure.

Nehemia: It says, “And Yehovah spoke to Moses, take for yourself Joshua, the son of Nun, a man who the Spirit is in him, and place your hands upon him,” or literally, lean your hands upon him, “and stand him before Eleazar, the priest.” The significance of Eleazar is that he takes over from Aaron, who dies, so Eleazar at this time in Numbers 27 is the high priest. “Stand him, Joshua, before Eleazar the priest and before the entire congregation, and command him before their eyes; and give of your glory upon him in order that all the congregation of Israel will obey him.” And this is verse 21, “and before Eleazar the priest, he shall stand and he shall ask of the judgment of the Urim before Yehovah. And according to his mouth they will go out and according to his mouth they will come in. He and all the children of Israel with him, the entire congregation.”

So, the significance here is that, when Joshua doesn't know what to do, when he doesn't know the judgment, he's supposed to go to Eleazar the high priest and ask Yehovah to get the judgment of the Urim. Evidently, the Urim was similar to what we talked before aboutephod that David was using. And maybe when it saysephod, there it actually means the Urim. But the Urim evidently was some kind of prophetic device through which they would communicate with God and be able to ask questions.

Jono: Really?

Nehemia: Now, how it worked? No one really knows.

Keith: I know how it worked.

Nehemia: There is a Jewish legend…

Jono: Keith, it's not some sort of magic device, isn’t it?

Nehemia: How did it work, Keith?

Keith: No, no, I'm telling you I know how it works. So here's what happened.

Nehemia: Oh, it's the magic.

Keith: No, no, here's what would happen, so…

Nehemia: Is this some secret teaching we have to pay $49.95 to get?

Keith: You can question me on this one. I'm going to tell you how it worked.

Jono: Please.

Nehemia: OK.

Keith: So, they went before Him and they'd ask a question, and then when they'd ask the question, the stones would light up and they would light up and spell something.

Nehemia: That's the Jewish legend, that the stones would light up.

Keith: Well, let me give you the Methodist one.

Nehemia: Okay.

Keith: Can I give you the…

Nehemia: The stones would light up and that would be the answer. But we don't know exactly, and the reason they say that the word Urim, they assume is from the word “Or,” which means light. Hence, Urim give the light.

Jono: You know, I wondered about that. Yeah. Keith?

Nehemia: So, it’s possible.

Jono: What's the Methodist answer? Come on.

Keith: Listen, this is all I know. All I know is this, and this is why I went back to this thing. You guys are doing something that's really, really interesting, and I think this is something that Nehemiah brought up before. There was some translation where they just had one part of the translation, as if they had not read more of the book. So what Nehemia just did was, we were talking about this question, asking the question, what is this breastplate, and what my Bible is trying to tell me, and they've gone to the later aspect and then they brought that back to translation, this sentence.

Tell me if I'm right or wrong. They're saying, in the end, they read, this was something that helped them make decisions. Now, they discounted what the Hebrew said in the sentence. They went and got that part, put it back in to verse 15. Now, if I'm wrong, you guys can let me know. So, what we get a chance to do, if we're reading it in order, or listening to it, if we were an ancient Israelite, we would be hearing the whole story.

What the NIV has done is, let me help you and let you just know right now rather than the process of discovery. It's for making decisions. So that's why I guess my point is, I want to know what it actually says, what the actual words say, and let the progression come.

Nehemia: So, the keyword here is “mishpat.” Say “mishpat.”

Keith: Mishpat.

Jono: Mishpat.

Nehemia: Okay “mishpat,” which is the Hebrew word that means judgment. And we could know what this means by looking at Deuteronomy 17, beginning in verse 8. It says, “when a matter is too difficult for you for judgment,” say “mishpat.”

Jono: Mishpat.

Keith: Mishpat.

Nehemia: Mishpat. “When a matter is too difficult for you for mishpat,” and then it lists various types ofmishpat - blood and verdict, etc. It says, “You will arise and go up to the place that Yehovah, your God will choose; and you will come to the Levitical priest,” in verse 9, “and to the judge who will be in those days and you shall seek and they will tell you the matter of themishpat,” the matter of the judgment.

Jono: Judgment, okay.

Nehemia: “You will do according to what they tell you from the place that Yehovah chooses. Then you shall diligently do all that they teach you,” etc. So, this is talking about, if you don't know what themishpat is, you go to the priest at the Temple, and he's got the breastplate of themishpat, and you ask of theUrim. And that's what we see it's talking about, we saw that in Numbers 27. Even Joshua, who is a prophet and was there when Yehovah revealed himself face to face to Moses, Joshua was sitting in the tent, evenhe's got to go and ask Yehovah. He can't say, well, I've been given this authority, and I can make up any answer I want. No, he's got to go and ask the judgment of themishpat, excuse me, judgment of the “Hoshen HaMishpat,” the breastplate of judgment, of the Urim.

We have this again in 1 Samuel, chapter 28 verse 4, where Saul is gathered at Mount Gilboa facing the Philistines. Mount Gilboa overlooks the Jezreel Valley. The Philistines were down in the Jezreel Valley, in a place called Shunem, and it says, “And Saul saw the camp of the Philistines and he was afraid and his heart shook.” This is 1 Samuel chapter 28, now verse 6, it says, “And Saul asked Yehovah and Yehovah did not answer him, neither in dreams nor through the Umim,” excuse me, “nor through the Urim;” “Gam ba-urim,” neither through theUrim and neither through the prophets. So, he has three vehicles for getting an answer from God: he's got the dreams, he can speak to him in a dream, he can speak to him through theUrim of a high priest, and he can speak to him through prophets. And none of them are giving Saul an answer. So what does Saul do? In verse 7, this is the famous story, he goes to Endor, which is not far from Shunem…

Jono: Yeah, and he finds a witch.

Nehemia: …he asks the witch, and she summons up the spirit of Samuel. You know, we don't have a prophet that can speak, let's summon up a dead prophet, that's his thinking. And we know what happened in the rest of that story, that’s 1 Samuel, chapter 28 in verse 6.

Jono: Yeah.

Nehemia: There's another account in Ezra chapter 2, where it lists all the people who came back from exile, and there was one family who knew they were priests. They had a tradition that they went directly back to Aaron, but they didn't know how. They weren't able to name father-to-son all the way in a direct line to Aaron. And it says, “And the governor said unto them that they should not eat of the most holy things until there stood up a priest with Urim and Thummim.”

Jono: Ah.

Nehemia: What this is saying is, if we don't have the high priest to ask him the answer from God, are you guys really priests? You must not eat of the most holy things, because you're doubtful priests. All the other priests could prove their lineage. You guys, you just have a kind of vague tradition. This is clearly describing the breastplate of judgment, the same process in Numbers 27 and Deuteronomy 17. And there's one other really interesting reference to it, and this is in the prophecy of a little-known prophet named Azariah, the son of Oded, or Azaryahu ben Oded. I mean, who ever heard of him, right?

Jono: Right.

Nehemia: It's in 2 Chronicles chapter 15, and it says, in verse 1, “And the Spirit of God was upon Azaria the son of Oded." And in verse 2, “And he went out before Asa,” who's the king, “and he said, listen Asa, or hear me Asa, and all Judah and Benjamin, Yehovah be with you when you are with him. And if you seek him, he will be found by you,” or for you, “and if you abandon him or leave him, he will leave you.” And in verse 3 he says, "many days Israel will be without the true God and without the teaching priest and without the Torah.”

