Listen to audio above while reading transcript below which is also available for download in Word at www.biblestudyministriesinc.com
There’s a Bible verse I’d like to share. It’s the words of Elihu to Job, and he made this one wonderful comment, Job 33:16, “He opens the ears of men, and then seals their instruction.” Isn’t that interesting? So, God will open our ears to hear, and then seal it, so that we won’t forget and so that it would be practical, and so that we can apply it. So, as we come to the Lord let’s ask Him to put His seal on what He speaks, and to uproot anything that I might say that’s not from the Lord. Let’s pray…
Heavenly Father, we thank You again for the privilege to gather in this place, and we ask you, Lord, to once again turn our eyes to the Lord Jesus. We thank You for the indwelling Holy Spirit. We have Your life, and how we thank You for that, and we know that it’s Your ministry to ever focus our hearts and spirits on our Lord Jesus. So, we commit our little session to You, and we ask You to over answer our request. Unveil the Lord Jesus to us according to our hungers and our capacity. We ask in Jesus’ name. Amen.
We welcome you again to one of our final looks at the book of Exodus. This is the book of redemption, redeemed by power and by blood. The revelation of Christ in this book of redemption, of course, is Christ, the Redeemer, because He is the full mention of redemption. We are His tabernacle. We’re looking at the tabernacle. We are His house made out of skin. Exodus 25:8, “Let them build a sanctuary for Me, that I might dwell among them.” It’s always been His heart to have a people, a house made out of skin, in whom He could live and dwell, and call it His address, His home, His resting place, His abiding place. He wants to abide in His people. He wants to establish His throne in the Holy of Holies in His people. He wants to rest in His people. He wants to manifest Himself through His people. That’s what we’re looking at, that great illustration of the tabernacle.
For those of you who may not have been here earlier, we’ve been assisted in our walk through the tabernacle by an imaginary priest/guide that we named Ezekiel. I didn’t think I have to say that every week, but I got an email this week from a brother who signed it, “confused.” The reason he signed it confused, he said, “Please give chapter and verse from the prophet Ezekiel on all the things you’ve been saying.” So, anyway, I explained to him our little game here.
In our last session Ezekiel attempted to explain to us the double purpose of the altar of incense. There was a God-ward aspect, and then there was a man-ward aspect. The God-ward aspect was fragrance; God accepts the offering that is offered on that altar. And the man-ward aspect was the cloud; the cloud was a protection from the presence of God, and the high priest had to be hidden. If you missed any of those studies, I’m not going to do a lot of review because there’s a lot on my heart this morning to share, you can take a CD or reference it on the website or something like that.
When we left off from that altar of incense, Ezekiel invited us to look at the veil. That’s what we’ll begin with this morning. Near the altar of incense and hung as a border between the Holy Place and the Holy of Holies where the ark of God was, we stared at that veil and it was beautiful to the natural eye. Exodus 26:31, “You shall make a veil of blue and purple and scarlet material, fine twisted linen. It shall be made with cherubim, the work of a skillful workman.” Ezekiel explained that no natural human could have ever produced a veil like that, but God the Holy Spirit had to give a special gift. Two men, especially, one was named Bezelal, and the other was named Oholiad. They weren’t the only two, but they were two gifted by the Lord. Exodus 31:3, “I filled him with the Spirit of God in wisdom and understanding, in knowledge and in all kinds of craftmanship.” They not only had God’s wisdom to work with gold and silver and bronze and wood, but to do the veils, not just this veil, many veils. Exodus 35:10, “Let every skillful man among you come and make all that the Lord commanded.” Verse 19, “The woven garments for ministering in the Holy Place, the Holy garments for Aaron, the priest, the garments of his sons to minster as priests.” The priests’ garments were a miracle of embroidery, and it was by God the Holy Spirit, but their garments, as beautiful as they were, even the high priest garment, was nothing compared to this veil.
It wasn’t only Spirit empowered men. Exodus 35:25, “And all the skilled women spun with their hands and brought what they had spun in blue and purple and scarlet material, fine linen. All the women who stirred with a skill spun the goats’ hair.” This curtain, this veil, was a product of the Holy Spirit. We need to see this as God’s idea. It’s not man’s idea. This was in the pattern from the Lord. Exodus 26:1, “You shall make the tabernacle with ten curtains of fine twisted linen, blue and purple and scarlet material. Make them with cherubim, the work of a skillful workman.” The KJV in the same verse calls it, “a cunning work,” make it a cunning work.
