Saturday, September 4, 2010

Exodus 28: Pomegranates, Bells, and the High Priest

Exo 28:33  And beneath upon the hem of it [the robe for the high priest] thou shalt make pomegranates of blue, and of purple, and of scarlet, round about the hem thereof; and bells of gold between them round about:
Exo 28:34  A golden bell and a pomegranate, a golden bell and a pomegranate, upon the hem of the robe round about.
Exo 28:35  And it shall be upon Aaron to minister: and his sound shall be heard when he goeth in unto the holy place before the LORD, and when he cometh out, that he die not.

I was taught that every detail in the Bible is important, and it is true. I was also taught that the whole Bible, from Genesis to Revelation, speaks of Jesus in some way, even if it is not immediately obvious. This also is true.
Used by permission

One time, as I was reading the passage above, I wondered about the pomegranates and the bells. What did they represent? The bells I thought I understood, but why pomegranates? And why were they on the hem of the high priest's robe? Other people have wondered this before me, but I did not try to research my question by reading other people's answers. I asked God. I meditated on this for some time, thinking about the pomegranate fruit: a globe shape with a tough rind which surrounds hundreds of seeds. Each seed is covered with a little red juice, the seeds are in groups, and each group is both held together and separated from other groups by a flexible membrane. One day, God showed me the mystery of the pomegranate: The seeds represent individual Christians, covered by Jesus' blood. They are gathered into local churches, where they cling to and support one another. Each local church is part of the whole body of Christ, and the body is held together by the Holy Spirit.

I was awed by this revelation, and still am. What a wonderful picture God painted for us, and how marvelous that each high priest, as he performed intercession for the people of Israel on the Day of Atonement, was wearing a reminder of the Church which was to come! God is great!

But I dismissed the bells, and didn't ask God about them. I assumed I knew: I thought they must represent giving praise to God. Well, that may be true, but there is another beautiful picture here, which God showed me much later. Let me explain:

Verse 35 above says, "And it [the robe] shall be upon Aaron to minister: and his sound shall be heard when he goeth in unto the holy place before the LORD, and when he cometh out, that he die not."

The High Priest [Aaron] was to wear this robe as he went into the Holy Place. Leviticus 16 records the regulations regarding this. If these rules were not correctly followed, he would die. And since he could only go in alone, the bells on his robe told those outside that the priest was alive and performing his duties before God.

How can the golden bells tell us something about Jesus? First, we must realize that gold, in scripture, represents divinity, and that the word translated 'bell' means something struck. So the golden bells represent Jesus, the Son of God, who was stricken for our sins and iniquities. Wow!

But wait, there's more: the bells were also a signal that the high priest was alive. With this thought, we can see that the bells represent the Spirit of God witnessing to Christians and seekers that Jesus, although He is not walking in a body on the earth, is ALIVE in Heaven performing his priestly duty of intercession before God for everyone who will come to Him. Wow!!

But wait, there's more: because we, as believers, are the Temple, and the Holy Spirit resides in us (1 Cor 3:16), the bells also represent each one of us, witnessing to the world that Jesus is ALIVE, and is standing before God making intercession for all who come to Him. Wow!!!

So in these three verses in the Old Testament, we find a picture of the church, and of  Jesus' death and resurrection. I want to say WOW!!!! How about you?

Wednesday, September 1, 2010

Job 32:2 What's in a Name?

Many names in the Bible are strange to us. They look funny and they sound funny, but they have meaning. In the Old Testament, the names are usually Hebrew; they are transliterated, but not translated into English. That is why they seem strange. But it is worth taking the time to look up what they mean. Here is an example:

Job 32:2  Then was kindled the wrath of Elihu the son of Barachel the Buzite, of the kindred of Ram: against Job was his wrath kindled, because he justified himself rather than God.
Elihu, Barachel, Buz, Ram-- what do these names mean?
Looking in a Hebrew lexicon, we find that Elihu means "his God," Barachel means "God has blessed," Buz means "disrespect, contempt, despised, shamed," and Ram means "high."
Now we can put these together into one thought: "His God, God, has blessed the despised from on high."
This reminds me of 1 Corinthians 1:26-31:
 1Co 1:26  For ye see your calling, brethren, how that not many wise men after the flesh, not many mighty, not many noble, are called: 27  But God hath chosen the foolish things of the world to confound the wise; and God hath chosen the weak things of the world to confound the things which are mighty; 28  And base things of the world, and things which are despised, hath God chosen, yea, and things which are not, to bring to nought things that are: 29  That no flesh should glory in his presence.
1Co 1:30  But of him are ye in Christ Jesus, who of God is made unto us wisdom, and righteousness, and sanctification, and redemption: 31  That, according as it is written, He that glorieth, let him glory in the Lord.
So don't be concerned, you who are in Christ, whether you are thought foolish, weak, or common by those in the world. God is using you to bring those things to nothing through Jesus Christ. God is blessing you from on high, with the wisdom, righteousness, sanctification, and redemption which is only to be had through His Son.