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And thou shalt put in the Breastplate of Judgment the URIM and the THUMMIM; and they shall be upon Aaron’s heart, when he goeth in before Yahweh: and Aaron shall bear the Judgment of the children of Israel upon his heart before Yahweh continually” (Ex.28:30).

What were these mysterious stones?
Who used them?
How do they work?
How do they pertain to us?
As we see from the picture below, the high Priest had several articles of clothing,
At this time we will be focusing on the EPHOD and the BREASTPLATE (Ex.28:6,15-16).
On the breastplate were 12 stones each with a name of the children of Israel according to the 12 Tribes (Ex.28:21).
  • 28 And they shall BIND the BREASTPLATE by the rings thereof unto the rings of the EPHOD… that the BREASTPLATE be NOT loosed from the EPHOD.
  • 29 And AARON (the high priest) shall bear the names of the children of Israel in the BREASTPLATE of JUDGMENT upon HIS HEART, when he goeth in unto the Holy Place, for a Memorial before Yahweh CONTINUALLY.
  • 30 And thou shalt put IN the breastplate of judgment the URIM and the THUMMIM; and they shall be upon Aaron’s heart, when he goeth in before Yahweh: and AARON shall bear the JUDGEMENT of the children of Israel upon his heart before Yahweh CONTINUALLY. (Ex.28:28-30)
The Urim & Tummim could NOT be seen because they were behind the breastplate. They were ‘hidden’.
Urim (H224) = “Lights” from “ur” (H217) “flame, fire”; Plural
Thummim (H8550) = pronounced ‘toom meem’ “Perfections” or “without blemish”; is the Plural of “tamiym” (H8549)
So they are
“Lights” and “Perfections” or “Perfect Lights” INSIDE the Breastplate of JUDGEMENT (Ex.28:15) or “mishpat” (H4941) “Verdict, Justice”.
Talmudic Rabbis teach that these stones actually did light up or glow to retrieve a verdict. But I cannot confirm from the Bible this information.

SO HOW DO THEY WORK?

According to the book of Numbers chapter 27:, Yahweh tells Moses to take Joshua or YEHOSHUA “a man in whom is the spirit” (Num.27:18) and set him before Eliezer, the high priest after Aaron, and he “shall ask counsel for him after the judgment of URIM before Yahweh: at his “word” or “peh” (H6310),”mouth” shall they go OUT, and at his word “peh” (H6310),”mouth” they shall come IN, both he, and all the children of Israel with him, even all the congregation” (Num.27:21).
So Joshua (and later others) would want to ask Yahweh counsel on a matter, they would…
1. Stand before the high priest (with the Ephod, Breastplate)
2. The Priest asks /Judgment from Urim & Tummim (seems only “Yes” or “No” questions)
3. The Priest Declares in audible voice “peh” mouth
In the days of Joshua the son of Nun, they accidently made a convenant with the Gibeonites, and the record says they “asked NOT counsel at the MOUTH “peh” (H6310) of Yahweh” (Josh.9:14).
The Prophet Isaiah said “Woe to the rebellious children… that walk down to Egypt and have not asked at my MOUTH” “peh” (H6310) (Isa.30:1-2).

HOW WOULD THE HIGH PRIEST GET THE ANSWER?

