The Robe of the Ephod
Dr. Joe Temple

Introduction

Open your Bibles, please, to the book of Leviticus, chapter 8. This is our basic passage as we study the garments of the high priest. We read from verse 1:

Leviticus 8

1And the LORD spake unto Moses, saying,
2Take Aaron and his sons with him, and the garments, and the anointing oil, and a bullock for the sin offering, and two rams, and a basket of unleavened bread;
3And gather thou all the congregation together unto the door of the tabernacle of the congregation.
4And Moses did as the LORD commanded him; and the assembly was gathered together unto the door of the tabernacle of the congregation.
5And Moses said unto the congregation, This is the thing which the LORD commanded to be done.
6And Moses brought Aaron and his sons, and washed them with water.
7And he put upon him the coat, and girded him with the girdle, and clothed him with the robe, and put the ephod upon him, and he girded him with the curious girdle of the ephod, and bound it unto him therewith.
8And he put the breastplate upon him: also he put in the breastplate the Urim and the Thummim.
9And he put the mitre upon his head; also upon the mitre, even upon his forefront, did he put the golden plate, the holy crown; as the LORD commanded Moses.

These verses of Scripture describe the order in which Moses clothed Aaron, the high priest, with the garments which had been prepared according to pattern, as the tabernacle had been built according to pattern. We have noticed the first piece of clothing; Moses put upon Aaron a coat and girded him with a girdle. It was a linen coat and a linen girdle. We will now consider the second garment Moses put upon Aaron. We read in verse 7 that “he clothed him with the robe”. Turn, please, to Exodus, chapter 28, because we want you to notice that this was not an ordinary robe. It was distinctly and definitely identified as a special robe from a twofold standpoint:

Exodus 28

31And thou shalt make the robe of the ephod all of blue.

This robe is called the “robe of the ephod”. It is a special robe. When we have completed our study of all the garments of the high priest, we will recognize that this is the first piece of clothing to which we are introduced that is worn only by the high priest. The linen underbreeches and the linen coat with the linen girdle were worn by both the high priest and the lower priests. It was worn by Aaron and his sons. But this robe was worn only by the high priest.

You will realize the significance of that. We pointed out that the garments of the priest were not meant to be imitated in order to set apart the so-called clergy from the ordinary folk, and they were to speak to our hearts through significance and symbolism. Since the linen underbreeches and the coat and the girdle were both worn by the high priest and his sons, they spoke of the priestly intercession of both the Lord Jesus Christ and the individual believer. But as we look at the robe of the ephod, the Word of God will speak to our hearts about the priestly ministry of the Lord Jesus Christ. This is not a thing that you and I can imitate. It is not a thing in which you and I may share. This is a ministry reserved solely for the Lord Jesus Christ. Keep that in mind as we read the description of this garment:

Exodus 28

31And thou shalt make the robe of the ephod all of blue.
32And there shall be an hole in the top of it, in the midst thereof: it shall have a binding of woven work round about the hole of it, as it were the hole of an habergeon, that it be not rent.
33And beneath upon the hem of it 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:
34A golden bell and a pomegranate, a golden bell and a pomegranate, upon the hem of the robe round about.
35And 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.

Another description of the robe of the ephod is given in chapter 39 of Exodus, but there is nothing particularly new presented there. Emphasis is placed upon the fact that the garment is not a coat, but a robe, and a seamless robe at that. This is the first time a robe is mentioned in the Bible. When you find something mentioned in the Word of God for the first time, find its significance; then it will still have the same significance throughout the Word of God. This was the first garment of the high priest which was worn solely by him. That would indicate that the robe is a symbol of office, a symbol of particular authority, a symbol of a particular place. That is borne out in the rest of the Word of God.

Symbol of Authority

Whenever you seek to find the symbolism of something and you see it mentioned the first time, examine it in the light of the context, find its symbolism, and then check it elsewhere in the Word of God to see whether the idea you have is borne out in the rest of the Word. If it is not, you have arrived at the wrong symbolism. Notice two passages of Scripture that will help you see that the robe is a symbol of particular office. Turn, please, to I Samuel, chapter 24, verse 1:

I Samuel 24

1And it came to pass, when Saul was returned from following the Philistines, that it was told him, saying, Behold, David is in the wilderness of Engedi.
2Then Saul took three thousand chosen men out of all Israel, and went to seek David and his men upon the rocks of the wild goats.
3And he came to the sheepcotes by the way, where was a cave; and Saul went in to cover his feet: and David and his men remained in the sides of the cave.

