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CONSECRATION OF THE PRIESTS
The consecration of the priests, that is, the inducting them into their priestly office, involved much detail. First, because most important, Moses was to take one young bull and two rams, all without blemish(v.1). Also unleavened bread and cakes mixed, were to be put in one basket and presented with the bull and rams. These things emphasize what is basic to priesthood, all being presented as offerings to God, though the actual sacrifice of the animals is only seen as offered in verses 10 and 11. The bull was for a sin offering (v.14), one ram was for a burnt offering (v.18) and the other ram was for a peace offering (v.28). All these are typical of the sacrifice of Christ in three distinct aspects. His official priesthood in glory today stems from the wonderful value of His perfect sacrifice on Calvary and in virtue of this the whole priestly family (all believers) is identified in pure grace with Him.
The unleavened bread and cakes mixed with oil are typical of Christ personally as the meal offering (Leviticus 2:1-16). Not being a blood sacrifice, these were offered always together with animal sacrifice, but they speak of the purity of Christ's person in lowly Manhood; yet being mixed with oil symbolizes the fact of the Spirit of God permeating Him in all His life Luke 1:35). The wafers anointed with oil speak of His being anointed by the Holy Spirit when baptized by John (Matthew 3:13-16) at the beginning of His public service. Thus the perfection of the person of the Lord Jesus and the great value of His sacrificial work are vitally involved in His own High Priesthood and in the priesthood of all believers.
Aaron and his sons were then to be washed with water at the door of the tabernacle. This compares with Ephesians 5:25-26, "Christ also loved the church and gave Himself up for her, that He might sanctify her, having cleansed her by the washing of water with the word." This washing of the priests was by others only once, though the priests themselves washed their hands and feet in doing the service of the tabernacle (ch.30:18-21). In John 13:1-38 the Lord Jesus insists on only one bath (v.10), telling the disciples they had already had this (except Judas) and only feet washing was afterward necessary whenever the feet were defiled. This bath is distinct from our cleaning by blood (1 John 1:9). For the blood cleanses in God's eyes from the guilty of our sins, while the bath in the water is the new birth which cleanses away moral defilement. It is the Word of God applied to our souls which does this.
We know this cleansing has nothing to do with Christ personally, but Aaron's bath symbolized that Christ identified Himself with His own in their being washed. This is wonderful grace.
Aaron was then clothed before his sons. The tunic was first put on, though we do not read of the trousers at this time. Yet they must have been put on also, for without these they could not minister in the tabernacle (ch.28:42-43). Then the robe of the ephod with the breastplate and the band (or belt) of the ephod were added, and finally the turban with the golden plate or "crown."
The bull was next offered, which was a sin offering (v.14). Before killing it, Aaron and his sons were to lay their hands on the head of the bull, indicating their identification with the offering. In other words, it was for themselves, a personal, vital matter. The high priest was involved in this too, to show his identification with the other priests, just as Christ has identified Himself with us in taking responsibility for our sins, though He Himself is without sin.
When the bull was slaughtered, some of its blood was to be put on the horns of the altar by Moses' finger and the rest poured out at the base of the altar. Then the fat that covered the inwards and the two kidneys were to be burned on the altar.
The fat speaks of the inward energy of the Lord's devotion to the Father's will, and the kidneys (which filter and purify the blood) symbolize the inner motives of the Lord Jesus in all His ways always perfectly pure. These were offered on the altar to God, for they are for His own pleasure.
But the rest of the animal was taken outside the camp and all burned. It reminds us that, as the sin offering, the Lord Jesus suffered "outside the gate" (Hebrews 13:12) as under the curse of God, bearing alone the great burden of sin.
Then one of the rams was taken (v.15) and again Aaron and his sons laid their hands on the head of the ram before it was killed. Its blood was sprinkled all around on the altar, that is, the copper altar of burnt offering. Then the ram was cut in pieces, its inwards and its legs washed with water and all the pieces put together, including the head. In contrast to the bull, however, the ram was then totally burned on the altar, not outside the camp. For it was not a sin offering, but a burnt offering, that is, all went up as a sweet smelling offering to God. The sin offering tells us of the fact of the Lord's suffering under the curse of God. But in wonderful contrast to this, the burnt offering speaks of Christ's suffering and death being of infinitely precious value to God. Both facts are true at the same time, though they may seem to us a paradox differing and peace offering are necessary to give some full picture of the great wonder of the sacrifice of Christ.
The second ram therefore (v.19) was next taken, and again Aaron and his sons were to lay their hands on its head before it was killed. In this case, however, some of the blood was to be put on the tip of Aaron's right ear and on the tip of the right ear of his sons, also on the big toe of their right foot, as well as sprinkling the blood all around on the altar. This was a peace offering (v.28) in which not only God received honor, but believers too receive blessing. The blood of Christ sanctifies our hearing (the ear), our works (the thumb) and our walk (the toe). Being saved by virtue of His blood, we are set apart from the world in what we hear, what we do and how we walk.
Besides this, some of the blood was to be taken and with it some of the anointing oil, and this was sprinkled on Aaron and his garments and on his sons and their garments (v.21) This was to consecrate them in their priestly office.
The significance of this is vitally important. In verse 7 we have been told that Aaron alone was first anointed with oil before the sacrifice was offered. This symbolizes the anointing of the Lord Jesus by the Spirit of God at the river Jordan after His baptism by John the Baptist (Matthew 3:16). Only the Lord Jesus could be anointed by the Spirit of God before His blood was shed. Believers had to wait until after the cross and His resurrection to be anointed by the Spirit of God at Pentecost (Acts 2:1-47). For the guilt of our sins must first be cleansed away by the shedding of the blood of Christ before we could possibly receive the gift of the Holy Spirit.