Ezekiel explained that no ordinary embroidery could ever have taken place apart from this gift of the Holy Spirit. The weaving in of the gold and the purple and the blue and the scarlet, the fine linen, golden threads in between, God anointed their fingers and put it in their heart with the skills necessary to give us this glorious picture. This veil, as I said, was God’s eternal idea, and the only thing more beautiful than this veil is the message that the veil contained. That was far more beautiful.
Ezekiel called our attention, Exodus 26:1, “You shall make the tabernacle with ten curtains of fine twisted linen, blue and purple and scarlet. You shall make them with cherubim, the works of a skillful workman.” Attention was called to the cherubim that were sewn into this veil. These were not iron-on cherubim. These cherubim are not mere decoration, like flowers or birds. They’re sewn into this beautiful veil, and they told a story.
As we looked at the cherubim and marveled at it, I was reminded of the prophet Ezekiel. The only place where a full description of cherubim is given, Ezekiel 1:5, “Within it there were figures resembling four living beings, and this was their appearance. They had human form, each of them had four faces and four wings. Their legs were straight, and their feet were like a calves’ hoof. They gleamed like burnished bronze. Under their wings on their four sides were human hands. As for the faces and the wings of the four of them, their wings touched one another. Their faces did not turn when they moved, each went straight forward. As for the form of their faces, each had a face of a man, all four had a face of a lion on the right, the face of a bull on the left, and all four had the face of an eagle; such were their faces. Their wings were spread out above. Each had two touching another being and two covering their bodies.” Alright, sew that on the curtain. You see why they needed the Holy Spirit of God, and it wasn’t only one. It was plural, cherubim were sewn on this veil. We can’t imagine the workmanship on this veil.
We asked Ezekiel, “What is the purpose of cherubim? Why put those on the veil?” And he explained that the cherubim were a special order of angels. In fact, the cherubim, he explained, were probably the highest order of any living thing that God had created. They were always mentioned as being close to the throne of God. Every time you see them, they are close to the throne. We need to understand that they were close by dominion. You are closer to the Lord by union. They were not close by union. They’re close by Lordship. God made them close. Every time we see the cherubim in the scripture it’s connected with the throne of God. God determined that on earth there would be a replica of what was reality in heaven. You can’t separate the ministry of the cherubim from the throne of God. You remember that they’re actually part of the throne of God. They were the arms and canopy over that great ark of the covenant. Psalm 99:1, “The Lord reigns; let the people tremble. He’s enthroned above the cherubim. Let the earth shake.”
“What is their ministry? Why are they on the curtain,” we ask? He said, “These cherubim, these angels are the guardians of the throne of God.” In the book of Revelation 4 they’re mentioned again, and once again around the throne. Revelation 4:5, “Out from the throne came flashes of lightning and sounds, peals of thunder, and there were seven lamps of fire burning before the throne, which are the seven Spirits of God. And before the throne there was something like a sea of glass, like crystal, and in the center and around the throne four living creatures full of eyes in front and behind. The first creature was like a lion. The second creature was like a calf. The third creature had a face like that of a man. The fourth creature was like a flying eagle, and the four living creatures, each one of them, having six wings, are full of eyes around and within. Day and night they do not cease to say, ‘Holy, holy, holy is the Lord God, the Almighty who was, who is, who is to come.” They’re guardians of the presence of King Jesus on the throne.
“Remember,” Ezekiel reminded us, “after man sinned and was ejected from the Garden of God, the Garden of Eden,” Genesis 3:24, “He drove the man out, and at the east of the Garden of Eden He stationed the cherubim, and the flaming sword which turned every direction to guard the way to the Tree of Life.” They were guardians of the presence of the Lord. They stood ready to expel any who would dare to try to get to the Tree of Life. They are the guardians of the throne, the presence of the Lord.
Why are they embroidered on this veil? “As a graphic reminder,” he said, “on the other side of the veil is the throne of God. That’s why they’re there. They’re guardians of the throne of the Lord. There is glory in that room. The presence of the Lord is in that room. God’s manifest presence is just on the other side of these curtains, and the guardians of the throne, the cherubim are embroidered into this curtain to remind us to stay out; ‘Stay away. You cannot come into the presence of God.’ Man is on the outside, and God is on the other side. Between sinful man and a holy God, the cherubim took their place as the guardians of the throne, displayed on that veil. The message of the cherubim is clear,” Ezekiel said, “no sinner can enter the presence of God until a way is provided for entrance.” Exodus 26:33, “You shall hang up the veil under the clasp, bring the ark of the testimony there within the veil. The veil will serve for you as a partition between the Holy Place and the Holy of Holies.” That was the first purpose for the veil. It’s a divider; it’s a separator; it’s a forbidding wall; it’s a partition that God says, “Come no further.” That’s the first purpose.
