Why were the 12 tribes of Israel represented by gems on the breast plate of the High priest?

The fact that the 12 tribes were represented by different gems on the breast plate of the High priest points that every individual Christian has his own distinctive personality, his own beauty in Heaven’s sight. God does not anticipate us to be alike. He admires us for what we are and what we can be for Him. Each name of the 12 tribes was inscribed on each stone. These names carved on the 12 jewels properly showed the value of men and women in the sight of our heavenly Father. God regards His people as precious gems in the jewel box of His love.

Describing God’s love to His children, the prophet Malachi wrote, “They shall be Mine,” says the LORD of hosts, on the day that I make them My jewels. And I will spare them as a man spares his own son who serves him” (ch. 3:17). God sees His church as a bride decorated “with her jewels” (Isiah 61:10). She is His special treasure. And He promises the following, “Now therefore, if you will indeed obey My voice and keep My covenant, then you shall be a special treasure to Me above all people; for all the earth is Mine” (Exodus 19:5).

Although there may be dissimilarities in experience and ability between the members, “diversities of gifts,” there is ever evident “the same Spirit” (1 Corinthians 12:4–7). Each name on a separate jewel also shows that God thinks of His people as special individuals, known, loved, and cared for by Him (Psalms 87:5, 6; Isiah 57:15; Matthew 25:40, 45; Luke 15:3–10).

This is a reassurance to those who may feel that they are not special because they are not doing any great work for God. Let us not despise the “small things” (Zech. 4:10), the small services extracted in love by anyone. Though it be but a “cup of cold water” to “one of these little ones,” we “shall in no wise lose” our “reward” (Matthew 10:42).

In His service,
BibleAsk Team


Before you go

Jesus loves you and has died for you so that one day you may live with Him forever.

If you’ve not accepted Jesus, you can do so right now. All it takes is one simple prayer, such as this:

Dear Father, I’m sorry for my sins. I want to be filled with your love in my heart. Please cleanse me that I may be born again as one of your children. In Jesus name, Amen.

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