Saturday, February 10, 2018

Torah Portion - February 10, 2018

Today's Torah Reading: Gen. 28:1-5

Love for Yahweh - first and Supreme

Today we are continuing our study of the Statutes which relate to the first Commandment of having no other gods before Yahweh. Having looked at the Statutes in the first four sub-categories, we are ready to look at the fifth area which is: Statutes on remembering the Torah. As these Statutes show, mindfulness of the Torah is a vital part of loving and worshiping Yahweh.

Now we are studying the fourth set of Statutes under the first Commandment, "Thou shalt have no other gods before Me," (Exodus 20:1-3). As we started to see in our study yesterday, the fourth set of Statutes, under the first Commandment, are about effective worship. Let us continue our study of the Statutes in this subcategory.

Numbers 15:38-40 - 
" Speak unto the children of Israel, and bid them that they make them fringes in the borders of their garments throughout their generations, and that they put upon the fringe of the borders a ribband of blue. And it shall be unto you for a fringe, that ye may look upon it, and remember all the commandments of Yahweh, and do them ; and that ye seek not after your own heart and your own eyes, after which ye use to go a whoring: That ye may remember, and do all My Commandments, and be holy unto your God."

The fringes in the garment are called tzit tzits in Hebrew. The instruction to wear a blue fringe on the borders of the garments was given in the Torah. But is this something Torah-observant Christians should be doing today? In this study, we’ll examine this concept and see what the Bible has to say about it. Certainly we don’t want to do something just because it’s tradition, nor do we want to not do something because we think it’s too Jewish. We just want to do what Yahweh wants of us at all times! With that in mind, let’s take a look at tzit tzits.

Tzit tzits are distinctive. And the shape and colors of the tzit tzits tell a lot about the person who wears them, and their beliefs.

Numbers 15:37-38  “And (Yahweh) spake unto Moses, saying, Speak unto the children of Israel, and bid them that they make them fringes in the borders of their garments throughout their generations, and that they put upon the fringe of the borders a ribband of blue.” 

When we look up the keywords (highlighted above) in Strong’s we can see the full meaning:

Fringes = tzit tzits - meaning "tassel, wing, fringe".
borders = kanaf - meaning "the wing, or extremity of the garment"
ribband = pathyl - meaning "thread, ribbon, bound"

So, the fringes are the tzit tzits, referring to a tassel shape, the borders are the kanaf referring to the wings or outer extremity of the garment, and the ribband of blue means that the tassel shape is to be made with blue thread - a color that signifies loyalty and obedience to the Law of Yahweh.

The word tzit tzit only appears three times in all the Scripture. We find this by tracing it’s Strong’s number, which H6734. In Numbers 15:38-40, we find that the reason Yahweh commanded His people to wear a blue tassel on the borders of their clothes is that He wanted them to remember and be obedient to His Torah. Blue is the color Yahweh selected to represent His Torah.

In Ezekiel 8:3, we find that the use of the word tzit tzit is a lock of hair. It sheds no real light on the clothing tzit tzit, other than to help with the proper size. The tassel of the tzit tzit should be about as much thread as a lock of hair.

Another mention of the fringes appears in Deuteronomy 22:12. Here fringes is translated not from tzit tzit but from a synonym. When we add this verse to our growing understanding of tzit tzits, we gain even more insight. For here we learn that there are to be four tzit tzits worn. 

Now let’s look at the Hebrew word kanaf, translated as "borders". It is Strong’s number 3671.  Kanaf appears 109 times in the Bible in a total of 85 verses. Naturally, in the interest of time, we cannot look up all 85 Bible verses, but we will look at a few select ones to get a representative sample of the context and meanings in which this word is used.
The first use of kanaf is in Genesis 1:21. Here is refers to the wings of a bird. 

In Exodus 19:4, kanaf is used translated as Eagle’s Wings. Here kanaf is a symbol of Yahweh’s protection and deliverance. 

