"They shall make the Breastplate of Judgment the work of an artist, like the work of the Ephod shall you make it, of gold, turquoise wool, and purple wool, and scarlet wool, and twisted flax shall you make it."
Ordinarily there is a prohibition against wool and flax mixed together. Within the eight garments of the High Priest, the choshen was made of colored wool and twisted flax (shesh-which is also "six"). It was a rectangle folded into a square. Also the ephod and belt were interwoven. How is it permissible for these two textiles to be mixed in the holiest pieces of the High Priest's garments?
First of all, only the High Priest was commanded or permitted to wear such a piece of equipment. The shesh represents the shining man created on Day Six (6=shesh), and the wool represents the covering of a beast, or nefesh, soul. The High Priest was iconic, the mediator between Heaven and Earth, a messianic figure.
The High Priest pictured a man who has mastered the desires of the nefesh; the High Priest masters the beast and demonstrates that in the original design, the beauty inherent in their proper order is manifest. The garments were for "glory." It was on Yom Kippur that the garments were traded for only four garments of linen, a day in which the nefesh was afflicted. On that day, Jews do not wear leather shoes, avoiding garments made of animal skin. Yom HaKippurim is also a day of fasting, demonstrating mastery over the appetites of the nefesh.
The braided gold cables for the ephod were inserted into the gold setting at the end of the shoulder strap. The braided gold also connected the Breastplate (choshen) to the apron. The choshen was called a "Breastplate of Judgment." Rashi postulates that the function of the Breastplate over the High Priest's heart addressed three types of atonement in judgment when the difficult cases were brought to the highest court.
First, the atonement was for the words of the litigants, for even the most heartfelt, honest of testimony can be colored by personal filters and recall is distorted by adrenaline and other physiological factors both during an event and during its recounting. Ask five different people who witnessed a car wreck what happened, and you are likely to receive five slightly different (or dramatically different) answers. Twitter and text-messaging during or immediately following a traumatic event testify that individuals perceive events differently, and it is not a conscious effort to lie.
Secondly, the Breastplate atones for the verdict itself, and thirdly, the execution of the punishment or restitution. (Biderman, 2011, p. 259) The picture of the living stones of Israel on the heart of the High Priest could then have two implications. First, the High Priest atones in the judgments for and on Israel; second, it is the Israelites themselves who should become living stones of atonement for others, for love covers a multitude of sins. The price of that love for others, however, is that the stones had to be cut and shaped according to the Heavenly pattern, and then they had to be cut and inscribed with a name, a name that held potential to atone for Israel and glorify Elohim in judgment.
In Ezekiel 28, a fallen being is addressed. Instead of a covering of twelve stones, this creature has nine. Nine is represented by the Hebrew letter tet, which has the appearance of a snake, but it is also the first letter of tov, "good" that describes the Creation. A stone in common is the sapphire (28:10), which has the root of SFR, and this being walked among the "fiery stones." The fiery stones of the Torah are alluded to in Deuteronomy 33:2. A sefer is a book; a sofer is a scribe, and sapir is a sapphire, the traditional stone on which the first set of Tablets with the Ten Words was written. Sapphire is associated with the Throne (Ex 24:10; Ez 1:26 & 10:1). Although blue, it can have a clear appearance.
How could the beautiful creature of Ezekiel 28, who "walked" among the fiery sapphire stones of the commandments come to be judged? The prophecy is enticing, but perhaps the Aramaic for "sapphire" is informative, and hopefully transformative. Its Aramaic root, as defined by Onkelos, is sheva, or seven. Sapphire, then, would roughly translate "seven times lights." The sapphire of the Torah must be transformed by the Seven Spirits of Adonai, or it will appear as nothing more than a couple of normal stones in the life of the believer.
Torah is more than informational; it is designed to be transformational! It cannot be used to elevate one's self above others, for in so doing, one is attempting to elevate himself above God. This is a severe misjudgment of one's position, for the Spirit of Wisdom that separated Light and Darkness, and the Spirit of Understanding that separated upper from lower waters, should remind a created being that he did NOT create himself or the world. The Holy One did!
One who does not find new levels of humility in studying the obeying the Word will find himself cast down, shattered, and banished from the Fiery Stones of sapphire. In other words, the Breastplate of Judgment will expose the proud, but give grace to the humble and atone. The judgment of the breastplate reinforces the fiery Torah's essential spiritual principles: humility and service to others is the foundation of its beauty.
If we are not kinder, more merciful, more humble, more respectful, more service-oriented, more in love with the Father's instructions and Yeshua than we were when we were first given the tablets, then judgment may have turned those fiery sapphires into cold stones in our hands to match the cold stone of our hearts.
Transformation, not information, is what makes stones precious in the Father's judgment. Seven times Sapphire is the clearest judgment that the Seven Spirits of Adonai are working in us: Wisdom, Understanding, Counsel, the Spirit of YHVH, Power, Knowledge, Reverence.
CG Workbook Five, Volume 1, Lesson One: Bereishit