The Tabernacle and the Priest’s Garments: The Two Natures of Jesus

Today’s Reading: Exodus 28-30

Throughout the New Testament, Jesus is revealed as having two natures. He is both fully God and fully man. He was not one or the other.  Neither was he sometimes one or the other, switching back and forth between the two. Jesus was both, full and complete.

John 1 reveals both of these natures. John 1:1-4 reveals Jesus as fully God. “In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. He was in the beginning with God. All things were made through him, and without him was not any thing made that was made. In him was life, and the life was the light of men.” Jesus, the Word, was God. Jesus created all things, which is the first thing the Bible teaches about God in Genesis 1. Jesus had life in him. God is life.

We see Jesus as fully God in other parts of the New Testament as well, Philippians 2:6 says that “he was in the form of God.” Romans 9:5 calls Jesus, “the Christ, who is God over all.” Titus 2:3 says that we are waiting for “our blessed hope, the appearing of our great God and Savior Jesus Christ.” And, there are many more declarations of Jesus as fully God.

But, John 1 also reveals Jesus as fully man. John 1:14 says, “And the Word became flesh.” This wasn’t just God taking the form of man while still only having the one nature of God. No, this was God becoming a man, fully man, yet retaining his nature as fully God.

Like we see Jesus as fully God throughout the New Testament, so too do we see Jesus as fully man throughout the New Testament. While Philippians 2:6 says Jesus was God, Philippians 2:7 says Jesus was “born in the likeness of men.” Galatians 4:4 says, “God sent forth his son, born of woman.” And, Hebrews 2:14 says, “Since therefore the children share in flesh and blood, he himself likewise partook of the same things.” Jesus was not like a man. He was a man, flesh and blood, partaking of the same things, or the same nature, as each of us. And, there are many more scriptures that speak to Jesus as fully man.

So, what does this have to do with today’d reading – Exodus 28-30?

John 1:14, “the Word became flesh and dwelt among us,” gives the answer. Here we see the combination of Jesus’ two natures – the Word, or God, and flesh, or man. This one who was fully God and fully man dwelt among us. Dwelt is the key word here. It is the Greek word skenoo, which means to live, to take up residence, to pitch tents. The noun form of the word, skene, means a tent or a tabernacle.

To pitch tents? A tabernacle? This one who was fully God and fully man pitched a tent, or tabernacled, among us?

In today’ reading, we read about a man, Aaron, who served in the tabernacle. Whenever he served in the tabernacle, this man wore priestly garments. He put the garments on. These garments were made by skillful workers, the same skillful workers that made the tabernacle. And, the priestly garments were made of the same materials that the tabernacle was made of. In fact, the priestly garments were made in a way that they reflected the nature of the tabernacle. Colossians 1:15 says that Jesus, as a man, was the image of the invisible God. Hebrews 1:3 says that Jesus as man “is the radiance of the glory of God and the exact imprint of his nature.” In Exodus 28:2, God told Moses, “And you shall make holy garments for Aaron your brother, for glory and beauty.” That sounds just like Hebrews 1:3. So, Jesus, as did Aaron when he wore the priestly garments, imaged, or reflected, God. Aaron is a picture of Jesus as fully man.

Aaron served in a sanctuary, which we first read about in Exodus 25. In verses 8-9, God told Moses, “And let them make me a sanctuary, that I may dwell in their midst. Exactly as I show you concerning the pattern of the tabernacle, and of all its furniture, so you shall make it.” God instructed Moses to make the tabernacle in a very specific way. It had to follow exactly the pattern that God show Moses. Hebrews 8:2, 5 says, “We have such a high priest, one who is seated at the right hand of the throne of the Majesty in heaven, a minister in the holy places, in the true tent that the Lord set up, not man…They serve a copy and shadow of the heavenly things. For when Moses was about to erect the tent, he was instructed by God, saying, ‘See that you make everything according to the pattern that was shown you on the mountain.'” The tabernacle that Moses built on earth was an exact replica of the tabernacle in heaven. The earthly tabernacle was a copy or shadow of the heavenly tabernacle. Everything about the tabernacle revealed something about the true tabernacle in heaven. The tabernacle is a picture of Jesus as fully God.

So, we see the two natures of Jesus, fully God and fully man, revealed in the tabernacle and the priestly garments. This is why so many chapters in Exodus are devoted to every detail of the tabernacle, the priestly garments, and every other thing necessary for Aaron and his sons to serve in the tabernacle. Therefore, it is very important to do an depth study of both so that we can receive revelation from the Holy Spirit about who Jesus really is.

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