Let me quote Malachi 4:1-2.
“For, behold, the day comes, that will burn as an oven; and all the proud, yea, and all that do wickedly, will be stubble: and the day that comes will burn them up, says the LORD of hosts, that it will leave them neither root nor branch. But unto you who fear my name will the Sun of righteousness arise with healing in his wings; and you will go forth, and grow up as calves in a stall.”
This passage taken from the final chapter of the final book of the Old Testament points to a future day. I’ve included verse one of the chapter so we can discern the context of the second verse that contains the underlined phrase above, “the Sun of righteousness will arise with healing in his wings.” It’s a familiar phrase, often used in an array of articles and songs. The word ‘wings’ however, implies additional layers of meaning that reveal additional truths as one digs deeper. The Hebrew word used here for wings is “kanaph,” meaning, wing but also an extremity as in the corner of a garment. It carries the meaning of, “to be removed into a corner,” and “to be put or thrust in or into a corner, to be hidden from view, be cornered, be thrust aside.”
Now, consider Numbers 15:38-41.
“Speak unto the children of Israel, and bid them that they make them fringes in the borders of their garments throughout their generations, and that they put upon the fringes of the borders a ribband of blue: and it will be unto you for a fringe, that you may look upon it, and remember all the commandments of the LORD, and do them; and that you seek not after your own heart and your own eyes, after which you used to do a-whoring: That you may remember, and do all my commandments, and be holy unto your God. I am the LORD your God, which brought you out of the land of Egypt, to be your God: I am the LORD your God.”
Before I address the fringes in the borders of their garments, let’s look at the context given here. God tells them TWICE to remember all the commandments of the LORD, and TWICE to actually DO THEM. He also tells them TWICE that He is the LORD their God. God is emphasizing these three items. He also reminds the people that it was He who brought them out of Egypt, in fact, the only reason He brought them out of Egypt was so that He could be their God! He created them to be a special people, a unique people, set aside to show His glory. As such, they are to remember all His commandments, do all His commandments and “to be holy unto your God.” God created this people in a most unique manner by the calling of Abraham. This people were in the loins of Abraham. God placed them in Egypt until they became a nation. And now, He has lead them out of Egypt with a mighty outstretched right hand. They belong to Him on multiple levels! So, with this context, He instructs them regarding their garments. They will need constant reminding to observe all that the LORD commands. They are not to consider their own hearts nor consider their own eyes – that will only lead them a-whoring after other gods.
Now, let’s consider the phrase, “that they make them fringes in the borders of their garments.” This talks of the first garment I wish to address, the prayer shawl.
Fringe as used here is the Hebrew word, “tsiytsith” which means, fringe, tassel, lock. It is from the root word “tsiyts” meaning feather, wing.
Border as used here is the Hebrew word “kanaph” meaning wing, extremity, edge, corner of a garment.
And the word, garment is the Hebrew word “beged.” This word means treachery, deceit. It is derived from the root word carrying the additional meaning of, “to act faithlessly and to offend.”
Now, let’s put it all together. They were to make a garment which is the prayer shawl. Upon each of the four corners they were to stitch fringes in the extreme corners of this garment. These fringes would remind them of all the commandments of the LORD. The prayer shawl would be adorned with strips of blue, actually “tekeleth,” which is a violet colour made exclusively from the “ink” of a specific sea shell found only in the Mediterranean Sea.
Consider now Isaiah 30:20. “Although the Lord gives you the bread of adversity and the water of affliction, your teachers will be hidden no more; with your own eyes you will see them. Whether you turn to the right or to the left, your ears will hear a voice behind you saying, ‘This is the way; walk in it.’ Then you will desecrate your idols overlaid with silver and your images covered with gold; and will throw them away like a menstrual cloth and say to them, ‘Away with you.’”
Now, I hope you are still with me! Let me continue to bring this together. In the Numbers reference to “their garments,” this word means “clothed as in treachery and deceit!” The above reference from Isaiah tells us that there will come a time when they will cast off their idols covered in silver and gold. It is my opinion that there is a direct connect here. As they are covered in garments of treachery and deceit they will someday cast these garments aside as they cast aside their idols covered in silver and gold. And when will this occur? When their ears are opened and they hear a Voice, behind them saying, “This is the way; walk in it.”
