Christians have a wardrobe of Glory and Beauty…so wear it!

Posted: August 21, 2012 in Beauty, Glory, Grace, Holiness, Jesus Christ
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Consider the Importance of Clothes

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

God wanted to establish a relationship with His chosen people. That relationship was governed by God’s holiness and righteousness. God could not relate to His people without a representative, someone who would reflect God’s nature to His people.

God designed the office of Priest to enable this relationship. Aaron, the brother of Moses, was designated the priest, along with his sons.

Priests were nothing new to the Israelites. Melchizedek was a priest in Abraham’s day (Genesis 14:8). Joseph’s sons Manasseh and Ephraim were from his wife Asenath, the daughter of Potiphera, priest of On. Even Moses father-in-law, Jethro, was the priest of Midian.

With the beginning of the Nation of Israel in view, God directed Moses to begin God’s priestly order, founded upon the Commandments which God delivered to Moses. With the earthly Priest Hood, God always had His Son, Jesus Christ in view. Everything about the priesthood, the Tabernacle, the offerings and sacrifices were a shadow of the Heavenly reality (Hebrews 8:5). It was important that the priests reflect God, and in view of the future, the nature of His Son. For Jesus Christ was the substance of all they did.

Colossians 2:17 These are a shadow of the things to come, but the substance belongs to Christ.

While the priests were seen as the “go between” for the Jews with God, this was never His intention. Always in His heart, He wanted an intimate relationship with all of His children. From the beginning God revealed His intention:

Exodus 19:5-6 Now therefore, if you will indeed obey my voice and keep my covenant, you shall be my treasured possession among all peoples, for all the earth is mine; and you shall be to me a kingdom of priests and a holy nation. These are the words that you shall speak to the people of Israel.

God desired His people to realize they could be a kingdom of priests, each possessing that special relationship with God. The link between God and His priests has always been two-fold: believe in God, and obey His Word. The priests were to be living personifications of the reality of Jehovah God, and the power of His Word. As the priests reflected this power to the Jewish people, the words of Malachi would come to pass:

Malachi 2:7 For the lips of a priest should guard knowledge, and people should seek instruction from his mouth, for he is the messenger of the LORD of hosts.”

This is why Exodus 28:1-2 is significant. The garments of the priest are important only as far as the priests follow their intention-for the garments were designed to set the priest apart from that which was common.

What made the priesthood “weighty” to the people, was the perception that they were set apart unto God. The priests had restrictions upon land ownership, because the Lord was their inheritance. The priests were not to be entangled in the business affairs of the world. They were to depend upon the Lord for their sustenance and provisions. The people went to the priests to enquire of the Lord God, for the priests were set apart unto Him. This is what the garments represented, for they were sacred garments, and set the wearer apart from that which was common. The priestly garments were never used for washing the dishes, or cutting wood. The priests were always to respect the Holiness of Jehovah as they administered their office.

This is the reason for God’s scourging of the priesthood in Malachi. They had accepted “common” sacrifices, blind animals, unclean animals, and in so doing had profaned the name of Jehovah before the people. They had “polluted” God by despising the table of the Lord (Malachi 1:6-8). Instead of setting God apart before the people, the priesthood had brought God down to where man could regard Him as nothing special. Honoring Jehovah required nothing special. No real sacrifice was involved. God had become “comfortable” to the people. The priesthood had lost the touch of God by accepting that which was common. The priests had despised the name of God!

Their garments looked glorious and beautiful like normal, but there was no power behind them. God withdraws His power when our worship and service becomes man-centered. As 2nd Timothy 3:5 states, they have a form of godliness, but they deny the power thereof. When you fail to follow the design of God, you reveal your heart, a heart that despises God’s authority over your life.

Our lives are to reflect a heart that has been set apart unto God. A heart that loves God completely. As we walk in love, we are clothed in glory and beauty. The priesthood was to present that reality to God’s children, just as contemporary ministers are to their flock.

