Leviticus 8 Commentary

To go directly to that verse

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Chart from recommended resource Jensen's Survey of the OT - used by permission
Another Overview Chart of Leviticus - Charles Swindoll
A third Overview Chart of Leviticus

Adapted and modified from C. Swindoll
Leviticus 1-17 Leviticus 18-27
The Way to God
The Walk with God
The Approach: Offerings Practical Guidelines
The Representative: Priest Chronological Observances
The Laws: Cleansing
Physically & Spiritually
Severe Consequences
Verbal promises
Ritual for Worship
Worshipping a Holy God
Practical for Walking
Living a Holy Life
Location: Mt Sinai for one full year
Theme: How sinful humanity can approach and worship a holy God
Key Verses: Lev 17:11, 19:2, 20:7-8
Christ in Leviticus: In every sacrifice, every ritual, every feast
Time: about 1446BC

1) Sweet aroma

2) Voluntary

Heb = 'olah

1) Sweet aroma

2) Voluntary

Heb = minchah

1) Sweet aroma

2) Voluntary

Heb = selemim

1) Non-sweet aroma

2) Compulsory

Heb = chattath

Aka-Purification Offering

Atoning sacrifice of animals with no physical defects. The required offering varied with the situation and station of the person receiving its benefits

1) Non-sweet aroma

2) Compulsory

Heb = asam

Aka - Reparation or Guilt Offering

Atoning sacrifice of a ram or lamb with no physical defects

Scripture Lv 1:3-17-note
Lv 6:8-13-note
Cp Nu 15:1-16
Lv 2:1-16-note
Lv 6:14-18-note
Lv 7:12-13-note
Cp Nu 15:17-21
Lv 3:1-17-note
Lv 7:11-21-note, Lv 7:28-34-note
Cp Deut 12:20-28
Lv 4:1-5:13-note
Lv 6:24-30-note
Cp Nu 15:22-31
Lv 5:14-6:7-note
Lv 7:1-7-note




1) To propitiate for sin in general -Lv 1:4-note

2) To signify complete dedication & consecration to God hence called the whole burnt offering.

Acceptance before God for worship & service

Maintenance of fellowship with God

Recognition of the sovereignty of God

This offering accompanied all burnt offerings.

Signified homage & thanksgiving to God.

Recognition of God's bountiful provision

Expression of dedication, praise & thanksgiving to God

Acknowledging God as the source of provision and prosperity.

Celebration of peace & of God's covenant faithfulness...

Generally expressed peace & fellowship between the offerer & God & thus culminated in a community meal.

1) Thank offering: express thanks for unexpected blessing or deliverance

2) Votive Offering: to express gratitude for a blessing or deliverance granted when a vow had accompanied the petition.

3) Freewill Offering: to express gratitude to God without regard to any specific blessing or deliverance.

To atone for sins committed unknowingly, especially where no restitution was possible. Note Nu 15:30, 31: The sin offering was of no avail in cases of defiant rebellion against God.

Confession to God for impurities and offenses

Recognition of the effects of one's sins on others in the covenant community

Restoration of fellowship with God

To atone for sins committed in ignorance, esp where restitution was possible

Confession to men for impurities and deceptions

Willingness of the repentant believer to make proper restitution

Consists of According to wealth:
1) Bull without blemish-Lv 1:3–9-note

2) Male sheep or goat without blemish-Lv 1:10–13-note); 3 Turtledoves or young pigeons-Lv 1:14–17-note

3) Turtledoves or young pigeons-Lv 1:14–17-note

Three Types:
1) Fine flour mixed with oil and frankincense-Lv 2:1–3-note

2) Cakes made of fine flour mixed with oil and and baked an oven Lv 2:4-note, in a pan Lv 2:5-note or in a covered pan Lv 2:7-note

3) Green heads of roasted grain mixed with oil and frankincense-Lv 2:14, 15-note

According to wealth:
1) From the herd, a male or female without blemish-Lv 3:1–5-note

2) From the flock, a male or female without blemish-Lv 3:6–11-note

3) From the goats-Lv 3:12–17-note

Note: Minor imperfections were permitted when the peace offering was a freewill offering of a bull or a lamb-Lv 22:23

1) For the high priest, a bull without blemish-Lv 4:3–12-note

2) For the congregation, a bull without blemish-Lv 4:13–21-note

3) For a ruler, a male goat without blemish-Lv 4:22–26-note

4) For a commoner, a female goat or lamb without blemish-Lv 4:27–35-note

5) In cases of poverty, two turtledoves or two young pigeons (one for a sin offering, the other for a burnt offering) could be substituted-Lv 5:7–10-note

6) In cases of extreme poverty, fine flour could be substituted-Lv 5:11–13-note; cp Heb. 9:22-note

1) If the offense was against the Lord (tithes, offerings, etc), a ram w/o blemish was offered; restitution was reckoned according to the priest's estimate of the value of the trespass + 20% (Lv 5:15-16-note)

2) If the offense were against man, a ram w/o blemish was offered, restitution reckoned according to the priest's estimate + 20% (Lv 6:4-6-note)

Entirety burned on the altar of burnt offering-Lv 1:9-note except the skin-Lv 7:8-note Memorial portion burned on the altar of burnt offering-Lv 2:2, 9, 16-note Fatty portions burned on the altar of burnt offering-Lv 3:3–5-note 1) Fatty
portions to be burned on the altar of burnt offering Lv 4:8–10-note, Lv 4:19. 26-note, Lev 4:31, 35-note

2) When the sin offering was for the high priest or congregation, the remainder of the bull was to be burned outside the camp-Lv 4:11, 12-note, Lev 4:20, 21-note

Fat burned on altar of burnt offering-Lev 7:3-5-note
Skin only-Lv 7:8-note Remainder eaten in court of tabernacle-Lv 2:3, 10-note, Lev 6:16-18-note, Lv 7:14-15-note Breast (wave offering) & right thigh (heave offering)-Lv 7:30-34-note   Remainder eaten in holy place-Lv 7:6-7-note
None None Remainder to be eaten in the court by the offerer & family
1) Thank offering = eaten same day-Lv 7:15-note
None None
Consecration Service Fellowship Redemption for the sinner that he is Redemption for the sinner he commits
Christ He presented Himself to the Father to do His will He served His Father and men as Son of Man He is the common bond of fellowship between God & man He atoned for the guilt of sin He atoned for the damage of sin.
Signifies complete dedication of life to God

1) On part of Christ-Mt 26:39-44, Mk 14:36, Lk 22:42, Php 2:5-11-note

2) On part of believer-Ro 12:1-2-note, Heb 13:15-note

Signifies perfect humanity of Christ:

1) Absence of leaven ~ sinlessness of Christ-He 4:15-note, 1Jn 3:5

2) The presence of oil is emblematic of the Holy Spirit-Lk 4:18; 1Jn 2:20-note, 1Jn 2:27-note

Shadow of the peace believer has through Christ-Ro 5:1-2-note, 1Cor 10:16-18, 11:17-34, Col 1:20-note

NB: Only offering in which offerer shared

Thank Offering:

1Th 5:18-note

Heb 13:15-note

Prefigures fact that Christ's death...

1) Was made sin for us - 2Cor 5:20-21-note

2) He suffered outside the gate - Heb 13:11-13-note

Cp Lv 4:3-note, 1Ti 5:20

Cp Lv 4:27-note, 1Cor 8:9-13

Cp Lv 5:5-note, 1Jn 1:9-note

See Heb 9:22-note

Shadow of Christ as our Trespass offering - Col 2:13-note

Cp Lv 5:15-note, Lv 22:14-16

Cp Lv 6:2-5-note, Eph 4:25-32, Jas 5:16

See Isa 53:10

Adapted from Believer's Bible Commentary & Irving Jensen
Comparative Study of Three Biblical Priesthoods
  Old Testament
Christ Great
High Priest
New Testament

Divinely Chosen

Heb 5:4+

Heb 5:5-6+

1 Pet 2:9*+


Ex 29:7+
Ex 40:12-15+
Lev 8:12+

Isaiah 61:1+
Acts 10:38+

1 Jn 2:20, 27+

Set Apart

Ex 28:36+
Lev 8:30+
Lev 21:6-8

John 10:36
John 17:19

1 Cor 1:2
Heb 10:14+
1 Pet 1:2+


Keeping Revelation

Deut 33:8, 10

John 17:8

Phil 2:15-16+
1 Thes 2:13+

Teaching †

Lev 10:11+
Deut 17:11
Deut 33:10a
Neh 8:9

Mt 5:2+
Mt 7:29+
John 3:2+

Col 3:16+
Heb 5:12+

Offering Sacrifices

Levi 9:7+
Deut 33:10b
Heb 5:1+

Heb 9:11-10:18+

Heb 13:15-16+
1 Pe 2:5+


Ex 28:12, 29**+
1Sa 7:5, 12:23

Ro 8:34+
Heb 7:25+

1 Ti 2:1

Judging Controversies

Deut 17:8-13

John 5:22+
Acts 10:42+
2 Ti 4:8+

1 Cor 6:1-5

Entering the
Holy Place

Ex 30:7-10+
Heb 9:1-7+

Heb 9:12, 24+

Heb 4:16+
Heb 10:19-22+


  • * With regard to the change over of the priesthoods and their relationship to God’s program, compare Exodus 19:6+ and Hosea 4:6+ with 1 Peter 2:9-10+.
  • “Law” (tôrâ) = “instruction.” It is interesting to note Aaron’s relationship to God’s instruction in Leviticus. Compare “And the LORD called/spoke to Moses” (Lev 1:1; 4:1; 6:1; 8:1) with “And the LORD spoke to Aaron/to Moses and Aaron” (Lev 10:8; 11:1; 13:1; 14:33; 15:1). However, note that “after the death of the two sons of Aaron” (16:1) the remainder of Leviticus employs the formula, “And the LORD spoke to Moses” (Lev 16:2; 17:1; 18:1; 19:1; 20:1; etc.)
  • ** Israel’s high priest bore the names of the tribes of Israel on his garments as a “memorial.” In other words, he represented the people. Such representation was part of his intercessory ministry.

Leviticus 8:1 Then the LORD spoke to Moses, saying

This phrase is used to introduce sections 23x in Leviticus -Lev 4:1; 5:14; 6:1, 8, 19, 24; 7:22, 28; 8:1; 12:1; 13:1; 14:1; 17:1; 18:1; 19:1; 20:1; 21:16; 22:1, 17, 26; 23:9; 24:1, 13


Then Jehovah spoke - The spiritual and moral authority of the consecration ceremony is from God and is to be carefully heeded, which Moses did to a "T", giving us all a great example to emulate. What follows looks back to Ex 29:4–37, describing how those instructions were to be implemented.

Note that literary genre changes from legal (sacred things) to narrative (sacred persons) in Lev 8-10.

In Leviticus 8 Moses fits Aaron (and his sons) for the holy priesthood. One scholar, Paul Kiene, wrote: “The details of the high priest’s garments speak of the Lord Jesus in His glory. They help us better recognize His incomparable qualities and the worth of His person, in order that we will love and honor our Lord more.”

A C Gaebelein's Outline of Leviticus 8

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)

Allen Ross on Leviticus 8

1. the congregation assembled with the materials (Lev 8:1–4)

2. the priests were washed and clothed (Lev 8:5–9)

3. the sacred objects and personages were anointed (Lev 8:10–13)

4. the purification offering was made (Lev 8:14–17)

5. the burnt offering was made (Lev 8:18–21)

6. the ram was sacrificed for the ordination; blood was applied to the ear, thumb, and toe; and the hands were filled for a wave offering (Lev 8:22–29)

7. the blood and oil were sprinkled on the priests (Lev 8:30)

8. the priests ate and endured the seven-day rite of passage (Lev 8:31–36) (Ibid)

Hess - The Levitical performance naturally divides into several sections:

Public presentation of the priests and the items (Lev 8: 2–4),

Priestly robing and anointing (Lev 8: 5–13),

Purification offering (Lev 8: 14–17),

Burnt offering (Lev 8: 18–21),

Ordination offering (Lev 8: 22–29),

Consecration (Lev 8: 30–35),

Conclusion (Lev 8:36).

Baker - Following the general instructions on how the ritual system of sacrifice and offering was to work (chs 1–7), there comes a section on how to prepare the personnel who would make it all happen. The best-laid plans in business or the church cannot come to adequate fruition without someone prepared and equipped to carry it all out. In the case of Israel, these trained people were the priests, the descendants of Aaron, whom God had already set aside for this job....Early in human history, people were able to bring their own gifts and offerings directly to God, building their own altars and performing the rituals themselves (e.g., Cain and Abel, Gen 4:3–4; Noah, Gen 8:20–21; Abraham, Gen 12:7–8; 22:9; Isaac, Gen 26:25; Jacob, Gen 33:20; 35:1, 3), a practice that never completely disappeared (e.g., Gideon, Jdg 6:25–27; David, 2 Sam 6:13; Elijah, 1 Kgs 18:30–38). While the involvement of individuals in the ritual process never disappeared, a special, skilled class, consisting of the priests and their assistants the Levites, took over the formal functions of the sacrificial system. Their official involvement was particularly associated with Israelite shrines, which were frequented by many worshipers and so involved numerous sacrifices (e.g., the Tabernacle in Exodus and Leviticus; Shiloh, 1 Sam 2:12–14; the Temple in Jerusalem, 2 Chr 29:20–24; DOTP 646–655; cf. 1 Kgs 12:31–32). (Leviticus, Numbers, Deuteronomy Cornerstone Biblical Commentary- David W. Baker, Dale A. Brueggemann, Eugene H. Merrill, Philip W. Comfort)

Constable - The consecration ceremonies involved many of the sacrifices just described. The institution of the Aaronic priesthood constituted the fulfillment of God's commands recorded in Exodus 28:1ff thru Ex 29:1ff and Ex 40:1ff. Almost every verse in Lev 8 is a quotation or allusion to commands first given in Exodus 29. Lev 9:1ff contains freer summaries of the laws in Leviticus 1-7. Thus we learn that Moses adhered strictly to God's instructions. Until now Israel followed the custom common in the ancient Near East that the father of a family functioned as a priest for his family (Cf. Job 1:5). The Levites as a tribe now assumed this role for the families of Israel under the leadership of Aaron and his sons. The nation as a whole had forfeited the privilege of being a kingdom of priests at Mt. Sinai when they worshipped the Golden Calf. Now this privilege became the portion of the faithful tribe of Levi. The main function of the priests in Israel was to guard and protect the holiness of God....The three chapters in this section parallel each other in form and content as well as containing contrasts. The effect of this triptych is to present an especially impressive panorama of this great event. A triptych is a group of three pictures each of which has its own individual scene and beauty but when placed side by side reveal that each one is also part of a larger picture that all three complete. (Leviticus 8 Commenary)

NET Note - Lev 8 is the fulfillment account of the ordination legislation recorded in Exod 29, and is directly connected to the command to ordain the tabernacle and priesthood in Exod 40:1–16 as well as the partial record of its fulfillment in Ex 40:17–38. (Leviticus 8)

Allen Ross - If coming into the presence of the LORD calls for sanctification, then going into his presence on behalf of others requires a special sanctity and a distinct calling. It is as the LORD said, “I will be sanctified in them who come near me, / and before all the people I will be glorified” (Lev. 10:3). And so the Book of Leviticus focuses a good deal on the requirements of spiritual leaders who draw near to God on behalf of others: the mediating high priest and the ministering priests....The central theme of this chapter is consecration to service. Contributing to the development of this major theme are several theological motifs relevant to the qualifications for ministry: purification (washing with water), preparation (vesting with clothing), consecration (anointing with oil), sanctification (applying the blood), dedication (filling the hands), and inauguration (eating the meal). Each of these opens up a significant amount of biblical material for further study. And beyond this the passage has significance for the New Testament emphasis on the eternal high priesthood of Jesus the Messiah. (Holiness to the Lord- A Guide to the Exposition of the Book of Leviticus - William Barrick says "belongs in the library of every serious expositor.")

Ross adds that "Kings...sometimes offered sacrifices: David, when he transferred the ark of the covenant, offered burnt and peace offerings and blessed the people (2Sa 6:17); and Solomon, at the dedication of the temple, did likewise (1Ki 8:5, 62-66). But these were exceptions, as these kings were actively involved in establishing temple worship in the nation. "On the other hand, Saul (1Sa 13:8-14), Adonijah (1Ki 1:9), Uzziah (2Chr 26:16-21), and Ahaz (2Ki 16:13-14; 2Chr 28:1-5) also performed the priestly ritual of offering sacrifices—but without the LORD's approval as some of the prophetic responses indicate."

Gorman observes how this ritual, performed before the whole community (Lev 8:1–4), forms the fifth of five major foundation ceremonies stretching from Genesis 1 to Leviticus 8. Each is divided into seven sections:

• seven acts of speech (on seven days) for the creation of the world (Ge 1:1–2:4a)

• seven speeches for the creation of sacred space in the tabernacle (Ex 25–31)

• seven acts of Moses in the construction of sacred space (Ex 40:17–33)

• seven speeches for the sacrifices in the sacred space (Lev 1–7)

• seven acts for the ordination of the priests for the sacred space (Lev 8)

Thus this chapter describes the conclusion and culmination of God’s creation of a means to maintain a relationship with his people.

Edersheim - "It need scarcely be said, that everything connected with the priesthood was intended to be symbolical and typical—the office itself, its functions, even its dress and outward support. . . . The fundamental ideas which underlay all and connected it into a harmonious whole, were reconciliation and mediation: the one expressed by typically atoning sacrifices, the other by a typically intervening priesthood. . . ."But there was yet another idea to be expressed by the priesthood. The object of reconciliation was holiness." (Temple--Its Ministry and Services)

G Campbell Morgan - At this point the second section of the book commences dealing with the laws of mediation. It opens with a brief historical account of the actual ceremony of the consecration of the priests and Tabernacle and the commencement of worship. In the sacred rites of consecration it is noticeable that Moses acted. It is an arresting thing to see him thus exercising all the functions of the priestly office, although he was not permanently appointed thereto. The explanation is that he was acting as in the very place of God. God, through His servant, anointed Tabernacle and priests. Thus at the initiation of the order the intermediary between God and the people was a man who, sharing no priestly appointment, was in direct communication with God. The final movements in the sacred rite of the consecration of the priests describes the offering to God, their acceptance through fire, and a fresh anointing of those called to the office of mediation and intercession. In the fullness of time, the one great Priest did not approach on the basis of sacrifice for Himself, but He did appear as Mediator through sacrifice for the people in the fullness of spiritual power. (Leviticus 8 Commentary - G. Campbell Morgan's Exposition on the Whole Bible)

Bush - The sacred writer here passes from sacred things to sacred persons. The present chapter describes the ceremonies previously ordained which marked the induction of Aaron and his sons into the priestly office. Most of the rites, however, peculiar to this occasion, are the same with those commanded Ex. 29 and which are there explained at length.... It may suffice simply to remark, that the priesthood was originally appointed to remain in Aaron’s family through all succeeding generations, and no one who was not of that lineage might on any account intrude into the sacred office. Aaron was succeeded by Eleazar, his eldest surviving son, after the death of Nadab and Abihu, and it continued in his family through seven generations, till the time of Eli. On his death it was removed from, that branch for the wickedness of Eli’s son, and given to the descendants of Ithamar, Aaron’s other son. In the time of Solomon it returned again into the line of Eleazar, in which it continued till the Babylonish captivity. Jeshua, the first high priest after the return of the Jews, was of the same family; but after his time the appointment became very uncertain and irregular; and after Judea became a Roman province, no regard whatever was paid to this part of the original divine institution. The office was in fact in process of time so far desecrated in the general corruption, that it was often sold to the highest bidder, whether of the family or not; and so things continued, till finally the nation had filled up the measure of its iniquities, and priest, altar, and temple were all swept away in the abolition of the Jewish economy and the dispersion of the race (Leviticus 8)

And so Leviticus 8 records God's prescription for the holy priesthood. Prior to this time men had offered sacrifices to God but there was no formal priesthood. See Cain and Abel (Ge. 4:3-4), Noah (Ge 8:20-21), Job (Job 1:5). It is interesting that prior to Leviticus 8-10, Moses (from the Tribe of Levi) functioned as the provisional priest for the sons of Israel, but with the inauguration of the Levitical priesthood, Moses' role as Israel's priest comes to an end and is passed on to his brother Aaron and his lineage.

For parallel descriptions and supplemental background on Leviticus 8-9 see Ex 28:1-43; Ex 29:1-46; Ex 30:1-38.

Exodus 29 records the command God gave to Moses to carry out this consecration ceremony with Aaron and his sons. It begins by stating the purpose of the ceremony...

NOW this is what you shall do to them to consecrate them to minister as priests to Me: take one young bull and two rams without blemish, (Ex 29:1)


Present one bull, two rams, unleavened bread, cakes, oil (Ex 29:1-4a) One bull, two rams, basket of unleavened bread brought to tent of meeting (Lev 8:1-5).
Aaron and sons to be washed, clothed with priestly garments (Ex 29:4b-9) Aaron and sons washed and clothed with priestly garments (Lev 8:6-9)
Bull to be offered as a sin offering (Ex 29:10-14) Bull offered as sin offering (Lev 8:14-17)
First ram to be offered as burnt offering (Ex 29:15-18) First ram offered as burnt offering (Lev 8:18-21)
Second ram to be offered as an ordination offering (Ex 29:19-28) Second ram offered as an ordination offering (Lev 8:22-29)
Moses to anoint Aaron and sons (Ex 29:29-30) Aaron and sons anointed (Lev 8:30)
Commands related to the eating of the ram of ordination (Ex 29:31-34) Moses instructs Aaron and sons concerning the eating of the ordination ram (Lev 8:31-36)

That Aaron should be appointed High Priest is a manifestation of God's amazing grace, for it was Aaron who was a central player in the making of a golden calf in Exodus 32:1-5 even building an altar to worship the idol! That Aaron was not struck dead speaks of "the riches of His kindness and forbearance and patience" (Ro 2:4). One is reminded of Paul the persecutor, who was transformed by grace into Paul the proclaimer of the Gospel.

Wenham - God's grace and forgiveness are such that even a sinner like Aaron [who apostatized by building the golden calf Ex 32:1-5] may be appointed to the highest religious office in the nation. Perhaps the closest biblical parallel to Aaron's experience was that of Peter. In spite of his threefold denial of his Lord at Christ's trial, he was reinstated as leader of the apostles after the resurrection. (NICOT)

This teaching is clearly applicable to New Covenant believers who in Christ are holy priests to the Lord...

And coming to Him (Messiah) as to a living stone, rejected by men, but choice and precious in the sight of God, you also, as living stones, are being built up as a spiritual house for a holy priesthood, to offer up spiritual sacrifices acceptable to God through Jesus Christ. (1Pe 2:4-5-note)

But you are A CHOSEN RACE, A royal PRIESTHOOD (hierateuma from hierós = sacred), A HOLY NATION, A PEOPLE FOR God's OWN POSSESSION (KJV = "a peculiar people"), that you may proclaim (exaggello "indicates a complete proclamation - declare abroad, make widely known, report widely, proclaim throughout, tell everywhere) the excellencies (arete - preeminence) of Him who has called you out of darkness into His marvelous light (1Pe 2:9-note)

TODAY IN THE WORD - Leviticus 8 Universal Guilt: Consecrating the Priests Men and women of humility rarely write on the subject. A pastor of a large American church wrote a book on humility a number of years ago. He’s since been under the discipline of his church for sins of pride, having mounted a track record of resisting correction and refusing accountability. It’s one more example that even the "strongest" among us are vulnerable to sin. We are all wrecked; every day we fall to our own pride and selfish desires. None of us is immune to the contagion of sin.

The ordination ceremony in Leviticus 8 pictures these truths of human frailty and depravity. The construction of the tabernacle has been completed, with its holy furniture and ornamentation. We’ve come to the moment when Aaron and his sons are consecrated for their priestly work. They will have charge of maintaining the tabernacle and offering the sacrifices brought by the people for expressions of atonement, thanksgiving, obedience, and worship. This is a holy work commended to an unholy people.

Moses presented offerings on behalf of the priests; they also needed atonement. Blood must be spilled on their behalf, for the sins they’d committed and will yet commit, for the good they’d already failed to do and will yet neglect. The sacred vestments in which Aaron and his sons were clothed were cleansed and consecrated. Water was the means of purification, and oil the means of consecration. Every detail illustrates the need for mercy and forgiveness. We cannot approach or serve God by our own merits.

The ordination was a public assembly for all to observe. Every detail was prescribed by God. Worship is serious business. He is holy and requires reverence.

Apply the Word - It can be devastating when our spiritual leaders fail. We often unreasonably expect perfection from them. Let today’s reading be a reminder that none of us is perfect, even those called into the ministry. Commit to praying for your pastor and the ministry leaders at your church, that they grow in humility and in the practices of confession and accountability.

Comparative Study of
Three Biblical Priesthoods

  Old Testament
Christ Great
High Priest
New Testament

Divinely Chosen

Heb 5:4

Heb 5:5-6

1 Pet 2:9*


Ex 29:7
Ex 40:12-15
Lev 8:12

Isaiah 61:1
Acts 10:38

1 Jn 2:20, 27

Set Apart

Ex 28:36
Lev 8:30
Lev 21:6-8

John 10:36
John 17:19

1 Cor 1:2
Heb 10:14
1 Pet 1:2


Keeping Revelation

Deut 33:8, 10

John 17:8

Phil 2:15-16
1 Thes 2:13

Teaching †

Lev 10:11
Deut 17:11
Deut 33:10a
Neh 8:9

Mt 5:2
Mt 7:29
John 3:2

Col 3:16
Heb 5:12

Offering Sacrifices

Levi 9:7
Deut 33:10b
Heb 5:1

Heb 9:11–10:18

Heb 13:15-16
1 Pe 2:5


Ex 28:12, 29**
1Sa 7:5, 12:23

Ro 8:34
Heb 7:25

1 Ti 2:1

Judging Controversies

Deut 17:8-13

John 5:22
Acts 10:42
2 Ti 4:8

1 Cor 6:1-5

Entering the
Holy Place

Ex 30:7-10
Heb 9:1-7

Heb 9:12, 24

Heb 4:16
Heb 10:19-22


  • * With regard to the change over of the priesthoods and their relationship to God’s program, compare Exodus 19:6 and Hosea 4:6 with 1 Peter 2:9-10.
  • “Law” (tôrâ) = “instruction.” It is interesting to note Aaron’s relationship to God’s instruction in Leviticus. Compare “And the LORD called/spoke to Moses” (Lev 1:1; 4:1; 6:1; 8:1) with “And the LORD spoke to Aaron/to Moses and Aaron” (Lev 10:8; 11:1; 13:1; 14:33; 15:1). However, note that “after the death of the two sons of Aaron” (16:1) the remainder of Leviticus employs the formula, “And the LORD spoke to Moses” (Lev 16:2; 17:1; 18:1; 19:1; 20:1; etc.)
  • ** Israel’s high priest bore the names of the tribes of Israel on his garments as a “memorial.” In other words, he represented the people. Such representation was part of his intercessory ministry.

Exodus 40:13  "You shall put the holy garments on Aaron and anoint him and consecrate him, that he may minister as a priest to Me."

Leviticus 8:2 "Take Aaron and his sons with him, and the garments and the anointing oil and the bull of the sin offering, and the two rams and the basket of unleavened bread,

The garments - In Ex 28:2 these were designated "holy garments," set apart for service in the tabernacle and later in the temple.

Hess comments that regarding all the things need for the ordination ceremony - Together these elements form the essentials for the consecration of the priests. All of them carry a high price in ancient Israel. They form some of the most valuable commodities available. This reflects the importance of giving one’s best possessions to God (cf. Lk 7:37–50).

Allen Ross - With the laws of the sacrifices in place, the next section of Leviticus focuses on who has the right to offer sacrifices in the holy place and in what way such people were qualified to do so.

A. Noordtzij - As was the case with all ancient peoples, religion did not exist in Israel apart from external, cultic forms. Offerings and priests everywhere occupied the central position in religious life. A fundamental difference nevertheless appears in the fact that outside of Israel, the priests, although there were physical or bodily conditions they had to satisfy, were recruited from among the people at large, and a person could thus become priest without having to be entitled to this by birth or by his position within society. In contrast, once the Israelites had become a nation and the covenant of the Lord had taken definite form as the pattern for their life, only members of the tribe of Levi were authorized to function as temple servants, while the right of serving in the Lord's offerings was reserved exclusively to members of the family Aaron. There is also a second point of difference. Whereas outside of Israel the priest primarily offered the sacrifices that sought to bring peace between human beings and the mysterious forces by which they imagined themselves to be surrounded, within Israel the tasks of counselor and teacher stood at the center of the priestly functions. The priest's foremost duty was to give direction to the Israelites in the subjection of their life to the ritual and ethical requirements of the service of the Lord." (Leviticus- Bible Students' Commentary)

Three chapters in the Bible are devoted to describing his clothing, the elaborate regalia that he wore on official occasions.

· In Exodus 28, his priestly garments are described.

· In Exodus 39, his priestly garments are manufactured.

· In Leviticus 8, his priestly garments are fitted and worn. (Rob Morgan)

Aaron -gives us a picture of Jesus and what He can do for us in the New Covenant.

Aaron and his sons - This is the priestly line. Not all Levites were priests but only those from the line of Aaron.

Stephen Olford noted that “Each part of his attire speaks eloquently of the glories, virtues, and excellencies of our Great High Priest, the Lord Jesus Christ.”

Nelson's Bible Dictionary - LEVITES [LEE vytes] were descendants of Levi who served as assistants to the Priests in the worship system of the nation of Israel. As Levites, Aaron and his sons and their descendants were charged with the responsibility of the priesthood—offering burnt offerings and leading the people in worship and confession. But all the other Levites who were not descended directly from Aaron were to serve as priestly assistants, taking care of the tabernacle and the temple and performing other menial duties (Nu 8:6). (Nelson's illustrated Bible dictionary. Nashville: T. Nelson)

A C Myers - In the Genesis accounts the role of a priest was assumed by the head of the clan (e.g., Noah, Abraham, Isaac, Jacob). The first Israelites to be formally identified as priests were Aaron and his sons Nadab, Abihu, Eleazar, and Ithamar (Ex. 28:1)....From the period of the wilderness wanderings through the postexilic era, the Levites were given the task of assisting the priests in place of the “firstborn in Israel” who were to have been set apart for Yahweh’s service (Nu 3:5-13). Yet it was the privilege of the Aaronic house alone to serve in the official capacity as priests...Besides being descendants of Aaron, Israelite priests were to be free from physical deformities (Lev 21:17-23) and were to meet stringent demands regarding marriage and cultic purity (Lev 21:1-22:33). The high priest was subject to even more demanding regulations (Lev 21:10-15). The impact of the holiness laws was to reinforce the holiness of God before Israel, just as the institution of the priesthood underscored the need for a mediator between God and Israel....In their sanctuary service the priests were charged with maintaining holiness. They alone were to tend to the golden incense altar, the lamps, the Bread of the Presence, and the altar of sacrifice. But the primary role of a priest was that of a mediator representing God before mankind, and mankind before God. Representing God before mankind, the priest instructed the people in God’s laws concerning conduct and worship (Dt. 33:11; cf. 2Chr 17:7-9) (Eerdmans Bible Dictionary)

Unger - the tribe of Levi was specially chosen by God for the purpose of entrusting to it the care and administration of holy things (Nu 3:5–13; 8:14–19). They were consecrated to Jehovah as His peculiar property, instead of the firstborn (which see) of the whole nation, these latter being replaced by the Levites, while all over and above the number required were ransomed at the rate of five shekels a head (Nu 18:15-16)... A Levite’s period of service was from twenty-five to fifty years of age (Nu 8:24-25); after the latter age he ceased from work and merely “assisted” his brothers...The functions of the whole tribe of Levi were to preserve the law of Jehovah in all its integrity and purity, to see that its requirements were duly complied with, to dispense justice in accordance with its enactments, and to transmit it to posterity (Lev 10:11; Dt 17:18; 31:9-13; 33:10; cf. 2Chr 17:8-9; Neh 8:9; Ezek 44:23; Mal 2:7-8). The Levites, apart from their priestly portion, were to act as assistants to the sons of Aaron “for all the service of the tent” (Num. 18:4), but they were forbidden to touch any sacred furniture or the altar until it had been covered by the priests (4:5–15)...When the people settled in Canaan it was the duty of the Levites, acting as police, to guard the sanctuary, to open and close it, to look after the cleaning of it and the furniture, to prepare the bread of the Presence and to do whatever other baking was needed in connection with the sacrifices, to lead the music (which see) during worship, to assist the priests in slaughtering and skinning the animals for sacrifice, to examine the lepers according to law, to look after the Temple supplies, and so on. (The New Unger's Bible dictionary)

Warren Wiersbe sums up Leviticus 8 (and Leviticus 9) noting that "Altar is a key word in these chapters (Ed: 23 times in 19 verses!) ; it is used twenty-three times. Without an altar, there can be no acceptable sacrifice; without a sacrifice, man cannot approach a holy God. But there must also be a priesthood to serve at the altar. In the Old Testament, God’s people had a priesthood, but in the New Testament, God’s people are a priesthood (1 Pet. 2:5, 9)."

Ray Stedman - If you don't understand this priesthood of Jesus to you today then you are missing out on a great part of your Christian heritage. This is the reason why so many people have a boring Christian life. They don't know the provision God has made for them. And they have so much struggle and weakness because they don't understand the resources which are available to them to meet them in their need and to alleviate their emotional depression. That is why God is teaching us here by this process.

The garments - The instructions for the priestly garments are given in Exodus 28; the making of the garments are described in Ex 39:1–31.

And you shall make holy garments for Aaron your brother, for glory and for beauty. 3 And you shall speak to all the skillful persons whom I have endowed with the spirit of wisdom, that they make Aaron’s garments to consecrate him, that (explains why Moses must consecrate Aaron and sons - so that) he may minister as priest to Me. 4 And these are the garments which they shall make: a breastpiece and an ephod and a robe and a tunic of checkered work, a turban and a sash, and they shall make holy garments for Aaron your brother and his sons, that he may minister as priest to Me. (Ex 28:2-4)

Anointing oil: Ex 30:23-37 The composition of the oil that was primarily composed of olive oil is given in Ex 30:22–23. - OIL, ANOINTING - (shemen hamishchah): This holy oil, the composition of which is described in Ex 30:22-33, was designed for use in the anointing of the tabernacle, its furniture and vessels, the altar and laver, and the priests, that being thus consecrated, they might be "most holy." It was to be "a holy anointing oil" unto Yahweh throughout all generations (30:31). On its uses, compare Ex 37:29; Lev 8:12; 10:7; 21:10. The care of this holy oil was subsequently entrusted to Eleazar (Nu 4:16); in later times it seems to have been prepared by the sons of the priests (1 Ch 9:30). There is a figurative allusion to the oil on Aaron's head in Ps 133:2. (Oil, Anointing - International Standard Bible Encyclopedia)

Ray Stedman - Anointing oil, in Scripture, always speaks of the Holy Spirit. This means that a priest, to be effective, always must be walking in the Spirit (cp Gal 5:16). You will never be an effective priest unless you learn the ministry of the Holy Spirit, learn how he works in you and through you, imparting the life of Christ to others through you.

Leviticus 8:3 and assemble all the congregation at the doorway of the tent of meeting."


First the material for the ordination were gathered by Moses and then the congregation was gathered to be witness to this inaugural event in the history of Israel.

Since all Israel would be affected by this ordination, all we called to assemble. Perhaps the elders had the closest view of the proceedings with other Israelites obtaining the best view they could. Recall that ll of these events took place as the foot of Mount Sinai. It is possible that there were some elevated areas from which one could have a better view.

Ross - Witnesses: the congregation must know that the consecration of those who minister is from the LORD himself. Because these men had spiritual authority over the people, it was imperative that the congregation witness their consecration as priests in order to be convinced that they were made priests by God. This is the point of all ordination services: it is God who calls people and consecrates them to his ministry. Both the one entering ministry and the congregation must acknowledge this from the outset if ministry is to function correctly.

Assemble all the congregation: Israel was assembled for a number of significant events -- Moses - To speak to the rock = Nu 20:8, Nu 21:16; David - To bring the ark = 1Chr 13:5 1Chr15:3 Solomon, to bring the Ark - 2Chr 5:2,6; To celebrate Passover, et al = 2Chr 30:2,13,25; To hear from Ezra the Book of the Law = Neh 8:1

John Trapp - Ministers are to be ordained in the public assembly, {Acts 14:22} that the people may show their approbation, profess their purpose of obedience, and pray for God’s Spirit to be poured upon them.

Congregation (05712) ('edah) is found 149x in the OT and most often describes an assembly and here translated in Lxx with synagoge (BDAG = "gathering place", later described the Jewish synagogue, which did not exist at this time). This ceremony was not to be performed in secret like many cults who perform secret "initiation rites."

Gaebelein has an interesting comment on all the congregation - 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 8:1-36 The Consecration of Aaron). 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 takes 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-note). 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 (Lk 22:42). That blessed will is foreshadowed in the priestly office and the priestly work. (Leviticus 8 Commentary)

Tent of meeting - see discussion in Lev 1:3.

Leviticus 8:4 So Moses did just as the LORD commanded him. When the congregation was assembled at the doorway of the tent of meeting,

So Moses did just as the LORD commanded him (same phrase occurs 16x in this section on the Priesthood - Lev 8-10 = Lev 8:4, 5, 9, 13, 17, 21, 29, 34, 36; 9:6, 7, 10, 21; 10:7, 13, 15) - Complete obedience by the servant of Jehovah (Dt 34:5). "So Moses did" sounds so simple, so easy, but there were more than a million Israelites to be assembled, so this was not a simple task. It would have been easy for Moses to reply "There are too many to assemble." Moses' faithfulness (Heb 3:1-6-note) to carry out Jehovah's commands to the letter is a testimony to all of God's leaders and stands in stark contrast to the debacle of Nadab and Abihu who carried out something "which He had not commanded them." (Lev 10:1)

Harrison - It is important to notice the position of Moses in relation to God’s activities here. Although he functioned as a servant, Moses was still in charge of the household of God (Num. 12:7; Heb. 3:2), and thus he parallels the obedience and fidelity of Christ, who also became a servant (Phil 2:7) in order to mediate the new covenant. (Ibid)

The LORD commanded - God was serious about following these commands to the letter, Moses recording "Whatever I command you, you shall be careful to do; you shall not add to nor take away from it." (Dt 12:32)

Commanded (20x in Lev 8-10) - Lev 8:4, 8:5, Lev 8:9, Lev 8:13, Lev 8:17, Lev 8:21, Lev 8:29, Lev 8:31, Lev 8:34, Lev 8:35, Lev 8:36, Lev 9:5, Lev 9:6, Lev 9:7, Lev 9:10, Lev 9:21, Lev 10:1, Lev 10:13, Lev 10:15, Lev 10:18

Wiersbe - At least twenty times in these three chapters you’ll find the word commanded. Moses and Aaron didn’t have to concoct an ordination ceremony. The same God who instructed Moses how to build the tabernacle also told him how to ordain the priests and how the priests should serve in the tabernacle (Ex. 28–29). Nothing was left to chance or to the imagination. Moses was to do everything according to what God had shown him on the mount (Ex 25:40; 26:30; 27:8; Heb. 8:5). In the ministry of the church today, spiritual leaders must constantly ask, “For what does the Scripture say?” (Ro 4:3, NKJV) God hasn’t left us in the dark as to what His church is, how it’s to be led, and what it’s supposed to do, but if we substitute people’s ideas for God’s Word, we will be in the dark! (Isa. 8:20) Religious novelties and fads abound, creating celebrities and increasing crowds but not always honoring the Lord or building the church. We need leaders, like Moses, who will spend time “on the mount” and find out from the Word what God wants His people to do. (Be Holy - Leviticus- Becoming -Set Apart- for God)

Congregation (05712)(edah) is a feminine noun meaning a congregation, an assembly, a band, an entourage, a pack. In ordinary usage, edah refers to a “group of people.” In this context edah refers to the entire nation, including the women and children.

Leviticus 8:5 Moses said to the congregation, "This is the thing which the LORD has commanded to do."

This is the thing, etc - Moses introduces the ordination ceremony announcing it as from God alone and that Jehovah is the sole Initiator! This is significant in view of the fact that Aaron was his brother and he might otherwise be accused of favoritism. In this case, no such accusation would have been possible, for the choice was Yahweh's! This truth in turn would tend to gain the support and allegiance of the people, who would then support the establishment of the priesthood. Despite this solemn and sure authentication, we see it was not long before rebels began to protest the privileged position (See the Rebellion of Korah - Nu 16:1-35). Flesh will always show it's true colors in time!

Korah - A leader of rebellion against Moses and Aaron while Israel was camped in the wilderness of Paran (Numbers 16:1 ). Korah, Dathan, and Abiram led a confederacy of 250 princes of the people against Aaron's claim to the priesthood and Moses' claim to authority in general. The rebels contended that the entire congregation was sanctified and therefore qualified to perform priestly functions. As punishment for their insubordination, God caused the earth to open and swallow the leaders and their property. A fire from the Lord consumed the 250 followers. (Korah - Holman Bible Dictionary - Bible Dictionary)

The LORD has commanded (the command is in Lev 8:2-3) - Moses emphasizes this command did not originate from him, but from God. This is the Word of God. Now in the next verse we see water linked with the Word.

Leviticus 8:6 Then Moses had Aaron and his sons come near and washed them with water.


Rooker on washed them with water - In ritualistic texts such as this one cleansing by water symbolizes cleansing or purification from sin: “The washing was intended to symbolize cleansing of heart for the duties that were so intimately related to the purity of the nation before God.” Water is still used for purification in Christianity and Islam. The reference to being washed with water implies full immersion. (Leviticus- An Exegetical and Theological Exposition of Holy Scripture - The New American Commentary- Mark F. Rooker)

In Exodus 29:4 God had instructed Moses "Then you shall bring Aaron and his sons to the doorway of the tent of meeting, and wash them with water."

Ross - The act of washing with water also signified inner spiritual cleansing from sin and defilement, and rāchats (to wash) took on that connotation (cf. Isa. 1:16-note). In this chapter, washing with water is the ritual that goes with making the unclean (tame) clean (tahor), whether skin disease (Lev. 14:8–9) or defilement (Lev. 15); it represented the restoration to purity of a person who had become soiled in life. This symbolic ritual of washing away defilement and impurity precedes the ritual of making holy. Active and ongoing sanctification is an essential part of being set apart for ministry; and the first step in sanctification is removing defilement and sin. Exod. 30:17–21 indicates that the priests had to wash themselves every time they came to serve in the sanctuary. (Holiness to the Lord- A Guide to the Exposition of the Book of Leviticus- Allen P. Ross)

Rob Morgan: It’s clear from the book of Hebrews that Aaron was a “type” or a foreshadowing of Christ. The Old Testament High Priesthood found its fulfillment in the Lord Jesus, our great High Priest. With that in mind, we have made a little step of logic. If the Old Testament priest is a prefiguration of Christ, and if three chapters in the Old Testament are devoted to his wardrobe, we might assume that his clothing has Messianic or Christological implications. There are five different garments we should look at here. The first was the ephod, which we studied last week. See his two messages on Priestly Garments...


David Guzik writes that "Since in Jesus we are a holy priesthood....a royal priesthood (1 Peter 2:5, 9), there is much for us to learn by analogy in this consecration ceremony. God wants us set apart for His purpose and will, and He uses these principles to accomplish that goal."

Washed - "They were completely washed to consecrate them (Justification), then they would daily be washing their hands and feet to maintain holiness (sanctification) (1Jn 1:9). In John 13 "Simon Peter said to Him, “Lord, not my feet only, but also my hands and my head.” Jesus *said to him, “He who has bathed needs only to wash his feet, but is completely clean; and you are clean, but not all [of you.]” (Jn 13:9-10)

Washed them with water - This probably occurred at the the copper laver (just to the east of the entrance of the tent of meeting - see schematic). This laver was made from the mirrors of the women who served at the sanctuary entrance in some unspecified capacity (Ex. 38:8). Recall that they are in a desert area where water was scant and precious, so this ritual washing would be especially significant to the Israelites.

Note that Aaron and his sons did not wash themselves but the received a washing by Moses. By way of application, sinners cannot wash themselves to make themselves clean - that is what every world religion tries to do in essence - to wash themselves, to perform a ritual or perform enough "good" works to cleanse themselves from sin. Only Christianity provides a washing (internal, not external) for the sinner, a washing that is not forced on the sinner but is received by faith and by which he or she is consecrated as a priest to God (see Scriptures below). For Aaron and sons, this was humbling because it took place in public at the door of the tent of meeting. In a similar manner, God's Spirit humbles sinners before He regenerates them into saints. It is also notable that this consecration washing was a one time event, even as is our initial "washing of regeneration and renewing by the Holy Spirit." (Titus 3:5) is a one time event (Justification or declaration of righteousness reflects "Past Tense Salvation"). A sinner's washing and cleansing is made possible by the death of our Great High Priest, Christ Jesus and is appropriated by grace through faith. In the KJV translation of Revelation 1:5-note we read...

And from Jesus Christ, Who is the faithful Witness, and the first Begotten of the dead, and the Prince of the kings of the earth. Unto Him that loved us, and washed us from our sins in His Own blood (cf Lev 17:11, Heb 9:22)

Garland Comments: Nestle Aland has “freed” (λύσαντι [lysanti] ) whereas Majority Text has “washed” (λούσαντι [lousanti] ) - a difference of a single Greek letter. Scripture describes both as being true of the believer who has been set free (Mt. 20:28; Gal. 3:13; 4:5; 1Ti 2:6; Heb 9:12; 1Pe 1:18; Rev. 5:9; 14:3-4) and washed, a picture of spiritual cleansing (Ps. 51:2; Isa. 1:16-18; Eze. 36:25; Acts 22:16; Eph. 5:26; Titus 2:14 ("purify for Himself"); Titus 3:5; Heb. 1:3; 9:14; 2Pe. 1:9). The imagery of the immediate passage, in His own blood, argues for the latter as does internal evidence elsewhere in the book (Rev. 7:14).

Apparently Aaron and his sons stood nude and exposed before Moses and the entire congregation, a picture of all sinful mankind standing exposed before a Holy God, for "there is no creature hidden from His sight, but all things are open and laid bare (Greek word trachelizo pictures one seized by the throat and suggests the bending back of a sacrificial victim to expose the throat for cutting) to the eyes of Him with whom we have to do (to give an account)." (Heb 4:13-note).

Clearly in this section Moses is describing how a priest would become or be made acceptable to God and then be able to approach Him. There are four main "ingredients": Water (Lev 8:6), anointing oil (Lev 8:10-12), blood (Lev 8:14-29), and garments (Lev 8:7-9). The religious Jews practiced washings in their practice of Judaism, all of their washings relating to ritual cleansing from some type of contamination - Heb 6:2, Heb 9:10, cp OT stipulations in regard to both priests and lay Jews - Ex 29:4, Ex 30:19-21, Ex 40:12 Lev 14:8,9 Lev 16:4,24 Lev 17:15,16 Lev 22:6 Nu 19:7-21 Dt 21:6 Dt 23:11)

Wiersbe on washing - This may have been done at the laver in the courtyard of the tabernacle (Ex. 38:8). The priests were ceremonially bathed all over but once; from then on, they washed their hands and feet at the laver while they were serving in the tabernacle (Ex 30:17–21). When sinners trust Christ, they are washed from their sins once and for all (Rev. 1:5–6; 1 Cor. 6:9–11); God’s children need to keep their feet clean by confessing their sins to the Lord (John 13:1–10; 1 John 1:9-note). In the Bible, water for washing is a picture of the Word of God (Ps. 119:9; John 15:3; Eph. 5:25–27-note). As we meditate on the Word of God and apply it to our lives, the Spirit of God uses the Word to cleanse us and make us more like Christ (2 Cor. 3:18-note). (Ibid)

Harrison - The Aaronites were washed with water, in order to cleanse them symbolically from sin. It would be comparable to the baptism of adults in the New Testament, one of two sacraments enjoined upon believers by Christ.


Each of these OT regulations or rituals has a parallel application to us as New Testament believers for we are now and forever holy priests to God in Christ Jesus.

1Pet 2:5-note you also, as living stones, are being built up as a spiritual house for a holy priesthood, to offer up spiritual sacrifices acceptable to God through Jesus Christ.

1Pet 2:9-note But you are A CHOSEN RACE, A royal PRIESTHOOD, A HOLY NATION, A PEOPLE FOR God’s OWN POSSESSION, that you may proclaim the excellencies of Him who has called you out of darkness into His marvelous light;

Rev 1:6-note and He has made us to be a kingdom, priests to His God and Father; to Him be the glory and the dominion forever and ever. Amen.

Rev 5:10-note “ And Thou hast made them to be a kingdom and priests to our God; and they will reign upon the earth.”


We were washed

Ps 51:2-note Wash me thoroughly from my iniquity, and cleanse me from my sin.

Spurgeon: It is not enough to blot out the sin; his person is defiled, and he fain would be purified. He would have God himself cleanse him, for none but he could do it effectually. The washing must be thorough, it must be repeated, therefore he cries, "Multiply to wash me." The dye is in itself immovable, and I, the sinner, have lain long in it, till the crimson is ingrained; but, Lord, wash, and wash, and wash again, till the last stain is gone, and not a trace of my defilement is left. The hypocrite is content if his garments be washed, but the true suppliant cries, "wash me." The careless soul is content with a nominal cleansing, but the truly awakened conscience desires a real and practical washing, and that of a most complete and efficient kind.

Ezekiel 36:25-note “Then I will sprinkle clean water on you, and you will be clean; I will cleanse you from all your filthiness and from all your idols.

Comment: This prophecy speaks of Israel and describes a future day when the Jews (who believe) will be washed with the water of God's Word and Spirit and will be regenerated and given new life in the New Covenant (cp Ro 11:26-note). This is not a reference to water baptism. It is fascinating to see that even today Jews practice the Mikveh (see note) (see schematic of a modern mikveh-click again to enlarge diagram) or ritual washing in water as a means to attain ritual purity and that indeed this practice is a central tenet of Orthodox Judaism. How sad that this external washing of themselves obscures (and counterfeits so to speak) their great need for internal washing by the Spirit.

Bible Knowledge Commentary adds: In Old Testament times sprinkling or washing with water pictured cleansing from ceremonial defilement (cf. Lev. 15:21-22; Num. 19:17-19). Since Israel’s sin was like the ceremonial impurity of menstruation (Ezek. 36:17) her cleansing was now compared to the ceremonial act of purification. The point is that God will purify Israel from her sins.

John 13:7 Jesus answered and said to him, "What I do you do not realize now, but you shall understand hereafter." 8 Peter said to Him, "Never shall You wash my feet!" Jesus answered him, "If I do not wash you, you have no part with Me."

1Cor 6:11 And such were some of you; but you were washed, but you were sanctified, but you were justified in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ, and in the Spirit of our God.

Acts 22:16 'And now why do you delay? Arise, and be baptized, and wash away your sins, calling on His name.'

Henry Morris explains that: Baptism may symbolize the washing away of one's sins, just as it symbolizes death to the old life and rising to a new life (Ro 6:4,5). But just as one does not really die while in the water, neither can physical water wash away moral and spiritual sins. These are the metaphors of baptism. The reality which they speak of is a new life in Christ, with sins forgiven and the assurance of everlasting life, received through faith in Christ as Lord and the regenerating work of the indwelling Spirit of God. Sins really are washed away by regeneration (Titus 3:5).

Eph 5:26-note that He might sanctify her, having cleansed her by the washing of water with the word,

Titus 3:5-note He saved us, not on the basis of deeds which we have done in righteousness, but according to His mercy, by the washing of regeneration and renewing by the Holy Spirit,

Hebrews 1:3-note And He is the radiance of His glory and the exact representation of His nature, and upholds all things by the word of His power. When He had made purification of sins, He sat down at the right hand of the Majesty on high;

Hebrews 10:22-note let us draw near near with a sincere heart in full assurance of faith, having our hearts sprinkled clean from an evil conscience and our bodies washed with pure water.

Comment: The concept of draw near is repeatedly emphasized in Leviticus describing the Levitical priests who were to "come near" = Lev 8:6, 13, 24, 9:7, 10:3, 21:21, 21:23

Rev 7:14-note And I said to him, "My lord, you know." And he said to me, "These are the ones who come out of the great tribulation, and they have washed their robes and made them white in the blood of the Lamb.

Rev 22:14-note Blessed are those who wash their robes, that they may have the right to the tree of life, and may enter by the gates into the city.

Gaebelein - “washed 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.


1John 2:20-note But you have an anointing from the Holy One, and you all know.

1John 2:27-note And as for you, the anointing which you received from Him abides in you (Ed: The Holy Spirit dwells in each believer - Ro 8:9, 1Cor 3:16, 1Cor 6:19), and you have no need for anyone to teach you; but as His anointing teaches you about all things (cf "Spirit of truth" who will be in the disciples - Jn 14:17, 26, 1Cor 2:12-16), and is true and is not a lie, and just as it has taught you, you abide (live, remain) in Him (Christ).

2 Cor 1:21 Now He who establishes (Gk - bebaioo= confirms, makes certain, increases our inner strength) us with you in Christ and anointed us is God, 22 Who also sealed (sphragizo) us and gave us the Spirit in our hearts as a pledge (arrabon).

Hodge Comments: Kings, prophets, and priests were anointed when at their inauguration. To 'anoint' may therefore mean to qualify by divine influence, and thus to authorize anyone to discharge the duties of any office. In Luke 4:18 our Lord applies to Himself the language of Isaiah 61:1, 'The Spirit of the Lord is on me, because he has anointed me to bring good news to the poor.' (cf Acts 4:27, Acts 10:38). Similarly, Christians are described as anointed because by the Spirit they are consecrated (dedicated, set apart) to God and qualified for His service (1 John 2:20, 27). When Paul says here that God has anointed us, the us means all Christians, and of course the anointing to which he refers is that which is common to all believers. (An Exposition of the Second Epistle to the Corinthians)


Hebrews 9:14-note how much more will the blood of Christ, who through the eternal Spirit offered Himself without blemish to God, cleanse your conscience from dead works to serve the living God?

Comment: The Greek word for "serve" is latreuo, which in the NT conveys the idea of rendering service to God, to worship, to perform sacred services or to minister to God in a spirit of worship (See use by Paul in 2Ti 1:3-note).

Hebrews 9:21-note And in the same way he sprinkled both the tabernacle and all the vessels of the ministry with the blood. 22 And according to the Law, one may almost say, all things are cleansed with blood, and without shedding of blood there is no forgiveness. 23 Therefore it was necessary for the copies of the things in the heavens to be cleansed with these, but the heavenly things themselves with better sacrifices than these (Sacrifice of Christ once for all - Heb 9:28, 1Pe 3:18, 1Jn 3:5).

Hebrews 10:19-note Since therefore, brethren, we have confidence to enter the holy place by the blood of Jesus, 20 by a new and living way which He inaugurated for us through the veil, that is, His flesh, 22 let us draw near with a sincere heart in full assurance of faith, having our hearts sprinkled clean from an evil conscience and our bodies washed with pure water.

1 Pet 1:1-note Peter, an apostle of Jesus Christ, to those who reside as aliens, scattered throughout Pontus, Galatia, Cappadocia, Asia, and Bithynia, who are chosen 2 according to the foreknowledge of God the Father, by the sanctifying work of the Spirit, that you may obey Jesus Christ and be sprinkled with His blood: May grace and peace be yours in fullest measure.

1Pet 1:18-note knowing that you were not redeemed with perishable things like silver or gold from your futile way of life inherited from your forefathers, 19 but with precious blood, as of a lamb unblemished and spotless, the blood of Christ.

Gaebelein - 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 (Psalms 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).


Isa 61:10 I will rejoice greatly in the LORD, My soul will exult in my God; For He has clothed me with garments of salvation, He has wrapped me with a robe of righteousness, As a bridegroom decks himself with a garland, And as a bride adorns herself with her jewels.

Ps 132:9 Let Thy priests be clothed with righteousness; And let Thy godly ones sing for joy....16 “Her priests also I will clothe with salvation; And her godly ones will sing aloud for joy.

Spurgeon: See how the ninth verse asks for the priests to be clad in righteousness, and the answer is, I will also clothe her priests with salvation. God is wont to do exceeding abundantly, above all that we ask or even think. Righteousness is but one feature of blessing, salvation is the whole of it. What cloth of gold is this! What more than regal array! Garments of salvation! we know who has woven them, who has dyed them, and who has given them to his people. These are the best robes for priests and preachers, for princes and people; there is none like them; give them me. Not every priest shall be thus clothed, but only her priests, those who truly belong to Zion by faith which is in Christ Jesus who hath made them priests unto God. These, are clothed by the Lord himself, and none can clothe as he does. It even the grass of the field is so clothed by the Creator as to out do Solomon in all his glory, how must his own children be clad? Truly he shall be admired in his saints; the liveries of his servants shall be the wonder of heaven.

Ge 3:21 And the LORD God made garments of skin for Adam and his wife, and clothed them.

Gal 3:27 For all of you who were baptized into Christ have clothed yourselves with Christ.

Ro 3:21-note But now apart from the Law the righteousness of God has been manifested, being witnessed by the Law and the Prophets, 22 even the righteousness of God through faith in Jesus Christ for all those who believe; for there is no distinction;

Ro 13:14-note But put on the Lord Jesus Christ, and make no provision for the flesh in regard to its lusts.

Luke 15:22 "But the father said to his slaves, 'Quickly bring out the best robe and put it on him, and put a ring on his hand and sandals on his feet;

Job 29:14 "I put on righteousness, and it clothed me; My justice was like a robe and a turban.

Isa 61:10 To appoint unto them that mourn in Zion, to give unto them beauty for ashes, the oil of joy for mourning, the garment of praise for the spirit of heaviness; that they might be called trees of righteousness, the planting of the LORD, that he might be glorified.

Leviticus 8:7 He put the tunic on him and girded him with the sash, and clothed him with the robe and put the ephod on him; and he girded him with the artistic band of the ephod, with which he tied it to him.

Now the focus turns to Aaron by himself, as Moses dresses the high priest. "The tunic (Ex 28:39), sash (Ex 28:39), headdress (Ex 28:39–40; 39:28), and breeches (Ex 28:42; 39:28) were common to priests, while the ephod, breastplate, robe, and crown were the sole attire of the high priest. The material for the garments of the priests corresponds to the material used for the curtain and veil of the tabernacle (Exod 26:1–6, 31–37), which indicated not only a close association between them but also that the priesthood, like the tabernacle, was holy unto God." (Rooker)

Tunic...sash...robe...ephod...artistic band - What was the purpose of these beautiful, ornate garments? In Exodus we see the answer...

And you shall make holy garments for Aaron your brother, for glory and for beauty. (Ex 28:2)

Is this not also every believer-priests duty (privilege) in the New Testament, to so live and conduct ourselves that others see Jesus in us, "Christ in us the hope (assurance of future) glory" (Col 1:27-note)? Paul alludes to this using two metaphors (perfume/aroma and a written letter) in his letters to the saints at Corinth...

2Cor 2:14 But thanks be to God, who always leads us in His triumph in Christ, and manifests through us the sweet aroma of the knowledge of Him (Jesus) in every place. 15 For (term of explanation) we are a fragrance of Christ to God among those who are being saved and among those who are perishing; 16 to the one an aroma from death to death, to the other an aroma from life to life. And who is adequate for these things?

(Using a second metaphor Paul says to the saints at Corinth) "You are our letter, written in our hearts, known and read by all men; (continually [present tense]) being manifested (phaneroo from phanerós = manifest, visible, conspicuous from phaino = give light; become visible from phos = light indicates an external manifestation to the senses which is thus open to all, making visible that which had been hidden). that you are a letter of Christ, cared for by us, written not with ink, but with the Spirit of the living God, not on tablets of stone, but on tablets of human hearts. (2Cor 3:2-3)

He put the tunic on him - Moses actually clothed Aaron. Aaron did not clothe himself but was clothed with garments ultimately provided by God. In the same manner we as believer-priests are clothed with the righteousness of Christ (1Cor 1:30, 2Cor 5:21)...

Rev 3:5-note ‘He who overcomes (not a special group but ALL believers - read 1Jn 5:4,5) shall thus be clothed in white garments; and I will not erase his name from the book of life, and I will confess his name before My Father, and before His angels.

Girded him with the artistic band of the ephod

Eph 6:14-note Stand firm (aorist imperative) therefore, HAVING GIRDED YOUR LOINS WITH TRUTH, and HAVING PUT ON THE BREASTPLATE OF RIGHTEOUSNESS,

Spurgeon - Note, that these garments were provided for them. They were at no expense in buying them (cp Isa 55:1-2, 52:3, a gift = Ro 3:24), nor labor in weaving them, nor skill in making them; they had simply to put them on. And you, dear child of God, are to put on the garments which Jesus Christ has provided for you, at His own cost (Ed: The price has been ""paid in full" - Jn 19:30-), and freely bestows upon you out of boundless love (1Jn 3:1-note).

Tunic (03801)(kuttonet from which our English word "cotton" is derived) is a feminine noun indicating a coat, a garment, a tunic. The first "tunic" was made by God for Adam (Ge 3:21). Most uses (14) refer to priestly robes Milgrom writes that the priest's tunic was "Made wholly of fine, embroidered linen (Ex 28:39; 39:27), it was worn by all priests (Lev 8:13). Aaron’s tunic, in addition, is described as tašbēs (Ex 28:4), etymology unknown, rendered either “fringed” (LXX) or “checkered” (Tgs., Rashi). As it was the first garment to be put on, it was worn next to the skin." In Ge 37 kuttonet refers to the tunic Jacob made for Joseph (Ge 37:3, 23, 31-33)

Baker - "It indicates a long undergarment with a collar cut out for one’s head (Gen. 37:3); the main common garment worn by men or women (2Sa 15:32; Song 5:3). Priests wore a priestly tunic (Ex. 28:4; Lev. 16:4; Ezra 2:69; Neh 7:70, 72). These garments could be of linen or skins (Gen. 3:21) and were sometimes embroidered (Ex. 28:4, 39). They were torn as a sign of grief and mourning (2 Sam. 15:32). Worn by kings or rulers, they indicated authority (Isa. 22:21)." (Ibid)

NET Note - The term “tunic” refers to a shirt-like garment worn next to the skin and, therefore, put on first (cf. Ex 28:4, 39–40; 29:5, 8; 39:27). Traditionally this has been translated “coat” (so KJV, ASV), but that English word designates an outer garment.

KIuttonet- 25v - Ge 3:21; Ge 37:3, 23, 31-33; Ex 28:4, 39f; 29:5, 8; 39:27; 40:14; Lev 8:7, 13; 10:5; 16:4; 2Sa 13:18f; 15:32; Ezra 2:69; Neh 7:70, 72; Job 30:18; Song 5:3; Isa 22:21

For more description of the Ephod of the High Priest read Ex 28:6-14 and Ex 39:2–5.

Harrison - Elaborate though these vestments were, particularly in view of their wilderness milieu origin, their own function was to remind the Israelites that a powerful, holy and just God was indeed present with them in so far as the wearer of the garments was held to be linked to him. This association of elaborate vestments with a deity was also a traditional aspect of Canaanite cultic worship, as for example at Ugarit, where the robe of the goddess Anat was described as ’epd. They did not serve to glorify the office of the high priest or other cultic officiants, but instead indicated that there were certain clearly defined standards attached to the worship of the One who had created the universe, and particular avenues by which alone God could be approached. Hurried, casual or disorderly worship had no place in ancient Hebrew religious life, whatever might have been the case in the cultic rites of other Near Eastern nations. The worship of the God of Sinai was a very serious matter, since he was the only true and living God who could deal swiftly and surely with offenders, as even some members of the priestly line were soon to discover. The prescribed forms of the Hebrew rituals and the attire of the priests served the important purpose of maintaining the distinctiveness of worship among the covenant people, and guarded against the possibility of innovations being introduced from pagan sources. Unfortunately even these precautions were circumvented at later periods in Hebrew history. (Ibid)

Girded him with the sash - The sash fastened the tunic around the waist (Ex 28:4, 39; 29:9; 39:29).

NET Note on Robe - The robe was a long shirt-like over-garment that reached down below the knees. Its hem was embroidered with pomegranates and golden bells around the bottom (Ex 28:4, 31–35; 29:5; 39:22–26).

Ephod (Thumbnails and descriptions) (0646)(epod) is a masculine noun referring to the sacred vestment worn by the high priest. "A garment worn around the high priest’s upper body that featured twelve semiprecious and precious stones on the front, each one bearing the name of one of the tribes of Israel (Ex. 28:4, 6, 12, 15, 25–28). The breastplate bearing the stones was on the front of the ephod itself. The ephod was made by a skilled workman and had two shoulder pieces which were fastened together to hold it securely. It also bore two stones, one on each of its shoulders that represented the tribes of Israel. Each stone had six of the tribes of Israel engraved on it." (Baker) The Hebrew word ephod also described a vestment worn by David (2Sa 6:14, 1Ch 15:27) and the boy Samuel (1Sa 2:18). Gideon made an ephod which was an idolatrous cultic object (Jdg 8:27) In Hos 3:4 it is one of the sacred items the sons of Israel will lose access to for a period of time (because of disobedience).

R K Harrison - The term ephod was also used occasionally to describe an ‘idol’ (cf. Jdg. 8:27; 17:5) which was employed in family worship, but precisely why such an image was described by a name used for a well-attested object in Israelite tabernacle worship is unknown. (Tyndale Old Testament Commentaries - Leviticus)

The Lxx translates ephod most often using the Greek noun epomis which means a shoulder piece.

NET Note - The ephod was an apron like garment suspended from shoulder straps. It draped over the robe and extended from the chest down to the thighs (Ex 28:4, 6–14, 25–28; 29:5; 39:2–7).

Vine - The “ephod” of the high priest was fastened with a beautifully woven girdle (Ex 28:27-28) and had shoulder straps set in onyx stones, on which were engraved the names of the twelve tribes. Over the chest of the high priest was the breastplate, also containing twelve stones engraved with the tribal names. Rings attached it to the “ephod.” The Urim and Thummin were also linked to the breastplate. Apparently, this “ephod” and attachments were prominently displayed in the sanctuary. David consulted the “ephod” to learn whether the people of Keilah would betray him to Saul (1Sa 23:9-12); no doubt the Urim and Thummim were used. The first biblical occurrence of the word refers to this high priestly ephod: “Onyx stones, and stones to be set in the ephod, and in the breastplate” (Ex. 25:7). So venerated was this “ephod” that replicas were sometimes made (Jdg 8:27; 17:1-5) and even worshiped. Lesser priests (1Sa. 2:28) and priestly trainees wore less elaborate “ephods” made of linen whenever they appeared before the altar.

Ephod - In early Old Testament history, there are references to the ephod as a rather simple, linen garment, possibly a short skirt, apron, or loin cloth. It is identified as a priestly garment (1 Samuel 14:3; 1 Samuel 22:18 ). It was worn by Samuel (1 Samuel 2:18 ) and by David when he danced before God on the occasion of the transfer of the ark of the covenant to David's capital city of Jerusalem (2 Samuel 6:14 ). From its earliest forms and uses, it appears that the ephod was associated with the presence of God or those who had a special relationship with God. It is portrayed as a source of divine guidance, as when David wanted to know if he should trust the people of Keilah (1 Samuel 23:9-12 ) or when he wanted to know if he should pursue the Amalekites (1 Samuel 30:7-8 ). (Holman Bible Dictionary)

Related Resources on Ephod -

Ephod - 39x -

Ex 25:7; 28:4, 6, 12, 15, 25ff, 31; 29:5; 35:9, 27; 39:2, 7f, 18ff; Lev 8:7; Judg 8:27; 17:5; 18:14, 17f, 20; 1 Sam 2:18, 28; 14:3; 21:9; 22:18; 23:6, 9; 30:7; 2 Sam 6:14; 1 Chr 15:27; Hos 3:4

Rob Morgan - “Ephod” isn’t a word or a garment we’re very familiar with, but it was quite important in the Old Testament where it is mentioned about 50 times. It was the outermost garment, and it resembled an elaborate apron. It came to represent the priesthood itself. Last week we noticed four things about the ephod: 1. It’s majesty, which speaks of the honor and majesty of Christ.

2. It’s materials—white linen interwoven with threads of solid gold, representing the sinless humanity of Christ interwoven with His divinity.

3. It’s colors—blue, representing our Lord’s heavenly origin; purple, representing his royalty; scarlet, representing his shed blood.

4. Its onyx stones, which held the garment together at the shoulders. On these stones were inscribed the names of the twelve tribes of Israel, reminding us of how our Lord bears us on His shoulders day and night. (Dress Rehearsal- What The High Priestly Garments of Aaron Tell Us About Christ 2)

Rob Morgan - Harry A. Ironside was an exacting Bible student who took painstaking care in correctly interpreting and teaching the Word of God. Usually. There was one occasion, however, when, using a story, he stretched the meaning of a text to the breaking point. But even then, he got it right. It was in a sermon from Leviticus 8:8 about the Urim and Thummim. This mysterious device was attached to the priest’s breastplate and somehow served to reveal God’s will in certain matters. Some believe it was a pouch containing two stones, one indicating “Yes” and the other signifying “No.” Others believe it was composed of jewels attached to the priest’s breastplate and which somehow indicated God’s will in various matters. Ironside gave it all a different twist as he told of a young British minister well-versed in all matter of theology. In his church sat a poor cobbler who, though uneducated, knew the Bible through and through. One day the minister, wanting to impress the cobbler, asked, “Can you tell me what the Urim and the Thummim were?” “I don’t know exactly,” replied the cobbler at length. “I understand that the words apply to something that was on the breastplate of the high priest. I know that through the Urim and Thummim the high priest was able to discern the mind of God. But I find that I can get the mind of the Lord nowadays just by changing two letters.” “By changing two letters?” asked the minister. “Yes. I take this blessed book, and just by usin’ and thummin’ I get the mind of the Lord.” Ironside, laughing, endorsed the cobbler’s view. Use the Word of God daily, he told his audience. Thumb through it frequently, for it reveals the mind of Christ. (From this verse: 365 scriptures that changed the world)

Leviticus 8:8 He then placed the breastpiece on him, and in the breastpiece he put the Urim and the Thummim.


The breastpiece - "This piece was worn on top of the ephod (Ex 28:5-14, 39:2-7) and was attached to it by gold cords on the shoulders of the ephod. These gold cords were attached to gold rings (Ex 28:22–27). The breastpiece was something like a pouch, nine or ten inches square." (Rooker)

NET Note - The breastpiece was made of the same material as the ephod and was attached to it by means of gold rings and chains on its four corners (Exod 28:15–30; 29:5; 39:8–21). It had twelve stones attached to it (representing the twelve tribes of Israel), and a pocket in which the Urim and Thummim were kept

Breastpiece (02833)(hosen - Arabic cognates mean beauty) is an ornamental chest covering made of the same material as the ephod and worn only by the high priest. It was also used to hold the Urim and Thummim. On it were twelve gems on which were engraved the names of the tribes of Israel. Gold cords fastened the upper rings to the gems on the shoulders of the ephod.

Harrison - The ‘breastpiece’ was an elaborately embroidered square of cloth set with four squares of stones. Since it was essentially a small bag, the rendering of hosen by ‘breastplate’ (KJV, RV), ‘breastpiece’ (RSV, NEB) is entirely conjectural. (Ibid)

Hosen - 21v - Ex 25:7; 28:4, 15, 22-25, 26, 28-30; 29:5; 35:9, 27; 39:8-9, 15-17, 19, 21; Lev 8:8

TWOT - The breastplate symbolized the unity of the nation, the dependence of the people on the person and ministry of the high priest, their presence before God as a beloved people, and the channel of the revelation of God's will. With it were the Urim and Thummim whereby the will of God was conveyed to the people (Ex 28:15-30). The LXX designates it as the "oracle of judgment" for "breastplate of judgment" or "breastplate of the (oracular) decision," in Hebrew. It was considered the most important item among the distinctive garments of the high priest. Josephus's account of the breastplate is elaborate, but not entirely reliable (Josephus - Antiquities of the Jews 3.7.5)

Hatfield on breastpiece - A piece of elaborate embroidery about nine inches square worn by the high priest upon his breast. It was set with twelve stones with the name of one of the 12 tribes of Israel engraved on each stone (Ed: The names of the tribes were also written on the two stones that were on the shoulder of the ephod = Ex 28:11; 39:6); The breastplate was a special item worn by the high priest as he ministered in the tabernacle or Temple. Made like a purse, the breastplate was constructed of gold metal, blue, purple, and scarlet yarn, and of fine linen. It was securely tied to the ephod. See Leviticus 8:8 ). The breastplate was called breastplate of judgment (Exodus 28:15 ) because these stones were the means of making decisions (Exodus 28:28-29 ). See Exodus 28:2 ); (2) to be a means of making decisions (Exodus 28:30 ); and (3) to be a continuing memorial before the Lord (Exodus 28:29 ). (Breastplate - Holman Bible Dictionary)

Merrill - In Exod. 28:15 this breastplate is said to be fashioned "for making decisions." The Urim and Thummim were apparently the reason why the breastplate was designated "the breastplate of decision" (Exod. 28:2930). While some feel that the Urim and Thummim are descriptive terms for the 12 stones of the breastplate, they appear to be distinct from them here (see below). The first-century Jewish historian Josephus assigned oracular characteristics to the 12 stones of the breastplate claiming they would shine when Israel was to be victorious in war (Antiquities, 3.8.9). Later Talmudic tradition suggests that God's glory would illuminate the various letters of the tribes engraved upon the stones in an order that would spell out a message (Yoma, 73, a-b). Besides there being no indication in Scripture that this occurred, 5 of the 22 letters in the Hebrew alphabet do not appear in these 12 tribal names. The breastplate was made from the same material as the ephod and was attached to the ephod by means of chains and gold rings at the four corners of the breastplate (Exod. 28:15-30; 29:5; 39:8-21). The 12 stones attached to it apparently represented the 12 tribes of Israel as the high priest went before the LORD. There must have been some non-described pocket in which the Urim and Thummim could be held. (The Bible Knowledge Word Study - Gen-Deut)

In the NT as noted all believers are priests and we too have a breastpiece (breastplate) as described by Paul...

Eph 6:14-note Stand firm (command - every divine command includes divine enablement by the Spirit) therefore, HAVING GIRDED YOUR LOINS WITH TRUTH, and HAVING PUT ON THE BREASTPLATE OF RIGHTEOUSNESS,

1Thess 5:8-note But since we are of the day, let us be sober (nepho), having put on (enduo) (When? At the time of our new birth we were clothed with) the breastplate of faith and love, and as a helmet, the hope of salvation.

Joseph Parker - The Urim (light) and the Thummim (perfection). What the Urim and the Thummim actually were no man has been able to find out. But whatever they were, there can be no doubt as to what our Urim and Thummim are. We are not left without light and perfection.… Our Urim and Thummim are the Old and New Testaments. Keep these in the heart; be at home with them in all their wondrous variety of speech, of doctrine, of song, of inspiration, and of instruction of every kind; and then you never can stray far from the path providential that makes its own course straight up to the God who started the mysterious Outgoing.

Ex 28:30 “And you shall put in the breastpiece of judgment the Urim and the Thummim, and they shall be over Aaron’s heart when he goes in before the LORD; and Aaron shall carry the judgment of the sons of Israel over his heart before the LORD continually.

Urim (0224)(urim possibly the plural of ur = flame, light, fire - Isa 31:9, Ezek 5:2) masculine plural noun which some lexicons state means light or fire.

John MacArthur - The etymological source of these two terms (urim and thummim), as well as the material nature of the objects represented by them, cannot be established with any degree of finality. Clearly two separate objects were inserted into the breastpiece and became thereby an essential part of the High-Priest’s official regalia. Aaron and his successors bore over their heart “the judgment of the sons of Israel,” i.e., “judgment” in the sense of giving a verdict or decision. The passages in which the terms appear (Lev 8:8; Nu 27:21; Dt 33:8; 1Sa 28:6; Ezra 2:63; Ne 7:65) and those which record inquiries of the Lord when a High-Priest with the ephod was present (Josh 9:14; Jdg 1:1, 2; 20:18; 1Sa 10:22; 23:2, 4, 10–12; 1Ch 10:14) allow for the following conclusions: 1) that these two objects represented the right of the High-Priest to request guidance for the acknowledged leader who could not approach God directly, as Moses had done, but had to come via the God-ordained priestly structure, and 2) that the revelation then received gave specific direction for an immediate problem or crisis, and went beyond what could be associated with some sort of sacred lots providing merely a wordless “yes” and “no” response. (MacArthur study Bible)

Rooker - The Urim and Thummim were inside the breastpiece pouch. In the ancient world the breastpiece was often associated with royal attire and may have been considered the most important of the high priestly garments. It was made from the same material as the ephod (Ex 28:15). The breastpiece symbolized the unity of the nation, the dependence of the people on the person and ministry of the high priest, their presence before God as a beloved people, and the channel of the revelation of God’s will. With it were the Urim and Thummim whereby the will of God was conveyed to the people (Ex 28:15–30). (Many suggest they resembled modern dice, which were cast to the ground to obtain a yes or no answer from the Lord.) The breastpiece especially illustrated the representative character of the high priest, for he bore the name of the tribes of Israel and represented the nation as a whole when he entered the sanctuary of God (Ex 28:29). In this ministry the high priest typifies the work of Christ, who entered into the heavenly sanctuary on the part of his people and is an Advocate before the Father (Heb 2:17; 3:1; 4:14, 15; 5:5, 10; 6:20; 7:26; 8:1; 9:11 [10:21]). (Ibid)

NET Note - The Urim and Thummim were two small objects used in the casting of lots to discern the will of God (see Ex 28:30; Nu 27:21; Dt 33:8; 1Sa 14:41 in the LXX and Ex 28:6; Ezra 2:63 and Neh 7:65). It appears that by casting them one could obtain a yes or no answer, or no answer at all (1Sa 28:6; J. E. Hartley, Leviticus [WBC], 111-12). See the extensive discussion in J. Milgrom, Leviticus (AB), 1:507–11.

Urim - 7v

Exodus 28:30 "You shall put in the breastpiece of judgment the Urim and the Thummim, and they shall be over Aaron's heart when he goes in before the LORD; and Aaron shall carry the judgment of the sons of Israel over his heart before the LORD continually.

Leviticus 8:8 He then placed the breastpiece on him, and in the breastpiece he put the Urim and the Thummim.

Numbers 27:21 "Moreover, he shall stand before Eleazar the priest, who shall inquire for him by the judgment of the Urim before the LORD. At his command they shall go out and at his command they shall come in, both he and the sons of Israel with him, even all the congregation."

Deuteronomy 33:8 Of Levi he said, "Let Your Thummim and Your Urim belong to Your godly man, Whom You proved at Massah, With whom You contended at the waters of Meribah;

1 Samuel 28:6 When Saul inquired of the LORD, the LORD did not answer him, either by dreams or by Urim or by prophets.

Ezra 2:63 The governor said to them that they should not eat from the most holy things until a priest stood up with Urim and Thummim.

Nehemiah 7:65 The governor said to them that they should not eat from the most holy things until a priest arose with Urim and Thummim.

Milgrom notes that "From these citations, a few facts can be deduced. The Urim and Thummim were a form of oracle placed inside a pocket, “the breastpiece of decision,” worn by the high priest on his chest. According to the Priestly tradition they were used exclusively by the high priest inside the Tabernacle, as stated explicitly in the Lord’s charge to Moses: “he shall present himself to Eleazar, the priest, who shall on his behalf seek the decision of the Urim before the Lord” (Num 27:21a). Most likely, the high priest had to station himself inside the shrine so that he could be physically closer to the symbolic seat of the Godhead, the Ark. This may be inferred from Jdg 20:27–28: “The Israelites inquired of the Lord (for the Ark of God’s Covenant was there in those days, and Phineas son of Eleazar son of Aaron the priest ministered before him in those days), ‘Shall we again take the field.…’ ” The interpolation, presumably by a Priestly editor, makes it clear that the use of the Urim and Thummim is associated with the Ark and they must be consulted in its proximity." (Leviticus 1–16: a new translation with introduction and commentary)

Thummim (08550)(tummiym some lexicons say it is related to [08537] tom = completeness, integrity, but this is not definitive) is of uncertain derivation.

We may get a clue as to the sense of Thummim from the Lxx, which translates it as aletheia (= truth) in 3 uses (Ex 28:30, Lev 8:8, Dt 33:8), teleios (speaks of completion or totality of something) in one passage (Ezra 2:63) and photizo (Eph 1:18 = "enlighten" one's heart) in one passage (Neh 7:65). Combining all three Greek words, we can get some sense as to the function of the Thummin (although this is still somewhat conjectural).

Easton's Bible Dictionary has one of the longest specific discussions of Thummim - Perfection (LXX., "truth;" Vulg., "veritas"), Exodus 28:30; Deuteronomy 33:8; Judges 1:1; 20:18; 1 Samuel 14:3,18; 23:9; 2Sa 21:1 . What the "Urim and Thummim" were cannot be determined with any certainty. All we certainly know is that they were a certain divinely-given means by which God imparted, through the high priest, direction and counsel to Israel when these were needed. The method by which this was done can be only a matter of mere conjecture. They were apparently material objects, quite distinct from the breastplate, but something added to it after all the stones had been set in it, something in addition to the breastplate and its jewels. They may have been, as some suppose, two small images, like the teraphim (Compare Jdg 17:5; 18:14,17,20; Hos 3:4 ), which were kept in the bag of the breastplate, by which, in some unknown way, the high priest could give forth his divinely imparted decision when consulted. They were probably lost at the destruction of the temple by Nebuchadnezzar. They were never seen after the return from captivity.

Merrill - The Urim and Thummim - These Hebrew words are transliterations of two superlative plurals meaning "lights" and "perfections." The definite article is always used in relation to these terms until the postexilic period. The urim mentioned only 4x in the Pentateuch (Ex 28:30; here, Nu 27:21; Deut. 33:8). It is also mentioned once during the early monarchy (1Sa 28:6) and twice after the exile (Ezra 2:63; Neh. 7:65). The Thummim is combined with the urim 5x out of these seven (missing in Nu 27:21; 1Sa 28:6). These two items are never actually described in the Scriptures but appear to be stones or gems (or at least something that was tangible) that were placed within the breastplate of the high priest. They were intended as a means of divine guidance for the nation by means of the high priest (the breastplate is called in Ex 28:15 a "breastplate for making decisions"). It is not known how Aaron and his successors used these items though they may have functioned as "yes" and "no" or "true" and "false" answers to questions put to the high priest. The two stones may have been engraved with symbols to distinguish the two or they may have been of two different colors. However, in 1Sa 28:6 the Urim is literarily placed between the terms "dreams" and "prophets," which may suggest that there was a correspondingly personal revelation through the mind of the priest who wore the breastplate. A great difficulty in seeing the Urim and Thummim function merely as a form of lot oracle is that when a revelation was given by this means it was declared in the form of God speaking and often included more information than a mere positive or negative response to the question (e.g., 1Sa 10:22; 2Sa 5:23-24). It appears that the gift of prophecy was often part of this process of discernment. Perhaps the prophetic revelation was accompanied by a confirmatory sign using the Urim and Thummim in some manner. What is clear however, is that "the Urim and Thummim are characterized as belonging to God, who entrusted this revelatory means to Levi (Dt. 33:8) in the person of the high priest. The civil leader was expected to inquire of Yahweh through the high priest about all matters pertaining to the execution of his office [Nu 27:21]" (C. Van Dam, NIDOTTE, 1:330). Certainly the placement of the Urim and Thummim in the breastplate of the high priest who would represent the nation before the LORD would indicate that the high priest was to seek from the LORD God alone the answers to questions that were not possible to discern from the revelation already given to the nation by the LORD. (Ibid)

Thummim - 5v -

Exodus 28:30 "You shall put in the breastpiece of judgment the Urim and the Thummim, and they shall be over Aaron's heart when he goes in before the LORD; and Aaron shall carry the judgment of the sons of Israel over his heart before the LORD continually.

Leviticus 8:8 He then placed the breastpiece on him, and in the breastpiece he put the Urim and the Thummim.

Deuteronomy 33:8 Of Levi he said, "Let Your Thummim and Your Urim belong to Your godly man, Whom You proved at Massah, With whom You contended at the waters of Meribah;

Ezra 2:63 The governor said to them that they should not eat from the most holy things until a priest stood up with Urim and Thummim.

Nehemiah 7:65 The governor said to them that they should not eat from the most holy things until a priest arose with Urim and Thummim.

Leviticus 8:9 He also placed the turban on his head, and on the turban, at its front, he placed the golden plate, the holy crown, just as the LORD had commanded Moses.


Turban (04701)(misnepet) is a feminine noun which means a head wrap or headband as an ornamental head dress cap which was worn by either a king (Ezek 21:26) or the high priest (Ex. 28:4, 37, 39; 29:6; 39:28, 31; Lev. 8:9; 16:4).

The Lxx translates misnepet with the noun mitra which referred to a head dress or head band (to bind women's hair together.

Eugene Merrill - The turban is usually thought to have consisted of wound-up linen that covered the head (Exod. 28:4, 37, 39; 29:6; 39:31; Lev. 16:4). However, at least one lexicon suggests that it might be only a "turban-like headband" that was wound around the head but only covering the forehead area and not including the top of the head (HALOT II, 624). It is used twice in this verse and then again in Lev. 16:4. While head-coverings are never commanded for Hebrew men in the Scriptures, perhaps this practice of latter Judaism has some foundation in the turban worn by the priest as he appeared to serve at the tabernacle. In 1 Cor. 11:4 Christian men are specifically told not to pray or prophesy with the head covered. Unless one sees this requirement as part of the arrangements of the New Covenant (though the arguments of head-coverings in 1 Corinthians are based mostly on the creation account, not the Old Covenant or on custom) then it may be best to see the high priest as wearing a "turban-like headband" on which was fastened the gold plate, the sacred diadem (see Lev. 8:9). (Ibid)

Misnepet - 12x in 9v - Ex 28:4, 37, 39; 29:6; 39:28, 31; Lev 8:9; 16:4; Ezek 21:26

Holman Bible Dictionary on Turban - Headdress formed by wrapping long strips of cloth around the head. A distinctive headdress formed part of the garb of the high priest (Exodus 28:4 ,Exodus 28:4,28:37 ,Exodus 28:37,28:39; Exodus 29:6; Exodus 39:28 ,Exodus 39:28,39:31; Leviticus 8:9; Leviticus 16:4 ). Removal of one's turban was a sign of mourning or shame (Isaiah 3:18-23; Ezekiel 24:17 ,Ezekiel 24:17,24:23). (Turban - Holman Bible Dictionary).

NET Note on golden plate - The gold plate was attached as a holy diadem to the front of the turban by means of a blue cord, and had written on it “Holy to the LORD” (Ex 28:36–37; 39:30–31). This was a particularly important article of high priestly clothing in that it served as the main emblem indicating Aaron’s acceptable representation of Israel before the LORD (Ex 28:38).

Holy in the phrase "holy crown" ("crown of holiness" - used 3x in OT - Ex 29:6, 39:30, Lev 8:9) is the Hebrew noun qodesh - see word study.

The "holy crown" on the OT high priest foreshadows our Great High Priest, Christ Jesus, Who has been crowned with the Name above all names because of His humbling Himself to the point of death, even death on a Cross (see Php 2:9-11-note)

For more on the turban and the crown see also Ex 28:4, 36-38; 39:30-31.

As explained in the word study below, the use of nezer for crown demonstrated that the priest was a set apart or consecrated person, one wholly dedicated to Jehovah. Should we be any less, dearly beloved? I fear that since we don't daily see this dramatic picture of the high priest's holy attire, the profound significance of personal holiness, tends to slip away little by little just by virtue of our daily exposure to a culture which seems to be growing more holy almost daily!

Crown (05145)(nezer from nazar = to dedicate, consecrate) is a masculine noun derived from nazar which speaks of separation or dedication. It describes something (Lev 21:12 - anointing oil) or someone (priest - Ex 29:6, 39:30, Lev 8:9; Nazirite - Nu 6:5, 7-9, 12 - see Nazarite) set apart or consecrated to a deity for a special purpose (a holy purpose). Nezer is used of a royal crown in 2Sa 1:10; 2Ki 11:12; Zech 9:16; Ps 89:39, Ps 132:18; Pr 27:24; 2Chr 23:11. Jeremiah used nezer to refer to the hair of the personified Jerusalem (Jer. 7:29), the hair possibly being a symbol of consecration.

TWOT - In view of the fact that the long hair of a Nazirite was a nezer denoting his consecration, and the head plate of a priest was a nezer denoting his consecration, the word nezer appears not to connote "crown" in the primary sense, but crown in the sense of the sign of one's consecration. This could be one's hair as well as a headpiece. The nezer was a sign of the king's consecration to his office just as it was a sign of the Nazirite's consecration to God.

Eugene Merrill - The noun nezer ("consecration, crown") [BDB, 634] is used twice in Leviticus, here and in Lev 21:12. It is related to the verb nzr ("dedicate, consecrate") [BDB, 634]. It appears that the previously mentioned gold plate (sis hazzahab) was a synonym to the sacred diadem and was attached to the turban by means of a blue cord and had written on it "Holy to the LORD" (Ex 28:36-37; 39:3031). The term sis is literally "flower" and traditionally was thought to be a narrow band and hence the translation "plate." This article was of extreme importance since it served as both a reminder and a declaration that the high priest was the acceptable representative of Israel (Ex 28:38). The verb nzr ("dedicate, consecrate") is used in Leviticus only in Lev 15:31 and Lev 22:2. When used in the Hiphil stem with the preposition min, as in Lev. 15:31, it can mean "keep sacredly separate" (BDB, 634). It occurs elsewhere in both verb and noun forms in Nu 6:2, 3, 5, 6, 12 when referring to the vows of a Nazirite whose separation was "to the LORD" and "from" the likes of wine, cutting of hair, and dead bodies. A related form (Niphal stem) with the preposition min is used in Lev. 22:2. Here the Levites were to treat with respect (literally, "to keep away from") the holy offerings when, according to context, they were ceremonially unclean (Lev. 22:3). This avoidance is translated by the attitude of treating with respect. The Israelites, as a nation, were to be kept from that which made them ceremonially unacceptable (cf. Hos. 9:10). This verse declares the reason for the laws that were given in the previous context. (The Bible Knowledge Word Study - Gen-Deut)

Dedication (Webster) - The act of consecrating to a divine Being, or to a sacred use, often with religious solemnities; solemn appropriation

Consecration (Webster) - The act or ceremony of separating from a common to a sacred use, or of devoting and dedicating a person or thing to the service and worship of God, by certain rites or solemnities. Consecration does not make a person or thing really holy, but declares it to be sacred, that is, devoted to God or to divine service; as the consecration of the priests among the Israelites; the consecration of the vessels used in the temple

Darrell L Bock on crown - The concept of the crown originates from a cap, turban, or more formal metallic crown that was decorated with jewels. Its placement on one's head indicated that one was set apart (nezer [ Exodus 29:6; 39:30; Leviticus 8:9 ) or for kings of Israel (2 Samuel 1:10; 2 Kings 11:12; Psalm 89:39; 132:18 ). The crown indicated the consecrated role of its wearer, since it could be profaned (Psalm 89:39 ). (Crown - Baker's Evangelical Dictionary of Biblical Theology)

Crown - Nezer means something "set apart"; i.e. a dedication to the priesthood or the dedication of a Nazarite, hence, a chaplet or fillet as a symbol of such consecration. The word in the King James Version is rendered "crown," "consecration," "separation," "hair." Comes from nāzar , meaning "to hold aloof" from impurity, even from drink and food, more definitely, "to set apart" for sacred purposes, i.e. "to separate," "devote," "consecrate." (ISBE)

Related Resources on Crown -

Nezer (NAS) = consecration(1), crown(10), dedicated(4), hair(1), Nazirite(1), separation(8).

Nezer - Ex 29:6; 39:30; Lev 8:9; 21:12; Num 6:4f, 7ff, 12f, 18f, 21; 2 Sam 1:10; 2 Kgs 11:12; 2 Chr 23:11; Ps 89:39; 132:18; Pr 27:24; Jer 7:29; Zech 9:16

Ps 132:18 “His enemies I will clothe with shame; But upon himself his crown shall shine.”

Spurgeon comments - Green shall be his laurels of victory. He shall win and wear the crown of honour, and his inherited diadem shall increase in splendour. Is it not so to this hour with Jesus? His kingdom cannot fail, his imperial glories cannot fade. It is himself that we delight to honour; it is to himself that the honour comes, and upon himself that it flourishes. If others snatch at his crown their traitorous aims are defeated; but he in his own person reigns with ever growing splendour. "Crown him, crown him,Crowns become the victor's brow."

F B Meyer links this picture with our Great High Priest - Here we have our Lord’s eternal Priesthood presented in miniature. The whole congregation had to be present, because each had a claim on Aaron’s services, as each believer has a claim on Christ’s. Each portion of Aaron’s dress told of some trait or feature in Jesus’ fitness to stand for us-the girdle of His zeal; the robe and ephod of His beauty and glory; the breastplate that our names are written on His heart; the Urim and Thummim of His wisdom to direct; the miter of His holiness. The garments of the priests, the sons of Aaron, remind us of the spotless dress in which we should be habited (Jas 1:27), ever remembering that in the lowliest act we may minister to God. We, too, must be anointed, as Jesus was, with the fresh oil of Pentecost (1Jn 2:20, 27, 2Cor 1:21). The identification of our Lord with His people is typically set forth in the joint laying of hands on the victims. Jesus had no sins of His own, but He bore our sins (1Pe 2:24), and stood with us in the sinner’s place that He might raise us to His throne (2Cor 5:21).

In Ex 28:36 we note that the turban had an engraving attached by a blue cord - "Holy to the LORD."

You shall also make a plate of pure gold and shall engrave on it, like the engravings of a seal, ‘Holy to the LORD.’ 37“And you shall fasten it on a blue cord, and it shall be on the turban; it shall be at the front of the turban. 38“And it shall be on Aaron’s forehead, and Aaron shall take away the iniquity of the holy things which the sons of Israel consecrate, with regard to all their holy gifts; and it shall always be on his forehead, that they may be accepted before the LORD.

Rob Morgan: The words “Holy to the Lord” means that the High Priest was devoted and dedicated exclusively to Jehovah. The Lord looked upon this High Priest as Holy. In the Old Testament, if a man who was a sinner brought an offering to the Lord, it could not be accepted because the man was riddled with sinfulness. His motives were sinful. His mind was sinful. His whole life was sinful. But he could give it to the High Priest, and as God looked at that High Priest He saw someone who was proclaimed holy in His sight. And so the man’s offering was accepted, not in his own name, but in the name of the High Priest. When we approach God we can never do so in our own righteousness. Our motives are sinful. Our mind is sinful. Our whole lives are riddled in sin. But when we come in the name of our great High Priest, we are accepted for He is holy and He alone is holy. Romans 3:20-25 says:

Therefore no one will be declared righteous in his sight by observing the law; rather, through the law we become conscious of sin. 21 But now a righteousness from God, apart from law, has been made known, to which the Law and the Prophets testify. 22 This righteousness from God comes through faith in Jesus Christ to all who believe. There is no difference, 23 for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God, 24 and are justified freely by his grace through the redemption that came by Christ Jesus. 25 God presented him as a sacrifice of atonement, through faith in his blood.

The Apostle Paul said in Philippians 3:8-9

What is more, I consider everything a loss compared to the surpassing greatness of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord, for whose sake I have lost all things. I consider them rubbish, that I may gain Christ 9 and be found in him, not having a righteousness of my own that comes from the law, but that which is through faith in Christ—the righteousness that comes from God and is by faith.

This is our great High Priest who ever lives to make intercession for us, robed in majesty, clothed in splendor, the one who ever loves and lives for His own. Do you know Him? Have you received Him? Does He represent you before the Throne in heaven?

Jesus, my great High Priest,
Offered His blood, and died;
My guilty conscience seeks
No sacrifice beside:
His powerful blood did once atone,
And now it pleads before the throne.

Isaac Watts

Leviticus 8:10 Moses then took the anointing oil and anointed the tabernacle and all that was in it, and consecrated them.


Lev 8:10-13

Moses then took the anointing oil, etc - It is interesting that these passages have no record of any words being exchanged between Moses and Aaron regarding the institution of the priesthood, or of any blessing being pronounced upon the new high priest.

Anointing oil - This special oil was not to be duplicated in the camp, nor was it to be used on anyone but a priest (Ex. 30:22-33). The phrase Anointing oil occurs 22x in 21v - Ex 25:6; 29:7, 21; 30:25, 31; 31:11; 35:8, 15, 28; 37:29; 39:38; 40:9; Lev 8:2, 10, 12, 30; 10:7; 21:10, 12; Num 4:16; Ezra 6:9.

Ross - There is sufficient evidence in Scripture that anointing with oil was representative of the special calling and empowerment or enablement by the Spirit of God (see 1 Sam. 10:1; 16:13; Isa. 61:1; Zech. 4:1–6)....This ancient custom also symbolized God’s often choosing this occasion as the time to manifest the giving of his Spirit to the one being anointed. This was brought out very clearly in later prophetic writings. When Saul was anointed, Samuel said, “The Spirit of the LORD shall come upon you” (1 Sam. 10:6). When David was anointed, the Spirit came upon him and departed from Saul (16:13–14). With the anointing came the Spirit to bring enablement for leadership. This idea is found in the prophecy of Isa. 61:1, where “the Spirit of the LORD God” was upon the prophet because he was anointed to preach good tidings. In that context the prophet referred to his being set apart to minister and realized that the empowerment came from the Holy Spirit. When Zechariah saw the vision of the steady flow of oil into the temple, he received the interpretation: “Not by might, and not by strength, but by my Spirit, says the LORD” (Zech. 4:6). (Ibid)

Anointed (masah/maschah) the Tabernacle (mishkan) (04908) - Not just the priest but his "workplace" were consecrated to Jehovah.

Harrison describes the holy anointing oil - This particular mixture was restricted to the anointing of priests, and any other use constituted a capital offence (Exod. 30:32–33) because the substance was holy. The ingredients consisted of liquid myrrh, probably expressed from the shrub Commiphora myrrha; sweet cinnamon (Cinnamomum zeylanicum); sweet calamus, one of the plant species of the genus Cymbopogon, perhaps C. schoenanthus L., which has been recovered from tombs in Egypt; cassia, most probably Cinnamomum cassia, a tree closely related to the sweet cinnamon; and olive oil as the vehicle. (Ibid)

Tabernacle (04908)(mishkan from verb shakan = to settle down, to abide, to dwell) is a masculine noun which means dwelling place or sanctuary and is most often translated "tabernacle." And in over half of the uses mishkan was preceded by the definite article which conveyed the sense that it was "the tabernacle," not just any tabernacle, but is the one where Jehovah dwelt. In the first use Jehovah declares His intent to dwell (Hebrew = shakan) among Israel (Ex 25:8, Lev 26:11), for which He instructs them to construct the tabernacle (Ex 25:9). Addressing Israel Jehovah says "Moreover, I will make My dwelling among you, and My soul will not reject you." (Lev 26:11) Mishkan is often found in parallel with or described by the Hebrew word for tent (Ex. 26:35; Jer. 30:18). In one of the saddest verses in the OT, we read "For our fathers have been unfaithful and have done evil in the sight of the LORD our God, and have forsaken Him and turned their faces away from the dwelling place (mishkan; Lxx = skene) of the LORD, and have turned [their] backs." (2Chr 29:6)

The Lxx translates mishkan here with the noun skene which describes a temporary lodging place. The related verb skenoo is used to describe Jesus "tabernacling" with men - "And the Word (Jn 1:1-3) became flesh, and dwelt (skenoo) among us, and we beheld His glory, glory as of the only begotten from the Father, full of grace and truth." (Jn 1:14-note) Skene is used in the Septuagint (Lxx) to translate the Hebrew noun mishkan which was the dwelling place of God. The verb from which mishkan is derived is shakan which gives rise to the term Shekinah (wikipedia), not found in the Bible but introduced in the Talmudic literature to describe the cloud of glory over the Holy of holies in the Tabernacle (and later the Temple), which was the visual manifestation of the presence of Jehovah (See on site discussion of the Shekinah glory cloud)

Mishkan as it related to God's Dwelling place had at least two names - (1) Tent of meeting - First Chronicles we read "they ministered with song before the tabernacle (Lxx = skene = generally used to describe a transitory, movable lodging place for nomads, pilgrims, etc) of the tent (Heb = ohel) of meeting (See discussion of "tent of meeting"), until Solomon had built the house of the LORD in Jerusalem; and they served in their office according to their order." (2) Tent of Testimony - (Ex. 38:21; Nu 9:15) because the the Ten Commandments (God's "Testimony") were kept in the Holy of Holies. Of note is that once Solomon's Temple was finished, the word mishkan was almost never used of that structure.

Merrill - This is the first use in Leviticus of mishkan. It occurs also in Lev. 15:31-note, Lev 17:4-note, and Lev 26:11-note. Up to now in Leviticus, the word used for the place where God met with his nation has been "tent of meeting" (see Lev. 1:1-note). The present term is related to the verb skn (shakan) meaning "dwell, settle down, live among" (Ex 29:45). The tabernacle is described in detail in Ex 25-31 and Ex 35-40, an amazingly large amount of space that indicates the crucial nature of this structure. Moses anointed "the tabernacle and everything in it" so that it could become, paradoxically, the earthly dwelling place of the transcendent and omnipresent God. The glory of God (Shekinah glory) that was on Mount Sinai and that now filled the tabernacle (Ex. 40:34) indicates there was continuity between the original giving of the law and the proper carrying out of the law in ritual. This same glory was about to appear once again to all the people after the consecration of the priests (see Lev 9:23-note). In Lev. 26:11-note the NIV indicates that the Hebrew noun could be translated "my dwelling place" or "my tabernacle." This term is used in a unique way here. Earlier (Lev 8:10; Lev 15:31; Lev 17:4) it is clear that it is used to refer to the physical, portable, collapsible place of worship that had been built at Mount Sinai as recorded in Exod. 36-40. Lev. 26:4-13-note lists the blessings that the nation could expect in the land as a result of obedience to the law of the LORD. Obviously, the tabernacle would not be present in the land only when they were obedient since part of the purpose of the tabernacle was to allow restoration of fellowship after they had been disobedient. The dwelling place here must not be merely the external, portable place of worship but rather the living presence of God in blessing upon the obedient nation. This, of course, was what the tabernacle was to picture all along. (Ibid)

Mishkan (NAS) = dwelling(1), dwelling place(8), dwelling places(9), dwellings(9), resting place(1), tabernacle(109), tents(1), where...dwells(1).

Mishkan - 129v -

Ex 25:9; 26:1, 6f, 12f, 15, 17f, 20, 22f, 26f, 30, 35; 27:9, 19; 35:11, 15, 18; 36:8, 13f, 20, 22f, 25, 27f, 31f; 38:20f, 31; 39:32f, 40; 40:2, 5f, 9, 17ff, 21f, 24, 28f, 33ff, 38; Lev 8:10; 15:31; 17:4; 26:11; Num 1:50f, 53; 3:7f, 23, 25f, 29, 35f, 38; 4:16, 25f, 31; 5:17; 7:1, 3; 9:15, 18ff, 22; 10:11, 17, 21; 16:9, 24, 27; 17:13; 19:13; 24:5; 31:30, 47; Josh 22:19, 29; 2 Sam 7:6; 1 Chr 6:32, 48; 16:39; 17:5; 21:29; 23:26; 2 Chr 1:5; 29:6; Job 18:21; 21:28; 39:6; Ps 26:8; 43:3; 46:4; 49:11; 74:7; 78:28, 60; 84:1; 87:2; 132:5, 7; Song 1:8; Isa 22:16; 32:18; 54:2; Jer 9:19; 30:18; 51:30; Ezek 25:4; 37:27; Hab 1:6

Here are all the uses of mishkan in the Psalms with comments by C H Spurgeon...

Ps 26:8 O LORD, I love the habitation of Thy house, And the place where Thy glory dwells (Lxx = skenoma = tent like dwelling, Act 7:46).

Spurgeon - Into the abodes of sin he would not enter, but the house of God he had long loved, and loved it still. We were sad children if we did not love our Father's dwelling place. Though we own no sacred buildings, yet the church of the living God is the house of God, and true Christians delight in her ordinances, services, and assemblies. O that all our days were Sabbaths!

Ps 43:3 O send out Thy light and Thy truth, let them lead me; Let them bring me to Thy holy hill, And to Thy dwelling places.

Spurgeon - First in thy mercy bring me to thine earthly courts, and end my weary exile, and then in due time admit me to thy celestial palace above. We seek not light to sin by, nor truth to be exalted by it, but that they may become our practical guides to the nearest communion with God: only such light and truth as are sent us from God will do this, common light is not strong enough to show the road to heaven, nor will mere moral or physical truths assist to the holy hill; but the light of the Holy Spirit, and the truth as it is in Jesus, these are elevating, sanctifying, perfecting; and hence their virtue in leading us to the glorious presence of God. It is beautiful to observe how David's longing to be away from the oppression of man always leads him to sigh more intensely for communion with God.

NET Note on dwelling places - The plural form of the noun may indicate degree or quality; this is the LORD's special dwelling place (see Ps 46:4; 84:1; 132:5, 7).

Ps 46:4 There is a river whose streams make glad the city of God, The holy dwelling places of the Most High.

Spurgeon - This was the peculiar glory of Jerusalem, that the Lord within her walls had a place where he peculiarly revealed himself, and this is the choice privilege of the saints, concerning which we may cry with wonder, "Lord, how is it that thou wilt manifest thyself unto us, and not unto the world?" To be a temple for the Holy Ghost is the delightful portion of each saint, to be the living temple for the Lord our God is also the high honor of the church in her corporate capacity. Our God is here called by a worthy title, indicating his power, majesty, sublimity, and excellency; and it is worthy of note that under this character he dwells in the church. We have not a great God in nature, and a little God in grace; no, the church contains as clear and convincing a revelation of God as the works of nature, and even more amazing in the excellent glory which shines between the cherubim overshadowing that mercy seat which is the centre and gathering place of the people of the living God. To have the Most High dwelling within her members, is to make the church on earth like the church in heaven.

Ps 49:11 Their inner thought is, [that] their houses are forever, [And] their dwelling places to all generations; They have called their lands after their own names.

Spurgeon - He is very foolish who is more a fool in his inmost thought than he dare to be in his speech. Such rotten fruit, rotten at the core, are worldlings. Down deep in their hearts, though they dare not say so, they fancy that earthly goods are real and enduring. Foolish dreamers! The frequent dilapidation of their castles and manor houses should teach them better, but still they cherish the delusion. They cannot tell the mirage from the true streams of water; they fancy rainbows to be stable, and clouds to be the everlasting hills.

Ps 74:7 They have burned Thy sanctuary to the ground; They have defiled the dwelling place of Thy name.

Spurgeon - Axes and hammers were not sufficient for the purpose of the destroyers, they must needs try fire. Malice knows no bounds. Those who hate God are never sparing of the most cruel weapons. To this day the enmity of the human heart is quite as great as ever; and, if providence did not restrain, the saints would still be as fuel for the flames.

Ps 78:28 Then He let [them] fall in the midst of their camp, Round about their dwellings.

Spurgeon - This made them glad for the moment, but they knew not that mercies can be sent in anger, else they had trembled at sight of the good things which they had lusted after.

Ps 78:60 So that He abandoned the dwelling place at Shiloh, The tent which He had pitched among men,

Spurgeon - His glory would no more reveal itself there, he left Shiloh to become a complete ruin. At the door of that tent shameless sin had been perpetrated, and all around it idols had been adored, and therefore the glory departed and Ichabod was sounded as a word of dread concerning Shiloh and the tribe of Ephraim. Thus may the candlestick be removed though the candle is not quenched. Erring churches become apostate, but a true church still remains; if Shiloh be profaned Zion is consecrated. Yet is it ever a solemn caution to all the assemblies of the saints, admonishing them to walk humbly with their God, when we read such words as those of the prophet Jeremiah in is seventh chapter, "Trust ye not in lying words, saying, The temple of the Lord, The temple of the Lord, The temple of the Lord, are these. Go ye now unto my place which was in Shiloh, where I set my name at the first, and see what I did to it for the wickedness of my people Israel." Let us take heed, lest as the ark never returned to Shiloh after its capture by the Philistines, so the gospel may be taken from us in judgment, never to be restored to the same church again.

Ps 84:1 For the choir director; on the Gittith. A Psalm of the sons of Korah. How lovely are Thy dwelling places, O LORD of hosts!

Spurgeon - " The tabernacle had been pitched in several places, and, moreover, was divided into several courts and portions; hence, probably, the plural number is here used. It was all and altogether lovely to David. Outer court, or inner court, he loved every portion of it. Every cord and curtain was dear to him. Even when at a distance, he rejoiced to remember the sacred tent where Jehovah revealed himself, and he cried out with exultation while he pictured in fond imagination its sacred services, and solemn rites, as he had seen them in bygone times.

Spurgeon - The gates are put for the city itself. The love of God is greatest to his own elect nation, descended from his servant Jacob, yet the central seat of his worship is dearer still; no other supposable comparison could have so fully displayed the favour which Jehovah bore to Jerusalem,—he loves Jacob best and Zion better than the best. At this hour the mystical teaching of these words is plain, God delights in the prayers and praises of Christian families and individuals, but he has a special eye to the assemblies of the faithful, and he has a special delight in their devotions in their church capacity. The great festivals, when the crowds surrounded the temple gates, were fair in the Lord's eyes, and even such is the general assembly and church of the first born, whose names are written in heaven. This should lead each separate believer to identify himself with the church of God; where the Lord reveals his love the most, there should each believer most delight to be found. Our own dwellings are very dear to us, but we must not prefer them to the assemblies of the saints

Ps 87:2 The LORD loves the gates of Zion More than all the [other] dwelling places of Jacob.

Spurgeon - The gates are put for the city itself. The love of God is greatest to his own elect nation, descended from his servant Jacob, yet the central seat of his worship is dearer still; no other supposable comparison could have so fully displayed the favour which Jehovah bore to Jerusalem,—he loves Jacob best and Zion better than the best. At this hour the mystical teaching of these words is plain, God delights in the prayers and praises of Christian families and individuals, but he has a special eye to the assemblies of the faithful, and he has a special delight in their devotions in their church capacity. The great festivals, when the crowds surrounded the temple gates, were fair in the Lord's eyes, and even such is the general assembly and church of the first born, whose names are written in heaven. This should lead each separate believer to identify himself with the church of God; where the Lord reveals his love the most, there should each believer most delight to be found. Our own dwellings are very dear to us, but we must not prefer them to the assemblies of the saints

Ps 132:5 Until I find a place for the LORD, A dwelling place for the Mighty One of Jacob.”

Spurgeon - He resolved to find a place where Jehovah would allow his worship to be celebrated, a house where God would fix the symbol of his presence, and commune with his people. At that time, in all David's land, there was no proper place for that ark whereon the Lord had placed the mercy seat, where prayer could be offered, and where the manifested glory shone forth. All things had fallen into decay, and the outward forms of public worship were too much disregarded; hence the King resolves to be first and foremost in establishing a better order of things. Yet one cannot help remembering that the holy resolve of David gave to a place and a house much more importance than the Lord himself ever attached to such matters. This is indicated in Nathan's message from the Lord to the king—"Go and tell my servant David, Thus saith the Lord, Shalt thou build me an house for me to dwell in? Whereas I have not dwelt in any house since the time that I brought up the children of Israel out of Egypt, even to this day, but have walked in a tent and in a tabernacle. In all the places wherein I have walked with all the children of Israel spake I a word with any of the tribes of Israel, whom I commanded to feed my people Israel, saying, Why build ye not me an house of cedar?" Stephen in his inspired speech puts the matter plainly: "Solomon built him an house. Howbeit the Most High dwelleth not in temples made with hands." It is a striking fact that true religion never flourished more in Israel than before the temple was built, and that from the day of the erection of that magnificent house the spirit of godliness declined. Good men may have on their hearts matters which seem to them of chief importance, and it may be acceptable with God that they should seek to carry them out; and yet in his infinite wisdom he may judge it best to prevent their executing their designs. God does not measure his people's actions by their wisdom, or want of wisdom, but by the sincere desire for his glory which has led up to them. David's resolution, though he was not allowed to fulfil it, brought a blessing upon him: the Lord promised to build the house of David, because he had desired to build the house of the Lord. Moreover, the King was allowed to prepare the treasure for the erection of the glorious edifice which was built by his son and successor. The Lord shows the acceptance of what we desire to do by permitting us to do something else which his infinite mind judges to be fitter for us, and more honourable to himself.

Ps 132:7 Let us go into His dwelling place; Let us worship at His footstool.

Spurgeon - Having found the place where he dwells we will hasten thereto. He has many dwellings in one in the various courts of his house, and each of these shall receive the reverence due: in each the priest shall offer for us the appointed service; and our hearts shall go where our bodies may not enter. David is not alone, he is represented as having sought for the ark with others, for so the word "we" implies; and now they are glad to attend him in his pilgrimage to the chosen shrine, saying, "We found it, we will go." Because these are the Lord's courts we will resort to them. We will worship at his footstool. The best ordered earthly house can be no more than the footstool of so great a King. His ark can only reveal the glories of his feet, according to his promise that he will make the place of his feet glorious: yet thither will we hasten with joy, in glad companionship, and there will we adorn him. Where Jehovah is, there shall he be worshipped. It is well not only to go to the Lord's house, but to worship there: we do but profane his tabernacles if we enter them for any other purpose. Before leaving this verse let us note the ascent of this Psalm of degrees—"We heard...we found...we will go...we will worship."

Leviticus 8:11 He sprinkled 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.

Guzik - The idea behind the ancient Hebrew word for altar is essentially, "killing-place." The ancient altar - a place of death - was made holy and was consecrated to God. Like that ancient altar, the altar of the New Covenant - the cross - is transformed from a place to death to a place set apart to bring life.

Sprinkled...and anointed the altar - Probably referring to the altar of burnt offering located near the door of the tabernacle.

Seven times - 32x in 30v most often in Leviticus - Ge 33:3; Lev 4:6, 17; 8:11; 14:7, 16, 27, 51; 16:14, 19; 25:8; 26:18, 21, 24, 28; Num 19:4; Josh 6:4, 15; 1Kgs 18:43; 2Kgs 4:35; 5:10, 14; Ps 12:6; 119:164; Pr 24:16; Isa 30:26; Dan 3:19; Matt 18:21-22; Luke 17:4

A ltar (04196)(mizbeah from zabach = to slaughter for sacrifice or for food) is a masculine noun that is frequent in the OT (338x) and describes the place of sacrifice where offerings were made to a deity. The first use in Ge 8:20 describes the altar built by Noah as his first act after he survived the flood. Abraham is associated with an altar in Ge 12:7,8; 13:4, 18; Ge 22:9. Not surprisingly the majority of OT occurrences are in Leviticus (88x in 72v and Exodus is not far behind - 61x in 53v). The first offering by Cain and Abel does not mention a specific altar (Ge 4:3).

"In the developed temple ritual, the same word is used for both the altar of holocausts and the altar of incense. Thus, an altar is a place where sacrifice is offered, even if it is not an event involving slaughter." (Thomas W Davis)

The Septuagint (Lxx) often translates mizbeach with the word thusiasterion ("a place of sacrifice") which is derived from thusia meaning that which is offered as the sacrifice.

OT altars had several meanings beyond their most common association with blood sacrifice, including as a monument set up in the presence of God (cp Ge 12:8, 26:25), as a place of refuge (Ex 21:14), and as a table for a deity (Ezek 41:22, Mal 1:7). Pagan altars were to be destroyed (Ex 34:13).

Some altars were named - JACOB'S altar at Shechem = EL THE GOD OF ISRAEL (Ge 33:20), MOSES' at Rephidim = THE LORD IS MY BANNER (Ex 17:15) Gideon's in Ophrah =THE LORD IS PEACE (Judges 6:24). Some OT altars are illegitimate - sacred pillars (Ex 34:12, etc), high places (2Ki 23:15).

Vine - At first, Israel’s altars were to be made of earth—i.e., they were fashioned of material that was strictly the work of God’s hands. If the Jews were to hew stone for altars in the wilderness, they would have been compelled to use war weapons to do the work. (Notice that in Exod. 20:25 the word for “tool” is chereb, “sword.”) At Sinai, God directed Israel to fashion altars of valuable woods and metals. This taught them that true worship required man’s best and that it was to conform exactly to God’s directives; God, not man, initiated and controlled worship. The altar that stood before the holy place (Exod. 27:1-8) and the altar of incense within the holy place (Exod. 30:1-10) had “horns.” These horns had a vital function in some offerings (Lev. 4:30; 16:18). For example, the sacrificial animal may have been bound to these horns in order to allow its blood to drain away completely (Ps. 118:27).

IMPORTANCE OF SACRIFICES SEEN EARLY IN GENESIS - After the flood, NOAH built an altar and sacrificed "clean" animals and birds to the Lord. ABRAM worshipped the Lord who had appeared to him by building an altar at SHECHEM when he arrived in the promised land (Gen 12:7-8). Other altars were built by THE PATRIARCHS ISAAC AND JACOB at BEERSHEBA and BETHEL to commemorate GOD'S BLESSING (Gen 26:25; Gen 35:7). ISAAC was laid on an altar at MOUNT MORIAH by his father Abraham, but his place was taken by a ram in what proved to be the clearest OT example of THE MEANING OF SUBSTITUTIONARY SACRIFICE. The sacrifice of the Passover lamb and resultant sparing of all the firstborn sons conveyed the same meaning (Ex12:27). Genesis also records the SACRIFICE OFFERED BY JACOB when he concluded a COVENANT with LABAN (Gen 31:54). The MEAL symbolized the friendship between the parties and their intention to keep their promises.

When ISRAEL ENTERED A COVENANT WITH THE LORD, Moses built an altar at the foot of Mount Sinai and offered burnt offerings and peace offerings (Ex 24:4-5). Ps 50:5 refers to "those who made a covenant with me BY SACRIFICE." At MOUNT SINAI Moses received instructions about the altars and sacrifices connected with the Tabernacle. THE ALTAR DESIGNED FOR THE ANIMAL SACRIFICES was the bronze altar, or "altar of burnt offering." It was about seven and one-half feet square and four and one-half feet high, with horns on each corner, made "of one piece" with the altar. It was made of acacia wood and overlaid with bronze (Ex38:1-2). A bronze grating, poles and utensils were accessories of the altar (Ex30:28; 35:16). The sacrifices were burned on the altar, and the priests put some of the blood on the horns, then poured out the rest at the base of the altar (Lv4:7, 25). This great altar was set in the courtyard, in front of the doorway of the tabernacle (Exo 40:7). THE OTHER ALTAR WAS CALLED THE "ALTAR OF INCENSE" OR THE "GOLD ALTAR" (Ex39:38; 40:5). It was about eighteen inches square and a yard high, with four horns and a gold molding. It too was made of acacia wood, but overlaid with gold (Ex30:1-6). The blood of the GUILT OFFERING was placed on the horns of this altar (Lv 4:7). Because of its FRAGRANT INCENSE, this altar was placed in the holy place, in front of the sacred curtain. The PURIFICATION OF THE ALTAR of burnt offering is sometimes linked with the consecration of the entire tent of meeting (Ex 29:44). Blood was sprinkled on the altar to make atonement for it as well as for the most holy place on the Day of Atonement (Lev 16:20, 33; cf 8:15). There are several references to THE DEDICATION OF THE ALTAR. Special offerings were presented (Nu7:10, 11) and the altar was anointed with oil (Ex40:10). When Aaron and his sons were consecrated, the anointing oil was sprinkled on the altar seven times (Lv8:11). KING SOLOMON built an altar of burnt offering thirty feet square and fifteen feet high (2Ch4:1). Even this was not large enough for the offerings at the dedication of the temple (1Ki8:54), the "house of sacrifice" (2Ch7:12). Solomon's successors sometimes NEGLECTED THE ALTAR, but GOOD KINGS LIKE ASA (2Ch15:8) and HEZEKIAH CLEANSED IT (2Ch29:18). AHAZ replaced the altar with a model patterned after one he had seen in Damascus (2Ki 16:14-15). UZZIAH also sinned by usurping the place of a priest and burning incense on the altar of incense (2 Chr 26:16).

Related Resources on Altar:

Mizbeach - 338x in the OT -

Ge 8:20; 12:7-8; 13:4, 18; 22:9; 26:25; 33:20; 35:1, 3, 7; Ex 17:15; 20:24ff; 21:14; 24:4, 6; 27:1, 5ff; 28:43; 29:12f, 16, 18, 20f, 25, 36ff, 44; 30:1, 18, 20, 27f; 31:8f; 32:5; 34:13; 35:15f; 37:25; 38:1, 3f, 7, 30; 39:38f; 40:5ff, 10, 26, 29f, 32f; Lev 1:5, 7ff, 11ff, 15ff; 2:2, 8f, 12; 3:2, 5, 8, 11, 13, 16; 4:7, 10, 18f, 25f, 30f, 34f; 5:9, 12; 6:9f, 12ff; 7:2, 5, 31; 8:11, 15f, 19, 21, 24, 28, 30; 9:7ff, 12ff, 17f, 20, 24; 10:12; 14:20; 16:12, 18, 20, 25, 33; 17:6, 11; 21:23; 22:22; Nu 3:26, 31; 4:11, 13f, 26; 5:25f; 7:1, 10f, 84, 88; 16:38f, 46; 18:3, 5, 7, 17; 23:1f, 4, 14, 29f; Dt 7:5; 12:3, 27; 16:21; 26:4; 27:5f; 33:10; Josh 8:30f; 9:27; 22:10f, 16, 19, 23, 26, 28f, 34; Jdg 2:2; 6:24ff, 28, 30ff; 13:20; 21:4; 1Sa 2:28, 33; 7:17; 14:35; 2Sa 24:18, 21, 25; 1Kgs 1:50f, 53; 2:28f; 3:4; 6:20, 22; 7:48; 8:22, 31, 54, 64; 9:25; 12:32f; 13:1ff, 32; 16:32; 18:26, 30, 32, 35; 19:10, 14; 2Kgs 11:11, 18; 12:9; 16:10ff; 18:22; 21:3ff; 23:9, 12, 15ff, 20; 1Chr 6:49; 16:40; 21:18, 22, 26, 29; 22:1; 28:18; 2Chr 1:5f; 4:1, 19; 5:12; 6:12, 22; 7:7, 9; 8:12; 14:3; 15:8; 23:10, 17; 26:16, 19; 28:24; 29:18f, 21f, 24, 27; 30:14; 31:1; 32:12; 33:3ff, 15f; 34:4f, 7; 35:16; Ezra 3:2f; Neh 10:34; Ps 26:6; 43:4; 51:19; 84:3; 118:27; Isa 6:6; 17:8; 19:19; 27:9; 36:7; 56:7; 60:7; Jer 11:13; 17:1f; Lam 2:7; Ezek 6:4ff, 13; 8:5, 16; 9:2; 40:46f; 41:22; 43:13, 18, 22, 26f; 45:19; 47:1; Hos 8:11; 10:1f, 8; 12:11; Joel 1:13; 2:17; Amos 2:8; 3:14; 9:1; Zech 9:15; 14:20; Mal 1:7, 10; 2:13

ISBE has an interesting note on "altar" - Before considering the Biblical texts attention must be drawn to the fact that these texts know of at least two kinds of altars which were so different in appearance that no contemporary could possibly confuse them. The first was an altar consisting of earth or unhewn stones. It had no fixed shape, but varied with the materials. It might consist of a rock (Judges 13:19) or a single large stone (1 Samuel 14:33-35) or again a number of stones (1 Kings 18:31 f). It could have no horns, nor it would be impossible to give the stone horns without hewing it, nor would a heap of earth lend itself to the formation of horns. It could have no regular pattern for the same reason. On the other hand we meet with a group of passages that refer to altars of quite a different type. We read of horns, of fixed measurements, of a particular pattern, of bronze as the material. To bring home the difference more rapidly illustrations of the two types are given side by side. The first figure represents a cairn altar such as was in use in some other ancient religions. The second is a conjectural restoration of Hebrew altars of burnt offering and incense of the second kind.

Basin (laver)(03695)(kiyor from kur = smelting pot) describes a basin, pan, or container for washing (Ex 30:18ff). Most of the uses refer to the laver in the Tabernacle or Temple, the bronze water container that stood between the burnt offering altar and the door of the Tabernacle proper (First use = Ex 30:18; Lxx = louter = washing tub, basin - louter also used in Ex 30:28, 31:9, 38:8, 40:30). The priests were to wash their hands and feet with water from this basin before ministering in the Tabernacle.

Kiyor (NAS) = basin(6), basins(5), firepot(1), laver(9), pan(1), platform(1).

Kiyor - 23x in 20v - Ex 30:18, 28; 31:9; 35:16; 38:8; 39:39; 40:7, 11, 30; Lev 8:11; 1Sa 2:14; 1Kgs 7:30, 38, 40, 43; 2Kgs 16:17; 2Chr 4:6, 14; 6:13; Zech 12:6

ISBE on laver - Every priest in attendance on the altar of Yahweh was required to wash his hands and his feet before entering upon his official duties (Exodus 30:19 ff). To this end a laver was ordered to be made as part of the tabernacle equipment ( Exodus 30:17-21; Exodus 38:8 ). Its composition was of brass (bronze), and it consisted of two parts, the bowl and its pedestal or foot (Exodus 30:18 , etc.). This first laver was a small one, and was made of the hand mirrors of the women in attendance upon the altar (Exodus 38:8 ). Its place was between the altar and the tabernacle (Exodus 40:30 ). (Laver - International Standard Bible Encyclopedia)

John Oswalt - Apparently a pan-like construction, having low sides (thus 2Chr 6:13, Solomon stood on a bronze scaffold [RSV “platform” ]). Apart from the preceding, all other references have to do with a pan as such. The word appears twenty-three times, of which twenty have to do with the laver of the tabernacle or those of the temple. Whereas that in the tabernacle was for the washing of the priests’ hands and feet (Ex 30:18), the ten lavers in the temple were for the washing of sacrifices (2Chr 4:6). The molten sea (2Chr 4:2, 6) filled the function of the earlier laver. [It is probable that the great sea also served as a reservoir from which the basins were filled. The basins were on wheeled stands so they could be moved to the sea for filling then taken to various places for use. The priests doubtless did not wash in the sea which was a high structure. They washed their hands and feet with the water of the sea (cf. Ex 30:18–21). (TWOT)

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To consecrate (06942)(qadash; Lxx = hagiazo) - To set them apart, to sanctify them, to make them holy. "“To consecrate” means “to make holy” or “make sacred”; i.e., put something into the category of holy/sacred as opposed to common/profane (see Lev 10:10-note). Thus, the person or thing consecrated is put into the realm of God’s holy things." (NET Note)

Leviticus 8:12 Then he poured some of the anointing oil on Aaron's head and anointed him, to consecrate him.

Anointed (04886) (mashach/masah - see word study) has the basic meaning of to smear something on. To rub with oil. This verb could refer in everyday usage to such acts as rubbing a shield with oil (Isa 21:5), painting a house (Jer 22:14), or applying oil to the body (Amos 6:6). The purpose of the anointing oil poured out on the priests was to consecrate or sanctify (qadash - set apart from all that was profane or common and unto God for His use.) The noun form of the verb mashach/masah is masiah or "anointed one", the Messiah, in the OT a reference to the expected Jewish Messiah.

Erdman adds that "In its basic sense the term “messiah” refers to a person who has been consecrated to a high office by ceremonial anointing with oil. In the ancient world priests and kings were so anointed, a practice reflected at 1Kgs. 19:16; Ps. 133:2. The anointing to an office gave a person high and sacred status and assured authority, reverence, and respect. Aaron and his sons were anointed as priests to serve Yahweh (Exod. 30:22–30); the oil used in consecrating them was a special formula made by Moses for this sacred purpose. Saul was chosen by God as king and referred to as the Lord’s anointed (1 Sam. 12:3, 5). David was careful not to lift his hand against Saul because he respected as sacred the office of the anointed. (Eerdmans Bible dictionary)

Only the High Priest was anointed which is a shadow of the better High Priest Christ Jesus, Who was anointed with the Spirit in Luke 4:18 (and the oil of gladness Hebrews 1:9-note) as Isaiah 61:1 had prophesied (Note: This "anointing" was at the inception of this 3+ year earthly ministry [cp anointed with "the Holy Spirit and power" in Acts 10:38] - just as Jesus received supernatural power for ministry, so too do we need that same power for any meaningful ministry - cp Acts 1:8-note). The picture of the anointing oil and the idea of anointing of Jesus is closely associated with the Holy Spirit (in Lk 4:18, Isa 61:1, Acts 10:37-38; Acts 4:27, cp Jesus' Baptism: Mt 3:16,17) which reinforces the teaching that the oil in OT often prefigured the ministry of the Holy Spirit.

Rooker - The anointing of the high priest’s head recalls the anointing of a king to serve as ruler of the people (1Sa 10:1; 2Kgs 9:6). This connection between a royal figure and the high priest is reinforced by the fact that the garments of the high priest contain gold and purple, and the word for the priest’s diadem (nezer) also refers to a king’s crown (2Sa 1:10; 2Kgs 11:12; Zech 9:16; Ps 89:39, 132:18; Pr 27:24; 2Chr 23:11). (Ibid)

Witmer writes that "anointing with oil is a symbol of the Holy Spirit's descent on and direction of the individual anointed." (1Sa 10:1, 6-7, 9; 16:13). (The Theological Wordbook)

Kaiser points out that "There is no statement in the OT as to why oil typified the Holy Spirit. Oil was widely used in lamps. As the lamp burned, the oil seemed to vanish into the air. Such a connection of oil and air possibly may have made the typology natural in the Hebrew culture.”

The anointing oil - Things (inanimate objects) were sprinkled, but upon people the oil was poured. As alluded to above, oil is usually thought to be a picture of the Holy Spirit.

William MacDonald - The anointing oil was not sprinkled but was ‘poured’ on Aaron’s head, a picture of the Spirit poured without measure upon Jesus, our High Priest.”

Paul writes that "the love of God has been poured out (Gk = ekcheo = denotes both abundance & diffusion experiencing something in an abundant manner fully experience, to become fully involved) within our hearts through the Holy Spirit who was given to us." (Ro 5:5-note, cp Acts 2:17, 18, 33)

Guzik - The oil was poured over their heads, indicating that it was given in great measure, not in small measure.

Ps 133:1 A Song of Ascents, of David. Behold, how good and how pleasant it is For brothers to dwell together in unity! 2 It is like the precious oil upon the head, coming down upon the beard, even Aaron’s beard, Coming down upon the edge of his robes.

To consecrate (Sanctify, make holy) (06942)(qadash) means to set him apart from the profane (common) and to Himself (the holy), which is the same meaning we see in hagios or saints which is the word God calls all believers in Christ.

Leviticus 8:13 Next Moses had Aaron's sons come near and clothed them with tunics, and girded them with sashes and bound caps on them, just as the LORD had commanded Moses.

Next - A marker of order in the ordination ceremony.

Harrison - The first two items would probably be less elaborate vestments than those prescribed for the high priest, but well suited for the usual range of priestly activities, which included teaching (Deut. 33:10), the casting of lots (Exod. 28:30), and the giving of decisions at sanctuaries (Exod. 22:8), as well as officiating at the sacrificial altar. Whereas the high priest wore a turban, the lesser priests had a simple cap.

Just as the LORD had commanded Moses - Again we see Moses unfettered obedience, a good model for all of us who are no longer our own but belong to Jehovah, having been bought with a price, the precious blood of the Lamb of God.

The clothing of the sons was not as ornate as Aaron's but was still holy (in contrast to the clothing of the common people) and set apart for God. One is reminded of Paul's command to the believer-priests in Rome...

Let us behave properly as in the day, not in carousing and drunkenness, not in sexual promiscuity and sensuality, not in strife and jealousy, but put on (enduo in the aorist imperative - command to do this now and do it effectively! To put on Jesus is to look and live like Him and the ONLY way this is possible is by daily, moment by moment, yielding your rights to the Spirit of Jesus Who fills and controls and enables us to live like) the Lord Jesus Christ, and make no provision (present imperative with a negative) for the flesh in regard to [its] lusts. (Ro 13:13-14-note)

Girded (02296)(hagar/chagar - related to Akkadian agaru "to surround," Ugaritic hgr "to gird" and Arabic hagara "to restrain") is a verb meaning to tie, strap, fasten (as a belt, sword [1Sa 17:39, Ps 45:3] armor, garment Ex 29:5, Lev 8:7). To tuck (one's robe) into one’s belt. To gird oneself or to put on a belt. The idea of girding was to take the long flowing garments Orientals wore and fastening and/or wrapping them to the body (e.g., tucking them in a belt around one's waist) before strenuous activity or walking quickly, an action which gives us the expression "to gird up one's loins" The first use is found in the instruction at the time of the first Passover when Israel was instructed to have their " loins girded" so that they were ready to move out (Ex 12:11). Hagar is used of girding about the loins the sackcloth, the garment of coarse goats' hair used in mourning or in penitence: 2Sa 3:31; 1Ki 20:32; Isa 22:12; Isa 32:11; Lam 2:10)

Lxx translates hagar in Lev 8:13 with zonnuni meaning to put on as a belt or piece of armor (Jn 21:18)

The proverbial statement in 1Ki 20:11, literally "let not him who is girding boast as he who is ungirding," means, as the Targum indicates, "Let not him who is girding himself and going down into the battle boast himself as the man who has conquered and is coming up from it."

Baker - To gird oneself could indicate a number of things: to prepare for a journey (2Kgs. 4:29); to prepare for war (1Sa 17:39) or violence (Jdg. 3:16); to be capable of military service (2Kgs. 3:21); lit., to put on a belt or to gird oneself with a belt or girdle for battle (1Kgs. 20:11); to prepare for priestly service by girding on the priestly sash (Ex. 29:9). Other persons were girded accordingly: the priest, e.g., with an ephod (1 Sam. 2:18); or the petitioner or mourner in sackcloth (1Kgs. 20:32; Isa. 32:11; Joel 1:8). It is used symbolically of a king girding on his sword to gain victory for his people (Ps. 45:3) as he, ideally, rides forth girded in righteousness (Isa. 11:5). The divine being of Daniel’s vision wears a belt of pure gold (Da. 10:5). The wise wife of Proverbs girds herself with strength (Pr 31:17); and even the hills put on rejoicing as a belt when God blesses them (Ps. 65:12). (Complete Word Study Dictionary- Old Testament )

Gird (Webster) - to encircle or bind with a flexible band (as a belt); to make fast (as a sword by a belt or clothing with a cord)

Hagar/chagar (NAS) = armed(3), bound(1), come trembling(1), dressed*(1), gird(11), gird yourselves(2), girded(15), girds(3), put(4), wearing(3).

Hagar/chagar - 41v - Ex 12:11; 29:9; Lev 8:7, 13; 16:4; Deut 1:41; Jdg 3:16; 18:11, 16f; 1Sa 2:18; 17:39; 25:13; 2Sa 3:31; 6:14; 20:8; 21:16; 22:46; 1Kgs 20:11, 32; 2Kgs 3:21; 4:29; 9:1; Ps 45:3; 65:12; 76:10; 109:19; Pr 31:17; Isa 15:3; 22:12; 32:11; Jer 4:8; 6:26; 49:3; La 2:10; Ezek 7:18; 27:31; 44:18; Dan 10:5; Joel 1:8, 13

Leviticus 8:14 Then he brought the bull of the sin offering, and Aaron and his sons laid their hands on the head of the bull of the sin offering.


Lev 8:14-17

Then - (expression of time) Often used as a marker of succession = following next after in order of position, narration, or enumeration. Here we have the first of 3 sacrifices necessary to provide atonement for Aaron and his sons that they might be "completely cleansed" from sin.

Harrison - Since God’s purpose for Israel as expressed in Leviticus is that they shall be a holy nation, any suggestion of contamination either in worship or in community life must necessarily be removed if that objective is to be attained. Hence the entire tabernacle area had to be consecrated before worship acceptable to God could be offered there. Aaron was thus consecrated in a ceremonially clean place, and his sons were installed in their sacred office in the same environment. The altar itself was purified so that no pollution of the sacrificial offerings would occur to disrupt the holiness of the sanctuary and the community. In a later age God was to censure his priests for offering polluted sacrifices on his altar (Mal. 1:7-note), thus invalidating the entire concept of worship. The importance of ritual propriety is again stressed here, in that the priests must first secure atonement for themselves before they can purport to obtain it on behalf of other Israelites. No priest in any age can lead his followers to a point of spiritual development which he himself has not previously attained. (Ibid)

Ross - Anointing with oil may have consecrated the priests to God, but it could not make atonement for them. Sacrifices were thus made: the bull for the purification offering (Ex 29:10–14) to prepare for entering the sanctuary and then the ram for the burnt offering (Ex 29:15–18) to seek reconciliation or atonement with God. (Ibid)

He brought the bull of the sin offering (Lev 8:2) - Moses, still functioning as the "transitional" priest. Lev 4:2-12-note describes the offering the anointed priests must make if they sinned unintentionally. Aaron (and other high priests after him) were also to offer a sin offering for themselves on the Day of Atonement (Lev 16:6-note)

Laid their hands (See discussion of laying on of hands in Lev 1:4 commentary) This phrase is found in Lev 8:14, 18, 22 (cp Lev 4:4-note; Aaron on the Day of Atonement = Lev 16:21-note). The primary idea of the Hebrew verb camak (05564) is to lean upon (Lxx = epitithemi = "to place something on or transfer to a place or object" = BDAG) and figuratively speaks of identification with the animal and the transfer of one's sins to the animal who would then be the person's substitutionary "sin bearer." This reminds us of Jesus our Sin Bearer for "He Himself bore our sins in His body on the cross, that we might die to sin and live to righteousness; for by His wounds you were healed." (1Pet 2:24-note)

Spurgeon makes the point that "The Hebrew word (camak) means more than lightly placing the hand, it gives the idea of pressing hard upon the bullock's head. They came each one and leaned upon the victim, loading him with their burden, signifying their acceptance of its substitution, their joy that the Lord would accept that victim in their stead. When they put their hands on the bullock, they made a confession of sin."

Leviticus 8:15 Next Moses slaughtered it and took the blood and with his finger put some of it around on the horns of the altar, and purified the altar. Then he poured out the rest of the blood at the base of the altar and consecrated it, to make atonement for it.


Moses slaughtered it -Not Aaron, Moses functioning as priest. But see the NET Note below.

NET Note is interesting - Contrary to some English versions (e.g., NAB, NASB, NIV, NLT), Aaron (not Moses) most likely slaughtered the bull, possibly with the help of his sons, although the verb is singular, not plural. Moses then performed the ritual procedures that involved direct contact with the altar. Compare the pattern in Lev 1:5–9-note, where the offerer does the slaughtering and the priests perform the procedures that involve direct contact with the altar. In Lev 8 Moses is functioning as the priest in order to consecrate the priesthood. The explicit reintroduction of the name of Moses as the subject of the next verb seems to reinforce this understanding of the passage (cf. also Lev 8:19, 23).

Milgrom notes that "The slaughtering could be performed by anyone (NOTE on Lev 1:5 = It is a mistake to claim that the rabbis restricted sacrificial slaughter only to priests; so Eilberg-Schwartz 1986: 164. That the slaughtering could be done by anyone is proved by the text of the priestly consecration service: although Aaron and his sons thrice perform the hand-leaning rite (yismĕkû; plural), the slaughtering is described each time as wayyišhat, singular, which can only be rendered as “and it was slaughtered” (Lev 8:14–15, 18–19, 22–23); hence this verb, which deliberately has no named subject, must be rendered in the passive.

Took the blood and with his finger put some of it around on the horns of the altar - The altar here refers not to the incense altar (which could only be approached after sin was ritually cleansed) but to the Brazen Altar (See diagram of the Tabernacle).

Purified - Somewhat paradoxically the Hebrew word here (chata') is the same word used for sin. The Lxx uses katharizo which was used in the NT to describe ritual cleansing (Acts 10:15, Mk 1:40). The altar had to be purified before it could be used for expiation (the means of providing atonement). NET Note adds that "The verb is the Piel of חָטָא (khata’, “to sin”) and means “to de-sin” the altar. This verse is important for confirming the main purpose of the sin offering, which was to decontaminate the tabernacle and its furniture from any impurities."

Guzik - Like these ancient priests, every believer can only be consecrated to God through sacrifice. Our consecration should be greater, because it was made through a far greater sacrifice - the sacrifice of God's own Son.

Ross - They were about to begin a ministry of offering on the altar, and so it was necessary to purify it first. The blood of the burnt offering, given as a ransom for their sins, made it possible for them to enter the sanctuary at peace with God. The point is that whoever represented God in ministry surely must have experienced full atonement: forgiveness of sin and acceptance with God.

Leviticus 8:16 He also took all the fat that was on the entrails and the lobe of the liver, and the two kidneys and their fat; and Moses offered it up in smoke on the altar.

Took all the fat - Just as described in the sin offering in Lev 4:8-9-note.

Leviticus 8:17 But the bull and its hide and its flesh and its refuse he burned in the fire outside the camp, just as the LORD had commanded Moses.

Outside the camp (see notes on Lev 4:11-12) - This is a common phrase found primarily in the Pentateuch - 26x in 25 verses - Ex 29:14; 33:7; Lev 4:12, 21 = both dealing with the Guilt Offering; Lev 6:11 = burnt offering; Lev 8:17 = sin offering for Aaron and sons; Lev 9:11 = sin offering ; 13:46; 16:27; 17:3; 24:14, 23; Num 5:3f; 12:14f; 15:35f; 19:3, 9; 31:13, 19; Deut 23:10, 12; Josh 6:23. Note that the first use refers to the sin offering...

Exodus 29:14 "But the flesh of the bull and its hide and its refuse, you shall burn with fire outside the camp; it is a sin offering.

We see this same phrase in the NT...

Heb 13:12-note Therefore Jesus also, that He might sanctify the people through His own blood, suffered outside the gate. 13 Hence, let us go out to Him outside the camp, bearing His reproach.

Outside the camp - several of the following notes discuss this topic (this exact phrase 28x in 27v in NAS) - Ex 29:14; 33:7; Lev 4:12, 21-note; Lev 6:11-note.; Lev 8:17-note.; Lev 9:11; Lev 13:46-note.; Lev 16:27-note (good note by Richard Phillips).; Lev 17:3-note.; Lev 24:14, 23-note.; Nu 5:3-4; 12:14-15; 15:35-36; 19:3, 9; 31:13, 19; Dt 23:10, 12; Josh 6:23; Heb 13:11-note Heb 13:13-note. and "outside the gate" in Heb 13:12-note.

Leon Morris explains the exhortation of believers "to go out to Him outside the camp, bearing His reproach." (Heb 13:13-note) - "This (Heb 13:12) leads to an appeal to the readers to “go to Him outside the camp” (the compound verb exerchomai, “to go out,” and the adverb exō, “outside,” emphasize the thought of “out,” “outside”). Christ is outside the camp of Judaism, and the readers are encouraged to go to Him where He is. To remain within the camp of Judaism would be to be separated from Him. Here there may be an allusion to Moses’ pitching “the tent of meeting” outside the camp and to the people’s going out to it (Ex 33:7). But in the case of Christ, there was a price to pay—that of sharing in the rejection he had undergone, “bearing the disgrace he bore.” In Heb 11:26-note Moses was said to have accepted “disgrace for the sake of Christ” (the same expression as here). To align oneself with Christ is to subject oneself to scorn, reproach, and perhaps more. But consistently throughout this epistle the writer has argued, as he does here, that it is well worth it. Furthermore, his readers must have a different outlook from that of contemporary Judaism. The Jews held that the way Christ died proved Him to be accursed (Deut 21:23; Gal 3:13). The readers must be ready to stand outside Judaism with the Christ who bore the curse for them “outside the camp.” (The Expositor's Bible Commentary, Volume 12: Hebrews Through Revelation)

Kistemaker explains - First, we look at the exhortation from a Jewish point of view. The Jewish Christian must leave the family structure in which he learned the precepts and commandments, the ceremonies and traditions, the prejudice and pride of the Jew. He is asked to go to Jesus upon whom the Jewish people invoked God’s curse by hanging him on a cross (Dt. 21:23). To go to one who bears the curse of God is to share “the disgrace he bore.” By choosing for Christ, the Jew rejects Judaism and thus faces expulsion, alienation, and at times persecution. The author of Hebrews reminds the readers of the suffering, public insult, and persecution they had endured in earlier days when they became Christians (10:33). Next, every reader is exhorted to go to Jesus who was cursed by God, because through Jesus we have access to God. We identify with him, for through him we are made holy (Isa. 52:1l; Ezek. 20:41; 2Cor. 6:17). He bore disgrace to set us free from the guilt of sin and to remove the curse from us. That means that the world of sin vents its hatred against us for going to Jesus (John 17:14). Christians are not taken out of the context of a sinful world but are placed in it to be witnesses for Christ. In his list of the heroes of faith, the writer notes that Moses “regarded disgrace for the sake of Christ as of greater value than the treasures of Egypt, because he was looking ahead to his reward” (Heb 11:26). Christians bear the name of Christ and are commanded by him to deny themselves, take up their cross, and follow him (Mt 10:38; 16:24). The Christian keeps his eye of faith fixed on Jesus (Heb 12:2). He knows that this present world will not remain unchanged, but will pass away. (Exposition of Hebrews. Baker Book House).

John MacArthur - As the priest of old could not have a part in the sins of the people, so the believer should be outside the camp of the world, no longer a part of its system, standards, and practices. This is what Jesus did, pictured supremely in the crucifixion, which was outside the city gates. Therefore Jesus also, that He might sanctify the people through His own blood, suffered outside the gate. I do not think the analogy can be pressed any further. It is simply a picture of Christians, following their Lord, separating themselves from the things of sin. As our Lord was crucified outside the walls of the city of Jerusalem, so we are to be spiritually outside the walls of sinning people. (MacArthur, J. Hebrews. Moody Press)

Leviticus 8:18 Then he presented the ram of the burnt offering, and Aaron and his sons laid their hands on the head of the ram.


Lev 8:18-21

Lev 8:18-21 repeats the instructions for the burnt offering which was discussed in detail in Leviticus 1 Commentary. (See especially Lev 1:3-13-note) This offering depicts one's total dedication to Jehovah - all of me is to be all His!

Laid their hands - Symbolizing transfer of personal sin to the animal substitute who would "bear away" (burn up) their sin.

Leviticus 8:19 Moses slaughtered it and sprinkled the blood around on the altar.

NET Note again states "Aaron probably did the slaughtering (cf. the notes on Lev 8:15–16 above)."

Leviticus 8:20 When he had cut the ram into its pieces, Moses offered up the head and the pieces and the suet in smoke.

Leviticus 8:21 After he had washed the entrails and the legs with water, Moses offered up the whole ram in smoke on the altar. It was a burnt offering for a soothing aroma; it was an offering by fire to the LORD, just as the LORD had commanded Moses.

Guzik - The ram was completely burnt before the LORD, with its blood sprinkled on the altar. The burnt offering said, "We have failed to give our all to God. This animal now gives its all to atone for our failure, and we decide to live now giving our all, even as this animal who dies in our place." This demonstration of total commitment to the LORD only came after the first three aspects of the ceremony: cleansing, anointing, and atonement. Without these there things settled first, we cannot truly give ourselves to God.

It was a burnt offering for a soothing aroma - The effect of the burnt offering was the same as the burnt offering in Leviticus 1:9, 13, 17. See Leviticus 1 Commentary. for discussion of soothing aroma.

Rooker - "This offering, which was an act of worship to God, naturally followed the sin offering, which removed sin. The priest was now free to respond to God in worship." (Ibid)

Soothing aroma - This OT picture is fulfilled in the perfect offering, Christ Jesus, the Lamb of God, Paul exhorting the saints at Ephesus to "walk in love (present imperative which is a command calling for their way of life and daily conduct to be in the sphere of unconditional, sacrificial love, the love that God is, the love that is a fruit of His indwelling Spirit in the yielded, obedient saint), just as Christ also loved you (note - "just as Christ" means we must depend on the same Spirit He relied upon to manifest this love - cp Lk 4:1, 14), and (voluntarily motivated by love) gave Himself up for (in our place, as our substitute) us, an offering and a sacrifice to God as a fragrant aroma." (Eph 5:2-note)

Leviticus 8:22 Then he presented the second ram, the ram of ordination, and Aaron and his sons laid their hands on the head of the ram.


Lev 8:22-30

Rooker explains that this "sacrifice in the ordination of the priesthood should be viewed as the very essence of these sacrificial rites. This sacrifice, repeated continually in the biblical period, had the specific purpose of ordaining the priest for his office." (Ibid)

We see this sacrifice described in Exodus 29...

Ex 29:19-20 “Then you shall take the other ram, and Aaron and his sons shall lay their hands on the head of the ram. And you shall slaughter the ram, and take some of its blood and put [it] on the lobe of Aaron’s right ear and on the lobes of his sons’ right ears and on the thumbs of their right hands and on the big toes of their right feet, and sprinkle the [rest of the] blood around on the altar.

Ordination (setting, offering)(04394)(millu - word study) See also Lev 7:37-note

Rooker - The word for ordination (millu) literally means “to fill” and is an abbreviated form of the expression “to fill the hands” (see Lev 8:33). “To fill the hand” is limited to the appointment of priests and those involved in carrying out the sacrificial ritual in the Old Testament. It meant to consecrate someone to divine service (Ex 28:41; 29; 32:29; Jdg 17:5, 12; 1Ki 13:33; Ezek 43:26) and required the recipient to be pure (2Chr 29:31). The LXX often translates the Hebrew word (millu) with the Greek word teleioun (teleiosis); this Greek word is used in the high priestly prayer (Note: Rooker is not exactly accurate - it s actually the verb form teleioo which is used) in John 17 (Ed: Jn 17:4 = "accomplished"; Jn 17:23 = "perfected") and in Heb 7:28-note (= "made perfect") and Heb 9:9-note (= "make...perfect") in reference to Jesus the High Priest. Apparently the inauguration to the priesthood was accompanied by placing in the priest’s hand something like a gift, a tithe, the Urim and Thummim, or something else distinctive of priestly service." (Ibid)

Wiersbe - The “ram of consecration [ordination]” took the place of the fellowship (peace) offering, symbolizing their communion with one another and with the Lord. The word translated “consecration” or “ordination” means “to fill up.” A part of the sacrifice, along with a meal offering (Lev 8:25–26), was placed in Aaron’s hands, thus filling them up, and then waved before the Lord. Later, this would be eaten.. (Ibid)

Bishop Patrick - "The ram of consecration" was evidently a sacrifice of peace offering though presented on a particular occasion. Part of the blood was applied, not as that of the sin offering, to the horns of the altar, but to Aaron and his sons; to the tips of their right ears, the thumbs of their right hands, and the great toes of their right feet: implying their obligation to hearken diligently to the word of God--to do his work in the best manner which they could, and to walk in his ways with steady perseverance; and also, that they could not do these things acceptably except through the atoning blood, received and applied by faith. Then part of the blood reserved upon the altar, probably in a basin for that purpose, was mingled with the holy anointing oil, and sprinkled on the garments both of Aaron and his sons, to hallow them to the Lord. "This may be looked upon as a lively representation of our purification by the blood of Jesus Christ, through his Holy Spirit.

Gane - While the first two kinds of sacrifices—purification offering and burnt offering—were to be performed on other occasions as well, the third was unique to the ordination event. The label for the ordination sacrifice is milluim (Lev 8:22, 28, 29, 31, 33), an abstract plural meaning literally “filling.” It derives from the expression for ordination that appears in Lev 8:33: “fill the hand” (Piel of ml + yad, “hand”) for the purpose of serving as a priest (cf. Ex. 28:41; Num. 3:3). This expression literally refers to having one’s hand filled with the tool(s) or insignia of one’s job. By extension it signifies authorization to fulfill an official function. Ordination was not simply a badge of honorable status; it was a commission to do a job for the Lord. A priest’s job description included worship leadership (Lev. 1–7; 9), mediation between God and his people (Ex. 28:36–38; Lev. 1:17; Num. 16:46–47), teaching and judging in accordance with divine instructions (Lev. 10:10–11; Lev 13–14; Deut. 17:8–12; 21:5), religious administration (e.g., Lev. 27), guarding the boundaries of the sacred domain (Num. 3:10; 18:1–7), and serving as an example of holiness to the community (e.g., Lev. 21). Additionally, the high priest was to obtain divine decisions through the Urim and Thummim kept in his breastpiece (Num. 27:21; cf. Ex. 28:30; Lev. 8:8). (NIV Application Commentary)

Ross - the ram of ordination (Lev. 8:22; see Exod. 29:19–21). An important term in this section is plural millūîm (“filling”), from the verb mālē (“to be filled with, be full”) (see especially Lev. 8:33, where it probably means “consecration”). The center of the ceremony was when some meat of the sacrifice was placed in the hands of the ordinand, along with the other bits of the sacrifice (Lev 8:27), so that his hands were full. The ordination service finds its distinctive element here.

Leviticus 8:23 Moses slaughtered it and 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.

Moses slaughtered - NET Note again states "Aaron probably did the slaughtering (cf. the notes on Lev 8:15–16 above)."

Ear...thumb...foot - It speaks of the whole person, head to toe so to speak. This clearly parallels Paul's exhortation to New Testament believer-priests who have also received such great mercies from God (like the high priest Aaron - Ex 32:1-5 for reminder of why he needed God's mercies)...

Ro 12:1-note I urge you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, to present your bodies (Ear...thumb...foot) a living and holy (and wholly surrendered) sacrifice, acceptable to God, which is your spiritual service of worship.

William MacDonald - The blood was placed on the ear, hand, and foot of Aaron and his sons (Lev 8:23, 24), reminding us that Christ’s blood should affect our obedience, service, and walk.

Wiersbe - The unique part of the ceremony was the putting of blood and oil on the right ear, right thumb, and right big toe of Aaron and his sons, symbolizing that they were set apart to hear God’s voice, do God’s work, and walk in God’s ways. (Ibid)

Harrison - Hereafter he must listen carefully to God’s pronouncements so that he can proclaim them properly. His hands must be devoted entirely to those things connected with the Lord’s work, so that he will not be tempted to perform evil deeds. His feet must always be directed in such a manner that they will be walking continually in the ways of the Lord. The use of blood in this ritual separated the priest from worldly concerns and dedicated him completely to the service of God. This particular procedure is rich in meaning for the Christian priesthood of all believers, consecrated by the blood of Jesus Christ to hear the Word of God, to perform works of grace and mercy, and to walk according to the Lord’s guidance. (Ibid)

Rooker - The placing of the blood on these extremities corresponds to putting the blood on the horns of the altar (Lev 4:7-note, Lev 4:25-note) and indicates that the priest was entirely dedicated to the service of the Lord (cf. Lev 14:17). Oehler comments on the possible significance about why these specific body parts were chosen: “The ear, because the priest must at all times hearken to the holy voice of God; the hand, because he must execute God’s commands, and especially the priestly functions; the foot, because he must walk rightly and holy.” (Ibid)

Ross - A feature that must be stressed is the application of the blood to earlobe, thumb, and toe. The application of blood to these parts covered what they heard, what they handled, where they went; it meant that in all their activities they were supposed to be set apart by the blood. Being a priest involved total sanctification of life—a holy lifestyle. This is confirmed by the sprinkling of oil and blood (8:30). There was no separation between sacred and secular; the priest was never off duty.

Baker on right - It was the place of special blessing (Ge 48:13–18), symbolizing God’s power (Ex 15:6, 12; Ps 118:15; cf. Mt 27:29), and was a special place of honor and assistance (2Kgs 12:9; Isa 63:12; Mt 25:33–34; 26:64). The right hand was extended in greeting (2Sa 20:9) and raised in joy (Ps 89:42KJV). Its prominence is also shown in the biblical stock pair “right and left,” in which the right always precedes. This precedence carried over into priestly ritual (see Lev 7:32–33; 14:14–28). (Cornerstone Biblical Commentary, Volume 2: Leviticus, Numbers, Deuteronomy)

Eugene Merrill on right (yemani) - The right (hayemanit)-The concept of the right (as opposed to the left; cf. Lev. 14:16) is used 20x in Leviticus in eight different verses in two different portions of Lev 8 and Lev 14 (here in Lev 8:23, Lev. 8:24; 14:14, 16, 17, 25, 27, 28). The adjective Omani ("right hand, right") [BDB, 412] is based on the denominative verb ymn, which is used only in the Hiphil stem and means "go to or choose the right, use the right hand" (BDB, 412). The right side may have been used since it was considered to be the more important and favored side (Ge 48:18; Mt. 25:34, 41). Jacob gave the name Benjamin, "son of [my] right hand," to the last son of his favorite wife Rachel (Ge 35:18). The idea of favor and strength being transmitted through the right hand of blessing is clearly seen in Ge 48:14-20. Theologically, the figurative expression "the right hand of God" is important in the OT (e.g., Ex 15:6, 12; Ps 98:1; Isa 41:10) as symbolizing the omnipotence and care of the LORD God. Christ is exalted to the right hand of the Father (Acts 2:33-35; Mt. 26:64) as fulfillment of Ps. 110:1 and as evidence of His acceptance by the Father. From here He will rule with power and might. Ps 16:11 indicates that the believer will experience eternal pleasures at the right hand of God. (Ibid)

Spurgeon on Ps 16:11 - "In thy presence is fulness of joy." Christ being raised from the dead ascended into glory, to dwell in constant nearness to God, where joy is at its full for ever: the foresight of this urged him onward in his glorious but grievous toil. To bring his chosen to eternal happiness was the high ambition which inspired him, and made him wade through a sea of blood. O God, when a worldling's mirth has all expired, for ever with Jesus may we dwell "at thy right hand," where "there are pleasures for evermore;" and meanwhile, may we have an earnest by tasting thy love below. Trapp's note on the heavenly verse which closes the Psalm is a sweet morsel, which may serve for a contemplation, and yield a foretaste of our inheritance. He writes, "Here is as much said as can be, but words are too weak to utter it. For quality there is in heaven joy and pleasures; for quantity, a fulness, a torrent whereat they drink without let or loathing; for constancy, it is at God's right hand, who is stronger than all, neither can any take us out of his hand; it is a constant happiness without intermission: and for perpetuity it is for evermore. Heaven's joys are without measure, mixture, or end."

Merrill on ear - The ear is a symbol of hearing and so with the blood of the ordination ram being placed on his ear the priest was now designated and ordained to listen to God. The word is used 6x in Leviticus (here, Lev. 8:24; 14:14, 17, 25, 28). That the eye, hand, and foot (Lev. 8:23) are symbols of the whole life is substantiated by the fact that these instructions are repeated in Lev 14:14, 25 in the cleansing ritual of one who has experienced healing of a skin disease. He once again can participate wholly in life now that he has been healed. It is a case of a part standing for the whole (merism). (Ibid)

Spurgeon on ear, thumb, big toe - Eager to Hear, Eager to Serve, Eager to Go - We find that blood was taken and that Moses touched the priests with it first “on their right ear lobe and on their right hand’s thumb and on their right foot’s big toe, and Moses sprinkled the blood on the altar all round” (Lev 8:24). This description is very full and suggestive.

Every Christian is to be consecrated to God by blood as to his ear. That is, we are to be eager to hear God’s voice, whether in His Word printed or preached. “Blessed are the people who know the joyful shout” (Ps 89:15). They only recognize it because the blood is on the ear. We are to hear God’s voice in providence. When there is a sound of going in the tops of the mulberry trees (2Sa 5:24), like David we are to stir ourselves. We are to be willing to hear even the rod and Him that has appointed it. There are many voices that the sanctified ear detects that the carnal ear has never listened to. The godly man has monitions from the Most High when the natural man catches no whisper. To hear the “still, small voice” always (1Ki 19:12), is the listening we should desire. So too, with regard to man, we should hear his misery and feel for it: hear his sin and pray to God for its full forgiveness as Jesus did. Yet on the other hand, there are some sounds that the ear so consecrated must not hear. We are to be deaf to the insinuations of suspicion, slander, to many an intended insult that else might have provoked and angered us. May we ever feel that as there was blood on the priest’s ear, so all our receptive powers are to be consecrated to God. If so, I shall feel that there are some books I cannot read, for I have blood on my ear; some songs I dare not listen to, some talk I dare not share in, for I have a consecrated ear. I am to use that for Him, for I am His priest.

Next in order was the thumb. This consecrated the hand. And as the ear stands for our receptive faculties, so the hand represents our active powers. There are some things we must not touch nor handle—some things we cannot do, in which we can have no hand. Since our hand is sanctified by the blood, all it does must be pleasing to God. I know that a common mistake is to think that you cannot serve God unless you get into a pulpit or attend a prayer meeting. Nonsense! You can truly serve God behind the counter, in the workroom—serve God by digging a ditch or clipping a hedge. I believe that God is often served by the tailor or shoemaker who is conscientious in his calling quite as well as by bishops and archbishops, or by men of any church in the world. At any rate, if you cannot serve God in all that you do, you need to ask to be taught the secret of the Christian life, for that secret is the consecration of everything to Jesus Christ. You are to make your garments vestments, your meals sacraments, your every day a holy day, your every hour a consecrated season unto God. Our hand, with all its manifold activities, is to be consecrated—blood-marked—to Him.

After this came the foot. The blood was put on the great toe of the right foot, so the feet were set apart for God. If anybody says to you, “Can you come with me to such and such a place?” You must answer, “No! I cannot. I have a foot that won’t go, and I cannot go without that!” And if any should say, “What is the matter with your foot?” say, “I have a foot that has blood upon it!” They will say, “Strange!” They will not understand you. But if you attempt to explain to them that the blood of your Lord Jesus Christ bought you and so your foot, then they will understand that it cannot go anywhere except where Christ would have it go. It may mean that you will have to change your position in life—you have to move and have a choice as to where you shall go. Make that choice on the principle of having a consecrated foot. Do not go where you cannot hear the pure Word of God.

Gathering up all, it surely teaches that a Christian is always and everywhere and altogether not his own, but consecrated to Christ. Not merely to be baptized, to come once a month to the Lord’s Table, to take a pew, and sit and look so heavenly minded. Any hypocrite can do that. But it is the mark of a Christian to be so honest, upright, charitable, kind, Christlike, holy, that all who see may be compelled to say, “That man differs from other men.” The secret, though they may not discover it, is that while other men are but common men, where father Adam left them in the fall, this man has been found and made anew in Jesus Christ. Ear, thumb, and foot, all consecrated to Christ’s service!

Leviticus 8:24 He also had Aaron's sons come near; and Moses put some of the blood on the lobe of their right ear, and on the thumb of their right hand and on the big toe of their right foot. Moses then sprinkled the rest of the blood around on the altar.

Guzik - These consecrated priests were stained with the blood of sacrifice. They should hear differently because the blood was on their ear. They should work differently because the blood was on their thumb. They should walk differently because the blood was on their toe. Specifically, it was applied to the right ear, hand, and foot. This isn't because God felt they could do whatever they wanted to with their left ear, hand, and foot. It is because the right side was considered superior, with more strength and skill (because most people are right-handed). God wanted their best to be dedicated to Him.

Leviticus 8:25 He took the fat, and the fat tail, and all the fat that was on the entrails, and the lobe of the liver and the two kidneys and their fat and the right thigh.

Leviticus 8:26 From the basket of unleavened bread that was before the LORD, he took one unleavened cake and one cake of bread mixed with oil and one wafer, and placed them on the portions of fat and on the right thigh.

Unleavened cake - described in Exodus 29:2 as unleavened cakes mixed with oil and unleavened wafers spread with oil, all made from finely ground wheat flour.

Leviticus 8:27 He then put all these on the hands of Aaron and on the hands of his sons and presented them as a wave offering before the LORD.

He then put all these (see Lev 8:25-26) on the hands of Aaron - These items were then waved or raised before Jehovah.

Harrison - This was a formal ‘filling of the hands’ which all could see, and the sanctity of the office to which the priests had been appointed was proclaimed by the fact that the offerings placed in their custody included the most holy parts of the sacrifice which belonged exclusively to God.

Leviticus 8:28 Then Moses took them from their hands and offered them up in smoke on the altar with the burnt offering. They were an ordination offering for a soothing aroma; it was an offering by fire to the LORD.

Leviticus 8:29 Moses also took the breast and presented it for a wave offering before the LORD; it was Moses' portion of the ram of ordination, just as the LORD had commanded Moses.

Wave offering - See Commentary on Lev 7:30 for discussion of this Hebrew word (tenupah).

Rooker - After burning the offering Moses then lifted the breast (tenupah) and presented it as a wave offering before the Lord. Leviticus 7:32-note states that the right thigh of the heave offering belonged to the priest, but the right thigh of the ordination offering was not presented to the priest. In this ceremony of dedication it would have been inappropriate for the priest to eat and hence benefit personally from the offering. (Ibid)

Leviticus 8:30 So Moses took some of the anointing oil and some of the blood which was on the altar and sprinkled it on Aaron, on his garments, on his sons, and on the garments of his sons with him; and he consecrated Aaron, his garments, and his sons, and the garments of his sons with him.


Earlier in the consecration ceremony, Moses has poured some of the holy oil on Aaron but now Moses also sprinkles both Aaron and his sons. See Lev 8:12-note. So not only did Aaron and his sons belong wholly to God, even their garments were set apart to Him and could not be used for profane (common) purposes! As NT believer-priests do we often think of ourselves as holistically holy? Or have we partitioned off some of our lives which are to be holy to Him, but other parts as set apart for ourselves? It was never meant to be this way, beloved, for we are not our own, but His, having been bought with a price. Now we are to glorify (give a proper opinion) of Jehovah in our bodies (even as was expected of the the holy OT priests). (1Cor 6:19-note 1Cor 6:20-note)

Oil...blood - Spurgeon comments "Yes, brethren, we need to know that double anointing, the blood of Jesus which cleanses, and the oil of the Holy Spirit which perfumes us. It is well to see how these two blend in one . . . It is a terrible blunder to set the blood and the oil in opposition, they must always go together.

On his garments - Blood would not easily come out and so this stain undoubtedly served as a lengthy reminder of their ceremony of consecration. However in view of Nabad and Abihu's actions in Leviticus 10, there was sadly very little impact.

Rooker says the sprinkled blood "alludes to the covenant making ceremony at Mount Sinai when the people of Israel and the altar as representative of God were sprinkled with blood (Ex 24:6-8). The three essential features of the ordination offering—the anointing of the bodily extremities; the offering of the grain and the thigh as a wave or elevation offering (tenupah); and the sprinkling of Aaron, his sons, and their garments with blood—distinguished this momentous occasion from other times of Israelite sacrifice. The ceremonies, depicted here in narrative at the commencement of the priestly service, became the pattern for ordaining priests in Israel." (Ibid)

Harrison comments on the sprinkling of blood - "The priests were thus spiritually secure in their office because they were protected by the blood of the sacrificial animal, just as the Israelites themselves had been when the first Passover was celebrated in Egypt (Exod. 12:23). Because Christ was sacrificed as our Passover lamb, his blood takes away the sins of the believers and gives them the assurance of eternal salvation as they live according to his will.

Leviticus 8:31 Then Moses said to Aaron and to his sons, "Boil the flesh at the doorway of the tent of meeting, and eat it there together with the bread which is in the basket of the ordination offering, just as I commanded, saying, 'Aaron and his sons shall eat it.'


Lev 8:31-36

Eat it there together - This clearly speaks of a time of fellowship as described in the peace (fellowship, well-being) offerings (See discussion of Peace Offerings).

Guzik - The second ram (Lev 8:22-note) - after the ram presented as a burnt offering - had its life applied to the consecrated priests. First its life was applied with the application of blood to the ear, hand, and foot of the priest. Then through a ritual meal, its life was applied by the priest taking the ram into himself. The eating did not begin the process of consecration. It came after the washing, the clothing, and the blood-atonement of the priests. The eating speaks of the continuing relationship of the priest with God.

Spurgeon adds - Let not this distinction be forgotten; the eating of the sacrifice is not intended to give life, for no dead man can eat, but to sustain the life which is there already. A believing look at Christ makes you live, but spiritual life must be fed and sustained.

Guzik has an interesting discussion of the "spirituality of eating" in a religious context...

Eating is a good picture of a healthy, continuing relationship with Jesus.

Eating is personal. No one can eat for you, and no one can have a relationship with Jesus on your behalf.

Eating is inward. It does no good to be around food or to rub food on the outside of your body - you must take it in. We must take Jesus unto ourselves inwardly, not merely in an external way.

Eating is active. Some medicines are received passively - they are injected under the skin and go to work. Such medicines could even be received while one sleeps - but no one can eat while asleep. We must actively take Jesus unto ourselves.

Eating arises out of a sense of need and produces a sense of satisfaction. We will have a healthy relationship with Jesus when we sense our need for Him and receive the satisfaction the relationship brings.

In the NT Jesus referred to Himself as the Bread of life

John 6:33 “For the bread of God is that which comes down out of heaven, and gives life to the world.”

John 6:35 Jesus said to them, “I am the bread of life; he who comes to Me shall not hunger, and he who believes in Me shall never thirst.

John 6:51 “I am the living bread that came down out of heaven; if anyone eats of this bread, he shall live forever; and the bread also which I shall give for the life of the world is My flesh.”

John 6:53 Jesus therefore said to them, “Truly, truly, I say to you, unless you eat the flesh of the Son of Man and drink His blood, you have no life in yourselves. 54 “He who eats My flesh and drinks My blood has eternal life, and I will raise him up on the last day.

John 6:55 “For My flesh is true food, and My blood is true drink.

John 6:56 “He who eats My flesh and drinks My blood abides in Me, and I in him.

Paul went on in 1Cor 11:23-34 to explain one way we are to "eat His flesh"...

23 For I received from the Lord that which I also delivered to you, that the Lord Jesus in the night in which He was betrayed took bread;

24 and when He had given thanks, He broke it, and said, "This is My body, which is for you; do this in remembrance of Me."

25 In the same way He took the cup also, after supper, saying, "This cup is the new covenant in My blood; do this, as often as you drink it, in remembrance of Me."

26 For as often as you eat this bread and drink the cup, you proclaim the Lord's death until He comes.

27 Therefore whoever eats the bread or drinks the cup of the Lord in an unworthy manner, shall be guilty of the body and the blood of the Lord.

28 But let a man examine himself, and so let him eat of the bread and drink of the cup.

29 For he who eats and drinks, eats and drinks judgment to himself, if he does not judge the body rightly.

30 For this reason many among you are weak and sick, and a number sleep.

31 But if we judged ourselves rightly, we should not be judged.

32 But when we are judged, we are disciplined by the Lord in order that we may not be condemned along with the world.

33 So then, my brethren, when you come together to eat, wait for one another.

34 If anyone is hungry, let him eat at home, so that you may not come together for judgment. And the remaining matters I shall arrange when I come.

Leviticus 8:32 "The remainder of the flesh and of the bread you shall burn in the fire.

Ex 29:34 “And if any of the flesh of ordination or any of the bread remains until morning, then you shall burn the remainder with fire; it shall not be eaten, because it is holy.

Leviticus 8:33 "You shall not go outside the doorway of the tent of meeting for seven days, until the day that the period of your ordination is fulfilled; for he will ordain you

You shall not go outside - Wiersbe writes that "Their seven days in the tabernacle precincts indicated the completion of their dedication to the Lord. Had they disobeyed and left the tabernacle, they would have died. It was a serious thing to be one of God’s priests. Disobedience put the priests in danger of death (see Ex. 28:35, 43; 30:20–21; Lev. 16:2; Nu 4:15, 19–20). With great privileges come great responsibilities." (Be Holy)

Baker on ordination - Lit., “filling,” and the ceremony consisted of literally “filling the hand.” This usually indicated ordination of the priesthood (Ex 28:41) or the Levites (Ex 32:29; Num 3:3). From the OT it is not clear what filled the hand, though sacrificial material had been placed in the priest’s hands during this ceremony (8:27). In Akkadian, the language of neighboring Mesopotamia (present-day Iraq), the same term was used in a ceremony where a king was installed and a scepter placed in his hands (Milgrom 1991:539). (Ibid)

Your ordination is fulfilled, for he will ordain you through seven days - The last phrase (Hebrew = " mallē et-yedkem") "he will ordain you" is literally the Hebrew idiom "he will fill your hand." The idiom “he will fill your hands” occurs in a number of OT passages (Ex 28:41; 29:9, 29, 35; 32:29; Lev 8:33; 16:32; 21:10; Num 3:3, Jdg 17:5, 12; 1Ki 13:33; Ezek 43:26; 1Chr 29:5; 2Chr 13:9; 29:31). For example, Ex 29:29 in the NAS reads "that in them they may be anointed and ordained." In place of the word "ordained" in the NAS, Young's Literal has the phrase "and to consecrate (Heb = male; Lxx = teleioo) in them their hand." Notice that the Septuagint has the verb teleioo which means to carry something through to completion and thus to finish or accomplish a task. So the idea in this context would appear to be that Aaron and his sons would be completely prepared (their "hands filled" so to speak) for their holy service.

Allen agrees noting that "The last few verses of Lev 8 explain that Aaron and his sons remained at the tent for seven days, repeating the sacrifices, so that their ordination became complete."

Ordination (04394)(millu from male - to be full, to fill) is a masculine noun which means setting (for jewels) or installation. Baker explains that millu refers "to the surrounding and enclosing metal environment in which jewels were set (Ex. 25:7; 35:9, 27). But it also extends its meaning to placing a priest in office; his ordination, consecration, installation by a special ordination, filling, offering (Ex. 29:22; Lev. 7:37; 8:22, etc.)."

NET Note - It is apparent that the term for “ordination offering” (in Lev 7:37-note) (מִלֻּאִים, millu’im; cf. Lev 7:37 and the note there - SEE NET NOTE BELOW) is closely related to the expression “he shall fill (Piel מִלֵּא, mille’) your hands” in this verse. Some derive the terminology from the procedure in Lev 8:27–28, but the term for “hands” there is actually “palms.” It seems more likely that it derives from the notion of putting the priestly responsibilities (or possibly its associated prebends [stipends]) under their control (i.e., “filling their hands” with authority; see J. Milgrom, Leviticus [AB], 1:538–39). The command “to keep the charge of the LORD” in v. 35 and the expression “by the hand of Moses” (i.e., under the authoritative hand of Moses, v. 36) may also support this interpretation.

NET Note on Lev 7:37 - The inclusion of the “ordination offering” (מִלּוּאִים, milu’im; the term apparently comes from the notion of “filling [of the hand],” cf. Lev 8:33) here anticipates Lev 8. It is a kind of peace offering, as the regulations in Lev 8:22–32 will show (cf. Ex 29:19–34). In the context of the ordination ritual for the priests it fits into the sequence of offerings as a peace offering would: sin offering (Lev 8:14–17), burnt and grain offering (Lev 8:18–21), and finally peace (i.e., ordination) offering (Lev 8:22–32). Moreover, in this case, Moses received the breast of the ordination offering as his due since he was the presiding priest over the sacrificial procedures (Lev 8:29; cf. Lev 7:30–31), while Aaron and his sons ate the portions that would have been consumed by the common worshipers in a regular peace offering procedure (Ex 29:31–34; cf. Lev 7:15–18).

He will ordain you through seven days - As noted above the literal Hebrew (mallē et-yedkem) is the idiomatic phrase “he will fill your hand”). The verb fill is the Hebrew word male (04390) which is discussed more fully below.

F ill (filled, filling, full, fulfill, fulfilled, completed, ordain) (04390)(male) means to fill or to be full, to complete, to fulfill, to finish, to satisfy. Male is used of something full in both the spatial and temporal sense.The first use in Ge 1:22 is God's command to His creatures to "fill (Lxx = pleroo) the waters" and then to Adam and Eve to "fill (Lxx = pleroo) the earth" (Ge 1:28; same command to Noah in Ge 9:1), these uses conveying the sense of to procreate. In a figurative sense male describes that "the earth was filled (Lxx = pimplemi = satiated, completely filled) with violence (Ge 6:11, 13, cp Ps 74:20)" or a man's hand "full (Lxx = pimplemi) of bribes" (Ps 26:10), God's right hand "full of righteousness." (Ps 48:10) Male is used literally to fill something spatially, as a skin with water" (Ge 21:19, 24:16), wells with dirt (Ge 26:15; (Lxx = pimplemi), or bags with grain (Ge 42:25; Lxx - empiplemi = to complete fill, bestowing bountifully as Lk 1:53). Male can speak of "temporal" filling or fulfilling (Ge 25:24, Ge 29:21 both Lxx = pleroo) The psalmist uses male figuratively when he says "the hungry soul He has filled (Lxx - empiplemi) with what is good." (Ps 107:9;Lxx - empiplemi). The psalmist uses male figuratively declaring "my mouth is filled with your praise." (Ps 71:8 Lxx = pleroo- the Lxx reads as prayer "Let my mouth be filled with praise.") and in a prayer that "the whole earth be filled (Lxx = pleroo and is in the future tense which is a prophecy that the earth will one day be filled) with His glory. Amen and Amen." (Ps 72:19, cp similar use in Nu 14:21, Isa 6:3-note and in 1Ki 8:10-11 male speaks of the glory that filled the temple). Isaiah sees Jehovah and "the train of His robe filling the temple." (Isa 6:1-note). In Nu 14:24 (and Dt 1:36, cp Josh 14:8-9, 14) male is used figuratively to describe the blessing of God's servant Caleb who (because he had a different spirit) had followed God "fully (male) (contrast most of the nation of Israel post-Egyptian deliverance = Nu 32:11)." Male describes the Jordan River as overflowing (Josh 3:15 - this is actually 2 words = male - fill + al = over, above - Thus the idiom is to fill above and thus overflow) In 1Sa 18:26 male is used of time that is full (expired). In another important use of male, we see that it entails the keeping of a vow, a promise or a prophecy. Thus the Lord fulfilled His promise to David that his son would build a house for His name (2Chr. 6:4, 15; cf. 2 Sa 7:12; 1Ki. 2:27; 2 Chr. 36:21). Male is used in Joel in both a context of judgment (Joel 3:13) and of joy (Millennial blessings - Joel 2:24).

Uses of Male in Leviticus - We see the literal use of the verb male in Lev 9:17 where he "filled (Lxx = pimplemi = satiated, completely filled) his hand with some of" the grain offering. In Lev 12:4 and Lev 12:6 male speaks of a time which is "completed" (Lxx = pleroo) for purification. In Lev 16:33 (also in Lev 21:10) male (Lxx = teleioo) is again used with the Hebrew word for hand (yad) in the phrase "male + yad" which as noted above is literally "fill one's hand" and in most versions is translated ordained (NJB = "installed"). In Lev 19:29 God warned Israel not to profane their daughter by prostituting her so that the land would "become full (Lxx = pimplemi) of lewdness." In Lev 25:30 the temporal sense speaks of "the space (Heb = male) of a full year." (Literally = "until fulfilling to it a complete year.")

Walter Kaiser notes the use of male "to represent the omnipresence of God: “Do not I fill heaven and earth? says the Lord” (Jer 23:24). He is not only universally present and fills the whole earth with his glory (Nu 14:21; Ps 72:19; Isa 6:3), but he is also locally visible by his glory (kabod) in the cloud which fills the tabernacle (Ex 40:34–35; 1Ki 8:10–11; Isa 6:1; Ezek 10:3; 43:5; 44:4)....Men fulfill their words when they practice idolatry as they said they would (Jer 44:25). When Solomon expelled Abiathar from his priesthood, Eli’s words were fulfilled (1Ki 2:27) just as Jeremiah’s words were fulfilled by the seventy-year exile (2Chr 36:21). God acted to fulfill his word spoken to David when he built the temple (1Ki 8:15, 24; 2Chr 6:4, 15). God will also act to fulfill the counsel and petition of his Messiah (Ps 20:4, 5). Micah speaking of himself says "I am filled (Lxx = empiplemi = completely filled) with power--with the Spirit of the LORD" (Micah 3:8-note)

Male (NAS) - accomplished(1), aloud(1), armed(1), become full(1), been completed(1), come(1), complete(3), completed(9), completion(1), confirm(1), consecrate*(3), consecrated*(4), covered(1), dedicate(1), drenched(1), drew(1), ended(1), endowed(1), expired(1), fill(38), filled(78), filling(5), fills(1), finished(1), fulfill(6), fulfilled(10), full(37), fullness(1), fully(8), gave in full(1), given fully(1), gratified(1), live(1), massed(1), messengers(1), mount*(1), mounted(1), ordain*(4), ordained*(4), ordination*(1), overflowing*(1), overflows*(1), passed(1), presume*(1), refresh(1), required(2), satisfied(1), satisfy(2), set(1), settings(2), space(1).

Male - 249x in 241v - Gen 1:22, 28; 6:11, 13; 9:1; 21:19; 24:16; 25:24; 26:15; 29:21, 27f; 42:25; 44:1; 50:3; Exod 1:7; 2:16; 7:25; 8:21; 10:6; 15:9; 23:26; 28:3, 17, 41; 29:9, 29, 33, 35; 31:3, 5; 32:29; 35:31, 33, 35; 39:10; 40:34f; Lev 8:33; 9:17; 12:4, 6; 16:32; 19:29; 21:10; 25:30; Num 3:3; 6:5, 13; 14:21, 24; 32:11f; Deut 1:36; 6:11; Josh 3:15; 9:13; 14:8f, 14; Judg 16:27; 17:5, 12; 1 Sam 16:1; 18:26f; 2 Sam 7:12; 23:7; 1 Kgs 1:14; 2:27; 7:14; 8:10f, 15, 24; 11:6; 13:33; 18:34f; 20:27; 2 Kgs 3:17, 20, 25; 4:6; 6:17; 9:24; 10:21; 21:16; 23:14; 24:4; 1 Chr 12:15; 17:11; 29:5; 2 Chr 5:13f; 6:4, 15; 7:1f; 13:9; 16:14; 29:31; 36:21; Ezra 9:11; Esth 1:5; 2:12; 3:5; 5:9; 7:5; Job 3:15; 8:21; 15:2, 32; 16:10; 20:11, 22f; 21:24; 22:18; 23:4; 32:18; 36:16f; 38:39; 39:2; 41:7; Ps 10:7; 17:14; 20:4f; 26:10; 33:5; 38:7; 48:10; 65:9; 71:8; 72:19; 74:20; 80:9; 81:10; 83:16; 104:24; 107:9; 110:6; 119:64; 126:2; 127:5; 129:7; Prov 1:13; 3:10; 6:30; 8:21; 12:21; 20:17; 24:4; Eccl 1:8; 6:7; 8:11; 11:3; Song 5:2, 14; Isa 1:15; 2:6ff; 6:1, 4; 11:9; 13:21; 14:21; 15:9; 21:3; 22:7; 23:2; 27:6; 28:8; 30:27; 33:5; 34:6; 40:2; 65:11, 20; Jer 4:5; 6:11; 13:12f; 15:17; 16:18; 19:4; 23:10, 24; 25:12, 34; 29:10; 31:25; 33:5; 41:9; 44:25; 46:12; 51:5, 11, 14, 34; Lam 4:18; Ezek 3:3; 5:2; 7:19, 23; 8:17; 9:7, 9; 10:2ff; 11:6; 23:33; 24:4; 26:2; 27:25; 28:16; 30:11; 32:5f; 35:8; 43:5, 26; 44:4; Dan 9:2; 10:3; Joel 2:24; 3:13; Mic 3:8; 6:12; Nah 2:12; Hab 2:14; 3:3; Zeph 1:9; Hag 2:7; Zech 8:5; 9:13, 15

I love God's promise to Israel (and I think applicable in principle to all believers) to "Open your mouth wide and I will fill (Lxx = pleroo) it." (Ps 81:10) Spurgeon writes " Because he had brought them out of Egypt he could do great things for them. He had proved his power and his good will; it remained only for his people to believe in him and ask large things of him. If their expectations were enlarged to the utmost degree, they could not exceed the bounty of the Lord. Little birds in the nest open their mouths widely enough, and perhaps the parent birds fail to fill them, but it will never be so with our God. His treasures of grace are inexhaustible, "Deep as our helpless miseries are, And boundless as our sins." (Treasury of David—Psalm 81)

For seven days - The day of dedication of Aaron and his sons marked the beginning of a week of consecration. Other OT events which are associated with seven days include laws regarding birth (Lev 12:2) and mourning (Ge 50:10)

The phrase seven days is found 91x in 76v - Ge 7:10; 8:10, 12; 50:10; Ex 7:25; 12:15, 19; 13:6f; 22:30; 23:15; 29:30, 35, 37; 34:18; Lev 8:33, 35; 12:2; 13:4, 21, 26, 31, 50; 14:8, 38; 15:13, 19, 24, 28; 22:27; 23:6, 8, 34, 36, 39ff; Num 12:14f; 19:11, 14, 16; 28:17, 24; 29:12; 31:19; Deut 16:3f, 13, 15; Judg 14:12, 17; 1 Sam 10:8; 11:3; 13:8; 31:13; 1 Kgs 8:65; 16:15; 20:29; 1Chr 9:25; 10:12; 2 Chr 7:8f; 30:21ff; 35:17; Ezra 6:22; Neh 8:18; Esth 1:5; Job 2:13; Isa 30:26; Ezek 3:15f; 43:25f; 44:26; 45:21, 23, 25; Acts 20:6; 21:4, 27; 28:14; Heb 11:30

S. H. Kellogg - 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.

F B Meyer - Ye shall not go out. - For seven days Aaron and his sons, newly consecrated by the blood and oil, waited together in the Holy Place. They were prohibited from going beyond the door, but fed on the consecrated food till the eighth day summoned them to begin their priestly duties. Similarly we are shut in with our Great Aaron, the High Priest of our profession. We are in Christ in the purposes of God, for we were chosen in Him before the foundation of the world. We are in Him, as Noah was in the ark, and as the child is in the home; as the member is in the body, and the branch in the vine; as the sponge in the ocean, or the jewel in the sunbeam. We are in Him as a strong enclosure, through which the malice and strength of our foes cannot break — a fortress, a strong tower, a castle keep. We are in Him, as a banqueting-hall, a Tabernacle with its spew-bread, an upper room with its descending fire. It is highly necessary that we should maintain our walk and experience on this blessed elevation. The great enemy of our souls is perpetually tempting us to leave our abiding-place, and to try issues with him in the plains beneath. What is temptation but his subtle solicitation to come out from the secret place of the Most High. Beware! the bait may be very attractive, but the end is death. Keep the charge of the Lord, and abide day and night in the company of the Great High Priest. “He shall dwell among them.” On what viands do such happy souls feast with Christ! A table is provided before them by the Lord Himself, and they feast on all that pertains to Him in blessed partnership. “Son, thou art ever with Me, and all that I have is thine.”

Leviticus 8:34 "The LORD has commanded to do as has been done this day, to make atonement on your behalf.

Rooker comments on the fact that the priests needed atonement - At the very commencement of the priestly activity there was to be a reminder of the status of the priests as sinners in need of atonement to carry out their sacred responsibilities. God must use imperfect people to serve as leaders of his people. He does not demand perfection from those who are willing to serve him. God’s grace is particularly evident in Aaron’s appointment to the high priesthood, for the very one who had been the chief sinner (Ex 32:1-5) now became the chief mediator for the people of God. Servants of God in all ages are in desperate need of the cleansing provided by God to be available and useful in his service. Believer-priests can still serve God today provided they be cleansed by means of the Holy Spirit and the Word (John 13:10; Eph 5:26; Titus 3:5; Heb 10:22). The contrast between the sinful lives of the high priests and the life and work of the Great High Priest, Jesus Christ, to which these priests pointed, was not lost to the writer of the Hebrews (Heb 9:7–14). (Ibid)

Make atonement (03722)(kapar) means to make reconciliation (to reconcile), to purge, to make propitiation (to propitiate), to pacify, to cancel. There are two main ideas regarding the meaning of kapar - (1) Kapar means to cover over sin (2) A number of resources however favor the idea that kapar means to wipe away. These ideas are discussed more below. Vine writes that "Most uses of kapar involve the theological meaning of “covering over,” often with the blood of a sacrifice, in order to atone for some sin. It is not clear whether this means that the “covering over” hides the sin from God’s sight or implies that the sin is wiped away in this process." Richards adds that "It is often said that the idea expressed (in kapar) is one found in a possibly related Arabic root that means “to cover or conceal.” Atonement would then denote a covering that conceals a person’s sin and makes it possible for him to approach God. Although this relationship is possible, the language link is not at all certain. What is certain is the role that atonement played in the religion of Israel—a role given to atonement by God to carry a vital message about our faith."

The NET Bible Note states that the primary sense of the kapar is "to wipe [something off (or on)]" (see esp. the goal of the sin offering, Lev 4, "to purge" the tabernacle from impurities), but in some cases it refers metaphorically to "wiping away" anything that might stand in the way of good relations by bringing a gift (see, e.g., Ge 32:20, "to appease; to pacify" as an illustration of this). The translation "make atonement" has been retained in Leviticus 1:4-note because, ultimately, the goal of either purging or appeasing was to maintain a proper relationship between the LORD (Who dwelt in the tabernacle) and Israelites in whose midst the tabernacle was pitched." (Leviticus 1 Note)

Today in the Word (Moody Bible Institute) - The classic hymn, “Take My Life,” by Frances Havergal, begins: “Take my life and let it be consecrated, Lord, to thee.” The following verses invite God to take every part of a person: “Take my hands and let them move at the impulse of thy love; Take my feet and let them be swift and beautiful for thee. . . . Take my voice and let me sing always, only, for my King; Take my lips and let them be filled with messages from thee.”

This idea of dedicating every part of our person to the Lord’s service finds a vivid parallel in today’s reading. During the ordination ceremony consecrating Aaron and his sons to ministry, Moses anointed their right ears, thumbs, and toes with blood (Lev 8:12, 24). This likely signified that their whole persons were now specially dedicated to the Lord for service, and that in all they did from now on they should be mindful of their holy station.

God had previously given instructions for this ordination ceremony (Ex 28-29, 39-40). The priests wore special garments, including a plate on the high priest’s turban inscribed, “Holy to the Lord.” He carried the Urim and the Thummim, sacred lots for inquiring about God’s will. As Moses enacted special ceremonies, including washing the priests with water, anointing them and the tabernacle items with oil, and offering the sacrifices.

In fact, this was the first official run-through of all God’s instructions for the sacrifices, so Moses was modeling how to do it, both for the priests and for the benefit of the nation. A great deal of work had gone into constructing the tabernacle following God’s design, and everyone present was committed to getting everything off to a good start. No wonder the consecration process took an entire week!

TODAY ALONG THE WAY - As an interesting follow-up to today’s reading, why not investigate the rules for ordination at your church or in your denomination? What qualifications are required? How can candidates fulfill them? Once a person is approved for ordination, what does the service look like? When people become ordained, does that change their status or duties? Can they ever be “unordained”-how and why?

TODAY IN THE WORD - What has been done today was commanded by the Lord to make atonement for you. - Leviticus 8:34 - The classic hymn, “Take My Life,” by Frances Havergal, begins: “Take my life and let it be consecrated, Lord, to thee.” The following verses invite God to take every part of a person: “Take my hands and let them move at the impulse of thy love; Take my feet and let them be swift and beautiful for thee. . . . Take my voice and let me sing always, only, for my King; Take my lips and let them be filled with messages from thee.”

This idea of dedicating every part of our person to the Lord’s service finds a vivid parallel in today’s reading. During the ordination ceremony consecrating Aaron and his sons to ministry, Moses anointed their right ears, thumbs, and toes with blood (Lev 8:12, 24). This likely signified that their whole persons were now specially dedicated to the Lord for service, and that in all they did from now on they should be mindful of their holy station.

God had previously given instructions for this ordination ceremony (Ex 28-29, 39-40). The priests wore special garments, including a plate on the high priest’s turban inscribed, “Holy to the Lord.” He carried the Urim and the Thummim, sacred lots for inquiring about God’s will. As Moses enacted special ceremonies, including washing the priests with water, anointing them and the tabernacle items with oil, and offering the sacrifices.

In fact, this was the first official run-through of all God’s instructions for the sacrifices, so Moses was modeling how to do it, both for the priests and for the benefit of the nation. A great deal of work had gone into constructing the tabernacle following God’s design, and everyone present was committed to getting everything off to a good start. No wonder the consecration process took an entire week!

TODAY ALONG THE WAY - As an interesting follow-up to today’s reading, why not investigate the rules for ordination at your church or in your denomination? What qualifications are required? How can candidates fulfill them? Once a person is approved for ordination, what does the service look like? When people become ordained, does that change their status or duties? Can they ever be “unordained”-how and why?

Leviticus 8:35 "At the doorway of the tent of meeting, moreover, you shall remain day and night for seven days and keep the charge of the LORD, so that you will not die, for so I have been commanded."

Seven days - From Exodus we learn that Moses was to repeat the bull offering (sin offering) each of the seven days. Nothing is stated about repeating the offering of the rams.

Ex 29:35 And thus you shall do to Aaron and to his sons, according to all that I have commanded you; you shall ordain them through seven days. 36 And each day you shall offer a bull as a sin offering for atonement, and you shall purify the altar when you make atonement for it; and you shall anoint it to consecrate it.

Take a moment to ponder the sobering effect of seven days of repeated sin offerings and ample time for reflection on the sacred significance of what God was inaugurating.

So that you will not die - How serious was God in these instructions regarding the consecration of the OT priests? Clearly "deadly serious!" As NT believer-priests we do well to meditate on this truth. We all deserve to die, but in His great mercy and compassion, God has chosen to save us. May the Father grant that His Spirit burn into our hearts a solemn, high view of our "so great a salvation" in Christ Jesus. Amen.

Spurgeon - I know some good people who are very busy indeed in the services of God, and I am very delighted that they should be, but I would caution them against working and never eating (Ed: "Eating" the Word). They give up attending the means of grace as hearers, because they have so much to do as workers.

F B Meyer has an interesting thought - In the concluding verses of Leviticus 8:1-36 we read of Aaron and his sons feeding together on the flesh of the consecration-offering; and that for seven days, during which time they were not permitted to leave the Tabernacle-a striking figure of the present position of our Lord and His own, during this dispensation, shut in with God, and awaiting the manifestation of His glory. May not this eighth day, on which the glory of the Lord appeared, be an emblem of that bright millennial morning when the congregation of Israel shall behold the true Priest issuing from the sanctuary, where He is now hidden from the eyes of men; and with Him, when He is manifested, we shall be manifested also, “the companions of His retirement, and the happy participators of His glory?” Oh, that none of us may miss that share in His epiphany, and that now our life may be hidden with Christ in glory! See Colossians 3:1-4.

Leviticus 8:36 Thus Aaron and his sons did all the things which the LORD had commanded through Moses.

Ps 84:1 For the choir director; on the Gittith. A Psalm of the sons of Korah. HOW lovely are Thy dwelling places, O LORD of hosts! 2 My soul longed and even yearned for the courts of the LORD; My heart and my flesh sing for joy to the living God.

Thus Aaron and his sons did all - Complete obedience. Unhesitating obedience. Obedience always brings God's blessing. And yet Aaron's sons Nadab and Abihu seem to have so quickly forgotten the solemn nature of this consecration ceremony. Indeed, they sinned presumptuously almost immediately after this time of hallowing and setting apart to God and for God! God help us not do the same!

O beloved, how fickle is our flesh
and how fast it is to fall into sin!

Harrison adds - Obedience is at the heart of both the old and the new covenant, and this, rather than love, is God’s prime demand of his followers. The Christian is urged to bring every thought to the obedience of Christ (2Cor 10:5-note), and to see obedience as one mark of a sanctified personality (1Pe 1:2-note). At this stage Aaron and the priests are united in a willingness to follow divine instructions, and to initiate the long and sometimes turbulent history of priestly service to the nation.

Gane - If Christians had solved their questions of leadership by following God’s leading and guidelines (including Paul’s letters to Timothy and Titus) during the past couple of millennia, imagine how much trouble and bloodshed would have been avoided. By turning sacred offices into positions of political domination rather than humble spiritual leadership, Christianity has suffered disunity, loss of real spiritual power and divine protection, and disenfranchisement of many believers as God’s “royal priesthood” (1 Peter 2:9). (Ibid)

Andrew Murray - “God needs priests who can draw close to Him, live in His presence, and by their intercession draw down the blessings of His grace on others. And the world needs priests who will bear the burden of the perishing ones and intercede on their behalf.”

G Campbell Morgan - Lev. 8:36 - These concluding words of a chapter make us look back over it. It is the account of the consecration of Aaron and his sons; that is, of the High Priest and the priests. Let us remind ourselves of the sequence of ceremonies. First Aaron and his sons were washed. Then the High Priest was robed in his garments of beauty and glory. This was followed by his anointing with the holy oil. After that his sons were robed. Before there could be exercise of their priestly function, two offerings were sacrificed to Jehovah; first, the sin offering for pollution; and then, the burnt offering as a sign of complete dedication. Then on the right ear and right thumb, and great toe of right foot, of Aaron and each of his sons, blood was put; the symbol of cleansing of sin, in order to the fulfilment of priestly functions. Next the wave-offering signified the rights and privileges of the priests, all offered to God. Again they were anointed with blood and oil. Their sustenance was provided, and they were completely separated to God and His service. Every detail was suggestive. Into the spiritual significance the reader will enter. We desire only to stress the teaching that the way of entrance to service in holy things is the way of obedience to the Divine ordinance. Nothing must be omitted which Jehovah commands. His priests must be washed, robed, anointed, sustained, separated, and all in His way, or they cannot exercise their functions in His service. To neglect any-thing, is to invalidate ministry. (Life Applications from Every Chapter of the Bible)

Rob Morgan

The new Spiderman movie tells the story of Peter Parker, a young man who has spider-like qualities. In one scene, Peter’s abilities are fading, and he desperately wants to be Spiderman once again. He wants to be able to leap from building to building. So he decides to practice. He stands atop a tall building and concentrates all his energy on leaping to the adjacent roof. He says to himself “Strong focus on what I want.”

Then he runs across the roof, his face set in grim determination, and as he approaches the edge of the rooftop he begins screaming, “I'm back! I'm back!” He leaps into the air, but almost instantly he realizes he wasn’t going to make it to the other side. He tumbles from the sky — striking clotheslines along the way. He grabs one, which breaks his fall and sends him careening into the side of the building and onto the ground with a heavy thud.

In obvious pain, he manages to get up and limp away, groaning, “My back! My back!”

We live in a world that places a high value on “positive thinking” and having a “can do” attitude. We believe that if we just focus on what we want and take a strong leap of faith, that we can achieve it.

But it takes more than will power to get to the other side. A positive outlook alone will not carry us far enough. We need someone to help us.

In biblical terms, we need a great high priest.

Now the word “priest” brings us a lot of different images for different people. But in essence and in its biblical sense, a priest is a go-between between heaven and earth. A priest represents our needs to God, and he represents God’s grace to us.

Let me give you some other words. A priest is an intermediary, a connecting link, a go-between, a liaison, a mediator.

One of the best verses in the Bible on this subject is 1Timothy 2:5

• For there is one God and one mediator between God and men, the man Christ Jesus (NIV).

• There’s one God and only one, and one Priest-Mediator between God and us—Jesus, who offered himself in exchange for everyone held captive by sin, to set them all free (the Message).

• God is on one side and all the people on the other side, and Christ Jesus, himself man, is between them to bring them together (Living Bible).

Now, I want to take you to two places in the Bible today to show you how this is portrayed for us. The first is in Leviticus, as we continue our summer sermon series from that book.

In Leviticus 1-7, we have the descriptions of the five great Levitical sacrifices that were offered on the Tabernacle altar. All five of these teach us various aspects of the life and ministry and death of Jesus Christ. They are prophetic in nature—prophetic object lessons, types or prototypes of the coming Messiah.

Now, pressing deeper into Leviticus, we come to chapters 8 and 9, and the subject of these chapters is the ordination of the priests. And here we find the second great truth about Jesus Christ in the book of Leviticus. He is not only our sacrifice, He is our priest. The grand purpose of the Levitical priests was to portray for us in advance aspects of the ministry of our Lord Jesus Christ.

Just as we see Jesus in the sacrifices, so we see Him in the priesthood. I’m not going to read both of these chapters, but let’s dip into some of the verses found here:

And the Lord spoke to Moses, saying: “Take Aaron and his sons with him, and the garments, the anointing oil, a bull as the sin offering, two rams, and a basket of unleavened bread; and gather all the congregation together at the door of the tabernacle or meeting.” So Moses did as the Lord commanded him. And the congregation was gathered together at the door of the tabernacle of meeting. And Moses said to the congregation, “This is what the Lord commanded to be done.” Then Moses brought Aaron and his sons and washed them with water. And he put the tunic on him, girded him with the sash, clothed him with the robe, and put the ephod on him; and he girded him with the intricately woven band of the ephod, and with it tied the ephod on him. Then he put the breastplate on him, and he put the Urim and the Thummim in the breastplate. And he put the turban on his head. Also on the turban, on its front, he put the golden plate, the holy crown, as the Lord had commanded Moses. Also Moses took the anointing oil, and anointed the tabernacle and all that was in it, and consecrated them. He sprinkled some of it on the altar seven times, 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 (Leviticus 8:1-12).

The rest of chapter 8 and the first part of chapter 9 describe a lengthy process of sacrifice and preparation involved in the installation of the Aaronic priesthood, and then we come to Leviticus 9:22ff:

Then Aaron lifted his hand toward the people, blessed them, and came down from offering the sin offering, the burnt offering, and the peace offerings. And Moses and Aaron went into the Tabernacle of meeting, and came out and blessed the people. Then the glory of the Lord appeared to all the people, and fire came out from before the Lord and consumed the burnt offering and the fat on the altar. When all the people saw it, they shouted and fell on their faces.

All of this speaks of Jesus Christ. The clothing of the High Priest was designed to teach us lessons about Jesus Christ. I preached two sermons on this subject a year or two ago. The anointing and ordination and functions of the high priest all speak of Christ. I could try to explain it to you, but I don’t need to; God has given us His own explanation of all this. He has preached His own sermon on these chapters, and He did so in the book of Hebrews.

One of the great themes of Hebrews is the high priestly ministry of Jesus Christ—what it means to us that Jesus is our High Priest. I was surprised when I looked it up to discover that the word “priest” occurs 32 times in the book of Hebrews. I think the best way for us to understand this passage in Leviticus is not to try to plunge into it and interpret every detail, but to look at it through the prism of Hebrews 2:16 – 3:1.

So for the third time today I’m going to ask you to turn to a new portion of Scripture as we continue to trace out this uplifting theme.

Therefore, in all things He had to be made like His brethren, that He might be a merciful and faithful High Priest in things pertaining to God, to make propitiation for the sins of the people. For in that He Himself has suffered, being tempted, He is able to aid those who are tempted. Therefore, holy brethren, partakers of the heavenly calling, consider the Apostle and High Priest of our confession, Christ Jesus.

Notice that last sentence. This is a commandment. The God of the Bible is telling us to consider—to think about and ponder—the High Priestly ministry of Jesus Christ. There’s something about this subject that is needed by our souls. Consider the Apostle and High Priest of our confession, Christ Jesus.

As we consider this subject, you’ll notice that in this text there are two descriptions of Jesus as our High Priest, and there are two functions (two things He does for us). So that’s our outline: the two descriptions of our Great High Priest, and His two functions in our lives. What He is to us, and what He does for us.

1. What Our Great High Priest Is To Us

First, He is merciful. Therefore, in all things He had to be made like His brethren, that He might be a merciful…High Priest in things pertaining to God.

This comes from the Greek word éleos, which is usually translated mercy. It conveyed the idea of looking at someone, seeing their need, and having compassion and sympathy for them.

I want to quote you three times when this work occurs in the New Testament.

Luke 1:58 says about Elizabeth, mother of John the Baptist: When her neighbors and relatives heard how the Lord had shown great mercy to her, they rejoiced with her.

Luke 1:78 says that John the Baptist came to give knowledge of salvation to His people by the remission of their sins, through the tender mercy of our God.

1 Peter 1:3 says: Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who according to His abundant mercy has begotten us again into a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead.

Notice those three adjectives: His great mercy, His tender mercy, His abundant mercy. He is a merciful High Priest. Someone told me the other day about a new term that’s becoming popular in the United States. It’s called “Dumpster Driving.” People go from dumpster to dumpster, pulling out things that other people have thrown away and restoring them to use.

Sometimes we feel like we’ve been thrown into the dumpster of life. We feel worthless. We feel tossed aside. We feel dirty and broken. But we have a merciful High Priest who recovers, reclaims, and restores.

I think the best thing I’ve ever read about the mercy of our Great High Priest is a hymn, a poem, written by Charles Wesley. Even though this is a very old hymn, it still conveys the mercy of God with such vivid imagery:

Depth of mercy! Can there be

Mercy still reserved for me?

Can my God His wrath forbear,

Me, the chief of sinners, spare?

I have long withstood His grace,

Long provoked Him to His face,

Would not hearken to His calls,

Grieved Him by a thousand falls.

There for me the Savior stands,

Shows His wounds and spreads His hands.

God is love! I know, I feel;

Jesus weeps and loves me still.

Now incline me to repent,

Let me now my sins lament,

Now my foul revolt deplore,

Weep, believe, and sin no more.

The Bible tells us to consider and study and think about Jesus in as our merciful High Priest.

The second adjective that is used to describe Him is Faithful. Look at verse 17 again: Therefore, in all things He had to be made like His brethren, that He might be a merciful and faithful High Priest.

The word faithful just means that He is going to keep every single promise and obligation He has made. At the end of the book of Joshua, there is a remarkable testimony about this. After the Exodus, the years of wandering, and the conquest of the land of Canaan, after Joshua had led his nation and fought and claimed the land, as he was finishing his course, he said, “Not a word failed of any good thing which the Lord had spoken to the house of Israel. All came to pass” (Joshua 21:45).

Two chapters later, Joshua said, “You know in all your hearts and in all your souls that not one thing has failed of all the good things which the LORD your God spoke concerning you. All have come to pass for you; not one word of them has failed” (Joshua 23:14).

Centuries later, when Solomon was dedicating the Temple in Jerusalem, he said, “Blessed be the LORD, who has given rest to His people Israel, according to all that He promised. There has not failed one word of all His good promise, which He promised through His servant Moses” (1 Kings 8:56).

Psalm 89:33 says that God will not allow His faithful to fail.

Lamentations 3:22 says that His compassions fail not.

I was reading again the other day about what hymn writer Frances Havergal said on her deathbed: “Splendid to be so near the gates of heaven! I am lost in amazement! There has not failed one word of all His good promises!”

I’ve been thinking a great deal recently about that wonderful promise in Romans 8:28: All things work together for good to those who love Him, for those who are the called according to His purpose.

If we really believed that, it would virtually banish all sustained discouragement or frustration in life. It would alter our mood and impart optimism for every day. He is not only a merciful High Priest, He is a faithful High Priest. Those are His two adjectives. Those are the two attributes that characterize His ministry to us as He represents us before the Throne of a Holy God.

2. What Our High Priest Does for Us

That’s who our High Priest is to us, and the remainder of this text tells us what our High Priest does for us. Just as there are two adjectives in the first part of this passage, there are two activities in the last part.

Therefore, in all things He had to be made like His brethren, that He might be a merciful and faithful High Priest in things pertaining to God…


First, …to make propitiation for the sins of the people. I’m reading from the New King James Version, and some of you are saying, “What in the world is propitiation?”

It is a sacrifice that turns away or averts the wrath of God. I’m so glad that God is a God of wrath, because there would be something very insufficient about a God who could look at the evils that torment this world and be passionless about it.

There was a very interesting article this week about a new exhibit that will go on display soon at a museum in Baghdad, sponsored in part by the International Olympic Committee. It is made up of certain instruments of torture that Saddam Hussein used on Iraq’s Olympic athletes who didn’t win any medals. They were taken to a prison outside of Baghdad and tortured, along with their coaches and managers.

To hear of that, to see that, to be aware of that, and to have no emotion, no anger would be wrong.

The problem, of course, is that some of that evil is inside of you and me. There is none righteous, no not one. And so we all face the holy and pure and perfect wrath of an Almighty God. And the Bible says that it is a fearful thing to fall into the hands of an angry God.

But there is one thing in the universe—one substance in heaven and earth—that will avert the judicial wrath of God, and that is the blood of the Lamb of God, the crimson blood of our Lord Jesus Christ. It averts the wrath of God. And Jesus Christ had to be made like His brethren (that is, He had to become a human being) that He might be a merciful and faithful High Priest in things pertaining to God, to make propitiation for the sins of the people.

That’s the first thing our High Priest does. The second thing is given in the next verse, verse 18: For in that He Himself has suffered, being tempted, He is able to aid those who art tempted.

He helps us in our times of trials and temptations. He comes alongside as a pastor, as a priest, as a comforter and counselor and friend. He knows and He understands and He helps.

The other night I attended a reception for Mrs. Vonette Bright, the wife and widow of Bill Bright who was the founder of Campus Crusade for Christ. She told us about her husbands home going, and then she gave us a copy of his last book, a book that he wrote while he was dying, called The Journey Home. I’ve been reading that book, and it has been such a blessing.

When Bill and Vonette entered the doctor’s office some time ago, the doctor told Bill that he had only a short time to live. He was suffering from a lung disease.

Bill’s response was, “Thank you, Lord.”

The doctor said, “You don’t seem to realize what’s happening to you. You’re dying. It’s worse than cancer. It’s worse than heart trouble. We can deal with those in some measure, but nobody can help you with pulmonary fibrosis. You are going to die a miserable death.

Bill’s response was, “Well, praise the Lord. I’ll see the Lord sooner than I had planned.”[1]

In this final book The Journey Home, he said that when he was a boy growing up in Oklahoma, a school bus took him to class each day, but he often had sports practice or drama rehearsal afterward, and that would mean a five mile walk home. The sun would set before he had finished the journey, but his dear mother always came to walk with him the last mile of the way. Just the knowledge of her presence turned that part of the journey into something to look forward to. And when they got about a quarter mile from the house, he could see the light of home. He said, “It always buoyed my spirit and put strength in my pace…. My father and the rest of our family soon would welcome me.”

Now, he said, “I am on the last mile, but I am not alone. The Lord Jesus by His Holy Spirit is with me, and the knowledge of His presence dispels the darkness and allays any fears. We have tender conversations. I can see the light of my real home, heaven, and it beckons and buoys me more than ever, the nearer I draw to it. It is a glorious sight. My precious heavenly Father and loved ones in the great family of God are open-armed, and I can barely wait to get home at last.”

That’s Jesus, our High Priest. He is our Propitiation and He is our Preoccupation. He is merciful and faithful. He atones for sin and gives us strength in our weakness.

Jesus, my great High Priest,

Offered His blood, and died;

My guilty conscience seeks

No sacrifice beside:

His powerful blood did once atone,

And now it pleads before the throne.

Exodus 28 Dress Rehearsal:
What the High Priestly Garments of Aaron Teach Us About Christ
Rob Morgan
March 10, 2002 

Years ago I read a book titled Dress for Success, and I tried for a while to be a well-dressed executive. One of the rules, as I recall, was to avoid on all occasions the color green. I suppose that book is out-of-date, but a plethora of other books are written each year on the same subject, such as the currently popular Your Executive Image: How to Look Your Best and Project Success for Men and Women. 

Most of us don’t want to be “slobs,” but neither do we want to spend a fortune on our wardrobes. Jesus told us not to be overly concerned about apparel, for not even Solomon in all his glory could arrange to be clothed as beautiful as the lowly lilies of the field. 

So it came as some surprise to me when I realized that there are three separate chapters in the Old Testament devoted to one man’s wardrobe. There is one man in Scripture who had to be dressed for success in the truest sense of the word, and even the details of the fabrics used in his apparel are specified. That man was Aaron, the High Priest of Israel, and here are the three chapters: In Exodus 28, his high priestly garments are described. In Exodus 39, his high priestly garments are manufactured; and in Leviticus 8, the high priestly garments are fitted for size and worn.

Why would three chapters of Scripture be devoted to such a subject as this? Many Bible readers would shrug, say “Who knows?” and mark these chapters down as some of the more mundane and boring passages of the Bible. But today and next Sunday I’d like for us to take a closer look at them. 

One scholar, Paul Kiene, wrote: “The details of the high priest’s garments speak of the Lord Jesus in His glory. They help us better recognize His incomparable qualities and the worth of His person, in order that we will love and honor our Lord more.” 

Dr. Stephen Olford added: “Each part of his attire speaks eloquently of the glories, virtues, and excellencies of our Great High Priest, the Lord Jesus Christ.” 

Let’s see if this is true. We’ll begin in Exodus 28, the description of the High Priestly Garments of Aaron. 

1 Have Aaron your brother brought to you from among the Israelites, along with his sons Nadab and Abihu, Eleazar and Ithamar, so they may serve me as priests. 

Aaron was the older brother of Moses whom we first meet in the fourth chapter of Exodus. He was appointed by God as High Priest of Israel, and as such he foreshadowed the High Priestly ministry of Jesus Christ Himself. This is the great theme of the book of Hebrews: For this reason He (Jesus) had to be made like His brothers in every way, in order that He might become a merciful and faithful high priest in service to God, and that He might make atonement for the sins of the people—Hebrews 2:17 

In this regard, we would say that Aaron is a “type” of Christ. That is, Aaron is an Old Testament prefiguration of the coming Messiah, the ultimate and eternal High Priest on our behalf before God. The Lord planned and designed Aaron’s role as a prototype to teach us about the great High Priesthood of Jesus Christ. In other words, Aaron and the High Priesthood of Israel were great, divinely-planned Old Testament object lessons designed to teach us about a vital aspect of the life and ministry of our Lord Jesus Christ. 

Now, let’s make a small step in logic. If Aaron and the High Priesthood were prefigurations of Jesus Christ as our Great High Priest, and if three chapters of the Old Testament are devoted to detailed information about their priestly garments, shouldn’t we assume that those garments have Christological significance? That they, too, can teach us something about the Lord Jesus Christ? Well, let’s read on: 

2 Make sacred garments for your brother Aaron, to give him dignity and honor. 3 Tell all the skilled men to whom I have given wisdom in such matters that they are to make garments for Aaron, for his consecration, so he may serve me as priest. 4 These are the garments they are to make: a breastpiece, an ephod, a robe, a woven tunic, a turban and a sash. They are to make these sacred garments for your brother Aaron and his sons, so they may serve me as priests. 

Today and next Sunday I’m going to go through Aaron’s wardrobe, describe and explain each garment, and look at what that garment tells us about Jesus Christ. There are basically five garments that we want to deal with: 

  • · The high priest wore something like an apron on the outside of and over his other robes. This colorful apron was called an ephod, and it had a sash in the front of it. The front and back of the ephod were connected at the shoulders by clasps to which were attached two onyx stones, one per shoulder. 
  • · Tied to the ephod with twisted cords of gold was a breastplate inlaid with twelve precious stones. Inside this breastplate were two very mysterious stones called the Urim and the Thummim. 
  • · Beneath the ephod was a blue robe. 
  • · Beneath the blue robe was a seamless white robe. 
  • · On the high priest’s head was a turban with a gold plate bearing the words “Holy to the Lord.” 

The Ephod 

The most colorful and obvious garment was the ephod. Let’s read about it in Exodus 28:6-8: 

6 “Make the ephod of gold, and of blue, purple and scarlet yarn, and of finely twisted linen—the work of a skilled craftsman. 7 It is to have two shoulder pieces attached to two of its corners, so it can be fastened. 8 Its skillfully woven waistband is to be like it—of one piece with the ephod and made with gold, and with blue, purple and scarlet yarn, and with finely twisted linen. 

For the remainder of our time today, let’s begin with the ephod. First, look at the word itself; it isn’t a word we use in English. The word ephod is a transliteration of the Hebrew word ‘êphôwd (ay-fode’), mentioned 50 times in the Bible. It became a symbol of the priesthood. In other words, sometimes instead of saying the word “priest,” the Old Testament says, “He who wears the ephod.” In that sense, it was sort of like the word “crown” which is sometimes used a synonym for the king himself. Here in Exodus 28, the ephod is described. Now, turn over to Exodus 39 where its actual manufacture is described: 

1 From the blue, purple and scarlet yarn they made woven garments for ministering in the sanctuary. They also made sacred garments for Aaron, as the LORD commanded Moses. 2 They made the ephod of gold, and of blue, purple and scarlet yarn, and of finely twisted linen. 3 They hammered out thin sheets of gold and cut strands to be worked into the blue, purple and scarlet yarn and fine linen—the work of a skilled craftsman. 4 They made shoulder pieces for the ephod, which were attached to two of its corners, so it could be fastened. 5 Its skillfully woven waistband was like it—of one piece with the ephod and made with gold, and with blue, purple and scarlet yarn, and with finely twisted linen, as the LORD commanded Moses. 

There are several things to notice about the ephod. 

It’s Majesty 

First, it’s dignity and majesty. This was designed to be a colorful and beautiful garment. Now all of us know that out clothing identifies us in certain ways. If you go to the ballpark and see someone in a baseball uniform you know that he or she is on one of the teams. If you’re walking down the street and see someone in a police uniform, you know that person has authority to enforce the laws of the land. When you saw the High Priest going about His priestly duties, you saw this colorful, beautiful, one-of-a-kind garment called the ephod. Its very appearance conveyed the idea of majesty. Earlier we read this verse in Exodus 28 that tells us the reason for these garments, to give the priest dignity and honor. 
And majesty is a word that befits the Lord Jesus Christ. 

  • · Psalm 45 says that when the Messiah comes He will be clothed in majesty. 
  • · Psalm 93 says, “The Lord reigns, He is robed in majesty. The Lord is robed in majesty and armed with strength.” 
  • · Psalm 104 says, “O Lord my God, You are very great; You are clothed with splendor and majesty. He wraps Himself in light as with a garment.” 
  • · The Psalmist said: “O Lord, our Lord, how majestic is Your name in all the earth.” 
  • · First Thessalonians 1:8 talks about the majesty of Christ’s power. 
  • · Peter wrote, “We were eyewitnesses of His majesty.” 
  • · The book of Jude closes with this doxology: “To the only God our Savior be glory, majesty, power and authority, through Jesus Christ our Lord, before all ages, now and forevermore! Amen.” 

The hymn says:

Majesty! Worship His Majesty!
Unto Jesus Be all glory, honor, and praise.

Our Savior was and is a High Priest of dignity, honor, and majesty. 

It’s Material 

Second, notice the materials from which the ephod was made. Exodus 39:2 says, “They made the ephod of gold and of blue, purple, and scarlet yarn, and of finely twisted linen” And verse 3 tells us how the gold thread was manufactured and used: “They hammered out thin sheets of gold and cut strands to be worked into the blue, purple, and scarlet yarn and fine linen—the work of a skilled craftsman.” 

In other words, the ephod was made of fine linen into which were woven golden threads. The linen represents our Lord’s sinless humanity and the gold represents His deity. He is the God-Man. 

As you read through the Gospels, you become aware that our Lord was comfortable with His deity. He just assumed the fact that He was, is, and always would be God. This self-perception is seen, for example, in Mark 2, when a group of men lowered a paralytic through the roof of a crowded house in which Jesus was teaching. The Lord’s first response was to tell the man that his sins were forgiven. The scribes, standing around and listening, knew the implications of this statement, for only God could forgive sin. “Who can forgive sin but God alone?” they complained. But Jesus seemed abundantly comfortable exercising that divine privilege. 

In Matthew 14, after Jesus has stilled the winds and calmed the waves of the sea by His divine power, it says that those in the boat worshipped Him. And He received their worship, though among the Jews only God was to be worshipped. Just as the ephod was made of golden strands in fine linen, so our Lord’s humanity and deity were woven together in one seamless personality. He was both man and God. 
Its Colors 

Next, look with me at the colors of this ephod. Exodus 39:1 says it was to be interwoven From the blue, purple and scarlet yarn…. And verse 2: They made the ephod of gold, and of blue, purple, and scarlet yarn. In the last half of Exodus, we have the description of the building of the Tabernacle, the meeting place between Jehovah and the children of Israel. This Tabernacle is filled and surrounded by curtains, and they are all of these same colors. Over and over, we read the words “blue, purple, and scarlet.” 

In my library I have a collection of books about the Tabernacle. Without exception, each of these books say that the Tabernacle is an architectural rendition of the Lord Jesus Christ, that every element in this heavenly tent represents some truth about our Lord. And with equal unanimity, they stress the significance and importance of these colors that cover the Tabernacle and which make up the ephod of the High Priest. 

The blue stands for our Lord’s heavenly origin. Blue is the color of the sky, and on clear days when we look heavenward, we see an ocean of blue. 

In the human sense, our Lord was born in Bethlehem like any child, but as it relates to His divine nature, He has always existed at Bethlehem. He came down from heaven to dwell among men. John the Baptist called Him, “The One who comes down from heaven.” Jesus Himself said the same on many occasions. To Nicodemus, during their famous nocturnal meeting in John 3, Jesus said: “No one has ever gone into heaven except the one who came from heaven—the Son of Man. Just as Moses lifted up the snake in the desert, so the Son of Man must be lifted up, that everyone who believes in him may have eternal life.” 

On another occasion, He said: “I have come down from heaven not to do my will but to do the will of him who sent me.” 

He said, “I am the bread that came down from heaven.” 

Paul called Him, “The man from heaven.” Can you think of any other historical figure who made such a claim? The Israelites revered Abraham more than any other person, but no one claimed that Abraham came down from heaven. No one in human history has a more remarkable and fascinating story than Alexander the Great, the youth who conquered the world. But Alexander never claimed to have come down from heaven. There is no figure in American history more revered than George Washington. We call him the “father of our country,” but he never claimed to have come down from heaven for the work he did. 

Jesus told His Jewish critics: “You are from below; I am from above. You are of this world; I am not of this world.” Our Savior is of heavenly origin. 
The second color is purple, the universal color of royalty. In 331 B. C. the aforementioned Alexander the Great found 190-year-old purple robes when he conquered Susa, the ancient Persian capital. They were in the royal treasury as part of the wardrobe of the kings. 

In Roman and Byzantine history, this was the color worn by emperors. There have been periods in human history when people were executed for wearing the color purple; it was considered treasonous. 

Why was this a color reserved for kings? Because only kings could afford it. Purple dye was extremely rare in the ancient world because it was produced by harvesting tiny bits of mucus from various sea mollusks! The city of Tyre was famous for the production of purple fabric, and estimates are that it took 8,500 shellfish to produce 1 gram of the dye. One account I read said, “In processing the dye, workers had to crack the shell and dig out a vein located near the shellfish head with a small pointed utensil. The mucus-like contents of the veins were then mixed together and spread on silk or linen. The saturated fabric was then placed in the sun, where the colors changed from light green to blue to purplish red.” 

Demand for this purple dye reached such proportions that certain species of Mediterranean shellfish became almost extinct in the ancient world. No wonder it was the color of royalty. 

The Pharaohs highly valued this purple yarn, and when the Israelites left they plundered the Egyptians, taking not only their sliver and gold, but also their precious yarns and fabrics. The purple in the robe of the High Priest was rare and beautiful and it represented the royalty of the Messiah. 

When the Magi came to Bethlehem looking for the Christchild, they asked, “Where is He who has been born King of the Jews.” 
When they crucified Jesus, over His head hung the words: “King of the Jews.” 

The Bible says, “Now to the King eternal, immortal, invisible, the only God, be honor and glory for ever and ever. Amen” (1 Timothy 1:17). 

And the book of Revelation tells us that when Jesus comes again, He will have this name written on His robes: “King of kings and Lord of lords!” 
The third color is scarlet. That represents the blood of Christ. The High Priest, by the very definition of his role, dealt in blood, in the sacrifices offered to atone for sin. Hebrews 4:11-12, picking up on that truth, says, “When Christ came as high priest … He did not enter by means of the blood of goats and calves; but he entered the Most Holy Place once for all by his own blood, having obtained eternal redemption.” 

There is a fountain filled with blood 
Drawn from Emmanual’s veins. 
And sinners plunged beneath that flood 
Lose all their guilty stains. 

So in the majesty of it’s appearance, materials, and colors, the ephod taught the people about the coming Messiah. 

The Onyx Stones 

The last thing I’d like us to notice is the two onyx stones that fastened the ephod together at the shoulders of the High Priest. Look at verse 4: They made shoulder pieces for the ephod, which were attached to two of its corners, so it could be fastened. 

In other words, the High Priest slipped the ephod over his head and attached it at the shoulder straps, and at the spot where it fashioned on either shoulder was an onyx stone. Those onyx stones are described more fully in Exodus 28:9ff: 

9 Take two onyx stones and engrave on them the names of the sons of Israel 10 in the order of their birth—six names on one stone and the remaining six on the other. 11 Engrave the names of the sons of Israel on the two stones the way a gem cutter engraves a seal. Then mount the stones in gold filigree settings 12 and fasten them on the shoulder pieces of the ephod as memorial stones for the sons of Israel. Aaron is to bear the names on his shoulders as a memorial before the LORD. 

So we read in Exodus 39:6: 

They mounted the onyx stones in gold filigree settings and engraved them like a seal with the names of the sons of Israel. Then they fastened them on the shoulder pieces of the ephod as memorial stones for the sons of Israel, as the Lord commanded Moses. 

It was like a general’s uniform with four or five stars on the shoulders, except in this case it wasn’t stars denoting rank and power, it was stones denoting those whom he represented before God. The High Priest always bore the names of children of Israel on his shoulders. He carried them. When he knelt to pray, the Lord looked down at His shoulders and saw there the names of those whom he bore. What does that tell us about our Great High Priest? 

Deuteronomy 33:1 says, “The one the LORD loves rests between His shoulders.” 

Deuteronomy 1:31 says, “There you saw how the LORD your God carried you….” 

Isaiah 46:3 says, “Listen to me, O house of Jacob, all you who remain of the house of Israel, you whom I have upheld since you were conceived, and have carried since your birth. Even to your old age and gray hairs I am He, I am He who will sustain you. I have made you and I will carry you; I will sustain you and I will rescue you. 

Isaiah 63:9: “In all their distress he too was distressed, and the angel of his presence saved them. In his love and mercy He redeemed them; He lifted them up and carried them all the days of old.” 

Jesus told about the shepherd who left the nine-nine in the fold and went out, searching for that one lost lamb. And when He found it, He joyfully put it on His shoulders and went home, calling his neighbors and saying, “Rejoice with me. I have found my lost sheep.” 
Do you have a load too heavy to bear this morning? Are your burdens too great? Is the way too hard? We do not have a High Priest who is unable to sympathize with our weaknesses. We have one who bears us on His shoulders, who carries us, who shoulders our load. He is the Man of Majesty. He is the God-Man. He is the man from heaven, the man of royalty, the man who shed His blood for you and me. 

This is your great High Priest. He represents you before God, and He is always bearing you on His shoulders. He carries you. 

I must tell Jesus all of my trials;
I cannot bear these burdens alone;
In my distress He kindly will help me;
He ever loves and (carries) His own.