Leviticus 8 Commentary, “Consecration and Calling”

Leviticus is an essential book of the Bible that provides in-depth insights into the laws, rituals, and practices of the Israelites. And Leviticus 8, with its intricate rituals and ceremonies, delves into the consecration of priests and the anointing of the Tabernacle.

This chapter is a crucial part of the book, as it lays the foundation for the Levitical priesthood, which was responsible for offering sacrifices and conducting other religious ceremonies.

Key Takeaways

  • Leviticus 8 records the ceremonial consecration of Aaron and his sons, marking their initiation as priests
  • Detailed rituals range from washing, anointing with oil, to sacrifices where the blood at the base of the altar is a significant act
  • Moses, following what the lord commanded to be done, ensures that Aaron and his sons are clothed with a robe and other priestly garments
  • Anointing includes applying sacrificial blood to specific parts, such as the tip of their right ear, signifying purification
  • The chapter culminates with Aaron and his sons staying by the door of the tabernacle for seven continuous days and nights, emphasizing their dedication
  • During this period, they follow strict commands, including consuming specific parts of the sacrifices, as the sons shall eat designated portions

Introduction to Leviticus Chapter 8

The Lord spoke to Moses, saying,

Leviticus 8:1, ESV

The Significance of Leviticus in Christianity

The laws, rituals, and sacrificial system prescribed in Leviticus hold deep theological significance for Christianity. As a foundational book of the Torah, Leviticus provides key insights into the Israelite religious practices that shaped early Christian thought and theology.

The consecration process for Aaron and his sons described in Leviticus 8 establishes the heritage of the priesthood that foreshadows Christ as the High Priest. The anointing and purification rituals lay the groundwork for Christian concepts of consecration and holiness.

Additionally, the sacrificial laws institute the system of atonement and forgiveness that finds ultimate fulfillment in Christ’s sacrifice on the cross.

As the book of Hebrews highlights, the sacrifices made under the Mosaic covenant pointed ahead to the new covenant in Christ.

By outlining the path to purification, holiness, and restoration of relationship with God, Leviticus provides a theological framework that proved foundational for the development of Christian doctrine and practice.

Contextual Overview of Chapter 8

In this chapter, Moses is commanded by God to set apart Aaron and his sons for the priesthood. The consecration process lasts for seven days, during which various rituals are performed. One of these rituals involves a wave offering, where a portion of the animal sacrifices is waved before the Lord.

Additionally, the Urim and the Thummim, objects used to inquire of the Lord, are placed within the breastpiece of judgment worn by the high priest. Another important aspect of the consecration process is the burnt offering, where the animals are completely consumed by fire.

Lastly, before assuming their priestly duties, Aaron and his sons were washed, symbolizing their purification for service to God.

Role and Consecration of Priests

The role and consecration of priests in Leviticus Chapter 8 is a significant aspect of the priestly legacy. This chapter outlines the anointing process and its symbolism, highlighting the importance of the priests as mediators between God and the people.

Through their consecration, the priests are set apart for holy service, symbolizing their unique role in the Israelite community.

Aaron and His Sons: The Priestly Legacy

“Take Aaron and his sons with him, and the garments and the anointing oil and the bull of the sin offering and the two rams and the basket of unleavened bread. And assemble all the congregation at the entrance of the tent of meeting.”

Leviticus 8:2-3, ESV

Aaron and his sons played a pivotal role in the priestly legacy, being consecrated for their duties. The consecration process involved various rituals and ceremonies outlined in Leviticus 8.

One such ritual was the placement of blood from the sacrifices on the right earlobe, right thumb, and right big toe of Aaron and his sons. This symbolized their dedication to listening to God’s commands, doing His work, and walking in His ways. Additionally, Moses took some of the blood and put it on the horns of the altar, signifying the sanctification of the altar.

Another significant act was the placing of the boiled flesh and unleavened bread on the hands of Aaron and his sons, which they then waved before the Lord as a wave offering.

Finally, Moses placed his hands on the heads of Aaron and his sons, symbolizing the transfer of authority and consecration. This act represented the imparting of blessings and the setting apart of Aaron and his sons as holy unto the Lord.

It was also during this consecration that the golden plate, inscribed with the words ‘Holy to the Lord,’ was placed on Aaron’s forehead, signifying his role as the high priest.

