Dec 292017
 

High priests clothesAs we saw last week, the High priest in the Old Testament was a shadow of Jesus, the Great High Priest who was to follow.

This week we will see that even the clothes that the High priest wore had aspects and shadows of the life and ministry of Jesus.

The garments were designed and skilfully put together under God’s specific instructions as described in Exodus 28 and other passages.

They remind me a lot of the ‘Armour of God’ as set out in Ephesians 6 especially as each piece represents a different quality.

The garments were also to “consecrate the priests” Exodus 28 3. Here is a real application of the saying “it is clothes that make a man”. Neither Aaron nor his sons would dare to appear before God in their own clothes which in God’s sight would be as filthy rags. The only things he could receive them in were His own designed clothing. In the same way we can only appear before God clothed in the garments of Salvation which Jesus has provided for us.

Let’s have a look at each piece in turn;

Breastplate

You shall make a breastpiece of judgment, in skilled work. In the style of the ephod you shall make it of gold, blue and purple and scarlet yarns, and fine twined linen shall you make it. (Exodus 28:15)

The breastplate is a shadow of Jesus representing us before God. It contained twelve precious stones, four rows of three in a row, which represented the twelve tribes of Israel (all God’s chosen people).

There shall be twelve stones with their names according to the names of the sons of Israel. They shall be like signets, each engraved with its name, for the twelve tribes (Exodus 28:21)

So the High Priest carried the names of God’s people on his heart when he went into God’s presence to intercede for them. This of course typifies Jesus Christ our Great High Priest bearing our names before the Father.

For Christ has entered, not into holy places made with hands, which are copies of the true things, but into heaven itself, now to appear in the presence of God on our behalf. (Hebrews 9:24).

The Urim and Thummim of the high priest typify the guidance we receive from Jesus through the Holy Spirit

And in the breastpiece of judgment you shall put the Urim and the Thummim, and they shall be on Aaron’s heart, when he goes in before the Lord. Thus Aaron shall bear the judgment of the people of Israel on his heart before the Lord regularly. (Exodus 28:30).

The word Urim means “light,” and the word Thummim means “perfection.” These were a part of the breastplate and were the means of determining God’s will.

By following Jesus; praying, reading His word etc, we find out what God’s will is for our lives.

Again Jesus spoke to them, saying, “I am the light of the world. Whoever follows me will not walk in darkness, but will have the light of life.” (John 8:12).

This guidance is received through the work of The Holy Spirit.

When the Spirit of truth comes, he will guide you into all the truth, for he will not speak on his own authority, but whatever he hears he will speak, and he will declare to you the things that are to come. (John 16:13).

Ephod

The ephod, or outer garment, of the high priest typifies Jesus’s qualifications for being our Priest.

He made the ephod of gold, blue and purple and scarlet yarns, and fine twined linen. And they hammered out gold leaf, and he cut it into threads to work into the blue and purple and the scarlet yarns, and into the fine twined linen, in skilled design. (Exodus 39:2, 3).

The fine twined linen, picturing Jesus’s holiness, was the first essential of His high Priesthood. As we have seen before, the various colours have significance in their symbolism;

The gold pictures His divine glory; the blue, His deity; the purple, His royalty; and the scarlet, His humanity and death.

The ephod had two shoulder pieces or straps which joined 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 therefore carried on the shoulders of the high priest when he went into the presence of God in the Holy of Holies. This is a shadow of believers today being carried on the shoulders of Jesus Christ our great high priest, who is the one responsible for our salvation. Shoulders symbolise power and responsibility.

For to us a child is born, to us a son is given; and the government shall be upon his shoulder (Isaiah 9:6)

Of Benjamin he said, “The beloved of the Lord dwells in safety. The High God surrounds him all day long, and dwells between his shoulders.” (Deuteronomy 33:12)

Robe

The robe of the ephod of the high priest is a shadow of Christ interceding for us.

You shall 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 jumper. Around the lower hem were balls of blue, purple, scarlet—shaped like pomegranates —and also there were small golden bells. The pomegranates typified fruit, and the bells typified testimony. The bells were to let the people know that the High priest was still alive when he entered the Holy of Holies and that his offering was accepted.

Because Jesus rose from the dead, we know His sacrifice has been accepted. He now stands before the father and represents and prays for us.

Consequently, he is able to save to the uttermost those who draw near to God through him, since he always lives to make intercession for them. (Hebrews 7:25).

Coat

The embroidered coat or inner garment of the high priest represents the inner life of Jesus, which was pleasing to God.

You shall weave the coat in checker work of fine linen (Exodus 28:39).

This garment was made of fine linen woven in checker work. It was the first garment to be put on so served as an undershirt. The fine white linen typifies 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 said: And he who sent me is with me. He has not left me alone, for I always do the things that are pleasing to him. (John 8:29).

Turban (mitre)

The turban typifies the holiness of Jesus as our Great high Priest.

You shall make a plate of pure gold and engrave on it, like the engraving of a signet, ‘Holy to the Lord.’ And you shall fasten it on the turban by a cord of blue. It shall be on the front of the turban. It shall be on Aaron’s forehead, and Aaron shall bear any guilt from the holy things that the people of Israel consecrate as their holy gifts. It shall regularly be on his forehead, that they may be accepted before the Lord. (Exodus 28:36-38).

