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Stones and Fruit: Divination and Procreation

The modern practice of dismantling the Bible into a shambles of documents authored in response to disparate historical events rather than viewing it as a unified testimony inspired by God is a surefire way to miss what is actually going on in the text. This failure is compounded by an outright refusal to accept Genesis 1-3 as the foundation for the entire metanarrative.

Since the first eleven chapters of the Bible are rarely taken seriously as accurate accounts of historical events, few Bible commentators, even in conservative circles, make a connection between the curses upon the fruit of the land and the womb in Genesis 3 and the promises to Abram concerning the land and womb in Genesis 15. And even when they are taken seriously, the foundation which these chapters establish for the rest of the Scriptures is at best imperfectly understood and at worst rejected outright.

Thankfully, our collective understanding of the Bible continues to increase, particularly among those who are willing to submit to it – without flinching – as the Word of God. For instance, ignoring the artificial constraints imposed for self protection by double-dealing academics might just allow us to notice that the various trials through which Abraham passed with flying colors (except for the episode concerning Hagar) before the birth of Isaac are a recapitulation of the history from Adam to Noah.1For more discussion, see Microcosmic Abram. A cumulative reading which is sensitive to image and structure enables one to perceive that the Circumcision established a “social microcosmos” through which God would minister to the world. Abram, a man rendered barren in land and womb by God, would see those curses reversed by faith.

Stones External and Internal

The widespread failure to read the entire Pentateuch (let alone the entire Bible) in the light of Genesis 1-3 reveals the magnitude of the danger inherent in the fault lines of modern hermeneutics.

Looking backwards, the arcane stipulations in Exodus and especially Leviticus make little sense without reference to the promises given by God to Adam, the “construction” of Eve, and the subsequent animal sacrifice which enabled a limited dispensation of fruitfulness in land and womb from the hand of God, whose every curse is a dark cloud with a silver lining.

Looking forwards, Exodus and Leviticus reveal the liturgical nature of those primeval events and the divine purpose of clothing beyond physical and social concerns as a rite of investiture, a sign of office. If we have our Edenic wits about us, what we should observe in the descriptions of the establishment of the Levitical priesthood is an “exposition” of the Garden of Eden: all of the physical, social and ethical attributes which were the intended possession of glorified Man are not actually bestowed in their fullness but symbolized in tangible elements fashioned, like Adam, from the raw materials of earth. For example, the High Priest pictured the ultimate Adam, Jesus Christ, but Holiness Unto Yahweh was inscribed across his forehead, just as the Law of Moses was inscribed on stone tablets. Although Israel, through the Aaronic Priesthood, enjoyed Sanctuary access, the promises were all external accoutrements rather than internal attributes. Just like the tassels which were later given to adorn their individual robes, these elementary “exo-traits” were trainer wheels fitted to guide the people of Israel in the ways of God.

In Eden, the law of God was heard by Adam but did not circumcise his heart. At the first Pentecost, the “external” law also failed to become internalized by the Israelites, in contrast to the last Pentecost where the Spirit indwelled believers as human Tabernacles for the first time, the Law engraved on tablets of flesh like never before (2 Corinthians 3:3) and His name “on their foreheads” (Revelation 22:4).

The movement from “stones” (seeds and tablets) to “fruit” (righteousness and a future) is the pattern found in every aspect of life on earth. A piece of fruit has stones that it might procreate, and so does Man. Adam’s physical “stones” are external to his body. Eve’s corresponding stones (ovaries), as the bride who receives the bridegroom and bears fruit, are internal. The stones contain the genetic code that is intended to become “incarnate” in flesh and skin. Stones, flesh and skin (a clothing of glory) constitute the triune pattern that underpins the events recorded in Genesis 1, 2 and 3: Adam bore the physical and social image of God but failed to represent Him legally, that is, as one who wisely discerns between moral light and darkness — the ethical image of God. Adam’s historical continuity (the fruit of the land and the womb) was contingent upon him bearing firstfruits to God as a tree of righteousness. But thanks entirely to the mercy of God, he was not “cut off” after his failure.

