Chapters 8-10 are their own section in the Book of Leviticus. These first seven chapters of Leviticus discussed God’s law regarding the sacrifices that were to be offered at the tabernacle. These next three chapters are about the priesthood, and there is much here for us as a church.
It is good to understand this text in light of Jesus Christ. He is our high priest (Hebrews 8:1-2). And Jesus, like Aaron, leads a contingent of fellow priests. This is us. The church is a priesthood of believers (1 Peter 2:5).
There also is an application in these chapters to church pastors and elders. God has gifted some to lead his church – not to officiate sacrifices but to shepherd the people and to teach the Word (1 Corinthians 12:28).
With that understanding, we can see what God instructed when it came to the consecration of the priests. We’ll run through this quickly with an eye toward the spiritual implications of what took place and how those eternal truths show up in our Christian lives.
The priests were consecrated in a public ritual. The whole assembly was gathered. When you became a Christian, you likely made a public profession of your faith. At least, I hope you did. “If you confess with your mouth that Jesus is Lord and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved” (Romans 10:9). What’s the point of confessing something verbally if no one is there to hear it? The confession is for the sake of the body, the assembly of believers that we now are joining.
The priests were washed with water. I think about baptism. We also might think about being washed with the Word of God (Ephesians 5:26). And we also might think about Jesus washing his disciples’ feet (John 13:8).
The priests were clothed with special garments. What clothes are you wearing? See Ephesians 6:10-18.
The priests were anointed with oil. Jesus was anointed by God (Acts 4:27). And that anointing was connected to the Holy Spirit (Acts 10:38). We also have been anointed (1 John 2:20).
The priests offered a sacrifice for sins. Atonement was necessary. And Jesus did this for us (Isaiah 53:12).
The priests offered an ordination sacrifice. They were marked on their ear, hand, and feet with the blood. Whatever they heard, whatever they handled, and wherever they went, they were set apart for the work of God.
The priests were to eat together and remain at the tabernacle for seven days – a symbol of completion. The priests were wholly given over to God. Do you remember how we are to take up our crosses and follow Jesus (Matthew 16:24-25)? A cross was an instrument of death. Those who went out with their own crosses didn’t come back!
There is plenty here to think about.
The following are three sets of questions to consider today. Some may be more applicable to you than others.
1) Have you made your faith public? Have you been baptized? Are you open to sharing your beliefs with others, whether inside the church or outside of it? Does anything cause you to pull back?
2) Are you immersing yourself daily in God’s Word? Are you being fully “washed” by it? Does it dictate how you respond to what you hear, and does it guide where you go and what you do with your days?
3) Are you fully given over to Christ? Have you picked up your cross, and are you following? Will you continue to follow – no matter what?
I am praying for you! Keep moving forward in Christ.