A Study of Leviticus 8:1-2
“And the LORD spoke unto Moses, saying, Take Aaron and his sons with him, and the garments and the anointing oil, and a bullock for the sin offering, and two rams, and a basket of unleavened bread.” (Leviticus 8:1-2)
There is a Divine reason for the order in which the opening books of the Bible are placed, – Genesis, Exodus and Leviticus:
To gain an intelligent grasp of their history and of their meaning, the books should be read in the order in which they stand in God’s Holy Word, and the spiritual purpose and use of these books are to be apprehended in exactly the same order. Genesis, Exodus and Leviticus represent three steps of saving knowledge.
GENESIS: There we have man’s ruin and lost estate.
EXODUS: There we have Divine redemption and the way of salvation made plain.
LEVITICUS: There we have God’s own way of holiness and of communion.
GENESIS, Ruin: EXODUS, Redemption: Leviticus, Reconciliation: And the place which Leviticus occupies in connection with the two books
that preceed it, shows exactly the kind of persons, and the condition of those persons, to which the teaching of Leviticus is adapted. We must first of all have the Genesis experience before we can know anything of the Exodus experience, and we must go through Genesis and Exodus before really appreciating the experience of Leviticus.
What is the Genesis experience?
It is this; we are taught to know that in us, that is in our flesh there dwelleth no good thing. We are taught by Genesis that we have no power to help or save ourselves, and we must, dear friends, first learn the lesson that we are ruined and lost souls, before we can be ready for the blessed lesson of Exodus. Until we know our ruin, we shall neither want nor desire redemption, and so it is redemption, the blood shedding of the Passover Lamb, and the glorious deliverance that ensued upon that blood shedding, which is the central topic of Exodus.
In Exodus we have God’s own way of salvation, – a covering for our sins by the finished sacrifice of the Passover Lamb, a perfect redemption from the power of the enemy, the Red Sea rolling forever between us and the Egyptian land from which Grace Divine has delivered us.
Exodus speaks of the pardoned ones, the redeemed ones, the brought high ones, those who are built up upon Christ, indwelt by the Spirit of God, and such characters are ready for the lessons, teaching and experience of Leviticus. Many of God’s people seem outwardly as if they were ready to stop at Exodus, as if once knowing their redemption and deliverance from Egypt, there was no further progress to be made, but Leviticus is the book of communion: Leviticus in the book of access, the book that speaks of the purity that should belong to the children of the Living God.
Our text opens with the words, – “The Lord spake unto Moses”, and upon examination of this book you will be surprised to see how very, very often these words occur. We have in Leviticus, this much neglected book, more of the exact words of God than any other book in the Bible. “But the LORD spake unto Moses”: Surely this should be sufficient to calm all doubt, to give to us the joys of assurance that all is authenticated by God.
In Leviticus we have the daily sacrifice and the daily application of the blood which we need. In Leviticus we have the glorious truth that access is through our great High Priest, and that we too are a “royal priesthood”. In Leviticus we have set forth, the purity which pertained and should be practised by the children of the living God, and the great and glorious truth of sanctification.
In order to deliver us from our lost and ruined condition we need Christ as our Passover, and in Exodus we have the parallel teaching of Christ saying as seen in the gospels: “Come unto me all ye that labour and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest” (Matthew 11:28). In Leviticus we have the glorious One, Who has called us to Himself, and Who has given to us rest and deliverance, showing Himself as our way of access, and one might put a New Testament motto over the book of Leviticus, – “Through Him (our great High Priest) we both (Jew and Gentile) have access by one Spirit unto the Father.” (Ephesians 2:18)
Here then is the book for those who long for fellowship with Jesus, for those who feel their need of daily cleansing, and daily foot washing which the latter typifies.
Here is the book which they alone will value who desire to worship Him, Who loved and gave Himself for them, in Spirit and in truth.
