Gaebelein's Annotated Bible
And the LORD spake unto Moses, saying,II. THE PRIESTHOOD AND THE RESULTS OF HOLINESS
1. Aaron and His Sons and Their Consecration
1. Aaron (Leviticus 8:1-12)
2. Aaron and his sons (Leviticus 8:13-21)
3. The consecration (Leviticus 8:22-30)
4. The sacrificial feast (Leviticus 8:31-36)
The second part of Leviticus is historical and gives the account of how Aaron and his sons were consecrated as priests and how they exercised their priesthood. The judgment, which fell upon the two sons of Aaron ends this interesting section.
The voice of Jehovah spoke again, commanding that Aaron and his sons should now be taken and be consecrated. The ceremony took place “at the door of the tabernacle of the congregation.” The entire congregation of Israel was gathered together to witness the event. This statement has been severely attacked by the critics, who reject this report as untrustworthy inasmuch as a congregation of several millions could hardly have gathered at the door of the tabernacle. For this reason the critics have branded the account as legendary. “But, surely, if the words are to be taken in the ultra-literal sense required in order to make out this difficulty, the impossibility must have been equally evident to the supposed fabricator of the fiction; and it is yet more absurd to suppose that he should ever have intended his words to be pressed to such a rigid literality” (S.H. Kellogg, Leviticus). But the words do not necessarily mean that every individual was present at the door of the tabernacle and all remained there for the entire seven days of ceremonial observance. Perhaps only the representatives of the tribes were called to witness all that was done; these appointed leaders represented the whole assembly of Israel. All was carried out according to the divine command. Not less than twelve times is reference made to this fact in the eighth chapter. It was all according to divine appointment. Aaron was called of God to this office, and in this he was a type of Christ in His office-work as priest. “And no man taketh this honor unto himself, but he that is called of God as was Aaron. So also Christ glorified not Himself to be made an high priest, but He that said unto Him, Thou art my Son, today have I begotten thee” (Hebrews 5:4-5). As Aaron and his work was appointed by God, so the work of our Lord in connection with sin. Aaron did “all the things which the Lord commanded by the hand of Moses,” and Christ completely did the will of Him that sent Him. That blessed will is foreshadowed in the priestly office and the priestly work.
Without following the historical account in every detail we point out some of the leading types in this great chapter. The principal actors are Aaron and his sons. Aaron occupies the leading and prominent place; his sons are associated with him. He is, as stated above, a type of Christ. His sons typify those who are called into the priesthood in their Christian profession. The priesthood of the sons of Aaron depended upon their relationship to him. Without Aaron they could not be priests at all. Our relationship to Christ constitutes us priests. The Priesthood of Christ rests upon His Sonship, and believing on Him we become children of God and also priests with Him. The sons of Aaron typify the Christian profession; two of his sons were taken in a judgment. They foreshadow the true and the false in Christendom. But there is still another application. Israel’s national priesthood is also foreshadowed. “Ye shall be unto Me a kingdom of priests” (Exodus 19:6) is God’s calling for the nation. They will yet possess that priesthood. “But ye shall be named the priests of the LORD, men shall call you the ministers of our God” (Isaiah 61:6). This will be accomplished with the second coming of Christ. A part of the nation will then be swept away in judgment, while the believing remnant will exercise the functions of the priesthood in the kingdom. These two classes are typified by the sons of Aaron.
The first thing mentioned is the “washing with water.” This washing of water is the type of the new birth. This is beautifully illustrated by the symbolical action of our Lord in the washing of the disciples’ feet (John 13:2-12). The feet washing corresponds to the washing the priests had to do when they went into the tabernacle, and typifies the daily cleansing by the Word the believer needs to continue in fellowship with God. When Peter demanded to have his hands and head washed the Lord told him “He that is washed needeth not save to wash his feet, but is clean every whit; and ye are clean, but not all.” By these words the Lord told Peter that inasmuch as they all had believed on Him, with the exception of Judas Iscariot, they were washed and clean every whit. And in other Scriptures the same symbol is used: “Born of the water and the Spirit” (John 3:5); “the washing of regeneration” (Titus 3:5); “our bodies washed with pure water” (Hebrews 10:22). But this could never apply to the Lord Jesus Christ. He needed no washing, no regeneration, for He is holy and undefiled.
