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Sabbath School Lessons on Garments of Grace
About the Author
Bruce N. Cameron, J.D.
is the author of these Sabbath School lesson study outlines. He is the Reed Larson Professor of Labor Law at Regent University School of Law. Professor Cameron has devoted his life to promoting the Gospel and defending believers. In addition to teaching at an overtly Christian law school, he continues his 37 year practice of law which is limited to the litigation of constitutional rights and religious freedom cases for employees. He holds an undergraduate degree from Andrews University and a Doctor of Law from Emory University School of Law.
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Lesson 5: The Priestly Garments of Grace *
Introduction: Do you ever ask yourself, "How do I know that
Christianity is the right faith?" Judaism is older. Islam is younger
than Judaism or Christianity, but is expanding rapidly. They are
all"related" religions in that they share a common text (the Old
Testament of the Bible). My Jewish friends tell me that
Christianity hijacked their religion. Muslims accept parts of the
Old Testament and New Testament. I think it is fair to say that
Mohammed believed that he was the latest (and greatest) in the line
of Old Testament prophets. A large part of the answer is in our
study this week about the sanctuary system. Let's dive into our
study of the Bible and see what God has for us!
- The Proof Pattern
- Read Hebrews 8:1-5. What tabernacle did Moses build?
(Read Exodus 25:8-9 and Exodus 26:30. Moses constructed
the sanctuary in the wilderness. This formed the center
for Jewish worship. Moses' sanctuary was patterned on
the sanctuary in heaven.)
- What was the purpose of the sanctuary in the
wilderness? (It was where God dwelt with His people.
It provided the method by which the sins of the
people were forgiven. See, Leviticus 16.)
- When Hebrews 8:3 refers to "every high priest"
offering "gifts and sacrifices," it refers to the
Old Testament sanctuary service. How do our Jewish
friends obtain forgiveness of their sins today?
(That is the logical problem with Judaism today. For
reasons not revealed in the Old Testament, they have
abandoned the sacrificial system.)
- What argument would you guess that they would
make for this change? (The temple was destroyed
by the Romans in 70 A.D. I attended a Jewish
Seder this week, and part of the recitation is
for the rebuilding of the temple.)
- Did God's people sacrifice animals for the
forgiveness of their sins prior to the creation
of the wilderness sanctuary?(Yes. Read Genesis
8:20. Logically, our Jewish friends should
still be sacrificing animals for the
forgiveness of sin.)
- Read Hebrews 7:23-28. What is our claim about Jesus and
the sanctuary system? (We have seen that the Old
Testament sanctuary system was simply a copy of the
sanctuary in heaven. The Old Testament animal sacrifices
symbolized(prophesied)Jesus' perfect life and sacrificial
death on our behalf for the forgiveness of our sins.
Jesus is not just the sacrifice, He is our High Priest
mediating in the heavenly sanctuary on our behalf for the
atonement of our sins!)
- Are we guilty as charged - have we hijacked Judaism?
(Judaism without animal sacrifice has a logical
problem. Christianity has the answer to that problem
- Jesus is the fulfillment of the sanctuary system.)
- Where does that leave Islam? Because it is a later
religion, does it better "fulfill" both Judaism and
Christianity?(No. Islam accepts as true the Old
Testament sanctuary system, but it also lacks a
sacrifice. It does not accept that Jesus died and
was resurrected. It has no sanctuary and it has no
Lamb for the remission of sin. Today, both Judaism
and Islam are "works" religions - just like all of
the Eastern religions. Salvation comes from human
works. The sanctuary system means nothing.)
- Garments and Honor
- Have you ever read the end of the book first? (My wife
does this all the time, I never do it.)
- What would be the benefit of reading the end first?
(It eliminates the mystery. It helps you understand
the book as you read it.)
- Did I just do that to you? Have we read the end of
the book first in our study today? (Yes, in the
sense we went right to the conclusion of the
symbolism of the lamb and the high priest in the Old
Testament sanctuary service. Let's see if this helps
us to better understand the garments of the high
- Let's go back and read Exodus 28:1-5. What is the purpose
of these garments? (To give Aaron "dignity and honor.")
