PHYLACTERIES OF HELL
Michael F. Blume
© 1999 Michael F. Blume
The Judaic religion includes a symbolism which dates back to the Exodus of Israel from the land of Egypt and a mistaken notion of what Moses said concerning a memorial of scripture. The use of Phylacteries was a memorial to ever worship God and give due honour to Him alone for the great wonders with which God delivered Israel from Egypt and brought them into the promised land. Jesus Christ made reference to Phylacteries in His words concerning the Pharisees and their desire to exalt self. As we shall see, the desire to exalt self using Phylacteries simply defeated the very purpose of the ritual of wearing them, as well as having stood as a mistaken understanding of the concept from Law to begin with.
Phylacteries were strips of parchment inscribed with the following texts:
These parchments were enclosed in a small leather case, and fastened by straps to the forehead between the eyes as frontlets. Moses referred to binding the Law as frontlets between the eyes and to the hand. But he did not mean for Israel to physically do this. It was figurative words that the Israleites understood as figurative back in Moses' day.
Phylacteries actually is defined in English as "defenses and protections." Let us refer to the texts which are written and contained in phylacteries to determine what God would tell us today, for we know that all things in the Old Testament somehow pointed to Christ and Him crucified.
Notice in the this text there is a stress to the Israelites that the Lord brought them out of Egypt. Israel was given the law of the feast of unleavened bread in which leaven was removed from their homes in memory of the day Israel left Egypt.
The stress of God's power in delivering them is again noted as we read, "when the Lord shall bring thee into the land." God brought them out, and God was going to bring them into the Land of Canaan.
After reading the same point of stress again, we read the reference to the binding of these words upon their foreheads as frontlets and on their arms. And once again, the Lord reminds them that "the Lord hath brought thee out of Egypt."
The fact that God deserves all the glory for Israel's deliverance was mentioned again and again. They were to never forget that. And this truth was to be bound to their hands and between their eyes as a memorial. In other words, they must ever remember that God did the work. They could never take glory in themselves. God alone was responsible for their freedom.
Once again, God commanded Israel to celebrate another ceremony by sacrificing all the firstborn animals of their herds and offering them to the Lord. But the ass could be redeemed from death. The redemption of the ass was the redemption of a beast of burden. A slave animal. The Israelites were salves in Egypt. All the Egyptian firstborn children died the night of Passover, but Israel's firstborn were redeemed by the blood of the lamb. And the ceremony of sparing the ass by redemption was a memorial that God's power redeemed Israel.
The Lord slew the firstborn of Egypt. It was His work. Notice that in both the first reference noted earlier in this chapter it was a stress of God's power. The same is again noted in this second memorial.
The great Shema, reference to the ONE GOD truth of the Bible, glorifying God above all thoughts of there even being other gods, was also to be a memorial in the form of phylacteries. There is no other God.... no other entity worthy of glory and praise as the ONE TRUE GOD.
The final reference written in the phylacteries include the words of God speaking of the great protection from Israel's enemies that would be experienced should they heed these words of God. God would provide rain and bountiful crops should they keep these words. And this is where the idea of "protections and defenses" in the meaning of the term "phylacteries" really comes into play.
In summary, every reference noted in the phylacteries was a reference to the need for man to give all glory to God and none other, and this was represented by referring to the wearing of them on the forehead and hand.
Should Israel not keep these words, they would lose protection and their enemies would destroy them. They would be left without the blessings of God. But, should they uphold glory and worship to God alone, they would enjoy His benefits. They were on their way to Canaan to be KINGDOM OF GOD upon earth. And in order to maintain citizenry in this KINGDOM OF GOD, these truths must be adhered to like frontlets between their eyes and on their hands. These words would be their protections and defenses.
God alone deserves all praise and glory. This truth must be the standard of the Christian life!!
However, this reality was challenged long ago. The words that man should exalt himself is precisely the lie that fell the first couple in the Garden of Eden.
God created Adam, made the woman from him and told them to dress and keep the Garden. God gave man dominion over all the earth to subdue it. Man's entire existence was to rule the world God created and to love His God and serve His God. The only stipulation was that man refrain from eating of the fruit of the knowledge of good and evil lest he die.
Time passed and a creature, who once held power under God, who sought to exalt himself and not worship God alone, entered the garden via the vessel of a serpent. He sought to infect the couple with the same desire he possessed in worshipping and exalting self instead of God.
