..........Contact me at Mom25dogs@gmail.com.........

Contact me at Mom25dogs@gmail.com

Sunday, July 24, 2016

Twelve Tribes Of Israel Represented On The High Priest's Breastplate

Abraham and Sarah were the parents of Isaac. He was the son of promise. God had made a covenant with Abraham (Genesis 13) and promised him a son. Abraham and Sarah had not been able to have children. So Sarah came up with a scheme to have a child. She would give Abraham permission to have sex with her handmaid, Hagar, and they would adopt the resulting child. Hagar had a son that they named Ishmael. But this was not the Son of Promise God made to Abraham in Genesis 13. Instead of waiting and trusting God, they tried to make things happen. God has plans and a purpose and we need to learn to trust Him. It is our part to trust, submitting to His Will and/or waiting on His Timing! It is not up to us to MAKE something happen; to force it; to scheme a way around to get it. God knows best. We can't read the future and we don't understand all the variables involved but we know God does know the future and does take into account all the variables. The very thing we think we HAVE to have, may end up being the worst thing that could happen to us.

For instance, let's say Jane Doe wants to get married and start a family. There is nothing wrong with her wanting a good marriage and having children. It's not a sinful desire. Along comes John Smith and she falls in love and wants him so badly. But, for whatever reason, it's not happening. She prays about it desperately. She's sick with love. Finally she decides that if she gets pregnant, he will marry her. Sure enough, she gets pregnant and they get married. Was this God answering her prayers or was it her manipulating and scheming to get what she wanted? And, once she has what she wants, is she happy? What if John Smith loses his job 5 years into the marriage and has a hard time finding another one. This results in him turning to alcohol and he becomes an alcoholic who is incapable of working, providing for his family or giving them the love they need. There was no way Jane Doe could have known the future. There was no way Jane Doe could know that John Smith had a weakness for alcohol. There is no way Jane Doe could know how it would affect their children. Now they are in a "mell of a hess" because of her scheming. Now she may be thinking of another scheme, divorce.

We must learn to submit to God's Will. We must learn to trust Him and to realize He loves us so much that He will do what is best for us. It may not be what we want or when we want it, but it is what is best for us and all those around us. It's very hard for us to learn this lesson and we will struggle and wrestle with it. Human beings want what they want and they want it NOW. I'm no different than Abraham and Sarah. I'm no different than you. Our human nature wants to do things our way. It's the nature of the beast. But as we learn more about God's love, we learn more about how to trust Him with our lives and we learn that His way really is the best for us. In our example, Jane Doe may never have married. Maybe it was God's Will for her to remain single and not have children. That's harsh, but not compared to life with John Smith and the resulting dysfunctional family. Or maybe God had a better man in store for her just down the road named Johnny Appleseed. If she had waited on God, she would have met the right man and had a family with him.

(At this point, let me be perfectly clear. We may mess things up big time like Jane Doe and Abraham and Sarah. We live with the consequences of our mistakes. But that does not mean God cannot or will not redeem the situation. He is in the business of taking care of our messes. He is a miracle worker and when we can't see a solution, that just goes to prove we aren't God! God can make something beautiful of our messes. The main thing is to learn from our mistakes. Let's say Jane Doe Smith has her alcoholic husband and two dysfunctional children but Jane has decided that God can turn this situation around. She prays and tries to submit to God and wait on His timing. She doesn't just rush to divorce court because it's the only thing she can think of to end the pain. She prays and submits her will to God and looks for God's answer. It may be that God does direct her to divorce John Smith. Or it may be that God will miraculously deliver John Smith from alcoholism. Or it may be that those dysfunctional children see their mother's situation and watch her love for God result in trust and they may turn out to be the best kids in the world who become spiritual giants! This goes to show, we don't know the future and we don't know the variables involved and how they affect others around us. Trust in the Lord and, again I say, trust in the Lord! Look to Him for solutions and submit your will to His.)

