Why Blue?

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Why Blue?

Opening Text: Numbers 15:37-40

37 Yahuwah said to Moses,

38 "Speak to the Israelites and tell them that throughout their generations they are to make tassels for the corners of their garments, and put a blue cord on the tassel at [each] corner.

39 These will serve as tassels for you to look at, so that you may remember all Yahuwah’s commands and obey them and not become unfaithful by following your own heart and your own eyes.

40 This way you will remember and obey all My commands and be holy to your Elohim.

I love Yahuwah’s commandments. I do. He put that love in me. Not only do I love them... I love to love them. It's enjoyable. It's certainly not a burden. I delight in obeying the commandments, and I get excited when I learn how to obey them more perfectly. I'm like David in Psalm 119:97 - "Oh how I love your law; it is my meditation all day long." It's a perfect law from a perfect Creator, so I want to honor Him the best I can.

I will never forget when I first learned about the text we just opened up today's lesson with. I was sitting in Brother Arnold and Sister Hazel's (my in-laws) living room one evening; I'd only been married for around a year or so to Tisha, and a man was sitting in that living room with all of us, and his name was Orlando Smith. Brother Orlando was an elderly man with a long white beard and long locks of white hair growing off of his temples on the sides of his head. Brother Orlando also wore a bonnet on top of his head, and he always seemed to have his pants pulled up a little higher than I'm used to.

The most peculiar thing for me was when I saw these tassel-like things hanging off of Brother Orlando. He had four of them tied to one of his belt loops, and then he had some around his wrists and one around his neck. It seems weird to me because I've obeyed this commandment for so long now, but I remember asking him, "Brother, why are you wearing those tassels?" That question seems so strange coming out of my mouth now, but I asked him the same question then that so many people have now asked me over the years.

He took me to the Scriptures, specifically Numbers 15:37-41. I'll talk about it for a few minutes here and give you some background.

In Numbers 15:32-36 we have an account of a man who was stoned to death for breaking the Sabbath. Some Israelites spotted a man gathering wood on the Sabbath day. Yahuwah would not have had the entire community stone this man to death unless his Sabbath violation was intentional and without care. Well, after this, Yahuwah spoke to Moses.

Numbers 15:38 38

Speak to the Israelites and tell them that throughout their generations they are to make tassels for the corners of their garments, and put a blue cord on the tassel at [each] corner.

We don't specifically read of FOUR corners anywhere in this text, but the additional text that speaks of the commandment is Deuteronomy 22:12. There we read that the tassels are to be placed on the four corners of the garments of the children of Israel. We read here in Numbers that a blue thread must be placed on the tassel at each corner. So really, we've got two commandments to obey. The first is to make the tassels, and the second is while making the tassels, to put in the tassels a blue thread.

If you've been around the Messianic or Hebrew Roots movement for any time, you've probably heard these tassels called "tzitzit." Well, the word "tassels" or "fringes" in Numbers 15 is taken from that very Hebrew word:

H6734 - צִ יצִ ת צִ יצִ ת 'tseeth-tsee tsiytsith

feminine of 6731; a floral or wing-like projection, i.e., a forelock of hair, a tassel:—fringe, lock.

This particular Hebrew word is only used 4x in the entire Tanak, 3x here in Numbers 15, and once in Ezekiel 8:3 where we read (KJV), "And he put forth the form of an hand, and took me (Ezekiel) by a lock of mine head; and the spirit lifted me up between the earth and the heaven, and brought me in the visions of Elohim to Jerusalem..." The word "lock" which refers to a lock of hair is the Hebrew word "tzitzit." We see the correlation here, the lock of hair resembles a fringe or a tassel.



Let's keep reading now in Numbers 15.

39 These will serve as tassels for you to look at, so that you may remember all Yahuwah’s commands and obey them and not become unfaithful by following your own heart and your own eyes.

