Great intercessor

Exodus 28:9-12 “You shall take two onyx stones, and engrave on them the names of the sons of Israel, six of their names on the one stone, and the names of the remaining six on the other stone, in the order of their birth. As a jeweler engraves signets, so shall you engrave the two stones with the names of the sons of Israel. You shall enclose them in settings of gold filigree. And you shall set the two stones on the shoulder pieces of the ephod, as stones of remembrance for the sons of Israel. And Aaron shall bear their names before the Lord on his two shoulders for remembrance.”

Old Testament shadows and types: they are some of the most wonderful things my mind goes to as I read the Old Testament.  One such type is the description of the garments to be worn by the High Priest Aaron as he prepared for his priestly service in the tabernacle. Of course, immediately our thoughts turn to Jesus, who is called our “great High Priest” in Hebrews 4:14.  Like Aaron, who as High Priest served as a mediator between the people of Israel and God, Jesus is called “the one mediator between God and man” in 1 Timothy 2:5. 

In the description of Aaron’s clothing above, we see that he was to wear an ephod, and on the shoulders of that ephod there were to be two onyx stones mounted in settings of gold filigree.  These stones were to be engraved with the names of the sons of Israel, six on one shoulder and six on the other.  As Aaron went before the Lord in the tabernacle, he bore these names, representing all of Israel in the names of the twelve tribes.  We are reminded in the New Testament that Israel, as the people of God in the Old Testament, represents the world-wide holy nation of all believers, “For not all who are descended from Israel belong to Israel, and not all are children of Abraham because they are his offspring, but “Through Isaac shall your offspring be named.” This means that it is not the children of the flesh who are the children of God, but the children of the promise are counted as offspring (Romans 9:6-8).”  The children of the promise that are being pointed to here are all those who have put their faith in Christ, and thereby been born again into God’s family, with the promise of eternal life.  And just as Aaron went before God bearing the names of the Israelites before God, Jesus, as our great High Priest, “always lives to make intercession” for each and every one of us who have believed on Him (Hebrews 7:25). 

What a wonderful picture as we think about how Jesus prays for us, not just as a group of believers, but as individuals, bearing our individual names before the Father.  It’s a very personal thing – the relationship of Jesus to each and every one who has put their faith in Him.  And just as He said to Peter as Peter faced a great trial “I have prayed for you that your faith may not fail (Luke 22:32),” we can be sure that Jesus is praying for us, individually, bearing our names before the Father, that the faith of those who truly love Him, also will not fail.

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