And Moses brought Aaron's sons, and put coats on them, and girded them with girdles, and put bonnets on them…
In the order of the ceremonies at the consecration of the priests, after the anointing of Aaron, we have -
I. THE CLOTHING OF AARON'S SONS. (Verse 13.)
1. They were types of Christians.
(1) The high priest, as we have seen, was a type of Christ. So were the priests in general types also of him, viz. in everything in which they acted as representatives of the high priest.
(2) But under usual conditions they should be viewed as emblems of Christians. This is evidently taught in such references as Exodus 19:6; Hebrews 10:9-22; 1 Peter 2:9; Revelation 1:6; Revelation 5:10.
2. Their holy garments resembled some of Aaron's.
(1) Aaron had some by which he was distinguished from his sons, and so has Christ unique qualities. In everything pertaining to his Divinity he stands alone. He claims the deepest reverence.
(2) The coats and girdles which Moses put upon the sons of Aaron were similar to those articles bearing the same name in which Aaron was clothed. In Aaron's case, as we have seen, they denoted purity and truth; and so do they denote these qualities in relation to his sons (see Ephesians 6:14; Revelation 19:8).
(3) This identity suggests that Christians have their righteousness in virtue of their association with Christ (see Jeremiah 23:6; Romans 3:22; 1 Corinthians 1:30; Philippians 3:9). This is otherwise shown in the fact that the claim of the Levitical priests to those holy garments was in virtue of their being sons of Aaron. Only the "seed" of Messiah (Isaiah 53:10, 11), are clothed in the "white linen which is the righteousness of the saints."
3. Moses also "put bonnets upon them."
(1) These, like the coats, were made of white linen, and so, likewise, expressed purity. They were similar to the turban of Aaron, minus the "plate of the holy crown of pure gold," and its fastenings of lacework of blue (Exodus 39:30, 31).
(2) These bonnets were "for glory and for beauty" (Exodus 28:40). For "glory," i.e., honour, viz. as they served to distinguish the priests as the ministers of God. If a messenger be despised, his message may be brought into contempt. And for "beauty," viz. as they represented the "beauty of holiness." True Christian honour is evermore the associate of holiness.
II. THE OFFERINGS FOR THE PRIESTS. In respect to these we observe:
1. The priests laid their hands upon the heads of the animals (verses 14, 18).
(1) This was the sign of the confession of sin. It was also the sign of the transfer of sin, so constituting the animal (in type) vicariously a sinner or sin-bearer, liable to suffer its penalty
(2) The next thing in order, therefore, was the bleeding of the animal, in consideration of which the offerer stands justified or released from the obligation to suffer.
(3) The reference in all this to the vicarious sacrifice of Christ and our justification through faith in him cannot be mistaken.
(4) But why did Aaron, the type of Christ, act thus? Christ had no sin of his own to confess, and needed no sacrifice for himself. The answer is that Aaron, in this, acted not as a type of Christ, but for himself as a sinful man, and representatively for the people (see Hebrews 5:1-3). In this Aaron is contrasted with Jesus (see Hebrews 7:26-28).
2. The altar was purified with the blood (verses 15, 19).
(1) The earth, as the altar upon which the great Antitype was offered, is purified by his blood.
(a) As respects its inhabitants.
(b) As respects itself. The inheritance of man is also redeemed by Christ from the curse of sin.
(c) The full effects of this will be seen "in the regeneration" or renewed state of the earth indicated in prophecy.
(2) The altar was purified with the typical blood "to make reconciliation upon it." So is this earth for the same purpose sanctified by the blood of Jesus. There is no other planet, at least so far as we are concerned, thus sanctified. Therefore if we be not here "reconciled to God through the death of his Son," there is no hope for reconciliation hereafter or elsewhere (see Hebrews 10:26, 27).
3. The offerings were presented upon the altar.
(1) In the case of the sin offering, the fat was burnt upon the altar, while the body of the beast was burnt without the camp (verses 16, 17). Not only was Christ offered up as a sacrifice for sin generally upon this earth, but more particularly "without the gate," viz. of Jerusalem (comp. Hebrews 13:11, 12).
(2) In the case of the burnt offering, the whole ram was burnt upon the altar. This holocaust showed how absolutely God claims us, and therefore how completely we should be devoted, and, so to speak, consumed, in his worship and service (Psalm 69:9; John 2:13-17). - J.A.M.
Parallel VersesKJV: And Moses brought Aaron's sons, and put coats upon them, and girded them with girdles, and put bonnets upon them; as the LORD commanded Moses.