Leviticus 8 (NRSV)
The Rites of Ordination
to invest with ministerial functions or priestly authority; to confer holy orders upon
Exodus 29 records the command God gave to Moses to carry out this consecration ceremony with Aaron and his sons. Now that the tabernacle was built it was time to perform the ceremony.
The Lord spoke to Moses, saying: 2Take Aaron and his sons with him, the vestments, the anointing oil, the bull of sin offering, the two rams, and the basket of unleavened bread; 3and assemble the whole congregation at the entrance of the tent of meeting. 4And Moses did as the Lord commanded him.
When the congregation was assembled at the entrance of the tent of meeting, 5Moses said to the congregation, “This is what the Lord has commanded to be done.” 6Then Moses brought Aaron and his sons forward, and washed them with water.
Titus 3:5 (Amplified Bible)
He saved us, not because of any works of righteousness that we had done, but because of His own pity and mercy, by [the] cleansing [bath] of the new birth (regeneration) and renewing of the Holy Spirit.
7He put the tunic on him, fastened the sash around him, clothed him with the robe, and put the ephod on him. He then put the decorated band of the ephod around him, tying the ephod to him with it. 8He placed the breastpiece on him, and in the breastpiece he put the Urim and the Thummim. 9And he set the turban on his head, and on the turban, in front, he set the golden ornament, the holy crown, as the Lord commanded Moses.
10Then Moses took the anointing oil
special anointing oil–
Exodus 30:22-32 (Contemporary English Version)
The LORD said to Moses: Mix a gallon of olive oil with the following costly spices: twelve pounds of myrrh, six pounds of cinnamon, six pounds of cane, and twelve pounds of cassia. Measure these according to the official standards. Then use this sacred mixture for dedicating the tent and chest, the table with its equipment, the lampstand with its equipment, the incense altar with all its utensils, the altar for sacrifices, and the large bowl with its stand. By dedicating them in this way, you will make them so holy that anyone who even touches them will become holy.
When you ordain Aaron and his sons as my priests, sprinkle them with some of this oil, and say to the people of Israel: “This oil must always be used in the ordination service of a priest. It is holy because it is dedicated to the LORD. So treat it as holy! Don’t ever use it for everyday purposes or mix any for yourselves.”
and anointed the tabernacle and all that was in it, and consecrated them. 11He sprinkled some of it on the altar seven times, and anointed the altar and all its utensils, and the basin and its base, to consecrate them. 12He poured some of the anointing oil on Aaron’s head and anointed him, to consecrate him.
Psalm 133:1-2 (New International Version)
How good and pleasant it is
when brothers live together in unity!
It is like precious oil poured on the head,
running down on the beard,
running down on Aaron’s beard,
down upon the collar of his robes.
Aaron, as high priest, had certain duties that only he could perform. He alone of the priests could enter the Holy of Holies once a year on the Day of Atonement to receive forgiveness for the people of Israel. The high priest Aaron points us to Christ:
Hebrews 7:23-28 (New Living Translation)
There were many priests under the old system, for death prevented them from remaining in office. But because Jesus lives forever, his priesthood lasts forever. Therefore he is able, once and forever, to save those who come to God through him. He lives forever to intercede with God on their behalf.
He is the kind of high priest we need because he is holy and blameless, unstained by sin. He has been set apart from sinners and has been given the highest place of honor in heaven. Unlike those other high priests, he does not need to offer sacrifices every day. They did this for their own sins first and then for the sins of the people. But Jesus did this once for all when he offered himself as the sacrifice for the people’s sins. The law appointed high priests who were limited by human weakness. But after the law was given, God appointed his Son with an oath, and his Son has been made the perfect High Priest forever.
13And Moses brought forward Aaron’s sons, and clothed them with tunics, and fastened sashes around them, and tied headdresses on them, as the Lord commanded Moses.
14He led forward the bull of sin offering; and Aaron and his sons laid their hands upon the head of the bull of sin offering, 15and it was slaughtered. Moses took the blood and with his finger put some on each of the horns of the altar, purifying the altar; then he poured out the blood at the base of the altar. Thus he consecrated it, to make atonement for it. 16Moses took all the fat that was around the entrails, and the appendage of the liver, and the two kidneys with their fat, and turned them into smoke on the altar. 17But the bull itself, its skin and flesh and its dung, he burned with fire outside the camp, as the Lord commanded Moses.