As part of the ritual, two kidneys and the right foot from the sacrifice were taken and waved as a wave offering before the Lord. This ritual act represented the consecration of the innermost parts and actions of the priests.

The remaining flesh of the sacrifices was boiled, and Aaron and his sons were commanded to eat it at the entrance of the tent of meeting. This act of consuming the flesh symbolized their participation in the sacrificial system and their identification with the offerings. It was a way for the priests to partake in the holy presence of God and to share in the blessings of the sacrifices.

The Anointing Process and its Symbolism

Then Moses took the anointing oil and anointed the tabernacle and all that was in it, and consecrated them. And he sprinkled some of it on the altar seven times, and anointed the altar and all its utensils and the basin and its stand, to consecrate them. And he poured some of the anointing oil on Aaron’s head and anointed him to consecrate him.

Leviticus 8:10-12, ESV

Continuing from the discussion on the consecration of Aaron and his sons, the anointing process in Leviticus 8 symbolizes the role and consecration of priests through specific rituals and ceremonies. The anointing process holds significant symbolism in the Book of Leviticus, emphasizing the divine appointment and authority of the priesthood.

The anointing oil serves as a symbol of consecration and divine favor, signifying the chosen status of the priests.

Pouring the anointing oil on Aaron’s head and his sons’ heads signifies the transmission of priestly authority and the transfer of God’s blessing.

The anointing process includes the anointing of the altar and its utensils, symbolizing the sanctification of the sacred space and its objects.

The anointing also includes the sprinkling of blood, representing purification and atonement for sin.

The anointing process concludes with a seven-day period of consecration, highlighting the time required for the priests to fully assume their responsibilities.

The anointing process in Leviticus 8 holds deep symbolic meaning, emphasizing the sacred role and consecration of priests in ancient Israel. This section serves as a reflection of the divine appointment and the importance of proper consecration for those called to serve in the priesthood.

Rituals and Ceremonies in Leviticus 8

The rituals and ceremonies described in Leviticus 8 play a central role in the consecration of Aaron and his sons as priests. One key aspect is the active involvement of Moses, who acts as the mediator between God and the priests, overseeing the entire process.

The offerings of burnt, sin, and wave offerings are also integral to the consecration, symbolizing purification, atonement, and dedication.

Additionally, the ram of consecration holds special significance, representing the transfer of authority and responsibility from the people to the newly ordained priests.

The Role of Moses in Consecration

And Moses said to the congregation, “This is the thing that the Lord has commanded to be done.”

Leviticus 8:5, ESV

Moses played a pivotal role in the consecration rituals and ceremonies described in Leviticus 8. As the chosen leader of the Israelites, Moses was responsible for carrying out the intricate procedures and ensuring the proper consecration of the tabernacle and its priests.

Some of the key tasks performed by Moses included:

  • Boiling the flesh: Moses followed the command of God and boiled the flesh of the ordination offering in a holy place.
  • Clothing Aaron with the robe: Moses ceremonially clothed his brother Aaron, the high priest, with the sacred robe, symbolizing his consecration to the priesthood.
  • Purifying the altar: Moses purified the altar by anointing it with holy anointing oil, thus dedicating it for sacred use.
  • Putting the ephod: Moses placed the ephod, a garment worn by the high priest, on Aaron’s shoulders, signifying his authority and role in carrying out priestly duties.
  • Washing with water: Moses washed Aaron and his sons with water, an act of purification that symbolized their readiness to serve as priests.

Offerings: Burnt, Sin, and Wave

And Moses brought Aaron and his sons and washed them with water.

Leviticus 8:6, ESV

Offerings played a significant role in the rituals and ceremonies described in Leviticus 8. These offerings, including burnt, sin, and wave offerings, were essential in consecrating Aaron and his sons as priests.

The burnt offering, symbolizing complete surrender and dedication to God, involved the priest laying his hand upon the head of the animal and then killing it at the entrance of the tent of meeting. Leviticus 8:18-21 elaborates on this, describing how Aaron and his sons laid their hands on the head of the ram. After slaughtering it, Moses sprinkled its blood around the altar, symbolizing purification and consecration.

