Parable #1: New Cloth on an Old Coat:
- Today is Day #1
- The First Mashal of Messiah
- The context: A wedding (a time of joyousness) was being anticipated!
- What does it mean that Messiah, the Bridegroom, has come?
- A bumpy marital history
- The rest of the Story
- Enter the one who came in the Spirit of Elijah
- Enter the Messiah
- The Proxy
- The Old Tallit you get buried in, the New Tallit you get married in!
- The One Heart
- The Decree of Life
Today is Day #1:
1. Today is “Day #1” in the forty-nine day Countdown to Shavuot.
2. Today is One day in the Omer:
Today is one day in the Omer.
היום יום אחד בעומר.פ
Haiyom yom echad ba’omer.
“You shall count for yourselves — from the day after the Shabbat, from the day when you bring the Omer of the waving — seven Shabbats, they shall be complete. Until the day after the seventh sabbath you shall count, fifty days.” (Leviticus). “You shall count for yourselves seven weeks, from when the sickle is first put to the standing crop shall you begin counting seven weeks. Then you will observe the Festival of Shavu’ot for Adonai Eloheinu (Deuteronomy).”
“Blessed are You, Adonai Eloheinu, King of the universe, Who sanctified us with Your commandments and commanded us to count the Omer.”
ברוך אתה, אדוני אלוהינו, מלך העולם, אשר קדשנו במצוותיו וציוונו על ספירת העומר.פ
Baruch atah, Adonai Eloheinu, melech ha’olam, asher kid’shanu b’mitzvotav v’tzivanu al sefirat ha’omer.
The First Mashal of Messiah:
אֵין אָדָם מֵשִׂים טְלַאי חָדָשׁ עַל־שִׁמְלָה בָלָה כִּי יִנָּתֵק הַטְּלַאי מִן־הַשִּׂמְלָה וְיִתְרַחֵב הַקֶּרַע׃
אין איש שם פסה של בד חדש על בגד ישן, שכן הטלאי יתלש מן הבגד והקרע יגדל.פ
A. No one puts a new patch (of unshrunken cloth) on a worn-out garment, because the piece would become detached from the garment, and the tear would be made worse.
אֵין־אָדָם תֹּפֵר טְלַאי בַד חָדָשׁ עַל־שִׂמְלָה בָלָה כִּי אִם־כֵּן יִנָּתֵק מִלוּיוֹ הֶחָדָשׁ מִן־הַבָּלָה וְיִתְרַחֵב הַקֶּרַע׃
אין איש תופר פסת בד חדש על בגד ישן: אם יעשה כן, יתלש הטלאי מן הישן והקרע יהיה גרוע יותר.פ
B. No one sews a patch of new cloth on a worn-out (old) garment; for if he did so, the new piece would become detached from the worn cloth (the new would pull away from the old) and the tear would be made worse.
וַיְדַבֵּר אֲלֵיהֶם גַּם אֶת־הַמָּשָׁל הַזֶּה אֵין אִישׁ מַעֲלֶה מַטְלִית שֶׁל־בֶּגֶד חָדָשׁ עַל־בֶּגֶד בָּלוּי כִּי אִם־כֵּן גַּם הֶחָדָשׁ יִקָּרֵעַ וְגַם לֹא־תִשְׁוֶה מַטְלִית הֶחָדָשׁ לַבָּלוּי׃
גם משל ספר להם: אין איש קורע פסת בד מבגד חדש ותופר אותה על בגד ישן; אם יעשה כן, יקרע את החדש וגם פסת הבד שנלקחה מן החדש לא תשתלב בישן.פ
C. He also told them this mashal: No one attaches a patch of new cloth (from a new garment) to a worn-out cloth (old garment). Nor would the new cloth match the old cloth.
The context: A wedding (a time of joyousness) was being anticipated!
It is quite interesting that the context of this first mashal (parable) is about ‘why is it’ that the Messiah isn’t leading his disciples to be more somber and serious about their Jewish faith? Why was the practices of the Jewish disciples of Rabbi Yeshua so different from the practices of the Jewish disciples of the Messiah’s very popular cousin—the prophet Yochanan ben Zebedee?
