It’s Time to Change Your Clothes!
By Joanne Panettieri
The Bible tells us in the O. T. that before the priest could minister before the Lord, he had to change his clothes. (Ex 28 -29) This was a requirement for the priests and a symbol of their changing from one nature to another.
The Levitical Priesthood
Ex 28: 1 “Have Aaron your brother brought to you from among the Israelites, along with his sons Nadab and Abihu, Eleazar and Ithamar, so they may serve me as priests. 2 Make sacred garments for your brother Aaron, to give him dignity and honor. 3 You shall speak to all the skillful, whom I have filled with a spirit of skill, that they make Aaron’s garments to consecrate him for my priesthood. 4 These are the garments that they shall make: a breastpiece, an ephod, a robe, a coat of checker work, a turban, and a sash. They shall make holy garments for Aaron your brother and his sons to serve me as priests.
Ex 28:41 “And you shall put them on Aaron your brother, and on his sons with him, and shall anoint them and ordain them and consecrate them, that they may serve me as priests.”
This section (Ex 28-29) is mostly concerned with a description of the high priest’s ceremonial robes known as the garments of glory and beauty. In style and color, the robes of the priests were rich in typical significance for they depicted both the wondrous beauties of Christ the High Priest and also the privileges and duties of all who are the priests of God, whether the appointed ones of the Old Testament or all believers of the New. In his garments of glory and beauty, Aaron became typically that which Jesus Christ was intrinsically in all the purity and holiness of His being.”1
The changing of the priest’s clothes was an outward expression of an inward change – the laying aside of the old manner of life. The special clothing of the priesthood signaled a change in their state of mind.
Garments speak of that which covers us. Our own righteousness is like the fig leaves that Adam and Eve sewed onto themselves to cover their nakedness, and that can never cover us! God’s intent is that we put on Christ as a garment!
Only after Aaron and his sons removed their old garments and were washed in the laver, could they put on the Holy Garments, then they were consecrated as priests. This speaks of water Baptism, but also the continual washing of the water of the Word, and our continual growth in Christian life.
Joshua the High Priest:
In the book of Zechariah the High Priest Joshua also has to change his garments:
Zech 3: 3 Now Joshua was dressed in filthy clothes as he stood before the angel. 4 The angel said to those who were standing before him,“Take off his filthy clothes.” Then he said to Joshua, “See, I have taken away your sin, and I will put rich garments on you.” 5 Then I said, “Put a clean turban on his head.” So they put a clean turban on his head and clothed him, while the angel of the Lord stood by. 6 The angel of the Lord gave this charge to Joshua: 7 “This is what the Lord Almighty says: ‘If you will walk in my ways and keep my requirements,then you will govern my house and have charge of my courts, and I will give you a place among these standing here. 8 “‘Listen, O high priest Joshua and your associates seated before you, who are men symbolic of things to come: I am going to bring my servant, the Branch.
In this verse Joshua is a type of the new order of priests under the Branch, Jesus.
In Ezekiel 44 God speaks to Ezekiel about a new priesthood in a new temple. The tribe of Levi were not to be the priests who ministered before the Lord.
Ezekiel 44:10 But the Levites who went far from me, going astray from me after their idols when Israel went astray, shall bear their punishment. 11 They shall be ministers in my sanctuary, having oversight at the gates of the temple and ministering in the temple. They shall slaughter the burnt offering and the sacrifice for the people, and they shall stand before the people, to minister to them. 12 Because they ministered to them before their idols and became a stumbling block of iniquity to the house of Israel, therefore I have sworn concerning them, declares the Lord God, and they shall bear their punishment. 13 They shall not come near to me, to serve me as priest, nor come near any of my holy things and the things that are most holy, but they shall bear their shame and the abominations that they have committed. 14 Yet I will appoint them to keep charge of the temple, to do all its service and all that is to be done in it.
The new priesthood is from the line of Zadok (Zadok = “righteous” / a type of the Melchizedek order of priests). The Zadok priesthood was required to change their clothes when ministering before the Lord. They had to wear white linen garments which represent being covered in righteousness.
Ezekiel 44:15 “But the Levitical priests, the sons of Zadok, who kept the charge of my sanctuary when the people of Israel went astray from me, shall come near to me to minister to me. And they shall stand before me to offer me the fat and the blood, declares the Lord God. 16 They shall enter my sanctuary, and they shall approach my table, to minister to me, and they shall keep my charge. 17 When they enter the gates of the inner court, they shall wear linen garments. They shall have nothing of wool on them, while they minister at the gates of the inner court, and within. 18 They shall have linen turbans on their heads, and linen undergarments around their waists. They shall not bind themselves with anything that causes sweat. 19 And when they go out into the outer court to the people, they shall put off the garments in which they have been ministering and lay them in the holy chambers. And they shall put on other garments, lest they transmit holiness to the people with their garments.
Jacob and His Family
When God spoke to Jacob to go back to Bethel (the House of the Lord and the Gate of Heaven), He told him that he had to change his clothes!
Gen 35:1 God said to Jacob, “Arise, go up to Bethel and dwell there. Make an altar there to the God who appeared to you when you fled from your brother Esau.” 2 So Jacob said to his household and to all who were with him, “Put away the foreign gods that are among you and purify yourselves and change your garments.”
Bethel is the place where Jacob had a dream about a ladder and he saw the angels of God ascending and descending on it. The bottom was on the earth and the top reached to heaven. Jesus told his disciples that he was Jacob’s ladder!
