THE URIM AND THE THUMMIN
BESTOWMENT GIFTS OF SPEAKING
From the Breastplate ... a voice of God
The ephod, its shoulder stones, the breastplate, and the two stones inside that pocket, formed the prophetic dress of the High Priest, the speaking voice of God to His people. By means of these items of clothing, the High Priest could learn the counsel and judgment of God on various problems the nation would face. He could then declare the course of action that the people should take. He could sometimes then tell what events were about to happen. This is a gift that all of us in ministry today need also. Jesus is still bestowing gifts to the ministries.
Abiathar (the only surviving priest of the line of Eli) fled to David with the ephod, having escaped being killed at Nob. David, using these parts of the High Priest’s garments, ascertained the purpose of the men of Keilah was to deliver David up to Saul. (I Samuel 23:6).
At Ziglag, David again consulted the Lord’s answer through Abiathar and the garments, and obtained a favorable answer. (I Samuel 30:7-8)
Later, David enquired of the Lord, and obtained favorable answers. (II Samuel 2:1). In these three cases, the ark of the covenant was not with David, only the priest and the breastplate on the ephod, with the urim and thummin within it.
God spoke to His people, answered their questions, gave judgment of situations, via the garments of the High Priest. The breastplate, is called the ‘breastplate of judgment’, and yet, too many have viewed and studied such breastplate, as though it were only a decorative item of clothing. It was so much more, and we need to see what God is showing us in ‘shadow’, in type, and in symbolism, with the breastplate, and the two (seldom mentioned) stones that were carried within it.
We do not receive a literal breastplate to wear, nor do we receive literal urim and thummin. Yet, there is the spiritual gifts, that those things represented, that we can receive in this age. We need to see what they represent, what they teach to us, so as to be cognitive of the blessings Jesus bestows to us, ministered to us by the Holy Spirit, and planned by God for us.
The URIM and the THUMMIN
"And thou shalt put in the breastplate of judgment, the urim and thummin; and they shall be upon Aaron’s heart when he goeth in before the Lord; and Aaron shall bear the judgment of the children of Israel upon his heart continually."
The breastplate and its contents, the urim and thummim, were over the ‘heart’ of Aaron. The ones to whom we minister must be upon our hearts, must be carried as something for which we have a great loving burden, if we want to have these gifts bestowed upon us in these days.
The breastplate was folded so as to form a bag, a pocket, and the urim and thummin were placed within it. (See Exodus 28:30, Leviticus 8:8, Numbers 27:21, Deuteronomy 33:8, I Samuel 28:6, Ezra 2:63, Nehemiah 7:65)
"Urim" means ‘lights, enlightenment". It is the Hebrew word ‘uwriym’, the plural of ‘uwr’. ‘Uwr’ means ‘light, flame, to enlighten, to set on fire.’ Urim is also translated ‘fire’ in Isaiah 24:15 ‘wherefore glorify ye the Lord in the fires.", and in Isaiah 31:9 ‘his princes shall be afraid of the ensign, saith the Lord, whose ‘fire’ is in Zion." (See also Isaiah 44:16, 47:14, and 50:11).
"Thummin" means ‘perfection, integrity." This is from the Hebrew word ‘tummiym’ which is the plural of ‘tom’. "Tom’ means ‘completeness, innocence, and integrity, upright, perfect.’
In the Septuaguint, these words are translated with the Greek words ‘delosis’ and ‘aletheia’, meaning ‘manifestation and truth".
These were already made when Moses told about them, and who made them, from where they came, is not told.
The High Priest, with the urim and thummin, became the channel by which God would speak and manifest His opinions and decisions. The High Priest could have been judged harshly for decisions he would have to make. He could have been charged with favoritism, harshness, leniency, etc. But God made the urim and thummin, which in some way revealed God’s judgment. The High Priest became only the conveyor of the Lord’s message. The High Priest was given enlightenment and integrity.
James 1:17 shows that God is called ‘the Father of lights, from Whom every good and every perfect gift cometh down." These urim and thummin represent the presence of the Lord, in our hearts, there to give enlightenment, and perfect wisdom and counsel freely to us.
Operation of the urim and thummin
Supposedly, Joseph Smith received plates and instruments called ‘interpreters’ (urim and thummin) which helped him translate the ‘reformed Egyptian’ and made from that the ‘Book of Mormon" on September 22, 1827. This is, of course, not truth, and a misrepresentation of what the urim and thummin were, and how they operated. For the reason of this ‘Mormon’ story, many in Christian circles have avoided studying the urim and thummin. In fact, many in Christianity, have never heard of these stones.
There are three channels by which God spoke in the Old Testament. We find them revealed in I Samuel 28:6:
"When Saul inquired of the Lord, the Lord answered him not, neither by dreams, nor by urim, nor by prophets."
Abiathar used the urim and thummin to answer David’s questions and concerns (I Sam. 22:20-23, 30:7-8). But we see that Saul had no dreams to answer his quandry, the urim would not answer him, and no prophet was given a message from God to answer him.
In Numbers 27:21, Eleazar, the priest was to ask counsel for Joshua ‘after the judgment of the urim, before the Lord.’ Moses had authority over the High Priest, but Joshua was to ask counsel of the High Priest through the urim and thummin. Joshua later failed to get such counsel later (Joshua 9) and was deceived by the Gibeonites.
