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The High Priest & His Garments       Exodus 28

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Aaron and his family selected for priesthood

Heb 8:1-5
(1)  Now of the things which we have spoken this is the sum: We have such an high priest, who is set on
the right hand of the throne of the Majesty in the heavens;
(2)  A minister of the sanctuary, and of the true tabernacle, which the Lord pitched, and not man.
(3)  For every high priest is ordained to offer gifts and sacrifices: wherefore it is of necessity that this man
have somewhat also to offer.
(4)  For if he were on earth, he should not be a priest, seeing that there are priests that offer gifts according
to the law:
(5)  Who serve unto the example and shadow of heavenly things, as Moses was admonished of God when
he was about to make the tabernacle: for, See, saith he, that thou make all things according to the
pattern shewed to thee in the mount.      (

Jesus came not after the order of the Aaronic priesthood,
but he did minister according to the pattern of the priesthood.


Legitimate birth.
Physical perfection    Leviticus 21:16-24
1. Blind man   Revelation 3:15-19
2. Lame man   Hebrews 12:13
3. Flat nose (The nose of the soul is the conscience which detects that which is good and that which is evil.) I John 3:21
4. Any superfluous thing   Ephesians 4:22-32
5. Broken foot   Ephesians 5:1,2
6. Broken hand (Hand speaks of service) I Timothy 2:8
7. The crookback (The backbone pictures the human will)  
8. Dwarf (Not blamed but only pure physically can serve) I Corinthians 3:1-3
9. Blemish in the eye   Matthew 7:1-5
10. Scurvy (Improper diet) or Scabbed (Tender to touch) Psalms 119:165
11. Broken stones (Weak, unfruitful)  

There were peculiar garments appointed for the priests, and for all the rest, which they call Cohanaece [priestly] garments,  as also for the high priests,  which they call Cahanaece Rabbce,  and denote the high priest’s garments. Such was therefore the habit of the rest.    

From Josephus:
The Girdle - Machanase

When the priest approaches the sacrifices,  he purifies himself with the purification which the law prescribes;  and,  in the first place,  he puts on that which is called Machanase,  which means somewhat that is fast tied.  It is a girdle,  composed of fine twined linen,  and is put about the privy parts,  the feet being to be inserted into them,  in the nature of breeches;  but above half of it is cut off,  and it ends at the thighs and is there tied fast.

Linen Vestment - Chethone

Over this he wore a linen vestment,  made of fine flax doubled:  it is called Chethone, and denotes linen, for we call linen by the name of Chethone. This vestment reaches down to the feet,  and sits close to the body;  and has sleeves that are tied fast to the arms:  it is girded to the breast a little above the elbows,  by a girdle often going round,  four fingers broad,  but so loosely woven that you would think it were the skin of a serpent.  It is embroidered with flowers of scarlet,  and purple,  and blue,  and fine twined linen.

Linen Wrap

The wrap was nothing but fine linen. The beginning of its circumvolution is at the breast;  and when it has gone often round,  it is there tied,  and hangs loosely there down to the ankles: I mean this all the time the priest is not about any laborious service, for in this position it appears in the most agreeable manner to the spectators.

Belt - Abaneth

When he is obliged to assist at the offering sacrifices, and to do the appointed service,  that he may not be hindered in his operations by its motion, he throws it to the left,  and bears it on his shoulder.  Moses indeed calls this belt Abaneth; but we have learned from the Babylonians to call it Emia, for so it is by them called.

Vestment - Massabazanes

This vestment has no loose or hollow parts anywhere in it,  but only a narrow aperture about the neck;  and it is tied with certain strings hanging down from the edge over the breast and back,  and is fastened above each shoulder:  it is called Massabazanes.

Cap - Masnaemphthes

Upon his head he wears a cap,  not brought to a conic form,  nor encircling the whole head,  but still covering more than the half of it,  which is called Masnaemphthes;  and its make is such, that it seems to be a crown,  being made of thick swathes,  but the contexture is of linen;  and it is doubled round many times,  and sewed together:  besides which,  a piece of fine linen covers the whole cap from the upper part,  and reaches down to the forehead,  and hides the seams of the swathes,  which would otherwise appear indecently:  this adheres closely upon the solid part of the head,  and is thereto so firmly fixed,  that it may not fall off during the sacred service about the sacrifices.

Vestment of Blue - Meeir

The high priest is indeed adorned with the same garments that we have described,  without abating one;  only over this he puts on a vestment of a blue color.  This also is a long robe,  reaching to his feet,  [in our language it is called Meeir,]  and is tied round with a girdle,  embroidered with the same colors and flowers as the former,  with a mixture of gold interwoven.
Now this vesture was not composed of two pieces, nor was it sewed together upon the shoulders and the sides, but it was one long vestment so woven as to have an aperture for the neck; not an oblique one, but parted all along the breast and the back. A border also was sewed to it, lest the aperture should look too indecently: it was also parted where the hands were to come out.


To the bottom of which garments are hung fringes,  in color like pomegranates,  with golden bells  (There use is as follows,  by shaking his garment at the time of his offering incense in the temple,  on the great day of expiation,  or at other proper periods of his sacred ministrations there,  on the great festivals,  the people might have notice of it and might fall to their own prayers at the time of incense,  or other proper periods and so the whole congregation might at once offer those common prayers jointly with the high priest himself to the Almighty.  (See Luke 1:10;  Revelation 8:3,4) ,  by a curious and beautiful contrivance;  so that between two bells hangs a pomegranate,  and between two pomegranates a bell.
Antiquities of the Jews Book III Pages 73,74 Josephus
The Priest washed Exodus 29:1-4; Matthew 3:13-17; Romans 6:3-5
The priest clothed The number of articles of dress for the ordinary priest was four, but that of the High Priest was eight

After the instructions as to the building of the Sanctuary,  Moses receives directions concerning the men who are to serve as priests.  That sacred office was reserved for Aaron,  his sons and their descendants.  This chapter describes the garments which were to be worn by the priests when ministering in the Sanctuary.  These garments distinguished the priest from the lay Israelite,  and reminded him that even more than the layman he must make the ideal of holiness the constant guide of his life.  These vestments also added to the solemnity and awe of the service of the Sanctuary.   (Rabbi J.H. Hertz)

Exodus 28:1-4
(1)  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.
(2)  And thou shalt make holy garments for Aaron thy brother for glory and for beauty.
(3)  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.
(4)  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.


Exodus 28:6-12
(6)    And they shall make the ephod of gold, of blue, and of purple, of scarlet, and fine twined linen, with cunning work.
(7)    It shall have the two shoulderpieces thereof joined at the two edges thereof; and so it shall be joined together.
(8)    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.
(9)    And thou shalt take two onyx stones, and grave on them the names of the children of Israel:
(10)  Six of their names on one stone, and the other six names of the rest on the other stone, according to their birth.
(11)  With the work of an engraver in stone, like the engravings of a signet, shalt thou engrave the two stones with the names of the children of Israel: thou shalt make them to be set in ouches of gold.
(12)  And thou shalt put the two stones upon the shoulders of the ephod for stones of memorial unto the children of Israel: and Aaron shall bear their names before the LORD upon his two shoulders for a memorial.

