Robes of High Priest

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This page on the garments of the High Priest is full of rich treasures. I find new beauty every time I think about these robes. I find that if I look at the robes with the color key in mind and ask questions about what is attached to what the story opens up in my understanding.

The Breastplate of stones

Design in the breastplate has been closely studied by many scholars yet in translation of the words used for stones, there has been some confusion. 

Every detail of the High Priest spoke to the character and work of Jesus. He is our High Priest. The colors, the design the pomegranates and bells all tell part of the story.

Hebrews 4:14 Seeing then that we have a great high priest, that is passed into the heavens, Jesus the Son of God, let us hold fast [our] profession. 

Here is a picture on the left of one artists rendition using real stones mounted in real gold settings. The breast plate is suspended from the shoulders by gold chains. It is fastened to the belt with a ribbon of blue.

The other picture is that of the breast plate I have made for teaching these beautiful truths. 

The shoulder stones were of onyx and had 6 tribe names engraved on each. The urim and thumin were two additional stones which were used to obtain "yes" or "no" answers from God. The right stone was the Urim and if it lit up, that was a "yes". The right stone was on the right of the High Priest. In the picture it appears as though it is left from the direction you are looking at it. If the left stone had a cloud or vapor over it, the answer was no over the thumin. The 12 stones were arranged as follows placed from right to left.:

Remember the stones you see on the left are really on the right of the priest.

Row one: Ruby, Topaz, and Beryl

Row 2: Turquoise, sapphire, and emerald,

Row 3: Jacinth, agate, and amethyst.

Row 4: Chrysolite, onyx, and jasper.

Exodus 28:16-21

I went to a large rock shop and spoke to a person who knew their gems very well. I purchased a book that had been done on the different kinds of rocks in Bible times and particularly the rocks of the breast plate. Because translation changes rock names, and many rocks have different shades of the same color, I have done my best to at least have the color. Some shades of green actually might have had more blue in them. The sapphire rock comes in many different colors. But since the ten commandments were blue sapphire, that is the color used. Agates have many different colors yet all have a transparent feature. Onyx comes in many shades as well as does jasper.


Regardless of the shade details, think about this! All of these represent a different personality and person who belonged in the same family. Each had their special place and was carried over the heart of the High Priest.  Around the outside edge of the breastplate was a row of tiny rocks of pretty colors and different values.  These must have represented the millions not in the Jewish tribes but yet because of their faith, they are part of the seed of Abraham. Jesus carries each one of us in our special place in His heart. Never for one second are you forgotten. He has made a mansion with your favorite colors and things to interest you for eternity.
I don't belong to a tribe. I am just one of the tiny stones about the edges but it does not matter. The light all comes from Jesus anyway. I dedicated my life to Jesus when I was 12. Now 38 years later, I still pray for more light to share. Each year I pray that I can help spread the gospel so we can go home to heaven. I love Jesus and have given Him everything. I have saved up nothing for myself. We are in the last months of this world. I have given all my time, talents, goals, plans to Jesus. I pray my children will all choose the same way. How about you, have you promised to work even without money or benefits, no matter how difficult the job or how nice of a dwelling you will have? When you finish this section on the High Priest Robes, you need to go look at my son's dream about letting your light shine. First finish this section then click here. 45 stars
Among the 12 apostles who worked with Jesus was another great variety of personalities. Some could take leaps of faith, others like Thomas had so much trouble believing that Jesus was alive until he put his hand into the wounds. Yet all were tenderly regarded by Jesus. Even Judas the betrayer was treated as a "friend". Jesus gave him power to heal and cast out demons on mission trips. He was tall and handsome and highly respected by others even though Jesus knew that he was going to betray him. That is a rich picture of the love of God who desires to save all of us. He knows why we act the way we do. He gives every chance possible to help us choose the right path. The choice is ours for life or death.

There was a vapor that appeared over the stone on the left when the answer from God was NO.

