Christ in the Tabernacle

Typical Teaching of the Tabernacle

18 - The Priesthood -
A priest was one separated unto God from among the people of Israel, to minister in the presence of God, in behalf of the people. Ex 28:1; Heb 5:1

Until the Law was given, the head of each family was a priest, a representative of the family before God. Gen 8:20; 12:8; 14:18; 26:25; 35:1-7; Ex 2:16; 3:1; 18:1,12; Job 1:5; 42:7-10

In sovereign grace, Jehovah purposed to make Israel, as a nation, ''a kingdom of priests.'' (Ex 19:6) But their sad failure in placing themselves under the Law, which they kept not, hindered the fulfillment of that gracious purpose, which will yet be fulfilled in the Millennial age, when Israel, as a nation, shall be named the priests of Jehovah, and men shall call them ministers of our God. Isa 61:6,9

In great mercy, the Lord separated the family of Aaron unto Himself to represent the nation in His presence, at the same time making it possible for every Israelite to become a priest unto God by taking the Nazarite vow. Num 6; 1Sam 1:1,2,11

During this age, while God's purpose concerning the Kingdom is held in abeyance, God has, in infinite grace, made every believer a priest unto God, made us ''a kingdom of priests,'' the anti-type of Israel's priests. 1Pet 2:5,9; Rev 1:6 [RV]

What Israel obtained not by works, we have obtained by grace, through faith. Rom 9:30-32

The clothing and consecration of the high priest and priests made them ceremonially, and typically what they were not actually.

Only as a type of the One in whom he was accepted before God, could the high priest approach, acceptable, into the presence of the Holy One of Israel in the Most Holy Place.

Oh, what grace God manifested toward Israel in accepting them through their representatives, the high priest and priests, and they were accepted in their person and work only because of the One who was to come.

The garments of glory and beauty that sanctified the high priest, foreshadow the personal glory and beauty of such a High Priest as ''became us.'' Ex 28; Heb 7:26

The coat of linen typifies the eternal, unchangeable holiness of Christ, the Righteous One, in whose person and through whose work alone we are accepted before God, our Father. Ex 28:39; 1Joh 2:1

The holy crown, a plate of pure gold, on which was engraven ''Holiness to the Lord,'' was fastened with a lace of blue to the linen mitre, or turban. Without this special head dress, the high priest was not accepted before the Lord, either in his person, or in his service. Ex 28:36-38

Clothing, in scripture, symbolizes the outer life, or conduct, which is but the manifestation of the inner life. Col 3:12,13; 1Pet 3:1-7; Rev 19:8

The clothing of the high priest typifies just what Jesus Christ, our heavenly High Priest, is actually in His inner life before God, which life is ever manifest in all His words and works.

The high priest's head dress is, therefore, but a faint shadow of the divine and heavenly purity and holiness of every thought of our holy High Priest, for every thought of His is in absolute obedience to the mind and will of God. 2Cor 10:5; Jam 3:17

The robe of the ephod, all of blue, is a type of our heavenly High Priest, the One ''made higher than the heavens,'' in whom we have been exalted far above all principality and power. Ex 28:31,32; Heb 7:26; Eph 1:19-23

The golden bells and pomegranates on the robe suggest the words and works, the doing and teaching of Christ, which make His Priestly ministry so acceptable before God. Joh 14:10; Acts 1:1

We are to be like Him in this, for, if we would approach God acceptably, and witness before men acceptably, our preaching and practice must go together. ''Faith without works is dead.'' (Jam 2:14-26) ''Faith alone justifies, but the faith which justifies is not alone.'' The kind of faith which justifies is the kind that works to help others to know God. It does not do to sing ''I'll go where you want me to go,'' and then go where you please, not where He sends.

The ephod, made of gold, blue, purple, scarlet, and fine twined linen, tells us that the historical Christ revealed in the Gospels, the One who accomplished our redemption, is now glorified and representing us before God. Ex 28:5-14

Just as the high priest in the Tabernacle bore the names of the tribes of Israel on his shoulders on the two onyx stones before the Lord, so our High Priest is continually upholding us before our Father. Heb 7:25

The shoulders which bear [the] government of the universe are the shoulders upon which the lost sheep are laid, and brought safely home. (Isa 9:6; Luke 15:3-7) Upon His shoulders, He bears our burdens as well as us. Psa 68:19 [RV]; 1Pet 5:7; Php 4:6

The breastplate of judgment fastened to the ephod, had engraven upon its twelve stones the names of the tribes of Israel. Within the breastplate were the Urim and Thummin, two stones whose names mean ''lights'' and ''perfections.'' Ex 28:15-30

Ineffaceably engraven upon the heart of our merciful and faithful High Priest are the names of all His redeemed. In love, infinite, eternal, and unchangeable, He bore God's judgment against us as sinners, and now He bears the judgment of our walk and service as believers. Heb 9:26, 24

The same immeasurable, unfathomable love of Christ, which led Him to lay down His life for us when we were His enemies, now moves His heart to pick us up and to restore us to fellowship, if we stumble and fall. Luke 23:34; Rom 5:8-10; 8:35-39; 1Joh 1:9; 2:1,2; Psa 23:3

The girdle of linen, and the curious girdle, which bound the high priest's garments close about him, prepared him for his blessed ministry. (Ex 28:27,28,39) They typify the girdles of righteousness and faithfulness, which qualify our High Priest for His glorious ministry before our Father. Isa 11:5

The priests, associated with the high priest, were clothed in linen coats, with linen girdles, linen breeches, and linen headtires. (Ex 28:40-43) All this speaks to us of the holy life so necessary to come into God's holy presence with favor. Psa 24:3,4

Oh, how wonderful and glorious it will be, when, in reality, we are conformed to the image of our glorious High Priest, in whom we now stand complete and perfect before our heavenly Father.