Besides these the high priest put on a third garment, which is called the Ephod, which resembles the Epomis of the Greeks. Its make was after this manner: it was woven to the depth of a cubit, of several colors, with gold intermixed, and embroidered, but it left the middle of the breast uncovered: it was made with sleeves also; nor did it appear to be at all differently made from a short coat.
(Antiquities of the Jews Book III Page 74 Josephus)

A short close-fitting coat, worn round the body under the arms, and having straps over the shoulders to keep it in place. The fabric of the ephod was the same as the curtains and veil of the Tabernacle, indicating the intimate connection between the High Priest and the Sanctuary. But in addition, there were gold threads woven into the material, probably as a symbol of royal power, because of the High Priest’s position as the spiritual head of the community.
Rabbi J. H. Hertz

It was woven in one piece showing in type a completeness of His spiritual integrity. Numbers 15:38,39; Matthew 11:28-30.

The only way we can learn is by tasting or eating for ourselves.

1. Blue pomegranate heavenly love and humility
2. Purple pomegranate royal love or humility
3. Scarlet pomegranate Isaiah 53:7; Philippians 2:5-8
4. White pomegranate purity of love or humility

In between every pomegranate was a golden bell speaking of Divine nature of Christ - I Cor. 13:1


Exodus 28:13-30
(13 ) And thou shalt make ouches of gold;
(14)  And two chains of pure gold at the ends; of wreathen work shalt thou make them, and fasten the wreathen chains to the ouches.
(15)  And thou shalt make the breastplate of judgment with cunning work; after the work of the ephod thou shalt make it; of gold, of blue, and of purple, and of scarlet, and of fine twined linen, shalt thou make it.
(16)  Foursquare it shall be being doubled; a span shall be the length thereof, and a span shall be the breadth thereof.
(17)  And thou shalt set in it settings of stones, even four rows of stones: the first row shall be a Sardius, a topaz, and a carbuncle: this shall be the first row.
(18)  And the second row shall be an emerald, a sapphire, and a diamond.
(19)  And the third row a ligure, an agate, and an amethyst.
(20)  And the fourth row a beryl, and an onyx, and a jasper: they shall be set in gold in their inclosings.
(21)  And the stones shall be with the names of the children of Israel, twelve, according to their names, like the engravings of a signet; every one with his name shall they be according to the twelve tribes.
(22)  And thou shalt make upon the breastplate chains at the ends of wreathen work of pure gold.
(23)  And thou shalt make upon the breastplate two rings of gold, and shalt put the two rings on the two ends of the breastplate.
(24)  And thou shalt put the two wreathen chains of gold in the two rings which are on the ends of the breastplate.
(25)  And the other two ends of the two wreathen chains thou shalt fasten in the two ouches, and put them on the shoulderpieces of the ephod before it.
(26)  And thou shalt make two rings of gold, and thou shalt put them upon the two ends of the breastplate in the border thereof, which is in the side of the ephod inward.
(27)  And two other rings of gold thou shalt make, and shalt put them on the two sides of the ephod underneath, toward the forepart thereof, over against the other coupling thereof, above the curious girdle of the ephod.
(28)  And they shall bind the breastplate by the rings thereof unto the rings of the ephod with a lace of blue, that it may be above the curious girdle of the ephod, and that the breastplate be not loosed from the ephod.
(29)  And Aaron shall bear the names of the children of Israel in the breastplate of judgment upon his heart, when he goeth in unto the holy place, for a memorial before the LORD continually.
(30)  And thou shalt put in the breastplate of judgment the Urim and the Thummim; and they shall be upon Aaron's heart, when he goeth in before the LORD: and Aaron shall bear the judgment of the children of Israel upon his heart before the LORD continually.

From Josephus:
In the void place of this garment there was inserted a piece of the bigness of a span, embroidered with gold, and the other colors of the ephod, and was called Essen, [the breastplate,]  which in the Greek language signifies the Oracle.  This piece exactly filled up the void space in the ephod.  It was united to it by golden rings at every corner,  the like rings being annexed to the ephod,  and a blue riband was made use of  to tie them together by those rings:  and that the space between the rings might not appear empty,  they contrived to fill it up with stitches of blue ribbons.

There were also two sardonyxes upon the ephod,  at the shoulders to fasten it,  in the nature of buttons,  having each end running to the sardonyxes of gold,  that they might be buttoned by them.  On these were engraved the names of the sons of  Jacob,  in our own country letters,  and in our own tongue,  six on each of the stones,  on either side;  and the elder sons’ names were on the right shoulder.

Twelve stones also there were upon the breastplate, extraordinary in largeness and beauty;  and they were an ornament not to be purchased by men,  because of their immense value.  These stones,  however,  stood in three rows by four in a row,  and were inserted into the breastplate itself,  and they were set in ouches of gold,  that were themselves inserted in the breastplate itself,  and were so made that they might not fall out.

Now the first three stones were a sardonyx a topaz and an emerald
The second row contained a carbuncle a jasper, and a sapphire
The first of the third row was a ligure an amethyst and an agate being the ninth of the whole number
The first of the fourth row was a chrysolite an onyx and a beryl, which was the last of all

Now the names of all those sons of Jacob were engraved in these stones,  whom we esteem the heads of our tribes,  each stone having the honor of a name,  in the order according to which they were born.

And whereas the rings were too weak of themselves to bear the weight of the stones,  they made two other rings of a larger size,  at the edge of that part of the breastplate,  which reached to the neck,  and inserted into the very texture of the breastplate,  to receive chains finely wrought,  which connected them with golden bands to the tops of the shoulders,  whose extremity turned backwards,  and went into the ring on the prominent back part of the ephod;  and this was for the security of the breastplate,  that it might not fall out of its place.

There was also a girdle sewed to the breastplate,  which was of the aforementioned colors,  with gold intermixed,  which when it had gone once round,  was tied again upon the seam,  and hung down.  There were also golden loops that admitted its fringes at each extremity of the girdle,  and included them entirely.
(Antiquities of the Jews Book III Page 74 Josephus)

28:15    Breastplate
The breastplate was double,  open on all sides except the bottom.  It is called  ‘the breastplate of judgment’,  because it was to contain the Urim and the Thummim,  by means of which the High Priest was to seek the judgment of God on difficult questions affecting the welfare of the community.  It was made of the same material as the ephod

28:16   Double
The piece of cloth was a cubit (18 inches) in length, and a half cubit in breadth; doubled over, so as to form a bag or pouch.

28:17   Setting of Stones
The distinguishing feature of the breastplate was that it was set with twelve precious stones, each engraved with the name of one of the tribes of Israel; the stones being arranged in gold settings in four rows, three stones in a row. Rabbi J. H. Hettz

Note: The different arrangements for the stones from different Bible sources.

