THE TRUTH BEHIND THE BELT
The belt for the priestly garments of the wilderness tabernacle was very important
It carried physical and symbolic reminders for what the characteristics of a priest should be, and it spoke symbolically of the types of activities a priest should be involved with while serving as a minister of God in His tabernacle.
WELCOME TO THIS WEEK’S THURSDAY STUDY
Welcome to today’s ongoing, chronological walk through the bible called COME AS A CHILD.
I post these lessons every Thursday. and I hope you find them interesting and enjoyable.
If you wish to take this weekly walk through the holy scriptures with us; just click into the COME AS A CHILD section of the blog on Thursdays. (It could be at either the very beginning of the day, or at the end of the day; depending on the circumstances of daily life at my home and whatever time zone you are reading from.)
I am busy preparing to offer a direct e-mail function for this section of the blog; since I do get many requests for that. It should be ready soon! The new feature (when ready) will send these COME AS A CHILD LESSONS directly into your e-mail box every Thursday; but only if you sign up and request it. Be watching for the sign-up which I will post soon.
The new feature will contain ONLY the bible lessons for COME AS A CHILD; You will need to keep reading the blog for the other sections. For those who are faithful to read the study each week; this new feature will make receiving each new lesson so much easier!
We continue today in our mini-series of a study of the priestly garments mentioned in Exodus Chapter 28. We have slowly been making our way through the book of Exodus. If you missed the first four parts of this mini-series; you might enjoy reviewing them here: https://theinseasonlifestyle.com/clothes-of-the-ancient-priest/, https://theinseasonlifestyle.com/understanding-ephod/, https://theinseasonlifestyle.com/robe-priest/, https://theinseasonlifestyle.com/turban-crown/
A REMINDER OF THE CONCEPTS OF THIS STUDY
The whole idea behind our Thursday bible study is to come before God with the wide-open heart of a child and consider the scriptures of our bibles in a fresh, new and exciting way; putting behind all preconceived and programmed notions from our past and drinking in the new things that God has to teach us today.
PAUL’S ANALOGY OF THE BELT
The Apostle Paul often compared the clothing of a Roman soldier to the spiritual clothing of a Christian. This old, tried and true analogy originally came from the clothing worn by the priest in the wilderness tabernacle.
In Paul’s later analogies the belt of a Roman Soldier was used to hold or carry his sword. A sword is symbolic of truth, and the belt of the priestly garments stood for truth.
WHAT IS TRUTH?
Pontius Pilate once asked Jesus the question; “What is truth?”
This man, called Pontius Pilate, was a child of the world who lived with the same similar philosophies of many of those who live and move through our current culture today. He was one that knew that the world’s definition of truth was ever-evolving and ever-changing according to times and the cultures that evolved in human civilizations.
Today we might label this definition of truth “organic.” We define it so because it is ever-growing, ever-changing and ever-evolving. Something that is one way today might be a totally different way tomorrow. I have to ask you though; is truth REALLY organic as popular culture would have us to believe?
EACH WORLDLY CULTURE MAINTAINS THEIR OWN DEFINITION OF TRUTH
Each people group down through the annals of time has proclaimed their own unique definition of truth; and it always depended on who you talked to and when you talked with them to get the answer to the question of how to define truth. Most answers came in the form of the definition of the moment that reflected the desires and ambitions of the current cultures.
No definition, given by the world, was ever the same at any time in any culture; EXCEPT for the culture we call Christianity; more clearly defined as The Gospel of Jesus Christ. This is true because both Christianity and Judaism worship the One True God. One aspect of the character of The One True God is that God never changes. Christianity and Judaism are the only religions that reflect this characteristic in absolute purity.
JESUS IS THE WAY, THE TRUTH AND THE LIFE
But Jesus Christ, the founder of Christianity, stated to Pontius Pilate that He had been born into the world for the cause of “truth” and that He bore witness to the “truth.
Jesus also noted to Pilate that anyone who is of the “truth” would hear His voice and follow Him. (This statement is the author’s personal interpretation and translation of the words found in John 18:37).