This was a headband wound around the head. It had the words engraved “Holy to the Lord” This symbolises the holiness of Jesus in representing believers. His holiness becomes ours, “that they may be accepted before the Lord.” Without the holiness of Jesus we would not be able to enter into the presence of God.

For it was indeed fitting that we should have such a high priest, holy, innocent, unstained, separated from sinners, and exalted above the heavens. (Hebrews 7:26).

Sash (girdle)

And the skillfully woven band on it shall be made like it and be of one piece with it, of gold, blue and purple and scarlet yarns, and fine twined linen. (Exodus 28:8).

This girdle was made of the same material and of the same piece as the ephod.

In biblical times, the sash symbolised a readiness for service. Jesus was the majestic king who became a servant. He delights to serve us and do all he can for us. He typified this by serving His disciples and washing their feet on the same night he was to be betrayed;

He laid aside his outer garments, and taking a towel, tied it around his waist. Then he poured water into a basin and began to wash the disciples’ feet and to wipe them with the towel that was wrapped around him. (John 13:4-5).

 December 29, 2017  Posted by at 12:00 pm Shadows of Jesus 1 Response »
Dec 222017
 

the high priestIf you’ve ever read the book of Hebrews you will immediately realise the connection between the office of High Priest in the Old Testament and the Great High Priest in the New Testament.

The High Priest in the tabernacle (and later the temple) was set-apart by God. He was from the lineage of Aaron from the tribe of Levi. The tribe of Levi produced all the priests who were to minister day and night before God.

There was only one High Priest in the nation at any one time. He was chosen and consecrated in an elaborate ceremony. He oversaw all the priests and had many duties. One of the ways he shadowed Jesus was to act on behalf of men in relation to God. He represented the people by offering gifts and sacrifices for sins. But the most important role was a key one on the ‘Day of atonement’ (also called Yom Kippur).

The ‘Day of Atonement’ was the day in which sacrifices were made to cover the sins of the people and restore their relationship with God.

The High Priest would sacrifice a bull to cover his own sins and then, with great trembling, would pass through the curtain into the holy of holies, into the very presence of God and sprinkle the sacrificial blood. Would his gift be accepted? Would he make it out alive? This would be repeated every year by the High Priest of that year.

This whole procedure was clearly looking forward to the Great High Priest who would deal with sin once and for all time. As I mentioned earlier, this is set out in the book of Hebrews;

And every priest stands daily at his service, offering repeatedly the same sacrifices, which can never take away sins. But when Christ had offered for all time a single sacrifice for sins, he sat down at the right hand of God, waiting from that time until his enemies should be made a footstool for his feet. For by a single offering he has perfected for all time those who are being sanctified. (Hebrews 10:11-14)

Jesus made the perfect sacrifice, one that never needs to be repeated. We now have access to the very presence of God. We can enter more than once a year. We can come boldly, without fear and trembling, any time we like, because of His ultimate sacrifice.

 December 22, 2017  Posted by at 12:00 pm Shadows of Jesus No Responses »
Dec 152017
 

Guilt offeringThis is the last of the 5 main offerings of the tabernacle which, as we have seen, all shadow the; life, death, ministry and character of Jesus.

The offering we are looking at today was also called the trespass or reparation offering. The meaning of the word reparation sums up what the offering is about; “the action of making amends for a wrong one has done.” This offering was the seed of the biblical doctrine of repentance.

It is set out in Leviticus 6:1-7

The offering was for when a person committed deception, robbery or swore falsely in a deliberate manner. It was not imposed by the high priest or the authorities but came from the guilty conscience of the perpetrator when they subsequently felt guilty for what they had done.

The guilty person had to refund everything they had stolen, plus a further 20%.

God has graciously given us the gift of a guilty conscience so that we can feel bad about our sin and come to Him for forgiveness, otherwise we would just descend further into the ravages of sin.

When we sin against others we still need to attempt to make restitution. Jesus taught this himself when He said…

So if you are offering your gift at the altar and there remember that your brother has something against you, leave your gift there before the altar and go. First be reconciled to your brother, and then come and offer your gift. (Matthew 5:23-24)

Making restitution to each other is essential to good relationships and living together in a spirit of forgiveness and being at peace with one another whenever possible. We may never be able to make full restitution for the wrongs we have done but our attitude should be to do as much as we can.

However, our debt to God is something we could never even begin to pay back, let alone add 20% on top.

By His sacrificial death on the cross, Jesus took our guilt and paid for it completely. We no longer need to feel guilty for our sin. Sorry, repentant and remorseful yes, but not guilty, because the sacrifice has been made once and for all.

So in summary, we need to make restitution wherever possible for our sins against other people, but the debt we owed to God has been paid for, we can now live in right relationship with Him because of what Jesus has done.

