Derek Prince - Born Again Into A Kingly Race
All right. Going on to verses 22–28: "And you shall make on the breastpiece chains of twisted cordage work in pure gold. And you shall make on the breastpiece two rings of gold, and shall put the two rings on the two ends of the breastpiece. And you shall put the two cords of gold on the two rings at the ends of the breastpiece. And you shall put the other two ends of the two cords on the two filigree settings, and put them on the shoulder pieces of the ephod, at the front of it. And you shall make two rings of gold and shall place them on the two ends of the breastpiece, on the edge of it, which is toward the inner side of the ephod. And you shall make two rings of gold, and put them on the bottom of the two shoulder pieces of the ephod, on the front of it close to the place where it is joined, above the skillfully woven band of the ephod. And they shall bind the breastpiece by its rings to the rings of the ephod with a blue cord, that it may be on the skillfully woven band of the ephod, and that the breastpiece may not come loose from the ephod".
In other words, when the priest's body moved it wouldn't hang out or shake because it was tied top and bottom with gold rings fastened with blue cords. And at the top it was also fastened to the shoulder pieces on the ephod so that the whole thing again was totally united. And to me the cords of blue speak of that which is joined in heaven and nothing on earth can separate so that no matter what takes place on earth, our high priest always carries our names on his shoulders and over his heart he has each of us individually on his heart. And as long as he wears the ephod, the names must be there, bound with blue cords. In other words, the picture of the high priest is one totally committed to the welfare of God's people. Totally committed to represent them faithfully before God. We'll go on just a little longer. We go to verses 29–30. Here is where we have something that takes a little explaining.
"And Aaron shall carry the names of the sons of Israel in the breastpiece of judgment over his heart when he enters the holy place, for a memorial before the LORD continually". That's intercession. It's continual lifting up of the names of God's people. I'll read them once more. Exodus 28–30: "And Aaron shall carry the names of the sons of Israel in the breastpiece of judgment over his heart when he enters the holy place, for a memorial before the LORD continually. And you shall put in the breastpiece of judgment the Urim and Thummim, and they shall be over Aaron's heart when he goes in before the LORD; and Aaron shall carry the judgment of the sons of Israel over his heart before the LORD continually".
We need to say a little bit about those two Hebrew words Urim and Thummim, which are normally translated "light and perfection". And the New International Version, as I said, translates it "a breastpiece for making decisions," which brings out the point that these two, whatever they were, in the breastpiece were used somehow to discern God's decisions in certain matters for the children of Israel. the New International Version, as I said, translates it "a breastpiece for making decisions," which brings out the point that these two, whatever they were, in the breastpiece were used somehow to discern God's decisions in certain matters for the children of Israel.
Traditionally, it's been held that they were two stones, some kind of precious stones, and that in certain circumstances when God wished to communicate His decision to the people of Israel through the high priest, one or other of the stones would become supernaturally illuminated. And according to which stone it was, that would indicate basically whether it was yes or no. Now, we could look for a moment at some examples of the use of Urim and Thummim in the Scriptures. The references are given there in your note outlines.
We'll turn, first of all, to Numbers 27:21. Speaking about Joshua who was to take over from Moses as leader of the children of Israel, the Lord said: "Moreover, he [that's Joshua] shall stand before Eleazar the priest, who shall inquire for him by the judgment of the Urim before the LORD. At his command they shall go out and at his command they shall come in". It seems to place Joshua on a slightly different level from Moses. Moses heard direct from the Lord, communicated with the Lord face to face. But Joshua was to get some of his communication at least from the Lord through the high priest by these two stones. And when he wanted a decision, "Shall we go out"? "Shall we come in"? he would go to the high priest. The high priest would pray or do whatever and the stone would give the answer. That much I think is clear.