The Lord instructs His people here to make a covering, a garment and specifies every detail. The covering represents, on a deeper level, the treachery and deceit of His people. This covering, this garment has fringes on its four corners with the tassels which remind the people of the broken law. It reminds them daily that they have failed to act holy as commanded. In no way am I disparaging the Hebrew prayer shawl. I honour the Jewish people and I respect their prayer shawl. I in fact have one myself. There is something wonderful about their prayer shawl and those who wear it are identifying themselves with the One True God. They are endeavouring to live lives holy and separated unto the LORD. But the hidden truth here, I believe, is that no matter how good we are; no matter how much of the law we keep, we all fall short of His righteousness. There are 613 laws given in the Torah, each represented in the hanging fringes and tassels of the Tallit. We are all clothed in a sin nature that needs be removed. And no amount of good works or efforts will accomplish that. We need to be clothed in His Righteousness, for it is He and He alone that has kept the law perfectly. When one comes to the cross, he places his sin nature, his garment of sin, upon Jesus. Jesus takes our sin upon himself and clothes Himself in our sin – takes ownership of it! Then, in His grace He clothes each of us in His righteousness, in His garment of holiness, and it is with this covering that the Father identifies us. The Father sees us covered in the Son’s holiness and we are declared righteous and acceptable. And all our faithlessness and deceit is born upon His shoulders, a shroud of death and judgment gladly embraced by our Saviour and Lord.
This beautiful prayer shawl adorns the shoulders of many who strive to be faithful and true. Every day they are surrounded with the law. The Tallit hangs about the faithful. On the four sides, East, West, North and South, hang the fringes – hangs the law. They bear a burden impossible to keep – no one can, only Him. Oh, but there is glorious news! When they put aside their idols, and their self righteousness they will hear a Voice behind them saying, “This is the way; walk you in it.” What was it Jesus said in John 14:6? “I am the way.” Jesus, walked among His people adorned in a prayer shawl and spoke the good news. “Think not that I have come to destroy the law, or the prophets: I am not come to destroy but to fulfill.” (Mathew 5:17)
Picture it! Walking among His people bearing a prayer shawl that represented faithlessness and deceitfulness of the fallen ones; bearing the fringes on every side, symbolizing our failure to keep the laws of God, came Jesus. Foreshadowing His carrying it all to the cross. And we, like that one who stretched out a withered, disease-racked hand in faith and touched a tassel, we too can receive His Virtue. (Mark 9:20; Mathew 14:36)
One additional thought. In Isaiah 61 we have recorded a passage that Jesus chose to speak out at the moment of His first public appearance. In Luke 4:18 Jesus quotes from Isaiah 61:1-2a. It is informative that He stopped short of finishing Isaiah 61:2 and 3. This is because verses 2 and onward are for a future day, His second coming. But I wanted to draw your attention to the phrase in verse 2 that says, “to give them the garment of praise for the spirit of heaviness;” The word ‘garment’ used here is not the same as the garment we have been discussing. Here, the word in Hebrew is “ma’ateh” which is a mantle. Now a mantle is not a prayer shawl. It represents a covering of authority and this represents the second garment I wish to draw to our attention. Consider a couple of examples from Scripture. Jesus was wearing His prayer shawl when He spoke these words in Luke 4. He was not wearing a mantle. Moses passed his mantle of authority to Joshua at the end of Deuteronomy as the LORD’s chosen successor. We also learn of the passing of a mantle in the account of Elijah and Elisha. This is recorded in 2 Kings 2. Elisha, by the way, asked for a double anointing of the one Elijah was given, and Scripture records twice as many miracles for Elisha as it does for Elijah. A mantle is a covering of authority. Have you ever wondered about a mantle for Jesus? Surely, He had a mantle of authority. What was His mantle and to whom did He pass it on to?1
The answer to this I believe is given in Acts 1.4. “wait for the promise of the Father, which you have heard of me. For John truly baptized with water; but you will be baptized with the Holy Ghost not many days hence.” And in verse 8 we continue. “But you will receive power, after that the holy Ghost is come upon you: and you will be witnesses unto me both in Jerusalem, and in all Judea, and in Samaria, and unto the uttermost part of the earth.”
