9824. 'And an ephod' means Divine Truth there in an outward form, in which inner things terminate. This is clear from the meaning of 'an ephod' as Divine Truth in an outward form. The reason why 'an ephod' has this meaning is that Aaron's holy garments represented forms of Divine Truth in the spiritual kingdom, in their proper order, see above in 9822, and the ephod was the outermost of the three garments, Aaron's holy garments being the ephod, the robe, and the checkered tunic. Not only does what is outermost contain inner things; but inner things also terminate in it. This applies to the human body, and therefore also applies to the heavens, to which aspects of the human body correspond. It applies similarly to truths and forms of good, for both these constitute the heavens.
 Since the ephod represented the most external part of the Lord's spiritual kingdom it was holier than all the other garments; and on it there was the breastplate containing the Urim and Thummim, by means of which answers from the Divine were given. The reason why the most external part is holier than the things within is that what is outermost contains all inner things in their proper order. It contains them in an outward form and in a connection which are so perfect that if what is outermost were taken away the things within would disintegrate; for the things within not only terminate there, but also exist together there. The truth of this may be recognized by people who know about the nature of things that succeed one another and those that exist together with one another, namely that those which succeed one another, that is, proceed and follow one another in their proper order, also stand together with one another at the last and lowest levels. Let end, cause, and effect exemplify this. The end is the first in order, the cause is the second, and the effect is the last and lowest, so that these too progress one after another. Yet within the effect, which is last, the cause at the same time manifests itself, as does the end within the cause. Consequently the effect is the completion of the inner or prior things, which have also been brought together in it and lodge there.
 The situation is similar with human will, thought, and action; will comes first, thought second, and action last. Action is also the effect that has the two prior or inner things existing together within it. For to the extent that action contains what the person thinks and what the person wills, inner things are contained in a form and in connection. This explains why the Word says that a person will be judged according to his deeds or works, which means that he will be judged according to his thought and will, for these are present within deeds as the soul is within its body. Now since inner things present themselves together in what is last and lowest, then if the order is perfect that which is last and lowest, as has been stated, is held to be holier than the inner things, because it is there that the holiness of the inner things exists in its fullness.
 Since inner things exist together in the last and lowest in the same way, as has been stated, as a person's thought and will - or, on a spiritual level, his faith and love - exist together in his deeds or works, John more than all the other disciples was loved by the Lord and leaned on His breast, John 13:23; 21:20, 22. This was because that disciple represented the works of charity, see Prefaces to Genesis 18, 22, and also 3934. This too shows why what is outermost or last within perfect order is holier than the things within if considered separately from it. For when the Lord is present in what is last and lowest He is at the same time present on all levels; and when He is present in it inner things are contained in their proper order, connection, and form, and are under His control and guidance, subject to His good will. This is the arcanum that was meant in 9360, as you may see.
Arcana Coelestia 2135, 2760 [1-2])
 This then is the reason why the ephod, being representative of the last and lowest part of the Lord's spiritual kingdom, was held to be holier than the rest of the garments belonging to the priestly office. Therefore the ephod was the chief of the priestly vestments, being made from threads of gold in among the violet, purple, twice-dyed scarlet, and fine twined linen, Exodus 39:3, though the rest of the priests had ephods made of linen, 1 Samuel 2:18; 22:18. This goes to explain why the word 'ephod' stood for a priest's whole attire and why he was said 'to wear the ephod', meaning that he was a priest, 1 Samuel 2:28; 14:3. It also goes to explain why the breastplate was tied to the ephod and why answers were given through the Urim and Thummim there. That is to say, this vestment was a representative sign of the lowest part of the Lord's spiritual kingdom, and answers from God present themselves in things last and lowest; for they pass through all the inner levels one after another, declaring themselves on the last and lowest because they terminate there. The fact that answers were given when they wore the ephod is clear from 1 Samuel 23:6-13; 30:7-8, and also in Hosea,
The children of Israel sat many days with no king, and no prince, and no sacrifice, and no pillar, and no ephod, and no teraphim 1
. Hosea 3:4.
'Teraphim' means answers from God, for in former times answers were given through them, Zechariah 10:2. Furthermore the word 'ephod' in the original language is derived from the root 'to enclose all inner things', as is evident from the meaning of that word in Exodus 29:5; Leviticus 8:7.