Wednesday, April 24, 2013

Bible Devotion: What is an Ephod? - Exodus 39:2-3

Exodus 39:2-3                        They made the ephod of gold, and of blue, purple and scarlet yarn, and of finely twisted linen. They hammered out thin sheets of gold and cut strands to be worked into the blue, purple and scarlet yarn and fine linen--the work of a skilled craftsman.

What’s an Ephod?

There are some words in the Bible that only belong to the ancient cultures represented in its pages. ‘Ephod’ is one of them. The ephod was the metallic breastplate or vest that Aaron the High Priest wore when he entered the holy tabernacle to intercede on behalf of the Hebrew people. It was part of his uniform and a badge of his authority. The ephod was squarely shaped and contained twelve jewels on its surface which represented the twelve tribes of Israel. It must have been both a beautiful and an amazing piece of jeweled clothing for the high priest to wear.

By the way, some people believe that the arrangement of colors, threads, and squares was an ancient inspiration to the making of the first plaid/tartan cloths.

The ephod’s significance had many meanings. By wearing it, the high priest was recognized by God as being the one who could make confessions and prayers for all the people. Its precious stones represented the well-being of the whole community and signified God’s authority through Aaron to the people. It was also an expensive vestment, festooned with gold and rich jewels, with which the wearer honored God’s kingly, royal, and majestic presence. The people could confidently have their prayers of confession presented to God because the ephod wearer was welcomed into God’s sacred presence.

As Christians, we have a high priest, but instead of an ephod, He bears the marks of crucifixion on his head, chest, hands and feet. When we make our confessions in Christ’s Name, He stands before God as our both our Holy Savior and God’s Sacred Son. He is given the authority to forgive our mistakes, to pardon our messed up lives, and to allow us the precious opportunity of beginning again. We are a fortunate people because we are forgiven; we are exceptional creatures because Christ saves us.

Questions for personal reflection

How many times in the day to I ask Christ to intercede on my behalf? What does He do that makes Him my Savior?

Prayer:            Lord Jesus, thank You for being our High Priest. We are grateful that You are willing to intercede on our behalf each day, to forgive our many sins, and to restore us to God’s favor and kingdom. Without You, we would be lost to God forever. With You, we are blessed eternally. In Your Holy Name, we thankfully pray. Amen.

John Stuart is the pastor of Erin Presbyterian Church in Knoxville, Tennessee. If you would like to comment or ask a question about today’s message, please send him an email to

Today’s image is of the High Priest in Aaron’s time wearing the ephod and other vestments.

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