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109 - Precious Names on Precious Stones

More Than Ink / Pastor Jim Catlin & Dorothy Catlin
The Truth Network Radio
August 27, 2022 1:00 pm

109 - Precious Names on Precious Stones

More Than Ink / Pastor Jim Catlin & Dorothy Catlin

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August 27, 2022 1:00 pm

Episode 109 - Precious Names on Precious Stones (27 Aug 2022) by A Production of Main Street Church of Brigham City


You pick up your Bible and wonder, is there more here than meets the eye?

Is there something here for me? I mean, it's just words printed on paper, right? Well, it may look like just print on a page, but it's more than ink.

Join us for the next half hour as we explore God's Word together, as we learn how to explore it on our own, as we ask God to meet us there in its pages. Welcome to More Than Ink. Hey, you've heard that phrase, clothes make the man, and today we're going to look at the clothes of the High Priest, but does that make him the High Priest?

Well, no, his clothes don't make him the High Priest, but they tell us something about who he serves and what he does. And it's all very important in the details, and we're going to look at that today on More Than Ink. Well, good morning to you. This is More Than Ink, and I'm sitting across from the lovely Dorothy. Oh, thank you, and I'm sitting across from the handsome Jim.

Yes, and we are not only content in one another's presence, but we have coffee and we have the Word, which is what we're looking at. And we're looking at a fascinating section in Exodus where we're talking about the tabernacle and the very specific instructions God has about what everything is supposed to look like because it's going to tell us something about him and about life with him, and specifically today we're coming to the High Priest's garments. Yeah, so we're kind of finished with the building itself, the tent itself, and now we're talking about the people who minister in the tent.

Yeah, and the High Priest, the High Priest is the only guy that goes from all the way on the outside to goes all the way on the inside, and under very specific circumstances as well. But because he is unique in that way, he has unique clothing, because clothing means something in the ancient world. Well, yeah, and we probably need to just camp on that for just a minute, because even today, the way a person dresses indicates something about them, right? If you go into a doctor's office, you sort of expect the nurses to be wearing something identifiable as a nurse's garment. You expect your doctor to be wearing something... His white coat.

Doctory. They don't so much anymore. Yeah, that's true.

If you even go in a fast food restaurant, they're wearing t-shirts with the name of their establishment on them, right? Yeah, that's true. So it's not a foreign idea that the clothing indicates something about the identity of the person you're dealing with, but in scripturally, it also, clothing indicates something about the inner character. Yes, the reflection of the inner character to the outside. And we know that the New Testament tells us that we are clothed with the righteousness of Christ.

Exactly. So there's the picture to kind of start with. So God is giving us imagery that represents who he is, what heaven is like, the relationship between God and man. So this one very particular, very unique individual in the high priest, you would expect to have a very unique garb saying something about that. And we do, all of chapter 28, which is where we are today, we're going to talk about that. We started in verse one, and he gives us sort of the overview of what he's going to talk about in the rest of the chapter, talking about just the high priest's garments.

So listen to this carefully, because this gives you a great context of what's going to go on. We read this last time, and we're not repeating it because we forgot to do it, but because this is just such an important intro to talking about the garments of the high priest. So why don't you take it for us, verse one. Okay, so, bring near to you Aaron your brother and his sons with him, and from the people of Israel to serve me as priests. Aaron and Aaron's sons, Nadab and Abihu, Eleazar and Ithamar. So this tells us right here that this Aaron historically was the unique only high priest, and his sons will minister with him.

One of them would become high priest at his death, but not until them. And you shall make, in verse two, holy garments for Aaron your brother, for glory and for beauty. And you shall speak to all the skillful, whom I have filled with a spirit of skill, that they may make Aaron's garments to consecrate him for my priesthood. So that tells us the garments indicate something specific about Aaron, that he is set apart for this priesthood.

He's different. And they're beautiful garments, and they're recognizable garments, right? The primary idea behind glory is recognition, right? So these garments say something.

They say something. And then we have this list of six pieces. You shall make, in verse four, a breastpiece, an ephod, a robe, a coat of checker work.

That's pretty specific. A turban and a sash. And you shall make holy garments for Aaron your brother and his sons to serve me as priests. And they shall receive gold and blue and purple and scarlet yarns and fine twisted linen. Right. So we're going to launch off and look at these garments.

We're only going to get through a couple of them today. But wind back to verse two. Isn't that interesting? These holy garments for Aaron your brother for glory and for beauty.

Let's sit on that for a second. For glory and for beauty. And you already mentioned a lot about glory.

