What’s the deal with the biblical command to wear fringes?

Numbers 15:37–41. Tassels on the corners. The command to wear tzitzits on the corners of one’s garment was to act as a reminder to keep one from committing intentional sins, even as a wedding ring worn on the finger serves to remind one of one’s marriage covenant, and help keep one from committing adultery. This is why this command is placed directly after the warning against committing intentional sin (vv. 30–31), and the example of the man who committed intentional sin by gathering sticks on the Sabbath (vv. 32–36).

Corners. The ancient Israelites wore four cornered tunic-like garments. Why did YHVH instruct them to wear tzitzits on the four corners? This was likely to teach them that the Israelites’ Torah-based covenant with Elohim was there to box them in, to surround them, to remind them of their sworn obligations to Elohim,to keep them on the right path spiritually, and to protect them, so that they would receive Elohim’s blessings and be his representatives to the surrounding nations. With this view in mind, the shape of the garment is no longer the issue. That happened to be the style of clothing of that day. We no longer wear four-cornered garments. What matters is to wear four tzitzits on one’s four sides to represent our spiritual commitments to Elohim and our allegiance to his word, the Torah, and our understanding that his word will guide, direct, protect and bless us is we treasure it and adhere to it. Tzitzits are to our relationship with Elohim what a wedding ring is to our spousal relationship.

The Law of the Fringes Tzitzits 

Shofars, Davidic worship dance, prayer shawls (talit or tallit), a Torah scroll and tzitziyot (plural for ­tzitzit — fringes or tassels) all have something in common: they are hallmark symbols of those who are returning to the Hebrew roots of their faith. When a Christian begins to discover their ancient spiritual roots, it’s like coming home, or like a hand fitting into a glove. It’s not long before they begin acting out their renewed faith in a highly demonstrable manner such as growing beards, wearing fringes, blowing shofars, keeping the Sabbath and biblical feasts. Outsiders may view this as mere religious fanaticism and exhibitionism, but to the saint who truly feels that he has returned to his spiritual roots, these things are symbols of a faith that is more than superficial in nature. They represent a connectedness to his spiritual family tree, to the nation of Israel and eventually to the God of Israel, YHVH Elohim, the originator of that faith, family tree and nation.

As a wedding ring symbolizes the covenantal agreement between spouses, so the blue fringes worn on the corners of one’s garments are an outward symbol of one’s spiritual commitment and devotion to the Elohim of Israel through obedience to his instructions in righteousness as found in the Torah portion of the Scriptures.

Indeed, it is not because of a man-made tradition, but because of a direct command in the Torah that redeemed Israelites wear tzitziyot, for we read in Numbers 15:37–41,

And YHVH spoke unto Moses, saying, “Speak unto the children of Israel, and bid them that they make them fringes [Heb. tzitziyot] in the borders of their garments throughout their generations, and that they put upon the fringe of the borders a ribbon of blue. And it shall be unto you for a fringe, that you may look upon it, and remember all the commandments of YHVH, and do them; and that you seek not after your own heart and your own eyes, after which you use to go a whoring, that you may remember, and do all my commandments, and be set apart unto your Elohim. I am YHVH your Elohim, which brought you out of the land of Egypt, to be your Elohim: I am YHVH your Elohim.”

In the eyes of YHVH, this command is serious enough that he repeated it again in Deuteronomy 22:12,

You shall make you fringes upon the four quarters [Heb. kanapah meaning “wings”] of your garments, wherewith you shall cover yourself.

Let’s discuss what is said in these two passages.

The command to wear tzitziyot is for the children of Israel (Num 15:37). Technically, the term children of Israel in Hebrew is literally the sons of Israel. Because of this fact, many rabbinic Jews take the position that the wearing of tzitzitot is for men only. However, throughout the Torah, the term children of Israel is used as an inclusive term referring to all the Israelites of all genders, not just to the men. For example, all the children of Israel left Egypt, not just the men (Exod 12:51). All the children of Israel heard and agreed to follow the Ten Commandments (Exod 19:3, 6, 8; 20:22); therefore, these commandments were for all Israel, not just the men. The same is true of the biblical feasts and dietary laws (Lev 23:2; 11:2). Many more examples could be given.