 December 15, 2017  Posted by at 12:00 pm Shadows of Jesus No Responses »
Dec 082017
 

sin offeringOver the last 3 weeks we have looked at the various regular sacrifices and offerings that were established at the time of the tabernacle. Each one of these has foreshadowed Jesus and covered an aspect of His life and ministry.

The first three offerings were all about man coming before God a s a worshipper, but this week (and next) we see sacrifices that men made before God because of their sin.

The sin offering is recorded in many places in the bible but mainly in Leviticus and specifically chapters; 4,5,8 & 16.

The sin offering was a mandatory offering for specific unintentional sins or sins committed out of weakness or waywardness. It wasn’t for sins of open defiance or rebellion towards God.

The animal sacrificed depended on the status of the individual, which is typical of God’s grace and mercy towards the poor. The high priest and people who were well off sacrificed a bull, a leader would bring a male goat and a common person would bring a female goat or a lamb. The poor brought a dove or pigeon and the very poor a portion of fine flour.

These sacrifices were not meant to permanently take away sin, which was not even possible;

For since the law has but a shadow of the good things to come instead of the true form of these realities, it can never, by the same sacrifices that are continually offered every year, make perfect those who draw near. Otherwise, would they not have ceased to be offered, since the worshipers, having once been cleansed, would no longer have any consciousness of sins? But in these sacrifices there is a reminder of sins every year. For it is impossible for the blood of bulls and goats to take away sins. (Hebrews 10:1-4)

God was looking forward to the ultimate sacrifice that Jesus would make for sin, on the cross.

The sacrifices were not burned on the brazen altar in the courtyard but were taken and burned outside the camp. This is a shadow of Jesus taking our sin outside the city where He was crucified.

For the bodies of those animals whose blood is brought into the holy places by the high priest as a sacrifice for sin are burned outside the camp. So Jesus also suffered outside the gate in order to sanctify the people through his own blood. Therefore let us go to him outside the camp and bear the reproach he endured. (Hebrews 13:11-13)

Jesus substituted himself as a sacrifice for our sins.

For our sake he made him to be sin who knew no sin, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God. (2 Corinthians 5:21)

He was sinless but paid the pardon on our behalf

He himself bore our sins in his body on the tree, that we might die to sin and live to righteousness. By his wounds you have been healed. (1 Peter 2:24)

For Christ also suffered once for sins, the righteous for the unrighteous, that he might bring us to God, being put to death in the flesh but made alive in the spirit (1 Peter 3:18)

It is important to note that Jesus death is not universal. In other words it doesn’t automatically cover everyone. It is our responsibility to take this sacrifice and appropriate it to ourselves. We need to accept it, repent of our sins and trust in Jesus alone and not any of our own efforts. It is his gift to you, but you have to accept it.

For by grace you have been saved through faith. And this is not your own doing; it is the gift of God, not a result of works, so that no one may boast. (Ephesians 2:8-9)

There are two great biblical words which relate to this:

Propitiation – Which is God’s wrath towards sin being satisfied and turned back by Jesus’ death. (Romans 5:25, 1 John 2:2, Romans 3:23)

Expiation – Jesus covers all our sins and restores the relationship between us and God. He removes our sins through His own sacrifice that then satisfies God’s righteous demands.

What a wonderful saviour!

 December 8, 2017  Posted by at 12:00 pm Shadows of Jesus No Responses »
Dec 012017
 

peace-offeringThe peace offering (zebach) was also called the fellowship offering.

It was not an offering to obtain peace but a celebration of the peace that was already in place between the worshipper and God.

The peace in this context is not really referring to an absence of war and strife or a time of silence and reflection, but more about reconciliation. The peace offering was a fellowship offering and was all about communion with God. We are at peace with God and in harmony with Him. The Israelites understood this through animal sacrifices but that was just a shadow. The reality and fullness of that peace and reconciliation is realised only through Jesus Christ.

As we consider the forthcoming Christmas season, a verse that is well used at this time is:

For to us a child is born, to us a son is given; and the government shall be upon his shoulder, and his name shall be called Wonderful Counsellor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace. (Isaiah 9:6)

The New Testament is full of references to Jesus being our peace. It was announced when He was born:

“Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace among those with whom he is pleased!” (Luke 2:14)

He made peace between man and God

Therefore, since we have been justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ. (Romans 5:1)

He has bridged the huge chasm that separated us

But now in Christ Jesus you who once were far off have been brought near by the blood of Christ. For he himself is our peace, who has made us both one and has broken down in his flesh the dividing wall of hostility (Ephesians 2:13-14)

The word for peace in this passage comes from the Greek verb ‘eiro’ which means to join together. Jesus’ blood has joined together that which was previously separated. He was actually the only one who could do the ‘joining’

He has made peace available to everyone through the cross.

And he came and preached peace to you who were far off and peace to those who were near. (Ephesians 2:17)

For in him all the fullness of God was pleased to dwell, and through him to reconcile to himself all things, whether on earth or in heaven, making peace by the blood of his cross. (Colossians 1:19-20)

If you are lacking peace as you prepare for Christmas, why not meditate on these verses and the truth of what peace Jesus has given us.

 December 1, 2017  Posted by at 12:00 pm Shadows of Jesus No Responses »