1 - 3 Sacrifices for the Ordination
1 “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, 2 and unleavened bread and unleavened cakes mixed with oil, and unleavened wafers spread with oil; you shall make them of fine wheat flour. 3 You shall put them in one basket, and present them in the basket along with the bull and the two rams.
Exodus 28 and Exodus 29 belong together. Priest’s clothing, described in Exodus 28, alone is not sufficient. An ordination must also take place. Being a priest is one thing, performing priestly service is another thing. To do priestly service it is necessary to occupy oneself with the Lord Jesus and His work. This is shown by the sacrifices mentioned in Exodus 29. Its meaning will be seen later in this chapter as it describes how these sacrifices are to be brought.
4 The Washing
4 Then you shall bring Aaron and his sons to the doorway of the tent of meeting and wash them with water.
Before we can see the work of the Lord Jesus, we first need to be washed with water. Water represents the Word of God in its cleansing power (Eph 5:26). Washing away all impurity by confession, to which we come when we read in God’s Word how He thinks about things, precedes sanctification, devotion. We see this in 1 Corinthians 6: “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” (1Cor 6:11).
5 - 9 Aaron and His Sons Clothed
5 You shall take the garments, and put on Aaron the tunic and the robe of the ephod and the ephod and the breastpiece, and gird him with the skillfully woven band of the ephod; 6 and you shall set the turban on his head and put the holy crown on the turban. 7 Then you shall take the anointing oil and pour it on his head and anoint him. 8 You shall bring his sons and put tunics on them. 9 You shall gird them with sashes, Aaron and his sons, and bind caps on them, and they shall have the priesthood by a perpetual statute. So you shall ordain Aaron and his sons.
After the washing to be clean, the priest’s clothing can be put on. Its application is that we may be aware that God can accept us in His presence. We have the right clothing for that. We are clothed as priests “with righteousness” and “with salvation” (Psa 132:9,16), yes, with Christ Himself, for we are accepted in the Beloved (Eph 1:6). What is still needed is the foundation, the basis by which we can be clothed with Christ. We have this basis in the various sacrifices that are brought at the ordination.
Although Aaron and his sons are clothed together, the high priest has a special place. He is given special clothing and anointed with oil before there is spoken of blood. This is also the distinction between us as priests and the Lord Jesus. The Lord Jesus was also anointed with the Holy Spirit before He completed the work on the cross (Acts 10:38a; Mt 3:16). We have only been anointed, that is, we have received the Holy Ghost, after the shedding of His blood and the receiving of the gospel (Eph 1:13).
The sons see how Aaron is anointed. Thus, we must first have some understanding of the Lord Jesus as High Priest to be able to exercise our priesthood as God intended.
10 - 14 The Bull as a Sin Offering
10 “Then you shall bring the bull before the tent of meeting, and Aaron and his sons shall lay their hands on the head of the bull. 11 You shall slaughter the bull before the LORD at the doorway of the tent of meeting. 12 You shall take some of the blood of the bull and put [it] on the horns of the altar with your finger; and you shall pour out all the blood at the base of the altar. 13 You shall take all the fat that covers the entrails and the lobe of the liver, and the two kidneys and the fat that is on them, and offer them up in smoke on the altar. 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.
Of the three animals that are slaughtered at the ordination, the bull is the first animal as a sin offering. Aaron and his sons must make themselves one with this sin offering, which is expressed by the laying on of their hands. For us, this means that we must make ourselves one with the Lord Jesus in the spirit as the sin offering, which is as the One Who “Himself bore our sins in His body on the cross” (1Pet 2:24) and was “made … sin on our behalf” (2Cor 5:21). Thus He has taken our sins away from us and we stand before God without sin.
The altar must also be cleansed with the blood of the sin offering. The altar speaks of the Lord’s table (Mal 1:7; 1Cor 10:15-21). The table of the Lord speaks of fellowship with God and with each other. It is necessary to always realize that sin must not have a place there.
Everything from the sin offering must be burned outside the camp as an abomination to God. The fat of the sin offering is not an abomination to God. That will be on the altar. Fat speaks of the power, the energy with which the Lord Jesus accomplished the work for sin. That is pleasant for God and we may tell Him, sacrifice to Him.
15 - 18 One Ram as a Burnt Offering
15 “You shall also take the one ram, and Aaron and his sons shall lay their hands on the head of the ram; 16 and you shall slaughter the ram and shall take its blood and sprinkle it around on the altar. 17 Then you shall cut the ram into its pieces, and wash its entrails and its legs, and put [them] with its pieces and its head. 18 You shall offer up in smoke the whole ram on the altar; it is a burnt offering to the LORD: it is a soothing aroma, an offering by fire to the LORD.
