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The Priest
The Consecration of the Priests
The Priestly Garments

THE CONSECRATION OF THE PRIEST

The Consecration of the Priests (Ch. 29)

images/I9.gifsrael's priesthood was vested in the family of Aaron of the tribe of Levi, and the office was hereditary so that only by birth could one gain entrance. The first priests were: Aaron, Nadab, Abihu, Eleazar, and Ithamar. Today, all believers are priests, for the spiritual new birth includes appointment to the privilege. The New Testament further gives authority for the believer to consider Christ his High Priest.

Heb 3:1 Therefore, holy brethren, partakers of the heavenly calling, consider the Apostle and High Priest of our confession, Christ Jesus,

The Lord ordained specific ceremonies and sacrifices which required seven days to complete in order to consecrate a priest. The ceremony involved the offering of a bullock and two rams together with unleavened bread, and a drink offering of wine. There is specific mention of the anointing of Aaron with oil, and the fact that each of the priests participated in laying hands upon the sacrifice in order to show his identity with it. Also, each priest-elect partook of a portion of the sacrifice in a ceremonial feast. The priests-elect were carefully washed with water (which spoke of personal cleansing or sanctification), and they were also sprinkled with blood (which spoke of legal cleansing or justification).

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Before any priest could take up his calling he had to go through a solemn ritual which lasted for seven days. The instructions given by God began with the statement:

Exod 29:1 "And this is what you shall do to them to hallow them for ministering to Me as priests...

What follows is an act of consecration for service and to 'hallow', means to 'set something or someone apart' for the particular service of God. The ceremony was conducted by Moses and took place at the entrance to the tabernacle within the courtyard.

The Cleansing

First of all there had to be a symbolical cleansing, so washing the whole body was the first act.

Later, when carrying out his task, the priest would frequently have to wash his hands and feet at the bronze laver symbolizing his need for constant cleansing in what his hands did and where his feet went.

The Anointing

After this the priests were dressed in their distinctive garments and their heads anointed with olive oil blended with spices:

Exod 30:22-30 Moreover the LORD spoke to Moses, saying: "Also take for yourself quality spices-- five hundred shekels of liquid myrrh, half as much sweet-smelling cinnamon (two hundred and fifty shekels), two hundred and fifty shekels of sweet-smelling cane, five hundred shekels of cassia, according to the shekel of the sanctuary, and a hin of olive oil. And you shall make from these a holy anointing oil, an ointment compounded according to the art of the perfumer. It shall be a holy anointing oil. With it you shall anoint the tabernacle of meeting and the ark of the Testimony; the table and all its utensils, the lampstand and its utensils, and the altar of incense; the altar of burnt offering with all its utensils, and the laver and its base. You shall consecrate them, that they may be most holy; whatever touches them must be holy. And you shall anoint Aaron and his sons, and consecrate them, that they may minister to Me as priests."

Speaking of the Ark of the Covenant being taken to the temple in Jerusalem many years later in Psalm 132:9 it says:

Ps 132:9 "Let Your priests be clothed with righteousness, and let Your saints shout for joy."

The message is that after being cleansed spiritually, the righteous clothing is put on, and the anointing which comes from the Holy Spirit Himself is poured upon the priest to prepare him for the special service of God.

The Offerings

At the very heart of the initiation ceremony was the sin offering. The men who would represent the people before God must first of all have their own sins atoned for. Every day for seven days they offered a young bull. As with the sin offering it had to be killed and its blood applied to the four horns of the altar before being poured out below and parts of its body burned.

A ram was then offered in an act of dedication. This was a burnt offering in which the sacrifice in its entirety was consumed in the altar flames.

Finally, every day for seven days, a ram was offered for the priests and a special ceremony given to this last sacrifice. After their hands had been laid on it and the ram killed, Moses took some of its blood and applied it first to the lobes of the right ears of Aaron and his sons, then to the thumbs of their right hands, and lastly to the big toes of their right feet.

Exod 29:20 "Then you shall kill the ram, and take some of its blood and put it on the tip of the right ear of Aaron and on the tip of the right ear of his sons, on the thumb of their right hand and on the big toe of their right foot, and sprinkle the blood all around on the altar."

This was the installation ceremony of these men who were set apart for the service of God.

The Priest
The Consecration of the Priests
The Priestly Garments

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Copyright 1998 The Bible Knowledge Accelerator