Saturday, January 07, 2012


Exodus 28:8 has a strange reference in it. It refers to a girdle which is called the "curious" girdle. "Curious" is precisely the word to be used as it is difficult to know what the girdle is for as part of the High Priest's garments. It was attached [woven in] to the front and the back of the ephod and the breastplate worn by the High Priest during his ministry.

The ephod was a robe and not a coat. Were it simply a coat it would have been for a covering for protection. But a robe in scripture indicates dignity in character, even royalty. As we are familiar with a Judge being in a flowing black robe, just so the High Priest was robed with the ephod. You recall Matthew 27:28 says.."And they stripped Him, and put on Him [robed Him] a scarlet robe...and mocked Him, saying, Hail King of the Jews." The colors of the robe [ephod] for the High Priest explain the character or nature of the coming final High Priest, the Lord Jesus, but that's for another day.

The Breastplate had the twelves precious stones representing the twelve tribes of Israel attached to it and speaks of judgment as the High Priest was their stand in before Holy God on the day of Atonement while offering the blood sacrifice. The High Priest of the Old Covenant offered that sacrifice annually. His job was never done. There was no chair in the holy of holies in the tabernacle and none in the H of H in the Temple later.

Our Lord, however, is the final High Priest. He is the High Priest of the New Covenant and is truly the One who, with dignity and royalty, has become the sin bearer for the people of the New Covenant, having offered His blood as the blood of the New Covenant "once" according to Hebrews 10:10. Then He "sat down" on the right hand of God. His sacrificial work finished, He awaits the end of the age. [Hebrews 10:12-13]

But that girdle. It is truly "curious." The word 'girdle' comes from a word which means 'device.' It was often viewed as a device that somehow strengthened one for a task. You recall in Exodus 12:11 the people of Israel were told to eat with their loins 'girded' [there's that root word] and shoes on their feet. It was to give them strength for walking. Then there is the very familiar warring passage in Ephesians 6 where we are told to gird our loins with truth. That the girdle, in scripture, represents strength for walking and warfare, is obvious. 

But this girdle business we're presently talking about is picturing the work of the High Priest. So we have to find the picture being fulfilled in our Lord Himself to be contextual consistent.

Jesus did the task of washing the disciples feet AFTER 'girding' himself with a towel.  So there it is, a work of serving is being pictured. His final act of serving on this earth was, of course, at Calvary. It was there that His atonement work and His greatest act of service on our behalf was once and for all done as indicated earlier. The Father showed His approval and acceptance of it all with an empty tomb. Jesus was an acceptable and accepted stand in SERVANT. [On our behalf.] 

The ancient High Priest of Israel is only a type of the Great High Priest, Jesus Christ we said repeatedly. But do please remember that the scriptures are also clear that there is none like the Son of God nor will there EVER be. He ALONE is the High Priest of the New covenant. So, as all of the robes, colors and articles of the High Priest are symbolic of our Lord's character, nature and work, it would not be a complete picture without the strength for the work of SERVANTHOOD being seen. 

Thus, that "curious" girdle begins to make a little sense. Mark 10:45 says.."For even the Son of Man came NOT to be ministered to, but to minister, and to give His life a ransom for many. It takes real strength to really serve.

All this from that "curious" girdle. What's even "curiouser" [I know there is no such word] is that if we truly reflect the life of Christ to a lost world, or even to the body of Christ, it will have to be as one girded [strengthened] for true service, NOT as one being the boss or in control of things as modern pastors are so prone to do. Otherwise it isn't His life we're reflecting. It would be our own ego. There is no other kind. He is our serving Lord. We are to be His serving body members regardless of race, gender, or age. That's Christ. That's Christianity. 

Servanthood really is the badge of true Christianity.

Paul B.


traveller said...

We could all use one of those girdles since none of us serves sufficiently. Even if we have on, that girdle keeps slipping off and our self interested ego takes over.

Thanks for good thoughts.

Paul Burleson said...


Good to read your comments again. Thanks.

Aussie John said...


"....if we truly reflect the life of Christ to a lost world, or even to the body of Christ, it will have to be as one girded [strengthened] for true service, NOT as one being the boss or in control of things as modern pastors are so prone to do. Otherwise it isn't His life we're reflecting. It would be our own ego."

As a young elder I truly believed these words, even arguing their truth with a deacon who believed that ordination instilled pastors with special powers.

Strange, isn't it, how we got waylaid by the system, the traditions, and our own sinful hearts, into believing the lie that we really were the boss and in control.

Not so strange really, in that we were trained to believe we were such different creatures.

Shameful really, when considered in the light of the New Covenant Person of Isaiah 42 and His completed work for His own!

Paul Burleson said...

Aussie J,

EXCELLENT comment. Do you realize how rare it is to find one of your age and experience, and your age is my age remember so I can say this, who is ABLE to resist and even challenge the traditions that so many find dear?

You are a continual encouragement to me my friend. I trust your recent surgery has gone well and recovery is on its way!