Of Tzitzits, Tallits and Traditions

by Reed DePace

Those involved in the Hebrew Roots Movement (HRM) take great pains to note that they are only calling Christians to a greater consistency with God’s word. To give them all the benefit of the doubt possible, we can even say that they are arguing for these things as expressions of faith, not that gets one saved, but will determine the quality of their experience of salvation. Their argument to other Christians is simple, “but you’re not obeying ALL God’s word.”

Lay aside for the sake of discussion the issue of whether or not the Law of Moses is rightly divided into the moral, ceremonial and civil components. Leave aside also the issue of whether or not the NT amends the practice (but not the principles) of the ceremonial/worship components of the Mosaic Law.

Look simply at the issue of traditions. Jesus admonished the Pharisees:

And he said to them, “Well did Isaiah prophesy of you hypocrites, as it is written, ‘This people honors me with their lips, but their heart is far from me; in vain do they worship me, teaching as doctrines the commandments of men.’ You leave the commandment of God and hold to the tradition of men.” (Mk 7:6-8)

I maintain that the whole of the HRM (and large parts of the Messianic Christianity Movement) are doing exactly what Jesus condemned here. In fact, I would go so far as to say that there is not a single practice the HRM maintains, as an application of the ceremonial/worship components of the Mosaic Law, that is not in some essential manner NOT tainted by this tradition-over-commandment sin that Jesus condemns.

TNT002-30

Yes, I know, sweeping statements are dangerous. But I’ll risk the potential brashness at this point. In support of my contention look at just one simple practice common among Messianic Christians, that of using a prayer shawl with tassels on the four corners.

In anglicized Hebrew the prayer shawl is called a tallit, the tassels are called tzitzits. Sit down with any Messianic Christian who uses a tallit with tzitzits and ask them to explain the practice. Very quickly they will be offering you arguments based on men’s traditions – NOT the Scriptures.

KariateSeph

Yes they will offer some Scriptures. But like the Pharisees, they will twist those Scriptures to support their traditions. In the case of tallits and tzitzits this is rather easy to see. While tzitzits are found in Scripture (Nb 15:38-39), it is a plain and simple fact that the tallit IS NOT! The practice of using tallits (prayer shawls) is expressly a tradition of men. Further, it is a tradition that comes from unbelieving Judaism!

It is hard to understand how this practice of the Mosaic Law is nothing more than a tradition of man. Therefore, to insist that in any manner its practice is even advisable for Christians, is to teach as holy what Jesus condemned as wicked.

A similar case can even be made for tzitzits, tassels. The Mosaic Law calls for them to be placed on the ends of ALL the exterior garments men wear, not merely a non-commanded tallit, prayer shawl. Again, man’s tradition usurps and yokes God’s word to the task of enslaving God’s children!

Ask about any other “Messianic,” “Hebrew” practice that practitioners of Messianic Christianity insist still applies to the Christian’s belief and practice today. Call me foolish and brash. But I expect I will be proven right to observe that you will see the same exact pattern: man’s tradition, yoking God’s word, to enslave Christians.

It gives me no joy to be proven right. Would that God would free them from their slavery and turn their joy in their traditions into moans of repentance.

by Reed DePace

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29 Comments

  1. Andrew Duggan said,

    June 9, 2013 at 9:57 pm

    I’m a little troubled by what I’ve been reading here. While I completely agree there is a lot of error in the HRM, and that your criticism in these posts has been spot on, I can’t see how much of what they do is actually worse than what most reformed churches and Christians currently engage in with respect to several things.

    For example you like the OT ceremonial law enough to replicate the instrumental accompaniment of the sacrifice in your worship today. You just like to call it a circumstance of worship so then you can claim the regulative principle doesn’t apply. How convenient for you.

