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Chapter 24

 

The Beauty and Glory of Our Priest

 

“And he put upon him the coat, and girded him with the girdle, and clothed him with the robe, and put the ephod upon him, and he girded him with the curious girdle of the ephod, and bound it unto him therewith. And he put the breastplate upon him: also he put in the breastplate the Urim and the Thummim. And he put the mitre upon his head; also upon the mitre, even upon his forefront, did he put the golden plate, the holy crown; as the LORD commanded Moses.” (Leviticus 8:7-9)

 

We are told in Exodus 28 that these garments were made specifically for Aaron, to show forth the glory and beauty of his work as Israel’s high priest. But they show more than that. These garments were made for and put upon Aaron to show forth the glory and beauty of the Lord Jesus Christ, our great High Priest, of whom Aaron was but a type and picture.

 

 

            This special embroidered coat of fine linen, along with the linen breeches (trousers), were Aaron’s undergarments. They were not commonly seen by the people. I rather doubt that Moses actually put these on Aaron in public, but rather gave them to him publicly, and Aaron put them on in private. But they were here held before all the congregation because their typical significance was important. — The “fine linen” represented purity.

 

“And to her was granted that she should be arrayed in fine linen, clean and white: for the fine linen is the righteousness of saints.” (Revelation 19:8)

 

            These undergarments spoke of the personal righteousness of Christ, (Linen is a man made material.) over which all his other perfections and glories were displayed in the outer garments of the priest.

 

            This embroidered linen coat was a seamless garment, like that worn by our Redeemer, the Lord Jesus Christ (John 19:23). It was worn next to Aaron’s body as he went about his priestly functions. — Here we see two things.

1.    Our Need — If we are to come to God and be accepted of him, we must have a complete clothing of righteousness, the righteousness of Christ.

2.    God’s Supply — Christ is our Righteousness! In Revelation 19:8 the word “righteousness” is plural and should be read “righteousnesses.”

 

            The righteousnesses of God’s saints is the righteousness of Christ imputed to us in free justification and the righteousness of Christ imparted to us in regeneration, the new creation of grace making us partakers of the divine nature. — “Christ in you the hope of glory!” — “The new man created in righteousness and true holiness!” — That “holiness without which no man shall see the lord!

 

The Girdle

Aaron’s Sash

 

Next, Moses was commanded of God to gird Aaron with a girdle. — This was not just the ordinary sash (girdle) worn by the other priests, Aaron’s sons. This was “the curious girdle of the ephod.

 

 “And the curious girdle of the ephod, which is upon it, shall be of the same, according to the work thereof: gold, blue, and purple, and scarlet, and fine twined linen.” (Exodus 28:8)

“My little children, these things write I unto you, that ye sin not. And if any man sin, we have an advocate with the Father, Jesus Christ the righteous: And he is the propitiation for our sins: and not for ours only, but also for the sins of the whole world.” (1 John 2:1-2)

The third garment Aaron wore was a robe. — Moses clothed Aaron with the robe of the ephod (the outer apron), worn under the ephod. It had a hem of golden bells and pomegranates (Exodus 28:31-35).

 

            This magnificent robe was blue in color, woven of gold, blue, purple, and scarlet, and made of fine linen. The gold represented our Savior’s divinity. The blue pointed the worshippers to heaven. The purple pictured Christ’s royalty. The scarlet portrayed his precious blood. The fine linen was the display of his purity.

 

            This robe also represented the righteousness of Christ. It is that with which Christ himself is clothed and with which we are clothed in him. It is a robe covering the whole man, from head to foot.

 

            The golden bells portrayed the perfection and sweetness of Christ’s intercession for us. As Aaron moved about inside the holy place of the tabernacle, the ringing bells told the people, “All is well. Aaron is alive. God accepts your priest.” They speak of our living, exalted High Priest and the sweet savor of his intercession in heaven for us.