Now, a lot of people read this and say well, Azaryahu ben Oded, he was talking about something in that period. Which may also be true, but I think this definitely applies to the situation we're in today, where we don't have the teaching priest, that is, the priest who stands with the Urim and the Thummim. It doesn't exist today. So, if we have a situation like those priests, where we're not sure of their lineage, we have to follow the same precedent of Ezra over there in the book of Ezra 2:63, where we say, okay, we don't know if you guys are really priests. We got to wait for the priests to stand with the Urim and the Thummim.

Jono: Yeah.

Nehemia: We are in this period of many days without the teaching priest. What's interesting, the other two things, it says, “without the true God and without Torah.” Can I get an Amen?

Jono: Amen. Oh, well, that's the Torah Pearl.

Keith: Well, I can't say, I won't say amen to that, because what are you talking about?

Nehemia: Well, we have the Torah, but most people don't follow it. And we have the true God, but most people don't worship him. They worship a god after the imaginations of their own hearts. Then in verse 4 of that same prophecy in 2 Chronicles, chapter 15, it says, “And he will return when it is troubling for him to Yehovah, the God of Israel, and they will seek Him and He will be found by them. And in those times, there will be no peace for those who go out and those who come in." It's a very interesting prophecy. I recommend people, turn to it and read it; bear in mind, in the English, they will translate this all as past tense. In the Hebrew, in verse 3, it's not past tense. It's describing a situation without a time.

Jono: What's going through your mind, Keith?

Keith: Well, first of all, I think this is really an important issue because, what happens in Israel, and Nehemia, you can let me know if I'm right or wrong, there's sort of this authority of themishpatim, themishpat given to groups of people who have a connection to the actual, the spiritual. Meaning whether it be the Rabbis there, or in my part of the world and in the religion that I come from, when there's a real issue you gather together the bishops. The bishops are the ones that are going to have the wisdom and the discernment and the understanding, and they're functioning in this role. And I think that that's where the problem comes in.

The problem comes in that, someone reads this and says, well, I can't make it, I can't make a correct judgment. I can't get an understanding, not in the more difficult things, even in the simple things. So I have people that will say this to me, and this happened to me less than a few months ago. There was a very clear issue that I was dealing with someone on, and it was in the Bible, and he saw it, and it was clear. And he said, well I can't decide about that. I’ve got to call my, in general terms, I've got to call my priest. I've got to call my priest to get the answer, I can't just read the Scripture to understand the Scripture and see what it says. I could never act on that without the judgment of my priest. Does that not happen in Israel, Nehemia? I've got to go to the Rabbis and get the judgment on…

Nehemia: Well, we're not authorized to read the Scripture by ourselves. I was actually warned when I was growing up, never read the Bible by itself without a running Rabbinical commentary; it will lead to heresy. And I like to say I'm living proof that's true.

Keith: So, isn't this the issue? Even some people that are listening, so they are reading the Bible and they hear…

Jono: Oh. Yeah.

Keith: …they start to understand something. Jono, you've seen this happen. And then they go…

Jono: Oh, look, this has happened to me, yeah.

Keith: Okay, well, give an example where you have to go to the priest.

Jono: No, I just remember, I remember very clearly as a young boy growing up, you know, Sunday school, and church, and whatnot. For example, I remember one person came out to me and said, now, don't worry about Revelation. Revelation and this book is also, and don't read that. You just read, and they would sort of narrow you down to particular books and say, they're the books; those other ones that are too hard. You can't understand those unless you go to such-and-such. And you’re just sort of brought up with that ideology, right? It's interesting that exists in Judaism, as well.

Keith: Well, the reason I said this, and Nehemia was mentioning the idea that some people say, well, we can't make the judgment, we have to wait until the priest will stand and give us the judgment. So which is it? Can I read the Bible and understand it and attempt to make judgment based on the circumstances I'm dealing with? Or should I just simply wait? Or, maybe I should go to those that are connected all the way back to Aaron, and you know, the Kohen…

Nehemia: Well, look, the ideal situation is that we do have the priest and the king, and we can go to them and get their judgment. We have the Messiah, essentially, that is here on earth as a flesh-and-blood King, that's at least my belief. And we can go and ask him and ask the high priest, who is also a Messiah, that is, he's anointed with oil, but we don't have that today. So what do we do? And I guess what we could do ispretend to have that authority…

Keith: See, that’s what I’m waiting for.

Nehemia: …and give that authority to another man.

Keith: Right.

Nehemia: Or we can say, okay, well I've got to go get to God directly because I don't have those vehicles, and I've got to do the best I can using Scripture. Using what I do have, using the tools available to me.

Keith: And so, can I be a little controversial for those that are listening? I’m trying to be quiet here, but this is why this is such a big and an important issue for me personally, is that I come from a tradition where, as I mentioned in the beginning of this Torah portion, where what's happened is, the Methodists…and I'm going to use my denomination, I'm not going to talk about anybody else, okay?

Jono: Sure.

Keith: So, I went to seminary, and after being in seminary for three years, I came out and I was ordained as a deacon and then after that, I was ordained as an elder; two different ordination processes. And as the result of going through that, I was given the hands, later on, from the bishop, of the bishop, of the bishop, of the bishop… it goes all the way back to the first bishop. Who's the first bishop? And you guys know who the first bishop is, right?

Nehemia: That's Peter, right?

Jono: It's supposed to be Peter, right?

Keith: Okay, guys. So we've got lineage all the way back to Peter. Now, come on. What are you guys laughing at?

Jono: Sorry.

Nehemia: It's so impressive.

Keith: No, I'm telling you, we've got bishops all the way back to the first bishop. “Upon this rock, I shall build my church.” Okay, so we've got all the way back to that and then I was given the hands laid…

Nehemia: That refers to the Methodist church, right?

Keith: Look, I'm telling you what happens.

Nehemia: Sorry. Go on.

Jono:Go on.

Keith: So, I go through these two ordination processes and then I've got a church of eleven hundred people. Now, this church of eleven hundred people, when there are issues, when they come to the problem, they come to me. Now, here's what I'm telling you is supposed to happen. I'm supposed to somehow, through my ordination process, have the wisdom of the high priest who's got the breastplate.

And again, where this becomes serious is, we're all doing this Bible study right now. We're going through this, I consider this a Bible study, and I love the way we do it. We're saying to people, there's a process by which, through language, history, and context, we can actually go to the Word of God and attempt to the best of our abilities to get some answers. Sometimes, even we will not come up with the answers, and we’ve got the great Jono from Australia here and even sometimes, Jono doesn't have the answer. Am I right, Jono?

Jono: Oh, quite frequently, my friend, but don't tell anyone.

Keith: But my point is, what do we do while we're in what I like to call, exile? We're in exile, and if we're in exile, what do we do? There's nobody that we can go to, there's no priest. I mean even Nehemia, he says he's connected to King David himself. Nehemia is not offering…

Nehemia: On my mother’s side, it doesn't count.

Keith: My point is we have to do the best we can.

Jono: Yes.

Keith: And that's what I've always loved about approaching the Scriptures in the way that we are. We don't have all the answers. At last I checked, I mean I'd love to have the breastplate where I could just go to it and ask a question and it would light up and spell for me or something like that. It's just not that simple. But what we can do is the best that we can, and I think that's what we're trying to do.

Jono: What we can do is we can study and walk according to our integrity…

Keith: Amen.

Jono: …according to the conclusions that we come to from studying. And I guess we may come to slightly different conclusions…

Keith: Right.

Jono: …but we can't attack someone over exercising their own study and their own integrity. I mean, you know?

