The Consecration of the Priests

 •  14 min. read  •  grade level: 8
"And this is the thing that thou shalt do unto them to hallow them, to minister unto me in the priest's office: Take one young bullock, and two rams without blemish, "And unleavened bread, and cakes unleavened tempered with oil, and wafers unleavened anointed with oil: of wheaten flour shalt thou make them. " And thou shalt put them into one basket, and bring them in the basket, with the bullock and the two rams. "And Aaron and his sons thou shalt bring unto the door of the tabernacle of the congregation, and shalt wash them with water. " And thou shalt take the garments, and put upon Aaron the coat, and the robe of the ephod, and the ephod, and the breastplate, and gird him with the curious girdle of the ephod: " And thou shalt put the miter upon his head, and put the holy crown upon the miter."-Ex. 29:1-61And this is the thing that thou shalt do unto them to hallow them, to minister unto me in the priest's office: Take one young bullock, and two rams without blemish, 2And unleavened bread, and cakes unleavened tempered with oil, and wafers unleavened anointed with oil: of wheaten flour shalt thou make them. 3And thou shalt put them into one basket, and bring them in the basket, with the bullock and the two rams. 4And Aaron and his sons thou shalt bring unto the door of the tabernacle of the congregation, and shalt wash them with water. 5And thou shalt take the garments, and put upon Aaron the coat, and the robe of the ephod, and the ephod, and the breastplate, and gird him with the curious girdle of the ephod: 6And thou shalt put the mitre upon his head, and put the holy crown upon the mitre. (Exodus 29:1‑6)
"And the Lord spake unto Moses. saying, " Take Aaron and his sons with him, and the garments, and the anointing oil, and a bullock for the sin offering, and two rams, and a basket of unleavened bread; " And gather thou all the congregation together unto the door of the tabernacle of the congregation. "And Moses did as the Lord commanded him; and the assembly was gathered together unto the door of the tabernacle of the congregation. " And Moses said unto the congregation, This is the thing which the Lord commanded to be done. " And Moses brought Aaron and his sons, and washed them with water. " And he put upon him the coat, and girded him with the girdle, and clothed him with the robe, and put the ephod upon him, and he girded him with the curious girdle of the ephod, and bound it unto him therewith. " And he put the breastplate upon him: also he put in the breastplate the Urim and the Thummim. "And he put the miter. upon his head; also upon the miter, even upon his forefront, did he put the golden plate, the holy crown; as the Lord commanded Moses."-Lev. 8: 1-9
It is interesting to observe that seven different things were necessary for the consecration of the priests.
Aaron and his sons were to be
Taken,
Brought,
Washed,
Clothed,
Anointed,
Their hands filled,
And they were to be sanctified.
Aaron was thus " called of God" unto the priesthood. He did not take this honor unto himself, or assume it out of his own fancy or self-will. " So also Christ glorified not himself to be made an high priest." Heb. 5:55So also Christ glorified not himself to be made an high priest; but he that said unto him, Thou art my Son, to day have I begotten thee. (Hebrews 5:5). He was God's servant, His elect in whom His soul delighted. He was the called of Jehovah. " I the Lord have called thee in righteousness." " The Lord hath called me from the womb." Isa. 42:1, 61Behold my servant, whom I uphold; mine elect, in whom my soul delighteth; I have put my spirit upon him: he shall bring forth judgment to the Gentiles. (Isaiah 42:1)
6I the Lord have called thee in righteousness, and will hold thine hand, and will keep thee, and give thee for a covenant of the people, for a light of the Gentiles; (Isaiah 42:6)
Isa. 49:11Listen, O isles, unto me; and hearken, ye people, from far; The Lord hath called me from the womb; from the bowels of my mother hath he made mention of my name. (Isaiah 49:1). And finally God raised him from the dead, saying unto Him, " thou art my Son, this day have I begotten thee "and, " thou art a priest forever after the order of Melchizedeck "-thus taking Him from among the dead, and giving Him His call in resurrection, " called of God an high priest after the order of Melchizedeck." Heb. 5:1010Called of God an high priest after the order of Melchisedec. (Hebrews 5:10).
