The Armor of God
If you joined me for my Webinar with Nathan from the UK on the Armor of God and Spiritual Warfare, we were all challenged. Nathan challenged us that the purpose of the armor of God is for war and that the armor should be likened to the biblical priestly garments. Ancient texts describe that Adam and Eve were beings of light. They did not have skin as you and I but rather were luminous until they sinned against God. Is the day coming when God will provide for us luminous garments as He prepares us to transition to our heavenly destination? Building upon this discussion, we are going to dig in deeper.
Finally, be strong in the Lord and in his mighty power. 11 Put on the full armor of God, so that you can take your stand against the devil’s schemes. 12 For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms. 13 Therefore put on the full armor of God, so that when the day of evil comes, you may be able to stand your ground, and after you have done everything, to stand. 14 Stand firm then, with the belt of truth buckled around your waist, with the breastplate of righteousness in place, 15 and with your feet fitted with the readiness that comes from the gospel of peace. 16 In addition to all this, take up the shield of faith, with which you can extinguish all the flaming arrows of the evil one. 17 Take the helmet of salvation and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God. 18 And pray in the Spirit on all occasions with all kinds of prayers and requests. With this in mind, be alert and always keep on praying for all the Lord’s people. Ephesians
With each passing day our garments, the clothing we wear, especially robes will come to prominence. We think robes belong to past times such as the time of Jesus. We will discover robes are highly symbolic and will pay a part during the End of Days and our translation to the heavenly realm. It is interesting to note that our robe will be in biblical symbolic colors and with biblically significant numbers.
The signification of the robe, in the middle of the spiritual kingdom, thus the truth itself which is there; for by Aaron's garments was represented the Lord's spiritual kingdom, thus the truths which are there, in their order and as this kingdom has been distinguished into three degrees:
- The inmost,
- The middle, and
- The external,
therefore the robe was signified that which is in the middle of this kingdom.
The reason why this kingdom has been distinguished into three degrees is that the inmost there communicates with the celestial, and the external with the natural, and therefore the middle partakes equally of both. Moreover, in order that anything may be perfect, it must be distinguished into three degrees. This is the case with heaven, and with the goods and the truths in it. That there are three heavens is known; consequently, there are three degrees of goods and truths there. Each heaven also is distinguished into three degrees; for its inmost must communicate immediately with what is higher, and it's external with what is lower, and so, through these, its middle must communicate with both, whence comes its perfection.
The case is the same with the interiors of man, which in general have been distinguished into three degrees, namely, into the celestial, the spiritual, and the natural; in like manner each of these into its own three degrees; for a man who is in the good of faith and of love to the Lord is a heaven in the least form corresponding to the greatest. Such also is the case in all things of nature. That the nature of man has been distinguished into three degrees and in general all his interior and exterior things.
The reason for its being so is that everywhere there must be the end, cause, and effect; the end must be the inmost, the cause the middle, and the effect the ultimate, in order that the thing may be perfect. It is from this that in the Word three signifies what is complete from beginning to end. From all this it can be known why Aaron's garments of holiness were an ephod, a robe, and a tunic; and that the ephod represented the external, the robe the middle, and the tunic the inmost, of the spiritual kingdom.
As the robe represented the middle in the spiritual kingdom, and the middle partakes of both the others, it is taken representatively for that kingdom itself, as in the first book of Samuel:--
Samuel turned about to go away, but Saul laid hold upon the skirt of his robe, and it was rent; wherefore Samuel said, Jehovah shall rend the kingdom of Israel from upon thee this day and shall give it to thy companion who is better than thou (1 Samuel. 15:27, 28);
from these words, it is evident that the rending of the skirt of Samuel's robe signified the rending of the kingdom of Israel from Saul, for the kingdom of Israel signifies the Lord's spiritual kingdom. In like manner in the same:--
David cut off the skirt of Saul's robe privily; and when he showed it to Saul, Saul said, Now I know that reigning thou shalt reign, and the kingdom of Israel shall continue in thine hand (1 Samuel 24:4, 5, 11, 20).
When Jonathan made a covenant with David, he stripped himself of his robe, and gave it to David, even to his sword, to his bow, and to his girdle (1 Sam. 18:3, 4);
by which was represented that Jonathan, who was the heir, abdicated the kingdom of Israel and transferred it to David.
