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Liturgical Dance Garments: Similarities to the Holy Priestly Garments

The Priest must dress in special priestly garments.

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Exodus 28:2-4; 40
Make sacred garments for your brother Aaron, to give him dignity and honor. Tell all the skilled men to whom I have given wisdom in such matters that they are to make garments for Aaron, for his consecration, so he may serve me as priest. These are the garments they are to make: a breastpiece, an ephod, a robe, a woven tunic, a turban and a sash. They are to make these sacred garments for your brother Aaron and his sons, so they may serve me as priests. Make tunics, sashes and headbands for Aaron’s sons, to give them dignity and honor. 


from www.scienceofcorrespondences.com
Example of the priestly garments worn by Aaron and his sons.
Keeping with the series on the royal priesthood I will be explaining the details of the garments worn by priest and how liturgical dancers are to dress for dance ministry. This will be the last post on the royal priesthood.

The entire chapter of Exodus 28 explains, in great detail, the garments worn by Aaron, the high priest and the sons of Aaron. As I began to read about the duties of the priest, I found a similarity and significance to the garments worn by liturgical dancers. Each part of the priestly garments was worn with a purpose. It was a proper covering for their bodies, but it was meant to be worn for holiness and for beauty. The garments reflected the glory of the Heavenly Father as the duties were being performed in the Temple.

The Most High called for skilled craftsman, seamstresses and tailors as they are referred to today, to make the holy garments for the priests. They were to make a breastplate, an ephod, a robe, a woven tunic, a turban, and a sash (Exodus 28:3). They used gold, blue, purple, and red material; the same colors that were used in making the veil and curtains found in the Temple (Exodus 28:5).

Ephod


Ephods were made of gold, blue, purple, red fabric, and linen. (Exodus 28:8). The names of the tribes of Israel were written in gold letters on two onyx stones as they were placed on the ephod. Yahweh instructed the priest to write the names in birth order; six on one onyx stone and six on the other onyx stone. This was done as a memorial to Yahweh so that he can remember to bless, heal, and forgive the 12 tribes of Israel as the priest came before the throne of Yahweh (Exodus 28:9-12)

Breastplate

The breastplate was worn for judgement. When Yahweh judges he does so based upon what is right and what is wrong. He judged the children of Israel according to which commandments they obeyed and what they did not obey. He does the same with us today.

On the breastplate were stones and jewels representing the tribes of Israel. The breastplate was secured and fastened around the shoulders and around the waist with a gold rope (Exodus 28:15-29). Urim and Thummim was also added to the breastplate to go over Aaron's heart for giving judgment (Exodus 28:30).

Robe

The robe was always in blue (Exodus 28:31). Pomegranates of blue, purple, and red along with gold bells were attached to the bottom of the robe. The bells and pomegranates were alternated (Exodus 28:34). Aaron, the high priest, was to wear it as he ministered in the Holy Place in front of Yahweh so that he would not die (Exodus 28:35).

Turban

The turban is a covering for the head as Yahweh is the covering or the head of the man. The priests are to be regarded as Holy, set apart. Therefore it was instructed that they make a plate of pure gold and engrave a seal on it that read "Holy to Yahweh" as it was attached to the turban (Exodus 28:36). To keep the turban on, they fastened a cord to it and tied it tightly. Once they were finish ministering in the Most Holy Place, and they came to bless the people with the name of Yahweh, a mark was left on their forehead. The mark signified the gifts of the children of Israel.

Other Garments

The sash was worn around the waist and was woven as gold. The linen undergarments were worn from the waist to the thigh to cover their nakedness underneath their garments (Exodus 28:42).

If you notice in the description of the priestly garments, you will find similarities to the priestly garments worn by Aaron and his sons to the liturgical dance garments worn today.

In the 90's, as the Church was experiencing a move towards worship arts it was particularly hard to find a double skirt or tunic of any kind in commercial dance catalogs. Majority of the dance garments we had back then were hand made, or you purchased that one little skirt that was on the market.  We made vests, shirts, and skirts out of any material we found on sale. Any dance dresses that were purchased were lyrical or flamingo and way out of the budget for a dance ministry. Today, you can find liturgical dance wear all over the Internet made in mass quantities, and from independent seamstresses with their own designs, flare, and skill.

