Today’s article is brought to you by the Letter CHET and the number Eight! Using the same rubric as the previous seven articles we will explore the larger picture of the 8th commandment handed to Moses from Mt. Sinai on Shavuot!
Chet may be interpreted with three distinct meanings. It is a FENCE, or symbol of the TORAH Scroll, or a DOORWAY. Jewish mystics call it the letter of Life, and a doorway to the Light from heaven. The Number 8 also means: New Beginnings.
One of my favorite Psalms is 119. In this Psalm David uses the 22 letters of the Hebrew Aleph-bet to structure 8 verses for each of the 22 letters. Why is this abecedary poem in chunks of eight?
EIGHT IS SPECIAL
According to an article on the web about the Shimini Atzeret: 8 is special! He writes:
“Rabbi Yehuda Loewe deals in depth with the significance of numbers in his writing. He explains that the number 7 always symbolizes the natural cycle. The 7 days of creation, the 7 days that make up the week, etc… However, the number 8 always signifies that which is “above the natural cycle” – like the Olam Haba (the World to Come). We call it the 8th day or the period after the 1000 year reign of Messiah on earth, “Eternity!” “ http://www.mayimhayim.org/Festivals/The%208th%20day.htm
Lay the Roman numeral for 8 on its side and it is the symbol of infinity. Isn’t that the life we all want to obtain? Eternal Life? Do you think the Ruler of the Universe, and the One who controls everything (even time) is surprised that we use a Roman numeral for eight? Or that it would come to resemble the symbol of infinity?
Eight connects to Noah (future of man was rescued in the Ark!) Eight connects to David as the 8th son of Jesse: patriarch of the Kingdom of God, laying the groundwork for the birth of Yeshua whose return will institute his Eternal Kingdom! The Eighth Day is the ‘World To Come!’
What series of events could be more closely aligned with eternity? Of all the things not to lose, or put another way, of all things to protect from theft, these seem paramount: Man (Noah), His Kingdom (David’s Throne), the First Fruits (Yeshua), and the World to Come (the 8th Day!)!
EIGHT IN SCRIPTURE
Eight souls were saved in Noah’s ark. Yeshua appeared to Thomas on the 8th day following his resurrection. Male infants are to be circumcised on the 8th day. After the Abomination of Desolation it took 8 days to purify and rededicate the Temple (see the Book of Maccabees).
YeHoVaH reaffirmed his covenant with Abraham 8 times, David was the 8th son of Jesse, and if we consider 7 days to be a complete cycle, the Feast of First Fruits occurs on the 8th Day (always the First Day of the Week.) There are so many significant connections to the number 8 that I will not cover them all.
Note that the Feast of Sukkot is an 8 day Feast that looks toward the Olam Habah (World to Come)!
Even the Beatles understood that the number 8 signifies infinity. In their song, Eight Days a Week, they sing of love unending. It is more than can be contained in a 7 day week. It implies an infinite amount, where 7 days is not enough! Only eight days a week demonstrates that the first day following the measure of time known as a week can be both One AND Eight, complete and perpetual!
EIGHT AS A SYMBOL OF COVENANT
Let’s begin with this verse that shows the number 8 as a symbol of the covenant.
Gen 17:11 And ye shall circumcise the flesh of your foreskin; and it shall be a token of the covenant betwixt me and you. 12 And he that is eight days old shall be circumcised.
Circumcision was begun as a ‘token (sign) of the covenant’ between God and Abraham!
Luke 2:21 And when eight days were accomplished for the circumcising of the child, his name was called YESHUA, which was so named of the angel before he was conceived in the womb.
Might we think that the entire purpose for the 8th day circumcision was to provide another signal and foreshadow of the Messiah? Doesn’t this help to verify the identity of our Messiah, and pinpoint when He arrived on the scene? If it hadn’t been for the commanded pilgrimage for Sukkot, and the arrival of the infant so that His circumcision was made on the High Sabbath that concludes the Feast, would we have the witnesses of this fulfillment of the whole Law of Moses?
The precision of the Scriptures with regard to prophetic markers to identify Yeshua is staggering, and never more profound than contained in the Feasts that YHVH gave to His children!
Paul tells us that they are all shadow-pictures of the Messiah. They proclaim the meticulous plan of our Father to redeem His children!
SUKKOT (TEMPORARY DWELLING):
The words “temporary dwelling’ remind me of my aunt’s funeral. She didn’t want a lot of fuss and expense on her behalf. She was cremated and at the cemetery her remains were in a standard generic container provided by the mortuary. It had the words ‘Temporary Container’ on the lid.