    You make the word of man equal with the Word of God when you place your counterfeit songs of human composition along side the inspired Psalms, and really you place the word of men above the Word of God because for most the reformed churches today, your counterfeits entirely replace the Psalms. Sure you’ll argue that “Psalms hymns and Spiritual songs” in Eph 5 is command to write your songs, but how do you exactly write a spiritual song without the the inspiration of the Holy Spirit? Really, that’s not a rhetorical question.. How do you write a spiritual song without the inspiration of the Holy Spirit? Exactly what kind of spirit are you seeking when you lay aside the Word of God in favor of your own or those of Watts, or Fanny Crosby? Is the canon not closed, are you not a cessationist? Where has God even suggested we should mix His Word with our own? Not to mention that WCF 21:5 explains what the Westminster Assembly thought that triad in Eph 5 meant. You don’t mind redefining confessional terms in that regard, For the reformed churches, Dr Watts was really asking with the publishing of his counterfeits, “Yeah, hath God said you shall sing only my own Psalms in worship of Me?” Jesus says we are to worship the Father in Spirit and in Truth? Shouldn’t only inerrant truth will do for that? Are the songs of Watts or Crosby free of error? We already know they are not of the Holy Spirit (or else they would be Scripture), so exactly how does using those counterfiets comply with Christ’s command worship the Father in Spirit and in Truth?

    You rightly think we should not observe the OT festivals, but then you participate and/or encourage (certainly don’t disapprove, detest, or oppose cf WLC 108) of pagan festivals. Where does the scripture authorize the observance a day for the Lord Jesus’ birth? Where does Christ ask us to cut down trees and decorate them? At least with the OT festivals specific dates for observance are given? Did Christ reveal the date of His birth? If he commanded it to be observed, don’t you think he would have at least given us a date? Where does the Scripture authorize the making a Lord’s Day in the spring special? (Easter)? Where is fertility worship (eggs and bunnies) authorized in Scripture? You don’t like the Jewish holidays, but can’t give up your pagan ones. It’s not like esteeming on day above another as in Rom 14, because you mix it with the Worship of God himself. All Worship is to be regulated by the Word of God whether it is private in our closet, together with our families or corporate in the Church.

    I agree the HRM should stop teaching for doctrine the commandments of men, I just wish you would too.

    Just like you, I take no pleasure in pointing this out, but your correct criticisms are undermined because you do just as bad if not worse, because you profess (WCF 21, WLC 107-110) to know better.

  2. Reed Here said,

    June 9, 2013 at 11:22 pm

    Andrew: I’m sorry but I don’t ever remember you visiting my church or sitting down with me and finding out my convictions on these matters. Isn’t that a bit unwise?

    Equating instruments and hymn singing with tzitzits and tallits? Seriously? You equate well known disagreements over these matters with the Judaizing practices of the HRM?!

    Correct criticisms are undermined by my supposed hypocrisy? Since when does hypocrisy trump truth?

    Dude, I’m not even interested. Your sense of proportion is worse than out of whack. I’m talking about guys firing off fully automatic rifles in a crowded room. You’re equating that with a 1″ pocket knife I carry.

    That is some of the sloppiest guilt by association reasoning I’ve ever heard. Please, do not bother responding.

  3. June 10, 2013 at 10:04 am

    According to your statement that a case might be made for wearing tzitzit’s on the corners of your garment according to the passage mentioned in Numbers 15. I would only ask, if wearing a Talit (of which I have none) is simply part of the garment you choose to wear, what’s the problem? It also seems, in many of your writings you confuse the traditions of men with the Law of Moses. Do you see them as one and the same? It would also seem you refuse to substantiate your position when challenged and simply dismiss the comments as irrelevant. Isn’t this, at the very least, dishonest? You, never did, by the way say whether you actually observe Christmas, Lent, Easter and such. You simply diverted the question by seeming to claim the fellow unjustly assumed you do. So I will ask you straight out, do you?

  4. Bob B said,

    June 10, 2013 at 10:48 am

    I can’t really comment on weather or not these practices are biblical and proper for Christians to be doing, but I find the ‘why’ question interesting. I grew up in reformed churches, and one thing they all lacked was ritual. In the past few years I’ve been worshiping with Anglicans, and I’ve been exposed to several things which I think have helped my relationship with Jesus. To list a few – foot washing, participation in lent, Good Friday / Easter vigils.