Just like on the head of the bull Aaron and his sons have to put their hands on the head of the ram that is offered as a burnt offering for the LORD. By making themselves one with the sin offering, the unworthiness of the priest passes, as it were, to the sin offering. In the burnt offering it is the other way around: by making themselves one with the burnt offering, the dignity and pleasantness of the burnt offering is as it were transferred to the priest.
The burnt offering is for God in its entirety and is for Him “a soothing aroma”. The Lord Jesus glorified God on the cross. He has revealed God in all His love and grace as well as in His righteousness and holiness.
19 - 21 The Other Ram as Ordination Offering
19 “Then you shall take the other ram, and Aaron and his sons shall lay their hands on the head of the ram. 20 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. 21 Then you shall take some of the blood that is on the altar and some of the anointing oil, and sprinkle [it] on Aaron and on his garments and on his sons and on his sons’ garments with him; so he and his garments shall be consecrated, as well as his sons and his sons’ garments with him.
After seeing the Lord Jesus as the sin offering and the burnt offering comes the actual ordination. This is done by taking the other ram to sacrifice it as an ordination offering. This ordination offering is a special kind of peace offering. The peace offering is a fellowship offering.
Aaron and his sons also have to lay their hands on the head of this sacrificial animal and make themselves one with it. Bringing this sacrifice expresses that we see how the Lord Jesus, in fellowship with His Father and in full devotion to Him, has gone His way on earth to death.
This should also be expressed in our lives. It is not about being able to follow the Lord Jesus in the work He did on the cross. That is impossible, in that He is unique, only He was able to do that work. What matters is that our devotion to God is of the same character (cf. Eph 5:1-2). We see that symbolically represented in the following acts related to the application of blood.
The blood must be put on Aaron and his sons on the right earlobe, on the thumb of the right hand and on the big toe of the right foot. That speaks of our listening, obeying (ear), our conduct (hand) and our walk (foot). Our whole being is sanctified by the blood of the Lord Jesus. We must only listen to Him, only do what He says to us, only go where He wants us to be. The whole person must be devoted to God, only then will our priestly service be acceptable to Him. Therefore it is mentioned again that blood has to be sprinkled on the altar.
Blood is also sprinkled on the garments. The whole external behavior as priests must be in accordance with the value of the blood. Then anointing oil is sprinkled on it. It is only by the power of the Holy Spirit that true priestly service is possible and pleasant for God. It is about worship “in spirit and truth” (Jn 4:24).
22 - 28 The Wave Offering and the Heave Offering
22 “You shall also take the fat from the ram and the fat tail, and the fat that covers the entrails and the lobe of the liver, and the two kidneys and the fat that is on them and the right thigh (for it is a ram of ordination), 23 and one cake of bread and one cake of bread [mixed with] oil and one wafer from the basket of unleavened bread which is [set] before the LORD; 24 and you shall put all these in the hands of Aaron and in the hands of his sons, and shall wave them as a wave offering before the LORD. 25 You shall take them from their hands, and offer them up in smoke on the altar on the burnt offering for a soothing aroma before the LORD; it is an offering by fire to the LORD. 26 “Then you shall take the breast of Aaron’s ram of ordination, and wave it as a wave offering before the LORD; and it shall be your portion. 27 You shall consecrate the breast of the wave offering and the thigh of the heave offering which was waved and which was offered from the ram of ordination, from the one which was for Aaron and from the one which was for his sons. 28 It shall be for Aaron and his sons as [their] portion forever from the sons of Israel, for it is a heave offering; and it shall be a heave offering from the sons of Israel from the sacrifices of their peace offerings, [even] their heave offering to the LORD.
Certain parts of the ram, together with certain grain offerings, must be placed in Aaron’s hands and in the hands of his sons. All this must be waved before the LORD. Then it must be offered to God as a burnt offering on the altar. In particular, the breast of the ram is mentioned as a “wave offering” and the thigh as a “heave offering”.
With these acts the ordination continues. First something has happened for them: sacrifices were slaughtered for them. Then something happened with them: they were sanctified with blood and anointed with oil. Now something has to happen by them: they have to bring the wave offering and the heave offering.
As priests, we may know the work that Christ has accomplished for us. We must know that we are sanctified by His blood to be a priest. We may perform our priestly service in the power of the Holy Spirit. We then gain insight into the qualities that have come to light in the Lord Jesus about the work He has accomplished.
