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Phylacteries, Tefillin and Frontlets

The English word frontlet is used to translate the Hebrew word Tefillin which means to go around, or to bind. The word was used in the Scriptures for how YHVH told the Israelites to regard His Law, “for frontlets between thine eyes,” meaning foremost in our minds.

One of the many things added after their return from Babylon was to interpret “frontlets between thine eyes” literally, and so began the Jewish practice of wearing the now-familiar small case, which contains selected verses of the Law, written on strips of parchment, on the forehead, between the eyes.

 This tradition was added after the return from Babylon and during that period between the death of Ezra and the birth of Christ.  This practice was unknown and unobserved by the “lost ten tribes” – or  by Moses himself and any part of Israel before the death of Ezra. The wearing of a little box on the forehead with a few scriptures inside  and the leather phylactery are merely later customs of the Pharisees.

While Jesus did not openly oppose the use of phylacteries among the Rabbins, He strongly rebuked those who merely wore them for show:

Matthew 23:1-3,5-6  “Then spake Jesus to the multitude, and to His disciples, Saying, The scribes and the Pharisees sit in Moses’ seat: All therefore whatsoever they bid you observe, that observe and do; but do not ye after their works: for they say, and do not … But all their works they do for to be seen of men: they make broad their phylacteries, and enlarge the borders of their garments, And love the uppermost rooms at feasts, and the chief seats in the synagogues”

The Messiah also warned about the dangers of replacing God’s Law, or attempting to keep God’s Law, according to one’s own  traditions:

Matthew 15:8-9,13   “This people draweth nigh unto Me with their mouth, and honoureth Me with their lips; but their heart is far from Me. But in vain they do worship Me, teaching for doctrines the commandments of men … Every plant, which my heavenly Father hath not planted, shall be rooted up.” 


The commandments misinterpreted by the Pharisees are in two passages.

The first passage refers to keeping the Feast of Unleavened Bread, and remembering its lessons continually as frontlets between our eyes:  This is plainly a reference to keeping the lesson of God delivering his Called Out from Egypt and always keeping IN the MIND the lesson of the greatness and deliverance of God.


Exodus 13:6 Seven days thou shalt eat unleavened bread, and in the seventh day shall be a feast to the LORD.

13:7 Unleavened bread shall be eaten seven days; and there shall no leavened bread be seen with thee, neither shall there be leaven seen with thee in all thy quarters.

13:8 And thou shalt shew thy son in that day, saying, This is done because of that which the LORD did unto me when I came forth out of Egypt.

13:9 And it shall be for a sign unto thee upon thine hand, and for a memorial between thine eyes, that the LORD’s law may be in thy mouth: for with a strong hand hath the LORD brought thee out of Egypt.

13:10 Thou shalt therefore keep this ordinance in his season from year to year.

13:11 And it shall be when the LORD shall bring thee into the land of the Canaanites, as he sware unto thee and to thy fathers, and shall give it thee, 13:12 That thou shalt set apart unto the LORD all that openeth the matrix, and every firstling that cometh of a beast which thou hast; the males shall be the LORD’s.

13:13 And every firstling of an ass thou shalt redeem with a lamb; and if thou wilt not redeem it, then thou shalt break his neck: and all the firstborn of man among thy children shalt thou redeem.

13:14 And it shall be when thy son asketh thee in time to come, saying, What is this? that thou shalt say unto him, By strength of hand the LORD brought us out from Egypt, from the house of bondage: 13:15 And it came to pass, when Pharaoh would hardly let us go, that the LORD slew all the firstborn in the land of Egypt, both the firstborn of man, and the firstborn of beast: therefore I sacrifice to the LORD all that openeth the matrix, being males; but all the firstborn of my children I redeem.

13:16 And it shall be for a token upon thine hand, and for frontlets between thine eyes: for by strength of hand the LORD brought us forth out of Egypt.

The next scripture used is:

Deu 6:4   Hear, O Israel: The LORD our God is one LORD: 6:5 And thou shalt love the LORD thy God with all thine heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy might.

6:6 And these words, which I command thee this day, shall be in thine heart: 6:7 And thou shalt teach them diligently unto thy children, and shalt talk of them when thou sittest in thine house, and when thou walkest by the way, and when thou liest down, and when thou risest up.

6:8 And thou shalt bind them for a sign upon thine hand, and they shall be as frontlets between thine eyes.

6:9 And thou shalt write them upon the posts of thy house, and on thy gates.

6:10 And it shall be, when the LORD thy God shall have brought thee into the land which he sware unto thy fathers, to Abraham, to Isaac, and to Jacob, to give thee great and goodly cities, which thou buildedst not, 6:11 And houses full of all good things, which thou filledst not, and wells digged, which thou diggedst not, vineyards and olive trees, which thou plantedst not; when thou shalt have eaten and be full; 6:12 Then beware lest thou forget the LORD, which brought thee forth out of the land of Egypt, from the house of bondage.

6:13 Thou shalt fear the LORD thy God, and serve him, and shalt swear by his name.

6:14 Ye shall not go after other gods, of the gods of the people which are round about you; 6:15 (For the LORD thy God is a jealous God among you) lest the anger of the LORD thy God be kindled against thee, and destroy thee from off the face of the earth.

