THE UNDER PRIEST
“For Aaron’s sons you shall make tunics, and you shall make sashes for them. And you shall make turbans (head coverings) for them, for glory and beauty. So you shall put them on Aaron your brother and on his sons with him. You shall anoint them, consecrate them, and sanctify them that they may minister to me as priest. And you shall make for them linen trousers (or breeches) to cover their nakedness; they shall reach from the waist to the thighs. They shall be on Aaron and on his sons when they come into the tabernacle of meeting, or when they come near the altar (the golden incense altar) to minister in the holy place, that they do not incur iniquity and die. It shall be a statute forever to him and his descendants after him.” (Exod 28: 40-43)
“The White Linen Garments included besides the linen breeches, a coat, a girdle, and a head-covering. For the under-priests, this covering was a bonnet; for the high priest it was a mitre (most likely the same one worn with the “glorious” garments), with the golden plate or crown attached to it. (Exod 28:38) Except as heretofore set forth, the linen garments worn by Aaron represented in a general way the righteousness and purity of Jesus.
The mitre, more particularly, showed forth his headship over the Under-priesthood, the Church; and the linen girdle, the fact that he was the servant of righteousness. (See Lev 6:10; 16:3, 4, 23) The linen garments worn by the under-priests represented in a general way that same righteousness and purity of Jesus, but here as imputed to the Church. Their girdles too, represented the Church as servants of righteousness; but their bonnets indicated that the Church in recognizing Christ Jesus to be the Apostle and High Priest of its profession (confession—Heb 3:1) would thus be constituted the true antitypical priesthood of God.” (See Exod 28:40–43; 39:27, 28) “Notes on the Tabernacle”, Page 291
“We see the Body or members of the High Priest, again individually typified by the under-priests, who each wore a `bonnet’ covering his head, to indicate that he was not the head of the Priesthood, but merely a member of the Body. God gave Jesus `to be the Head over all things to the Church, which is his Body.’ (Eph 1:22, 23) It is for this reason that Paul insists that a woman’s head should be covered, as indicating that she is not the head, the husband and wife being typical of Jesus and his Bride—the Church of the First-born. “The under-priests were robed in linen garments and wore girdles. Their robes represented the righteousness of Jesus, imputed to them, and their girdles represent them as servants of righteousness.” (T36)
“It seems from the silence of the Scriptures on the subject, that the priests, when serving the Tabernacle or its altar, were barefooted; i.e., they wore no sandals. The very ground upon which they walked whether it was in the holy place (court), the Holy, or the Most Holy, was “holy ground.” He who walked thereon need not fear that it would contaminate him; but there was the danger that he might contaminate it. It was for this reason, undoubtedly, that they were instructed to wash their feet as well as their hands at such times.” (See Exod 30:18–21)
However as we walk through this world in our everyday living, we do need as part of our “Armor” to be shod with the “preparation of the gospel of peace” (Eph 6:15) as protection against defilement (contaminants brought about by our continual contact with the world); but there is no such danger of becoming thus defiled in the precincts of God.” “Notes on the Tabernacle”, Pages 318,319
The High Priest’s linen coat was embroidered (Exod. 28:39); but the coats of the under-priests were not (Exod 28:40). Thus Aaron’s “white linen `coat’ represented the High Priest’s purity, while its embroidery showed the outgrowth of that pure character in works of grace.” (T29)
The Expression “High Priest” here has reference to Jesus and to Jesus alone; for while as under-priests we too wear white linen “coats” these represent the “righteousness of Jesus, imputed to us” for the time being. (T29)
Perhaps there is a sense in which the glorified Church will still be “under-priests”; if so, their white linen robes will no longer represent an imputed righteousness, but as the Scriptures declare “and to her was granted that she should be arrayed in fine linen, clean and white: for the white linen is the righteousness of the saints.” (Rev 19:8) Thus:
“The glorified church is represented, not as taking off the robe of righteousness, but continuing to walk in white raiment, however it will no longer be an imputed robe of righteousness, but rather our righteousness will be our own. To be clothed in white garments then will be to be recognized as one of the pure ones—not as now, in a robe of reckoned righteousness, but in a robe of actual righteousness. `It is sown in corruption, it is raised in in-corruption; it is sown in dishonor, it is raised in glory; it is sown in weakness, it is raised in power.’ ” (R 5377:3; see also R 5669:2)
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