In several places in Scripture, the word kanaf is used to represent the husband’s protection, covering, and signet name over his wife. In Ruth 2:12, we find that Yahweh covers His people, spiritually, with His Kanaf. Spiritually, being fully covered under Yahweh’s heavenly Kanaf, is equated with being sealed in the Father’s Name.

For centuries, Torah-keepers have read the story of Ruth during the Shavuout (Pentecost) service. This is because Pentecost is known for being the feast in which the “barley” or the Spiritual First Fruits will be sealed. Pentecost is the end of the barley harvest, and the beginning of the wheat harvest. In Scripture the grains represent groups of people, and harvest represents the Sealing process or judgment.
Ruth is read at Pentecost not only because it takes place near the time of Pentecost, but most importantly because the story is a shadow picture showing how Yahweh’s people are covered or sealed in the Saviour’s Name, like Ruth came to be in Boaz.

For a moment, let’s take a look at the story of Ruth and Boaz, because it reveals a beautiful significance to the kanaph, or borders of the husband’s garment.

Ruth is especially significant to Gentile converts. Ruth, herself formerly a Moabite, converted to keeping the Torah and the worship of Yahweh. She is a type of all who will come out of paganism and become Torah-obedient in the Last Days.

Ruth chose to follow Naomi, without any promise of an inheritance. In fact, it seemed there was no future in choosing Naomi and her God. Yet, Ruth still chose to go with Naomi back to Israel and to follow Yahweh as her God.  When the two widowed women reached Israel, times were hard. Ruth began to glean grain from fields, as was customary for poor folks to do in order to get food. This is also spiritually significant, Ruth 2:1-3.

Boaz, in this story, is a type of Christ. Yahshua is our Kinsman-Redeemer, as it says in Hebrews 2:11 & 17

The comparison of Boaz’s redemption of Ruth with Yahshua’s Redemption of us reaches its most significant point in the story of how Ruth came to Boaz’s threshing floor to ask for his redemption.

Naomi instructed Ruth how to approach Boaz. The spiritual parallels are tremendous:
-Wash yourself – which represents us being cleansed from self & sin
-Dress your best – which represents us being clothed in the robe of Christ’s righteousness
-Anoint yourself – which represents the fragrant influence of our lives filled with the Holy Spirit
-Wait ‘til his work is done – which represents the time of the sealing – when Yahweh is through with His work in the fields of hearts
-Lie at his feet on the threshing floor – the threshing floor is a symbol of judgment as it is the place of separation of the wheat from the tares.
-If he covers you, you are sealed – representing us being sealed by our Heavenly Kinsman-Redeemer.

This is where the kanaph comes in to the story and reveals the meaning of covering, redemption, and sealing.
In Ruth 3:9, Ruth is at the feet of Boaz.
She said to him, "spread the corner (kanaph) of your garment over me for Thou art my kinsman redeemer" In the NKJ it says, "Take your maidservant under your wing, for you are a close relative.“
Ruth said, "Take me under your wing (kanaph)."    

In Ezekiel 16: 8, Yahweh speaks to Jerusalem and likewise says, "so I spread My Wing (kanaph) over you and covered your nakedness," and in Psalm 91 we are able to "abide under the shadow of the Almighty" and "under His Wings (kanaph)." 

We know that Boaz did spread his kanaph over Ruth, in symbol calling her by his name, and promising to claim her as his own.

This is what Yahweh does for His people in the sealing process.

The mentioning of kanaph in Ruth was so significant that it took some time to show its full significance. But, now let’s go back to looking at the some of other verses which use kanaph. In 1 Samuel 15:26-28, tearing the kanaph was a symbol of forever losing the blessing and acceptance of Yahweh. When Saul was rejected by Yahweh for his sins, Samuel’s kanaph was torn.

Finally, the kanaph represents the covering of Yahweh which protects His people in the Time of Trouble. 

Psalm 57:1 “…Be merciful unto me, O God, be merciful unto me: for my soul trusteth in Thee: yea, in the shadow of Thy Wings (kanaph) will I make my refuge, until these calamities be overpast.”

When we are covered under Heaven’s kanaph, we are not only promised protection in trouble, we are also promised healing, literally and figuratively. 