In the Circumcision, history itself shifted from a Covenant with a physical boundary (resulting in the cutting off of “all flesh” in a global flood) to one whose boundary was social. Yet within this divinely ordained microcosmos of the Abrahamic tent there was still a process of forming and filling, establishing a foundation for the ultimate Covenant which brought the indwelling Spirit (ethical, Galatians 3:24). From Abraham to Moses, the nation was formed under the circumcision of flesh, but after four centuries it was time for a corporate circumcision of heart, a filling with the knowledge of God. As in Eden, this was the good intention of the Law. The nation was being prepared to serve as the legal representative of God to all other nations. The dispensation of the Levitical Law constituted the investiture of Israel for ministry.

This brings us to a consideration of the significance of “stones” and “fruit” in the Law of Moses, and how that theme is developed in subsequent Scriptures until the birth of the Seed of the Woman in Matthew 1. Consider this discussion a “biblical theology of testicles” if you will, but not only does that title offend our unbiblical Victorian sensibilities concerning what God considers “holy,” it fails to do justice to the disarming beauties — and cutting ironies — of biblical symbolism.

Like Cain, those who rejected the mercy offered by God sought their own means of evading the consequences of sin, and it always required the immediate theft from God of good things which He had promised to them via a process of endurance in patient faith. Cain manufactured a fortress in place of the City of God to minimize the curse upon the fruit of his labors in the land. Likewise, the intention of the practice of polygamy (established by Lamech) was to “steal” the fruit of the womb, hording the blessing of offspring as a commodity of the state, in order to create an instant dynasty without the need for submission to God.2For more discussion, see Michael Bull, Big Love: A History of Stolen Fruit.

This is the principle central to the corruption of all the cities of men, as James Jordan has observed:

Enoch and Babylon are the first cities, but Jerusalem is the last. Jubal is the first musician, but David the “last”. The wicked get there first and do much of the work, laying up an inheritance for the just. Because they are not concerned with morality, the wicked can employ slave labor to build their cultures early, while a righteous culture takes longer to build.”3James B. Jordan, Was Job an Edomite King? (Part 2), Biblical Horizons No. 131.

Abraham waited years for his promised son. Israel waited centuries for the promised land. The purpose of the delay was the same as it was in Eden: to try the hearts of men in order to prepare them to carry the burden of government over the blessings which God desired to bestow. Priestly humility always precedes true and lasting kingdom.

The sins of the flesh (murder and adultery) are focused on the Land, the domain of kings, but culture is sourced in cultus, and this is found in the Tabernacle’s conflation (or intersection) of physical seed with the required discernment between light and darkness. The ephod worn by the High Priest was a glorified loin cloth, suspended from the shoulders, with a receptacle for the Urim and Thummim (Exodus 28:30). Like the Ark which contained the two tablets from Mount Sinai, the Urim and Thummim were an instrument of divination, of prophetic discernment. Worn by the “liturgical Adam,” a son of Aaron, the ephod linked spiritual discernment (the Covenant Oath: submission to heaven) with procreation (the Covenant Sanctions: dominion on the earth). The two “hidden” stones of divination speak of access to the Garden (or Sanctuary). The two onyx stones of the ephod, shoulder pieces engraved with the names of the offspring of Israel (Exodus 28:12), relate to investiture (Oath) and the promise of offspring in the Land (Sanctions). The twelve glorious “bridal” stones upon the breastplate (Exodus 28:21) speak of Israel’s fulfilled testimony to the World (Succession).

According to Jewish scholar Moshe Kline, if we follow the ancient “scroll division” of the Ten Words as St. Augustine did, it appears that the two tablets hidden in the Ark of the Testimony represented Adam and Eve, with the odd (singular/one/head) numbers representing the “Adamic” priesthood, and the even (plural/many/body) numbers representing the “bridal” people.4For more discussion, see God-In-A-Box. The tablets of the Mosaic “code” thus constitute an X and a Y, just as the sex of a child is determined by the seed of the Man.

