Exodus 28: Lessons for Being Part of God’s Royal Priesthood

Introduction: After giving Moses the description for Tabernacle, God begins in Exodus 28 to instruct Moses on the role of the priesthood. Of the 50 chapters devoted to what happened inside the Tabernacle, only three are devoted to the layout. The rest of the 50 chapters, including the entire book of Leviticus, are devoted to instructing the priests on how to help others make proper sacrifices and worship God. Thus, the role of the priest is extremely important to God. These instructions further apply to every believer in Christ. As a believer, you are automatically part of His holy priesthood: “But you are a chosen race, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a people for God’s own possession, so that you may proclaim the excellencies of Him who has called you out of darkness into His marvelous light;” (1 Pet. 2:9, 5). “[A]nd He has made us to be a kingdom, priests to His God and Father-- to Him be the glory and the dominion forever and ever. Amen.” (Rev. 1:6). As a royal priesthood, we are co-builders in building God’s Church on earth: “For we are God’s fellow workers; you are God’s field, God's building.” (1 Cor. 3:9). From Exodus 28, God gives seven important lessons for serving as one of His royal priests. All of His lessons focus on giving praise to Jesus as your eternal High Priest and keeping your heart pure for Him.

First, be humble and grateful in being selected as one of God’s priests. He appointed you by mercy and grace. He makes this point through his selection of Aaron and his sons to lead the priesthood. Like us, they were sinners and did not deserve to be priests. Second, through God’s instructions for the priest’s clothes (a symbol of a person’s actions or motives), He reminds every believer to be motivated for Christ’s glory and not their own. Third, through the symbolism of the two black onyx stones with the name of every tribe that was worn on the High Priest’s shoulders, God reveals that He wants you to be burdened for all of His people. Fourth, through the symbolism of the breastpiece with 12 precious stones worn over the High Priest’s heart, He reveals that you should have a love in your heart for all His people. Fifth, through the instructions for the Urim and Thummim stones, He reveals that you should always seek out the direction of the Holy Spirit. Sixth, through the symbolism of the head gear for the High Priest, He reminds every believer to keep their thoughts focused on Him. Finally, through the linen garments that served as underwear, He instructs His believers to always be pure and holy.

1. Be Humble and Grateful, For God Has Appointed You to be Priest By Grace. Ex. 28:1-3.

  • God’s grace in selecting Aaron and his family to lead His priesthood. After giving Moses the description for the layout of the Tabernacle, God directed Moses to select Aaron’s family to be His priests (“kohen”). “Then bring near to yourself Aaron your brother, and his sons with him, from among the sons of Israel, to minister as priest to Me—Aaron, Nadab and Abihu, Eleazar and Ithamar, Aaron’s sons. You shall make holy garments for Aaron your brother, for glory and for beauty. You shall speak to all the skillful persons whom I have endowed with the spirit of wisdom, that they make Aaron’s garments to consecrate him, that he may minister as priest to Me.” (Ex. 28:1-3). God’s selection of Aaron and his family tells us that God selects people by grace, not by merit.

  • If Aaron was qualified to be a priest, so are you. Like all of us, Aaron was a flawed person. He built the golden calf (Ex. 32:1-6, 35). When Moses confronted him, he blamed the people for his own actions instead of repenting (Ex. 32:22-24). The Bible tells us that God would have destroyed Aaron if Moses had not intervened on his behalf (Dt. 9:20). Aaron’s sons Nabad and Abihu (the first son’s listed on God’s list after Aaron), were later killed for burning “strange fire” that God “had not commanded” (Lev. 10:1-3). Although their exact sin is not revealed in the Bible, what we do know is that they were irreverent and disobedient in their worship. As both the high priest and father of these boys, Aaron bore partial responsibility for failing to properly instruct and supervise them. After Aaron’s sons died for disobedience, Aaron then violated God’s order that a sacrifice be eaten in the sanctuary. He then violated God’s order that he not abandon his duties as the high priest to mourn the death of his sons (Lev. 10:16-20). Out of pride and coveting power, he later criticized Moses (Nu. 12:1). He repented only after seeing Miriam punished, a punishment he knew that he also deserved (Nu. 12:11-12). We are a nation of priests (1 Pet. 2:5, 9; Rev. 1:6). If God could use Aaron as a high priest, is there any reason why you cannot call yourself a priest?

