The Lord said to Moses, “Speak to the Israelites and say to them: ‘Throughout the generations to come you are to make tassels on the corners of your garments, with a blue cord on each tassel. You will have these tassels to look at and so you will remember all the commands of the Lord, that you may obey them and not prostitute yourselves by chasing after the lusts of your own hearts and eyes. “ – Num 15:37-39

Near the end of the 15th chapter of Numbers, God gives the Israelites a command to craft tassels on the corners of their garments in order to remember all of the instructions God has been giving them – not just for their remembrance – but also for “generations to come”.

The garment God is speaking of is the traditional prayer shawl worn by every Israelite. They are told to decorate this shawl with tassels on their corners (fringes). As we have seen throughout this study – commandments from God ALWAYS mean something much bigger.

The Hebrew word for “corner” is kanaph – and it literally refers to “borders or edges”. On each kanaph they are instructed to tie strands of threads into 5 knots (representing the 5 books of Torah). This was to serve as a reminder for them the Torah (instructions) that God has given them on how to live life to it’s fullest.

The Hebrew word for “tassels” is tzitzis. The Israelites are instructed by God to tie tzitzis on their kanach to remind them to live the Torah every day of their lives. When temptation comes – these fringe tassels will help you remember the commandments of God and prevent you from stepping into sin. (The term tzitzis also refers to “peering at something intently”.

Another interpretation of the word kanaph is “wings”. (This came about due to the wing-like shape of the shawl flowing in the breeze). Throughout Scripture we see the reference for “wings” (kanaph) in various settings. One of the main uses is God’s wings as a place of comfort, rest, and protection (Psalm 17:8; Psalm 36:7; Psalm 91:4).

In the book of Ruth – the imagery for wings is taken further in that Boaz blesses Ruth as she trusts the Lord, “under whose wings she takes refuge” (Ruth 2:12). Later on Ruth implores Boaz to cover her with his “wings” as her kinsmen Redeemer – another fore-shadowing of Jesus. (Ruth 3:9).

 

More infamously – the Old Testament Prophet Malachi, speaking of the coming Messiah< says…

But unto you who revere and worshipfully fear My name shall the Sun of Righteousness arise with healing in His wings…” – Mal 4:2 AMP

This was demonstrated in action in Mark 5:25-29 when the woman with the issue of bleeding crawls through the crowd and touches the “wings” of Jesus’ prayer shawl as a practical step of faith in His Word as the Messiah.

 

So what does this all mean for you and I? God set up visual reminders throughout the every day lives of the Israelites in order to help them remember His instructions on how to live their lives. These visual reminders were far from simply empty props – they actually came to contain the very power of God! Throughout the generations to follow – obedient Jews would continue these practices – all leading up to the revealing of the Messiah – Jesus – who came with “healing in HIS wings”!

That same Jesus now lives within us who have trusted our lives to Him. The tzitzis are now wrapped around our hearts… with all of their healing power!

 

Be Fruitful & Multiply,

PK

Advertisements