Let's look also in Deuteronomy 33:8–10. Deuteronomy 33:8-10. This is the blessings of the twelve tribes. This is the blessing of Levi, the priestly tribe. And of Levi he said, "Let Thy Thummim and Thy Urim belong to Thy godly man [that's Levi], whom Thou didst prove at Massah, with whom Thou didst contend at the waters of Meribah; who said of his father and his mother, 'I did not consider them'; and he did not acknowledge his brothers, nor did he regard his own sons, for they observed Thy word, and kept Thy covenant. They shall teach Thine ordinances to Jacob, and Thy law to Israel. They shall put incense before Thee, and whole burnt offerings on Thine altar". Those are the priestly functions. But included in the priestly functions was the exercise, or shall we say discernment, by Urim and Thummim.
And then there's a clear example in the experience of David in 1 Samuel 23. David was now a fugitive, and King Saul was seeking to capture him and kill him. And this is an incident here, verses 6–12: Now it came about, when Abiathar the son of Ahimelech fled to David at Keilah, that he came down with an ephod in his hand. He was the son of the high priest that had been murdered by King Saul. And he came as a priest with his distinctly priestly garment, the ephod. When it was told Saul that David had come to Keilah, Saul said, "God has delivered him into my hand, for he shut himself in by entering a city with double gates and bars". I just want to note in passing that when a man is deceived he can be very deceived. Saul was preparing to murder David and he actually attributed the opportunity to God. But I have found out that when religious people get really deceived they usually blame their deceptions on God. So he said, "God has delivered him into my hand". That's just by the way.
So Saul summoned all the people for war, to go down to Keilah to besiege David and his men. Now David knew that Saul was plotting evil against him; so he said to Abiathar the priest, "Bring the ephod here". Then David said, "O LORD God of Israel, Thy servant has heard for certain that Saul is seeking to come to Keilah to destroy the city on my account. Will the men of Keilah surrender me into his hand? Will Saul come down just as Thy servant has heard? O LORD God of Israel, I pray, tell Thy servant". And the LORD said, "He will come down". And the answer to the questions was yes. Then David said, "Will the men of Keilah surrender me and my men into the hand of Saul"? And the LORD said, "They will surrender you". In other words, the answer was yes.
From the context it appears that David got those answers from Abiathar through the use of the ephod. We notice it was a simple yes or no answer like some of the tests that they give you nowadays when they want you to renew your driver's license. You either put yes or no or something like that. Well, apparently that was the extent of the communication that came through the Urim and the Thummim. We're going on now, verse 31–32: "And you shall make the robe of the ephod all of blue. And there shall be an opening at its top in the middle of it; around its opening there shall be a binding of woven work, as it were the opening of a coat of mail, that it may not be torn". A "robe of blue" speaks of a heavenly ministry.
If you want to turn, keep your finger there and turn to Hebrews 9:24 for a moment. Hebrews 9:24. For Christ did not enter a holy place made with hands, a mere copy of the true one, but into heaven itself, now to appear in the presence of God for us; . His high priestly ministry is on the heavenly plane. And then going back to Exodus 28, it had a woven collar. Presumably it was put on over the head. It was probably a complete garment all the way around but it the collar was woven so that when the priest put it on it would never be torn. Again you see the same emphasis; everything has to be complete and entire, there's no way that it could be spoiled. Verse 33–34. We come now to the things that were put on the robe. "And you shall make on its hem pomegranates of blue and purple and scarlet material, all around on its hem, and bells of gold between them all around; [and then they alternated] a golden bell and a pomegranate, a golden bell and a pomegranate, all around on the hem of the robe".
We notice that in the materials of the pomegranates we have again the three colors: blue, purple, scarlet; the heavenly and the human combined. The pomegranate, I think, speaks of fruit and the bells of confession. So the lesson is, Don't have a bell if you don't have a pomegranate. You just can't go around tinkling unless you can produce the fruit. Also, the bell spoke of holiness and the ordinance was that he had to keep the bell tinkling all the time while he moved about his duties inside the tabernacle. And if he didn't, he would die, which is a tremendously solemn warning that God demands continual holiness. There's got to be the continual testimony of holiness sounding off from the bell at the bottom of our robes. Every move we make has got to be made in holiness. That's the standard for the priest.