The priest making his garments to serve God1

  • Be humble and grateful for God’s mercy and grace in selecting you. Aaron and his family would have become famous. They would have been viewed the same way that people view movie stars today. Yet, God selected them knowing about their checkered walk to remind them to stay humble: “Pride goes before destruction, and a haughty spirit before stumbling.” (Prov. 16:18). “Before destruction the heart of man is haughty, but humility goes before honor.” (Prov. 18:12). “When pride comes, then comes dishonor, but with the humble is wisdom.” (Prov. 11:2). Have you allowed success to cause you to be filled with pride? If so, repent of your pride and give thanks for the gifts that God has given you (Jam. 1:17).

2. Be Clothed in Christ’s Righteousness and Not Your Own. Ex. 28:4-6.

  • The clothing of the high priest. After selecting Aaron’s family to serve as priests, God then instructed Moses to prepare the clothing for the high priest: “These are the garments which they shall make: a breastpiece and an ephod and a robe and a tunic of checkered work, a turban and a sash, and they shall make holy garments for Aaron your brother and his sons, that he may minister as priest to Me. They shall take the gold and the blue and the purple and the scarlet material and the fine linen. They shall also make the ephod of gold, of blue and purple and scarlet material and fine twisted linen, the work of the skillful workman.” (Ex. 28:4-6). Each of these things pointed to Jesus and what He does for us.

  • Jesus is our High Priest. The Jews needed the high priest to be pure to be able to intercede for them. While the Jews had a flawed high priest, any believer in Christ has the High Priest who is without sin: “Therefore, since we have a great high priest who has passed through the heavens, Jesus the Son of God, let us hold fast our confession. For we do not have a high priest who cannot sympathize with our weaknesses, but One who has been tempted in all things as we are, yet without sin.” (Heb. 4:14-15). “For it was fitting for us to have such a high priest, holy, innocent, undefiled, separated from sinners and exalted above the heavens;” (Heb. 7:26). On Earth, Jesus wore the clothes of a servant. Yet, the beautiful clothes of the high priest point to Christ’s exalted role in heaven. The gold symbolized His divinity. The blue symbolized His throne in heaven. The purple symbolized His royalty as the King of Kings (Rev. 19:16). The scarlet symbolized His sacrificial blood (Rev. 7:14; Heb. 9:14; 1 Jo. 1:7). The fine linen symbolized His righteousness and holiness (Rev. 19:8; 3:5). As believers, He “imparts” elements of His righteousness to us (2 Pet. 1:4; Col. 1:22, 27).

  • Let God clothe you in righteousness. In the Bible, clothing is a symbol of both God’s provision and a person’s outward actions. After Adam and Eve sinned, God gave them animal skins to wear (Gen. 3:21). After the priest sacrificed an animal without blemish, God ordered that the priests receive the animal skins to make clothing (Lev. 1:6; 7:8). When you seek after Jesus’ kingdom and His righteousness, He also promises to clothe you (Matt. 6:33; Lk. 12:31). He further offers to clothe you in His fine clothes in heaven: “He who overcomes will thus be clothed in white garments; and I will not erase his name from the book of life, and I will confess his name before My Father and before His angels.” (Rev. 3:5). If Jesus does not clothe you, your acts will be looked upon as filthy rags to Him: “For all of us have become like one who is unclean, and all our righteous deeds are like a filthy garment; . . . ” (Is. 64:6). The person who tries to show up in heaven without Christ’s clothes will be thrown out (Matt. 22:11-13). Are you doing things that glorify yourself? Or, are you looking to be clothed in Jesus’ righteousness by doing things that glorify Him?