In these two verses we have the commencement of the account of the consecration of Aaron to the High Priesthood, and of his sons to the priesthood. What our High Priest, Jesus Christ our LORD is essentially, Aaron was typically. What Aaron was, and what Jesus is, we in and through our LORD Jesus are also. There are the garments in which the priesthood was clothed, types of imputed righteousness! There is the anointing oil, type of the Spirit of all Grace! There are the offerings, the bullock, the ram, and the ram of consecration, speaking to us of the sin and poverty of our souls, and of the full atonement that there is in Jesus Christ our LORD. There is the unleavened bread, type of the fact that our whole person and substance should be devoted fully, unmixed, entire to Him Who loved us and gave Himself for us.
Here is the priesthood; here is one of the priests and he sings:
A debtor to mercy alone, Of Covenant mercy I sing,
Nor fear with. HIS Righteousness on, My person and offering to bring.
The terrors of law and of God, With me can have nothing to do,
My Saviour’s obedience and blood,
Hide all my transgressions from view:
Now let us look briefly at the consecration of the high priest first by the anointing oil; and then by the sprinkled blood.
Moses was to bring Aaron and his sons before the LORD, and to bring with them the garments and the bullock, and two rams as well as the anointing oil. Ordinary priests, you will find, were only to be sprinkled, but upon the head of Aaron the High Priest, the oil was to be poured. Here we have the difference between God’s priest and our great High Priest. Upon the Head of our great High Priest, the oil of the Holy Spirit was poured, that is, in Eternity He was anointed to the holy office which as Mediator of His Bride He had undertaken to bear, and when God’s eternal Son assumed human flesh, He was visibly anointed upon earth for the ministry which He had undertaken and which His Father had given Him to do. That visible anointing was seen at the moment when, emerging from the baptismal waters, the Holy Spirit like a dove descended upon Him.
What was our great High Priest anointed to do? He was anointed to save, and so to save that the saved ones should have admittance and access through Him into the presence of their Father – God. Our Anointed Aaron, our glorious High Priest, said: “The LORD has anointed me (specially set me apart) to preach good tidings unto the meek”.
Do you know what it is to be meekened in God’s sight?
Do you feel yourself to be a sinner, lost, ruined and undone?
The meekening comes through the Genesis knowledge (that is the beginning), through the Genesis knowledge which God by His Spirit gives to His people, and sure I am that where a sinner cries for mercy, where a sinner beep for Pardon, where a sinner feels that His only hope is in the mercy of God through Christ, there is a meekened soul, there is a soul that is stripped of pride, one who cries, “Save Lord or I perish”. Behold dear seeker, your great High Priest Who is anointed to preach good tidings to the meek, to the meekened soul, and the good tidings are, “I have borne thy sins, I have atoned for thy iniquities; I have shed My Blood and rent the veil that divides the Holy of Holies from thee. Come, come to thy Father in and through Me: I provide the way of access!” He is anointed, He Himself says, to bind up the broken hearted not only in the initial stages of their experience, but in all the subsequent painful things which tend to break poor human hearts. He is anointed to proclaim liberty to the captives. Look, dear friends, as the children of Israel looked at Aaron with that precious, anointing oil poured without stint upon his head, standing before the LORD, standing before the people. As they looked to Aaron, look ye to the Lord Jesus Christ! See what has been given to Him as the Mediator of His dear people, and that He is ready to pour dawn upon the poorest and upon the weakest of His servants.
The 133rd Psalm gives to us a very beautiful view of this. The Holy Spirit there speaks of the precious anointing that was poured upon Aaron’s head, that went down to the skirts of his garments, that is, to the feeblest and poorest member of His Mystical body. And the Spirit there goes on to say that that anointing oil is as the dew of Hermon, and as the dew that descended upon the mountains of Zion.