The Master’s answer was that prior to his appearance fasting may have been necessary because it was a sober time of preparation for his coming. But now that the Bridegroom was here it was no longer appropriate for his attendants to be acting sad and somber (i.e. fasting). Rather, Messiah’s Jewish disciples were in a celebratory mood because they were no longer participating in a national state of mourning. These sons of Israel were joyous because the Messiah had finally come to Israel.
What does it mean that Messiah, the Bridegroom, has come?
Some fourteen hundred years before the (first) appearance of Messiah, on Yom Kippurim, Adonai Elohei Yisrael had committed Himself to Israel in Marriage and the people of Israel had vowed the same to the Holy One.
This marriage was sealed by the Holy One by His giving to His bride the gift of Torah.
One of the most interesting facts about this marriage was how many times it had to be delayed (cf. the three ascensions of Moses). Suffice it to say that the intended bride’s inappropriate behavior had almost completely derailed HaShem’s considerable efforts to seal the deal. The principal scandal was how long it took for the bride to get her act together. It took from Shavuot to Yom Kippur (over four months) to get the bride in a sufficiently right state of mind and attitude that HaShem (the NAME) could get the proverbial ring (His Torah) upon her finger.
A bumpy marital history:
The principal scandal has been how long it has taken for the bride (Israel) to get her act together.
Unfortunately, the marriage of the Holy One to the people of Israel was not any less bumpy a road than the engagement had been. For a time the marriage was in such a state of disharmony and relational decay that Adonai (the LORD) declared a ‘writ of divorce’ upon His bride (see Hosea). Nevertheless, with the divorce (separation) also came the promise that one day in the future the Eloah Selichot (אלוה סליחות -God is Forgiving cf. Nehemiah 9:17) would get over His righteous anger and in an attitude of compassion and forgiveness He would redeem His estranged love andmarry her a second time (in a new unbreakable wedding covenant) and reconcile Himself with her forever:
וְהָיָה בַיֹּום־הַהוּא נְאֻם־ה’ תִּקְרְאִי אִישִׁי וְלֹֽא־תִקְרְאִי־לִי עֹוד בַּעְלִֽי׃
והיה ביום־ההוא נאם־ה’ תקראי אישי ולא־תקראי־לי עוד בעלי׃
“It will come about in that day,” declares Adonai,
“That you will call Me Ishi
And will no longer call Me Baali.
In this romantic way HaShem would finally see His wayward wife (Israel) grow-up to become a faithful wife. And in her new state of maturity and wisdom the bride would no longer call her Divine Husband her Master (בַּעְלִֽי-Baali), in her new romantic ascendancy the wife of the Holy One (blessed be He) would call Him—“My Man!” (אִישִׁי-Ishi).
The rest of the Story:
As it has happened the golden age of marital bliss has still yet to occur (more delay).
An extended time of marital harmony has yet to exist before or after the first coming of our Messiah. Yet, the golden age of Israel will inevitably come. The D’var HaShem (Word of God) cannot be broken. Have hope. Remember this – that throughout all of the historic-prophetic narratives of Israel nothing really ever went well on the first try. However, usually in the second effort things do tend to get better.
So by the time of the (first) appearance of the Messiah the common people of Israel were hoping they had been through the worst of their season of marital separation and that soon the Presence of Adonai (cf. Shekinah) would return to Israel so the people (the bride) might be reconciled to God. Fueling this hope-filled expectation was a first century belief that Messiah would appear at the Temple soon (cf. Malachi 3:1).
Enter the one who came in the Spirit of Elijah:
The prophet Yochanan ben Zecahariah was a priest’s son who had a reputation for being so like the prophet Elijah the Tishbite (אליהו התשבי-Eliya’hoo HaTishbi’) that he was treated as if he was “Elijah returned.”
In this regard it was believed that a prophet like Elijah would come and be a forerunner to the Messiah.
So when Yochanan ben Zechariah ben Aaron bore witness that his cousin Rabbi Yeshua ben Yosef was the Anointed One the people flocked to see him. Their belief was that the wonders, signs, and miracles that Rabbi Yeshua did were proof enough that Yochanan was right: the Messiah had come and soon, with his coming, the Holy One would return in His Glory Cloud (the Shekinah) and reconcile Himself with His divorced bride (Israel) – by marrying her for a second time.
