|Shabbat Wedding Garments
The Monday night online class has begun their studies with a review of some basic rules of hermeneutics, Biblical interpretation. One of the rules is that when interpreting a text, one must take into account the historical period and culture of the person who penned the words under the inspiration of the Holy Spirit. This is important, for when we reach the last section of Workbook One, the Seven Assemblies of Revelation, I plan to include some new material that grows from that basic interpretive principle of historical context.
Below is an excerpt of new material being added to CG Workbook Two (Seven Abominations of the Wicked Lamp, Seven Seals, Seven Trumpets, and Seven Bowls) when it is reformatted. Because the CG paradigm is based on the 7s, the new material includes more specific insights into the Shabbat, the "base 7" for interpreting John's words in Revelation.
In Workbook One, the Seven Churches symbolized the preparation (or lack of) for the Seven Feasts of Adonai. In two of those assemblies, Sardis (Trumpets) and Laodicea (Sukkot), garments were mentioned as an integral part of the preparation for the High Sabbaths of Rosh HaShanah and Sukkot. Garments also are an integral part of weekly Shabbat preparation:
Hanania taught: One should examine one's garments on Sabbath eve before nightfall. Rav Yosef observed: This is a great law for the Sabbath. (Shabbat 12a)
Although Hanania's teaching concerns inadvertently leaving a burden in one's pocket on Shabbat, the general principle is that a pocket conceals an object. It may be part of an outer garment, but it holds a hidden thing that the person, either consciously or unconsciously, had not released to the secular world prior to the onset of Shabbat.
Rav Kook explained the role of Shabbat:
The Sabbath, with its elevated holiness, comes to restore the purity of inner life that was suppressed and eroded by the corrupting influences of day-to-day life, influences that often contradict our true values and goals. But the power of Sabbath peace is even greater. Not only does Shabbat restore our inner world, but it reaches out to our outer world. The spiritual rest of Shabbat enables our outer life to be in harmony with our inner life, bestowing it a spirit of peace and holiness, joy and grace.
Shabbat unites the physical creation and our secular work with the holiness of His work of rest. Properly understood, those things from the secular workweek are suspended in their progress in order to serve the man, a spiritual being made in the image of Elohim. Instead of building or creating more THINGS, the Shabbat takes those things that have been built, prepared, created, crafted, and cooked, and those things are enjoyed in service to the man's holy day, Shabbat. Such a man is a true witness of the Holy One's holy day, Shabbat. All things work in the order of authority, which was the message to Thyatira.
By serving the Ruach of Shabbat, the Seventh Spirit of Adonai, Yirat Adonai (Reverence of Adonai), rules the home, even over the lower instincts of the nefesh (soul) and flesh. One way to witness to any principle is to respect that principle, and when the family submits the pleasures of foods, clothing, and use of time (Exodus 21:10) that day to the Holy One, then they are bringing unity to the spiritual and physical creation in its established order of the Word. The family is like a Hebrew family on Passover night, a family submitted to the spiritual authority of the physical sign of the blood on its doorpost. A family that observes Shabbat is submitting its physical goods and desires to the spiritual authority of the LORD's Day.
Rav Kook goes on to explain the significance of the "Great Law of Shabbat," to check one's garments:
The Hebrew word for clothing,
beged, comes from the root
bagad, meaning 'to betray'; for clothes can hide and betray the true inner self. On Shabbat, however, even the most superficial facets of our lives, our clothes and pockets, should reflect the sanctity of the Sabbath day.
The Sages prohibited certain activities because of marit ayin,
an action's superficial appearance as inappropriate for Shabbat. And we are commanded to wear special clothing in honor of the Sabbath (Shabbat 113a). These external displays of Sabbath holiness are meant to ensure that its spirit of peace and harmony will permeate and refine our outer lives.
When John twice cautions the assemblies that their garments need to be checked, once at Rosh HaShanah (Trumpets), and once at Sukkot (both containing Shabbats), he is reinforcing his message of the seals and the scroll. While the Torah visibly may be written on the exterior of the scroll, what is concealed is critical. Is the spiritual Torah written inside the scroll once it is unrolled? Or on the other hand, has the spirit been emphasized to the point of effacing any external physical obedience to the mitzvoth?
John describes one condition as having soiled garments, which implies that the outer obedience to the mitzvoth has not been guarded properly from the dirt of the workweek. It has soiled the Shabbat observance of the person, and the garment betrays his insufficient preparation or perhaps a soiled heart not fully committed. The other condition is outright nakedness. This person believes he is fully clothed in sparkling white garments, but it is a self-delusion, for the person has no outer deeds at all. There's no pocket to check, for he's not bothered to prepare at all, although he believes he has!