THE STONES OF MOSES
Covenant Head (Tablet Y) > Covenant Body (Tablet X)

TRANSCENDENCE
1) No false gods > 2) No false oaths

HIERARCHY
3) Keep the Sabbath (Land) > 4) Honor your parents (Womb)

ETHICS
5) No murder > 6) No adultery

OATH / SANCTIONS
7) No theft (false blessings) > 8) No false witness (false curses)

SUCCESSION
9) No coveting a house > 10) No coveting contents

For breaking the Covenant Oath in both “Head” (at Sinai) and “Body” (with the Midianite women), the “Egyptian” generation of Israel died in the wilderness. Moses repeated the Law to their uncircumcised children, but under inspiration he made two modifications to the Succession step of the Ten Words (Deuteronomy 5:21): the status of the wife (womb) was elevated above the house, indicating that she was no longer merely a possession but now a co-regent with her faithful husband, and the list of possessions now included the neighbor’s field (land). Like Adam and Eve after the shedding of blood, Israel was invested as a new Hierarchy, ready to receive the inheritance which God had promised to Abraham. But the future – the fruitfulness of the nation (Sanctions) – still depended upon faithfulness to their Oath, their identification with the “stones” of Moses.

Stones of Life and Death

Of course, the sex of a child is not a choice between light and darkness or life and death. Sex, like circumcision, is a horizontal demarcation, a delegation of roles within humanity. In contrast, the white stone and the black stone within the “liturgical scrotum” of the High Priest signified a vertical demarcation, a window to the glory of heaven above and a door to the darkness of the abyss below. It is no accident, in the history from Adam to Noah, which “precapitulates” Israel’s annual festal calendar and places the Great Flood at the Day of Atonement, that two birds hover over the waters. Like Noah, the High Priest presided over the death and resurrection of the “cosmos.” As the legal representative of all Creation, he would emerge from the Sanctuary with a renewed promise of a fruitful land and fruitful wombs following the shedding of blameless blood, the demands of Law of Moses satisfied that the promises to blameless Abraham might endure. In Genesis 8, the black and white stones are prefigured in the ministries of a raven which presumably feasted on the flesh of floating corpses (below) and a dove which carried an olive branch in its mouth (above). Noah then made the first “ascension” (an offering by fire) as a testimony to heaven (above) that the will of God had been done on earth (below).

This theme of historical continuity via blessing and cursing as expressed in the birds of the air is reprised in the events of Genesis 15, which also conferred the fruit of the loins in a rite which required a deep “Adamic” sleep. But a consideration of actual stones as instruments of blessing and cursing within the realm of “the dry land” (or its priestly representative, the land of Canaan) sheds light on some interesting passages of Scripture, some of them well known and some of them understandably obscure.

