Lev 9:1 On the eighth day Moses called Aaron and his sons and the elders of Israel,
Lev 9:2 and he said to Aaron, “Take for yourself a bull calf for a mistake offering and a ram for an ascending offering both perfect, and offer them in Yahveh’s sight.
Lev 9:3 And speak to the people of Israel, and this is what you should say, ‘Take a male goat for a mistake offering, and a calf and a lamb, both a year old, perfect, for an ascending offering
Lev 9:4 and an ox and a ram for offerings for healthy relationships, to sacrifice in Yahveh’s sight, and a tribute offering mixed with oil, because today Yahveh will appear among you.'”
Lev 9:5 And they brought what Moses commanded in front of the conference tent, and all the congregation drew near and stood in Yahveh’s sight.
because today Yahveh will appear
After all the sacrifices are completed, and reconciliation is provided, and healthy relationships are restored, God has a promise. He spoke that promise to us by having the Israelites gather on the eighth day of the ordination of the priests. He commanded that they prepare themselves, not to go somewhere else to meet God, but for God to come down and appear among them. That was the message of John the Baptist as well. He told his people not to get ready to go meet God, but to prepare themselves for him, because the kingdom is near, the king is coming.
The eighth day is upon us. Prepare to meet the king. Repent, and make things ready for him.
LORD, may all those who read these words be ready for you when you return to reign.
Lev 8:30 Then Moses took some of the anointing oil and of the blood that was on the altar and spritzed it on Aaron and his clothes, and also on his sons and his sons’ clothes. So he consecrated Aaron and his clothes, and his sons and his sons’ clothes with him.
Lev 8:31 And Moses said to Aaron and his sons, “Boil the meat at the entrance of the conference tent, and there eat it and the bread that is in the basket of ordination offerings, as I commanded, when I said, ‘Aaron and his sons will eat it.’
Lev 8:32 And what remains of the meat and the bread you will burn up with fire.
Lev 8:33 And you will not go outside the entrance of the conference tent for seven days, until the days of your ordination are completed, because it will take seven days to ordain you.
Lev 8:34 As has been done today, Yahveh has commanded to be done to provide reconciliation for you.
Lev 8:35 At the entrance of the conference tent you will stay day and night for seven days, performing what Yahveh has charged, so that you do not die, because so I have been commanded.”
Lev 8:36 And Aaron and his sons did all the things that Yahveh commanded by Moses.
a week in the sanctuary
Aaron and his sons had spent a long time reviewing the commands of God, and learning all the details of their ministry in the tabernacle. But they still had to spend a full week in the conference tent itself, as part of their ordination. They needed to become fully familiar not just with their job, but the place itself. This marvellous sanctuary was to be the instrument of their worship. It was to be the location that signified the grace and power of God.
Our saying goes: “familiarity breeds contempt.” We tend to disregard the places that we have grown accustomed to. And, I am sure the priests wrestled with that problem as well. But familiarity also helps us to establish a constant routine. When I travel for my missions work to new places, I often have to spend lots of time just getting used to my surroundings before I can function as well as when I am back “home.” For the priests in the temple, the routine had to be exact. So, they needed the time in the temple to familiarise themselves with it.
LORD, familiarise us with the place where we are to minister in your name, and the people we are to minister to.
Lev 8:25 Then he took the fat and the fat tail and all the fat that was on the entrails and the long lobe of the liver and the two kidneys with their fat and the right thigh,
Lev 8:26 and out of the basket of unleavened bread that was in Yahveh’s sight he took one unleavened loaf and one loaf of bread with oil and one wafer and placed them on the pieces of fat and on the right thigh.
Lev 8:27 And he put all these in the hands of Aaron and in the hands of his sons and waved them as a wave offering in Yahveh’s sight.
Lev 8:28 Then Moses took them from their hands and burned them on the altar with the ascending offering. This was an ordination offering with a soothing aroma, a fire offering to Yahveh.
Lev 8:29 And Moses took the breast and waved it for a wave offering in Yahveh’s sight. It was Moses’ portion of the ram of ordination, as Yahveh commanded Moses.
contract signing meal
The ordination offering consisted of both a ram and unleavened bread. Portions of the ram and some of the unleavened bread were put into the hands of the priests being ordained. Moses either waved them before he gave them to the priests, or he waved other portions while they were holding the portions he gave them. Then, Moses took them back, and he burned the entire lot, except for the breast of the ram, which was to be eaten by him.