3. Be Burdened By the Sins of All God’s People. Ex. 28:7-14.

  • The shoulder black onyx stones with the names of all the tribes. After describing the clothes for the priest, God described the two black onyx stones that the high priest wore on his shoulders: “It shall have two shoulder pieces joined to its two ends, that it may be joined. The skillfully woven band, which is on it, shall be like its workmanship, of the same material: of gold, of blue and purple and scarlet material and fine twisted linen. 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, according to their birth. 11 As a jeweler engraves a signet, you shall engrave the two stones according to the names of the sons of Israel; you shall set them in filigree settings of gold. 12 You shall put the two stones on the shoulder pieces of the ephod, as stones of memorial for the sons of Israel, and Aaron shall bear their names before the Lord on his two shoulders for a memorial. 13 You shall make filigree settings of gold, 14 and two chains of pure gold; you shall make them of twisted cordage work, and you shall put the corded chains on the filigree settings.” (Ex. 28:7-14). The shoulder pieces had seven requirements. These included: (1) black onyx stones; (2) the names of the 12 tribes written in gold to serve as a memorial; (3) gold filigree to hold the stones; (4) gold chains to hold the shoulder piece together; (5) linens of blue, purple, and scarlet; (6) everything made through fine workmanship; and (7) the powerful shoulders of the high priest to carry them. These things all pointed to Jesus.

(1) The onyx stone - We are sinful and in darkness without Christ’s light. Each shoulder of the high priest had an onyx stone with the names of the 12 tribes (Ex. 28:9-11). Onyx is black. The black stones with the names of the 12 tribes symbolized the fact that all of God’s people are trapped in darkness without the light and life of Christ. Yet, many cannot comprehend His light: “This is the judgment, that the Light has come into the world, and men love darkness rather than Light, for their deeds were evil.” (Jo. 3:19). “The Light shines in darkness, and the darkness did not comprehend it.” (Jo. 1:5). Jesus is the Light (Jo. 8:12). If you are still turning to the sinful things of the world, you still love the darkness.

(2) The 12 tribes inscribed as a memorial - Be burdened in prayer for all God’s people. The onyx stones had the names of the twelve tribes inscribed as a “memorial” (Ex. 28:12). The names of the people were written in gold. The gold showed that all God’s people are precious to Him. Out of love, Jesus bore a burden for everyone. Because He loves us, He does not want anyone to perish: “The Lord is not slow about His promise, as some count slowness, but is patient toward you, not wishing for any to perish but for all to come to repentance.” (2 Pet. 3:9). God also meant for all His people to be “a kingdom of priests and a holy nation.” (Ex. 19:5-6). This included being a light to the people of the world (Is. 42:6; 49:6). As part of God’s nation of priests (1 Pet. 2:5, 9), these instructions also apply to you today. You must be a light to other people (Matt. 5:14). You also should never forget the people who are still trapped in darkness, just as you once were. Are you burdened by the sin of the world around you? Are you praying for those who are trapped in darkness?

(3) The gold filigreeWe are saved from our darkness only through Christ. The onyx rested “in filigree settings of gold.” (Ex. 28:11). Gold is a symbol of Christ’s divinity. His light rescued you from darkness. He in turn calls you to share His light with others (Matt. 5:14).

(4) The gold chainsChrist will never let go of you. Gold chains held the shoulder pieces together (Ex. 28:14). The gold again symbolizes Christ. His power is stronger than the enemy, and He will never let go: “and I give eternal life to them, and they will never perish; and no one will snatch them out of My hand. My Father, who has given them to Me, is greater than all; and no one is able to snatch them out of the Father's hand.” (Jo. 10:28-29).

(5) The colored linensChrist will purify you with His righteousness. Woven bands of gold, blue, purple, and scarlet fine twisted linen supported the onyx shoulder pieces (Ex. 28:8). This symbolized that Christ in heaven will make you righteous through His blood.

