All believers in Christ are priests to God, and as such we need to have a certain kind of diet (Christ as the reality of all the offerings and as the bread of the presence) and we need to have a particular kind of clothing, something that will set us aside from the rest as being priests to God.
The priests in the Old Testament wore the priestly garment, something which was ordained by God in detail both in its making and in its wearing. The priest couldn’t just go to God in the Holy of Holies wearing anything he wanted; he had to wear a particular set of clothes to be qualified to enter the Holy of Holies. Today we are set aside as priests to God whenever we “wear Christ” by living Christ and expressing Christ to magnify Christ.
In this blog post we want to look into the many details of the clothing of the priests; these details and pieces are very significant for us in our experience as priests to God today. To be honest, if I would read Exo. 28-29, I wouldn’t see how these priestly garments apply to our Christian life, but praise the Lord for those who went before us and especially for the ministry of the age which opens up this matter and applies it to our daily living!
In a nutshell, we as priests have to wear Christ and the church as our priestly garments when we enter into the presence of God. Now let us see the fine details and their significance.
The Significance of the Priestly Garments and their Application in our Christian Life
All the priests wore linen trousers, a tunic, a girding sash, and a turban; over the tunic the high priest wore a robe, the ephod, the shoulder pieces, and the breastplate, and on the turban he wore an engraved plate (see Exo. 36-42; 29:5-9). All these are very significant, including their composition (the materials they are made of), the way to be worn, and their application in our Christian experience.
The tunic of fine woven linen which the priest had to wear signifies the covering of Christ as our perfect righteousness in a humanity that was processed, dealt with (Rev. 19:8). Christ has been processed while on earth, and in His humanity He is qualified to be our perfect righteousness covering us before God.
The turban of fine linen signifies Christ as the glory of perfect righteousness and Christ as our boast (see Phil. 3:3; Rom. 5:2; 1 Cor. 1:31). The first thing one looks at when meets us is our head and what we’re wearing on our head; the turban signifies Christ as the glory of perfect righteousness, and Christ as our boast. We boast only in Christ, our righteousness!
The girding sash as the work of an embroiderer signifies the strengthening by the Spirit’s constituting work (Eph. 3:16). Embroidery implies a process; we are now in the process of being transformed by the fine needle work of the Spirit so that we may be constituted with the Spirit and strengthened by the Spirit to live Christ.
All these, together with the linen trousers (Exo. 28:42), signify Christ as righteousness to cover our entire fallen being as priests so that we may be preserved in life and kept away from death (Luke 15:22; 1 Cor. 1:30; Exo. 28:43). When we come into God’s presence to serve Him, Christ is our righteousness covering our being so that we may not be judged by God. From head to toes Christ protects us, purifies us, and beautifies us so that we may carry out our holy service as priests.
The long robe, with all its adornments, worn by the high priest signifies the church as the fullness, the expression of Christ’s divine attributes and human virtues (Eph. 1:22-23). The long robe doesn’t refer to Christ but to the church, the fullness of Christ, which we need to wear in God’s presence. We need to wear the Body of Christ and put on the new man when we contact God and live before Him.
The breastplate with twelve stones with the names of the twelve tribes of Israel signifying Christ as the sanctification, transformation, and glorification of God’s people, and they point to God’s building (Exo. 28:9-12). Within the tabernacle there is gold, and on the breastplate of the robe of the priest there are twelve stones; this indicates that the tribes (signifying the church) are transformed into precious stones, held by the gold, and built up together. We are being transformed and held by Christ, and we are built up together!
On the shoulder pieces of the priest’s robe there were two onyx stones with the names of the twelve tribes (Exo. 28:9-12). The priests have Christ as their sanctification (signified by the gold) and Christ as their transformation (signified by the precious stones). Also, the priests have Christ as their glorification (signified by the shining of the stones), and Christ as their building up (signified by the twelve stones being built together in the gold settings).
The ephod is a type of Christ in His two natures – divinity and humanity – with His attributes and virtues (Exo. 28:4-6). The ephod was like a vest, a part of the priestly garments used for fastening or binding, and it was holding the breastplate and the two onyx stones. The two shoulder pieces with the two onyx stones and the breastplate with the twelve precious stones were bound, fastened, to the ephod (vv. 12-28).
This signifies that Christ holds, binds, and fastens the church to Himself by His divine glory and human beauty (2 Cor. 1:21). We can’t bind ourselves or keep ourselves fastened to Christ; Christ is the One binding us together – He fastens the church to Himself by His divine glory and human beauty.
The gold, blue, purple, scarlet, and fine twined linen composing the ephod were threads of different colors; they signify the composition of Christ’s divinity (gold), His heavenliness (blue), His kingliness (purple), His redemption (scarlet), and His fine humanity (linen) – all for the expression of His divine glory and human beauty.
The two onyx stones on the shoulder pieces of the ephod were for a memorial, a pleasant remembrance, before God (Exo. 28:12). The church is fastened to Christ, and Christ holds the church in the presence of God as an eternal memorial. And we as priests wear such a Christ with the church!
The holy crown on the turban (Exo. 29:6) refers to the engraved gold plate which was worn on the turban of the high priest; this plate said, “HOLY TO JEHOVAH” (Exo. 28:36). To be holy is not only to be separated and sanctified unto the Lord but also to have the divine nature wrought into our being to make us as holy as God is holy (see 2 Pet. 1:4; 1 Pet. 1:15-16; cf. Rev. 21:2).
The entire priesthood is sanctified unto the Lord, separated to the Lord, and saturated with the Lord (signified by the engraving on the gold plate worn on the turban). The Lord is working Himself into our being to make us the same as He is in His holiness. He is writing His name on us and in us, and He is working Himself into us to make us the same as He is, as holy as He is. This is the working of the divine nature into our human being, and it should be part of our expression.
Lord Jesus, thank You for being our perfect righteousness covering our entire fallen being in God’s presence so that we may be preserved in life and be kept away from death. Lord, we take You in and we put You on as our perfect righteousness and our glory, our boast; we boast only in Christ, our righteousness! You are our righteousness, sanctification, transformation, glorification, and building up. Only You can build us up together and only You can keep us fastened in God by Your divine glory and human beauty. Lord, we are sanctified unto You, separated to You, and in the process of being saturated with You. Work Yourself into us to make us the same as You are, as holy as You are! Oh Lord, make all the items of the priestly garments our reality in our Christian experience today as priests to God!
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, Life-Study of Exodus (msgs. 120-122), 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. Warmly recommending the footnotes on the verses quoted in this article.
- Hymns on this topic to strengthen this burden:
# God’s Christ, who is my righteousness, / My beauty is, my glorious dress; / Midst flaming worlds, in this arrayed, / With joy shall I lift up my head. (Hymns #295)
# Putting on the Lord as clothing, / Christ without he doth express; / Eating, drinking, with Him mingled, / Christ within doth him possess. (Hymns #911)
# Jesus is getting us together, / Come and see the saints in one accord. / His love is knitting us together, / To the stature of the fullness of the Lord. (Hymns #1232)
Latest posts by aGodMan (see all)
- In the Church Life we Take the Lead to be Headed up in Christ by Growing in Life - January 18, 2018
- We need to realize that the Proper Church Life is a Life of being Headed up in Christ - January 17, 2018
- God is Working to Liberate His Creation from Bondage by Heading up All things in Christ - January 16, 2018