But then Ezekiel said, “You know, that’s only one function of the veil, to keep people out. There’ s another function of this veil, and it’s more precious than a divider, more precious than a separator. If He just wanted to keep you out,” Ezekiel suggested, “He could have made an ugly veil; He could have made a veil of stone or brass or iron or some other metal, and it wouldn’t be attractive to the eye, but this forbidding wall is also beautiful; it’s wonderful to behold, and that’s the second purpose of the veil, because there’s something beautiful going on here. Let me explain that.”
Way back in lesson thirty-nine, for those of you who have great memories, we’re on lesson forty-nine now, and way back in lesson thirty-nine we saw the groundwork for this special purpose of the veil. There was a little picture that God gave us to illustrate this side of the veil. Do you remember the day that Moses prayed to enter into the full glory of God? “Show me I pray Three Thy glory.” Exodus 33:18. What did God tell him. Verse 20, “He said, ‘You cannot see My face; no man can see Me and live.’” And it was on Moses’ heart, “I want to get through the veil. I want to be in that place. I want to see the Lord.” And God said, “That is not possible, but I see your heart, and I’ll give you an answer.” Exodus 33:21, “The Lord said, ‘Behold, there is a place by Me. You shall stand there on the rock, and it will come about while My glory is passing by, I will put you in the cleft of the rock and cover you with My hand until I’ve passed by.’”
No one doubts the picture of the cleft rock. That is the Lord Jesus. And God said, “You’ll be safe in here. You get in that cleft of the rock. In fact, I’ll put you in the cleft of the rock, and there you’ll be safe. But then God said, “In order for you to survive, you want to see Me? I have to put My hand in front of the cleft. I have to put My covering. My hand is a veil. I have to put My veil, because if you see Me you’ll die. You’ll see a part of Me. You’ll see the backside. You’ll see a little bit, but you can’t see Me in full glory. No one can survive and see Me in full glory. Even the angels take some of their wings to hide their face.” If we had as many wings as them, we’d be flying with all of our wings; that’s how we are, we’re just do, do, do. But they veiled themselves. He said, “God put Hs hand between Moses, His servant, and the brightness of His glory, the inaccessible entrance, presence of the Lord. And His hand became what the veil is, a hand of protection. Moses would have been annihilated if it weren’t for that protection. Moses didn’t have the capacity, as any person doesn’t have the capacity to see the full presence of the Lord. So, that hand pictured this veil. Just so, this veil is more than a divider, more than a separator; it’s a protector. This veil hangs beautifully to protect you from being killed. If there was no veil, everyone who stood there, all of those priests, even the high priest, they all would have been destroyed; no one would survive.”
“The veil,” he said, “was much like the cloud. We showed you last week that cloud of incense, that was to hide you from that presence of God, and it did two things. It not only hid the mercy seat, so that between you and God there was a cloud, but from His point of view it hid you and all of your disqualification from His eyes. So, that veil, much like that cloud, every morning and every evening and especially on the Day of Atonement was the only thing that kept them alive”. Leviticus 16:13, “He shall put the incense on the fire before the Lord, that the cloud of incense may cover the mercy seat that’s on the Ark of the Testimony, otherwise he will die.” “The hand was a shelter, the cloud was a shelter, the veil is also a shelter.”
Then Ezekiel said, “There’s a mystery connected to this veil. You see one side, but there’s another side that you don’t see. The side you’re looking at is very, very beautiful to these natural eyes. You could stand there a long time admiring this. So, one side of the veil is before the eyes of men, and we can look at it and not be consumed. We can see its royal colors. We can see the cunning workmanship, and we can see the cherubim embroidered on it, and all, a stunning masterpiece of skillful work. But the same veil that’s so beautiful on one side, on the other side is actually in the presence of the Lord, in the presence of the throne, and faces God.” Ezekiel sort of scratched his head and said, “This veil must somehow picture the coming Messiah. It’s human, it’s divine, it has two sides: one side facing men, one side facing God. This must in some way, as everything in the tabernacle, be designed to picture Him; this veil in some way must picture Him.”
