The Messiah Priest

In the name and authority of His Father, Yeshua acts as the high priest on our behalf, removing our iniquity from before God.

Jewish High Priest wearing the sacred vestments, the Tzitz is depicted above his forehead in yellow. (Image: Wikimedia Commons).

Tetzaveh

Regular Shabbat Readings

Read / Listen to these Portions

  • Tetzaveh (תצוה | You shall command)
  • Torah: Exodus 27:20-30:10
  • Haftarah: Ezekiel 43:10-27
  • Gospel: Matthew 5:13-20

Note: The regular readings are often interrupted with special readings on Jewish holidays, special Sabbaths, and Rosh Chodesh. Refer to the annual Torah Portion schedule for these special portions.

Portion Outline

  • Torah
    • Exodus 27:20 | The Oil for the Lamp
    • Exodus 28:1 | Vestments for the Priesthood
    • Exodus 28:6 | The Ephod
    • Exodus 28:15 | The Breastplate
    • Exodus 28:31 | Other Priestly Vestments
    • Exodus 29:1 | The Ordination of the Priests
    • Exodus 29:38 | The Daily Offerings
    • Exodus 30:1 | The Altar of Incense
  • Prophets
    • Eze 43:13 | The Altar

Portion Summary

Tetzaveh is the twentieth reading from the Torah. Tetzaveh (תצוה) means "You shall command," as in the first verse of the reading, which says, "You shall [command] the sons of Israel, that they bring you clear oil of beaten olives for the light, to make a lamp burn continually" (Exodus 27:20). This Torah portion continues to narrate the instructions for the construction of the Tabernacle, focusing particularly on the priesthood that was to serve in that sanctuary. The Israelites are commanded to make special garments for Aaron and his sons to wear while ministering as priests. After describing the priestly garments, the portion concludes with instructions for the ritual inauguration of Aaron and his sons into the priesthood.


Aaron, the high priest, received a special anointing, as Torah says, “Then you shall take the anointing oil and pour it on his head and anoint him” (Exodus 29:7). The Torah refers to the high priest as haKohen haMashiach, (הכהן המשיח), that is, “the anointed priest,” or to put it a different way, “the messiah priest.” Messiah means “anointed one.”

The Bible makes reference to three offices that received a symbolic anointing with oil: the priests, the prophets, and the kings. Yeshua functions in all three. He is the prophet, the priest, and the king. In His first coming, He ministered as a prophet. After His resurrection, He ascended to His priesthood of the order of Melchizedek. When He returns, He will rule from Jerusalem as King.

A golden plate on the high priest’s turban said, “Holy to the LORD.” The high priest, therefore, carried the name of God and acted in the authority of that name. The words “Holy to the LORD” indicated God’s exclusive proprietorship over him. As the Messiah entered into His spiritual role of priesthood after His resurrection, He received the name above every name, as Scripture says, “For this reason also, God highly exalted Him, and bestowed on Him the name which is above every name” (Philippians 2:9).

The sins of the children of Israel ritually and spiritually defiled the Sanctuary and all its furnishings. The high priest ministered before God, in the name and authority of God, removing the iniquity of Israel from God’s presence within the Sanctuary. Aaron and the high priests after him accomplished this through means of the daily sacrificial service and the annual purification ceremonies of Yom Kippur.

In a similar manner, Yeshua ministers on our behalf. In the name and authority of His Father, He intercedes on our behalf, removing our iniquity from before God—not in the earthly Sanctuary but in the heavenly Sanctuary. This is the priesthood of Messiah:

Messiah Yeshua is He who died, yes, rather who was raised, who is at the right hand of God, who also intercedes for us. (Romans 8:34)

Therefore He is able also to save forever those who draw near to God through Him, since He always lives to make intercession for them. (Hebrews 7:25)

Does this mean that Yeshua has replaced the Aaronic priesthood? Certainly not. As the writer of the book of Hebrews says, “Now if He were on earth, He would not be a priest at all, since there are those who offer the gifts according to the Torah; who serve a copy and shadow of the heavenly things” (Hebrews 8:4-5). The Levitical ceremonies functioned as a “copy and shadow” of the service in the heavenly Temple.

Adapted From: Torah Club Commentary Set: Shadows of the Messiah. Learn more about Torah Club and how you can start a Club of your own, or join a Torah Club in your area. Visit TORAHCLUB.ORG

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Torah Club is an interactive group Bible study that brings together disciples from diverse backgrounds to share the common ground of new discovery. This year only, Torah Clubs have the option of following the main study track commentary, Shadows of the Messiah. This deep dive into the Torah employs Jewish commentary and ancient Christian texts to reveal Messiah in the books of Moses.

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