The Tefillin, the Command to Wear Phylacteries on the Hand and Forehead

This study is available in Spanish here.

To view a list of all studies in this blog, click here.

Recommended before reading this study,

The Law of Moses Has Not Been Abolished

Why the Law Is Not Abolished, Yet Circumcision, Festivals, Sacrifices, Sabbaths, Foods Are No Longer Observed

The sign and reminder commanded to be worn on the hand and on the forehead,

“So it shall serve as a sign on your hand and as phylacteries on your forehead, for with a powerful hand the LORD brought us out of Egypt.” (Exodus 13:16 [NASB])

Tie them to your hands and wear them on your forehead as reminders. (Deuteronomy 6:8 [NLT])

“You shall therefore lay up these words of mine in your heart and in your soul, and you shall bind them as a sign on your hand, and they shall be as frontlets between your eyes. (Deuteronomy 11:18 [ESV])

“And it shall serve as a sign to you on your hand, and as a reminder on your forehead, that the law of the LORD may be in your mouth; for with a powerful hand the LORD brought you out of Egypt. (Exodus 13:9 [NASB])

Are not figurative signs to be worn, just as the command to write the words of God on doorposts and gates is not figurative,

Write them on the doorposts of your house and on your gates. (Deuteronomy 6:9 [NLT])

Write them on the doorposts of your house and on your gates,
(Deuteronomy 11:20 [NLT])

But are actual objects called tefillin, or phylacteries, which are the same phylacteries that the Pharisees wore,

“Everything they do is done for people to see: They make their phylacteries wide… (Matthew 23:5 [NIV])

Which are boxes that have parchment inside them with the words of God written on them. And so, since the Law has not been abolished,

Do not think that I have come to abolish the Law or the Prophets; I have not come to abolish them but to fulfill them. (Matthew 5:17 [NIV])

For truly I tell you, until heaven and earth disappear, not the smallest letter, not the least stroke of a pen, will by any means disappear from the Law until everything is accomplished. (Matthew 5:18 [NIV])

It is easier for heaven and earth to disappear than for the least stroke of a pen to drop out of the Law. (Luke 16:17 [NIV])

Nor can any commands of the Law of Moses be disobeyed,

Therefore anyone who sets aside one of the least of these commands and teaches others accordingly will be called least in the kingdom of heaven, but whoever practices and teaches these commands will be called great in the kingdom of heaven. (Matthew 5:19 [NIV])

And that the commands to wear the tefillin are not shadow commands,

Therefore do not let anyone judge you by what you eat or drink, or with regard to a religious festival, a New Moon celebration or a Sabbath day. These are a shadow of the things that were to come;the reality, however, is found in Christ. (Colossians 2:16-17 [NIV])

And that wives are instructed to wear the tzniut, which are head coverings,

but every wife who prays or prophesies with her head uncovered dishonors her head, since it is the same as if her head were shaven. (1 Corinthians 11:5 [ESV])

Judge for yourselves: is it proper for a wife to pray to God with her head uncovered? (1 Corinthians 11:13 [ESV])

In reference to this passage in the Law of Moses,

Rebekah also looked up and saw Isaac. She got down from her camel and asked the servant, “Who is that man in the field coming to meet us?” “He is my master,” the servant answered. So she took her veil and covered herself. (Genesis 24:64-65 [NIV])

Since the veil, or head covering, is a sign of authority that a husband has over his wife,

That is why a wife ought to have a symbol of authority on her head… (1 Corinthians 11:10 [ESV])

And that men and women must still wear tzitzit, which are tassels or fringes on a four cornered garment called a tallit,

“Speak to the Israelites and say to them: ‘Throughout the generations to come you are to make tassels on the corners of your garments, with a blue cord on each tassel. You will have these tassels to look at and so you will remember all the commands of the LORD, that you may obey them and not prostitute yourselves by chasing after the lusts of your own hearts and eyes. Then you will remember to obey all my commands and will be consecrated to your God. (Numbers 15:38-40 [NIV])

You shall make yourself tassels on the four corners of the garment with which you cover yourself. (Deuteronomy 22:12 [ESV])

Which are the same tzitzit Jesus Christ wore,

And behold, a woman who had suffered from a discharge of blood for twelve years came up behind him and touched the fringe of his garment, (Matthew 9:20 [ESV])