40 This way you will remember and obey all My commands and be holy to your God.

Yahuwah says that these tassels, with the thread of blue in them, will be for the Israelites to look at and remember Yahuwah’s commandments. So what Yahuwah is doing is giving the children of Israel an additional commandment (the tassel commandment) in order to help them remember His commandments that pertain to how their life is to be lived. We know that even Yahushua the Messiah obeyed this commandment because in the Gospels, when it is said that the woman touched the "hem" of his garment, the Greek word for "hem" (kraspedon) is the same word used in the Septuagint text of Numbers 15:37-41. So what the woman with the issue of blood touched was the "tzitzit" that was upon the corner of Yahushua’s garment.

Now, I want to consider this: why did Yahuwah choose the color blue for the tassel? Did he randomly pick a color?

Now, I want you to remember something I've discussed. Yahuwah doesn't always reveal the "why" of His commandments. Sometimes we obey a commandment, and we do not understand why necessarily. We still obey the commandment because we know Yahuwah is a loving father and he is looking out for our best interest. We still obey even if we don't understand why He's given us a particular law.

Oftentimes when we do obey, years down the road, He gives us understanding. Sometimes though, He does not. When He does not cause us to understand the reason for a commandment, we should still continue to obey Him because... Father knows best.

I've recently run into some information that is new to me. After studying this for a week now, I've found that other people have already uncovered this understanding. It is a very ancient understanding, and I believe I now know why Yahuwah commanded that a BLUE thread be placed in the tassel, which is essential. I want to share it with everyone here for you to consider.

The first place I want to go to is Exodus 24. Exodus 24 records for us the Covenant Ceremony between Yahuwah and the people of Israel. Remember that Exodus 20 is the giving of the ten commandments by the mouth of Yahuwah, and then Exodus 21-23 contains various additional sub-laws that fall under the categories of the ten commandments. I want to begin in Exodus 24, verse 1, to get some context.

Exodus 24:1-8

1 Then He said to Moses, "Go up to Yahuwah, you and Aaron, Nadab, and Abihu, and 70 of Israel's elders, and bow in worship at a distance.

2 Moses alone is to approach Yahuwah, but the others are not to approach, and the people are not to go up with him."

3 Moses came and told the people all the commands of Yahuwah and all the ordinances. Then all the people responded with a single voice, "We will do everything that Yahuwah has commanded."

4 And Moses wrote down all the words of Yahuwah. He rose early the next morning and set up an altar and 12 pillars for the 12 tribes of Israel at the base of the mountain.

5 Then he sent out young Israelite men, and they offered burnt offerings and sacrificed bulls as fellowship offerings to Yahuwah.

6 Moses took half the blood and set it in basins; the [other] half of the blood he sprinkled on the altar.

7 He then took the covenant scroll and read [it] aloud to the people. They responded, "We will do and obey everything that Yahuwah has commanded."

8 Moses took the blood, sprinkled it on the people, and said, "This is the blood of the covenant that Yahuwah has made with you concerning all these words."

So we see what's going on here. Yahuwah is making a covenant with the people concerning his Torah. The word Torah means the teachings and instructions of Yahuwah. Now, let's keep reading.

Exodus 24:9-10

9 Then Moses went up with Aaron, Nadab, and Abihu, and 70 of Israel's elders,

10 and they saw the Elohim of Israel. Beneath His feet was something like a pavement made of sapphire stone, as clear as the sky itself.

Moses and those with him are said to have seen the Elohim of Israel (obviously not in His fullness, but in some sense as the word "see" [ra'ah] can mean to "perceive." Some Targums [interpretations] on this text say that they saw the glory of Yahuwah).

Now, I want you to focus on the description of what they saw under His feet. The text says it was like a pavement of sapphire stone that was as clear as the sky. The Septuagint renders Exodus 24:10 as "And they saw the place where the Elohim of Israel stood; and under his feet was as it were a work of sapphire slabs, and as it were the appearance of the firmament of heaven in its purity." So, the Septuagint speaks more to them seeing the throne of Elohim rather than seeing Yahuwah Elohim in raw, Spirit form, which we know is impossible from other Scriptures.

