Sackcloth and Ashes?

Question

A Nazarene (in the Nazarene School of Divinity) posed a very good question. “Do we today, put on sackcloth and toss ashes over our head?” If so, what is sackcloth, and how do we perform this act with ashes and so forth. How are we to understand this act that seems to be an important ritual in the previous covenant?”

Answer

We have to remember, in the “OT” everything was a physical shadow designed to train us for the coming Kingdom; which is Spiritual. So we must approach these things to seek out the Spiritual Intent of these actions. What was this outward “show” of ripping your clothes, putting on “sackcloth”, and tossing ashes up over your heat supposed to show us? What is it teaching us?

That act is an outward demonstration of what is called “fasting and mourning”. Today, fasting has come to mean “go without food” by tradition, but that is nowhere in scripture!

Fasting means “to afflict your soul“; but what does that mean?

Crying out to Yahuah, morning, in this way shows us outwardly what afflicting our soul looks like inwardly. Today, what is important is that we actually do “afflict our soul” not just put on the outward display as the Pharisees loved to do….

Speaking of us today, in The Yahushuaic Covenant, we should have matured beyond this “act”, and truly have a heart for Yahuah and His Will. Our hearts should truly cry out for Him, not outwardly but inwardly; which is what that physical behavior was demonstrating.

The outward act can be faked (as the Pharisee showed us) and means nothing to Yahuah. Yahuah is after our hearts, which only HE sees and we cannot “put on a show” for Him there.


Joel 2 12
“Yet even now,” declares Yahuah, “Return to Me with all your heart, And with fasting, weeping and mourning; 13 And rend your heart and not your garments”.


Sackcloth represents true repentance. Ashes “burnt offerings” or “offering our lives” as we fast/afflict our soul, weep, and mourn inwardly with a heart of flesh (loving heart toward) Yahuah.

Blessings, Rav Sha’ul