The Israelites are to make fringes (Heb. tzitziyot, Strong’s H6734) on the four borders or corners (Heb. kanaph, meaning “wings, mantle or skirt”) of their garments. The word tzitzit means “tassel or lock [of hair]”. These tassels were to hang down from the four corners of one’s garment. Interestingly The Stone Edition Chumash notes that the Hebrew word tzitzit is related to the word hetzeytz meaning “to peer at something intently with sparkling eyes” (p. 817). The only place this word is used in the Scriptures is in the Song of Songs 2:9. Here the beloved (a metaphorical and prophetic picture of Yeshua) is peering, gazing or peeping with sparkling eyes of love through the window at his bride (the redeemed saints). What does this teach us? The wearer of tzitziyot should not just simply be wearing them out of ritualistic duty or for religious show. Rather, one should gaze intently and admiringly at their tzitziyot, while considering thedeeper, spiritual significance of them, even as one might think of the deeper implications of their wedding ring.

Next, let’s consider the significance of the blue thread. Out of each corner fringe is to be a ribbon (cord or thread) of blue (Heb. techeilet). According to one Levitical Jewish expert I know, in ancient times to fulfil the tzitzit command, the Israelites simply let the regular hand-woven threads of a garment extended past the corners of the garment to form a tassel. Into these, the Israelites would weave a blue thread to form a corner tassel. This can be seen in some of the ancient clothing artifacts uncovered in the Qumran archeological excavations. Nowadays one blue thread is woven into three strands of white thread. All four threads (three white and one blue) are somehow woven or tied into the four corners of one’s garment. In The Stone Edition Tanach, Numbers 15:38 reads “a thread of turquoise wool.” The word wool is not in the Hebrew, and is a rabbinic insertion. Likely wool was used, since that was a readily available source of yarn. However, the Israelites also wore linen (from flax) garments, so we can’t assume that wool was the only potential source of tzitzit thread.

The Hebrew word for blue as used in our Numbers 15 passage is not the generic Hebrew word for blue, but rather indicates a specific type of blue. It is a turquoise, sky or cerulean-type blue.

There is debate among the Jewish sages as to the source of that blue. Some say it derives from a sea squid, and some from a sea snail, both of which are found in the Mediterranean Sea. Whatever the case, threads made from both sources are currently available for purchase from Israeli sources.

Why does the Torah specify the use of a blue thread and not some other color? The Scriptures don’t tell us. However, according to rabbinic tradition, the techeilet blue thread helps one to focus on his spiritual duty to YHVH, since techeilet is similar to the color of the sea, which reflects the color of the sky, which in turn is similar to the color of the pavement under Elohim’s throne of glory (Exod 24:10). This oblique means of focusing on Elohim’s throne teaches us that we should look for ways to direct our attention toward higher spiritual aspirations (Ibid. p. 817). The lowliness of the sea creature from which the techeilot dye is derived teaches us that we must be humble and contrite in our demeanor before the Almighty (see Prov 6:16–17; Isa 66:2; Matt 5:3).

Currently, most orthodox Jews wear all white tzitziyot. There are various reasons given why they no longer wear blue in their tzitziyot. Some sages say that this is because the source and recipe for the exact color of blue has been lost. Others say that the Jews stopped wearing blue out of mourning for the destruction of the second temple in 70 A.D. Despite these traditions of men that make of none effect YHVH’s commands (Mark 7:7–9), the Torah instructs us to wear blue, and that, quite frankly, should be YHVH’s final word on the matter. YHVH expects his children to do their best to follow his instructions, whether they know the exact shade of blue or not.

The fringes are to be looked upon by the wearer for the purpose of remembering to do all of YHVH’s commandments, so that one does not follow one’s evil inclination (or sinful nature) and fall into idolatry and spiritual whoredom by turning away from YHVH. These fringes are to remind us that we are set-apart (holy), that our Elohim has called us out of spiritual Egypt. He has set us apart as a unique people who belong to him. Therefore, we can’t act like the heathens. To look upon the fringes, as the Torah commands, means they must be worn externally where we can see them. 

The Torah gives us no clear directions on what materials the fringes or tassels should be made from, what they should look like or even how to tie them. As can be expected, many traditions have arisen in Judaism regarding tying tzitzit. Over the ages, an elaborate system of a certain number of knots and wraps has evolved wherein is encoded, through Hebrew numeration rules where numbers represent letters in the Hebrew alphabet, thus conveying various encoded messages. The most common means of tying tzitzit — the Ashkenazic and Sephardic Jewish methods — both have the following message encoded in their respective tzitzit-tying method:

The numerical value of the word tzitzit is 600, and there are eight threads and five knots, for a total of 613, which corresponds to the number of commandments found in the Torah (365 negative [for the number of the days of the year] and 248 positive [for the parts of the human body]).