Next, I have a picture of a sapphire ... that I pulled off of the internet from a jewelry producer. You will notice that it is a beautiful blue color, similar to a deep blue sky or a beautiful blue ocean.


10.47 carat, Royal Blue, Sri Lankan Sapphire, Price: USD $90,100


If we can look now at a couple of texts in the book of Ezekiel, we will see that Yahuwah’s throne is actually made out of this sapphire stone. This is where it gets elegant.

Ezekiel 1:25-28

25 A voice came from above the expanse over their heads; when they stood still, they lowered their wings.

26 The shape of a throne with the appearance of sapphire stone was above the expanse. There was a form with the appearance of a human on the throne high above.

27 From what seemed to be His waist up, I saw a gleam like amber, with what looked like fire enclosing it all around. From what seemed to be His waist down, I also saw what looked like fire. There was a brilliant light all around Him.

28 The appearance of the brilliant light all around was like that of a rainbow in a cloud on a rainy day. This was the appearance of the form of Yahuwah’s glory. When I saw [it], I fell facedown and heard a voice speaking.

So here in Ezekiel's vision, he sees some type of glimpse of the glory of Yahuwah, and he sees a throne with the appearance of the sapphire stone, precisely what Moses and Aaron saw back in Exodus 24:10. Keep this in mind, for Moses and Aaron to see this throne of Yahuwah made of sapphire, Yahuwah had to have brought the stone with Him from the heavens in which he dwells. He brought this particular sapphire from heaven. What we see is that Yahuwah’s throne is made of beautiful, heavenly sapphire stone.

We see this again in Ezekiel 10:1, where we read, "Then I looked, and there above the expanse over the heads of the cherubim was something like sapphire stone resembling the shape of a throne that appeared above them."

Now, let's go back to Exodus 24 where we read about the pavement of sapphire beneath Yahuwah’s feet, and let's read that verse (10) with verses 11-12.

10 and they saw the Elohim of Israel. Beneath His feet was something like a pavement made of sapphire stone, as clear as the sky itself.

11 God did not harm the Israelite nobles; they saw Him, and they ate and drank.

12 Yahuwah said to Moses, "Come up to Me on the mountain and stay there so that I may give you the stone tablets with the law and commands I have written for their instruction."

Notice that right after we read of the sapphire stone beneath Yahuwah’s feet, Yahuwah speaks to Moses concerning the stone tablets upon which the commandments are written. He wants to give these tablets to Moses, and he eventually does at the end of the first 40-day fast of Moses in Exodus 31:18.

I need to point out here that when we read "that I may give you the tablets of stone" (KJV) this is literally from the Hebrew "And I will give you the tablets of THE stone." The Hebrew word for "stone" is "eben," but the Hebrew word here is "ha eben" meaning THE stone. The point is that THE stone is the stone they just saw underneath the feet of Yahuwah!

We picture these huge stones made of granite or some old rock on top of the mountain, but what if Yahuwah wrote His commandments upon precious sapphire stones, the same stone that His heavenly throne was made of? What if Yahuwah cut the tables of stone from his very throne? I have found that a much more ancient view of the stones was that they were smaller cubes of stone made from the sapphire of the throne of Yahuwah.


In studying this, I found something exciting in an Aramaic Targum that dates back around 1,500 years ago. The word Targum means "interpretation or translation." See, when the Judahites returned to Jerusalem after the Babylonian captivity, many of them had adopted the language of Aramaic and no longer spoke Hebrew. So the priests would read the Torah in Hebrew and then give a translation or explanation in Aramaic. It would be like me reading a portion of the Torah in Hebrew and then translating and explaining it to you in English.

Over time these Aramaic Targums came to be written down, and they were sometimes read in the synagogues in Yahushua’s day. What they do for us is give us insight into how specific texts in the Tanak (OT) were understood or interpreted by ancient Israelites.

