Exodus 28:1-8 KJV And take thou unto thee Aaron thy brother, and his sons with him, from among the children of Israel, that he may minister unto me in the priest's office, even Aaron, Nadab and Abihu, Eleazar and Ithamar, Aaron's sons.  And thou shalt make holy garments for Aaron thy brother for glory and for beauty.  And thou shalt speak unto all that are wise hearted, whom I have filled with the spirit of wisdom, that they may make Aaron's garments to consecrate him, that he may minister unto me in the priest's office.  And these are the garments which they shall make; a breastplate, and an ephod, and a robe, and a broidered coat, a mitre, and a girdle: and they shall make holy garments for Aaron thy brother, and his sons, that he may minister unto me in the priest's office.  And they shall take gold, and blue, and purple, and scarlet, and fine linen.  And they shall make the ephod of gold, of blue, and of purple, of scarlet, and fine twined linen, with cunning work.  It shall have the two shoulderpieces thereof joined at the two edges thereof; and so it shall be joined together.  And the curious girdle of the ephod, which is upon it, shall be of the same, according to the work thereof; even of gold, of blue, and purple, and scarlet, and fine twined linen.
Exodus 28:39-40 KJV And thou shalt embroider the coat of fine linen, and thou shalt make the mitre of fine linen, and thou shalt make the girdle of needlework.  And for Aaron's sons thou shalt make coats, and thou shalt make for them girdles, and bonnets shalt thou make for them, for glory and for beauty.
Exodus 39:27 KJV And they made coats of fine linen of woven work for Aaron, and for his sons,
Leviticus 6:8-10 KJV And the LORD spake unto Moses, saying,  Command Aaron and his sons, saying, This is the law of the burnt offering: It is the burnt offering, because of the burning upon the altar all night unto the morning, and the fire of the altar shall be burning in it.  And the priest shall put on his linen garment, and his linen breeches shall he put upon his flesh, and take up the ashes which the fire hath consumed with the burnt offering on the altar, and he shall put them beside the altar.
Leviticus 8:6-7 KJV And Moses brought Aaron and his sons, and washed them with water.  And he put upon him the coat, and girded him with the girdle, and clothed him with the robe, and put the ephod upon him, and he girded him with the curious girdle of the ephod, and bound it unto him therewith.
Leviticus 16:4 KJV He shall put on the holy linen coat, and he shall have the linen breeches upon his flesh, and shall be girded with a linen girdle, and with the linen mitre shall he be attired: these are holy garments; therefore shall he wash his flesh in water, and so put them on.
I. INTRODUCTION—THE IMPORTANCE OF SPIRITUAL PREPARATION
In both of the last two lessons of this series, there has been an underlying theme emerging—the necessity of spiritual preparation as we enter into the place of worship. The reason that we find the necessity of preparation is because of the order that God has established with every aspect of all that He has done.
There was order in creation, there was order in the Garden (until sin fractured it), there was order established in the Law of Moses, there was order in the various aspects of worship in the Tabernacle and Temple, and we find there is order that God established even in His work of judgment and wrath in Revelation.
Once this aspect of order can be grasped in our heart, it has much to do with the way that we approach worship. There should be honor and reverence that takes place when we are afforded the opportunity to come into the presence of the Lord. Because of the nature of New Testament worship, the place we come to worship has to have that same sense of gravity and respect that the priests did in Old Testament. The form of worship has changed but the nature of worship has not changed!
There are some aspects of New Testament worship that cannot be sacrificed in our era of time. In fact, our worship has to be more Word-focused than it has ever been. There are three simple elements of NT worship that is found to be in order:
• Preach the Word—2 Tim. 4:2; 2:24; 1 Tim. 4:13; 3:2; Titus 1:9; Acts 2:42; 20:7-8; Col. 1:25.
• Edify the Body—Eph. 4:12; 1 Cor. 14:12.
• Honor the Lord—Heb. 12:28-29; 10:24-25.
In the opening passage of Exodus 28 there is a crucial lesson to be learned about corporate worship—worship that has a congregational implication. God told Moses to gather Aaron and his sons as a group but when the instructions were given concerning the aspect of ministry, it was to take place as a single unit that he may minister unto me in the priest’s office.
Peter noted this aspect of the priesthood of believers in his first epistle in this manner:
1 Peter 2:5 KJV Ye also, as lively stones, are built up a spiritual house, an holy priesthood, to offer up spiritual sacrifices, acceptable to God by Jesus Christ.