    I’m not about to go out on a limb and say these things are required, but I can say that many find them meaningful. I suspect the HRM do what they do for meaning as well.

    Not to nit-pick, but Christians are always fighting among themselves as to which traditions are valid and acceptable in God’s sight. I’m not suggesting that the PCA adopt prayer shawls, but I think there is still plenty of room to have traditions without being heretical.

    There is a balance. God gave the Israelites good traditions – things that help them worship and are pleasing to him. The Pharisees and Sadducee took those traditions and turned them into a burden. It is this 2nd form of tradition that the Gospels speak out against. There must be a way to enjoy the first without succumbing to the second, and without abandoning traditions all together.

    I haven’t studied the HRM, so I don’t feel qualified to speak as to weather they cross whatever arbitrary threshold that turns good tradition into something bad. I suspect that the threshold has something to do with feeling superior to others due to observing certain traditions. Maybe some with the HRM cross this line, but I doubt all do.

  5. Reed Here said,

    June 10, 2013 at 10:59 am

    Travis: no, I don’t get men’s traditions mixed with the Mosaic Law. Nor do I dismiss challenges. It is easy to throw out the accusation, though.

    No, there is nothing wrong with choosing to wear a tallit. There is something wrong with saying that one must do so as a means of obedience to God. That is the issue, as a I think you know.

    If you had read a little closer what I said in a previous comment on another thread on this subject here you would note that the issue IS NOT about personal preference. If that’s not clear, see what I said to Bob below. Maybe the problem is you’re not reading too carefully?

    No, I’m not avoiding Andrew’s question, nor yours. Those questions are decidedly against the point of this post. It is not just rude to hijack someone’s point for your own purposes, it is a deceptive debate tactic. So, not to play into your our Andrew’s sin here, I’m not going to play your game.

    I will simply say this, as way of offering a fair response to mitigate any distraction y’all have given to others:

    1. In my worship practice I take seriously the regulative principles, including how it applies to such issues as Christmas, Lent and Easter.
    2. I have studied these questions and come to my conclusions based on the Word, not men’s traditions.

    Now, if you want to talk about the point of this post, go for it Travis. I’ll not entertain rabbit trails that are decidedly going to confuse what is rather clear, to the detriment of souls including yours.

  6. Reed Here said,

    June 10, 2013 at 11:01 am

    Bob: the issues is not where or not one CAN use a tallit. The issue is whether or not one MUST uses a tallit.

    If so, given the HRM’s insistence with adherence to the Mosaic Law and NOT the traditions of men, then how do they avoid the contradiction here.

  7. Reed Here said,

    June 10, 2013 at 11:20 am

    Andrew: I tried sending the following to you off-list. The email address you list does not seem to work. Nor can I find the domain name you list. If there are some errors in them, please fix them in future posts. If you are listing fictitious ones, please do not post in the future without listing actual ones. Thanks.

    In response to your last comment that I have removed as per Lane’s guidelines for his blog: Your hijacking this post is inappropriate at least. Feel free to make such ridiculous charges on your own blog. As to apologizing “if” you’ve got my practice wrong … your understanding of the sin of gossip needs a bit of work.

  8. June 10, 2013 at 11:53 am

    To address your point, no one says anywhere within the HRM movement that anyone must wear anything whether Tallit or Tzittzit. There are those within the movement that do wear them and those who don’t. No one looks down on anyone for not doing so and no one looks up to those who do. It’s simply a personal preference. To say they do is bearing false witness, plain and simple.

  9. Bob B said,

    June 10, 2013 at 12:07 pm

    @Reed 6

    Is the ‘must use the tallit’ only binding on themselves, or is it binding on everyone? As an example, recovering alcoholics must not drink – but even they recognize that not everyone is a recovering alcoholic. If you want to be a recovering alcoholic though, you must not drink. Or if you want to be Amish you must not shave.

    Is it the same with the HRM’s? or do they go one step further and say ‘you cannot be saved unless you use the tallit’?