As a robe represented the spiritual kingdom, so likewise it represented the truths of this kingdom in general. The truths of this kingdom are what are called spiritual truths, which are in the intellectual part of man. These are signified by robes in Ezekiel:--
All the princes of the sea shall come down from upon their thrones, and shall cast away their robes, and put off the garments of their embroidery (Ezek. 26:16);
this is said of Tyre, by which are signified the knowledge of good and truth; the vastation of these in the church is here described; the robes which they shall cast away denote the truths of faith which are in the intellectual part; but the garments of embroidery denote the memory-knowledges which are in the natural. The reason why these truths are signified is that the truth which belongs to the understanding reigns in the Lord's spiritual kingdom but in the celestial kingdom the good which belongs to the will. In Matthew:--
The scribes and Pharisees do all their works to be seen of men, and enlarge the borders of their robes (Matt. 23:5);
where enlarging the borders of the robes denotes to speak truths grandiloquently, merely to be heard and seen by men. That such things are signified by the robe, will be seen still better from the description of it below in this chapter (verses 31-35).
And one of the elders answered, saying unto me, What are these which are arrayed in white robes? and whence came they? Revelation 7:13
Beware of the scribes, which desire to walk in long robes, and love greetings in the markets, and the highest seats in the synagogues, and the chief rooms at feasts; Luke 20:46
And I said unto him, Sir, thou knowest. And he said to me, These are they which came out of great tribulation, and have washed their robes, and made them white in the blood of the Lamb. Revelation 7:14
After this I beheld, and, lo, a great multitude, which no man could number, of all nations, and kindreds, and people, and tongues, stood before the throne, and before the Lamb, clothed with white robes, and palms in their hands; Revelation 7:9
And white robes were given unto every one of them; and it was said unto them, that they should rest yet for a little season, until their fellow-servants also and their brethren, that should be killed as they were, should be fulfilled. Revelation 6:11
Urim and Thummim
What exactly are the “Urim and Thummim” of Aaron’s breastplate? The Torah mentions it without any further explanation.
The Urim and Thummim (urim v’tumim) refer to a single piece of parchment which had God’s ineffable name inscribed on it (the Tetragrammaton). It was placed inside Aaron’s breastplate (choshen), between the two folds. (The breastplate consisted of a large rectangular piece of cloth doubled over. The outer fold contained 4 rows of precious stones, 3 per row. Each stone had the name of one of the Twelve Tribes etched onto it. It was worn over the High Priest’s torso. See Exodus 28:15-30.)
The High Priests were able to communicate prophetically with God. A great person such as a king would pose a question before the fully-vested High Priest, and if the questioner and the priest were both worthy, the letters on the breastplate stones would light up (or jut out, or arrange themselves) in a manner which would convey the response. It was used only for matters of national concern – such as for going to war or dividing the Land of Israel.
The curious name of the parchment was based on its function: it would make its words “shine” (urim relates to mai’ir – to shine), and it would “make whole” its words (thumim relates to mitamem – to make complete), meaning that its prophecies would always come true according to ancient manuscripts.
The Torah only hints at this function of the breastplate. In Numbers 27:21 God tells Moses that his successor Joshua would stand before Elazar the High Priest and inquire of him “the judgments of the Urim.” Also, the breastplate is generally referred to as the “breastplate of justice” (choshen mishpat), and in Exodus 28:30 the Torah states that by wearing it, Aaron would “bear the judgments” of Israel. The meaning, according to one interpretation, is that the High Priest would be responsible for receiving judgments and decisions on Israel.
In the earlier books of the Prophets, there are several references to the Urim and Thummim being used for guidance in national matters, or more generally of Israel asking God directly for guidance (without mention of a prophet) and which the Sages understand was via the breastplate. See for example Judges 20:18, I Samuel 10:22, 14:37, 23:9-12, 28:6, 30:7-8, II Samuel 5:23, and 21:1.
There is another cryptic phrase that occasionally appears in the Torah and which the commentators explain refers to the Urim and Thummim: the “Keraiti and Plaiti” (e.g. II Samuel 8:18 and 20:7). These terms as referring to the parchment in that they “cut” their words (with clear-cut decisions) and they are wondrous in the words of ancient commentators.
Clearly, there was something so lofty and ethereal about the Urim and Thummim that it could not be defined with a simple word, even in as precise and expressive a language like Hebrew. It could only be described indirectly, via its function. For the Urim and Thummim did not belong in the physical world at the world, and as a result, no concrete word could define its essence. One commentator likewise describes the parchment as “the handiwork of heaven,” and “a secret handed to Moses from the mouth of the Almighty” (commentary to Exodus 28:30).