As I stated before that some say the stones would actually light up or glow to give an answer. Some say that the 2 stones would be cast similar to dice for an answer. Others say the high priest would simply reach in a pouch that contained the 2 stones and “withdraw the hand” (1 Sam.14:19). The bible does not say exactly but we are given some very interesting information…
The Urim & Thummim are only mentioned by name a few times in the bible but can be best tracked by following the EPHOD.
Example:
In the record of 1 Samuel 14, during the time of Saul, the first King of Israel, we are told:
  • “AHIAH… Yahweh’s Priest in Shiloh, WEARING an EPHOD” (1 Sam.14:3).
And after battling the Philistines, Jonathan was not numbered among the Army of Israel (1 Sam.14:6-17).
  • “And Saul said unto AHIAH, Bring hither THE ARK of God. For THE ARK of God was at that time with the children of Israel” (1 Sam.14:18).
Interestingly the Septuagint says:
  • “And Saul said unto AHIAH, Bring hither THE EPHOD of God. For THE EPHOD of God was at that time with the children of Israel” (1 Sam.14:18).
And if we read further…
  • “Saul said unto Yahweh Elohim of Israel, give a Perfect “Tamiym” (H8549) Lot. And Saul and Jonathan were taken: but the people escaped” (1 Sam.14:41).
But the Septuagint says:
  • “Saul said unto Yahweh Elohim of Israel, why hast thou not answered thy servant this day? If this iniquity be in me or in Jonathan my son, Yahweh Elohim of Israel, GIVE URIM, but if it be in the people Israel, GIVE THUMMIM.
  • And Saul and Jonathan were taken: but the people escaped” (1 Sam.14:41)
Then in the next verse, they narrow down between Saul and Jonathan they “cast lots” and Jonathan was taken (1 Sam.14:42).
Later, After Saul killed Yahweh’s Priests (1 Sam.22:18), ABIATHAR the Priest escaped and went to David. (1 Sam.22:20)
So DAVID had the Ephod. And we know David enquired of Yahweh a lot (1 Sam.23:2).
  • “And David knew that Saul secretly practised mischief against him; and he said to ABIATHAR the Priest, BRING HITHER the EPHOD” (1 Sam.23:9)……
  • “Then said David, Will the men of Keilah deliver me and my men into the hand of Saul? And Yahweh said, THEY WILL deliver thee up” (1 Sam.23:12).
There are MANY other verses like this where the Urim & Thummim are not directly mentioned by name but seem to be referred to by the Ephod.

WHAT HAPPENED TO THE URIM & THUMMIM?

They were available up during the reign of the Kings but somewhere they became lost. Probably when Babylon came in 586BC.
Because by the time the children of Israel came back to the land from Babylonian captivity (Ezra 2:1)…
There were some of the priests that sought their registry by geneology but could NOT be found, so they were counted as “as polluted, put from the priesthood (Ezra 2:62)…

“UNTIL there stood up A PRIEST with URIM and with THUMMIM” (Ezra 2:63).

Who Might that be?

Hosea the Prophet says:
  • “For the children of Israel shall abide many days without a king,… and WITHOUT AN EPHOD…
  • Afterward shall the children of Israel return, and seek Yahweh Elohim, and DAVID (“Yaviyd” = “The Beloved” ;Christ) their King; and shall fear Yahweh and his goodness in the latter days” (Hosea 3:4-5).
So when the children of Israel have all returned to the Land and each Tribe is allotted their Inheritence…

HOW WILL EACH JEW KNOW WHAT TRIBE THEY BELONG TO?

When Messiah returns He will Judge the world with Perfect Judgment, for it will NOT be his own Judgment but of The Father.
The Urim and the Thummim will be upon his heart” (like Ex.28:30).
Brother John Thomas in his book Eureka: An Exposition of the Apocalypse, written in 1861, makes a profound statement. He says…

“This Man won’t need stones, because HE IS the URIM and THUMMIM, within HIMSELF;, The Lord is URIM and THUMMIM, He is both the Lights and the Fullnesses, the Judgment of God resides in THIS MAN… He will have the Power of the Divine Verdict.”

Paul says there is a day when

“God shall judge the secrets of men BY JESUS CHRIST according to my gospel” (Rom.2:16).

The Christ will reign as King with the ephod of the High Priest. With the Flame of Ya and Perfection! With All the Precious Stones in their place, fixed upon his heart.
Gemologists say that every stone differs in color, hardness, clarity, etc.
But the stones that our Messiah will have upon his heart will all have One thing in common.
When He shines forth , we will shine forth with him.