In Exodus chapters 24 to 28 we read about the making of the Tabernacle in the wilderness and the weaving of the materials used for the Tabernacle and for the priests whom God chose to perform the duties of the Tabernacle.
Each piece of material had specific meaning. From the fine and pure threads of linen, to the precious stones on the breastplate, all had a purpose and significance. The day garments of the high priest were called the “golden garments” and the garments for the Day of Atonement were designated the “white garments”.Blue - represents the divinity of Christ.Linen - represents the spotless righteousness of Christ.Scarlet - represents sacrificial work.Purple - represents royalty.Gold - represents deity.
The first layer of clothing was pure white linen pants which were worn under two other layers of tightly woven linen. The pants reached from the waist to the thighs.
The second layer was called the Robe of the Ephod, and was dyed blue. It reached from the neck to a little below the knees. The robe of the Ephod had a woven binding so that it would not tear. It was woven without seams. The rim of the Ephod was embellished with blue, red, and crimson pomegranates with bells of gold between each pomegranate. The pomegranates are symbolic of fruitfulness on account of the many seeds found in one pomegranate. The bells jingled when the priest was in the Holy of Holies showing that he was still alive and had not been smitten by God. They are the symbols of testimony.
The third layer was called the Ephod and had threads of blue, purple, scarlet, and figures of gold. Exodus 39:2-7 tells how the Ephod was to be made. We read:
He made the Ephod of gold, blue, purple, and scarlet thread, and of fine woven linen. And they beat the gold into thin sheets and cut it into threads, to work it in with the blue, purple, and scarlet thread, and the fine linen, into artistic designs. They made shoulder straps for it to couple it together; it was coupled together at its two edges. And the intricately woven band of his ephod that was on it was of the same workmanship, woven of gold, blue, purple, and scarlet thread, and of fine woven linen, as the LORD had commanded Moses. And they set onyx stones, enclosed in settings of gold; they were engraved, as signets are engraved, with the names of the sons of Israel. He put them on the shoulders of the ephod as memorial stones for the sons of Israel, as the LORD had commanded Moses.
The onyx stones that were placed on the shoulders of the priest symbolize the burden carried by the High Priest. The shoulders represent the place of strength.
The Final ItemsThe Sash was of the same fabric as the Ephod and was used to tie it firmly to the body.The Headpiece turban and the gold plate set at the front symbolize obedience to a higher order. On the gold plate was engraved, “HOLINESS TO THE LORD”.The Breastplate was the last item and it was placed on top of the Ephod and signifies “judgment”. The breastplate was made of gold, blue, purple, scarlet, and of fine twined linen. It had 12 stones set in four even rows. The 12 stones represented the twelve tribes of Israel.
These are the stones that God told Moses to place on the breastplate with their representations:
Each stone was engraved with the respective name of the tribe of Israel.
High Priest’s “White Garments”
The White Garments were worn only by the High Priest and only on the Day of Atonement, which was observed on the tenth of the month Tishrei, in the Jewish calendar. This occurs around September/October in the Gregorian calendar. After wearing the White Garments for the Day of Atonement celebration he had to take them off in the Tent of Meetingand leave them there for the entire year. The Bible states:
He shall put on the holy linen tunic, and he shall have the linen pants upon his flesh, and he shall be girded with a linen belt, and with the linen turban he shall be attired - Leviticus 16:4.
The garments consisted of four items, all of them made of white flax—the tunic, pants, turban, and belt. The flax had to be woven. It could not be put together in any other way.
This then completes the High Priest’s garments.
The Ordinary Priestly Garments
The ordinary priests wore less extravagant garments compared to the High Priest.
You shall skilfully weave the tunic of fine linen thread, you shall make the turban of fine linen, and you shall make the sash of woven work. For Aaron’s sons you shall make tunics, and you shall make sashes for them. And you shall make hats for them, for glory and beauty. So you shall put them on Aaron your brother and on his sons with him. You shall anoint them, consecrate them, and sanctify them, that they may minister to Me as priests. “And you shall make for them linen trousers to cover their nakedness; they shall reach from the waist to the thighs. “They shall be on Aaron and on his sons when they come into the tabernacle of meeting, or when they come near the altar to minister in the holy place, that they do not incur iniquity and die. It shall be a statute forever to him and his descendants after him - Exodus 28:39-43.
Most of the ordinary priestly elements were of white linen but it is not certain that the sash was of pure white linen. It could have been either a woven sash of blue, scarlet and purple thread or it could have been of pure white linen.
The reason why priests were appointed by God was because people were sinners, and as such could not come before a Holy, Righteous, and Just God. Therefore, the priestly office was established to minister to God on behalf of the people. As ordinary priests, in plain dress and of a secondary status, Aaron’s sons represented believers of today, whereas, Aaron the High Priest in his garments of glory and beauty (“golden garments”), speaks of, and is fulfilled in, Christ our great High Priest.
About The Author
Amy Pitman is 16 years old and is Jeff and Mandy’s daughter. They are members at the CWM-Fellowship, Brisbane, Australia, where Jeff serves as voluntary Associate pastor. Amy and her two brothers, Joshua and Izack, are Home Schooled by their mother, Amanda
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