When giving instructions on the building of the Tabernacle, the first thing that was described for us was the most holy article, the Ark of the Testimony. When giving instructions on the priestly garments, the first article that is described for us is the Ephod, an apron, a piece of clothing that serves no practical purpose, nor has any definitive significance. Attached to the Ephod is a Linen Breastplate (now, we're getting somewhere). But, it is folded length wise and width wise so that it is exactly one half it's original size. And, inside the pocket of the folds of the breastplate are inserted the Urim and the Thumum (translated into English, these words mean Illumination and Perfect Truth). What are the Urim and the Thummim? There are a number of guesses out there. No one knows. The Ephod and the Breastplate are sewn together so that when the High Priest takes it off and puts it on, they are always together as one piece. Why? I could guess, and so could you. So has a lot of other very smart people who have studied their Bibles for a very, very long time. But, their guesses aren't all the same. And ours probably wouldn't be either. And even if they were, they're still guesses. Then, underneath the Ephod, is the High Priest's linen robe that is dyed all blue; but, it is not described for us as the robe od the High Priest. No, that would be too easy. It's “the robe of the Ephod.”
So, I prayed about this. I asked God, “What's the big deal?” We know that the priestly garments are not just a matter of fashion and style. Every article of the priestly garment bears a message: a description of what it means to stand before God as High Priest. And as we understand the role of the Messiah, it is a description of who He is, as well.
So, what does it all mean?
God answered. And in the sweetness and gentleness of His voice, I was silenced in the awe and majesty and glory of Who is the Messiah, our High Priest and King. He said, “Who do you think you are that you can grasp the most holy things that have ever touched this earth?”
I'm a... all the answers of my Christian upbringing, my relationship based upon forgiveness and grace are inadequate. Sure, they give me access to the Kingdom. And were I not a child of God, He likely wouldn't bother with an answer. But, His answer was more than just, “It's none of your business.” His answer told me how great is my Lord: His greatness is unfathomable, beyond my comprehension.
It causes me to bow in worship in adoration.
I'm embarrassed to think that, even yesterday, I thought that I could say, “Yes, I know the Messiah. I understand Him. I am comfortable with His presence.”
He is all that I understand, even in the rudimentary ideas that I hold:
He is the Banner of gold on His forehead: Holiness to the Lord
He is the turban of pure white
He is the onyx stones, black, resting on his shoulders with the names of the twelve tribes of Israel engraved upon them.
He is the breastplate with each tribe of Israel represented by a distinctive gem.
He is the Ephod.
He is the ornamental sash that the rabbis tell us was seventy feet long and wrapped fifty times around his waist.
He is the Urim and the Thummim (illumination and Perfect Truth)
He is the robe of the Ephod.
He is linen pants (really, more like nickers: the attire of a slave).
I get it, only in the scope that, in getting it, I don't get it at all.
One of my favorite stories about Judaism is when the oldest rabbi, on his 100th birthday, was asked how it felt to have studied Torah more than anyone else alive. He replied, “I am a child.”
If I could convey one single idea about the Priestly Garments, if I could share one fundamental concept for everyone to grasp it is that there is more to the Priestly Garments than we could possibly understand. And, in so saying, there is more of the Messiah, more to His character and identity than we can possibly realize. What it means to walk with Him, what it means to stand in His presence, what it means to share His Spiritual identity, is mind blowing.
I weep for complacent I have grown, taking for granted what I could never realize on my own.
I think there are some things in the Bible that are there, not for us to really understand, but to realize how much more there is than we can possibly understand. I think, we as teachers, don't want to admit that, so we make stuff up and cheat our followers into believing that it's all there is to it.
The more I learn, the more I realize that it's never all there is, even in the stuff I get right. The things that I really understand about the Bible are pre-school concepts, ridiculously infantile in their fabrication. There is more beauty, more glory than I could possibly comprehend. I'm inspired to continue learning, continue growing, knowing that no matter how many times I look, there will always be more of Him to see.