A beast spoke words to the woman, tempting her to exalt herself and "be as gods." Gods do not worship anything else. Gods are to be worshipped themselves. And a BEAST urged the worship of man upon Adam and Eve, and the couple fell to the temptation and sinned.
WORK WAS FINISHED
It is interesting to note that man was created on the sixth day, after God finished creating all that existed in earth. And the seventh day of rest was the only event to occur after man's creation. In other words, man was supposed to simply enter into a rest with God and rule with Him over the earth. The work was complete. Nothing was left to be done.
But Satan managed to tempt the woman to put forth a certain effort and make herself worthy of praise and worship.
The words of the phylacteries were given to Israel in the midst of their Exodus. They were on a journey to the Promised Land. Christians today are also on a journey to maturity of spirit and fullness of understanding. There is a Rest we are to enter as much as Adam was to enter it. Hebrews chapters 3 and 4 refer to Canaan as a place of Rest, and also notes the rest of the seventh day wherein God rested from all His labors. It notes that Adam was to enter into this rest of God. We know that Adam failed, but we are there warned that we can fail to enter into our rests, also, if we do not mix the word of God with faith when we hear it.
Israel failed to enter into Canaan because they did not mix the word of promise to them with faith.
Adam was to enter a day of rest and never work a day in his life, but the woman was tempted to make herself like God, and to work in doing so. In other words, the promise given to the first couple was disbelieved and they failed to enter rest. God finished the work! There was no more work to be done! But they were duped into working and failing to enter the rest.
The work of Calvary is a finished work. We are to be His workmanship. We do not work to save ourselves, but we are saved by faith. We enter into rest by mixing the word with faith. It is not a salvation that is achieved through works, for we would boast and actually worship ourselves if we could save ourselves. But God planned this salvation so that we would be redeemed and he would receive all the due glory in saving us, too. Not only would we come back to God, but we would bring glory to God in doing so. You see, it was self exaltation that destroyed mankind in Eden. And it is self-denial that saves us.
What a wonderful wisdom God does manifest!
And in our journey, as in Israel's Exodus, we must ever remember that God is the one responsible for giving us this great salvation. God did the work, and we must never forget that. We must never revert to a self-deification after we are saved. We must bind these words between our eyes upon our foreheads, and on our arms!
The reason Jesus mocked the Pharisees for broadening their phylacteries was for the reason that phylacteries were memorials of the need for deification of God alone. And the Pharisees desired themselves to be seen, and through making their phylacteries larger than normal, they would become more conspicuous and noticed, thus drawing attention to themselves. They used a thing that was meant to bring glory to God that it might bring glory to self! They defeated the very purpose of God!
Today this poison of self-deification fills many gatherings of God's people. Some people refuse to even attend church gatherings unless they can be seen and can be in front of the people all the time. Ministers lord it over God's heritage and act like God, Himself, in their domineering spirit of control and legalism, prying into people's personal lives. There is the need to give recommendation as to what God's word teaches about our lifestyles, but to demand whether one can go on vacation or not, or to demand a detailed play-by-play of every step we take each day of the week is to simply indulge in cultism. Only God is God. Not us.
We believe ourselves into a rest with God!
Jesus did all the work necessary for our salvation and everything afterwards, including our rest! Of course there is the need to manifest works because of our faith, for faith without works is dead faith. But they are works that do not save us. They are works that are done BECAUSE we are saved. They are signs and indications of a real and actual faith.
Its not "what we do" so much as it is "the reason we do it" Do we do things to attract attention to self and have others notice how religious we are? Or do we do them because we love God and simply desire to do anything to please Him? Also, do we do them to save ourselves? Salvation is a free gift that costs us nothing, although it did not come free. It cost the Saviour His life.
When Adam opened his eyes to begin his new life when first created, he saw a world where everything that had to be done was already done. he just was to enter rest, rule and maintain that finished work. It is the same with Christians today. When we open our eyes in newness of life, having been saved by Christ, we dwell in a finished work. Just enter the rest of it all and maintain that position of rest.
But the enemy will lie to us and urge us to exalt ourselves. He will tempt us to work so that we can look at what we did and glorify ourselves through it all. So while we are in our journey to all truth, let us ever maintain the fact that God alone deserves praise and worship.
Any grain of self-praise is poison from the serpent. Protections and defenses are gone from our lives the moment we forget God and seek to attract attention to self.
The very sin that was committed as Moses was on his way to give the Ten Commandments to Israel was the worship of a golden calf that was alleged to have led them out of Egypt. And the wickedness of idolatry is truly a self worshipping evil. What could be more self-exalting than creating a god with one's own hands, an fashioning him to have such and such traits that we want him to have, and then bowing down to worship it? We dictate what god should be like and then worship it. This is in fact nothing less than self-worship. "Isn't that a powerful god, and one worthy of all praise, that I made?!"
