OUR HIGH PRIEST
Scripture Ref. Ex. 28:1-4 Heb. 6:17-20; 7:20-28; 4:14-16 Heb. 8:1-5; 5:1-11 Lev. 16
We leave the tabernacle structure to focus on the priesthood. As glorious as the tabernacle is, it is useless without a priest. The heavenly tabernacle which God showed Moses on Sinai would be empty without our High Priest.
The instructions for the articles in the wilderness tabernacle were interrupted before the Incense Altar was described. It is necessary we have a High Priest to minister at the prayer altar before proceeding into the Most Holy Place.
The chapter reserved for the garments of the priesthood is another lesson, it would be wise to study those garments of beauty and glory and allow the Spirit to reveal them and bless you.
This old covenant priesthood is completely eclipsed by the new covenant priesthood. As we have learned, the entire tabernacle is a shadow and type of Jesus Christ and especially the High Priest office. Paul quoted the prophets when speaking of Jesus "Lo, in the volume of the book it is written, I have come to do thy will." This writing of Moses concerning the high priest is the epitome of JesusChrist. When Jesus entered into the heavenly Holiest Place. all the shadows became a substance. Substance cast a shadow. Melchizedek (a theophany of Christ) ministered to Abraham prior to the ministry of the Levitical priesthood. Jesus was made a priest after the order of Melchizedek by an oath of God. When we see the reality that is Him, the shadows lose their glory and fade.
Scripture teaches that it is God's glory to conceal a thing, and the honor of kings to search it out. When God hid the revelation of His son in these writings and we were made kings and priest to Him...we can search it out. So Just Who Is This Melchizdek?
As effective as this Levitical priesthood was, there was no perfection in it., no power to cleanse in the blood of bullock, goats and lambs...they all just pointed to Jesus Christ. The former priesthood stood between God and man as a mediator...now the tribe of Judah brought forth a Priesthood that is unchangeable, but death or disobedience brought changes in the old. So by obedience, death and God's oath we are now members of an unchangeable priesthood. The cross of Calvary is the divider between the new and old...the light from the life that hung there shone back casting a shadow on the old and lights the path of the new.
In Exodus 28, the priest were clad in garments of beauty and glory and ordained by application of blood to their right ear, thumb, and toe after Moses washed them publicly. Jesus has washed us and applied His blood to our ear, (hearing) hand, (work) and foot (walk). He has clothed us in his glory and beauty to make us His priesthood. Just as God slew an innocent animal in the garden and made coats for His disobedient creation..so He now clothes us with His Righteousness. In both writings the Hebrew word is Kethoneth. Aaron the high priest wore this garment under the robe and ephod and breastplate signifying him as high priest. His sons wore this garment as their only garment. Made of fine twined linen. The Bride is clothed in white linen at the throne room of heaven in the 19th chapter of Revelation.
Jesus hung on the cross stripped naked...the only high priest who could appear before God unclothed and not be slain. They cast lots for his coat, as it had no seams. It could not be divided... Aaron went into the Holiest Place once a year with blood, clad only in his garment of white linen. All of his lovely garments denoting high priest were removed and left outside the veil. After the blood of the goat was accepted, he returned to dress again in his high priest garments and when he came outside he was the Israelites mediator. In the Holiest place, before the Mercy seat...he was a servant. He could not touch anyone on his trip from the altar, with the blood to sprinkle before the presence of God on the Mercy Seat. If so, he would have been made unclean. This is beautifully expressed when Mary came to the tomb on that first day of the week and after Jesus spoke to her, she recognized Him and knelt to clasp His feet. He instructed her not to touch Him as He had not yet been to His God and Father and her God and Father. That same day, He appeared among them and said "Touch Me". He had completed the ritual pattern and can now be touched by any who will reach out in faith.
As you read of the High Priest garments note the golden bells and pomegranate around the hem. The pure sound and the seeded fruit were on the hem. The woman with the issue of blood knew if she could touch the hem of Jesus' garment she would be made whole. The neck of the high priest garment was woven with threads of gold, making it nearly impossible to tear. The commandment to Aaron and those that followed him in the office was that in the day you rend your garment.. the priesthood will be taken from you and given to another. At no place in the scripture can we find where any high priest rent his garment, until the day Jesus stood before Ananias (high priest) and he rent his garment because he thought Jesus' answer blasphemed God. There has not been a high priest minister behind the veil in the Levitical priesthood since that day. The priesthood changed, Glory to God, and His garment was not rent that day on the cross.
The priesthood in the tabernacle was established to receive, slay and apply the blood of the sacrifice for sin. However, their commandment was to teach the children of God the difference between the holy and the profane. The errant worshipper had to lay his hands upon his sin or trespass offering, imparting his sin into the animal. This is the reason we are told often to reach out and touch Jesus, take eat the bread, and learn of Him who knew no sin but became sin for us in order that we could be made the righteousness of God in Him.