Here is the passing on of the mantle of authority to all Spirit-filled believers. We are clothed in the garment of the Holy Spirit. And as Jesus declared, we have received this power within us, this authority in His Name. We are clothed in His righteousness and wear His mantle of authority over the works of the Devil in the Holy Spirit.
The picture is of the Holy Spirit descending upon Jesus, with wings spread wide. He arises from the Jordan waters with “healing in his wings,” as do we from our waters of baptism, empowered by the self same Spirit, bearing His mantle, with the law fulfilled within our heart, written there by His work of atonement. Oh, how the LORD longs to gather His people as a hen would gather her chicks under His wings. (Mathew 23:27) And that day approaches! There is coming a day, an hour a moment when they will hear His voice declaring, “This is the way; walk you in it.” And they will cast off their soiled garments and be arrayed in the glory of the Most High God. As Enoch declared as recorded in Jude 1:14, “Behold, the Lord comes with ten thousands of his saints, to execute judgment upon all, and to convince all that are ungodly among them of all their ungodly deeds which they have ungodly committed, and of all their hard speeches which, ungodly sinners have spoken against him.” And then in Revelation 19: 11-16. “And I saw heaven opened, and behold a white horse; and he that sat upon him was called Faithful and True, and in righteousness he does judge and make war, . . And he was clothed with a vesture dipped in blood: and his name is called The Word of God. . . And he had on his vesture and on his thigh a name written, King of Kings, and LORD of LORDS.”
Here we are full circle. Jesus arrives, cleaving the heavens wearing His vesture, garment, His prayer shawl, stained with the blood of the covenant, the blood of redemption, showing for all to witness that He has indeed fulfilled the entire law, every ‘jot and tittle,’ to the satisfaction of the Father and to the absolute, undeniable completion of our salvation. He has indeed, arisen with healing in His wings!
In conclusion let me include the prayer uttered by the faithful Jew as he covers himself with his prayer shawl. “Blessed are you, Lord our God, King of the universe, who has sanctified us with His commandments, and commanded us to enwrap ourselves with tzitzit.”
Two garments, a prayer shawl and a mantle of authority. We all start out having been clothed in our sin nature. But as believers, we have been invited to change our wardrobe. Paul talks about “putting off and putting on.” When we came to our Messiah Jesus, we put off our sin nature and took on His righteous nature. And some day our dear Jewish friends will do the same. As Zechariah reminds us in chapter 12 verse 10, “And they shall look upon me whom they have pierced and mourn for him as one mourns for an only son . . .” And at that moment all Israel will be saved. (Romans 11:26) They will cast off their prayer shawls, as there sin nature is cast aside, and receive His garment of praise. Then, the nation of Israel will receive their mantle of authority. Then they will take up their mandate to be a holy nation unto the LORD their God, to be the light to the Gentiles, to be a people unto His name. We are all cast members in a great cosmic stage play. The stage has been set and the curtain is about to open onto a climatic world finale. Backstage the wardrobe department has made ready the change of costumes. No need for alterations here, one size fits all. “Come unto Me all you that labour and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest.” ( Matthew 11:28) Let us put on our garments of praise and rejoice in His goodness. The time is at hand. “This is the way; walk ye in it.” Amen.
