And you shall put the two stones on the shoulders of the ephod as memorial stones for the sons of Israel. So Aaron shall bear their names before the Lord on his two shoulders as a memorial. (Exodus 28:12)
As we have shared previously, these shoham stones, engraved with the names of the twelve tribes of Israel, were worn upon the shoulders of the High Priest. That he was to bear the names of the tribes upon his shoulders teaches that he is the messenger and representative of the entire community. It is his responsibility to represent them before the Creator, and also, to represent the Creator to the community. He is the intermediary and advocate. Obviously, this is to point us to Yeshua who, as Scripture foretold, would serve in this role on our behalf.
“For unto us a child is born, unto us a Son is given; and the government will be upon His shoulder. And His name will be called Wonderful, Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace.” (Isaiah 9:6)
The Hebrew word that is translated as “government” comes from a root word that means “to have power, to persevere, to prevail.” This same word is used when, after his struggle with the angel, Jacob is given a new name. He is promised that, because he had striven with God, he would prevail over his enemies as Israel (Genesis 32:28). In fact, this same Hebrew word is one of the root words that forms the name “Yisrael.” The point of the Hebrew lesson is to show the “government” or “kingdom” borne by the Messiah is comprised of the people of God.
Therefore, the shoham stones are for a memorial — they are a reminder to us that the King of Israel, the Messiah, watches over and guards His people. Also, as our High Priest, He bears His people before the Father as a memorial. In other words, not that God forgets, but the High Priest would always “remind” the Almighty of the promise concerning His people. In fact, when they cry out that He has forgotten them, He replies:
“See, I have inscribed you on the palms of my hands” (Isaiah 49:16).
Because these promises are ever before Him, we can be assured of the fact that, one day, He will act on our behalf and redeem us from this world. He will restore the family and make us one. And while that speaks to the collective redemption that is coming, let us not lose sight of the fact that every one of us — as individuals — are represented before our King, the Creator of all, by our heavenly High Priest. It is He who bears our concerns and petitions before the Father, meaning that we are not forgotten — the weight of our problems are on His shoulders.
Blessings and Shalom,