The five knots in each tassel signify the books of the law; the Torah, which is the foundation of ­YHVH’s word.

There is one winding of seven wraps and one of eight for a total of fifteen wraps. The number fifteen is written by the letters of the Hebrew alphabet yod and hey. Next there is a winding of eleven wraps, which is written by the letters vav and hey. Next there is a winding of thirteen wraps, which signifies the Hebrew word echad and is numerically equivalent to one. Therefore, the number of the windings spells out the words, YHVH is one.

There are five sets of two knots when multiplied equals ten representing the Ten Commandments on the two tablets of stone with five commandments on each stone.

Additionally, when adding the number of wraps (7 + 8 + 11 + 13 = 39), we arrive at 39, which is the number of Books in the Tanakh.

Sometime in the early modern era, the Jews stopped wearing visible fringes on their four-cornered garments. No one knows for certain when this happened, but it is likely to have been a result of Jewish persecution at the hands of the Romans. Wearing tzitziyot was a dead giveaway that one was Jewish, so to avoid persecution tzitzitot were placed on a four-cornered poncho-like, rectangular mantle worn over the shoulders called a talit (also spelled tallit) or prayer shawl. In this manner, the Jewish people could easily conceal and carry this garment, which was brought out and worn only in privacy or in Jewish-friendly gatherings.

The word talit is an Aramaic word meaning “to cover.” Each man’s talit became his personal prayer covering, tent or closet in which to be alone with his Heavenly Father. A talit katan is a small talit worn as a t-shirt-like undergarment, while a talit gadol — commonly called, a prayer shawl — is a large talit that is worn like a cape or poncho over the top of one’s garments like a mantle.

It is common in Jewish circles for men to wear a talit gadol in religious gatherings, during times of prayer, while teaching from the Scriptures or doing ministry, while worshipping and by a groom in a wedding. Nowadays, more women are wearing a talit. This is especially acceptable if her talit is more feminine in nature, thus not violating the Torah commandment that forbids women from wearing clothes that resemble those of men (Deut 2:5).

Pertaining to the deeper spiritual significance of wearing tzitziyot, we read in Psalm 25:3 and 5 “On you [YHVH] do I wait all the day…” Wait is the Hebrew word qavah (Strong’s H6960) meaning “to wait, look, wait for, hope, expect, to bind together (by twisting).” Could this be a loose reference to the tzitzit, which is twisted and bound together in a series of wraps and knots and that the wearer is to look upon and remember the commandments of YHVH? This author believes so. Qavah is referring to a place of intense intimacy with YHVH where we trust our lives with him and know that the outcome is in his hands.

Other scriptures where the word qavah is used include:

  • Isaiah 40:31, “Those who wait [qavah] upon YHVH shall renew their strength…shall mount up with wings like an eagles.”
  • Psalm 37:9, “Those that wait [qavah] upon YHVH shall inherit the earth.”
  • Psalm 37:34, “Wait [qavah] upon YHVH and keep his way.”
  • Psalm 52:9, “Wait [qavah] upon his name [i.e., be bound or twist together with his covenant names, which is tied into the tzitzit itself].”
  • Psalm 69:6, “Let none that wait [qavah] upon YHVH of Hosts be put to shame.”
  • Psalm 130:5, “I wait [qavah] for YHVH, my soul does wait [qavah], and in his word do I hope.”

Additional Possible References to Tzitzit in the Tanakh (OT)

In Deuteronomy, we read that the tzitziyot were to be placed on the four corners or quarters of one’s garment. As we have already seen, the Hebrew word for corner is kanaph meaning “wing, extremity, edge, winged, border, corner, skirt.” Here are some other scriptures where the word kanaph is used. Perhaps this can give us some additional insights into the spiritual significance of the wings of the talit.

Psalm 91:4 says, “He [YHVH] shall cover thee with his feathers, and under his wings [kanaph] shalt thou trust: his truth shall be thy shield and buckler.”

In Ruth 2:12, Boaz says to Ruth, “YHVH repay your work, and a full reward be given you by YHVH Elohim of Israel, under whose wings [kanaph] you have come for refuge.”