What was true of Aaron was also true of his sons; they were also " taken," or called unto the priesthood. And the Lord severely judged the sin of Korah, when he endeavored to assume the priesthood, although he had apparently a nearer title to it than any of the other tribes, seeing he was of Levi.
And what is true of Christ as the High Priest is also true of all His priestly house-They are called of God. " We know that all things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are the called according to his purpose. For whom he did foreknow, he also did predestinate to be conformed to the image of his Son, that he might be the firstborn among many brethren. Moreover whom he did predestinate, them he also called." Rom. 8:28-3028And we know that all things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are the called according to his purpose. 29For whom he did foreknow, he also did predestinate to be conformed to the image of his Son, that he might be the firstborn among many brethren. 30Moreover whom he did predestinate, them he also called: and whom he called, them he also justified: and whom he justified, them he also glorified. (Romans 8:28‑30). " Holy brethren, partakers of the heavenly calling, consider the apostle and high priest of our profession Christ Jesus." Heb. 3:11Wherefore, holy brethren, partakers of the heavenly calling, consider the Apostle and High Priest of our profession, Christ Jesus; (Hebrews 3:1).
Sonship afresh declared in resurrection was joined with God's oath calling the Lord Jesus to be a Priest. So also, Christ's own house of priests are children of God, "of one" with Him that sanctifieth them, so that He is not ashamed to call them brethren. Of one life, of one Father, of one resurrection; of one family with Him who is the Head. If the Lord so judged the sin of Korah for attempting to intrude upon the earthly priesthood, what will be His solemn sentence against those who assume to be of the heavenly priesthood, taking their authority from mere human appointment, but who are still of the world, unconverted lost sinners-ignorant of God and of Christ, and leading into the ditch the blind, having their own eyes darkened.
" Brought." " Aaron and his sons, thou shalt bring unto the door of the tabernacle of the congregation." "Moses brought Aaron and his sons." Ex. 29:44And Aaron and his sons thou shalt bring unto the door of the tabernacle of the congregation, and shalt wash them with water. (Exodus 29:4) Ex. 40:1212And thou shalt bring Aaron and his sons unto the door of the tabernacle of the congregation, and wash them with water. (Exodus 40:12); Lev. 8:66And Moses brought Aaron and his sons, and washed them with water. (Leviticus 8:6). Having been selected from the rest of Israel, and from the tribe of Levi, Aaron and his sons were brought before the Lord, to the door of the tabernacle of the congregation, where already the assembly was gathered together. The whole ceremony of their consecration was conducted in the presence of the Lord, and in the presence of the people, The objects for which they were sanctified as priests, were twofold first, that they might be brought near to God, and secondly, that they might use the access which was given to them, for the benefit and blessing of the people The Lord Jesus was brought again from the dead as the great shepherd of the sheep, and the High Priest of His people. "He is now in the presence of God for us." " He ever liveth to make intercession for us." His interests, His affections, His intercourse with God, are all in full ceaseless exercise on behalf of His own. His thoughts, His heart are with us here.
Ourselves being priests brought nigh to God, children of God, and of the household of Christ, we should have our interests, our affections occupied in the work and service of God on behalf of His saints. There is now no assembly distinct from the priestly house; but all who compose the assembly of God are kings and priests alike. In this respect therefore, there is a contrast between the scene in Lev. 8, where, Aaron and his sons, were distinct from the congregation; and the church of God, which is composed of the saints of the Most High, all alike loved by the Father, and by Christ-all alike washed in His precious blood-all children of God, and " kings and priests unto His God and Father."
Resurrection is, we may say, the new standing which God has given all that are His. It is a calling above the heavens, super-heavenly. The believer begins his existence as raised from among the dead-receiving a life in union with the risen Christ, " quickened together with him," brought nigh to God in Christ Jesus, by the blood of Christ; partaker of a super-heavenly calling, which has left the flesh and the world, and death, far, far behind; separated off forever to God in Christ; a calling of which Christ Himself in glory is the pattern; a profession of which He is the apostle, instructing the saints in all its blessings and glories; and of which He is the High Priest, ministering the power of such a wondrous calling, and sustaining the believer unceasingly in its height and glory.