The Second Temple lacked some of the most sacred items of the Temple of Solomon. One of them was the Urim and Thummim parchment. (According to some, the breastplate did contain the parchment but Israel was not on the spiritual level for it to function prophetically.)
The Urim and Thummim (Heb. אוּרִים וְתֻמִּים) was a priestly device for obtaining oracles. On the high priest's ephod (an apron-like garment) lay a breastpiece (חֹשֶׁן) – a pouch inlaid with 12 precious stones engraved with the names of the 12 tribes of Israel – that held the Urim and Thummim (Ex. 28:15–30; Lev. 8:8). By means of the Urim, the priest inquired of YHWH on behalf of the ruler (Num. 27:21; "only for the king, the high court, or someone serving a need of the community"); they were one of the three legitimate means of obtaining oracles in early Israel (Urim, dreams, prophets; I Sam. 28:6). Owing to the oracular character of the Urim, the breastpiece is called "the breastpiece of decision" (חֹשֶׁן הַמִּשְׁפָּט). (The right to work this oracle was reserved for the levitical priests (Deut. 33:8).
Occasionally the term ephod is used with reference to the Urim-oracle associated with it (I Sam. 14:3, 18 [according to LXX]; 23:6, 9; 30:7). The latest period for which there is evidence of use of the ephod-Urim is that of David (but cf. Hos. 3:4); subsequently, oracles are conveyed exclusively by prophets. In postexilic times, when the Urim oracle was extinct, difficult questions were reserved "until a priest would appear with Urim and Thummim" (Ezra 2:63; Neh. 7:65; cf. Sot. 9:12: "After the former (i.e., pre-exilic) prophets died, the Urim and Thummim became extinct"; and Josephus (Ant. 3:218), who avers that the oracle ceased 200 years before his time).
There is no biblical information on the appearance of the Urim, the material out of which they were made (the Samaritan text of Ex. 28:30; 39:21 adds a command to manufacture the Urim and tells of its execution), or the technique of their use. The most illuminating passage is the Greek of I Samuel 14:41, whose underlying Hebrew is mutilated in the received texts: הָבָה תָמִים, conventionally rendered "Give a perfect answer":
Saul said: "O YHWH God of Israel, why have you not answered your servant this day? If the guilt is in me or in my son Jonathan. O YHWH God of Israel, give Urim (הָבָה אוּרִים). But if this guilt is in your people Israel, give Thummim (הָבָה תֻמִּים)."
From the use of the verbs in connection with the Urim (verses 41–42), it appears that they were a kind of lot (marked) stones or sticks?), since these verbs occur in connection with the casting of lots (Isa. 34:17; I Sam. 10:20). They were suitable for indicating which of two alternatives was right; hence inquiries to be decided by them were designed to elicit "yes" or "no" answers (I Sam. 23:10–12;30:8).
The etymology of the terms is obscure. From the Greek passage adduced above, it seems that the two terms are the names of two objects. Hence the conjecture that Urim derives from ʾ arar, "curse," and Thummim from tammam, "be whole," indicating negation and affirmation respectively. Tradition has connected the first term with light (ʾ or) or instruction (Aram. ʾ oraita). Thus in Greek, "declaration/revelation and truth," and Vulgate doctrina et veritas, "teaching and truth," treat the pair as a hendiadys meaning true instruction – with reference to the oracle. (An apparent derivative with this meaning is the novel coinage אורתום, found in the Qumran Thanksgiving Psalms Scroll with reference to divine illumination.
Only priests speaking by means of the holy spirit and upon whom the Shekhinah rested could invoke them. The inquirer had his face directed toward the high priest, who directed himself to the Shekhinah. One did not inquire either in a loud voice or silently in his heart, but like Hannah, who muttered her prayer (I Sam 1:13). Only one question was to be put at a time, and if two were asked, only the first was answered. Unlike the decrees of a prophet, those of the Urim and Thummim could not be revoked. Only a king could inquire from the Urim and Thummim.
Religion or Magic?
Religion and magic are often distinguished by the ways they interact with the divine. For example, religion represents the practice of a certain ethnic or political group and is institutionalized. Its priests are publicly legitimized and recognized, and they receive authority from a sanctioned organization, which is generally dedicated to a specific deity. Magic, on the other hand, is outside of strict sociopolitical boundaries. Teachers of magic have to be sought out in secret, and their authority lies in their ability or knowledge. . . . Religion tends to ask, appeal to, and maybe coerce the divine; sacrifices, obligations, prayers, and worship all contribute to the practitioner’s appeal for a deity’s actions; religion makes petitions to God. Magic typically tries to command, control, or manipulate the supernatural by esoteric knowledge, imprecations, or special communication with the deity.
