“The High Priest Garments of Beauty”, Part 5
“The Master declared that twelve apostles were to be seated on twelve separate thrones or divisions of
power in the Kingdom (Matt 19:28). In all, a total of twelve thousand saints will be assigned to each
of twelve separate ranks (Rev 7:5–8).
Based on the scriptural information available concerning (1) the ministry and lifestyle of the different
apostles, (2) the meaning of each tribal name, (3) the prophesied tribal characteristics, and (4) the
meaning of the name and/or the peculiar properties of each gem stone in the breastplate, the following
conclusions can, with most reasonable assurance, be obtained. One final point: it is of the utmost
importance to ever keep in mind that the twelve tribal names inscribed upon the breastplate, though
literal and natural in their original occurrence and historic appearance, are in reality but a
representation of symbolic tribes, i.e., of the twelve basic character traits or personality groups of
the world of mankind and especially of the Church in glory. The subsequent descriptions of the twelve
tribes, twelve breastplate stones, and twelve apostles are to be considered from the standpoint of the
Church, and they are presented in order of importance. (“The Keys of Revelation”, pages
1) Judah, (meaning “praise”) a class who most ideally represent and bring “praise” (honor, glory)
to the Father, lion-like in nature, yet lamb-like in patience, gentle and peaceable. The stone a Sard,
The root meaning of the Hebrew Odem or Sard is “red.” The Sard, usually found in seam cavities of
volcanic rock, is a semitransparent silica, a form of quartz with a waxy luster and a smooth, rounded
surface that is creamy white in color… the white surface layer representing purity and justice, the lower
or hidden layer, the red strata, mercy and love. A non-compromising yet sympathetic and
approachable class, possessing a “heart of flesh” full of tenderness and compassion as well
as a sensitivity to both right and wrong (Heb 5:1, 2; Isa 57:15; Ezek 11:19, 20; 36:26, 27)
The Apostle Paul.
2) Reuben, (meaning “behold, a son”) a class who from a preceding setback or grievous
“affliction” recover and are restored through favorable circumstances by means of son-ship (Not
favorable circumstances to the flesh, but rather favorable to the new creature in them). In the
beginning full of strength and determination, yet as “unstable as water”, brash, wild,
spirited, and impulsive, nevertheless meek and humble. The stone, the Pyrope (or Garnet), a
“shinning stone” or “glowing coal”, possessing a deep yellow-red glassy or “fiery” luster. The
3) Ephraim [Joseph], (meaning “double fruitfulness”) an emotional class who must of needs first
overcome many inherent weaknesses, not the least of which is false love, humility and sympathy,
which tends to professes to be more loving than God. The stone a Fire Opal which possesses a
transparent, vitreous, sometimes pearly luster of a rich orange-yellow-to-red color. The meaning of
the Hebrew name “leshem”, used to designate this jewel in the breastplate, is “fortress.” An
emotional class, but nevertheless staunch defenders of truth, of “the faith… once delivered
unto the saints” (Jude 3) The Apostle John.
4) Dan (meaning “judge”) a class who are prone to examine and weigh what they see and hear, a
class inclined to render judgment, howbeit not always in a rightful manner. Under the Holy Spirit’s
guidance this attribute can be a blessing to all with whom they come in contact, however if it is not, if
it is implemented improperly the tendency is toward a faultfinding spirit that is usually justified as
righteous indignation (Prov 14:12). The stone a Chrysolite, a transparent gem of a yellowish-green
color and a vitreous luster, the “golden stone”, hard, sound, representing a class who are
peaceable, gentle, and easy entreated, full of their Father’s mercy and good fruits, but who
first and foremost insistent upon spiritual purity. The Apostle James of Zebedee.
5) Issachar, (meaning “hire” or “wage”) a class who have committed themselves as bond
servants of the Lord who in humbleness of spirit and mind accept the double burden of responsibility
proffered in the present life to those “called of God”, this being both the denial of self and the taking
up of one’s cross in order to follow in the Master’s footsteps. The stone the Topaz, a peculiar stone
possessing a golden-yellow hue and a glassy luster. The name topaz comes from “topazios”, meaning
“to seek”, when rubbed vigorously it generates an electrostatic charge thus it seems to denote a
class who possess the ability to attract converts through their persistent efforts. The Apostle
Andrew, Simon Peter’s brother.
6) Simeon, (meaning “hearkening”) a class sensitive to their lack of general recognition [in the
body] and longing for respect from [the brethren], as well as being introversive by nature (they look
to the Lord rather than to others for comfort); the Simeon class are driven to largely develop the art
of secret communion with God—namely, their prayer life. They are devout by nature and idealistically
inclined, yet strangely prone to openly persecute others with whom they are not in agreement if
afforded favorable opportunity. This latter trait must be purged vigorously. The stone the Lapis
Lazuli, crystalline limestone with a constituency of blue mineral lazurite, speckled with yellow iron
pyrites. A devout, openly honest and faithful (blue) class. The Apostle Bartholomew.
7) Manasseh, (meaning “forgetting”) a class who forgetting prior misgivings, hardships, and
trials incidental to the period of their development are prone to be silent, they are separate
and independent thinkers who mentally feed and dwell upon sublime and exhilarating
thoughts. Consequently, they are able to forget exterior injustices inflicted upon them as well
as to put aside any feelings of jealousy toward others. They are so happy with the resplendency
and variety of the truth that they are unaware of, and do not have time to worry about, the
aspersions of others. The stone an Agate, a beautiful, veined semitransparent-to- opaque fine-
grained gem, composed of several intimately adjacent layers of different colored quartz arranged in
wavy bands and/or concentric circles The Apostle Thomas.