Abraham and Sarah made something happen that was NOT God's best. They couldn't wait, and didn't foresee any possibility of having a son. So they took matters into their own hands. Ishmael was the result. Ishmael was Abraham's firstborn son, but he was not the promised son, the son of Sarah, Abraham's legal wife. Abraham loved Ishmael and Ishmael had a home and was raised well until he was an adult. But he was not the birthright son, the promised son and he knew it. It must have hurt him to know he was the elder, firstborn son but NOT the promised son. That was Abraham and Sarah's fault for going around God to get what they wanted. The result was a hurting young man who fathered the Arab tribes that hate Jews and Israel today.

Wikipedia - After roaming the wilderness for some time, Ishmael and his mother settled in the Desert of Paran, where he became an expert in archery. Eventually, his mother found him a wife from the land of Egypt. They had twelve sons who each became tribal chiefs throughout the regions from Havilah to Shur (from Assyria to the border of Egypt)...Islamic traditions consider Ishmael to be the ancestor of Arab people.

Ishmael married an Egyptian woman and they had twelve sons and at least one daughter, Mahalath or Basemath, the third wife of Esau:

Genesis 25:13-18 (Modern King James Version - MKJV) And these are the names of the sons of Ishmael, by their names, according to their generations. The first-born of Ishmael was Nebajoth; and Kedar, and Adbeel, and Mibsam, (14) and Mishma, and Dumah, and Massa, (15) Hadad, and Tema and Jetur, Naphish, and Kedemah. (16) These were the sons of Ishmael, and these were their names, by their towns and by their settlements; twelve chiefs according to their nations. (17) And these were the years of the life of Ishmael, a hundred thirty-seven years. And he expired and died, and was gathered to his people. (18) And they lived from Havilah to Shur, which is before Egypt, as you go toward Assyria. And he died in the presence of all his brothers.

Back to Abraham and Sarah, in Genesis 17, God tells Abraham that Ishmael is not the son of promise.

Genesis 17:4-5 (MKJV) As for Me, behold! My covenant is with you, and you shall be a father of many nations. (5) Neither shall your name any more be called Abram, but your name shall be Abraham. For I have made you a father of many nations.

Genesis 17:15-21 (MKJV) And God said to Abraham, As for Sarai your wife, you shall not call her name Sarai, but her name shall be Sarah. (16) And I will bless her, and give you a son also of her. Yes, I will bless her, and she shall be a mother of nations, kings of people shall be from her. (17) And Abraham fell upon his face and laughed, and said in his heart, Shall a child be born to him that is a hundred years old? And shall Sarah, who is ninety years old, bear? (18) And Abraham said to God, Oh that Ishmael might live before You! (19) And God said, Sarah your wife shall bear you a son indeed. And you shall call his name Isaac. And I will establish My covenant with him for an everlasting covenant, and with his seed after him. (20) And as for Ishmael, I have heard you. Behold, I have blessed him, and will make him fruitful, and will multiply him exceedingly. He shall father twelve chiefs, and I will make him a great nation. (21) But I will establish My covenant with Isaac, whom Sarah shall bear to you at this set time in the next year.

Genesis 25:9-10 (MKJV) And his sons Isaac and Ishmael buried him in the cave of Machpelah, in the field of Ephron the son of Zohar the Hittite, which is before Mamre, (10) the field which Abraham bought from the sons of Heth. Abraham and Sarah his wife were buried there.

Isaac married Rebecca and they had twins, Esau and Jacob. Jacob, later renamed Israel, was the father of the Twelve Tribes of Israel. Between his wives and their handmaidens, he had 12 sons and they were the Hebrew tribes, the Jews.

All the Jews today are descendants of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob, their forefathers.

God spoke to Moses and not only gave him the Ten Commandments, but the laws in the first 5 books of the Old Testament in the Bible, the Pentateuch. These instructions included how God wanted the Tabernacle built, the accoutrements (called furniture) in the Tabernacle, the vestments of the High Priest and the way to properly worship in the Tabernacle and how to make the sacrifices required.

Part of the vestments of the High Priest was a breastplate mounted on the ephod. This breastplate was attached to two onyx stones in gold fittings sitting attached to the shoulders. The names of the Twelve Tribes was engraved on the two onyx stones. The breastplate hung on the chest and it had twelve precious stones with the name of a tribe inscribed on each stone. There were 4 rows of 3 stones.

