The Ritual Consecration of the Priests
The officiating minister on this first occasion was Moses. He alone as mediator of the Covenant was in the position to induct Aaron and his sons into office. The significance of this fact as a token of the inadequacy of the Law we must leave for later study. It is the practical details and their moral significance only that must engross us now.
Moses received clear instructions as to the duties which were to occupy him for the duration of the consecration service. Both the Sanctuary and the Priesthood were to be sanctified on the same occasion,' and in conjunction with each other, so close was the relationship of the one to the other. Upon the erection of the Sanctuary (Exod. 40 : 1-8) the Priesthood needed forthwith to be installed in office in order that the purpose of both might be realized (Exod.40 : 9-16).
Law and Grace Ch 9
1 And this is the thing that thou shalt do unto them to hallow them, to minister unto me in the priest's office: Take 1 young bullock, and 2 rams without blemish,
2 And unleavened bread, and cakes unleavened tempered with oil, and wafers unleavened anointed with oil: of wheaten flour shalt thou make them.
3 And thou shalt put them into one basket, and bring them in the basket, with the bullock and the two rams.
Against the arrival of the priests-to-be, and of the assembled nation, Moses had also to have ready "the garments and the anointing oil" (Lev. 8 : 2).*
4 And Aaron and his sons thou shalt bring unto the door of the tabernacle of the congregation, and shalt wash them with water.
Moses performed the part of John the baptizer to Aaron and his sons, who were to be rulers and priests in Israel.
Aaron and his family were their nation's priestly household; and it was the office of the High, or Chief, Priest to make atonement, or reconciliation, first for himself, then for his household, and lastly, for all the congregation of Israel; but admission into the Holy and Most Holy places, was only permitted to the baptized; they must bathe their flesh in water and so put on the holy garments.
Hence, all Israel's priests were immersed persons; and so also all that shall be their priests and kings in the Age to Come, and have power over the Gentiles, must be immersed likewise.
Herald of the Kingdom and Age to Come, March 1855
Before the robes of office could even be assumed the bodies of the priests had first to be washed; thus sinlessness was decreed at the outset to be the prerequisite of real priesthood. *
5 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:
Garments for beauty - representing Deity manifestation.
Paul urges us to
"consider the Apostle and High Priest of our profession, Christ Yahshua" (Heb. 3:1).
The process is outlined in Exo. 28:41, and shows that the high priest was called (ch. 28:1), cleansed (29:4), clothed (29:5-6), consecrated (29:9). He thus wonderfully represented Yahweh to the people, and the people to Yahweh -- a wonderful and gracious provision which was completed in the mediatorial role of Yahweh Christ. GEM
7 Then shalt thou take the anointing oil, and pour it upon his head, and anoint him.
Once robed in his official garb Aaron was in need forthwith of anointing that he might be sanctified to discharge his duties before God; this anointing was strictly of the head only, but the head (being the directing agent of all the body's actions) clearly stood for the whole man so that the anointing of it effectively and conspicuously intimated that he needed a rich endowment of God's Spirit to qualify him to execute the Priesthood in the way required by Him - a fact - which the profusion of the anointing in his case served to emphasize, since it became proverbial that
"the precious ointment upon the head ... ran down upon the beard, even Aaron's beard"* and "ran down to the skirts of his garments" (Psa. 133 : 2).
*Law and Grace Ch 9
12 And thou shalt take of the blood of the bullock, and put it upon the horns of the altar with thy finger, and pour all the blood beside the bottom of the altar.
The idea of an altar of sacrifice representing a personal, and divine plurality, is frequent in scripture. Thus, Jacob erected an altar at Shalem in the land of Canaan, and called it AIL-ELOHAI YISRAAIL; that is, the Strength of the Mighty Ones of Israel (Gen. 33:20): and Moses before the law was given, and in memory of the victory of Joshua over Amalek, "built an altar, and called the name of it, YAHWEH-nissi"; that is, He shall be my Ensign -- He who was symbolized by the altar (Exod. 17:15; Isai. 11:10,12; 18:3; 31:9; Zech. 9:16).
