Tanak Foundations-Concepts in Exodus-Part 32

Hos 3.4-5 says, “The sons of Israel will remain for many days without king or prince, without sacrifice or pillar and without ephod (with the Urim and Thummim) or household idols. Afterward, the sons of Israel will return and seek the Lord their God and David their king (Messiah) and they will come trembling to the Lord and do his goodness in the last days.” So, for many days, they will be without these things, like the ephod with the Urim and Thummim. All of the things mentioned above were means of knowing future things, either lawful or unlawful (Psa 74.9; Matt 16.3). But, in the last days they will seek true knowledge and worship and the service of the Lord.

Neh 7.65 says that when the people came back from captivity, there were those who said they were priests but couldn’t prove it. They could not eat from the kodshai kodashim (most holy things) until a priest arose with the Urim and Thummim. Num 27.15-21 says that Joshua would be the successor to Moses. He will inquire of the high priest with the Urim and Thummim and he shall tell Joshua what to do.

This is what the rabbis have never had since the Babylonian Captivity in order to judge cases, like they did before (Deut 17.9). Who says the rabbis are the judges today anyway? Deut 17 was written in the context that gives a hierarchy with a person at the top getting a direct answer from the Lord. If a person does not listen to that ruling, he is put to death. This is not the system the rabbis have invented. In fact, we have gone over the story of the Kosher Stove. That story teaches that the rabbis don’t need to listen to heaven (Bava Meztia 59b of the Talmud).

The robe was all techelet (blue) and wool, reaching down to about the knee. The bottom fringe had bells of gold and artificial pomegranates (alternating) made from techelt (blue), argamon (purple) and tolat shanni (scarlet). The pomegranate is a picture of the Messiah and it symbolized kingship and protection. For more information on the pomegranate, see the article “The Pomegranate and the Star of David” in our Temple 101 series on this site. The bells were there to draw attention to the pomegranates, and the pomegranate was red in color with many seeds inside (Gen 3.15).

The high priest did not wear this robe on Yom Kippur into the Holy of Holies. The Temple of Solomon was full of pomegranates (1 Kings 7.18). 1 Kings 7.42 says there were 400 pomegranates and we know that the Temple was seen as the Garden of Eden, it had a kedusha. Jewish coins had pomegranates on them. Archaeologists have found pomegranates on top of a staff with God’s name (YHVH) on it. It is believed that this staff was for the king or the high priest. The Menorah had pomegranates on it, and on Shavuot one of the Sheva Minim (seven species) was a pomegranate (Deut 8.8; 2 Chr 31.4-7).

We mentioned before that the pomegranate was a symbol of protection. The numerical value (gematria) of “tzitzit” is 613, which is the number of the commandments. a pomegranate was many seeds inside. Jewish tradition says there are 613, and these are the precepts of the Torah of God. There are 248 positive commands and 365 negative commands. Of course they know this is just a teaching, but it is said to illustrate the importance of the pomegranate.

Now, the word “magen” means “shield” (Psa 84.9; Prov 30.5-6; Isa 21.5). Psa 91 has every letter of the Hebrew alphabet in it except “zayin” which means “weapon.” Psa 91.4 has the word “pinion” which has the numerical value of 613, and a pinion resembles and arm. A “wing” in Hebrew is “kanaf” and that is where the tzitzit hang on a four cornered garment. These symbolize the commandments, and his truth is a “shield” (Psa 91.4). A six petaled pomegranate will form a “Magen David” (shield of David) if you fold the petals back. We have done this in a store, try it some time. In other words, all of this is not a new concept. Six petaled pomegranates have been found in a synagogue on Capernaum.

We also mentioned that a pomegranate symbolized kingship. The Kingdom of God is God’s rule in our life, and eventually in the world. The sceptor (kingship) will not depart from Judah (Gen 49.10). Num 24.17 says, “A star will come out of Jacob, and a sceptor shall rise from Israel.” Rev 22.16 says that Yeshua is the “offspring of David, the bright and morning star.” This verse is a direct allusion back to Gen 49.10 and Num 24.17. The Chachmim (wisemen) followed the “star” and this is because it was linked to the Messiah and prophecy (Matt 2.1-11).