Then he presented the ram of the burnt offering, and Aaron and his sons laid their hands on the head of the ram. And he killed it, and Moses threw the blood against the sides of the altar. He cut the ram into pieces, and Moses burned the head and the pieces and the fat. He washed the entrails and the legs with water, and Moses burned the whole ram on the altar. It was a burnt offering with a pleasing aroma, a food offering for the Lord, as the Lord commanded Moses.

Leviticus 8:18-21, ESV

The sin offering, on the other hand, was meant to atone for the sins of the priest.

Leviticus 8:23-24 provides further insight, detailing how Moses took the blood from another animal and applied it to Aaron’s right earlobe, thumb, and the big toe of his right foot. This ritual signified the purification and sanctification of Aaron’s entire being.

The blood of the sin offering was also applied to the horns of the altar and the rest poured out at the base of the altar.

And he killed it, and Moses took some of its blood and put it on the lobe of Aaron’s right ear and on the thumb of his right hand and on the big toe of his right foot. Then he presented Aaron’s sons, and Moses put some of the blood on the lobes of their right ears and on the thumbs of their right hands and on the big toes of their right feet. And Moses threw the blood against the sides of the altar.

Leviticus 8:23-24, ESV

Additionally, the wave offering involved the priest waving the offering before the Lord, symbolizing the presentation of the offering to God.

These rituals and ceremonies emphasized the importance of purity and obedience in the priesthood, as well as the need for atonement for sin.

Ram of Consecration and Its Importance

Why was the ram of consecration significant in the rituals and ceremonies described in Leviticus 8?

The ram of consecration played a crucial role in the consecration process described in Leviticus 8. It symbolized the transfer of authority and the acceptance of the priests’ responsibilities through a controlled burn with fire.

Here are five reasons why the ram of consecration held such importance:

  • It represented the priests’ dedication to the service of God
  • It signified the transfer of the priests’ sins onto the ram
  • It demonstrated the priests’ submission to the charge of the Lord
  • It marked the priests’ official entrance into their role as mediators between God and the people
  • It emphasized the significance of the priesthood as a separate and holy position

Seven Days of Consecration

As outlined in Leviticus 8, an integral part of the consecration rituals and ceremonies was the requirement for Aaron and his sons to remain at the entrance of the Tent of Meeting for seven days and nights after the ordination rituals were completed.

As Leviticus 8:33-35 outlines, Aaron and his sons ‘shall not go out from the entrance of the tent of meeting’ for seven days and nights, until their ordination was complete:

And you shall not go outside the entrance of the tent of meeting for seven days, until the days of your ordination are completed, for it will take seven days to ordain you. As has been done today, the Lord has commanded to be done to make atonement for you. At the entrance of the tent of meeting you shall remain day and night for seven days, performing what the Lord has charged, so that you do not die, for so I have been commanded.”

Leviticus 8:33-35, ESV

This seven-day consecration period following the sacrificial offerings and purification rituals highlighted the importance of setting apart Aaron and his sons completely for their new priestly role. It was a time of drawing near to God in His presence, separating themselves from mundane activities in order to focus on their new duties and relationship with the divine.

The week-long consecration emphasized the significance of their office as mediators between God and the Israelites.

The Tabernacle and Its Anointing

The anointing of the Tabernacle holds great significance in the book of Leviticus. It’s through the anointing oil that the Tabernacle, the altar, and the holy crown are consecrated, marking them as sacred and set apart for the worship of God.

This act of anointing symbolizes the divine presence and the sanctification of these objects, emphasizing their role in facilitating the relationship between God and His people.

Significance of the Anointing Oil

Then Moses took some of the anointing oil and of the blood that was on the altar and sprinkled it on Aaron and his garments, and also on his sons and his sons’ garments. So he consecrated Aaron and his garments, and his sons and his sons’ garments with him.

Leviticus 8:30, ESV

The anointing oil holds significant importance in the consecration of the Tabernacle and its furnishings. According to biblical commentaries, the anointing oil was a symbol of the Holy Spirit’s presence and power, representing the sanctification of the priests and the objects within the Tabernacle.

In the consecration ceremony, Moses took the anointing oil and sprinkled it on Aaron, symbolizing his separation and dedication to God’s service. This act signified the priests’ authority and their role as mediators between God and the people. Additionally, the anointing oil was applied to the right earlobe, thumb, and big toe of their right foot, demonstrating the priests’ consecration of their entire being to God.