 

            The pomegranates speak of the fruitfulness of Christ’s priesthood. — If you slit a pomegranate open, you would find it full of seeds in a red fluid! Oh, what a fruitful Priest our Lord Jesus is! By the merit and efficacy of his sacrifice and his intercession all God’s elect have eternal life, faith in Christ, perfect righteousness, all grace in this world, and all glory in the world to come — God’s Salvation!

 

The Ephod

Aaron’s Outer Apron

 

Next, we read that Moses put the ephod on Aaron’s shoulders.

 

“And he put upon him the coat, and girded him with the girdle, and clothed him with the robe, and put the ephod upon him, and he girded him with the curious girdle of the ephod, and bound it unto him therewith.” (Leviticus 8:7)

 

“And they shall make the ephod of gold, of blue, and of purple, of scarlet, and fine twined linen, with cunning work. It shall have the two shoulder pieces thereof joined at the two edges thereof; and so it shall be joined together.” (Exodus 28:6-7)

 

“And they did beat the gold into thin plates, and cut it into wires, to work it in the blue, and in the purple, and in the scarlet, and in the fine linen, with cunning work.” (Exodus 39:3)

 

            The ephod was the outer apron which hung over Aaron’s robe. It was made of two parts, covering both his back and his chest. Its two pieces were joined together at the shoulders by golden clasps. Those golden clasps were the setting for the onyx stones. Like Aaron’s robe, the ephod was made of gold, blue, purple, scarlet, and fine twined linen. The breastplate with the names of the twelve tribes of Israel and the Urim and Thummim (Lights and Perfections) were worn on the ephod.

 

            Try to get the picture. — Here is Aaron wearing his gorgeous, costly robe, strapped over his shoulder. Held by gold clasps is this gorgeous, costly apron. Upon his heart and shoulders hangs the breastplate with the names of God’s chosen people, engraved in precious stones. And somewhere on the ephod or breastplate are those mysterious emblems of lights and perfections, called the Urim and Thummim. What does all that mean?

 

            It means that the Lord Jesus Christ constantly has his people upon his heart. He carries us upon his omnipotent shoulders. He guides us according to the light and perfection of his infinite wisdom, eternal purpose, and saving grace. We are the sparkling jewels of his beauty and glory! We are totally safe, beyond the reach of any enemy.

 

The Breastplate

 

The fifth piece of Aaron’s priestly garment Moses put upon him was the breastplate.

 

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

 

            Observe how this breastplate is described in Exodus 28:30.

 

“And thou shalt put in the breastplate of judgment the Urim and the Thummim; and they shall be upon Aaron’s heart, when he goeth in before the LORD: and Aaron shall bear the judgment of the children of Israel upon his heart before the LORD continually.”

 

            Not only does this breastplate upon Aaron’s chest portray our Savior’s constant love for and care of God’s elect, it speaks of our constant, perfect, immutable acceptance with God in him.

 

            The names of God’s elect are known to our great High Priest. They are engraved upon his heart and cannot be erased. He says, “I know them…I give unto them eternal life; and they shall never perish!” For them he makes intercession continually (John 17). The Lord Jesus Christ, our great High Priest, bears the judgment of his people before the Lord continually! He makes intercession for each of his people personally and for all his saints collectively. And his intercession is always effectual.

 

            Can you see your Priest yonder in heaven, with your name upon his heart? Not only are you, my brother, my sister, beyond the reach of any enemy. In Christ we are beyond the influence of any foe or any evil!

 

            What a consolation this is to this poor sinner! The Lord God almighty always sees me and only sees me in his Son, as a sparkling jewel, shining in him gloriously! — In his eyes, I shine with all the brilliance of Christ himself! Is he precious? We are precious in him! Is he accepted? We are accepted in him! Does he live? We live in him!

