What good is Aaron as priest, unless God says Aaron is a "priest to Me" (28:3)? What kind of holiness is there that is not "holy to the Lord" (Ex 28:36)?
This applies not only to Aaron. Since we are dealing with Aaron's garments in this chapter, someone might say "I'm a Protestant. I put no stock in a person's garment, but in a person's heart."
In a few pages we'll see something very hard to understand about a person's neck, including Aaron's, which is a few inches above his heart (32:9, lit.). If a preacher wants to play with images, there's three parts of the body for illustration. Two of them are covered (also literally!) in our chapter: the heart (28:29-30), and the forehead (28:38). I can just hear the illustration now, that for something to get from our forehead, to our heart, it unfortunately has to get past our neck, which is often the problem. I'm squirming already.
But the garments are for the person as a whole. It is Aaron himself who is a priest to God, not part of him. And it is Aaron who takes away or bears (28:38) the "iniquity of the holy things which the sons of Israel consecrate."
Indeed, if Christians understood 28:38 better, we'd have a better life of devotion to God. How many of us feel that if we don't keep up our things consecrated at a high enough level, God will not accept us finally after all? We are hopefully reminded by others if not by the Word itself that our salvation is "not a result of works, so that no one may boast" (Eph 2:9), but rather than that, we would rather have God accept our things which we "consecrate." Why? Because we can "control" that. Since the Fall, the good and evil that we "know" -- i.e., determine -- is more attractive to us than that which God has determined.
And so the garment lesson of Ex 28 hits us from the backside, just as it did the early church in the Donatist controversy. Inward consecration has iniquity in it. We really need an externally supplied garment specified by God and a priest to bear the iniquity of the holy things which we, like the sons of Israel, consecrate.
And just as with Aaron, the garment is supplied. Christians "have clothed yourselves with Christ," Paul says (Gal 3:27). Christ is our garment, and our priest.
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