(6) The fine workmanshipGod views His people as wonderful workmanship. The building materials were “skillfully” made (Ex. 28:8). God loves each person and considers them to be works of art: “I will give thanks to You, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made; wonderful are Your works, and my soul knows it very well.” (Ps. 139:14).

(7) The shoulders - Jesus bears the burdens of all His people on powerful shoulders. In the Bible, the shoulder is a symbol of strength ((KJV) - Lev. 7:31-34; 8:26; 9:21; 10:12-15; Nu. 18:18). Isaiah prophesied in connection with the Messiah that the “government will rest on His shoulders,” the “Might God, Eternal Father, Prince of Peace.” (Is. 9:6). All government authority further comes from Him: “there is no authority except from God.” (Ro. 13:1). If all 12 tribes were listed on His shoulder stones, all the burdens of the people and their governments rest upon Jesus’ shoulders. We are also incomplete without Jesus. On each of the two onyx stones, there were six tribal names. Six is the number of mankind. Only with Jesus’ shoulders that supported them, did the number on each side reach seven, a number of completeness. These verses also tell us that Jesus as our High Priest is burdened by people’s burdens throughout the world. He will come again to rule in righteousness and restore joy to those who are suffering. Until He returns, He also wants you to be burdened by the sins of the world. Are you praying and helping those around you in need?

4. Have a Love For All God’s People. Ex. 28:15-29.

  • The breastpiece with 12 precious stones over the high priest’s heart. After describing the shoulder pieces, God described the breastpiece or with 12 precious stones that covered the high priest’s heart: “15 You shall make a breastpiece of judgment, the work of a skillful workman; like the work of the ephod you shall make it: of gold, of blue and purple and scarlet material and fine twisted linen you shall make it. 16 It shall be square and folded double, a span in length and a span in width. 17 You shall mount on it four rows of stones; the first row shall be a row of ruby, topaz and emerald; 18 and the second row a turquoise, a sapphire and a diamond; 19 and the third row a jacinth, an agate and an amethyst; 20 and the fourth row a beryl and an onyx and a jasper; they shall be set in gold filigree. 21 The stones shall be according to the names of the sons of Israel: twelve, according to their names; they shall be like the engravings of a seal, each according to his name for the twelve tribes. 22 You shall make on the breastpiece chains of twisted cordage work in pure gold. 23 You shall make on the breastpiece two rings of gold, and shall put the two rings on the two ends of the breastpiece. 24 You shall put the two cords of gold on the two rings at the ends of the breastpiece. 25 You shall put the other two ends of the two cords on the two filigree settings, and put them on the shoulder pieces of the ephod, at the front of it. 26 You shall make two rings of gold and shall place them on the two ends of the breastpiece, on the edge of it, which is toward the inner side of the ephod. 27 You shall make two rings of gold and put them on the bottom of the two shoulder pieces of the ephod, on the front of it close to the place where it is joined, above the skillfully woven band of the ephod. 28 They shall bind the breastpiece by its rings to the rings of the ephod with a blue cord, so that it will be on the skillfully woven band of the ephod, and that the breastpiece will not come loose from the ephod. 29 Aaron shall carry the names of the sons of Israel in the breastpiece of judgment over his heart when he enters the holy place, for a memorial before the Lord continually.” (Ex. 28:7-14). The breastpiece included seven components: (1) 12 precious stones; (2) a memorial worn over the priest’s heart; (3) stones set in gold filigree; (4) stones that were sealed; (5) gold chains; (6) colored linens; and (7) the breastpiece of judgment. All of the things pointed to Jesus.

