From Exodus 28-29
God is Holy and he demands his people to be holy especially the priests. The Holy Place was particularly dangerous for the priests. One wrong misstep and the priest could be put to death. Part of showing proper respect to the LORD or could I say his ‘protection’ was to cloth himself in special garments.
This post is part of my bible in a year series.
Passage and Comments
On one of my old work placements, I was required to wear personal protective equipment (PPE). This was the last level of protection for me while inside a rail corridor with heavy plant moving around. The gear consisted of a hard hat with a wide brim, safety glasses (tinted with UV protection), sunscreen, long sleeve high visibility orange shirt with reflective strips, drill trousers, steel capped lace up boots and ninja gloves. Its excessive but necessary.
Today’s reading similarly discuss the PPE for the Priesthood working around the tabernacle and especially within the Holy Place. Since the area was holy ground, those assigned to serve there must also be holy. To indicate this, Aaron and his sons were provided with sacred garments.
28 “Then bring near to you Aaron your brother, and his sons with him, from among the people of Israel, to serve me as priests—Aaron and Aaron’s sons, Nadab and Abihu, Eleazar and Ithamar.
2 And you shall make holy garments for Aaron your brother, for glory and for beauty. 3 You shall speak to all the skillful, whom I have filled with a spirit of skill, that they make Aaron’s garments to consecrate him for my priesthood.
4 These are the garments that they shall make: a breastpiece, an ephod, a robe, a coat of checker work, a turban, and a sash. They shall make holy garments for Aaron your brother and his sons to serve me as priests. 5 They shall receive gold, blue and purple and scarlet yarns, and fine twined linen. (Ex 28.1-5)
‘Glory and beauty’. The garments are for Aaron’s “glory and beauty,” and prepared in advance of his consecration. No doubt the manner in which this glory and beauty are conferred is by the expensive materials used. In addition these materials are the same materials used to make the tabernacle.
6 “And they shall make the ephod of gold, of blue and purple and scarlet yarns, and of fine twined linen, skillfully worked. 7 It shall have two shoulder pieces attached to its two edges, so that it may be joined together. 8 And the skillfully woven band on it shall be made like it and be of one piece with it, of gold, blue and purple and scarlet yarns, and fine twined linen. (Ex 28.6-8)
‘Ephod’. The ephod was a large piece of fabric attached to an underlying robe or tunic. Priests wore an Ephod while ministering in the tabernacle. It was made of expensive materials and rare colours.
9 You shall take two onyx stones, and engrave on them the names of the sons of Israel, 10 six of their names on the one stone, and the names of the remaining six on the other stone, in the order of their birth. 11 As a jeweler engraves signets, so shall you engrave the two stones with the names of the sons of Israel. You shall enclose them in settings of gold filigree.
12 And you shall set the two stones on the shoulder pieces of the ephod, as stones of remembrance for the sons of Israel. And Aaron shall bear their names before the LORD on his two shoulders for remembrance. (Ex 28.9-12)
‘Stones’. These stones served as a reminder that the High Priest served God. Not on his own behalf, but on behalf of all Israel.
Story of Israel
This similarity between the priestly garments and the tabernacle is hardly accidental, and thus we catch a glimpse of the meaning of these garments. By being decked out as the tabernacle itself, the high priest in his service becomes the focus of God’s presence for the people of God—a mini-tabernacle, as it were. (Enns, P., 2000. Exodus, Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan.)
Story of Jesus
In the gospel, Jesus told a story about David and his men entering the house of God without the proper protections.
12 At that time Jesus went through the grainfields on the Sabbath. His disciples were hungry, and they began to pluck heads of grain and to eat. 2 But when the Pharisees saw it, they said to him, “Look, your disciples are doing what is not lawful to do on the Sabbath.” 3 He said to them, “Have you not read what David did when he was hungry, and those who were with him: 4 how he entered the house of God and ate the bread of the Presence, which it was not lawful for him to eat nor for those who were with him, but only for the priests? 5 Or have you not read in the Law how on the Sabbath the priests in the temple profane the Sabbath and are guiltless? 6 I tell you, something greater than the temple is here. 7 And if you had known what this means, ‘I desire mercy, and not sacrifice,’ you would not have condemned the guiltless. 8 For the Son of Man is lord of the Sabbath.” (Mt 12.1-8)
They walked in with no priestly lineage, no protective garments, no consecration from the law. They just walked in and took what they needed. How did they do this? They were with the Christ.
Jesus is the promised Christ. With Him, we can do likewise.
Through Jesus’ blood and having faith in him, we know we can boldly walk into the holy places without PPE. Jesus’ blood and faith is the new PPE.
Copyright © Joshua Washington and thescripturesays, 2014. All Rights Reserved.