" Washed." " And shall wash them with water." " And washed them with water." Ex. 29:44And Aaron and his sons thou shalt bring unto the door of the tabernacle of the congregation, and shalt wash them with water. (Exodus 29:4) Ex. 11:12 Lev. 8:66And Moses brought Aaron and his sons, and washed them with water. (Leviticus 8:6). This was the only time when Aaron and his sons were washed by another with water. Other washings they had constantly to observe, such as washing their hands and feet, but on this occasion they were washed all over. It is very interesting to remark here, that although in the Hebrew the same word (rah-ghatz) is used for both bathing or washing the whole of the body in water, and for washing the hands and feet; yet, in the Septuagint two words are employed; the one (louo) for the washing the whole body: (Ex. 29:44And Aaron and his sons thou shalt bring unto the door of the tabernacle of the congregation, and shalt wash them with water. (Exodus 29:4) Ex. 40:1212And thou shalt bring Aaron and his sons unto the door of the tabernacle of the congregation, and wash them with water. (Exodus 40:12); Lev. 8:66And Moses brought Aaron and his sons, and washed them with water. (Leviticus 8:6)) and the word (nipzo, in later Greek nipto,) for the washing the hands and feet. Ex. 30:18,19,20,2118Thou shalt also make a laver of brass, and his foot also of brass, to wash withal: and thou shalt put it between the tabernacle of the congregation and the altar, and thou shalt put water therein. 19For Aaron and his sons shall wash their hands and their feet thereat: 20When they go into the tabernacle of the congregation, they shall wash with water, that they die not; or when they come near to the altar to minister, to burn offering made by fire unto the Lord: 21So they shall wash their hands and their feet, that they die not: and it shall be a statute for ever to them, even to him and to his seed throughout their generations. (Exodus 30:18‑21) Ex. 40:30, 31, 3230And he set the laver between the tent of the congregation and the altar, and put water there, to wash withal. 31And Moses and Aaron and his sons washed their hands and their feet thereat: 32When they went into the tent of the congregation, and when they came near unto the altar, they washed; as the Lord commanded Moses. (Exodus 40:30‑32).
The use of the two words appears to be kept very distinct in John 13 where the Lord employs them both. When he speaks of washing the disciples' feet, He uses the word " niplo;" but when He alludes to their having been altogether washed from their sins, and being personally clean, He uses the word " louo." John 13:1010Jesus saith to him, He that is washed needeth not save to wash his feet, but is clean every whit: and ye are clean, but not all. (John 13:10); " he that is washed " louo " (or that has been perfectly washed all over,) needeth not save to wash his feet, " niplo," but is clean every whit; and ye are clean but not all." They were all personally clean except Judas, for they had all in truth believed on the Lord Jesus, with the exception of that false professor-and subsequently when he was gone out, the Lord could say of them all, without an exception, " ye are clean." John 15:33Now ye are clean through the word which I have spoken unto you. (John 15:3). So the believer at the present time has been once for all washed, and is clean. But he contracts daily defilements, which need to be washed off through the constant intercession of Christ, and ceaseless cleansing power of the blood-although he never again has to be rewashed all over, but is every whit clean, and made meet for the inheritance of the saints in light.
This washing of the priests is evidently a figure of the complete cleansing, through which the sinner passes when he is saved, the washing of regeneration. It is the blood of Christ applied to the person by the Lord Himself, through the word, and by the instrumentality of the Holy Spirit. Thus in Rev, 1:5, it is said, "Unto Him that loveth us and washed us from our sins in his own blood." Here the precious blood is the bath in which we have been washed from our sins, by the Lord Jesus. In Eph. 5:25,2625Husbands, love your wives, even as Christ also loved the church, and gave himself for it; 26That he might sanctify and cleanse it with the washing of water by the word, (Ephesians 5:25‑26), it is written, " Christ loved the church and gave himself for it, that he might sanctify and cleanse it by the washing of water by the word." In this passage, the same word is employed for washing as that in Titus 3:55Not by works of righteousness which we have done, but according to his mercy he saved us, by the washing of regeneration, and renewing of the Holy Ghost; (Titus 3:5), " the washing of regeneration." The word of God is here designated as the bath of water in which the church is cleansed: the Scriptures of truth revealing the death of Christ, and when received by faith, cleansing the sinner, and being also the incorruptible seed of life.