Ministers, pastors, preachers and associates are to be set apart unto God. They must spend time before the throne. They must believe in His power. They must long for His Word. No part of their life must be kept from obedience to His Word. Disobedience, no matter how small, reflects a heart that despises the name of God.

Those who serve the Living God do so with an obligation to guard the deposit of God’s Word given to them.

2 Timothy 1:14 By the Holy Spirit who dwells within us, guard the good deposit entrusted to you.

Disobedience and/or neglect of God’s Word reveals an unbelieving heart. You are snorting, “What a weariness this is!” (Malachi 1:14). God’s name will be exalted throughout the nations, regardless of your obedience or belief.

The cry to everyone who seeks the Lord is found in Hebrews 11:6 “But without faith it is impossible to please him: for he that cometh to God must believe that he is, and that he is a rewarder of them that diligently seek him.”

Remember, God desired a nation of priests. He wanted all of His chosen ones to enjoy Him. This became reality through Jesus Christ, whose eternal sacrifice on the cross tore open the veil which stood between sinful man and Holy God. Through faith in the work of Christ, His righteousness and justification are imputed to us, enabling us to have relations with Abba Father.

However, the visual image of Aaron’s priestly garments reveals several insights into our relationship with Holy God.

1. There is no relationship unless we agree to be set apart unto Him.

This is the wisdom of the Cross, whereby all those who humble themselves before the cross find salvation and righteousness in Christ. Our relationship with God begins at the cross of Christ. Jesus is the way!

Any attempt to come to God by bringing Him down to our level will be wasted. If our coming to God is man-centered and polluted by our pride, the way to God will be closed to us. The intimacy of Abba, Father will be impossible due to our flesh (Romans 8:8).

2. Our relationship with God is always on the basis of His Glory and Beauty.

We have no glory or beauty of our own. There is nothing intrinsic within us that makes us attractive and winsome to God. The priest stood before the people clothed in the special garments to reflect God’s glory and beauty, not his own. There were no TV personalities on display. God’s glory and beauty took center stage.

A. The Imagery of the Priestly Garments

1. The garments were to set apart the priests from that which was common to that which was sacred.

The Priests were the connection between man and God.

  • Ministers of God are always set apart for God’s use. They are not to be “common” in the true sense of the word. They are always living with the presence of God! God in us makes us sacred!
  • The garments were masculine and feminine in nature. Ministers reflect all of God upon all of God’s people

2.  They were to reflect the ‘weighty’ glory of God which Moses desired to see.

The word “glory” is derived from a Hebrew root that may mean “heavy,” “weighty,” or “numerous, severe” in a physical sense[4]

  • God bestows His glory on man- Psalm 8:5 Yet you have made him a little lower than the heavenly beings and crowned him with glory and honor.
  • Glory is a weighty term-refers to wealth, possessions, honor, prestige.
  • Joseph told his brothers to tell Jacob of all his “glory”
  • The Glory of God brings substance, wealth, purpose, pre-eminence and “weight”.
  • The glory of God is never taken lightly; neither should the minister of God.

Exodus 16:7 and in the morning you shall see the glory of the LORD…

  • God told the complaining Israelites they would see His glory in the morning. When they awoke, they saw the manna falling from heaven, lying on the ground.
  • The manna is a picture of God’s bread of life-the Word of God. In the Word there is glory as we minister it!

Psalm 57:11 Be exalted, O God, above the heavens; let Your glory be over all the earth.

Isaiah 42:8 I am the Lord; that is My name! And My glory I will not give to another, nor My praise to graven images.

The Bible places emphasis on glory in the present and future tenses based upon the possibility of a relationship with the God of glory.

 The priests were to minister on the basis of glory because they enjoyed a “heavy” relationship with God, whereby His glory became their glory through the ministry of the Word!