For some reason, those words made an impact. I reflected that it was so appropriate. The container was filled with the ashes of my aunt’s ‘temporary container.’
All of us are here in ‘temporary containers’ until the day we all long for arrives. The day when we shall be changed, in a moment, in the twinkling of an eye, to a glorified body like our Messiah! The day when we will see the Olam Habah…the 8th day!
FEAST OF TABERNACLES (SUKKOT)
The Feast of Tabernacles is eight days long. It is certain that Yeshua was born on the first day of this Feast of YHVH, and was himself circumcised on the 8th day!
I know this is a disappointment to all of you that have been taught Yeshua was born on the 25th of December. Isn’t it time to seek the truth? YHVH clearly gave us His Feasts to foreshadow and proclaim the Messiah. He established the appointed times, and Yeshua has or will meet every one of those appointments!
Whenever we miss the connections between Him and YHVH’s Feasts we lose so much! What if celebrating Sukkot meant as much (or more!) to you as the old traditions found in Christmas? Shouldn’t it count for more!? Shouldn’t it settle into your spirit as the truth? If you love Him, why would you disregard what He established and put into place for us?
Since Yeshua was born on the first day of Sukkot, this means that he was born on a High Sabbath day and was circumcised on the 8th day of that Feast, also a High Sabbath! No wonder he is called Lord of the Sabbath! New Beginnings! Indeed!
John 1:14 The Word became flesh and lived among us. We gazed on his glory, the kind of glory that belongs to the Father’s unique Son, who is full of grace and truth. [in the original text ‘lived’ is the word from Strong’s #G4637 ‘tent’ or ‘encamp’] The very name of the Feast (Sukkot: Tent/Temporary Dwelling) proclaims the purpose and shadow-picture we are to see!
Do you see the ‘temporary dwelling’ illustrated in more than one way in this Feast?
THE LETTER CHET
Now for what you really want to know: ‘how does all this relate to: Do Not STEAL?’
The letter CHET means Fence, Doorway or Torah Scroll. Cannot a fence be used to protect something from theft?
Things that are important to protect are often placed inside a fence. A ‘hedge of protection,’ you might say. I always picture this as a sheepfold. The Fence protects the sheep by keeping them together in a safe place, and it prevents someone from getting in and stealing them as well. A Fence limits access. A good fence is the perfect size, shape and height to keep the sheep. If it is a perfect fence (like the Word of YHVH) then there is never a need to weaken it or add another safe-guard to it.
When you understand that the Torah was given to us for our protection (like a fence) it makes so much more sense why it is important. Many of the traditions added to Torah by the Pharisees were an effort to add a fence around the fence. While many of their intentions were good, the result was to blur the lines. Maybe that is why He told us not to add or subtract from his word.
Deu 4:2 Ye shall not add unto the word which I command you, neither shall ye diminish ought from it, that ye may keep the commandments of the LORD your God which I command you.
If we change the laws of YHVH, that also ‘breaks’ the Torah by changing it. The effect is to steal or weaken the Truth. In a court of law we are told to tell the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth.
This begs the question: if truth is weakened or incomplete, is it still the whole truth? This has meanings both practical (applicable to our neighbor) and divine (applicable to our relationship with YHVH.)
CHET AS A TORAH SCROLL
If Chet is a picture of a Fence or Torah Scroll, it is easy to see how this connects to ‘do not steal.’ Picture a perfect fence. It is complete, has only one way in and one way out. There are no chinks in the fence. It protects what is inside. The Torah is our ‘fence of protection’ that keeps us (the sheep) safe. It logically connects with Yeshua and his description of the sheepfold:
John 10:1 Verily, verily, I say unto you, He that entereth not by the door into the sheepfold, but climbeth up some other way, the same is a thief and a robber. 2 But he that entereth in by the door is the shepherd of the sheep.
John 10:7 Then said Jesus unto them again, Verily, verily, I say unto you, I am the door of the sheep. 8 All that ever came before me are thieves and robbers: but the sheep did not hear them. 9 I am the door: by me if any man enter in, he shall be saved, and shall go in and out, and find pasture. 10 The thief cometh not, but for to steal, and to kill, and to destroy: I am come that they might have life, and that they might have it more abundantly. 11 I am the good shepherd: the good shepherd giveth his life for the sheep.
THEN HE WAS QUESTIONED!
