When I was four years old, gas stations in rural Arkansas were called filling stations. One day my Aunt Frances borrowed my dad's work truck to carry a load of tomatoes to market, and I went with her. When we returned from market, my aunt decided to fill up the gas tank. We pulled in the filling station, and the attendant asked what kind of gasoline. Aunt Frances turned and asked me, "Do you know what kind of gasoline your daddy uses in this truck?"
"Well, tell the man what kind of gas."
With a smug nod, I answered, "Daddy uses 'Fillerupregular.'"
The Choshen: The Filling Station
"These are the garments which they shall make: a breastpiece (
choshen) and an ephod and a robe and a tunic of checkered work, a turban and a sash, and they shall make holy garments for Aaron your brother and his sons, that he may minister as priest to Me." (Ex 28:4)
The gemstones for the choshen are rarely translated to preserve the nuance of their function as described in Hebrew. They are "
male," or "filling stones."
מָלֵא mâlê'; or
מָלָאmâlâʼ; a primitive root; to fill or be full of, in a wide application:-accomplish, confirm, consecrate, be at an end, be expired, be fenced, fill, fulfill, fully set, overflow, fullness, furnish, gather (selves, together), presume, replenish, satisfy, set, space, take a handful, have wholly.
These stones were set into, or "filled up" their pure gold settings. The first mention of gold is in Genesis Two, which describes the Garden of Eden as Good Gold and identifies one of the precious stones found there as
shoham is found both on the shoulder-pieces of the ephod and as a filling stone for the Tribe of Joseph. The shoulder-pieces contained the names of the tribes as did the filling stones. The seed prophecy was that someday Eden would be populated with precious stones, such as the
shoham, to fill the purpose of Good Gold.
The concept of filling has two opposite meanings, which makes it a contranym. A contranym is a word that functions as its own opposite.
English Example: "Cleave"
To separate OR to attach tightly
Here are examples of
male as a positive:
First Mention Day Five: "God blessed them, saying, 'Be fruitful and multiply, and
(H4390) the waters in the seas, and let birds multiply on the earth.'" (Ge 1:22)
Next Mention Day Six: "God blessed them; and God said to them, 'Be fruitful and multiply, and
(H4390) the earth, and subdue it; and rule over the fish of the sea and over the birds of the sky and over every living thing that moves on the earth." (Ge 1:28)
Here are examples of
male as a negative:
The earth also was corrupt before God, and the earth was
filled with violence.
And God said unto Noah, 'The end of all flesh is come before me; for the earth is
filled with violence through them; and, behold, I will destroy them with the earth.' (Ge 6:11,13)
The filling stones of the
choshen were designed for a positive purpose, worn over the heart of the high priest and used for truthful judgment. What does it mean contextually to "fill"?
- To work from a blessing.
- To be fruitful and multiply
- To subdue the earth
- To rule over the beast
In the chains that connected the filling station of the
choshen to the ephod is a clue:
...and two chains of pure (
tahor) gold; you shall make them of twisted cordage work, and you shall put the cordedchainson the filigree settings. (Ex 28:14)
וּשְׁתֵּי שַׁרְשְׁרֹתזָהָב טָהֹור מִגְבָּלֹת תַּעֲשֶׂה אֹתָם מַעֲשֵׂה עֲבֹת וְנָתַתָּה אֶת־שַׁרְשְׁרֹתהָעֲבֹתֹת עַל־הַֽמִּשְׁבְּצֹֽת׃
The gold chains of the Ephod had to be tahor, or ritually pure, connecting the chains (SHARSHEROT) of the shoulder-pieces to the choshen "filling" station. It's only logical that the chain provides the link!
The root word of
שיר SHIR (song) in Hebrew is something round, circular. It is something that travels around, for it has a repetition of words or melody closing on themselves that make it easy to remember. It has the same
shoresh (root) as
שרשרת - SHARSHERET - chain. You can remember a chain as interlinking songs.
The word for chains,
שַׁרְשְׁרֹת, holds the word
Sheresh can mean to take root and to flourish, or it can mean to be uprooted.
It is from sheresh that we get the word shoresh, which means a root. Every Hebrew verb has a three-letter shoresh, or root. We can be "rooted" in resurrection, or uprooted. This follows the pattern of one's name existing in a Book of Life, yet being "blotted out."
Here are some examples of sheresh as both positive and negative:
Job 5:3 I have seen the foolish
taking root, and I cursed his abode
Job 31:12 For it would be fire that consumes to Abaddon, and would
uproot all my increase.
Ps 52:5 But God will break you down forever; He will snatch you up and tear you away from your tent, and
uproot you from the land of the living.
Is 40:24 Scarcely have they been planted, scarcely have they been sown, scarcely has their stock
taken root in the earth, but He merely blows on them, and they wither, and the storm carries them away like stubble.
Positive, with "filling":
Ps 80:9 You cleared the ground before it, and
it took deep root and
filled the land.