Enter the Messiah:
Unfortunately, during the first appearance of Messiah the bride was still not ready; this meant even more delay.
Our religious leaders and our ancestors in Israel still did not understand that the first wedding covenant was permanently broken and could not be repaired; not ready (more delay). The first wedding contract (covenant) had hopelessly been defiled by many acts of infidelity.
Our religious leaders refuse to admit that due to our infidelity our first marital contract is completely broken; and beyond repair.
The stubborn and vain pride of the bride just kept her (Israel) believing that if the old tarnished ring was polished and put back on her hand and the same old vows were repeated then all would be well. But as has always been the case, no one (other than the Messiah) has ever been able to perfectly obey all that HaShem has required—flawless perfection. So what is the Divine Groom to do? His self-deceived wife still vainly believed she could live up to her original vows; when the tragic truth is: she never could… Enter the Messiah—HaShem’s proxy Bridegroom of Israel.
In Judaism Adonai Eloheinu has as His proxy His Great High Priest.
This is why each High Priest of Israel was assigned the honorific title of the Bridegroom of Israel. Therefore, the High Priest Aaron (the Light-bringer, whose brother was Moses) was dispatched by the Spirit to act, in all matters pertaining to the marriage covenant between HaShem and His people (Israel), as the Holy One’s proxy. Going forward several hundred years: when the Messiah entered the scene he became the new, permanent Great High Priest (HaKohen HaGadol); under the new order of Malki-Tzedek (מלךי־צדק), the “King of Righteousness.”
According to the order of Malki-Tzedek, Messiah is responsible for establishing a new (second) unbreakable marital agreement.
This second marital agreement would succeed where the old covenant failed, and thereby last forever (cf. Psalm 110) . As HaShem’s new proxy the Messiah explained to the people of Israel that after the old failed-marriage with Israel and the old failed-priestly order of Aaron, the Holy One wanted to remarry His bride (as promised) but not according to the old failed agreement.
HaShem refused to do a retry on Israel’s perfectly living up to all of His Torah.
Rather, the Holy One wanted to remarry Israel under the chuppah (the covering and protection) of His own righteous works. In the new covenant HaShem expected all Israel to become dependent on His redemptive ministry of M’shicho (His Messiah) and the righteous works of His Spirit; the works of His Spirit of Holiness. This way HaShem could permanently fix His marriage without having to wait (forever) for His estranged bride to earn the right to reconcile with Him and thereafter remain faithful to Him; which God well-knew from experience was ‘never’ going to happen. So what was the Messiah specifically referring to when he, as the proxy of the eternal Bridegroom, Adonai Elohei Yisrael (the LORD God of Israel), said:
“No one puts a patch of unshrunk new cloth on an old garment; for the new patch from the new garment will pull away from the old garment; then both a worse tear will result and the piece from the new garment will not match the old garment.”
In this mashal (מָשָׁל) the Messiah was saying on behalf of Adonai, “I want to marry you again but I don’t want to marry you under the same old failed-agreement.” “I want to marry you under a new agreement that will never-fail!” The old torn garment being referred to here is not just any old cloth (cloak, coat, etc.). It is a Tallit (טָלֵית). There is a Jewish saying:
HaShem is saying to Israel through His proxy (the Messiah): Let’s get married again but let’s do it right. Let’s start over fresh, without the old baggage of the past and renew our love with new vows that will work forever. HaShem is not saying He rejects our people (Israel). He has already sworn an oath that He will never do that. He just rejects our false confidence in our own ability to fix the marriage. He wants us to wear new clothes that will never tear or wear out at His and our new wedding!
The Old Tallit you get buried in, the New Tallit you get married in!