In John 3 the Lord Jesus says to Nicodemus, " Except a man be born of water and of the Spirit, he cannot enter into the kingdom of God." Here the new birth is effected by that which cleanses, and by the power of the Holy Ghost. The blood of Christ revealed in the Word of God and applied by the power of the Holy Ghost, regenerates the soul. Subsequently in the same chapter the Lord explains the mystery, by stating that the Son of Man must be lifted up upon the cross, and that whosoever believeth in Him should not perish, but have eternal life. Christ crucified, gazed upon by faith, becomes thus the source of life to the sinner perishing in his sins.
In 1 Cor. 6:9-119Know ye not that the unrighteous shall not inherit the kingdom of God? Be not deceived: neither fornicators, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor effeminate, nor abusers of themselves with mankind, 10Nor thieves, nor covetous, nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor extortioners, shall inherit the kingdom of God. 11And such were some of you: but ye are washed, but ye are sanctified, but ye are justified in the name of the Lord Jesus, and by the Spirit of our God. (1 Corinthians 6:9‑11), the apostle describes a variety of fearful uncleannesses and sins, which shut out those that commit them from the kingdom of God; and then adds, " Such were some of you: but ye are washed, but ye are sanctified, but ye are justified in the name of the Lord Jesus, and by the Spirit of our God." In this beautiful passage we have the threefold condition of the saved sinner: washed, made holy, and made righteous; and all through the power of the name of Christ, applied by the Spirit of God. The consecration of priests which we are considering presents also three aspects of the work of Christ.
They were washed, Lev. 8:66And Moses brought Aaron and his sons, and washed them with water. (Leviticus 8:6); they were sanctified, 5.30: and clothed with the linen garments, 5, 13, emblems of righteousness.
The most direct reference to this washing is in Heb. 10:2222Let us draw near with a true heart in full assurance of faith, having our hearts sprinkled from an evil conscience, and our bodies washed with pure water. (Hebrews 10:22). " Let us draw near with a true heart, in full assurance of faith, having our hearts sprinkled from an evil conscience, and our bodies washed with pure water."
In this chapter the sinner is through the one offering of Christ, forever sanctified and perfected for priesthood. A striking contrast is instituted between the outward sprinkling of the blood upon the persons and garments of the priests in Leviticus, and the inward sprinkling of the blood by the Spirit of God, upon the hearts of believers; cleansing them not only from sin, but from an evil conscience, which would otherwise keep them at a distance from God. Their bodies also are said to be washed with pure water, like the priests in Lev. 8 The word " pure" being added in order to distinguish the cleansing water of the New Testament from the mere typical water of the Old Testament.
The precious blood of Christ, the true Laver of regeneration, not only cleanses, so as to free us from wrath and judgment, but makes us altogether personally clean, in order that we may with confidence draw near to God. Ours is not a mere salvation from sins, and the penalty due to them; but it is a salvation of our whole persons; so that our bodies are the Lord's, and we are redeemed to God by the blood. It is this perfect fitness to stand in the presence of God which is here represented by the bodies washed with pure water. All distance between ourselves and the Most High has been abolished; we are made nigh by the blood of Christ, and it is our responsibility to know and use this nearness of approach, in the full assurance of faith.
It is interesting to observe the order in which the garments were placed upon Aaron by Moses. The words in the Hebrew also are varied. First, he put upon him, (or literally, gave to him,) the coat. This is the embroidered coat described in Ex. 28:3939And thou shalt embroider the coat of fine linen, and thou shalt make the mitre of fine linen, and thou shalt make the girdle of needlework. (Exodus 28:39), and already referred to in page 281 of this work.
