Devotion on Exodus, Chapter 39, 14 March 2015 Anno Domini (Year of our Lord)
“And entering into the sepulchre, they saw a young man sitting on the right side, clothed in a long white garment; and they were affrighted.” (Mark 16:5)
Our manner of dress is no casual concern of God our Father. The trend toward unrestrained nakedness in modern society is a thing reprehensible in the eyes of God. Heavenly dress is clean, white, simple and modest. The first death of an innocent animal occurred in Eden in order for God to obtain skins to cover the nakedness of Adam and Eve. The angels at the Empty Tomb were dressed in a long white garment or robe without embellishments. Dressing in immodest attire, or attending church in street close must be an affront to the Majesty of God – unless street clothes are all that we own. If we have an appointment to meet a dignitary of our nation, or another nation, it is likely that we would take great care as to how we dress. If we are in business and meet with a client whose decision may determine our survival, I am sure that we would dress in a manner that would show respect for our client. Should we do less in our worship of God in His Holy Place? If we intend to walk with Christ, our dress must reflect that inward holiness that should describe every true Christian.
“Thou hast a few names even in Sardis which have not defiled their garments; and they shall walk with me in white: for they are worthy.” (Rev 3:4) Do not misunderstand: we will not receive that white robe of righteousness until we have come fully into the Tabernacle and stand before the Most Holy. All of the furniture, curtains, embroidered wall, and coverings are now complete in the Tabernacle as we finished the reading of the previous chapter; so, now, remains those robes and vestments that must be donned by the workers of the Tabernacle. These are strictly formal garments and vestments that answer to the need of the time. The people needed to see a physical contrast of some magnitude between the attire of the people and that of the religious workers. It is still so, but far less so because of the atonement of Christ. His garments are of a spiritual nature, and our lives serve in the stead of the Tabernacle Vestments today.
THE HOLY GARMENTS OF SERVICE
“1 And of the blue, and purple, and scarlet, they made cloths of service, to do service in the holy place, and made the holy garments for Aaron; as the LORD commanded Moses. 2 And he made the ephod of gold, blue, and purple, and scarlet, and fine twined linen. 3 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. 4 They made shoulderpieces for it, to couple it together: by the two edges was it coupled together. 5 And the curious girdle of his ephod, that was upon it, was of the same, according to the work thereof; of gold, blue, and purple, and scarlet, and fine twined linen; as the LORD commanded Moses. 6 And they wrought onyx stones inclosed in ouches of gold, graven, as signets are graven, with the names of the children of Israel. 7 And he put them on the shoulders of the ephod, that they should be stones for a memorial to the children of Israel; as the LORD commanded Moses. 8 And he made the breastplate of cunning work, like the work of the ephod; of gold, blue, and purple, and scarlet, and fine twined linen. 9 It was foursquare; they made the breastplate double: a span was the length thereof, and a span the breadth thereof, being doubled. 10 And they set in it four rows of stones: the first row was a sardius, a topaz, and a carbuncle: this was the first row. 11 And the second row, an emerald, a sapphire, and a diamond. 12 And the third row, a ligure, an agate, and an amethyst. 13 And the fourth row, a beryl, an onyx, and a jasper: they were inclosed in ouches of gold in their inclosings. 14 And the stones were according to the names of the children of Israel, twelve, according to their names, like the engravings of a signet, every one with his name, according to the twelve tribes.”
It is a matter of no small importance that the breastplate worn by Aaron, containing the twelve precious stones, contained the names of each of the tribes of Israel written thereupon. These were worn on the breast, next to the heart, of the high priest signifying the fact that our names are precious to God. Jesus has become our Eternal High Priest, and our names are written next to His own heart, inscribed there by the spear that penetrated His heart on the Cross of Golgotha. Our names are also graven (cut) into His hands by the nine-inch iron nails that held Him to the Cross. “Can a woman forget her sucking child, that she should not have compassion on the son of her womb? yea, they may forget, yet will I not forget thee. Behold, I have graven thee upon the palms of my hands; thy walls are continually before me.” (Isaiah 49:15-16) As Christ looked out from the Cross toward the valley surrounding Jerusalem, His weary and blood-filled eyes saw your name (and the names of all believers) for whom He died. He had them cut into the tender tissues of His beloved Hands. Our walls – those of the Tabernacle of Faith which surrounds us – are ever before Christ in remembering each of His elect.
The reader must bear in mind that the High Priest was not so attired owing to any merit or righteousness of his own, but as a reverence and glory to the God who he represented and in whose stead he stood in the worship service. Those priestly responsibilities have now been imparted to all of the elect so that there no longer remains a Temple Vail to separate the people of god from His Holy Throne.
