Before we can work for God as priests we need to take care of our living; Christ is everything to us for our living as priests. Christ is our food – He is the reality of all the offerings in a specific and detailed way, and He is the bread of the presence to nourish us and sustain us.
Furthermore, Christ is our clothing, our covering, our garments. The priestly garments were very special: they were particularly detailed in how to make them and wear them, and they were very beautiful. The priests wore a very particular set of garments, and this qualified them for the priesthood and distinguished them from among people to be priests to God.
As believers in Christ we have been baptized into Christ and we are already in Christ, but we still need to put Him on! This means that even though we were baptized into Christ and have put on Christ, daily we need to put on Christ by living by Christ, living out Christ, and magnifying Christ (Phil. 1:21; Gal. 2:20).
Nothing pleases God the most than having Christ lived out of His people. Our garments are our expression, our daily living; when we express Christ and magnify Christ, God is happy and we live as priests to God, a particular kind of people who wears a particular kind of garment for God’s expression.
According to the Bible, no one was clothed more beautifully than the priests – they stood out, and they expressed God in their living and attire. These priestly garments were for glory and beauty (Exo. 28:2), both of which refer to Christ; the priestly garments we put on are Christ in His divinity with His divine attributes (glory) and Christ’s humanity with His human virtues (beauty).
We need to allow Christ to work Himself into us in His purity, divine nature, heavenly nature, redemption, kingship, and dignity, and others will see Christ being expressed through us in these aspects. Hallelujah, Christ is being wrought into us day by day to become our garment, our expression, for our daily living as priests!
Putting on Christ as our Clothing by Living out Christ to Magnify Him in our Living
The priests wore a very peculiar set of clothes; they were not common but holy, specifically designed and ordained by God to be made of certain materials and be worn in a certain order. The clothing of the priests is a type of Christ as our clothing, our garment; Christ is the clothing of the spiritual priests of God.
As believers in Christ we are priests of God, and we have been baptized into Christ – we are already in Christ (Gal. 3:27); however, we must still put Him on by living by Christ (Gal. 2:20) and by living out Christ (Phil. 1:21) so that we may magnify Christ in our daily living (Phil. 1:20).
When we believed into Christ we put on Christ as our righteousness (typified by the best robe put on by the father on the repentant prodigal son in Luke 15); when we were baptized we were put into Christ; now we need to continue to put Christ on as our garment in a practical and subjective way daily by living Christ and expressing Christ so that we may magnify Christ.
Garments refer to our expression – the way we dress expresses how we feel and who we are. By nature we express ourselves in our natural disposition and make-up, but as believers we need to put Christ on so that we may express Him and not ourselves.
The garments of the priests were composed of the robe made of white linen covering their whole body, the ephod (something like a vest) upon the robe, the turban (the head-piece, something like a crown), and the breastplate with twelve precious stones and the Urim and the Thummim.
In typology garments signify expression (see Isa. 64:6; Rev. 19:8); the priestly garments signify the serving priests’ expression of Christ, and this expression is most beautiful! Maybe to us today according to our “modern fashion” the garments of the priests are not that beautiful, but in God’s eyes these garments are beautiful, because they are Christ’s expression!
We need to take off anything else we wear and put on Christ by living Christ to magnify Him in our living. If we are not wearing the priestly garment, we are disqualified from serving God; if we don’t express Christ, we cannot serve God as priests.
The main thing qualifying a priest for service was the garment. Therefore, the more we express Christ, the more we live a priestly life, and we shepherd others also to live Christ, beautifying them with the Lord Jesus. Christ is our beauty and our glory; we need to put Him on and live Him out, and we will have a proper clothing as priests.
Some believers may be naturally kind, good, just, and meek; others may appreciate how approachable and kind they are, but unless they deny themselves and live Christ, their natural kindness and meekness is not a priestly garment.
Our daily living needs to have the flavor and sweet odor of Christ being lived out, and not our natural kindness, meekness, patience, or humility. We need to learn to reject our natural “good” disposition or virtues and let Christ have a way to flow out of us and be expressed through us to be our priestly garment.