The combination of the scarlet and the blue making purple, we could look for one Scripture in 1 Timothy 2:5: 1 Timothy 2:5: For there is one God, and one mediator also between God and men, the man Christ Jesus. This, of course, was written a number of years after the death and resurrection of Jesus, but He's still called "the man". So He retained the scarlet, if I may put it that way. That's a very, very remarkable fact. I don't know whether you've ever pondered that when Jesus became man it wasn't for thirty-three years. It was forever. There isn't a more astonishing fact I think in the Bible than that there's a man at God's right hand on the throne of all authority. He's God, please understand me aright. He never ceased to be God but He became man and, having become man, He is man forever. He's the head of a new race, the God/man race, the Emmanuel race.
The color is purple, it combines the blue and the scarlet and it's ordained to rule forever. Those who are born again through the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ are born into that kingly race. We are kings and priests. Let's go back to Exodus 28:35. We've really looked at that, but let me read it. "It shall be on Aaron [that's the robe] when he ministers; and its tinkling may be heard when he enters and leaves the holy place before the LORD, that he may not die". Notice, if there were one moment without holiness it would cost him his life. One of the things this impresses on us is that God demands absolute holiness in those who approach. Now we come to verses 36–37, the plate. "You shall also make a plate of pure gold and shall engrave on it, like the engravings of a seal, 'Holy to the LORD.' And you shall fasten it on a blue cord, and it shall be on the turban; and it shall be at the front of the turban".
So every time the priest went in and God looked upon him from above, the first thing He saw was this gold plate on his turban declaring "holiness to the Lord". Again, the emphasis on holiness tied there by a blue cord: something established in heaven earth cannot change or affect. Verse 38, and this is a very important verse: "And it [that is, the gold plate] shall be on Aaron's forehead, and Aaron shall take away [but the other translation says bear] the iniquity of the holy things which the sons of Israel consecrate, with regard to all their holy gifts; and it shall always be on his forehead, that they may be accepted before the LORD".
I want to read the NIV there because it's much clearer. That's Exodus 28:38. It [that's the plate] will be on Aaron's forehead, and he will bear the guilt involved in the sacred gifts the Israelites consecrate. That's a profound statement, that every time we offer anything to God, if there's any guilt in us it has to be dealt with. God cannot accept anything guilty. But, it's borne not by us but by our high priest and he can bear it because he himself is totally holy. Let me read that further. It will be on Aaron's forehead continually, so that they [that's the gifts of the children of Israel] will be acceptable to the LORD. I think this brings out as clearly as anything does why we have to have a high priest. Because there must be somebody to bear the guilt involved in our lives and associated with our offerings.
And the point that I wish to emphasize is this: The offerings of the Israelites were not accepted because of them, they were accepted because of the holiness of their high priest. And the same is true, of course, much more profoundly true, with us. Our gifts are accepted not because of us but because of the holiness of our high priest. I trust you can see this point, that without a high priest we would have no access to God, we would have no relationship whatever with God. It entirely depends on our high priest. Going on to verse 39: "And you shall weave the tunic of checkered work of fine linen, and shall make a turban of fine linen, and you shall make a sash, the work of a weaver".
Notice that the tunic, which was the undergarment, which wasn't visible, was of fine linen. The basis of everything is total purity and righteousness, even if it is invisible. So underneath everything was purity and on the turban above everything was holiness. And the sash held it all together. Again, I trust you see the tremendous emphasis on total purity and holiness. Notice, it was a woven tunic, it was not imputed righteousness, but it was outworked righteousness. It was the righteousness of a spotless, faultless, sinless life. Alright. Verse 40: "And for Aaron's sons you shall make tunics; you shall also make sashes for them, and you shall make caps for them, for glory and for beauty". But there were certain things that the other sons did not have. They did not have a breastpiece, an ephod or a turban. Those were exclusively for the high priest.