I’m going to leave Ezekiel there, and we’ll come back to him, and move from the picture to the reality. The suggestion that Ezekiel gave us, the veil must in some way picture Messiah, the question is, does it? The answer is that indeed it does! Not only God-man, human/divine, one side facing men, one side facing God, but is there a passage that states clearly that the veil is a picture of Jesus. The answer is yes. Hebrews 10:19&20, “Therefore, Brethren, since we have confidence to enter the Holy Place by the blood of Jesus, by a new and living way, which He inaugurated for us through the veil, that is His flesh.” “Through the veil, that is His flesh.” Now what does that mean, “Through the veil, that is His flesh?” That’s His humanity, the flesh, the human side, the physical, the human body of the Lord Jesus was to the world in Christ’s day what the veil was to the world in Moses’ time.
Remember that Jesus is 100% God, and even as a man, He never stopped being 100% God. Colossians 1:15, “He’s the image of the invisible God; firstborn of all creation.” Colossians 2:9, “In Him, all the fullness of deity dwells in bodily form.” Think for a moment, dear brothers and sisters, what would have happened if the eternal Son of God had stepped into time and space unveiled? Everything and everyone would be destroyed. He came to reveal God, but if He came unveiled, there would be nothing but unmitigated judgment. No one can see God in an unveiled way and survive. So, He appeared in His divinity covered. He came in covertly. When He came to earth, He didn’t surrender one iota of His deity. He laid it aside. We saw that. Philippians 2:6, “Although He existed in the form of God, He did not regard equality with God a thing to be grasped. He emptied Himself, taking the form of a bondservant.” Praise God.” “Being made in the likeness of men.” We’re ready to celebrate Christmas, the incarnation, God becoming man. When Jesus was in Mary’s womb, and when He lay in the manger as a little baby, He was as much God as when He created the Universe, but that glory was veiled, covered by His humanity, like the veil in the tabernacle. The human side was beautiful to look at, and even unsaved people admire the human side. They look at the human side, and they don’t know Him, but they say, “Oh, He was a great man. He was good. He was kind. He was compassionate, and wonderful to look at.” They don’t have a clue of what’s on the other side of that veil.
The fact that His divinity was hidden deep in His humanity was a protection. When Jesus was born, He came to shelter the world from the presence of God until the time He could make atonement, that veil be rent, and then He could offer the presence of the Lord to everyone. If he was not veiled in humanity, everyone would have been destroyed.
It must have been a little shocking to the three disciples on the Mount of Transfiguration when some of that glory started to leak through. Luke 9:29, “And while He was praying, the appearance of His face became different. His clothing became white and gleaming.” Literally the word gleaming is, “flashing like lightning.” Can you imagine what they were seeing? Luke 9:32, “Peter and his companions had been overcome with sleep. When they were fully awake, they saw His glory.” Still most of it was veiled, some of it coming out. Later, Peter wrote 2 Peter 1:16, “We were eyewitnesses of His majesty.” For a few moments what was veiled in Christ, it started to come out, and they saw some of it. After it was over He said, “Don’t tell anybody until after the resurrection. Then you can spread the news.”
When you picture the Lord Jesus in the manger this Christmas, thank God that He appeared veiled in humanity, to protect you and me, to shelter the world. I don’t usually look at the babe in the manger and say, “Oh, praise God for this protection,” but that’s exactly what it was. That veil is His flesh. In another connection I’m going to address the glorious day when that veil was rent, but even though we’re looking at the veil now, we’re not going to go that far. That’s going to come up, my guess is, Lord willing, next week. So, we will see the new and living way which He has opened for us through the rent veil. John Wesley caught the wonder of this in his wonderful Christmas Carole, “Hark, the Herald Angels Sing,” the second verse, listen and see how much our brother had, light he had…
HARK THE HERALD ANGELS SING
“Christ by highest heaven adored,
Christ, the everlasting Lord.
