Today we begin our readings by seeing the consecration of Aaron and his sons. As always, the ceremony is rich in meaning.
They had all been to the altar and been cleansed. The ceremony begins by Moses cleansing them this reminds us that we need to be not only forgiven, but we also need regeneration and cleansing.
…even as Christ also loved the church, and gave himself for it; 26 That he might sanctify and cleanse it with the washing of water by the word, 27 That he might present it to himself a glorious church, not having spot, or wrinkle, or any such thing; but that it should be holy and without blemish. Eph 5:25-27 (KJV)
After the priests have been cleansed, they are clothed. This is a picture of our High Priest, Jesus Christ. The priest was then clothed in seven different garments:
The robe of white linen. White symbolizes purity, and the covering was symbolic of the priest’s holiness before the Lord.
The girdle. This was a belt-like item that kept the robe close to the priest’s body and symbolized readiness for service.
The robe was a highly embellished item which showed his position. Only the High Priest wore this garment.
The embroidered coat covered most of the high priest’s robe.
The Curious girdle was a linen belt designed to keep everything close to the body.
Next was the breastplate with the Urim and Thummim (lights and perfections). This was a fabric about nine inches square, set with twelve different jewels. Its two upper corners had gold rings, which connected it to the shoulder pieces. 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. Some say that the law was written upon them.
And finally, there was the turban with a gold front and the inscription HOLINESS TO THE LORD.
What an amazing garment! What an awesome responsibility was placed on the shoulders of the High Priest. Can you imagine the pomp and ceremony? These garments distinguished the high priest—the only person who could enter the Holy of Holies.
After the priests were consecrated, the tabernacle was anointed with oil. Not only did the items of the tabernacle get anointed, but Aaron also had oil “poured” onto his body and his garments. This speaks of sanctification; setting apart for the service of God.
As I was working through this area of Scripture I had to stop and think about whether the sanctification I received at salvation shows in my life as it did in the priests’ lives. Can people see Jesus in me? Obviously, I am neither a priest nor a high priest, but I am an Ambassador for Christ. At my salvation, heaven rejoiced as Jesus’ blood cleansed me of my sins. At my baptism, my church family rejoiced as I was ceremonially regenerated in the Name of the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. Do I show that entrance into God’s Holy family today? Or is it just another ho-hum day, filled with lots of activities and the “obligation” to read through my Bible? I know that I need to alter parts of my life … how about you?
After the priests were consecrated, they bring a bullock for a sacrifice and a ram of consecration. This reminds us – as it did them – that there needed to be a shedding of blood for the remission of sins. The priests had to sacrifice animals for their sins. Today, the blood of Jesus cleanses all of our sins.
The priests were told specifically how to eat their portions of the sacrifices. They include an injunction to burn up anything left over. Nothing was to be wasted or kept. All must be consumed. Likewise, we need to feed on the Word of God until nothing is left!
The High Priests of old were to be on duty 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. Our High Priest is also available for us 24/7. What a great picture of Jesus was painted during this first consecration ceremony!
After the beautiful consecration ceremonies, when the people drew near to God as He gave them their first High Priest for the tabernacle, we see the sin nature come out in force. Back in Exodus, the people were told not to make any incense that wasn’t authorized by God.
The Lord said to Moses, “Take sweet spices, stacte, and onycha, and galbanum, sweet spices with pure frankincense (of each shall there be an equal part), 35 and make an incense blended as by the perfumer, seasoned with salt, pure and holy. 36 You shall beat some of it very small, and put part of it before the testimony in the tent of meeting where I shall meet with you. It shall be most holy for you. 37 And the incense that you shall make according to its composition, you shall not make for yourselves. It shall be for you holy to the Lord. 38 Whoever makes any like it to use as perfume shall be cut off from his people.” Ex 30:34-38 (ESV)
Nadab and Abihu, Aaron’s sons and consecrated priests, decided to worship their own way. They went against God’s commandment regarding appropriate incense. God showed the Israelites that His commands needed to be obeyed – wholly – or there are consequences. Lightning killed those two young men instantaneously. God tells us that not only are we to be obedient, but worship must be done in His good order!
I wonder if Nadab and Abihu acted under alcohol’s influence when they worshiped wrongly? God wants us to come to Him with a clear head and a penitent heart. I can’t imagine any other reason that God would include 10:8-11!
Has Leviticus surprised you so far? There is richness in all of God’s Word as we delve below the surface. I look forward to finishing this wonderful book next week. There will be no wrap up this week or next as I continue daily outlines. May God richly bless His day – and your service to Him through this weekend.
We can read through the Bible in 2012 – together!