David was a fugitive from Saul because God had anointed David to be king over Israel, and Saul was not willing to relinquish his throne. David and his men were hiding in a cave. Saul and his men, in pursuit of David, decided to take some time out for rest; and–wonder of wonders–the place they chose for their rest was the very cave where David and his men were hiding. Saul and his men did not realize that David and his men were there because they were hidden in the shadows of the cave, and Saul went peacefully to sleep.

I Samuel 24

4And the men of David said unto him, Behold the day of which the LORD said unto thee, Behold, I will deliver thine enemy into thine hand, that thou mayest do to him as it shall seem good unto thee. Then David arose, and cut off the skirt of Saul's robe privily.

These men said to David, “God promised to deliver Saul into your hands. Here is the answer to your prayer. There he is. He is asleep. All you need to do is to slay him.” But God restrained David from slaying Saul, as you see in the last part of that verse.

I Samuel 24

5And it came to pass afterward, that David's heart smote him, because he had cut off Saul's skirt.
6And he said unto his men, The LORD forbid that I should do this thing unto my master, the LORD's anointed, to stretch forth mine hand against him, seeing he is the anointed of the LORD.
7So David stayed his servants with these words, and suffered them not to rise against Saul. But Saul rose up out of the cave, and went on his way.
8David also arose afterward, and went out of the cave, and cried after Saul, saying, My lord the king. And when Saul looked behind him, David stooped with his face to the earth, and bowed himself.
9And David said to Saul, Wherefore hearest thou men's words, saying, Behold, David seeketh thy hurt?
10Behold, this day thine eyes have seen how that the LORD had delivered thee to day into mine hand in the cave: and some bade me kill thee: but mine eye spared thee; and I said, I will not put forth mine hand against my lord; for he is the LORD's anointed.
11Moreover, my father, see, yea, see the skirt of thy robe in my hand: for in that I cut off the skirt of thy robe, and killed thee not, know thou and see that there is neither evil nor transgression in mine hand, and I have not sinned against thee; yet thou huntest my soul to take it.

David said to Saul, “I have cut off the skirt of your robe.” He did not need to explain. Saul knew David had taken away from him his official sign of authority. The robe is the sign of special office.

Turn, please, to the book of Ezekiel and notice chapter 26. God was speaking to the rulers of the city of Tyre. He was rebuking their pride. He was telling them that the time of judgment had come. He spoke of it in a figurative language:

Ezekiel 26

15Thus saith the Lord GOD to Tyrus; Shall not the isles shake at the sound of thy fall, when the wounded cry, when the slaughter is made in the midst of thee?
16Then all the princes of the sea shall come down from their thrones, and lay away their robes, and put off their broidered garments: they shall clothe themselves with trembling; they shall sit upon the ground, and shall tremble at every moment, and be astonished at thee.

When the kings of the world see the fall of Tyrus, they will lay aside their robes, the sign of their authority. So this garment which belonged exclusively to the high priest was the badge of his authority, the badge of his office. It indicated that he had an office that was above and beyond the offices of his brethren. Since we have already learned that Aaron is typical of our Lord Jesus Christ, this robe should signify all the characteristics of the high priesthood of the Lord Jesus Christ. As we examine it, we should be able to learn the significance of the high priestly ministry of our Lord Jesus Christ.

As we go back to Exodus, chapter 28, we notice that not one word is given us about the material of which this robe is made. All we are told is that it is of woven work, which means it was a seamless robe. Apparently it had no beginning and no ending. Above and beyond the material of which it is made, emphasis is placed upon the color. The robe of the ephod was all of blue.