Jesus also made the statement that “the truth would set us free.”
In further words from Jesus we can hear him boldly proclaiming; “I am the way, the “truth” and the life.” (John 14:16)
THE ONLY WAY TO FIND TRUTH IS TO FIND JESUS
Now we have come to know the greatest truth of all; that the only way to find truth is to find Jesus. The priests of the wilderness tabernacle were learning this truth from the symbolism that God placed in their path daily as they served at the tabernacle. They saw it in the making of the tabernacle itself; and they saw it in the use of the sacrifices.
They also knew the concepts of this fact from the symbolism contained in the priestly garments that they were issued to wear during their time of service before God in the tabernacle.
From the days of Adam and Eve; all cultures knew and were aware of the fact that a Messiah was coming. The priests could see this prophecy even with the use of the garments that God had designed for them to wear.
We, on this side of history, can now look at all of these things and see that Jesus is absolute truth because He carried the holy scriptures around and they seemed as if they were written upon His heart He lived them out before the whole wide world as He walked the dusty roads of this earth clothed in the flesh of humanity.
JESUS REPRESENTED THE TRUTH IN EVERY WAY
He lived and died by the truth of God The Father which we find hidden within the sacred pages of the holy scriptures. He rose from the grave because of these truths, and these words of truth from God are how He became Savior of the world. Christ lived the truth out before us as an example.
Jesus is absolute truth.
You will never find that from the voices of this world.
THE PRIEST OF ISRAEL NEEDED EARTHLY REMINDERS
The priest of Israel had to know and understand the Word of God. God had given them the commandments before He told them to build the tabernacle. They knew in their hearts about the absolute truth from God; that Christ would come and give His life for sinners to save them. These priest were living out the symbolism of this truth. They knew that keeping the word and commandments of God mattered more than anything else they could ever do.
The priests of Israel had to be moving and living in a way that was pleasing to the God of all truth.
The belt around their waist was there to remind them of this fact.
TRUTH IS WHAT HOLDS EVERYTHING IN PLACE
Putting on the belt was a way of girding up all of the other priestly garments.
A priest of God, or anyone else following God, should always be girded up with the truth from God. This would mean that the scriptures must be written on a person’s heart as well as inside his head.
In the days of Jesus the belt allowed a man to gather up his robe and tuck it in for swift movement. Being girded in the truth does the same for a Christian. It helps us to move and operate in the way that God would have us to live.
WE SHOULD CLING TO AND BE SURROUNDED BY TRUTH
The truth of God should always cling to us and surround us just as this belt surrounded the hips, waist and upper body of the priest of Israel.
This priestly belt was 48 feet long, which translated to 32 cubits in the way the scriptures portray measurements. It was 2-1/4 inches wide. It was made of fine white linen.
As for length, the belt was so long that it could be wound around and around the body until it reached the heart of the priest. In knowing that this long length of the belt had to be wound and wound, we are reminded of how pure the heart of the priest must be
THE GREAT LENGTH WAS A REMINDER TO STAY PURE IN HEART
The length of the belt suggested that a priest must go to great lengths to always maintain purity of heart.
Priest were human. They sinned.
They often had impure thoughts.
We know of this from studying David. He was a man after God’s own heart; but he sinned greatly and often.
There must be atonement applied for such sins of impurity of the heart. The belt of the priestly garments stood for the atonement from impurity of the heart.
Each time a priest wound his belt closer and closer to his heart he was reminded to keep his thoughts pure and ever clean before God. If he did not; he required atonement in the form of a blood sacrifice to remove the burden of these sins. Otherwise; he would not be fit to be ministering as a priest in God’s tabernacle and unto God’s chosen people.
THE STRANGE COMBINATION OF FABRICS FOR THE BELT
As we have mentioned before; linen and wool both contain certain physical elements that cancel each other out. When used together they both lose their strength and effectiveness.
The people of Israel were commanded not to mix wool and linen; yet in his daily service the high priest wore a belt that had embroidery upon it which was made from colored woolen threads of blue, purple and scarlet. This embroidery was attached to the pure white linen.