KJV Sardius

Torah Carnelian
Lapis Lazuli

LXX Sardius

Peshitta Sardius

Targum Carnelian

Josephus Sardonyx

The Torah (Masoretic Text) states in its foot notes: 
The identity of several of these twelve stones is uncertain. 

For the sake of this study we will use the arrangements found in the King James.

The first row       East

Sardius Tribe of  Judah
Sardius means to be Red or Rosy,  to show blood in the face,  to be ruddy
Judah means to praise the Lord.
Compare breastplate with long-suffering, even in our prayer life. Let God light up the stone of His choice.
Topaz Tribe of  Issachar
Topaz conveys the ideal of a pasture. A pleasant place, satisfaction, or a dwelling place.
Its color was a rich yellow with a green tint.
Issachar means ‘to bring a reward’.
Jesus is the topaz stone that provides the pleasant place,  and as we feed on the yellow light of illumination we grow spiritually.
We find that He is a rewarder of them that diligently seek Him.
He is the stone of satisfaction;
He is the living pasture.
Carbuncle Tribe of  Zebulun
Carbuncle means burning, flashing like lightning.
Lightning was a symbol of the glorious and awful majesty of the power of Jehovah.
Zebulun is a continuing city,  to enclose,  to dwell with.
This would suggest a city filled with the glory and majesty of the power of God.
Matthew 5:14-16.

The second row        South

Emerald Tribe of  Reuben
Emerald signifies a glowing and shining stone and was either red or green.
Reuben means ‘Behold ye a son’.
We need to catch a vision of the Son.
Red - Blood,    Green - Abundant life.
Sapphire Tribe of  Simeon
Sapphire was blue and ranged in different hues all the way from the bright blue to the deep blue, and also signifies stairs.
The deep blue is a symbol of deep and hidden spiritual truths and the stairs speak of ascent.
Simeon means ‘That hears and obeys’      James 4:17; 1:22
Diamond Tribe of  Gad
Diamond a stone that cuts or engraves.
Gad signifies An Army Song of Solomon 6:4,  Put on hardness as a good soldier.

The third row       West

Ligure Tribe of  Ephraim
Ligure signifies a Golden yellow like a grain of wheat.
Ephraim means ‘Doubly Fruitful.
Like a corn of wheat must die to bring forth fruit we must die to the flesh on a daily basis.
Agate Tribe of  Manasseh
Agate signifies Divided into streams or flashes, striking fire, crimson fire.
Manasseh means forgetfulness.
Forget our sins;  forgive and forget.   Philippians 3:13
Amethyst Tribe of  Benjamin
Amethyst signifies possessor and was thought to be purple.
Benjamin means son of the right hand.
Purple means royalty.
Jesus as the right hand of God signifying power and authority.
Rules and reigns in our lives.

The fourth row     North

Beryl Tribe of  Dan
Beryl means to test, to try, to investigate
Dan means to Judge.
Let Gods test and try us. His judgment is true.
Onyx Tribe of  Asher
Onyx means to blanch, to take the color out and make lustrous.
Asher means Blessedness,
Blanch the self  life. Psalms 1:1.
Jasper Tribe of  Naphtali
Jasper means to polish, prevailing power, strength and was transparent and brilliant.
Polish means to make smooth or glossy by
Naphtali Naphtali means one who contends, the fighting of the enthroned one against his enemies. Enthrone Christ  -  Let Him fight against the flesh.      Galatians 5:16-18.

NOTE: This grouping of the tribes is found in Numbers Chapter 2.


Now we come to something that we know very little about as far as Scripture states.  So I have gone to a book that I bought in Jerusalem at the shop of the Rabbi’s called  Encyclopedia Talmudica  which is a digest of  Halachic literature and Jewish law from the Tannaitic period to the present time.  This is volume I  Date 1969

Their Name and Nature
The Urim and Thummim (connected with  ‘Or, light, and Tamim, whole, complete)  were so called because they illumined their message in explicit and complete terms,  signifying the certainty that it would be accomplished
(Yoma 73b).

Furthermore,  because they illumined the perfect way for Jews when they were whole-hearted with God  (J. Yoma 7,3).  They are also designated  Mishpat,  in other words  ‘decision’  or  ‘judgment’,  as in the text,  And he shall on his behalf seek the decision of the ‘Urim’ (Numbers 27:21),  because their messages rank as legal rulings which cannot be rescinded.
For though the decree of a prophet can be rescinded,  the decree of the ‘Urim and Thummim’ cannot  (Yoma ib.).  Furthermore,  they are so called because they clarify their message,  since a decision is a clarification of law.
Early authorities.   (Rishonim, till end of 15th century)

They are also called K’sreythi and P’l’eythi (II Samuel 20:23):

K’reythi (from karath, to cut) because their message is clear-cut, decisive and final
P’l’eythi (from Pal’a, to distinguish) because their message (variant reading: action) is distinct
These quotes Yoma ib, J. Yoma 7,3, Ber. 4a, San. 16b are taken from the Talmud.

Some say that the stones of the Breastpieces themselves were called ‘Urim and Thummim (G’onim),  because the letters on these stones emitted light   (Early authorities (Rishonim, till end of 15th century).

Most early authorities hold that what is called  'Urim and Thummim'  was something with the Ineffable name of God written (YHVH) thereon and placed in the fold of the Breastpiece.  This is implied in the text of Exodus 28:30.

Also put the Urim and the Thummim in the breastpiece, so they may be over Aaron's heart whenever he enters the presence of the LORD. Thus Aaron will always bear the means of making decisions for the Israelites over his heart before the LORD.
Which means that the strip bearing the Ineffable Name was placed inside the Breastpiece,  which measured a cubit in length and a span in width,  making a square span when folded.

Others say that the  ‘Urim and Thummim’  were so called,  in the plural,  because they contained several Sacred Names,  called Thummim,  gave the inquiring priest the complete understanding mentally to marshal and combine the letters to provide the desired answer.  This constituted a degree of Divine inspiration lower than prophecy but higher than that of the Bath Kol (A Heavenly echo).

Some say, that the  ‘Urim and Thummim’  were not counted in the number of the priestly vestments since they were simply Holy Names,  Early authorities (Rishonim, till end of 15th century).

Others do count them in the number of the priestly vestments  (M. Beth Ha-B’hirah 4,1 and K’ley ha-Mikdash 10,10);  on the latter view the  ‘Urim and Thummim’  were the precious stones of the Breastpiece.
Late authorities (‘Aharonim).

Some say that the  ‘Urim and Thummim’  were of silver and gold,  wrought by skilled artisans and kept in the folds of the Breastpiece and taken out when the need arose,  and then they were placed outside the Breastpiece.
Early authorities (Rishonim, till end of 15th century).

As against this view it is pointed out that the  ‘Urim and Thummim’  are not mentioned in Scripture among the objects which the craftsmen were commanded to make,  or did make. 
Rather,  then,  we must conclude that they were not the product of skilled craftsmen, and neither the artisans nor the people had any share in them through making or donating them, but their nature was communicated to Moses to be kept secret, and he wrote them in holiness.
Early authorities (Risonim, till end of 15th century).

