Verses 40–43

We have here, 1. Particular orders about the vestments of the inferior priests. They were to have coats, and girdles, and bonnets, of the same materials with those of the high priest; but there was a difference in shape between their bonnets and his mitre. Theirs, as his, were to be for glory and beauty (Exod. 28:40), that they might look great in their ministration: yet all this glory was nothing compared with the glory of grace, this beauty nothing to the beauty of holiness, of which these holy garments were typical. They are particularly ordered, in their ministration, to wear linen breeches, Exod. 28:42. This teaches us modesty and decency of garb and gesture at all times, especially in public worship, in which a veil is becoming, 1 Cor. 11:5, 6, 10. It also intimates what need our souls have of a covering, when we come before God, that the shame of their nakedness may not appear. 2. A general rule concerning the garments both of the high priest and of the inferior priests, that they were to be put upon them, at first, when they were consecrated, in token of their being invested in the office (Exod. 28:41), and then they were to wear them in all their ministrations, but not at other times (Exod. 28:43), and this at their peril, lest they bear iniquity and die. Those who are guilty of omissions in duty, as well as omissions of duty, shall bear their iniquity. If the priests perform the instituted service, and do not do it in the appointed garments, it is (say the Jewish doctors) as if a stranger did it, and the stranger that comes nigh shall be put to death. Nor will God connive at the presumptions and irreverences even of those whom he causes to draw most near to him; if Aaron himself put a slight upon the divine institution, he shall bear iniquity, and die. To us these garments typify, (1.) The righteousness of Christ; if we appear not before God in this, we shall bear iniquity and die. What have we to do at the wedding-feast without a wedding-garment, or at God’s altar without the array of his priests? Matt. 22:12, 13. (2.) The armour of God prescribed Eph. 6:13. If we venture without that armour, our spiritual enemies will be the death of our souls, and we shall bear the iniquity, our blood will be upon our own heads. Blessed is he therefore that watcheth, and keepeth his garments, Rev. 16:15. 3. This is said to be a statute for ever, that is, it is to continue as long as the priesthood continues. But it is to have its perpetuity in the substance of which these things were the shadows.