Many in ministry today, try to use their textbooks from learned ministers of the past, their psychology books from educated scientific minds of the recent past, and from self help books of wise? advice. These pale in comparison to the available counsel of the Lord Himself, our urim and thummin.
The tradition told by the Rabbi’s was that the High Priest put on his robes and went in to the inner veil. Facing the veil, all alone, with the person wanting to know the answer standing outside. The High Priest would inquire of God, speaking audibly. Then he would withdraw the urim and thummin, and somehow receive the answer. The rabbis indicated that the shining of the stones, one or both, in some way indicated an answer.
Josephus said– ‘Now the breastplate and this sardonyx left off shining 200 years before I composed this book."
The Jewish encyclopedia suggests that the urim and thummin were in the form of sacred dice. Hasting’s Dictionary of the Bible also claims that the urim and thummin were two stones, used by the High Priest in casting lots.
Some have in great error thought that we can substitute these ‘urim and thummin’ with the ‘flip of a coin’, or the ‘tossing of dice’ to get answers. That may be an easy way to get ‘an’ answer, but these stones represent the wise, personal, direct, and perfect enlightenment that the Lord Himself wants to convey upon those who carry His people upon their heart in love.
A story involving Saul gives us an idea of the modus operandi of the urim and thummin.
I Samuel 24:41:
‘And Saul said, Lord God of Israel, why hast thou not answered thy servant this day. If this iniquity be in me; or in my son, Jonathan; Lord God of Israel, give urim. But if it be in Thy people Israel, give thummin. Then Jonathan and Saul were taken by lot."
Some things we can note from this story are that the urim and thummin were recognized as a method to find and discern guilt. One question seems to be answered at a time. There was an agreed upon interpretation of the stones beforehand.
In Jesus, we find all the lights and perfections, all the grace and truth, all the mercies and righteousness. Jesus is the LIGHT, and Jesus manifests forth that light. He is urim. Also, in Jesus, we find ‘PERFECTIONS’. He is the thummin. Jesus is the unblemished Lamb of God. He lived a sinless life, tempted of the devil himself, but unblemished, unsoiled by sin. Jesus, as the great High Priest, made manifest the counsels and purposes of God. He is the light to our lives, He has no darkness at all. He is the brightness or shining forth of God’s glory. He dwells within His people, as the urim and thummin were within the breastplate of the twelve stones. And looking to Him, we find all the answers to our problems.
The word ‘urim’ begins with the first letter of the Hebrew alphabet, the ‘aleph’.
The word ‘thummin’ begins with the last letter of the Hebrew alphabet, the ‘tau’.
Jesus spoke saying ‘I am the alpha and omega’ (Rev. 22:13). These are the first and last letters of the Greek alphabet. Likely, Jesus spoke it in Hebrew, and it was translated into the Greek by John. So, what Jesus said, was "I am the aleph and the tau."
Jesus said also:
"I am Alpha and Omega, the beginning and the end." Rev. 1:8
"...saying, I am Alpha and Omega, the first and the last." Rev. 1:11
"I am Alpha and Omega, the beginning and the end." Rev 21:6...
Is there correlation between the urim and thummin, and the words of Jesus there? Jesus said He was the ‘beginning’ (arche, Greek)... and He said He was the ‘first’ (protos, Greek)... He also said He was the ‘end’ (telos, Greek) and the ‘last’ (eschatos, Greek) ‘Arche’ means ‘the first cause, the opposite of ‘telos’. ‘Protos’ means the ‘first of several, the earliest, the most important.’ These words bear a striking similarity to the words ‘urim and thummin’, and the fact that both sets are the first and last letters of the particular alphabet, also bears noting.
So, Jesus seems to be showing us, that He is the fulfilment of the ‘urim and thummin’. He is the ‘first’ (the original picture type, and He is the ‘last’, (the final fulfillment of the type.) He is the One predicted to come, Who would speak for the God of heaven, giving mankind the answers they desire to have.
Jesus is seen in the vision of the Son of man in Rev. 1:12-16, to be the High Priest, in the midst of the seven churches, and the ‘eyes’ are seen to be as a ‘flame of fire’ (‘urim’ means ‘fires’). The ‘eyes’ of the Lord, there, searched the ways of the ‘seven churches’, judging their works and faith.
The breastplate was called the ‘breastplate of judgment’, for the urim and thummin were used to judge.
"...eyes were as a flame of fire..."
"... eyes were lamps of fire"
The urim and thummin were types of Jesus as He was to come. He is our Judge, He answers our questions, He sees as with eyes of fire into our souls, and He dwells amidst His people, as the urim and thummin dwelt within the breastplate of twelve stones.
The urim and thummin were instruments ordained of God, kept hidden within the pouch of the breastplate. This breastplate was worn only when the High Priest was clothed with the ephod. The urim and thummin were used to find God’s will and guidance. God’s decisions were ascertained with the use of the breastplate and the hidden stones within, were the most vital part of the breastplate.
We, in this age, in the various ministries to which we are called, have Jesus dwelling within us. He has all the answers to the various problems we encounter with those that are on the breastplate. We need enlightenment and wisdom from the Lord, and Jesus is there to speak to us, His guidance, His judgments of the situations. How blessed we are to be in this kind of ministry. The answers are there, abiding within us, upon our heart.