 

            There, in heaven’s glory, before the dazzling brilliance, brightness, and purity of the white light of God’s holiness, things are seen clearly as they really are. That, my tempted, tried, tempest-tossed, heavy-hearted, sinning, falling, weeping brother — that, my tempted, tried, tempest-tossed, heavy-hearted, sinning, falling, weeping sister, is the very thing that ought to comfort our hearts! We are jewels in Christ, with Christ, upon his heart, in his heart, in heaven. The more brilliantly the light shines upon a diamond, the more it sparkles with radiant beauty. So he shine in the radiant beauty of our Lord Jesus Christ in the brilliant light of the holiness of the Triune God! Our blessed Savior has set us as a seal upon his heart (Song of Solomon 8:6).

 

            Oh, what grace! What Joy! What Peace! What a cause for whole hearted devotion and consecration to God our Savior. We are in Christ made to be partakers of his beauty and his glory!

 

The Miter

Aaron’s Turban

 

Sixth, Moses was commanded of God to put the miter upon Aaron’s head.

 

“And he put the mitre upon his head; also upon the mitre, even upon his forefront, did he put the golden plate, the holy crown; as the LORD commanded Moses.” (Leviticus 8:9)

 

            The miter (turban) was made of white fine linen. It was a symbol both of honor and humility. It was worn, as it still is today among many Arabs, both by kings and by servants. When Zechariah saw the vision of Joshua the high priest standing before the Lord, the first thing the Lord commanded, after he put away his filthy garments was this holy miter (Zechariah 3:1-5).

 

            The Lord God has given us his own dear Son to be for us the helmet of salvation. This miter, made of white linen, like Aaron’s robe, again portrays that perfect righteousness which is ours in Christ (Revelation 19:8).

 

The Crown

The Crown of Holiness

 

Then, Moses put the holy crown on Aaron’s head. Moses (the law) put the crown upon Aaron’s head. The very law and justice of God has crowned Christ, our great High Priest Lord and King forever!

 

“And he put the mitre upon his head; also upon the mitre, even upon his forefront, did he put the golden plate, the holy crown; as the LORD commanded Moses.” (Leviticus 8:9)

 

We see this crown more fully described in Exodus 28.

 

“And thou shalt make a plate of pure gold, and grave upon it, like the engravings of a signet, HOLINESS TO THE LORD. And thou shalt put it on a blue lace, that it may be upon the mitre; upon the forefront of the mitre it shall be. And it shall be upon Aaron’s forehead, that Aaron may bear the iniquity of the holy things, which the children of Israel shall hallow in all their holy gifts; and it shall be always upon his forehead, that they may be accepted before the LORD.” (Exodus 28:36-38)

 

            Here is a blessed, weighty revelation given for the comfort of our souls. This golden plate, the holy crown, emblazoned on Aaron’s forehead pictured the perfect holiness of our Lord Jesus Christ. It is this holiness that made it possible for our Lord Jesus Christ to bear our iniquities. He not only put away our sins, he has washed away forever the iniquity of our “holy things,” our best deeds of righteousness, faith, and worship. This holy crown is always upon our Savior’s head. The Lord Jesus wears this crown, emblazoned before the holy Lord God (“HOLINESS TO THE LORD”), that we “may be accepted before the Lord.

 

            What rest there is here for our weary hearts. Amid all our failings, in spite of all our sin, though we may be often harassed by hell with doubts and fears, though our hearts are as cold as ice, as hard as steel, and as empty as a broken cistern, our acceptance with God is as unvarying, perfect, and sure as Christ’s!

 

            Aaron’s priestly garments represent Christ’s beauty and glory as our great High Priest. In Hebrews 2-10, God the Holy Ghost gives us his own interpretation of these great pictures. Do you see how beautiful a Savior the Lord Jesus is? — Child of God, his beauty and glory are yours (Ezekiel 16:8-14). If now you believe on the Son of God, his beauty and glory is yours forever! — “He shall beautify the meek with salvation” (Psalm 149:4).

 

 

 

 

 

Don Fortner

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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