How the High Priest Wardrobe Foreshadows Jesus Christ

by Jack Wellman · Print Print · Email Email

What did all the colors, bells, and stones represent on the high priest’s clothing?

Purpose

God never does anything by mistake or without purpose, therefore the high priest’s wardrobe is made with specific purposes in mind. God did not think that the blue would match the gold well, or that the purple and white would go well with one another so the priest would look pretty sharp. No. God was not concerned with the latest fashion trends in Egypt. There is great symbolism in every part of High Priest’s wardrobe. Each item, each thread, each detail points to the holiness of God, and even further, the righteousness of God in Jesus Christ. The Book of Leviticus’ sacrificial system foreshadowed the coming work of Jesus Christ and the overriding theme of the Book of Leviticus is that God is holy; therefore His people must be holy. By far, holiness is mentioned in the Book of Leviticus than any other book in the Bible (152 times!).

Righteousness and White

Each of the pieces of clothing, including their materials and colors, all pointed to Jesus Christ the Messiah (the “Anointed”), the Great High Priest of God and our Great High Priest if we hope to enter heaven. First, the four white linen vestments represent purity. It’s very interesting that the Hebrew word for linen means “separation.” Jesus was set apart for holy use by the Father (sanctified); separate from the world, and so must we be. Purity and separation from the world are both perfect symbols of the life of Christ and should be for all believers too. The Apostle John mentions the white seamless robes worn by the priests in a way by mentioning Jesus also wore a seamless robe (see John 19:23).

Bells and Pomegranates

On the blue outer robe there were alternating bells and pomegranate tassels attached. Inevitably, when the High Priest would walk around, everyone around him would remember that they were in the presence of the High Priest because they could hear the bells. This was to announce that they were representative of the Lord God. The pomegranate in the scriptures represents fruitfulness, posterity, and prosperity. Why? Maybe it’s because in one single pomegranate, you’ll find hundreds of seeds. God desired the nation would be fruitful and be an example to the surrounding nations, but of course, they ultimately failed. Jesus did not fail. He was fruitful to the max, bringing millions of children into the kingdom. It is through the atonement of the Messiah that millions of the children of God are made heirs of His kingdom.

The Forehead

In almost every Bible verse you read, the forehead represents a person’s thoughts or what they dwell on and loves or desires. It is for the very same reason that the Mosaic High Priest wore an engraved gold signet on his forehead that read “Holiness to the Lord” (Ex 28:36-38). The purpose was to remind us to have only good and godly thoughts in our minds and to avoid anything evil which would break God’s laws.

The Ephod and Breastplate

Some of the High Priest’s apparel was more expensive, and that included the ephod and the breastplate. Scripture tells us that the stones on the two shoulders were engraved with the names of the twelve tribes of Israel. These symbolically represented the High Priest bearing or carrying Israel upon his shoulders at all times. That is what Christ has done for us. He has born all our sorrows, grief’s, and of course, our sins and does so at all times. The reason the twelve stones were on the breastplate was to signify the High Priest holding Israel close to His heart (Ex 28:12). As Christ atoned for our sins in the Garden of Gethsemane, and by dying on the cross of Calvary, He carried what we could not and (Matt 11:28-30) and we are secure in His and the Father’s hands (John 10:28-29).

Blue and Gold

The blue robe, the ephod and the breastplate were all made of linen. They were all made of the same five colors; gold, blue, purple, scarlet, and white. Linen again represents ‘separation’ from the world, while wool may refer to the sheep that were used in the temple sacrifices. Gold in the Scripture typically represents wealth, power, and the divine. Blue represents all things heavenly, since the sky is blue, or having authority. The priest’s outer robe being entirely blue emphasized the fact that the priest’s authority came from God in heaven.Do Christians Go To Heaven At The Moment of Death

Purple and Scarlet

The color purple has been associated, first of ally, with royalty but also power, wealth, and majesty. That’s because it was very expensive creating purple dye. Only the rich or very rich could afford it. It is interesting to note that Christ was clothed in a purple robe by the soldiers before his crucifixion in an effort to mock Him as the King of the Jews (Mark 15:17; John 19:2-3). The color scarlet or red represents sin, mortality, death and the resurrection, so in the very same account of the mocking soldiers Jesus, Matthew tells us that the robe was scarlet in color (Matt 27:28). OF course we read in the Book of Revelation that Jesus Christ at His Second Coming will be wearing a robe dipped in blood, making it the color red (Rev 19:13).

Future Priests and Kings

Most people don’t understand that some believer’s will be given great authority in the kingdom. Some will rule cites, while others will be kings, and yet others, priests of God. Obviously, there will be teachers and such, but today the Body of Christ is called to be holy as God is holy. Just like the High Priests were told to be living holy lives. In the Kingdom, and even now, we wear the very righteousness of Christ (1 Pet 1:18-19), as evidenced by the follow Scriptures:

First Peter 2:9 “But you are a chosen race, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a people for his own possession, that you may proclaim the excellencies of him who called you out of darkness into his marvelous light.”

Revelation 1:6 “And hath made us kings and priests unto God and his Father; to him be glory and dominion for ever and ever. Amen.”

Revelation 5:9-10And they sang a new song, saying, “Worthy are you to take the scroll and to open its seals, for you were slain, and by your blood you ransomed people for God from every tribe and language and people and nation, and you have made them a kingdom and priests to our God, and they shall reign on the earth.”

Revelation 20:6 “Blessed and holy is he that hath part in the first resurrection: on such the second death hath no power, but they shall be priests of God and of Christ, and shall reign with him a thousand years.”

Revelation 22:6 “And there shall be no night there; and they need no candle, neither light of the sun; for the Lord God giveth them light: and they shall reign for ever and ever.”

Conclusion

Most people don’t understand that some believer’s will be given great authority in the kingdom. Some will rule cites, while others will be kings, and yet others, priests of God. Obviously, there will be teachers and such, but today the Body of Christ is called to be holy as God is holy. Just like the High Priests were told to be living holy lives. In the Kingdom, and even now, we wear the righteous robes from Christ’s work (1 Pet 1:18-19). We may not be priests in the kingdom, but we are called to live lives like they did, and that means to be holy as God is holy. Without holiness, nobody will see God.

Here is some related reading for you: Is the Old Testament Law Still Important?

Resource – Scripture quotations are from The Holy Bible, English Standard Version® (ESV®), Crossway Bibles. (2007). ESV: Study Bible: English standard version. Wheaton, Ill: Crossway Bibles. Used by permission. All rights reserved.



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