(page 289) these were the two innermost garments. Then " he clothed him with the robe," " the robe of the ephod," Ex. 28:31-3531And thou shalt make the robe of the ephod all of blue. 32And there shall be an hole in the top of it, in the midst thereof: it shall have a binding of woven work round about the hole of it, as it were the hole of an habergeon, that it be not rent. 33And beneath upon the hem of it thou shalt make pomegranates of blue, and of purple, and of scarlet, round about the hem thereof; and bells of gold between them round about: 34A golden bell and a pomegranate, a golden bell and a pomegranate, upon the hem of the robe round about. 35And it shall be upon Aaron to minister: and his sound shall be heard when he goeth in unto the holy place before the Lord, and when he cometh out, that he die not. (Exodus 28:31‑35), (page 256:) and put the ephod upon him, (literally gave to him, the ephod;) and girded him with the curious girdle of the ephod-or, the ephod-belt-and bound it unto him therewith: (literally ephodized him therewith.) Ex. 28:6-86And they shall make the ephod of gold, of blue, and of purple, of scarlet, and fine twined linen, with cunning work. 7It shall have the two shoulderpieces thereof joined at the two edges thereof; and so it shall be joined together. 8And the curious girdle of the ephod, which is upon it, shall be of the same, according to the work thereof; even of gold, of blue, and purple, and scarlet, and fine twined linen. (Exodus 28:6‑8). (pages 198, 200.)
And he put the breastplate upon him, (literally placed;) also he put in (or gave to) the breastplate the Urim and the Thummim. Ex. 28:15-3015And thou shalt make the breastplate of judgment with cunning work; after the work of the ephod thou shalt make it; of gold, of blue, and of purple, and of scarlet, and of fine twined linen, shalt thou make it. 16Foursquare it shall be being doubled; a span shall be the length thereof, and a span shall be the breadth thereof. 17And thou shalt set in it settings of stones, even four rows of stones: the first row shall be a sardius, a topaz, and a carbuncle: this shall be the first row. 18And the second row shall be an emerald, a sapphire, and a diamond. 19And the third row a ligure, an agate, and an amethyst. 20And the fourth row a beryl, and an onyx, and a jasper: they shall be set in gold in their inclosings. 21And the stones shall be with the names of the children of Israel, twelve, according to their names, like the engravings of a signet; every one with his name shall they be according to the twelve tribes. 22And thou shalt make upon the breastplate chains at the ends of wreathen work of pure gold. 23And thou shalt make upon the breastplate two rings of gold, and shalt put the two rings on the two ends of the breastplate. 24And thou shalt put the two wreathen chains of gold in the two rings which are on the ends of the breastplate. 25And the other two ends of the two wreathen chains thou shalt fasten in the two ouches, and put them on the shoulderpieces of the ephod before it. 26And thou shalt make two rings of gold, and thou shalt put them upon the two ends of the breastplate in the border thereof, which is in the side of the ephod inward. 27And two other rings of gold thou shalt make, and shalt put them on the two sides of the ephod underneath, toward the forepart thereof, over against the other coupling thereof, above the curious girdle of the ephod. 28And they shall bind the breastplate by the rings thereof unto the rings of the ephod with a lace of blue, that it may be above the curious girdle of the ephod, and that the breastplate be not loosed from the ephod. 29And Aaron shall bear the names of the children of Israel in the breastplate of judgment upon his heart, when he goeth in unto the holy place, for a memorial before the Lord continually. 30And thou shalt put in the breastplate of judgment the Urim and the Thummim; and they shall be upon Aaron's heart, when he goeth in before the Lord: and Aaron shall bear the judgment of the children of Israel upon his heart before the Lord continually. (Exodus 28:15‑30), (page 203.)
And he put (or placed) the miter upon his head: also upon the miter upon his forehead did he put (placed) the golden plate, the holy crown. Ex. 28;36;38. (page 266.)
Thus Aaron was fully clothed in the garments for glory and beauty: and here is marked the first division of the chapter we are considering, by the words, " as the Lord commanded Moses."
This seems again to be an intimation of the separate glorious standing of the High Priest in his representative capacity on behalf of others; and may also dimly intimate the fact of the Lord Jesus, being raised as the Great High Priest for His people, previous to their being actually raised, as they will be at His second coming. Before that great day of manifestation arrives, we already by faith see Jesus at the right hand of God, " crowned with glory and honor.'