    If they do these things to try to gain favor with God, shame. If they do them out of (probably misguided) reverence and love as an act of obedience – well then good on them. For some, they may eat food sacrificed to idols, for others they must not. In either case, either wearing or not wearing the tallit should not be a stumbling block. My dear baptist grandmother must not drink alcohol, and this is an act of obedience to God on her part. ‘Would that God would free them from their slavery and turn their joy in their traditions into moans of repentance.’??? Far be it from me!!

    What I am seeing here is that the tallit is causing people to sin (even on this blog). Paul indicates he will never eat meat again in deference to the weaker brethren.

  10. Reed Here said,

    June 10, 2013 at 1:35 pm

    Travis: not false witness. You’re claiming that no one in the HRM movement teaches the following:

    1. The use of the tallit is a biblically faithful application of the Mosaic Law.
    2. As such, if one wants the best relationship possible with Jesus, one should use a tallit.

    Instead, you are claiming that the common agreed upon understanding of the tallit in the HRM is that:

    A. It is merely a personal preference.
    B. Therefore using it or not using it has no bearing on a Christian’s Torah keeping.

    Now, be careful. For me to be guilty of bearing false witness, even to the smallest degree:

    > No one in the HRM (or more broadly the MCM) teaches nos. 1 and 2.

    AND

    > The majority of folks in the HRM (or more broadly the MCM) actually teach A and B.

    Do you use a tallit? What does your congregation’s leadership teach about the tallit? Where can I find that?

    If I were to Google it, what would I find concerning the use of the tallit in MCM? Would I find no one teaching, or maybe just a few extreme oddballs teaching nos. 1 and 2? Would I find that the majority in the HRM/MCM writing on this topic teach it is nothing more than personal preference and has no bearing whatsoever on Torah keeping?

  11. Reed Here said,

    June 10, 2013 at 1:41 pm

    Bob: please go back and read Lane’s first post on the topic of the Hebrew Roots Movement (HRM), as well as the subsequent posts on this subject.

    IF all we were talking about is yet another evangelical variety of well-intentioned suggestions of things that might assist one’s walk of faith, the intensity and severity of my (Lane’s) comments indeed be wrong. However, that IS NOT what the HRM is teaching, Travis’ deflecting comments aside.

    Spend some time looking at websites these folks frequent and you’ll see that they are teaching a new version of the old Pharisaical heresy, to wit that Torah keeping is still required of Christians. They can dress it up, massage it, tweak it any way they wish. At the bottom of all their arguments is this simple teaching: Torah keeping is necessary for the Christian in his relationship with God.

  12. Bob S said,

    June 10, 2013 at 3:35 pm

    Man, what is going on at the Green Baggins? Is this the Twilight Zone or what? From Tdazits (whatzits?), Tallits and Tassels to Trumpets, TurkeyDay and The Old Rugged Cross.
    Almost makes you wish for the good old days of unending discussions and strife in the combox over romanism and YR2k.

    While I am no fan of man made traditions in worship (ahem the Heidelblog has a recent on one of ‘em), what we are talking about is man made traditions for salvation in place of or along side of the gospel.

    Likewise it’s one thing if the weaker brethren want to do something. Entirely another if it is demanded of all or necessary to enter the kingdom.
    Long story short. Methinks these brethren protest way too much.
    Of course, they’re not judaizers.
    As if folks would admit it if they were.

    Still, after a fashion FedVisine, Called to Trans-substantiated Confusion and the HRM are all cut from the same rags. Somebody isn’t satisfied with the plain old plain jane reformed faith so they have to jazz it up with something else.

    (Of course if today’s P&R churches are compromised on the RPW, it couldn’t hurt that the FV practiced up hitting on the RPW before they went after JBFA, but that’s a rant for another time, another place.)

    Just are too sents wirth.

  13. Tim Harris said,

    June 10, 2013 at 9:37 pm

    I Cor. 11:4: Every man praying or prophesying having his head covered dishonoreth his head.
    I’m probably missing something obvious, but wouldn’t this be an absolute prohibition of a man wearing a “tallit”?

