Monday, January 27, 2014

Exodus 28-29 PPE for the LORD’s service

From Exodus 28-29

Ex 28.1-43 Law; The Priests Garments. Breastpiece (of judgement), Urim and Thummim (v30), Ephod (names of the sons of Israel), Golden bell and a pomegranate, Robe, Coat of checker work, turban, plate titled ‘Holy to the LORD’, and sash.
Ex 29.1-46 Law; Consecration of the Priests

Passage and Comments
One thing about my work is that I have to wear personal protective equipment or PPE. This is the last level of protection for me when I am standing in a rail corridor with heavy plant moving around. This gear consists of a hard hat with wide brim, safety glasses (tinted with UV protection), sunscreen, long sleeve high visibility orange shirt with reflective strips (horizontal not crossed), drill trousers, steel capped lace up boots higher than the ankles and gloves. Its excessive but necessary.

Today’s chapters similarly discuss the PPE for the Priesthood working around the temple.

[2] And you shall make holy garments for Aaron your brother, for glory and for beauty. [3] 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. [4] 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. (Ex 28:2-4)

These garments are to be made with skill for glory and beauty. Note an early reference to the Holy Spirit in verse 3. There is judgement involved, but probably not what we are used to.
[29] So Aaron shall bear the names of the sons of Israel in the breast piece of judgment on his heart, when he goes into the Holy Place, to bring them to regular remembrance before the LORD. [30] And in the breast piece 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. (Ex 28:29-30)
The Urim and Thummim were necessary elements in the judgement of the priests. Basically when they were to discern the will of the LORD they used these (stones I think) to tell what was the LORD’s will and what was not (Nu 27.21; 1 Sa 14.41; 1 Sa 28.6; Ez 2.63; Neh 7.65). Now talking about the ephod.
[33] On its hem you shall make pomegranates of blue and purple and scarlet yarns, around its hem, with bells of gold between them, [34] a golden bell and a pomegranate, a golden bell and a pomegranate, around the hem of the robe. [35] And it shall be on Aaron when he ministers, and its sound shall be heard when he goes into the Holy Place before the LORD, and when he comes out, so that he does not die. (Ex 28:33-35)
The reason specified in the text is that the golden bell and the pomegranate were to be attached at the command of the LORD. Failure to do so would result in death. An additional reason the golden bell was attached so that when the High Priests was in the Holy of Holies he could have people outside listening to him work. If they continued to hear the sound of the bell they knew everything was alright. It the ringing stopped they knew he did something wrong and died for it. In this case a rope was tied to the Priest so they could pull him out.
[40] “For Aaron's sons you shall make coats and sashes and caps. You shall make them for glory and beauty. [41] And you shall put them on Aaron your brother, and on his sons with him, and shall anoint them and ordain them and consecrate them, that they may serve me as priests. (Ex 28:40-41)
We have a repeated reference the these garments being made for glory and beauty. Probably a reflection of the significance of God and their ministry.
[42] You shall make for them linen undergarments to cover their naked flesh. They shall reach from the hips to the thighs; [43] and they shall be on Aaron and on his sons when they go into the tent of meeting or when they come near the altar to minister in the Holy Place, lest they bear guilt and die. This shall be a statute forever for him and for his offspring after him. (Ex 28:42-43)
They need clean and special underwear. Underwear obviously collects a lot of bodily emissions. These emissions are unclean. The priests are meant to be clean before the LORD. So they need these linen undergarments - lest they bear guilt and die. We skip now to the end of the chapters and the end of the priests consecration for service.
[42] It shall be a regular burnt offering throughout your generations at the entrance of the tent of meeting before the LORD, where I will meet with you, to speak to you there. [43] There I will meet with the people of Israel, and it shall be sanctified by my glory. [44] I will consecrate the tent of meeting and the altar. Aaron also and his sons I will consecrate to serve me as priests. [45] I will dwell among the people of Israel and will be their God. [46] And they shall know that I am the LORD their God, who brought them out of the land of Egypt that I might dwell among them. I am the LORD their God. (Ex 29:42-46)
Notice who does the consecration. I've put it in italics. The LORD sanctifies them.

Story of Israel
Israel when they determined to observe the LORD's requirements kept these cleanliness laws. If we now zoom forward to Jesus.

Story of Jesus
Can you imagine then Jesus telling the story of David entering the house of God.
[3] He said to them, “Have you not read what David did when he was hungry, and those who were with him: [4] how he entered the house of God and ate the bread of the Presence, which it was not lawful for him to eat nor for those who were with him, but only for the priests? (Mt 12:3-4)
No priestly lineage, no protective garments, no consecration from the law. David just walks in and takes what he wants. How did this happen? Jesus gives a cryptic answer by instructing his listeners to learn what it means - ‘I desire mercy, and not sacrifice,’ (Mt 12:7; cf. Hos 6.6)

The author of Hebrews says much the same and discloses how David could enter without the protective equipment.
[19] Therefore, brothers, since we have confidence to enter the holy places by the blood of Jesus, [20] by the new and living way that he opened for us through the curtain, that is, through his flesh, [21] and since we have a great priest over the house of God, [22] let us draw near with a true heart in full assurance of faith, with our hearts sprinkled clean from an evil conscience and our bodies washed with pure water. (Heb 10:19-22)
Through Jesus blood and having faith in him, we know we can boldly walk into the holy places without PPE. Jesus blood and faith is the new PPE.