Glory is just the larger manifestation of making known something, right? And in this particular case, it's who God is and who Aaron is as his intermediary, the high priest. Right. Because the only guy who gets to wear these things is God's single, one high priest. And there's a striking similarity between the colors of his clothing and the colors of all the tapestries and linens that are in the tabernacle.

And even the wall around the courtyard. So this close association. Right. So he is clearly made for some kind of role in this unique and very divine place.

So there's just no question about that. But the fact that he adds to that beauty, I think that's just fascinating because we have a God who just loves beauty. And if you look around the natural creation he's made, you go, yep, I get that. I've seen a sunrise. I've seen a sunset.

I've seen the Grand Canyon. I understand what that's all about. And there's no question in our minds that the creator has made around these things of great beauty. And he didn't have to.

He could have made everything flat and gray. That's true. Okay. But this word isn't just beautiful. It carries with it the idea of ornaments like a king would wear. A royal splendor.

An identifying ornament. Yeah. But which would have a delight to the eye. Yes. Which is beautiful. Right?

Think of the crown jewels. Right? Yeah. Exactly.

Exactly. And so he's tasking these people with making these clothes. He's giving these tasks to the people who are skilled at it. That God has given by the Holy Spirit the skill.

And we're going to talk about that in a couple of weeks when we get to chapter 31. God actually names them and says, I've given specific gifts of craftsmanship and wisdom to these people and they're going to make this stuff. And I personally think part of their experience in Egypt was to pick up those skills. To learn those skills.

Perhaps. Because it's extraordinary weaving and textile arts and work of jewelers. Which is not to put down God's spirit that he gave them to be skillful.

But they were exposed to the craftsmanship and now God has equipped them to be able to do it well. Very well. So that's what's coming up.

So we're going to do this really, really well. And again, as I mentioned last time, just in these few verses, he says two or three times, he says, this high priest, he serves me. He serves me. Now his role is as an intermediary with the people. And so it benefits the people. But this is God saying, this is my idea, this is what I want to do. From my initiative, I'm going to do something through this intermediary that's going to make our relationship work. So this priest serves me.

And the very things that he wears indicate something about his function as priest. So that sets us up to talk about these two very interesting things. The ephod and the breastpiece, which are totally connected together. You never had one without the other, it seems. Yeah, they're integrated. There's a lot of detail describing how they were connected together.

Yeah, and those are the only two of the list of six we'll get to today. Before we get to it, I just have a funny thought, is that the colors and the ornamentation of these clothing is so much different than religious garb today. Like you look at a cleric today, they're almost always clothed in black. I mean, it almost looks like a funeral. Well, not necessarily. In the high church, liturgical churches, historically, they wore brightly colored robes and stoles.

There was some of that. But if you just look at kind of neighborhood clerics, they're in black. It's boring.

It seems like they ought to be purple and scarlet. Okay, let's not camp on that. Okay, we won't camp on that.

I just thought it was an interesting contrast. Well, let's look at it. Let's just jump into the ephod in verse six. Okay, so who wears an ephod today, right? I don't even know what it means. Okay, so as it's going to be described, women, if you are a seamstress and you're as old as I am, you will remember making or wearing a pinafore.

Pinafore? Right? It was a little thing that went over your dress. It's an over thing.

Right? Okay, so let's start reading. It's kind of apron-like, but over the top. Well, over the top, because this is just on the top part of the body. So, chapter 28, verse six. And they shall make the ephod of gold, of blue and purple and scarlet yarns of fine-twined linen skillfully worked. See, that's beautiful. And it shall have two shoulder pieces attached to its two edges so that they may be joined together.

So it hangs over the shoulders like a pinafore. And skillfully woven band on it shall be made like it and be out of one piece with it of gold, blue and purple and scarlet yarns and fine-twined linen. And you shall take two onyx stones and engrave on them the names of the sons of Israel. Six of their names on one stone and six names of the remaining six on the other stone in the order of their birth. As a jeweler engraves signets, so shall you engrave the two stones with the names of the sons of Israel, and you shall enclose them in settings of gold filigree. Okay, I want to stop there for a minute.

Okay. How beautiful were they? Big, black, flat jewels that were inscribed, not just scratched with a stick, but inscribed the way a jeweler would engrave something precious with a name. With a name, yeah. If your name is engraved on something, how important is that? Yeah, like inside my wedding ring. Inside our wedding ring.

Right, yeah. We have our initials engraved. So here you have precious stones with precious names engraved on them. Okay, and they go on the shoulder pieces. So let's read on for a minute. Yeah, keep going, keep going, it's cool. And you shall set the two stones on the shoulder pieces of the ephod as stones of remembrance for the sons of Israel, and Aaron shall bear their names before the Lord on his two shoulders for remembrance. You shall make settings of gold filigree and two chains of pure gold twisted like cords, and you shall attach the corded chains to the settings. Okay, stop there for a minute.

