Page 5 - August 2022 - Truth & Tidings
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the impact of these garments upon the   the tabernacle must have been a striking
        onlooker.                             sight. And when Aaron left the gate of the
          The spiritual significance of these gar-  tabernacle and moved through the camp,
        ments is underlined by the spiritual com-  he would have drawn every eye, for it
        petence required for their construction:   seemed that a piece of the tabernacle had
        “Thou shalt speak unto all that are wise   detached itself and was moving amongst
        hearted, whom I have filled with the spirit   the tribes.
        of wisdom, that they may make Aaron’s   There was nothing accidental about that
        garments” (Exo 28:3). The implementation   impression. Rather, the high priest’s gar-
        of the divine design required something   ments were designed to link Aaron with
        more than natural ability. It is striking that   the sanctuary where he ministered. The
        this is the first occasion in Scripture when   same materials and colours – the gold,
        we read of individuals being “filled with   blue, purple, scarlet and fine linen – that
        the spirit”; we find similar language used   were  used  in  the  tabernacle  featured
        of Bezalel in relation to the construction of   again in the garments of the high priest.
        the tabernacle in Exodus 35:30-31. In the   The  radiant  colours  and  the  intricacy
        tabernacle, as in the local assembly, God   of the cunningly wrought embroidery
        does not abandon His design to merely   proclaimed that this was a man who was
        human ability. It was spiritual enablement   at home in the sanctuary. But they also
        that made master seamstresses and tent-  marked Aaron out as a man who revealed
        makers from brickmaking slaves.       the character of God. It is a striking feature
          It is worth stressing again what we have   of the tabernacle that the finest materi-
        mentioned previously in passing – these   als and most elaborate handiwork were
        garments were intended to consecrate   positioned where they would be seen by
        Aaron, to set him apart from everyone   only a very few. Everyone could see the
        else in the camp. As Aaron donned these   linen curtains, but only the high priest
        remarkable  garments,  piece  by  piece   ever got a glimpse – and, amidst the bil-
        and layer by layer, he was giving visible   lowing clouds of incense it can only ever
        expression  to  his  special  office  as  the   have been a glimpse – of the splendour of
        mediator between God and man. It is   the holiest of all. By contrast, Aaron’s gar-
        difficult for us to grasp just how striking   ments reversed the order of the tabernacle;
        that expression was. Since the invention of   the fine linen came first, with the most
        the first synthetic dye in 1771, our world   precious garments worn on the outside
        has become increasingly polychromatic.   and most visible to the beholder. There
        Bright garments are the norm, and not   is a moral order here: the white linen
        the exception. But in the ancient world   garments speak of holiness, and that holi-
        and especially in the context of the wil-  ness of character was of fundamental and
        derness existence of the Israelites, options   foundational importance for the ministry
        were far more limited – you could have   of the high priest. But the order of the gar-
        any colour you wanted, as long as it was   ments also allowed him to display, outside
        brown. Clothes and tents alike would have   of the tabernacle, something of the glory
        been predominantly dun. Amidst the dull   of the tabernacle, to present God to man.
        sea of the Israelite camp, the white linen   Aaron’s garments revealed the character
        curtains that marked the perimeter of   of God. They also served to reveal the
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