Exodus 39:2-14 (Modern King James Version - MKJV) And he made the ephod of gold, blue, and purple, and scarlet, and fine twined bleached linen. (3) And they beat the gold into thin plates, and cut threads to work it into the blue, and into the purple, and into the scarlet, and into the bleached linen, the work of an artisan. (4) They made shoulder-pieces for it, to couple it together. It was coupled together by the two edges. (5) And its fastening band which was on it, was of it, according to its work; gold, blue, and purple, and scarlet, and fine twined bleached linen, even as Jehovah commanded Moses. (6) And they made stones of onyx set in plaited work of gold, engraved as signets are engraved, with the names of the sons of Israel. (7) And he put them on the shoulders of the ephod, stones for a memorial to the sons of Israel, even as Jehovah commanded Moses. (8) And he made the breast-pocket a work of an artisan, like the work of the ephod, of gold, blue, and purple, and scarlet, and fine twined bleached linen; (9) it was square. They made the breast-pocket double. Its length was a span, and its breadth a span, doubled. (10) And they set four rows of stones in it. One row was a ruby, a topaz, and a carbuncle, the first row. (11) And the second row: an turquoise, a sapphire, and a jasper. (12) And the third row: a jacinth, an agate, and an amethyst. (13) And the fourth row: a chrysolite, an agate, and a jasper; set in plaited work of gold in their settings. (14) And the stones were according to the names of the sons of Israel, twelve, according to their names, like the engravings of a signet, every one with its name according to the twelve tribes.

Exodus 39:2-14 (Young's Literal Translation - YLT) And he maketh the ephod, of gold, blue, and purple, and scarlet, and twined linen, (3) and they expand the plates of gold, and have cut off wires to work in the midst of the blue, and in the midst of the purple, and in the midst of the scarlet, and in the midst of the linen--work of a designer; (4) shoulder-pieces they have made for it, joining; at its two ends it is joined. (5) And the girdle of his ephod which is on it is of the same, according to its work, of gold, blue, and purple, and scarlet, and twined linen, as Jehovah hath commanded Moses. (6) And they prepare the shoham stones, set, embroidered with gold, opened with openings of a signet, by the names of the sons of Israel; (7) and he setteth them on the shoulders of the ephod--stones of memorial for the sons of Israel, as Jehovah hath commanded Moses. (8) And he maketh the breastplate, work of a designer, like the work of the ephod, of gold, blue, and purple, and scarlet, and twined linen; (9) it hath been square; double they have made the breastplate, a span its length, and a span its breadth, doubled. (10) And they fill in it four rows of stones; a row of a sardius, a topaz, and a carbuncle is the one row; (11) and the second row an emerald, a sapphire, and a diamond; (12) and the third row an opal, an agate, and an amethyst; (13) and the fourth row a beryl, an onyx, and a jasper--set, embroidered with gold, in their settings. (14) And the stones, according to the names of the sons of Israel, are twelve, according to their names, openings of a signet, each according to his name, for the twelve tribes.

Exodus 39:2-14 (Easy To Read Version - ERV) They made the ephod from gold thread, fine linen, and blue, purple, and red yarn. (3) (They hammered the gold into thin strips and cut the gold into long threads. They wove the gold into the blue, purple, and red yarn and fine linen. This was the work of a very skilled person.) (4) They made the shoulder pieces for the ephod. They tied these shoulder pieces to the two corners of the ephod. (5) They wove the cloth belt and fastened it to the ephod. It was made the same way as the ephod--they used gold thread, fine linen, and blue, purple, and red yarn, just as the LORD commanded Moses. (6) The workers put the onyx stones for the ephod in gold settings. They wrote the names of the sons of Israel on these stones. (7) Then they put these jewels on the shoulder pieces of the ephod. These jewels were to help God to remember the Israelites. This was done as the LORD commanded Moses. (8) Then they made the judgment pouch. It was the work of a skilled person, just like the ephod. It was made from gold threads, fine linen, and blue, purple, and red yarn. (9) The judgment pouch was folded in half to make a square pocket. It was 1 span long and 1 span wide. (10) Then the workers put four rows of beautiful jewels on the judgment pouch. The first row had a ruby, a topaz, and a beryl. (11) The second row had a turquoise, a sapphire, and an emerald. (12) The third row had a jacinth, an agate, and an amethyst. (13) The fourth row had a chrysolite, an onyx, and a jasper. All these jewels were set in gold. (14) There were twelve jewels on the judgment pouch--one jewel for each of the sons of Israel. Each stone had the name of one of the sons of Israel carved onto it, like a seal.


