At the time of Israel’s exodus from Egypt, there were about 70 Gentile nations in the earth. From these God specifically isolated the nation of Israel to be His peculiar, separated people as prophesied in Numbers 23:9: “…The people shall dwell alone, and shall not be reckoned among the nations.”
God had sent nine terrible plagues upon the land of Egypt; yet Pharoah would not let the Hebrews go. God told Moses that one final plague would humble Pharaoh to surrender: The death of all firstborn throughout Egypt. In order for their firstborn to be safe, the Israelites had to slay a lamb and strike its blood upon the doorposts of their houses and stay inside. God said: “At midnight I will smite all the firstborn throughout all of Egypt, but when I see the blood, I will pass over you.” Pharoah was broken by his son’s death and let the Hebrews go.
In the wilderness, God told Moses to number the tribes except the tribe of Levi. Because He had delivered Israel’s firstborn in Egypt, He claimed the firstborn for Himself, and He took the Levites in their place: And the Lord spake unto Moses, saying, and I, behold, I have taken the Levites from among the children of Israel, instead of all the firstborn that opens the matrix among the children of Israel: therefore the Levites shall be mine” (Num.3:11-12).
They became the priests—cohanim— who served in the Tabernacle. They held no other occupations; nor did they own property, but were supported by the other 11 tribes.
Then out of the Levites. God made yet another separation: Moses’ brother Aaron and his sons were separated as high priests—cohanim gadol—and only they could serve in the Holy of Holies (Ex.28:1). The high priest, once a year, went behind the veil to make atonement with blood upon the Mercy Seat for the sins of the nation. This was a dynastic service that passed from father to son.
Millennia later, in 70 A.D., the Romans destroyed Jerusalem and burned the Temple, and animal sacrifices ceased. The Jews were dispersed throughout the earth, and their genealogical records perished in the Temple, including the critical cohanim records of the Levites. The return of Jesus Christ as the Jewish Messiah (preceded by the rapture of the Church) requires the rebuilding of the Temple and resuming of animal sacrifices. But this cannot be accomplished without the identification of the true sons of Aaron, as only they can do this service as mandated by God to Moses. But God has marvelously provided a solution through scientific breakthroughs in the study of human DNA: The male Y chromosome is passed directly from father to son, and researchers have found that men known to be descendants of the cohanim have a distinctive marker on their Y chromosome! Any male descendant of Aaron can be identified by this unique chromosome with a simple saliva sample!
The Case of the Linen Britches
“And thou shalt make holy garments for Aaron thy brother, for glory and for beauty. And you shall speak unto all that are wise hearted, whom I have filled with the spirit of wisdom, that they may make Aaron’s garments to consecrate him; that he may minister unto me in the priest’s office” (Exodus 28:2-3).
The robe, girdle, coat, and ephod (vest) of the High Priest were royally exquisite, made of the finest blue, purple and scarlet linen and embroidered with gold and blue threads by gifted artisans in whom God had put special talents. He also wore a breastplate of gold that attached to his shoulders with gold chains. Set in the breastplate were four rows of precious gemstones such as topaz, emerald, sapphire, amethyst, and diamond; three per row, one gem for each of the 12 tribes of Israel. The chains that held the breastplate were woven of pure gold. The robe was embroidered with a hem of staggered golden bells and pomegranates. As the High Priest moved about in the holy place, the bells on his robe would jingle, letting those outside know he was alive. Interestingly, a pomegranate has 613 seeds, and there were 613 laws God gave to Moses.
Finally, upon his head, he wore a white turban framed by a crown of pure gold engraved on the front with the words holiness to the Lord. Dressed in full regalia, the High Priest was no less elegant than a king.
But on the holiest day of the year, in order to come into God’s Presence to receive cleansing and offer the sacrifice of atonement, the High Priest had to strip himself of these beautiful garments of jewels and gold, and enter into the Holy of Holies dressed only in white linen: “He shall put on the holy linen coat, the linen breeches (britches) upon his flesh…. to cover their nakedness from the loins to the thighs…. and shall be girded with a linen girdle, and with the linen turban…. these are holy garments; therefore shall he wash his flesh in water and so put them on, Aaron and his sons…. when they come in unto the tabernacle of the congregation, or when they come near unto the altar to minister in the holy place; that they bear not iniquity and die” (Refs. Ex.28:41-43, Lev.16:4, 23-24).
He could not go into the Presence of God in the Holy Place wearing the ornate garments of fine linen dripping with gold and jewels. He could only enter in dressed in simple white linen.
There is a message here for us today: Do we desire to enter into God’s Presence where the holy fire of God consumes our sacrifice, and the heavens open up to the glory cloud? Then we must strip ourselves of our religiosity, reputations, ministry titles, status, and achievements: “But we are all as an unclean thing, and all our righteousnesses (plural) are as filthy rags.”
We must come “washed in the water of His Word” (Eph.5:26). Paul charged: “Dearly beloved, let us cleanse ourselves from all filthiness of the flesh and spirit, perfecting holiness in the fear of God” (2Cor.7:1).