This elaborate ceremony was a kind of fellowship meal between Moses, the priests, and the LORD. It spoke of Moses’ relinquishing of some of his authority over the people of Israel, because now the priests would be taking up their particular intercessory roles. The meal together was like sitting down at a table in a business and signing mutual contracts which serve to clarify each partner’s responsibility.
LORD, show us how we are to minister in your name, and help us to agree with one another on our ministry roles.
Lev 8:22 Then he presented the other ram, the ram of ordination, and Aaron and his sons laid their hands on the head of the ram.
Lev 8:23 And he killed it, and 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.
Lev 8:24 Then he presented Aaron’s sons, and 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 threw the blood against the sides of the altar.
ears, thumbs and toes
The entire ordination ceremony is symbolic, and signifies what is necessary to serve God and his people. We have already seen two sacrifices paraded before us: the mistake offering for forgiveness, and the ascending offering for a renewed relationship with God. Now, a third sacrifice. This one highlights personal dedication. The blood of the ordination ram touches the priests right ear, symbolising a dedication to listen to only God’s word. The blood touches the right thumb, symbolising a dedication to do only God’s will. The blood touches the big toes, symbolising a dedication to walk in God’s ways.
Have you determined to serve God, and others in his name. It matters what voices you are listening to; it matters what you do; it matters where you go. A life of service demands that we surrender our own purposes, and dedicate ourselves to his.
LORD, we dedicate ourselves anew to hearing your word, doing your will, and walking in your ways.
Lev 8:18 Then he presented the ram of the ascending offering and Aaron and his sons laid their hands on the head of the ram.
Lev 8:19 And he killed it, and Moses threw the blood against the sides of the altar.
Lev 8:20 He cut the ram into pieces, and Moses burned the head and the pieces and the fat.
Lev 8:21 He washed the entrails and the legs with water, and Moses burned the whole ram on the altar. It was an ascending offering with a soothing aroma, a fire offering for Yahveh, as Yahveh commanded Moses.
key to commitment
After having sacrificed the mistake offering, and receiving forgiveness for their personal failures, Aaron and his sons were now free to pursue the one thing that would be the key to their commitment for priestly service: a relationship with God. The ascending offering symbolised the connection with the transcendent LORD which is the only thing that would enable them to intercede for others.
There is no substitute for that connection. You can study the Bible until you have multiple PhDs in it, but if you do not have a relationship with God, you will not be equipped to help others find him. You can learn all the counselling tips and tricks of psychology, but you cannot help others with their spiritual problems if you are not connected to the LORD himself. Jesus is the way to the Father. Without him, we can memorise every kind of map in the world, and still be lost.
LORD, show us the Way, so that we can show others the Way.
Lev 8:14 Then he brought the bull of the mistake offering, and Aaron and his sons laid their hands on the head of the bull of the mistake offering.
Lev 8:15 And he killed it, and Moses took the blood, and with his finger put it on the horns of the altar around it and purified the altar and poured out the blood at the base of the altar and consecrated it to provide reconciliation upon it.
Lev 8:16 And he took all the fat that was on the entrails and the long lobe of the liver and the two kidneys with their fat, and Moses burned them on the altar.
Lev 8:17 But the bull and its skin and its flesh and its dung he burned up with fire outside the camp, as Yahveh commanded Moses.
forgiveness before service
Aaron and the tabernacle had been anointed, and all of the priests were clothed in their special priest uniforms. But there had to be a mistake offering at this point, before any of them could begin their service of worship and intercession. No one stopped to ask whether or not he had made a particular mistake and needed forgiving at that moment. No, God had made it clear that forgiveness was necessary, and in their hearts each of them knew it.
The Bible teaches that all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God. We can believe that, or we can deceive ourselves into thinking that surely some people must be innocent. No, all our purity is filth compared to God’s holiness. So, before we dare to serve, we must seek forgiveness.
LORD, forgive us of our sins, and prepare us to serve you and others in your name.
Lev 8:10 Then Moses took the anointing oil and anointed the tabernacle and all that was in it, and consecrated them.
Lev 8:11 And he spritzed some of it on the altar seven times, and anointed the altar and all its utensils and the basin and its stand, to consecrate them.
