Exodus Chapter Twenty Eight

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In our study of Exodus chapter twenty eight, we look at the garments that were to be worn by the priests when they went to minister in the Holy Place.

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Exodus 28:1

"You are to summon your brother Aharon and his sons to come from among the people of Isra'el to you, so that they can serve me as cohanim - Aharon and his sons Nadav, Avihu, El'azar and Itamar.

Moshe was told by God to call Aharon and his sons to be priests. The Hebrew word is cohanim and it can mean servants or priests and here it is speaking of those that would serve God in the tabernacle. We see that five men were called to be priests and the number five speaks of incompletion and the need for grace. In this, we see that this worship in the tabernacle is going to be incomplete as ultimately the worship of God will be in Spirit and truth which is only possible through Yeshua Messiah.

Exodus 28:2 & 3

You are to make for your brother Aharon garments set apart for serving God, expressing dignity and splendor. Speak to all the craftsmen to whom I have given the spirit of wisdom, and have them make Aharon's garments to set him apart for me, so that he can serve me in the office of cohen.

We see that Aharon was to have special garments to set him apart and that not just any craftsmen could make the clothes or anything that we have seen for the tabernacle. These craftsmen had to have the spirit of wisdom given to them by God.

Exodus 28:4 & 5

"The garments they are to make are these: a breastplate, a ritual vest, a robe, a checkered tunic, a turban and a sash. They are to make holy garments for your brother Aharon and his sons, so that he can serve me in the office of cohen. They are to use gold; blue, purple and scarlet yarn; and fine linen.

We see that there were six pieces of clothing and that number speaks of the fact that man's efforts are insufficient without the grace of God. We also see that they were to use four materials to make these garments and that is a global number speaking of the fact that everyone needs the grace of God and we could not even worship God if it was not for His grace.

Exodus 28:6-8

"They are to make the ritual vest of gold, of blue, purple and scarlet yarn, and of finely woven linen, crafted by a skilled artisan. Attached to its front and back edges are to be two shoulder-pieces that can be fastened together. Its decorated belt is to be of the same workmanship and materials - gold; blue, purple and scarlet yarn; and finely woven linen.

The vest is to be held up by two shoulder straps and have a belt.

Exodus 28:9-12

Take two onyx stones and engrave on them the names of the sons of Isra'el - six of their names on one stone and the six remaining names on the other, in the order of their birth. An engraver should engrave the names of the sons of Isra'el on the two stones as he would engrave a seal. Mount the stones in gold settings, and put the two stones on the shoulder-pieces of the vest as stones calling to mind the sons of Isra'el. Aharon is to carry their names before ADONAI on his two shoulders as a reminder.

The Hebrew word shoham is translated here as onyx but we do not actually know what kind of stone this refers to and that reminds us that it is not even possible for us to make the same things that are mentioned here because we have not seen the pattern that God revealed to Moshe. Each of these stones is to have six of the names of the tribes of Israel engraved into them and they are to be put into gold settings that are attached to the shoulder straps of the vest. Emphasis is put on the fact that these stones are to be a remembrance of the twelve tribes and, anytime we see remembering in the Torah, it has to do with a covenant. In this case, the covenant is that these priests will be doing their service to God in behalf of the people of Israel and they are to constantly be reminded of this fact.

Exodus 28:13 & 14

"Make gold squares and two chains of pure gold, twisted like cords; attach the cord-like chains to the squares.

These gold squares are attached to the shoulder straps and have gold chains hanging from them.

Exodus 28:15 & 16

"Make a breastplate for judging. Have it crafted by a skilled artisan; make it like the work of the ritual vest - make it of gold; blue, purple and scarlet yarn; and finely woven linen. When folded double it is to be square - a hand-span by a hand-span.

In verse four, when the breast plate was mentioned, it was just called a breastplate but now we see that it is a breastplate of justice. This is to be made of the same materials as the vest and it is to be folded over creating a square pouch.

Exodus 28:17-21

Put on it settings of stones, four rows of stones: the first row is to be a carnelian, a topaz and an emerald; the second row a green feldspar, a sapphire and a diamond; the third row an orange zircon, an agate and an amethyst; and the fourth row a beryl, an onyx and a jasper. They are to be mounted in their gold settings. The stones will correspond to the names of the twelve sons of Isra'el; they are to be engraved with their names as a seal would be engraved, to represent the twelve tribes.