This Yahweh-nissi altar was superseded by an altar overlaid with plates of brass. These plates represented "the flesh of sin" purified by fiery trial. "Gold, silver, brass, iron, tin, and lead, every thing," said Moses, "that may abide the fire, ye shall make go through the fire, and it shall be clean; nevertheless, it shall be purified with the water of separation; and all that abideth not the fire ye shall make go through the water" (Num. 31:22).
The connexion of the plates with sin's flesh is established by their history. They were "the censers of those sinners against their own souls," Korah, Dathan, Abiram, and their company, two hundred and fifty of them, who rebelled against the Strength of Israel. He commanded Eleazar, Aaron's son, to melt them, and roll them into "broad plates for a covering of the altar;" and for "a sign to the children of Israel" (Num. 16:38).
The Brazen Altar, which was foursquare, had four horns of brass, one at each corner; and in sacrifice, the blood was applied to the horns by the priest's finger; and the rest was all poured beside the bottom of the altar (Exod. 29:12). These Horns represent the same thing as the Four Cherubim, the Four Carpenters, and the Four Living Ones, of Ezekiel, Zechariah, and John; only in the Brazen State, which precedes the Golden Olahm, Aion or Millennium. As Horns of Brass they "execute the judgment written," as a consuming fire; for brass and offering by fire, is the association of things in the type.
The Brazen Altar and its Horns of Brass, then, are symbolical of AIL, the Eternal Power, in Elohistic, or sacrificial and judicial manifestation in flesh. "Eloah will come from Teman," saith the prophet,
"The Holy One from Mount Paran. Consider! His glory covers the heavens, and his praise fills the earth: and the splendor shall be as the light: He has HORNS out of his hand; and there is the covering of his Strong Ones. Before his Faces shall go pestilence, and from his feet lightnings shall proceed. He stood and measured the earth; he beheld, and caused the nations to tremble: and the mountains of antiquity were dispersed; and the hills of the Olahm did bow;
the goings of Olahm are his (Hab. 3:3-6).
The Horns of the Brazen and Golden Altars are the Eternal Spirit's Strong Ones who disperse the empires of antiquity, and subjugate the kingdoms of the latter days to Him and his Anointed; so that the current of the world's affairs will be directed by his Elohim in the ensuing thousand years, or Daniel's "season and a time."
14 But the flesh of the bullock, and his skin, and his dung, shalt thou burn with fire without the camp: it is a sin offering.
THE SIN OFFERING and the TRESPASS OFFERING dealt with different aspects of sin. The regulations are quite different. The animal for the Sin Offering varied according to whether the sin was by the Congregation, a Priest, a Ruler, or one of the people: for the Trespass Offering it did not vary. The Sin Offering did not require restitution; the Trespass Offering did. The Sin Offering seemed to deal more broadly and generally and fundamentally with sin: this was the offering for sin in the national festivals. The Trespass Offering was more specifically for individuals.
In connection with both, sins of ignorance are referred to, and must be atoned for by sacrifice. This is an interesting consideration. If we look back twenty, or ten, or even five years, we shall realize -- if we have grown in our knowledge of God that much of what we did at that time was tainted with the sin of ignorance. We see now where we were then limited in our spirit and attitude and understanding.
And we can be quite sure, though we cannot see it now, that if we continue to study and meditate upon the Word of God, in another five or ten years (if we are still in this present probation) we shall be able to look back and discern many of our present limitations and shortcomings that we are blind to today. And so it continues throughout our life. We live under the constant shadow of sins of ignorance, and we must constantly pray for God's mercy on them.
There must be a constant growth of knowledge and understanding in the ways of God and the spirit of Christ. For each added day of life and opportunity that is given us, more will be expected of us in character and labour and understanding. Woe betide that slothful servant who has not been using all his time in labour and preparation for his Lord!