Stop there, stop there, stop there. What does Aaron do? What is the purpose of these stones? He wears them on his shoulders as he goes about his business as a high priest. Which is why there's two of them, one for the left shoulder, one for the right shoulder.

He bears their names on his shoulders. What kind of things do you carry on your shoulder? Well, the shoulders are kind of a workplace.

Okay. That's the thing. You know, you bear on your shoulders what you're, you know, I carry a piece of lumber on my shoulder. So the shoulders are a working place. Okay, you carry a burden on your shoulders. But you also, if you're like us, you carry your children on your shoulders. Oh, you do, yeah. Right, there were times when we just sat them on our shoulders and carried them. Yep, yep.

I wonder if that picture's not here too. But he says Aaron shall bear their names before the Lord. Bear their names. And so they're on his shoulders, so those names are constantly looking up.

Right, right, right. And the picture being God is looking down, and he's seeing on the shoulders the high priest bearing the burden. Bearing the burden of him.

Of the names. In God's presence. Yeah, in his presence.

Yeah, that's why I kind of emphasize more the work side of the shoulders. Because it's really part of the work of the high priest is to represent the people to God. Right, right. And that's a burden he bears, that's a work that he does on their behalf. Because this is not the only place on this splendid garments that the high priest has where the names of Israel are there.

No. In fact, that's coming up in a second. So contrast what you're seeing in the image right now of these two stones, one on the left shoulder, one on the right, with the names of Israel, with what's coming up next, with their names in another place on another part of the body for another emphasis.

Ah, this is where you do the symbology because this is really kind of cool. So remember that part of what the high priest did on the Day of Atonement was carry the blood from the bronze altar into the Holy of Holies. He's bearing the burden and bringing it into the presence of God.

Right. And I might just add in passing that when Jesus was crucified, before he was crucified, they made him bear this cross through town. And it's very likely he carried it on his shoulders. So, that whole idea, even when you see that imagery in paintings, you see the fact that he is bearing a burden for us and it's bearing on his shoulders.

So, that's not a small connection. Well, the psalmist says in one place, I can't remember what psalm, blessed be the Lord who daily bears our burden. Bears our burdens, yeah. So that's the job of the high priest.

That's Aaron's job. And now it's been formalized with two precious stones, various precious stones, and engraved by a professional jeweler. So, I find it interesting that the stones are black.

I know, isn't that funny? Because if the bearing of the burden is connected with the sin of the people who need to be brought before God, then that's interesting that the stones, the names are engraved on a black stone. But we're going to see in a minute on the breast piece over his heart, they are engraved on glorious, beautiful, precious stones.

So, hold the picture of the names on the shoulders so you can compare with where the names show up next. So, let's go to the breast piece. That's in verse 15. Okay, do you want to read?

I'll read this for us, yeah. So, you shall make a breast piece of judgment. What? A breast piece of judgment. Don't forget that phrase.

In skilled work, in the style of the ephod, you shall make it. Of gold and blue and purple and scarlet yarns and fine twined linen shall you make it. It shall be square and doubled, a span its length and a span its breadth, and you shall set in it four rows of stones. A row of sardius, topaz, carbuncle shall be the first row. The second row, an emerald, a sapphire diamond.

In the third row, a jacinth, an agate, and an amethyst. Verse 20, and the fourth row, a barrel, an onyx, and a jasper. And they shall all be set in gold filigree. There shall be twelve stones with their names according to the names of the sons of Israel.

And they shall be signets, each engraved with its name for the twelve tribes. And you shall make for the breast piece twisted chains like cords of pure gold. And you shall make for the breast piece two rings of gold and put the two rings of the two edges of the breast piece. And you shall put the two cords of the gold and the two rings of the edges of the breast piece. It gets a little complicated here. A lot of detail.

Yeah. The two ends of the two cords you shall attach to the two settings of the filigree and so attach it, attach it in front of the shoulder pieces of the ephod. So now you're seeing where this is going. So in the chest, 26, and you shall make two rings of gold and put them at the two ends of the breast piece on its inside edge next to the ephod. And you shall make two rings of gold and attach them in the front of the lower part of the two shoulder pieces of the ephod at its seam above the skillfully woven band of the ephod. And they shall bind the breast piece by its rings to the rings of the ephod with a lace of blue so that it may lie on the skillfully woven band of the ephod so that the breast piece shall not come loose from the ephod. Okay, stop. Well, reading that, it's not going to come loose from the ephod. No.