Malachi 4:2  “But unto you that fear my name shall the Sun of Righteousness arise with healing in His Wings (kanaf)…”
WINGS = H3671
“…an edge or extremity; specifically a wing, (of a garment…)”

It was because of this prophecy in Malachi that a sick woman knew she could be healed if only she could touch the Saviour’s kanaph, which bore the tzit tzits

Matthew  9:20-21 “And, behold, a woman, which was diseased with an issue of blood twelve years, came behind Him, and touched the hem of His garment:  For she said within herself, If I may but touch His garment, I shall be whole.”

HEM = G2899
“…(specifically) a fringe or tassel: -  border, hem.”

When the woman touched the Heavenly tzit tzit in the Saviour’s Wings, she was instantly healed!

The tzit tzits also signify being set apart for holy use, as priests are set apart for the service of Heaven.

Through the oral stories passed down among the Jews, it is told that in ancient Egypt the priests wore fringes on the bottom of their robes to indicate their chosen status. But, when Yahweh delivered the Jewish people from their oppression there, He commanded them to wear similar "fringes" to indicate their status before Him as "a kingdom of priests“.

Exodus 19:6  “And ye shall be unto Me a kingdom of priests, and an holy nation. These are the words which thou shalt speak unto the children of Israel.”
Revelation 5:10  “And hast made us unto our God kings and priests: and we shall reign on the earth.” 

So what have we found in the Scriptures about tzit tzits?

1) They are to be made of twined (twisted, tied and knotted) blue thread in the shape of a tassel.
2) 4 tzit tzits are to be worn on the edges or borders of our garments.
3) Tzit tzits were to be worn, by command of Yahweh, for the purpose of helping His people remember His Torah and their promise to be true to Him.

Not only did Yahweh command His people to wear tzit tzits in the Torah, but also Yahshua, Who was our Example in all things wore them. How do we know?  Because, as we’ve already seen, the woman with the issue of Blood touched them and was healed!

Matthew 14:34-36 similarly records:
"When they had crossed over, they came to land at Gennesaret. And when the men of that place recognized Him, they sent word into all that surrounding district and brought to Him all who were sick; and they implored Him that they might just touch the fringe (tzit tzit) of His cloak; and as many as touched it were cured."

With all this evidence to support the wearing of tzit tzits, perhaps we shouldn’t be asking if Christians should wear them, but instead maybe we should be asking why did we stop wearing them!

It really is no big surprise to find that the reason followers of Yahshua no longer wear tzit tzits is because we have been taught that this statute was nailed to the Cross! Christians stopped wearing tzit tzits. The same mixed up belief which caused Christians to set aside the Sabbaths, caused them to lose the tzit tzit command also.

During the Dark Ages a tremendous hate of Jews developed, incited and spurred on by the Catholic Church. In an attempt to destroy the Torah, the papal system attacked those who loved and kept it.  Jews and Messiah-believing Torah-keepers were called “pigs.” 

This statue is called "The Jew's Sow." It is a 600-year-old sculpture on Regensburg Cathedral (which is located in Regensburg, Germany). The sculpture faces the old Jewish quarter of the city of Regensburg.  

As the propaganda against Torah-keepers grew, Feast-keepers were accused of performing dark arts and ritualistic human sacrifices in their keeping of the Feasts. The papacy spread rumors about Jews sacrificing the Christian children and mixing their blood into the matzah dough for the keeping of Passover. Eventually, the hated and persecuted Torah-keepers decided that wearing tzit tzits made it too easy to identify them. It was better to keep it a secret if you obeyed and loved Torah. In this way, the command to wear tzit tzits in Torah was lost.

To this day, Christians have traces of anti-Semitism. When shown that keeping the Feasts of Yahweh is important they often react with, “I don’t want to be Jewish.” And I have to admit, it is easy to feel that way about the tzit tzit command.  

But, we need to get over the prejudice against “Jewish” teachings that was started by the papacy in the Dark Ages.  If a teaching is just Jewish tradition, we are to treat it like any other tradition of man. But, the tzit tzit command isn’t Jewish – it’s in the Torah – because it is a command of Yahweh.

