Gaebelein's Annotated Bible
And take thou unto thee Aaron thy brother, and his sons with him, from among the children of Israel, that he may minister unto me in the priest's office, even Aaron, Nadab and Abihu, Eleazar and Ithamar, Aaron's sons.CHAPTER 28 The Priesthood
1. Aaron and his sons (Exodus 28:1)
2. The garments mentioned (Exodus 28:2-4)
3. The ephod (Exodus 28:5-14)
4. The breastplate (Exodus 28:15-30)
5. The robe of the ephod (Exodus 28:31-35)
6. The mitre (Exodus 28:35-38)
7. The ordinary garments (Exodus 28:39-43)
This chapter is still richer in typical lessons, a very few of them we can notice. Two chapters are devoted to the priesthood. Aaron is the type of Christ. The sons of Aaron are types of Christians representing false worshippers (Nadab and Abihu) and true worshippers (Eleazar and Ithamar.) The holy garments are mentioned first, but not in the order as they were put on. The correct order is found in Leviticus 8:7-9. The garments were for glory and beauty, typifying Him who is altogether lovely. The ephod stands first. Ephod in Hebrew means “to bind on”; it held the breastplate in position. It was of gold, blue, purple, of scarlet, fine twined linen, with cunning work. How beautifully it was wrought we read in Exodus 39:3. The same material as in the curtains was used in the ephod; gold is added and the figures of the cherubim are absent. It all tells us of Himself and His priestly service in behalf of His people. The two onyx stones Aaron wore on his shoulders with the names of the twelve tribes engraven, are the type of Christ, carrying His people upon His shoulders. The shoulder is the symbol of power. From the moment He puts His sheep He has found upon His shoulder (Luke 15:5) to the blessed day, when He gathers His own, He carries them in His power.
Read Exodus 28:11 how these names were put into the stones. They were ineffaceable and could not be blotted out. It speaks of our security in Christ. The breastplate consisted of twelve stones. Every one of these stones has a meaning, which we cannot follow here, and the names of the twelve tribes were engraved upon these precious stones. The breastplate was “upon his heart when he goeth in unto the holy place.” The words “upon his heart” are twice repeated in Exodus 28:30. Here we have the blessed type that Christ carries all His people upon His heart of love. That the breastplate be not loosed from the ephod (verses 26-28) blue lace was attached. There was no possibility that the breastplate could shift; there is no possibility that His love for His own can ever grow less. His power and His love go together. In the breastplate there were also placed “Urim and Thummim,” which means “lights and perfections.” Seven times they are mentioned: Exodus 28:30; Leviticus 8:8; Numbers 27:21; Deuteronomy 33:8; 1Samuel 28:6; Ezra 2:63; Nehemiah 7:65. In two of these passages only Urim is mentioned and in Deuteronomy 33:8 Thummim stands first. It is not certain in what the Urim and Thummim consisted. Some think they were two costly stones drawn as a lot in difficult questions. Others think it was one stone which by various scintillations gave an answer from the Lord. Israel did not need to be in darkness about any matter. We possess as believers a gift in us to guide and direct our steps; it is the Holy Spirit. He is our Urim and Thummim. The robe of the ephod was entirely blue. Christ is our heavenly highpriest. Bells and pomegranates, the types of testimony and fruit, were around the robe. “His sound shall be heard when he goeth in.” That happened when He as a priest went in to God and Holy Spirit came and the gospel bells began to ring. And fruit in the conversion of souls ever followed. The bells also rang when Aaron came out from the presence of God. Even so when our Lord comes again a fresh testimony in power will be heard yielding wonderful fruit.
The “holy crown” Aaron wore is equally suggestive. “Holiness unto the Lord” was on the golden plate. So He is our holy Priest and we are holy priests with Him. Read Zechariah 14:20-21.