However, for the second time Aaron was anointed with oil, and this time together with blood. By the shedding of His blood on Calvary the Lord Jesus has identified Himself with all those who have trusted Him as Savior (the priestly family), all Acts 2:33 shows that for a second time Christ has received from the Father the promise of the Holy Spirit, and has poured the Spirit out on believers. Thus, the priestly family, in fellowship with the Great High Priest, has been anointed with blood and oil. Being cleansed by the blood of Christ, we are free to receive the Spirit of God.
Now all of the fat of the ram, the two kidneys and the right thigh were to be set aside, together with one loaf of bread. These were offering before the Lord (vs.22-23). This was the Lord's portion of the peace offering. Being waved symbolizes the resurrection glory of the Lord Jesus in His ascension to heaven. Then all of this was burned on the altar as a burnt offering to the Lord. Only these parts were a burnt offering, however, so that the entire sacrifice was a burnt offering. What was burned was entirely for the Lord.
However, the breast of the ram was then taken and also waved before the Lord and it was the portion of the offerer -- in this case Moses. Typically he was to enter into the value if the sacrifice and into the faith of the resurrection glory of Christ. In this case Moses is not typical of Christ objectively, but of Christ in His saints, that is, each believer is to feed upon the affections of Christ as the breast implies, worshiping Him. This is confirmed inNumbers 18:8-11; Numbers 18:8-11.
The breast of the wave offering and the shoulder of the heave offering were to be "sanctified," and are spoken of in verse 27 as being entering into the reality of the strength of the Lord Jesus on our behalf, such as is seen in Ephesians 1:18-21. The difference between a wave offering and a heave offering seems to be that the heave offering emphasizes the resurrection of the Lord Jesus from among the dead, while the wave offering indicates His ascension into heaven.
Though the breast and the shoulder are given a special place here, yet it appears in verse 32 and in Leviticus 7:11-21 that all of the peace offering that was not burned on the altar was to be the portion of the priests and the offerer. Thus, in the peace offering God has His share, Christ (the High Priest) has His share, the individual offerer has his share, and the family of priests (all believers) have their share. Fellowship in the enjoyment of the sacrifice of Christ is therefore an outstanding feature of the peace offering.
No outsider was to eat of this offering, for no unbeliever has any part in its value (v.33). Also, if the priests were not able to eat their share that same day, then whatever remained was not to be kept over, but burned (v.34). We may not be able to appropriate or appreciate the fullness of what we are given of Christ, but God does appreciate it, as the burning pictures the offering being given to Him.
This sanctification of the priests continued for seven days (the number of completeness), and every day a bull was offered as a sin offering (vs.35-37). Involved in this was not only the sanctification of the priests, but also of the altar, so that the altar was said to be "most holy," and whatever touched the altar was rendered "holy." A contrast to this is seen inHaggai 2:12; Haggai 2:12. Holy meat (that which had touched the altar) did not make anything else holy by touching it. The altar speaks of the person of Christ, the "most holy." Direct contact with Him renders one holy, but a secondary contact does not do so. Just so, one who has personal faith in the Lord Jesus Himself is saved, but no one is saved by contact with a believer. T he sanctifying of the altar involves the recognition of the absolutely unique place the Lord Jesus has by right and this reminds us of1 Peter 3:15; 1 Peter 3:15, "Sanctify the Lord God in your hearts."
THE CONTINUAL BURNT OFFERING
The sanctifying of the priests is seen as complete. Now we are told of the offering of two lambs, one in the morning and one in the evening of every day without cessation. The lambs must be the first year. The morning lamb was to be accompanied by one of an ephah of flour mixed with one fourth of a hin of pressed oil, besides one fourth of a hin of wine as a drink offering. Then the same is said of the evening offering. These were to be a "sweet aroma " (as all burnt offerings were), ascending in fire to the Lord.
The spiritual meaning of this should be obvious. It speaks of a consistent personal communion with the Lord Jesus in thankful adoration of Him as the constantly fresh sacrifice that delights the heart of the Father. Involved in this is both His blood sacrifice (emphasized in the lamb) and the perfection of His lowly Humanity (the fine flour), mixed with oil (the permeating presence of the Holy Spirit). Added to this, the drink offering speaks of the joy of the offerer in contemplating the perfections of the Lord Jesus and His sacrifice. Thus, this surely ought to be true of every Christian life. Can we allow a morning or an evening to pass without some fresh, admiring thoughts of the Lord Jesus and His sacrifice?
This was offered before the door of the tabernacle, all being burned on the copper altar. There the Lord met with Israel and spoke to them. If His presence was to be enjoyed, then the continual burnt offering must be offered. Thus too God would sanctify the tabernacle, the altar and Aaron and his sons. All of these things were fundamental in regard to having God dwell among the sons of Israel (v.45). Thus, they would have clearest evidence to persuade them that Jehovah was indeed their God, He who had brought them out of Egypt, not simply to set them free, but in order that He might dwell among them. Today too, God saves sinners from the bondage of sin, not only for their relief from a condition so miserable, but for a purpose of far greater blessing for them and of far greater glory to Him than any of us at first sight imagines. For each of these redeemed sinners becomes a living stone in the present house of God, the Church, forming a dwelling place for God Himself in the midst of a world that has cast out His Son. This is present blessing higher far than we generally stop to consider, and in this God Himself receives present honor and glory. But still to be revealed is the glory God will receive for eternity and the eternal blessing of His saints. May we learn to appreciate this far more than we do!
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Grant, L. M. "Commentary on Exodus 29". Grant's Commentary on the Bible. https://studylight.org/
the Week of Proper 21 / Ordinary 26