All of the above information is taken from Talmudic and Rabbinic sources.

Inquiring of the ‘Urim and Thummim’

Inquiring of the  'Urim and Thummim'  is clearly stated in the Torah,  “But he (Joshua) shall present himself to Eleazar the priest,  who shall on his behalf seek the decision of the  ‘Urim’  before the Lord.  By such instruction they shall go out and by such instruction they shall come in, he and all the Israelites, the whole community.” (Numbers 27:21)

The procedure of such inquiry was as follows:

1. The inquirer faced the person who was being asked,  viz. The priest wearing the 'Urim and Thummim', and the latter faced the Sh’khinah (Yoma 73a),  the  ‘Urim and Thummim’  and the Ineffable Name placed within the Breastpiece.
Early authorities (Rishonim, till end of 15th century).
2. Another opinion is that the priest stood facing the Holy Ark and the inquirer behind him with his face behind the priest (M. ib. 10,11). 
The inquirer asked  “Shall I pursue after this troop?”  (I Samuel 30:8),  and the priest who was being asked answered:  “Thus said the Lord, ‘Go up and succeed.’”
3. Amsoraim differed as to the manner in which the replies were received.
According to R. Johanan the letters of the words forming the reply stood out; 
according to Resh Lakish the letters combined to form the words (Yoma ib. b).
4. Questions were not put to the 'Urim and Thummim'  when the answers could be sought by other means Early authorities (Rishonim, till end of 15th century).

By and to whom the questions were put?

Questions to the ‘Urim and Thummim’ were not put through a priest who did not speak under Divine inspiration and upon whom the Divine Presence did not dwell (Yoma, ib.),  because only for such a priest who was deserving that the Sh’khinah should rest on him did the letters stand out or combine into words Early authorities (Rishonim, till end of 15th century).

Enquiries of the  'Urim and Thummim'  were made only through the High Priest (M. Comm. On Mish. Yoma 7, end),  who wore the statutory eight garments of a High Priest when the inquiry was made (Mish. Yoma 71b). The priest anointed for war too,  when consulted,  wore the garments in which High Priests officiate (Ib. 73a),  since in time of war the priest anointed for war is thus consulted by the king.
Early authorities (Rishonim, till end of 15th century).

What matters needed the ‘Urim and Thummim’

Extension of the boundaries of the city-Jerusalem-or of the Temple courts was permissible only on the authority of a king,  prophet,  the Great Sanhedrin and the  ‘Urim and Thummim.’ (Mish. Sh’bu. 14a)

A non-obligatory war,  in other words,  any war other than the war against the Seven Nations inhabiting Canaan,  (and wars of defense)  could be waged only with the authority of the  ‘Urim and Thummim’  (Sanh. 16a);  for Scripture says,  And after Ahithophel was Yehoyada,  the son of Benayah,  and Abyathar;  and the general of the king’s army was Joab (I Chronicles 27:34).  “Abyathar”  implies the ‘Urim’.

For another opinion lets see what Josephus states:

For as to those stones,  these answers by the oracle of Urim and Thummim,  which words signify light and perfection,  or,  as the LXX render them,  revelation and truth,  and denote nothing further,  that I see,  but the shining stones themselves,  which were used,  in this method of illumination,  in revealing the will of God,  after a perfect,  and true manner,  to his people Israel:  I say,  these answers were not made by the shining of the precious stones,  after an awkward manner,  in the high priest’s breastplate,  as the modern Rabbins vainly suppose,  for certainly the shining of the stones might precede or accompany the oracle,  without itself delivering that oracle,  but rather by an audible voice from the mercy-seat between the cherubims.
Antiquities of the Jews Book III Page 77 Josephus


Exodus 28:31-35
(31)  And thou shalt make the robe of the ephod all of blue.
(32)  And there shall be an hole in the top of it, in the midst thereof: it shall have a binding of woven work round about the hole of it, as it were the hole of an habergeon, that it be not rent.
(33)  And beneath upon the hem of it thou shalt make pomegranates of blue, and of purple, and of scarlet, hem thereof; and bells of gold between them round about:
(34)  A golden bell and a pomegranate, a golden bell and a pomegranate, upon the hem of the robe round about.
(35)  And it shall be upon Aaron to minister: and his sound shall be heard when he goeth in unto the holy place before the LORD, and when he cometh out, that he die not.

28:31     ROBE
A long garment worn by men of high rank.
Whether the  ‘robe’  was always sleeveless is uncertain,  but that of the High Priest was so.
It is called  ‘robe of the ephod’,  because the ephod was worn over it.
Rabbi J.H. Hertz

The hem of the robe was adorned with balls of richly colored material,  of pomegranate shape.
Between each pair of pomegranates was a golden bell.  The Talmud states that there were 72 ornaments around the hem.  The High Priest was on no account to officiate without donning his garments.
The bells attached to the robe indicated to the congregation in the Court when he was performing his duties. Kalisch explains:  ‘The whole people gave themselves up to prayer and repentance,  whilst the High Priest stepped into the Holy of Holies to officiate in their name.  It was therefore most appropriate that they should all know the moment when he entered the Holy of Holies.”  Rabbi J.H. Hertz

Type of righteousness
Revelation 19:7,8;  Philippians 3:7-9;  Isaiah 64:6.
The coat reached to the bottom of the priest to completely cover the flesh.  Colossians 3:12-14

The "Bowels" of mercies  (KJV)

1. Kindness
2. Humbleness of mind
3. Meekness
4. Long-suffering
5. Forbearing one another
6. Forgiving one another
7. Bond of charity
These should completely cover our "flesh".


Exodus 28:36-43
(36)  And thou shalt make a plate of pure gold, and grave upon it, like the engravings of a signet, HOLINESS TO THE LORD.
(37)  And thou shalt put it on a blue lace, that it may be upon the mitre; upon the forefront of the mitre it shall be.
(38)  And it shall be upon Aaron's forehead, that Aaron may bear the iniquity of the holy things, which the children of Israel shall hallow in all their holy gifts; and it shall be always upon his forehead, that they may be accepted before the LORD.
(39)  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.
(40)  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.
(41)  And thou shalt put them upon Aaron thy brother, and his sons with him; and shalt anoint them, and consecrate them, and sanctify them, that they may minister unto me in the priest's office.
(42)  And thou shalt make them linen breeches to cover their nakedness; from the loins even unto the thighs they shall reach:
(43)  And they shall be upon Aaron, and upon his sons, when they come in unto the tabernacle of the congregation, or when they come near unto the altar to minister in the holy place; that they bear not iniquity, and die: it shall be a statute for ever unto him and his seed after him. 


According to Tradition, it was two fingers in depth,  and extended right across the forehead.

Actually  ‘Holiness to the Lord
This inscription not only marked the dedication of the High Priest to the service of God,  but also crystallized the aim and purpose of that service.  It proclaimed the spiritual ideal of which the Sanctuary was the concrete emblem.
Rabbi J.H. Hertz


Attached to the extremities of the gold plate,  kept it in position upon the forehead of the High Priest;  but between the skin and the plate was the linen of the mitre.