Symbolic of a Heavenly Ministry

We have been noticing the colors in the tabernacle, and we have found that blue as it was used in the tabernacle was symbolic of Heaven; it was symbolic of the grace of God. When you look out into the clear blue sky, you are reminded of Heaven. When there are no clouds to threaten thunder and judgment, you are reminded of God's goodness and His grace. So may I suggest that the robe of the ephod made of blue suggests two characteristics of the high priestly ministry of the Lord Jesus Christ. First of all, it suggests a heavenly ministry. Then it suggests that it is a gracious ministry. Turn, please, to the book of Hebrews, which is a commentary on this portion of the book of Exodus, and notice these facts which are borne out in the Scriptures:

Hebrews 4

14Seeing then that we have a great high priest, that is passed into the heavens, Jesus the Son of God, let us hold fast our profession.

Let us change the word “profession” to “confession”. It is a more accurate word. This does not suggest that you hold on so that you won't backslide. You have made a confession that Jesus Christ is your Savior. Hold on to that confession. Why? We are told in verse 15:

Hebrews 4

15For we have not an high priest which cannot be touched with the feeling of our infirmities; but was in all points tempted like as we are, yet without sin.
16Let us therefore come boldly unto the throne of grace, that we may obtain mercy, and find grace to help in time of need.

Someone may say, “I wish the Lord Jesus Christ were here today.” If you really mean that, you are wishing for yourself less than you have now. The Lord Jesus Christ is in Heaven. He is at the right hand of God, and He is making intercession for you and for me as the great High Priest. That intercession makes possible God's full and free bestowal of His grace. So you recognize that the robe made of blue suggests both the heavenly and the gracious character of the intercessory ministry of our Lord Jesus Christ. The grace of God is full and free.

Christ's Ministry of Intercession

Turn, please, to Hebrews, chapter 7, as I remind you that this robe was made of woven work all of one piece so that for all practical purposes you could not tell where it began and where it ended. This should not be passed over lightly, for as a symbol of the high priestly office which the Lord Jesus Christ held, the robe should speak to us in every detail. The seamless robe speaks to us of the uninterrupted intercession of the Lord Jesus Christ in our behalf. Notice verse 1:

Hebrews 4

1For this Melchisedec, king of Salem, priest of the most high God, who met Abraham returning from the slaughter of the kings, and blessed him,
2To whom also Abraham gave a tenth part of all; first being by interpretation King of righteousness, and after that also King of Salem, which is, King of peace;
3Without father, without mother, without descent, having neither beginning of days, nor end of life; but made like unto the Son of God; abideth a priest continually.

Notice the word “continually”. That describes the ministry of Melchisedec. It describes the ministry of the Lord Jesus Christ. Because there was no record to the birth or the death of Melchisedec, he was spoken of as a priest who had neither beginning nor ending. When the Lord Jesus Christ became the High Priest, He did not become a high priest after the order of Levi, because those high priests lived and died. God said to the Lord Jesus Christ, “Thou art a priest forever after the order of Melchisedec. Once your high priestly ministry has begun, it will never end.” Glance at verse 17 of this same chapter:

Hebrews 7

17For he testifieth, Thou art a priest forever after the order of Melchisedec.
18For there is verily a disannulling of the commandment going before for the weakness and unprofitableness thereof.
19For the law made nothing perfect, but the bringing in of a better hope did; by the which we draw nigh unto God.
20And inasmuch as not without an oath he was made priest:
21For those priests were made without an oath; but this with an oath by him that said unto him, the Lord sware and will not repent, [Jesus] Thou art a priest for ever after the order of Melchisedec:
22By so much was Jesus made a surety [guarantee] of a better testament [agreement] .
23And they truly were many priests, because they were not suffered to continue by reason of death:

The priests of Levi came and went. They lived and died. Notice a difference in verse 24:

Hebrews 7

24But this man, because he continueth ever, hath an unchangeable priesthood.
25Wherefore he is able also to save them to the uttermost that cometh unto God by him, seeing he ever liveth to make intercession for them.
26For such an high priest became us, who is holy, harmless, undefiled, separate from sinners, and made higher than the heavens;

This passage emphasizes the truth that we want to leave with you, that the robe of the ephod, blue in color, represented the heavenly, gracious priesthood of the Lord Jesus Christ. Its seamlessness, the fact that it had neither beginning nor ending, symbolized the unceasing, unchanging priesthood of the Lord Jesus Christ. All else may change, but Jesus never does. He is the same yesterday and today and forever (Hebrews 13:8).

