Leviticus 9 (NRSV)
Aaron’s Priesthood Inaugurated
On the eighth day Moses summoned Aaron and his sons and the elders of Israel. 2He said to Aaron, “Take a bull calf for a sin offering and a ram for a burnt offering, without blemish, and offer them before the Lord. 3And say to the people of Israel, ‘Take a male goat for a sin offering; a calf and a lamb, yearlings without blemish, for a burnt offering; 4and an ox and a ram for an offering of well-being to sacrifice before the Lord; and a grain offering mixed with oil. For today the Lord will appear to you.’”
5They brought what Moses commanded to the front of the tent of meeting; and the whole congregation drew near and stood before the Lord. 6And Moses said, “This is the thing that the Lord commanded you to do, so that the glory of the Lord may appear to you.”
Everything Aaron did in the last week prepared him for this moment. This was the end goal of the week of separation and consecration to the Lord — the display of His glory.
“the glory of the Lord”
The manifestation of the glory of the Lord was not a seeing of him, for no man may see him and live; but it was like a seeing; it was a realizing. It was not something altogether different from the Christian religious experience. The glory of the Lord, which was later to be manifested in the face of Jesus Christ, was in measure realized in the worship of the Old Testament. The seraphim in the vision of Isaiah (6:3) declare that “the whole earth is full of his glory.” At all times and in all places is the glory of the God, but only on special occasions is his glory or presence recognized and realized by men. Even when “the Word was made flesh . . . and we beheld his glory” (John 1:14), it was from many a hidden glory; “their eyes were holden that they should not know him” (Luke 24:16).
–The Interpreter’s Bible
Are we brave enough to pray that the glory of the Lord may appear to us?
7Then Moses said to Aaron, “Draw near to the altar and sacrifice your sin offering and your burnt offering, and make atonement for yourself and for the people; and sacrifice the offering of the people, and make atonement for them; as the Lord has commanded.”
Aaron and all the priests and all their sacrifices point us to Jesus Christ:
Hebrews 10:11-13 (Contemporary English Version)
The priests do their work each day, and they keep on offering sacrifices that can never take away sins. But Christ offered himself as a sacrifice that is good forever. Now he is sitting at God’s right side, and he will stay there until his enemies are put under his power.
Aaron offers sacrifice for his own sin
8Aaron drew near to the altar, and slaughtered the calf of the sin offering, which was for himself. 9The sons of Aaron presented the blood to him, and he dipped his finger in the blood and put it on the horns of the altar; and the rest of the blood he poured out at the base of the altar. 10But the fat, the kidneys, and the appendage of the liver from the sin offering he turned into smoke on the altar, as the Lord commanded Moses; 11and the flesh and the skin he burned with fire outside the camp.
12Then he slaughtered the burnt offering. Aaron’s sons brought him the blood, and he dashed it against all sides of the altar. 13And they brought him the burnt offering piece by piece, and the head, which he turned into smoke on the altar. 14He washed the entrails and the legs and, with the burnt offering, turned them into smoke on the altar.
Aaron offers sacrifice on behalf of the people
15Next he presented the people’s offering. He took the goat of the sin offering that was for the people, and slaughtered it, and presented it as a sin offering like the first one.
16He presented the burnt offering, and sacrificed it according to regulation. 17He presented the grain offering, and, taking a handful of it, he turned it into smoke on the altar, in addition to the burnt offering of the morning.
18He slaughtered the ox and the ram as a sacrifice of well-being for the people. Aaron’s sons brought him the blood, which he dashed against all sides of the altar, 19and the fat of the ox and of the ram—the broad tail, the fat that covers the entrails, the two kidneys and the fat on them, and the appendage of the liver. 20They first laid the fat on the breasts, and the fat was turned into smoke on the altar; 21and the breasts and the right thigh Aaron raised as an elevation offering before the Lord, as Moses had commanded.
God blesses Israel with a display of His glory
22Aaron lifted his hands toward the people and blessed them;
Numbers 6:22-26 (New King James Version)
And the LORD spoke to Moses, saying: “Speak to Aaron and his sons, saying, ‘This is the way you shall bless the children of Israel. Say to them:
“The LORD bless you and keep you;
The LORD make His face shine upon you,
And be gracious to you;
The LORD lift up His countenance upon you,
And give you peace.”’
and he came down after sacrificing the sin offering, the burnt offering, and the offering of well-being.
23Moses and Aaron entered the tent of meeting, and then came out and blessed the people; and the glory of the Lord appeared to all the people. 24Fire came out from the Lord and consumed the burnt offering and the fat on the altar; and when all the people saw it, they shouted and fell on their faces.
Fire was often associated with God’s presence and work. Deuteronomy 4:24 tells us, the Lord your God is a consuming fire, a jealous God. John the Baptist promised Jesus would come with a baptism with the Holy Spirit and with fire (Matthew 3:11). The Holy Spirit manifested His presence on the day of Pentecost by tongues of fire (Acts 2:3). Jesus said: I came to send fire on the earth, and how I wish it were already kindled! (Luke 12:49).
Lord, let your glory fall. HERE is “Consuming Fire” by Ted Hughes and Hillsong.
The New Revised Standard Version, copyright 1989 by the Division of Christian Education of the National Council of the Churches of Christ in the United States of America. Used by permission. All rights reserved.