John 1:51 And he said to him, “Truly, truly, I say to you,you will see heaven opened, and the angels of God ascending and descending on the Son of Man.”
Jesus is the connection between heaven and earth! He is also the head of his house, the ekklesia or assembly of believers. We are His body, and He is our head. He is raised and seated in heaven, and we are on the earth.
Believers in Jesus:
The New Covenant calls believers a Holy Nation, and a Royal Priesthood. We are no longer ministering under the order of Aaron and the Levites, but we minister under our High Priest, Jesus, in the order of Melchizedek.
Hebrews 5:6 “ as he says also in another place, “You are a priest forever, after the order of Melchizedek.”
Heb 3:1 “Therefore, holy brothers, you who share in a heavenly calling, consider Jesus, the apostle and high priest of our confession,2 who was faithful to him who appointed him, just as Moses also was faithful in all God’s house.”
The book of 1 Peter tells us that the Body of Christ is a royal priesthood.
1 Peter 2: 9 “But you are a chosen race, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a people for his own possession, that you may proclaim the excellencies of him who called you out of darkness into his marvelous light.”
Under the Levitical order only one tribe could enter the priesthood. Under the New Covenant we are a whole nation of priests and as such we offer spiritual sacrifices to God, through Jesus Christ.
1 Peter 2: 5 “you yourselves like living stones are being built up as a spiritual house, to be a holy priesthood, to offer spiritual sacrifices acceptable to God through Jesus Christ.”
The assembling of the saints, as living stones, is God’s Bethel, where we are to offer spiritual sacrifices to God! But as priests of this new order we ALSO must change our clothes before we can enter the presence of the Lord!
Isaiah 61 tells us that under the Reign of Messiah God gives us thegarment of praise instead of a faint spirit; (verse 3) and that we shall be called the priests of the Lord; and ministers of our God; (verse 6). It also says in verse 10 that God has “clothed us with the garments of salvation; he has covered us with the robe of righteousness”
This is none other that putting on Christ! Gal 3: 27 “For as many of you as were baptized into Christ have put on Christ.”
We take off the old corrupt man and put on the new man!
Eph 4: 20 “But that is not the way you learned Christ! 21 assuming that you have heard about him and were taught in him, as the truth is in Jesus,22 to put off your old self, which belongs to your former manner of life and is corrupt through deceitful desires, 23 and to be renewed in the spirit of your minds, 24 and to put on the new self, created after the likeness of God in true righteousness and holiness.”
Our New Garments:
Romans 13: 12 The night is far gone; the day is at hand. So then let us cast off the works of darkness and put on the armor of light.
Rom 13: 14 “But put on the Lord Jesus Christ, and make no provision for the flesh, to gratify its desires”
Through the faith that comes through the renewing of our minds we put on the new man:
Eph 4: 23 “and to be renewed in the spirit of your minds, 24 and to put on the new self, created after the likeness of God in true righteousness and holiness.”
We are to put on the armor of God:
Eph 6:11 “Put on the whole armor of God, that you may be able to stand against the schemes of the devil.”
1 Thes 5: 8 “But since we belong to the day, let us be sober, having put on the breastplate of faith and love, and for a helmet the hope of salvation.”
The priest’s bonnet was made out of white linen, which symbolizes righteousness (Rev. 19:8) and wisdom (Prov. 16:31) and speaks of having a renewed mind. The word bonnet is derived from a word which means hill, as in “to elevate or lift up”. Our High Priest has “raised us up and seated us with him in heavenly places”. (Eph 2:6) Our minds are raised out of the earthly realm and into the heavenly realm.
Psalm 24: 7 says: “Lift up your heads, O you gates; be lifted up, you ancient doors, that the King of glory may come in”
The word “heads” is the Hebrew word ro’sh which means chief place, hill or summit and comes from an unused root meaning to “shake” the head (as most easily shaken, whether literally or figuratively. (Strongs 7218).
Our heads must be lifted up to heaven to see the righteousness that comes by faith to us through Jesus Christ. When our minds are renewed we are not easily shaken by the circumstances of the world. Psalm 62 tells us that our hope is in God he becomes our rock and we will not be shaken!
Psalm 62: 5 “ For God alone, O my soul, wait in silence, for my hope is from him. 6 He only is my rock and my salvation, my fortress; I shall not be shaken.
Having a renewed mind means that we have the mind of Christ and can see things through a Biblical perspective.
1 Cor 2: 14 The man without the Spirit does not accept the things that come from the Spirit of God, for they are foolishness to him, and he cannot understand them, because they are spiritually discerned. 15 The spiritual man makes judgments about all things, but he himself is not subject to any man’s judgment: 16 “For who has known the mind of the Lord that he may instruct him?” 16 But we have the mind of Christ.
This is a lifting of our heads! Psalm 3:3 But you, O Lord, are a shield about me, my glory, and the lifter of my head.
As New Testiment Priests we are to put on the new self:
Col 3: 9 Do not lie to one another, seeing that you have put off the old self with its practices 10 and have put on the new self, which is being renewed in knowledge after the image of its creator. 11 Here there is not Greek and Jew, circumcised and uncircumcised, barbarian, Scythian, slave,free; but Christ is all, and in all.
We are to put on the nature of Jesus:
Col 3: 12 “Put on then, as God’s chosen ones, holy and beloved,compassionate hearts, kindness, humility, meekness, and patience, … 14 And above all these put on love, which binds everything together in perfect harmony.”
These are the Holy Garments of the New Covenant Priests!
1. “The Priestly Garments” http://www.bible-history.com/tabernacle/TAB4The_Priestly_Garments.htm