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Aaron and His Consecration
Chapter 6 Leviticus 8
All religions were founded upon a Priesthood . . . Man must have a Mediator . . . A TRUE priesthood is summed up in Christ . . . The Ceremonies by which Aaron was sanctified . . . His Baptism . . . His Vestments . . . His Anointing . . . His marking with the Blood of Sacrifice . . . Our Great High-Priest.
As we enter Chapter 8, we go from speaking of sacred things, to sacred persons . . . from the various offerings, to the priests who were to preside at these offerings. All religions are founded upon some kind of priesthood. All people, of whom we have any record, have had their priests. As for Adam, Abel and Noah, we read in the days of Abraham of "Melchisedek, priest of the Most High God" (Gen.14:18; Heb.7:1); and a few generations after him, of one Potipherah, priest of On (Gen.41:45), whose daughter Pharoah thought a fit match for his chief favorite, Joseph, whom he had made ruler of all his house. Then we read of Jethro, priest of Midian (Ex.3:1), who became the father-in-law of the well-known Moses. After that came the long line of Aaron's order, as introduced in Leviticus Chapter 8.
Various religious orders of all other nations, show how universally this system of priesthood in sacred things, has permeated all ages. Priesthood is essential to religion. It enters into the very element of communication between God and fallen man. Those who understand God and our moral and religious relationship to Him do not doubt this.
Man is NOT now what he was originally made. His whole nature has come under a disastrous and infected disorder. He has turned his back on his Maker. He has, like a sheep, strayed into dangerous wilds of the world. He has foolishly withdrawn from goodness, kindness, love and mercy. He has been betrayed by Satan into wicked rebellion against his Creator. He has become backbiting, hateful, greedy, immoral, lusting after what he knows is wrong, violent, vicious, etc., etc. His lifestyle is NOT acceptable to God . . . he has lost any affection he ever had for God; and he wants NO one telling him anything of God and His Word. All this pictures man apart from God. Dear one, God CANNOT desert His own Law, nor can He be untrue to His Holiness, His justice, His purity and His Word . . . He must condemn sin, for He is NEVER content with rebellion. Our Righteous Sovereign may feel sorry for and pity sinners, but He can have NO fellowship with them without compromising His own character for righteousness.
SO . . . there is a huge chasm between man and Almighty God. IF the fallen one keeps on with his sin . . . the wronged Sovereign MUST keep on maintaining His RIGHTEOUS administrations. Since man CANNOT come to God by himself, and is simply terrified when he thinks of God’s Presence; and God CANNOT sacrifice His sovereignty or tarnish His Throne by looking the other way when man continues to trample everything sacred under their feet.
ALL man's natural affections are against God, with his whole nature and commitments are against all that opposes what is good. It is not in man to turn or change himself; and God CANNOT reverse His being unchallengeable, nor can He withdraw from His eternal makeup of right and Holiness. Some have thought that the combined influence of nature, conscience and reason, is capable in the end to bring man to the knowledge of the Truth, and to restore him to right affections for his Maker. But NO examples of this have ever happened. And God, in His Word, states that NO such case ever has occurred, or ever shall occur. "They that are in the flesh cannot please God" (Rom.8:8). Jesus says, "No man cometh unto the Father, but by me" (John 14:6).
"No man hath seen God at any time" (John 1:18; 1 John 4:12), and His power which is unseen is terrible. Fiction clothes God’s awesome power with dark imagery. The voice of the thunder is awful; but not as awful as the angry Being who sits in mysterious concealment, and gives it all its energy. In such stretches of the imagination, fear is sure to succeed. We gather an impression of God’s nature, from scenes in which nature threatens and looks most dreadful.
So, how can God and man be brought together in harmony? How can we have the veil of incredible mystery lifted off the frightful God, that we may have hope in returning to our Maker? How can God show Himself in any other form to rebellious sinners? There is ONLY one way. There must be a daysman (Job 9:33), a spiritual attorney, a priest. Daysman is an old word meaning referee, arbitrator, adjudicator, umpire or mediator. There must be someone who can lay his hands on both man and God. There must be someone capable to intercede for God to sinners and from sinners to God.
