Aaron was not born a high-priest….
He became so, not simply, nor as betokened by his ordinary garments, but putting over them the ephod, the breastplate, the robe, which the women wrought at God’s command.
And, going in them into the holy place, he offered the sacrifice for the people; and in them, as it were, mediated between the vision of God and the sacrifices of men.
Thus then the Lord also, ‘In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God.’
But when the Father willed that ransoms should be paid for all and to all, grace should be given, then truly the Word, as Aaron his robe, so did He take earthly flesh, having Mary for the Mother of His Body as if virgin earth.
The Word did this so that, as a High Priest, having He as others an offering, He might offer Himself to the Father, and cleanse us all from sins in His own blood, and might rise from the dead.
For what happened of old was a shadow of this; and what the Saviour did on His coming, this Aaron shadowed out according to the Law.
[…] Aaron…did not change by putting on the high-priestly dress, but remaining the same was only robed, so that, had any one seen him offering, and had said, ‘Lo, Aaron has this day become high-priest,’ he had not implied that he then had been born man.
For Aaron was man even before he became high-priest, but that he had been made high-priest in his ministry, on putting on the garments made and prepared for the high-priesthood.
In the same way it is possible in the Lord’s instance also to understand aright, that He did not become other than Himself on taking the flesh, but, being the same as before, He was robed in it.
And the expressions ‘He became’ and ‘He was made,’ must not be understood as if the Word, considered as the Word, were made, but that the Word, being Framer of all, afterwards was made High Priest, by putting on a body which was originate and made, and such as He can offer for us; wherefore He is said to be made.
[…] As it is proper to the Word to have it said of Him, ‘In the beginning was the Word,’ so it is proper to man to ‘become’ and to be ‘made.’
Who then, on seeing the Lord as a man walking about, and yet appearing to be God from His works, would not have asked, Who made Him man? And who again, on such a question, would not have answered, that the Father made Him man, and sent Him to us as High Priest?
Athanasius of Alexandria (c.293-373): Against the Arians, 2, 14, 7-8.
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