"At the right and left of the breastplate were two large stones of great brilliancy. These were known as the Urim and Thummim. By them the will of God was made known through the high priest. When questions were brought for decision before the Lord, a halo of light encircling the precious stone at the right was a token of the divine consent or approval, while a cloud shadowing the stone at the left was an evidence of denial or disapprobation." {PP 351.2} Patriarchs and Prophets by Ellen White

Joshua needed to get counsel when to go and come with God's people. He was to ask the high priest to ask of God His answer. "He shall stand before Eleazar the priest, who shall ask counsel for him, after the judgment of Urim before the Lord. At his word shall they go out, and at his word they shall come in, both he, and all the children of Israel with him, even all the congregation." Verses 21-23. {PP 463.1}

Did you know that David had the breast plate in the cave when he was hiding from angry, jealous king Saul?

After his father was killed by the crazy devil driven king Saul, Abiathar fled with priest robes to David. David told him to stay with him for safety. Most all the rest of Abiathar's family had been slaughtered by Doeg who was hungry to get vineyards and a position as captain over thousands. I Samuel 23:6

23:6 And it came to pass, when Abiathar the son of Ahimelech fled to David to Keilah, [that] he came down [with] an ephod in his hand. 

In Exodus 28:28 it was stated by God that the ephod was never to be separated from the ephod. .."and that the breastplate be not loosed from the ephod."

All these gems need light to pass into them to be beautiful. Look at how the diamond takes the light and spreads out the colors that are in that ray of light. This is called refracted light into each spectrum of light wave. The result is a gorgeous rainbow. Some people are like diamonds. They see so much beauty in God's promises. They share them with others giving examples of how to apply them to their life. The result inspires hope in others. The tribe of Naphtali was represented as diamonds.
All these gems need light to pass into them to be beautiful. God sheds His light of truth on all people.  Light goes in, bounces around a certain way and then goes out. In the case of a diamond, it is the way it is refracted. You could get a rainbow out of a diamond by the way its faceted angles throw the light it receives. So in the people who see God's light. Each individual sees different aspects of God because of the experiences each one has had in their lives. 

 This is why all are supposed to let their lights shine for Jesus. One person who seems so talented that he is a great evangelist is not to be the only one to share light. God has designed that each of us hold up our light to shine.

Mathew 5:14 Ye are the light of the world. A city that is set on an hill cannot be hid. 
5:15 Neither do men light a candle, and put it under a bushel, but on a candlestick; and it giveth light unto all that are in the house. 
5:16 Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father which is in heaven. 

God's light goes into your mind, bounces around a certain way and is understood based on what trials and blessings you have experienced. As you share the truth in your own words, or with your art, a different color is given as you describe what you understand.

Again, I emphasize how valuable each person is to God. You are just so valuable to Him that He treats you as a favorite. He sees you as though there was not another person on this earth. Every where the High Priest went, he carried this breast plate. Jesus the High Priest carries the stones representing each group of people. He carries all their problems and concerns right over His heart. He gives them their light to make them shine for Him. Without His light your gem would have no color or beauty.

The border of the breast plate was formed by a variety of precious stones.

I imagine the mixed multitude and others who were not of the 12 tribes, wondered what value they had in God's eyes. The border of precious stones included them on the heart of the priest.  No matter who you are, if you believe in Jesus and trust and obey, you can be represented in this variety of little gems on the border of the breast plate.

Think of it, the high priest during the time Jesus lived here, the man who represented Jesus, actually did so many evil things against JESUS during his trial an crucifixion. Dear reader, you must be careful who you believe. Read everything from your Bible yourself. Check everything out carefully. A church leader could be just like the high priest who brought about the cruel torture of Jesus.

Mark 14:60 And the high priest stood up in the midst, and asked Jesus, saying, Answerest thou nothing? what [is it which] these witness against thee? 
14:61 But he held his peace, and answered nothing. Again the high priest asked him, and said unto him, Art thou the Christ, the Son of the Blessed? 
14:62 And Jesus said, I am: and ye shall see the Son of man sitting on the right hand of power, and coming in the clouds of heaven. 
14:63 Then the high priest rent his clothes, and saith, What need we any further witnesses? 

Before you go to the next part of the robes, notice there was a blue ribbon that attached the breast plate to the belt. Why was it not just a gold chain or something else? Again, the 10 commandment law is so extremely important for every different personality and person that wants to be included in God's family.
Golden chains attached the breastplate to the shoulders. In the same way each of God's children attach themselves to heaven's power by using their talents in loving service the best they can do for Jesus.

