WHY DID GOD CREATE A DRESS CODE WHEN HE DESIGNED THE CLOTHES FOR THE PRIEST OF ISRAEL?
Most decent-minded, kind-hearted people living in today’s world; tend to think that dress, or the clothes that a person wears, should not be important. It is the person INSIDE the clothes that matters.
I believe this is an accurate thought and my heart tells me that God thinks this way too.
God looks at our hearts and not our wardrobes; right?
That is why it may seem a little out of character when I bring up the fact that God looked down upon the people of Israel and picked out the people He wanted to serve as priests in His Wilderness Tabernacle.
After picking out certain specific individuals for service, and for many reasons that will become much more apparent to us later; God chose to clothe them in specific garments that were specially made to provide them with a certain respect, honor and dignity for their task.
These priests of Israel were clothed in a designer wardrobe fit for a king at God’s command.
IT WASN’T ABOUT SINGLING OUT INDIVIDUALS
Why do you think God made this distinction of singling out and clothing the priests in a certain way when we know He does not favor one man over another?
Perhaps that particular fact (that the priests together made up a particular people group) might be part of the very reason for this unusual decision.
As we examine this aspect of the holy priesthood further we will begin to see the priests clothing wasn’t about individuality at all; but about the nation as a whole; or about a particular type of people as a whole; a people God was setting aside as His own.
IT WAS ALL ABOUT SETTING APART A PECULIAR PEOPLE
It seems that upon forming the first elements of this Hebraic holy priesthood, God was looking upon His followers as a whole group that would be moving in unison together.
God takes Israel out of the world by bringing them into the wilderness. Then He takes a holy priesthood out of the people there and sets them apart from the others during the time they are serving in the wilderness tabernacle.
Alone and individually each priest was totally imperfect; but moving as a member of a whole set-apart group that had God’s Holy Spirit working among them; the priests became godly men who were very well equipped for holy service.
THE PRIESTLY GARMENTS SPOKE OF A GROUP SET APART
The sacred clothes that Moses had the skilled craftsmen to design spoke of a type of sacred power and might that God imputed to a chosen group of men.
When each man put on his holy garments this signified that he was to become a part of a set apart group in service to God. This wasn’t something to be taken lightly; it mattered very much. This matter was of great significance to everyone, both those participating and everyone looking on from the outside. Most of all; It seemed to be of extreme importance to God.
IF YOU ARE JUST JOINING IN ON THIS STUDY OR IF YOU NEED TO CATCH UP ON PAST LESSONS
Thank you for joining us today for this ongoing, on-line, chronological bible study which is posted every Thursday.
We have named this bible study COME AS A CHILD because it is our desire to come before God with the same eager, curious and enthusiastic passion for learning that can be found in the heart of a young child. We know this is how Christ told us to come to Him.
Children are curious and they always ask questions.
Today we come asking many questions about how and why God designed the priestly garments for service in the wilderness tabernacle in the particular way that they were designed.
FORMALITY AND RITUAL
What should we read into all of this formality and ancient ritual?
Is it relevant to us today?
These are the answers we are seeking to find.
So it was that last week we began this discussion of the making of the garments for the High Priest and the Ordinary Priests serving the People of Israel in the Wilderness Tabernacle.
If you missed or wish to review last week’s lesson you may find it here: https://theinseasonlifestyle.com/garments-of-the-priests-of-israel/.
This week we will continue with that same discussion which spun from the scriptures found in Exodus, Chapter 28.
SPECIFIC CLOTHING OF THE PRIESTS
Verses 4 – 5 of Exodus 28 explain the pieces of clothing God said the priest were to wear:
“These are the garments they are to make: a breastpiece, an ephod, a robe, a woven tunic, a turban and a sash. They are to make these sacred garments for your brother Aaron and his sons, so they may serve me as priests. Have them use gold, and blue, purple and scarlet yarn, and fine linen.”
We have discussed the significance of these colors and the making of the fine linen in lessons of the past. To refresh your memory on the symbolism of the colors and the white linen you might want to review these lessons: https://theinseasonlifestyle.com/httpwp-mep8woph-mo/ and https://theinseasonlifestyle.com/curtains-and-clasps/ and https://theinseasonlifestyle.com/white-linen-curtains-on-the-inside/.
THE SIGNIFICANCE OF THE BREAST-PIECE
Today we wish to discuss the significance of the specially designed breast-piece, as the breast-piece was the first piece of clothing mentioned in the above scripture verses.
Every piece of clothing that the priests were to wear is mentioned in this scripture, and each of these items could be compared to what makes up a spiritual suit of armor.
THE FIRST PART OF A SPIRITUAL SUIT OF ARMOR
The breast-piece can be likened unto the character trait of righteousness.
In much later times than what we speak of today, the Apostle Paul spoke of the breast-piece and also likened it unto righteousness. We read of this in Ephesians 6:14;
“Stand firm then, with the belt of truth buckled around your waist, with the breastplate of righteousness in place.”
As the breast-piece lays over and/or protects the heart and the lungs giving the body its normal, vital operations; so too righteousness protects the spiritual being of a person; giving them vital spiritual energy and life.
At this much later date and time in which the Apostle Paul speaks, he was referring to the armor of a Roman soldier instead of the clothing of a priest; but the analogy still holds true in both situations.
The basis for Paul’s theory and this very popular and widely used analogy of the Roman soldier’s clothing actually first began to take shape way back in the wilderness tabernacle in the days of Moses; long before Roman soldiers ever existed.
This same manner of putting on certain elements of clothing was to be the physical and spiritual way that the priests of Israel were to dress.
THE BREAST-PIECE SYMBOLIZED PUTTING ON RIGHTEOUSNESS
It all started with putting on the breast-piece.