We must overcome -- not to absolute perfection, because that for us is impossible -- but to perfection within the framework of the definition of Scripture, and the merciful appointments of God. Perfection is required by God. In His holiness He can tolerate no less. And in His love He has provided for it -- by our constant effort toward perfection, and by the constant washing and repurifying in the blood of Christ. Every sin must be washed away in that blood. Every sin must be repented of and repudiated. We must stand pure before God to be accepted.
We are so constituted in weakness that we do not and cannot even know all our sins. Every thought out of harmony with the perfection of God and with absolute truth is sin. In the imperfection of our mind and knowledge and weakness of the flesh, we cannot help but constantly sin -- constantly fall short of perfection. But He has graciously provided for this too:
"The Spirit also helpeth our infIrmities: for we know not what we should pray for as we ought. . ."
-- we do not know, we cannot know, to perfection what we should pray for -- what sins of weakness and ignorance and incompleteness and partial comprehension we should pray to be forgiven for and cleansed from. We are slowly learning, slowly advancing toward the goal of perfect understanding--
". . . we know not what we should pray for as we ought, but the Spirit itse!f maketh intercession for us with groanings that cannot be uttered, and He that searcheth the heart knoweth what is the mind of the Spirit."
For deliberate sin, there was and is no forgiveness. But some sins which we would consider deliberate were forgiven -- so we cannot judge others. The sabbath day gatherer of sticks was put to death; David's murder and adultery were forgiven.
Only God knows where to draw the line as to what is deliberate rebellion, and what is weakness for this poor erring flesh. For ourselves, we must always bear in mind the danger, remembering with trembling that God will not be mocked. He will not for a moment tolerate rebellion. Whenever we do anything we know is wrong, however small it may be, we are treading on the loose gravel of the edge of the precipice of no return--
"God is not mocked" ."God hath no pleasure in fools."
For others, we must always be prepared to forgive and receive, and leave the final judgment to God Who knows each heart.
Bro Growcott - Living sacrifice
22 Also thou shalt take of the ram the fat and the rump, and the fat that covereth the inwards, and the caul above the liver, and the two kidneys, and the fat that is upon them, and the right shoulder; for it is a ram of consecration:
Jesus, with the sin of the world thus defined rankling in his flesh, where it was to be condemned to death when suspended on the cross (Rom. 8:3), came to John as the
"Ram of Consecration, "
that his inwards and his body might be washed according to the law.- Exod. 29:17, 22.
But these representations of the law and the prophets could not have found their antitype in Jesus, if, in the days of his flesh, he had possessed a holier or purer nature than those for whom he was bruised in the heel.
His character was spotless; but as being the Seed of the Woman, of whom no clean flesh can be born, (Job 25:4, ) and Seed of Abraham, which is not immaculate, be it Virgin or Nazarite, His nature was flesh and blood (Heb. 2:14), which Paul styles "sinful flesh," or flesh full of sin, a physical quality or principle which makes the flesh mortal; and called "sin, " because this property of flesh became its law as the consequence of transgression.
"God made Jesus sin for us who knew no sin; that we might be made the righteousness of God in him."-2 Cor. 5:21.
In this view of the matter, the Sin-Bearer of the world indicated, was a fit and proper subject of John's baptism of repentance for remission of sins. The holy and undefiled disposition of Mary's Son was granted to him for repentance in fulfilling the symbolical righteousness of the law when he descended into the Jordan to enter into the antitypical robe of righteousness with which he must of necessity be invested before he could enter into the Most Holy as High Priest after the order of Melchizedec.
In being baptized he commenced the development of a character distinguished by perfect faith and obedience. This character was his holy raiment, and was without spot, or wrinkle, or any such thing. This was the
"fine linen, clean and white"
with which he arrayed himself; or "the righteousness of the (king of) saints."-Rev. xix. 8.
It was the antitype in part of Aaron's holy garments; and he had to put it on in the same way that Aaron did,
"by washing his flesh in water, and so putting it on."
He was baptized of John into a holiness of his own, which began with obedience in the Jordan, and ended with obedience in death on the cross.
