Understanding the Urim and the Thummim

And he put the breastplate upon him: also he put in the breastplate the Urim and the Thummim (Leviticus 8:8 KJV) 

The Urim and Thummim were objects placed in the breastplate of the High Priest’s garments used to discern the will of God. What does the Bible say about these objects? 

Interestingly, on many details about the Urim and the Thummim, the Bible is silent. The scriptures only give us two crucial points. First, these objects were located in the breastplate of the high priest’s garment. Second, they were to be used by the priests to discern the will of God. However, three key details are left out: the nature of these objects was (stones?), their number ( two?), how the priests used them to discern the will of God ( lots?).

Despite these unknowns, we do know that the Urim and the Thummim were well-established means the Jews discerned God’s will. For example, when Saul sought to know the will of God, scripture says, “the Lord answered him not, neither by dreams, nor by Urim, nor by prophets” (1 Samuel 28:6 KJV). So Saul expected God to answer him either through his dreams, the Urim and Thummim, or prophets.

A dramatic change occurred when the Holy Spirit came to dwell in the believers at Pentecost. In Acts 1:26, before the Holy Spirit came, the Apostles cast lots to know God’s will—but that was the last time you find them throwing lots in the Bible. After the Spirit came, we read in Acts 8:29, “Then the Spirit said unto Philip, Go near, and join thyself to this chariot” (Acts 8:29 KJV).

While the High Priests had the Urim and Thummim in the breastplate over his heart, we have the Spirit in our hearts, revealing God’s Will to us in the scriptures and speaking to us directly as the need arises.

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How does the coming of the Spirit replace the function of the Urim and Thummim in the Old Testament?

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Let the consciousness of the Spirit in your heart fill your mind; you have better things in Christ than the shadows of the Old Covenant.

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