Now verse 41 is a very full verse. "And you shall put them on Aaron your brother and on his sons with him;, and you shall anoint them and ordain them and consecrate them..." There are four successive steps. First of all, you put the clothes on. That's the personal qualifications. Secondly, you anoint them. That's the supernatural grace. Third, you ordain. But where it says ordain in English, the Hebrew says "you will fill their hands". And when they were ordained, they appeared with sacrifices on their hands which they lifted up before the Lord. That was the ceremony of ordaining. So that is the equipment of service. And finally, they were consecrated; they were set apart to their office.
Let's just go through those four stages again. First, their clothes were their personal qualifications. Secondly, the anointing was the supernatural grace that came upon them. Third, the ordaining or the filling of their hands was their equipment for their task. And fourthly, finally, they were consecrated, they were set apart to their task. Now I believe everybody who is called to serve the Lord ultimately should have something in his life that corresponds to those four phases. There are the personal qualifications, the supernatural anointing, the equipment for the task and being set apart. While I was in Mobile recently with my brothers, Jim was one of them, I asked them to pray over me and set me apart for the ministry of Jerusalem. I felt somehow I would be better qualified if I had been officially set apart by my brothers. It was a very powerful experience for me. I felt it was like the last stage of the process which hadn't previously really been carried out the way God wished it.
I want to suggest to you if you're in the Lord's service or you may be in the Lord's service, it would be well for you to consider these four phases and consider where you are. One of the things that comes out of this study of the priest's garments, and of the whole tabernacle, is God knows exactly the way He wants things. He really doesn't offer us any alternatives. All the measurements, all the materials, all the instructions were exact. I don't believe God has changed. I think we, especially we Americans, are very sloppy. We tend to think it doesn't matter much if I do it this way or that way. I don't think that's what God would be saying. I really believe one of the challenges of this teaching is to line our lives up much more accurately with the requirements of God.
Now, the requirements are not outward dress, they're not materials; they're more important and in my opinion, they're more specific. So you can either view this study as an interesting relic from a past culture or you can let it be something really soul searching in your life. How am I measuring up to God's unvarying requirements? I think we would save ourselves a lot of problems if we would see that God is still just as exact and just as unvarying in His requirements as He ever was. Let's go back and on to finish the chapter. There's just one more particularly vivid thing. Verses 42–43. "And you shall make for them linen breeches to cover their bare flesh; they shall reach from the loins even to the thighs [the NIV says from the waist to the thighs]. And they shall be on Aaron and on his sons when they enter the tent of meeting, or when they approach the altar to minister in the holy place, so that they do not incur guilt and die. It shall be a statute forever to him, and to his descendants after him".
Again, the linen speaks of what? Purity. The area in which it was to be worn emphasizes sexual purity. The interesting thing is that nobody ever knew whether the priests were wearing those britches except who? God and the man. And I want to say to you there are areas in your life where you and God are the only one that knows. But remember, God does know. God knows, my dear brother, whether you've got your britches on. The pastor is not going to come up to you and ask you. The Holy Spirit already knows. Now, just one other point. We're going to turn on to Exodus 30 for a moment. I'd like to go through 29 but it's taken us much longer than I intended to get through 28 so where would we ever be if we tried to do 29 also!
Now, beginning chapter 30 you get something very, very important. We'll read probably only the first verse. "Moreover, you shall make an altar as a place for burning incense; you shall make it of acacia wood". It was to be overlaid with gold. What does incense represent in our lives? One word and only one word allowed. Worship. The wise men brought gold, incense and myrrh. I'm sure you know that gold is recognition of His divinity, incense is worship, the myrrh is the purple robe of suffering. Myrrh is always suffering in the Bible. So here we have the golden altar of incense. The gold speaks of total purity and it speaks of worship. The point I want to bring out is till we have a priest, we can't have an incense altar. So the order is very, very important.
