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Is the Tassel on Your Garment?
Have you seen Orthodox Jews wearing something under their shirts with white tassels on it?
Or you may have noticed their modern prayer shawl which has four tassels, one on each corner, and is tied with white and blue threads.
Here is the origin of tassels for the clothing of Israelites:
Numbers 15: 37-41, NLT.
37 And the LORD said to Moses, 38 "Say to the people of Israel: 'Throughout the generations to come you must make tassels for the hems of your clothing and attach the tassels at each corner with a blue cord. 39 The tassels will remind you of the commands of the LORD, and that you are to obey his commands instead of following your own desires and going your own ways, as you are prone to do. 40 The tassels will help you remember that you must obey all my commands and be holy to your God. 41 I am the LORD your God who brought you out of the land of Egypt that I might be your God. I am the LORD your God!'"
Ancient peoples of the Near East had a custom of attaching tassels of various colours. God took this and gave it to His chosen people as a sign or symbol of loyalty to God. The tassel or ‘fringe’ was attached to the four corners of the outer garment with a thread of blue on each tassel.
A further explanation from the staple reference, Jamieson, Faussett, Brown ‘Critical Commentary and Explanatory on the Whole Bible’ will suffice:
These were narrow strips, in a wing-like form, wrapped over the shoulders and on various parts of the attire. "Fringe," however, is the English rendering of two distinct Hebrew words--the one meaning a narrow lappet or edging, called the "hem" or "border" ( Matthew 23:5 , Luke 8:44 ), which, in order to make it more attractive to the eye and consequently more serviceable to the purpose described, was covered with a riband of blue or rather purple colour; the other term signifies strings with tassels at the end, fastened to the corners of the garment. Both of these are seen on the Egyptian and Assyrian frocks; and as the Jewish people were commanded by express and repeated ordinances to have them, the fashion was rendered subservient, in their case, to awaken high and religious associations--to keep them in habitual remembrance of the divine commandments.
The Christian does not wear tassels today but like the Israelite of the Old Testament we need to remember the commands of the Lord, and to obey them instead of following our own desires.
What has the Lord given us to help us remember his commands?
1. The Holy Spirit who will guide us into all truths and teach us of Christ.
2. The Sabbath day which by returning every week reminds us of our duty to our Creator?
3. The sanctified imagination is encouraged to meditate on the cross of Christ which according to the Bible Study Guide 'People on the Move: The Book of Numbers' "should bring before our minds the cost of sin, the cost of our redemption, and the promise of salvation for all who through faith trust in the merits of Jesus…” p.51.
Scripture quotations marked NLT are taken from the Holy Bible, New Living Translation, copyright 1996. Used by permission of Tyndale House Publishers, Inc., Wheaton, Illinois 60189. All rights reserved. (New Living Translation)