וצפית אתו זהב טהור מבית ומחוץ תצפנו ועשׂית עליו זר זהב סביב׃
"They are to make an ark of acacia-wood three-and-three-quarters feet long, two-and-a-quarter feet wide and two-and-a-quarter feet high. You are to overlay it with pure gold -- overlay it both inside and outside -- and put a molding of gold around the top of it.
(Exo 25:10-11 CJB)
GOLDEN INSIDE AND OUTSIDE.
WHY OVER LAY WITH GOLD ON THE INSIDE?
A great principle is taught to us in the idea that the Holy Ark is to be overlaid with pure gold inside and out. After all, why not use brass or even a cheaper metal?
Who ever sees the inside anyway?
THE MANY FACES OF GOLD.
First, let’s look at the ideas referring to gold in the Tanach. Where is gold mentioned in the Tanach? Where was it found? What’s its place in prophecy?
Gold is mentioned very early in the text of the Tanach. The Garden of Eden had a river flowing out of it that fed four other major waterways (the Pishon, Gihon, Tigris and the Euphrates, Genesis 2:10 - 14). Pishon flowed into a land called Havilah, where there were great quantities of high-quality gold (verse 11). There are seven Hebrew words in the Tanach that are translated as the English word “gold.”
- Zahav זהב (Strong's Concordance #H2091). It stems from a root word that means to shimmer or shine. This is the one used on Exodus 25:11.
- Paz פז (#H6337), refers to the mineral in its pure or refined state and sometimes refers to spiritual purity and glory. Job 28:17 ; Psalms 19:10 ; 21:3
- Betser בצר (#H1220), found in Job 36;19, refers to “riches’, or as gold dug out of the mine.
- Charuts חרוץ (Strong's #H1220) is used to refer to gold when it is chopped or cut off in pieces Zechariah 9:3.
- Kethem כתם (#H3800) refers to the metal that it is in a state as pure as originally mined (Isaiah 13;12)
- Sagor סגור(#H5462)( ).as being enclosed or treasured up; thus precious or "fine gold" references the metal as a solid. (1 Kings 6:20; 7:49)
- Lastly, Dehab דהב (#H1722), which occurs only in the books of Daniel and Ezra, is yet another reference to gold.
Gold, in Bible times, was often valued by weight using a unit of measure known as a Talent. A talent weighed about 75 U.S. pounds or 34.3 kilograms, which is equivalent of 1,094 troy ounces. If we assume a gold price of $1,500 per troy ounce, a talent would be worth $1,639,500.This should give us a perspective on Matthew 25:14-30.
The book of Revelation makes 22 references to this precious metal. The seven lampstands (1:12, 1:20 and 2:1). Yochanan clothed in a girdle or band made of the gold (1:13). As well as. Revelation 4:4, 5:8, 8:3, 9:7, 9:20, 14:14 and 17:3 - Lastly, on the renewed heaven and earth, New Jerusalem has streets composed of the rare mineral (Revelation 21).
GOLD AND THE SHECHINA
Gold has always represented wealth and purity. Its yellowish color which compares with the oil of anointing, with fire, and with the Shechina seem to be a special theme in Hashem's kingdom which abounds in purity.
Could it be why it was important that the Holy Ark should be overlaid with gold? To represent wealth, purity and the Kingdom of God?. But why inside?
The Talmud states that Exodus 25:11is a symbol that a Torah scholar must be pure inside as well as outside (Yoma 72b). A true Torah teacher is not someone who just speaks wisdom on the outside, but he must also internalize his wisdom and live with it.
In his book, “Growing Through Torah,” Rabbi Zelig Pliskin challenges his readers with, “Whenever you speak about lofty thoughts, ask yourself whether you really experience them. In your own behavior, do you actually follow the principles you are talking about? If not, do not stop speaking about those ideals, but elevate your behavior.”
OUR WORKS TESTED BY FIRE.
Paul used the property of metals such as gold and silver as a midrash to tell us about a very important principle in life. As he challenges the disciples in Corinth to vet their Torah teachers, he compares himself, and other Torah teachers, to farmers, then to builders of HaShem’s Kingdom on earth.
After defining his role as a “planter” and Appolos’ as a “waterer”, he midrashes on the idea of rewards and recognition for a job well done saying,
Planter and waterer are the same.
However, each will be rewarded according to his work.
For we are God's co-workers; you are God's field, ...
Then he continues changing the midrash from field imagery to carpentry imagery where he lays the foundation upon which Appolos builds,
… God's building.
Using the grace God gave me, I laid a foundation, like a skilled master-builder; and another man is building on it. (1Co 3:8-10 CJB)
Afterward Paul gives a warning concerning the quality of the work we build on the foundation of Messiah. All work, but not all receive equal recognition. He warns,
But let each one be careful how he builds. For no one can lay any foundation other than the one already laid, which is Yeshua the Messiah. Some will use gold, silver or precious stones in building on this foundation; while others will use wood, grass or straw. (1Co 3:10-12 CJB)
Notice the difference in material, some commun (the teachings of man), some precious (true Torah teaching). What is the element that reveals the true nature of teachers’ work?
But each one's work will be shown for what it is; the Day will disclose it, because it will be revealed by fire -- the fire will test the quality of each one's work. (1Co 3:13 CJB)
If the work someone has built on the foundation survives, he will receive a reward; if it is burned up, he will have to bear the loss: he will still escape with his life, but it will be like escaping through a fire.
(1Co 3:14-15 CJB)
ADONAI, THE CONSUMING FIRE!
Adonai your God is a consuming fire,(Deu 4:24 CJB) the Torah tells us. He tests our endeavors through the fire of His majesty. Is our “work” based on selfish proud purposes or is it like the emmissary says, “Trusting faithfulness expressing itself through love. (Gal 5:6)” The same emmissary mentions later to the same Corintians,
I may speak in the tongues of men, even angels; but if I lack love, I have become merely blaring brass or a cymbal clanging. I may have the gift of prophecy, I may fathom all mysteries, know all things, have all faith -- enough to move mountains; but if I lack love, I am nothing. I may give away everything that I own, I may even hand over my body to be burned; but if I lack love, I gain nothing.
(1Co 13:1-3 CJB)
Yes, our works on earth will be tested through fire. If they are like wood, grass or straw, they will burn and be destroyed and we will have nothing to show for ourselves. But just as metal gets purer under fire, if our works for Him are made of gold, silver, they will be refined in to even more purity.
This is the difference with the teacher who teaches from a heart which is golden on the outside, and wood on the inside.
May we be teachers who teach from a heart that is golden on the outside,
and on the inside: