Leviticus 8: 10-36 The Work of A Priest

So we have looked at the garments of a Priest, today we look at the work of the Priest. Throughout the Scriptures, therefore, Aaron becomes a type, or picture, of our great high priest, the Lord Jesus Christ. It was quite fitting that Aaron be set aside first, before his sons, because the sons of Aaron are a picture of the priesthood of every believer.

As we see, the high priest was first washed and then clad in his beautiful garments. Each of those garments is a revelation of an aspect of the work of our great high priest, of what he is able to do for us.

Moving into verse 10 of chapter 8 , we read:

Then Moses took the anointing oil, and anointed the tabernacle and all that was in it, and consecrated them. And he sprinkled some of it on the altar seven times, and anointed the altar and all its utensils, and the laver and its base, to consecrate them. And he poured some of the anointing oil on Aaron’s head, and anointed him, to consecrate him. And Moses brought Aaron’s sons, and clothed them with coats, and girded them with girdles, and bound caps on them, as the LORD commanded Moses. (Leviticus 8:10-13 RSV)

There is the anointing of the high priest. It took place, you notice, before the sons were anointed, even before they were dressed. That is very significant because that is exactly what happened in history. Here you see one of those beautiful examples of how the Old Testament, written hundreds and hundreds of years before the earthly ministry of our Lord, yet captures exactly what Jesus did when he came and fulfilled these words. You recall that, when Jesus went down to the Jordan River to be baptized by John the Baptist, after the baptism, John said, “Behold, the heavens were opened and I saw the Spirit of God descending like a dove, and alighting on him; and lo, a voice from heaven, saying, ‘This is my beloved Son, with whom I am well pleased,'” (Matthew 3:16-17). That was God’s anointing of the great high priest by a symbol of the Holy Spirit, the dove, so that his ministry as a priest would always be a Spirit-filled ministry. Now here you have the same thing beautifully portrayed. Moses takes the oil, which also is a symbol of the Holy Spirit, and he anoints the high priest, Aaron. And he does so prior to the anointing of the sons. Just as Jesus was anointed for his ministry long before the anointing of the disciples by the Holy Spirit on the day of Pentecost, so here Aaron is anointed before his sons.

But following the anointing of Aaron, Moses brought Aaron’s sons and clothed them with coats, and girded them with girdles, and bound caps on them. Here we are moving into a picture of our own ministry. We are to the Lord Jesus Christ in our own priestly ministry as Aaron’s sons were to him. Just as the garments of the high priest were a picture of his character and of what he could do, so these three items are a picture of our ministry and of what we can do.

This is God speaking to you. If you are a believer in Jesus Christ this, is what God calls you to, and this is the provision for it.

First of all there is the coat. As we saw in connection with the high priest, the coat is a picture of the righteousness of Christ imparted to us. We are clad in his righteousness. That is, we don’t please God and earn his approval by our activity on his behalf. But the true priest of God is called to put on the coat of the righteousness of Jesus Christ. So you are allowed to make some mistakes! You are allowed to fail at times, because it isn’t your ministry which is going to make you acceptable in God’s sight; it is his. His life makes you accepted in the Beloved. That is the meaning of the coat.

Around the coat was bound the girdle. As we have also seen, the girdle, in Scripture, is always a picture of a servant character. It signifies a willingness on the part of every believer to meet other people at the point of their need, right where they are, right where they hurt, to stoop and give ourselves to that purpose and not to be concerned whether we get anything out of it or not ! This is what we are called to do!

Priesthood is not always in temples — not in sanctuaries under stained-glass windows —  Rather, it goes on out in homes and shops and schools and playgrounds and parks — places where people are. That is the kind of ministry God is calling us to — that of a servant who moves in where people hurt, where they need us. It maybe unpleasant at times, but it meets a need.

The third article of clothing was the cap bound around the head. And as we saw, just as the turban on the high priest is a picture of the mind bound by the authority of the Word of God, , so this cap of the priest is a picture of the mind under the control of the Lord Jesus Christ. As Paul puts it in First Corinthians 2:16, “We have the mind of Christ.” And in Second Corinthians 10:5 he says that we are to “bring into captivity every thought to the obedience of Christ.” That means to look at life as Jesus sees it, as he reveals it to us, and to set aside all the illusions and fantasies and delusions that this world follows. We are not to adopt their standard of values and their system of gaining power and precedence over others, but are to look at life the way God sees it!

Next is the sacrifice, which we already know it was necessary to offer sacrifices.

First was the sin offering, described for us in Verses 14-17. This is God’s continual reminder to us that we can never  solve a single problem until we start on that basis and deal with the problem of evil in human life.  That is why the sin offering comes into this account over and over again. It is God’s constant reminder.

Following the sin offering came the burnt offering, in Verses 18-21. I will simply remind you that the burnt offering is a picture of the life wholly available to God!

Then the third offering was the offering of ordination, given in Verses 22-24, which we will read:

Then he[Moses] presented the other ram, the ram of ordination; and Aaron and his sons laid their hands on the head of the ram. And Moses killed it, and took some of its blood and put it on the tip of Aaron’s right ear and on the thumb of his right hand and on the great toe of his right foot. And Aaron’s sons were brought, and Moses put some of the blood on the tips of their right ears and on the thumbs of their right hands and on the toes of their right feet, and Moses threw the blood upon the altar round about. (Leviticus 8:22-24 RSV)

Blood is always a reminder to us that we have no value apart from the death of Christ on our behalf and our life again in him. That is all that God ever accepts as of any value whatsoever out of our time here on earth. And here the priest is to have a blood-stained ear, a blood-stained thumb, and a blood-stained toe.

He is to hear God’s word as someone who has already been redeemed, We must hear the  hear the Word of God ,not as mere philosophy, but as that which teaches us instructively, deep within our hearts.

And then we are to serve man. That is what is always symbolized by the hand, the thumb, probably the most useful member of the human body. We are to serve as blood-stained people, recognizing that we have no righteousness in ourselves, that we are just like everybody else, no better than anyone else, and we offer our help not with  a holier than thou,” attitude , but as ones who, like those we help, are very much in need of the constant cleansing of the blood of Jesus Christ.


Finally there is the blood-stained foot, which represents walking through life with a reminder that the cleansing of God’s grace is needed every day, that we never are perfect in this life, that though God has made provision for a life of service and of walking in the Spirit, nevertheless we all have failed!. God has understood that and has made provision for it, for cleansing us as we walk.

The offerings continue with the offering of the fat and the thigh and the breast, and then conclude with the meal offering. Verses 25-29:

Then he took the fat, and the fat tail, and all the fat that was on the entrails, and the appendage of the liver, and the two kidneys with their fat, and the right thigh; and out of the basket of unleavened bread which was before the LORD he took one unleavened cake, and one cake of bread with oil, and one wafer, and placed them on the fat and on the right thigh; and he put all these in the hands of Aaron and in the hands of his sons, and waved them as a wave offering before the LORD. Then Moses took them from their hands, and burned them on the altar with the burnt offering, as an ordination offering, a pleasing odor, an offering by fire to the LORD. And Moses took the breast, and waved it for a wave offering before the LORD; it was Moses’ portion of the ram of ordination, as the LORD commanded Moses. (Leviticus 8:25-29 RSV)

We have seen this in our previous studies. The meal offering is a type of the human response which says, “Here I am, Lord, my humanity is at your disposal. I’m ready to be used of you.”

Then Moses took some of the anointing oil and of the blood[notice that — the oil and the blood] which was on the altar, and sprinkled it upon Aaron and his garments, and also upon his sons and his sons’ garments; so he consecrated Aaron and his garments, and his sons and his sons’ garments with him. (Leviticus 8:30 RSV)

When Moses anointed Aaron as a type of Christ, our great high priest, he used only oil, the symbol of the Holy Spirit. But when he anointed the sons, who are a picture of our priesthood, he used oil and blood — oil to symbolize the Holy Spirit, and blood to represent the redeeming value of the death of Jesus — so that our priesthood is based upon a dual recognition that we are to minister in the power of the Spirit and on the basis of a personal experience of the forgiveness of sin. And that is the only right we have as priests to approach other people. If you attempt to help someone else on any other basis then you are offering “strange fire before the LORD,” (Leviticus 10:1 KJV)!

Minister to others on the basis of being forgiven yourself and of recognizing that the Spirit of God can work through you, then you can actually help.

Finally we read:

And Moses said to Aaron and his sons, “Boil the flesh at the door of the tent of meeting, and there eat it and the bread that is in the basket of ordination offerings, as I commanded, saying, ‘Aaron and his sons shall eat it’; and what remains of the flesh and the bread you shall burn with fire. And you shall not go out from the door of the tent of meeting for seven days, until the days of your ordination are completed, for it will take seven days to ordain you. As has been done today, the LORD has commanded to be done to make atonement for you. At the door of the tent of meeting you shall remain day and night for seven days, performing what the LORD has charged, lest you die; for so I am commanded.” And Aaron and his sons did all the things which the LORD commanded by Moses. (Leviticus 8:31-36 RSV)

And no wonder! When Moses added the words, “If you don’t stay here night and day for seven days, if you leave this place, you will die,” they took him seriously and decided to stay where they were. They did all that the Lord had commanded. Because God is very serious about these things he can be ruthless when he needs to be.

God’s command to Aaron and his sons was to stay there in the doorway of the tent of meeting. You know that the tabernacle is a picture of the human body. In our human bodies, interpreting this to apply to us, we are to wait and feast upon the symbols of the work of Jesus Christ on our behalf: the right thigh of the animal, which is the symbol of his strength; the breast, representing his affection for us; and the bread of the meal offering, symbolic of the life of Christ, available to us. We are to feed on these, symbolically, for seven days, like these priests, until strength is perfected.

Seven is always the number of perfection in Scriptures. This is a little clue as to how God works. We ask him to do things for us and we often get upset because he doesn’t respond immediately. But here we see a process of feeding and waiting, which is God’s way of working strength out to perfection. These priests were taught, right from the start, that the way God works often is to delay, seemingly, in answering. In the meantime we are called upon to feed, to think, to remind ourselves of the strength of the One who was sacrificed on our behalf, the Lord Jesus, and of his love for us, and his life available to us, and thus to await God’s working out of his purpose.

That is one of the hardest things in life to do! WAIT!

So are you walking in your purpose? Have you discovered your priesthood? Are you willing to be that kind of a priest now, as God has called you to be?

Im challenged through Leviticus 8….are you?





Some info is used from Ray Steadman’s book on Leviticus Living Wholey

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