Lord Jesus, thank You for being our clothing as priests to God. We choose to put on the Lord Jesus as our garment and make no provision for the flesh. Lord, work Yourself into us until You are lived out of us as our priestly garment. We want to continually put You on subjectively and practically by living by Christ and living out Christ so that we may magnify Christ. We take You as our covering, our protection, our beauty, and our glory, and we just want to live You out so that we may magnify You in our daily living.
Our Garments are the Expression of Christ’s Divine Glory and Human Beauty
The holy garments that the priests had to wear were for glory and for beauty (Exo. 28:2). These garments are mainly for glory and for beauty, signifying the expression of Christ’s divine glory and human beauty. Glory refers to Christ’s divinity, His divine attributes (John 1:14; Heb. 1:3), and beauty refers to Christ’s humanity, His human virtues.
There’s no other person in human history like the Lord Jesus Christ, full of glory and beauty! He expressed God in His rich divine attributes filling and being expressed through His aromatic human virtues, and His whole living was God being expressed in man for glory and beauty.
When people touched Him they saw God’s glory and real beauty; His beauty was not outward but inward as a result of God being lived out in man. Christ’s divinity – typified by the gold of the priestly garments – is for glory, and His humanity – typified by the blue, purple, and scarlet strands and the fine linen – is for beauty.
The ephod is made of five main items: fine twined linen, gold, blue, purple, and scarlet. This is very interesting. Linen signifies the purity of Christ; gold, the divine nature of Christ; blue, the heavenly nature of Christ; scarlet, the redemption of Christ; and purple, the kingship and dignity of Christ. All these things must be Christ wrought into us and expressed through us. Others should see upon us the purity of Christ, the divine nature of Christ, the redemption of Christ, the heavenly nature of Christ, and the kingship, headship, dignity, and authority of Christ. They will see these things in us when these aspects of Christ have first been wrought into us. Then we will have a rich and beautiful expression of Christ. (Witness Lee, The Priesthood, p. 501)
Furthermore, He is the reality of the turban worn by the priests – He is our crown, our head covering to be our boast and glory. We have nothing to boast except Christ. Hallelujah, Christ is our glory, beauty, and boast!
We need to live a life that expresses Christ with the divine glory and human beauty so that we may be sanctified and qualified to be the priesthood (see Phil. 1:20; 1 Cor. 6:19-20; Gal. 6:17; cf. Acts 6:15). Our daily living must back up our function and service for God; when we have a living that expresses Christ with the divine glory and human beauty, we are sanctified and qualified to serve God as priests.
How we need to experience and enjoy Christ in detail according to all these types and figures, so that He may be wrought into us and expressed through us as our priestly garment!
Lord Jesus, work Yourself into us in Your purity, Your divine nature, Your heavenly nature, Your redemption, and Your kingship and dignity. We want to experience You and enjoy You as the reality of our priestly garments so that we may express You in our daily living. May our living be one that expresses Christ with the divine glory and human beauty so that we may be sanctified and qualified to be the priesthood. Work Yourself into us, Lord, so that we may emanate You in Your purity, glory, beauty, divine and heavenly nature, kingship and dignity!
References and Hymns on this Topic
- Inspiration: the Word of God, my Christian experience, bro. Minoru Chen’s sharing in the message for this week, and portions from, Collected Works of Witness Lee, 1966, vol. 1, “The Priesthood,” ch. 10, as quoted in the Holy Word for Morning Revival on, The Recovery of the Priesthood or God’s Building, week 3 / msg 3, Christ as Food, Clothing, and Dwelling of the Priests.
- All Bible verses are taken from, Holy Bible Recovery Version.
- Hymns on this topic to strengthen this burden:
# All the clothing of his service / Is the beauty of the Lord; / Glorious splendor do his garments, / Breast and shoulder-piece afford. / O how blessed is the priest’s life, / Christ to him is all in all. (Hymns #911)
# I want that adorning divine, / Thou only, my Lord, canst bestow; / I want in those beautiful garments to shine, / Which mark out Thy beauty below. (Hymns #402)
# Thou God of power, Thou God of love, / Let all Thy saints Thy mercy prove; / Our beauty this, our glorious dress, / Jesus the Lord, our Righteousness. (Hymns #295)