That is why He is able to save to the uttermost. How far is the uttermost? Have you ever reached the uttermost? Well, He is able to save that far. You will notice that He saves to the uttermost not because you live a good life, not because you keep the Ten Commandments, not because you go to Church, but because He is constantly making intercession for you and for me.

His Inexhaustible Grace

The thing that immediately comes to mind when we make a statement like that is, doesn't He get tired? Doesn't He get weary? Doesn't He get tired of our continually failing Him? Well, if you are looking at Him from a human standpoint, you would have to say yes, for you do, don't you? You may help someone, and he seems to be helped for a while. Then he fails, and you help him again and again and again. Eventually you reach the place where you are saying, “Now I've helped you all I am going to. I'm tired. I've done all I know how to do and it doesn't work. I'm through. I don't think I'm obligated to do anything else for you.”

If, I repeat, the priesthood of the Lord Jesus Christ were based upon a human foundation, He would get awfully tired. He would get awfully weary at our miserable failures. But His priesthood is not based upon the human level; it is based upon the divine. He never grows weary. He never gets tired. His grace is never exhausted. That is made evident by verse 32 of Exodus, chapter 28:

Exodus 28

32And there shall be an hole in the top of it, in the midst thereof: it shall have a binding of woven work round about the hole of it, as it were the hole of an habergeon, that it be not rent.

“Metal armor” is the meaning of the word “habergeon”. Get the picture: A seamless robe, but an opening at the top to slip on over the head. If you were going to tear a piece of material, you would naturally attempt to tear it where an opening had already been made. This robe could not be torn because around the neck there was some woven work that made it as strong as a piece of metal armor. Why does the Holy Spirit call our attention to this? I believe it is to remind us that the grace of God is exhaustless. Just as certainly as that robe could not be torn, could not be broken, the ministry of our Savior cannot be broken by our shortcomings and our failures; it is impossible to exhaust the grace of God.

Turn, please, to Romans, chapter 5, for an illustration. The Apostle Paul is the great exponent of the grace of God. It was precious to him. He talked about it all the time. He wanted people to know what the grace of God was because, as he told us in chapter 7, he had been bound down by the law for so long that he felt like a free man when he heard of the grace of God. In chapter 5, he discusses the manner in which sin began in the world and how sin is handed down from one generation to another so that all men are under the curse of sin. But he tells the other side of the story, too. He tells how as one man's offense brought sin upon many people, one man's righteousness brought blessing upon multitudes of people. When Adam sinned, sin came upon the whole race. But when the Lord Jesus Christ died upon the Cross, grace was manifested to the whole world. That is why he said, in verse 20:

Romans 5

20Moreover the law entered, that the offence might abound [when the law was given, men were conscious of the horribleness of their sin] . But where sin abounded, grace did much more abound:
21That as sin hath reigned unto death, even so might grace reign through righteousness unto eternal life by Jesus Christ our Lord.

Do you realize what Paul is saying? Where sin abounds, grace abounds much more. Dream up all the sin you can. Grace is greater than all that sin. That that was the meaning Paul had in mind is evident when you look at chapter 6:

Romans 6

1What shall we say then? Shall we continue in sin, that grace may abound?

That would be a logical feeling, would it not? If there is greater grace where there is greater sin, why not sin a lot so there will be a lot of grace? But he goes on to show that such a thought is foolishness.

Sufficiency of God's Grace

We are interested in the fact that the grace of God is sufficient for our every need; no need is so great but that God's grace can take care of it. Turn, please, to chapter 8 of the book of Romans for a simple summary of all that I have been saying:

Romans 8

31What shall we then say to these things?…

What things? All the things that have come before in the book of Romans, God's gracious provision for you and for me. What are we to say about it? “Well,” Paul said, “I'll tell you what we ought to say about it.”

Romans 8

31… If God be for us, who can be against us?

These words “can be” are in italics. That means that they are not in the original text; they were added by the translators to help us to understand, and they are all right. But I think they water it down a little. Actually, the full meaning of the phrase is, “Who dares to be against us? If God has done all of these wonderful things, who dares be against us?”

Romans 8

32He that spared not his own Son, but delivered him up for us all, how shall he not with him also freely give us all things?

