Life-Study of Exodusby Witness Lee
Printed Copy: Available Online from Living Stream Ministry
Printed Copy: Available Online from Living Stream Ministry
Exodus 28:9 and 10 say, “And you shall take two onyx stones, and engrave on them the names of the sons of Israel: six of their names on the one stone, and the names of the remaining six on the other stone, according to their birth.” In verse 12 the record goes on to say, “And you shall put the two stones upon the shoulder-pieces of the ephod, as stones of memorial for the sons of Israel; and Aaron shall bear their names before Jehovah upon his two shoulders for a memorial.” The two onyx stones must have been very close in size to the size of a man’s shoulder. This would be quite likely, since they were put on the shoulder-pieces of the ephod. I believe that these two onyx stones were flat and either oblong or rectangular in shape. Each of them had to be large enough for six of the names of the children of Israel to be engraved on it.
The shoulder-pieces were located at the place where the front and the back parts of the ephod came together, where they were joined at the shoulder. This part of the ephod must have been thicker and stronger than any other part. Furthermore, because the shoulder-pieces were of one piece with the ephod, they should not be regarded as separate from the ephod itself. These pieces were one with the ephod as a whole and, joining the two parts together, they were strong enough to bear the onyx stones. In order for the ephod to bear such heavy stones, it was necessary for the shoulder-pieces to be thick and strong.
We have seen that the ephod typifies Christ with His two natures, divinity and humanity. The two natures of Christ are mingled to bear the expression of God, signified by the gold, and the expression of man, signified by the linen. Christ also bears the expression of His heavenliness, kingship, and redemption typified respectively by the blue, the purple, and the scarlet. It is such an expression that becomes the material that bears the onyx stone.
What is signified by the two onyx stones borne upon the shoulders of the high priest? These onyx stones signify the believers, including us. When some hear this, they may say, “Perhaps you as an older brother in the Lord are signified by the onyx stone. But I certainly am not. I have been saved for only a short time. I do not have the appearance of an onyx stone. On the contrary, I have the appearance of clay or dust.” Perhaps this is your situation. Nevertheless, as long as you have been regenerated, there is at least a small amount of onyx stone within you. If you did not have the element of onyx stone in your being, you would have no interest in hearing this kind of message. The very fact that you love the Lord and are seeking Him and that you want to hear this kind of word is a strong indication that there is at least some onyx stone in you. Eventually, all the clay will be transformed into onyx stone.
With our natural being there are two aspects: the aspect of God’s creation and the aspect of the fall. Part of our natural being is the creation of God. Another part is of man’s fall. That which has its source in the fall of man will be shaken away, and that which comes from God’s creation will remain with us and be transformed. Therefore, God’s work on us accomplishes two things. On the one hand, it is shaking away, removing, the fallen aspect; on the other hand, it is uplifting and transforming the aspect of our being that is related to God’s creation to become precious stone. Of course, it takes time for the fallen element to be removed and the created element to be transformed and uplifted. Nevertheless, many of those who have been in the church life for a number of years have experienced the shaking off of the fallen element and the transformation of the created element. The result is that these saints are much weightier in Christ today than they were several years ago. Some of the fallen element has been removed, and quite an amount of God’s created element has been uplifted and transformed into precious stones.
We should not doubt the fact that we are signified by the onyx stones on the shoulders of the ephod. One day, we shall be fully transformed into onyx stone. I have the full expectation both for myself and for all the saints that eventually we shall be onyx stones in a pure and complete way. In the New Jerusalem in the new heaven and the new earth, all the believers in Christ will be precious stones.
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