Today I want to ponder the question of whether gentile believers in Yeshua should wear TZITZIT or not.
The first point to consider is what we’ve learned so far about clothing of mixed fabrics.
The ordinary Israelite was forbidden from wearing clothing of mixed fabric but it was okay for the priests.
With that thought in mind, let’s take a look at the following verse from the Book of Revelations.
To the seven churches in the province of Asia:
Grace and peace to you from him who is,
and who was, and who is to come,
and from the seven spirits before his throne,
and from Jesus Christ,
who is the faithful witness,
the firstborn from the dead,
and the ruler of the kings of the earth.
To him who loves us and has freed us
from our sins by his blood,
and has made us to be a kingdom
and priests to serve his God and Father
—to him be glory and power for ever and ever!
Here John is writing to the seven churches in Asia.
I am assuming he is talking about churches consisting of BOTH Jewish and gentile believers in Messiah.
Now look at what he is saying.
He writes that the believers in the churches have been made a “kingdom and priests“.
Is John not saying here that in a sense believers are as priests to the Lord?
Honestly, I really can’t tell you how literally we are to take this statement.
One thing I do know is that we have been called be HOLY before the Lord.
So in that sense, we have been called to be “priest-like“.
My whole point is if the priests in ancient Israel were not prohibited from wearing fabrics of mixed material which set them apart as HOLY, what about the modern gentile believer today, who through his faith in Yeshua has been grafted into the commonwealth of Israel?
Now I’m well aware that fabrics of mixed material is a different matter than the TZITZIT.
When it comes to whether or not a gentile believer in Yeshua can or should wear TZITZIT, I would say it really comes down to one’s intention.
Are you wearing them just for decoration or because deep down inside you are harboring an inferiority complex because you’re not ethnically Jewish like others in the congregation you attend (I used to have this problem)?
Or are we maybe treating them like magic charms to ward off demons like how crosses are used in vampire movies?
Or are we indeed wearing them for the PROPER Scriptural reason given here in Numbers 15, that they are to be physical reminders that we are to remember God’s Word and to obey His commands.
If you are wearing them for this PROPER Scriptural reason, then I would see nothing wrong with that.
However, I do have to warn you that if you are a gentile believer in Yeshua and you go to an Orthodox synagogue to worship and afterwards if they find out you are not a Jew or someone who has not undergone proper conversion, they may be quite offended at worst or just view you as plain weird at best.
I actually have a gentile believing friend in Yeshua who had just that experience.
He went to a CHABAD house here in Tokyo wearing TZITZIT exposed so all could see.
Well, to make a long story short, when they found out he was a gentile who had not undergone proper conversion, they politely told him to NOT wear the TZITZIT the next time he visited.
In such cases, it may be best to wear the TZITZIT tucked inside so as not to offend.
But hey, that’s just a suggestion.
If you’re feeling bold, go to a synagogue wearing the TZITZIT exposed to the outside,
When they find out you’re a gentile, you can use the TZITZIT as a great icebreaker to give testimony of your faith in Yeshua.
This actually brings me to something else we need to keep in mind when considering whether certain commandments are applicable to us or not.
I’m talking about having the wisdom to determine which commands of God are contingent just to culture and those that are culturally neutral so to speak.
For example, I think it is quite obvious that the commands against murdering, lying, stealing and adultery would apply in all cultures and in all times.
However, there are others who would argue that the commands dealing with wearing garments of mixed materials, whether or not to grow out a beard, and hairstyles etcetera are commands that are simply cultural expressions.
And some would say that whether the wearing of TZITZIT is a cultural expression or not is something that is debatable.
Ultimately, I think the answer to the question of whether or not a gentile believer should wear TZITZIT is as I said at the beginning of this article: It depends on your intention.
If your intention is to wear it so indeed you will have a reminder to keep the Lord’s commands, then I have to say it is a good thing.
Note there are three very important words in verse 39 of Numbers 15.
“It is to be a tzitzit for you to look at and thereby remember all of Adonai’s mitzvot and obey them, so that you won’t go around wherever your own heart and eyes lead you to prostitute yourselves”
We are to LOOK, REMEMBER, so that we may OBEY.
It is a very practical command I think, especially in an ungodly world where there are so many temptations which seek to derail us from our walk with HASHEM.