Nehemia: I agree with you. You know, one of the things, people challenge me all the time within Judaism is, they'll say, well, we've got to obey what the Rabbis say. And they'll say, who are we to interpret Scripture for ourselves? My response to that is, you know what? I'm the one who has to answer on the Day of Judgment when I stand before God, and so who am I? I'm the most important person for deciding how I live my life according to Scripture. And they'll say, well, you're just relying on your own wisdom.

Well, isn't it better that I rely onmy wisdom than on somebody else's? At least, I can say, okay, it made sense to me, instead of following something that I know doesn't make sense, that I look at it and say, oh, that doesn't make sense, but I'm going to defer to this authority because this authority claims God gave him the authority. I mean come on, the only authority that God gave is to the high priests at the Temple and later to the king who was anointed with oil from the line of David. Those are the only two authorities that I have to listen to. Anybody else, those are just the opinions of men. Sometimes men have great opinions, and it's worthwhile to hear what they have to say, especially if they're Methodists or Australians, but ultimately, you have to make the decision yourself.

Jono: Yes. Amen.

Nehemia: You can't rely on what somebody else says. If I blindly do what somebody, even if somebody blindly does what I say, and I happen to be right, what they've done is turn my words into an idol, instead of going and getting it for themselves.

Jono: Getting it for themselves, yeah.

Keith: And that’s…

Nehemia: Okay, Nehemia said this, this, and that, and I went in Scripture and saw he was right, or I saw he was wrong. That's your duty to do that…

Jono: Yes.

Nehemia: …and if you don't do that, you're turning my words, and Keith's words, and Jono's words, into idols. And that's not a good thing, you don't want to be an idol. You know, an idol is something we put instead of worshiping God directly.

Jono: Amen. Keith?

Keith: And all I want to say is I think the reason I'm coming at this the third time is because it's just very easy to take, you know, I think we're striking at the very root of some religious authority right now…

Nehemia: Uh-Oh.

Keith: …because the religious authority could stand up at the General Conference of the Methodist Church, take this particular passage, preach on it, and talk about why the authority is with them as the ones who makemishpat, the judgment. And you know, the people could sit there and say, yes, you're right, and here's why I give my money, and here's why I give my time and here's where I give my treasure, and here's where I give my decision making, my priest said, my bishop said, my pastor said…

And you know, I know that this is why we're not always the most popular when it comes to this, because one of the reasons that there's such a powerful movement of control in the religious establishment is that they get a chance to say, well, God told us, and you could never hear it that way, and Nehemia, tell me if I'm right or wrong, God, told us through the Oral Law, God told us through the process of the seminary and the religious thing with the Methodist; “God told us,” I mean wherever you come from Jono, certainly there's a group of people that always say they have the authority.

Jono: Oh, yeah. Yes.

Keith: And what we're really striking at is a place of control, and I'm going to tell you why I think right now in the times that we're in, so many people are becoming discouraged with the religious establishment. They don't want to be controlled, especially when information is increasing, and the information that they're interacting with doesn't match the supposed authority of the religious establishment, and that's where the crisis comes in. And we have to give people a chance to interact with this information themselves, be like Bereans who study the Scripture daily to see if what Jono says is true. If what Jono said is true, then put it into practice.

Jono: Sure.

Keith: If it's not, then tell Jono that he's going to have to, you know…

Jono: If it doesn't fit?

Keith: You must acquit.

Jono: There it is. "The pomegranate," as you mentioned just a little bit before, Nehemia, "is accompanied by a golden bell." This has me intrigued and I'm particularly, I'm focusing in on verse 35, and it says, “And it shall be upon Aaron when he ministers, and its sound will be heard when he goes into the holy place before Yehovah…”

Keith: Wow.

Jono: “…and when he comes out, that he may not die.” He's wearing the bells and the pomegranate so that he doesn't die, so that he's heard when he approaches, I suppose, and when he leaves. That's pretty serious stuff.

Keith: [laughter]

Jono: Keith, come on, I mean.

Keith: Listen, I mean, I'm telling you, we slow down and look at this stuff. There's a lot in here.

Jono: There really is. And the next verse, now, this reminds me of, what is it, Zechariah 14? “You shall also make a plate of pure gold and engrave on it, like the engraving of a signet: HOLINESS TO YEHOVAH.” That reminds me…

Nehemia: Whoo!

Jono: …it is Zechariah 14, isn't it? Is that what I'm thinking of? This is the one where Yehovah comes down upon the Mount of Olives and splits it in two, right?

Nehemia: That's in Zechariah 14.

Jono: Zechariah 14, and it says, I’m just finding it now.

Nehemia: Verse 4, as he's standing on the two.

Jono: It's right at the end, isn't it? Oh, that's in verse 4 where Yehovah stands upon the Mount of Olives, splits it in two. But in verse 20, “In that day “HOLINESS TO YEHOVAH” shall be engraved on the bells of the horses. The pots of Yehovah’s house shall be like the bowls before the altar. Yes, every pot in Jerusalem and Judah shall be holiness to Yehovah of hosts.” Interesting, very interesting.

Nehemia: Now, here, I've got to slow down here.

Jono: Go on.

Keith:OK.

Nehemia: Because this is a very interesting passage here. It's talking about what we call in English, they call it the Miter, usually, if I'm not mistaken, in Hebrew it calls it in verse 36 of Exodus 28, the “tzitz.” And it's actually from the same word as “tzitzit.”

Jono: Ah.

Nehemia:Tzitzit are the tassels, as some people call them.

Jono: Yes.

Nehemia: Or the fringes on your garment, or as Keith used to call them, “zeat-zeats.” He called them “zeat-zeats.”

Keith: And he would never correct me, Jono. He used to…

Jono: The zeat-zeats.

Nehemia: No, I corrected him! He wasn’t listening.

Keith: No, he’d correct me after like about the 20th time.

Nehemia: “Tzitzit. Tzitzit." And this is “tzitz,” which is evidently from the same root, possibly. And so, it's basically like a strip, and then there's a gold piece on it that says on it, “Kodesh la Yehovah,” Holy to Yehovah. Josephus mentions this and his reference to it…

Keith: Yes.

Nehemia: …confuses a lot of people, so I've got to slow down and read it to you.

Jono: Please.

Nehemia: It's in…Josephus wrote a book called, The War of the Jews, or The Jewish War, and why did he call it the Jewish War? He was Jewish, but he was writing for a Greek and Roman audience.

Jono: Yes.

Nehemia: And so, from their perspective, it was the Jewish war. Obviously, from the Jewish perspective, it was the Roman war. So, in the Jewish war…

Keith: Nehemia, before you say another word, I just want to warn you, I just want to warn you now. Ladies and gentlemen, you know, Nehemia, are you really going to address this? Because if you open this door now, we're going to have to clean the room out. Do you really want to do this?

Nehemia: I do, yes, definitely.

Keith: Okay, go ahead.

Nehemia: Okay. It's in Josephus’ War of the Jews, or The Jewish War, book 5, section 235. And it says, “A miter also of fine linen encompassed his head,” this is describing the high priest, “which was tied by a blue ribbon, about which there was another golden crown, in which was engraven the sacred name: it consists of four vowels.” Now some people take this passage and say, well, Josephus is telling us how to pronounce the name, and they say okay, four vowels, well, what are the four vowels? And then they come up with all kinds of interesting things. “YahooWuho,” because that's four vowels, right? “YuhooWehee,” “YahahuWawewa.” Because you’ve to have the four vowels, right? Except, let's actually think about this for a second. When Josephus says that the name is four vowels, it consists of four vowels, is he saying how to pronounce it? Not really, he's saying how it's engraven on the miter of the high priest.

Jono: On the crown, yeah.

