The previous Parashah described the Tent of Meeting, or Tabernacle, and now we get to the regulations about those serving in the tent. Aaron and his sons were chosen by God to be His Cohen HaGadol, His High Priests, and only those who are direct descendants are to carry on in this office. The clothing they are to wear, the special things for the High Priest (Ephod, breastplate and mitre) and the sanctification ceremony are all outlined in great detail. The last thing mentioned is the altar and it’s manufacture.
The breastplate had 12 brilliant gems, one for each tribe of Israel with that tribe’s name engraved on it, and it was worn over the heart. In biblical psychology the heart is the seat of intellect, not feeling, so people who are “wise-hearted” are those God has given special knowledge to (Exodus 28:3). The Urim and Thummim (light and perfection) are also to be in the breastplate and worn over the heart.
The breastplate is called the breastplate of judgement: the people and the means of judgement (Urim and Thummim) are to be close to the heart of the one who is God’s representative to the people. I believe that this demonstrates to us that God’s judgement is to be intellectually influenced. It is to be totally fair. Of course, I also have to ask myself where, if judgement is to be unemotional, does mercy fit in? Mercy is certainly not something that is a mathematical equation or something we can intellectualize. It is an emotional feeling; it stems from compassion and love. Can these two things really exist together? I don’t know. God is fair, and He tempers His judgments with compassionate mercy, but (then, again) He has been awesome and totalitarian in many of His judgments. God has had entire nations and peoples completed destroyed. Frankly, I don’t know how this all works together, and I was thinking of just deleting this entire section, but it raises questions. I think questions before the Lord are good things, so I am leaving this here for you to think over, on your own, and to discuss with God. If you have an answer, or something to add, please comment so we can all discuss this. The topic is: how can God judge fairly and still have compassion and mercy?
One other thing I find interesting: the Urim and Thummim, which are mysterious (we don’t even know what they were) are used to determine God’s will. They may have been some kind of dice that were used for throwing lots. They are mentioned in some of the writings of the Prophets (Nevi’im) but pretty much by David’s time they are not mentioned any more in the Tanakh. These means of determining God’s will were obviously important during the time the people were in the desert, and under Joshua. As time went on, they became less important, and we also see as time went on the people got further and further away from God; eventually, we got so far away from Him that we were nearly destroyed.
With Yeshua, we have been reconciled with God and can (again) draw close to Him. So, will we again see the Urim and Thummim? I don’t think so, because what was used to determine God’s will is now not over our hearts, but inside our hearts. The Ruach HaKodesh, the Holy Spirit, is how we can know God’s will for our lives. It is our Comforter, our Guardian, our own “Jiminy Cricket” keeping us on the straight and narrow. We don’t have to have a physical thing to help us understand what God wants for us anymore because we have His very Spirit living inside of us.
As we are told in Jeremiah 31:31:
But this is the covenant which I will make with the house of Israel after those days,” declares the LORD, “I will put My law within them and on their heart I will write it; and I will be their God, and they shall be My people.
The Urim and Thummim have been replaced by the Ruach HaKodesh as our means of understanding what God wants in our lives. For me, that underscores even more than usual the need for people to accept their Messiah, especially the Jewish people, because without accepting Yeshua as our Messiah we can’t receive the Ruach HaKodesh. Without the Ruach, we can’t know God’s will for our lives. It is all so clear: first, after Yeshua’s resurrection, the next major event is the destruction of the Temple. No longer can we bring our sin sacrifice to the Lord- Yeshua was the last and complete sacrifice for sin, and through His sacrifice we are now reconciled and cleansed before the Lord. With the destruction of the Temple we also lost forever the records of the lineage of the people to prove who is a true child of Israel, and more important than that, who can serve as Cohen Hagadol. And that’s because we don’t need that anymore: Yeshua is now the Cohen Hagadol for all eternity, and the separation between the Jew and the Gentile doesn’t exist in the body of Messiah (Galatians 3:28).
If we look at the history of the events that occurred before and after Yeshua’s appearance on Earth, we can see the logical progression of salvation, the gradual development of the plan for eternity. Today we see the regathering of the children of Israel back to the land of their fathers, and God’s judgment on the nations coming to fruition. Terrorism, El Nino, global warming, wars, diseases, and terrible earthquakes and Tsunami’s occurring all over the world. Do you think these are just coincidence? Yes, they have always been here but throughout the recorded history of these events today there are more of them, and they are becoming more fierce and regular. Just because science says some of these are the result of man-made problems doesn’t mean that they aren’t part of God’s plan. Throughout the bible we see God had used people to accomplish His goals more often than by some miraculous divine intervention.
We are living in prophetic times, and we need to have the courage to tell people, whether they believe us or not, about Yeshua so that their blood is on their own head and not ours.
Ask God to show you what His plan is for you, listen to the Ruach HaKodesh in your heart, and take action. Don’t wait until the Groom arrives to fill your lamps with oil.