While no spiritual mind has any difficulty seeing in Aaron a type of Christ as our Great High Priest, occupation with the larger symbolic picture sometimes causes us to miss the equally beautiful miniatures presented in the details of the larger portrait. Aaron on the Day of Atonement is one such miniature (Le 16).
In Le 16:1 we have a reference to the death of Aaron’s two sons for having acted without a divine command, reminding us of the awesome holiness of God. This is the context for the instructions that follow, ?Speak unto Aaron … that he come not at all times into the holy place within the vail … that he die not…. Thus shall Aaron come into the holy place…. He shall put on the holy linen coat, and he shall have the linen breeches upon his flesh, and shall be girded with a linen girdle, and with the linen miter shall he be attired: these are holy garments; therefore shall he wash his flesh in water, and so put them on,? vv.2-4.
Since the pure white linen is the biblical emblem of holiness, the symbolic figure before us is that of Christ clothed in His Own intrinsic righteousness. But clearly the details, as always, are meant to instruct us.
The coat was the outer garment, and here it represents that righteousness of Christ which met the eye of man, whose testimony to the Lord’s perfections is found in the words of Pilate, ?I find in him no fault at all,? Jn 18:38; and confirmed by the centurion, ?Certainly this was a righteous man,? Lk 23:47 . The Jews themselves could accuse Him falsely only of blasphemy for claiming to be what He was, the Son of God.
The ?breeches upon his flesh? were underpants. They represent that righteousness of Christ which was perceived only by God Who ?discerns the thoughts and intents of the heart,? He 4:12. There too was found the same perfection as met the eye of man.
The girdle is the Scriptural symbol of service, and here reminds us that the Lord’s service was also impeccable. There was never a thought, word or deed that didn’t delight the Father’s heart. He was never a moment before or behind the time appointed by God. There was never a step taken apart from the leading of the Holy Spirit. All He did, even to His cry, ?I thirst,? was ?that the scripture might be fulfilled,? Jn 19:28. His service was impelled by a pure motive: the glory of the Father, and the redemption of men.
The mitre on the head of the high priest was the equivalent of the crown on the head of the king, and reminds us that even as the Lord hung on the cross – the Lamb dying in our stead, the Sacrifice offered to make atonement for sin – He was at the same time the Priest, ?who through the eternal Spirit offered himself without spot to God,? He 9:14. He never ceased to be in control.
The ritual of the Day of Atonement concluded with Aaron’s divesting himself of those white linen garments, ?And Aaron shall come into the tabernacle … and shall put off the linen garments, which he put on when he went into the holy place, and shall leave them there,? v 23. As the priests resumed their service, the first thing that met their eyes were those linen garments, the symbolic announcement of the fact that the sacrifice necessary to put away Israel’s sin for a whole year, had been offered and accepted. The type was fulfilled on the resurrection morning when ?the other disciple (who) did outrun Peter … came first to the sepulchre. And he stooping down, and looking in, saw the linen clothes lying; yet went he not in. Then cometh Simon Peter … and went into the sepulchre, and seeth the linen clothes lie,? Jn 20:5-6. Those discarded linen clothes announced the offering and acceptance of the Sacrifice that fulfilled all the OT types, but that surpassed them in value and efficacy. That Sacrifice was none other than the Son of God, assuring every believer of the remission of sin, not just for a year, but for ever.
There are even more in depth commentaries on this dear brother’s site (http://www.script7.org). He has spent years in the word and I will be using some of his articles by permission in the hopes that you the reader may be edified.