Types and Symbols or Real Spirituality?
What do you do with all the details about the Tabernacle? One of the most common approaches among believers is "typology,"—every detail has special spiritual meaning, especially related to Yeshua. For example, the oil that flowed through the branches of the menorah is symbolic of the Holy Spirit. This is a valid interpretation because throughout the Scriptures, anointing with oil is closely associated with anointing with the Holy Spirit (e.g., I Samuel 10:1,10).
We run into problems when we get carried away with typology. For example, let's take the robe that was to be made of blue cloth. According to one commentary, this symbolized "the need of heavenly calm...It was to be blue, the color of heaven...[which] is a symbol of purity."
If we continue with this approach, we could easily spend the next year delving into all these "types," (symbols). There is one minor problem here— we totally miss what the L-rd said to Israel and what He is saying to us through this portion of Scripture. Paul tells us in I Corinthians 10:11 that these things were written down in the Scriptures so that we could draw lessons for our own lives. What spiritual principles here can we apply?
A good place to begin is the big picture. This passage emphasizes the consecration (setting apart) of Aaron to serve as the High Priest of Israel. The L-rd instructs Moses "to make sacred garments for [Aaron], to give him dignity and honor," (Exodus 28:3). The Hebrew word for "sacred" here is kodesh, which also means "holy." There are a couple of principles to draw from this:
Aaron had to wear clothes that were "holy." In fact, on his turban there was a golden plate that said, "Holiness to the L-rd," (28:36). These clothes reminded Aaron that the L-rd is a Holy G-d—morally pure and who can't stand sin. It also reminded him that because he was set apart for the L-rd's service, his life had to reflect that he served a holy G-d. As we serve a holy G-d, we must commit to having a “Zero Tolerance” for sin—we love what G-d loves and hate what He hates.
The L-rd wanted Aaron to get respect and dignity from the people. Why? Aaron was worthy of this special respect not because he himself was outstanding in character, but because of his office—he represented the
L-rd. Let's pause and think for a moment. How do these principles affect our view of ministry? Or what it means to be a believer?