What did Yeshua come to do for mankind? His prophetic shadow, Yehoshua (Joshua), demonstrates Yeshua's priesthood:
Now Joshua was clothed with filthy garments, and stood before the angel. And he answered and spake unto those that stood before him, saying, 'Take away the filthy garments from him.' And unto him he said, 'Behold, I have caused thine iniquity to pass from thee, and I will clothe thee with change of raiment.' (Zechariah 3:3-4)
Yeshua took on mortality, born to His Father's people Israel, who had soiled their garments in the idolatry of the nations both before the Babylonian captivity and during. They needed a cleansing and return to Shabbat, for in the time of Nehemiah, the prophet literally had to close and guard the gates of the Holy City from merchants who wanted to soil the Shabbat of Jerusalem. Because of Yeshua's priesthood, one day Jerusalem neither will need to close nor bar the gates, for no one inside would dream of soiling their Shabbat garments with commerce or daring to appear naked.
However, the kings of the earth will bring their glory into the Holy City, not commerce. Glory alludes to the radiance of Shabbat "L'kvod Shabbat Kodesh." As Jews pronounce during the week when they prepare something for the coming Shabbat, "L'kvod Shabbat Kodesh!" ("For the Glory of the Holy Shabbat!")
All mankind will be able to share in the sparkling Shabbat garments in commemoration of the work of Creation; those from the nations will be able to bring the glory of their preparation into the Holy City, a place set-apart and different. They can proclaim with their Jewish sisters and brothers, "L'kvod Shabbat Kodesh!"
However, those who approach the invitation lightly will be judged:
But when the king came in to look over the dinner guests, he saw a man there who was not dressed in wedding clothes, and he said to him, 'Friend, how did you come in here without wedding clothes?' And the man was speechless. Then the king said to the servants, 'Bind him hand and foot, and throw him into the outer darkness; in that place there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth.' (Matthew 22:12-13)
The man was dressed, but not in the special clothes of a wedding guest. Although it was a high calling to become part of the wedding, the man did not change his clothes. Since the clothes betray the inner man of the spirit, the king knew that the man's heart had not changed in spite of his high calling. This is the danger of responding to the Torah, especially Shabbat, without discerning the radical change of heart required, an inner change signified by a change of clothes, or outward observance.
In the earlier portion of Yeshua's parable, there were exclusive invited guests who declined to matriculate to the wedding banquet. They knew the special day, but they were "no shows." Some of them even killed the messengers of the day of holy matrimony. The invitation was then sent to any who would respond to the celebration of holy union. Among those who responded was one who declined to change anything about his behavior, inner or exterior. The other guests who responded were transformed by the royal invitation, but not the mundane guest.
The mundane guest was still firmly embedded in the secular world of the six days, the days of the beast; he made no distinction between a holy day and any other day. The Shabbat is a royal invitation, and it is not to be taken lightly by those who receive it, for it is issued by the King of Glory Himself. Even the beasts of Israel were to rest on the Holy Day, for even if they did not discern, they were under the control of the man made in the image of Elohim. The mundane guest conformed himself to the image of a beast to whom all days are alike.
The transformed guests revered the Holy Day, but most of all, the One who created it. Yeshua demonstrated the change of filthy garments, and to take his example lightly is to take lightly the One who sent him, anointed him, resurrected him, and gave him a rod of authority over the nations to separate the filthy from the clean.
Wearing special clothes on Shabbat and checking our pockets are two outward actions that express an inner agreement with the Spirit of Shabbat, the Spirit of Reverence. The self-examination involved is a search for any sign of betrayal to the spiritual principles breathed into mankind by Elohim, principles that set him apart from a beast...principles that set apart the Holy Day from the workweek.
So what shall we conclude then?
1. Don't be a Shabbat "no show."
2. Shabbat is different from every other day, so clothe yourself accordingly, inside and out!
Lemalah Children's Centre
The first occupants of the Kenyan Children's Centre have begun the school year. Two staff members need to be hired in order to free Pastor Ndungu to continue traveling to proclaim the Torah in Kenya and surrounding countries. We would like to be able to set a minimum amount of monthly support from The Creation Gospel so that the orphanage can set a budget. There is also a young man who needs to start university, and it will cost around $800 per semester.
If you'd like to commit to a monthly amount of support for the Centre's payroll, school uniforms, shoes, food, and health care, we welcome your assistance. If you'd like to sponsor all or part of the young man's college tuition, please notify us and we can put you in touch with Pastor Ndungu. Education is important to the Torah community there so that they can strengthen their economic position by giving back to that community when they graduate and obtain decent jobs. I can't tell you how strong the mutual commitment is within that group of believers.
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