The thought is this. Hermon is the highest mountain of the Lebanon range. Travellers tell us that the highest peaks are always topped with clouds which rest upon them. We know that the high mountains attract the clouds, and that though at the base they may be clear, the tops are wrapped in perpetual clouds. Now the clouds gather all round the top of Hermon, and the winds blow, and the clouds that Hermon gathers are wafted down the land of Palestine, wafted gently on, and they distil the silent, beautiful dew upon Jerusalem and th country round about. They descend in showers of blessings upon the mountains of Zion, and this is a picture of the precious things of Heaven and of God’s love and grace which are gathered unto and upon our LORD Jesus, and which the Spirit of the living God wafts down to us who dwell in these lower regions. We love to think of our Heavenly Aaron emphatically and specially, as the Anointed One, and every drop of blessing you receive, every sparkling drop of heavenly dew which rests upon your soul, every gracious reviving is because the anointing oil was poured upon the head of your Heavenly Aaron and descends upon you, and upon me as the dew of Hermon, and as the dew that descended upon the mountains of Zion.
Now Aaron was not only to be anointed by the pouring, but his sons (the people of the living God) were to be anointed by the sprinkling, and so all God’s people are anointed by His revealing to their souls the things of Christ. It would have been death to the ordinary Israelite to have attempted to aspire to the office of the priesthood without this anointing, and so just as in their case this anointing with the holy oil was absolubely necessary for a sight of Christ, for communion with Jesus, for fellowship, for the sanctification which our souls desire. Human training, natural gifts can never supply the place of the POWER and UNCTION of the Holy Spirit. Concerning this anointing oil there was this injunction given, upon man’s flesh shall it not be poured. It was to be poured upon the head, it was to be sprinkled there. “Upon man’s flesh shall it not be poured” (Exodus 30:32). God does not MEND: That is what it means. God does not mend this old nature of ours, but He gives a new life, and the new life which He gives He trains and develops and moulds and fashions so that the inner man grows stronger day by day. The old man is still within, but upon the flesh the oil is not to be poured. It is to be poured upon God’s new creatures, and so we grow in Grace, and in the knowledge of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ, and as we grow in Divine things, and the new creature within us grows, it gets its hand more firmly upon the throat of the old nature, and so we expert the sanstifying, strengthening grace of the Holy Spirit of God. It is this unction that will separate from the world! It is this unction which pervading the soul, will bring us into communion with Him who will lead us unto the Father.
Oil penetrates to the very recesses of the object upon which it is poured, and so the Holy Spirit with His anointing, will penetrate into the very recesses of the soul. Show me a consecrated man, an anointed man; show me one who expertenuesmuch of the teaching of the Holy Spirit, and we see one with whom the world has no weight, and whose desire is to follow the Lamb, to commune with the Lord Jesus and to be of some use to the honour and glory of Him Who loved him and gave Himself for him.
“They that wait upon the LORD shall renew their strength” (Isaiah 40:31), and it is a blessed thing to wait upon our great anointed High Priest.
Do we know much of this waiting?
I fear that with many professors, there is very little of it in our day. Waiting upon the LORD: It means retirement from the world!
To wait upon the LORD means a sanctuary, fenced off. It means a clinging with the whole intensity of your being: To wait upon the LORD means to invite God’s Holy will to do with you as seemeth unto Him good. If you are a vessel of mercy you can wait to be used, – They also serve who only stand and wait. Some of God’s people often say and feel that they are useless. If there are cups on our table that we do not immediately need, we do not break them, but they wait for use, and so in-the LORD’s own way He will use us how and when He pleases.
Now one or two words upon the anointing by the Blood. One ram was to be called the ram of consecration, and the blood of that ram was to be put upon Aaron’s ear, hand and foot. Now see how beautifully this sets forth the suitability of our dear LORD to our cases.
Just as Aaron’s ear was touched with blood, so the holy ear of the Lord Jesus is consecrated to the sinner’s use. That is what it means; the holy ear of Jesus is consecrated to the Bride’s wants. Oh, how many poor praying souls there are who feel their sins and shortcomings and iniquities, but who are comforted by the thought that their supplications are poured into an ear specially prepared for that purpose, the ear that is marked with Blood, – with HIS OWN BLOOD: Oh, He has an Ear marked with the Blood which He shed to
listen to the sinner’s cry, His people’s breathings, and the sorrowful cries of all His tried and tempted children.