If He gave His Son without reserve, why won't He do everything else for us? May I pause long enough to say that I never read this verse without marveling at the foolishness of men. There are men who are perfectly willing to trust the eternal welfare of their souls to Jesus Christ and never realize the inconsistency that is evident when they are afraid to trust Him for the ordinary things of life. How inconsistent can we be? If He has given us His own Son, He will freely give us all things. I want to say to the glory of God that He has proven that verse true over and over again in my life and in the lives of my family. He has freely given us all things, and we praise His name for that.

Romans 8

33Who shall lay any thing to the charge of God's elect? [Someone may say, ”Maybe I'm not God's elect.” Read what comes before and you will find that you are.] It is God that justifieth.
34Who is he that condemneth? It is Christ that died, yea rather, that is risen again, [notice] who is even at the right hand of God, who also maketh intercession for us.
35Who shall separate us from the love of Christ?…

The seamless robe speaks of the unending ministry of the Lord Jesus Christ in our behalf; it is a reminder that the grace of God is more than sufficient.

Decorations On the Robe

Turn, please, to Exodus, chapter 28, and notice the decorations on the robe:

Exodus 28

33And beneath upon the hem of it 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:
34A golden bell and a pomegranate, a golden bell and a pomegranate, upon the hem of the robe round about.

It is not very plain from this passage of Scripture, but we have learned from additional writings which are accurate that the pomegranates were embroidered in the colors mentioned in the form of tassels on the bottom of the robe. There was a tassel in the form of a bell, then a pomegranate, a bell and a pomegranate, a bell and a pomegranate, all around the hem of the robe. This was the only decoration on the robe. The pomegranate acted as a buffer between the bells so that there would be no harsh, discordant sound as the bells might touch each other. Instead, a beautiful, euphonious sound was heard.

That was the first significant thing that we have learned about the hem of the garment. The first thing that the Lord Jesus Christ did in His high priestly intercession was to pray about this very thing. Turn, please, to chapter 17 of the Gospel of John, which is actually the Lord's prayer. Sometimes we repeat what we call the Lord's prayer in public meetings. Though I would not be critical of anyone, in the interest of accuracy, I would suggest that that prayer was never intended to be repeated in a public gathering. It is the prayer which the Savior taught the disciples. It is, more accurately, the disciples' prayer instead of the Lord's prayer. It was meant to be only an outline for prayer for born-again believers and not for public assemblies. That is an aside, and it has no bearing on our discussion. The true Lord's prayer is the first intercessory prayer that the Lord prayed as the great High Priest. The very first thing that He prayed to happen after He was gone from this earth is found in verse 20:

John 17

20Neither pray I for these alone [not only do I pray for these that are around me now] , but [I pray] for them also which shall believe on me through their word;

We are here because we have believed on the Word which the apostles distributed to us. What was it the Savior prayed about? Look at verse 21:

John 17

21That they all may be one; as thou, Father, art in me, and I in thee, that they also may be one in us: that the world may believe that thou hast sent me.

What was He praying? He was praying for the unity of the believer. Just as a tassel was put between two bells so that there would be no clanging, discordant sound, the Lord Jesus Christ prayed for the unity of believers.

You are familiar with the present ecumenical movement, and if you don't watch the pronunciation of your words, you will find yourself lending aid to something the Scripture condemns. The present ecumenical movement uses this passage of Scripture as a support for their argument, but they are talking about union. The Lord Jesus Christ was talking about unity. There is a vast difference. He is talking about the unity that is recognized when one realizes that he is a member of the Body of Christ. The denominational name that he may or may not wear is completely beside the point.

If you sit down with a group of believers who have been washed in the blood of Christ and cannot partake of the Lord's Supper with them because they don't wear the denominational name that you wear, the Lord Jesus Christ will continue His intercession for you, because His prayer has not been answered. You are not one with all believers. If you separate yourself from all other believers by some manmade rule of separation, then you are still in need of the intercessory prayer of the Lord Jesus Christ.

