Exodus Chapter 28

At this point in the Bible, Moses has been given instruction regarding the commandments, laws and judgments, and building of the Tabernacle. He spoke with the Lord in Mount Sinai, as the Israelites were camped at the base of the mountain. The word of the Lord continues as follows:

1 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.
2 And thou shalt make holy garments for Aaron thy brother for glory and for beauty.
3 And thou shalt speak unto all that are wise hearted, whom I have filled with the spirit of wisdom, that they may make Aaron’s garments to consecrate him, that he may minister unto me in the priest’s office.
4 And these are the garments which they shall make; a breastplate, and an ephod, and a robe, and a broidered coat, a mitre, and a girdle: and they shall make holy garments for Aaron thy brother, and his sons, that he may minister unto me in the priest’s office.
5 And they shall take gold, and blue, and purple, and scarlet, and fine linen.

Aaron and his sons were called to be priests unto the Lord. This lesser priesthood is now known as the Aaronic priesthood, after Aaron. He was instructed in what clothing and accessories Aaron was to wear, which would be consecrated for him and the holy purposes of the Lord. These included a breastplate, an ephod (which I think was a type of robe), a coat, a mitre (or some type of cap), and a girdle (or a belt or band).

I liked that those who were found with wisdom in their hearts, were going to be asked to make the sacred clothing for Aaron. Wisdom is an attribute of God. Those who had been blessed with that gift of the spirit, would have had the desire to do the work and the reverence to keep those things sacred as they worked. I always wonder what it would be like to be one to create something of beauty for the holy purposes in the temple. I am sure it is a sacred experience itself, and such a blessing to the righteous.

6 And they shall make the ephod of gold, of blue, and of purple, of scarlet, and fine twined linen, with cunning work.
7 It shall have the two shoulderpieces thereof joined at the two edges thereof; and so it shall be joined together.
8 And the curious girdle of the ephod, which is upon it, shall be of the same, according to the work thereof; even of gold, of blue, and purple, and scarlet, and fine twined linen.
9 And thou shalt take two onyx stones, and grave on them the names of the children of Israel:
10 Six of their names on one stone, and the other six names of the rest on the other stone, according to their birth.
11 With the work of an engraver in stone, like the engravings of a signet, shalt thou engrave the two stones with the names of the children of Israel: thou shalt make them to be set in ouches of gold.
12 And thou shalt put the two stones upon the shoulders of the ephod for stones of memorial unto the children of Israel: and Aaron shall bear their names before the Lord upon his two shoulders for a memorial.

Aaron was to wear precious stones on the shoulders of his clothing, which would have the twelve children or tribes of Israel engraved on them. This was to be done to keep them in remembrance.

Names have a special place in the gospel. For example, so far in this study of the bible we have seen some receive sacred new names, such as Jacob being known as Israel. I think that having stones with all the names of the tribes in one place could have been a reminder that they were together even though they were twelve individual tribes. Eventually, those tribes would be scattered as prophesied many times. And yet, the Lord would promise that his work would include a gathering of these tribes again. The work will not be complete until after the Levites make their offering again in the temple or tabernacle of the Lord. In Doctrine and Covenants 13 we read the following:

Upon you my fellow servants, in the name of Messiah I confer the Priesthood of Aaron, which holds the keys of the ministering of angels, and of the gospel of repentance, and of baptism by immersion for the remission of sins; and this shall never be taken again from the earth, until the sons of Levi do offer again an offering unto the Lord in righteousness.

To me, these stones would have been a beautiful reminder of the perfection (making whole) of the covenant people of the Lord.

13 And thou shalt make ouches of gold;
14 And two chains of pure gold at the ends; of wreathen work shalt thou make them, and fasten the wreathen chains to the ouches.

The ouches were the places on the clothing where the stones were set. Then there would be chains of gold attached to the shoulder pieces.

15 And thou shalt make the breastplate of judgment with cunning work; after the work of the ephod thou shalt make it; of gold, of blue, and of purple, and of scarlet, and of fine twined linen, shalt thou make it.
16 Foursquare it shall be being doubled; a span shall be the length thereof, and a span shall be the breadth thereof.
17 And thou shalt set in it settings of stones, even four rows of stones: the first row shall be a sardius, a topaz, and a carbuncle: this shall be the first row.
18 And the second row shall be an emerald, a sapphire, and a diamond.
19 And the third row a ligure, an agate, and an amethyst.
20 And the fourth row a beryl, and an onyx, and a jasper: they shall be set in gold in their inclosings.
21 And the stones shall be with the names of the children of Israel, twelve, according to their names, like the engravings of a signet; every one with his name shall they be according to the twelve tribes.

The breastplate was a breastplate of judgment and was to be made of the same matierials as the other parts of the clothing, which was fine linen of the colors of the tabernacle. It was also to have precious stones set into it, with the names of the twelve children of Israel, or the twelve tribes.

22 And thou shalt make upon the breastplate chains at the ends of wreathen work of pure gold.
23 And thou shalt make upon the breastplate two rings of gold, and shalt put the two rings on the two ends of the breastplate.
24 And thou shalt put the two wreathen chains of gold in the two rings which are on the ends of the breastplate.
25 And the other two ends of the two wreathen chains thou shalt fasten in the two ouches, and put them on the shoulderpieces of the ephod before it.

