Some people might be bored with all the detail of the tabernacle and priestly robes, but I must admit, I am absolutely fascinated! I am a symbol person who loves metaphor. As I read Exodus, I feel like I am on a treasure hunt!
What intrigues me most is the priestly garment. The colors "blue and purple and scarlet," woven with gold which has been hammered, then "cut" into threads is amazing.
The root word for what we translate as "blue" is "fierce lion."
The word we translate "purple" has an obscure meaning that I will have to research further.
The root word for what we translate as "red" is "devour" and "eat up." It comes from a worm whose casing was the main ingredient for the dye used to make the color.
Gold, of course, is a very precious metal.
I have to always remember everything about the tabernacle--the accessories, the furniture and the garments--point to something about the Messiah and God.
I love how the priest carries the names of the Sons of Israel on his shoulders. This is his burden, his yoke.
And then the breast piece, which covers his heart and essential organs, contains all these precious stones, representing each of the sons of Israel.
There is a study by Beth Moore, a wonderful Biblical theologian, which digs into and describes all the meanings of the tabernacle pieces. It is called A Woman's Heart. I hope to get it and study it soon. [I've posted Beth's link on this blog page in case you want to check out her wonderful studies!]
Imagine all the tinkling of the bells on the fringe of the priestly garment. Can you imagine the worship service? All the beautiful sights, the smells of incense and cooking meat, and the bells?
And the pomegranate fringe...
I love this especially because I love pomegranates!
Pomegranates are a deep red jeweled fruit known in the ancient world to represent the ovaries of a fruitful woman. Pomegranates represent fertility, possibility and hope.
It is as if the priest's fringe represents the first commandment in scripture:
Be fruitful and multiply.
Wherever the priests walk, wherever the ones who are "Holy to the LORD" are, fruitfulness exists.
At our baptism, we are pronounced "Holy to the LORD" and enter into the "priesthood of all believers." We are given the priestly garment of the righteousness of Christ. We wear the ephod of the breastplate of righteousness, the helmet of salvation, and all the other "armor of God" which correlates directly with the garment of the priests.
And wherever we walk, the pomegranate life of fruitfulness and the tinkling bells announce the coming of the Kingdom of God!
No wonder Isaiah 52:7 declares,
How Beautiful are the Feet of those who bring good news, proclaim peace, bring glad tidings of good things, proclaim salvation, and proclaim to Zion, "Your God reigns!"