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… 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;… 17 You shall mount on it four rows of stones;… 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,” (28:15,17,21,29).

“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 placed on the forehead.
  4. His Engravings would set apart His priests as holy.

His Engravings are made manifest in Jesus, our Great and Perfect High Priest.

  1. Jesus, our Great and Perfect High Priest has engraved our names over His shoulders; He shoulders the load of all men, as both Sovereign Ruler and Merciful Shepherd.
    • For a child will be born to us, a son will be given to us;
      And the government will rest on His shoulders;
      And His name will be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God,
      Eternal Father, Prince of Peace,”
      (Isaiah 9:6).
    • “What man among you, if he has a hundred sheep and has lost one of them, does not leave the ninety-nine in the open pasture and go after the one which is lost until he finds it? When he has found it, he lays it on his shoulders, rejoicing,” (Luke 15:4-5).
  2. Jesus, our Great and Perfect High Priest has engraved our names over His heart; He faithfully keeps 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. Jesus, our Great and Perfect High Priest has engraved our names on His forehead; He resolutely places us at the forefront of His thoughts and intentions, 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).
    • “For this is the will of My Father, that everyone who beholds the Son and believes in Him will have eternal life, and I Myself will raise him up on the last day,” (John 6:40).
  4. In Jesus, our Great and Perfect High Priest, we have been set us apart as holy; because God is Holy, He consecrates 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 28:11 is the same word translated as seal in 28:21 and 28:36. A search in the original language offers helpful insight:

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).

“‘On that day,’ declares the Lord of hosts, ‘I will take you, Zerubbabel, son of Shealtiel, My servant,’ declares the Lord, ‘and I will make you like a signet ring, for I have chosen you,’” declares the Lord of hosts,” (Haggai 2:23).

Such amazing grace, to be chosen and set apart by and to Holy God, as His chosen signet, by His Engravings!

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

How do we respond to His Engravings?

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, proclaiming His excellencies; for we are forever His.

“…rejoice that your names are recorded in heaven,” (Luke 10:20).

“But you are a chosen race, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a people for God’s own possession, so that you may proclaim the excellencies of Him who has called you out of darkness into His marvelous light; 10 for you once were not a people, but now you are the people of God; you had not received mercy, but now you have received mercy,” (1 Peter 2:9-10).

and I give eternal life to them, and they will never perish; and no one will snatch them out of My hand,” (John 10:28).

Let’s Grow Together!

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