“The Tabernacle its construction and furnishings”, Part 14

And thou shall make them linen breeches to cover their nakedness; from the loins even unto
the thighs they shall reach. And they shall be upon Aaron, and upon 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
.” (Exod 28:42, 43)

“What constituted “
nakedness” insofar as the ancient priesthood of Israel was concerned? Surely not
the fact of the hands and feet being exposed! Seemingly, however, if any part of the body
from the
loins
(waist) down to the ankles was unduly exposed, it was considered not only indecent, but also
unlawful! To guard against this, no altar of Jehovah-God’s was to have steps (nor a ramp ascending)
lest the priest’s “
nakedness” be discovered.

Neither shall thou go up by steps unto mine altar, that thy nakedness be not discovered.”
(
Exod 20:26)

















Thus in addition to this, the priests were to wear at such times as they served the Tabernacle or its
altar,
white linen breeches, for the self-same reason, “to cover (hide) their nakedness.” (Exod 28:
42, 43
) The expression “from the loins even unto the thighs” is evidently here idiomatic; for with the
regular garments of sacrifice (Lev 16:4) there would not be much danger of the priests exposing that
particular part of their anatomies.
Undoubtedly the “breeches” covered not only the priest’s loins
even unto the thighs,
but also the legs down to the ankles as well. Yet even without any steps (or
ramp) to the altar, there would be the possibility when the priest stooped down to pick up the sacrifice,
or reached up in placing the sacrifice upon the altar, that he might then unduly expose his legs above the
ankles. This is the reason for the injunction to the priests, that they wear the linen breeches whenever
they came in unto the Tabernacle of the Congregation, or when they came near unto the altar
to minister in the holy place; that they bear not iniquity, and die
.”

“Nakedness of itself was no sin, for both Adam and Eve were brought forth naked, and they were perfect
in the day of their creation.

And they were both naked. The man and his wife, and they were not ashamed.” (Gen 2:25)

However it was sin which perverted their minds, bringing to them a consciousness of their nakedness, so
that in shame they sought to be covered.

And the eyes of both of them were opened, and they knew that they were naked… I was
afraid, because I was naked, and I hid myself. And he said, who told thee that thou were
naked? Hast thou eaten of the tree, whereof I commanded thee that thou should not eat?

(
Gen 3:7, 10, 11)

Ever since, nakedness has typified sin, though more particularly, inbred-sin, and it is therefore
a most apt symbol thereof
. It therefore represents that sin in which we were born—our imperfection
as children of Adam—partakers of the Adamic curse!

The Apostle Paul referred to this sin in Romans the Seventh Chapter when he stated the following,

It is no more I that do it, but sin (inbred sin, Adamic sin) that dwells in me…for the good I would, I
do not; but the evil which I would not, that I do… it is no more I that do it, but
the sin that dwells in
me
…I see another law in my members, warring against the law of my mind (the new mind), and bringing
me into captivity to
the law of sin (inbred sin) which is in my members.” (Rom 7:17–23)

Now, no amount of washing (of our own) could ever remove this stain (inbred or hereditary sin);
and this is the reason why the typical priest who though thoroughly washed with the waters
from the laver, needed additionally to wear the linen breeches, which linen breeches so
beautifully represent, we believe,
the righteousness of Jesus made available to us through his
death—the only covering for inbred-sin
. Surely, it is only in the righteousness of Jesus that our
Adamic imperfections are completely covered. Despite all our washings with the waters of truth, we all,
like the Apostle Paul of old, are conscious of our nakedness and with him cry for the deliverance from this
body of death—corruption! (
Rom 7:24) Yet with him too, we rejoice in the covering afforded us in the
righteousness of Jesus, for we know that while we are so covered that there is no condemnation against
us. (
Rom 8:1)

Thus those who would as priests of God serve acceptably at his “
altar” must ever see to it that in their
approach they do not uncover their nakedness. Among the things which evidence this nakedness are
ambition, pride, self-esteem, the seeking after personal glory or praise, etc.
These are not only an
abomination unto the Lord, but also an offense to all who are called upon to
behold us (as we
present our bodies living sacrifices day to day
). Is it any wonder then that God was so particular in
establishing the type, warning the typical priest that indecent exposure would merit the penalty of death!
Exod 28:43

Merely thinking of ourselves more highly than we ought (Rom 12:3) or refusing to sense the savoriness
of another’s sacrifice, or belittling it, may for us be an approaching of the altar by way of “
steps”—self-
exaltation, self-esteem, spiritual pride.

