Chapter 8 — Why did Aaron and his sons need to be cleansed and set apart? Here is an easy list to help us know this answer:
- Sin entered the world.
- The penalty for sin was and is death.
- God loves us enough to give us an alternative, a substitute.
- Sacrificing an innocent animal as our replacement in the OT will “cover” sin, allowing them to be “saved.”
- God’s love is so deep that it is often a challenge to understand that it is HIS LOVE that gives us the substitute for our sins. He had Moses record all of this so that when Jesus comes we KNOW HE is the FINAL sacrifice that will cover all of our sins!!
Although all the Levite men were dedicated for service to God ONLY Aaron and his descendants could be priests. They ALONE had the honor and responsibility of performing the sacrifices. These priest had to cleanse and dedicate themselves BEFORE they could help the people do the same.
Chapters 8 describes the ordination ceremony. They were:
- Washed with water 8:6
- Clothed with special garments 8:7-9
- Anointed with oil 8:12
- Had to place their hands upon each of the heads of the sacrifices as they were killed (8:14, 18-19, 22)
This ceremony was to bring home to them that HOLINESS and SPIRITUAL CLEANSING came from God ALONE — not from the priest hood, not from a position of authority, not from anything they did or could do, or from anything else — it came from GOD and GOD ALONE!! Just as our cleansing and holiness do NOT come from anything except our ACCEPTANCE of and BELIEF in Jesus Christ.
Up to this point we have seen the priests act as the mediator between the people and God. In Chapter 8 we see the priests offering their sacrifice in front of the community for their OWN sins. Moses was the mediator. Jesus is NOW our Mediator.
The priests were needed in Israel to stand in the gap for the Hebrew Nation/Israelites. The gap between God and man came into being when Adam and Eve chose to disobey God. The gap was closed once and for all by Jesus Christ’s life, death, and resurrection. The gap is forever closed for all who choose Jesus Christ as their Lord and Savior. When I became born again I would hear people ask for prayer by other believers “to stand in the gap on behalf of an unbeliever or unbelievers.” I never understood that until last year when I did this Bible study!! God is so wonderful in explaining more of WHO HE IS through out the OT!! As believers, the gap is forever closed so we can speak directly to God anytime … anywhere.
The Urim and Thummin — God used these stones SPECIFICALLY in HIS communication in guiding the priests and the Israelites. When reading Scripture we ALWAYS need to ask WHO was the Word written for? WHY was it written for them? WHEN was it written? WHAT was it’s initial purpose? WHERE was it written? WHO wrote it? And, HOW does it apply to us today. I submit these reminder questions at this point in our journey because it is so IMPORTANT to know that the urim and thummin would be of NO use to us today. We have NO need for them … so don’t go out and try to buy them 🙂 We NOW have our rebirth in Jesus Christ, the WORD, and the indwelling Holy Spirit, to give us our guidance. Does this mean the OT has nothing for us to learn from ?? NO WAY!!
The OT helps us:
- Understand SO many things
- Reveals to us more of God’s Character, HIS love, HIS prophecies, HIS provisions, HIS guidance, and the list could go on
- Gives us great guidelines in setting boundaries
- Allows us to understand WHY Jesus had to die for us and the MANY foreshadows of HIM
- Provides us with GREAT examples of awesome people of FAITH
- And MUCH more
However, we must ASK for wisdom and discernment from GOD as to how to use what we learn from the OT because some things like the urim and thummin were used between God and the priests ONLY… not for us to go out and use them today in seeking HIS guidance.
Verse 12 — Aaron was anointed as the High Priest. ONLY the High Priest could enter the Most Holy Place once a year for the Atonement of sin on behalf of all the Israelites. ALL the other days of the year had sacrifices performed either because of God ordained feasts and/or to atone for other sins, to express gratitude to God, to show honor and respect to God in worship, to make payment for unintentional sins, and to make payment for sins against God and others. These offerings and sacrifices were not only to give forgiveness for their sins but was also so they could be restored in their fellowship with God. These SAME reasons are the VERY reasons Jesus Christ died for us and rose from the dead — PERMANENT forgiveness and restoration.
Aaron and his sons did EVERYthing they were commanded to do … NO detail was omitted. THIS model of obedience shows us how important OUR obedience to God really is. Are we listening to HIS Word? Do we praise Him with all of our hearts? Do we give thanks in all things? Are we doing what He asks? Do we have an attitude pleasing to HIM? Does our life create a “sweet aroma” for the Lord?