But did you catch it? Those gold rings are literally intertwined with one another. They're intertwined.

There is no coming loose. But there also is this dependent connection between the shoulder piece and the ephod. Like the ephod hangs from the shoulder pieces. Right. Right. So that's an interesting idea that whatever this ephod represents in those gold jewels hangs dependently from the bearing of the burden on the shoulders. Yeah. So that's what I was saying.

Contrast this now. You have the shoulder onyx pieces, you know, with the names facing up, and now you have a precious stone for every tribe with the name of the tribe on every one of these precious stones in kind of a square pattern on the chest, on the breast piece, which is integral to the ephod now. So you've got the names on the shoulders, you've got the names on the chest. And he's going to explain to us a little bit in the next section about what the symbology of having the names on the chest is. Yeah, so go ahead and read that. I stopped you shortly.

No, no, no. That's okay. Had to get those details so that you'll know that it will not come loose. You just need to understand that it's dependent.

It's not coming loose. It is connected. Something about the symbolism of the names on the shoulders is tightly integrated to the symbolism of the names on the chest. That's the point. They're two separate places, but they go together.

So let's see if we can put this together. And they look different. And they look different, yeah. So here we go, verse 29.

29. So Aaron shall bear the names of the sons of Israel in the breast piece of judgment on his heart. Ah, and when he goes into the holy place to bring them to regular remembrance before the Lord. And in the breast piece of judgment. Well, let me wait for that for a second.

Yes, hang on to that. So that's the connection right there is that remember we said on the shoulders it kind of implies bearing a burden for someone. Many times it implies a debt.

That's the burden. And then on the chest he's saying here it's so that it reflects something about the heart of not only the high priest, but God's heart as well for these tribes by name, by name. So we have two places. We have two problems, not two problems, but two aspects of God's sense of preciousness of the tribes. The preciousness of his people. The preciousness symbolized by the precious stones. And in one sense it's about his heart for them. And in the other sense it's about bearing a burden for them.

Together, integrated. That's just a great picture. It's a beautiful picture. And the fact that this is called the breast piece of judgment. Of judgment. Isn't that interesting?

And yet the stones are beautiful. Yes. I wonder if that doesn't connect to what Jesus said in John 5, right?

He who hears my word and believes in who sent me has eternal life and does not come into judgment, but has passed out of death into life. Yeah. So if those shoulder plates, the onyx plates speak of the judgment of sin that the high priest bears for us.

That's a problem I was talking about. And following that judgment we are declared beautiful and glorious and full of the light of God. Yeah. Carried over his heart. When we speak of the heart we're speaking of the deep inner person who loves. Yeah. So when we see this tightly integrated outer garment with the names in two places, we're seeing God's heart visibly displayed.

Mm-hmm. The people that he finds so precious, symbolized by the precious stones, the people he finds so precious by name. Every individual one of them also has a problem that needs to be born by God himself.

Right. And that's, boy, you talk about New Testament gospel stories. That's the gospel right there. Here's a people that God loves but who have a problem, but he is going to bear the burden of that problem. He's going to solve that problem. And that's all symbolically right there, right there in the most visible spot of the high priest's clothing.

So anyone in Israel could look and say, look, my tribe's name is right there on his chest. And it's also he's carrying it on his shoulders. This guy is doing something for me with a God who loves me tremendously. Look, mine is against his heart, see. That makes me beautiful. That makes you beautiful.

He carries me and makes me beautiful. Yeah. Yeah.

It's a great picture. I mean, you could close your eyes and look at this all day and just make a lot of connections about the imagery of what God's trying to tell us about this. I mean, this is, you know, we get around to the high priest. Not only is the high priest someone who serves God, but he actually embodies God's will, God's heart for what he wants to accomplish, just like Jesus was very much that same thing. So this is God's heart displayed in the job of the high priest and in his clothing. Well, and actually, Moses actually says that after the part about the Urim and Thummim.

We'll circle back to that. Look at the final part of the last verse of this chapter. Thus Aaron shall bear the judgment of the people of Israel on his heart before the Lord continually. That's the job of the high priest. That's great.

To remind God that judgment has taken place. Yeah. Yeah.

Well, let's do the Urim and Thummim. Okay. Go ahead.

Go for it. We stopped short of that, because there's another little element in the breast piece, and this has confused people for a long time. So let's see, what do we pick up in 30? Yeah. And in the breast piece of judgment, you shall put the Urim and the Thummim, and they shall be on Aaron's heart when he goes in before the Lord. And then you get to the point you just read, thus Aaron shall bear the judgment of the people. So the Urim and the Thummim. This is the first time in the Bible, I wasn't sure that the Urim and the Thummim are mentioned. And they've been so mischaracterized and guessed about by so many religions and speculations. Well, appropriated by others.

