Lesson 5

The Priestly Garments of Grace

(Hebrews 7 & 8, Exodus 28)
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Introduction: Do you ever ask yourself, "How do I know that Christianity is the right faith?" Judaism is older. Islam is younger than Judaism or Christianity, but is expanding rapidly. They are all"related" religions in that they share a common text (the Old Testament of the Bible). My Jewish friends tell me that Christianity hijacked their religion. Muslims accept parts of the Old Testament and New Testament. I think it is fair to say that Mohammed believed that he was the latest (and greatest) in the line of Old Testament prophets. A large part of the answer is in our study this week about the sanctuary system. Let's dive into our study of the Bible and see what God has for us!

  1. The Proof Pattern


    1. Read Hebrews 8:1-5. What tabernacle did Moses build? (Read Exodus 25:8-9 and Exodus 26:30. Moses constructed the sanctuary in the wilderness. This formed the center for Jewish worship. Moses' sanctuary was patterned on the sanctuary in heaven.)


      1. What was the purpose of the sanctuary in the wilderness? (It was where God dwelt with His people. It provided the method by which the sins of the people were forgiven. See, Leviticus 16.)


      2. When Hebrews 8:3 refers to "every high priest" offering "gifts and sacrifices," it refers to the Old Testament sanctuary service. How do our Jewish friends obtain forgiveness of their sins today? (That is the logical problem with Judaism today. For reasons not revealed in the Old Testament, they have abandoned the sacrificial system.)


        1. What argument would you guess that they would make for this change? (The temple was destroyed by the Romans in 70 A.D. I attended a Jewish Seder this week, and part of the recitation is for the rebuilding of the temple.)


        2. Did God's people sacrifice animals for the forgiveness of their sins prior to the creation of the wilderness sanctuary?(Yes. Read Genesis 8:20. Logically, our Jewish friends should still be sacrificing animals for the forgiveness of sin.)


    2. Read Hebrews 7:23-28. What is our claim about Jesus and the sanctuary system? (We have seen that the Old Testament sanctuary system was simply a copy of the sanctuary in heaven. The Old Testament animal sacrifices symbolized(prophesied)Jesus' perfect life and sacrificial death on our behalf for the forgiveness of our sins. Jesus is not just the sacrifice, He is our High Priest mediating in the heavenly sanctuary on our behalf for the atonement of our sins!)


      1. Are we guilty as charged - have we hijacked Judaism? (Judaism without animal sacrifice has a logical problem. Christianity has the answer to that problem - Jesus is the fulfillment of the sanctuary system.)


      2. Where does that leave Islam? Because it is a later religion, does it better "fulfill" both Judaism and Christianity?(No. Islam accepts as true the Old Testament sanctuary system, but it also lacks a sacrifice. It does not accept that Jesus died and was resurrected. It has no sanctuary and it has no Lamb for the remission of sin. Today, both Judaism and Islam are "works" religions - just like all of the Eastern religions. Salvation comes from human works. The sanctuary system means nothing.)


  2. Garments and Honor


    1. Have you ever read the end of the book first? (My wife does this all the time, I never do it.)


      1. What would be the benefit of reading the end first? (It eliminates the mystery. It helps you understand the book as you read it.)


      2. Did I just do that to you? Have we read the end of the book first in our study today? (Yes, in the sense we went right to the conclusion of the symbolism of the lamb and the high priest in the Old Testament sanctuary service. Let's see if this helps us to better understand the garments of the high priest.)


    2. Let's go back and read Exodus 28:1-5. What is the purpose of these garments? (To give Aaron "dignity and honor.")


      1. Read Exodus 32:2-4. Was Aaron worthy of dignity and honor? (No.)


    3. Read Luke 15:21-22. What is the purpose of putting the robe, the ring and the sandals on the younger son? (To give him the dignity and honor of a son.)


      1. Was the younger son worthy of the dignity and honor of a son? (He said he was not.)


    4. Read Matthew 22:8-12. Recall a few weeks ago we discussed these Walmart shoppers being invited to the king's wedding. Are these guests worthy of being invited? (Certainly not all. We are told that some are "bad.")


      1. What is the purpose of providing a wedding garment for them? (To give them the dignity and honor that you would expect of guests at the wedding of the king's son. They covered up their "Walmart shopper" clothes.)


    5. Is there a common thread of logic between the garment of the high priest, the father's robe and the wedding garment? Or, am I mixing apples and oranges? (In all three cases an unworthy person was made worthy by something given to them to wear. They needed to improve their status to celebrate an important event.)


      1. What would have happened if the wedding guest refused the wedding robe, the son refused his father's robe or the high priest refused his priestly garments? (We know for sure that the high priest and the wedding guest would not have been allowed to stay in the presence of the God. The prodigal son wanted to be in his father's presence, and he gladly accepted the father's robe.)


      2. What lesson do we learn from these garments? (If we want to celebrate with the King, we need to improve our status by putting on the robe He offers.)


        1. What does this teach us about all "works" religions?


  3. Details, Details.


    1. Let's jump back to Exodus 28 and read some details about the garment of the high priest. Read Exodus 28:9-12. Since this is all symbolism, what do these memorial stones symbolize? (God always wants the names of His people before Him.)


      1. Why not just hang a list of the twelve tribes on the wall of the sanctuary in heaven? What importance do you find in the symbolism that the high priest is bearing their names on his shoulders? (This symbolizes Jesus bearing our sins on His shoulders.)


      2. Do you always want your name before your boss? (Look at the context. The name comes before the boss in the context of forgiven sin!)


    2. Read Exodus 28:15-21. What lesson do we learn from the fact that the names of the tribes were engraved on precious stones in gold settings? (We are precious to God. He values us!)


    3. Read Exodus 28:29-30. Notice that the names of God's people are not just born on the shoulders of the high priest, but they are worn over his heart. What lesson do we learn from that symbolism? (Since the high priest symbolizes Jesus, we learn that we are close to the heart of God as He mediates for us in heaven.)


      1. These verses introduce another idea, the Urim and Thummim. What is the purpose of these stones? (Read Numbers 27:21. The fact that the breastplate is called "the breastplate of decision" coupled with this account of using these stones to understand God's will, shows us that these two stones communicated God's will to His people.)


      2. What symbolism do you find in the Urim and Thummim? (Consider how our High Priest, Jesus, illuminates the will of the Father to us. If you want to know God's answer to the difficult problems of life, then look to Jesus.)


  4. Today


    1. Read 1 Peter 2:9 and 1 Timothy 2:5-6. Peter calls us a "royal priesthood," but Paul reminds us that there is only one mediator, and that is Jesus. Given all that we have learned about the high priest, what should we conclude is our role today as priests? (The point of the human priesthood was to reveal God's plan of salvation and share His will with the world. Notice that 1 Peter 2:9 calls on us to "declare the praises" of God. That is our priestly mission today!)


    2. Friend, will you accept and act upon your calling to be a priest of the Living God? Will you share with the world that it is not our works which save us, but only our reliance upon the life, death and resurrection of the Lamb of God? Will you place your trust wholly on the mediation of our great High Priest in the Sanctuary in Heaven?


  5. Next week: Elijah's and Elisha's Mantle.

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Lessons on Garments of Grace

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