Some believe that this altar had a ramp approaching it, if for no other reason than we read:

And Aaron lifted up his hand toward the people, and blessed them, and came down from
offering of the sin-offering
.” (Lev 9:22)














Now of course, if this altar had been as large as some have imagined it, (as can readily be seen from
this illustration found on the internet), placing an additional base around the bottom so as to
accommodate their particular idea of the placement of the “
grating” and “rings”, no wonder that it
would require a ramp or steps of some kind to ascend to the top in order to offer the sacrifices.

However the dimensions of the “
Altar” are quite clear to us, five cubits long and five cubits wide (7 ½
ft. X 7 ½ ft.) with a height of three cubits (about 4 ½ ft.), Exod 27:1 Now at this height the priest could
easily offer the appropriate sacrifices, however if one were to add an additional base beneath the altar
this would logically increase the height of the altar placing its top out of reach of the priest without the
aid of some sort of ascending device (a ramp, steps or ladder of some kind) of course the solution to
this for some is to detract from the height measurements of the Altar itself in order to accommodate
their base and grating structure, thus maintaining the proper height, however a proper reading of the
texts shows that the Altar itself, that part which was made of acacia wood covered in copper was of
itself 5 X 5 X 3, nor more no less.

Now as to the foregoing text (
Lev 9:22) it will be noted that, the text does not say that Aaron came
down
from the altar, but rather from the offering of the offerings. And we are inclined to think that the
word
down” is here a provincialism and is not, therefore, to be understood literally, but rather
figuratively, much as we might say to one thinking too highly of himself, “
get down off your high
horse
.”

Surely, the offering of the sacrifices of
Leviticus 9 was something which was above the common level
of their daily tasks! Aaron might thus “
come down” to bless the people. (Notes on the Tabernacle”,
Pages 130-133
)

Brother Mann states the following in regards to
Exod 20:26

Neither shall thou go up by steps unto mine altar, that thy nakedness be not discovered.”

We cannot come to Christ by steps (represented in the “Entrance Curtain”, i.e. we cannot come
from the “
Camp” condition to the “Courtyard” condition by steps, but must simply turn around, be
converted from our course with the world, and accept of the finished work of Christ
). We must come
as we are and come at once. When we realize our degradation and sin, human nature says: do
not present yourself
(in a consecration to righteousness) in this present degraded condition, no!
First
tone up, break off bad habits, try to be good, and after climbing up a few steps, come to
Christ. Vain resolve! Ending only in broken vows and bitter disappointment; and as the pure
light of Heaven streams upon us, we realize our own weakness and nakedness and poverty;
that our righteousness is but filthy rags, and that our great want is the spotless robe of
Christ's righteousness to cover us completely, that the shame of our nakedness do not appear
.”
(
R 101:8)

Our final thoughts on Lev 20:26

Nor shall you go up by steps to my altar, that your nakedness be exposed on it.”

Do not approach my altar to offer your sacrifice by “steps” (in self exultation and pride) as do the
self righteous, who trust only in themselves and their own supposed righteousness, having
forsaken the “linen breeches” provided,
(the robe of Christ’ righteousness), who look down upon
others who are approaching me as did the Pharisee
(as in the “Parable of the Pharisee and the
Tax Collector
”), but rather as the publican lift not up your eyes (do not in the eyes of your own
estimation think to highly of yourself merely because you have been privileged to come before me to
offer yourself in sacrifice)
, but rather in humility humble yourself in my presence, that in due
time I may lift you up
(Luke 18:9-14; James :10).

For whosoever exalts himself will be humbled, and he who humbles himself will be exalted.”
(
Luke 14:11)

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