Late in time, behold Him come,
Offspring of a Virgin’s womb
Veiled in flesh, the Godhead see,
Hail the incarnate Deity
Pleased as man with men would dwell,
Jesus, our Emmanuel
Praise God! Anyway, we’ll discuss that veil further, but I want to return to Ezekiel. After beholding the veil and some explanation of the cherubim and the two sides of the veil, we say, “What’s next? Are we finished in the Holy Place?” He said, “Oh, no, no, no, not yet. There’s still more to see in this wonderful room.” And then Ezekiel said, “Do you remember when we first entered the Holy Place? I encouraged you not to get distracted by all the activity in the room. I reminded you that there was no chair here because their work is never done. The Holy Place is constantly filled with hustle and bustle of the ministering priests. I didn’t want you to be distracted by that restless activity going on and priests working at a feverish pace, and you might miss the furniture. I wanted you to focus on each piece of furniture. They were so busy preparing incense and oil and trimming lamps and preparing the table and bringing coal from one altar to another. Now I want you to focus on the priests. You can’t finish the Holy Place without looking at the priests ministering in the Holy Place.
“They had ministry outside this room. They were preparing spices and gathering oil and examining sacrifices and transporting the tabernacle when the cloud move and sending it back up again. They had a lot of ministry. In fact, one of their greatest ministries outside this room, they were the teachers of God’s people. Leviticus 10:11, context is priests, “So, to teach the sons of Israel all the statutes which the Lord had spoken through Moses.” Malachi 2:7, “The lips of a priest should preserve knowledge; men should seek instruction from his mouth. He’s a messenger of the Lord of Hosts.”
Ezekiel said, “I want you to see the priests, not outside in the outer court, not teaching the people, but I want you to see them in this room. I want you to see them in the Holy Place, what they’re doing here. I think it would be helpful if I gave a quick summary of how they got here. You just look around and see the priests. How did they get here? It was always God’s will that every believer be a priest. That’s not an office, priesthood. It’s a description; when we arrived at Sinai, He reminded us, here’s one of the first words God gave to Moses; this is before He gave the Ten Commandments. Ezekiel 19:4, “You, yourselves, have seen what I did to the Egyptians, how I bore you on eagle’s wings, brought you to Myself. Now, then, if you’ll indeed obey My voice, keep My covenant, you shall be My own possession among all people, for the earth is mine. You shall be to me a kingdom of priests and a holy nation. These are the words you shall speak to the sons of Israel.” The whole nation, a nation of priests, that was God’s heart at the beginning.”
“At first,” Ezekiel said, “it was pretty simple because there were no rules to follow and there was no tabernacle. So, because there’s no tabernacle, there’s no priesthood. There’s nothing. What did they do? The first priest that ever came on the scene was Melchizedek, so what in the world did they do? They worshipped as priests every time God showed up. It was pretty simple. God showed up, wherever they were they built an altar, and they called on the name of the Lord. Sometimes, it was in open field. Sometimes it was in the shade of a tree. God met them, their hearts responded, they built an altar, and they called on the name of the Lord.”
“In the early days, sometimes, the parents would represent the kids, like Job offered sacrifices for his sons. Sometimes the elders of the tribe or the clan would represent people. One would think why ruin that simplicity? That sounds pretty good. God shows up, I build an altar, I praise the Lord. God shows up, you build an altar, and you praise the Lord.” Ezekiel said, “But God wanted something more than that, because worship is far more than having a religious experience, building an altar and saying a few prayers. Worship is bigger than that. He wanted more than some periodic subjective response to some visitation of God. God is holy, and He wanted all His people to be priests, every person to be a priest. But they must have the awful sense of the holiness and the majesty of the Lord, not just once in a while, not just when He sometimes shows up, but they were to have a continual vision, this reality of how holy and majestic He is. Not only that, they also need their the sense of their privilege to minister as priests, to represent the nation in the presence of a holy God.”
So, Ezekiel said, “God ordained the priesthood, a special group that would hold forth, on the one hand the reverence, the majesty, the holiness of God, and on the other hand display the great privilege and honor it was to be a priest, a minister in the Holy Place. It was a visual aid. Priests, before they were chosen by God, were just regular people, but God decided to choose from the tribe of Levi, chose the tribe of Levi, ‘They will be My representative priests, and from that tribe the family of Aaron to represent what God had on His heart.’ They were not chosen instead of others. They were chosen to represent others. These priests were not chosen because you didn’t make the grade, but they were chosen as a group to be a show and tell, to be visual aids of the majesty on one side, and the privilege on the other side.