While we wait that blessed time, we rejoice with joy unspeakable that our priestly ministry is holy and acceptable before God, because of what Jesus is, and is doing for us.

Ex 29. The consecration of the high priest and priests was an important ceremony separating them unto, and qualifying them for the service to which God called them.

The ceremony is typical of what God has done for us, and will do in us to separate us unto, and qualify us for the priestly ministry of intercession and of offering up the sacrifice of praise to God. Heb 13:15,16

First, the priests were bathed at the Laver, and then clothed in their priestly garments. Ex 29:4,8,9

A bullock for a sin-offering, and a ram for a burnt-offering was then offered for them at the Brazen Altar. Ex 29:10-18

Then, Moses killed the ram of consecration, and applied its blood to the priests' right ear, right thumb, and great toe of the right foot. Part of the blood was sprinkled upon their garments. Ex 29:19-21

The anointing oil was then sprinkled upon the high priest and priests and upon their garments. Ex 29:21

The fat of the ram of consecration, with a loaf of bread, an oiled cake and a wafer, were put upon the hands of the priests and waved before the Lord, and then burned on the Brazen Altar. Ex 29:22-25

A portion of the ram of consecration was then eaten by the priests. Ex 29:26-34

This consecration service lasted seven days, [signifying] perfect consecration of Jehovah's priests that they might minister unto Him in behalf of the people. Ex 29:35

From Ex 29:36, it seems that no part of the consecration service was repeated after the first day except the offering of the sin-offering, and a lamb morning and evening for a burnt-offering. Ex 29:36-46

For us, these things are full of meaning. Though every believer, by the new birth, is a holy and royal priest unto God, as to our standing before God in Christ, yet, as to experience, or state, every believer must be hallowed in the way typically set forth in Ex 29, if we would approach boldly the throne of grace in the Most Holy Place. Heb 4:16; 10:19,20

To be made experimentally holy for priestly service, we need first of all to be sanctified by the Holy Spirit, as typified by bathing the priests at the Laver. (Acts 1:5,8) As the water of the Laver cleansed the body of the priests, thus making them ceremonially clean, so the sanctification of the Holy Spirit, received by faith when a believer yields himself to the Lord for service, cleanses the heart from an evil conscience. Heb 10:22; Eph 5:26

With the fulness of the Holy Spirit, we begin to realize the fulness of the abundant life that is ours in Christ. This new and holy life within will then become manifest in our words and works, as typified by the priests' holy garments of glory and beauty. Rom 6:4; Col 3:1-3

In the fulness of the Holy Spirit, we will fully realize the cleansing and delivering power of the blood of Christ, as typified by the sin offering. 1Joh 1:7; Rev 12:11; Rom 5:6; 6:6

Fully assured by faith that we are accepted of God in His acceptance of the Beloved, we will yield our whole being to God as a living sacrifice, as typified in the whole burnt-offering. Eph 1:6; Rom 12:1,2

Through the Holy Spirit we will enjoy the cleansing, sanctifying power of the blood in every faculty of our being through which we receive knowledge, as typified by putting the blood upon the right ear of the priests. Our ears are then quickened to hear the voice of God, as He speaks to us by His word and by His Spirit. Our eyes are then opened to behold wondrous things out of His Law, even the glorious person and wonderful work of Christ, the Creator and Redeemer. Then, too, we may behold the unseen and eternal things of God. Eph 1:17-19; 2Cor 3:18; 4:18; Joh 10:27

By His Spirit, too, we will realize the sanctifying power of the blood of Christ in our service and walk, as typified by putting the blood on the right thumb and on the great toe of the right foot of the priests.

Saved to serve, we will live to help others to know our blessed Lord, and we will walk as becometh saints. 1Joh 3:16; Eph 5:2,3

But more than this is necessary to divinely qualify priests for their holy ministry.

The holy anointing oil must be put upon the priests and upon their garments, which typifies the anointing of the Holy Spirit.

Though filled with the Holy Spirit from the time He was conceived, yet Jesus was anointed with the Holy Spirit, at His baptism, to do the service for which He was sent from the Father. Mat 3:16

All of His wonderful works were done in the power of the Holy Spirit. Acts 10:38; Heb 9:14

The anointing with the Holy Spirit is not a work of the Spirit, but it is the blessed Holy Spirit Himself coming to dwell in us as believers. Joh 14:16,17; Rom 8:9

Previously, He fitted for His glorious presence, the house that was yielded to Him, and now, as the Anointing, He personally dwells in us as the sole owner and ruler of the house. 1Cor 6:19,20

As the Anointing, He quickens our bodies for service, and mortifies the deeds of the body, that Christ and not self may be manifest through us. (Rom 8:11,13) He leads us, as sons of God, into a life of abiding fellowship with our Father and His Son, where He uses us in the ministry of intercession. (Rom 8:14-16,26,27) Oh, how blessed!

As anointed ones, we are taught by the Holy Spirit, helped to understand God's word and works, and also helped to walk in God's way according to His word. Joh 14:26; 16:13-15; 1Joh 2:20,27

At once our hands will be filled, like the priests, for the Holy Spirit will use us to minister unto God in His presence, in behalf of others.

While we minister, He will nourish us by revealing Christ to us, as typified by the priests eating the ram of consecration.

If we are thus perfectly, or wholly, consecrated to God as priests, our lives will ever be like the lamb of the continual burnt-offering, a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable unto God, which is our spiritual service. Ex 29:38-46; Rom 12:1

Proceed to the next section of this study: 19 - Jehovah's Master Workman

Return to the Table of Contents for this study on the Tabernacle.

This study can be accessed under Book Notes at Exodus chapter 25.
Go to The Book opening page.