The High Priests holy garments2

(1) The 12 precious stonesAll believers are precious stones to God. The breastpiece had 12 precious stones in four rows of three, one corresponding to each of the tribes according to their birth order. The names that correlated with each stone are not specified here. The 12 tribes of Jacob included Levi. Yet, God later removed the tribe of Levi as His priesthood. He then split the tribe of Joseph into two to maintain 12 tribes. Assuming the names reflected the names after Levi was removed and with Joseph’s two eldest sons listed at the end, the order of the stones for each tribe would be as follows: (1) ruby - Reuben, (2) topaz - Simeon, (3) emerald- Judah, (4) turquoise- Issachar, (5) sapphire - Zebulun, (6) diamond – Benjamin, (7) jacinth - Dan, (8) agate - Naphtali, (9) amethyst – Gad, (10) beryl - Asher, (11) onyx – Ephraim, and (12) jasper - Manasseh (Ex. 28:16-21). Their stones were placed in three rows of four. Three is the number of the Trinity. Four is a number representing the earth. The number 12 represents God’s perfect government. Together, these things symbolize that God’s love extends to all the people of the Earth. These twelve gemstones later appear on the foundation walls to the New Jerusalem (Rev. 21:19-20). Like the 12 tribes, any person is a precious stone in God’s eyes: “you also, as living stones, are being built up as a spiritual house for a holy priesthood, to offer up spiritual sacrifices acceptable to God through Jesus Christ.” (1 Pet. 2:5). A precious stone shines when light bounces off of it. Does the light of Christ shine brightly off your life as a witness to others to follow Him?

(2) The memorial over the heartJesus loves all mankind. The high priest wore the breastplate “over his heart when he enters the holy place, for a memorial before the Lord continually.” (Ex. 28:29). The high priest wore the stones over his heart as a memorial to his love for all the people. His job was to be an intercessor to God for everyone. “It was not enough that the High Priest worked for the people (having them on his shoulders). He must also love the people – that is, bear them on his heart. It isn’t enough for a priest to have a heart for God. He must also have a heart for the people, and bear them on his heart in his entire ministry unto the LORD.” (David Guzik on Exodus 28).3 Jesus as our High Priest loved the world so much that He sacrificed Himself at the cross so that all might live (Jo. 3:16). As a priest for God, does your love extend to your enemies and those who hate you?

(3) The gold filigreeYou are saved from your darkness only through Christ. The 12 precious stones were all set in gold filigree (Ex. 28:22). Gold again is a symbol of Christ’s divinity. It is only through Christ that we are transformed into precious stones.

(4) The sealed stonesYou are sealed with the Holy Spirit. The precious stones had “the engravings of a seal” (Ex. 28:21). Once you were saved in Christ, He sealed you with the Holy Spirit: “In Him . . . you were sealed in Him with the Holy Spirit of promise,” (Eph. 1:13). “Do not grieve the Holy Spirit of God, by whom you were sealed for the day of redemption.” (Eph. 4:30). Being sealed with the Spirit, you cannot lose your redemption.

(5) The gold chains and ringsChrist will hold you and the Church together. The breastpiece was held together with sets of two gold rings at the ends and two chains of gold. These chains existed at three levels on the breastpiece (Ex. 28:23-27). Jesus (the gold) holds all things together. Two is a number of conformation, and three is the number of the Trinity: “He is before all things, and in Him all things hold together.” (Col. 1:7). “And He is the radiance of His glory and the exact representation of His nature, and upholds all things by the word of His power . . .” (Heb. 1:3(a)).

(6) The colored linensChrist will purify you with His righteousness. Fine twisted linen of blue, purple, and scarlet supported the breastpiece. It was folded twice above the heart (Ex. 28:15). Again, only Christ in heaven will make you righteous through His blood: “It was given to her [The Church and bride] to clothe herself in fine linen, bright and clean; for the fine linen is the righteous acts of the saints.” (Rev. 19:8; 3:5; cf. Prov. 31:22). The fact that it was folded twice above the heart symbolized a confirmation of Jesus’ promises.

(7) The breastpiece of judgmentChrist will judge all. The high priest’s breastpiece was also a “breast piece of judgment.” (Ex. 28:15). Although Jesus wants none to perish, all nonbelievers will eventually be judged (Ro. 6:23; Ez. 18:4; Heb. 12:29; Rev. 14:10). Are you helping others turn to Christ to spare them from judgment? (Matt. 28:16-20).