John 10:24 So the Jews surrounded him and quizzed him, “How long are you going to keep us in suspense? If you are the Messiah, tell us so plainly.” 25 Jesus answered them, “I have told you, but you do not believe it. The actions that I do in my Father’s name testify on my behalf, 26 but you do not believe because you do not belong to my sheep. 27 My sheep hear my voice. I know them, and they follow me. 28 I give them eternal life, they will never be lost, and no one will snatch them out of my hand.
How is it that this connects to the 8th commandment? Yeshua said that He is the ‘door’ to the sheepfold. If the sheepfold is Torah, then we are safe inside of its protection.
One of the most reassuring verses in the Bible is when he says ‘they will never be lost and no one will snatch them out of my hand! ‘ The Law-giver, the Living Torah Scroll, the Door and our Shepherd will protect us from theft! Thou shall not steal takes on a whole new meaning now, doesn’t it?
EVERYTHING IN SCRIPTURE TELLS OF YESHUA
The first time I read the Bible all the way through from Genesis to Revelation, it was because I learned that the Messiah was found all the way through the Bible. This was a new concept for me. I knew there were prophecies, but to ‘find him’ all the way through the scripture made me curious. The entire Bible speaks of, portends, describes, prophesies, prepares us, and pictures Him.
It’s true; when I looked in the Torah I found Him! Inside the Torah is protection for the sheep! He is the light of the world, and our High Priest in Heaven! Torah contains the essence of Him. He says that no one can snatch his sheep out of His hand. And, because we believe what He says, we will follow Him and never be lost! How exciting is that?
If that isn’t exciting enough – this ‘door’ and ‘gate’ to the sheepfold, where we are safe, connects to the 4th commandment that is also the ‘door’ and Yeshua is the Lord of the Sabbath! And He is the door that leads us to Life! Are you beginning to see how it all weaves together into a complete tapestry?
HAVE I LOST YOU?
What is all this talk about doorways, and tapestries, and sheepfolds? It’s obvious that theft is just talking about things, not sheep or the Torah! Isn’t all this totally off the track of the commandment not to steal?
I said at the start that this series would look at the commandments in a broader perspective. We all know intuitively that theft from another is wrong. I think it is one of those things written on our hearts. But, if the other commandments require more than a casual inspection, it seems likely that the 8th one will too.
Beyond the obvious command not to steal things that don’t belong to us (things inside a fence) we can ‘steal’ from the Word by removing, or diminishing His words with our own. We can also steal reputations. We can even ‘steal’ the reputation of YHVH when we speak against his word! If we represent ourselves as His Child and behave contrary to His Way: that’s identity theft!
Sometimes ‘things’ can be stolen and either recovered or replaced. It is not so easy to recover a reputation or relationship once it has been lost. Isn’t the whole point to love YHVH and love our neighbor? The 8th commandment is a direct link to the Torah (Fence).
We can steal the reputation or good name of our neighbors when we gossip. We steal His design for our behavior and diminish his His Feasts when we place things and man-made traditions above His appointed times. Loss is theft! When something is stolen can it be restored?
HOW MUCH DID IT COST THE FATHER TO RESTORE A RELATIONSHIP WITH US?
In a sense our destiny as eternal beings was stolen from mankind in the Garden of Eden. Adam and Eve ‘stole’ an apple from the forbidden tree. Because of that disobedience, all of mankind and the Earth have been suffering the consequences.
How blessed we are that He put a plan in place to restore what was lost! The restoration of what was stolen is found in Yeshua!
He loved us enough to send His Son to die on our behalf! Yeshua died to restore the broken relationship between man and YHVH.
It isn’t enough to say we love Him. He isn’t asking us to do anything that he was not willing to do himself. He says to love Him with all of our heart, mind, soul, and strength! Isn’t that because that is how much He loves us?
If he was willing to die for you, why do you cling to your life? Isn’t that what is meant when we read we are to die to our ‘self?’ You were bought with a price! You are not your own!
If we belong to Him, is it theft to go our own way?
Do you trust him? Do you truly believe that He is offering you eternity with Him? What is our response to such great love and mercy?
We must never forget what a terrible price was paid on our behalf to restore us to a relationship with our Creator!
Php 2:8 And being found in fashion as a man, he humbled himself, and became obedient unto death, even the death of the cross.
1Co 6:19-20 You know that your body is a sanctuary of the Holy Spirit who is in you, whom you have received from God, don’t you? You do not belong to yourselves because you were bought for a price. Therefore, glorify God with your bodies.
1Co 7:23 Ye are bought with a price; be not ye the servants of men.
Don’t let anything steal your blessings! Stay inside the fence.