Type of Jesus, our High Priest. Ephesians 1; Hebrews 7:25.
The high priest,  in virtue of the holiness of the Lord conferred upon him,  was to have power to put away the sin of the people. 


‘This garment reached down to the feet,  and was close to the body,  and had sleeves that were tied fast to the arms.’

This is a doubtful translation.  The Hebrew root word signifies, ‘to wind round’;  and what is intended is possibly a kind of turban.
Rabbi J.H. Hertz

The mitre was the head dress and seemed to take the form of a turban or a bonnet.
It means to wrap, or roll around,  a diadem and was made of fine linen. Exodus 28:39.
It was to cover the head which was a symbol of subjection and obedience.

It is in the head that the seat of intelligence lies.  To cover the head was a token of putting the intelligence into subjection.  I Corinthians 11:5;  Ephesians 5:23;  John 14:10;  Philippians 2:5-8.
Forbearance one with another.  Colossians 3:13; II Corinthians 10:5,6.

A sash. The girdle was for the strengthening of the loins. Isaiah 22:21; Psalms 119:76


The ordinary priests were to have a coat and girdle,  similar to the High Priest.
Instead of a mitre,  they were to wear a cap on their heads.
Rabbi J.H. Hertz


These reached to the knees.
There is no mention of covering for the feet. Rabbi Hertz

Greed, sex, food. Luke 21:34; I Corinthians 6:19,20.
If we have the love of Christ, we are willing to have our whole being clothed with the Lord Jesus Christ.

1. “But put ye on the Lord Jesus Christ,  and make not provision for the flesh,  to fulfill the lusts thereof."
Romans 13:14
2. “My little children,  of whom I travail in birth again unto Christ be formed in you.”
Galatians 4:19
3. “Let this mind be in you,  which was also in Christ Jesus:”
Philippians 2:5

So,  if you have put on the Lord Jesus Christ,  and Christ has been formed within you,  and you have the mind of Christ,  then what is left?   Nothing,  it’s all in Him.

Now we will leave the study of types for a little while to look into the Authority of Christ’s Priesthood as found in the book of Hebrews.

The Authority of Christ's Priesthood      Exodus 25:10-22

Previous Section

The Epistle to the Hebrews,  Chapter 5  by Westcott

A. Jesus is King coming from David.
“How say the scribes that Christ is the son of David?  For David himself said by the Holy Ghost,  The Lord said to my Lord.  Sit thou on my right hand, till I made thine enemies thy footstool.  David therefore himself calleth him Lord; and whence is he then his son?”
Mark 12:35-37 JESUS IS KING
B. Jesus is Prophet.
“The Lord thy God will raise up unto thee a Prophet from the midst of thee,  of thy brethren,  like unto me;  unto him ye shall hearken;”
Deuteronomy 18:15 JESUS IS PROPHET
C. Jesus is Priest.
“The Lord hath sworn,  and will not repent,  Thou art a priest for ever after the order of Melchizedek.”
Psalms 110:4 JESUS IS PRIEST

In the last two chapters of Hebrews the writer of the Epistle has shown the general superiority of  ‘Jesus,’  the Founder of the New Covenant,  over Moses and Joshua;  and further,  that the divine promise partially fulfilled by the occupation of Canaan still awaits its complete and absolute fulfillment.

He is thus brought back to the thought of Christ’s High-priesthood,  in virtue of which humanity finds access to the Presence of God,  ‘His rest,’ in Hebrews 2:17,18:

Heb 2:17-18
(17)  Wherefore in all things it behooved him to be made like unto his brethren, that he might be a merciful
and faithful high priest in things pertaining to God, to make reconciliation for the sins of the people.
(18)  For in that he himself hath suffered being tempted, he is able to succour them that are tempted.

Heb 4:14-16
(14)  Seeing then that we have a great high priest, that is passed into the heavens, Jesus the Son of God, let
us hold fast our profession.
(15)  For we have not an high priest which cannot be touched with the feeling of our infirmities; but was in
all points tempted like as we are, yet without sin.
(16)  Let us therefore come boldly unto the throne of grace, that we may obtain mercy, and find grace to
help in time of need.

In this section the Apostle deals with the general conception of Christ’s High-priesthood.
He treats of the accomplishment of Christ’s Highpriestly work in the next section.

The section consists of three parts:

First Hebrews 5:1-10 Work and the qualification of a High-priest
Second Hebrews 5:11-6:20 Continuous and patient effort
Third Hebrews 7:1-28 Absolute High Priesthood


The writer first briefly characterizes the work and the qualification of a High-priest
Shows that the qualifications are possessed by Christ in ideal perfection
Shows that He completes the type of the Aaronic High-priest by adding to it the features of the type of the High-priesthood of  Melchizedek.

Heb 5:1-12
(1)    For every high priest taken from among men is ordained for men in things pertaining to God, that he
may offer both gifts and sacrifices for sins:
(2)    Who can have compassion on the ignorant, and on them that are out of the way; for that he himself
also is compassed with infirmity.
(3)    And by reason hereof he ought, as for the people, so also for himself, to offer for sins.
(4)    And no man taketh this honor unto himself, but he that is called of God, as was Aaron.
(5)    So also Christ glorified not himself to be made an high priest; but he that said unto him, Thou art my
Son, to day have I begotten thee.
(6)    As he saith also in another place, Thou art a priest for ever after the order of Melchizedec.
(7)    Who in the days of his flesh, when he had offered up prayers and supplications with strong crying and
tears unto him that was able to save him from death, and was heard in that he feared;
(8)    Though he were a Son, yet learned he obedience by the things which he suffered;
(9)    And being made perfect, he became the author of eternal salvation unto all them that obey him;
(10)  Called of God an high priest after the order of Melchizedec.


Then follows a hortatory passage in which the duty of continuous and patient effort is enforced
as the condition of right knowledge of the Christian revelation

Hebrews 5:11-6:20

Heb 5:11-14
(11)  Of whom we have many things to say, and hard to be uttered, seeing ye are dull of hearing.
(12)  For when for the time ye ought to be teachers, ye have need that one teach you again which be the
first principles of the oracles of God; and are become such as have need of milk, and not of strong
(13)  For every one that useth milk is unskillful in the word of righteousness: for he is a babe.
(14)  But strong meat belongeth to them that are of full age, even those who by reason of use have their
senses exercised to discern both good and evil.

