Exodus 39:1, The holy garments for Aaron. The vestments of the high priest (kohen hagadol) are symbolic of the robes of righteousness that saints should be wearing in preparation for the return of the Messiah.
- Gold symbolizes purity of heart. Blue symbolizes heaven and spirituality.
- White linen pictures robes of righteousness, purity or sinlessness.
- Red represents blood—the blood of Yeshua that cleanses us from sin.
- The high priest wore a belt that represented truth according to Paul (Eph 6:14).
- The white linen pants represented sexual purity. The white turban represented purity of thought and humility (the opposite of conceit).
The high priest also wore a gold crown inscribed with the words, “Kadosh l’YHVH” meaning “Set-Apart to YHVH.”
The dangling pomegranates attached to the hem of his robe represented the fruits of the Spirit of Elohim, which should be manifesting in the life of the saint. The golden bells, also attached to the hem of his robe, jingled when the high priest walked. These symbolized the righteous walk of the saint: people should hear and see our good spiritual fruits. All of our actions speak loudly and clearly as to who we are and what we believe. Also, Yeshua taught that our words reveal the true condition of our heart (Luke 6:45). How, then, do people really view us? What are we like when we are alone—our thought life and our words—our secret life? Is there a discrepancy between our secret and public lives? If so why? How set apart and righteous are we…in reality?
If YHVH has called us to be his set-apart priesthood, then hadn’t we better get busy cleaning up our act and start acting like one?
Jewish tradition tells us that a rope was tied to the leg of the high priest in Second Temple times so that while ministering in the innermost sanctuary of the temple if he was impure and YHVH struck him dead (as happened to Nadab and Abihu, the sons of Aaron, when they offered up strange fire) the corpse could be dragged out by the rope. This teaches us that we should view being righteous and set apart seriously. Remember Hebrews 12:14 which instructs us to, “Follow peace with all men, and holiness, without which no man will see the Master.”
As YHVH commanded Moses. In chapter 39, please observe the fact that all the work of the tabernacle was done “as YHVH commanded Moses” (or phrases similar to this), and these statements are repeated ten times in this chapter. YHVH gave specific instructions concerning the construction of the tabernacle and expected these instructions to be followed to the letter. The tabernacle was the means by which the Israelites were to approach YHVH. Though the physical tabernacle is long gone, it still serves as a blueprint or pattern showing man the steps to reconciliation with his Creator. There is no other way to be reconciled to YHVH except through the steps of redemption outlined in the mishkan. Furthermore, YHVH never gave any human the prerogative to add or subtract from his instructions. Consider the implications of this with regards to our spiritual walk before our Heavenly Father. How important is it to follow all his instructions in righteousness? How often do we mitigate his instructions and reshape them to accommodate us? Isn’t this what the serpent persuaded Adam and Eve to do at the tree of knowledge, which is how sin entered the world?
Exodus 39:30, A crown of pure gold. Exodus 39:30, A crown of pure gold. Why were the words “Set-apart or holiness to YHVH” written on the golden crown that the high priest wore? To answer that question, think of this: What one word best describes who YHVH is? Most Christians would say that love is YHVH’s chief attribute. But is this what the Scriptures teach? Is there an attribute of YHVH’s that is even higher than love? Think of this: What are the six-winged seraphim declaring about YHVH Elohim day and night before his throne? They are continually proclaiming to YHVH Elohim his holiness (Isa 6:5; Rev 4:8), not his love. Now consider this. YHVH made man in his own image (Gen 1:26), and wants man to become like him in character (note Lev 11:44,45; 19:2; 20:7). Now read Revelation 14:1 and compare this with Revelation 7:3. What does YHVH put on the heads of his end-times servants? What are the two noteworthy characteristics of YHVH’s end-time saints? (Note Rev 12:17; 14:12.) Holiness, Torah-obedience and a faith in Yeshua all go hand-in-hand. Now let’s bring this brief discussion full circle. As the high priest of old wore a gold crown inscribed with the words “Holiness to YHVH,” what does YHVH expect of his end-time saints? (See Heb 12:14; 1 Pet 1:15.) What does Peter call the saints of the Holy or Kadosh One of Israel? (See 1 Pet 2:9.) What will YHVH’s saints become in Yeshua’s millennial kingdom? (Read Rev 1:6; 5:10; 20:6.)
The word holiness (Heb. kadosh) as used in the Scriptures simply means “set-apart or the state of that which belongs to the sphere of the sacred, and which is distinct from the common or profane.” Elohim as the Creator is transcendent above his creation or that which is profane, earthly or worldly. Being kadosh isn’t only a positional consideration, but an ethical one as well. The Torah is a reflection of the ethical qualities of Elohim, and is man’s ethical code book showing him how to be holy, set-apart or kadosh as Elohim is. Holiness in the Torah involves what we think, what we say, and what we do. This code of holiness which is a pathway to a relationship with our Father in heaven teaches us how to worship (or love) Elohim, and how to treat (or love) our fellow man. Yeshua, the Living Word or Torah of Elohim (John 1:1, 14) showed us how to walk out the Torah perfectly, and he then empowers us through his Spirit to live out the Torah’s holiness code, but this is another discussion.
Exodus 39:43, Moses did look. We read that, “Moses did look upon all the work, and, behold, they had done it as YHVH had commanded, even so had they done it: and Moses blessed them.” Here Moses is acting as the mediator between Elohim and man (foreshadowing the work of Yeshua). He blessed Israel for the good work they had done in executing YHVH’s instructions in building the mishkan. Similarly, Yeshua will judge all of us, his servants, as to the work we have done in helping to build his spiritual tabernacle or kingdom and will give rewards on the basis of our faithfulness. Have you been a profitable servant? Are you doing everything within your power to serve him, or are you still distracted by the cares of this life from being about your Father’s business? (Read Rev 22:12; 1 John 2:28 and Matt 25:13–30.)
The Priestly Garments — A Prophetic Picture of Yeshua,
Our Great Heavenly High Priest (Exodus 28 and 39)
YHVH instructed the High Priest (Kohen HaGadol) to wear eight vestments while performing his duties in the tabernacle or else his service was invalid. The garments that the high priest wore along with those of the regular priests set them apart from the rest of Israel thereby elevating them in the eyes of Israel for the special and sacred work of Elohim they were doing.
Everything about the high priest’s garments pointed to the Person and work of Yeshua the Messiah, our Great Redeemer, Savior and Heavenly High Priest (Heb 4:14; 5:1–14; 9:11–15, 23–28; 10:10–12).
In our teaching article on the Tabernacle of Moses, we discuss all the garments of the High Priest. From the turban and gold crown he wore on his head, to the gold bells and multicolored pomegranate ornaments he wore as fringes on the bottom of his robe, all was a prophetic picture of Yeshua.
Additionally, the vestments the ordinary priest wore while ministering in the tabernacle point to the robes of righteousness of the Saints. To learn more, you can find this teaching available for free download on our ministry website at http://www.hoshanarabbah.org/pdfs/tabernacle.pdf.