Fashion a Breastpiece for Making Decisions

28:15-29 and 39:8-21

    DIG: What other duties of the high priest do you see here, especially in the bearing of the names of the sons of Isra'el? How would this elaborate breastpiece help Aaron’s decision making? How were the precious stones similar to those in Revelation?

   REFLECT: When the LORD of heaven's angelic armies says you are one of His jewels, how does that make you feel? In what ways do you shine for Him? In what ways do you reflect His light? If you lived your life like one of His jewels, how would it change your life?

    The fourth piece of clothing, the breastpiece, was the most important and most costly of the high priest’s clothing. All his other clothing was merely a background to it, because it pointed to the very heart of Jesus Himself. It was best described as a vest, all be it a very beautiful one, that went over the ephod. It was attached to the front of it and was made of the same material, of gold, blue, purple and scarlet yarn and of finely twisted white linen. The breastpiece was about nine inches square and was folded double to form a pouch, open at the top, where the Urim and the Thummim were placed (28:15-16, 38:8-9).

    Mounted on the front of the breastpiece were four rows of precious stones, three in each row. Each of the stones was engraved with the name of one of the twelve sons of Isra'el. There is no comparison between the kinds of stones listed here with those that will decorate the foundations of the city walls in the New Jerusalem (Revelation 21:19-20). In the first row there shall be a ruby or sardius (NKJ), a topaz and a beryl. In the second row a turquoise, a sapphire and an emerald. In the third row a jacinth, an agate and an amethyst. In the fourth row chrysolite, an onyx and a jasper. The first and the last stones, the sardius and jasper, also describe the Lord’s appearance as He sits on His throne in heaven (Revelation 4:3). Moses was commanded to mount them in intricate gold settings (28:17-21, 38:10-14). Just as the breastpiece stones bear the names of the twelve tribes of Isra'el, so will the foundations of the New Jerusalem bear the names of the twelve apostles of the Lamb (Revelation 21:14). Although the two lists are not identical, in each case the precise identification of a few of the stones is uncertain. Further research may clarify the nature of one or more of the unknown stones and possibly bring the two lists into closer agreement with each other.626

    God tells us that we are His jewels. They will be mine, says the LORD of heaven's angelic armies, in the day when I make them My jewels (Malachi 3:17 NKJ). We are very precious to Him, so precious that He paid a very costly price for our redemption, the price of His one and only Son. Every beam of light from the Shechinah glory that fell upon Aaron, fell upon the names of the tribes of Isra'el. And the Father’s smile upon His beloved Son also falls upon His bride; for we have been accepted and loved by Him. In His eyes we are identified with Jesus, crucified with Him, risen with Him and seated with Him in heavenly places (Galatians 2:20; Colossians 3:1-4; Ephesians 1:3).627

    The breastpiece was firmly fastened to the ephod over the high priest’s heart by means of four braided chains of pure gold, like a rope. It was not to be loosened or removed in any way. Two of the chains were slipped through the gold rings at the upper corners of the breastpiece and attached to the shoulder pieces of the ephod at the front. The other two braided chains were slipped through two golden rings at the lower corners of the breastpiece just above the waistband. The rings of the breastpiece were tied with a blue cord, connecting it to the waistband so it would be firmly attached to the ephod (28:22-28, 38:15-21).628

    Whenever Aaron entered the Holy Place, he wore the names of the sons of Israel over his heart, on the breastpiece of decision, as a continuing memorial before ADONAI (28:29). Having the breastpiece of decision over Aaron’s heart is mentioned three times here, because it pictures Jesus standing at the right hand of God interceding for us. the LORD not only carries us on His shoulders, the place of power and ability, but He carries us on His breast. We are engraved on His heart. He loves us! This is a picture of His love for us.629

    In the TaNaKh, ADONAI revealed Himself to His people in a variety of ways. He revealed Himself through many mighty acts, such as the creation, the plagues on Egypt and the dividing of the Sea of Reeds. He also gave His people a divine Word. This was done both orally, such as the giving of the Ten Commandments at Mount Sinai, and in written form, such as the Book of the Covenant. Often, God employed prophets to speak His Word to His people. In addition, God revealed Himself, and the future, through the means of dreams (Genesis 41:1-37). The casting of lots was a common means of receiving revelation in the Hebrew Scriptures. Gideon even laid out a fleece so that the LORD would make known to him His will (Judges 6:36-40). There were other methods as well by which God revealed His will.

    Today some believers are often quite troubled by these various means by which God spoke to the righteous of the TaNaKh. They want to know if ADONAI speaks in these ways today. And, if not, why not? Or, if He does, does He speak to each one of us in these ways? Are these methods still applicable to the community of believers today? The writer to the Hebrews answers these questions in the very opening passage of his book when he says: In the past, God spoke to our forefathers through the prophets at many times and in various ways, but in these last days he has spoken to us by His Son, whom He appointed heir of all things, and through whom He made the universe (Hebrews 1:1-2). The author is pointing out that the fullness of revelation is now complete with the coming of Jesus the Messiah. No further revelation is needed. He is the final revelation.630


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