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?


  1. Thank you so much for this post! I'm studying Exodus and the pomegranate issue has been bothering me for a few weeks now. What a great revelation to have from the Lord! As the person above commented, awesome!


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