And wherever he came, in villages, cities, or countryside, they laid the sick in the marketplaces and implored him that they might touch even the fringe of his garment. And as many as touched it were made well. (Mark 6:56 [ESV])

And even the Pharisees wore,

“Everything they do is done for people to see: They make their phylacteries wide and the tassels on their garments long; (Matthew 23:5 [NIV])

The tefillin must also still be worn, both by men and women, and preferably with the use of leather straps, bound to the hand as the arm phylactery, and strapped around the head as the forehead phylactery above the eyes. These are among the teachings passed down by the apostles which are first revealed by the Law,

So then, brothers and sisters, stand firm and hold fast to the teachings we passed on to you, whether by word of mouth or by letter. (2 Thessalonians 2:15 [NIV])

Now I commend you that you have remembered me in all things, and you are keeping the teachings as I delivered to you. (1 Corinthians 11:2 [BLB])

Do we, then, nullify the law by this faith? Not at all! Rather, we uphold the law. (Romans 3:31 [NIV])

if you know his will and approve of what is superior because you are instructed by the law; if you are convinced that you are a guide for the blind, a light for those who are in the dark, an instructor of the foolish, a teacher of little children, because you have in the law the embodiment of knowledge and truth— (Romans 2:18-20 [NIV])

The law of the LORD is perfect, refreshing the soul. The statutes of the LORD are trustworthy, making wise the simple. (Psalm 19:7 [NIV])

You came down on Mount Sinai; you spoke to them from heaven.You gave them regulations and laws that are just and right, and decrees and commands that are good. (Nehemiah 9:13 [NIV])

The words inscribed on the parchment should at least have the original words of God written in Hebrew, in addition to preferably having the words also written in English, that the words can be read and understood by the wearer. The following scriptures are the ones that should be contained in the phylacteries,

Hear, O Israel: The LORD our God, the LORD is one. Love the LORD your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength. (Deuteronomy 6:4-5 [NIV])

“And if you will indeed obey my commandments that I command you today, to love the LORD your God, and to serve him with all your heart and with all your soul, he will give the rain for your land in its season, the early rain and the later rain, that you may gather in your grain and your wine and your oil. And he will give grass in your fields for your livestock, and you shall eat and be full. Take care lest your heart be deceived, and you turn aside and serve other gods and worship them; then the anger of the LORD will be kindled against you, and he will shut up the heavens, so that there will be no rain, and the land will yield no fruit, and you will perish quickly off the good land that the LORD is giving you. (Deuteronomy 11:13-17 [ESV])

The LORD said to Moses, “Consecrate to me all the firstborn. Whatever is the first to open the womb among the people of Israel, both of man and of beast, is mine.” Then Moses said to the people, “Remember this day in which you came out from Egypt, out of the house of slavery, for by a strong hand the LORD brought you out from this place. No leavened bread shall be eaten. Today, in the month of Abib, you are going out. And when the LORD brings you into the land of the Canaanites, the Hittites, the Amorites, the Hivites, and the Jebusites, which he swore to your fathers to give you, a land flowing with milk and honey, you shall keep this service in this month. Seven days you shall eat unleavened bread, and on the seventh day there shall be a feast to the LORD. Unleavened bread shall be eaten for seven days; no leavened bread shall be seen with you, and no leaven shall be seen with you in all your territory. You shall tell your son on that day, ‘It is because of what the LORD did for me when I came out of Egypt.’ (Exodus 13:1-8 [ESV])

“When the LORD brings you into the land of the Canaanites, as he swore to you and your fathers, and shall give it to you, you shall set apart to the LORD all that first opens the womb. All the firstborn of your animals that are males shall be the LORD’s. Every firstborn of a donkey you shall redeem with a lamb, or if you will not redeem it you shall break its neck. Every firstborn of man among your sons you shall redeem. And when in time to come your son asks you, ‘What does this mean?’ you shall say to him, ‘By a strong hand the LORD brought us out of Egypt, from the house of slavery. For when Pharaoh stubbornly refused to let us go, the LORD killed all the firstborn in the land of Egypt, both the firstborn of man and the firstborn of animals. Therefore I sacrifice to the LORD all the males that first open the womb, but all the firstborn of my sons I redeem.’
(Exodus 13:11-15 [ESV])