Again, what's the lesson? No priest, no worship. Your worship has to go by way of your priest. If the priest isn't in order it's no good having an altar. There's a very interesting passage in Revelations which seems to relate to this. Revelation 8:1–4. This is the opening of the seven seals of the scroll that is the kind of background of Revelation. When He broke the seventh seal, there was silence in heaven for about half an hour. It's very interesting to consider what heaven was silent about. I believe that this passage really gives us the answer. And I saw the seven angels who stand before God; and seven trumpets were given to them. And another angel came and stood at the altar, holding a golden censer. What goes in a censer? Incense. And what does incense speak of? Worship. and much incense was given to him, that he might add it to the prayers of all the saints upon the golden altar which was before the throne.
So here's a picture of the prayers of God's people rising up before God and His throne. And they're pictured like the beautiful, white, aromatic smoke arising from the incense on the golden altar. And there had to be much incense. There had to be a great deal of worship. Verse 4: And the smoke of the incense, with the prayers of the saints, went up before God out of the angel's hand. Because the angel had the coals and the incense in the censer. How many of you have seen in a church where they use incense? They have it on a brass chain and they swing it. And as they swing it, the breeze sets the coals burning and the smoke rises, which is an Old Testament pattern. All right. Verse 5: And the angel took the censer; and he filled it with the fire of the altar, and threw it to the earth; and there followed peals of thunder and sounds and flashes of lightning and an earthquake.
Now, this is just "the Prince version," nobody has to accept it. But I believe heaven was silent because they were waiting for the prayers of God's people to come up from earth. It blesses me that heaven falls silent when earth prays. The prayers had to be offered by this angel, who I believe is either Jesus or a type of Jesus, before they could be accepted. They had to receive incense from his hand. But, when the prayers went up the angel took the coals from off the altar and from the censer and threw them down on the earth, and earth was in an uproar. One of the things that has been impressed on me is when we pray it sets earth in an uproar.
If you look at the Middle East today, I would like to say that I think it's partly caused by the prayers of God's people. The prayers went up, the incense was added, the angel took the coals and threw them down and there isn't much tranquility anywhere in the Middle East. It's lightnings, thunders, flashes and disturbances. And I don't expect it to get any more tranquil. In fact, if my prayers have got anything to do with it, it won't! I have to tell you honestly I do think they've got something to do with it. After all, you've either got to believe God answers prayer or He doesn't. There's really no middle ground. So if He doesn't answer prayer, don't pray. And if He does answer prayer, then expect something to happen. I'm in the latter category. I expect things to happen when I pray. I don't think that's arrogant; I think it's just faith.
Let's go into chapter 3. I'm sure some of you are wondering when we're going to finish. I would like to tell you I am too! I really thought we'd get through Exodus 28 in the first session, but it didn't work out that way. Turning now to Hebrews 3, and we're still on the theme of the high priest. We'll take the first verse, which is a very rich verse. Wherefore, holy brothers. I don't know whether it's naughty of me or not, but I get so tired with the New American Standard saying "brethren". I mean, most of the rest of the words are modern. Who says, "I've got six brethren"? I mean, nobody ever says that. It's just unreal. There's other good things in it, but from time to time I just have to put it down, it makes me so disturbed. There we are. Hebrews 3:1. Wherefore, holy brothers, partakers of a heavenly calling, focus upon. I think that's the best translation I could find. It says "consider," but that's a weak word.
This is a very strong word, it means "fasten your attention upon". the Apostle and High Priest of our confession, Jesus. Let's look now at the outline and just pick up the points there. We are to focus on Jesus in two capacities. First, apostle. Second, High Priest. The word apostle means "somebody sent forth". In John 13 Jesus said, "The one who is sent is not greater than the one who sent him". But the Greek word is apostle. So whenever you meet the word apostle, immediately put your mind in gear to think "sent," because if somebody isn't sent, he's not an apostle. If you meet some apostles, you wouldn't need to ask who sent them. It's a very important issue. Jesus was the apostle because the Father sent Him forth.
