Posted by: Heather | May 5, 2010

By What Authority? (Introduction)

Matthew 21:23  And when he was come into the temple, the chief priests and the elders of the people came unto him as he was teaching, and said, By what authority doest thou these things?  And who gave thee this authority?  (KJV)

Authority…it seems to be the subject of some debate in many religious circles.  Most of us would agree that Jesus has given us authority.  Scripture bears that out.  But, where do we get our authority?  The easy answer is ‘through Jesus’.  Of course that’s true, but we don’t seem to give a lot of thought to how we are to exercise the authority given to us.  We are often given to believe that we can say the words ‘I take authority over’ this or that, and this is sufficient to see it done, especially if we add ‘in the name of Jesus’ to it.  Without relationship and experience, these are simply empty words.

This subject intrigues me, because I believe the Lord has been allowing me to begin to gain a greater understanding of what it means to walk in authority.  Can I say I’m the master, or that I’ve arrived?…absolutely not.  I am simply a student of the Word, learning every day as God gives me greater understanding, just like anyone else that desires to know His Word.  But, I’ve seen some things that have brought some much needed clarity and a greater understanding to me on this subject.  I know there is much more to learn.

To see where I’m coming from, we have to go all the way back to Numbers 15:37-40 (NIV):

37  The Lord said to Moses,  38  Speak to the Israelites and say to them:  ‘Throughout the generations to come you are to make tassels on the corners of your garments, with a blue cord on each tassel.  39  You will have these tassels to look at and so you will remember all the commands of the Lord, that you may obey them and not prostitute yourselves by going after the lusts of your own hearts and eyes.  40  Then you will remember to obey all my commands and will be consecrated to your God.

The Lord commanded the Israelites to make tassels to go on their outer garments.  Jewish men wore a large cloak, and on each corner, there would be one tassel.  We have modern prayer shawls that are quite popular now.  They are very nice, but are quite a bit smaller than what would have been worn in that day.  These cloaks were generally large enough to cover a large part of the body.  There was nothing special about the cloak itself.  The tassels were the part commanded by God for them to wear.

In Hebrew, the name of the garment is called a ‘talith’ (tuh-leet’).  This word comes from 2 Hebrew words:  ‘tal’ (tent), and ‘ith’ (little).  So, talith means ‘little tent’.  They would pull the garment over their head, and wrap themselves in it to sing and pray.  This is a form of prayer closet for the Jews.  It creates a sense of privacy to go to God in prayer.

The tassels (also called fringe) were placed, one on each corner of the garment.  As it states in the Numbers scripture passage, these tassels were to remind the Jews of all the commandments of God so they would obey them.  This would keep them consecrated to God, so they wouldn’t follow the lust of their eyes and hearts.  They were a visual aid to remind themselves to stay pure.

In the next lesson, I want to cover what the tassels mean.  This is a wealth of information that helps to bring so much meaning to the subject of authority.  I want to break this subject up into manageable chunks so it won’t be too much at once.  I hope you’ll continue to tune in to this message.  God bless you!


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