As we continue to read the requirements for the tabernacle and the priestly garments, I’m struck by the amount of detail given by the Lord. Each detail has a purpose in painting a picture of God’s holiness, His provision for sin and a future glory!
Did you notice that the objects closest to the Holy of Holies are made of pure gold, but those objects farther away (in the court) are made of silver and bronze? Even the choice of metal reflects the holiness of God!
The priestly garments are also thick with symbolism. Aaron’s turban has a plate of pure gold with the engraving, “Holy to the Lord.” The tribes are individually represented as each name is engraved on onyx stones set in either shoulder of the ephod. The 12 tribes are represented as a whole on the High priest’s breastpiece:
So Aaron shall bear the names of the sons of Israel in the breastpiece of judgment on his heart, when he goes into the Holy Place, to bring them to regular remembrance before the Lord…Thus Aaron shall bear the judgment of the people of Israel on his heart before the Lord regularly (Exodus 28:29-30).
If you compare the types of stones on the breastpiece in Exodus 28:17-18, they are the same stones listed in Revelation 21:19-20 when describing the detail of the new Jerusalem. In fact, if you read Revelation 21:12-21, you’ll notice the language describing the New Jerusalem is similar to the language we’ve been reading in Exodus. The tabernacle is just a shadow – which points forward to its fulfillment in the new earth!
Turning to Matthew, we find that today’s reading is severe. Jesus is nearing the end of his life; therefore, his dealings with the Pharisees are blunt and harsh. The Pharisees are held to a higher standard because they are the spiritual leadership among the people. Jesus has no mercy for teachers who lead the people astray. Listen to his words:
Jesus said to them [the Pharisees], “Truly, I say to you, the tax collectors and the prostitutes go into the kingdom of God before you (Matthew 21:31).
Why would prostitutes enter the Kingdom ahead of the religious leadership of the day? Jesus was not one to avoid controversy! The difference is the heart. Entrance into the Kingdom requires a humble and teachable heart. A heart that is broken by sin is more likely to surrender to God than a heart hardened by haughtiness. Is your heart broken or hard? Humble or haughty? Are you self-sufficient or desperately dependent? Humble yourself before the Savior, and find rest for your soul!