  14. didymusmartin said,

    June 11, 2013 at 8:10 am

    @ Tim Harris

    A first century Christian would have understood what Paul was saying in Corinthians 11, because everyone knew in that day that a pious married Jewish man wore a tallit while worshipping to bear witness that he had subjugated himself to the Law of Moses which was a sign that he honored the headship of the Lord God. So the term dishonoreth the head meant dishonoring the Lord God. Paul was reminding the Christian that if they wore a tallit to worship as did the pious Jew then they were saying that they were still subjugated to the law and thus dishonored the headship of the Lord Jesus Christ.

    In Matthew 6:6 , Jesus said that when you pray do not do so publicly as the Scribes and Pharisee but go into your private store room or “prayer closet” and do so. The Methodist brethren have a prayer ministry called the Prayer Shawl Ministry in which tallits or prayer shawls are made to signify the use of the prayer closet. Which honors what Christ said in Matthew 6:6

    To say you know the “heart of a man” and why he does what he does is the issue. To condemn an individual for some practice which you think is ungodly is worse then binding someones conscience it is the same original sin of wanting to be the Just Judge

  15. Reed Here said,

    June 11, 2013 at 11:05 am

    Thomas: agreeing with your concluding point, I take a bit of a pause at your reading of Mt 6:6.

    To be sure, the “prayer closet” practice of the Pharisees most likely included the use of a tallit (in fact, I would argue that this is the source of the tradition, marking it exclusively as a that which Jesus condemned). Yet Jesus is not affirming the usage of the tallit. Instead his point is about praying in private rather than following the hypocritical practice of the Pharisees praying in public (v. 5). The issue of the tallit’s usage (used by the Pharisees in both public AND private) is not even in view.

    At most we might conclude from this passage that Jesus was not addressing the use of the tallit, neither positively or negatively. Accordingly, I find it a loooooooooooong stretch to use this passage as some means of approval for its use, even as a matter of personal preference, an issue of adiaphora.

    On the other hand, Tim’s reference and your explanation of background for the head-covering in 1Co 11 IS clear. There IS a clear prohibition against a Christian man in worship having his head-covered. At the very least tallits are out, expressly in public worship.

    As to how this applies to private and family worship, I think the hermeneutic humility of the Biblical principle that we interpret the less clear in light of the clear would lead us to caution folks on the use of the tallit in ANY worship circumstance. We are no longer under the separation provisions of the Mosaic Law. It is sin to affirm otherwise.

    Accordingly, I would not bind men’s consciences (“thou shall not use a tallit!”). And at the same time I would urge caution (“why do you want to use a tallit?”). At present I can’t imagine any usage of a tallit that would not bring one afoul of even the appearance of placing oneself back under the separation provisions of the Mosaic Law. There might be one (I won’t bind consciences), but I can’t think of one (I urge caution).

    In the presence of the Judaizing danger posed by the HRM/MCM, I would urge even extreme caution.

  16. Reed Here said,

    June 11, 2013 at 11:07 am

    Travis: it might be that you’ve got more important things to do than respond here. I appreciate that. And, accusing me of bearing false witness is pretty serious.

    I am very eager to repent if I’ve done so. I’d appreciate your response to no. 10. Or, if you think what I’ve said is reasonable, I’m more than eager to offer your forgiveness in the event of your retraction of the accusation.

    Thanks brother.

  17. Tom said,

    June 12, 2013 at 11:39 am

    RE: #8

    >To address your point, no one says anywhere within the HRM movement that anyone must wear anything whether Tallit or Tzittzit. There are those within the movement that do wear them and those who don’t. No one looks down on anyone for not doing so and no one looks up to those who do. It’s simply a personal preference. To say they do is bearing false witness, plain and simple.

    Travis,

    I have a practical question: Who, in your opinion, exemplifies the greatest consistency wrt the application of the old covenant laws as understood by the HRM within the new covenant context?