“ 15 And they made upon the breastplate chains at the ends, of wreathen work of pure gold. 16 And they made two ouches of gold, and two gold rings; and put the two rings in the two ends of the breastplate. 17 And they put the two wreathen chains of gold in the two rings on the ends of the breastplate. 18 And the two ends of the two wreathen chains they fastened in the two ouches, and put them on the shoulderpieces of the ephod, before it. 19 And they made two rings of gold, and put them on the two ends of the breastplate, upon the border of it, which was on the side of the ephod inward. 20 And they made two other golden rings, and put them on the two sides of the ephod underneath, toward the forepart of it, over against the other coupling thereof, above the curious girdle of the ephod. 21 And they did bind the breastplate by his rings unto the rings of the ephod with a lace of blue, that it might be above the curious girdle of the ephod, and that the breastplate might not be loosed from the ephod; as the LORD commanded Moses. 22 And he made the robe of the ephod of woven work, all of blue. 23 And there was an hole in the midst of the robe, as the hole of an habergeon, with a band round about the hole, that it should not rend. 24 And they made upon the hems of the robe pomegranates of blue, and purple, and scarlet, and twined linen. 25 And they made bells of pure gold, and put the bells between the pomegranates upon the hem of the robe, round about between the pomegranates; 26 A bell and a pomegranate, a bell and a pomegranate, round about the hem of the robe to minister in; as the LORD commanded Moses. 27 And they made coats of fine linen of woven work for Aaron, and for his sons,” The neck ring of the robe was similar to the Oxford collar worn by clergy in Holy Orders today.
Now arises a subject that has been misunderstood and misapplied by the high churches of Protestantism and the Roman Church. “28 And a mitre of fine linen, and goodly bonnets of fine linen, and linen breeches of fine twined linen, 29 And a girdle of fine twined linen, and blue, and purple, and scarlet, of needlework; as the LORD commanded Moses. 30 And they made the plate of the holy crown of pure gold, and wrote upon it a writing, like to the engravings of a signet, HOLINESS TO THE LORD. 31 And they tied unto it a lace of blue, to fasten it on high upon the mitre; as the LORD commanded Moses.”
Yes, friends, we read “MITRE.” The mitre was actually a crown, but the crown did not belong to an earthly priest, but represented that High Priest who was to come in the form of our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ. He earned that Crown, and many Crowns, and the mitre worn by Aaron was only a shadow of that Holiness that can belong only to God in Christ Jesus. We no longer wear an ephod, or an immaculate Robe of fine woven cloth, because those belonged to the coming High Priest. That HOLINESS TO THE LORD has now been realized in Christ. We no longer display the Cross with Christ still on it because He is NOT still on it – He has risen! The Pope is not the Vicar of Christ or the representative of god on earth because only Christ could satisfy that role.
THE APPROVAL OF MOSES
32 Thus was all the work of the tabernacle of the tent of the congregation finished: and the children of Israel did according to all that the LORD commanded Moses, so did they. 33 And they brought the tabernacle unto Moses, the tent, and all his furniture, his taches, his boards, his bars, and his pillars, and his sockets, 34 And the covering of rams’ skins dyed red, and the covering of badgers’ skins, and the vail of the covering, 35 The ark of the testimony, and the staves thereof, and the mercy seat, 36 The table, and all the vessels thereof, and the shewbread, 37 The pure candlestick, with the lamps thereof, even with the lamps to be set in order, and all the vessels thereof, and the oil for light, 38 And the golden altar, and the anointing oil, and the sweet incense, and the hanging for the tabernacle door, 39 The brasen altar, and his grate of brass, his staves, and all his vessels, the laver and his foot, 40 The hangings of the court, his pillars, and his sockets, and the hanging for the court gate, his cords, and his pins, and all the vessels of the service of the tabernacle, for the tent of the congregation, 41 The cloths of service to do service in the holy place, and the holy garments for Aaron the priest, and his sons’ garments, to minister in the priest’s office. 42 According to all that the LORD commanded Moses, so the children of Israel made all the work. 43 And Moses did look upon all the work, and, behold, they had done it as the LORD had commanded, even so had they done it: and Moses blessed them.” (Ex 39:1-43)
You will observe that there is a division, not only of labor, but also of authority in the building and preparation of the Tabernacle – or Church of God. Moses was God’s man to hear and to detail the specifications of that Tabernacle; but Moses was not a gifted artisan to bring all to completion. So God called others whose gifts were precisely those needed for the work. Neither were the gifts of the people set aside, for they provided every resource, and more than needed, to complete the Tabernacle of the Congregation. Those who have labored now bring the works before Moses to determine – not if the work pleased Moses – but if the work was according to the precise Word of God. When we seek answers from a minister, we must be certain to compare his counsel to that Word given by God to insure that it measures up to that Holy Will who uttered the word.
Keeping with the spirit of reverence, respect, and majesty due God, His ministers still wear simple vestments of black and white. These are not the ostentatious robes of elaborate decor and gaudy presumption of the High Church Oxford Movement, or the Church of Rome; but the simple and plain vestments of humble fabric and design that will yield the glory and reverence to God due Him, and to no man.