The wearing of the tassels was not commanded so that we can show off our obedience as we walk down the street.  They are given to us to be reminders TO US that we are to obey all the commandments and not to go whoring after other gods.  In other words, the tassel is for the wearer to see. It's not meant for everyone else. This is how Scripture says to do it. 

Clearly tzit tzits should not be made to be long and obnoxious. According to the Torah, they should be worn as a personal reminder. This reminder was also meant for the men. Women did not wear the tzit tzits. Additionally, in Torah, women are commanded to not wear that which pertains to a man (Deuteronomy 22:5). 

Many have taken this Statute to mean that women should never wear pants - as pants are men's clothing, whereas women are to always wear dresses in order to avoid having a similar shape in the clothing. But, in Bible times, both men and women wore dresses (robes). 

It wasn't the wearing of the robe that was "men's clothing" or "women's"...  But the tzit tzits were exclusively worn by the men. Understanding this, Deuteronomy 22:5 certainly appears to be telling women not to wear the distinctive tzit tzits. This does not mean that women are excluded from the blessings of it. Women were spiritually covered by their husbands' (and fathers') wings.

Should Yahweh's people still be wearing the tzit tzits today? My husband does. And, after seeing the blessing of them, and our Saviour's Example, perhaps you also can see a good reason to consider wearing them also. 

Wearing tzit tzits is a blessing. Not only does it serve to help us remember the Torah throughout the day, it also signifies our desire to be under the Saviour’s Wings, as Ruth was under Boaz's.

This Week's Torah Studies: (Statutes 121-140)
The Torah studies are provided in two formats for your convenience. The first option (below) is the blank worksheets for this week, which will allow you to print out the worksheets and hand-write the studies yourself. If you have less time, you may wish to read/print my completed Statute studies. The completed worksheets are the second option (below):

An Overview of this Week's Torah Studies:
This week we will be studying Statutes 121-140, which are summarized below. Happy studying!

Statute 121-123 Summary:
(#121) We are to keep the first day of Unleavened Bread as a rehearsal. (#122) We are to hold a holy convocation on it. (#123) We are not to do any servile work on the first day (Sabbath) of Unleavened Bread.

Numbers 28:17-18 “And in the fifteenth day of this month is the feast: seven days shall unleavened bread be eaten. In the first day shall be an holy convocation; ye shall do no manner of servile work therein.” 
Statute 124 Summary:
Unleavened Bread is a feast of Judgment. We find this because if the leaven of sin (leaven is an agent, good or bad, so powerful that it leavens the whole lump of dough) is not removed from our lives and homes, we will be cut off from the Abrahamic Covenant. The true “Spring Cleaning” is (#124) removing all spiritual and physical leaven from our lives and homes in preparation for this special week. This is what we are commanded to do.

Exodus 12:15 “Seven days shall ye eat unleavened bread; even the first day ye shall put away leaven out of your houses: for whosoever eateth leavened bread from the first day until the seventh day, that soul shall be cut off from Israel.”  

Statute 125-128 Summary:
(#125) During the Feast of Unleavened Bread, we are commanded to eat unleavened bread every day for the full seven days. (#126) There is to be no leaven seen in all in any part of our property or possessions. (#127) Children are to be taught that the reason we keep the Feast of Unleavened Bread is to commemorate deliverance from physical Egypt and continue the work of deliverance from spiritual Egypt. (#128) Keeping the Feast of Unleavened Bread is part of the sign that we are preparing for the Sealing of Yahweh. (Rev. 7:3 and Rev. 14:9)

Exodus 13:6-9 “Seven days thou shalt eat unleavened bread, and in the seventh day shall be a feast to the Yahweh. Unleavened bread shall be eaten seven days; and there shall no leavened bread be seen with thee, neither shall there be leaven seen with thee in all thy quarters. And thou shalt show thy son in that day, saying, This is done because of that which Yahweh did unto me when I came forth out of Egypt. And it shall be for a sign unto thee upon thine hand, and for a memorial between thine eyes, that Yahweh's Law may be in thy mouth: for with a strong hand hath Yahweh brought thee out of Egypt.”  

