The numerous sacrifices and observances of the Mosaic Law as recorded in the first five books of our bible were given in minute detail and observed with scrupulous exactness; not because there was really any good in them, "for by the deeds of the law shall no flesh be justified in God's sight," and "the blood of bulls and goats could never take away sin," but these were used as pictures or shadows of realities which were future. (Heb. 1:10) The amount of reliance which can be placed in the accuracy of these pictures can be judged from the strictness with which the Jews were obliged to obey them, and the severe penalties (generally death) administered in case of violation; and also from the words of our Lord; "One jot or one tittle shall in no wise pass from the Law until all be fulfilled" (Matt. 5:18).
This being true, how anxious should we be to closely read the meaning of these pictures which required years for their execution, and which shadow forth minutely all the various features of the work of at-one-ment between God and all sinners.
It is not all one picture but there are quite a number. We find them, so to speak, all grouped together. There are usually three or four pictures to each group, related to each other as being views of the same subject from various standpoints of observation; and then all the various groups of subjects are related to each other, and when all are properly arranged before our mental vision, each shows some special feature of the work of atonement and each adds value to the other. But why the mixture—why not told in plain words that all might understand? For the same reason has the spirit chosen to cover and hide beauties of truth under these types that he has in the book of Revelation and elsewhere hidden truth under symbols, i.e., that it might be known only as it becomes due, and then only to those "to whom it is given to know the mysteries of the kingdom, but to those that are without (not disciples) all these things are spoken in parables" and symbols and types. Luke 8:10. Let us, asking wisdom of Him who giveth liberally, endeavor to arrange before our minds some of these pictures and try to drink in their true meaning and thereby be refreshed.
This, under the "Law," was the ceremony for the installation to God's service as high-priest. The form is described in Exod. 29 and Lev. 8. Aaron was anointed to his office with a peculiar oil not used on any one except the high-priest, and not lawful for any to have or to make under penalty of death. Exod. 30:25-32. This doubtless typified the Holy Spirit.
For this service Aaron was washed and attired in the holy garments of "glory and of beauty." Exod. 28. Then the anointing oil was poured upon his head. Thus was Jesus, our High-Priest, robed and anointed. He needed not the washing as did the type, for he was "holy, harmless, undefiled." The linen "coat" represents him as pure and righteous; the girdle is the symbol of a servant; the linen girdle showing him to be a "righteous servant." The robe of blue of one piece shows his heavenly nature (blue is the color of the peaceful heavens). The Ephod, made of two separate pieces, suspended the one before and the other behind him by two golden clasps which rested upon his shoulders, representing, we think, the two great covenants, the front one the Abrahamic and the back one the "new" covenant. These, though separate and distinct, are both seen to be dependent on him for their support and accomplishment. (It should be remembered that we are in him heirs of glory, not under the "new covenant," which is still future, but in the "Abrahamic covenant.") They were made of "gold, blue, purple, scarlet and fine twined linen," representing the blessings contained in those covenants: gold—spiritual blessings; blue—heavenly peace; purple—royalty of earth; scarlet—the unchangeable character of the covenant (scarlet was regarded as the most enduring of all colors); and linen—that righteousness was one of the conditions. As there was "none righteous" but Jesus, humanity would have failed to be benefited by these glorious covenants had not God "laid help upon one who was mighty." Both covenants would have fallen to the ground had not the golden clasp given them a resting on him.
There was a "curious girdle" of the same materials as the ephod, which bound these two pieces (covenants) to him around the waist. This designates him a servant of a "curious" or peculiar kind; a servant combining the various qualities expressed by the gold, blue, purple, scarlet and linen. Yes, he was the Royal servant the "messenger (servant) of the covenant."
Over the front part of the ephod was the breastplate; It was suspended by a golden chain from the gold clasp of his shoulders and was fastened to the ephod below by a lacer through golden rings—this fastening being so concealed underneath, that to the observer it might appear to be part of the ephod. This breastplate represents beautifully The Mosaic Law. It is not a part of the Abrahamic covenant "It was added." Gal. 3:18. As the Jew regarded them, not seeing the hidden connection, the covenant to Abraham and "the law which was 430 years after" were all one. But Paul shows that God according to the covenant intended to justify all in his "seed." The Law emblem, was one of the most beautiful of the High Priests garments, made of the same materials as the ephod. It had in it, set in gold, twelve precious jewels, in which were engraved the names of the twelve tribes. It was bound on his heart, indicating that he was able to carry the Law as a covering of his inmost affections and that as a breastplate of righteousness," it covered him. "The Law of his God was in his heart." Psa. 37:31. That which condemned all others was his pleasure, "I delight to do thy will, O my God: yea thy law is within my heart." Psa. 40:8.
This breastplate was two spans long and one wide folded in the middle so it really was a span long and a span wide double. The size—a span indicating that the law was the full measure of a perfect man—his ability. Jesus was the only perfect man who ever kept "The Law." Being double, of the same size and same measure represents the Jewish and Gospel ages. Fastened at the fold or centre to the golden clasps illustrates how his cross—his death—was the dividing point and how we are "justified in him from all things." So that borne by him we are in God's sight justified. It illustrates too what we have found frequently elsewhere taught, viz: That the two ages are of equal size and equal measure." The Jewish, a perfect type or picture of this age.
The breastplate was studded with jewels set in gold representative of the true Israel. "They shall be mine saith the Lord in the day that I come to make up my Jewels." Thus fastened in gold—imbedded spiritually in Jesus we his jewels, have "The righteousness of the Law fulfilled in us." Rom. 8:4. Aaron as he stood forth clothed in these "garments of beauty and glory" was a beautiful figure of our High-Priest who appeared among men clothed by the Father with power and authority, as his representative to carry out his covenant promises.
As he stood there, beside him stood the animals for sacrifice showing that the sacrifices were as much a part of God's pre-arranged plan as the covenants or any other feature. He was anointed with oil as Jesus was "Anointed with the oil of gladness above his fellows." "He giveth not the spirit by measure unto him." John saw and bore record that Our [R72 : page 2] High-Priest was thus anointed. (Jno. 1:32, Luke 4:1.) The holy oil was poured upon the head but "ran down even to the skirts of his garments." (Psa. 133:2.)—thus representing how we, the members of his body, are all to be partakers of the same anointing after our head. This oil began to reach the body on the day of Pentecost and flows on down the ages anointing all who are truly his—covered by his robes.
The sons of Aaron—"his house" represents us—"whose house are we"—as they were washed and clothed in a linen coat and girdled, we are taught that if we be of his house we are justified thereby and reckoned of God—Righteous. They had bonnets while Aaron had none, (He wore a mitre on his forehead and a gold crown inscribed "Holiness to the Lord.") Their heads were covered to illustrate that they were not the head, but "under authority;" illustrating how God gave Christ "to be the head over all things to the church which is his body." 1 Cor. 1:22 and 4:15.
Aaron as he stood robed and anointed represented the entire church, head and body—Jesus and his church. "The seed" in whom "all the families of the Earth shall be blessed." They are covered with the covenants and authority of their position and anointed for their work. But remember,—the anointing oil must flow down and cover every member of the body and this requires the entire gospel age for its accomplishment.