The text before us describes a portion of the ceremony in which Aaron and his sons were made priests for Israel. The ceremony was conducted at the door of the tabernacle.
In verse 2, the Lord instructed Moses to take Aaron and his sons and the garments, anointing oil, a bullock for the sin offering, two rams, and a basket of unleavened bread. The garments and the anointing oil were manufactured according to instructions given Moses when he was on Mount Sinai (see Ex. 28:4-42, 30:23-24).
This ceremony and all that transpires in the book of Leviticus took place between the completion of the tabernacle on the first day of the first month of the second year (see Ex. 40:17) and the twentieth day of the second month of the second year (see Num. 10:11).
Moses did all that the Lord commanded him to do. All that Moses did was observed by the congregation of Israel. In doing as the Lord commanded, Moses created pictures that the Lord intended His people to see. They saw Moses bring Aaron and his sons brought before them (v. 6). They saw Aaron and his sons clothed in linen breeches covering them from their loins to their thighs (see Ex. 28:42, 39:28). They saw Moses wash Aaron and his sons. They saw Moses place a coat upon Aaron. This coat is described in Exodus 28:39 and 39:27. It was of fine linen which had been woven and embroidered by individuals who were filled with wisdom of heart to work all manner of work with cunning workmanship (see Ex. 35:35).
The next thing which the people saw was Moses gird Aaron with a girdle. The girdle was needlework of fine twined linen of blue, purple and scarlet (see Ex. 39:29). The girdle, like the coat, was fashioned according to God’s instruction. Moses then placed a robe upon Aaron. The robe was blue in color and sleeveless. It featured a seamless opening for Aaron’s head. The people would notice embroidered pomegranates of blue, purple and scarlet on the hem of the robe and golden bells attached to the hem.
They saw Moses place the curious girdle of the ephod around the robe about Aaron’s waist. The curious girdle was fine twined linen of blue, purple and scarlet interwoven with threads of gold (Ex. 39:3, 5).
Moses then placed the ephod on Aaron. It was, like the curious girdle, gold, blue, purple and scarlet fine twined linen. The people would have observed the onyx stones in gold settings on the shoulder pieces and the gold rings to which the breastplate would be fastened.
They saw Moses fasten the breastplate to the ephod. Upon the breastplate, they would have seen the 12 settings of precious stones representing the tribes of Israel. They would have seen Moses place the Urim and the Thummin in the breastplate.
They would have seen Moses place the mitre upon Aaron’s head. They would have seen the plate of gold on the mitre upon which was engraved “Holiness to the Lord.”
Then, they saw Moses take the anointing oil and sprinkle the altar and vessels of the tabernacle seven times. The last thing in the text before which they saw was Moses pouring the anointing oil upon Aaron’s head.
New Testament believers, empowered by the Holy Spirit, see more than Israel saw. Believers note that Aaron and his sons did not cleanse themselves. They were cleansed by Moses to whom God spoke from the burning bush. They were made clean, not by washing, but, by authority bestowed upon Moses by I AM the Lord God. Believers have been made clean by God such that we may serve Him.
Believers note that the coat and the breeches provided a covering of the flesh. The coat and breeches were manufactured by artisans who were filled with the spirit of wisdom by the Lord (see Ex. 28:3). As the Lord God covered the nakedness of Aaron and His sons, He has covered our nakedness such that we might offer up acceptable spiritual sacrifices (I Pet. 2:5).
Believers note the girdle which holds the coat in place. It, like all priestly garments, was fashioned according to the Lord’s instruction. We note the blue, purple and scarlet color. Blue speaks of God’s power and majesty, purple of royalty and kingship, and scarlet of power and blood. The covering of our nakedness is held in place by colors which speak of God.
The robe, the outer garment, visible to all, portrays priestly service. The priestly service of believers, like the robe, is to be beautiful to the eyes and as golden bells to the ears. The ephod and the breastplate speak of that which testifies of that which is in the heart below. Aaron was to minister to the body of Israel with all his heart. Believers are, likewise, to minister with all our heart. We are to love one another as He loves us.
The mitre upon Aaron’s head testified of God’s holiness. Our priestly service, likewise, is to be a testimony of His holiness. The anointing oil which Moses poured on Aaron’s head is symbolic of the Spirit which pours out upon all who seek to do His will in all things.
The children of Israel saw a ceremony. Believers see the manner in which God empowers us to do His will. Let us not shy from our callings.