John 1:14 And the Word (Christ) became flesh (human, incarnate) and tabernacled (fixed His tent of flesh, lived awhile) among us; and we [actually] saw His glory (His honor, His majesty), such glory as an only begotten son receives from his father, full of grace (favor, loving-kindness) and truth.

Jesus is the Glory of God!

Jesus in your life opens the Glory of God upon your life!

3.  They were to reflect the beauty bestowed upon man and upon objects that elevate them to the presence of the divine.

Isaiah 55:5 Behold, you shall call a nation that you do not know, and a nation that did not know you shall run to you, because of the LORD your God, and of the Holy One of Israel, for he has glorified you.

God has beautified you. His Glory is revealed in our beauty (that He bestows upon us in Christ)!

God bestows His beauty upon His people, upon their sanctuary, upon those things dedicated to Him!

The basic meaning of pāʾar in the Piel is “to beautify/glorify.” In the six instances of this, the subject of the verb is always God. The recipient is his child(ren), for example, Isaiah 55:5; Psalm 149:4, or his sanctuary (Ezra 7:27; Isaiah 60:7, 13). This thought is carried into the use of pāʾar in the Hithpael (Isaiah 44:23; Isaiah 49:3; Isaiah 60:21; Isaiah 61:3). An additional meaning in this stem is “to boast” as seen in Judges 7:2; Isaiah 10:15. Exodus 8:5,[5]

God is our crown of glory and diadem of beauty!

Isaiah 28:5 In that day the LORD of hosts will be a crown of glory, and a diadem of beauty, to the remnant of his people,

We are to boast only in His beauty upon us.

Psalm 96:6 Honour and majesty are before him: strength and beauty are in his sanctuary.

The danger comes in thinking the beauty is ours.

Isaiah 20:5 And they shall be dismayed and confounded because of Ethiopia their hope and expectation and Egypt their glory and boast (same word for beauty).

B.  Jesus Christ is our Beauty and Glory

2 Peter 1:16 For we did not follow cleverly devised myths when we made known to you the power and coming of our Lord Jesus Christ, but we were eyewitnesses of his majesty.

Jude 1:25 to the only God, our Savior, through Jesus Christ our Lord, be glory, majesty, dominion, and authority, before all time and now and forever. Amen.

1. We are to put on Christ!

Galatians 3:27 For as many of you as were baptized into Christ have put on Christ.

He is our beauty!

      • He is the Rose of Sharon, the lily of the valley, the bright and morning star!
      • John 17:22 The glory that you have given me I have given to them, that they may be one even as we are one,
      • John 17:10 All mine are yours, and yours are mine, and I am glorified in them.

His Word is our Glory

      • His Word set us apart!
      • John 17:17 Sanctify them in the truth; your word is truth.

His Word in us brings Glory to God

      • John 15:7-8 If you abide in me, and my words abide in you, ask whatever you wish, and it will be done for you. By this my Father is glorified, that you bear much fruit and so prove to be my disciples.

2. The Word of God makes us beautiful and crowns us with His Glory!

Isaiah 62:2-3 The nations shall see your righteousness, and all the kings your glory, and you shall be called by a new name that the mouth of the LORD will give. You shall be a crown of beauty in the hand of the LORD, and a royal diadem in the hand of your God.

Zechariah saw a vision of a priest named Joshua in Zechariah 3. Joshua was clothed in filthy rags, and Satan was at his side, accusing him before Holy God. Joshua was not wearing the garments of glory and beauty. He was not fit to serve according to Satan. And Satan was right, but next we see the grace of God. An angel commands those around Joshua to remove the filthy garments, and clothe him in the holy priestly garments of glory and beauty. His iniquity has been removed by the grace of God. In addition, he is given a holy diadem or turban to wear upon his head. The significance of this turban is revealed in chapter 14, verse 20, for on the turban is symbolic of the priest being “Holiness unto the Lord,” for in that day even the horses will be holiness unto the Lord. Exodus 28:36 records that a gold plate inscribed with “Holiness unto the Lord” was placed upon the turban which the priest wore.

