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.
The garments peculiar to the high-priest were four: the ephod, with its "curious girdle," the breastplate, the robe of the ephod, and the mitre. (1) The garments were made of linen, typical of the human nature which Christ wears still in His glorified state. (2) They were carefully fastened together, signifying the complete unity which there is in all Christ's work for His people. (3) They were robes, not of war, but of peace, indicating that our Saviour's warfare is accomplished, and that He is now set down in the calm and quiet of His holy, peaceful functions. (4) The robe of the ephod represents the perfect robe of the obedience of the Lord Jesus Christ. (5) Aaron bearing the names of the people before the Lord on his ephod is a picture of Christ bearing the names of His people in holy remembrance before God. (6) The breastplate teaches that Christ not only bears His people on His shoulders for strength, but lays them separately on His heart for love. (7) The high-priest wore a mitre with this inscription graven upon it, "Holiness to the Lord." Jesus Christ, in His very character and being, as our Representative, is standing before God, and emblazoned upon His front is His own proper title: "Holiness to the Lord." Not for Himself—He needs it not—but for us! He bears the iniquity of our holy things. For us the golden letters run "for glory and for beauty" upon the mitre of Jesus.
J. Vaughan, Fifty Sermons, 10th series, p. 299.
References: Exodus 28:1-29.—Homiletic Quarterly, vol. ii., p. 494. Exodus 28:29.—J. Wells, The Surrey Tabernacle Pulpit, No. 67 and No. 68.
Exodus 28:30A great mystery hangs over these two words, "the Urim and the Thummim," commonly translated "light and perfection," in the Septuagint version "manifestation and truth," and in the Vulgate "doctrine and truth."
I. The stones representing the Church that were borne upon the high-priest's breast and the high-priest's shoulders connect themselves with the Urim and Thummim. In some way or other God was pleased to reveal His will in connection with these twelve stones, in what way it is very difficult to determine. There are these possible interpretations: (1) It may be that it pleased God at certain times to throw a miraculous light upon these twelve different coloured stones, which did in some way write His mind; either by the initiatory letters, or by some signs which were familiar to the high-priest, He conveyed His will to the high-priest, that he in turn might convey it to the people. (2) It has been supposed that the stones were not made themselves the channels or media by which God conveyed His will, but that they accredited and, as it were, empowered the high-priest when he was before God, so that God, seeing him in the fulness of his priesthood, was pleased to convey His will to his mind.
II. Consider what we have that answers to Urim and Thummim, and how we should consult God and obtain our answers. (1) In prayer we should pray consultingly, in reading read consultingly. (2) In consulting God we must honestly make up our minds to follow God's guidance. (3) If we are to attain Urim and Thummim in our consultations with God, we must do it through priesthood—in the recognition of the priesthood of the Lord Jesus Christ.
III. There are many ways in which God may give us the Urim and Thummim to direct our steps: (1) by a light breaking on some passage of the Bible; (2) by the Spirit of God illumining our own minds.
J. Vaughan, Meditations in Exodus, p. 54.
Reference: Exodus 28:30.—J. Irons, Thursday Penny Pulpit, vol. viii., p. 167.
Exodus 28:36This plate of pure gold was fastened by blue lace to the mitre, or turban, or tiara, or linen which was upon the head of the high priest. With the plate of pure gold upon his forehead, he went in before God to present the inscription graven there like the engraving of a signet, "Holiness to the Lord," to take away the iniquity of the holy things of Israel and to make those holy things, purged from their iniquity, acceptable to God. Consider the subject of holiness.
I. The word is used in three senses in the Bible. (1) Sometimes the word "holy" means that which is set apart, consecrated. In that sense the vessels of the Temple were holy. (2) Sometimes the word signifies the indwelling of the Spirit, with His gradually sanctifying processes. In this sense the Church is holy. (3) There is a still higher sense in which man is perfectly holy. Christ perfects them that are sanctified.
II. The true definition of holiness is the likeness of God. But we cannot conceive of the likeness of God but through a medium, and that medium must be the Lord Jesus Christ. Whatever traits we find characterising the life of Jesus, these make up holiness. (1) The life of Christ was a separate life. (2) He always carried about an inner sanctuary in His own soul. (3) The life of Christ had a subdued tone. (4) It was a life consecrated to an object. (5) It was a life of praise.
III. Look upon holiness as an end to be obtained. Do not seek holiness as a means to happiness, but happiness as a means to holiness. Be more careful about the holiness of little things than of great things.
J. Vaughan, Meditations in Exodus, p. 68.
References: Exodus 28:38.—Spurgeon, Morning by Morning, p. 8. 28—Parker, vol. ii., p. 229. 28, 29,—Homiletic Quarterly, vol. iv., pp. 409, 410. Exodus 29:1.—Spurgeon, Sermons, vol. xx., No. 1203, Exodus 29:12.—Parker, vol. ii., p. 237.
And thou shalt make holy garments for Aaron thy brother for glory and for beauty.
And thou shalt speak unto all that are wise hearted, whom I have filled with the spirit of wisdom, that they may make Aaron's garments to consecrate him, that he may minister unto me in the priest's office.