This was the ONLY exception to the rule of mixing wool and linen. Many have pondered why this was allowed in the daily uniform of the priest.
THE HUMANITY OF THE WILDERNESS PRIESTHOOD
I have a personal theory which has never been clarified by any expert. I think that this represented the humanity of this wilderness priesthood. The white linen represented their desire to be pure and holy before God. The wool embroidery worn on ordinary days that LOOKED beautiful canceled out the holiness and the purity, and it represented all the unholy thoughts of mankind.
Only atonement could remedy this. These human priests needed atonement too. They were not always holy. Only One lived a totally holy life without sin and that was Jesus Christ.
On the Day of Atonement the high priest would remove this belt that contained the wool embroidery, and he would replace it with a belt like the ordinary priest wore. The new belt would be a belt made ONLY of pure white linen.
The white linen belt would be a belt that symbolized everything that God’s truth stood for. It was what God would see after the priest had atonement.
The daily sins would be confessed and a sacrifice would be offered by the priest before his service on the Day of Atonement. This would qualify him to wear the clean new belt; the belt that truly represented the truth of God.
THE ONLY PROVEN ABSOLUTE TRUTH
God’s truth is the only absolute truth that will ever hold up forever. God tells us in Matthew 24:35 that heaven and earth will pass away but His Word will never pass away.
THE COMFORT OF THE BELT OF TRUTH
With this belt close to the area of his heart; the high priest was able to minister before God and receive atonement for the sacrifices of the people.
The belt was wrapped many times around the waist and the hips and all the way up over the upper body all the way up to the heart.
KEEPING THE TRUTH OF GOD ON YOUR RIGHT AND ON YOUR LEFT
The two ends of the belt hung in the front and down to the priest’s ankles. While the priest was working and ministering he would toss the two loose ends of the belt over his shoulders so that he could move with ease and perform his tasks.
This act was symbolic of keeping the truth of God on your right and on your left as you go through the different places, seasons and phases of life.
THE BALANCING ACT OF TRUTH
The two loose ends of the belt in the priestly garments symbolized the balancing act that truth brings into our lives. One end of the belt rested securely on each side of the priest; and often these two belt ends rested over the priest’s two shoulders.
God’s truth is always balanced.
One truth will not counter act or be out of harmony with another truth; but all will flow together in peace and love when the truth is properly in place.
GOD’S PROPHETS WERE GIVEN THE JOB OF PROCLAIMING GOD’S TRUTH
Whenever the people strayed from the truth in those early years of the nation of Israel’s formation, growth and thriving forward and in the times that came after the wilderness tabernacle; God would send a prophet with His words of truth to steer the people back into the correct path. During the times of the wilderness tabernacle this was Moses. In the later years God sent other prophets.
If the people were wise they would listen; but sadly sometimes they did not.
At one point in time God gave the prophet Jeremiah these words to say to his chosen people:
“For as the sash clings to the waist of a man, so I have caused the whole house of Israel and the whole house of Judah to cling to Me, says the LORD, that they may become My people, for renown, for praise, and for glory; but they would not hear.” (Jeremiah 13:11)
WE MUST RETURN TO RENOWN, PRAISE AND GLORY IN HOLY PRIESTHOOD OF GOD
In reading this passage I was sadly reminded that God originally instructed Moses to give the priestly garments to the priests serving in the wilderness tabernacle “for renown, for praise, and for glory.”
Only the priests that were able to hear the truthful word of God were of true service to God.
Some things never change.
The same fact is true of the priesthood of God that is called and ordained today; unless they are able to hear the truth of God and act upon it, there will be no praise or glory for God’s people.
IT IS THE TRUTH OF GOD THAT HOLDS EVERYTHING ELSE TOGETHER
A priest of God must be clothed first in truth and that is what holds everything else together and makes it all work well as they go about their ministry.
We are ALL called to be a holy priesthood.
We are ALL called as children of God to be a part of His Holy Nation that sprang from Israel.
Let us go about our business and our ministry clothed in the absolute truth of God.
Put on the belt of truth today; then go out to boldly proclaim the Gospel of Jesus Christ.