There must be some Great Officer (of the character referred to in the various orders of priesthood), who shall, in His unusual qualifications and office, bring God down to men, and bring men up, in some acceptable form to God. The idea of a priesthood, and the duties of priestly functions, enter into the very heart and substance of religion. The writer in his masterly appeal to the Hebrews, takes it as one of those deep essential principles upon which his whole argument is built. It is pre-supposed in the whole framework of the Christian system. It is the root, the trunk and the sap of the Tree of Life . . . it is the very spine, marrow and soul of the Gospel of Jesus Christ.
Before the foundation of this Levitical ritual, the offering of gifts and sacrifices for sins, and the priestly functions in general, were much like prayer, which is the right and duty of all people. They were not specifically entrusted and confined to any one order or class of men. Cain and Abel, even in the lifetime of their father, seem to have officiated for themselves. Noah and Job officiated for their respective families, and Melchisedek was a king as well as a Priest; and may have been a priest, in part at least, because he was a king. But, unless Melchisedek, of whom we know very little, is to be regarded as an exception, there were no divinely established priesthoods and no established priestly orders, previous to the appointment and consecration of Aaron and his sons.
And the fact that this office was at first free to all, and then gradually narrowed down, first to the father or chief, then to the tribe of Levi and the house of Aaron, and then to the great High Priest whom all former priesthoods foreshadowed, may have been designed to show, that the longer the race went on, the more unworthy and unfit man became to approach God. Adam began the work of degrading his species. In Eden, the balance between good and evil began to go the wrong way. After that, sin became more shallow with every generation; until the scale plunged in the Flood. Depravity was at its lowest point, and all the hopes of the world settled on Christ Jesus.
There is no faithful priesthood in today’s world, except that which has its center in the "great High Priest that is passed into the heavens, Jesus, the Son of God" (Heb.4:14). He alone of all Earth's generations . . . He alone of all the heavenly principalities . . . is the only ONE selected by God. He is ordained, devoted and was set forth to intercede between God and man, the only ONE to bring results between the righteous Sovereign and the guilty sinner. Christ Jesus is more Holy than an angel, more Divine than a seraph, more deeply permeated with the Godhead than anything that ever took form, and yet He is much more tenderly human than any mere man, the world has ever known. The prophets looked for Him, the ages have prophesied of Him, and in the fulness of time God sent Him . . . only JESUS can fill the breach between Earth and Heaven, to bring the unseen God to man's understanding and affection, and to bring sinful man up to God's acceptance and approval. Because of this, He was conceived by the Holy Ghost, born of the Virgin Mary (Mat.1:20), put to death under Pontius Pilate (John 19:15-19), raised from the dead by Almighty power (Heb.13:20), as received up into Heaven among the devout acclaim of angels (1 Tim.3:16), and now appears in the Presence of Almighty God for us to the wonderment of heavenly orders (Heb.9:24), bringing to everlasting redemption those who believe (John 3:36). There is NO TRUE Priesthood except that of Jesus, and NO TRUE Priest except Jesus, Himself. Any other priesthoods God may have appointed, or approved, or tolerated, come back to this one, and were only a foreshadow of He, Who was to come.
On a survey of the Levitical Priesthood, we must remember that we are to look at what was meant to set forth a higher priesthood than that of Aaron. It is not so much with the Levites that we must consider, as with Christ (Messiah), of whom these Levites were the living symbols. In the earthly we are to see the heavenly from the representative, and we are to rise to observing what is actual. Aaron and his sons are the subject, but Jesus and people are the theme.
Chapter 8 gives us a description of the ceremonies by which the priests were consecrated, and officially received into their high office. These ceremonies were, for the most part, the same for Aaron and his sons; but it is the state of affairs of the High-Priest mainly that we shall consider here. The common priests is reserved for another time.
