Category Archive: Bible – OT – Leviticus

June 26, 2019

Dressing Like the Tabernacle

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Sometimes Aaron the high priest wears his most glorious garments and sometimes he does not.

“Curiously,” says Carmen Imes (Bearing YHWH’s Name at Sinai),

Aaron was not to wear the most elaborate of his official vestments (breastpiece and ephod) when it would seem most appropriate to do so — while entering the Most Holy Place.

He wore them only when performing regular sacrifices and maintaining service in the Holy Place, implying that his representation of Israel to God pertained to the sacrificial system and the ongoing maintenance of the cult; he did not ‘bear the names’ of the sons of Israel into the Most Holy Place.

When he appeared in the Most Holy Place on the most holy day [i.e., the Day of Atonement], he had to come humbly, without status or pretense, and in so doing symbolize Israel’s undeserved access to YHWH’s presence (166).

He does, however, wear his turban with its inscription:

Most importantly, Aaron’s diadem signified what was true of the entire nation — namely, that they were “holy, belonging to YHWH.” On that basis, he appealed to YHWH for forgiveness of their sin (166).

But it’s also important to notice, as Imes does, the correspondence between Aaron’s garments and the tabernacle itself. In his full vestments, Aaron represents the whole tabernacle, turned inside out: linen on the inside, and a breastplate corresponding to the Most Holy Place on the outside. But on the Day of Atonement, Aaron wears clothing that corresponds, not to the Most Holy Place, but to the courtyard.

To wear only [‘arag] garments (cf. Exod 39:27), which corresponded to the outer curtains of the tabernacle courtyard, concretized Aaron’s mediatorial role. He brought the outer courtyard into the inner sanctum, representing every Israelite as he approached YHWH.

On regular days, Aaron did the reverse, in effect wearing the elaborate furnishings of the Most Holy Place as he moved about the Holy Place and the courtyard, representing the glory of YHWH to ordinary priests and laypeople via richly colored and ornamented fabrics, gold, and gemstones. This interpenetration of spheres was an essential component of Aaron’s ministry (166-167).

Posted by John Barach @ 2:05 pm | Discuss (0)
December 12, 2014

Learning to Love Leviticus

Category: Bible - OT - Leviticus :: Link :: Print

If you’ve ever tried to read through the Bible in a year, chances are you bogged down, if not in the tabernacle instructions at the end of Exodus then almost certainly in Leviticus.  You’re not alone.  But Leviticus is essential reading nevertheless.  In this article, on the Theopolis Institute’s blog, I talk about the benefit of studying Leviticus.

Posted by John Barach @ 4:08 pm | Discuss (1)
March 9, 2004

Symbolism and Leviticus

Category: Bible - OT - Leviticus,Hermeneutics :: Link :: Print

A thesis for discussion: The modern exegete’s reluctance to deal with symbolism and typology and his quest for quasi-scientific certainty in exegesis (i.e., a strict grammatical-historical approach) has produced few, if any, helpful, Christ-centred commentaries on Leviticus.

Posted by John Barach @ 12:06 pm | Discuss (0)
May 2, 2002

Jubilee

Category: Bible - OT - Leviticus :: Link :: Print

This evening, I attended a lecture at the Canadian Reformed Church in Coaldale. The lecturer was Cornelis Van Dam and the topic was “The Year of Jubilee.” Dr. Van Dam gave a fairly good explanation of Leviticus 25 before moving on to show how Christ fulfilled the Year of Jubilee and how the Jubilee applies to us in Christ.

He emphasized that because of Christ’s coming we are living permanantly in a Jubilee situation and must then live lives characterized by mercy toward others. We have been redeemed, liberated from burdens and bondage, and our lives ought to reflect that freedom. Part of living in liberation includes our attitude toward our work. Work is not to be our master. We ought to take time off, to make time for enjoyment, and to spend time with our families. I was interested to discover, during the question and answer period afterwards, that Dr. Van Dam thought the Jubilee Project, involving the forgiveness of third world debt, was a good idea, grounded on some principles of the Year of Jubilee, though not a direct application of the Jubilee law.

Afterwards, I joined Dr. Van Dam and John van Popta, the pastor of the Canadian Reformed Church in Coaldale, for a glass of sherry at Rev. Van Popta’s place. Dr. Van Dam is the chairman of the Theological Education Committee of the Canadian Reformed Churches, and I’m the chairman of the corresponding committee in the United Reformed Churches, so it was nice to be able to meet, especially since the goal of our committees is to work out an agreement about theological education between our federations as we move toward unity. Not that we talked much about our committees this evening. For that matter, I haven’t even called the first meeting of my committee. Guess I should get started on that soon!

And now I’m back home, typing this up before sitting down to finish Colin Dexter’s The Jewel That Was Ours. I’m a sucker for an Inspector Morse mystery! In other news, the wind is blowing, the temperature is dropping, my power is flickering a bit, and it looks as if we might be in for some snow.

Posted by John Barach @ 11:34 pm | Discuss (0)