Messiah in the Torah- Parsha T’tzaveh

Torah Parsha T’tzaveh Ex. 27:20-30:10
Haftorah: Ezekiel 27:20-30:10

In this weeks parsha (2/27/21) we read about the anointing oil, the vestments of the High Priest, the consecration of the priests, the daily offerings and the alter of incense.

Among these vestments is the “breastplate of judgement.”:

[15] And thou shalt make the breastplate of judgment with cunning work; after the work of the ephod thou shalt make it; of gold, of blue, and of purple, and of scarlet, and of fine twined linen, shalt thou make it.
[16] Foursquare it shall be being doubled; a span shall be the length thereof, and a span shall be the breadth thereof.
[17] And thou shalt set in it settings of stones, even four rows of stones: the first row shall be a sardius, a topaz, and a carbuncle: this shall be the first row.
[18] And the second row shall be an emerald, a sapphire, and a diamond.
[19] And the third row a ligure, an agate, and an amethyst.
[20] And the fourth row a beryl, and an onyx, and a jasper: they shall be set in gold in their inclosings.
[21] And the stones shall be with the names of the children of Israel, twelve, according to their names, like the engravings of a signet; every one with his name shall they be according to the twelve tribes.
[22] And thou shalt make upon the breastplate chains at the ends of wreathen work of pure gold.
[23] And thou shalt make upon the breastplate two rings of gold, and shalt put the two rings on the two ends of the breastplate.
[24] And thou shalt put the two wreathen chains of gold in the two rings which are on the ends of the breastplate.
[25] And the other two ends of the two wreathen chains thou shalt fasten in the two ouches, and put them on the shoulderpieces of the ephod before it.
[26] And thou shalt make two rings of gold, and thou shalt put them upon the two ends of the breastplate in the border thereof, which is in the side of the ephod inward.
[27] And two other rings of gold thou shalt make, and shalt put them on the two sides of the ephod underneath, toward the forepart thereof, over against the other coupling thereof, above the curious girdle of the ephod.
[28] And they shall bind the breastplate by the rings thereof unto the rings of the ephod with a lace of blue, that it may be above the curious girdle of the ephod, and that the breastplate be not loosed from the ephod.
[29] And Aaron shall bear the names of the children of Israel in the breastplate of judgment upon his heart, when he goeth in unto the holy place, for a memorial before the LORD continually.
[30] And thou shalt put in the breastplate of judgment the Urim and the Thummim; and they shall be upon Aaron’s heart, when he goeth in before the LORD: and Aaron shall bear the judgment of the children of Israel upon his heart before the LORD continually.
(Exodus 28:15-30 KJV)

The Hellenist Jews called the “breastplate of judgement” (חֹ֤שֶׁן מִשְׁפָּט֙) the “oracle of judgment” (λογεῖον τῶν κρίσεων) (as in the LXX) where the word “oracle” comes from the Greek Logos.

Philo of Alexandria writes of the breastplate/oracle of judgment:

…the twelve stones arranged on the breast in four rows of three stones each, namely the logeum (the breastplate of judgment), being also an emblem of that reason (Logos, Word) which holds together and regulates the universe. For it was indispensable that the man who was consecrated to the Father of the world, should have as a paraclete, his Son, the being most perfect in all virtue, to procure forgiveness of sins, and a supply of unlimited blessings;
(Life of Moses II, 133-134)

This Greek word (paraclete) is also a Hebrew and Aramaic word also appears in the Mishna:

He who does even a single religious duty
gets himself a good advocate (or comforter Hebrew: paraklita)
he who does even a single transgression
gets himself a prosecutor.
(m.Avot 4:11a)

And in the Talmud it is used to refer to the sin offering::

R. Simeon said: For what purpose does a sin-offering come? —
[You ask,] ‘for what purpose does a sin-offering come?’
Surely in order to make atonement! —
Rather, [the question is:]
Why does it come before the burnt-offering?
[Because it is] like an intercessor (paraklita) who enters
[to appease the King]: When the intercessor (paraklita)
has appeased [him], the gift follows.
(b.Zev. 7b)

The Jewish Dictionary states:

…The sin offering is like the parclete (paraklita) before God, it interceded for man and is followed by another… a thank offering for the pardon obtained… the two daily burnt offerings are called ‘the two parcletes’…
Jewish Dictionary pp. 514-515

Yochanan, who identifies the Messiah as the Word (logos) in Jn. 1:1-3, 14 and Rev. 19:13 also says of Messiah:

1 My sons, I write these [things] to you, that you do not sin: and if someone should sin, we have an advocate (paraklita) with the Father, Yeshua the Messiah, the just [One].
2 For He is the propitiation for our sins, and not on behalf of ours only, but also on behalf of [the sins of] the whole world.
(1st Yochanan (John) 2:1)

So in today’s Torah reading, we see the Messiah as the Paraklita and Logos (Word), and as the heavenly High Priest procuring forgiveness of our sins, and a supply of unlimited blessings.

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