We see that the breastplate has four rows with three stones in each row and the name of one of the tribes engraved on each stone. The names of the stones are given in this translation but for the most part they are guesses as we do not know the words that were used for the stones in the Hebrew text.

Exodus 28:22-25

"On the breastplate, make two pure gold chains twisted like cords. Also for the breastplate, make two gold rings; and put the gold rings on the two ends of the breastplate. Put the two twisted gold chains in the two rings at the two ends of the breastplate; attach the other two ends of the twisted chains to the front of the shoulder-pieces of the ritual vest.

We see that the breastplate was to be connected to the settings in the shoulder straps using gold chains and gold rings.

Exodus 28:26-28

Make two gold rings and put them on the two ends of the breastplate, at its edge, on the side facing in toward the vest. Also make two gold rings and attach them low on the front part of the vest's shoulder-pieces, near the join, above the vest's decorated belt. Then bind the breastplate by its rings to the rings of the vest with a blue cord, so that it can be on the vest's decorated belt, and so that the breastplate won't swing loose from the vest.

On the bottom of the breastplate there was gold rings and blue cords tied the gold rings to the vest so that the breastplate did not swing out away from the vest.

Exodus 28:29 & 30

Aharon will carry the names of the sons of Isra'el on the breastplate for judging, over his heart, when he enters the Holy Place, as a continual reminder before ADONAI. You are to put the urim and the tumim in the breastplate for judging; they will be over Aharon's heart when he goes into the presence of ADONAI. Thus Aharon will always have the means for making decisions for the people of Isra'el over his heart when he is in the presence of ADONAI.

The pouch in the breastplate was to be used to carry the umim and tumim which we are told were tools that Aharon was to use to make decisions concerning the children of Israel. They are carried over his heart but we do not know much more about them.

Exodus 28:31-35

"You are to make the robe for the ritual vest entirely of blue. It is to have an opening for the head in the middle. Around the opening is to be a border woven like the neck of a coat of mail, so that it won't tear. On its bottom hem make pomegranates of blue, purple and scarlet; and put them all the way around, with gold bells between them all the way around - gold bell, pomegranate, gold bell, pomegranate, all the way around the hem of the robe. Aharon is to wear it when he ministers, and its sound will be heard whenever he enters the Holy Place before ADONAI and when he leaves, so that he won't die.

Aharon was to wear a special robe made of blue yarn and on the hem were bells and pomegranates. We see that the bells were to be heard when he ministered in the holy place and that was what kept him from being killed.

Exodus 28:36-38

"You are to make an ornament of pure gold and engrave on it as on a seal, 'Set apart for ADONAI.' Fasten it to the turban with a blue cord, on the front of the turban, over Aharon's forehead. Because Aharon bears the guilt for any errors committed by the people of Isra'el in consecrating their holy gifts, this ornament is always to be on his forehead, so that the gifts for ADONAI will be accepted by him.

Now, we see a golden head plate that was to be engraved with the phrase "Set apart for Adonai" and it was to be connected to the turban with blue cords and it was to be upon Aharon's forehead. We see that it was to sanctify the offerings that the people brought to the Lord and to make up for anything that they did wrong in bringing the gifts.

Exodus 28:39-41

"You are to weave the checkered tunic of fine linen, make a turban of fine linen, and make a belt, the work of a weaver in colors. Likewise for Aharon's sons make tunics, sashes and headgear expressing dignity and splendor. With them clothe your brother Aharon and his sons. Then anoint them, inaugurate them, and consecrate them, so that they will be able to serve me in the office of cohen.

A tunic was to be made as well as a turban and a belt but we see that the sons of Aharon were to have these garments as well as Aharon. Then, Moshe was to dress them, consecrate them, and to give them authority in the sight of the people.

Exodus 28:42 & 43

Also make for them linen shorts reaching from waist to thigh, to cover their bare flesh. Aharon and his sons are to wear them when they go into the tent of meeting and when they approach the altar to minister in the Holy Place, so that they won't incur guilt and die. This is to be a perpetual regulation, both for him and for his descendants.

Finally, we see that linen shorts are to be made and worn by all of the priests. These would be like modern boxer shorts made of linen and they had to be worn whenever they went to minister in the Holy Place. In all of this, we see that things had to be done in a proper manner for worship and, if they were not, the result was death.

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