“These priests that we’re about to look at,” Ezekiel said, “represent every Christian, but there’s another representation. They also represent the Messiah who is going to come to be the priest, and to be the High Priest. So, they represent the people, and they represent the High Priest.” Then Ezekiel made this explanation, “I want you to carefully look at the priests, because looking at them you’ll see yourself. That’s you. Look carefully at the high priests, you’ll see Messiah. That’s Him. That’s why He chose a family, and the leader of the family. The family is represented by the priests, and the leader, the high priest represents Messiah. So, we want to look at these priests in that way. So, there’s a little shift in emphasis. When we see the priests, we see us. When we look at the high priest, I’m sure there is overlapping, but we’ll see the Lord.”
“Look at the priests,” he said, “how they’re dressed, how they move, what they’re doing. Look at the high priest, how He’s dressed, how He moves, what His ministry is. They’re representing you; he is representing Messiah. They didn’t just show up to enter this Holy Place; they were chosen by God. Before they could get in, there was a ceremony, and it was called the consecration ceremony. If you’re going to understand what they’re doing, you’ve got to see the consecration, because not everyone is a representative priest. We’re all priests, but some who have been consecrated become representative priests.”
“I realize it’s more complicated than this, but there were really three parts to the consecration. Let me give you those three parts. Exodus 29:1, “This is what you shall do to them to consecrate them to minister as priests to Me. Take one young bull, two rams without blemish.” “It goes on but let me say the first qualification was the shedding of blood. Nobody could be a representative priest apart from the shedding of blood. Without the shedding of blood there’s no forgiveness. Without the shedding of blood there’s no representative priesthood. That’s the first qualification.”
Ezekiel said, “It will help you to understand what that consecration is to see how that blood was applied.” Exodus 29:20, “You shall slaughter the ram, take some of its blood, put it on the lobe of Aaron’s right ear, on the lobes of his sons’ right ears, on the thumbs of their right hands, on the big toes of their right feet, and sprinkle the rest of the blood around the altar.” “To be a representative priest there had to be the blood, and head to toe cleansing. There had to be, as a representative priest, you had to have a clean ear. So, the blood was applied to the lobe of the ear, an ear open to the Word of the Lord. And then, you had to have clean hands, a hand to minister in the work of the Lord. And then you had to have a clean walk. So, blood was applied to the feet, as well. That’s the first qualification. You can’t be a representative priest if your ear is not open and clean, and your hands are not clean and ready, and your feet are not walking in the ways of the Lord. That’s qualification number one.”
“The second part of the consecration had to do with their robes. All the robes were beautiful. For the ministering priests, listen to verse Exodus 28:39&40, “You shall weave the tunic of checkered work of fine linen, you shall make a turban of fine linen, you shall make a sash, the work of a weaver. Aaron’s sons, you shall make tunics, you shall make sashes for them, you shall make caps for them for glory and for beauty.” You can’t minister unless you have a glorious and a beautiful robe. I know some of you are thinking ahead, and you ought to. This was a contrast with their wilderness experience. You remember, they were just nomads in the wilderness, and their clothing was drab as they went through the desert, and now all of a sudden, they’re in pure white linen, and they’re ministering, and it’s in this wonderful pure white linen flowing to the ankles, and it’s called, ‘Garments of glory and beauty.’ “
And even the more elaborate garment was given to the head of the family. I’m not going to describe all the parts at this time, but it was an unusually beautiful garment of glory and beauty, embroidered with royal colors, many parts to it. There are robes and coats and girdles and sashes and bonnets and bells and a breast plate, and an ephod. There were so many parts to it. It reminds me of a wedding I went to, my son’s wedding. I went crazy. I didn’t even know how to put my tie on. Then they gave me a sash, and I had to buckle this. And that was only two or three pieces. He had to do this every day, put that garment on. And on the head of the high priest there was a special turban, a special mitre. Exodus 28:36, “You shall make a plate of pure gold, and engrave on it like the engravings of a seal, holy to the Lord. You shall fasten it out of blue cord. It shall be on the turban. It shall be on the front of the turban. It shall be on Aaron’s forehead,” and so on, as he represents the people.
“There’s one other thing the high priest had that I’ll call attention to. Exodus 28:30, “You shall put in the breast piece the judgment, the Urim and Thummim, and they shall be over Aaron’s heart when he goes in before the Lord. Aaron shall carry the judgment of the sons of Israel over his heart before the Lord continually.” You may have heard that expression, “The Urim and the Thummim.” Nobody knows how it worked. So, I’m not going to try, and Ezekiel, I begged him but he doesn’t know. Nobody knows how it worked, but we know what it did. The word Urim means perfect, and the word Thummim means ligh;’ perfect light. It was the way they found the will of God. I don’t know if something glowed or something rang a bell, or whatever, that doesn’t matter. Over his heart was the will of God, perfect light. On his head, holiness to the Lord. That was the garment. So, the priest not only had to have a ministry based on blood, but they had to have beautiful robes.
