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Bible Commentaries

Kingcomments on the Whole Bible

Exodus 28

In Exodus 25-27 we see how God goes out to sinful man.
In Exodus 30 we see how sinful man can approach God.
In Exodus 28-29 we see the way in which man can approach God, and that is only by the priest.

Verse 1

Who May Minister as Priest to God


Not everyone may draw near just like that. God Himself chooses who of the people may do so (Heb 5:4). Everything must meet God’s demands. Only the priest may draw near. Not all the people are priests, although God has said: “You shall be to Me a kingdom of priests” (Exo 19:6).

There is a clear application to Christianity. Not that in Christianity there is a category of people who have been specially called by God as priests. That is one of the serious errors of the roman-catholic church. For the believers of the church there is a common priesthood, they are “a holy priesthood” (1Pet 2:5). The application is that only those who actually draw near to God exercise this priesthood. Many believers do not make use of this privilege. Unfortunately, they often do not know this privilege, often because of wrong teaching.

Verses 2-5

Aaron’s Garments


Aaron’s garments are “for glory and for beauty”. The is quoted in Hebrews 2 in application to the Lord Jesus (Heb 2:9). By this we see that Aaron is a picture of the Lord Jesus as High Priest.

The garments consist of six parts: “A breastpiece and an ephod and a robe and a tunic of checkered work, a turban and a sash.” The material and colors are the same as those from which the tabernacle is made. This closely links Aaron’s priestly ministry to the ministry in the sanctuary, God’s dwelling place.

The garments must be made by all those who are wise of heart. For us, the garments express who the person is. As said, Aaron as high priest is a picture of the Lord Jesus. In Aaron’s garments we see the glories of the Lord Jesus reflected. If we are wise of heart, we will discover more and more glory in Him.

Verses 6-14

The Ephod


The first garment described is “the ephod”. This garment is the most distinctive characteristic for the high priest. By means of a band, made of the same material as the ephod, the ephod is fastened. On each of the two shoulder-pieces of the ephod is put a precious stone. On one stone are, in order of birth, the names of the oldest six sons of Israel; on the other stone, also in that order, are the names of the youngest six sons.

The colors speak of the different glories of the Lord Jesus, as seen in the four Gospels. The band shows the same glories (colors). The band speaks of service (cf. Lk 12:37).

In the stones on the shoulders of the high priest we see in the picture how the Lord Jesus carries all God’s people, all God’s children, all those born of God, on His shoulders to bring them before the LORD for a memorial. His strength, of which the shoulders speak, supports us in our journey through the wilderness. God sees all His own united with His Son. The Lord Jesus represents His people before God.

Christ carries His own on His shoulders. He also carries the lost and found sheep on His shoulders, plural (Lk 15:5). He carries the government of creation rests on His shoulder, singular, as it is in the original Bible text (Isa 9:6b). One shoulder is enough for Him to carry the creation, while He uses both His shoulders to carry His own.

Verses 15-30

The Breastpiece


On the ephod “a breastpiece” is visible. On this breastpiece are four rows of three precious stones placed and inlaid in gold, in total twelve stones. Each stone represents a tribe. Aaron must carry them on his heart and thus bring the whole people before the LORD for a memorial. The breastpiece must be inextricably linked to the ephod with gold chains and rings. The Urim and the Thummim must be placed in the breastpiece. By this God will make His decision clear to questions of His people.

The breastpiece is placed on the heart of Aaron. The heart is the place of love. On the stones that are put on the shoulders are the names of two groups of six tribes. That places more emphasis on the whole people of God. On the breastpiece there is a place for each tribe separately. Thus each individual believer has his own place in the heart of the Lord Jesus.

Every believer is a unique precious stone with its own glory and radiance. It speaks of the preciousness that every believer has for the heart of the Lord Jesus: “Since you are precious in My sight, [since] you are honored and I love you” (Isa 43:4a). He also knows each of his own by name, which also means that they are his property: “I have redeemed you, I have called you by name, you are Mine!” (Isa 43:1b).

We can also apply a tribe to a local church. In the New Testament letters, we see that each local church has its own radiance for the Lord Jesus. The heart of the Lord Jesus desires that it is made visible. That is why the letter addressed to each local church speaks about what prevents this radiance.

The breastpiece also contains the Urim and the Thummim. With personal and collective problems we can turn to the Lord Jesus. The decision which He brings forward comes from His heart. If we think about that, it will make us accept the decisions, also the ones we think are unpleasant, as proof of His love.

Verses 31-35

The Robe


The “robe” is completely blue, the color of the sky. The Lord Jesus is the Man from heaven (1Cor 15:47). The opening at its top is made so that it cannot tear. This indicates that nothing can undo the high-priestly work. The Lord Jesus is High Priest “according to the power of an indestructible life”; He “holds His priesthood permanently” (Heb 7:16; 24).

He exercises His high-priesthood in heaven. The results are being felt on earth. We see that in the hem of the garment. At the hem are a golden bell and a pomegranate. A Divine testimony is given (bell) and there is fruit for God (pomegranate). The sound is heard when entering the sanctuary. After the Lord Jesus entered heaven, the Holy Spirit came to earth to testify and form the church. The coming of the Holy Spirit has been accompanied by “a noise like a violent rushing wind” (Acts 2:2).

When the Lord Jesus comes out again, it will be for Israel. This too will be accompanied by noise, for the Holy Spirit will then be poured out on the faithful remnant (Joel 2:28-32).

Verses 36-39

The Turban with the Plate of Gold


There is not only weakness in the people, where the people need the strength and love of the high priest. There is also sin. With this in mind, he has a plate of pure gold on his forehead. The Lord Jesus, as High Priest, ensures that all iniquity that clings to the actions of the people is disposed of before God. He is holy and through and in Him is His people sanctified.

The “tunic” is not visible to the people. We can apply this to the feelings of the Lord Jesus when exercising His high-priesthood. He is not occupied with His people as standing above them, but He is closely involved. He lives through everything together with His people (Isa 63:9).

The “turban” as head covering speaks of submission (1Cor 11:2-16). As a High Priest, the Lord Jesus is submissive to the will of God. The white linen speaks of His perfection as Man. The multicolored sash is reminiscent of His glory in every form of service.

Verses 40-43

The Garments for the Sons of Aaron


The garments for Aaron’s sons are more limited than those of the high priest. They are the same as Aaron’s ordinary clothes. But also these clothes give them “for glory and for beauty” (Exo 28:2; 40). We may appear before God as priests in the same perfection as the Lord Jesus. He is our perfection. Only in Him are we pleasing to God. Without Him, our bare flesh, our nakedness, becomes manifest. Then God cannot maintain us in His presence.

The consecration of Aaron and his sons will be discussed in detail in the next chapter. It is emphasized here that the priestly ministry is held before God. The high priest is “appointed on behalf of men”, but it is “in things pertaining to God” (Heb 5:1).

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Kingcomments on the Whole Bible © 2021 Author: G. de Koning. All rights reserved. Used with the permission of the author
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Bibliographical Information
de Koning, Ger. Commentaar op Exodus 28". "Kingcomments on the Whole Bible". https://studylight.org/commentaries/eng/kng/exodus-28.html. 'Stichting Titus' / 'Stichting Uitgeverij Daniël', Zwolle, Nederland. 2021.