1 Peter 2:9-10 KJV But ye are a chosen generation, a royal priesthood, an holy nation, a peculiar people; that ye should shew forth the praises of him who hath called you out of darkness into his marvellous light:  Which in time past were not a people, but are now the people of God: which had not obtained mercy, but now have obtained mercy.
However it must be clear in our understanding that we cannot function in the priesthood alone. There is a great difference in the aspect of our worship when we are in private devotion as compared to those moments of corporate worship. There are aspects of private worship that cannot be replicated in corporate worship and vice versa. We are God’s habitation both in the private aspect of worship and in the public attendance of worship. This is one of the great paradoxes of being a saint of God. I would even go as far to say that when either one of these components of worship is neglected that we cannot really serve the Lord Jesus Christ as effectively. We do ourselves great injustice and to God also when we neglect either aspect of worship—private or public. There are some who say that they can worship at home but this violates the New Testament mandate of worship.
All throughout the New Testament there are examples of public meetings—prayer meetings, apostolic instruction, administrative matters, communion, and even a time for singing (Col. 3:16). Coming together for public worship is a time of encouragement and strength for every saint who is willing to put a priority on it. The trend for our times is to have less corporate worship when the need of the hour is for more corporate worship!
II. THE LINEN COAT
The last lesson dealt with the linen breeches which was a type of the covering of the flesh. All of this was covered by this linen coat. There were only two people who knew if the linen breeches had been put on—the priest and God. He could walk into the place of worship, sacrifice, prayer, reverence and honor with the linen coat on and it was necessary for him to have on the linen breeches.
The lesson of the linen breeches simply brings up the principle of the necessity the inner life that we need to make a commitment to live out. It is in the deep recesses of the soul that there are things that only God can speak to. The reality is that God desires to immerse our hearts in His purpose.
Psalms 51:6 KJV Behold, thou desirest truth in the inward parts: and in the hidden part thou shalt make me to know wisdom.
Romans 7:22 KJV For I delight in the law of God after the inward man:
Jeremiah 31:33 KJV But this shall be the covenant that I will make with the house of Israel; After those days, saith the LORD, I will put my law in their inward parts, and write it in their hearts; and will be their God, and they shall be my people.
1 Peter 3:4 KJV But let it be the hidden man of the heart, in that which is not corruptible, even the ornament of a meek and quiet spirit, which is in the sight of God of great price.
Despite the desire of God to fill our inward man with truth, there is the constant battle with the fleshly, carnal man that wants to give rise to things that are not holy and reverent. The soul is in constant need of cleansing by the Spirit and the Word. The linen coat will show the necessity of the external righteousness that deals with behavior and conduct. But the linen breeches speak to the need for inward holiness that deals with having a heart that is right with God. We can fool many people around us with our behavior and have a sense of simulated holiness but our heart can be far from God.
Luke 11:39 KJV And the Lord said unto him, Now do ye Pharisees make clean the outside of the cup and the platter; but your inward part is full of ravening and wickedness.
Luke 16:15 KJV And he said unto them, Ye are they which justify yourselves before men; but God knoweth your hearts: for that which is highly esteemed among men is abomination in the sight of God.
2 Chronicles 25:2 KJV And he did that which was right in the sight of the LORD, but not with a perfect heart.
But it is also important to understand that over time, what rules in the heart will ultimately come out in the behavior. That is why it is crucial for all men to have an inclination toward guarding the heart (Prov. 4:23).
A. For Beauty and For Glory
These garments that were to be made for the priesthood were to be for beauty and for glory. Beauty has to do with appearance and conduct. When one says that something is beautiful they are giving an expression to the idea that it is attractive and pleasant to look at. God was giving Moses the instructions that these garments were to cover imperfect men so that when they came to worship that the moral imperfections and character flaws would be covered by something that is beautiful.
1 Chronicles 16:29 KJV Give unto the LORD the glory due unto his name: bring an offering, and come before him: worship the LORD in the beauty of holiness.
2 Chronicles 20:21 KJV And when he had consulted with the people, he appointed singers unto the LORD, and that should praise the beauty of holiness, as they went out before the army, and to say, Praise the LORD; for his mercy endureth for ever.
Psalms 29:2 KJV Give unto the LORD the glory due unto his name; worship the LORD in the beauty of holiness.
Psalms 96:9 KJV O worship the LORD in the beauty of holiness: fear before him, all the earth.
We need to be alarmed when there is a tendency to mock holiness or when there isn’t a priority that is placed on it. This beauty of holiness is to serve as a covering for imperfect flesh.
It is also understood that these garments were for glory. Glory is an aspect of character. Glory is the visible manifestation of the invisible attributes of God. There are certain aspects of those attributes of God that we cannot see but when they are acted out as expressions of God’s grace then we can stand back and look at the visible expression of the glory of God.
