The list of specifics continues on in the reading for today. God certain had some quite detailed instructions for the Tabernacle, the high priest’s garments, and the formulations for the anointing oil and the incense. And sprinkled throughout these instructions are reminders to not stray from the blueprints we can read, and where the exact pattern isn’t documented in detail, God tells Moses to remember what he “saw on the mountain”.
In the midst of all this detail is the description of what the high priest’s garments and regalia would look like, and it is here that I’d like to tarry in thought for a moment. So much of what is described can have interesting parallels to our own high priest, Jesus. For example, on the shoulder of the outermost garment (ephod) golden clasps set with onyx stones were to be placed — their appearance would have been a little like epaulettes — with the names of the Israel engraved on them, so that “Aaron shall bear their names before the Lord on his two shoulders for a memorial.” Similarly, the breastpiece of judgment worn on the front of the ephod (which contained the Urim and Thummim) had gems attached to them also with the names of the tribes engraved on each one, so that “Aaron shall carry the names of the sons of Israel in the breastpiece of judgment over his heart when he enters the holy placed, for a memorial before the Lord continually.” Our high priest, Jesus, bears our names before the Lord, as well, going into the real Holy of Holies as our Advocate to make atonement with His own blood.
The Urim and Thummim themselves are interesting parts of the high priestly dress. They were for communicating God’s specific will about a specific question posed by men. No one knows exactly how they were supposed to work — some say they were a “yes and no” set of stones (either one or the other glowed or you pulled one or the other out for your answer), others have suggested that they might have been like dice that the high priest could interpret. Regardless, they remind us of how Jesus Himself is our Great Prophet (like Moses, Deut 18), speaking to us the Father’s words and judgments.
What else do you see in these garments that remind you of what Jesus Himself is and does for us?
See you again soon, Lord willing.