The reason that Yahweh commanded the skilled craftsmen to make these particular garments is to set Aaron and Aaron's sons apart as the priests that were authorized to minister to the Lord. They were holy therefore the garments had to be holy. The garments had to remind Yahweh of Israel, that they were the chosen people from all nations. In remembrance of them there was a blessing and forgiveness of sins each time a sin offering was rendered. The garments had to be special made from linen so that the priest ministering could stay cool. The significance of this was so that they would not sweat. Imagine this: the glory of God filling the Temple where there are no windows, curtains everywhere, incense, and candles burning. It was hot. When a person becomes hot they begin to sweat. Whether you realize it or not sweat is a toxin from the body. Anything that is toxic is unclean. The priest had to come before Yahweh clean in their hearts as well as physically. Ezekiel 44:15-18 speaks of this very thing:


But the priests, who are Levites and descendants of Zadok and who faithfully carried out the duties of my sanctuary when the Israelites went astray from me, are to come near to minister before me; they are to stand before me to offer sacrifices of fat and blood, declares the Sovereign Lord.They alone are to enter my sanctuary; they alone are to come near my table to minister before me and perform my service.When they enter the gates of the inner court, they are to wear linen clothes; they must not wear any woolen garment while ministering at the gates of the inner court or inside the temple. They are to wear linen turbans on their heads and linen undergarments around their waists. They must not wear anything that makes them perspire.

Today's Liturgical Dance Garments: Holy Dance Garments

copyright 2012 katina davenport purple tunic with match purple dance flag.
Today these garments have significance in the liturgical dance ministry today. Just as the garments worn by the priest for beauty and for glory to God liturgical dance garments are designed in the same manner. It is designed as a covering. As our hearts are to purified, our dance garments have to represent purity and holiness in every way imaginable.

The ephod worn in liturgical dance ministry is an outward covering, hiding anything that others would find pleasing when wearing a form fitting leotard or if a liturgical dance dress comes fitted at the top like a leotard. If you are a female liturgical dancer, this is especially most helpful in keeping modesty. Tunics or overlays are also worn for modesty over the dress or leotard. It can be used as an alternative to the ephod.

The robes have evolved to the dresses and skirts worn by liturgical dancers. The most popular dresses or skirts have wide, double circle flare when turning. It insures that the garments are not hugging or form fitting to the lower half of the body. There are times when male liturgical dancers will wear robes for dancing with an ephod overlaying the robe.

Palazzo pants are generally worn under dresses for extra modesty. It is important that no part of the body can be seen. When turning with a skirt or dress, the lower half of the body can be exposed and that is why the palazzo pants are worn. It hides all silhouettes that can be seen underneath the dress or skirt when turning.

Sashes are mainly worn as an accessory; although, a Pastor once explained to me that the sashes represent the priesthood since it was worn by the priests.

All of these liturgical dance garments come in various styles and colors, demonstrating the meaning of holiness and beauty. The creativity of seamstresses has lead many to pursue making liturgical dance wear that is affordable for the body of Christ. Here are a few links to some of the best on the Internet

The Master's Touch Creations-Overlay
Praise Dance for Him 

The priestly garments worn by Aarron's and his sons was a representation of an outward show of holiness and beauty that brought glory to the Heavenly Father. The priests were already deemed as holy to Yahweh. As HE saw them ministering before HIM with these garments on it set them apart from the general population of Israelites. It not only represented holiness, but it represented an authorization to come before His Holy presence. With the redeeming blood of Yahshua we are authorized as both the Temple and priest to minister before the Lord. As liturgical dancers we come before the Lord in holiness (we should be Holy), and our garments represents the holiness and beauty that is within. Our dance garments show that we are different than other dancers where small articles of clothing can be worn as they perform. Our garments sets us apart and there should be a reverence to the Holy Spirit that lives within as we are presented to dance before a congregation or audience.

Related Posts

Royal Priesthood: Preparing your Sanctuary for Worship 
Royal Priesthood: Reverencing the House of Yahweh 
Royal Priesthood: Taking Care of the House of Yahweh 

©2012 Katina Davenport all rights reserved 

Comments

  1. Greetings Pastor,
    Thanks for this article. You taking me back: Levitical priesthood.
    Yes, dignity and honour - unto God, and we as dance ministers are dignified/righteous through Christ. We can step forward boldly and minister/serve wholeheartedly before Him in dance.
    Let us continue to dress humbly, and bring glory unto Him, so that people can be touched through the hem of our garments (Just like with Jesus).
    Thank you for blessing us through these articles. May God bless your ministry!

    ReplyDelete

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