“The High Priest Garments of Beauty”, Part 2

Take two onyx stones and engrave on them the names of the sons of Israel in order of their
birth, six names on one stone and the remaining six on the other. Engrave the names of the sons
of Israel on the two stones the way a gem cutter engraves a seal, then mount the stones in gold
filigree settings and fasten them on the shoulder pieces (or clasps) of the Ephod as memorial
stones for the sons of Israel. Aaron is to bear the names on his shoulders as a memorial before
the Lord
.” (Exod 28:9-12)

Onyx is a special variety of silica in which the semitransparent-to-opaque layers are alternately white and
dark humus (portraying “
humility”) brown or black. It is similar to agate quartz, but the layers are
arranged in straight or parallel bands.”

“In regards to the epaulette stones, the firstborn name occupied the position nearest the neck of the high
priest on the
right shoulder, then alternating from shoulder to shoulder and working outward the names
were placed in birth sequence; hence the second born was placed nearest the high priest’s neck on the left
shoulder, and so on.

These two stones were of the same material as the eighth stone in the breastplate, the chief difference
being in the manner in which they were cut (
parallel rather than cross-grained). When cut parallel to the
black and white bands
, with the black as the upper, predominating surface, the same type of onyx
stone would serve as an epaulette or shoulder ornament of birth rank, much in the fashion of the broad,
flat cloth shoulder pads worn by naval and military officers to show rank and status of service.

In the cutting process, when six tribal names were incised into each black shoulder stone, the
light layer underneath would be exposed
. The names, therefore, would appear as white lettering
against a dark background, greatly enhancing clarity and legibility

black background of the shoulder pieces points out that the class thus honored (the Church in glory)
would, in their dealings with others, ever be kept humble and in constant remembrance of their former
common origin in contrast to their new
white names of honor… they were dug from the dark, miry pit of
the sin-cursed planet earth (
Psa 40:2; Isa 51:1). Such a remembrance will be of utmost benefit to
mankind here on earth in dire need of a merciful priesthood.” (As noted from Brother Frank Shallieu’s
The Keys of Revelation”, pages 606, 616,617)

It will be noted that in some renderings of the High Priest garments the two shoulder stones are
illustrated as being round and in others rectangular, the scriptures are silent on the matter, however it
would seem more practical for the stones to have been cut in a rectangular pattern as this would better
facilitate the listing and engraving of the names

Not shown in this picture is the “golden ring” which was attached to the underside of the shoulder
(or clasp). This ring located underneath on the front part of the ephod, right about at the seam
was what secured the breastplate at its top to the ephod, by means of a “
blue cord” or “lacer” attached
from one end to the other. (
See Exod 28:27, 28)

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