Again in Ruth 3:9, “Boaz says to Ruth, And he said, ‘Who are you?’ So she answered, ‘I am Ruth, your maidservant. Take your maidservant under your wing [kanaph], for you are a close relative.’”

In 1 Samuel 24:4–5 we read, “And David arose and secretly cut off a corner [kanaph] of Saul’s robe. Now it happened afterward that David’s heart troubled him because he had cut Saul’s robe [kanaph].” In this passage, the word corner in Hebrew is kanaph, which was the same of a garment to which YHVH instructed the children of Israel to attache the tzitziyot or blue tassels (Num 15:37–41). Thus, it can be deduced that if Saul were Torah-obedient, then a tzitzit would have been attached to the corner of Saul’s garment. The tzitzit that David cut off was symbolic of Saul’s covenantal relationship and devotion to YHVH. David cutting off Saul’s tzitzit was symbolic prophetically of the kings spiritual destiny. Because of sin, his relationship with Elohim was being cut off, and he was about to lose the kingship over Israel.

In Ezekiel 16:8 YHVH speaks about the nation to whom he likens as a young maiden who he married, “When I passed by you again and looked upon you, indeed your time was the time of love; so I spread My wing [kanaph] over you and covered your nakedness. Yes, I swore an oath to you and entered into a covenant with you, and you became Mine,” says Adonai YHVH.” Here we see that YHVH in love and acting as a husband covered Israel with his mantle. This was a sign of his entering into a marital covenant with his spiritual bride and his taking her to himself (see Exod 6:7; 19:4–5) to love, cherish and protect her.

Zechariah 8:23 contains a prophecy about Yeshua the Messiah. There we read, “Thus says YHVH of hosts: ‘In those days ten men from every language of the nations shall grasp the skirt [kanaph] of a Jewish man, saying, “Let us go with you, for we have heard that Elohim is with you.’” This is the part of one’s garment that would have carried the tzitziyot. The action of the ten men is symbolic of the Gentiles taking hold of Yeshua, the Jewish Messiah, and through the gospel message being brought into covenantal relationship with the God of Israel through Yeshua resulting in their becoming a part of the nation of Israel (Eph 2:11–19).

Finally, in Malachi 4:2 we read about the coming Messiah. “But unto you that fear my name shall the Sun of righteousness arise with healing in his wings [kanaph], and you shall go forth, and grow up as calves of the stall.” Here is another reference to Yeshua, the Light of the world (John 1:7; 8:12), and whose face shines like the sun when in his glorified state (Rev 1:16), and who will be the spiritual Sun shining in the New Jerusalem (Rev 21:23). When Yeshua came to this earth, he healed many people who literally grabbed a hold of his tzitziyot that were in the wings or corners (kanaph) of his mantle, thus fulfilling both this prophecy and that of Zechariah 8:23.

References to Yeshua Wearing Tzitziyot

As we read just above, Yeshua fulfilled both the prophecies of Zechariah and Malachi when he healed people who literally grabbed a hold of his tzitziyot that were attached to the wings or kanaph of his outer garment. Again, as we have seen, these tzitziyot represent YHVH’s covenantal relationship and promises to his people. The people grabbing hold of Yeshua’s fringes were demonstrating faith in YHVH’s word and promises and were healed as a result.

In the Gospel accounts, we find several examples of people being healed as they grabbed hold of Yeshua’s fringes.

In Matthew 9:20 and Mark 5:27, a woman with the issue of blood received healing when she touch Yeshua’s cloak, tunic or mantle.

In Matthew 14:34–36 we read, “And when they were gone over, they came into the land of Gennesaret. And when the men of that place had knowledge of him, they sent out into all that country round about, and brought unto him all that were diseased; and besought him that they might only touch the hem of his garment: and as many as touched were made perfectly whole.” The Greek word for hem or border is ­kraspedon meaning “the extremity or prominent part of a thing, edge, skirt, margin; the fringe of a garment; in the NT a little appendage hanging down from the edge of the mantle or cloak, made of twisted wool; a tassel, tuft: the Jews had such appendages attached to their mantles to remind them of the law.”

Mark 6:56 records a similar incident. “And whithersoever he entered, into villages, or cities, or country, they laid the sick in the streets, and besought him that they might touch if it were but the border [Gr. kraspedon] of his garment: and as many as touched him were made whole.”

