Exodus 28 … Consider His Engravings

The LORD turns His attention away from the tabernacle to those called to stand before Him to serve as His priests. What an immense responsibility and privilege. There is much significance in each piece of the priestly garments. But one element captured my attention, one amazing and stunning facet of the priestly garments… His Engravings.

Consider His Engravings

“You shall take two onyx stones and engrave on them the names of the sons of Israel, 10 six of their names on the one stone and the names of the remaining six on the other stone, according to their birth. 11 As a jeweler engraves a signet, you shall engrave the two stones according to the names of the sons of Israel; you shall set them in filigree settings of gold. 12 You shall put the two stones on the shoulder pieces of the ephod, as stones of memorial for the sons of Israel, and Aaron shall bear their names before the Lord on his two shoulders for a memorial.” [28:9-12]

“You shall make a breastpiece of judgment, the work of a skillful workman; like the work of the ephod you shall make it: of gold, of blue and purple and scarlet material and fine twisted linen you shall make it. 16 It shall be square and folded double, a span in length and a span in width. 17 You shall mount on it four rows of stones; the first row shall be a row of ruby, topaz and emerald; 18 and the second row a turquoise, a sapphire and a diamond; 19 and the third row a jacinth, an agate and an amethyst; 20 and the fourth row a beryl and an onyx and a jasper; they shall be set in gold filigree. 21 The stones shall be according to the names of the sons of Israel: twelve, according to their names; they shall be like the engravings of a seal, each according to his name for the twelve tribes… 29 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.” [28:15-21, 29]

“You shall also make a plate of pure gold and shall engrave on it, like the engravings of a seal, ‘Holy to the Lord.’ 37 You shall fasten it on a blue cord, and it shall be on the turban; it shall be at the front of the turban. 38 It shall be on Aaron’s forehead…” [28:36-38]

  1. His Engravings would be carried upon the shoulders.
  2. His Engravings would be placed over the heart.
  3. His Engravings would be place on the forehead.
  4. His Engravings would set apart His priests as holy.

How do we respond to His Engravings?

Jesus came as our Great and Perfect High Priest.

  1. He has engraved our names over His shoulders to bear our burdens.
    • Blessed be the Lord, who daily bears our burden,
      The God who is our salvation. [Psalm 68:19]
  2. He has engraved our names over His heart, keeping us by His love.
    • Who will separate us from the love of Christ? Will tribulation, or distress, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or peril, or sword? … For I am convinced that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor principalities, nor things present, nor things to come, nor powers, 39 nor height, nor depth, nor any other created thing, will be able to separate us from the love of God, which is in Christ Jesus our Lord.[Romans 8:35, 38-39]
  3. He has engraved our names on His forehead, never to be forgotten or forsaken.
    • But Zion said, “The Lord has forsaken me,
      And the Lord has forgotten me.”
      15 “Can a woman forget her nursing child
      And have no compassion on the son of her womb?
      Even these may forget, but I will not forget you.
      16 “Behold, I have inscribed you on the palms of My hands; [Isaiah 49:14-16]
  4. He is Holy and has consecrated us to be holy and blameless before Him.
    •  Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us with every spiritual blessing in the heavenly places in Christ, just as He chose us in Him before the foundation of the world, that we would be holy and blameless before Him. [Ephesians 1:3-4]

The word translated as signet in verse 11 is the same word translated as seal in verses 21 and 36. From Strong’s Exhaustive Concordance: חוֹתָם ḥôṯām, חֹתָם ḥōṯām: A masculine noun referring to a seal, a signet ring. It was usually made of baked clay, metal, or stones and was used to identify someone. It served much like an ancient identity card (Gen. 38:18) by bearing a person’s distinctive mark. It also refers to a metal or other type of mold containing a person’s seal that was then impressed on clay (Job 38:14) or another substance. A jeweler engraved the markings of a seal or signet ring (Ex. 28:11). It indicated a ring bearing a seal to be imposed on clay. It was a precious and intimate possession of its owner (Jer. 22:24); hence, a signet ring could be used figuratively of a person closely connected to someone (Hag. 2:23).

  1. His Engravings identify His people.
  2. His Engravings mark His people as distinctive.
  3. His Engravings brand His people as His precious and intimate possession.
  • As a jeweler engraves a signet, you shall engrave the two stones according to the names of the sons of Israel [28:11]
  • …according to their names; they shall be like the engravings of a seal, [28:21]
  • …you shall engrave on it, like the engravings of a seal, ‘Holy to the Lord.’ [28:36]

As we prepare to rejoice in the remembrance of Resurrection Sunday tomorrow, we can certainly rejoice today, and every day. When we come to Jesus by faith, we are identified as His distinctive people and branded as His precious and intimate possession. With rejoicing and gratitude let us live every day as holy to the Lord, we are forever His.

Let’s Grow Together!

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