(1). Fixing our attention on Aaron, as he is to be set apart for the High-Priest-hood, the first thing we notice is the publicity with which the consecration was achieved. The whole congregation of Israel had to be gathered together to witness the solemn transaction. The formation of so high an officer for the whole people, needed to be done in broad daylight, and in the view of all concerned. The scene presented an impressive sight. In the background was Mount Sinai in solemn silence, terrible and still in the minds of the people for the fires that had so lately enclosed it, and the Holy Law that came thundering down its ravines. At Sinai, the Shekinah Glory, the visible manifestation of the Presence of God, covered the mountain in the form of smoke and fire. Mount Sinai was all in smoke because the LORD descended upon it in fire (Ex.19:18). In long lines through the valley at Mount Sinai’s base, stood the tents of Israel. In the center of them hung the cloudy pillar (Ex.33-10), stretching high into the heavens, with its shadow resting upon the Holy Tabernacle. The princes of Jacob were there, arranged around the entrance of the sanctuary in uncertainty. In view of them all came Aaron and his sons, and Moses, the man of God, thoughtful and solemn, trembling at the glory of God, as he followed in their steps. The very breezes seemed to hush to soft whispers, and the sun himself did stand still in the sky. A silence was upon all the witnessing multitudes; for the priests of the LORD were entering into their great office!
(2). The first thing to be done after the appearance of Aaron before the congregation as the designated priest, was to wash him with water. There has always been more or less, washing connected with priesthood. The Egyptian priests washed twice a day in water; the Greeks had their sprinklings; the Romans also had numerous ceremonial washings; and the Church of Rome still retains a shadow of the old rites in the use made of what is called "holy water. All this I take to be the inaccurate remains of what God Himself appointed at the institution of His ancient ritual, and the consecration of His ancient priesthood. They are the traditional remnants of what had a glorious importance once, but have neither dignity nor meaning in any of the modern associations. The water applied to Aaron was a token of cleansing and purity, without which no man can approach the Holy and sin-hating God. It was meant to stress the idea of cleanness in him who was to act as an advocate between man and his Maker. And Aaron in his outward purification shows us our great High-Priest in the beautiful purity which he brought to his mediation-work. Jesus "was holy, harmless, undefiled, separate from sinners" (Heb.7:26). It was partly in token of this pureness and separation that John the Baptist, as another Moses, baptized Jesus in the Jordan. Jesus needed no cleansing. He was always pure. But, to indicate this purity, and to enter upon His Priesthood in the unvarying way, Jesus consented to be washed, as was Aaron. Jesus’ baptism was part of His being fitted as a Priest.
(3). The next thing done for Aaron's consecration was, the putting of the sacred vestments upon him. The priest was to be endowed with grace and glory as well as purity. He had to be clothed in righteousness and armed for active obedience He needed covering for those shoulders, which were to bear the people's guilt, and for that brow, which was to be lifted up in confession. A rich, curious, graceful, and striking clothing was therefore provided for him . . . clothing that received its pattern from God, and was made according to God’s specific directions.
(a). The first piece was "the coat," in another place called "the ephod;" a sort of frock, thrown over the shoulders, and extending down to the ankles, made of pure fine linen. This was the innermost part of the priest's vestments, having sleeves to the wrists. It was the symbol of grace and righteousness in the hidden as well as visible man.
(b). The next item was "the girdle," a narrow, long band or belt of linen, tied around the waist to confine the ephod close to the body. The priest was not only for show, but for service, and all his graces and endowments of righteousness were to be held submissive to his office. He had to be girded up for work.
(c). A third item was "the robe," or "robe of the ephod," a seamless garment, inquisitively embroidered with blue, purple, scarlet and gold. Its lower border was ornamented with a row of red pomegranates and little golden bells, encircling the entire robe in alternate succession. It was a garment which extended from the shoulders to a little below the knees. This was a robe ONLY for the High-priest. Its touch was heavenly. It had the greatest intensity of ornament. It was custom-made, bringing adoration and glory beyond anything worn by common priests.
(d). Next was "the embroidered coat" of fine linen with sleeves, extending about half the way down the skirt of "the robe of the ephod." Over this coat, and wound several times around the waist, was "the curious girdle;" a piece of fine twined linen, embroidered with blue, purple, scarlet and gold, tied in front of the body, with the ends left hanging almost to the feet.
