In Exodus 28, the Lord commanded Moses to make clothing for the High Priest and the Levitical priests. The garments were made for glory and beauty and they compared to garments of royalty.
The children of Israel who were not of the priestly tribe did not wear these vestments. They were commanded to make and wear tassels [tzitziyot (plural), tzitzit (singular)] on the corners of their clothing (Numbers 15:37-39). A single blue thread was to be put in each tassel. This was a reminder to keep all of God’s commandments instead of following the desires of their eyes and heart. God gave them this reminder because He desires his people to be a kingdom of priests and holy nation unto God.
Ordinary priests wore 4 vestments: an undergarment for modesty, a tunic made of a box-like knit, a sash, and a turban. These items represent the clothing of the bride of Christ who is arrayed in fine linen which is the righteous acts of the saints. These clothes were for dignity and honor.
The High Priest had 8 vestments: an undergarment for modesty, an inner tunic made of a box-like knit, a sleeveless outer robe that was open on the sides, an ephod with a sash-like belt woven into it, a breastplate of judgment, a turban, and a head plate engraved with “Holy (Set Apart) to the Lord.” This clothing represents the holiness and royalty of Jesus, our High Priest.
The High Priest’s inner tunic was white and his outer robe was entirely blue. This can symbolize Jesus who was righteous and anointed by the Holy Spirit.
The bottom of the blue robe had bells alternating with pomegranates made of blue, purple, and scarlet colors. The bells obviously announced the presence of the High Priest. In a way, they represent God’s people who are to warn people of His coming and to share the gospel. As I pondered the possibly meaning of the pomegranates, the Lord reminded me that as long as believers abide in Him, they bear much fruit. Believers must cling to Him and sit at His feet in order to learn the mysteries He desires to reveal to them. It is then that believers can go forth each day, obey His word, and bring forth fruit that is pleasing to Him.
The High Priest’s breastplate and ephod (ritual vest) was made of gold, blue, purple, and scarlet thread and fine woven linen. Each shoulder of the ephod had a stone mounted in gold that was engraved with the names of the tribes of Israel – six on one shoulder (for the House of Ephraim) and the remaining six (for the House of Judah) on the other one. These stones would be seen by the Lord and cause Him to remember His people.
As the Lord looked down on the High Priest, He could see the stones representing the two houses that comprise all of Israel on the shoulders of the High Priest. After Solomon, the kingdom was divided but the house of Ephraim and the house of Judah will be fully reunited in Israel in the future because they are close to His heart.
The breastplate had four rows of three stones mounted in gold settings, each one engraved with a different name of a tribe of Israel. The correct identity of some of these stones is questionable and their names have been translated in different ways among various English versions of the Bible.
The breastplate was designed as a double layer to create a pocket for the Urim and Thumim which were used for consulting the Lord. With the Urim and Thumim in their place, the breastplate was positioned over the chest of the High Priest. Rings attached to the breastplate were bound to the rings on the ephod with a blue cord to keep it in place.
Many believe the Urim and Thumim were cast as lots to determine God’s will but it has also been said that when the High Priest consulted the Lord about a matter, they would cause the engraved consonant letters on the stones of the breastplate to light up and the High Priest determined God’s answer by correctly arranging the letters which lit up.
The Urim and Thumim were lost long ago but believers have the Holy Spirit in their hearts to give counsel when needed.
As I reflected on the clothing of God’s people, I have asked the Lord why there were three categories of His people: a High Priest, Levitical priests, and the rest of God’s people. Obviously, the High Priest represents Jesus but there are two other classes of people. I suppose this represents the degree of closeness God has with the saints or the degree to which His people are set apart to serve Him. For example:
- Jesus’ closest disciples (Peter, James, and John) versus the rest of the disciples.
- Torah observant believers (both Jew and Gentile) versus believers who only observe the New Testament.
- Those who are anointed for special tasks and/or leadership positions versus ordinary believers.
Since the Lord will be returning soon, there’s another thing we must consider. The blue color of the High Priest’s clothing is not present in the clothing of the harlot, Babylon the Great. In Revelation 17, the wealthy harlot, Babylon the Great is clothed in purple and scarlet, and adorned with gold, precious stones and pearls. Since this color is absent in the clothing of the harlot, Babylon the Great, I believe that it indicates the harlot has no regard for the commands of God and that she follows the desires of her eyes and heart. In addition, as a result of her unwillingness to obey the commands of God, she is defiled and not holy. We are not to seek after her kind of wealth nor her law-less lifestyle. We are to be pure and blameless for Jesus.
No one is 100% sure of who or what Babylon the Great is or will be, although several ideas have been presented by prophecy scholars and various Christian denominations. All agree that Babylon the Great has political, economic, and religious characteristics. The primary beliefs are that Babylon the Great and/or the Beast represents the former Roman Empire; it is politically and economically the New World Order, and religiously and sometimes politically the Roman Catholic Church. The main reason for considering the Roman Catholic Church is due to the colors worn by church officials and because of the pagan forms that parallel the ancient mystery Babylon religions. Who knows? It may be something totally different such as the power wielded by international bankers and/or secret societies who desire a one-world religion and complete control over world politics and the economy.
At this point in time, we need to consider Babylon the Great to be where ever we are spiritually. We must ask ourselves whether or not we are serving the Lord in righteousness. We must also ask ourselves if we have been worshiping the Lord using pagan forms because God has forbidden this (Deut. 12:4, 31).
Face it, we need the constant reminder of tzitiyot to avoid Torah-lessness and to keep us focused on the Lord.
We must come out of our spiritual Babylon and reject lawlessness so that the Lord doesn’t ever say to us, “Depart from Me, I never knew you.”