This chapter begins an account of the consecration of Aaron, the first high priest of the Jews. This exalted and honorable office lasted (with more or less corruption attached to it) until the Jewish high priest, who was the foreshadow, was merged in Christ – the universal High Priest and King Who lives and reigns forever and ever!
The consecration of Aaron and his sons had been delayed until the Tabernacle had been prepared, and the laws of the sacrifices had been given. Now, however, the time had come for the priesthood to be established, according to the Lord’s commandment in Exodus 40:12-15. Moses stood by the brass laver in the Tabernacle courtyard and said, “This is the thing which the Lord commanded to be done.” And so saying, he called Aaron and his sons to come near. He then poured pure water upon them, to show that they had to be made clean and holy by the Holy Spirit. Christ washes His people from their sins in His own blood when He makes them kings and priests to our God (Rev. 1:5, 6), and those who draw near to God must also be washed in pure water (Heb. 10:22).
After their purification, Aaron and his sons were endowed with the priestly garments that were brought before our eyes in the Book of Exodus. All the priests, the sons of Aaron, wore a coat and a girdle, as well as an ephod and a turban. But since Aaron was set apart to be the high priest, he not only wore those basic priestly garments, but he was also provided with a few additional things. He had a special embroidered girdle or belt for his ephod, a blue robe to wear under the ephod (with pomegranates and bells around the hem), the breastplate of decision (covered with the precious stones bearing the names of the tribes of Israel, and containing the Urim and Thummim), and a golden diadem to place over his turban.
When Aaron and his sons had been clothed in their sacred garments, Moses anointed the tabernacle and its furniture with the holy anointing oil. These things had previously been sprinkled with blood (Heb. 9:21), which had cleansed and purified them; and now this holy oil set them apart and consecrated them for holy uses.
Moses then proceeded to bring forward the bullock for the sin offering. The high priest and his four sons beside him immediately came and laid their hands upon the bullock’s head, confessing their sins. Thus they transferred their guilt to this victim. This was done for themselves personally, as sinners bringing their individual sins to the sacrifice; and it taught the people to do the same with their own sins. The blood of this offering was used to sanctify the altar upon which the high priest hereafter presented the daily offerings. Moses thoroughly spread the blood upon it, and it was thereby purified and consecrated.
Moses then offered a ram for a burnt offering, followed by “the ram of consecration.” The blood of this consecration offering was applied to Aaron and his sons on their right ears, right thumbs, and right big toes. Thus they were marked by blood from head to foot, representing the Lord’s claim upon their whole persons for His service. After this, the ram of consecration was offered, along with certain articles of bread. And the rest of the blood of this ram was mixed with the holy anointing oil, and sprinkled upon Aaron and his sons and their priestly garments.
After this consecration ceremony was completed, Moses commanded Aaron and his sons that they were not to leave the Tabernacle for seven days. This time was given to them so that they might meditate upon the truths that had been represented and expressed by the ceremony that they had just participated in. It was to be kept before their minds continually during this time.
Why are chapters like this one so important? Because we can never fully understand the offices of our Blessed Redeemer unless we read and study them in the light of Leviticus; and we will never understand Leviticus and its moral and weighty significance until we read it in the light of Christ, our Great High Priest. The Epistle to the Hebrews and the Book of Leviticus are like a lock and a key; the one opens the other, and each casts light and illustration and harmony upon the other. In Leviticus, we see Christ in the shadowy pictures and outlines in which He was revealed to God’s ancient people. But in the Epistle to the Hebrews, we have the shadowy outline of Leviticus absorbed and lost – or rather, filled up – with the everlasting and glorious Substance, and illuminated by its light! Aaron and his priesthood were a foreshadowing of Christ and His unchangeable and everlasting Priesthood. And the very fact that the Aaronite priesthood was a type or picture of Christ’s is sufficient proof that there ought to be no priesthood existing in the Christian Church now. This office was fully exhausted in Christ; it was merged in Him when He lived, died, and rose again. We now have pastors and elders and teachers in the Church; but we cannot have a sacrificing priest without misleading souls, doing dishonor to Christ, and ignoring the New Testament.
Lord, we beseech You to send the Holy Spirit to be our Teacher concerning the many precious things contained in this chapter. May our souls and bodies be sprinkled with the Savior’s blood; and may we be enabled by Your grace to present them as a living sacrifice that is holy and acceptable to You, for this is only our reasonable service! Amen.
Join other families all around the globe! Receive the full-color, freely downloadable format of these thoughts in your email every day, and enjoy a FREE copy of my e-book A Call to Family Worship! It’s my prayer that you and your family will be equipped to receive abundant blessings from the hand of the Lord as you study His Word and worship in His presence together.
illustration by ArtMari | Shutterstock.com