Heb 6:1-20
(1)    Therefore leaving the principles of the doctrine of Christ, let us go on unto perfection; not laying again
the foundation of repentance from dead works, and of faith toward God,
(2)    Of the doctrine of baptisms, and of laying on of hands, and of resurrection of the dead, and of eternal
(3)    And this will we do, if God permit.
(4)    For it is impossible for those who were once enlightened, and have tasted of the heavenly gift, and were
made partakers of the Holy Ghost,
(5)    And have tasted the good word of God, and the powers of the world to come,
(6)    If they shall fall away, to renew them again unto repentance; seeing they crucify to themselves the Son
of God afresh, and put him to an open shame.
(7)    For the earth which drinketh in the rain that cometh oft upon it, and bringeth forth herbs meet for them
by whom it is dressed, receiveth blessing from God:
(8)    But that which beareth thorns and briers is rejected, and is nigh unto cursing; whose end is to be
(9)    But, beloved, we are persuaded better things of you, and things that accompany salvation, though we
thus speak.
(10)  For God is not unrighteous to forget your work and labor of love, which ye have shewed toward his
name, in that ye have ministered to the saints, and do minister.
(11)  And we desire that every one of you do shew the same diligence to the full assurance of hope unto the
(12)  That ye be not slothful, but followers of them who through faith and patience inherit the promises.
(13)  For when God made promise to Abraham, because he could swear by no greater, he sware by himself,
(14)  Saying, Surely blessing I will bless thee, and multiplying I will multiply thee.
(15)  And so, after he had patiently endured, he obtained the promise.
(16)  For men verily swear by the greater: and an oath for confirmation is to them an end of all strife.
(17)  Wherein God, willing more abundantly to shew unto the heirs of promise the immutability of his
counsel, confirmed it by an oath:
(18)  That by two immutable things, in which it was impossible for God to lie, we might have a strong
consolation, who have fled for refuge to lay hold upon the hope set before us:
(19)  Which hope we have as an anchor of the soul, both sure and steadfast, and which entereth into that
within the veil;
(20)  Whither the forerunner is for us entered, even Jesus, made an high priest for ever after the order of


Having thus prepared the way for a fuller exposition of the truth with which he is engaged,  the writer unfolds through the image of Melchizedek a view of the absolute High Priesthood of Christ.

Heb 7:1-28
(1)    For this Melchizedec, king of Salem, priest of the most high God, who met Abraham returning from the
slaughter of the kings, and blessed him;
(2)    To whom also Abraham gave a tenth part of all; first being by interpretation King of righteousness, and
after that also King of Salem, which is, King of peace;
(3)    Without father, without mother, without descent, having neither beginning of days, nor end of life; but
made like unto the Son of God; abideth a priest continually.
(4)    Now consider how great this man was, unto whom even the patriarch Abraham gave the tenth of the
(5)    And verily they that are of the sons of Levi, who receive the office of the priesthood, have a
commandment to take tithes of the people according to the law, that is, of their brethren, though
they come out of the loins of Abraham:
(6)    But he whose descent is not counted from them received tithes of Abraham, and blessed him that had
the promises.
(7)    And without all contradiction the less is blessed of the better.
(8)    And here men that die receive tithes; but there he receiveth them, of whom it is witnessed that he
(9)    And as I may so say, Levi also, who receiveth tithes, payed tithes in Abraham.
(10)  For he was yet in the loins of his father, when Melchizedec met him.
(11)  If therefore perfection were by the Levitical priesthood, (for under it the people received the law,) what
further need was there that another priest should rise after the order of Melchizedec, and not be
called after the order of Aaron?
(12)  For the priesthood being changed, there is made of necessity a change also of the law.
(13)  For he of whom these things are spoken pertaineth to another tribe, of which no man gave attendance
at the altar.
(14)  For it is evident that our Lord sprang out of Juda; of which tribe Moses spake nothing concerning
(15)  And it is yet far more evident: for that after the similitude of Melchizedec there ariseth another priest,
(16)  Who is made, not after the law of a carnal commandment, but after the power of an endless life.
(17)  For he testifieth, Thou art a priest for ever after the order of Melchizedec.
(18)  For there is verily a disannulling of the commandment going before for the weakness and
unprofitableness thereof.
(19)  For the law made nothing perfect, but the bringing in of a better hope did; by the which we draw nigh
unto God.
(20)  And inasmuch as not without an oath he was made priest:
(21)  (For those priests were made without an oath; but this with an oath by him that said unto him, The
Lord sware and will not repent, Thou art a priest for ever after the order of Melchizedec:)
(22)  By so much was Jesus made a surety of a better testament.
(23)  And they truly were many priests, because they were not suffered to continue by reason of death:
(24)  But this man, because he continueth ever, hath an unchangeable priesthood.
(25)  Wherefore he is able also to save them to the uttermost that come unto God by him, seeing he ever
liveth to make intercession for them.
(26)  For such an high priest became us, who is holy, harmless, undefiled, separate from sinners, and made
higher than the heavens;
(27)  Who needeth not daily, as those high priests, to offer up sacrifice, first for his own sins, and then for
the people's: for this he did once, when he offered up himself.
(28)  For the law maketh men high priests which have infirmity; but the word of the oath, which was since
the law, maketh the Son, who is consecrated for evermore.

Thus we have:

1. The characteristics of a High Priest fulfilled in Christ
2. Progress through patient effort the condition of the knowledge of Christian Mysteries
3. The characteristics of Christ as absolute High Priest shadowed forth by Melchizedek

The characteristics of a High Priest are fulfilled in Christ 
(Hebrews 5:1-10).

This paragraph falls naturally into two parts:

1. (Hebrews 5:1-4) The characteristics of a High-priest are first laid down
2. (Hebrews 5:5-10) It is shown that these were perfectly satisfied by Christ

Hebrews 5:1-4
The characteristics of a High Priest are drawn from

(5:1) A consideration of his office
(5:2-4) The qualifications which its fulfillment requires in regard to men and to God


Ex Anthropon Lambanomenos uper anthropon
Being taken from among men
The human origin of the High-priest is marked as a ground of the fitness of his appointment.
A High-priest being himself man,  can act for men:  Compare Exodus 28:1 (from among the children of Israel).  He is  ‘of men’  and  ‘on behalf of men’  (for their service).
And in the original these two phrases correspond emphatically.

He may offer both gifts and sacrifices for sins
The same offering indeed could be called,  under different aspects,  a ‘gift’ and a ‘sacrifice.’
But when ‘gifts’ and ‘sacrifices’ are distinguished

gifts mark the ‘meal offering’
sacrifices mark the bloody offerings
Compare Hebrews 8:3; 9:9

Heb 8:3
For every high priest is ordained to offer gifts and sacrifices: wherefore it is of necessity that this man
have somewhat also to offer.

Heb 9:9
Which was a figure for the time then present, in which were offered both gifts and sacrifices, that could
not make him that did the service perfect, as pertaining to the conscience;

In this narrower sense the  ‘sacrifice’  naturally proceeds the  ‘offering’!
It is possible that the transposition is made in order to emphasize the thought that man needs an appointed  Mediator even to bring his gifts to God.

The particular reference is to the offerings of the High-priest on the Day of Atonement,  ‘the Day’ (Joma) as it is called in the Talmud,  which concentrated all the ideas of sacrifice and worship,  as the High-priest concentrated all the ideas of personal service  (See Leviticus 16; Numbers 29).

