Moses' second speech, Part 17
Aug 08, 2012
Speaking of "these words," Moses says in Deut. 6:8 says,
(8) And you shall bind them as a sign on your hand and they shall be as frontals on your forehead.
The "frontals" are from the Hebrew word towphaphah, which, in the New Testament, is the Greek word phylakterion, or "phylacteries" (Matt. 23:5). Jews were accustomed to write four passages and bind them on their forehead or left hand during prayer. Dr. Bullinger tells us in his notes on Exodus 13:1,
There are two pairs of Phylacteries, so called (in Greek) from their use = a prayer-fillet or band worn today on forehead and hands during prayer. First pair here, Exodus 13:3-10 and 13:11-16. Second pair in Deut. 6:4-9 and 11:13-21.
This was a "sign" that their thoughts and the works of their hands were bound by the word of God and was obedient to the word. One pair of frontals was taken from the first law (Exodus), and the second was from the second law (Deuteronomy).
In Ezekiel 9:3, 4 we receive the witness of the prophet as he shows us its prophetic application:
(3) Then the glory of the God of Israel went up from the cherub on which it had been, to the threshold of the temple. And He called to the man clothed in linen at whose loins was the writing case. (4) And the Lord said to him, "Go through the midst of the city, even through the midst of Jerusalem, and put a mark [tav] on the foreheads of the men who sigh and groan over all the abominations which are being committed in its midst."
The mark put on their foreheads was to protect them from divine judgment on Jerusalem, when the presence of God left the city (Ez. 10 and 11). In other words, when God's presence left the community as a whole, His presence would not leave those few who had the law written in their foreheads. These were protected, and their place in God was secure.
The "mark" on their foreheads is from the Hebrew word tav, "a sign or signature," which is the last letter of the Hebrew alphabet. It was originally written in the shape of a cross (prior to the Babylonian captivity when they adopted the Aramaic way of lettering). The tav spoke specifically of the cross and the death of Jesus Christ as the Passover Lamb.
The first two frontals were the passages of Scripture found in Exodus 13:3-10 and 13:11-16. These are the instructions for keeping Passover. Hence, without realizing it, every time they bound those passages to their foreheads, they were testifying of Jesus Christ and how He fulfilled the prophetic type of the Passover Lamb. Without recognizing this, however, their frontals were just pieces of paper, for they were so focused upon the literal observance of this command in the law that they missed what God was actually saying.
For this reason, when they rejected Jesus as the Messiah, they did not fulfill the law as God intended, for the law of Passover was not truly written on their hearts. When Jesus ascended to heaven from the Mount of Olives (Acts 1:12), He took the glory of God with Him. That glory, or presence of God (Shekinah), had left Jerusalem in Ezekiel 10 and 11, with the last "sighting" on the Mount of Olives (11:23). God's presence lingered there outside the city until Jesus ascended to heaven, and ten days later, that presence returned to the children of the New Jerusalem on Pentecost (Acts 2:1-4).
In other words, God put tongues of fire on the foreheads of the disciples as His "mark" and promise of divine protection in view of the coming disaster when Jerusalem would be destroyed by the Romans in 70 A.D.
Historically speaking, the Church of Jerusalem left the city in late 66 or early 67 A.D. prior to the city's destruction. The fourth-century bishop and historian, Eusebius, tells us in Ecclesiastical History, III, 5 that the Christians moved to Pella, a town in Perea along the Jordan River. I wrote of this in Vol. II of my Lessons from Church History, chapter 2.
Those who merely wore frontals with Scriptures about Passover, but who did not actually keep the feast by accepting the true Passover Lamb, remained vulnerable to the death and destruction in the Roman War.
Today, however, we face a different problem, represented by the second set of frontals--the Deuteronomy frontals. This second set was taken from Deut. 6:4-9 and 11:13-21. These command us to listen and hear His voice in order to avoid the judgment in our own time. Recall that Deuteronomy is The Second Law, and it therefore applies first to the establishment of the New Covenant and secondly to the time of the second appearance of Christ.
Because Deuteronomy was read during the Day of Atonement and the Feast of Tabernacles, it applies to the Autumn feasts, which prophesy of the second appearance of Christ. So we can view the Exodus frontals as applying specifically to Passover, and the Deuteronomy frontals as applying specifically to Tabernacles. The rejection of Christ, the Passover Lamb, resulted in disaster for Jerusalem. The rejection of Christ as the fulfillment of Tabernacles likewise will result in disaster for Jerusalem and will affect much of the Church as well, which knows little about Tabernacles.
Revelation 14:9-11 speaks of the "mark of the beast," which is the opposite of the mark (tav) of God.
(9) And another angel, a third one, followed them, saying with a loud voice, "If anyone worships the beast and his image, and receives a mark on his forehead or upon his hand, (10) he also will drink of the wine of the wrath of God, which is mixed in full strength in the cup of His anger...."
In other words, those who serve the beast system and live according to the laws of Mystery Babylon have received the mark of the beast, even as those who live in accordance with the laws of God have received the mark of God.
I do not believe that either the "mark of the beast" or the "mark of God" is a literal mark in one's forehead or hand. It is a spiritual mark, even as Ezekiel 9:4 tells us. When we compare the two marks, we see that it is a heart issue. Either the law of God is written on the heart, affecting our minds (forehead) or our labor (hand), or the mark of the beast is already written upon us, even without our awareness.
The mark of the beast is primarily lawlessness (anomia) manifested in a number of ways. I have already shown how it involves the rejection of Christ, the true Passover Lamb, making them ineligible to receive the mark of God, the tav, or the cross.
In Revelation 13 it also involves the love of money, which is the life blood of modern Babylon. That chapter speaks of two beasts, the first from the sea, and the second from the earth. These are two halves of the "little horn" of Daniel 7:20. The first is given power for 1260 days (years) from 529-1789 A.D. It is the religious beast of Rome, whose power was eclipsed by a second beast during the French Revolution of 1789.
This second beast was the great money power of banking that emerged at that time to rival the religious beast. Its "mark" was money, without which no man could buy or sell (Rev. 13:17). Those who worship money are those with the mark of the beast, for the love of money is the root of all evil (1 Tim. 6:10).
And so Moses instructs us to bind the word of God to our foreheads and hands, lest we receive the mark of the beast in its place.
This is the seventeenth part of a series titled "Moses' Second Speech." To view all parts, click the link below.