The idea behind the ancient Hebrew word for altar is essentially, “killing-place.” The ancient altar — a place of death — was made holy and was consecrated to God. Like that ancient altar, the altar of the New Covenant — the cross — is transformed from a place to death to a place set apart to bring life.
18Then he brought forward the ram of burnt offering. Aaron and his sons laid their hands on the head of the ram, 19and it was slaughtered. Moses dashed the blood against all sides of the altar. 20The ram was cut into its parts, and Moses turned into smoke the head and the parts and the suet. 21And after the entrails and the legs were washed with water, Moses turned into smoke the whole ram on the altar; it was a burnt offering for a pleasing odor, an offering by fire to the Lord, as the Lord commanded Moses.
22Then he brought forward the second ram, the ram of ordination. Aaron and his sons laid their hands on the head of the ram, 23and it was slaughtered. Moses took some of its blood and put it on the lobe of Aaron’s right ear and on the thumb of his right hand and on the big toe of his right foot. 24After Aaron’s sons were brought forward, Moses put some of the blood on the lobes of their right ears and on the thumbs of their right hands and on the big toes of their right feet; and Moses dashed the rest of the blood against all sides of the altar.
Ears, hands, and feet —
that we should willingly hear the commands of the Lord,
and cheerfully do them with our hands,
and reverently walk in holiness before God.
25He took the fat—the broad tail, all the fat that was around the entrails, the appendage of the liver, and the two kidneys with their fat—and the right thigh. 26From the basket of unleavened bread that was before the Lord, he took one cake of unleavened bread, one cake of bread with oil, and one wafer, and placed them on the fat and on the right thigh. 27He placed all these on the palms of Aaron and on the palms of his sons, and raised them as an elevation offering before the Lord. 28Then Moses took them from their hands and turned them into smoke on the altar with the burnt offering. This was an ordination offering for a pleasing odor, an offering by fire to the Lord. 29Moses took the breast and raised it as an elevation offering before the Lord; it was Moses’ portion of the ram of ordination, as the Lord commanded Moses.
30Then Moses took some of the anointing oil and some of the blood that was on the altar and sprinkled them on Aaron and his vestments, and also on his sons and their vestments. Thus he consecrated Aaron and his vestments, and also his sons and their vestments.
HERE is a song for Aaron and his sons and for us as well. “Take My Life and Let It Be” sung by Chris Tomlin.
31And Moses said to Aaron and his sons, “Boil the flesh at the entrance of the tent of meeting, and eat it there with the bread that is in the basket of ordination offerings, as I was commanded, ‘Aaron and his sons shall eat it’; 32and what remains of the flesh and the bread you shall burn with fire. 33You shall not go outside the entrance of the tent of meeting for seven days, until the day when your period of ordination is completed. For it will take seven days to ordain you; 34as has been done today, the Lord has commanded to be done to make atonement for you. 35You shall remain at the entrance of the tent of meeting day and night for seven days, keeping the Lord’s charge so that you do not die; for so I am commanded.” 36Aaron and his sons did all the things that the Lord commanded through Moses.
from Whispers of His Power,
by Amy Carmichael:
Lev. 8:35-36: Therefore shall ye abide at the door of the tabernacle of the congregation day and night seven days, and keep the charge of the Lord, that ye die not: for so I am commanded. So Aaron and his sons did all the things which the Lord commanded by the hand of Moses.
“As the Lord commanded Moses”: the words recur often in these chapters. Sooner or later every child of the Father, every servant of the heavenly Master, has to learn that he is not here to do as he likes, but as the Lord commands. “For so I am commanded” is Moses’ single explanation as he gives a certain duty to men who might easily have preferred another.
Here is a beautiful word from St. Augustine’s City of God: “In that blessed city no one, in any lower place, shall envy his superior; for no one will ever wish to be that to which he has not been appointed. Together with his reward, each shall have the gift of a great contentment, so as to desire no more than he has got. Then we shall rest and see, there we shall see and love, and there we shall all love and praise in the City of God.”
Ask for the gift of a great contentment in obeying God’s commands today.