Nehemia: And why does he call it four vowels? Because in Greek, and this is the embarrassing thing they don't want to tell you, you know where they get the name “Yahweh”? “Yahweh” is preserved, after a fashion, by a Church Father from the 4th century, named Theodoret of Cyrus. And he writes, “The Jews pronounce the name of god “Aya,” and the Samaritans pronounce it “Yabe.” Now they say well, “Yabe” is not the name of God obviously, so that must be something else in Hebrew. And they speculate that it was “Yaheveh,” which gentiles pronounce as “Yahweh.” “Yaheveh.” What they're not telling you is that Greeks…basically, it was a word you couldn't write in Greek and that's because in Greek, the four letters, “yud-hei-vav-hei” are not actual consonants, they're vowels. The Greek letter ‘yota’ would represent the ‘yud’ of the name. The letter ‘hei,’ well you don't really have a ‘hei’ in Greek, you don't have a ‘huh’ sound. So, what you'd have to write is probably the Greek letter ‘eta’ or ‘alpha’, or you'd have to come up with one of the vowels. And then we have the W or the V which is the ‘vav’ which some Jews pronounce as ‘Wa,’ some Jews pronounces as ‘Ve.’ That's tomato and tomato, actually, it's two different dialects of Hebrew. Well, Greek doesn't have a ‘Ve’ or a ‘Wa,’ so it can't represent…I'm talking about ancient Greek that is, modern Greek does, but ancient Greek didn’t have a ‘Ve’ or a ‘Wa,’ so that, well, we'll have to use a vowel. Epsilon is the closest thing, which is one of the Greek letters.

Jono: Sure.

Nehemia: And then we're back to the ‘hei’ again which it doesn't have, which probably would be ‘eta’. So that's four vowels to a Greek. So that, when he says it consists of four vowels, he's not saying how to pronounce it. He's talking of how it’s engraven on the miter of the high priest as, to what to a Greek mind would be, four vowels. So this has nothing to do with pronunciation, he's not talking about pronunciation. He actually says in a different place that the name of God is a name he can't speak anymore, which is kind of strange.

Does that mean in the time of Josephus, no one spoke the name? Well, it turns out he says it is not lawful to speak, and that word “lawful” is a technical term in Greek that comes from the world of the Greek, what they call, “the mystery religions.” And a mystery religion was a religion that you were allowed to enter and revealed all these secrets to, and there were certain things that you were allowed to reveal to others that it was lawful to reveal to others, and other things it was not lawful to reveal to others. He uses the word in that context. And it only appears one other time in the writings of Josephus, and that's when he says, interestingly enough, that it is not lawful for him to reveal the Ten Commandments.

Jono: Oh, wow.

Nehemia: Yeah. And that's because, apparently, and this is what Greek scholars say, Josephus wanted to impress his Greek readers, so he made it out to them, he presented Judaism, or the faith of Israel, as a faith that was a secret.

Jono: Ah.

Nehemia: So the name of God is a secret, and the Ten Commandments revealed directly by God at Sinai is a secret. Now, we all know the Ten Commandments are not a secret. I have it on my wall right now, and if you really would like, I could read it to you, but I have it on my wall written from a Torah scroll. And it's read twice a year, every year, in the synagogue, so there's no secret there. I think there was probably just as much secret about the name of God.

Later it became a secret, it became an ineffable name, ineffable meaning unpronounceable. And here, can I share this with them, Keith? What we learned about the ineffable name? Or should we just move on?

Keith: You got to ask Jono, you’ve got to ask Jono.

Nehemia:Jono, can I share this?

Jono: No, you can't leave them hanging, Nehemia. Keep going.

Nehemia: So, here's what I want to ask the audience. What is the first name of God in history that was an ineffable name? The first name that was called the ineffable name, does anyone know? Of course not, because it's ineffable. And it turns out that that was the name, the secret name of Dionysus, the Greek god of wine, also known as Bacchus, which I am probably mispronouncing, or Bacchus, “Bakhus,” as the Israelis pronounce it. His name was unpronounceable, and so his name was referred to as the ineffable name.

There is actually a story called the Gordian Knot, where Alexander the Great comes to a certain temple in what state? Turkey. And there's a knot there, which is a mystery. Which, according to some scholars, represented the secret of the ineffable name of Dionysus. According to the legend, evidently, Alexander discovered what that secret was, and through the power of the name of Dionysus, the ineffable secret name, he was able to conquer Asia. That is, essentially, the Persian Empire in the Middle East.

Now, where did Judaism get an idea of an ineffable name? It's not from the Tanakh. It's not from the Hebrew Bible I can tell you that. I've got another secret. It doesn't even appear in the writings of the earliest rabbis. This is something that comes directly out of Greece, out of the legend related to Alexander the Great…

Jono: Wow.

Nehemia: …and the whole worship of Dionysus. There, I've said enough, we need to move on.

Jono: There it is. Keith, damage control, quick.

Keith: Well, let me do some damage control. You guys, Nehemia is obviously…

Nehemia: Let’s just say it.

Keith: I mean, do you know how many different landmines you just stepped over there? Holy to the Lord, I mean here we're trying to have this nice Torah portion. I will say this, that there's something that’s really interesting. Someone sent me a picture and they said, these are the four Greek letters that were on the turban of Aaron. And they used the Greek…

Nehemia: Four Greek letters?

Keith: No, I'm telling you. Even Josephus says, they were four Greek letters. And they actually sent what those four Greek letters would be with Greek letters, and they said this proves the pronunciation of the...

So anyway, and I do think what he's trying to say in a nice way is that you can't take that testimony of Josephus and then come up with a pronunciation, as many people have. There actually is a way to do that, and we've talked about that many times, but I want to tell you Nehemia, thank you for sharing that, and Jono, we should move on quickly.

Jono: There's a lot of homework for the listeners. And so, in verse 41…

Nehemia: Whoo! Come on.

Jono: “You shall put them on Aaron your brother, and on his sons with him. You shall anoint them…”

Nehemia: Come on.

Jono: “…consecrate them, sanctify them, and they may minister to Me as priests.”

Nehemia: This is the first time in history, in the Tanakh, and in history, where someone is made a Messiah.

Jono: There it is.

Nehemia: And that's the word,

Jono: That is the word.

Nehemia: “U-mashachta,” you will messiah them, you will anoint them and, in the context, of course. Now we already had references in the last Torah portion to the preparation of the anointing oil, but the first time someone's actually anointed with the oil and consecrated is here in verse 41 of Exodus 28. It’s a picture of Messiah.

Jono: This is the first Messiah, right.

Keith: Wait a minute; can we slow down real quick? Can we just take a look real quick at 41?

Jono: Yeah.

Keith: And Nehemia, I hope you won't go too far on this, don't be too tough on me here. Jono, I want you to get your translation. So when I read this, it says, “After you put these clothes on your brother Aaron and his sons, anoint and ordain them.” Now…

Jono: Ordain?

Nehemia: Ordain? What you got Jono?

Jono: Okay, so I've got, “You shall anoint them, consecrate them, and sanctify them, that they may minister to Me as priests.”

Nehemia: So, the Hebrew word, or do you want to tell us, Keith, what it is?

Keith: Well, no. I want to do something real quick, because I'm going to share something. I'm going to give you a little testimony with the group here and for the world, as we see this.

Nehemia: Whoo! Testimony time.

Keith: So, what I want us to do is, I just want to take this sentence, and I want to take a moment one more time. Everyone, get their Bible, verse 41, Jono, would you first just read verse 41, and tell me if there's a period after ‘them,’ or just read it as you understand it.

Jono: All right, I'll tell you exactly what I have here. I've got, “You shall,” and then there's a little ‘a,’ and it says, “anoint.”