It is clear that the Lord did not approve of any man performing magic, for magic was the “abomination” of other “nations” (Deut 18:9). A way of proving whether a particular individual had performed a miracle or magic was by showing under what authority he acted. If an individual produced great miracles using another name besides the name of the God of Israel, he was considered a magician and would therefore be sentenced to death. One must
act under proper authority when performing miracles. We see an example of this in the Gospel of Mark. After Jesus had performed healings and miracles he was anxiously asked, “By what authority do you do these things?” (Mark 11:28). His critics wanted to be sure that works of evil and magic were not being performed in their land, especially near the temple.
Now that we have differentiated between magic and miracle, the question remains, was the Urim and Thummim used in connection with God or magic? The Urim and Thummim was kept in the possession of the high priest. It was used for the general purpose of understanding the will of God and for foreseeing the future. Textual evidence shows that not only did the Lord approve of the Urim and Thummim but he also commanded the high priest concerning how to use it (see Exod 28, Num 27:21). When the Lord condemned divination, he was referring to the practice of divining in a name of a god other than his own. It was the “foreign” work of magic that the Lord did not approve of.
The Urim and Thummim and God’s Law
Laws regarding the Urim and Thummim and sacred vestments of the high priest. The high priest was instructed to wear, as sacred holy vestments, “a breastplate, and an ephod, and a robe, and a broidered coat, a mitre, and a girdle” (Exod 28:4, KJV). The ephod, which was made of gold, blue, purple, and scarlet material. The ephod contained two shoulder pieces by which two stones were attached to each side. The breastplate containing twelve pouches, each holding a precious stone bearing a name of a tribe, was placed over the ephod.
Not only must the individual, or individuals, approaching the high priest to be clean, but the high priest himself must also be clean and possess the Holy Spirit when inquiring of the Lord through the Urim and Thummim.
Louis Ginzberg, a noted Jewish scholar who later converted to Christianity, stated, “Only the high priest who was permeated with the Holy Spirit . . . might obtain an answer. . . . If the high priest was worthy, he received an answer to every inquiry, for on these stones.
The Urim and Thummim were used in connection with war. We find, in Jewish tradition, instances where the high priest would not withdraw into the tabernacle to receive an answer from the Lord but would stand before a congregation, most likely in or near the temple courtyard. A perfect example of this would be prior to the Israelites going into war. The high priest, clad in the sacred vestments, would stand before the army and inquire of the Lord
regarding war strategies and even inquire as to whether they would be victorious in battle.
One tradition states that the answer would come to the army by the “flashing of the two engraved stones on the shoulder piece of the ephod.”
Josephus Flavius, a Jewish historian, stated that when the high priest participated in priestly ceremonies or spoke of the revelations given by YHWH to the people, the stone on the shoulder piece began to shine. He also said, “By means of the twelve stones [and Urim and Thummim], which the high-priest wore upon his breast . . . . God foreshadowed victory to those on the eve of battle. For so brilliant a light flashed out from them.” Ancient texts say that not only did the stones flash brightly, but the face of the high priest shone bright as well. All of Israel could see divine light emanating from the breastplate worn by the high priest, which showed them that they were protected by God.
Another tradition states that the answer would come audibly. The Urim and Thummim would act as a device to project sound, probably similar to our modern-day microphone or speaker. This would make it possible for all the troops of Israel to hear the instruction from the Lord, and therefore every person would know exactly what the battle plans entailed, otherwise confusion may have crept in. Perhaps this is the reason Israel was so successful in defeating their enemies, at least during the days of the tabernacle and the First Temple Period.
In the Targum of Exodus 28:30, Pseudo-Jonathan, we find an interesting translation which discusses the power of this holy name when uttered: And you shall put into the breastplate the Urim, which illuminate their words and make manifest the hidden things of the House of Israel, and the Thummim which perfect their deeds, for the high priest who seeks instruction from the Lord through them. Because in them is engraved and exposed the great and holy Name by which the three hundred and ten worlds were created. . . . And whoever pronounces this holy Name in the hour of distress, shall be saved.
If the translation carries the tradition accurately, we may assume that the reason why the Urim and Thummim were taken into battle by the high priest was to save Israel in time of distress.