For more on the vestments of the High Priest and more on the precious gems, see my blog post on the High Priest.

I've tried to do some research on these stones and their attachment to each tribe. This has been a much more difficult task than I thought. It seems everyone has different idea of what some of these stones were and which stone went with which tribe. So please don't take my work as absolute. I made some charts of what I've done. You can click on the images to bring them up and try to zoom. You can also save the image to your computer and view it as an image file. They are .jpg files.





Another chart I made up.



Wikipedia was a list of gemstones mentioned in the Bible and they are assigned to different tribes than my chart.

These gemstones are mentioned in other places in the Bible. For instance, in Revelation 21 when describing the heavenly city, the New Jerusalem. It is a huge city in a cube shape and it rests on 12 foundational layers of gemstones and has 12 gates of pearl.



Revelation 21:10-23 (MKJV) And he carried me away in the Spirit to a great and high mountain and showed me that great city, the holy Jerusalem, descending out of Heaven from God, (11) having the glory of God. And its light was like a stone most precious, even like a jasper stone, clear as crystal. (12) And it had a great and high wall, with twelve gates. And on the gates were twelve angels, and having names inscribed, which are the names of the twelve tribes of the sons of Israel: (13) From the east three gates, from the north three gates, from the south three gates, and from the west three gates. (14) And the wall of the city had twelve foundations, and in them were the names of the twelve apostles of the Lamb. (15) And he who talked with me had a golden reed to measure the city and its gates and its wall. (16) And the city lies four-square, and the length is as large as the breadth. And he measured the city with the reed, twelve thousand stadia. The length and the breadth and the height of it are equal. (17) And he measured its wall, a hundred and forty-four cubits, according to the measure of a man, that is, of an angel. (18) And the foundation of its wall was jasper; and the city was pure gold, like clear glass. (19) And the foundations of the wall of the city had been adorned with every precious stone. The first foundation, jasper; the second, sapphire; the third, chalcedony; the fourth, emerald; (20) the fifth, sardonyx; the sixth, sardius; the seventh, chrysolite; the eighth, beryl; the ninth, topaz; the tenth, chrysoprasus; the eleventh, hyacinth; the twelfth, amethyst. (21) And the twelve gates were twelve pearls. Respectively, each one of the gates was one pearl. And the street of the city was pure gold, as transparent glass. (22) And I saw no temple in it, for the Lord God Almighty is its temple, even the Lamb. (23) And the city had no need of the sun, nor of the moon, that they might shine in it, for the glory of God illuminated it, and its lamp is the Lamb.

Revelation 21:19-20 (YLT) and the foundations of the wall of the city with every precious stone have been adorned; the first foundation jasper; the second, sapphire; the third, chalcedony; the fourth, emerald; (20) the fifth, sardonyx; the sixth, sardius; the seventh, chrysolite; the eighth, beryl; the ninth, topaz; the tenth, chrysoprasus; the eleventh, jacinth; the twelfth, amethyst.