Lev 8:12 And he poured some of the anointing oil on Aaron’s head and anointed him to consecrate him.
Lev 8:13 And Moses brought Aaron’s sons and clothed them with shirts and tied sashes around their waists and wrapped headbands around them, as Yahveh commanded Moses.
anointed place, anointed person
As Moses began the installation service for Aaron and his sons, he first anointed the tabernacle and Aaron with the holy oil. Oil was used regularly in the ancient near east for keeping people and animals clean, protecting them from parasites. Over time, the anointing of people with oil took of a symbolic significance. It represented purity, protection and dedication for the task one had to perform. So, it was appropriate for Moses to anoint both the holy place (the tabernacle and its furnishings) and the holy person (Aaron, as high priest).
LORD, separate us for the task you are calling us to perform. Sanctify the place where you want us to serve.
Lev 8:6 And Moses brought Aaron and his sons and washed them with water.
Lev 8:7 And he put the shirt on him and tied the sash around his waist and clothed him with the robe and put the ephod on him and tied the skilfully woven band of the ephod around him, binding it to him with the band.
Lev 8:8 And he placed the breast piece on him, and in the breast piece he put the Lights and the Darks.
Lev 8:9 And he set the turban on his head, and on the turban, in front, he set the golden plate, the holy badge, as Yahveh commanded Moses.
How Aaron was dressed symbolised his complete dedication to the LORD. His turban had a badge on it that said “Holy to Yahveh.” His breastpiece contained the Lights and Darks, a means of determining God’s will in difficult questions. His shirt was a long shirt — often called a tunic. Every aspect of his uniform spoke of his unique position as high priest of the tabernacle. God wanted him to dress that way to remind him of his important role and his significant relationship.
LORD, show us how we can express ourselves in such a way that we never forget our relationship with you, and your purpose for our lives.
Lev 8:1 Yahveh spoke to Moses, and this is what he said,
Lev 8:2 “Take Aaron and his sons with him, and the clothes and the anointing oil and the bull of the mistake offering and the two rams and the basket of unleavened bread.
Lev 8:3 And collect all the congregation at the entrance of the conference tent.”
Lev 8:4 And Moses did as Yahveh commanded him, and the congregation was collected at the entrance of the conference tent.
Lev 8:5 And Moses said to the congregation, “This is the thing that Yahveh has commanded to be done.”
The ordination ceremony for Aaron and his sons was intended to be a public celebration. It was to remind the children of Israel that God had called some of them to a life of dedication and intercession. There was to be no secret priest — no one who served God without also displaying that service openly.
Like the things they did as part of their jobs as priests, their ordination ceremony was prescribed by the LORD himself. Everyone was to watch and mentally tick off the procedures on the list. There was to be no slacking, no shirking of responsibility. Everything had to be done according to what had been commanded. Then, as each priest approached his daily task, he would remember that he started out doing this biblically, and that is the way he must proceed.
LORD, we dedicate ourselves to serving you as you prescribed — serving you biblically.
Lev 7:35 This is the portion of Aaron and of his sons from Yahveh’s fire offerings, from the day they were presented to serve as priests of Yahveh.
Lev 7:36 Yahveh commanded this to be given them by the people of Israel, from the day that he anointed them. It is a permanent prescription throughout their generations.”
Lev 7:37 This is the law of the ascending offering, of the tribute offering, of the mistake offering, of the reparation offering, of the ordination offering, and of the offering for healthy relationships.
Lev 7:38 which Yahveh commanded Moses on Mount Sinai, on the day that he commanded the people of Israel to bring their offerings to Yahveh, in the wilderness of Sinai.
the Sinai six
Six offerings commanded by the LORD to Moses on Mount Sinai are mentioned here. Each offering communicates something about who God is, and what he expects of those who take his name.
- ascending – God is exalted – we must seek his presence
- tribute – God is king – we must seek his favour
- mistake – God is perfect – we must seek his forgiveness
- reparation – God is saviour – we must honour his grace
- ordination – God is holy – we must honour his servants
- healthy relationships – God is one – we must honour his community
We can also see a transition of sorts in the offerings as listed here. The first three emphasise the covenant community’s responsibility to Love God, while the second three emphasise the covenant community’s responsibility to love each other. A similar two-fold emphasis is seen in the ten commandments.
LORD, show us how to seek you, and to honour those around us who are seeking you as well.