Focus On Jerusalem


The Flag of Israel and the Name of God
by: John Hagee

I don't know if you have had a chance to examine a prayer shawl. I have one, and it is one of my most treasured possessions. No, I don't believe you have to own or wear one for your prayers to reach heaven, but the Hebrew prayer shawl is a visible reminder of who and what God is. Moses wore a prayer shawl to his funeral, where God buried him. Daniel wore one in the lions' den. Jesus was given one on His thirteenth birthday and wore it every day of His life. He will wear it when He comes again with the saints of heaven.

The directions for a prayer shawl came from God Himself:

Speak to the children of Israel: Tell them to make tassels on the corners of their garments throughout their generations, and to put a blue thread in the tassels of the corners. And you shall have the tassel, that you may look upon it and remember all the commandments of the Lord and do them, and that you may not follow the harlotry to which your own heart and your own eyes are inclined. (Numbers 15:38-39)

God designed the prayer shawl, called a tallit, and He commanded all Jews of every generation to wear it. The border of blue was a reminder that God is in heaven. The first color in the tabernacle was blue, and the first line in the Lord's Prayer is “Our Father, who art in heaven.” We are never to forget that God is above us watching our comings and goings, caring about every aspect of our lives.

The fringes, or "tzitzit" in Hebrew, are a very important part of the prayer shawl – indeed, the wearing of "tzitzit" is considered to be equal to all the other commandments together. “The threads,” says Alan Unterman, “bind man to God.”

Using the practice of gematria, in which each letter of the Hebrew alphabet corresponds with a number, we discover that the "tzitzit" upon a prayer shawl represent the name of God. The numbers of coils spell out Yud, heh, vav and heh. Put them all together and you have Yud heh vav heh, which equals Jehovah.


Jehovah Rophe – the God who heals
Jehovah Shalom – the Prince of Peace
Jehovah Jireh – the God who supplies
Jehova Rohi – the Lord is my shepherd
Jehovah Tsidkenu – Righteousness
Jehovah M'Keddish –Holiness
Jehova Nissi – the Lord our Banner in war

The knots in the tzitzit represent 613 commandments of the Word of God. They are to remind the wearer of the Word of the Lord, but it is not enough just to remember. We must also do it. The prayer shawl was every Jewish man's tabernacle. The wilderness tabernacle was only eighteen feet by forty-five feet, not large enough to hold two million worshiping people. And so every Jewish man put his prayer shawl over his head while quoting Psalm 104:1-2:

Bless the Lord, O my soul!
O Lord my God, You are very great:
You are clothed with honor and majesty,
Who cover Yourself with light as with a garment
Who stretch out the heavens like a curtain.

The Hebrew prayer shawl is now the flag of Israel. The prophet Isaiah wrote,

He will set up a banner for the nations,
And will assemble the outcasts of Israel,
And gather together the dispersed of Judah
From the four corners of the earth. (11-12)

God has gathered the Jewish people from the gentile nations to the promised land under His flag. He designed it, and the Jews have worn it for generations.

The prayer shawl appears in Scripture on several occasions. Remember the story of the woman with an issue of blood? She reached out to touch the edge of Jesus' garment. The word we translate “hem” in Matthew 9:20 (kraspedon) is actually a Greek word for “fringe.” She was reaching for the tzitzit. She was reaching for the name of God.

Jesus said, “If you ask anything in my name, I will do it.” (John 14:13).

Notice the last appearance of a prayer shawl in Scripture:

Now I saw heaven opened, and behold , a white horse. And He who sat on him was called Faithful and True, and in righteousness He judges and makes war. His eyes were like flame of fire, and on His head were many crowns. He had a name written that no one knew except Himself. He was clothes with a robe dipped in blood, and His name is called 'The Word of God . . . And He has on His robe and on His thigh a nem written: KING OF KINGS AND LORD OF LORDS.

(Revelation 19:11-13, 16)

The name on His thigh is the tzitzit of the prayer shawl around His shoulders. Jesus will return to earth just as He left it . . . as a rabbi. He will come wearing the name that is above all names, and every eye shall see Him coming in power and glory.

On Jesus' last day in Jerusalem before His crucifixion, He stood on the slopes of the Mount of Olives and, weeping, looked over the city. ”O Jerusalem, Jerusalem,” He cried, ”the one who kills the prophets and stones those who are sent to her! How often I wanted to gather your children together, as a hen gathers her chicks under her wings, but you were not willing!” (Matthew 23:37).

Through the long lens of foreknowledge, Jesus saw the coming Roman invasion: Titus in A.D. 70, and Hadrian in A.D. 130. He saw the city surrounded by Roman legions, starving citizens, Jews being capture and crucified.

He saw what historians later told us – that the Romans crucified as many as 500 Jewish residents at a time. They slaughtered citizens in the streets until blood flowed like water. Hadrian's troops killed more than 500,000 Jewish people in his attack on the city.

Jesus saw the crusaders who would come in His name, robbing, raping, and ravaging the Jewish people from Europe to Jerusalem.

He saw Jerusalem conquered and reconquered thirty times, with millions of His people, the Jews, being slaughtered.

He saw the horror of the Holocaust, and He sobbed, “O Jerusalem, Jerusalem.” And then He said, “Your house is left you desolate; and assuredly, I say to you, you shall not see Me until the time comes when you say, 'Blessed is He who comes in the name of the Lord!'” (Luke 13:35).

The city of Jerusalem still waits, but the time of waiting is drawing to a close.

From: “The Battle for Jerusalem,” by John Hagee

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