Guarantee of Fruitfulness

We have noticed around the hem of the robe of the ephod the pomegranates to separate the bells. Immediately we ask ourselves, what is the symbolism of the pomegranate? If we keep in mind what the Bible has to say about the pomegranate, we will be able to understand. The pomegranate was a fruit of the land of Canaan, not of the land of Egypt. It is used in the Bible always as a symbol of fruitfulness. Turn, please, to the book of Deuteronomy, chapter 8, verse 5. God is addressing the nation of Israel, reminding them of His watchcare over them:

Deuteronomy 8

5Thou shalt also consider in thine heart, that, as a man chasteneth his son, so the LORD thy God chasteneth thee.
6Therefore thou shalt keep the commandments of the LORD thy God, to walk in his ways, and to fear him.
7For the LORD thy God bringeth thee into a good land, a land of brooks of water, of fountains and depths that spring out of valleys and hills;
8A land of wheat, and barley, and vines, and fig trees, and pomegranates; a land of oil olive, and honey;
9A land wherein thou shalt eat bread without scarceness, thou shalt not lack any thing in it; a land whose stones are iron, and out of whose hills thou mayest dig brass.
10When thou hast eaten and art full, then thou shalt bless the LORD thy God for the good land which he hath given thee.

Pomegranates are a sign of fruitfulness. One of the effects of the ministry of the high priest is fruitfulness. That is, one of the effects of the intercessory work of the Lord Jesus Christ in our behalf is fruitfulness.

Turn, please, to chapter 14 of the Gospel of John. Here the Lord Jesus Christ is taking leave of His disciples.

John 14

12Verily, verily, I say unto you, He that believeth on me, the works that I do shall he do also; and greater works than these shall he do;…

That is a mystifying verse, isn't it? How can ordinary mortals like you and me do the works that the Lord Jesus Christ did, and even greater works? How could that be possible? Certainly it represents fruitfulness, and a great fruitfulness. How can it be done? We could not possibly do it, but look at the rest of that verse:

John 14

12…because I go unto my Father.

What is the purpose of the Lord Jesus Christ's going to the Father? To carry on this intercessory work. That is what we read in chapter 4 of the book of Hebrews. Because the Lord Jesus Christ is carrying on this intercessory work, He guarantees us that our fruitfulness will be unlimited if we follow the formula in verse 13:

John 14

13And whatsoever ye shall ask in my name, that will I do, that the Father may be glorified in the Son.
14If ye shall ask any thing in my name, I will do it.

There are no ifs and ands about it. He is at the right hand of the throne of God. He is making intercession for us there. If we ask anything in His name, He will do it that the Father may be glorified in the Son. But remember this: It must be in His name. Someone may say, “All I have to do is just tack on the little phrase at the end of my prayer, 'in Jesus' name'?” No, that is mere words. If you ask anything in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ, you ask in the way that He would ask, for you are asking in His stead. He is there. You are here. You must ask in a manner that would be well-pleasing to Him. Since the pomegranate represents fruitfulness, it is fitting that it was on the hem of the robe of the high priest because it is so closely related to the intercession of our Lord Jesus Christ.

Pomegranate Symbolic of Love

Turn, please, to the Song of Solomon, chapter 2, as I remind you that the pomegranate belongs to the apple family, and it looks very much like an apple on the outside. When it is cut open, you find a thick, red liquid in which are floating the seeds of the pomegranate. Though it is not familiar to us and we are not greatly interested in it in this country, it was very familiar in what we refer to as the “Holy Land”, and it became a symbol of a number of different things. Being a fruit, it naturally was a symbol of fruitfulness. It was also a symbol of love and peace.

Song of Solomon 2

1I am the rose of Sharon, and the lily of the valleys.
2As the lily among thorns, so is my love among the daughters.
3As the apple tree among the trees of the wood, so is my beloved among the sons. I sat down under his shadow with great delight, and his fruit was sweet to my taste.

The Song of Solomon is a record of a conversation between Solomon and his bride. It is typical of the love conversation which should be carried on between the yielded Christian and the Lord Jesus Christ. The Christian says in verse 1, “I am the rose of Sharon, and the lily of the valley.” We often make the Lord Jesus Christ the lily of the valley. It is not the Lord Jesus Christ Who is the lily of the valley, but the Christian. The Lord Jesus Christ answers, “Yes, as the lily among thorns, so is my love among the daughters.” The Christian ought to be that different–as different as the lily is from the thorns. Then the Christian replies, “As the apple grew, the pomegranate tree, among all the trees of the wood, so is my beloved among the sons.” Here the Lord Jesus Christ is compared to a tree among trees. He is lovelier than all the other trees. He is lovelier than the pomegranate tree. Notice what the Christian says, “I sat down under his shadow with great delight, and his fruit was sweet to my taste.” We could preach a message on that verse.