Keith: No, read it without the notes.

Jono: Oh, without the notes.

Keith: I just wanted it from the beginning, yes.

Jono: “You shall anoint them, consecrate them, and sanctify them, that they may minister unto Me as priests.” It's what I've got.

Keith: Okay. Now, can I just read this, and then Nehemia, I would like you to give us the verse in Hebrew without commentary. Okay. “After you put these clothes on your brother Aaron and his sons, anoint and ordain them.” Period. Then it says, “Consecrate them so they may serve me as priests.” Now I want to ask a

grammatical question here. Nehemia, would you give me the verse and let me know if there's a split in the verse - just read the verse.

Jono: Yeah, I've just got commas.

Keith: Yeah, go ahead, Nehemia.

Nehemia: You want me to read in Hebrew?

Keith: Please.

Nehemia: “ve-helbashta otam et Aharon achiha ve-et banav ito; u-mashachta otam u-mileta et yadam, ve-kidashta otam ve-kihanu li.”

Keith: Now, when it says “otam,” is it Etnachta?

Nehemia: Yeah.

Keith: Okay, so there's…

Nehemia: No, the Etnachta is at “ito,” meaning the half of the verse. In English it would be, “And you shall clothe…” Can I translate it?

Keith: Please.

Nehemia: “And you shall clothe them, Aaron your brother and his sons with you;” and that's where the semicolon, or the half point of the verse, what’s called the Etnachta. Every verse in the Tanakh, in the Hebrew Bible, is split into two; there's a midpoint. And in 21 of the books of the Bible, that's split with a little upside down, well, I guess not upside down, sort of a little horseshoe, which is called the “Etnachta,” which is the pause of the verse. So “You shall clothe them, Aaron your brother and his sons with you; and you shall anoint them, and you shall fill their hands and you shall sanctify them, and they shall be Kohanim; they shall be priests to me,” or for me.

Keith: Okay, now the reason I want to stop, and if I could just take a card here, Jono, please, and Nehemia?

Jono: Mm-hmm.

Keith: So, if I read this verse in verse 41, in my English Bible, it says, “After you put these clothes on your brother Aaron and his sons, anoint and ordain them.”

Nehemia: “Anoint and ordain them,” period?

Keith: Yeah, “anoint and ordain them,” period.

Nehemia: Huh. That’s odd.

Keith: Then it says, “Consecrate them so they may serve me as priests.” Now, the reason I want to take a moment of testimony is that, reading through the Tanakh has been a radical life-changing experience for me, as a Methodist. And there are many people that will say to me, well, Keith, you've read the Tanakh and certainly you should be ready to throw it all away. And they should say to Nehemia, Nehemia, you have read Matthew, and now you should certainly be ready to be converted and you should be able to accept…

Nehemia: [laughter]

Keith: No, I'm just telling you. I mean this is what they would say. I mean, you’ve read it, you should understand it. And I mean this is true, so people say, how can you study…

Nehemia: You should understand it the way we understood it because you've read it.

Keith: You should understand it the way that we understand it. Now, when I'm reading this in Hebrew, Jono, and I want to take my time here just for a moment, if I'm reading this in Hebrew and I come to thatetnachta, which Nehemia had taught me, that this is the halfway point of the verse, and we get these many, many exercises we had to go through, and we had to divide the verses, and he was a very tough teacher. I mean difficult, difficult. You think he's difficult, I mean he's a difficult teacher. So I had to go through all these things. Now, here's the problem, the reason I'm bringing this up in the testimony. If I read this in my seminary, it says, “And you shall anoint them and ordain them.” Now I've got two ordinations, so at this point, why wouldn't I think I'm not Aaron? Why would I think that I'm not the priest?

Jono: Sure.

Keith: What about my tradition would not let me know that? And my Bible, my Methodist Bible here, says that it stopped right there. The important part is to ordain them. And then after that, you consecrate them and they shall serve as priests. Now, here's what happened to me several years ago as I'm going through the Tanakh, word by word, sentence by sentence, line by line, letter by letter, vowel by vowel,etnachta, accents vowels, Masoretic notes. You come to something like this, and you say, wait a minute; what was the agenda of the English translators? For when I read it as a pastor, the agenda is for me to think about my ordination.

So after about two years of reading through the Tanakh, I was led by the Spirit to take that which was on my walls, which happened to be my ordination papers and my degree from the seminary and all that stuff, and I was led by the Spirit, I believe, to take those things off the walls. So what I did, Nehemia and Jono, was I took him off the walls, and I put them outside, and it rained.

Jono: Nice.

Keith: I then was led by the Spirit, or concern…

Nehemia: The thing that you need to get copies or you’re not legit anymore.

Keith: No, no, no. So then I put them in a bag and put him in my attic. And then what I did is I went back to the Tanakh, and I started reading it again from the beginning. And let me tell you why I'm saying this and giving this testimony to my sisters and my brothers out there that are listening, to Nehemia Gordon who’s got his master’s degree from the Hebrew University, and Keith, who has got his master’s of divinity. Let me tell you something, if I was an ancient Israelite, I probably hadn't gone to seminary, and I probably didn't even go to the local yeshiva because there probably wasn't one. The way this was written was for me to understand this as an ancient Israelite and attempt to put it in practice.

Now, why I did what I did was because I needed to approach this Bible without being the one who was ordained, as this sentence makes me think, and read it in context. And you know what? It’s changed my whole approach. I don't come to this as the authoritative priest because I realize I'm not one, though my English Bible wants me to think that I'm just like Aaron. And that's the problem that I'm finding, you guys, I just wanted to share this testimony. I've taken those things off the wall; I've put them outside. Those are no longer the important issues anymore. What's important now is to understand this the best that I can while I'm in exile in its language, history, and context.

And I want to say thank you to my brother, Nehemia, because he was tough on me, and it didn't matter if I could tell him what my theology was and what I believed, still I had to understand what an “Alef,” was, what a “Bet,” was, what anetnachta was, and what the sentence means in Hebrew, and it's changed my approach. So I want to tell him thank you. And for those that are out there that say well, I don't have a Nehemia, I can't go all through that, there still is a way for us to approach this Bible in humility, with the information we do have and the tools that we do have and get a whole lot of meaning without waiting for the ordained Methodist to come along and tell you what it means. That's my preaching, that's my testimony, and that's what helped me.

Jono: Amen.

Nehemia: Amen.

Jono: And that's the theme of this Torah portion so far, isn't it? At least in our discussion…

Keith: It is. Exactly.

Jono: …but that's all about to change because “you shall make for them linen trousers to cover their nakedness.”

Nehemia: Thank God for that.

Jono: Yeah, that's what I do.

Keith: Amen.

Jono: And “they shall reach from the waist to the thighs.” They got linen boxer shorts, that's nice.

Keith: Yeah.

Jono: Anyway, it goes on to say that “the altar to minister in the holy place, that they do not incur iniquity and die.” So, again, it’s a really serious thing. “It shall be a statute forever to him and his descendants after him.” And so, then it goes on, and it talks about Aaron and his sons are consecrated. And it says, “And this is what you shall do to them to hallow them for ministering to Me.” Is that the way it's worded, Nehemia?

Nehemia: “This is the manner which you shall do to them, sanctify them to be Kohanim to Me, to serve Me as Kohanim.”

Jono: Sanctify them. Okay.

Keith: Okay.

Nehemia: Yeah, sanctify them. So you need to make them holy.

Keith: Consecrate, I have.

Jono: You’ve got to consecrate? Okay. I've got hallowed. Okay, that's interesting. It's interesting, so…

Nehemia: And you say, Keith, the ordination in your church is called consecration. Is that what it says?