הוא אשר חטא לא עשה ולא נמצאה מרמה בפיו; אשר חרפוהו ולא השיב חרוף, סבל ולא אים, כי אם מסר דינו לשופט הצדק; הוא אשר את חטאינו נשא בגופו על העץ, כדי שנמות לגבי החטא ונחיה לצדקה; אשר בחבורתו נרפא לכם, כי הייתם כצאן אובדות, אך עתה שבתם אל הרועה השומר את נפשותיכם.פ
“He committed no sin, and no deceit was found in his mouth.” When they hurled their insults at him, he did not retaliate; when he suffered, he made no threats. Instead, he entrusted himself to him who judges justly. “He himself bore our sins” in his body on the *cross, so that we might die to sins and live for righteousness; “by his wounds you have been healed.” (cf. Isaiah 53)
*The accursed tree configured in the form of the (Jewish) Hebrew sign of the Tav.
At the first in Messiah we die together to sin. We are buried in our old burial shroud.
At death one of our four tzitzit wings (special blue tassels) that is part of our Tallit (our prayer shawl) is then cut off. This latter act demonstrates that we are no longer bound under the Law (the religious obligations of the living). The Messiah’s sacrifice is our sacrifice. M’shicho (His [God’s] Messiah) died to sin for us so that we might live again according to God’s standard of righteousness.
So now we have been released from the Law, having died to that by which we were bound.
We (Israel) have died to sin through and with our Messiah so that we might serve in the freedom of the new (second) covenant of the Spirit (the Decree of Life); and no longer in the slavery of the old first covenant of the Law (the Decree of Death). The atoning death of the Messiah means it is time for all Israel to be reconciled to Adonai Elohei Yisrael.
It is time for us to put our new clothes on and attend our new (second) wedding with the Holy One.
It is time for us to get a new wedding Chuppah. Through faith in the Messiah of Adonai, who is our Redeemer, the Presence of the Holy One will return to Israel and bring us great joy. No more sorrow. We will rejoice when He is once again near to us. In regard to the joy of the Groom’s Presence and the new wedding canopy of the Brit Chadashah the Messiah has said:
השיב להם ישוע: “האם יכולים בני החפה לצום בעוד החתן אתם? כל עוד החתן עמהם אין הם יכולים לצום. אך יום יבוא והחתן ילקח מהם, וביום ההוא יצומו.”פ
Yeshua replied, “Can the sons of the chuppah (בני החפה) fast while the bridegroom is with them, as long as the groom (החתן) is with them, they can not fast, but the day will come when the bridegroom will be taken away from them, and on that day they will fast.
The point being the time for fasting is not during a wedding! Nor is it appropriate to wear old clothes to the wedding. Therefore, it is time for modern Israel to accept the new set of vows that Adonai has provided that are unbreakable and will last forever (this second time the marriage is based solely on the unbreakable – perfect virtue of HaShem (1, 2).
It is way past time for us to stop fasting and accept our new wedding vows and clothes.
Then finally the Divine Groom (חָתָן-Chatan) and the people of Israel, the bride (כַּלָה-Kallah), can remarry without being caught up in the old business of a failed past relationship. Under the Chuppah of the new Tallit the old ‘out of love’ couple will become the new ‘in love’ couple that begins their (our) *new marital life with a new wonderful future! Therefore it is written:
על כן מי שנמצא במשיח הוא בריאה חדשה. הישנות עברו; הנה נהיו חדשות!פ
“Therefore if anyone is in the Messiah he is a new creation. The old has passed away; see, the new is here!”
A chuppah (literally, “canopy” or “covering”) is a canopy under which a couple stand during their wedding ceremony. The canopy consists of a Tallit (sometimes a cloth or sheet) stretched out and supported over four poles, or sometimes manually held up by four attendants to the ceremony. A chuppah symbolizes the home that the couple will build together. The chuppah refers to the method by which nessuin (נישואין), the second stage of a Jewish marriage, is accomplished. According to some opinions it is accomplished by the couple standing in union together under the canopy.
Sons of the Chuppah (בני החפה). Many couples use a tallit to make their chuppah. The chuppah is attached to four poles, which can be held by four people (witnesses). It is considered a great honor to hold a chuppah pole, so this privilege is most often given only to those people who are very close friends to the couple getting married. The number four symbolizes a universal witness to the wedding (N-S-E-W). Regarding the witness to the second wedding covenant, the Brit Chadashah, the four good friends (sons of the chuppah) are identified as the testimony (glad tidings -besorah) of the four Jewish Gospels (i.e. Mattai, Markos, Lukas, and Yochanan).