GOD IS ONE
Not only must God be praised, but the SHEMA is the focal point of worship towards God.
The Lord our God is One Lord. It may sound sufficient to merely say that we must worship "God' and not "gods." "God" is a singular term. But the Bible urges us to recognize that God is not a multiple, but is ONE. The Bible doubly stresses the Oneness of God by telling us that God is One. There is ONE GOD.
This intimates that praise must indeed be given to Him.
This Oneness of God must be bound to our lives like frontlets between our eyes and upon our hands.
THE PHYLACTERIES OF THE BEAST
Revelation does not propose that physical objetcs or markings would be implemented by the Beast of Revelation. This is a very symbolic picture.
The message is actually saying that there is a foreboding and frightful spirit in this world that still seeks to tempt man to exalt himself. Satan who once glorified God in heaven, fell because he sought to exalt self instead. And he seeks to implant that same spirit in all mankind. Why? Because he is father of all the children of pride, and therein , because his power of influence was accepted, rules the people of pride.
The beast, leviathan, is a coiling serpent, by inference of the Hebrew term "leviathan." And he is father of all the children of pride. It was the serpent who tempted mankind to be as the gods. The serpent was "the most subtle BEAST of the field" (Genesis 3:1). This beast, created on the sixth day, as man was created on the sixth day, was the one used by Satan to fall mankind into self-worship. And this same spirit still works in the earth, and will climax in the end with a great falling away into self-worship. the great fall of mankind will only be worsened in a great falling away in the end. It will be the same spirit and the same impetus and urge to exalt self, only worsened.
The great evil today is not a specific religious movement, but a general spirit of self-worship.
The spirit to exalt self rather than God was warned about throughout the epistles.
2 Timothy 3:2
2 Timothy 3:4-5
People blatantly proclaim they can save themselves, and that Christianity is for the weak minded. They exalt themselves and see no need for a savior whatsoever. They are already bearing phylacteries of hell.... the mark of the beast -- without having physically worn anything on their foreheads or hands. The Mark is not a physical mark!
It was a beast who first lied to the woman, urging her to exalt herself as a god. The serpent created on the sixth day, encouraged mankind to forget about worshiping God and to forget about the finished work of God in the world. He encouraged man to not accept God's finished work, and to instead work man's way to self-exaltation and godhood.
Like God's protections and defenses, the Beast would ensure that those who do not wear these phylacteries of hell should be executed. Without them the person would be killed. Unless one lived by these standards of self-exaltation, one could not be in Satan's kingdom.
Christianity is the only religion on earth where the idea of a finished work is proposed. We are not saved by works of goodness. We are born in sin and have need of a Saviour—God—to redeem us. Every other religion promotes self-effort and actually encourages self-glorification. Those religions with much so-called "holiness", who despise the idea of original sin, unconsciously, and sometimes, consciously, encourage one to exalt oneself to holy status, and thus godhood.
Our only hope of righteousness is to receive the gift of God's righteousness.
1 Corinthians 1:28-30
While speaking of no flesh glorying in God's presence, we are told that even the reason we are saved and in Christ Jesus, is "of him." It is of God that we are saved. It is His works that saved us, and not our own. And the only way we can be righteous is to indeed be in Christ, because Christ is made righteousness for our sakes! Simply by being in Christ is one righteous, for Christ is our righteousness. We have God's righteousness if we are in Christ.
2 Corinthians 5:21
We are the righteousness of God if we are in Christ, for Christ was made righteousness for our sakes. Many people do not comprehend this. they are totally mistaken and think they must achieve a status of holiness. But all the holiness and righteousness that God wanted us to have was put in Christ. And we are to get into Christ in order to obtain that.
Even some Christians mistakenly think they are to become more holy once they are saved from sin. This is terrible nonsense. The moment we are baptized into Christ is the moment we are as righteous as Jesus Christ, because we then possess His righteousness. Abraham did not lift one finger of effort to become righteous. All he did was believe. And to show the righteousness that he already had, he was circumcised. But the circumcision did not provide the righteousness, but merely indicated it was there. That is what is meant by works that follow faith. Works are an indication that saving faith is present in one's life.
But a beast, created on a sixth day, urged man to exalt self.