Herald of the Kingdom and Age to Come, March 1855
30 And that son that is priest in his stead shall put them on 7 days, when he cometh into the tabernacle of the congregation to minister in the holy place.
The (golden walls of) the holy place
These walls were formed by the inner surfaces of the gold-plated boards, which supplied the frame-work of the tabernacle. Presumably, the gold-plating of the boards would be polished. The interior would therefore be resplendent with the glory of a burnished surface reflecting the light of the seven-branched lit candlestick--itself gleaming with a similar radiance, as also the incense altar and table of shewbread.
The splendour of such an interior would be softened a little by the veil at one end, and the entrance curtain at the other, and also by the roofing of similar material thrown across, and by the earth-floor of the apartment.
Still, the general effect would be dazzling; and when we consider the spiritual significance of the material yielding this lustre, the glittering interior of the holy place becomes a speaking parable of the mental condition that renders men acceptable to God--without which, it is pointedly declared, "it is impossible to please God" (Heb. 11:6)--a faith true as gold, precious as gold, shining as gold.
...no man is acceptable to God who is not characterised by an unhesitating faith in all God's declarations and appointments; or, to put it positively, that the anti-typical holy place is composed of men and women whose first and most powerful moral characteristic is implicit, cordial and childlike belief in the word of God, and resultant conformity to its requirements
...The essentiality, the indispensability of faith is proclaimed not only by the shining gold in every part of the Mosaic Tabernacle, but by the vision of the Holy City to John in Patmos, "which was pure gold, like unto clear glass"
Law of Moses Ch 15
43 And there I will meet with the children of Israel, and the tabernacle shall be sanctified by my glory.
He took hold of a nation for Himself. See what He did with them? First of all, having delivered them with His own naked hand, manifest in direct works of power, in the destruction of Egypt, and their own miraculous rescue from mortal peril, He "humbled them and proved them." He led them in a great and terrible wilderness and taught them. What did He teach them? Science? No. Of what good to show them how He has made things? Political economy? No. The art of legislation, which being interpreted means self-government by count of human wills, whether wise or foolish?
No, no, man is not capable of self-government. See what a miserable pass it has brought him to after 6,000 years fair experiment. He requires the government of God. He requires God to tell him what to do, and to compel him to do it by power governmentally applied. What God taught Israel was the art of worshipping God and serving man. This was the essence of the Law of Moses. It was taught in many rites and ceremonies, but this was the thing taught. God was in all things and in every way to be exalted as an object of reverence and fear, and love on the basis of fear. Holiness was the perpetual exhibition.
"I, Yahweh thy God am holy."
"Thou shalt fear before Me."
Bro Roberts - THAT GOD SHALL BE SANCTIFIED
44 And I will sanctify the tabernacle of the congregation, and the altar: I will sanctify also both Aaron and his sons, to minister to me in the priest's office.
Sanctuary and Priesthood.
Were thus parallel types... The sacrificial element in the consecration ritual was therefore clearly designed to teach the nation on what conditions God in His holiness could condescend to dwell among them, and they themselves might be prepared to receive Him into their midst. We must accordingly pay close attention both to the order and to the character of events on these seven momentous days.
Law and Grace Ch 9
46 And they shall know that I am Yahweh their Elohim, that brought them forth out of the land of Egypt, that I may dwell among them: I am Yahweh their Elohim.
That God should dwell with men at all was esteemed by Solomon a great condescension on the part of a Being to whom it is humbling Himself "to behold the things that are in heaven, and in the earth" (Psa. 113:6).
That He should dwell with unclean and rebellious man seemed contrary to the fitness of things. In a sense it was so, as is shown by the reservations by which the condescension was safeguarded.
The erection of the Tabernacle was an intimation of His willingness to be approached by man for mercy, but not at the sacrifice of His holiness, or His authority, or His majesty. Hence, familiar and indiscriminate approach was not invited: "I will be sanctified in them that come nigh me", He would be approached in a consecrated and concealed recess, and that only once a year, and that only by blood shed, and that only presented by a man of His own choice, assisted by men of His own appointment, and attired in a way prescribed by Himself.