A House Built with Love

Torah Portion: Terumah (Exodus 25:1–27:20)
Gospel Reading: 1 Corinthians 12:1–13:13
Commentary by: Kelsey Bryant

Winding throughout Scripture is the concept of a place where Yahweh can meet His people. Even the first letter of the entire Bible, heading the Hebrew word for “In the beginning,” is Bet, which means “house.” The earth was meant to be a house where Yahweh and mankind could have a relationship. It starts in Genesis with the Garden of Eden where He walked with Adam. Likewise Revelation depicts the end – “And I heard a loud voice from the throne, saying, ‘Behold, the tabernacle of God is among men, and He will dwell among them, and they shall be His people, and God Himself will be among them’” (Rev. 21:3). I know I, for one, can’t wait for the fulfillment of that promise: when Yeshua will physically be with us.

Exodus 25 introduces the idea of mankind building an actual house for God. He instructs Israel to contribute from their finest possessions for the Tabernacle: “Let them construct a sanctuary for Me, that I may dwell among them” (Exodus 25:8). After He schools Moses in how to build it, the Israelites’ generosity is unleashed (35:21–29) and men and women of all ages and means take part in building the house for God.

It takes all types of objects: different kinds of metal, different types and dyes of fabric, different varieties of spices and wood and precious stones. None of them can be left out if the Tabernacle is to look and function the way the Lord intended.

It never ceases to amaze me how closely the image of the Tabernacle fits with the image of the Body of Messiah. After Yeshua came, Paul and the other writers of the Brit Chadashah emphasized the need for His disciples to be a unit, a house for the Holy Spirit to dwell in so that God’s presence can be manifested on earth. No believer is unnecessary to this objective.

“So then you are no longer strangers and aliens, but you are fellow citizens with the saints, and are of God’s household, having been built on the foundation of the apostles and prophets, Christ Jesus Himself being the corner stone, in whom the whole building, being fitted together, is growing into a holy temple in the Lord, in whom you also are being built together into a dwelling of God in the Spirit.” (Ephesians 2:19–22)

Consider also 1 Corinthians 12:

“But to each one is given the manifestation of the Spirit for the common good.” (1 Corinthians 12:7)
“But one and the same Spirit works all these things, distributing to each one individually just as He wills. For even as the body is one and yet has many members, and all the members of the body, though they are many, are one body, so also is Christ.” (12:11–12)
“But now God has placed the members, each one of them, in the body, just as He desired. If they were all one member, where would the body be?” (12:18–19)

This powerful chapter goes on to explain how we are to function as a body: for instance, we’re to be concerned for each other and empathetic; we’re to give preference to the weaker members; we’re to respect each other’s gifts. If we took this teaching to heart, perhaps we’d really be that powerful representation of God to the world we’re supposed to be.

Following chapter 12 is chapter 13 – the Love chapter. “A more excellent way” (12:31), a spiritual gift every believer must seek to possess. Imagine if we were to devote our lives to living out this self-sacrificing love. It would be as Yeshua says in John 13:35, “By this all men will know that you are My disciples, if you have love for one another.” And 1 John 4:12, “No one has seen God at any time; if we love one another, God abides in us, and His love is perfected in us.”

Love holds us together. In our Torah portion, Exodus 26:6, there’s a neat Hebrew word picture that illustrates this: Translating the Hebrew literally, the verse would read something like, “And you shall make fifty hooks of gold and you shall join (chibbar) the curtains, each to her sister, with the hooks, and the Tabernacle shall be one.” See how the Hebrew uses the word related to friend (chaver) and personifies the “curtains”? These curtains joining together, each to her sister, make the Tabernacle into a whole tent – the place where God dwells. May we take the entire Bible’s teaching to heart, build on its foundation with Yeshua as our cornerstone, and be a house joined by the bonds of love!