The hat or miter on the head of the priest was all white except for a golden crown with the title "Holiness to the Lord". This was fixed to the white with a blue ribbon.

The mind and thoughts of the priest were to be like the mind and thoughts of Jesus. Jesus was always concentrating on finding people who needed help. He never made fun of others. He was always looking for ways to make people feel better.


The blue ribbon is another symbol of the 10 commandments. The mind of Jesus is described by the 10 commandment law. He thinks this way. This will never change.  He does not need to change. He is perfect. Those who want to think like Jesus will want to keep His 10 commandment way of treating people kindly and respecting God.


Isaiah 42:3 A bruised reed shall he not break, and the smoking flax shall he not quench: he shall bring forth judgment unto truth. 
42:4 He shall not fail nor be discouraged, till he have set judgment in the earth: and the isles shall wait for his law. 
42:5 Thus saith God the LORD, he that created the heavens, and stretched them out; he that spread forth the earth, and that which cometh out of it; he that giveth breath unto the people upon it, and spirit to them that walk therein: 
42:6 I the LORD have called thee in righteousness, and will hold thine hand, and will keep thee, and give thee for a covenant of the people, for a light of the Gentiles; 
42:7 To open the blind eyes, to bring out the prisoners from the prison, [and] them that sit in darkness out of the prison house. 
42:8 I [am] the LORD: that [is] my name: and my glory will I not give to another, neither my praise to graven images. 

The belt was woven with the red blue and purple plus gold and silver.


All the colors describe the personality of God. The mercy, justice, and godliness combine to hold the garment on.

Right under the breast plate was the colorful ephod. It contained red, blue, purple and gold colors of cloth. It was only sewn at the shoulders yet open at the side seams.

This robe of red, blue, purple and gold describes the aspects of God's character. There is mercy and justice and the red blood sacrifice figured into all the decisions of God. You can trust His wisdom as He looks at the records of your deeds. He knows where you were born, what chance you had to know truth. He knows if the Bible was always available to you and if you had the help of friends who also loved their Bibles. He sees those who have never had a Bible. His mercy considers all your experiences as He decides if you love Him enough to be safe to save to live among perfect people in heaven. He can tell if you would be happy singing in the choirs and making harp music and sharing your faith in heaven. Jesus loved you enough to give His life hoping you would believe and want to live with Him. If you have never given your heart to Him, go to the section on "will Jesus accept me?" and pray the  sinners prayer and give your heart to Him now.

Under the ephod was a solid blue robe with a hem which had a bell and pomegranate alternating around it. Everywhere the priest moved, the bells sounded. All could hear him whether they could see him or not.  They knew just where he was.


The solid blue is a symbol of God's law. It never changes. No human can change His law. It is part of the description of His character. No human can change His character. God believes in being kind always. He wants parents tenderly treated. He wants wives and husbands to be tenderly cherished and honored. He expects truth always. He wants us to be content with what we have. There must be no desire for the belongings of another person. He has poured out so much love on us, He deserves all our honor. He created this world and owns all that is here. He gives you strength to live. He set up an appointment every week to meet with you on Saturday the 7th day. He is king of the universe and the most powerful. He has always been alive. What a privilege that in His busy schedule, He set up a whole day to meet with us. If we love Him we will keep His commandments. Look at all the blessings promised to those who obey His commandments! (prayers answered, Holy Spirit power, comfort, eternal life, special love from God, communication from God)

John 14:15 If ye love me, keep my commandments.  
14:16 And I will pray the Father, and he shall give you another Comforter, that he may abide with you for ever; 
14:17 [Even] the Spirit of truth; whom the world cannot receive, because it seeth him not, neither knoweth him: but ye know him; for he dwelleth with you, and shall be in you. 
14:18 I will not leave you comfortless: I will come to you. 
14:19 Yet a little while, and the world seeth me no more; but ye see me: because I live, ye shall live also. 
14:20 At that day ye shall know that I [am] in my Father, and ye in me, and I in you. 
14:21 He that hath my commandments, and keepeth them, he it is that loveth me: and he that loveth me shall be loved of my Father, and I will love him, and will manifest myself to him. 
Deut. 11:22 For if ye shall diligently keep all these commandments which I command you, to do them, to love the LORD your God, to walk in all his ways, and to cleave unto him; 
11:23 Then will the LORD drive out all these nations from before you, and ye shall possess greater nations and mightier than yourselves. 
11:24 Every place whereon the soles of your feet shall tread shall be yours: from the wilderness and Lebanon, from the river, the river Euphrates, even unto the uttermost sea shall your coast be. 
11:25 There shall no man be able to stand before you: [for] the LORD your God shall lay the fear of you and the dread of you upon all the land that ye shall tread upon, as he hath said unto you. 
11:26 Behold, I set before you this day a blessing and a curse; 
11:27 A blessing, if ye obey the commandments of the LORD your God, which I command you this day: 
11:28 And a curse, if ye will not obey the commandments of the LORD your God, but turn aside out of the way which I command you this day, to go after other gods, which ye have not known. 