Then again the touching of the ear with blood is a token that our dear Lord Jesus listened only to the Father’s Voice, and that with unbroken attention. His Ear caught with unerring clearness the Father meaning, and that everything He uttered bore the absolute and unerring authority of the Father’s words. Oh, what confidence we may place in the Lord Jesus: What does He say in the 12th of John? “The Father which sent Me, He gave Me a commandment, what I should say, and what I should speak.” (John 12:49)
Not only was the Ear to be anointed with blood, but also the hand, or part of the hand. What does that mean with regard to our dear Lord Jesus? He did only His Father’s work. What does He say?
“All power is given unto Me in Heaven and in earth” (Matthew 28:18). Then every act of power, every energy which is put forth is put forth by the Hand of our great High Priest. The Hands that hold the reins of government of your life are wounded Hands: Every disappointment, every sorrow, every trial comes from the Hands of Him Who hath suffered, and Whose Hands bear the blood marks still, and is not this often a help to us to know that those Hands that are weaving all things together for the good of them that love Him, and that are the called according to His purpose are the Hands touched with the Blood which He Himself shed!
The foot too was to be anointed with blood, – consecrated by blood. Jesus walked only by the Father’s will. Read that glowing description of our risen Lord in the book of Revelation. His feet were like unto fine brass, as if they burned in a furnace. We are taught by this to mark His steps, to number-all His goings, and to know that His feet, marked with that precious blood, travelled in sorrow for the benefit of His dear church and people.
What do we learn from the sons of Aaron?
Were they not too to be thus consecrated by the Blood of the ram of consecration?
Look at the word “consecration”, and you will find that it is rendered “filled the hand”. Their hands were to be filled to the honour and praise of the glory of God. What a mercy it is to realise, and to seek to live in the light of this great truth. The Blood of Atonement has been sprinkled upon us, and therefore God would have all our faculties, and all our energies devoted to His service. Look at our great High Priest. Ear, Hand and Foot consecrated by the Blood of the ram of consecration. Look at the sons of Aaron! Oh, that all His sons and daughters walked in this land of separation, consecration, sanctification!
The ear marked with blood, the hand marked with blood, the foot marked with blood! If the ear be consecrated, the tongue will be so also. Oh, for more of the consecrated ear, so that we may refraii from listening to the idle, foolish. world! The hand touched, – “If any man minister let him do it as of the ability which God giveth” (1st Peter 4:11). The foot touched, – “As ye have therefore received Jesus Christ the Lord, so WALK ye in Him” (Colossians 2:6). If we have been taught GENESIS by the power of the Holy Spirit; if we have seen Christ our Passover sacrificed for us; If we have experienced deliverance from Egypt and turned to see the Red Sea rolling between us and the land of our captivity we shall desire, body, soul and spirit, ears, hearts, hands and feet to come and commune and serve Him Who hath done such great things for us.
With regard to the breastplate on which were deeply engraved the names of all the tribes of Israel, (beautiful type of the engraving by the band of Blood upon the heart of our dear Lord Jesus) every stone had its own place, and the breastplate was united to the ephod, and was so fixed that it could not be removed therefrom. And so our Heavenly Aaron secures by His love and faithfulness, the eternal salvation of all His dear people, and just as every stone in that breastplate occupied its own order and place, you and I are in our right places, just where the LORD would have us to be. Poor invalid, poor suffering one, poor tried and afflicted one, how often we murmur and rebel, but as we feel the power of the Blood of consecration, we, shall know that the painful place is the place that God has appointed for, us. All is in its right place! All will be manifested as right in the day of His power, when the Bride shall come forth with all, the glory of the Father! Oh, what a beautiful Bride that will be! Now the Bride is, to a large extent, hidden. It is like the tabernacle covered over with ram and badger skins that it may bear the pelting storms and winds, but the day is coming when all those covers shall be removed; when the elect of God shall shine forth in glory; when King Jesus shall go forth, and the magnificent procession shall follow Him as described in the Revelation, a mighty army, arrayed in fine linen, clean and white, which is the Righteousness of the saints.
John Hazelton – 1901