The first thing mentioned is fat. Fat speaks of the energy, the perseverance He has shown in the way He has gone. With the fat also bread and cakes are brought. This is a grain offering and speaks of His whole way on earth until the death on the cross. In everything He has been perfectly pure and devoted to God. All this we may wave back and forth and heave up and down in admiration before God’s face.
When everything is waved back and forth, it is put on the burnt offering and sacrificed to God. This means that we worship God for all we have seen of the Lord Jesus. We will tell Him what a joy and satisfaction He must have found in His Son and all that He has done, all of which has been only to His Father’s honor.
We may admire His love, of which the breast speaks because the heart is there, which has driven Him to do this work. We may see the power, of which the thigh speaks, through which He has completed this work. The breast and the thigh are for Aaron and his sons. As priests, we are allowed to ponder over particularly the love and power of the Lord Jesus. The more we see of this, the more it will be reflected in our devotion as priests.
29 - 30 The Follow-Up of Aaron
29 “The holy garments of Aaron shall be for his sons after him, that in them they may be anointed and ordained. 30 For seven days the one of his sons who is priest in his stead shall put them on when he enters the tent of meeting to minister in the holy place.
The priesthood service is always taken over by the next generation. As long as the church is on earth, God will ensure that He and His Son are honored. The priestly service in itself is for the whole life. That is what is meant when it is said: “For seven days the one of his sons who is priest in his stead shall put them on.” The priesthood is especially connected to the place of meeting or coming together.
31 - 35 The Ordination Offering as Food
31 “You shall take the ram of ordination and boil its flesh in a holy place. 32 Aaron and his sons shall eat the flesh of the ram and the bread that is in the basket, at the doorway of the tent of meeting. 33 Thus they shall eat those things by which atonement was made at their ordination [and] consecration; but a layman shall not eat [them], because they are holy. 34 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. 35 “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.
The flesh of the ram may be eaten by the priests. Thus the sacrifice becomes a part of themselves. Food is spiritually meant for us. If we read in God’s Word with hunger to know Him, we will be formed by that food.
The ordination of the priest lasts seven days. For us, this means that we are priests all our lives, and that we constantly perform this service: “Through Him then, let us continually offer up a sacrifice of praise to God, that is, the fruit of lips that give thanks to His name” (Heb 13:15).
36 - 37 Atonement for the altar
36 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. 37 For seven days you shall make atonement for the altar and consecrate it; then the altar shall be most holy, [and] whatever touches the altar shall be holy.
The place where the ordination takes place must be constantly connected to the blood. We must always check whether the place of ordination is still clean, whether nothing has entered that is contrary to the meaning of the blood. Sin that is not judged cannot exist in the place where believers come as ordained priests to do their service.
38 - 42 Daily Morning and Evening Offering
38 “Now this is what you shall offer on the altar: two one year old lambs each day, continuously. 39 The one lamb you shall offer in the morning and the other lamb you shall offer at twilight; 40 and there [shall be] one-tenth [of an ephah] of fine flour mixed with one-fourth of a hin of beaten oil, and one-fourth of a hin of wine for a drink offering with one lamb. 41 The other lamb you shall offer at twilight, and shall offer with it the same grain offering and the same drink offering as in the morning, for a soothing aroma, an offering by fire to the LORD. 42 It shall be a continual burnt offering throughout your generations at the doorway of the tent of meeting before the LORD, where I will meet with you, to speak to you there.
God wants His people to remember daily that He can only dwell with them on the basis of an ongoing sacrifice. Because the work of the Lord Jesus always stands for His attention, He can be with His people. He wants His people to be aware of this. If the people forget the value of that sacrifice to God, they forget the reason for their existence as people of God. Then there will be room for man. Then he starts to think he is important and deviates from God.
43 - 46 God Meets with His People
43 I will meet there with the sons of Israel, and it shall be consecrated by My glory. 44 I will consecrate the tent of meeting and the altar; I will also consecrate Aaron and his sons to minister as priests to Me. 45 I will dwell among the sons of Israel and will be their God. 46 They shall know that I am the LORD their God who brought them out of the land of Egypt, that I might dwell among them; I am the LORD their God.
The constant burnt offering is at the entrance of the tent of meeting. The Lord Jesus glorified God. God sees His people in Him and the value of His sacrifice. This is the basis on which God can and will dwell with His people, and meet them and comes together with them. He wants to be their God. He wants them to come to Him to honor Him, to worship Him. To this end He has delivered them from the slavery of sin.