And he said, “There’s one more characteristic. You can’t come in unless you’re consecrated with these three things; you’ve got to have blood, you’ve got to have a beautiful robe, and they could not get in until they were anointed with oil.” Exodus 29:7, “You shall take the anointing oil and pour it on his head and anoint him.” Verse 21, “You shall take some of the blood on the altar, and some of the anointing oil, sprinkle it on Aaron and on his garments and on his sons, and on his sons’ garments, so that he and his garments shall be consecrated, as well as his sons and his sons’ garments with him.” Do you see the consecration necessary to be a representative priest? Their ministry must be grounded in blood. They must be clothed in beautiful clothes”. I can’t think of that without thinking of Isaiah 61:10, “I will rejoice greatly in the Lord. My soul will exalt in my God. He’s clothed me with garments of salvation. He’s wrapped me with a robe of righteousness, as a bridegroom decks himself with a garland, as a bride adorns herself with her jewels.” And there has to be the anointing of the Holy Spirit, the oil of the Holy Spirit.
I know you have New Testament hearts and minds, so let’s apply it. Our foundation is the substitutionary work of Jesus, the blood of Christ, the Lamb of God. He cleansed our ears, He cleansed our hands, He cleansed our feet, head to toe cleansing. We want to represent all Christians, and we’re clothed in His garments, His righteousness. We have clothes of glory, clothes of beauty, and we’ve been baptized by His Holy Spirit. We have the Holy Spirit, and pictured by the high priest, we have holiness on our head and the will of God on our hearts. These are ministering priests, and no one else is.
There’s one more interesting fact about these priests. It doesn’t have to do with their consecration, but it certainly has to do with their ministry. Ezekiel 44:17&18, “It shall be when they enter the gates of the inner court, they shall be clothed with linen garments. Wool shall not be on them while they are ministering in the gates of the inner court and the house. Linen turbans shall be on their heads. Linen undergarments shall be on their loins, and they shall not gird themselves with anything that makes them sweat.” Isn’t that a wonderful picture! When they were ministering, they were not allowed to sweat, and if they started to sweat, they had to change their garments immediately to continue their ministry. This is such a wonderful picture. God refuses the ministry that brings on human sweat. It’s not our energy. How instructive is it to be a priest, a representative priest standing on the blood, cleansed from head to toe, robed in the righteousness of Christ, filled with the Spirit of God, holiness on our heads, and the will of God over our hearts! That is the representation for every Christian, not just the priests. That was His heart for every Christian.
Then Ezekiel asked this. He said, “Are you surprised to see the high priest ministering in this beautiful garment?” We asked, “Why should we be surprised?” He said, “Because many people think that he only wore those beautiful robes once a year, when he entered into the Holy of Holies, but the fact is,” said Ezekiel, “he was not allowed in the Holy of Holies with those garments. He had to be robed like the ministering priests. He had to be robed only in white linen. Every day from morning till night, you might be surprised to see the high priest here. He didn’t work just once a year, the day of atonement. Every day he was here dressed like this at the candlestick, at the table, at the incense, in the outer court; he was always dressed like this.”
Then Ezekiel said, “Let’s focus on him just for a moment. I want to call attention to two parts of his robe. One is the ephod, and the other is the breast piece. Exodus 28:6, “They shall make an Ephod of gold, blue, purple, scarlet material, fine twisted linen, the work of a skillful workman. It shall have two shoulder pieces joined to two ends, that it may be joined.” Exodus 28:9-12, “You shall take two onyx stones and engrave on them the names of the sons of Israel, six of their names on one stone, the names of the remaining on six of the other.” Keep reading and you’ll see how it was set in gold, and all of the rest. On the ephod, on the shoulder, this thing went over the head, and on the shoulder, there were two onyx stones and on those stones were engraved the names of the twelve tribes, six on one stone, six on the other, and they were connected; they were joined to the breast piece. They’re one; the ephod and breast piece are one. We’re going to discover, once the veil is rent, how every priest became a high priest, but for now, Exodus 28:15, “You shall make a breast piece of judgment, the work of a skillful workman, like the work of the Ephod. You shall make it gold, blue, purple, scarlet material, fine twisted linen. It shall be square and folded double, a span in length.” Then in verse 17-20 He said, “On there you’re going to have four rows of three gems, each one representing a different tribe.” It lists the gems for you. There are rubies and topaz and emeralds and some I can’t pronounce and sapphires and diamonds, but every gem was over his heart. Exodus 28:21, “The stones shall be according to the names of the sons of Israel, twelve according to their names. They shall be like the engravings of a seal, according to his name for the twelve tribes.”
