Exodus 28:31-35 “You shall make the robe of the ephod all of blue. It shall have an opening for the head in the middle of it, with a woven binding around the opening, like the opening in a garment, so that it may not tear.On its hem you shall make pomegranates of blue and purple and scarlet yarns, around its hem, with bells of gold between them, a golden bell and a pomegranate, a golden bell and a pomegranate, around the hem of the robe. And it shall be on Aaron when he ministers, and its sound shall be heard when he goes into the Holy Place before the Lord, and when he comes out, so that he does not die.”
Throughout the Bible many references are made to various sounds. Often, they are meant to symbolize various aspects of the work of God. For example, we are told that when God came down on Mount Zion he came with the sound of a great trumpet. It was very loud, brash, and terrifying. Similarly, the sound of the trumpet in Scripture is often the symbol of war or coming judgment, such as in the seven trumpets that sound off in the book of Revelation to announce various judgments at the time of the Great Tribulation.
But then there are other sounds, sounds that symbolize mercy and life. One such occurrence of this is in Exodus 28. Here we are told that the high priest was to wear gold bells on the hem of his garment as he came to present offerings for the sins of the nation of Israel before God in the Most Holy Place. These bells were to be worn so that the people could hear them as the priest moved about to do his ministry in the tabernacle. Upon hearing the sound of the bells, the people were made aware that the high priest was alive, and that the offerings he made on their behalf were acceptable to God. They were a sound that brought comfort, for they were sounds that spoke of the mercy and forgiveness of God.
So much of this is symbolic of the Word of God. It’s a word that is to be spoken by God’s people. And as it sounds forth from us, it has two main aspects. It’s a double-edged sword, if you will. On the one hand the Word of God is the Law of God that tells men that they have sinned against Him. It’s a Word of judgment against sin and death and hell to the sinner. It’s meant to terrify men in their complacency and wake them up to the terror that they face if they continue in their sin separated from God. But then the Word tells us that “while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us (Romans 5:8).” This Great High Priest entered heaven, not with the blood of bulls and goats as did the priests of the Old Testament, but by His own blood, and with this sacrifice He has given life to all those who have put their faith in Him (Hebrews 9 and 10). This sacrifice satisfied the justice of a Holy God against the sin of every sinner on the face of the earth and guaranteed life to all that believe.
The Word of God – it blares out with the sounds of judgment and death against all who have sinned, but it also rings out with the merciful and sweet sounds of life to all who will believe. What will the sounds be that you hear when you meet the Lord? It will be one or the other. The Great High Priest has done all that is necessary to give us mercy and life, if only we will believe.
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