The anointing oil was used to anoint the Tabernacle and its furnishings, indicating their set-apart status and their purpose in facilitating worship and communion with God.

Lastly, the anointing oil was a symbol of divine favor and blessing, as it represented God’s presence and the anointing of His Spirit upon His chosen servants.

Consecrating the Altar and the Holy Crown

During the consecration ceremony, the priests used the anointing oil to consecrate the altar and the holy crown, symbolizing their set-apart status and their role in facilitating worship and communion with God.

And he killed it, and Moses took the blood, and with his finger put it on the horns of the altar around it and purified the altar and poured out the blood at the base of the altar and consecrated it to make atonement for it. And he took all the fat that was on the entrails and the long lobe of the liver and the two kidneys with their fat, and Moses burned them on the altar. But the bull and its skin and its flesh and its dung he burned up with fire outside the camp, as the Lord commanded Moses.

Leviticus 8:15-17, ESV

The consecration of the altar involved several steps outlined in Leviticus 8:15-17. First, Moses took some of the anointing oil and sprinkled it on the altar seven times, representing the completeness and perfection of the consecration.

Next, he anointed the altar and all its utensils, consecrating them for holy use. The holy crown, also known as the woven band of the ephod, was placed on the forehead of the high priest. This symbolized the priest’s authority and his role as mediator between God and the people.

By consecrating the altar and the holy crown, the priests were able to draw near to God and fulfill their sacred duties. Additionally, an unleavened cake was taken and burned on the altar as a symbol of dedication and devotion to God. This act further emphasized the consecrated nature of the altar and the priestly role.

The consecration of the altar and the holy crown was a crucial part of establishing the tabernacle as a place where the people could worship and commune with God.

Detailed Rituals of Consecration

The detailed rituals of consecration in Leviticus 8 encompass the sprinkling of blood on the altar and the priests, as well as the washing ritual and its symbolism. These rituals serve as a means of purification and dedication, symbolizing the separation of the priests from the rest of the community and their consecration to the service of God.

Through these meticulous actions, the priests are set apart and prepared for their sacred duties within the tabernacle.

Sprinkling Blood: Altar and Priests

Sprinkling blood on the altar and priests during the detailed rituals of consecration is a significant aspect of the Leviticus 8 commentary. This practice symbolizes the purification and sanctification of both the priests and the tabernacle, setting them apart for the service of God.

In this chapter, Moses follows God’s instructions for consecrating Aaron and his sons as priests. As part of the ritual, Moses took one unleavened cake, anointed it with oil, and placed it on the basket of unleavened bread. This act represents the offering of the firstfruits to the Lord.

Additionally, Moses sprinkled blood on the altar seven times, symbolizing the atonement for sin. These rituals emphasize the importance of purity and the need for reconciliation with God. Comparing this chapter to others in Leviticus highlights the meticulous attention given to every detail of the consecration process.

The Washing Ritual and Its Symbolism

As part of the consecration process, the priests’ purification and sanctification continue with the washing ritual, symbolizing their readiness for service to God. This ritual, described in Leviticus 8:6, involved the gathering of the entire congregation at the entrance of the Tabernacle. Aaron and his sons were then brought forward, and Moses washed them with water.

The washing ritual is significant because it represents the removal of impurities and the cleansing of the priests from any defilement. It emphasizes the importance of spiritual cleanliness and the need for moral purity in carrying out their sacred duties. The act of washing also serves as a visual reminder of the priests’ consecration and their separation from the ordinary, as they’re set apart for divine service.

Through the washing ritual, the priests demonstrate their commitment to God and their readiness to fulfill their priestly responsibilities.

Broader Christian Interpretations

Broader Christian interpretations of the rituals of consecration in Leviticus 8 can be found in various passages of the New Testament. One such reference is found in 1 Peter, where the author draws parallels between the consecration of the priests in the Old Testament and the spiritual consecration of believers in Christ.

The concept of Jesus as the Great High Priest, as described in the book of Hebrews, provides a new testament perspective on the significance of the consecration rituals in Leviticus 8.

These broader Christian interpretations shed light on the deeper meaning and relevance of the rituals outlined in Leviticus, emphasizing their connection to the work of Christ and the spiritual life of believers.