(e). Then came "the breastplate," with "the Urim and Thummim." This was a fabric about nine inches square, set with twelve different large jewels, well arranged. Its two upper corners had gold rings, by which it was connected with jeweled shoulder pieces, with adorned chains of gold. At its lower corners it was fastened to the girdle with blue ribbons. The twelve jewels stood for the twelve tribes of Israel, and each jewel had upon it the name of its tribe. They were the most precious things belonging to the priest's attire. They were called "Urim and Thummim; specifically, Lights and Perfections. Some say that the Law was written upon them, and that it was to the Law as seated in these pure and precious gems, flashing with light and glory, that the Psalmist alluded when he said, "the law of the LORD is perfect"—"the commandment of the LORD is pure, enlightening the eyes" (Ps.19:8). This breastplate was a very sacred thing, and most glorious in appearance. A thrill of profound interest must have run through the congregation of Israel as they witnessed this jeweled heart-piece put upon their priest.
(f). The seventh item was the putting of "the mitre upon his head." This was a kind of turban, made of fine linen, somewhat resembling the diadems of ancient kings. It was a most fitting and imposing crown when added to the other parts of the priest's dress, and no doubt brought a shout of admiration from Israel when they saw it adorn the brow of Aaron, fronted as it was with a plate of shining gold, in whose glittering gleam appeared the solemn inscription. . . "HOLINESS TO THE LORD."
Thus did God direct for the clothing of His ancient priest "for glory and for beauty" (Ex.28:2).
As Aaron was to serve before the LORD in the priest's office, this was to be his glorious clothing when on duty. A noble object he was to look upon as he stood that day before the congregation of Israel. Fold upon fold of pure linen enclosed his body. His breast, his shoulders, his summits and even the girdle and hem of his robe, blazed with costly jewelry and gems. All man’s native deformities were hidden in glory and beauty.
Aaron in his robes and jewels is but an earthly type of our great High-Priest arrayed in the beautiful glories of His everlasting righteousness. True, Isaiah says, "he hath no form nor comeliness; and when we shall see him, there is no beauty that we should desire him" (Isa.53:2) . . . but it is His appearance to this world's carnal and perverted taste of which the prophet there speaks, and not His Appearance to minds and hearts of those who love and appreciate Him. Isaiah also tells of a vision which he had of this Blessed One. "In the year that king Uzziah died," says he, "I saw the Lord" (Isa.6:1). There was absolutely NO absence of dignity and glory in that vision. And his train filled the temple . . . His train, or His royal and judicial robe; for He is represented as a Judge (Isa.11:4; Jn.5:22, 27; Rom.2:16; 2 Tim.4:8; Rev.19:11). Around Christ Jesus stood the seraphim in admiration, crying, "HOLY, HOLY, HOLY, IS THE LORD OF HOSTS: THE WHOLE EARTH IS FULL OF HIS GLORY!" (Isa.6:3) until the very door-posts moved at the power of their words. The prophet could not look upon it. He fell down upon his face and cried, "Woe is me! for I am undone: for mine eyes have seen the King, the Lord of hosts!" Another time Isaiah, considering the magnificence of Jesus and His achievements, cries out with the exclamation: "Who is this that cometh from Edom, with dyed garments from Bozrah, GLORIOUS IN HIS APPAREL, and triumphing in the greatness of his strength?" (Isa.63:1). Jesus is our glorious High-Priest. Do NOT doubt the glory and beauty that encompass Him.
Purity, holiness, power, grace, majesty and ten thousand indescribable angelical beings gathering around Him, surrounding Him with perfection and light, which only the costliest jewels can typify, where angels bend to obey Him, and where archangels cannot find words capable to express Him. The Eternal Father looks on Him with great delight, saying, "This is my beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased!" (Mat.3:17; 17:5; Mk.9:7; 2 Pet.1:17). Acceptable and right is He to draw near to God, for He and the Father are one (John 10:30), and He is worthy of our holy adoration . . . "chief among ten thousand (Song 5:10) "holy, harmless, undefiled, separate from sinners, and made higher than the heavens; who needeth not like those high-priests to offer up sacrifices for his own sins: for the law maketh men high-priests which have infirmity; but the word of the oath which was since the law, maketh the Son [an High-priest], who is perfected for evermore." (Heb. 7:26-28.)
