The Priests & Their Garments, Part 1
Sermon 71 in Series
 “You shall command the people of Israel that they bring to you pure beaten olive oil for the light, that a lamp may regularly be set up to burn.  In the tent of meeting, outside the veil that is before the testimony, Aaron and his sons shall tend it from evening to morning before the LORD. It shall be a statute forever to be observed throughout their generations by the people of Israel.
 “Then bring near to you Aaron your brother, and his sons with him, from among the people of Israel, to serve me as priests—Aaron and Aaron’s sons, Nadab and Abihu, Eleazar and Ithamar.  And you shall make holy garments for Aaron your brother, for glory and for beauty.  You shall speak to all the skillful, whom I have filled with a spirit of skill, that they make Aaron’s garments to consecrate him for my priesthood.  These are the garments that they shall make: a breastpiece, an ephod, a robe, a coat of checker work, a turban, and a sash. They shall make holy garments for Aaron your brother and his sons to serve me as priests.  They shall receive gold, blue and purple and scarlet yarns, and fine twined linen.
 “And they shall make the ephod of gold, of blue and purple and scarlet yarns, and of fine twined linen, skillfully worked.  It shall have two shoulder pieces attached to its two edges, so that it may be joined together.  And the skillfully woven band on it shall be made like it and be of one piece with it, of gold, blue and purple and scarlet yarns, and fine twined linen.  You shall take two onyx stones, and engrave on them the names of the sons of Israel,  six of their names on the one stone, and the names of the remaining six on the other stone, in the order of their birth.  As a jeweler engraves signets, so shall you engrave the two stones with the names of the sons of Israel. You shall enclose them in settings of gold filigree.  And you shall set the two stones on the shoulder pieces of the ephod, as stones of remembrance for the sons of Israel. And Aaron shall bear their names before the LORD on his two shoulders for remembrance.  You shall make settings of gold filigree,  and two chains of pure gold, twisted like cords; and you shall attach the corded chains to the settings.
 “You shall make a breastpiece of judgment, in skilled work. In the style of the ephod you shall make it—of gold, blue and purple and scarlet yarns, and fine twined linen shall you make it.  It shall be square and doubled, a span its length and a span its breadth.  You shall set in it four rows of stones. A row of sardius, topaz, and carbuncle shall be the first row;  and the second row an emerald, a sapphire, and a diamond;  and the third row a jacinth, an agate, and an amethyst;  and the fourth row a beryl, an onyx, and a jasper. They shall be set in gold filigree.  There shall be twelve stones with their names according to the names of the sons of Israel. They shall be like signets, each engraved with its name, for the twelve tribes.  You shall make for the breastpiece twisted chains like cords, of pure gold.  And you shall make for the breastpiece two rings of gold, and put the two rings on the two edges of the breastpiece.  And you shall put the two cords of gold in the two rings at the edges of the breastpiece.  The two ends of the two cords you shall attach to the two settings of filigree, and so attach it in front to the shoulder pieces of the ephod.  You shall make two rings of gold, and put them at the two ends of the breastpiece, on its inside edge next to the ephod.  And you shall make two rings of gold, and attach them in front to the lower part of the two shoulder pieces of the ephod, at its seam above the skillfully woven band of the ephod.  And they shall bind the breastpiece by its rings to the rings of the ephod with a lace of blue, so that it may lie on the skillfully woven band of the ephod, so that the breastpiece shall not come loose from the ephod.  So Aaron shall bear the names of the sons of Israel in the breastpiece of judgment on his heart, when he goes into the Holy Place, to bring them to regular remembrance before the LORD.  And in the breastpiece of judgment you shall put the Urim and the Thummim, and they shall be on Aaron’s heart, when he goes in before the LORD. Thus Aaron shall bear the judgment of the people of Israel on his heart before the LORD regularly.
1. How can Christians avoid taking in information without transformation? How have the four knowledge-practice connections noted in the sermon introduction played out for you as we have discussed the tabernacle?
2. As we think about the lamps in the Holy Place, why would Israel need to be reminded that God “will neither slumber nor sleep” (Psalm 121:4)? What does this imply for our daily living?
3. Who are the priests and what is their role? Why do they have special garments (especially the high priest)?
4. What was the purpose of engraving the names of the 12 sons/tribes of Israel on the ephod and breastpiece?
5. What do the stones communicate about God’s view of his people? What does their placement say about the responsibility of the high priest?
6. In what ways do the high priestly garments look forward to Christ? How do they inform the way you relate to him?
References: Ps 121:4; Leviticus 21:10; 1 Peter 2:5; Genesis 2:10-12; Numbers 27:21; Genesis 9:13-16; Hebrews 4:14-16.