Old Testament Pictures of New Testament Truth: Urim and Thummim

One Year Bible for Thursday, February 19:  Leviticus 7:28-9:6; Mark 3:31-4:25; Psalm 37:12-29; Proverbs 10:5

Then he put the breastplate on him, and he put the Urim and Thummim in the breastplate.  Leviticus 8:8

What in the world is Urim and Thummim?

It is portions of Scripture like this in Leviticus that cause some folks to feel they can never understand Scripture.  It’s just too complicated — too confusing.  Urim and Thummin?!

Much could be said about the ritual details of Old Testament Jewish priestly practices.  It’s all interesting in a way.  But, what does it have to do with living for Jesus in 2015?  How does an ephod and anointing oil apply to paying the bills and raising the kids?  How do these Old Testament “oddities” apply to New Testament living?

The Miracle of Scripture

God has done an amazing thing in Scripture.  We can never fully plumb the depths of the beauty and majesty of His Word.  Embedded in every page are nuggets of truth that must be unlocked.  They require a steady gaze and a patient heart to find the treasures He has given us.

One small example is this thing called Urim and Thummim.  So much of the Old Testament a pre-figurement of awesome New Testament realities.  Only in the light of New Testament truth do they make sense.  It all points to Jesus and what He has done for us.

Some scholars say the Urim and Thummim were like a pair of dice the priest rolled trying Urim and Thummimto make a decision!  Doesn’t sound very spiritual or wise, does it?  Others say they were supernatural stones that glowed in order to give answers to prayer.  That sounds a bit occultic to me — something like a crystal ball.

Despite the scarcity of scholarly agreement, I think the meaning must boil down to original terminology.  The Hebrew words for Urim and Thummim derive from “Lights” and “Perfections”.  That’s it:  “Lights” and “Perfections.”

The Old Testament priests held these plates called Urim and Thummim near their heart hidden in their breastplate.  They consulted Urim and Thummim in making all decisions.  Urim (Lights) could also be seen as REVELATION — the current breaking forth of God’s Word to us.  Thummim (Perfections) speaks to the “perfect”, the settled, eternal, unchanging Word of God.  This points to the INSPIRED WORD OF GOD, THE BIBLE.

Logos and Rhema

There are two New Testament Greek words that correspond to “Lights” and “Perfections”.  Those words are rhema and logos.  There is no small discussion these days over these words, but I believe they unlock great truth for the follower of Jesus.

Inspiration of ScriptureLogos is the WORD.  Encapsulated in this 5-letter Greek word is the INSPIRATION OF SCRIPTURE.  God has spoken to us and we can depend on the ancient words delivered to us – the 66 books of the Bible.

Rhema is the QUICKENED WORD that leaps off the pages of Scripture into our hearts.  There those who fear such a concept saying subjective experience is never a reliable authority.  But, truth be told, God does speak today.  He warms our hearts.  He convicts.  He beckons.  He calls.  He speaks.  This is the inner witness of the Spirit in our hearts.

Together We Grow

Logos and rhema go together.  They are our Urim and Thummim.  We need them both.  Logos without rhema can be dead letter.  Rhema simply does not exist without logos.  They are the guiding lights of New Testament priesthood.

When we read Leviticus or any other Old Testament passage, we are looking in a mirror that shows us Jesus.  Only in His light will this ornate tapestry become the magnificent work of art that has changed our lives.  It is beautiful.