8) Asher, (meaning “happy”) a class noted for cheerful constancy even in circumstances apparently
not warranting such optimism. The stone the Onyx a stone 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. The black and white strata
representing that for every dark cloud there is a silver lining, thus this class with cheerful optimism
overlooks the troubles and hardships of this life in enthusiasm and anticipation of the
blessings to follow in the next. The Apostle Simon Zelotes.
9) Zebulun, (meaning “dwelling”) a class who are recognized as comforters of the brethren.
Possessing a quality of acquired fatherliness, they are those to whom one in trouble would go for
confidence and strength; hence they are a harbor or “haven” of refuge for a troubled soul adrift on
the sea of life. The Zebulun class tends to have more of this world’s goods in one way or another and
thus is in a position to be hospitable and to help others; however they do not use these temporal
possessions for their own pleasure and satisfaction. The stone an Aquamarine, a transparent
beryllium-aluminum silicate possessing a glassy luster, particularly of the blue to blue-green or sea-
green color. When viewed closely, the aquamarine renders the impression of a sunlit sea, of the
rippling or glittering effect of light upon ocean waters. A class full of brotherly love and humility.
The Apostle Philip.
10) Gad, (meaning “troop”) a class of leaders, well disciplined, sound in both mind and spirit,
proficient as communicators and coordinators. The stone the Rock Crystal, silicon dioxide, water-
clear with a transparent glassy luster. This stone is mistakenly referred to as a diamond in some
translations; however this could not be so for two very important reasons, first of all it would be
nearly impossible as pointed out earlier to plane a diamond in such a way as to match the other
stones nor even to incise it with an inscription seeing as it is one of the hardest stones known to
man, and secondly it would seem unreasonable to use the most valuable stone on the breastplate
(had it truly been a diamond) as representing the tenth tribe of Israel in the line of importance over
that of the preceding nine tribes, likewise it would appear too conspicuous and distracting amongst
the other jewels of the breastplate.
“It should be kept in mind [however] that the jewels of the breastplate are not assigned in
the order of their intrinsic commercial value, nor are they ranked for their beauty of
appearance. Rather, they are figuratively classified according to the personality or character
value that would be most suitable or pertinent to a spiritual doctor ministering to a sin-sick
world.” (Page 586)
Thus the Rock Crystal, which shares a remarkable resemblance to the diamond (sometimes called
“Herkimer diamonds”), would rightly fit the picture, likewise allowing for the proper incision and cut
of the stone. The apostle here would be The Apostle James of Alphaeus.
11) Benjamin, (meaning “son of the right hand”) a class who hunger and thirst for and seize
upon the meat of God’s Word, their sincerity and serious temperament, however, being less
popular and less attractive to the Christian community as a whole in the present life. The
stone an Amethyst a transparent silica of quartz composed of strong blue and deep red coloring in
such proportion as to produce a purple-to-violet hue. A class noted for sobriety and sincerity, as
characterized by their earnest and individualistic behavior. This application comports well with the color
of amethyst, for the mixture of blue (faithfulness) and red (blood) conveys the thought of
“faithfulness unto death.” The Apostle Jude.
12) Naphtali, (meaning “wrestling”) the “wrestling’s” associated with Naphtali (Gen 30:8)
indicate a long, exhaustive struggle for victory. It is very much reminiscent of Jacob’s wrestling until
daybreak to secure the blessing (Gen 32:24–32). The lesson of this tribe is of a class who do not win
the battle with short, decisive victories but overcome through the grit of sheer perseverance. The
stone Jasper, gem-quality jasper is a compact aggregate of fine granules of quartz mixed with foreign
matter that in large measure acts, in the final analysis, as both a coloring and a beautifying agent. It
occurs in many colors, a dark yellow-brown or a dull red being more characteristic. Jasper is commonly
found in the shape of pebbles.
In regard to the spiritual connotation, this gem represents a class who, in spite of former
imperfections, ultimately qualify for membership amidst the jewels—howbeit, in last place. In
the end they will succeed as more-than-over-comers...but only through much struggle and
patient endurance against the spirit of the world and the imperfections of the flesh in their
vessels of clay, in addition to persevering in well doing.
Not generally held in high esteem either in the Church or in the world, this class is as “pebbles,”
lacking any noteworthy or outstanding virtue. Their efforts here and there display good intentions but
are exerted in a haphazard, disorganized fashion. Nevertheless, this class possesses a trait that is
very pleasing to God, though not appreciated by ungodly men. Their pluck, sheer grit, and
determination to do God’s will in spite of their shortcomings and their constant seeking of
forgiveness and grace in Christ through repentance, manifest in the Father’s sight the
sincerity of their hearts. The Apostle Matthew. (“The Keys of Revelation”, Pages 583-616)
In considering the significance of these various stones it is possible that one might find that they
share similar traits with one or more of these stones, both the good traits as well as those needing to
be overcome, but alas even here we are not fit to make the final judgment for only the LORD himself
is capable of reading the true intentions of the heart. It should likewise be understood that although
many who have been called will in the end fall short and find themselves relegated to the Great
Company Class nevertheless even in this class the traits typified in these various stones are found
within this class likewise, even as star differ from star.
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