No man can approach God uncovered. Even the seraphim cover their faces and their feet before His terrible majesty (Isa.6:2). Isaiah sees Seraphim are around the Throne of God in his vision. This is one of the few mentions of these created intelligences in Scripture. Nearly nothing is known about them. Seraph means to burn. It is the word used in connection with the sin offerings and judgment. The seraphim are NOT the same as the cherubim mentioned in Ezekiel Chapter 1. It seems that the seraphim search out sin, and the cherubim protect the Holiness of God. Never is the word seraph connected with the sweet incense or sweet savor offerings, those offerings which speak of the Person of Christ. The seraph is active, and the cherub is inactive. We will find both of them in the Books of Ezekiel and Revelation as the living creatures (Eze.1:5, 13; 15, 19; 3:13; Rev.Ch.4 & 5).
The seraphim in Isaiah's vision are protecting the sacredness (holiness, purity) of God, for He is high and lifted up (Isa.6:1; 12:4; 57:15; Ps.46:10; 83:18; 97:9; 108:5; 113:5; 138:6). God will NEVER compromise with evil, because evil and sin is what brings misery and sorrow in this world. Sin is what breaks up homes and lives and fills the grave. One day the LORD shall destroy sin and remove it from the entire Universe. God has always moved boldly, promptly and steadily against sin. He will never accept the white flag of surrender from it. He is high and lifted up and He hates sin!
When Isaiah saw God on that majestic Throne, he fell down on his face. Oh, that people would just consider just how high and lifted up the LORD really is, and how desperately they need to consider His love, grace and mercy, but also His holiness and His absolute righteousness . . . AND His wrath! Because God is Holy, He moves in judgment against sin . . . and He has never apologized for His actions, nor will He ever! God’s Holy wrath shall punish sin, and He will punish all those who join in it. Dear one, we ALL will bow before Him one day! Are you ready? If you are a TRUE child of God, you shall experience His love and mercy, but if you are His enemy, you shall experience His wrath!
God’s wrath against Israel: (Deut.29:28; 2 Ki.22:13; Ezra 5:12; Ps.78:21; Eze.22:20-22; Zec.8:14; Lk.21:23).
God’s wrath against His enemies, unbelievers: (Ps.21:9; 79:6; Isa.59:18; Nah.1:2; Jn.3:36; Rom.1:18, 24-32; 2:8; Eph.5:6; 1 Thes.2:14-16; Rev.14:9-10).
(4). The next thing in this impressive service was the Holy Chrism, or the anointing with oil. This was not common oil, but the sacred, fragrant, and costly compound used only in solemn consecrations. It was "precious ointment on the head, that ran down upon the beard, even Aaron's beard, and went down to the skirts of his garments" (Ps.133:2), encompassing him in aroma as beautiful to the smell as his garments were to the eye. It was the symbol of divine gifts and unction. It pointed to that solemn chrism or initiation of Jesus, by the pouring out upon Him of the Holy Spirit and energy of God "without measure" (John 3:34-35). Our great High-Priest was not only washed in Jordan, but He was also immediately after solemnly anointed by the visible descent of the Spirit upon Him (Mat.3:16-17). It was that, that established Him THE CHRIST, (The Anointed One). It was by that unction that Christ Jesus was endowed from on high with the rights and powers, with the gifts and graces, of His Blessed Priesthood. From that time forward He was installed forever in the awe-inspiring office of Mediator between God and man. From that time forever, the command of the Father to all the children of men is, "HEAR YE HIM" (Mat.17:5; Mk.9:7; Luke 9:35). If the anointing of Aaron was such a thing to be sung about by inspired minstrels, what shall be said of the initiation of Jesus and those official powers from God the Father, with which it invested Him! We have read of His wonderful gifts of teaching, and how the people were astonished at His doctrine . . . and how unbelievers stood confounded at His Words . . . how all Judea was moved by His Presence. . . how His grace and blessing fragranced everything along the paths that He trod . . . and even the children in the streets lifted up their voices and shouted "Hosanna!" as He rode by . . . how the poor, sick, lame, blind, deaf, the palsied and possessed, came crying to Him and were relieved and healed . . . how He struggled with Satan in the wilderness, overcoming him, and spoiling his dark kingdom . . . how He conquered even death, and brought back the departed to life. Jesus raised three people from the dead: Jairus daughter (Mark 5:22-43); a widow’s son in the town of Nain (Luke 7:11-15); and His friend Lazarus (John 11:1-44). He broke the solid rock doors of the sepulcher and ascended up to the Father’s right Hand in triumphant power (Acts 7:55), while leaving His church with abundant gifts of miracles and grace to overcome this Earth's mighty falsehoods, and to tread in the same victorious path with Himself to glory, honor, immortality and eternal life. God the Father hath committed all judgment to His only begotten Son (John 5:22), that all should honor the Son even as they honor the Father, because He is gone to prepare a place for as and will come again to take us to Himself (John 14:2-3), that we may live and reign with Him in the New Jerusalem one day.
