Leviticus 9 – More on the Consecration of Priests
A. Introduction: God calls Aaron to minister.
1. (1) Moses calls to Aaron and his sons.
It came to pass on the eighth day that Moses called Aaron and his sons and the elders of Israel.
a. It came to pass on the eighth day: The whole ceremony of consecration lasted more than a week. It was not a quick and easy process. The call to the priesthood came on the eighth day, the day of new beginnings. After seven days of patient fellowship with the Lord in His tabernacle, God was ready to do a new work in and through the priests.
2. (2) Offerings for Aaron.
And he said to Aaron, “Take for yourself a young bull as a sin offering and a ram as a burnt offering, without blemish, and offer them before the Lord.”
a. Take for yourself a young bull as a sin offering: As part of the consecration ceremony, Aaron and his sons lived for an entire week at the tabernacle of meeting. Yet they still had sin to atone for during that week. The consecration ceremony did not make Aaron and his sons perfect. During the seven days of just sitting in the tabernacle he added more sin to his account that had to be cleared.
i. Through the repetition of sacrifice, God also wanted to show that as useful as the animal sacrifices were, they were not complete and could not make and end of sins. Only the perfect sacrifice of the Messiah could do that.
b. And a ram as a burnt offering: Even though Aaron just spent the prior week in special dedication to the Lord, there was still more to give. Though this was an important experience of dedication, the idea of consecration had to be ongoing in the life of Aaron and all of God’s priests.
B. Aaron begins the priestly ministry.
1. (3-6) In a context of atonement and obedience, God will show His glory.
“And to the children of Israel you shall speak, saying, ‘Take a kid of the goats as a sin offering, and a calf and a lamb, both of the first year, without blemish, as a burnt offering, also a bull and a ram as peace offerings, to sacrifice before the Lord, and a grain offering mixed with oil; for today the Lord will appear to you.'” So they brought what Moses commanded before the tabernacle of meeting. And all the congregation drew near and stood before the Lord. Then Moses said, “This is the thing which the Lord commanded you to do, and the glory of the Lord will appear to you.”
a. This is the thing which the Lord commanded you to do, and the glory of the Lord will appear to you: Everything Aaron did in the last week prepared him for this moment. This was the end goal of the week of separation and consecration to the Lord – the display of His glory.
2. (7) Aaron will begin to minister for the people.
And Moses said to Aaron, “Go to the altar, offer your sin offering and your burnt offering, and make atonement for yourself and for the people. Offer the offering of the people, and make atonement for them, as the Lord commanded.”
a. Offer your sin offering and your burnt offering, and make atonement for yourself and for the people: Aaron had to first deal with his own sin, and then he could truly function as a priest, ready to serve others.
b. Make atonement for them, as the Lord commanded: Aaron’s priesthood existed for the glory of God and for the benefit of the people – not for his own personal benefit. The office of high priest was one of great authority, but of even great responsibility.
3. (8-14) Aaron offers sacrifice for his own sin, along with a burnt offering.
Aaron therefore went to the altar and killed the calf of the sin offering, which was for himself. Then the sons of Aaron brought the blood to him. And he dipped his finger in the blood, put it on the horns of the altar, and poured the blood at the base of the altar. But the fat, the kidneys, and the fatty lobe from the liver of the sin offering he burned on the altar, as the Lord had commanded Moses. The flesh and the hide he burned with fire outside the camp. And he killed the burnt offering; and Aaron’s sons presented to him the blood, which he sprinkled all around on the altar. Then they presented the burnt offering to him, with its pieces and head, and he burned them on the altar. And he washed the entrails and the legs, and burned them with the burnt offering on the altar.
a. Aaron therefore went to the altar and killed the calf of the sin offering, which was for himself: This was a display of honesty and humility before the people. Aaron, before offering a sacrifice of atonement for the people, publicly offered one for himself, identifying himself with the people. This sacrifice told the nation, “I am a sinner who needs atonement also.”
4. (15-21) Aaron offers the sacrifice on behalf of the people.
Then he brought the people’s offering, and took the goat, which was the sin offering for the people, and killed it and offered it for sin, like the first one. And he brought the burnt offering and offered it according to the prescribed manner. Then he brought the grain offering, took a handful of it, and burned it on the altar, besides the burnt sacrifice of the morning. He also killed the bull and the ram as sacrifices of peace offerings, which were for the people. And Aaron’s sons presented to him the blood, which he sprinkled all around on the altar, and the fat from the bull and the ram; the fatty tail, what covers the entrails and the kidneys, and the fatty lobe attached to the liver; and they put the fat on the breasts. Then he burned the fat on the altar; but the breasts and the right thigh Aaron waved as a wave offering before the Lord, as Moses had commanded.
5. (22-24) God blesses Israel with a display of His glory.
Then Aaron lifted his hand toward the people, blessed them, and came down from offering the sin offering, the burnt offering, and 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.
a. Then Aaron lifted his hand toward the people, blessed them: Aaron’s heart was turned towards the people. He longed to bless them, and so he lifted his hand toward the people [and] blessed them. His washing, sanctification, justification, consecration, waiting with and for the Lord, his identification with the people, and humility each made him desire a blessing for the people – more than for himself.
b. Then the glory of the Lord appeared to all the people, and fire came out from before the Lord: God proved His presence by sending the fire. The priests were there, the offering was there, the Tabernacle was there, and the nation was there, but it wasall incomplete the fire from God.
i. The Bible gives us seven examples of where God showed acceptance of a sacrifice with fire from heaven:
· Abel (Genesis 4:4)
· Aaron (Leviticus 9:24)
· Gideon (Judges 6:21)
· Manoah (Judges 13:19-23)
· David (1 Chronicles 21:28)
· Solomon (2 Chronicles 7:1)
· Elijah (1 Kings 18:38).
ii. Fire was often associated with God’s presence and work. Deuteronomy 4:24 tells us, the Lord your God is a consuming fire, a jealous God. John the Baptist promised Jesus would come with a baptism with the Holy Spirit and with fire (Matthew 3:11). The Holy Spirit manifested His presence on the day of Pentecost by tongues of fire (Acts 2:3). Jesus said: I came to send fire on the earth, and how I wish it were already kindled! (Luke 12:49)
iii. Though this consecration ceremony has a spiritual application to us, we obviously were not literally consecrated to the priesthood through this ceremony. Yet our priesthood is real and after the pattern of the priesthood of Jesus, who never went through such a ceremony. The priesthood of Jesus was based on an oath, as in Hebrews 7:21-22: For they have become priests without an oath, but He with an oath by Him who said to Him: The Lord has sworn and will not relent, You are a priest forever according to the order of Melchizedek. We are also made priests not by a ceremony, but by the oath – the promise of God – just like Jesus.
© 2004 David Guzik – No distribution beyond personal use without permission