Isa 27:6 In the days to come
Jacob will take root, Israel will blossom and sprout, and
they will fill the whole world with fruit.
The following verse from Jeremiah explains how someone can be rooted, yet only shallowly. They can produce fruit, but a strong storm will uproot them:
Jer 12:2 You have planted them, they have also
taken root; they grow, they have even produced fruit. You are near to their lips, but
far from their mind [
The ordination kidneys in this portion Tetzaveh represent the mind, or innermost thoughts. Burning the kidneys into smoke that ascends offers mindfulness and puts down (up) roots in the Heavenlies:
Ex 29:13 You shall take all the fat that covers the entrails and the lobe of the liver, and the two kidneys [
ha-kliyot] and the fat that is on them, and offer them up in smoke [
katar]on the altar.
Ex 29:22 You shall also take the fat from the ram and the fat tail, and the fat that covers the entrails and the lobe of the liver, and the two kidneys [
ha-kliyot] and the fat that is on them and the right thigh, for it is a ram of ordination [
A rote act of obedience to a commandment is not extending roots upward into the Garden of Good Gold and precious stones...it will be uprooted and torn down in its shallowness. Smoke is the proof that the kidneys of mindfulness have been fully consumed and the commandment is now taking root in the Garden above, for fire does not go down, only up! The evidence of mindfulness in sacrifice is in the smoke and the incense. The coals from the burned sacrifices were added to the incense before those "prayers" could be offered in the Holy Place at the Golden Altar or in the Holy of Holies on Yom Kippur.
Katar-to sacrifice, burn incense, burn sacrifices, make sacrifices smoke
קָטַר qâṭar; to smoke, i.e. turn into fragrance by fire (especially as an act of worship): burn (incense, sacrifice) (upon), (altar for) incense, kindle, offer.
Smoke occurs when the physical substance is transformed by fire. The fire, symbolic of the Spirit, ascends to its source, upward, and so does the smoke. Without smoke, there is no evidence of spiritual transformation in keeping the commandment. The physical substance merely rots, for it is not rooted above. An unmindfully-kept commandment is only a shallow, earthly root that produces a bit of fruit.
Compare the "up smoke" of mindful chain-smoking:
Another angel came and stood at the altar, holding a golden censer; and
much incense was given to him, so that he might add it to the prayers of all the saints on the golden altar which was before the throne.
And the smoke of the incense, with the prayers of the saints, went up before God out of the angel's hand.
To the "down" judgment on non-smokers:
Then the angel took the censer and filled it with the fire of the altar, and
threw it to the earth; and there followed peals of thunder and sounds and flashes of lightning and an earthquake. And the seven angels who had the seven trumpets prepared themselves to sound them. The first sounded, and
there came hail and fire, mixed with blood, and they were thrown to the earth; (Re 8:3-7)
Without a mindful testimony of Yeshua along with keeping his commandments, the earth receives the judgment of the coals
without the sweetness that brings joy to the Father. Yom Kippur teaches the saints that when one sincerely, mindfully repents of a sin, that very stinky, abominable act of sin is transformed into sweet smoke. It takes root in the Holy Place above.
Exodus 29:22 above explains that the ram of ordination for the priests was a ram
miluim: "...for it is a ram of ordination [
A priest also must be mindful in his sacrifices, giving the kidneys, or mind, to be burned and transformed into smoke. Remember,
male is the root of the
choshen stones, a filling stone, perfection.
Miluim is another word formed from the same
shoresh, or root of
מִלֻּא milluʼ; from H4390; a fulfilling (only in plural), i.e. literally a setting of gems, or technically consecration (also concretely, a dedicatory sacrifice):-consecration, be set.
The ram of
miluim [perfections is he] hints to many principles of a consecrated life. Rashi explains that it is an equivalent expression to
shlamim, which is translated as "peace offerings." They represent wholeness and completeness. They are reminders that a nation of priests must be filling stones, fulfilling and completing their purpose within the Body of Messiah. When a nation of priests (
cohanim) fulfill their purpose, the population and quality of life in the Good Gold Garden go up according to the prophecies of Creation Days Five and Six and the prophecies of Good Gold and
shoham stones in Genesis Two.