  • Bearing in mind the nature of the curses pronounced upon Canaan by Noah, it seems that the sin of Ham was an attempt to seize the blessing upon the firstborn for his own son. Noah was in a deep sleep, at rest with His God, “naked” in his sanctuary behind a veil. This suggests that he may have intended to pronounce Covenantal blessings when he awoke. Perhaps Ham assumed that Noah was actually on his death bed and sought to steal Noah’s evident fruitfulness in land and womb as the first qualified legal representative of all Creation. This intention is supported by the fact that Ham boasted about the violation to his brothers. Consequently, God destroyed the firstborn of Egypt (the land of Ham, Psalm 78:51; 105:23, 27; 106:22; 1 Chronicles 4:40) and repossessed the land of Canaan (Joshua 21:45).
  • Stoning for transgressions of the Law including murder and adultery set the stones of the Land against the stones of Man. Setting up pillars or piles of stones (and ultimately, stone temples) as memorials served the opposite purpose, a sign of historical continuity. Stones that are engraved (such as the tablets of the Law or the gemstones worn by the High Priest), or quarried and hewn (such as the stones of the Temple) speak of an earth in submission to heaven, and thus an investiture with glory, nature civilized, gathered and integrated as culture.
  • Leviticus 21:20, 22:24 and Deuteronomy 23:1 tell us that any man or animal within Israel with its penis cut off or its testicles crushed (among a list of other physical defects) was not to be admitted to the assembly of the Lord. The reason is not that God despised eunuchs but that Israelites worshiped God as living sacrifices. Physical defects pictured moral defects. But those with physical defects were not worse sinners. Those who could approach the Lord were to mediate on behalf of those who could not. And those who could approach the Lord were symbolically cut off anyway, both in circumcision and in the sacrifices slain on their behalf. Of course, Jesus was the sacrifice without blemish who was cut off without any opportunity to procreate (Isaiah 53:8). As the True Jew, He became circumcision, He became eunuchry, through circumcision of heart, indeed eunuchry of heart (Matthew 19:12). This is why Paul wishes that those who assumed they had access to God through mere circumcision of flesh would emasculate themselves (Galatians 5:12). Then they might perceive their desperate spiritual state as Adams who had seized dominion on earth without nakedness before heaven.
  • Deuteronomy 25:11-12 is a passage that suffers some ridicule from those who fail to read the Bible on its own terms. “When men fight with one another and the wife of the one draws near to rescue her husband from the hand of him who is beating him and puts out her hand and seizes him by the private parts, then you shall cut off her hand. Your eye shall have no pity.” This seemingly random miscellaneous law follows the biblical Covenant pattern. The overall allusion is to Eve stealing fruit from the “kingly” Tree of Knowledge. The Israelite men are brothers fighting like Cain and Abel, Jacob and Esau (Genesis/Sabbath). The woman (who desires preeminence through offspring, Exodus/Passover) “draws near,” an ironic reference to the “nearbringing” offering (qorban) (Leviticus/Firstfruits). But her intention is to “cut off” her husband’s rival from the assembly of the Lord (Numbers/Pentecost) and the inheritance of Israel, (Deuteronomy/Trumpets), by breaking his stones. The Sanction (Joshua/Atonement) is that her hand be cut off, excluding her from worship, a just punishment for her intended theft of the future as a self-styled judge usurping the seat of Moses (Judges/Booths).
  • In Jeremiah 13, the prophet is commanded to purchase, wear and bury a loincloth. When retrieved, he could not wear it because it was spoiled. The Lord interprets the sign for Jeremiah: “Thus says the Lord: Even so will I spoil the pride of Judah and the great pride of Jerusalem. This evil people, who refuse to hear my words, who stubbornly follow their own heart and have gone after other gods to serve them and worship them, shall be like this loincloth, which is good for nothing. For as the loincloth clings to the waist of a man, so I made the whole house of Israel and the whole house of Judah cling to me, declares the Lord, that they might be for me a people, a name, a praise, and a glory, but they would not listen.” The loincloth as a covering of the genitals signified the nation of Israel as the firstborn of God, His own offspring in the history of the world, an office ultimately fulfilled in the birth and ministry of Christ, who rose from the grave unspoiled.
  • A better known passage is the notorious metaphorical reference to the penis size and quantity of seed of the Egyptians in Ezekiel 23. The prophets served as God’s “repo men,” so the context is fruitfulness at God’s hand through patient faith in the promises to Abraham rather than through compromises with godless kings whose kingdoms consisted of “stolen fruit.” This reference takes us back not only to the rivalry between Israel and Egypt concerning historical succession after the death of Joseph, but also to the rivalry between the offspring of Hagar and Sarah which was fulfilled in the terrible visitation at Passover. By implication, Paul condemns first century Jerusalem with the same brand of kingly lust, and the same desire for a return to slavery (Galatians 4:1-31).
  • The cause-and-effect relationship between Oath and Sanctions also explains the judgment upon Michal in 2 Samuel 6. Not only was the return of the Ark containing the “stones” of Moses being celebrated but David was also wearing a linen ephod. Although he was the only one wearing an ephod, he was not naked, since “David was clothed with a robe of fine linen, as also were all the Levites who were carrying the ark, and the singers and Chenaniah the leader of the music of the singers” (1 Chronicles 15:27). In her heart, Michal despised not his physical nakedness but his liturgical nakedness, since he was dressed like a mere priest, with no crown or robe to indicate his station. Since that humility (Oath) was actually the basis of David’s kingly exaltation by God (Sanctions), it was Michal who was rendered barren. The public downfall of her father, King Saul, began when he offered a sacrifice to God as a king (1 Samuel 13:8-13).
  • Our final example here is the promise of a white stone with a new name written on it to the faithful of Pergamum in Revelation 2:17. This combines the act of engraving as an image of the “character” of God being written on human flesh with the acceptance of the sacrifice by God on the Day of Atonement and the renaming of Abram, Sarai, Jacob and Joseph following their trials and tribulations of faith.