At the bottom of the blue robe were figures of red, blue, purple shaded pomegranates. This was not just decoration. Jesus was making a statement again about the importance of keeping His commandments. All who believe in Him, keep the blue commandments. These are the original commandments that never change. No human can change these.  These pomegranates were fastened to the blue robe. They hung from it. Do you see this beautiful truth? All the seed of Abraham obey God's law. If you are hanging from a different cloth, my friend, I suggest you change to this one. This is the only one whereby we can be saved. The seventh day is the Sabbath of the commandments. Keep it and be included in God's family. How could His light be more plain?

John 15:10 If ye keep my commandments, ye shall abide in my love; even as I have kept my Father's commandments, and abide in his love. 
15:11 These things have I spoken unto you, that my joy might remain in you, and [that] your joy might be full. 
15:12 This is my commandment, That ye love one another, as I have loved you. 
15:13 Greater love hath no man than this, that a man lay down his life for his friends. 
15:14 Ye are my friends, if ye do whatsoever I command you. 


Some have never seen inside a pomegranate. I sliced this and scanned it for you to see inside. Notice all the red seeds each in a case of red juice. The seeds are like all who have faith in Jesus and His blood covering our sins of breaking the law, will be as the seed of Abraham. We can inherit eternal life through faith in what Jesus has done and is doing for us, and by obeying his law. You see, faith without works is dead. Believe on the Lord Jesus, keep all of His commandments, my friend and be saved.

James 2:26 For as the body without the spirit is dead, so faith without works is dead also. 

You are seed of Abraham if you believe in and obey Jesus.

To Abraham was given the promise that of his line the Saviour of the world should come: "In thy seed shall all the nations of the earth be blessed." "He saith not, And to seeds, as of many; but as of one, And to thy seed, which is Christ." Genesis 22:18; Galatians 3:16. {AA 222.2}

Galations 3:26 For ye are all the children of God by faith in Christ Jesus.

3:27 For as many of you as have been baptized into Christ have put on Christ. 
3:28 There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither bond nor free, there is neither male nor female: for ye are all one in Christ Jesus. 
3:29 "And if ye [be] Christ's,
then are ye Abraham's seed, and heirs according to the promise."  Here is our HOPE. We are seeds who obey the commandments and have faith in Jesus.


Bells were attached to the blue robe. Those who believe and obey the commandments will hear the bells.

The bells on the robe had special significance. People could not see but they could hear where the priest was. You cannot see Jesus, but the Bible helps you by faith know what He is doing for you. He provides bread at the table for you every Sabbath morning, He prays for you morning and evening, He sends God the Holy Spirit to comfort and lead you into truth, and then in the Most Holy Room, He does the special job of discussing your life with the Father and making plans for you to live in heaven if you are obedient. The Bible tells us these things. It is like hearing the bells ringing as in faith we trust He is working for us as High Priest.

The bells on the robe of the priest could be heard even when no one else was allowed in the sanctuary like on the day of Atonement during the final clean up of sins. All pleaded for forgiveness of every sin. They listened for the bells. This told them when the High Priest was coming out of the Most Holy Room.

There is a promise for God's people at the close of probation when Jesus the High Priest moves out of the Most Holy Place. Here is a treasure. It is a real nugget of truth for our joy during the time of trouble. Listen for those bells. My friend, Jesus will never leave us or forsake His Bible loving commandment keeping people!

