Exodus 27:20 – 30:10; Haftarah: Ezekiel 43:10 – 43:27
Our study this week takes us deeper in to the mystery of the Tabernacle, which we have studied as a place of new creation – a new Eden – a deeply feminine reality that produces new life. This week, we focus on the man created in this new creation: the High Priest, Aaron – his vestments and those of his sons and their symbolism. We begin our journey towards the heart and center of the Torah which is the offering of Nadab and Abihu in the book of leviticus with these realizations – all of which point ultimately to the Ultimate High-Priest and Victim: Jesus Christ.
Scripture references from the episode
But I am da worm and not a man,
scorned by mankind and despised by the people.
“Hail! tabernacle of God and the Word. Hail! holy beyond all holy ones. Hail! ark gilded by the Holy Ghost. Hail! unfailing treasure-house of life.”
An ancient Akathist hymn
(Ex 26:1) Henry Morris. Biblical Basis for Modern Science, Baker Book House, 1985, p. 73
“When the female of the scarlet worm species was ready to give birth to her young, she would attach her body to the trunk of a tree, fixing herself so firmly and permanently that she would never leave again. The eggs deposited beneath her body were thus protected until the larvae were hatched and able to enter their own life cycle. As the mother died, the crimson fluid stained her body and the surrounding wood. From the dead bodies of such female scarlet worms, the commercial scarlet dyes of antiquity were extracted. What a picture this gives of Christ, dying on the tree, shedding his precious blood that he might ‘bring many sons unto glory’ (Hbr 2:10)! He died for us, that we might live through him! Psa 22:6 describes such a worm and gives us this picture of Christ. (cf. Isa 1:18)”
(Ex 28:40) Philo of Alexandria – The Special Laws
This is the arrangement of the sacred dress of the high priest, being a representation of the universe, a marvellous work to be beheld or to be contemplated. For it has an appearance thoroughly calculated to excite astonishment, such as no embroidered work conceived by man ever was for variety and costly magnificence; (96) and it also attracts the intellect of philosophers to examine its different parts. For God intends that the high priest should in the first place have a visible representation of the universe about him, in order that from the continual sight of it he may be reminded to make his own life worthy of the nature of the universe, and secondly, in order that the whole world may co-operate with him in the performance of his sacred rites.
And it is exceedingly becoming that the man who is consecrated to the service of the Father of the world should also bring his son to the service of him who has begotten him.
(Ex 29:14) Leo the Great – Sermon 59.5.2
Indeed consequently, “Christ our Passover has been sacrificed,” (1 Cor 5:7) as the apostle says. Offering himself to the Father as a new and real sacrifice of reconciliation, he was crucified—not in the temple whose due worship is now completed, nor within the enclosure of the city which was to be destroyed because of its crime, but “outside and beyond the camp.” That way, as the mystery of the ancient sacrifices was ceasing, a new victim would be put on a new altar, and the cross of Christ would be the altar not of the temple but of the world.
(Ex 29:43) Babylonian Talmud – b. Zebah. 14:1
It is in the following: “And there I will meet with the children of Israel and the tent shall be sanctified by my glory” (Ex. 29:43). Pronounce the words to read not “my glory” but “my honored ones.”
(Ex 30:6) Bede – Homilies on the Gospels 2.25
The ark of the covenant, which was inside the veil, … very suitably symbolizes the nature of [Christ’s] humanity. The urn [containing] manna symbolizes the fullness of his divinity. The staff of Aaron symbolizes the indestructible power of his priesthood, [and] the tablets of the covenant symbolize that it is he who gave the law and will also give his blessing to those who fulfill the law.
(Ex 30:10) Origen – Homilies on Leviticus 9:8–9
Therefore, if I should consider how the true “high priest,” my Lord Jesus Christ, having indeed been placed in the flesh, was with the people all year, that year about which he himself says, “He sent me to proclaim good news to the poor and to announce the acceptable year of the Lord and the day of forgiveness,” I perceive how “once” in this “year” on the Day of Atonement he enters into “the Holy of Holies.” That is, when with his dispensation fulfilled “he penetrates the heavens” (Heb 4:14) and goes to the Father to make atonement for the human race and prays for all those who believe in him. Knowing this atonement by which he propitiates the Father for humans, the apostle John says, “I say this, little children, that we may not sin. But if we should sin, we have an advocate before the Father, Jesus Christ the just; and he himself is the propitiation for our sins.” But Paul also in a similar way mentions this atonement when he says concerning Christ, “Whom God appointed as a propitiator by his blood through faith.” Therefore the Day of Atonement remains for us until the sun sets; that is, until the world comes to an end.