In Moses’ final blessing upon the tribes of Israel (Deuteronomy 33), the blessing upon his own tribe of Levi refers not only to the Urim and Thummim but also to the power of faithful priesthood over godless kingdoms. Verses 8-11 work subtly through the elements of the Tabernacle in its sevenfold Covenantal arrangement, beginning with the Urim and Thummim as representatives of the tablets in the Ark and ending with the Lord responding to Levi’s faithfulness by crushing the loins of his adversaries, a reference to the priestly ministry of Phinehas who speared the adulterers through the belly (or genitals) while in the act (Numbers 25:7). The tongue and the penis, the sword and the cup, are all extensions of Adamic authority, “power tools” which bring great blessing when employed with humble wisdom, or great cursing when used in rebellion against God. Faithfulness to God in worship and service is the deciding factor between positive and negative Sanctions in history.

The Broken Stones of Israel

At Sinai, the tablets of the Law of Moses were broken and restored. The Old Testament is a history of “new covenants,” including that promised in Jeremiah and fulfilled in Zechariah. Ultimately, the vertical Oath and the horizontal Sanctions met in the death of Jesus on the cross as our great High Priest. The New Covenant Oath was ratified in the fruit of the land (bread and wine) given to us as the fruit of the womb (flesh and blood). Unlike the Passover, this new meal turns Adams and Eves themselves into acceptable mediators, doors to life smeared with the blood of human lambs.

Jesus had no physical children yet His brothers and children are now a multitude of millions (Luke 8:21; Hebrews 2:10-18). The true children of Abraham were not those who shared in circumcision of the flesh but partook with him in circumcision of heart. That is why Jesus could refer to the Pharisees as serpents like Pharaoh (Matthew 12:24; 23:33), and children of the devil (John 8:44) while commending the faith of believing Gentiles.

But when he saw many of the Pharisees and Sadducees coming to his baptism, he said to them, “You brood of vipers! Who warned you to flee from the wrath to come? Bear fruit in keeping with repentance. And do not presume to say to yourselves, We have Abraham as our father,’ for I tell you, God is able from these stones to raise up children for Abraham.” (Matthew 3:7-10)

This brings us to what is possibly the most terrifying and ironic allusion to the Urim and Thummim, one which condemned the earthly city of God as a city of man. A dove had descended upon Christ, and blackbirds would encircle Jerusalem as if it were a bloody carcass bereft of the protection of Abraham (Genesis 15:11; Matthew 24:28), but there would also be stones. Jacob Neusner writes:

Forty years before the destruction of the Temple, the western light went out, the crimson thread remained crimson, and the lot for the Lord always came up in the left hand. They would close the gates of the Temple by night and get up in the morning and find them wide open.5Jacob Neusner, The Yerushalmi, 156-157.

Both the Jerusalem and Babylonian Talmuds record these strange events. After the crucifixion, it is written that:

  • the most important lamp of the Temple menorah went out every night despite every possible precaution. Judah’s Lampstand would be removed, and not shine in her any more. It was given to the witnessing Firstfruits Church (Revelation 11:4; 18:23; 22:5);
  • the crimson thread that reportedly turned white if the Day of Atonement had been successful no longer did so;
  • the Temple doors kept swinging open of their own accord. The Jerusalem Talmud states: “Said Rabban Yohanan Ben Zakkai to the Temple, ‘O Temple, why do you frighten us? We know that you will end up destroyed. For it has been said, ‘Open your doors, O Lebanon, that the fire may devour your cedars’” (Zechariah 11:1)’ (Yoma 6:3);
  • and the Day of Atonement “lot” that chose the goat for Azal, a black stone and a white stone, came up black every year between AD30 and AD70.

The scapegoat was chosen by lot, the engraved stones in the ephod worn by the High Priest. The last time the lot was used by the saints was for the purpose of choosing a replacement for Judas. After the Day of Pentecost, the lot was never used again, since that external method was replaced, rendered obsolete, by the internal, indwelling Spirit of God (Colossians 3:15).

Yet the ministry of the Temple continued as if the birth, death, resurrection and ascension of Christ – and the Day of Pentecost – had never occurred. These events were suppressed because they undermined the official narrative (Romans 1:18). For the Jewish Priesthood, however, a white stone still communicated “innocent” and a black stone “guilty.” These enduring liturgical signs in the Sanctuary would be measured out in judgment across the Land.