Get the picture. The high priest, with the holiness on his head and the will of God on his heart, now has on his shoulders the names of all the tribes, and over his heart as gems, the names of all of the people of God. I told you that the high priest especially represents Christ, picture of the heavenly Messiah, but also, once the veil is rent, every priest suddenly became a high priest. So, we’re not only ministering priests, we’re ministering high priests, and also, too much to develop, but after the order of Melchizedek, not after the order of Aaron. That’s a story all its own. Exodus 28:12, “The two stones on the shoulder…” Exodus 28:29, “The names of God’s people over the heart…” How does the high priest represent us? He says, “What you see is every Christian is a glorious revelation. Every Christian, every believer, everyone redeemed is a gem, pictured by the high priest, and if we’re representative priests, may God help us with this, we carry the church, God’s people on our shoulders. We bear their burdens. Sometimes it’s exhausting to carry Christians on your shoulders, especially some Christians, but we have to represent them, not just one or two, but the whole weight of the whole body of Christ is on the shoulders of the representing priests, and the high priest also carry over their heart all the people of God.
I don’t know about you, but some Christians to me don’t exactly come across as gems. I look at some Christians and maybe if I looked in the mirror I’d see the same thing, not exactly a gem, but everyone, every believer, everyone redeemed, in the eyes of the Lord is a precious gem. I might look dull to you, and you might look dull to me, but to the eyes of the Lord I am a precious gem, and you are a precious gem. In the words of the prophet Zacharia, I’m a brand plucked out of the fire, a diamond in the rough, maybe, but a gem none the less.
Infinitely better than remnant priests, are representatives carrying the church on their shoulder, and over the heart. You know the reality; our heavenly High Priest has all His people on His shoulder, and over His heart. Isaiah 9:6, once again a little Christmas verse, “A child will be born to us, a son will be given to us, and the government will rest upon His shoulder.” Do you realize the government of your life is on the shoulders of your High Priest? He not only carries your burdens; He carries you. Isaiah 46:3, “Listen to me, oh house of Jacob and all the remnant of the house of Israel, you who have born by Me from birth, you’ve been carried from the womb. Even to your old age I will be the same, even to your graying years I will bear you. I have done it, I will carry you, I will bear you, I will deliver you.”
God’s people sometimes burden me, and sometimes they don’t seem like gems, but what a glorious representation! Can you picture those gems as the high priest moved around every day in the temple, and those gems flickering in the light of the seven-pronged candlestick? How beautiful that must have been! Before we close, let me tie together an end that I deliberately left loose, and I need to tie it. Why is it so often a burden for me to carry you on my shoulder? Why is it so often a burden for you to carry me on your shoulder? Why is it so often that we don’t see Christians as God sees them, as beautiful, precious gems? Why is that? It’s because we are not appropriating the indwelling High Priest. This High Priest lives in our heart. He hasn’t called you to carry the church on your shoulders. He’s called you to let the High Priest who lives in you carry them on His shoulders, as it’s manifested through you. He’s called Him. He’s called you to allow Him who is the High Priest and lives in your heart, who knows every Christian is a gem, to express that through you and through me. Christ in you is enough to enable you to bear the burdens of others. Christ in you is enough in you to allow you to regard every Christian as a precious gem.
I said to Ezekiel, “Are we done with the Holy Place?” He said, “Not yet. I want to take you through the curtain.” So, next week, Lord willing, we’ll go through the curtain.
Let’s bow. Heavenly Father, thank You so much for what we have begun to see of You in Your marvelous Word. Lord, we just pray that You would work it in our hearts, and we ask You, Lord, to seal what You have put into our hearts. We thank You, Lord, that we can trust You in this, and it be Your will to bring us back together again to look in Your Word, and to fellowship, and have an Agape gathering, we just pray that you would make that happen. So, we commit this lesson to You, and prepare our hearts for the next. We ask in Jesus’ name. Amen.