  18. JGIG said,

    June 12, 2013 at 1:24 pm

    Bob B.,

    While I appreciate your heart in the area of unity, the Gospel really is under assault by the doctrines in the Hebrew Roots Movement. It ends up going something like this:

    For the Law keeper, there is a symbiotic relationship between the Cross and the Law, with little or no emphasis on the Work of Christ at the Cross. But not in the sense that the Law leads one to Christ; no, in the Law keeping paradigm, if you come to the Cross, then you must obey Old Covenant Law. In the Law keeping paradigm, if you don’t obey Old Covenant Law, then the Cross means nothing – the fruit of salvation, they say, is if you ‘do’ the Law – they proclaim this while trying to hold onto some version of the Gospel, which is really no Gospel at all.

    Also important to note here is that Torah folk are not focused on passing on the Life of Christ to the Lost; they are primarily focused on teaching Christians to become Torah observant. You will not hear them tell of spreading the Gospel to the nations, but of spreading Torah to the nations. The spreading of the Gospel, the message of the forgiveness of sins and the free gift of eternal life that the Apostles constantly risked and nearly all of them eventually lost their lives for, is not the Law keepers’ priority.

    This makes them every bit the Judaizers that Paul preached so strongly against in the letter to the Galatians.

    That said, I do not condemn them (the Law will eventually do that); most HRMers get into Law ‘keeping’ because they love and want to please God. Unfortunately, they come under a false belief system because they don’t have a firm grasp of

    Who Jesus is
    What He came to do
    What that actually accomplished, and
    Who we as believers are in Him.

    When one has a firm grasp on those things, false teachings tend to fall away.

    I guess I would just gently exhort you to not dismiss the HRM as just another ‘denomination'; they are not. They are preaching another gospel and also another jesus (they believe that Jesus/Yeshua is the Living Torah) – do not underestimate the damage they are doing in the Body.

    Grace and Peace,
    -JGIG

  19. Bob B said,

    June 12, 2013 at 3:06 pm

    Thank you JGIG for the kind response.

    I agree with you that keeping the law needs to come out of love for Jesus, not out of a works/righteousness paradigm. I suspect that within the HRM you have people of both persuasions.

    Lets assume the Law in the Torah is indeed good and a gift from God (it is, or at least was to the OT Israelites). I cannot take a position that says modern observance of OT law is inherently ‘bad’. This is not considering motivation at this point – just the actual day-to-day observance cannot be classified as bad since at one time this was a command of God. Not mixing cotton and polyester is not an evil thing, nor is eating Kosher. They are moral neutral.

    So then it comes down to motivation. If their stated motivation is to bring them closer to God, draw them to more holy living, or just personal preference – then I don’t see a problem. Those that seem to be of the HRM persuasion that have commented here indicate these things. I don’t even have a problem with them saying ‘obeying these laws has drawn me closer to God – it might do the same for you’.

    If their motivation is that obeying these laws is the ‘only way’ to salvation, and that those who don’t obey are outside the kingdom… well now we are into different theological territory – but again, I see that claim being made by a minority. This is very similar to both the orthodox and catholic claims of ‘one true church’ – which I deny.

    The question then is your response to this. Can YOU both reject wrong motivations in the minority while at the same time allowing that their practice isn’t inherently evil.

    If wearing tassels and eating kosher and not turning on a stove on Sunday makes the day-to-day walk with Jesus more tangible, then go and do those things. If not drinking alcohol makes you feel closer to Christ and helps guard your conscience – don’t drink. If you need to work out your salvation living as a hermit under a bridge – go do it. If you need to give away all your worldly possessions like the rich young man – go do it. God requires different things from each of us in our sanctification.

    Is Jesus the living Torah? He is the word made flesh – potato patato?

    Or maybe these people are all nutters leading others to hell. Now where did I put that bag of rocks…

  20. Reed Here said,

    June 12, 2013 at 5:52 pm

    Bob B: appreciate your efforts at graciousness and benefit-of-the-doubt reading of the HRM folks motives. While I wholeheartedly affirm that motive, I draw the line differently than your placement.

    First, keeping Torah (worship, separation provisions specifically) has NOTHING to do with obedience to God today. Obedience goes to motive, and here the HRM runs into trouble. Jesus obeyed these things for us, expressly denying to us any obedience motive for an ongoing practice.