This is followed up in:

Deu 11:16   Take heed to yourselves, that your heart be not deceived, and ye turn aside, and serve other gods, and worship them; 11:17 And then the LORD’s wrath be kindled against you, and he shut up the heaven, that there be no rain, and that the land yield not her fruit; and lest ye perish quickly from off the good land which the LORD giveth you.

11:18 Therefore shall ye lay up these my words in your heart and in your soul, and bind them for a sign upon your hand, that they may be as frontlets between your eyes.

11:19 And ye shall teach them your children, speaking of them when thou sittest in thine house, and when thou walkest by the way, when thou liest down, and when thou risest up.

The obvious intent is that people internalize in their hearts and minds a zeal to keep the whole word of God; in the thoughts of the mind and in the actions of the hand and arm. 


The Four “Tefillin” Passages
Ex 13,9 Ex 13,16 Dt 6,8 Dt 11,18
“And it shall be for you for a sign upon your hand “And it shall be for a sign upon your hand “And you shall tie them for a sign upon your hand “And you shall tie them for a sign upon your hand
and a remembrance (Zicharon) between your eyes” and a remembrance (Totafot) between your eyes” and they will be for a remembrance (Totafot) between your eyes” and they will be for a remembrance (Totafot) between your eyes”


Comparison of “Tefillin” Passages and Similar Metaphors
And let these things which I command you today be upon your heart (Dt 6,6) And you will put these things which I command you on your heart and on your soul (Dt 11,18) Tie them upon you heart always (Prov 6,21) write them upon the tablet of your heart (Prv 3,3)
and you shall tie them for a sign upon your hand (Dt 6,8) tie them upon your throat (Prov 3,3) Tie them upon your heart always,  don them upon your throat (Prov 6,21) and a necklace upon your throat (Prov 1,9)
and for a remembrance (Totafot) between your eyes (Dt 6,8) because it is a beautiful wreath for your head (Prov 1,9)
and write them upon the doorposts of your houses and your gates (Dt 6,9) write them upon the tablet of your heart (Prov 3,3)

Phylactery is the English name for Tefillin, a pair of small, black, leather boxes containing scrolls of parchment inscribed with verses from the Torah, and a leather armband wrapped around the right arm, which are worn by observant Jews during weekday morning prayers.

The wearing of Tefillin is the interpretations of the Rabbins.  The scriptural intent is not some physical wearing of a piece of leather, but the actual continual remembering and  holding in the mind the whole word of God; and the keeping of the whole word of God and all the commandments of God so that the Land of promise might be attained and so that we might remain in a close positive relationship with our God and Might King. 

In the Rabbinic sense of wearing some physical amulet: the wearing of such articles is NOT required and is merely a tradition of the Rabbins.

Those who insist that the Rabbins sit in Moses seat and that they must therefore keep the apostate  Rabbinic calendar; should also follow Rabbinic tradition regarding Passover and Pentecost and the wearing of phylacteries. 

To do otherwise is to be hypocrites; saying that the Rabbins sit in Moses seat and then they  still pick and choose which Rabbinic legislation that they will keep. These COG leaders entangle themselves with their own mouths.

In the true intended sense of the Holy Scripture, we are to fill our minds with the whole word of God and are to zealously KEEP the commandments of God with all the strength of [in all our deeds] our arm!  This is an absolute requirement for a solid and positive relationship with the Father and Jesus  Christ.

 The unedited full-text of the 1906 Jewish Encyclopedia

The laws governing the wearing of phylacteries were derived by the Rabbis from four Biblical passages (Deut. vi. 8, xi. 18; Ex. xiii. 9, 16). While these passages were interpreted literally by most commentators (comp., however, Ibn Ezra and RaShbaM on Ex. xiii. 9),  the Rabbis held that the general law only was expressed in the Bible, the application and elaboration of it being entirely matters of tradition and inference (Sanh. 88b).

Admin: Thus they justified adding to the law which was forbidden by God; and making the commandments of God of no effect by their reasoning’s.

They openly admit that the use of Tefillim is based on “fanciful interpretations” of scripture.

The earlier tannaim had to resort to fanciful interpretations of the texts in order to find Biblical support for the custom of inscribing the four selections in the phylacteries (Men. 34b; Zeb. 37b; Sanh. 4b; Rashi and Tos. ad loc.).

There are more laws—ascribed to oral delivery by God to Moses—clustering about the institution of tefillin than about anyother institution of Judaism (Men. 35a; Yer. Meg. i. 9; Maimonides, in “Yad,” Tefillin, i. 3, mentions ten; Rodkinssohn, in “Tefillah le-Mosheh,” p. 20, ed. Presburg, 1883, mentions eighteen; comp. Weiss, “Dor,” i. 74-75). Thus, even if most Jewish commentators are followed in their literal interpretations of the Biblical passages mentioned above, rabbinic interpretation and traditional usage must still be relied upon for the determination of the nature of the tefillin and the laws concerning them (see Phylacteries—Historical, and Critical Views).

In conclusion:  The wearing of physical phylacteries is NOT required by scripture and is a “fanciful” addition to scripture by the Rabbins.

We are commanded to always have our minds full of the whole word of God; and are commanded to be zealous to learn the whole word of God, and to keep all the commandments of God!

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