The text I discovered in my studies was a Targum of the Song of Solomon. The author of this Targum interprets the Song as a description of Yahuwah’s relationship with His metaphorical bride - Israel - and he believes it chronicles for us the journey of Israel through the wilderness.

Following the text in this Targum, we read Song of Solomon 1:11 - "We will make the plaits of gold with studs of silver." The Targum then says:

"Wherefore the word came unto Moses: Get thee up to the firmament, and I will give unto thee the two tablets of stone, hewn of sapphire of My glorious throne, bright as pure gold, arranged in lines, written by my finger, upon which are chased the Ten Words, refined more than silver purified seven times seven... and I will give them by thy hand unto the people of the House of Israel." Wow...

Here we have an Aramaic text, around 1,500 years old, that states that the ten commandment stones were hewn from the sapphire of the throne of Yahuwah. Fantastic if you ask me.

Well, I also found a commentary on another portion of Exodus (34:1) that states that the commandments were written upon sapphire tablets. And this commentary dates back over 900 years ago, written by a man known as Rashi. He is believed to be a descendant of King David and, thus a Judahite. He was born in the town of Troyes in France, and later in life, was a great scholar of the Torah/Tanak, writing a commentary on many texts of Holy Scripture.

Before we read what Rashi says about Exodus 34:1, let's read the text itself:

Exodus 34:1

Yahuwah said to Moses, "Cut two stone tablets like the first ones, and I will write on them the words that were on the first tablets which you broke."

Of course, this brings to mind the fact that when Moses came off of the mountain (Exodus 32) after receiving the first set of tablets, he was so angry that the people were worshiping a golden calf that he threw the stones down to the bottom of the mountain, smashing them to pieces. This is why Yahuwah commands Moses to cut two more stone tablets like the first ones.

Rashi commentates on this text the following: "He showed him a sapphire mine from within his tent, and he said to him, 'The sapphire chips shall be yours,' and from there Moses became very wealthy." Rashi believed that this second set of tablets was made from sapphire stone. Not sapphire stone cut from the throne of Yah, but still sapphire. If Rashi wrote of this, and he did, it means that, in all likelihood, this was a widespread understanding of his time because he was considered one of the most prestigious Rabbis of the Judahite faith. If these stones were "like the first set," then the first set was made from sapphire stone, and Exodus 24:10-12 beautifully comes to light.

This explains why Yahuwah had the Israelites place a BLUE thread (not green, red, etc.) in their tassels. The blue thread reminded them of the commandments because they were written on blue sapphire stone. Remember that the Israelites of that day would have seen the tablets of stone, unlike us, who have not seen them. They would have seen the sapphire and known the color of the tablets, and every time they looked at the blue thread in their tassels, it reminded them of the blue color of the tablets on which the commandments were written. Something isn't it

And there are other thoughts I've had in relation to this from studying. For instance, when the sky is bluest on a clear day, it makes you feel better. There are healing properties in the creation of Yahuwah. This may align with the healing in His Torah, which was written on blue sapphire stone and remembered by a blue thread.

Another thing. The name "blue laws" could be a vestige of the original ten commandments. In early America, specific laws that carried severe punishments were called "blue laws." This was especially true of doing prohibited things on the Sabbath (to them, Sunday). I'm not saying that the name had to have come from the ten commandments stone, but it does make sense to me.

Here's something else to consider. Why is it that the sign of law for the police is "blue lights?" Could the blue represent the law in general, stemming from ancient Hebrew culture?

At any rate, I do not believe Yahuwah just randomly picked the color blue for the tassels. I believe he purposefully picked it because the ten commandments were engraved by Him on the sapphire stone, the same stone His throne was made of.

This is a non-WLC article by Matthew Janzen.

We have taken out from the original article all pagan names and titles of the Father and Son, and have replaced them with the original given names. Furthermore, we have restored in the Scriptures quoted the names of the Father and Son, as they were originally written by the inspired authors of the Bible. -WLC Team