In Luke 8:42–44, we also read, “But as he went the people thronged him. And a woman having an issue of blood twelve years, which had spent all her living upon physicians, neither could be healed of any, Came behind him, and touched the border [Gr. kraspedon] of his garment: and immediately her issue of blood stanched.”

 

8 thoughts on “What’s the deal with the biblical command to wear fringes?

  1. To be obedient to his very words he said to give him back his word and he will Hazel E before man in your life so you know to give him back his reasoning why we wearing the tallies he is going to bless us with all the blessings because we’re being obedient to his commandment

  2. reasonable points are made here that appear to make it a mandatory commandment for God’s people — those who follow Jesus/Yahshua as their Christ/Messiah — to wear fringes.

    it appears that God gave this commandment because of the willful (and most likely, repetitive) sinner who was defiant against obeying God’s commandment of abstaining from work on His Sabbaths.

    it appears that as part of that incident, God also commanded such a willful sinner who refuses to obey God’s Sabbath command to be stoned to death.

    so, if we are going to mandate God’s people wear fringes else perhaps be prohibited from church Sabbath services, are we also going to mandate God’s people stone to death those among the flock for breaking God’s Sabbath according to someone’s perspective of “breaking God’s Sabbath”?

    • First point. Nobody is mandating anything. YHVH is. Big difference. These are his laws, not men’s. When will Christians wake up to this reality and quit fighting with the Creator of the universe who they claim to love and obey? YHVH Elohim, please forgive us for our obstinate and rock hard hearts and stiff necks when it comes to obeying your wonderful commands that you gave us for our blessing that we may have life and it more abundantly and eternally!

      Second point. Humans don’t have the authority to mandate. Only YHVH can mandate anything, and each of us has the choice to obey or disobey his mandates. For those who disobey, the Word of Elohim, it is called sin, and the wages of sin is death. YHVH issues and executes the death penalty—not you or me. On the other hand, for those who obey the beautiful, life-giving and rewarding commands of the Almighty, it is called righteousness and obedience, and for them the reward is eternal life if they have trusted in Yeshua the Messiah to atone for their past sins of falling short of obeying his commands including wearing fringes and keeping the seventh day Sabbath.

      Third point. In ancient Israel, they had a national legal and judicial system where YHVH gave the leaders the mandated duty to enforce his laws including the death penalty in certain rare instances. We lost our nation a long time ago due to disobedience to his commands, and now we live under the government of the heathens. We no longer have the authority on earth or from heaven to execute people. So to even mention the idea of stoning someone for Sabbath breaking today is a moot and irrelevant issue, and, quite frankly, is a ridiculous non sequitur argument; that is, an argument that is based on a false premise and is therefore patently fallacious. So why even bring it up? To do simply reveals the ignorance of the one bringing it up.

      In my long and vast experience in this bullring, I have observed that most people who bring up the stoning for Sabbath breaking are, in a back-handed and blasphemous way trying to do an end run around the Sabbath commands and are trying to prove that the Creator’s commands——written in stone, by the way——are somehow irrelevant to them. This is gross self-deception, especially in light of the fact that there are thousands of Bible verses from Genesis to Revelation that clearly validate YHVH’s Torah-law. To accept this deception where the Word of Elohim is a made a mockery of and the Creator is assumed to be a liar, is potentially a form of willful disobedience, which is sin, the wages of which is death. This is the very thing for which the man who was working on Shabbat was stoned. And this is the very reason the Creator gave us the law of the fringes—like a string or a wedding ring on the finger, to help us not to forget our commitments before him, so that his death penalty will not come upon us. And this is the very thing that people fight against!

      Yah have mercy on us for our stiff-necked, rebellious hearts. Ruach of Elohim, write your laws on our hearts and give us a new heart to obey YOU instead of listening to the greedy and hireling liars in pulpit who say otherwise, and, who by their lying traditions, have made of non-effect, the blessed laws of the Creator of the universe. Amein and seal.

  3. “To do simply reveals the ignorance of the one bringing it up.”

    So then, you assume i’m ignorant for asking a simple question? Or have you perhaps forgotten the scriptures which explain to us that we only see in part?

    I just find it interesting how most believers in Yahshua Messiah get all wrapped up in various attributes of mankind’s religions and strive to have others conform to their particular ways and times of observing Passover “properly”, else proclaim God / YHWH / YHVH will not recognize the observance at all. In such ways many believers *mandate* certain aspects of torah according to whatever specific understanding they subscribe. Or claim that our Father in heaven and His Son only answer to specific Hebrew names and/or titles. Or a host of other beliefs that no two believers agree perfectly upon.

