The holy garments worn by the high priest on the Day of Atonement foreshadowed the purity and humanity of Christ.

A traditional error states that on the Day of Atonement the high priest entered the holy of holies with a rope tied around him in case he were to die in the presence of God. According to this teaching, the people would understand that the high priest had fallen dead because they would cease to hear the bells on the robe of the high priest and therefore they could retrieve his dead body with the rope tied around him without having to go into the holy of holies.

This has been taught by many ministers, but it is entirely unscriptural. It is an extra Biblical rabbinical teaching, and found nowhere in scripture.

Exodus 28 gives a detailed description of the priestly garments worn by Aaron the high priest in the daily ministration of the service of the tabernacle. These garments consisted of the ephod, the curious girdle of the ephod, the breastplate of judgment, the robe (all blue) of the ephod, the mitre (bonnet) with the plate of gold, the linen coat, and the line breaches.

The purpose of the priestly garments is listed in Exodus 28:1-2. They were worn so that the high priest could (1) minister to the Lord in the priest’s office and (2) for glory and beauty.

These priestly garments were worn in the daily ministration by the high priest and it was the ephod (the blue robe) which had the bells and the pomegranates on the hem of it.

When the high priest ministered in the holy place (not the holy of holies) the bells with the pomegranates would make a pleasant sound and the priest was heard as he carried on his service in the holy place. However, on the Day of Atonement, the high priest wore only the linen garments into the holy of holies, and not the full attire of his beautiful priestly garments (Leviticus 16:4). There were no bells or pomegranates on the linen garments, which were the innermost garments.

As the high priest laid aside his beautiful garments and wore only linen garments into the presence of God, so Christ left the glory of heaven and came to earth. He laid aside his heavenly majesty (not his divine nature) and clothed himself with human weakness, as he took on the likeness of men (John 17:1-5; Hebrews 2:9-17; Philippians 2; Isaiah 53 ). In the flesh, the Lord of glory made atonement (reconciliation) for our sins to bring us to God!


  1. Regarding the topic of the high priest and his garments on the day of atonement, when did he change into his high priestly garments with the bells and pomegranates? The people outside the tabernacle of the congregation were afflicting their souls, but when they heard the tinkling of the bells they were relieved as it was the sign that the high priest had successfully atoned for their sins for the year.


    • Thank you for the comment. The High Priest did not wear the garments which had the bells and pomegranates into the Holy of Holies on the Day of Atonement. Those garments were worn in his daily ministry in the Holy place. The idea that the people would be relieved when they heard the bells within the Holy of Holies on the Day of Atonement is nowhere in scripture. This is a tradition that has been passed down and it leads to false ideas that cause people to misinterpret scripture.

      The Day of Atonement was a day for the Jewish people to afflict their souls, meaning it was a day of repentance and reverence concerning the Atonement that was necessary because of the sins of the nation. This was all pointing to Jesus who would die for the sin of the whole world, and who would stand in the presence of God as our Great High Priest.

      Again there is no scripture that speaks of the High Priest wearing the garments with the bells into the Holy of Holies on the Day of Atonement with the people being relieved when they heard the bells.


  2. i learned from and Messianic program that the hem of the rob had the description of who he was and it was used to press the hem onto clay like a stamp. The hem was engraved with blue thread and was used a stamp and it showed his power in the name of the priest position. I don’t know how to explain it what they meant only that the hem had the power, like his name inscribed on the hem of his garment >


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