How long has it been since you sat under an apple tree? Turn to Song of Solomon, chapter 7, and notice verse 10:

Song of Solomon 7

10I am my beloved's, and his desire is toward me.
11Come, my beloved, let us go forth into the field; let us lodge in the villages.
12Let us get up early to the vineyards; let us see if the vine flourish, whether the tender grape appear, and the pomegranates bud forth: there will I give thee my loves.

The pomegranates just as they begin to bud forth are representative of love. The pomegranate on the hem of the robe of the high priest reminds us of what we read in chapter 8 of Romans, that nothing can separate us from the love of God.

Symbolic of Peace

The pomegranate is not only a symbol of love, but it is a symbol of peace as well. Turn, please, to the book of Joel, chapter 1, and notice a reference to the fact that when the pomegranate tree had failed, all peace is gone from the land:

Joel 1

8Lament like a virgin girded with sackcloth for the husband of her youth.
9The meat offering and the drink offering is cut off from the house of the LORD; the priests, the LORD's ministers, mourn.
10The field is wasted, the land mourneth; for the corn is wasted: the new wine is dried up, the oil languisheth.
11Be ye ashamed, O ye husbandmen; howl, O ye vinedressers, for the wheat and for the barley; because the harvest of the field is perished.
12The vine is dried up, and the fig tree languisheth; [notice now] the pomegranate tree, the palm tree also, and the apple tree, even all the trees of the field, are withered: because joy is withered away from the sons of men.

When joy is gone, the pomegranate tree is dried up. When the pomegranate tree is dried up, there is no peace. Peace is typified by the pomegranate tree. What is it that guarantees our peace? Think about it. Why do you have perfect peace about the eternal destiny of your soul? You may say, “Because I've done really well. I've lived really good.” Have you? You may feel that way now, but when you come face to face with death and things take their right perspective, you will tremble when you think about the good you have done because it just doesn't seem as if it is enough. I can speak to you from experience. It just doesn't seem as if it is enough.

Where is the peace that you need for the eternal welfare of your soul? There is one thing that guarantees that peace–the realization that the Lord Jesus Christ at the right hand of God is making intercession for you and for me. Pomegranates mean peace. Peace is a result of the intercessory work of the Lord Jesus Christ.

Conscious of His Intercession

The bell is mentioned as part of the decoration around the hem of the robe of the ephod. We don't know anything about it. The only other time a bell is mentioned in the Bible is in chapter 14 of the book of Zechariah. The only thing we know about the bell is that it is translated from a word in Hebrew which has for its root meaning the idea of making a sound. A bell is something that makes a sound. How are we to determine the significance of the bell on the hem of the robe of the ephod? Look at verse 35 of Exodus, chapter 28, and you will have the answer:

Exodus 28

35And 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.

The wording of that verse sounds as if he will die if he should go into the holy place without the robe with the bells; but the meaning of the verse is that they knew he had not died because they heard the sound of the bells. No one was allowed to go into the holy place except the priest. The individual would bring his offering to the tabernacle and would stand out in the courtyard where the sacrifice had been offered, and the priest would take the blood of the sacrifice into the holy place and place the blood on the various pieces of furniture. As he moved about, the bells would tinkle. The man on the outside would know that as long as the priest lived, he himself lived. If the priest died, the sacrifice had not been accepted, and there was no hope for him. So as long as the bells rang, he knew what life was his, so you might read the verse like this: “It shall be upon Aaron to minister: and his sound shall be heard when he goeth into the holy place before the Lord, and when he cometh out, that all men may know that he yet lives. He has not died.”

What proof do you have that the Lord Jesus Christ is still alive? Do you hear the bells ringing? Perhaps you don't because you are not living in close enough fellowship with Him; but if you are living in close enough fellowship with Him, you will hear the bells all the time. When you are conscious of His intercession for you at the right hand of the throne of God, conscious of His advocacy, your assurance is real. The bells are still ringing. This is the significance of the robe of the ephod.


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