"As Jesus moved out of the most holy place, I heard the tinkling of the bells upon His garment; and as He left, a cloud of darkness covered the inhabitants of the earth. There was then no mediator between guilty man and an offended God. Early Writings p. 280

"And I saw the time of trouble, such as never was,--Jesus told me it was the time of Jacob's trouble, and that we should be delivered out of it by the voice of God. Just before we entered it, we all received the seal of the living God. Then I saw the four Angels cease to hold the four winds. And I saw famine, pestilence and sword, nation rose against nation, and the whole world was in confusion. Then we cried to God for deliverance day and night till we began to hear the bells on Jesus' garment. And I saw Jesus rise up in the Holiest, and as he came out we heard the tinkling of bells, and knew our High Priest was coming out. Then we heard the voice of God which shook the heavens and earth, and gave the 144,000 the day and hour of Jesus' coming. Then the saints were free, united and full of the glory of God, for he had turned their captivity. And I saw a flaming cloud come where Jesus stood and he laid off his priestly garment and put on his kingly robe, took his place on the cloud which carried him to the east where it first appeared to the saints on earth, a small black cloud, which was the sign of the Son of Man. While the cloud was passing from the Holiest to the east which took a number of days, the Synagogue of Satan worshiped at the saints feet." Ellen G. Harmon {DS, March 14, 1846 par. 2} Day Star


If he remained an unusual time in the most holy, the people were often terrified, fearing that because of their sins, or some sin of the priest, the glory of the Lord had slain him. But when the sound of the tinkling of the bells upon his garments was heard, they were greatly relieved. He then came forth and blessed the people. {1SP 274.2} Spirit of Prophecy vol. 1

Imagine being in some lonely prison persecuted for your faith and wondering how much longer. Then you hear those bells with the assurance the end is near. Oh, my friends, don't give up and break His 10 commandments. Keep the 7th day Sabbath no matter who on this earth claims it was changed. You will have all these promises as your reward for faithfulness.

The long white robe was under all the other robes. It represented a sinless life. Jesus is the only one who has a pure sinless life. He lived a perfect life here on this earth. He offers to wash our sins away and cover us with His robe.

The laver was a promise of this. As the priests washed the outside, they were to pray that God would wash away evil thoughts and habits on the inside. 

Baptism is a death, burial and resurrection to a new life with Jesus helping overcome sin. God the Father, God the Son, and God the Holy Spirit promise to help anyone who takes the step in baptism.

Sandals were left by the laver and the priest went bare foot because he was entering holy ground. Moses at the burning bush was commanded to show respect by taking off his shoes for he was on holy ground. God was there which made that ground holy.

White robes were worn by all the sanctuary priests. The tribe of Levi were set aside to be care takers of the sanctuary. The tithe returned by those who wanted to be partners with God, went to provide food and clothing for the priests and to keep the sanctuary running well. Offerings supplied oil for the candlestick, and other needs like incense and repairs.
Notice the shoulder stones on the High Priest. There were two large onyx stones with the names of the 12 tribes engraved on them. Jesus carries on His shoulders all of the names of those who believe and obey all the light He has given them.


The golden chains hold the breastplate which has you on it to the shoulders of Jesus.

Serve Jesus motivated by love in your heart for Him.

Faithfully use your talents for him and let your light shine.

Thus the you link yourself to heaven's power by the Golden Chain.

From these stones, the whole breast plate was attached by a golden chain.

The golden chain reminds us of the golden chain of truth. There is a similarity here  to the armor of God. "great discernment is needed that the girdle should be the golden chain of truth, "and having on the breast-plate of righteousness," not your own but the righteousness of Christ." 

However small your talent, God has a place for it. That one talent, wisely used, will accomplish its appointed work. By faithfulness in little duties, we are to work on the plan of addition, and God will work for us on the plan of multiplication. These littles will become the most precious influences in His work. {COL 360.1}
Let a living faith run like threads of gold through the performance of even the smallest duties. Then all the daily work will promote Christian growth. There will be a continual looking unto Jesus.
Love for Him will give vital force to everything that is undertaken. Thus through the right use of our talents, we may link ourselves by a golden chain to the higher world. This is true sanctification; for sanctification consists in the cheerful performance of daily duties in perfect obedience to the will of God. {COL 360.2}
But many Christians are waiting for some great work to be brought to them. Because they cannot find a place large enough to satisfy their ambition, they fail to perform faithfully the common duties of life. These seem to them uninteresting. Day by day they let slip opportunities for showing their faithfulness to God. While they are waiting for some great work, life passes away, its purposes unfulfilled, its work unaccomplished. {COL 360.3} Christ Object Lessons 360 by Ellen White