Aaron was then clothed with the holy garments, invested with his official robes. These are described in detail in Exodus 28. (The annotations on Exodus give the typical meaning of the garments. This description of the official dress and what is typified by it should be carefully studied.) The investiture of the sons of Aaron took place after the anointing of the tabernacle and Aaron as high priest. Christ and His work is put into the foreground. He is anointed with the oil of gladness above His fellows (Psalm 45:7; Hebrews 1:9). But linked with Him are His fellows, His seed, the many sons He brings to glory. Their garments, including the breeches (Exodus 28:42) (not mentioned here), were of pure white linen, the type of the holiness and righteousness into which the grace of God has brought us in Christ. We are a holy priesthood. See also Revelation 4:4. “And round about the throne were four and twenty thrones, and upon the thrones I saw four and twenty elders sitting clothed in white raiment; and they had on their heads crowns of gold.” “And to her was granted that she should be arrayed in fine linen, clean and white; for the fine linen is the righteousness of the saints” (Revelation 19:8).
The tabernacle, the altar, the laver and finally Aaron were anointed with the holy oil. The oil was sprinkled upon the altar seven times. No blood was shed for atonement. All this has its blessed significance. While by this ceremony the tabernacle with all that was in it was sanctified and consecrated, it also typifies the consecration of all through Christ. The anointing of Aaron is the type of the anointing of our Lord. “God anointed Jesus with the Holy Spirit and with power” (Acts 10:38).
After the investiture of the sons of Aaron came the sacrifice of the bullock for a sin offering. This was followed by the ram of the burnt offering. Then the sacrifice of a second ram, the ram of consecration. Aaron and his sons laid their hands upon the head of the bullock and also upon the heads of the rams before they were killed. The sin offering had to come first for Aaron’s sin and those of his sons. Aaron was a sinful man, Christ was not. But His gracious identification with us is here foreshadowed. The burnt offering, speaking of the perfection of Christ, was alone a sweet savour unto the Lord. For Aaron and his sons it had the meaning of their full consecration to the service of God. The second ram was for consecration; the literal rendering from the Hebrew is “the ram of fillings,” because of verse 27, where we read that their hands were filled to wave it all as a wave offering before the Lord. The blood of this second ram was put upon the tip of the right ear of Aaron, upon the thumb of the right hand and upon the great toe of his right foot. The same was done to Aaron’s sons. Their whole bodies were thus set apart for the service of God in virtue of the blood which had been shed. It is the most blessed type of sanctification by that “better blood”, the blood of Christ. The ear is for hearing; we are set apart to hear the Word of God and yield obedience to it. The hand is set apart to serve and to do His will, and the feet to walk in His ways. No such sanctification was possible till the blood had been shed. All this foreshadows our sanctification by blood, and the results of this sanctification. The anointing oil was also sprinkled with the blood (of the peace offering) upon Aaron and his sons and their garments. The sacrificial feast, which followed is interesting and full of meaning. They fed upon the ram and the unleavened bread.
“This sacrificial feast most fitly marked the conclusion of the rites of consecration. Hereby it was signified, first, that by this solemn service they were now brought into a relation of peculiarly intimate fellowship with Jehovah, as the ministers of His house, to offer His offerings, and to be fed at His table. It was further signified, that strength for the duties of this office should be supplied to them by Him whom they were to serve, in that they were to be fed of His altar. And, finally, in that the ritual took the specific form of a thank offering, was thereby expressed, as was fitting, their gratitude to God for the grace which had chosen them and set them apart to so holy and exalted service.
“These consecration services were to be repeated for seven consecutive days, during which time they were not to leave the tent of meeting; obviously, that by no chance they might contract any ceremonial defilement, so jealously must the sanctity of everything pertaining to the service be guarded” (S.H. Kellogg).
How necessary for us who are constituted “a holy priesthood to offer up spiritual sacrifices” to feed thus on Himself, who is ever before us in these ceremonies. It is at the Lord’s table, when we eat and drink in remembrance of Him, we feed on Him and then exercise our holy priesthood of praise and worship. The seven days mean typically our life down here during which our consecration continues. The seven days stand for this age when a “heavenly priesthood” is feasting (the Church), and when the seven days end something new begins. The eighth day which follows marks this new beginning.