Again, there were to be chains of gold and parts where the shoulder pieces and breastplate would be able to connect.

26 And thou shalt make two rings of gold, and thou shalt put them upon the two ends of the breastplate in the border thereof, which is in the side of the ephod inward.
27 And two other rings of gold thou shalt make, and shalt put them on the two sides of the ephod underneath, toward the forepart thereof, over against the other coupling thereof, above the curious girdle of the ephod.
28 And they shall bind the breastplate by the rings thereof unto the rings of the ephod with a lace of blue, that it may be above the curious girdle of the ephod, and that the breastplate be not loosed from the ephod.
29 And Aaron shall bear the names of the children of Israel in the breastplate of judgment upon his heart, when he goeth in unto the holy place, for a memorial before the Lord continually.

Moses was told how the two parts of Aaron’s clothing were to be connected. Aaron was to always wear the breastplate in the holy place of the Tabernacle.

30 And thou shalt put in the breastplate of judgment the Urim and the Thummim; and they shall be upon Aaron’s heart, when he goeth in before the Lord: and Aaron shall bear the judgment of the children of Israel upon his heart before the Lord continually.

In the breastplate, the Urim and Thummim would be placed. Aaron was called to be a judge of Israel, and keep a remembrance of this always.

31 And thou shalt make the robe of the ephod all of blue.
32 And there shall be an hole in the top of it, in the midst thereof: it shall have a binding of woven work round about the hole of it, as it were the hole of an habergeon, that it be not rent.

His ephod, or robe was to be made in a way, where it had no seams, but was all one piece with a hole, I’m assuming for his head.

33 And beneath upon the hem of it thou shalt make pomegranates of blue, and of purple, and of scarlet, round about the hem thereof; and bells of gold between them round about:
34 A golden bell and a pomegranate, a golden bell and a pomegranate, upon the hem of the robe round about.
35 And it shall be upon Aaron to minister: and his sound shall be heard when he goeth in unto the holy place before the Lord, and when he cometh out, that he die not.

On the hem of his robe, he was to have bells attached. The bells would make a sound, so that as he went into the holy place of the tabernacle and returned out of it, he would be heard and not die.

36 And thou shalt make a plate of pure gold, and grave upon it, like the engravings of a signet, HOLINESS TO THE LORD.
37 And thou shalt put it on a blue lace, that it may be upon the mitre; upon the forefront of the mitre it shall be.
38 And it shall be upon Aaron’s forehead, that Aaron may bear the iniquity of the holy things, which the children of Israel shall hallow in all their holy gifts; and it shall be always upon his forehead, that they may be accepted before the Lord.

The phrase, “Holiness to the Lord” was to be engraved on a plate and then attached to the cap on Aaron’s forehead. He was to wear this always as he served. He was to be held accountable for all the holy things in the tabernacle.

39 And thou shalt embroider the coat of fine linen, and thou shalt make the mitre of fine linen, and thou shalt make the girdle of needlework.

All these parts of his clothing, were to be made of fine linen and beautiful craftsmanship.

40 And for Aaron’s sons thou shalt make coats, and thou shalt make for them girdles, and bonnets shalt thou make for them, for glory and for beauty.
41 And thou shalt put them upon Aaron thy brother, and his sons with him; and shalt anoint them, and consecrate them, and sanctify them, that they may minister unto me in the priest’s office.
42 And thou shalt make them linen breeches to cover their nakedness; from the loins even unto the thighs they shall reach:
43 And they shall be upon Aaron, and upon his sons, when they come in unto the tabernacle of the congregation, or when they come near unto the altar to minister in the holy place; that they bear not iniquity, and die: it shall be a statute for ever unto him and his seed after him.

The sons of Aaron, were to have coats, belts, and hats also. Moses was to place these things upon the priests of Aaron. He was to anoint, consecrate and sanctify these men to minister in the office they were called to. This meant that these worthy men would be given the authority to serve in the holy tabernacle of the Lord. All of them were to be covered in sacred garments when they came to the tabernacle of the congregation (just outside the holy place), and by this and their worthiness, they would able to enter there.

When we go to the House of the Lord, or His holy temples, we need to sanctify ourselves. In prayerful preparation, we make sure that we are worthy to enter there. This does not mean that we must be perfect to enter, because no one is perfect in their life now. If we were, we would have no need to be here. Instead, we go to the temple with our hearts turned to Christ, having repented of those things that would make us unworthy and having left the things of the world behind. We need to enter the doors of the temple, with a willing heart and mind, and with a sincere desire to sin no more. With this, we can enter the temple with holiness to the Lord written in our hearts and mind, just as Aaron was to enter with those words literally upon his head. All those who are worthy and willing, have the opportunity to enter the temple and serve there. I love the temple. I am blessed to have the opportunity to be in the temple and to make and keep sacred covenants with the Lord because of it. I cannot imagine having the kind of happiness I have in my life, without this sacred opportunity.

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About My Scripture Study Buddy

I am a member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints. I love the scriptures, but I am not a scriptorian. I've been told that I'm too "deep" for some, but if you are willing, I'd love to have others join me in my quest for a greater understanding of the gospel. Please feel free to leave me comments and hopefully we can help each other to learn.
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