Life-Study of Exodusby Witness Lee
Printed Copy: Available Online from Living Stream Ministry
Printed Copy: Available Online from Living Stream Ministry
According to 28:1-4, the priests were required to wear a particular kind of garment. Today those who serve in the armed forces must wear an appropriate uniform. In the same principle, as a group of serving ones, the priests in the Old Testament had to wear garments that were specially designed for the priests. Exodus 28:4 indicates that these garments included six main items: “And these are the garments which they shall make: a breastplate, and an ephod, and a robe, and a tunic of woven work, a turban, and a girdle; and they shall make holy garments for Aaron your brother, and for his sons, to serve as priests to Me.”
The breastplate was built with twelve precious stones set in gold. The ephod was underneath the breastplate. The Hebrew word for ephod means to bind. The ephod worn by the priest was similar to a vest. To the ephod were attached the shoulder plates and the breastplate. The robe was a long garment that went from the shoulders down to the feet, covering the body of the priest in full. God required that the priests be fully covered, that no part of their body would be naked. It is rather difficult to say what the tunic was. It was shorter than the robe, probably reaching no farther than the knee. Hence, the tunic may be compared to a short coat. In addition to these four items, there were the turban and the girdle. The turban was a covering for the head, and the girdle was used for the girding of the loins.
In forthcoming messages we shall consider these items of the priestly garments in detail. My concern in this message is that we have a general understanding of the significance of the priestly garments.
The priestly garments signify that those who serve God as priests must have a certain kind of expression. The priestly garments can be compared to the uniform worn by a policeman. When we see a man dressed in the uniform of a policeman, we know that this person is a policeman. A policeman’s uniform is his expression. The same is true of the garments worn by a judge in a courtroom. A policeman’s uniform and a judge’s robe illustrate the fact that clothing signifies expression. According to the New Testament, the priestly garments signify the expression of Christ. Every aspect of the priestly garments signifies an attribute or virtue of Christ. Therefore, the priestly garments are the serving ones’ expression of Christ.
The priestly garments as the expression of the priests were their qualification. If the priests had worn some other kind of garments, they would not have been qualified to serve as priests. Once again we may use a policeman’s uniform as an illustration. A policeman is required to wear the proper uniform when he is on duty. It is the uniform which qualifies him to serve. If a policeman wore some other kind of clothing, even very fine, expensive clothing, he would not be qualified. To be qualified he must wear a police uniform. In the same principle, the expression of Christ qualifies us to serve as priests. We may claim to be priests, but do we have the expression of Christ to qualify us to serve as priests? Whether or not we are qualified to be a priest is determined by the expression of Christ. This expression is our qualification.
The priestly garments also sanctify the priests. These garments separated them from all the other people. The same is true of a policeman in uniform. A police officer’s uniform separates him from others. Should a man wearing a policeman’s uniform approach you and speak to you, you would surely respect him. However, if someone without the proper uniform tried to act as if he were a policeman, you would not show him the same respect. That person would not have the qualification signified by the uniform, and he would not be separated by this uniform from others. For this reason, he would be regarded as no different from anyone else. In like manner, the priests were sanctified, separated to God, by their garments. Exodus 28:3 says, “They shall make Aaron’s garments to sanctify him to serve as priest to Me.” In this verse sanctify means to separate to God for His unique purpose. The priests were sanctified by the expression of Christ. If we express Christ, this expression will both qualify us and sanctify us.
Verses 2 and 4 of Exodus 28 speak of “holy garments.” Verse 3 says that Aaron’s garments sanctified him to serve as a priest to God. The words “holy” and “sanctify” indicate that a priest of God should be separated to Him, set aside for His purpose. To be separated and set aside in this way is to be holy, sanctified.
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