1 Jonathan Cahn, The Book of Mysteries , Day 146 The Wings of messiah
2 The Messianic Prophecy Bible Project The Significance of the Jewish Prayer Shawl.
Following is a picture of a father secluding himself with his two sons, under his prayer shawl. What an awesome sight! 2
Almighty God, Maker of Heaven and Earth, there is none like You. You made the stars. You set them in place and “called each one by name. Because of Your great power and mighty strength, not one of them is missing.” – Isaiah 40:26 You sit “enthroned upon the circle of the earth”…”You stretch out the heavens like a canopy”…. “You bring princes to naught and reduce the rulers of this world to nothing”… “You blow on them and they wither”. – Isaiah 40:22-24
Lord, no one compares to You. No one is Your equal. Please forgive our haughty and arrogant hearts Lord, that try to tell us we know better, that we can make our own gods of wood, silver and gold or human ideals and worship them. How foolish we can be at times. How misguided and misdirected. How proud. We are ashamed of ourselves Lord, please forgive us. Help us to see with eyes wide open that You and You alone are the only true living God, “the everlasting God, the Creator of the ends of the earth”. You are all powerful, never growing tired or weary, and Your understanding and wisdom no one can fathom. – Isaiah 40:28
Thank You for Jesus, the living Word of God. Thank You that He is the Way, the Truth and the Life. – John 14:6 Thank You that no one can come to You, Father, except through “The Way” that You have provided. Hallelujah! Thank You for the revelation that You are Love and Light and all things Beautiful and Good. “Bless the Lord O my soul, and all that is within me, bless His Holy Name.” – Psalm 103:1 Lord we bless You, we bless Your Holy Name, we offer You all of our worship and all of our praise with loving hearts full of gratitude. Only You deserve it. Only You are worthy to receive it. Hallelujah!
Thank You Lord that You forgive all of our iniquities and heal all of our diseases. You redeem our lives from the pit and crown us with love and compassion. You renew our youth like the eagles. – Psalm 103:3-5
Thank You Lord that You are faithful to all of Your promises and loving toward all You have made. – Psalm 92:15, 145:13
Thank You Lord that everywhere Jesus went He declared “The Kingdom of Heaven is at hand”. Jesus healed all diseases and sickness of those who came to Him, Jesus is our Healer too. – Luke 10:9; 6:19; Matthew 4:23-25
May the Kingdom of Heaven come today in each one of us as it is in Heaven. And we know Lord, that there is no sickness in Heaven. Give us this day Lord our daily bread, for physical sustenance, for spiritual well-being and for healing. Hallelujah!
As we worship You Lord, the Sun of Righteousness, our Jesus, rises with healing in His wings for each one of us. – Malachi 4:2 Glory to God!
Lord Jesus, You paid it all so that we might be free. By Your stripes we are being healed every day. – 1 Peter 2:24 Thank You Lord, that Your Word says: You are the Lord who heals us. – Exodus 15:26
Because we are in Covenant relationship with You Lord by faith, we shall be blessed above all peoples . . . and You promise to take all sickness from us. Thank You that we are the healed and not the sick. Deuteronomy 7:14-15
Thank You Lord that the Holy Spirit who raised Jesus from the dead lives in each one of us who believe – and gives life to every cell of our mortal bodies. – Romans 8:11
Thank You Lord, that Jesus Christ is our very life, we will walk in His glory. – Colossians 3:4 Thank You for the promise that as we worship You Lord, Your Word is health to our flesh and strength to our bones. – Proverbs 3:4-8 Hallelujah! Thank You Lord that even in depressing and negative times, we can declare, “I shall not die but live and proclaim the wonderful works of the Lord”. – Psalm 118:17
Dear Lord, we listen to You, we agree with your Word, and submit to Your sayings. We endeavor to keep Your Word before our eyes and in the centre of our hearts. Thank You Lord, that Your Word is life, healing and health to every part of our beings and personality. We choose to keep our hearts with all diligence, knowing that out of them spring the issues of life. – Proverbs 4:20-23
Thank You Lord that You have ordained that Life and Death are in the power of the tongue. We love Your Word, Lord, and we choose to speak Your Words of Life over ourselves and our families. With humble hearts we praise You as we enjoy walking in the harvest of our faith-filled Words. – Proverbs 18:20-21
Lord, Your Word is Life: it overcomes death in any situation or circumstance. And Your Word is Light: it overpowers and shatters the darkness. – John 1:1-5 Hallelujah!
Thank You for choosing us, Lord, to learn Your Ways and Walk in them. Thank You for empowering us with the Holy Spirit and Your Word and the Blood of the Lamb. Hallelujah! We choose You also Lord. You are the King of Glory, there is no other. You are the Creator. There is no other. No one ever, from everlasting to everlasting compares to You. Hallelujah! You and You alone are THE ALMIGHTY GOD! Amen.