Christian Churches of God
Priest’s Blue Robe
(Edition 1.0 20060403-20060403)
We are told that the High Priest was to wear a blue robe of one piece with golden bells and pomegranates on the robe’s bottom edge. This lesson develops the symbolic representation of the blue robe of the ephod of the priest.
Priest’s Blue Robe
To review the blue robe and try to gain understanding of its appearance and possible symbolic representation.
Children will learn the biblical description of the blue robe.
Children will learn how the priest’s garments pointed toward Christ as our High Priest.
Children will have an understanding of what the colour blue symbolized.
Children will have ideas of what the bells and pomegranates might symbolize.
Revised Standard Bible
King James Bible
William Brown: The Tabernacle its Priests and Services
Exodus 39:22: They made the robe of the ephod entirely in blue cloth—the work of the weavers.
Exodus 39:24-25: They made pomegranates of blue, purple and scarlet finely twisted linen around the hem of the robe. 25 And they made bells of pure gold and attached them around the hem between the pomegranates.
Open with prayer
Close with prayer
Q1. What did the blue robe look like?
Exodus 28:31-35 And thou shalt make the robe of the ephod all [of] blue. And there shall be an hole in the top of it, in the midst thereof: it shall have a binding of woven work round about the hole of it, as it were the hole of an habergeon, that it be not rent. And [beneath] upon the hem of it thou shalt make pomegranates [of] blue, and [of] purple, and [of] scarlet, round about the hem thereof; and bells of gold between them round about: A golden bell and a pomegranate, a golden bell and a pomegranate, upon the hem of the robe round about. And it shall be upon Aaron to minister: and his sound shall be heard when he goeth in unto the holy [place] before the LORD, and when he cometh out, that he die not.
William Brown, The Tabernacle its Priests and Services, on page 95 stated, “the blue robe, reaching from the neck to a little below the knees, was one entire piece of woven work (Ex. 39:22). As it had no sleeves, there were arm slits at the sides.”
Though parts of the High Priest’s garments were very beautiful and decorative, the blue robe was simple.
Q2. What else do we know of that was blue?
A. Four blue ribbons pinned to our garment. Just as the blue ribbons are to remind us of the Law of God, how much more so a garment that is entirely blue? Just as the High Priest was the physical representative on the planet for Messiah, so too were the High Priest’s garments to remind us of the different aspects of Christ’s role as High Priest.
Messiah is the Memra (Hebrew) or Logos (Greek), which is the Word of God and hence embodies the Law of God. The Law of God leads us to Christ (Gal. 3:24). Therefore, the Law is our tutor to lead us to Christ, that we might be justified by faith. Christ is the end of Law for all of us who believe and qualify to be part of God’s family. “For Christ is the end of the law for righteousness to every one who believes” (Rom. 10:4).
Numbers 15:37-40 instructs us to have four blue ribbons on the corners of our garments, "that we may look on them and remember all the commandments of the Lord and do them". Here we see the entire robe was to be blue. The robe of blue of the High Priest embodied the Law for the nation, while the four blue ribbons on our personal garments is a reminder of the Law for us as individuals. The High Priest stood for, and interceded for all the people of the planet, through the chosen people of Israel, in questions related to the Law of God.
The blue robe was simple and not decorative. The Law of God is simple enough for a child to understand. From the simplicity of the word of God the planet is judged.
A. No, it was of one-piece (Ex. 28:32), just as the law and testimony are one.
Q4. Could the robe be “ripped apart?”
A. No, it could not. As stated in Exodus 28:32, it was of one piece of material. This was most likely done on a loom and is called a double weave, where the top and bottom pieces of the fabric are woven at the same time and joined on each side. This would be the same type of robe worn by Messiah on the night and morning of his betrayal and death.
Just as the High Priest’s robe and Messiah’s robe were of one piece, so is the Law of God. Just as God is holy, righteous, good, perfect and truth, so too is God’s Law holy, righteous, good, and perfect truth. God’s Law is part of His very character. We are tied together with God and the loyal Host through God’s Holy Spirit.
Just as there are two testimonies (old and new), it is all part of God’s Law. It all stands together. We cannot take bits and pieces of the Law and say other parts are done away with like some organizations try to do. Only the sacrifices have been fulfilled in Christ.
Q5. What do the bells represent?
A. The bottom of the robe had bells made of gold attached to the hem. The gold bells and pomegranates were to alternate around the hem of the robe. "And it shall be on Aaron when he ministers" (Ex. 28:33-35; 39:24-26). There are mixed views on the reasons for the bells. Some scholars believe it was so that the High Priest could be heard moving about in the Tabernacle or Temple. The tinkling of the bells may have been heard when he entered and left the holy place before the Lord. This was a reassurance that he found favour in the eyes of the Lord and he did not die. Other authors say this is not logical. All we can be sure of is that Scripture states that there were bells and pomegranates on the bottom of the blue robe.