The mark we read about in revelation 13 is the mark of the beast. What beast? The same serpent that first lied to the woman. It is a number of 666 since it denotes the day of mankind, as opposed to the day of the Lord. Man was created on the sixth day. Man is a 6. An incomplete entity. God is complete and all-sufficient in himself. The number 7 denotes fullness and completion and rest. The first time this number is used in scripture was when God rested the seventh day. And ever afterwards in the Bible you read about 7 in instances where COMPLETION and REST is implied. Noah and his ark rested on Ararat in the seventh month. God is a SEVEN. He is complete. Man is just one notch short of completeness without God. We are a 6. And the self-deifying beast of Revelation 13 is a MAN worshipping himself.
The world wondered after the BEAST (Rev 13:3). They worshipped the dragon (serpent) when the beast was wounded and resurrected, in counterfeit work of the cross of Christ (Rev 13:4).
Notice the supreme praise of God in the Psalm:
The beast attracts this praise to himself.
Another beast rises from the earth, from beneath, whereas God came down to where we were. And this beast causes an image to be made of the beast. Christ is the image of the invisible God, but there is an image of the beast. And people are commanded to bear the mark of the beast in the form of phylacteries. A mark on the right hand and forehead.
Phylacteries of God included scriptures and words to live by that God's blessings might be upon Israel. When they entered the land of Canaan and dwelt in the Kingdom Of God upon the earth, these truths of the phylacteries must be adhered to, lest they be cut off from Israel. The protections and defenses of God's Kingdom would be upon all those who would deify God and Him alone. But Satan has a Kingdom, also. And he has citizenship there.
CANNOT BUY NOR SELL
I cannot buy nor sell in foreign nations and kingdoms because I do not have citizenship and special permissions granted to me in those nations. This is the underlying message about the Mark of the Beast. It is not speaking about literally buying or selling. It is speaking only of the thought of involvement and membership.
God spoke to the lukewarm church at Laodicea, and commented about their self-exaltation:
They had a form of godliness, for they were a church, but they were self-exaltant. They attracted attention to self. They were filled with legalism and self-glory. Therefore, Christ offered them citizenship in His Kingdom:
Like the prodigal, these people were God's people, but left the house of God to exalt themselves in the house of self. Like the Corinthians, who envied one another, strove and divided, Laodicea's "believers" were not heirs of the Kingdom.
1 Corinthians 3:3
To buy of Christ speaks of getting involved in His kingdom. People have speculated the biblical sense out of the mark of the beast and proposed that a computer chip is in store for the end times. That is a million miles away from the truth! Buying and selling is a symbolic reference to inclusion in a Kingdom, as much as Christ did not expect Laodicea to literally purchase gold and raiment. And the same book of Revelation uses the same symbolism in speaking of the buying and selling in Satan's kingdom using the mark of the beast.
Israel would have been cut off from the and its blessings Kingdom had they forsaken God and forgot the memorials of the words of the phylacteries. As much as one had to ever exalt God to be involved in His Kingdom, one who lives by the principle of exalting self and resisting God's will is in the kingdom of Hell. And such a one already has the mark of the beast!
It is he who has understanding who will be able to count the number of the beast. This implies spiritual understanding, and not secular intellectuality in mathematics and languages. Spiritually, the number six always indicated mankind. And the beasts were created the same day that man was created.
Even Nebuchadnezzar's image of self and his idol that deified man was indicative of six.
60 X 6 cubits.
Instead of looking to mathematical sets of alphanumeric letters of the names of people or places, look to the rest of the Bible for similar instances of the elements in question and find the thought proposed there. The Bible interprets itself! Is there a code to the Bible? Yes! -- similar texts and their similar circumstances of reference throughout the Bible themselves!
The great lie from the serpent in Genesis will be stressed like never before across the world. "Forget God. Deify yourself! Resist God's will and fulfill your own will." This is the mark of the beast! The Phylacteries of Hell.
Deuteronomy 6:9 said the words of God would be AS FRONTLETS between their eyes. Defenses and protections. The mark of the beast is a principle held to one's heart and soul as frontlets between the eyes.
Paul denied self. Paul exalted Christ. He bore the marks of Christ in literal scars, indicating his commitment to never deny Christ. There is the Mark of the Beast and the Mark of the Cross. Self-exaltation versus self-denial.
Let us ensure we never seek to exalt self and forget God. Let us ever refuse the Phylacteries of Hell.
Michael F. Blume is a a minister with Rightly Dividing the Word. He is senior pastor at Breath of Life Church, Portage la Prairie, MB. His website’s address is:
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