Revelation 21:10-23 (ERV) The angel carried me away by the Spirit to a very large and high mountain. The angel showed me the holy city, Jerusalem. The city was coming down out of heaven from God. (11) The city was shining with the glory of God. It was shining bright like a very expensive jewel, like a jasper. It was clear as crystal. (12) The city had a large, high wall with twelve gates. There were twelve angels at the gates. On each gate was written the name of one of the twelve tribes of Israel. (13) There were three gates on the east, three gates on the north, three gates on the south, and three gates on the west. (14) The walls of the city were built on twelve foundation stones. On the stones were written the names of the twelve apostles of the Lamb. (15) The angel who talked with me had a measuring rod made of gold. The angel had this rod to measure the city, its gates, and its wall. (16) The city was built in a square. Its length was equal to its width. The angel measured the city with the rod. The city was 12,000 stadia long, 12,000 stadia wide, and 12,000 stadia high. (17) The angel also measured the wall. It was 144 cubits high. (The angel was using the same measurement that people use.) (18) The wall was made of jasper. The city was made of pure gold, as pure as glass. (19) The foundation stones of the city walls had every kind of expensive jewels in them. The first foundation stone was jasper, the second was sapphire, the third was chalcedony, the fourth was emerald, (20) the fifth was onyx, the sixth was carnelian, the seventh was yellow quartz, the eighth was beryl, the ninth was topaz, the tenth was chrysoprase, the eleventh was jacinth, and the twelfth was amethyst. (21) The twelve gates were twelve pearls. Each gate was made from one pearl. The street of the city was made of pure gold, as clear as glass. (22) I did not see a temple in the city. The Lord God All-Powerful and the Lamb were the city's temple. (23) The city did not need the sun or the moon to shine on it. The glory of God gave the city light. The Lamb was the city's lamp.

Some of the biblical names given for the jewels are ambiguous and scholars have tried to translate it into the gems we know in our modern time. I would really like to know why God chose each stone and assigned it to one of the Twelve tribes and one of the twelve foundations of the New Jerusalem. But it may be one of those questions we don't get definitive answer to until we get to Heaven.

I have learned that there are no insignificant words. If God ordered a certain gemstone to be used for a particular tribe, there is a reason.

When it comes down to it though, whether I ever understand or not, my faith is strengthened just knowing the riches of God's Kingdom! I remember, when my husband and I got engaged, he thought he needed to buy me an engagement ring. He didn't have the money for one and I told him it wasn't necessary, we needed to be wise with our money. A few years after we were married and our finances loosened up, I began to really want my diamond ring. He and my mother got together and he bought me a 1/2 carat diamond ring for Valentine's Day. He got a really pretty clear solitaire and I was so proud. I still love it. We didn't have a lot of money so we paid dearly for that little 1/2 carat diamond I love so much. It represents my husband's love for me and my love and commitment to him.

Our nieces and nephews (who are married) were able to do even better when they got engaged. Such beautiful diamond engagement rings would have made me think I had died and gone to heaven!  But even those nice diamonds easily fit in a ring on a finger. Now just imagine a city built of pure gold, with foundations of precious gemstones!!! God created gemstones people will kill over and hoard. To the Creator they are NOT rare.

I often imagine how it will be in heaven when we human beings finally get it! God is our treasure! Not silver, gold or precious gems! Those are only creations. The real treasure is the Creator! And once we finally get it, then God will release His Creation in ample abundance. Nothing will be rare, and we will walk on streets of gold and live in mansions of glory because we will see it merely as God's provision and not make idols of them. On this earth today, we sinfully covet and lust after things instead of desiring the Provider of these things. It's like worshiping the golden egg instead of the goose who laid the golden egg. We lie, cheat, steal, and murder because we are greedy and lust after the world's "treasure". But one day, we will appreciate these things as provisions from our glorious Father and we will worship Him for providing them for us. We will NOT be tempted to make idols of things like we do now. Oh, I can't wait for that glorious day!

I don't worship the gemstones or the gold that is so pure it is clear as glass. I worship the God who is so powerful that He can make those things and in such abundance that they can be laid as foundations to a huge city. I worship the God who loves me so much that He abundantly provides for my every need out of His riches in glory. I worship a God who loves me so much that He created the earth with everything I need to sustain my life. And when we get to Heaven, the new Heaven and the New Earth, with the New Jerusalem, will be beyond anything I can ever imagine, much as I try. Without the taint of sin (which produces death and decay), the new Earth will be perfect, the way God always intended it to be. How I love God for this second chance! I'll get to enjoy it for eternity. Is it any wonder I praise His Name!!!!

No comments:

My Most Popular Posts

Total Pageviews

Contact Me

To contact me, email me at Mom25dogs@gmail.com