Today is the 20h Sabbath of the annual Torah cycle: parashah (Torah portion) Tetzaveh / You shall instruct, Exo 27:20-30:10. Read Exodus 27:20-30:10 at Bible Gateway.
This week’s torah portion forms a chiastic structure in conjunction with last week’s torah portion. I have marked the strong and weak paragraph divisions so that it can be seen that the paragraph divisions help identify the chiastic structure:
1a) Exo 25:1-9 (s), Let them make Me a sacred place, that I may dwell among them;
1b) Exo 25:10-21, The pattern for the ark + the mercy seat;
1c) Exo 25:22 (p), There I will meet with you and speak with you;
1d) Exo 25:23-40 (p+s), Continual showbread on the table + continual light in the lampstand;
1e) Exo 26:1-30 (p+s), Curtains and coverings for the tabernacle;
1f) Exo 26:31-33a, The veil that separates the Most Holy Place;
1g) Exo 26:33b-37 (s), The design of the Most Holy and Holy Place + its screen + its pillars, hooks, and sockets;
central axis) Exo 27:1-8 (s), The pattern for the altar;
2g) Exo 27:9-19 (s), The design of the outer court + its screen + its pillars, hooks, and sockets;
2f) Exo 27:20-21 (s), The veil which is before the Testimony;
2e) Exo 28:1-29:37 (p+s+s+s+s+s+s), Coverings for Aaron and his sons;
2d) Exo 29:38-42a, Continual burnt offering on the altar;
2c) Exo 29:42b-43a, Where I will meet you to speak with you;
2b) Exo 29:43b-44, Sanctified by My glory;
2a) Exo 29:45-46 (p), I will dwell among the children of Israel.
Before I go on, I just want to comment about the B pair. The structure, that I can see, cannot be made any other way. It forces the B pair to be paired together, something that we would not think, with human logic, to pair together. I have seen this happen before in chiastic structures; Scripture sometimes pairs seemingly unrelated things together in order to teach us something about them, that we would not normally see.
The instructions for the ark of the covenant covered by the mercy seat is connected to being sanctified by His glory. God’s presence and His glory dwelt between the cherubim above the mercy seat. (If we do a study of cherubim in Scripture, we always find them surrounding the throne of God, the presence of God, or guarding the way to the presence of God.) So on both sides of the B pair we have the glory of God. On one side we have the presence of God, sitting on the foundation of Torah (the Testimony) covered by His mercy. On the other side we have our sanctification.
Beloved, we are not sanctified, or brought into alignment with His heart (righteous actions following because they are attached to our hearts) by following commandments in our own strength! But as we dwell in the presence of the Lord, as we walk in relationship with Him, as Enoch walked, as Noah walked, and as Abraham walked, ordering our walk according to the foundation of Torah covered by His mercy, then we undergo a process of sanctification which brings glory to Him! But it is not a one sided effort, it is joint effort: me and Him together in relationship. My attempts at obedience are covered by His mercy, as I continue in His presence! And as I continue in His presence, my obedience which results in sanctification, becomes more and more second nature to me!
Now this structure ends before the parashah does. Loose ends like this bother me, LOL. Along with making a chiastic structure with the previous parashah, Tetzaveh forms one by itself, incorporating the loose end of Exo 30:1-10:
1a) Exo 27:20-21 (s), Continual oil for the lampstand + continual tending of the lampstand’s light;
1b) Exo 28:1-43 (p+s+s+s+s+s), Coverings for Aaron and his sons as priests;
central axis) Exo 29:1a, “And this is what you shall do to them to hallow them for ministering to Me as priests;”
2b) Exo 29:1b-37 (s), Instructions for the service of consecration;
2a) Exo 29:38-30:10 (p+p), Continual burnt offerings for the altar + continual offering of incense.
We might not normally think to pair the garments for Aaron and his sons, with the consecration service for Aaron and his sons. But both are coverings, that is the common denominator which pairs these things. Aaron’s holy garments covered over his nakedness, i.e., his flesh, just as the consecration service covered over Aaron’s sin, and set him apart to serve as priest to the Lord Most High.
This is the gospel of the kingdom preached from Exodus!
Now why does God include so much minute instruction concerning these matters?
“He who covers a transgression seeks love, But he who repeats a matter separates friends.” Pro 17:9
God loves us and is seeking to be united with us, not separated from us!