This divine testimony was a reversal of the events in Zechariah’s visions. To signify that the Aaronic priesthood was recommissioned after the exile, an engraved stone was set before the reinvested High Priest (Zechariah 3). This sign in the “Garden” resulted in a memorial in the “Land,” the lifting up of the stone by kingly Zerubbabel (Zechariah 4) as a testimony of light.6The “plumbline” in the hand of Zerubbabel in Zechariah 4:10 is a mistranslation. The word is bdellium, a metal which came from Havilah (Genesis 2:12). Manna is likened to it in color (Numbers 11:7). In Numbers 31:22 it is mistranslated as tin. This white stone would be the capstone above the Temple door. That white stone communicated a resounding “Yes!” from the Lord. Atonement was accepted. The Temple of God would be completed and Israel’s priesthood after the exile could once again be considered holy.

But if the Talmudic accounts above are true, and the black stone denotes that the Temple atonement was never accepted by God after the death of His Son on the cross, then the white stone in Revelation 2 takes on bloody connotations. Herod’s Temple had become an idol, and the Body of Christ the true Temple. The anointing of the latter on the Day of Pentecost was a precursor of the decommissioning of the former. But Dagon is only ever dismembered through the prior tearing apart of the true Tabernacle of God (1 Samuel 5:4). All those who followed Christ potentially followed Him into the grave as spotless sacrifices. In Him, all who believed were now accepted in the assembly of the Lord as perfect and complete, lambs without blemish, even the Ethiopian eunuch. Beginning with the stoning of Stephen, historical continuity was now conveyed by a different kind of Succession: the “seed” born of the Gospel, that is, the public testimony and blood of the martyrs. The foundation of the New Jerusalem was the Apostolic Church, the fruit of the Spirit, presented as a blameless “firstfruits for God and the Lamb” (Revelation 14:4-5; 21:14).

The Revelation, with its letters to the seven churches including Pergamum, was written just prior to the biggest massacre of Christians in history. Significantly, this demonic tribulation of the saints occurred just after the biggest Passover celebration in all history. The Herods had seized the white stone for Jerusalem. Their great buildings, including the newly completed Temple, were covered in “white stone,” a pretense of holiness before God. But their whiteness was that of the leper, of a sepulcher filled with bones and uncleanness (Matthew 23:27).7It seems that the “white stone” of the Herods, as described by Josephus, was nothing of the sort. “Building materials were conveyed from afar only in exceptional cases… marble was not included in Herod’s inventory of building materials, with the sole exception being the use of small marble tiles… In all cases where Josephus refers to marble (his “white stone”), it must actually have been either local limestone, a coating of white plaster, or stuccowork.” (Ehud Netzer, The Architecture of Herod, the Great Builder, 310.) Aptly, Jerusalem, once the “city of peace,” was also given new names: Sodom, Egypt, and Babylon.

After one generation of “liturgical” warnings within the Temple, and Apostolic warnings without, the city which had slaughtered over 250,000 lambs in AD65 in rebellion against the cross of Christ would now desecrate itself with the blood of the final contingent of Christian martyrs, the lambs which Peter had fed for the slaughter (John 21:15-19). Now ripe for judgment, the siege of the city began under General Titus.

In mid AD70, after the failure of negotiations with the Jewish rebels for peace, Titus decided to make an assault upon Jerusalem from the northwest in order to capture the Upper City and the Antonia Fortress. He ordered the legions to build earthworks, placing artillery in front of his engineers for protection from the artillery fire coming from the city walls. James L. Bloom writes:

The Xth Legion’s artillery section was the best equipped and trained of all the legions; their machines were capable of hurling a hundredweight stone [75 pound/34 kg] a distance of over two furlongs – about a quarter of a mile [370 meters] with great accuracy. In order to try to counteract these deadly salvos, sentinels were posted to keep a steady eye on the Xth Legion’s heavy weapons sections and as soon as they observed a launch they would follow the flight of the incoming stone, which shone white in the sun’s rays. The message would be relayed back to those in the probable area of impact: “Baby on the way!” Then they would try to take cover and throw themselves to the ground, preferably in a depression. The Romans took note of this passive defense method and took to painting the stones a dull, non-reflective black so the Jews could not detect the trajectory.8James L. Bloom, The Jewish Revolts Against Rome, A.D. 66–135: A Military Analysis, 164.