Keith: Well, it says…no, first, it says here, if you’re ordained.

Nehemia: No, so you are covering all bases no matter what denomination you are?

Keith: No matter, I mean, yeah, I'm covered.

Jono: You have it all there. In verse 7, “And you shall take the anointing oil, and pour on his head, and anoint him.” And there it is.

Nehemia: There it is. Messiah him, the oil of Messiah, and you shall pour it on his head and Messiah him.

Jono: Yes.

Nehemia: The word “mashah,” “mishcha.”

Jono: “The priesthood shall be theirs for a perpetual statute.”

Nehemia: That’s not what it says in mine.

Jono: What have you got?

Nehemia: In mine it says, it shall be for them a priesthood for 1,500 years until something better comes along.

Keith: No.

Nehemia: That's not what it says in yours?

Jono: What have you got, Keith?

Keith: Well, actually, in my Bible it says, “The priesthood is theirs by a lasting ordinance, in this way you shall ordain Aaron and his sons.”

Nehemia: "A lasting ordinance?" It doesn't say…is that really what it says? It's an everlasting? Or lasting?

Keith: “The priesthood is theirs by a lasting ordinance, in this way you shall ordain Aaron and his sons.”

Nehemia: Wow. That's just duplicitous, it really is.

Keith: What do you mean? Why would you say?

Nehemia: No, well, that’s the NIV. So, I'm curious, now I'm going to do a really quick search and see in other places, do they translate the word “olam,” which means eternal, do they translate that as “lasting”?

Jono: Go on.

Nehemia: Now, let's see. Genesis 3:22, and this is Keith's translation, “He must not be allowed to reach out his hand and take also from the tree of life and eat, and liveforever.” Same exact word. Now, why did they translate it here as “forever,” but there they translated it as “lasting”? Genesis 6:3, “My Spirit will not contend with man forever,” same word “olam.”

Keith: You're uncovering my version.

Nehemia: No, I don't understand, I don't understand why they use…

Keith: So, here's what's going on, let me…

Nehemia: In all seriousness, why did they do that? I don’t understand.

Jono: Keith?

Keith: The reason they did that, Jono, and the reason they did that, Nehemia, is because you don't want to send the message that somehow, someway, that what's happening here with the ancient Israelites and the priesthood that no longer is in effect, you don't want to send the reason “forever” because there's a replacement that’s taking place. And so, they had their time, and now that the new replacement will take over and now that will be forever. So probably, if we talk about that replacement, that will be forever, but the thing that went on with Moses and Aaron and the Torah, and that's why you guys are kind of wasting your time even learning this stuff and talking about this stuff and going through this stuff, because it's not forever. The forever is what's going on now and there's been a replacement. So that's why the NIV decided to do that, and I'm going to have to re-evaluate whether I should keep this as my Bible.

Nehemia: Uh-oh.

Keith: Let's move on.

Nehemia: You can hurt sales, we need to move on really quickly. Wait for just one other verse.

Jono: Sure.

Nehemia: Which is Ezekiel 37 verse 25, another forever verse. Here, it actually has forever in the NIV. “They live in the land I gave to my servant Jacob, the land where your fathers lived. They and their children and their children’s children will live thereforever…”

Jono: Forever.

Nehemia: It says, forever, “…and David my servant will be their princeforever.” Now, when it comes to the Messiah, there all of a sudden, they're willing to have it be forever, but when it comes to the priesthood, you know, it's just…what was it? “Lasting.” We didn't say how long, but it is lasting.

Jono: Yeah, all right. And hey, listen, while you're there, I'm just going to skip ahead. We can come back to some key verses if you like. But while you're in Ezekiel,

Nehemia, Ezekiel 46 verse 13. And the reason why I want to have a look at that is because in the end, and you’ve just mentioned the prince as well, the daily offerings, and I'm looking at verse 38 and on, and particularly verse 39. “One lamb you shall offer in the morning, and the other lamb you shall offer in the twilight.” Verse 40, “With the one lamb shall be one-tenth hin of pressed oil, and one-fourth of a hin of wine as a drink offering.” Now in Ezekiel 46:13, are we talking about the same sacrifice there?

Nehemia: Evidently not, because it doesn't have the same measurements.

Jono: it's different measurements, right.

Nehemia: And besides, what we're reading here in Exodus is talking about the high priest bringing every day, and here this is an offering, let's see in verse 12, it says, this is a free will offering that the prince is bringing, that is the “Nasi.” So this is not the same thing as what's being described. Because what you're reading is a whole burnt offering.

Jono: Yes.

Nehemia: Although, here it's also in verse 13. Well anyway, this is a different type of whole burnt offering. And in any event, the function of this is for the prince, and what you're reading there in Exodus is something that the high priest brings, it's a national offering.

Jono: Brilliant. I just wanted to clarify that. Thank you for that. And so now there's some really, I got to say there's some seriously bizarre and curious stuff here that I have really…

Nehemia: Verse 20.

Jono: Oh, verse…I was just about to go, let's start from verse 20.

Nehemia: That's just weird, what's that about?

Jono: It's just super, super weird. “Then you shall kill the ram, and take some of its blood and put it on the tip of the right ear of Aaron and on the tip of the right ear of his sons, on the thumb of their right hands and on the big toe of their right foot, and sprinkle the blood.” Now, we've just read about all the really cool clothes that they've made with the artistry and the precision and the bells and all of that stuff, and then they're getting the blood that they sprinkle on the altar. “And you shall take some of the blood that is on the altar, and some of the anointing oil, and sprinkle it on Aaron and on his garments, and on his sons and on the garments of his sons with him; and he and his garments shall be hallowed,” and I guess that

means sanctified, “and his sons and his sons’ garments with him.” And it doesn't stop there, it just continues on with some very, very curious…

Keith: I want to say this. One of the things that I do think that is, you know, you use the word “curious,” but I think that we should look at and take the approach…and the approach not being, okay, this is the counsel that will have figured it all out on Pearls from the Torah, but rather, what I read…

Nehemia: Let me just stop you there for a second, because I have the secret that, for $49.95, they can find out why the tip of the right ear.

Keith: No, no, no. Well, let me say this. Here's what I do now that really kind of blesses me as I put all that stuff on the wall and put it outside as I approach this again with a bit of innocence and a bit of humility to say, okay, is it possible that through language I might find something, and that's very possible. There are some times, Jono, I will be reading, and in the study approach that I've learned from, you know, some certain people, you ask the question, where there are connections for words, where there might be some themes. One of the beautiful things about where we're at in this day and age, is the ability to have computers where we can do searches and things that, unlike in the ancient days, where you had a scribe who knew every single letter, every single word and could see something and say, oh, here's the connection between that. Sometimes that happens and it jumps off the page, sometimes it doesn't and sometimes, and this has probably been the most humbling if I can say, the most humbling aspect. Do you know that after all of the study and all of the information, and all that, do you know that there are some things that just aren't explained?

Jono: I sure do know.

Keith: No, no. No, where we just can't know, and so what do we tend to do? We tend to come up with our own ideas and our own imagination, and it gets pretty wild.

Jono: It can, it can. And we've seen it, boy. Haven’t we seen it?

Nehemia: Now, are you going to reveal to us the symbolism of the right ear?

Keith: No, I…

Nehemia: Keith, this is why people are listening. I know you've had the revelation. Share it with people.

Keith: No, no, no. My point is…

Nehemia: Why the right big toe?

Keith: No, so what I'm saying is “Kacha.”

Jono:Kacha.

Nehemia: Alright. Pass us some spiritual symbolism that points to something. Come on.