The 12 stones over the heart of the High Priest4

5. Seek Out The Direction of Jesus and the Holy Spirit. Ex. 28:30.

  • The stones of Urim and Thummim. After describing the 12 precious stones, God revealed to Moses two stones called “Urim” and “Thummim”, which the priest would call upon to seek His will: “30 You shall put in the breastpiece of judgment the Urim and the Thummim, and they shall be over Aaron’s heart when he goes in before the Lord; and Aaron shall carry the judgment of the sons of Israel over his heart before the Lord continually.” (Ex. 28:30). Some believe that these stones translated as “light and integrity.” (Matthew Henry). Others believe they meant “light and perfections.” In Hebrew, the word “thummim” means “unblemished.” (First Fruits of Zion, Torah Club, Vol. 2 (2012) p. 292).

  • Seek God’s counsel. Today, instead of two stones, God has given you two superior means to seek out His will. First, Jesus is the unblemished light who gives you direction through His written Word: “Your word is a lamp to my feet and a light to my path.” (Ps. 119:105). Second, He has left you with the Holy Spirit to remind you of His Word when you seek Him in prayer. “But the Helper, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in My name, He will teach you all things, and bring to your remembrance all that I said to you.” (Jo. 14:26; 16-17). When you seek wisdom, He promises to give it liberally: “But if any of you lacks wisdom, let him ask of God, who gives to all generously and without reproach, and it will be given to him.” (Jam. 1:5). Are you seeking God’s will in all your actions?

6. Keep Your Heart and Your Thoughts Focused on God. Ex. 28:31-39.

  • The blue ephod. Underneath the breastpiece, the high priest wore a blue ephod that covered his heart and body: “31 You shall make the robe of the ephod all of blue. 32 There shall be an opening at its top in the middle of it; around its opening there shall be a binding of woven work, like the opening of a coat of mail, so that it will not be torn. 33 You shall make on its hem pomegranates of blue and purple and scarlet material, all around on its hem, and bells of gold between them all around: 34 a golden bell and a pomegranate, a golden bell and a pomegranate, all around on the hem of the robe. 35 It shall be on Aaron when he ministers; and its tinkling shall be heard when he enters and leaves the holy place before the Lord, so that he will not die.” (Ex. 28:31-35). Each part of the ephod pointed toward Christ.

  • Reverence toward Christ. The blue ephod was to keep the priest’s heart and mind focused on God in heaven (Ex. 28:31-33). There were also “pomegranates of blue and purple and scarlet material, all around on its hem ...” (Ex. 28:33). The purple pointed to Christ’s royalty as the King of Kings. The scarlet pointed to His cleansing blood. The high priest also had to wear bells when he entered and left the holy place of the Lord (Ex. 28:33-35). If he died, the bells would stop, and others would know to pull him out using a rope attached to him. The priest would have had a healthy fear of the Lord. This was all part of God’s plan. The beginning of all knowledge is to fear the Lord (Prov. 1:7). Moreover, to fear the Lord is to hate evil: “The fear of the LORD is to hate evil; . . .” (Prov. 8:13(a)). Are your thoughts and desires focused on Christ in heaven and away from the evil things of the world?

  • The engraving of praise to God. On the head, the high priest wore a turban with a gold engraving that praised God: “36 You shall also make a plate of pure gold and shall engrave on it, like the engravings of a seal, ‘Holy to the Lord.’ 37 You shall fasten it on a blue cord, and it shall be on the turban; it shall be at the front of the turban. 38 It shall be on Aaron’s forehead, and Aaron shall take away the iniquity of the holy things which the sons of Israel consecrate, with regard to all their holy gifts; and it shall always be on his forehead, that they may be accepted before the Lord. 39 You shall weave the tunic of checkered work of fine linen, and shall make a turban of fine linen, and you shall make a sash, the work of a weaver.” (Ex. 28:36-39). The engraved gold plated words “Holy to the Lord” were also meant to keep the priest’s thoughts holy and focused on God. To keep your thoughts pure, God tells you to renew your mind each day: “And do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, so that you may prove what the will of God is, that which is good and acceptable and perfect.” (Ro. 12:2). “As obedient children, do not be conformed to the former lusts which were yours in your ignorance,” (1 Pet. 1:14). “so as to live the rest of the time in the flesh no longer for the lusts of men, but for the will of God.” (1 Pet. 4:2). Through Christ, are you cleansing your mind on a daily basis of sin?

