Having studied the Tabernacle and its furniture one must finally consider the High Priest and the priests who were specifically ordained by God to serve in and about the Tabernacle. The priests were specifically chosen by God. These were from the tribe of Levi. Aaron was to be the High Priest (Num. 3:3-10) and his sons were to be the priests (Exodus 28:1).
Three other families of the tribe of
Levi had responsibilities within the tabernacle. These were: Merarites
(Num.3:36), Gershomites (Num. 3:25), and Kohathites (Num. 3:31). These
three families had the responsibilities of erecting and transporting the
parts of the Tabernacle.
I). The High Priest, a picture of Christ. Hebrews 9:11-26
"Seeing then that we have a great high priest, that is passed into the heavens, Jesus the Son of God, let us hold fast our profession." Heb. 4:14
A). The High Priest had 7 listed duties:
2). To offer incense (Lev. 16:12,13)
3). To judge evil (Lev 13:2)
4). To declare to the people Godís will (Nu.27:21)
5). To decide controversies and solve difficulties (Deut. 17:8-12,19:17,21:5)
6). To represent the names of Israel on his shoulders and heart (Ex. 28:9-29)
7). To bless the people in the name of the Lord (Nu. 6:23-26, Deut. 21:5).
The present ministry of Jesus Christ
on earth today is closely connected to that of the ministry of the High
Priest listed above. Jesus has already made atonement for our sins, but he
daily intercedes for us (Heb 7:25); He rebukes evil (2 Tim 4:1); He
declares the will of God by His Word (Heb. 1:2); He judges our thoughts
and ways (Heb. 4:13); He represents His people (Heb. 9:24) and He will
soon return to bless them with an everlasting benediction (Heb. 9:28).
B). The Garments of the High Priest speak of Jesus.
2). The Ephod (like an apron). (Ex. 28:6-12). This was fine twined linen with gold, blue, purple and scarlet embroidery which all speak of Jesus righteousness, deity, origin, royalty and blood. There were 2 onyx stones placed on the shoulders with the names of the 12 tribes of Israel engraved in them. The High Priest was to carry on his shoulders the burden of the people just as Jesus carried the burden of our sins to Calvary (Matt.22:44, 1 Peter 2:24). The High Priest carried these names with him as Jesus carries our cares and struggles daily (1 Peter 5:7).
3). The girdle (like a sash). (Ex. 28:8). This girdle suggests preparation for service. It was made of fine twined linen with gold, blue, purple and scarlet embroidery. These all speak of Jesusí heavenly origin and deity and yet He came to earth as a servant. (Jn 13:4,5; Isa.11:5, Mt 20:28)
"But made himself of no reputation, and took upon him the form of a servant, and was made in the likeness of men:" Phil 2:7
4). The Breastplate of Judgement (Ex. 28:15-30). This was also fine twined linen (2 span x 1 span, folded in half "foursquare"). It was embroidered with gold, blue, purple and scarlet. It had on it 12 precious stones set in gold. These stones were set in 4 rows of 3. The names of the 12 tribes were engraved in these stones. The breastplate had 2 rings of gold and 2 gold "wreathen" chains connecting it to the onyx shoulder plates. It also had 2 golden rings and a lace of blue connecting the bottom side to the ephod. Finally, this breastplate was to contain the "Urim and Thummim" (lights and perfection) which were used for wisdom from God.
It is significant to see that as the High Priest wore the people on the breastplate of judgement Jesus bears us near His heart. The people were doubly represented in the garments. 1st on the shoulders (the seat of strength) and 2nd upon the breastplate (the seat of love).
5). The Mitre (Ex. 28:36-39). This headpiece was fine white linen which speaks of the righteousness of Jesus. Upon this Mitre was a golden plate with the inscription, "HOLINESS TO THE LORD" fastened with a blue ribbon. This was worn on the forehead bearing sin and speaks of Jesus who alone could bear sin and yet be holy in himself.
6). The Coat and Breeches. (Ex. 28:39-43). These were actually worn under the other items of the High Priest. All the priests wore the coat and breeches. These were made of fine linen "for glory and beauty." It is because of the imputed righteousness of Jesus that we have glory and beauty (Rom 4:22-25).
II). The Priesthood.
"Ye also, as lively stones, are built up a spiritual house, an holy priesthood, to offer up spiritual sacrifices, acceptable to God by Jesus Christ." 1 Peter 2:5
"By him therefore let us
offer the sacrifice of praise to God continually, that is,
the fruit of our lips giving thanks to his name. But to do good
and to communicate forget not: for with such sacrifices God is
well pleased." Heb 13:15-16
2). As priests of the New Testament we all have free access to the Father with out the aid of any other person. We can go boldly to the throne and speak to our Father and receive instruction directly from Him. (Heb 4:14-16)
"Therefore being justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ: By whom also we have access by faith into this grace wherein we stand, and rejoice in hope of the glory of God." Rom 5:1-2
"For through him we both have access by one Spirit unto the Father." Eph 2:18 (see also Eph. 3:12).
John 10:9 I am the door: by me if any man enter in, he shall be saved, and shall go in and out, and find pasture.