Life-Study of Exodus

Life-Study of Exodusby Witness Lee

ISBN: 0-7363-0397-9
Printed Copy: Available Online from Living Stream Ministry

Currently in: Chapter 119 of 185 Section 1 of 3

LIFE-STUDY OF EXODUS

MESSAGE ONE HUNDRED NINETEEN

THE PRIESTLY GARMENTS

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Scripture Reading: Exo. 28:4-14; 39:1-7

The priestly garments described in 28:4-14 were first for the high priest and then for the priests. At the time of Exodus 28, the high priest was Aaron, and the priests were the sons of Aaron. In typology Aaron as the high priest signifies Christ as our true High Priest before God, and the sons of Aaron, the priests, are types of the believers. Therefore, the garments were for two classes of priests. Certain garments were only for the high priest. The other priests were not allowed to wear them. Most of the priestly garments, however, were both for the priests, the sons of Aaron, and for the high priest, Aaron.

THE BREASTPLATE AND THE EPHOD

Exodus 28:4 says, “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 first two items, the breastplate and the ephod, were worn only by the high priest. Actually the breastplate may be considered part of the ephod. Three pieces were attached to the ephod: the breastplate and the two shoulder plates. These plates were connected, fastened, girded, to the ephod.

Instead of translating the Hebrew word for ephod, most versions of the Bible simply give an English transliteration. This means that ephod is a Hebrew word, not an English translation. The reason this Hebrew word is brought into the English translations of the Bible is that there is no word in our vocabulary to describe this item of the priestly garments. There is nothing in our culture that corresponds to it. If there is not such a thing in our culture, then there cannot be a word to describe it. For example, if automobiles did not exist, we would not have in our vocabulary the word automobile. The word automobile came into use to describe vehicles with which we are familiar. But in our culture there is nothing exactly like the garment denoted by the Hebrew word ephod. For this reason, we are not able to translate this Hebrew word into English.

If you were to ask me to explain what the ephod is, I would answer that I cannot describe it with a single word or even with a few sentences. Nevertheless, in this message I shall try to impress you with the matter of the ephod, a matter that was not known in man’s culture before the priesthood was set up by God. When the priestly garments were revealed to Moses by God, the ephod was something absolutely new. This matter was completely unknown before Moses received the revelation from God. God spoke to Moses concerning the ephod, and that was the time Moses first learned of it.

According to the dictionaries, the word ephod means to bind, fasten, gird, or link. Hence, the ephod was a part of the priestly garments used for fastening, girding, linking, or binding. The ephod was not a jacket and not exactly a vest. Rather, it was a part of the priestly garments used for fastening or binding. The ephod, therefore, was used for fastening, girding, binding, or connecting.

FOR GLORY AND BEAUTY

There are three main reasons for wearing clothes. In other words, the garments we wear serve three purposes. Before the fall, man did not wear any clothes. But after the fall, Adam and Eve realized they were naked, and they made something to cover their nakedness. Then God provided coats of skins to cover them. Thus, the first reason for wearing clothing is to cover our nakedness. People who are moral will want to cover themselves properly. They will not want to expose their nakedness. Immorality, on the contrary, encourages nakedness. It is both a sin and a shame to be naked. The priests in the Old Testament were fully covered from head to toe. The first purpose of clothing, therefore, is to cover our nakedness.

The second reason for wearing clothing is related to our health. By wearing the proper garments we are protected from the cold, the wind, and the rain. We are also protected from excessive heat. Some of us are very sensitive to the temperature and need to wear the right clothing to keep us from being too warm or too cold. If we do not wear suitable clothing in every situation, our health will be affected. Thus, clothing also serves the purpose of preserving our health.

Third, people wear clothes to beautify themselves. According to Exodus 28, the priestly garments were for glory and for beauty. The purpose of these garments was not mainly to cover nakedness or to protect the body from the cold. Rather, these garments were for glory and for beauty. The ephod, in particular, was not used to cover the high priest’s nakedness or to protect him from cold; it was altogether for glory and beauty.

It is significant that Exodus 28 mentions glory first and beauty second. This indicates that we should first consider glory and then beauty. When we choose our clothes, we should not consider beauty first. Our first consideration should be glory.

We have pointed out that glory here refers to the divine expression, the divine attributes, and that beauty refers to the human virtues. In our dressing we must first take care of God’s glory. For example, a sister should ask if a certain garment can be worn for God’s glory. If the sisters consider their clothing from this point of view, the style of clothes they wear may be somewhat different. However, most people today care only for their beauty; they do not care at all for God’s glory. But the ephod was first for the divine glory and then for human beauty. This piece of clothing used for fastening was composed of the divine glory and the human beauty.


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