- Read Exodus 32:2-4. Was Aaron worthy of dignity and
- Read Luke 15:21-22. What is the purpose of putting the
robe, the ring and the sandals on the younger son? (To
give him the dignity and honor of a son.)
- Was the younger son worthy of the dignity and honor
of a son? (He said he was not.)
- Read Matthew 22:8-12. Recall a few weeks ago we discussed
these Walmart shoppers being invited to the king's
wedding. Are these guests worthy of being invited?
(Certainly not all. We are told that some are "bad.")
- What is the purpose of providing a wedding garment
for them? (To give them the dignity and honor that
you would expect of guests at the wedding of the
king's son. They covered up their "Walmart shopper"
- Is there a common thread of logic between the garment of
the high priest, the father's robe and the wedding
garment? Or, am I mixing apples and oranges? (In all
three cases an unworthy person was made worthy by
something given to them to wear. They needed to improve
their status to celebrate an important event.)
- What would have happened if the wedding guest
refused the wedding robe, the son refused his
father's robe or the high priest refused his
priestly garments? (We know for sure that the high
priest and the wedding guest would not have been
allowed to stay in the presence of the God. The
prodigal son wanted to be in his father's presence,
and he gladly accepted the father's robe.)
- What lesson do we learn from these garments? (If we
want to celebrate with the King, we need to improve
our status by putting on the robe He offers.)
- What does this teach us about all "works"
- Details, Details.
- Let's jump back to Exodus 28 and read some details about
the garment of the high priest. Read Exodus 28:9-12.
Since this is all symbolism, what do these memorial
stones symbolize? (God always wants the names of His
people before Him.)
- Why not just hang a list of the twelve tribes on the
wall of the sanctuary in heaven? What importance do
you find in the symbolism that the high priest is
bearing their names on his shoulders? (This
symbolizes Jesus bearing our sins on His shoulders.)
- Do you always want your name before your boss? (Look
at the context. The name comes before the boss in
the context of forgiven sin!)
- Read Exodus 28:15-21. What lesson do we learn from the
fact that the names of the tribes were engraved on
precious stones in gold settings? (We are precious to
God. He values us!)
- Read Exodus 28:29-30. Notice that the names of God's
people are not just born on the shoulders of the high
priest, but they are worn over his heart. What lesson do
we learn from that symbolism? (Since the high priest
symbolizes Jesus, we learn that we are close to the heart
of God as He mediates for us in heaven.)
- These verses introduce another idea, the Urim and
Thummim. What is the purpose of these stones? (Read
Numbers 27:21. The fact that the breastplate is
called "the breastplate of decision" coupled with
this account of using these stones to understand
God's will, shows us that these two stones
communicated God's will to His people.)
- What symbolism do you find in the Urim and Thummim?
(Consider how our High Priest, Jesus, illuminates
the will of the Father to us. If you want to know
God's answer to the difficult problems of life, then
look to Jesus.)
- Read 1 Peter 2:9 and 1 Timothy 2:5-6. Peter calls us a
"royal priesthood," but Paul reminds us that there is
only one mediator, and that is Jesus. Given all that we
have learned about the high priest, what should we
conclude is our role today as priests? (The point of the
human priesthood was to reveal God's plan of salvation
and share His will with the world. Notice that 1 Peter
2:9 calls on us to "declare the praises" of God. That is
our priestly mission today!)
- Friend, will you accept and act upon your calling to be a
priest of the Living God? Will you share with the world
that it is not our works which save us, but only our
reliance upon the life, death and resurrection of the
Lamb of God? Will you place your trust wholly on the
mediation of our great High Priest in the Sanctuary in
- Next week: Elijah's and Elisha's Mantle.
* Copr. 2011, Bruce N. Cameron, J.D. All scripture references are to the New International Version (NIV), copr. 1973, 1978, 1984 International Bible Society, unless otherwise noted. Quotations from the NIV are used by permission of Zondervan Bible Publishers. Suggested answers are found within parentheses. The lesson assumes the teacher uses a blackboard or some other visual aid.