So God’s Grace restores the standing of the priest through cleansing and the right clothing. But God’s grace does not end there. Zechariah has another vision in chapter 4, and now he sees the power and provision of God for the rebuilding of the Temple. The Holy Spirit is poured out upon the priesthood, so that “not by might, nor by power but by my Spirit, saith the Lord of Hosts!” The Grace of God enables those who once were covered in filthiness to have an intimate relationship with their Creator God, and to be clothed in power from on high, such that they are to build the very dwelling place of God on the earth, His Temple! Verse seven presents a beautiful picture of the mountains (obstacles) becoming a plain such that Zerubbabel is able to hoist the final headstone of the Temple and cry out “Grace Grace!”

We live and breathe and build in the Grace of God! One day we will rejoice in heaven and cry Grace, Grace, for we will praise Christ “who loves us and has freed us from our sins by his blood and made us a kingdom, priests to his God and Father, to him be glory and dominion forever and ever. Amen.” (Rev 1:5-6)

 

 

 

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[1] qōdeš: A masculine noun meaning a holy thing, holiness, and sacredness. The word indicates something consecrated and set aside for sacred use only; it was not to be put into common use, for if it was, it became profaned and common (ḥôl), not holy. Warren Baker and Eugene Carpenter, The Complete Word Study Dictionary – Old Testament, (Chattanooga, TN: AMG Publishers, 2003), WORDsearch CROSS e-book.

[2] kābôd, ‏כָּבֹד‎ kābōd: A masculine singular noun meaning honor, glory, majesty, wealth. This term is commonly used of God (Ex. 33:18; Ps. 72:19; Isa. 3:8; Ezek. 1:28); humans (Gen. 45:13; Job 19:9; Ps. 8:5[6]; 21:5[6]); and objects (1 Sam. 2:8; Esth. 1:4; Isa. 10:18), particularly of the ark of the covenant (1 Sam. 4:21, 22).Warren Baker and Eugene Carpenter, The Complete Word Study Dictionary – Old Testament, (Chattanooga, TN: AMG Publishers, 2003), WORDsearch CROSS e-book.

[3] tiphʾārāh: A feminine noun meaning beauty, glory. Isaiah used the word to denote the so-called beauty of finery that would be snatched away by the Lord (Isa. 3:18). The word was used in a similar manner in Ezekiel to denote that which the people trusted in other than God, in addition to what would be stripped away (Ezek. 16:17; 23:26). The making of priestly garments and other apparel brought glory to Aaron and his sons, giving them dignity and honor (Ex. 28:2, 40). Wisdom was portrayed as giving a garland of grace and a crown of splendor in Proverbs (Prov. 4:9); Zion was told that it will be a crown of splendor in the Lord’s hand (Isa. 62:3); and in the book of Jeremiah, the king and queen were told that the crowns would fall from their heads (Jer. 13:18). The word was used in Deuteronomy to describe how God would recognize His people (Deut. 26:19). In Lamentations, it was used in an opposite manner to describe the splendor of Israel that was thrown down from heaven to earth in the Lord’s anger (Lam. 2:1). Deborah used the word to describe the honor or glory of a warrior which would not be Barak’s because he handled the situation wrongly (Judg. 4:9).Warren Baker and Eugene Carpenter, The Complete Word Study Dictionary – Old Testament, (Chattanooga, TN: AMG Publishers, 2003), WORDsearch CROSS e-book.

[4] Carpenter Eugene E. and Comfort Philip W., Holman Treasury of Key Bible Words: 200 Greek and 200 Hebrew Words Defined and Explained, (Nashville, TN: Broadman & Holman, 2000), WORDsearch CROSS e-book, 72.

[5] R. Laird Harris, Gleason L. Archer, Bruce K. Waltke, ed., “1726: ‏פָּאַר‎,” in Theological Wordbook of the Old Testament, (Chicago: Moody Press, 1980), WORDsearch CROSS e-book, 713.

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