Exodus Types: 7. The High Priest and His Garments, A Type of Christ as Our Priest

(Exodus 28, 39) Christ is declared to be our High Priest by the New Testament. "Wherefore, holy brethren, partakers of the heavenly calling, consider the Apostle and High Priest of our profession, Christ Jesus" (Hebrews 3:1). Here is New Testament warrant for considering Christ as the antitype and the Jewish high priest as the type. The ephod, or outer garment, of the high priest is a type of Christ’s qualifications for being our Priest. "And he made the ephod of gold, blue, and purple, and scarlet, and fine twined linen. And they did beat the gold into thin plates, and cut it into wires, to work it in the blue, and in the purple, and in the scarlet, and in the fine linen, with cunning work" (Exodus 39:2, 3). The fine twined linen, picturing Christ’s holiness, was the first essential of His Priesthood. The gold pictures His divine glory; the blue, His deity; the purple, His royalty; and scarlet, His humanity and death. The two shoulder pieces are described in Exodus 39:4, 6, 7: "They made shoulder pieces for it, to couple it together: by the two edges was it coupled together . . . And they wrought onyx stones inclosed in ouches of gold, graven, as signets are graven, with the names of the children of Israel. And he put them on the shoulders of the ephod, that they should be stones for a memorial to the children of Israel." The ephod had two shoulder pieces or straps, thus coupling the front and back parts together. There was an onyx stone on each shoulder piece, and on each stone was engraved the names of six of the tribes of Israel. The names of the tribes were thus carried on the shoulders of the high priest when lie went into the presence of God in the Holy of Holies. This is a type of believers today being carried on the shoulders of Christ our omnipotent Priest who is responsible for our salvation. Shoulders symbolize power and responsibility. (Cf. Isaiah 9:6; Deuteronomy 33:12; Luke 15:4, 5). The girdle of the high priest is a type of the readiness of Christ to be our Priest. "And the curious girdle of the ephod, which is upon it, shall be of the same, according to the work thereof; even of gold, of blue, and purple, and scarlet, and fine twined linen" (Exodus 28:8). This girdle was made of the same material and of the same piece as the ephod. To the Oriental, the girdle symbolized readiness for service. "He riseth from supper, and laid aside his garments; and took a towel and girded himself. After that he poureth water into a basin and began to wash the disciples’ feet, and to wipe them with the towel wherewith he was girded" (John 13:4, 5). Thus when we see Christ girded as our Priest, we know He is ready to serve us. The breastplate of the high priest is a type of Christ representing us before God. The description of the breastplate is given in Exodus 28:15f. It was made of the same material. It was twice as long as wide, and doubled to form a bag that would be foursquare. It contained twelve precious stones, four rows of three in a row. "And the stones shall be with the names of the children of Israel, twelve, according to their names" (v. 21). Thus the high priest bore the names of the tribes upon his heart when he went into God’s presence , to intercede for them. This typifies Christ as our High Priest bearing our names before the Lord. "For Christ is not entered into the holy places made with hands, which are the figures of the true; but into heaven itself, now to appear in the presence of God for us" (Hebrews 9:24). The Urim and Thummim of the high priest are a type of the guidance of Christ through His Holy Spirit. "And thou shalt put in the breastplate of judgment the Urim and them Thummim; and they shall be upon Aaron’s heart when he goeth in before the Lord: and Aaron shall bear the judgment of the children of Israel upon his heart before the Lord continually" (Exodus 28:30). The word Urim means "light," and the word Thummim means "perfection." These were a part of the breastplate by which means the high priest obtained judgments or decisions for the people regarding God’s will. The Bible does not make clear the exact method that was used in securing answers from the Lord. It has been suggested by some Bible students that the diamond was used, and that it would flash a light to indicate "Yes," and remain darkened to indicate "No." Joshua sought guidance from the Lord in this way. (Cf. Numbers 27:21.) grants to His followers. "I am the light of the world, he that followeth me shall not walk in darkness, but shall have the light of life" (John 8:12). This guidance comes through the action of the Holy Spirit: "When he, the Spirit of truth is come, he will guide you into all truth" (John 16:13). The robe of the ephod of the high priest is a type of Christ interceding for us. "And thou shalt make the robe of the ephod all of blue" (Exodus 28:31). It was worn between the coat and ephod. The material was of blue, with a hole at the top for the head, like a jersey. Around the lower hem were balls of blue, purple, scarlet-shaped like pomegranates -and also there were small golden bells. They alternated, a bell and a pomegranate, etc. The pomegranates typified fruit, and the bells typified testimony. For every bell there was a pomegranate. The purpose of the bells was to let the people know when the high priest entered the Holy of Holies that he was still alive and that his offering was accepted. Though Christ our High Priest once died for us, we know that He rose again and now represents us before the Father. "He ever liveth to make intercession for us" (Hebrews 7:25). The embroidered coat or inner garment of the high priest is a type of the inner life of Christ which was pleasing unto God. "And thou shalt embroider the coat of fine linen" (Exodus 28:39). This garment was of fine linen woven in checker work, or honeycomb form. This was the first garment to be put on and thus served as a body coat or undershirt. The fine linen is, of course, a type of the righteousness of Christ. The checker work, which was well pleasing to the eye, indicated that the inner as well as the outer life of Christ was well pleasing in God’s sight. Jesus once said: "I do always those things that please him" (John 8:29). The miter or turban of the high priest is a type of the holiness of Christ as our Priest. "And thou shalt make a plate of pure gold, and grave upon it, like the engravings of a signet, HOLINESS TO THE LORD. And thou shalt put it on a blue lace, that it may be upon the miter; upon the forefront of the miter it shall be. And it shall be upon Aaron’s forehead, that Aaron may bear the iniquity of the holy things, which the children of Israel shall hallow in all their holy gifts; and it shall be always upon his forehead, that they may be accepted before the Lord" (Exodus 28:36-38). This was a headband wound around the head. Upon it was a plate of pure gold upon which was engraved the words: "HOLINESS TO THE LORD." This symbolized the holiness of Jesus in representing believers. His holiness becomes ours, "that they may be accepted before the Lord." Without it we would not have access to God’s presence. "For such an high priest became us, who is holy, harmless, undefiled, separate from sinners, and made higher than the heavens" (Hebrews 7:26). [Old Testament Types - FHW]

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