1. How many main rocks were on the breast plate?

2. Describe the "answer" stones. Tell which one lit up and what it meant.

3. What kind of rocks were on the shoulders?

4. What kind of rocks were the little border stones around the breast plate?

5. What did the color blue mean?

6. What was on the fringe of the blue garment and what did it teach?

7. What did the laver teach?

8. Describe the hat or miter and what did it say on it?

9. What does it mean that Jesus carries these stones about with Him in heaven? Does He ever forget?

10. Describe the belt. 

12. Every where that Jesus goes, the bells can be heard. When probation closes what can be heard by God's faithful people who know sanctuary truths?

13. Can the plagues be poured out before Jesus finishes His work of Judgment?

14. Why can't sentence be given before judgment?

15. What was the sign on the left rock when God's answer was "no" to the high priest?

16. How did David get the breast plate in the caves while hiding from Saul?


Breastplate: Exodus 28

Blue robe: Exodus 28:31,32,33

Pomegranates: Full of seeds "If ye be Christ's, then you are Abraham's seed, and heirs according to the promise." Galatians 3:29

Hat or miter Exodus 28:36-39.

Blue trim on sleeves: Numbers 15:38-

Next is the story of the Passover 

More information and Doeg killing off priests

Doeg the Edomite turned informer. Moved by ambition and avarice, and by hatred of the priest, who had reproved his sins, Doeg reported David's visit to Ahimelech, representing the matter in such a light as to kindle Saul's anger against the man of God. The words of that mischievous tongue, set on fire of hell, stirred up the worst passions in Saul's heart. Maddened with rage, he declared that the whole family of the priest should perish. And the terrible decree was executed. Not only Ahimelech, but the members of his father's house . . . were slain at the king's command, by the murderous hand of Doeg. . . . {CC 167.4}

"And Nob, the city of the priests, smote he with the edge of the sword, both men and women, children and sucklings, and oxen, and asses, and sheep."

Thus this Edomite, who was as base a character as was Barabbas, slew with his own hand eighty-five priests of the Lord in one day; and he and Saul, and he who was a murderer from the beginning, gloried over the massacre of the servants of the Lord. Like savage beasts who have tasted of blood, so were Saul and Doeg (ST Sept. 21, 1888). {2BC 1020.4}

When Doeg the Edomite heard the words of Saul offering as a bribe the gift of vineyards, and the position of captain over thousands and hundreds, his ambition was stirred, and he determined to turn informer. {ST, September 21, 1888 par. 1} Signs of the Times

He sent for Ahimelech and all his father's house, and they presented themselves before him in their priestly robes of office that they might do him honor....The king was so blinded with passion that the words of reason had no influence whatever upon him. He was so filled with Satanic frenzy that all regard for sacred things was lost. In his language he not only accused the priest of deception, but virtually charged God with counseling a traitor through his high priest. {ST, September 21, 1888 par. 7}

After the slaughter of the priests, "one of the sons of Ahimelech the son of Ahitub, named Abiathar, escaped, and fled after David. And Abiathar showed David that Saul had slain the Lord's priests. And David said unto Abiathar, I knew it that day, when Doeg the Edomite was there, that he would surely tell Saul; I have occasioned the death of all the persons of thy father's house. Abide thou with me, fear not; for he that seeketh my life seeketh thy life; but with me thou shalt be in safeguard." {ST, October 5, 1888 par. 1} Signs of the Times

"What time I am afraid, I will trust in Thee" (Psalm 56:3), was the language of his heart. Though he himself 
could not discern a way out of the difficulty, God could see it, and would teach him what to do. {PP 692.4}

Sending for Abiathar the priest, the son of Ahimelech, "David inquired of the Lord, saying, If I pursue after this troop, shall I overtake them?" The answer was, "Pursue: for thou shalt surely overtake them, and shalt without fail recover all." 1 Samuel 30:8, R.V. {PP 693.1}