Preparations for Worshipping the LORD (Exodus 27-28)

Scripture reading – Exodus 27-28

The LORD had commanded Moses, “Come up to me into the mount” (Exodus 24:12). He and Joshua had ascended Mount Sinai, into the presence of the LORD, where they would abide for “forty days and forty nights” (24:18). In this time the LORD gave Moses “tables of stone, and a law, and commandments” (24:12), and instructed him in the preparations that were necessary for the people to worship Him, and offer sacrifices (Exodus 25-31). The LORD, leaving nothing to chance, gave detailed designs for the sanctuary that would serve His people as a perpetual reminder that He was in the midst of Israel (25:8).

Exodus 27 – An Altar of Brass, The Outer Court of the Tabernacle, and Oil for the Lamp

The preparations for worship and sacrifices continued with a description of the altar of brass that would serve as the place of sacrifice. The altar was made of wood, covered in brass, and was seven feet square, and four feet high (27:1). “Horns” are described as the four corners of the altar, and it was made with rings and poles (staves), allowing the altar to be carried as the nation sojourned (27:4-8).

The Tabernacle was located within a courtyard that, measured seventy-five feet on the west and east sides (27:12-13), and one hundred-fifty feet on the south and north sides (27:9-11). The outer court would have measured some ten thousand square feet.

Pure olive oil was required for lighting a lamp that would give light “from evening to morning” (27:20-21), and serve as a perpetual reminder that the LORD was in the midst.

Exodus 28 – The Office and Garments of the High Priest and His Sons

Aaron, the brother of Moses, and his sons were chosen by God, and were to be sanctified (set apart) and serve as the LORD’S priests on behalf of Israel (28:1).

The garments that Aaron, the High Priest, was to wear when ministering are described as, “holy…for glory and for beauty” (28:2). They were “holy,” because they were set apart, sanctified, and dedicated to ministry. The “glory” and “beauty” of the garments reflected the dignity of the office of the high priest.

Exodus 28:4-8 introduces us to the garments of the High Priest that consisted of a “breastplate” (a vest), an “ephod” (a ritual vest), a long one-piece robe, a coat described as “broidered,” a “mitre” (a cap), and a girdle (sash or belt that wrapped around the waist and held the breastplate in place).

Great detail was given of the High Priest’s garments, but I invite you to consider especially the breastplate and its significance (28:9-30).

Two precious stones described as “onyx stones,” served as buttons for the front and back of the breastplate, and upon them were the names of the Twelve Tribes of Israel written (28:9-12). The two stones, resting on the shoulders of the High Priest, were a reminder that he was Israel’s mediator.

Twelve precious stones, each different from the other, with the names of the Twelve Tribes engraved upon them, reminded the High Priest that he carried the children of Israel upon his heart (28:13-29).

The High Priest wore upon his forehead, a plate of gold, and engraved upon it was, “HOLINESS TO THE LORD” (28:36), a reminder that he belonged to the LORD, and through the blood of sacrifices, he was Israel’s mediator (28:38).

Summary – The garments of the High Priest remind us there was meaning and purpose in every detail; from the breastplate over his heart that represented God’s judgment (28:15-30), to the bells about the hem of his robe whose sound gave witness to his movement within the Tabernacle, and the LORD’S acceptance of his offering on behalf of Israel (28:31-26).

Remember, the Tabernacle, the Ark, the Mercy Seat, the Altar were types, or pictures that would ultimately be fulfilled by Jesus Christ, our High Priest.

Hebrews 9:24, 2824For Christ is not entered into the holy places made with hands, which are the figures of the true; but into heaven itself, now to appear in the presence of God for us:…28So Christ was once offered to bear the sins of many; and unto them that look for him shall he appear the second time without sin unto salvation.

Copyright 2021 – Travis D. Smith