Aaronic Priesthood

Concise Bible Dictionary:

The first thought in priesthood is that those appointed might minister to the Lord in the priests’ office, that they might be a company in nearness to and in communion with the Lord. God had said of Israel that He had brought them to Himself, and redemption had been accomplished; but the people, having placed themselves under law, could not be in nearness, and needed the priesthood to maintain their relations with God, and to help them by the way. The high priest was appointed that he might offer both gifts and sacrifices for sins, and might exercise forbearance towards the ignorant and the erring (Heb. 5:1-21For every high priest taken from among men is ordained for men in things pertaining to God, that he may offer both gifts and sacrifices for sins: 2Who can have compassion on the ignorant, and on them that are out of the way; for that he himself also is compassed with infirmity. (Hebrews 5:1‑2)). The priest was to teach the children of Israel all the statutes which the Lord had spoken (Lev. 10:1111And that ye may teach the children of Israel all the statutes which the Lord hath spoken unto them by the hand of Moses. (Leviticus 10:11)). He was the messenger of the Lord of hosts (Mal. 2:77For the priest's lips should keep knowledge, and they should seek the law at his mouth: for he is the messenger of the Lord of hosts. (Malachi 2:7)). He offered up the sacrifices, and blessed the people (Lev. 9). He daily offered incense and attended to the lamps of the candlestick. Minute instructions were given by God respecting everything the priest had to do, nothing being left for his own individual devising. Ample provision was made for the priests in portions of the sacrifices being given to them and by the first-fruits. After the death of Nadab and Abihu, Aaron was allowed to enter the holiest of all only once a year, and then not without blood (Lev. 16:1-21And the Lord spake unto Moses after the death of the two sons of Aaron, when they offered before the Lord, and died; 2And the Lord said unto Moses, Speak unto Aaron thy brother, that he come not at all times into the holy place within the vail before the mercy seat, which is upon the ark; that he die not: for I will appear in the cloud upon the mercy seat. (Leviticus 16:1‑2)). Whenever he officiated in the sanctuary in his garments of glory and beauty, the people were also presented, for in his breastplate and on the shoulder-pieces were the names of the children of Israel. Proper priestly work for the people was not to work out redemption for them, but to maintain their relations with God.