Exodus 28:15-30 - The Breastpiece of Judgement

Exodus : From Bondage to Glory  •  Sermon  •  Submitted   •  Presented   •  43:08
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Exodus 28:15–30 ESV
15 “You shall make a breastpiece of judgment, in skilled work. In the style of the ephod you shall make it—of gold, blue and purple and scarlet yarns, and fine twined linen shall you make it. 16 It shall be square and doubled, a span its length and a span its breadth. 17 You shall set in it four rows of stones. A row of sardius, topaz, and carbuncle shall be the first row; 18 and the second row an emerald, a sapphire, and a diamond; 19 and the third row a jacinth, an agate, and an amethyst; 20 and the fourth row a beryl, an onyx, and a jasper. They shall be set in gold filigree. 21 There shall be twelve stones with their names according to the names of the sons of Israel. They shall be like signets, each engraved with its name, for the twelve tribes. 22 You shall make for the breastpiece twisted chains like cords, of pure gold. 23 And you shall make for the breastpiece two rings of gold, and put the two rings on the two edges of the breastpiece. 24 And you shall put the two cords of gold in the two rings at the edges of the breastpiece. 25 The two ends of the two cords you shall attach to the two settings of filigree, and so attach it in front to the shoulder pieces of the ephod. 26 You shall make two rings of gold, and put them at the two ends of the breastpiece, on its inside edge next to the ephod. 27 And you shall make two rings of gold, and attach them in front to the lower part of the two shoulder pieces of the ephod, at its seam above the skillfully woven band of the ephod. 28 And they shall bind the breastpiece 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 breastpiece shall not come loose from the ephod. 29 So Aaron shall bear the names of the sons of Israel in the breastpiece of judgment on his heart, when he goes into the Holy Place, to bring them to regular remembrance before the Lord. 30 And in the breastpiece 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. Thus Aaron shall bear the judgment of the people of Israel on his heart before the Lord regularly.


Last week we began looking at the garments of the high priest
The Ephod
His clothing was connected to His priestly function


Made of fabric - not metal
Span - The distance between the thumb and little finger of a spread hand. Equal to half a cubit—about 9 inches
Twelve Jewels
Their names on the jewels
God’s treasure - precious to God
Ex 19:5-6 “Now therefore, if you will indeed obey my voice and keep my covenant, you shall be my treasured possession among all peoples, for all the earth is mine; and you shall be to me a kingdom of priests and a holy nation.”
Jewels in Redemptive History
Eden - Ezek 28:13 “You were in Eden, the garden of God; every precious stone was your covering, sardius, topaz, and diamond, beryl, onyx, and jasper, sapphire, emerald, and carbuncle; and crafted in gold were your settings and your engravings. On the day that you were created they were prepared.”
John Mackay, “The priest in his mediatorial role may have been thought of as representing mankind in their innocence in Eden before they fell into sin and became estranged from God. It was the priest’s role to effect a return to that early harmonious relationship.”
Heavenly realities
Ezekiel 48:30–35 ESV
30 “These shall be the exits of the city: On the north side, which is to be 4,500 cubits by measure, 31 three gates, the gate of Reuben, the gate of Judah, and the gate of Levi, the gates of the city being named after the tribes of Israel. 32 On the east side, which is to be 4,500 cubits, three gates, the gate of Joseph, the gate of Benjamin, and the gate of Dan. 33 On the south side, which is to be 4,500 cubits by measure, three gates, the gate of Simeon, the gate of Issachar, and the gate of Zebulun. 34 On the west side, which is to be 4,500 cubits, three gates, the gate of Gad, the gate of Asher, and the gate of Naphtali. 35 The circumference of the city shall be 18,000 cubits. And the name of the city from that time on shall be, The Lord Is There.”
New Earth
Revelation 21:12–13 ESV
12 It had a great, high wall, with twelve gates, and at the gates twelve angels, and on the gates the names of the twelve tribes of the sons of Israel were inscribed— 13 on the east three gates, on the north three gates, on the south three gates, and on the west three gates.
Revelation 21:19–20 ESV
19 The foundations of the wall of the city were adorned with every kind of jewel. The first was jasper, the second sapphire, the third agate, the fourth emerald, 20 the fifth onyx, the sixth carnelian, the seventh chrysolite, the eighth beryl, the ninth topaz, the tenth chrysoprase, the eleventh jacinth, the twelfth amethyst.
Over his heart (29-30)
He carried the people on his shoulders and close to his heart.
He was to have their interest at heart.
Heb 4:15 “For we do not have a high priest who is unable to sympathize with our weaknesses"
Regular remembrance before the Lord (29)
High priest is a representative of the people
Heb 5:1 “For every high priest chosen from among men is appointed to act on behalf of men in relation to God, to offer gifts and sacrifices for sins.”
Is 53:5-6 “But he was pierced for our transgressions; he was crushed for our iniquities; upon him was the chastisement that brought us peace, and with his wounds we are healed. 6 All we like sheep have gone astray; we have turned—every one—to his own way; and the Lord has laid on him the iniquity of us all.”
Our names on His heart
Christian, you can know that in Christ, you are accepted.
God accepts believers as He accepts Christ
All the beauty and glory of Christ
God’s perfect delight in His Son


