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This is an interesting chapter, in that it relates to its the solemn consecration of Aaron and his sons to the priesthood; the congregation of Israel are present; an account of the ceremony; the washing and anointing observed upon the occasion; their sin-offering; their burnt-offerings; and a ram of consecration; the holy solemnity continues seven days.
So very important a part of the tabernacle service, was the setting apart the priesthood, as typical of the person of the LORD JESUS, that Moses had received early directions concerning it, when in the holy mount. See Exodus 28:0 and Exodus 29:0 chapters throughout. Then turn to the gospel, John 17:19 ; Hebrews 5:4-5 .
The gathering the congregation together as witnesses of this consecration is very striking. In the gospel church it is ever to be wished that the setting apart to the ministry, should always be in a public manner; both to afford opportunity for the people to join in prayer, for the ordination and anointing by GOD the HOLY GHOST, and to impress on the mind of those ordained a greater earnestness in the discharge of their sacred employment, undertaken in the sight of so many witnesses. In such moments all eyes are upon the candidates for holy orders, and all seem to speak to them in the solemn language of Paul, Acts 20:28 .
It is always well when the LORD'S servants can produce the LORD'S authority for what they do. Exodus 29:4-37 . But, Reader, be very careful to see in all this, the call of JESUS to the priesthood. Hebrews 5:4 .
Observe, the washing of the priests goeth before the putting on the holy garments. And doth not this teach that the washing of regeneration by the HOLY GHOST, precedes the being clothed with the robe of JESUS'S righteousness? Titus 3:5-6 ; Hebrews 10:22 . Dearest JESUS, be it my portion, to be washed from my sins in thy blood, and may I be found among those whom thou makest kings and priests to GOD and the FATHER. Revelation 1:5-6 .
Reader, when you have read this verse turn to Revelation 1:12-18 , and behold him whom Aaron represented. In order to strengthen the assurance of this precious doctrine, if you consult Daniel 10:5-6 , you will find that the prophet was blessed with a similar representation to the beloved apostle John.
Let not the Reader overlook the interest all true believers have in this spiritual clothing. As Aaron in an especial manner as the High Priest represented CHRIST, in wearing the breast-plate, and in the breast-plate the Urim and the Thummim; meaning lights and perfections; so all true believers are clothed with the robe of JESUS'S righteousness: and have their loins girt about with truth. Ephesians 6:14 . And they are as the breast-plate on the heart of CHRIST; and bound about the arm of CHRIST. Song 1-8.
Reader! observe what the church saith concerning the crowning of the LORD JESUS, in the day of his espousals, and this will be the best explanation of this verse of scripture. Song 1-8.
Paul explains the infinite importance of the SPIRIT's anointing, to which these figures referred, in the account he gives of the dedication of all the vessels of the tabernacle, Hebrews 9:21-23 . And John yet further, in the application of these resemblances to the anointing of believers by the HOLY GHOST. John 2:25; John 2:25 . But is it not precious to see in the pouring of the anointing oil upon the head of Aaron, how the copious effusion of the SPIRIT upon the blessed JESUS is represented, to whom the SPIRIT was not given by measure? John 3:34 . And is here not another sweet observation? Yes. As the holy oil that was poured upon Aaron's head ran down to the skirts of his garments: so the effusion of the HOLY SPIRIT on the head of our Almighty Aaron, the LORD JESUS CHRIST, runs down to the humblest and lowest of his members: and of his fullness they do all receive, and grace for grace. Psalms 133:2 , with John 1:16 .
As Aaron's sons were also clad in those vestments; so all true believers are clothed with the same robe of the Redeemer's righteousness. Isaiah 61:6 .
Observe the sin-offering is first made for the priests. Yes! it is highly proper that they who minister in holy things should have peace with GOD in CHRIST for their own sins, before they propose reconciliation through the blood of CHRIST to others. Romans 2:21 .
The burnt-offering, which is an offering of praise, next follows. So said David. Psalms 66:13-15 .
To the former sacrifices, very properly succeeded the ram of consecration, particularly denoting the dedication of the priests to GOD'S service. And the ceremony of application to the several parts of the priest's bodies, implied that the dedication was universal. Romans 12:1 .
This waving towards heaven, carried with it the idea, that all that was here done, was by the LORD'S appointment, and hereby offered unto him. Ephesians 6:7 .
Observe here again, how much stress is laid upon the holy anointing. And what could this imply, but the work of GOD the SPIRIT on the heart? 1 John 2:27; 1 John 2:27 .
Did not this eating imply the entire consent of the heart? So Ezekiel was commanded to eat the roll in token of the same. Ezekiel 3:1-2 .
What is dedicated to GOD must not be afterwards applied to any other use. GOD is a jealous GOD; jealous of his honour. Deuteronomy 5:6 .
Did not this detention in the tabernacle carry with it this signification, that the service of the LORD is a continual service? What a delightful view of this did Anna give, who departed not from the temple night and day? Luke 2:37 .
One point above all the reader should keep in remembrance in the perusal of this chapter, namely, that as all these services ministered to JESUS, the frequent repetition of them implied their imperfection; to Him they all referred, and in Him the whole was completed! Heb_10:1-2; Heb_10:10; Heb_10:14 .
READER! do not close the sacred book after the perusal of this chapter, until that you have again and again besought the HOLY GHOST to be your teacher, concerning the many precious things signified in it. If the consecration of the LORD JESUS to the priesthood, be here all along represented, think how important was that office. Set apart as the blessed JESUS was from everlasting; called to be an high priest; not as the priests under the law made without an oath; but with an oath, by him that swore and will not repent, when he said unto him, thou art a priest forever after the order of Melchisedeck; anointed to the work by the HOLY GHOST, and to whom the SPIRIT was not given by measure; holy in himself; harmless to all others; undefiled with the least shadow of guile; separate from sinners; though bearing their sins, yet untouched with the pollution of them; and made higher than the heavens. Oh, for the work of GOD the HOLY GHOST to be powerful in the Reader's heart, to consider this apostle and high priest of our profession CHRIST JESUS.
And while we pray for grace to be always in lively exercise, by faith, on the person and priesthood of the SON of GOD, in all the circumstances in which that precious office relates to his people, may it be our happiness also, as the tabernacle of old, and the ordinances of worship were included in the consecration, to partake, as the members of his mystical body, of the same holy anointing. And while they who minister in holy things may learn from this chapter, how very solemn and sacred a service they are called to, and with what sanctity of life and conversation they are more particularly expected to go in and out before the people; may every renewed soul recollect also that JESUS by his great undertaking, and by virtue of his blood and righteousness, hath made them kings and priests to GOD and the FATHER. LORD! (I would pray for myself and reader), may our souls and bodies be sprinkled with the blood of sprinkling, and may we be enabled by the HOLY GHOST to present them a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable to GOD which is our reasonable service; that by being dead unto sin, and living abstracted from all the carnal lusts and pursuits of this world, we may have our fruit unto holiness, and the end everlasting life.
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Hawker, Robert, D.D. "Commentary on Leviticus 8". "Hawker's Poor Man's Commentary". https://www.studylight.org/
the Week of Proper 24 / Ordinary 29