The chuppah symbolizes the new home (household, family unit) that the bride and groom will soon be establishing together. It is also said to be like the tent of Abraham and Sarah who excelled at fulfilling the mitzvah of Hachnasat Orchim (hospitality) and were always ready to receive visitors in.
The Tallit is a symbol, a garment, shroud, canopy, cloak, a prayer shawl which envelops the Jew both physically and spiritually, in prayer and praise, in joy and sorrow. The tallit is a special, sacred garment that can be used for an entire lifetime and never discarded. Most Jewish men own very few tallitot in their lifetimes. When a man dies, it is traditional that he be buried dressed only in his kittel, with his talllit draped over him (as was done with the Mashiach in his death; however, after his resurrection the Messiah chose (for the reasons stated above) to wear new clothes—a new tallit, kittel and tzitzit—and to leave his old clothes in his burial chamber.
The One Heart:
Anyone attending an orthodox synagogue today will see that the men wearing prayer shawls at all the major Jewish occasions: circumcision, bar mitzvah, bat mitzvah, a wedding, and for a burial. Point one: in a Jewish wedding some rabbis will wrap together the bride and groom by a single Tallit and offer a personal, private blessing including the priestly blessings for the couple (in Hebrew the Tallit represents the number 32, which is the number of fringes on the Tallit shawl. Point two: the number 32 is the numerical value for “heart” in Hebrew.
This means that the ”two” are wrapped in one heart (לב אחד).
The heart is a symbol of the unfailing heart of the Holy Spirit (who is the unfailing Heart of our heart). Therefore, in regard to Adonai and His bride the Tallit speaks of our (Israel) being called to become, forever: one with Him in His Spirit.
Point three: the Tallit protects the scrolls of the Torah when they are moved. Point four: the Tallit inspired our Jewish flag. The flag of Israel is an unfurled prayer shawl with the Shield of David added. Point five: again the dead are wrapped (*preserved and protected like the scrolls of the Torah) in the Tallit when they are buried. After a ritual washing of the body, the body is dressed in a kittel and a tachrichim (תכריכים-white burial shrouds) and then a Tallit. One of the four tzitzit wings (special blue tassels) that is part of the Tallit (its prayer shawl) is then cut off. This latter act demonstrates that the person is no longer bound under the Law (the religious obligations of the living).
הרי אתם אגרתנו הכתובה בלבנו, וכל אדם מכיר אותה וקורא אותה. רואים בברור שאתם אגרת המשיח הנעזרת על-ידינו – כתובה לא בדיו, אלא ברוח אלהים חיים, לא על לוחות אבן, אלא על לוחות של לב בשר. פ
You are our letter (אגרתנו), written in our heart (בלבנו), known and read by everyone. Being manifested that you are a Letter of the Messiah (אגרת המשיח), assisted by us — written not in ink, but with the Spirit of Elohim Chayim (אלהים חיים-Living God), not on stone tablets (לוחות אבן), but on tablets (לוחות) of of human heart (של לב בשר-literally a heart of flesh).
The Decree of Life:
הִנֵּה יָמִים בָּאִים נְאֻם־ה’ וְכָרַתִּי אֶת־בֵּית יִשְׂרָאֵל וְאֶת־בֵּית יְהוּדָה בְּרִית חֲדָשָֽׁה׃
הנה ימים באים נאם־ה’ וכרתי את־בית ישראל ואת־בית יהודה ברית חדשה׃
“Behold, days are coming,” declares HaShem, “when I will make a New Covenant (ברית חדשה) with the House of Yisra’el and with the House of Yehudah.”
So if in Messiah we die under the Law (the Decree of Death) we (Israel) are no longer bound to the old agreement and we are free now to claim a new life under the new agreement.
This new agreement involves the Decree of Life. This second agreement (הברית החדשה) with Israel is a very different covenant than the old covenant that became a Decree of Death to us and caused us to experience a temporary break in our marital bond (relationship) with HaShem (i.e. the old covenant is broken but the new covenant is unbreakable; for more information on the two decrees read Messiah in Purim).