The breastpiece was folded double to create a pocket or pouch for storing the Urim and Thummim (30)
Judgment - “a breatpiece for making decisions” (NIV - in 15 & 29, 30)
The means of making decisions for God’s people over His heart before the Lord (30)
Urim and Thummim
Urim - Something to make known God’s will (judgment). Related to the words for fire and light, but also curse.
Thummim - “perfections”
“lights and perfections” may suggest shining precious stones or metal
It may have a meaning of curse and blessing.
Some explanation is given in 1 Sam 14:37-42
1 Samuel 14:37–42 ESV
37 And Saul inquired of God, “Shall I go down after the Philistines? Will you give them into the hand of Israel?” But he did not answer him that day. 38 And Saul said, “Come here, all you leaders of the people, and know and see how this sin has arisen today. 39 For as the Lord lives who saves Israel, though it be in Jonathan my son, he shall surely die.” But there was not a man among all the people who answered him. 40 Then he said to all Israel, “You shall be on one side, and I and Jonathan my son will be on the other side.” And the people said to Saul, “Do what seems good to you.” 41 Therefore Saul said, “O Lord God of Israel, why have you not answered your servant this day? If this guilt is in me or in Jonathan my son, O Lord, God of Israel, give Urim. But if this guilt is in your people Israel, give Thummim.” And Jonathan and Saul were taken, but the people escaped. 42 Then Saul said, “Cast the lot between me and my son Jonathan.” And Jonathan was taken.
Additional OT use:
Ezra 2:63 “The governor told them that they were not to partake of the most holy food, until there should be a priest to consult Urim and Thummim.”
The commissioning of Joshua in Num 27:21 “And he shall stand before Eleazar the priest, who shall inquire for him by the judgment of the Urim before the Lord. At his word they shall go out, and at his word they shall come in, both he and all the people of Israel with him, the whole congregation.””
1 Sam 28:6 “And when Saul inquired of the Lord, the Lord did not answer him, either by dreams, or by Urim, or by prophets.”
Holy dice
The Magic 8-ball
has twenty possible answers, including ten affirmative answers, five non-committal answers, and five negative answers
Possibly gems or stones of different colors, like black and white
This could be the means b y which lots were cast in Israel at any time.
God’s sovereignty
Prov 16:33 “The lot is cast into the lap, but its every decision is from the Lord.”
Only for the leader of God’s people through the High Priest
Only related to matters that they could not know
Yes or no - either or
Our lack of knowledge prevents us from using them today
God’s plan
Heb 1:1-2 “Long ago, at many times and in many ways, God spoke to our fathers by the prophets, 2 but in these last days he has spoken to us by his Son”
In Jesus, revelation is complete - No further revelation is needed.
God has already told us what we need to know - The gospel
To know God’s will, we must study and obey God’s Word
The Holy Spirit illuminates the Word and applies it to our situations.
James 1:5 “If any of you lacks wisdom, let him ask God, who gives generously to all without reproach, and it will be given him.”
We seek and find our wisdom in Christ
1 Cor 1:30 “And because of him you are in Christ Jesus, who became to us wisdom from God, righteousness and sanctification and redemption,”

Our Great High Priest

In Christ the Christian is accepted by God
As the High Priest He brings a greater sacrifice, Himself
Gal 2:20 “the life I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me.”
Eph 5:2 “And walk in love, as Christ loved us and gave himself up for us, a fragrant offering and sacrifice to God.”
Rev 1:5 “To him who loves us and has freed us from our sins by his blood”
Jesus is that High Priest
Hebrews 8:1–2 ESV
1 Now the point in what we are saying is this: we have such a high priest, one who is seated at the right hand of the throne of the Majesty in heaven, 2 a minister in the holy places, in the true tent that the Lord set up, not man.
He carries our names to the Father and intercedes for us.
His people are dear to Him and their names are on His heart
Closing Hymn: A Debtor to Mercy Alone
Benediction: “since we have a great priest over the house of God, let us draw near with a true heart in full assurance of faith, with our hearts sprinkled clean from an evil conscience and our bodies washed with pure water.”
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