Jono: It hopefully does, and when the Messiah comes, we'll ask him. So, in the meantime, I want to…

Keith: Please, thank you Jono.

Jono: I want to go to, because we're running out of time…

Keith: Yes, thank you.

Jono: …and unless you guys want to pull something out of this afterward, but there's one more thing that I'm curious about and that is, of course, the bread. And we're talking from, let's see, this is verse 32 and on, “Then Aaron and his sons…”

Nehemia: 32? And verse 24?

Jono: 32 and on.

Nehemia: What? Okay.

Jono: Is it?

Keith: Continue.

Nehemia: Can we quickly look at verse 24, just really quick?

Jono: Go on.

Nehemia: “And you shall place upon the hands,” upon the palms, literally, “of Aaron and upon the palms of his sons and you shall wave it…”

Jono: “Wave them as a wave offering.”

Nehemia: “…for them, wave before Yehovah.” And why is it important? Because earlier, the word that your translation translated as “ordained,” or something like that, what it literally said, in Hebrew is, “you will fill their hands.” And what that means is described here in verse 24. That is, they put something in the hands and then that thing is waved and offered, and that is what essentially makes them, or is part of the ceremony of them becoming, a priest, is you put this thing in their hands and sacrifice…

Keith: That's what ordained is?

Nehemia: That's the word ordained. “You will fill their hands,” and here, literally, something is put in their hands, a certain type of sacrifice.

Jono: Interesting.

Nehemia: And then in verse 27, it's called…and read me, 27, I'm curious how yours translates it. Because in Hebrew, it says “the ram of the filling.” That is, the ram that's put in the hands.

Jono: Yeah, I've got the consecration. I've got “the ram of the consecration.”

Nehemia: So, in Hebrew, it's “Eyel hamiluim,” the ram of the filling. That is, the filling of the hand.

Jono: Oh, wow!

Keith: That's powerful.

Jono: How about that?

Keith: Okay.

Nehemia: Now you can go to verse 32, I've nothing more to say.

Jono: Here we go. Ready? “Then Aaron and his sons shall eat the flesh of the ram, and the bread that is in the basket, by the door of the Tabernacle of Meeting. They shall eat those things with which the atonement was made, to consecrate and to sanctify them; but an outsider shall not eat them, because they are holy.” Now, this is of interest, particularly coming from my background, I suppose yours too, Keith. And the question really takes us, and I know this is mentioned in Leviticus 24, I think, but it takes us to 1 Samuel 21, and David eats the bread that Ahimelech gives him. How are we to understand that? Because he turns up with a handful of guys, he says, man we're starving. Ahimelech says, where is everyone? He says, no I'm on a secret mission, but we're really hungry. And he said, well I've got the sacred bread here, but, you know, it's just been replaced. So are you guys holy? You know, have you kept from women? He says, yes, we're all good. And we would assume because Leviticus 24 says, you got to eat it in a holy place. Not only do you have to be holy, it belongs to the high priests, but you have to eat it in a holy place. And so I have to assume that they ate it in there. Is that how you understand that, Nehemia?

Nehemia: Certainly, when it says a holy place, it doesn't necessarily mean in the temple itself. I mean it probably means in the courtyard of a tabernacle.

Jono: Sure.

Nehemia: They wouldn’t be sitting in the…you have the “Chatser HaKodesh” and “Kodesh HaKodashim.” I don't think they were sitting in front of the lamp and eating it.

Jono: Sure.

Nehemia: They were probably sitting out in the courtyard. But yeah, it had to be in a holy place, because it's a holy thing and they had to be ritually clean.

Jono: They had to be clean, yeah.

Nehemia: They couldn’t be with women, because in Leviticus 15 if you do that, you're ritually unclean until evening. And so if they want to eat this, these are the terms. They need to be ritually clean.

Jono: And so, my question is, because obviously, it was Ahimelech’s to give, he owned it because the bread had been replaced. The question is just simply, had David and his men broken Torah at any stage in eating this bread?

Nehemia: That's an interesting question.

Keith: According to this verse?

Jono: According to…

Keith: It must not be eaten as it is sacred.

Nehemia: Well no, hold on. You can't bring the verse in Exodus because that's talking about a regular flour offering, and there's no question that a flour offering, that could be eaten. In other words, what he ate was not…what David and his men ate…let's see, hold on, because, really, we need to look at Leviticus 2, all right, and then you want to look at Leviticus 24, as well.

Keith: I have a suggestion.

Nehemia: Yeah. I mean, what?

Jono: Keith?

Keith: I really have a suggestion. No, well, here's my suggestion. Because here's what we're doing right now, and Jono is a master at this. He’s brought us to Ezekiel six times, he has brought us to all of these really, really important passages.

Nehemia: So, it’s verse 9…

Keith: You know, we're going to get to Leviticus…

Nehemia: So, verse 9, let's just read. Can you read Leviticus 24 verse 9 in your translations?

Jono: Okay, so I've got it. It says, verse 9, “And it shall be for Aaron and his sons, and they shall eat it in a holy place; for it is most holy to him from the offering of Yehovah made by fire, a perpetual statute.”

Nehemia: Right. So, this would seem to imply that David and his men should not… notseems to imply, David and his men shouldn't have been eating that. And so, the question then is, why were they allowed to eat it? Why did Ahimelech let them eat it?

Jono: That's the question.

Nehemia: What's the answer? And I think the answer is that they were starving and would have died. There's a principle there that, if you're starving and you're going to die, or if there's any situation where you're going to die, then these commandments that were given in the Torah, you know, need to be suspended. And I'll give you an example of that. If someone is sick and dying on Shabbat, then whatever the laws of Shabbat that might prevent you from healing that person, those are to be suspended. That's just common sense, you know. If work is involved in keeping that person alive, then you've got to do that work.

Jono: Okay.

Nehemia: I think you'rerequired to do that work. And I think that's the principle that's at play in that passage in 1 Samuel 21.

Jono: There it is. Keith?

Keith: I'm not saying nothing.

Nehemia:Mah ze?

Jono: So, the question, very quickly, if it doesn't say that Aaron and his sons must eat it, or does it say that Aaron and his sons, it belongs to them?

Nehemia: Okay, so hold on a second. You are going to edit out all these “uhms” right? Well, now he's not going to.

Jono: No, no, no because what I've got is, “It shall be for Aaron and his sons.” It shall be for them, but does that mean, they have to eat it?

Nehemia: Well, it should be for them, in Hebrew it means it belongs to them.

Jono: Sure, so is it not theirs to give? Because if I have something and it's mine…

Nehemia: Here, this is what I was looking for. It's Leviticus 22 we need to look at.

Jono: 22, all right.

Nehemia: So, let's read that. Start reading in verse 10.

Jono: Verse 10 says, right here, “No outsider shall eat the holy offering; one who dwells with the priest, or a hired servant, shall not eat the holy thing. But if a priest buys a person with his money, he may eat it; and one who is born in his house may eat the food. If the priest’s daughter is married to an outsider, she may not eat of the holy offerings. But if the priest’s daughter is a widow or divorced, has no children, has returned to her father’s house in her youth, she may eat of her father’s food; but no outsider shall eat it.” Shall I keep going?

Nehemia: So, there it's very…you could read two more verses, yeah.

Jono: “And if a man eats the holy offering unintentionally, then he shall restore the holy offering to the priest and add one-fifth to it. They shall not profane the holy offering of the children of Israel, which they offer to Yehovah, or allow them to bear the guilt of trespass when they eat the holy offerings; for I Yehovah sanctify them.”