And these are the garments which they shall make; a breastplate, and an ephod, and a robe, and a broidered coat, a mitre, and a girdle: and they shall make holy garments for Aaron thy brother, and his sons, that he may minister unto me in the priest's office.
And they shall take gold, and blue, and purple, and scarlet, and fine linen.
And they shall make the ephod of gold, of blue, and of purple, of scarlet, and fine twined linen, with cunning work.
It shall have the two shoulderpieces thereof joined at the two edges thereof; and so it shall be joined together.
And the curious girdle of the ephod, which is upon it, shall be of the same, according to the work thereof; even of gold, of blue, and purple, and scarlet, and fine twined linen.
And thou shalt take two onyx stones, and grave on them the names of the children of Israel:
Six of their names on one stone, and the other six names of the rest on the other stone, according to their birth.
With the work of an engraver in stone, like the engravings of a signet, shalt thou engrave the two stones with the names of the children of Israel: thou shalt make them to be set in ouches of gold.
And thou shalt put the two stones upon the shoulders of the ephod for stones of memorial unto the children of Israel: and Aaron shall bear their names before the LORD upon his two shoulders for a memorial.
And thou shalt make ouches of gold;
And two chains of pure gold at the ends; of wreathen work shalt thou make them, and fasten the wreathen chains to the ouches.
And thou shalt make the breastplate of judgment with cunning work; after the work of the ephod thou shalt make it; of gold, of blue, and of purple, and of scarlet, and of fine twined linen, shalt thou make it.
Foursquare it shall be being doubled; a span shall be the length thereof, and a span shall be the breadth thereof.
And thou shalt set in it settings of stones, even four rows of stones: the first row shall be a sardius, a topaz, and a carbuncle: this shall be the first row.
And the second row shall be an emerald, a sapphire, and a diamond.
And the third row a ligure, an agate, and an amethyst.
And the fourth row a beryl, and an onyx, and a jasper: they shall be set in gold in their inclosings.
And the stones shall be with the names of the children of Israel, twelve, according to their names, like the engravings of a signet; every one with his name shall they be according to the twelve tribes.
And thou shalt make upon the breastplate chains at the ends of wreathen work of pure gold.
And thou shalt make upon the breastplate two rings of gold, and shalt put the two rings on the two ends of the breastplate.
And thou shalt put the two wreathen chains of gold in the two rings which are on the ends of the breastplate.
And the other two ends of the two wreathen chains thou shalt fasten in the two ouches, and put them on the shoulderpieces of the ephod before it.
And thou shalt make two rings of gold, and thou shalt put them upon the two ends of the breastplate in the border thereof, which is in the side of the ephod inward.
And two other rings of gold thou shalt make, and shalt put them on the two sides of the ephod underneath, toward the forepart thereof, over against the other coupling thereof, above the curious girdle of the ephod.
And they shall bind the breastplate by the rings thereof unto the rings of the ephod with a lace of blue, that it may be above the curious girdle of the ephod, and that the breastplate be not loosed from the ephod.
And Aaron shall bear the names of the children of Israel in the breastplate of judgment upon his heart, when he goeth in unto the holy place, for a memorial before the LORD continually.
And thou shalt put in the breastplate of judgment the Urim and the Thummim; and they shall be upon Aaron's heart, when he goeth in before the LORD: and Aaron shall bear the judgment of the children of Israel upon his heart before the LORD continually.
And thou shalt make the robe of the ephod all of blue.
And there shall be an hole in the top of it, in the midst thereof: it shall have a binding of woven work round about the hole of it, as it were the hole of an habergeon, that it be not rent.
And beneath upon the hem of it thou shalt make pomegranates of blue, and of purple, and of scarlet, round about the hem thereof; and bells of gold between them round about:
A golden bell and a pomegranate, a golden bell and a pomegranate, upon the hem of the robe round about.
And it shall be upon Aaron to minister: and his sound shall be heard when he goeth in unto the holy place before the LORD, and when he cometh out, that he die not.
And thou shalt make a plate of pure gold, and grave upon it, like the engravings of a signet, HOLINESS TO THE LORD.
And thou shalt put it on a blue lace, that it may be upon the mitre; upon the forefront of the mitre it shall be.
And it shall be upon Aaron's forehead, that Aaron may bear the iniquity of the holy things, which the children of Israel shall hallow in all their holy gifts; and it shall be always upon his forehead, that they may be accepted before the LORD.
And thou shalt embroider the coat of fine linen, and thou shalt make the mitre of fine linen, and thou shalt make the girdle of needlework.
And for Aaron's sons thou shalt make coats, and thou shalt make for them girdles, and bonnets shalt thou make for them, for glory and for beauty.
And thou shalt put them upon Aaron thy brother, and his sons with him; and shalt anoint them, and consecrate them, and sanctify them, that they may minister unto me in the priest's office.
And thou shalt make them linen breeches to cover their nakedness; from the loins even unto the thighs they shall reach:
And they shall be upon Aaron, and upon his sons, when they come in unto the tabernacle of the congregation, or when they come near unto the altar to minister in the holy place; that they bear not iniquity, and die: it shall be a statute for ever unto him and his seed after him.