    If these are merely cultural or heritage expressions, with no sense of “they serve a functional role in my faith” then o.k. To be sure, even this Torah keeping must be recognized as imperfect. Simply put, AD 70 definitively eliminated Torah keeping as per Scripture as eve possible.

  21. Reed Here said,

    June 13, 2013 at 12:22 am

    Travis: I appreciate that you disagree with this perspective. But please, don’t just label me and use that to brush me off.

    The HRM champions man’s traditions over God’s word. It is part and parcel of what drives the HRM. Therefore, it stands condemned.

    Please, rethink your commitment to it.

  22. Roy Kerns said,

    June 14, 2013 at 12:08 pm

    OK, I’m fairly certain the drift of the comment I’m about to make shows up (or is at least implied) in some of the comments above. Especially, for eg, those by Bob, Tom, didymuys, Reed. But I’m gonna write the comment anyway. To make it explicit.

    I cannot think of the ‘messianic jew’ et al movement without in nearly the same instance thinking of the chapter “Abolition of Vestments” in Ian Murray’s collection of historical essays, “Reformation of the Church”.

    While I’m not into iconoclasm, I find it requires lots of restrain not to spill tears or even vent vituperation upon seeing “ministerial robes” clothing an ostensibly reformed pastor.

  23. descriptivegrace said,

    June 28, 2013 at 10:31 pm

    “In fact, I would go so far as to say that there is not a single practice the HRM maintains, as an application of the ceremonial/worship components of the Mosaic Law, that is not in some essential manner NOT tainted by this tradition-over-commandment sin that Jesus condemns.”

    Perhaps, but isn’t the reason Jesus condemned it because the Pharisees were making it essential? These comments by Jesus do come in a context in which the Pharisees are condemning his disciples for not keeping the traditions, after all. Its not like the Pharisees had come to him and said “It sure would be nice if you kept these things, but you ain’t gotta.”

    Now, obviously I’m not a Messianic Jew and I don’t know any outside the Internet. But if they are recommending Gentile Christians to wear the tallit they are actually breaking Jewish tradition which forbids Gentiles from doing so.

    “A similar case can even be made for tzitzits, tassels. The Mosaic Law calls for them to be placed on the ends of ALL the exterior garments men wear, not merely a non-commanded tallit, prayer shawl.”

    The Jewish interpretation as I understand it is that this only applies to 4-cornered-garments. Since in the modern world we no longer wear 4-cornered-garments, they invented the prayer shawl as a 4-cornered-garment that can be thrown over your regular modern non-4-cornered-garments.

    A much bigger issue is the tassels or fringes are supposed to be blue according to the Bible, but the rabbis have come up with some nonsense that its a special blue die made from some rare and now extinct mollusk (that’s not even Kosher!) and so, therefore, this mollusk being extinct we can’t use blue anymore, so even though Scripture says blue, we command that you make them white. Of course, Kairites make a big deal of this, and make them blue, but there aren’t many Kairites.

    But considering that the Messianics believe in justification by faith alone and only do the mitzvot for fun, what difference does it make it they get them right or not?

  24. scottbushey said,

    July 24, 2014 at 9:11 am

    Hi Tim,
    I have been studying this as of recent. Why would it be wrong to wear tzitzit if the heart and mind is aligned properly on why you are wearing it?

    The Numbers passage does use the same language we reformed subscribe to when we speak of the Abrahamic covenant and the requirement in placing the sign on our children: ‘throughout their generations’.

    Gen. 17:9   And God said to Abraham, “As for you, you shall keep my covenant, you and your offspring after you throughout their generations. 10 This is my covenant, which you shall keep, between me and you and your offspring after you:

    Num. 15:37   The LORD said to Moses, 38 “Speak to the people of Israel, and tell them to make tassels on the corners of their garments throughout their generations, and to put a cord of blue on the tassel of each corner. 39 And it shall be a tassel for you to look at and remember all the commandments of the LORD, to do them, not to follow* after your own heart and your own eyes, which you are inclined to whore after. 40 So you shall remember and do all my commandments, and be holy to your God. 41 hI am the LORD your God, who brought you out of the land of Egypt to be your God: I am the LORD your God.”