    How do such attitudes serve to make the bride ready for Messiah’s second coming? Are such attitudes in line with growing in the agape love of God?

    I’m disappointed that my questioning has led you to believe i’m some kind of “stiff-necked / rebellious” individual. I love my LORD and i obey Him as best i can, including observing His Sabbaths and annual appointed times.

    Godbless you in your walk.

    😎

    • My answer to your question assumed nothing regarding you personally. I answer and respond to questions on this blog while keeping in mind the the wider audience who may be reading my response. In my response to you, and please note clearly my careful choice of words, I said “most people” NOT “all people.” If I had said all people, I would have been including you, and this would have been presumptive on my part. However since I said most people, this doesn’t necessarily include you. So if this shoe doesn’t fit you personally, then ignore it, for it doesn’t apply to you. I try to be very careful in my choice of words so as not to assume. So it appears that in your case, since you are not questioning the validity of the Sabbath or the Torah-law, I am speaking to the larger audience who will be reading this comment, and not to you personally. Thousands of people will be reading this for many years to come. I’m a big picture guy and respond to questions with he longterm view in mind. I hope this makes sense to you. Blessings!

      BTW, no one thinks they are stiff-necked and rebellious when it comes to obedience issues. Just ask them. This is because everyone is right in their own eyes due to human pride. We are all stiffnecked and rebellious including yours truly. It’s something with which we will struggle until death. When someone says they are not, then I know for sure they have a higher opinion of themselves than reality dictates. We must constantly remind ourselves of Elohim’s words in this regard: all of our righteousness is as filthy rages, and there is none righteous, no not one.

  4. ““To do simply reveals the ignorance of the one bringing it up.”

    well Natan, you might elect to chose another way to respond to someone like me asking a simple question whom you don’t know. because this initial comment of your set the tone of your response. thus, after strongly suggesting i am exhibiting ignorance by questioning your understanding of a specific aspect of torah, and then you end your reply with a petition to Yah regarding our “stiff-necked / rebellious” nature, it is fairly understandable that one would apply the comment personally rather than globally because you have (apparently inadvertently) created a relation between the comments.

    i’ve been torah pursuant for nearly 30 years and i’m a “recovering Pharisee”, still striving to repent of being legalistic which i’ve found drives away individuals God is calling. BTW, i use the term “torah pursuant” because in my understanding, no one has observed torah except One — Messiah.

    in these years i have witnessed a variety of forms of legalism…

    i’ve witnessed church congregations split over the precise manner & time in which to observe Passover and/or claiming that unless one is baptized “properly” one is observing it unworthily and is the cause of any illness with which they may be struggling.

    i’ve witnessed Sabbatarian elders condemn mainstream Christians for that which they do not yet understand, perhaps conveniently forgetting that we are expressly told by Messiah to NOT condemn others because we are sinners and therefore cannot act as judge.

    i’ve witnessed spirits crushed in God’s women who have been told they cannot use their Spiritual gifts YHVH has given them because of elders assuming Paul was somehow given the authority to add to or subtract from torah.

    i’ve witnessed elders who mandate fully grown and/or old men in their congregation become physically circumcised prior to being allowed to participate in Passover observance (as if that would satisfy the law which says it’s to be done on the eight day).

    … all this and more continues.

    so the “big picture” exemplified over time in my experience is that i’ve witnessed believers assume an air of authority over others, making demands/mandates in various ways, in spite of the plain example of Christ acting as a servant to those He created — including he who would betray Him in that very evening. i sort of view that many elders have conflated the truth about husbands having authority over their wives with the false (i believe) concept that ALL men have authority over ALL women.

    no two individuals will ever agree 100% on all points of Biblical doctrine (or really, ANY doctrine). i include “any” because from experience i’ve witnessed this in all areas of life. for example, i believe God led me to the understanding that the entire “left/liberal” vs. “right/conservative” political dichotomy is false — that the true battle of political philosophies/ideologies is between Collectivism (in all its forms) vs. Individualism. however, the world has indoctrinated most everyone into what i view to be a satanic deception, yet no matter what evidence i may present to others, most will simply not believe what i present to be truth.