So, the pomegranate had a lot of meaning in Hebrew thought and it was linked to protection and kingship, the commandments and the Messiah. One of the golden bells of the high priest may have been found in the City of David they believe. For more information on this, go to “City of David. Org.” The bells could be heard as the high priest ministered and moved about, but he did not wear the bells into the Holy of Holies as we have said (Exo 28.35). There is a myth that we have heard (and you can still find on the Internet) for over thirty years that says a rope was tied around the waist of the high priest as he ministered in the Holy of Holies so they could pull him out of there if he died if they could not hear the bells. However, this is not true for the following reasons. The high priest did not wear the golden vestments into the Holy of Holies, which had the bells. There were two veils that separated the Holy of Holies and the Holy Place. These were very thick (four inches thick) and large (60 feet long, 30 feet wide, 300 priests were needed to manipulate it) and it would have been impossible to pull him out anyway because of the way the veils were configured.

The golden Plate was made of pure gold and it had the name of God written on it in the phrase “Holy to YHVH.” This crown was called the “Tzitz” (“to see”). Quoting from “The Tabernacle of Israel” by James Strong, p. 101-102, it states, “A noble addition to this pontifical headgear was a gold tablet tied with a violet string, doubtless by passing ti through a hole at each end around the head, displaying on the front the engraved motto, in the old Hebrew characters, ‘Sanctity to Jehovah,’ i.e., consecrated to his exclusive service. As the early Jewish writers are not agreed upon the width of this golden plate, nor whether the inscription was in one line or two, we have consulted the properties of the case, and the good taste of the majority of archaeologists, in the matter. Josephus states that the pontifical frontlet made by Solomon was in existence in his own day. In that case it was probably among the spoils of Jerusalem exhibited at the triumph of Titus, and finally deposited in the temple of Peace at Rome. Origen, however, asserts that it was the original one of Aaron, and that it remained till his time. Also it was inscribed with Samaritan characters by which, of course, he means antique Hebrew.”

The name of God was on his forehead, the seat of the intellect and it shows the headship of God (Exo 28.38). It is the outward expression or action of his acceptance of God and the Torah. Exo 13.8-16 tells us that the keeping of Hag Ha Matzah (Unleavened Bread) shall serve as a sign to you on your hand (action) and as a reminder on your forehead (intellect) that the Torah may be in their mouth (profession). They were to bear a clear testimony. This gives us insight into the usage of these same terms when talking about what the “mark of the Beast” is in Rev 13.16. The followers of the False Messiah will be bearing a clear testimony by their actions (hand) and thinking (forehead) that they reject the Lord and his Torah. This is how one can be a “marked” person (Ezek 9.1-8). This can be seen even today with people who reject God. They disregard the Sabbath, eat food that God has forbidden, teach and believe that the Torah does not apply to them. You know them by their actions and what they teach.

The “tzitz” goes on the front of the turban (miznefet) of the high priest. It literally means “to see.” Later, when we finish with these garments, we will go into more detail in the Jewish writings on them. The word “tzitzit” is a related word and it also means “to see.” This is very interesting when we talk about the tzitzit because it is worn in order to “see” them and remember the Torah. Now, here is a concept that is not generally taught. The tzitzit are for our own benefit, not necessarily for others to see. If the tzitzit are seen by others, that doesn’t necessarily benefit the person seeing them. The one wearing the tzitzit is the one who benefits.

We have a difference between western thought and eastern thought. To “see” in western thought means to visualize it, it is right in front of our eyes. But in Hebrew thought, it doesn’t always mean that. It means to be “aware of” in many cases. Sometimes it does mean to literally see. Many Orthodox Jews wear their tzitzit on the inside of their clothing, but they are aware of them (Num 15.39). They are not for someone else to see. The tzitz worn by the high priest was not for the high priest to see, it was far out of his range of vision. It was for the Lord to see. The golden vestments are going to represent royalty. The high priest represents Adam before he sinned. Adam had a kedusha and he was made in the image of God. When Adam sinned, he lost that kedusha. But now, in the golden plate called the “tzitz” it says that he has a kedusha (“Kodesh to YHVH”) and it shows that the high priest has a kedusha like Adam did in the Garden of Eden

In Part 33 we will pick up on this and more.

Posted in All Teachings, Articles, Idioms, Phrases and Concepts, Prophecy/Eschatology, The Feasts of the Lord, The Tanach, Understanding the New Testament

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