Attached to the High Priest’s forehead was a gold head plate with the words “KODESH YHVH” inscribed on it.
This means “Holiness to YHVH” or “Set-apart for YHVH“.
The symbolism here is awesome.
The High Priest was Israel’s representative before the Lord.
ALL of the responsibility and ALL of the burden of whether God accepted or rejected Israel rested on the High Priest’s shoulders.
The High Priest must have been sweating day and night over this awesome responsibility.
One idea that is made crystal clear in the High Priest’s role is the concept of “substitution”.
On Yom Kippur (the Day of Atonement), when the High Priest goes into the Holy of Holies, he is carrying upon him ALL the sins of Israel and the garments he wears also speak of him as a SUBSTITUTE for all Israel.
However, on Yom Kippur, he only wears a simple white linen outfit instead of his normal majestic clothing.
The blood of the sacrificial animal that the High Priest sprinkles on the Mercy Seat also represents the SUBSTITUTE DEATH that is due Israel for her sins.
This is the very reason why the NT speaks of Yeshua as our High Priest.
He is our SUBSTITUTE.
Just as the High Priest did for ancient Israel, Yeshua bore the burden of our sins before the Father.
It was His blood that was shed for our atonement.
In fact, Yeshua is BOTH our High Priest and the sacrificial animal.
Now don’t think that this comparison between the High Priest and Yeshua that I’m making here is some maple syrupy sentimental allegorizing or just some lovely buttered up illustration to make everyone feel good.
The Scriptures make it very clear that the High Priest was the shadow of the Messiah to come.
And all of the special garments he wore are a reflection of just how atonement and redemption would take place.
CONNECTING THIS TEACHING TO THE NEW TESTAMENT
“Since we have a great high priest
who has ascended into heaven,
Yeshua the Son of God,
let us hold firmly to the faith we profess.
For we do not have a high priest
who is unable to empathize with our weaknesses,
but we have one who has been tempted in every way,
just as we are—yet he did not sin.
Let us then approach God’s throne
of grace with confidence,
so that we may receive mercy
and find grace to help us in our time of need.”
NEXT TIME WE BEGIN EXODUS CHAPTER 29