Eventually, of course, not one stone was left upon another (Matthew 24:2).

The new High Priest is described by John in Revelation 1. Besides Jesus’ full-length robe and golden sash, all of the attributes listed are “internal” qualities rather than external accoutrements. He is a human Tabernacle (John 1:14). Yet, the externals still serve a purpose. The robe indicates that He is invested with authority, qualified to bear the sword on the Father’s behalf since He Himself submitted to that sword on earth. But what of the golden sash?

The Aaronic sash was made of linen, with indigo and purple and scarlet yarns. I suspect that these three colors refer to the three stages of the death of the sacrifice: blood in the flesh, blood coming from the flesh, and oxygenated blood spilled as a testimony, or in official terms, Priest, King and Prophet. There was no gold in this sash, since it spoke of death and not resurrection. The Aaronic ephod, however, was made of the same but with the inclusion of golden thread. The shedding of atoning blood enabled Israel to survive every attempt to bring about its end.

In Revelation 1, there is no ephod. This indicates that the work of the Circumcision (Abraham) and the Priesthood (Moses) was complete. An ephod or belt about the waist is Adamic, but a sash upon the breast is “bridal.” The ephod, with its two stones, spoke of fruitfulness in land and womb, but the sash speaks of circumcision of heart. Although every stage of Covenant history required a growth to maturity, Pentecost was the seismic shift from external to internal law, from the exalted Adam to His glorious Bride gathered by the Spirit. As anticipated by Abraham (Hebrews 11:16), the Covenant promises shifted from a focus on the priestly cycles of earthly succession to those things which they pictured: “once-for-all” eternal life in the kingdom of God (Hebrews 7:27-28). The ephod was for generations, an Abrahamic “utility belt,” but Jesus is now the firstfruits of the land and the womb represented in the firstborn from the dead, testifying forever in the Sanctuary of God. The gilding of the sash reveals that His bloody work is done. The Seed of the Woman has crushed the serpent, and His very name is our Covenant Oath, our white stone. We do not take His name upon us in vain. Instead of swearing by external foundations, by heaven or earth, or the Temple and city (Matthew 5:33-37), our testimony is the fruit of the indwelling Christ.

Was I vacillating when I wanted to do this? Do I make my plans according to the flesh, ready to say “Yes, yes” and “No, no” at the same time? As surely as God is faithful, our word to you has not been Yes and No. For the Son of God, Jesus Christ, whom we proclaimed among you, Silvanus and Timothy and I, was not Yes and No, but in him it is always Yes. For all the promises of God find their Yes in him. That is why it is through him that we utter our Amen to God for his glory. And it is God who establishes us with you in Christ, and has anointed us, and who has also put his seal on us and given us his Spirit in our hearts as a guarantee. (2 Corinthians 1:17-22)


If you are new to this method of interpretation, please visit the Welcome page for some help to get you up to speed.

References   [ + ]

1. For more discussion, see Microcosmic Abram.
2. For more discussion, see Michael Bull, Big Love: A History of Stolen Fruit.
3. James B. Jordan, Was Job an Edomite King? (Part 2), Biblical Horizons No. 131.
4. For more discussion, see God-In-A-Box.
5. Jacob Neusner, The Yerushalmi, 156-157.
6. The “plumbline” in the hand of Zerubbabel in Zechariah 4:10 is a mistranslation. The word is bdellium, a metal which came from Havilah (Genesis 2:12). Manna is likened to it in color (Numbers 11:7). In Numbers 31:22 it is mistranslated as tin. This white stone would be the capstone above the Temple door.
7. It seems that the “white stone” of the Herods, as described by Josephus, was nothing of the sort. “Building materials were conveyed from afar only in exceptional cases… marble was not included in Herod’s inventory of building materials, with the sole exception being the use of small marble tiles… In all cases where Josephus refers to marble (his “white stone”), it must actually have been either local limestone, a coating of white plaster, or stuccowork.” (Ehud Netzer, The Architecture of Herod, the Great Builder, 310.)
8. James L. Bloom, The Jewish Revolts Against Rome, A.D. 66–135: A Military Analysis, 164.

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