Yeah. And I was curious, too. I couldn't remember how many times they're mentioned in the Bible.

Not very many. They're only mentioned half a dozen times. But they're mentioned very early here, this is the first.

And all the way through Ezra and Nehemiah, which are quite late in those captivities. And so they're there, but they're always connected with trying to discern God's will. So they're, in a sense, what I wrote down in my notes is that they're kind of a crude discerning tool, in a sense. And they're embedded in what might be like a pouch or something in the breast piece.

I don't know, we speculate about that, too. But it says in, so it's in the breast piece. And there are two different things that you can access. Because remember that breast piece is made of a folded piece of fabric. Yeah, right. So there's a pocket inside it. So in it, it has the kind of the inherent promise that God will give you practical direction.

That's what they're meant to be. So in fact, I had forgotten all about this. Remember when Saul was the first king of Israel, he was trying to get direction from God and God was silent. Because Saul was kind of in a messed up place at the time. And right after that, he tried to get some direction from the Urim and Thummim.

Didn't work, didn't get an answer. So as a result of that, he went out to look for that sorceress medium person, that woman from Endor. And that's what he did. But he was looking for that direction from the Urim and Thummim and it didn't come. So that's what this is, is some kind of direction thing. So again, we're back to this idea that we have not completely decoded the symbology here. But the fact that this guidance from God is somehow integrated into God rendering a judgment on our sin and creating beauty in us and the high priest is carrying this means of determining what God intends over his heart.

It's a great picture. So again, as an Israelite would look at that, they'd say, here's my name on his heart, here's my name on his shoulders, he's carrying a burden for me. And by the way, he's involved with me enough with the Urim and Thummim that he's going to give me practical direction in life to get to where God wants me to be. And of course we see that worked out in Exodus as they leave Egypt and they go across the Red Sea and they go in the Promised Land.

It's a very practical direction. That's the Urim and Thummim. It's God involved on the daily issues of life and they're part of his heart for his people. That's what this breast piece is trying to tell us. And we know later that when the Holy Spirit comes in to indwell us that Jesus said, now he will guide you.

Yeah. He'll teach you. He'll tell you what I've said.

Very practical. He'll remind you of what I've told you. So no, I wonder if that's not here too in some way. We don't know. We don't know. We have very little information on the Urim and Thummim, but all we do know is it's connected somehow with pragmatic direction from God. So let's not make a mythology about it.

No. Or build a religion on it. That's what a lot of people have because there's just not that much about it. I know.

There's just not that much about it. So what I want to finish on is what we just read before. This is the very last line.

They're just so precious. Thus Aaron shall bear the judgment of the people of Israel on his heart before the Lord regularly. That is just such a sweet picture about God's intended high priest who serves him, serves God, but for the benefit of the people that he loves, but for whom their burden he bears. We're only two elements into the six of what the high priest is supposed to wear, and you can pull all this stuff out of it.

That's why it's fun to read this and just sit down and scratch your head and wonder. Take another sip of coffee and ask yourself, wait a second, if it's on his heart, what does that mean? Yeah. It's just a beautiful picture.

So it is for glory and it is for beauty. No? Oh, absolutely.

You're worthless. No, I was just thinking about the passage that says that he himself bore our sin and his body on the cross so that we might become the righteousness of God in him. I think that fulfills, that's the fulfilling statement about this visual picture of the high priest's garments here. I kind of mangled that because I was just barely thinking it through when you looked at me. Oh, you're still working on it, I couldn't figure out what that blank look was all about. I'm like, I was thinking about something else, don't look at me.

Well and you know, we've mentioned so many times the book of Hebrews, there's so much here that the writer of Hebrews spends more than half of the book of Hebrews talking about high priest issues because it's just a very rich source of understanding the heart of God on our behalf and how he has Jesus as our high priest to not only bear our burdens but through which he loves us. So anyway, so we're at the end of our time, we're glad you're with us on More Than Ink. I'm Jim.

And I'm Dorothy. And we hope you come back because we need to look at the rest of the garments. We've got only two out of the six and it gets even richer so you're not going to want to miss it. It's very unique.

So good. Yeah, so we're glad you're with us. I hope you find us next week on More Than Ink. More Than Ink is a production of Main Street Church of Brigham City and is solely responsible for its content. To contact us with your questions or comments, just go to our website, We just sort of winged it. That's the magic of it.
Whisper: medium.en / 2023-03-05 01:28:15 / 2023-03-05 01:41:09 / 13

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