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Summary: The Breastplate wasn’t just an apron but in fact it was a bag containing two items inside, Urim and Thummim. . There are several theories about the meaning of the 12 stones. Though it’s obvious that the stones are connected with the 12 tribes of Israel th

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Exodus 28:15-30 "Fashion a breastpiece for making decisions—the work of a skilled craftsman. Make it like the ephod: of gold, and of blue, purple and scarlet yarn, and of finely twisted linen. 16 It is to be square—a span [a] long and a span wide—and folded double. 17 Then mount four rows of precious stones on it. In the first row there shall be a ruby, a topaz and a beryl; 18 in the second row a turquoise, a sapphire and an emerald; 19 in the third row a jacinth, an agate and an amethyst; 20 in the fourth row a chrysolite, an onyx and a jasper. Mount them in gold filigree settings. 21 There are to be twelve stones, one for each of the names of the sons of Israel, each engraved like a seal with the name of one of the twelve tribes.

22 "For the breastpiece make braided chains of pure gold, like a rope. 23 Make two gold rings for it and fasten them to two corners of the breastpiece. 24 Fasten the two gold chains to the rings at the corners of the breastpiece, 25 and the other ends of the chains to the two settings, attaching them to the shoulder pieces of the ephod at the front. 26 Make two gold rings and attach them to the other two corners of the breastpiece on the inside edge next to the ephod. 27 Make two more gold rings and attach them to the bottom of the shoulder pieces on the front of the ephod, close to the seam just above the waistband of the ephod. 28 The rings of the breastpiece are to be tied to the rings of the ephod with blue cord, connecting it to the waistband, so that the breastpiece will not swing out from the ephod.

29 "Whenever Aaron enters the Holy Place, he will bear the names of the sons of Israel over his heart on the breastpiece of decision as a continuing memorial before the LORD. 30 Also put the Urim and the Thummim in the breastpiece, so they may be over Aaron's heart whenever he enters the presence of the LORD. Thus Aaron will always bear the means of making decisions for the Israelites over his heart before the LORD.

A. THE BREASTPLATE

The breastplate was actually a piece of elaborately finished cloth of the same material as the ephod. It was a strip twice as long as it was wide, but folded back on itself so as to form a square bag into which the Urim and Thummim were placed. The breastplate was held in place by golden chains attached to the onyx shoulder clasps and also by blue lace ribbons, which attached the breastplate to the ephod.

1. The stones upon the breastplate represented the twelve tribes of Israel, and they were presented before the Lord continually as a memorial. Inasmuch as the twelve stones were in one breastplate they speak of the oneness of the people of God; while their position upon Aaron's breast speaks of God's affection for His people. the names on the breastplate were always close to Aaron's heart just as with Christ and His precious ones.

2. The breastplate was of great importance because by means of it, God revealed his Divine will to His chosen people. It was designed by God Himself and the directions as to how it was to be made were given to Moses as illustrated in Exodus 28:15,20.

B. SPECULATION AND THEORIES ABOUT THE STONES

1. There are several theories about the meaning of the 12 stones. Though it's obvious that the stones are connected with the 12 tribes of Israel the meanings and the colors became target of many different theories.

2. According to Exodus, the jewels on the breastplate of the High Priest were engraved with the names of the twelve tribes of Israel-- but we are not told which tribe to which jewel.

3. A comparison between the jewels and the modern birthstones establishes the order in which the jewels stood for the signs of the zodiac, provided one reads the order of the jewels in three columns of four, following the Egyptian calendar of three seasons of four months each. Jewish tradition knows the sign of the zodiac attributed to each tribe, so we can infer which tribe to which jewel.

4. The 12 stones have obviously a hidden meaning. The study of numbers and the kabala has many different theories about secret meanings of the 12 stones.

The Modern Church Interpretation about the stones

The breastplate was square in its proportions, and also embroidered with gold. Set into the Breastplate in gold were twelve precious stones, one for each of the twelve tribes of Israel. Each stone had the name of the respective tribe engraved upon it. This shows the Good Shepherd knows His sheep so well He calls them each by their own name (John 10:3). The high priest bears the names on the Breastplate "over His heart" when he goes before the Lord "as a memorial" (Exodus 28:29), foreshadowing the eternal love of the Lord Jesus for His twelve

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