Bell: from the Hebrew lexicon of the Blue Letter Bible, bell, so called from its being struck. Bell is SHD 6471 which comes from SHD 6470 1) stroke, beat, foot, step, anvil, occurrence a) foot, hoof-beat, footfall, footstep b) anvil c) occurrence, time, stroke, beat.
The bells were made of pure gold. As we covered in Lesson: Mitre or Turban with the Golden Plate (No. CB66), pure gold represents a sinless splendour. Clearly, this applies to Christ willingly laying down his life for us all.
Here we see the Holiness described on the High Priest’s golden plate even reflected to the bells on the horses. All things will be holy unto the Lord.
A. On the golden plate engraved “Holy to the Lord” on his mitre, and in the breastplate on the settings for the onyx stones on the shoulders of the High Priest’s ephod.
In the future all wear white robes according to the Testimony. There will be a new priesthood and a new system in place at the Temple.
Q8. What do the pomegranates represent?
A. “They made pomegranates of blue, purple and scarlet material and twisted linen around the hem of the robe” (Ex. 39:24). The Encyclopaedia Judaica suggests there were 36 or 72 bells and pomegranates. Easton’s Bible Dictionary says there were 72, which is the number in the Sanhedrin. If there were 72 bells and pomegranates then we have the bottom of the High Priest’s robe encircled with the 144 items. These represent the “one of a thousand” in Job who provided salvation (Job 33:23). We also see pomegranates on the pillars of Solomon’s Temple. The details of Solomon’s Temple will be discussed in a future paper.
With the bells and pomegranates we see two similar round shaped objects yet they are different. The bells were made of gold and not subject to decay even in the physical sense. We learned that gold represents the Holy Spirit. We can assume that the golden bells actually are a physical representation of the God’s creation of spiritual beings. Though the pomegranates were woven of the fine twined linen in their natural physical state, pomegranates are subject to decay just as humans are. Here are we looking at a possible representation of God’s creation of man. Both the heavenly system and the earthly system are tied to God through His Holy Spirit and the keeping of the Law of God. Both, the bells/heavenly Host, and the pomegranates/physical creation, hang on the Law of God for their existence. It is Messiah as our High Priest that is responsible for restoring the fallen Host and mankind back to Eloah. Once Christ has subjected all powers he turns the creation back to the Father; until that time Messiah is responsible for the creation.
In Numbers 13:23 we see that the spies brought back the fruit of the land of the children of Anak and that it was of three types. The grapes of the vine are listed first, symbolising the Christ and the Holy Spirit. Then the pomegranates symbolising the worship of God are listed. Then we see the figs, which symbolised the common equality of the people in daily life. Thus we see the three stages of the development of the Holy Land promised to Israel but which they did not readily accept as theirs.
The pomegranate is believed to have originated in the area from eastern Iran to northern India, but its true native range is not accurately known because of its extensive cultivation. Pomegranates are drought tolerant, and can be grown in dry areas with either a Mediterranean winter rainfall climate or in summer rainfall climates. The fruit is typically in season from September to November in the North (the time when the Feast of Tabernacles occurs).
The Qur’an mentions pomegranates three times (6:99, 6:141, 55:068) – twice as examples of the good things God creates and once as a fruit found in the Garden of Paradise.
Jewish tradition teaches that the pomegranate is a symbol for righteousness, because it is said to have 613 seeds, which allegedly corresponds with the 613 mitzvot or commandments of the Torah. For this reason, and others, many Jews eat pomegranates on Rosh Hashanah, which is itself a festival falling over the Day of Trumpets. It was introduced in the third century of the current era.
Pomegranate has a calyx shaped like a crown. In Jewish tradition it has been seen as the original "design" for the proper crown. Pomegranate juice stains clothing permanently unless washed with bleach. Pomegranate juice is used for natural dyeing of non-synthetic fabrics.
To make bells use paper cups and beads, or metal cupcake liners and beads. Experiment with sound to listen to the different tones.
Eat a pomegranate.
Make pomegranate juice.
Dye fabric with pomegranate juice.
Matching game of bells and pomegranates.
Card game of High Priest’s Garments
Using 3 x 5 cards make a matching pair of
items for each of the priestly garments: one card has the picture of the
garment, the other card has the word or label for the garment.
Once the cards are completed there are options of how to use them:
1. Concentration game is played by placing all cards face down on the table. The first player picks up two cards and if they match he keeps the pair; if they do not match the cards are placed on table in the same location that they were picked up from. The game continues until all cards are in pairs
2. Matching display board: again use the cards and have a child select a card and place the card on the tag board. As the children select other cards place the picture of the item on one side and the correct word directly across from it. Review the major concepts of each of the articles of the garments as the correct pairs are found.
Close with prayer.