Hebrews 2-4
From the office of the High-priest the writer passes on to his qualifications in regard to man and God.

(5:2,3) He must have sympathy with man
(5:4) and receive his appointment from God


Have compassion
The capacity for calm and gentle judgment fits him for the fulfillment of his office in behalf of his fellow men.
He offers sacrifices as one  ‘able to bear gently’  with the ignorant and erring.

Metriopathein - to feel gently towards, t o bear gently with.
Syriac Peshitta.

“He is one who can humble himself and have compassion on those who are ignorant and go astray;  for he himself also is subject to weaknesses.”    Hebrews 5:2

The High Priest
In the Law no special moral qualifications are prescribed for the priests.
Here the essential qualification which lies in their humanity is brought out.  Their work was not and could not be purely external and mechanical even if it seemed to be so superficially.  Within certain limits they had to decide upon the character of the facts in regard to which offerings were made.

The ignorant and erring
Describe sinners,  so far as they come into consideration here,  under two main aspects.
Willful, deliberate sin does not fall within the writer’s scope,  nor indeed within the scope of the Levitical Law.
Such sin required in the first instance the manifestation of a sterner judgment.
Compare Numbers 15:22-31  (sins of ignorance and sins of presumption)

Num. 15:22-31
(22)  And if ye have erred, and not observed all these commandments, which the LORD hath spoken unto
(23)  Even all that the LORD hath commanded you by the hand of Moses, from the day that the LORD
commanded Moses, and henceforward among your generations;
(24)  Then it shall be, if ought be committed by ignorance without the knowledge of the congregation, that
all the congregation shall offer one young bullock for a burnt offering, for a sweet savor unto the
ORD, with his meat offering, and his drink offering, according to the manner, and one kid of the
goats for a sin offering.
(25)  And the priest shall make an atonement for all the congregation of the children of Israel, and it shall be
forgiven them; for it is ignorance: and they shall bring their offering, a sacrifice made by fire unto
the L
ORD, and their sin offering before the LORD, for their ignorance:
(26)  And it shall be forgiven all the congregation of the children of Israel, and the stranger that sojourneth
among them; seeing all the people were in ignorance.
(27)  And if any soul sin through ignorance, then he shall bring a she goat of the first year for a sin offering.
(28)  And the priest shall make an atonement for the soul that sinneth ignorantly, when he sinneth by
ignorance before the L
ORD, to make an atonement for him; and it shall be forgiven him.
(29)  Ye shall have one law for him that sinneth through ignorance, both for him that is born among the
children of Israel, and for the stranger that sojourneth among them.
(30)  But the soul that doeth ought presumptuously, whether he be born in the land, or a stranger, the same
reproacheth the L
ORD; and that soul shall be cut off from among his people.
(31)  Because he hath despised the word of the L
ORD, and hath broken his commandment, that soul shall
utterly be cut off; his iniquity shall be upon him.

It is necessary that the true High-priest should be able to sympathize with the manifold forms of weakness from which sins spring,  as himself conscious of the nature of sin,  but it is not necessary that he should actually share the feelings of sinners,  as having himself sinned.
Towards sinners he must have that calm,  just feeling which neither exaggerates nor extenuates the offense.

It may further be noticed that Christ,  as High-spriest,  has no weakness.
Though He sympathizes with weaknesses. (Hebrews 7:28; 4:15)

Heb 4:15
For we have not an high priest which cannot be touched with the feeling of our infirmities;  but was in
all points tempted like as we are, yet without sin.


And by reason thereof  (of the weakness)
Weakness does not absolutely involve sin, so that the weakness and the sin even in the case of man, as he is, are two separate elements.

In the case of the human High-priest  weakness actually issued in sin.
In this respect the parallel with Christ fails.  But it has been seen  (Hebrews 4:15)  that a sense of the power of the temptation and not the being overpowered by it is the true ground of sympathy.  Compare Hebrews 7:27.

He is bound
In the very nature of things,  in virtue of his constitution and of his office.  He must obtain purity for himself before he can intercede for others.  Compare Hebrews 2:17.


Called of God
A second qualification for the High-priesthood lies in the Divine call.
He must be man,  and he must be called by God.  The fact of human sinfulness naturally leads to this complementary thought:

1. Of himself a man could not presume to take upon him such an office.
2. He could not draw near to God being himself sinful: still less could he draw near to God to intercede for others.
3. At the most he could only indicate in action the desire for fellowship with God.

Even Aaron himself,  though specially marked out before (Exodus 16:33),  did not assume the office without a definite call.  (Exodus 28:1).

Aaron is the divine type of the High-priest,  as the Tabernacle is of ritual service.
He is mentioned in the New Testament in  Luke 1:5;  Acts 7:40  besides the book of Hebrews.

From the time of Herod the succession to the High-priesthood became irregular and arbitrary and not confined to the line of Aaron  (See Josephus Antt. 15,2,4; 20.9). 
Therefore the writer goes back to the divine ideal.

Hebrews 5:5-10

Having characterized the office and qualifications of a High-priest generally, the writer now goes on to show that

(vv 5-8) Christ satisfied the qualifications
(vv. 9,10) Christ fulfills the office

The proof is given in an inverted form:

(vv. 5,6) The divine appointment of Christ is established first
(vv. 7,8) Then His power of sympathy
(vv. 9,10) Last His office is described

In verses 5-8 the qualifications of Christ for the High-priesthood are established

(vv. 5,6) By His divine appointment
(vv. 7,8) By His human discipline which became the ground of perfect sympathy

His Divine Appointment  (vv. 5,6).
The divine appointment of Christ is exhibited in two passages of the Psalms in which the Lord who declares Him to be His Son declares Him also to be  ‘High-priest after the order of Melchizedek.’

These two quotations from Psalms 2:7; 110:4:

Ps 2:7
I will declare the decree: the L
ORD hath said unto me, Thou art my Son;  this day have I begotten thee.

Ps 110:4
The L
ORD hath sworn, and will not repent, Thou art a priest for ever after the order of Melchizedek.

These verses establish the source of the Lord’s sovereign dignity as  ‘Son,’  and mark the particular form in which this dignity has been realized. The first passage which has been already read (Hebrews 5:5) refers the glory of the Risen Christ,  the exalted Son of man,  to the Father.

This glory is not exactly defined,  but the position of sonship includes every special honor,  kingly or priestly.
He to whom this has been given could not be said to ‘glorify Himself.’

The second quotation  (Psalms 110:4)  defines the particular application of the first.
The kingly priesthood of Melchizedek was promised to Christ.  Such a priesthood naturally belongs to the exalted Son,  Jesus who is the Christ of God.


So Christ  (the Christ) also…
The title of the office emphasizes the idea of the perfect obedience of the Lord even in the fullness of His appointed work.  It is not said that  ‘Jesus’ glorified not Himself,  but  ‘the Christ,’  the appointed Redeemer,  glorified not Himself.

He glorified not himself so as (in the assertion of this dignity) to become High Priest
Christ,  as sinless man,  could approach God for Himself;  but He waited for His Father’s appointment that He might approach God as ‘Son of man for sinful humanity.’