    so yes, if some Sabbatarians like myself believes that the way we trim our beards, or the way we wear our hair, or the way we wear our clothes is applicable to the contemporary culture in which we live, does that really make us ignorant and/or rebellious to God? there are certainly some aspects of torah which appear not to be applicable in all situations, like for example the method in which to eliminate human waste, or not touching anything a woman touches while menstruating.

    and frankly, i HAVE also heard at least one brother in Christ say that they WOULD obey God’s command to stone someone for breaking God’s Sabbath if it wasn’t against the Civil Law to do so. a paramount point to consider about that even if it makes sense to someone is that not all Sabbatarian believers can even agree about what is permitted on God’s Sabbath. for example, some will not prepare food or cook, while others will do so but not eat out, while still others will not use electricity in their homes.

    when i sin these days, my heart is pricked to the core by God’s Holy Spirit. i believe this is so because through Their Holy Spirit, the Father & Son are working inside of me creating a new heart. in fact regarding the “big picture” (which BTW, i too am a big fan of, so you & i may have more similarities than we could know), over recent years my understanding of various aspects of God’s Word has more to do with our heart than anything else.

    if the weightiest matters to God are justice, mercy & faith, and we also learn that the Father has forgiveness and mercy regarding our sins according to the manner in which we have forgiveness and mercy upon others, then why do so many of His people (and i’m including myself in so many past examples of which i’m striving to repent) engage in some form of condemnation of others who are actually honestly believers in Messiah?

    also, a lot of these matters are on my mind because our tiny congregation of 16 years recently had a church split over some various matters, which unfortunately were never openly discussed among our board nor our entire congregation. part of it had to do with differences of viewpoint regarding Passover and who should be allowed to participate, while other issues apparently included disagreements over proper attire for services, and concerns/fear over some of us who had a “Purim party”, which essentially was a bunch of believers getting together for fellowship and going through the story/book of Esther — there, the contention had to do with concerns of going down a path toward Judaism and eventually rejecting Messiah.

    interestingly, since just prior to the split and since the split, God has been sending more people to our group from BOTH the mainstream Christian AND Messianic/Hebrew Roots cultures. of course, this presents some definite challenges to us because we’ve never had as much individual diversity as we have now. many among us believe God is doing some wonderful working in our group right now, however, there have been some… what shall i say, “rubs” going on.

    therefore, rather than making the mistake our board and founders now believe we made over the past decade or so in not addressing some differences of doctrinal viewpoint for fear of throwing stumbling blocks and/or not waiting on God to work and heal among our flock, we are holding an interactive Bible study & discussion this coming Sabbath with the intent for us all to consider how we can serve to help make the bride ready for Messiah’s return — what steps can we take to help us all grow in agape love toward one another, in spite of our doctrinal differences?

    because again, all believers in Messiah will continue to have different perspectives of various Biblical doctrines. so, how then might we grow in agape love with one another if we continue to split over such differences?

    the only or perhaps first step that came to me about this is the recognition that the only salvational issue is the sacrificial body & blood of Messiah — He is our only salvation. God’s law cannot provide eternal life because it cannot forgive, but condemn according to violating it (sinning) — that it provides a light to our path upon which we walk that leads us to Messiah, who does have mercy upon us and through whom we are forgiven by the Father.

    so please understand, in no way am i seeking to act against God’s Law. i’m merely striving to serve brethren by encouraging ourselves to love one another in spite of our differences, for we will continue to have differences of Biblical doctrine up until the time of Messiah’s return.

    Godbless…

    • All of your points are well-expressed and well taken.

      I too am a recovering Pharisee after having left 32 years ago the uber legalistic, so-called law-keeping, and quasi-cultic Sabbatarian in which I was born and raised. (Perhaps we have a similar church background.) So I can relate to what everything you are talking about——in addition to having founded and led a local Hebraic congregation for 18 years and having gone through all that grief and sorrow and all the things you mention above and much more.

      With all due respect, had you laid all of your cards down on the table up front and related your love for the Torah and your concerns about Torah-Phariseeism, my response would have been totally different. In all of my years of writing, you were the first one to bring up stoning and fringes who was not trying to excuse Torahlessness.

      Printed words are so one-dimensional when it comes to the total panoply of communications factors, and can be too easily misconstrued and miss the heart and spirit of the communicator.

      Glad we got this ironed out.

      Again, thank you for your comments.

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