In John 10:35: Say ye of Him whom the Father sanctified and sent into the world. And later when He appeared to His disciples after the resurrection He said, "As My Father has sent Me, I send you". So Jesus became an apostle when the Father sent Him. His disciples became apostles when He sent them. But without being sent, a person is not an apostle. Jesus was sent to do something no one else could do, to deal with the sin issue. He did that through His life and death and the sacrifice of Himself on the cross. In that sense He was the apostle. Having finished the task, He went back to the Father to represent those who had received His redemptive work. Going back to represent us, He became our high priest. So He is, first, the apostle, second, the high priest. Here we have in this verse the first occurrence of the word confession. You remember that's one of the key words we're following through. The Greek, homologia, from which, let's not get involved in that, which means literally "saying the same as".
If you want to know what confession is, that's what it is. Confession comes from a Latin verb, which means precisely the same, "to say the same as". So confession basically is saying the same as. What it means is that you say the same as God says. It makes your words agree with God's words. Jesus is the High Priest of our confession. It's very, very important because it means that if there's no confession, there's no High Priest. His functioning on our behalf as High Priest is only released by our confession. If we don't say the same with our mouths as the Bible says about ourselves and Him, then we have no High Priest. And you'll find that all through this confession is linked with high priesthood.
Let me just give you two other passages. Keep your finger there in Hebrews 3 and turn to Hebrews 4:14. Hebrews 3 turning to 4:14. Since then we have a great high priest who has passed through the heavens, Jesus the Son of God, let us [do what?] hold fast our confession. And then in Hebrews 10:21–23 [leaving out verse 22]: Hebrews 10:21-23 since we have a great [high] priest over the house of God, let us [do what?] hold fast the confession of our hope without wavering. There's a progression and it tells us a lot. First, make the confession. Second, hold it fast. And then, hold it fast without wavering. What does that tell you? It's not going to get any easier. It's not difficult to say it the first time, it's pretty hard to say it the third time. "I believe the Lord is my healer".
That sounds good in the meeting. But then when you get alone and you've got nobody else to pray with you, it's dark and you've got five different kinds of pain in different areas of your body, then you have to hold it fast, How? Without wavering, that's right. So those three passages tell you a whole lot. You say, "It's easy just to keep saying the same thing". You try. You try and come back and tell me in a year's time if it's that easy. No wonder the devil stands in front of our mouths and tries to stop us from saying it. Why? Because if we don't say it, we really tie the hands of our high priest. He's the high priest of our confession. You're not invited to say anything you think, you're invited to say what the Bible says. You make your words agree with the Word of God. We have just a few more things to look at and we will close.
Going back to our outline, and to Hebrews 3:1, it says: Holy brothers, fix your attention on Jesus. The key to holiness is focusing on Jesus. The moment we take our eyes off Jesus, holiness becomes a problem. And then notice we're partakers of a heavenly or a heavenward calling. The whole thrust of Hebrews is upward and forward all the way through. That's why it's so good for you and me right now, because many of us need to be spurred forward and upward. Compare one beautiful passage in Philippians 3:14, Philippians 3:14, Paul's personal testimony: I press on toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus. Paul had that vision of an upward call and he was never satisfied to stay on the same level. Going back to your outline one more moment. Hebrews 3:2: He was faithful to Him who appointed Him, as Moses also was in all his house. This is the first occurrence of the word faithful linked with the word faith. Altogether they occur 38 times in this epistle.
I want to point out to you, and this is my closing remark today, that the first use of the word in Hebrews is the basic use of the word in the Bible. It's not talking about what we believe, it's talking about our character. It's talking about somebody committed. Evangelical Christianity has completely misrepresented what faith is. We tend to talk in terms of doctrine, holding certain theology. That's not where it's at. Faith is primarily loyalty. It's primarily commitment, personal commitment to a person. You look at this passage, it wasn't a question of what Moses believed, it was a question of the way he acted. He was committed to God no matter what anybody else did. Moses stuck with it, he had his job and he carried it out.