(5). Back then, Christ was not yet "made perfect" (Heb,5:9). Moses had yet to mark and sprinkle Aaron with the blood of sacrifice; and as the Captain of our salvation, Christ had to be "made perfect through sufferings" (Heb.2:10; 7:19; 9:11). He needed to have upon Him the Scars from His precious Blood. And since He was both the Sacrifice and the Priest, He had to willingly give Himself to death, before He could enter the Holy Place as our Mediator, our Advocate (1 John 2:1). We read that "Moses took of the blood, and put it upon the tip of Aaron's right ear, and upon the thumb of his right hand, and upon the great toe of his right foot.” (Lev.8:23). And he took of the anointing oil, and of the blood upon the altar, and sprinkled it upon Aaron and upon his garments." (Lev.8:30). This was the picture of "the blood of Christ, who through the Eternal Spirit offered himself without spot to God," (Heb.9:14), which marked our Great High-Priest with the final touches of His installation as the Saviour of the world. Thus "being made perfect, he became the author of eternal salvation unto all them that obey him" (Heb.5:9).
"Holy brethren, partakers of the heavenly calling, consider the Apostle and High-priest of our profession, Christ Jesus" (Heb.3:1). I pray that you SEE Jesus as these ancient pictures place Him before us. From the heights of eternity, He has looked down upon the huge chasm that sin has made between us and God. The LORD Jesus saw our weakness and helplessness and had pity on us in our misery and ruin. And when there was no daysman (arbitrator, umpire, referee), He stepped forward in the presence of all those in Heaven, and said, "Here am I, send me." God, the Almighty Sovereign answered, "It is done; go thou and he a priest for ever. A body have I prepared thee!" In the fulness of time He came. The apostle John, like another Moses, was commissioned to wash Him for His sanctification. By an unspotted life and an indescribable harmony with the Godhead, Jesus, the Son, was adorned and beautified with the most beautiful excellence and glory. On the banks of the Jordon, the christening unction (oil), descended in unmeasured profusion upon Him.
In the judgment hall, the crown of thorns was severely rammed upon His Head, slicing His Ears, as His precious Blood flowed. On Calvary, the huge nails were heartlessly driven, that bringing the crimson streams on His Hands and Feet. On the cross Jesus was pierced, whipped, disjointed, all His tenderness was given over to the people’s desires, with His precious Blood streaming to the dust beneath Him.
In the tomb of Joseph of Arimathea, the Spirit, brought about the final baptism that completed the severe round of Jesus’ official installation. There He stands before men and angels a PERFECT High-Priest, "able to save unto the uttermost all them that come unto God by him" (Heb.7:25).
Do you tremble at what was done before the cross, and on the cross to our Redeemer? This is He, of whom Moses in the Law and the prophets, did write. This is He, of Whom it was said from the beginning, "He shall come." This is that "Branch of the LORD, beautiful and glorious, whose Name is, THE LORD OUR RIGHTEOUSNESS. This is He, of whom the rejoicing angels said, "Unto you is born this day, in the city of David, a Saviour, which is, Christ the Lord" (Luke 2:11). This is He, of whom the expecting Church for ages looked for.
And let us all fall down at His Feet and cry, "Blessed be the LORD God, the God of Israel, who only doeth wondrous things; blessed be his glorious name for ever: and let the whole earth be filled with his glory; Amen, and Amen!" (Ps.72:19).
Moses clearly brings the GOSPEL in the Book of Leviticus!
He brings us a crystal-clear picture of Jesus!
The Gospel most certainly is in Leviticus.
Is the Gospel in the Book of Leviticus? YES, it is!!!
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