Earlier versions of this approach state that the lighting up of the stones was not just a visionary experience of the High Priest but a sight visible to all. This is found in Josephus' description of the Urim and the Thummim and in the literature of the Qumran community.
As opposed to this view, Ibn Ezra claims that the Urim ve-Thummim were "made of gold and silver." He also considers them a great mystery, but it seems that they were twelve objects stored in the breastplate and removed for the High Priest to use when needed. They apparently corresponded to astrological symbols.
Many commentaries hold a less traditional view is that the Urim ve-Thummim were lots. Thus, I Samuel 14:41 has King Saul inquiring of God and asking Him to show Tamim. In the Septuagint, this is expanded to read, "If this iniquity was due to my son Jonathan or to me, O Lord, God of Israel, show Urim, and if You say it was due to Your people Israel, show Thummim." According to Driver, the Urim ve-Thummim were "two sacred lots used for the purpose of ascertaining the Divine will on questions of national importance."
Inquiring of the Lord
The Urim ve-Thummim is explicitly mentioned only seven times in the Bible, and "inquiring" of them is not referred to in every case. They are mentioned twice in the context of describing the priestly garments (Ex. 28:30; Lev. 8:8) and once as part of the blessing for Levi (Deut. 33:8).
Oracles of God
As noted above, in Numbers 27:21 Joshua is instructed to consult the oracles before going to war. While there is no record of Joshua making such an inquiry, the Book of Judges states that after the death of Joshua, the Israelites asked of the Lord, ′Which of us shall be the first to go up and fight against the Canaanites?′ (Judg. 1:1). Here it is hinted that the decision was made by lots, because the tribe of Judah, determined to be the first, urged Simeon,
'Come with me into my lot' [be-gorali] (Judg. 1:3), although the plain meaning is that this refers to the allotment of territory (Josh. 18:10).
The Book of Samuel records "inquiring of the Lord" a number of times, but only once does this explicitly involve the Urim and the Thummim. After the Philistines mustered their troops for war, Saul noted the might of the enemy and was struck with fear:
But when Saul inquired of the Lord, the Lord did not answer him, either by dreams or by Urim or by prophets (I Sam. 28:6).
The last actual case of "inquiring of the Lord" is related in II Samuel 5:23-24. There, David seeks guidance about defeating the Philistines, follows the advice he receives, and gains a decisive victory, reducing their power from that time onward. In this instance, it is not clear if the Urim ve-Thummim were consulted, but this is seeming probable.
The Urim and Thummim were an object given to the Israelites by God to be used by the high priest for revelatory purposes as well as protection. It was not used in connection with magic and divination but was used by the high priest and the prophets on God’s terms.
As we draw nigh into the depths of Tribulation what nuggets can the Christian draw encouragement? What occurred in the Torah-Old Testament is a pattern for the New Testament.
- Our End Time robes will be clothing during the times of trial and afterward.
- Although the Urim and Thummim are no longer upon the earth, as a nation of priests we can expect God’s Will and provision to shine or illuminate our path. His Light may assemble just moments before we are in need.
- God the Father will “cut” His words for clear-cut decisions
- God's Word will be wondrous to us!
- Remember that the breastplate is not only His righteousness, but is called "the breastplate of decision.” We will have many decisions to lift up to God in the days to come.
- The Holy Spirit will guide you in these times and will always provide you with the "Give a perfect answer."
- There will be so much confusion and darkness soon that the Lord designed a simple "yes" or "no" answers. You will have the choice to be cured or be made whole in these times.
- Manifest in your actions the Word of Life, the "declaration/revelation and truth," and "teaching and truth."
- Be ready to listen. God will project His Voice to us through sound (frequency).
- Each day humbly bows to our Savior and inquire to the Father, our Savior, and Holy Spirit what our actions, thoughts, the direction should be for each moment.
- God the Father is the oracle of life. Soon the Anti-Christ will be on the scene, and he is a persuasive orator. Be not deceived.
- Just as in the Book of Esther these are the days that the world will cast lots for our annihilation.
As you receive these Words praise God, for His provision is the handiwork of heaven!
Celeste Solum is a broadcaster, author, former government, organic farmer and is trained in nursing and environmental medicine. Celeste chronicles the space and earth conditions that trigger the rise and fall of modern & ancient civilizations, calendars, and volatile economies. Cycles are converging, all pointing to a cataclysmic period between 2020 to 2050 in what many scientists believe is an Extinction Level Event.
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