Nehemia: Okay, so from this, very clearly David was not allowed to eat of that offering of the bread.

Jono: Ah.

Keith: That's the long way around it, but that's the bottom line.

Jono: That's the bottom line.

Nehemia: Yeah. And what allowed him to, I guess, or as I suggested, I should say, is that the principle here is that his life and the life of his men were in danger. In that context, you're in a situation where you have no choice, and in that context, you're allowed to. Now, did he have to later pay back the value of it plus one-fifth? Probably.

Jono: Interesting.

Nehemia: He probably did.

Jono: Okay.

Nehemia: Because that’s what we just read.

Jono: Which he never actually had the opportunity to do, but that's a totally different story. So is there anything else, fellows? Because we've really filled up the

time. Is there anything else do you want to pull out of this Torah portion, which ends…

Keith: I'm hoping that we will be able to get out of this without any controversies.

Jono: …ends in verse 10.

Keith: Go ahead. Verse 10 read it.

Jono: Verse 10 finishes, it says, “And Aaron shall make atonement upon its horns once a year with the blood of the sin offering of atonement; once a year he shall make atonement upon it throughout your generations. It is most holy to Yehovah.”

Keith: Amen.

Jono: There it is.

Nehemia:Amen.

Jono: Yom Kippur, right? Is that what we're talking about? Here we are…

Nehemia: The word there is “kippurim.”

Jono: Nice.

Nehemia: In Hebrew, it's called Yom Hakippurium.

Jono:Okay.

Keith: I'm looking forward to the next section where we’ll talk about atonement money.

Jono: You know what we should have done right at the beginning all this? I mean this is…

Nehemia: What's that?

Jono: Because there are so many curious things, it might have been…

Nehemia: The prayer.

Jono: The prayer.

Nehemia: We need the prayer.

Keith: No, we need the prayer, Nehemia. Someone said to me, it's funny, I was in some part of the country, and they said, you guys forgot the prayer. They actually said that; you forgot the prayer. And I thought no, Jono added it, we did it later. They said, no, it wasn't in the section.

Nehemia: You didn’t edit it in?

Jono: No.

Keith: There's a section…no, in Exodus, the one in Exodus 6 or whatever. They said we didn't do the prayer. I said, no, I know we did. So Nehemia, would you please say the prayer and then we'll end our section.

Nehemia: Yehovah, Avinu shebashamayim, gal eneinu ve-nabi-tah niphlaot mi-Torahteha. Yehovah our Father in heaven, uncover our eyes that we may see the wonderful hidden things of your Torah. Amen.

Keith: Amen.

Jono: Amen, amen. We need that because I know a lot of us are going to have to go back and continue to do a little bit of homework on that one. Thank you, Nehemia Gordon, and Keith Johnson. Just a reminder, their websites include hishallowednamerevealed.com, aprayertoourfather.com.

Nehemia: Wait a second, that's not his website.

Nehemia: hishallowedname.com.

Jono: Isn't that what I said?

Keith: Thank you Nehemia. Jono is sending them to some other…

Nehemia: You said, hishallowednamerevealed.com

Keith: No, he is going to send them to some other website, I don't understand it. It's hishallowedname.com.

Jono: That's funny. I’ve even got it written in front of me, and I just inserted a word. hishallowedname.com and nehemiaswall.com

Keith: He’s got more websites than me, I don’t like this.

Jono: Next week, we are in Ki Tisha, Exodus 30 verse 11 to 34 verse 35. And until then, dear listeners, vote Johnson and be blessed and be set apart by the truth of our Father's word. Shalom.

You have been listening to The Original Torah Pearls with Nehemia Gordon, Keith Johnson and Jono Vandor. Thank you for supporting Nehemia Gordon’s Makor Hebrew Foundation. Learn more at NehemiasWall.com.

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11 thoughts on “Torah Pearls #20 – Tetzaveh (Exodus 27:20-30:10)

Please leave a comment.

  1. That was a great point you made about us each being accountable to Yehovah and not some religious authority figure, and what you said about making an idol of somebody’s words… WOW! Nowadays it seems everybody’s got their little pet rabbi or pastor that they’ll follow to the ends of the Earth without bothering to check whether or not that person’s teaching gels with Scripture.

  2. “Continually” is actually an accurate interpretation for the lighting of the lamp. The word “continually” implies intermittance; whereas, the word “continuously” implies without interruption.

  3. Is there any way you could expound on your statements concerning Josephus and the 4 vowels? Also you mentioned Josephus and 2 things being unlawful for him which were pronouncing the name and revealing the 10 commandments. am I remembering this correctly and where in his writings are these statements please?

    Thanks for your teachings and press on!

  4. Concerning the duration of the burning of the lamp in the tabernacle, !Sam3:3 (the lamp had not yet gone out) seems to indicate that it was not obligatory for it to burn all night.

    About the “ineffable name”, I think we see a source of it in Jer 44:26. Although it refers specifically to Jews in egypt, there may also be character and lifestyle implication for the rest.

    About Josephus: nothing destroys the value of a good argument more than overstating a case. While his comment on “4 vowels” does not tell us how to pronounce the name, it certainly does limit the options. Every source that comes to mind has affirmed that yothe, hey, and waw function as vowels, in addition to their function as consonants. I see a serious “Bilaam’s ass” incident in the future of your ministries, and I wonder if the technical failure of the Name webinar last night was the first of it. Wishing you the best, but of course yhwh first.

  5. Amen. Nehemia got on a roll about 40 min. into it, and I must agree (and it goes across the spectrum of believers). So, looking at scripture we can see how men of YHVH could seek an answer when they too had no Temple, High Priest, Urim nor Thummim. Use good discernment, as there are good and not-so-good examples.

  6. So many of us came to Christianity with empty heads and hands. Some of us fattened our heads with doctrines but our hands remained empty.-” You can’t “HAND”LE the TRUTH.——- ” A Few Good Men”

  7. I LOVE Deut. 30:11-14! Repeated in NT. When I get frustrated studying Torah to understand correctly what יהוה is saying, I read these verses off my inside doorpost. Thanks for how you all have helped in this walk.

  8. Recently I read that Samuel was ascending to the High Place in 1 Samuel 9:12-13. I was shocked, but not as confused as I would have been had you all not called attention to the fact that King David, among many others, had done it as well and seemingly thought they were doing the right thing.

    What shocked me was that Yehovah had just revealed in Samuel’s ear one day before he went to the High Place that Saul was coming and would be ruler over Israel and save them from the Philistines, so He hadn’t rejected Samuel due to his action of going to the High Place. I get the impression that Yehovah was ok with Samuel operating as the “seeer” and using the High Place. This confuses me. Do you have anything you can share with me that may clarify why Yehovah was allowing this? …even if it’s chakah sp? 🙂

  9. A fascinating topic/discussion around 52 minutes. Is this the key reason why the Tetragrammaton was not written in the Greek New Testament scriptures?

  10. E-e-e-haw! I hear you say, Keith, that you know you’re “in exile”!
    I too, know I’m a child of captivity, scattered and so alien from His covenant instructions.
    Abba’s Hebrew timing/TORAH/tetragrammeton, have been so deceitfully labeled ‘abominable,’ yet they are THE MARK of having escaped the abominable bonds of idolatry! How many here in the good ‘old U.S.of A, wanta hear that, though? We’re bred to believe this is REAL freedom!).
    I’ve been set free, free indeed alright, I’m now FREE TO OBEY TORAH YHVH! Now that’s real freedom. Whom the Son sets free, is free indeed! Praise to the Father through YESHUA His son, born to die to stand up straight [risen, indeed] and in your words Keith, shout “Teruah!”