    How is wearing tzitzit any different from wearing a shirt with a passage on it or wearing a cross? Don’t get me wrong, I am not advocating for wearing any symbols, especially those that break the 2nd commandment; we see no command to wear crosses. However, we do see this command in Numbers. If one wanted to wear tzitzit with the mindset that the tzitzit was a reminder of God’s commandments, why is that a bad thing? Not to mention that wearing them may be a chance to explain what they are to people who are not familiar with the gospel message, why is that a bad thing? Believers do much more grievous things that are not commanded!

  25. JGIG said,

    July 25, 2014 at 11:17 pm

    Scott Bushey:

    Would it be wrong to do animal sacrifices? They’re part of the Law, too, aren’t they? In fact, required by the Law! Fail in one part, fail in all (Gal. 3:10, James 2:10).

    Tzit Tzit For the Believer In Christ? – http://joyfullygrowingingrace.wordpress.com/2011/02/17/tzit-tzit-for-the-believer-in-christ/

    4 Likewise, my brothers, you also have died to the law through the body of Christ, >>> so that <<>> in order <<>> aroused by the law,<<>> new way of the Spirit <<>> old way of the written code.<<< (from Rom. 7)

  26. JGIG said,

    July 25, 2014 at 11:18 pm

    Formatting fail on Romans 7:4-6. I’ll try that again =o):

    4 Likewise, my brothers, you also have died to the law through the body of Christ, so that you may belong to another, to him who has been raised from the dead, in order that we may bear fruit for God. 5 For while we were living in the flesh, our sinful passions, aroused by the law, were at work in our members to bear fruit for death. 6 But now we are released from the law, having died to that which held us captive, so that we serve in the new way of the Spirit and not in the old way of the written code.

  27. JGIG said,

    July 26, 2014 at 12:03 am

    Bob B,

    Motivation out of love for God or not, the question is whether those in Christ are under the Law or not.

    Scripture clearly says no.

    Those in Christ have died to the Law so that they can be joined to another – Christ. Why? So that they can bear fruit unto God.

    Where in the New Covenant Scriptures do we find the works of the Law bearing fruit unto God? I can’t find any. But I can find where we see Fruit of the Spirit. And this:

    18 But if you are led by the Spirit, you are not under the law. (from Gal. 5)

    Put New Wine into Old Wineskins and you’ll lose both.

    -JGIG

  28. James but my friends call me Jim said,

    July 28, 2014 at 2:56 am

    JGIG,

    To fail in one point of the Law is to fail in all means one mortal sin kills the divine life of the souls as much as two or ten. You quote James 2:10 but not 11. Adultery and murder, not jaywalking and speeding, are the sins listed.

  29. scottbushey said,

    August 10, 2014 at 8:12 pm

    JGIG,
    A few things to consider; Number one, make the distinction between the ceremonial aspect of the law and the moral. Secondly, men remain under the law; can you say antinomianism?

    What was it that the Apostle Paul said?

    Rom 3:31 Do we nullify the law through faith? Let it never be so. On the contrary, we uphold the law.

    Think covenant of works vs covenant of grace. Believers are justified in Christ. However, we love the law of the Lord.

    Psalm 119: Oh how I love your law. It is my meditation all day long.

    In regards to tzitzit; you need to re-read what I posted. I specifically stated that it can be used as an aid. It is not law. In fact, if you are Presbyterian and covenantal, you see the same language used in many places in regards to the covenants, which are as well to ‘all generations’. Hence showing it’s perpetuity.

    On another note: Are you credo-baptist? That would explain what you have written as well as your understanding of what I have already written. As you as well can see, I previously noted that most believers do much more grievous things: Grape juice instead of wine, man-made hymns is lieu of the commanded psalms to sing in worship, breaking of the sabbath day with entertainments, etc. Wearing Tzitzit is far better than these other things that we take for granted as commanded when they are not.


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