  • Praise God for what He sacrificed for you. Although Christ is now dressed with the splendor of the eternal High Priest, He gave up His grandeur to become a human servant for mankind: “but emptied Himself, taking the form of a bond-servant, and being made in the likeness of men.” (Phil. 2:7). While the high priest carried expensive gold and precious stones, Christ became poor for us: “For you know the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ, that though He was rich, yet for your sake He became poor, so that you through His poverty might become rich.” (2 Cor. 8:9). While the high priest was celebrated by all, Christ was despised and forsaken: “He was despised and forsaken of men, a man of sorrows and acquainted with grief; and like one from whom men hide their face He was despised, and we did not esteem Him.” (Is. 53:3). Instead of a robe of beauty, they gave Him a purple robe to mock Him (Mk. 15:17, 20). While the high priest’s clothes were treated as holy, the Roman soldiers cast lots for Jesus’ garments (Matt. 27:35). Instead of precious stones on His shoulders, Jesus carried His cross (Jo. 19:17). While the high priest wore a beautiful headpiece, Jesus wore a crown of thorns (Jo. 19:2, 5). Are you praising Jesus for what He gave up for you?

7. Keep Your Thoughts and Actions Pure. Ex. 28:40-43.

  • The pure fine linen garments for the regular priests. The regular priests wore fine pure linens. They also covered their private areas with linen underwear: “40 For Aaron’s sons you shall make tunics; you shall also make sashes for them, and you shall make caps for them, for glory and for beauty. 41 You shall put them on Aaron your brother and on his sons with him; and you shall anoint them and ordain them and consecrate them, that they may serve Me as priests. 42 You shall make for them linen breeches to cover their bare flesh; they shall reach from the loins even to the thighs. 43 They shall be on Aaron and on his sons when they enter the tent of meeting, or when they approach the altar to minister in the holy place, so that they do not incur guilt and die. It shall be a statute forever to him and to his descendants after him.” (Ex. 28:40-43). Each of these things point to things that Christ has made possible for believers through Him.

  • Be clothed as the future bride of Christ. The high priest was to wear “linen breeches” or undergarments. No one else could see if the priest was wearing linen undergarments. Only he and the Lord would know. The message was that the priest had to keep even his private thoughts and actions pure. As High Priest, Jesus will one day marry His Church to form a bond of spiritual intimacy with it (Eph. 5:22-33; Rev. 19:7-8; 21:1-9). Yet, as a High Priest, Jesus can only marry His people if they are spiritual virgins (Lev. 21:13-14). If He does not do so, He will “profane” His offspring (Lev. 21:14). We are the adopted sons of God the Father (Rom. 8:15, 23). We are therefore commanded to remain spiritual virgins to marry Christ (2 Cor. 11:2; Rev. 14:4). Your bond with Christ should be like your bond with your spouse. We are told to be sanctified and holy (1 Thess. 4:3-8; 1 Pet. 1:14-16). Your body is now the temple where the Holy Spirit dwells (Matt. 6:22-23). Staying pure is also part of the definition of undefiled religion: “Pure and undefiled religion in the sight of our God and Father is this: to visit orphans and widows in their distress, and to keep oneself unstained by the world.” (Jam. 1:27). Without the purity that Christ offers, none can enter into heaven: “For this you know with certainty, that no immoral or impure person or covetous man, who is an idolater, has an inheritance in the kingdom of Christ and God.” (Eph. 5:5). Are you keeping yourself pure for Jesus?