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THE CONSECRATION OF AARON AND HIS SONS (vv. 1-36)
The consecration of Aaron and his sons is typical of what is involved in the establishing of all believers as priests in this present day of grace. The garments, the anointing oil, a bull, two rams and a basket of unleavened bread all have an important part in this (v. 2). All the congregation of Israel was to be gathered for this event (vv. 3-4) at the entrance of the tabernacle, and Moses announced that they were acting on the commandment of God.
First Aaron and his sons were washed with water. This is typical of “the washing of regeneration” (Titus 3:5). Compare also John 13:10. It is not cleansing by blood, which has to do with God's justice being satisfied by the death of Christ for us. The washing or bathing in water is rather typical of God's cleansing work within us, that is, new birth, which makes a difference in our character and actions. Therefore a priest must be born again by God. Of course this is not true of the Lord Jesus, in whom there is no sin, and who always had the nature of God. But the washing of Aaron would remind us that Christ, being Himself “separate from sinners,” has identified Himself in grace with all those who partake of the divine nature.
The tunic then was put on Aaron, an under garment of fine linen (Exodus 28:39). This speaks of the inward purity of the Lord Jesus. The sash for the tunic was added in order to bind the tunic in place. This speaks of the Lord's inner thoughts and motives being kept in perfect control.
Then the robe of the ephod was put on Aaron. It was blue in color, reminding us that Christ is God's High Priest, “made higher than the heavens” (Hebrews 7:26). Then the intricately woven band was added to tie the ephod in place. The breastplate was put on the ephod with the urim and thummim (the 12 precious stones) set in the breastplate. Urim and thummim means (lights and perfections,” for the stones reflect the light and symbolize the varied beauties and perfections of the Lord Jesus, as are reflected in the twelve tribes of Israel, or at least will be reflected when the nation is brought to God and blessed in the millennial age.
The turban was next placed on Aaron's head, a covering that reminds us that every thought of the Lord Jesus was always perfectly kept in subjection to His God and Father. The golden plate was put in the forepart of the turban, with its inscription, “Holiness to the Lord.” Thus, the Lord's thoughts were always consistent with the absolute holiness of God.
After this, Moses anointed with oil the tabernacle and all its inner furniture, and sprinkled some of the oil on the altar of burnt offering seven times, with all its utensils, and also the laver and its base. Thus the tabernacle and all the furniture connected with it were consecrated.
Then Aaron alone (not his sons) was anointed with oil (v. 12). This is typical of the Lord Jesus being anointed with the Spirit of God when He was baptized by John (Matthew 3:13-16)
Only after this do we find Aaron's sons associated with him. Their tunics, sashes and headgear were put on them (v. 13). But they were not yet anointed. First, the bull of the sin offering had to be offered, with Aaron and his sons laying their hands on its head. Then Moses killed the bull. Thus the priestly family is identified with the high priest in appropriating the value of the sacrifice. So believers today are identified with Christ in sharing the value of His great sacrifice. The blood was put on the horns of the altar, with the remainder poured out at the base of the altar. The fat and the kidneys were burned on the altar, but the rest of the animal was burned totally outside the camp. This appears to be one exception as to the blood of the sin offering brought inside the tabernacle, but it was specially commanded by God (v. 17).
The application of these things is emphasized now in the offering of the second ram, the ram of consecration (v. 22). The basis of the truth of God concerning sacrifice was laid first, for this is objective, so that the subjective appropriation of this is seen in the ram of consecration. Again Aaron and his sons lay their hands on its head. Moses killed it, and instead of first putting the blood on the altar, he took some of the blood and put it on the tip of Aaron's right ear, on the thumb of his right hand and on the big toe of his right foot. Then he did the same on Aaron's sons, and afterward sprinkled the blood all around on the altar.
Thus Aaron alone was first anointed with blood following his previous anointing with oil (v. 12). So Christ was anointed with the Spirit when baptized by John, then with blood when He shed His blood at Calvary. After this Aaron's sons were anointed with blood before they were anointed with oil, just as believers were first cleansed by the shedding of the blood of Christ before receiving the Spirit of God at Pentecost (Acts 2:1-47).
In verses 23 and 24 the blood put on the right ear speaks of the hearing of the priests being consecrated to God. They are to have an ear above all for God's Word. Blood on the thumb indicates their works are to be consecrated to God; and blood on the big toe speaks of their walk also consecrated to Him. As it was absolutely true of the Lord Jesus, so it is properly true of believers.
Still, the consecration was not yet complete. The fat and the two kidneys of the ram and the right thigh were taken by Moses. Then one unleavened cake from the basket of unleavened bread, a cake anointed with oil and one wafer, were placed on the fat and on the right thigh. These were then given to Aaron and his sons to wave as a wave offering before the Lord. Thus the significance of the present exultation of the Lord Jesus is emphasized, for He not only died for us, but lives for us in the power of an endless life. Afterward this was all burned on the altar of burnt offering for a sweet aroma to the Lord.
Then Moses waved the breast of the ram as a wave offering before the Lord, and kept it for himself. The two wave offerings (of the priests and of Moses) insist on the heavenly character of the priesthood of Christ and of believers also. The actual consecration of the priests is accomplished when Moses sprinkled the anointing oil on Aaron and his garments and on his sons and their garments. Thus Aaron was anointed twice, first alone (v. 12), then together with his sons. His first anointing is typical of Christ's being anointed by the Spirit when John baptized him (Matthew 3:16). His second anointing is typical of what Peter speaks of in Acts 2:33. When Christ was exalted to the right hand of God He received from the Father the promise of the Holy Spirit, whom He immediately shared with His saints by sending Him at Pentecost.
Personally Christ received the Spirit before His sacrifice, but the saints of God could only receive Him after Christ had shed His blood for them. Our sins must first be cleansed away by His blood before the Spirit could possibly come to us. Christ Himself, being without sin, received the Spirit apart from the shedding of His blood; yet afterward, in order to identify Himself with His saints in grace, He shares the value of His blood-shedding with them, and the gift of the Holy Spirit.
Following this, Moses tells Aaron to boil the remaining flesh of the offering at the door of the tabernacle, and together with his sons eat this with the bread from the basket of consecration offerings (v. 31). Whatever remained over was to be burned. Thus they were to assimilate that which speaks of Christ and His offering, just as we who are made priests today are to first feed upon Christ before we can function as priests. Yet none of us will appropriate all that is involved in the person and work of Christ, but God can, as the extra is offered to Him in fire.
With all of this being done, the priests were not yet allowed to do any service for the people: they were commanded to remain inside the door of the tabernacle for seven days, the number of completeness (v. 33). They must first learn what it means to be in the place of communion with God before being entrusted with service for others. How true this is for us too. Only by being in calm, sustained communion with God can we be fitted to rightly represent Him before others. This was so important that if they disobeyed they would expose themselves to the death penalty (v. 35). However, we are told in verse 36 that Aaron and his sons obeyed the word of God.
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Grant, L. M. "Commentary on Leviticus 8". L.M. Grant's Commentary on the Bible. https://www.studylight.org/
the Week of Proper 13 / Ordinary 18