Physically putting on the breast-piece symbolized clothing themselves with righteousness.
DO YOU PUT ON RIGHTEOUSNESS EVERY MORNING?
How do you dress every morning?
When you put on the garment that covers your heart and lungs do you think of the life-giving elements of a close walk with God that covers your heart with righteousness?
When you breath in that first breath of fresh air after you have covered your body with clothes and begin to start the duties of your day; do you think of the life-giving power of God?
WE MUST LEARN FROM THE ANCIENT PRIESTHOOD
I think this is something that God intended for these priests to do/and consider daily.
I also think as “a holy nation of priests” that God’s people are to do the same today.
We all must learn to pay attention to how we dress ourselves spiritually.
If you are walking around in the armor of God you are shielded and protected from the wiles of the enemy; and you are representing God’s glory in all that you do.
TO PUT ON RIGHTEOUSNESS IS TO PUT ON CHRIST
Here again we can see yet another example in the elements of the wilderness tabernacle that speak to us of Christ; for He IS our righteousness.
His blood covers our sins as our clothes cover our bodies.
It is His cloak over us that makes us into the Bride of Christ.
God let these early priests represent this fact day after day in their service in the wilderness tabernacle. They might not have been aware of the painting they were creating and presenting to those who would come after them. They were symbolically painting a picture of the sacrifice of Christ and His holy love for His church.
Everything started with their daily activities and their blind faith toward following God and carrying out His specific instructions to Moses.
WE MUST GUARD OUR HEARTS
The priest was to put on the breast-piece and when he did this, it lay over his heart as if in defense of the area of the heart; or as if he were doing this in order to guard his heart.
The spiritual aspect of “putting on righteousness” is to be living a life that is pure and holy before God. We place the things that are sacred of God over our hearts in order to be reminded to follow all the ways of God in our daily lives.
FASHIONING THE DETAILS OF THE BREAST-PIECE
God goes on in explaining the making of the breast-piece to Moses. In Exodus Chapter 28 verses 15 – 21 we read of the details of this garment:
“Fashion a breastpiece for making decisions – the work of skilled hands. Make it like the ephod: of gold, and of blue, purple and scarlet yarn, and of finely twisted linen. It is to be square – a span long and a span wide – and folded double. Then mount four rows of precious stones on it. The first row shall be carnelian, chrysolite and beryl; the second row shall be turquoise, lapis lazuli and emerald; the third row shall be Jacinto, agate and amethyst; the fourth row shall be topaz, onyx and jasper. Mount them in gold filigree settings. There are to be twelve stones, one for each of the names of the sons of Israel, each engraved like a seal with the name of one of the twelve tribes.”
IT WAS TO BE MADE OF BEAUTIFUL STONES
Can you imagine the beauty of this breast-piece?
Do you see the symbolism that this breast-piece contains?
The physical beauty of the breast-piece brings forth the even greater beauty; the significance of the symbolism of this breast-piece that is worn directly over the heart of the righteous.
TWELVE STONES REPRESENTING THE TWELVE TRIBES OF ISRAEL
We will be discussing the ephod in a forthcoming lesson.
One quality of the ephod is that it was made of stones that represented the twelve tribes of Israel.
When the priest put on the breast-piece and laid it over his heart the cloth it was made of resembled the ephod in nature.
Each piece of the breast-piece represented a stone from the tribe of Israel and that setting for each stone was surrounded by gold filigree on the breast-piece.
THE GOLD FILIGREE REPRESENTED DIVINE LOVE
This could be comparable to and symbolic of God keeping each of the tribes of Israel close to his heart and surrounding them with His love.
The priest was to imitate God in all that he did in the tabernacle. He wore the symbols of the twelve tribes over his heart too; and he too was to surround the people of Israel with love and careful care.
THE BREAST-PIECE OF THE HIGH PRIEST CONTAINED A PLACE FOR THE URIM AND THE THUMMIM
As we continue to read in Exodus 28:30 we see that Aaron’s breast plate had a place that contained the Urim and the Thummim.
We will be studying the Urim and Thummim in a later lesson too.
Basically, these items worn over Aaron’s heart inside the clothing of the breast-piece were put there and given by God to help him to make godly decisions concerning the care and preservation of the people of Israel.
“Also put the Urim and the Thummim in the breastpiece, so they may be over Aaron’s heart whenever he enters the presence of the LORD. Thus Aaron will always bear the means of making decisions for the Israelites over his heart before the LORD.”
ARE YOUR DECISIONS GUIDED BY GOD?
How is the decision process of your life going?
Do you have the Word of God engraved over your heart to help you in that process?
Are you stopping first thing every morning to talk to God about the many decisions that you will be making as you go through your day-to-day walk through this life?
NOW THE HOLY SPIRIT HAS BEEN GIVEN TO GUIDE GOD’S PEOPLE’S DECISIONS
The Urim and Thummim were given before Christ was crucified; before The Holy Spirit came to take up permanent residence inside of God’s people’s hearts.
Today we use God’s Holy Spirit to guide and direct us; but we must first look inside our hearts to find the answers that The Holy Spirit is whispering to us.
We must consciously seek out the answers through prayer and study of God’s Word and we must follow God’s directions; just as the ancient priesthood did with the use of these elements that were placed inside the breast-piece that they very faithfully put on at the beginning of every day of their service in the tabernacle.
WE MUST UNDERSTAND HOW TO DRESS FOR OUR SERVICE TO GOD
There is so much more to know about the breast-piece and the other articles of clothing for the priestly garments.
Every child of God should know and understand what they represent and how to dress properly for service to God every day.
Keep reading these lessons in COME AS A CHILD to see what article of clothing we will be discussing next and how it should be applied to our lives today.
Until then; blessings for a wonderful week full of God’s love and grace!