References in 1 Peter and 1 John

The apostolic letters of 1 Peter and 1 John contain references to Leviticus, reflecting broader Christian interpretations. These references serve to connect the teachings of Jesus and the early Christian community with the Jewish traditions and laws outlined in Leviticus. The authors of 1 Peter and 1 John draw on Levitical themes and imagery to convey moral and ethical instructions to their readers.

In 1 Peter 1:16, the author quotes from Leviticus 11:44-45, emphasizing the call to holiness and purity.

for it is written: “Be holy, because I am holy.”

1 Peter 1:16, NIV

1 Peter 2:9 references Exodus 19:6 and Leviticus 20:26, highlighting the concept of God’s chosen people.

But you are a chosen people, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, God’s special possession, that you may declare the praises of him who called you out of darkness into his wonderful light.

1 Peter 2:9, NIV

1 Peter 1:18-19 draws on the imagery of the sacrificial system found in Leviticus to describe the redemptive work of Jesus.

For you know that it was not with perishable things such as silver or gold that you were redeemed from the empty way of life handed down to you from your ancestors, but with the precious blood of Christ, a lamb without blemish or defect.

1 Peter 1:18-19, NIV

1 John 1:7 relates the concept of walking in the light to the symbolism of the Day of Atonement described in Leviticus 16.

But if we walk in the light, as he is in the light, we have fellowship with one another, and the blood of Jesus, his Son, purifies us from all sin.

1 John 1:7, NIV

1 John 2:1-2 portrays Jesus as the ultimate high priest, drawing parallels to the Levitical priesthood and the atonement rituals prescribed in Leviticus.

My dear children, I write this to you so that you will not sin. But if anybody does sin, we have an advocate with the Father – Jesus Christ, the Righteous One. He is the atoning sacrifice for our sins, and not only for ours but also for the sins of the whole world.

1 John 2:1-2, NIV

These references demonstrate the continuity between the Old Testament and the teachings of the early Christian community, affirming the importance of Leviticus in understanding the broader Christian interpretations.

The Great High Priest: A New Testament Perspective

The New Testament offers a fresh perspective on the role of the Great High Priest, building upon the connections to Leviticus established in the previous subtopic.

In the book of Hebrews, Jesus is portrayed as the ultimate High Priest who surpasses the Levitical priesthood and the sacrificial system. Hebrews presents Jesus as the perfect mediator between God and humanity, who offered himself as the ultimate sacrifice for the forgiveness of sins.

This perspective emphasizes the eternal and efficacious nature of Jesus’ priesthood, in contrast to the temporary and imperfect nature of the Levitical priesthood. Furthermore, Hebrews highlights the superiority of Jesus’ sacrifice, which doesn’t need to be repeated like the Levitical sacrifices.

Reflecting on the Leviticus 8 Commentary

When reflecting on the commentary on Leviticus 8, it becomes evident that the book of Leviticus holds a lasting legacy in Christian theology.

The intricate rituals and laws presented in Leviticus continue to shape the understanding of sin, sacrifice, and holiness within the Christian faith.

The commentary allows for a deeper exploration of the theological significance of Leviticus, shedding light on its continued relevance and application in modern Christian life.

The Lasting Legacy of Leviticus in Christian Theology

Leviticus 8 Commentary sheds light on the enduring impact of Leviticus in shaping Christian theology. This ancient biblical book, with its detailed instructions on rituals, priestly duties, and moral codes, has left a lasting legacy in the development of Christian thought and practice.

Here are five key ways in which Leviticus has influenced Christian theology:

  • Moral Guidance: Leviticus provides a rich foundation for ethical teachings in Christianity, emphasizing concepts such as holiness, justice, and compassion.
  • Atonement Theology: The sacrificial system described in Leviticus foreshadows the ultimate sacrifice of Jesus Christ, leading to the development of atonement theories in Christian theology.
  • Priesthood and Mediation: Leviticus highlights the role of priests as mediators between God and the people, influencing the concept of the priesthood in Christianity.
  • Ritual and Worship: Leviticus offers insights into the significance of rituals and worship practices, shaping Christian liturgy and sacraments.
  • Holiness and Purity: Leviticus emphasizes the importance of holiness and purity, impacting Christian teachings on personal and communal holiness.

Through its teachings and principles, Leviticus continues to shape Christian theology, serving as a source of inspiration and guidance for believers.