Take Aaron and his sons with him, and the garments, and the anointing oil, and a bullock for the sin offering, and two rams…
The chapter before us gives a description of the ceremonies by which the priests were consecrated and formally inducted into their high office. These ceremonies were, for the most part, the same for Aaron and his sons; but it is the case of the high priest more particularly that I propose to present now. The case of the common priests is reserved for another occasion.
I. Fixing attention, then, upon Aaron, as about to be set apart for the high priesthood, the first thing I notice is THE PUBLICITY WITH WHICH THE CONSECRATION WAS PERFORMED. The whole congregation of Israel had to be gathered together to witness the solemn transaction. The creation of so high an officer for the whole people required to be done in open daylight and in the view of all concerned. And the scene presented an imposing spectacle. But, through this scene in the Hebrew camp, I ascend at once to the contemplation of a more glorious spectacle. There rises up before me, in awful grandeur, the mount of Almighty Holiness. Around it, in serried orders, lie the princedoms and principalities of heaven. Myriads of holy ones, who looked on when the world was made, stand in compact throngs to watch in solemn silence the development of that new thought which has been thrown into their Celestial contemptations. The four-and-twenty elders, with their crowns of gold glittering in the sublime effulgence of the great white throne, wait in impressive seriousness; when out upon the glassy sea, spanned by emerald bows, and radiant in jewelry of Gods head, steps the blessed Son, saying, "Lo! I come to do Thy will, O God!" "I will redeem them from death: I will ransom them from the power of the grave!" and the Father from His everlasting seat lifts up His hand in solemn oath and says, "Thou art a priest for ever after the order of Melchisedek!"
II. The first thing to be done after the appearance of Aaron before the congregation as the designated priest, was TO WASH HIM WITH WATER. It was meant to impress the idea of cleanness in him who was to act as an attorney between man and his Maker. And Aaron in his outward purification shows us our great High Priest in the sublime purity which He brought to His mediation work. Jesus "was holy, harmless, undefiled, separate from sinners." It was partly in token of this pureness and separation that John, as another Moses, baptized Him in Jordan vale. He needed no cleansing. He always was pure. But, to indicate this purity, and to enter upon His priesthood in the regular way, He consented to be washed, as was Aaron. His baptism was part of His priestly installation.
III. The next thing done for Aaron's consecration was THE PUTTING OF THE SACRED VESTMENTS UPON HIM. The priest was to be endowed with grace and glory as well as purity. He had to be clothed in righteousness, and girt for active obedience. He needed covering for those shoulders, which were to bear the people's guilt, and for that brow, which was to be lifted up in confession. A rich, curious, graceful, and imposing suit was therefore provided for him — a suit which received its pattern from God, and was made according to specific Divine directions. A glorious High Priest is Jesus. Fold upon fold of glory and beauty encompass Him. With round upon round of heavenly excellency and celestial praise is He girded. Purity, and holiness, and power, and grace, and majesty, and ten thousand indescribable attractions, cluster upon Him, and surround Him with flames of perfection and light, which only the most costly jewelry can typify, which angels bend to contemplate, and which archangels cannot find words competent to express.
IV. The next thing in this impressive service was THE HOLY CHRISM, OR THE ANOINTING WITH OIL This was not common oil, but the sacred, fragrant, and costly compound used only in solemn consecrations. It was "precious ointment on the head, that ran down upon the beard, even Aaron's beard, and went down to the skirts of his garments," enveloping him in aroma as grateful to the smell as his garments were to the eye. It was the symbol of Divine gifts and unction. It pointed to that solemn chrism or christing of Jesus, by the pouring out upon Him of the Holy Spirit and energy of God "without measure."
V. BUT STILL, CHRIST WAS NOT YET "MADE PERFECT." Moses had yet to mark and sprinkle Aaron with the blood of sacrifice; and, as the Captain of our salvation, Christ had to be "made perfect through sufferings." He needed to have upon Him the marks of blood. And as He was both the sacrifice and the priest, He had to give Himself to death before He could enter the Holy Place as our availing intercessor. We read that "Moses took of the blood, and put it upon the tip of Aaron's right ear, and upon the thumb of his right hand, and upon the great toe of his right foot. And he took of the anointing oil, and of the blood upon the altar, and sprinkled it upon Aaron and upon his garments." It was the picture of "the blood of Christ, who through the Eternal Spirit offered Himself without spot to God," marking our great High Priest with the final touches of His installation as the Saviour of the world. Thus "being made perfect, He became the author of eternal salvation unto all them that obey Him."
(J. A. Seiss, D. D.)
Parallel VersesKJV: Take Aaron and his sons with him, and the garments, and the anointing oil, and a bullock for the sin offering, and two rams, and a basket of unleavened bread;