Statute 129-131 Summary:
(#129) The first day of the Feast of Unleavened Bread is a Day of rest (Sabbath) and a holy Convocation day. (#130) The last day of the Feast of Unleavened Bread is a Day of rest (Sabbath) and a holy Convocation day. (#131) On these two days of Unleavened Bread, no work is to be done, with one exception: cooking and preparing food is allowed.

Exodus 12:16 “And in the first day there shall be an holy convocation, and in the seventh day there shall be an holy convocation to you; no manner of work shall be done in them, save that which every man must eat, that only may be done of you.”  

Statute 132-134 Summary:
(#132) On the feast of First Fruits, which is the Sunday (morrow after the Sabbath) during Unleavened Bread, Yahweh’s people are to present the first fruits of the harvest unto Yahweh. The grain of first fruits represents Yahshua (1 Corinthians 15:20) and the 144,000 – first fruits of the final grain harvest (Revelation 14:4). The sheaf of firstfruits is a measurement of grain, representing judgment. (#133) We are to be prepared for first fruits judgment through the Blood of the Lamb and having been made an acceptable living sacrifice (Rom. 12:1). (#134) During the day of First Fruits, we are to wait to eat food, until after we have brought the sacrifice.

Leviticus 23:10-14 “Speak unto the children of Israel, and say unto them, When ye be come into the land which I give unto you, and shall reap the harvest thereof, then ye shall bring a sheaf of the firstfruits of your harvest unto the priest: And he shall wave the sheaf before the LORD, to be accepted for you: on the morrow after the Sabbath the priest shall wave it. And ye shall offer that day when ye wave the sheaf an he lamb without blemish of the first year for a burnt offering unto Yahweh.  And the meat offering thereof shall be two tenth deals of fine flour mingled with oil, an offering made by fire unto Yahweh for a sweet savour: and the drink offering thereof shall be of wine, the fourth part of an hin. And ye shall eat neither bread, nor parched corn, nor green earsuntil the selfsame day that ye have brought an offering unto your God: it shall be a statute forever throughout your generations in all your dwellings.”

Statute 135-140 Summary:

(#135) To calculate the timing for the Feast of Weeks (Pentecost), count from First Fruits. (#136) Count seven Seventh-day Sabbaths. (#137) The day after the seventh Sabbath (Sunday) is fifty days, numbered from First Fruits. (#138) This day is holy convocation day, a Sabbath. It is the Feast of Weeks. (#139) On this day, we are to claim the Blood of Yahshua by claiming His Sacrifice for our sins. (#140) We are also to wave to leavened loaves (we get unleavened with the sin of the world during these 50 days, and re-leavened with the Kingdom) representing the two candlesticks (churches) of Philadelphia (144,000) and Smyrna (end-time martyrs), both of which are filled with the Holy Spirit at the final Pentecost.

Leviticus 23:15-21 “And ye shall count unto you from the morrow after the Sabbath, from the day that ye brought the sheaf of the wave offering; seven Sabbaths shall be complete: Even unto the morrow after the seventh Sabbath shall ye number fifty days; and ye shall offer a new meat offering unto Yahweh. Ye shall bring out of your habitations two wave loaves of two tenth deals: they shall be of fine flour; they shall be baken with leaven; they are the firstfruits unto Yahweh.  And ye shall offer with the bread seven lambs without blemish of the first year, and one young bullock, and two rams: they shall be for a burnt offering unto Yahweh, with their meat offering, and their drink offerings, even an offering made by fire, of sweet savour unto Yahweh. Then ye shall sacrifice one kid of the goats for a sin offering, and two lambs of the first year for a sacrifice of peace offerings.  And the priest shall wave them with the bread of the firstfruits for a wave offering before Yahweh with the two lambs: they shall be holy to Yahweh for the priest. And ye shall proclaim on the selfsame day, that it may be an holy convocation unto you: ye shall do no servile work therein: it shall be a statute for ever in all your dwellings throughout your generations.”