31 “You should make the robe worn with the ephod entirely of blue. 32 It should have an opening for the head in the middle of it, with a woven binding around the opening, like the opening in a garment, so that it may not tear. 33 On its hem you should 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 should be on Aaron when he ministers, and its sound should be heard when he goes into the Holy Place before the LORD, and when he comes out, so that he does not die. 36 “You should make a plate of pure gold and engrave on it, like the engraving of a signet, ‘Holy to the LORD.’ 37 And you should fasten it on the turban by a cord of blue. It should be on the front of the turban. 38 It should be on Aaron’s forehead, and Aaron should bear any guilt from the holy things that the people of Israel consecrate as their holy gifts. It should regularly be on his forehead, that they may be accepted before the LORD. 39 “You should weave the coat in checker work of fine linen, and you should make a turban of fine linen, and you should make a sash embroidered with needlework. 40 “For Aaron’s sons you should make coats and sashes and headbands. You should make them for glory and beauty. 41 And you should put them on Aaron your brother, and on his sons with him, and should anoint them and ordain them and consecrate them, that they may serve me as priests. 42 You should make for them linen undergarments to cover their naked flesh. They should reach from the hips to the thighs; 43 and they should 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 should be a statute forever for him and for his offspring after him.
There is an entire industry providing access to protective clothing and gear for those who whose occupation or recreational life puts them in dangerous situations. For every vulnerability, there is an appropriate device or garment that is designed to protect and preserve wholeness and health.
Moses received instruction about protective clothing for the priests who would serve in the tabernacle. The clothing they wore had to be beautiful and glorious like the LORD himself. But it also had to be made and worn to precise specifications or else the wearers would face immediate death. The God who had rescued his people from Israel did so by grace. But he also did so with displays of deadly power, punishing the guilty with death for defying his wishes.
So, it should come as no surprise to readers when they hear warnings that the priests should not dress casually in the presence of their God. To go into his presence, even for the high priest, without the proper ritual warning bells, meant immediate death. To miss the slightest detail, even something unseen like the proper undergarment, meant bearing guilt and dying.
At the return of Christ, all believers will put on their heavenly dwelling, a glorious immortal body1 that will be fit for coming and going in the presence of our God, the consuming fire.2 But for today, we are instructed to put on Christ himself. He serves as our armor protecting us when we engage the enemy,3 and our protective clothing, giving access to God’s throne of grace.4 Because of him, we can come boldly into the LORD’s presence.
Jesus, thank you for giving us access into your Father’s presence, serving as our great sinless high priest. Thank you for the promise of an eternal life in your kingdom when you return, and thank you for being our protection today, both from the enemy as we do battle, and from the consuming fire of your own power.
- 1 Corinthians 15:53; 2 Corinthians 5:2
- Deuteronomy 4:24; 9:3; Isaiah 33:14; Hebrews 12:29
- Romans 13:12-14
- Galatians 3:27; Ephesians 3:12; Hebrews 4:16