Peter and Paul overlap the ideas of a Levitical and national priesthood along with the ideas of building and precious stones, not likely by accident. First, Peter overlaps the message from Tetzaveh, a parasha that begins and ends with clear oil for lighting the menorah:
"you also, as
living stones, are being built up as a spiritual house for a
holy priesthood, to offer up
spiritual sacrifices acceptable to God through Jesus Christ...but you are A CHOSEN RACE, a royal PRIESTHOOD, A HOLY NATION, A PEOPLE FOR God's OWN POSSESSION, so that you may proclaim the excellencies of Him who has called you
out of darkness into His marvelous light..."(1 Pe 2:5, 9)
Paul likewise hints to the
tumim (lights and perfections of judgment) in the
choshen in his letter to the Romans. The stones would light up with answers to questions of judgment:
Therefore I urge you, brethren, by the mercies of God, to
present your bodies a living and holy sacrifice, acceptable to God, which is your spiritual service of worship. And do not be conformed to this world, but
be transformed by the renewing of your mind, so that you may prove what the will of God is,
that which is good and acceptable and perfect. For through the grace given to me I say to everyone among you not to think more highly of himself than he ought to think; but to think so as to have sound judgment, as God has allotted to each a measure of faith. For just as
we have many members in one body and all the members do not have the same function, so we, who are many, are one body in Christ, and individually members one of another. (Ro 12:1-5)
Paul reminds Israel that the will of God must be "proved" to be good (gold), acceptable, and perfect in judgment. The renewing of one's mind is a necessary component to commandment-keeping so that the evidence of transformation is seen in the smoke ascending to its roots above. "But I'm not a Levitical priest," you say. You don't have to be!
"Minister" or "officer" is also an acceptable translation of cohen (priest) when the person is not descended from a cohen, yet fulfills an official function in government.
"Benaiah the son of Jehoiada was over the Cherethites and the Pelethites; and David's sons were chief ministers [
cohanim]." (2 Sa 8:18)
Filling stones fulfill their purpose in the fire and smoke of mindfulness. Commandments are advance preparation to return to the Garden and New Jerusalem. A person who offers a "clean" animal offers a living sacrifice, one who puts up his roots in smoke. Eating kosher and keeping the other commandments is Heaven on Earth.
Do the Wave
In the wave offering (29:27) of the
miluim ram following the
olah, "He [the priest] moves the parts back and forth for Him to Whom the four winds of the world, east, west, north, and south, belong. '
Waving' holds back and annuls punishments and harmful winds. 'Raising' means he lifts and lowers the parts for Him to Whom the heavens and earth belong; and raising holds back harmful dew...Waving moves away and brings back...raises and lowers..."- Rashi
When the precious filling stones of Israel are mindful in prayer, repentance, and commandment-keeping, it helps hold back the winds of judgment. When the saints are gathered into the cloud, however, it leaves the earth vulnerable to harsh judgment:
Mt 24:31 And He will send forth His angels with A GREAT TRUMPET and THEY WILL GATHER TOGETHER His elect
from the four winds, from one end of the sky to the other.
Mk 13:27 And then He will send forth the angels, and will gather together His elect
from the four winds, from the farthest end of the earth...
Re 7:1 After this I saw
four angels standing at the four corners of the earth, holding back the four winds of the earth, so that no wind would blow on the earth or on the sea or on any tree.
The angels are holding back the judgments of the four winds until the sealing of the twelve tribes, tribes etched into precious filling stones of the
And I saw another angel ascending from the rising of the sun, having the seal of the living God; and
he cried out with a loud voice to the four angels to whom it was granted to harm the earth and the sea, saying, 'Do not harm the earth or the sea or the trees until we have sealed the bond-servants of our God on their foreheads.' And I heard the number of those who were sealed, one hundred and forty-four thousand sealed
from every tribe of the sons of Israel...after these things I looked, and behold, a great multitude which no one could count, from every nation and all tribes and peoples and tongues, standing before the throne and before the Lamb, clothed in white robes, and palm branches were in their hands;
The gemstones have "filled" the transparent,
tahor, gold in the Garden. The Light of Perfections shines through. Judgment is not confused. They have chain-smoked their way to
shoham stones, which are onyx, black. Shoham, however, is a contranym. It means to turn white, and so the overcomers are given a white stone in Revelation.
When one receives a commandment, mindfulness leads to transformation of the Spirit, purity, and a Heavenly life lived all the days of one's life even if surrounded by enemies and tribulations. This is how David requested to live all the days of his life in the Tabernacle and Temple. When he offered his sacrifices in smoke (Psalm 27), he deepened his roots above in the Garden.
Revelation 21:16-21 describes the Golden City, four-square like the pocket of the choshen, on the High Priest's heart:
The city is
laid out as a square, and its length is as great as the width; and he measured the city with the rod, fifteen hundred miles; its length and width and height are equal. And he measured its wall, seventy-two yards, according to human measurements, which are also angelic measurements. The material of the wall was jasper; and
the city was pure gold, like clear glass. The foundation stones of the city wall were adorned with
every kind of precious stone. The first foundation stone was jasper; the second, sapphire; the third, chalcedony; the fourth, emerald; the fifth, sardonyx; the sixth, sardius; the seventh, chrysolite; the eighth, beryl; the ninth, topaz; the tenth, chrysoprase; the eleventh, jacinth; the twelfth, amethyst. And the twelve gates were twelve pearls; each one of the gates was a single pearl.
And the street of the city was pure gold, like transparent glass.
Okay, Precious Stones. Fill up your purpose. What did Adonai call you to do? Smoke, priests of Elohim. Smoke, sing, chain and root yourself above with the testimony of Yeshua. You already have the commandment. Fill 'er up.