Chapter 9 — The priests begin their ministry. Who are they ministering to? I am SO glad you asked. 🙂 Joshua 21:19 answers this for us. It says: “The total number of towns for the priests, the descendants of Aaron, came to thirteen, together with their pasturelands.”
9:6 — “This is what the Lord has commanded you to do so that the GLORY of the LORD may appear to you.”
9:23-24— “Moses and Aaron then went into the tent of meeting. When they came out, they blessed the people; and the glory of the Lord appeared to all the people. Fire came out from the presence of the Lord and consumed the burnt offering and the fat portions on the altar. And when all the people saw it, they shouted for joy and fell face down.“
The glory of the LORD appeared to ALL the people. FIRE came out from the presence of the LORD and consumed the burnt offering and the fat portions on the altar. ALL the people shouted for joy and fell face down.
Chapter 10 — RUT ROW
- Nadab and Abihi (Aaron’s sons) did NOT PRAY before the Lord to ask HIM of their next steps.
- They had JUST witnessed the GLORY of the LORD and the FIRE of the LORD consuming the burnt offering and fat portions on the altar.
- They had JUST witnessed their father anointed and consecrated as the HIGH Priest and themselves as priests.
- They KNEW THE LAWS.
- They had been eye witnesses to God’s mighty acts during the exodus.
- They had witnessed the actions of Moses, Aaron, and Miriam many times.
- For awhile they followed God’s commands to the LETTER.
SO WHAT HAPPENED???
We don’t know the exact details of their sin. We simply know from verse 2 that “they offered unauthorized fire before the Lord, contrary to his command.” Aaron remained silent!! In verse 9-10 we are told: “You and your sons are not to drink wine or other fermented drink whenever you go into the tent of meeting, or you will die. This is a lasting ordinance for the generations to come, so that you can distinguish between the holy and the common, between the unclean and the clean.” This makes me wonder if Aaron’s sons became drunk before they began to play with the fire. We do know that because of the “unauthorized fire before the Lord, contrary to his command” they abused their office as priests in disrespect to God. In my mind’s eye I can see the two of them feeling proud (1st mistake) of their ordination as priests and possibly having a few drinks too many to celebrate. They were young, knew the laws BUT had JUST witnessed the consuming fire of God. MAYBE they were playing a game of “what if.” “What if” WE can see the fire again? “What if” we can play “flame on”? Aaaahimmmmm… GOD did not take their actions lightly because they had been ordained. They KNEW the rules. Their CHOICE to “play with fire” was followed with SEVERE consequences!! “So fire came out from the presence of the LORD and consumed them!” (OUCH) What was their CHOICE? They CHOSE to be disobedient, disrespectful, and show carelessness before God. Regardless of our position in life in our career or in our church, in our finances, etc., we are to come before the Lord with healthy fear, with humility, and with a servant’s heart. NO gift is EVER to be taken for granted, left unused, ignored, or treated with disrespect.
The incident with Aaron’s two sons reminds us of God’s HOLINESS. The creator of ALL things…. the ONE WHO gives LIFE…..the GIVER of MERCY AND GRACE….the ONE who loves us deeper than we can ever know… the way we approach HIM is of huge importance which is what the book of Leviticus helps us to understand. Verse 10 states: “You must distinguish between holy and common, between the unclean and the clean.” Interesting that the the word HOLY is followed by the word COMMON. Holy means SET APART.
Romans 12:1-2 tells us: “Therefore, I urge you, brothers and sisters, in view of God’s mercy, to offer your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and pleasing to God—this is your true and proper worship. Do not conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is—his good, pleasing and perfect will.”
Did the consequences of their actions impact ONLY them? ABSOLUTELY NOT. Aaron’s remaining two sons had to carry the remains OUT of the camp. NOT only were they grieving for their loss but Moses became angry when he thought the remaining sons were not following the laws of the sacrifices. Aaron explained to Moses they were still grieving and believed it was inappropriate for them to eat the food from the sacrifice at this time. Moses then understood that the remaining two were not trying to be DISOBEDIENT to God. The actions of the first two brothers not only resulted in death but Aaron and his remaining sons were grieving their loss, Moses questioned their actions, and I am sure the entire nation was impacted as the news spread. You might say it spread like “wildfire.” 🙂
I’d love to hear your thoughts, do you have a favorite scripture from today, did something touch you deeply, did you have time to do any research on something that caught your eye? Tell… tell 🙂
Sharing HIS love,