In another place

Psalms 110 describes the Divine Savior under three aspects:

1. (vv. 1-3) King
2. (v. 4) Priest
3. (vv. 5-7) Conqueror

It is quoted in the New Testament to illustrated three distinct points in the Lord’s Person:

1. His Lordship and victory Matthew 22:43; I Corinthians 15:25
2. His Exaltation at the right hand of God Acts 2:34
3. His Priesthood Hebrews chapter 5

His Lordship and victory

Matt 22:43

He saith unto them, How then doth David in spirit call him Lord, saying …

1 Cor 15:25

For he must reign,  till he hath put all enemies under his feet.

His Exaltation at the right hand of God.

Acts 2:34

For David is not ascended into the heavens:  but he saith himself,  The LORD said unto my Lord,  Sit thou on my right hand

And this phrase underlies the many references to Christ’s sitting  (Matthew 26:64).

Matt 26:64

Jesus saith unto him, Thou hast said: nevertheless I say unto you, Hereafter shall ye see the Son of man sitting on the right hand of power, and coming in the clouds of heaven.

And taking His seat (Mark 16:19). At the right hand of God.

Mark 16:19

So then after the Lord had spoken unto them, he was received up into heaven, and sat on the right hand of God.

His Priesthood

It is worth while to summarize the characteristic note in three main points in which the High-priesthood of Christ was,  like that of Melchizedek,  contrasted with the High-priesthood of Aaron:

1. It was not for the fulfillment of legal sacrifices,  sacrifices of bulls and goats;  but for the offering of bread and wine,  answering to Christ’s Body and Blood.  Animal offerings have ceased:  these remain.
2. Melchizedek combined the kingly with the priestly dignity:  he was anointed not with Oil but with the Holy Spirit.
3. Melchizedek appeared once:  so Christ offered Himself once.

Two features in Melchizedek’s priesthood appear to be specially present to the mind of the writer:

1. That it was connected with the kingly office
2. That it was not made dependent on any fleshly descent, or limited by conditions of time

Melchizedek had no recorded ancestry and no privileged line of descendants.
He represented a non-Jewish,  a universal priesthood.
In relation to the Priesthood he occupies the position which Abraham occupies in relation to the Covenant. Compare Zechariah 6:12-13

Zech 6:12-13
(12)  And speak unto him, saying, Thus speaketh the L
ORD of hosts, saying, Behold the man whose name is
BRANCH; and he shall grow up out of his place, and he shall build the temple of the LORD:
(13)  Even he shall build the temple of the L
ORD; and he shall bear the glory, and shall sit and rule upon his
throne; and he shall be a priest upon his throne: and the counsel of peace shall be between them both.

Christ is a Priest for ever,  because He has no successor,  nor any need of a successor.
His High-priestly Sacrifices,  His High-priestly Entrance with His own blood into heaven,  to the presence of God (John 20:17),  are  ‘eternal’  acts,  raised beyond all limits of time.
Here therefore there is no possibility of repetition,  as in the Levitical sacrifices.  All is  ‘one act at once’,  while for men the virtue of Christ’s sacrifice is applied in time.


In the days of  His flesh
The complicated sentence is divided into two main propositions by the two finite verbs:

1. The first sentence describes the divine discipline through which Christ was perfected in His human nature.
2. The second, the efficacy of the work which He was fitted to accomplish in His perfected humanity.

If the words are arranged in a tabular form their symmetrical structure is at once evident:

Verse 7 Who
  in His days of flesh,
  having offered up.
With strong crying and tears,
prayers and supplications
unto Him that was able to save
Him out of death,
  and having been heard
for His godly fear,
Verse 8
though He was son, yet
  (1) learned obedience
by the things which He suffered;
Verse 9
and, having been made perfect,
  (2) He became to all them that obey Him,
the cause of eternal salvation,
Verse 10
being addressed by God, as
  after the order of Melchizedek.

Verses 7, 8
Christ-the Son,  the priest after the order of Melchizedek - has been shown to have fulfilled one condition of true High-priesthood by His divine appointment:  He is now shown to have fulfilled the other,  as having learned through actual experience the uttermost needs of human weakness.

With strong crying and tears
There are three kinds of prayers each loftier than the preceding:

Prayer Prayer that is made in silence
Crying Crying with raised voice
Tears But tears overcome all things

‘There is no door through which tears do not pass’
(Synopsis Sohar ap. Schoettgen ad loc.)

There can be little doubt that the writer refers to the scene at Gethsemane;  but the mention of these details of  ‘the loud cry’  ‘and tears’  (John 11:35  edakrusen;  Luke 19:41 eklausen),  no less than the general scope of the passage,  suggests the application of the words to other prayers and times of peculiar trial in the Lord’s life: compare John 11:33;   John 12:27;  Matthew 27:46,50.

There is a tradition that originally the High-priest on the Day of Atonement,  when he offered the prayer for forgiveness in the Holy of Holies,  uttered the name of God with a loud voice so that it could be heard far off.

So Jesus made the loud cry from the cross: ELI,  ELI,  LA MA SA BACH’ THA-NI     Matthew 27:46


Though he was son
The clause has been taken with the words which precede  (‘being heard not as Son but for His godly fear’),  and with those which follow  (‘though Son went through the discipline of suffering to obedience’).
The latter connection is most in accordance with the whole scope of the passage.

Though Son and therefore endowed with right of access for Himself to the Father,  being of one essence with the Father,  for man’s sake as man He won the right of access for humanity.

In one sense it is true that the idea of Sonship suggests that of obedience;  but the nature of Christ’s Sonship at first sight seems to exclude the thought that He should learn obedience through suffering.

Learned obedience
The spirit of obedience is realized through trials,  seen at least to minister to good.

Sufferings in this sense may be said to teach obedience as they confirm it and call it out actively.
The Lord  ‘learned obedience through the things which He suffered,’  not as if the lesson were forced upon Him by the necessity of suffering,  for the learning of obedience does not imply the conquest of disobedience (John 8:28) as actual,  but as making His own perfectly,  through insight into the Father’s will,  that self-surrender which was required,  even to death upon the cross  (Compare Philippians 2:8).

Phil 2:8
And being found in fashion as a man,  he humbled himself,  and became obedient unto death,  even the death of the cross.

The word  ‘obedience’  contains a reference to the occasion of sin.

Man’s fall was due to Adam's disobedience
Man's restoration comes through Christ's obedience
Compare Romans 5:19

Rom 5:19
For as by one man's disobedience many were made sinners,  so by the obedience of one shall many be made righteous.

5:9, 10

Being made prefect
Christ,  it has been seen,  satisfied the conditions of High-priesthood.
He has received divine appointment:  He is inspired with the completest sympathy.
But His High-priesthood goes immeasurably beyond that of the Levitical system in its efficacy.

So having discussed the High Priesthood of Jesus Christ we now go back to our study in Exodus.

End of Lesson Six


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