How did common man see God? It is answered by John:
John 1:14 KJV And the Word was made flesh, and dwelt among us, (and we beheld his glory, the glory as of the only begotten of the Father,) full of grace and truth.
That generation saw a Man who was perfect in His conduct. His emotions were always in absolute control. He expressed anger in the cleansing of the Temple but it was a holy anger that was pure and completely free of the dark human passions that have soiled men all throughout history. We can see the purity of His honesty when He is addressing the twisted questions that the Pharisees and Sadducees served up to Him. When there is an examination of the life of the Lord in the Gospels, we are constantly coming in contact with the beauty and glory of God being walked out in the world.
Moses was instructed to make garments that were to manifest both beauty and glory to cover Aaron and his sons. If the physical covering worked on the Old Testament priesthood in such a manner then the same spiritual covering of beauty and glory is afforded to every New Testament saint who has been born again!
B. Embroidered of Fine Linen
Everything about the design of the garments were supernaturally directed, there was to be nothing common about them. From a distance the coat might appear to be very common and without fanfare but the work that went into its construction required great skill and dedication to the task. It was only when you came near the coat that the detail of its skill was seen.
The work of embroidery was accomplished by Bezaleel and Aholiab. These men were set aside by God. They were appointed and equipped to do the work of God. Their skill came because of a special anointing that came from God.
It is important not to confuse the linen coat with the robe of blue or the ephod which would be a covering over this linen coat or tunic. This linen coat was of a personal nature that the high priest would wear under all of the official and more beautiful garments that would be layered on. The linen coat served as a foundation for all that he would later put on in his service for the Lord.
It is of great importance to know that on the Day of Atonement the high priest would only be attired in the coat of fine linen. The great connection with the Lord is that when He went to Calvary, He did not come with his universal dominion and authority but rather in the perfection of a sinless and perfect life.
Coming into the presence of the Lord was a life and death matter for the OT priest. It should have the same kind of impact on our lives as well. The fine linen ultimately speaks of the sinless and righteous nature of Jesus Christ.
III. CONCLUSION—A PICTURE FROM ZECHARIAH
With that thought in mind, we need to clearly understand that only those who are holy will survive in the Day of Judgment. The prophet Zechariah saw a man who was in great need of the Lord’s work of salvation in his life.
Zechariah 3:1-7 KJV And he shewed me Joshua the high priest standing before the angel of the LORD, and Satan standing at his right hand to resist him.  And the LORD said unto Satan, The LORD rebuke thee, O Satan; even the LORD that hath chosen Jerusalem rebuke thee: is not this a brand plucked out of the fire?  Now Joshua was clothed with filthy garments, and stood before the angel.  And he answered and spake unto those that stood before him, saying, Take away the filthy garments from him. And unto him he said, Behold, I have caused thine iniquity to pass from thee, and I will clothe thee with change of raiment.  And I said, Let them set a fair mitre upon his head. So they set a fair mitre upon his head, and clothed him with garments. And the angel of the LORD stood by.  And the angel of the LORD protested unto Joshua, saying,  Thus saith the LORD of hosts; If thou wilt walk in my ways, and if thou wilt keep my charge, then thou shalt also judge my house, and shalt also keep my courts, and I will give thee places to walk among these that stand by.
This priest, Joshua, was in a terrible predicament because he was not wearing the appropriate clothes to be in the presence of the Lord. He should have been wearing a white linen coat of spotless white. Instead he had on filthy garments. The Hebrew word for “filthy” means “filth, specifically human waste.” What Zechariah was observing was a picture of the sinfulness of man. Man in his efforts of self-righteousness seeks to cover it with self-justification, internal rationalizations and out-right denial. He has been so accustomed to his state of sin that it no longer bothers him.
There was no way for Joshua to be able to withstand the righteousness of God in his present state. However instead of receiving the judgment he should have received because of his guilt, God removes the clothes that have been soiled with sin and replaces them with beautiful and clean garments. This is a picture of the grace of God which removes the filth of sin and replaces them with the garments of grace. When God did this, Zechariah saw the active work of the atonement through Jesus Christ.
Ultimately the whole idea of being clothed with the linen coat is a commitment to holiness. How we think about God, His Word, and His church will directly affect the way that we live and worship. If there is a high view of all three of these things it will cause a greater commitment and determination to come into our life. Furthermore it will greatly contribute to healthy spiritual growth. By making a commitment to this lifestyle, greater vigilance will prevail on us so that we do not let our spiritual life erode.
March 27, 2013