Life-Study of Exodusby Witness Lee
Printed Copy: Available Online from Living Stream Ministry
Printed Copy: Available Online from Living Stream Ministry
In this message we shall continue our study of the Urim and the Thummim. Exodus 28:30 says, “And you shall put in the breastplate of judgment the Urim and the Thummim, and they shall be upon Aaron’s heart when he goes in before Jehovah, and Aaron shall bear the judgment of the sons of Israel upon his heart before Jehovah continually.” I believe that the Urim and the Thummim are the most mysterious parts of the garments worn by the high priest. If we would understand the Urim and the Thummim, we should study the Old Testament and also consider our spiritual experience.
In studying the Urim and the Thummim, we need to follow the principle that the types in Exodus, Leviticus, Numbers, and Deuteronomy are types of Christ. In these books there are types of the individual Christ and also of the corporate Christ, the church. This means that in the Pentateuch there are types of Christ Himself and types of Christ with the church. For example, we have the ark typifying Christ, and the tabernacle, made of forty-eight boards, typifying the church. Furthermore, with the priestly garments we have types of Christ and the church. The ephod typifies the expression of Christ, and the breastplate worn by the high priest typifies the church. Therefore, the breastplate on the ephod is a type of the church borne by Christ.
I would encourage the saints to take the time necessary to study the types of Christ with the church in the Pentateuch. I am very grateful to the Lord that during the years I was with the Brethren I learned biblical typology. Many of the types are not new to me. However, understanding the application of these types to our experience requires further study. In this message let us study the Urim and the Thummim according to the Old Testament and also try to apply this type to our experience according to today’s need.
In addition to 28:30, there are a number of references to the Urim and the Thummim in the Old Testament. Leviticus 8:8 says, “And he put the breastplate upon him: also he put in the breastplate the Urim and the Thummim.” According to Numbers 27:21, the Lord said to Moses concerning Joshua, “And he shall stand before Eleazar the priest, who shall ask counsel for him after the judgment of Urim before the Lord: at his word shall they go out, and at his word shall they come in, both he, and all the children of Israel with him, even all the congregation.” Ezra 2:63 and Nehemiah 7:65 speak of the Urim and the Thummim with respect to the same historical situation. Ezra 2:63 says, “And the Tir-shatha said unto them, that they should not eat of the most holy things, till there stood up a priest with Urim and with Thummim.” The Urim and the Thummim are also referred to in Deuteronomy 33:8-10 and in 1 Samuel 23:6, 9-12 and 28:6.
Concerning the Urim and the Thummim, we have been helped by an appendix in David Baron’s book The Ancient Scriptures and the Modern Jew.The Urim and the Thummim were two items placed into the breastplate in addition to the twelve precious stones. In Hebrew the word Urim means lights, illuminators, and Thummim means completers, perfecters. The placing of the Urim and the Thummim into the breastplate caused the breastplate to become the breastplate of judgment.
According to the history in the Old Testament, the Urim and the Thummim were placed upon a number of different persons. The first application was to Aaron (Lev. 8:8). Although Aaron bore the breastplate with the Urim and the Thummim, it is doubtful that he ever made use of the Urim and Thummim. During the time Aaron was high priest, Moses was still alive. Moses was an extraordinary person, and the Bible tells us that God spoke to him directly, without any means, instrument, or intermediary. Exodus 33:11 says, “And the Lord spake unto Moses face to face, as a man speaketh unto his friend.” Numbers 12:8 indicates that the Lord spoke with Moses “mouth to mouth, even apparently, and not in dark speeches.” Because the Lord spoke to Moses in such a direct and intimate way, there was no need during his lifetime for the Lord to make His will known to Aaron by means of the Urim and the Thummim. Aaron died before Moses did. Hence, even though Aaron wore the ephod with the breastplate and the Urim and the Thummim, he did not use them. In other words, during the time of Aaron’s priesthood, God did not speak to His people through the Urim and the Thummim, for He had a person, Moses, with whom He spoke face to face.
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