The main characteristic which often separates between good artists and great ones is their attention to detail. Most anyone can draw the outline of a tree, but a great artist can depict the tree in a manner which makes it difficult to differentiate it from a real tree. The closer one inspects the work of a skilled artist the more one can see the deliberate strokes of the brush or pen, which are designed to convey, not just the object itself but, the relation of that object to the scene in which it is found. The work of such a craftsman sets him apart from others.
Human artists struggle to convey beauty in the detail of the work which they undertake. Yet the grandest ARTIST of all; has defined the very concepts of beauty and reality. Not only has HE designed the panorama of what is called nature, but HE has left out no detail or minute element; which, together with each other component, defines the whole.
HIS artistry goes much further than the canvas of those things which can be seen with the eye of the flesh, but extends into those realms of which man can have no understanding. “Who hath put wisdom in the inward parts? or who hath given understanding to the heart?” (Job 38:36) “Wilt thou also disannul my judgment? wilt thou condemn me, that thou mayest be righteous?” (Job 40:8) Indeed it is true as Paul says, of HIM “Who only hath immortality, dwelling in the light which no man can approach unto; whom no man hath seen, nor can see: to whom be honour and power everlasting. Amen.” (1Tim 6:16)
Thus we see layer upon layer of detail which HE has set forth in HIS word, which is in many cases like peeling away the layers of an onion, only to discover a fresher surface beneath, “O the depth of the riches both of the wisdom and knowledge of God! how unsearchable are his judgments, and his ways past finding out! For who hath known the mind of the Lord? or who hath been his counsellor?” (Rom 11:33-34)
We can see HIS attention to detail illustrated for us quite clearly in the meticulous instructions that HE gave to Moses for the construction of the Tabernacle, the sacrifices, and even the material which the garments of the High Priest were to be made out of. HE left nothing to chance or man’s design. A man would be a fool who would claim that he has a complete understanding of all that each one of these particulars signifies, but he, who would say that these things are just randomly mentioned, would be an even greater fool.
We do not claim to have definitive answers as to the significance of every “golden ouche” (see Ex.28:13) or “blue, purple, and scarlet pomegranate” (see Ex 28:33). Yet we can constructively comment upon some of these materials, due to their continued reference throughout the scriptures. The “fine twined linen” is one of those materials, which is, by its very characteristics, indicative of several points, all of which point to the perfections of CHRIST and the pervasive nature of HIS presence throughout the whole of scripture, most especially in regard to the office of the High Priest and the purity which HE alone could bring to that office.
Linen is first mentioned in the scriptures to describe the garment that was given to Joseph when he was exalted in Pharaoh’s house. (see Gen.41:42) These were garments fit for a prince, the office of which was given to Joseph by the LORD, in order that he might deliver HIS chosen from the famine and ultimately subject them to greater trials in order that HE might more openly display HIS glory in the destruction of Pharaoh and the deliverance of HIS people from bondage.
Egypt was known (historically) as being producers of fine linen (see Isa.19::9) It is likely that the Israelites learned the craft of making “fine twined linen” from these very Egyptians who were appointed to destruction. Linen is woven from thread made from the fibers of the flax plant, which was evidently quite abundant in Egypt. The LORD destroyed the flax crop in Egypt (see Ex.9:31) with the seventh plague of hail which took away their ability to produce this linen, even as HE will negate the pride of man and demonstrate the impotence of all of his abilities upon which he relies.
Flax was the very stuff under which Rahab, the harlot, hid the Israeli spies in the city of Jericho. (see Josh 2:6) Thus the LORD appointed; that, deliverance should come to these men by one who was likely a maker of linen along with her other occupation. Not one stalk of this flax was there by chance, anymore than the rescue of Rahab and her household was a random act. The LORD ordains the salvation of HIS people. “Since thou wast precious in my sight, thou hast been honourable, (i.e.; worthy of glory as a noble person) and I have loved thee: therefore will I give men for thee, and people for thy life.” (Isa 43:4) “Stand still, and see the salvation of the LORD, which he will shew to you.” (Exo 14:13) Rahab’s “honor” was bestowed on her because she was “precious” in the sight of the LORD, even as Lot was, not because of their actions, but HIS grace.
HE first ordered the making of the outer curtains of the Tabernacle out of “fine twined linen”. The inside of this Tabernacle was then divided into the “holy place” and the “most holy place” by another curtain of “fine twined linen”. The Ark of the Covenant and the mercy seat which covered it, along with the table which held the showbread and the candlestick, were in this “most holy place”, which was hid from the eyes of the casual observer and could be entered only by the High Priest. The presence of GOD is wrapped in the pure righteousness of JESUS CHRIST who cannot be seen apart from HIS demonstration of mercy in condescending to dwell among men as the “fullness of the GODHEAD bodily”. The MERCYSEAT is CHRIST which cannot be seen by any except they be brought within that veil of “fine twined linen”. Those who are enabled to enter there only gain admission by reason of being in HIM as their GREAT HIGH PRIEST.
The garments of the High Priest were to be made of gold and “fine twined linen”. In this gold we can see the royalty which surrounds this office and the “fine twined linen” which bespeaks the purity and righteousness of the one who enters into the holy of holies in the behalf of the people whom he represents; sprinkling the mercy-seat with the blood of an acceptable sacrifice. By HIS grace we understand that Aaron could only offer a temporary and carnal sacrifice, first for his own sins and that of HIS people. He had to be clothed in these man-made garments which only served as types and foreshadows of that which was TRUE. Aaron never expiated one sin.
Aaron was a priest according to a carnal commandment and could not continue as such due to death. HE who is ordained of GOD to be the HIGH PRIEST over the household of GOD, however, is not a priest according to the Aaronic priesthood, but rather, that of Melchisedek; without beginning and without end. Aaron was clad in linen garments and a linen headcovering, showing that he had a righteousness which was bestowed upon him because of his office. CHRIST on the other hand bestowed HIS own righteousness upon the office of PRIEST and KING, able to offer better sacrifices than Aaron, obtaining eternal redemption for HIS people, not with the blood of bulls and goats but with HIS own blood, as of a LAMB without spot or blemish.
The last mention of “fine linen” in the scriptures is found in John’s Revelation of JESUS CHRIST. Speaking of the Bride of CHRIST he says, “And to her was granted that she should be arrayed in fine linen, clean and white: for the fine linen is the righteousness of saints.” (Rev 19:8) Like Aaron she is clothed upon and her righteousness is the RIGHTEOUSNESS of CHRIST. She goes to war in the same. “And the armies which were in heaven followed him upon white horses, clothed in fine linen, white and clean.” (Rev 19:14)