The next garments of the High Priest we shall consider are the blue robe and the ephod which were worn over the white robe. The blue robe and the ephod teach us another important lesson. In Matt. 5:13-15, the Lord compares us to salt and light. We have this twofold thought in the blue robe and the ephod. The blue robe and the ephod stand for salt and light. We have to be like salt to our fellow-believers. When we gather as believers for worship and prayer, we help one another to enjoy God’s presence. Only believers can really partake with us at such times. Thus like salt, we are useful to one another.
Towards unbelievers we have to be like light. The life which we live as Christians will be of great help to them. They will be blessed by the life of Christ which they see in us, and will be inspired through our testimony. Thus the blue robe and the ephod show us the twofold responsibility we have towards believers and unbelievers. Believers are few in number as compared with unbelievers. Yet they have a powerful influence in the world, like the small quantity of salt which gives taste to our food. Believers who are comparatively few in number form the Church of God upon the earth and show forth God’s glory to the world.
The blue robe was called the robe of the ephod. There was a hole in the top of it and there were golden bells and pomegranates around the lower hem. The pomegranates were of blue, purple and scarlet and between every two pomegranates there was a bell of gold (Exo. 28:31-35).
The blue robe reminds us of our vocation and heavenly calling as co-workers with the Lord Jesus Christ. We are co-workers with God (I Cor. 3:9; II Cor. 6:1). We have a heavenly calling (Heb. 3:1). Every believer has a share in the calling. That is why in the very same passage (I Cor. 3:9); we are told that we are God’s building. For a building we require many things such as stones, bricks, mud and timber. For a big building we require big stones as well as small stones. On the surface of a stone building you may see big stones, but when you look at the gap between the stones, there is space for small stones. We cannot build the building with big stones alone. We require both large and small stones. In the same way, we require mud, timber and many other things. Every believer in the Lord Jesus Christ has a share in the building of God’s House.
We are partakers of the heavenly calling (Heb. 3:1). We are building the house of the Lord Jesus Christ and we are that house (Heb. 3:6). The blue robe indicates our heavenly calling, to build the heavenly habitation of the Lord Jesus Christ under His headship. In order to enjoy the fullness fully, we must take our share in the building of the house of the Lord Jesus Christ.
On the hem of the blue robe there were pomegranates of blue, purple and scarlet. A pomegranate looks like a single fruit but when you cut it open, you will find it composed of many compartments, each containing deep red, juicy, fleshy seeds. Pomegranates in Palestine are very large in size. This fruit is a symbol of the Lord’s people. Even though believers are scattered in every part of the world, all of them together make one Church. All those who are purchased by the blood of the Lord Jesus Christ, are the members of the Church. There is only one Church. The Church is being built by the Lord Jesus Christ, with those who are of one mind and are free from jealousy. Only then you can be a co-worker with the Lord Jesus Christ in building His Church. Just as the seeds of the pomegranates are put together in many compartments making one fruit, by the life of the Lord Jesus Christ, we are kept as one body. It is a sevenfold unity of believers that makes one body. One body, one Spirit, one hope, one calling, one faith, one baptism and one Lord and Creator. Lord wants this sevenfold oneness among His people. In the beginning many began to say, “I am of Paul; I am of Apollos; I am of Cephas”, and this brought division. No human name can be given to the Church of God. All those names and titles which are given to the so-called churches bring division. Today we have more than 470 such names for Christians. Such names cause division. It is by oneness we are able to build the heavenly Church. The pomegranates remind us of the living Church but not of any building.
In every detail of the blue robe there is spiritual meaning. God was teaching in a symbolic way at that time, how the people could enjoy fullness and grace in abundance. Num. 15:37-41, indicates the meaning of the blue color. God was telling His people through Moses, that they should have blue fringes on their garments. This way they were reminded that they were God’s people, that He had saved them by His grace and that they had to obey His commandments. In the same way the blue color reminds us that we are a holy nation and a peculiar people (1 Peter 2:9). If you really want to enjoy God’s fullness, then learn of His heavenly calling. The call is to build a heavenly sanctuary or a heavenly Church under the headship of the Lord Jesus Christ.
Purple stands for kingship. You will remember that before the Crucifixion, the soldiers put a purple robe on the Lord Jesus and mocked Him saying “Hail, King of the Jews” (John 19: 2, 3). Only kings wear garments of this color. So the purple color in the pomegranates, convey the message that God wants us to come under the kingship of the Lord Jesus Christ. We must be willing to be governed and led by Him in everything.
In Heb. 9:19, we read that Moses used scarlet wool which speaks of the sprinkled blood. As co-workers of God, we need to have a clear conscience, free from guilt, and this we can receive only by being cleansed in the blood of the Lord Jesus Christ. We can never be cleansed by shedding tears or by offering long prayers. If you come to the Lord humbly and pray, “Lord Jesus, I am defiled in thought, word and deed; cleanse me with Thy precious blood”, – 11 – immediately He will cleanse you. There is no need for you to wait for any vision or unusual experience. The moment you ask Him, you will be cleansed. It is very essential for those who are servants of God, to be kept cleansed from every defilement.
Thus the blue, purple and scarlet say to us that we need to hear His call, know His kingship, and lead a clean life in order to take part in building His Church and enjoy His fullness.
There were golden bells between the pomegranates. They were not copper bells or steel bells but they were golden bells, producing heavenly music. As the high priest moved to and fro, these golden bells produced a peculiar sound. The sound of these golden bells represented the sweet sound of the voice of God. Just as the sound of the golden bells is unique and entirely different from the sound produced by copper, steel or other bells, the voice of God is entirely different from man’s voice. When we hear the voice of God we know by experience that it is not the voice of man but it is the voice of God. It is the still small voice. It is the heavenly voice. It is a sweet voice and it is a loving voice with authority. Joy comes to our hearts as we hear His voice.
The golden bells proclaimed that only by hearing the voice of God we can take share in building the Church of God. Now-a-days people think that by spending much money and great activity they can build the Church. They forget that unless they hear God’s voice constantly, and understand God’s plan for the church, they are not qualified to take a share in the work of building God’s house. So through these golden bells God reminds us, that if we want to be His co-workers in building His everlasting sanctuary, we must first learn to hear His voice. That is why we have to stay upon our knees for a long time and say, ‘Lord, speak to me, give me Thy message, let me hear Thy voice ; show me Thy way ; keep me in the right path, carry me through, strengthen me and give me Thy grace.” Those who are not born again can never hear the voice of God nor can they be co-workers with God.
BAKHT SINGH (from his book, “The Fullness of God”)