Sunday, February 03, 2008

Leviticus 8:1-36 - Set Apart for Service

Contextual Notes:

This grand incident of the ordination of the priests comes just before the sad story of the Strange Fire we find in Leviticus 10, so I have gotten us a little out of order as far as the story goes. The Lord led me back to preach chapter 8 today.

Here’s why. The significance of ordination of Aaron and his sons teaches us about an important doctrine which Baptists have emphasized. It is called the priesthood the believer.

What is the priesthood of the believer? It is the Biblical doctrine which Baptists have emphasized from their beginnings that every Christian has direct access to God through the agency of Jesus Christ without needing any other person (1 Tim 2:5). Each person is his own priest and is responsible to God through Jesus Christ for the holiness in his or her life. Because of the priesthood of the believer, we believe in justification by faith, believer’s baptism, regenerate church membership, congregational church government, private interpretation of the Scriptures, freedom of thought, religious liberty, separation of church and state, divine calling for every Christian’s career, and the responsibility of every Christian to work toward the extension of the Kingdom of Jesus Christ. The priesthood of the believer causes Baptists to oppose infant baptism, baptismal regeneration, forms of church government which violate people’s rights (like Presbyterian and Episcopal), distinctions between laity and clergy, an established or state church, persecution of Christians, and totalitarianism of any form.[1]

Pray and Read: Leviticus 8:1-36

Key Truth: Moses wrote Leviticus 8:1-36 to train the Israelites about the importance of standing before the Lord in holiness and to point them toward the Great High Priest Jesus Christ.

Key Application: Today I want to show you how the Bible says we should walk before the Lord as a believer-priest.

Sermon Points:

1. Prepare yourself for holiness (8:1-9).

2. Receive the anointing of the Holy Spirit (8:10-13, 30).

3. Offer yourself to the Lord without reserve (8:14-29).

4. Remain in the Lord’s Presence (8:31-36).

Exposition: Note well,


a. Notice that the Lord directs the preparation and the whole of Israel is gathered to see the proceedings. This is a picture of our gathering to hear God’s word and see Him work.

b. "Aaron and his sons together typified the spiritual priesthood of all true believers in the New Testament, who are priests only by virtue of being in Christ, our true High Priest. ‘Ye also . . . are built up a spiritual house, an holy priesthood, to offer up spiritual sacrifices, acceptable to God by Jesus Christ’ (1 Peter 2:5).”[2]

c. The items mentioned in this passage relate directly to the Christian life:

i. Washed with water: Washing was the first act connected with consecrating the priests. It typifies the New Testament “washing of regeneration and renewing of the Holy Ghost” (Titus 3:5), which only Christ can do. And Revelation 1:5-6 show us “Jesus Christ, . . . who loved us and washed us from our sins in His own blood, 6 and has made us kings and priests to His God and Father,”

ii. Tunic, sash, robe, ephod, breastpiece: God Himself clothed Adam and Eve, and Moses was instructed to clothe Aaron and his sons (8:7-9). This represents the clothing of salvation, in which man cannot do for himself, but God must do for him through His High Priest, Jesus Christ.

iii. Turban, diadem: The turban and the diadem symbolize the spiritual and royal authority of the believer.

iv. ILLUSTRATION: The clothing speaks of the spiritual armor which Paul tells us to put on for battle in Ephesians 6:10-18: “14 Stand therefore, having girded your waist with truth, having put on the breastplate of righteousness, 15 and having shod your feet with the preparation of the gospel of peace; 16 above all, taking the shield of faith with which you will be able to quench all the fiery darts of the wicked one. 17 And take the helmet of salvation, and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God;”

d. APPLICATION: So how is your preparation for the Lord? Are you preparing for His work in you and your life? How did you prepare your heart this morning for worship? How do you prepare yourself each day for how He will use you that day? Do you ‘take time to be holy?’ Or do you rush off into your days and nights, never giving a moment’s notice to the God who sets your day and what you will encounter? Do you spend time each morning or each night before the next day before His Throne, in His Word, putting on the whole armor of God? It’s time to start doing that. Why don’t you start this week?


a. The anointing oil throughout the Scripture represents the Holy Spirit.

b. Moses sets apart everything in preparation to set apart Aaron.

c. Notice that the brazen altar is sprinkled in addition to the anointing of the priests. That altar represents Calvary!

d. ILLUSTRATION: Amanda spent a year at Charleston Southern. At work in the administration building one day, she heard that security that morning had found oily markings on everything, apparently from some cult or vandals who had breached security during the night. That afternoon, Amanda’s prayer buddy popped into the dorm room and announced that the night before she had been praying for the school and anointed the administration offices with oil and prayed for every school officer! Now while that zeal is admirable, it might not always be the best way to get at the meaning of this text!

e. APPLICATION: As a believer-priest, the anointing of the Holy Spirit is essential for you to operate properly as a Christian. You may say, “Don’t give me that Holy Spirit stuff.” Do you call yourself a Christian? The name Christian is a derogatory term the pagans gave to the believers in Jesus at Antioch. Do you know what that name means? It means, “little Christs,” or “little anointed ones.” If you don’t want to be anointed by the Holy Spirit, then You are saying you are not interested in being a follower of Christ. The anointing of Christ comes on us at salvation, and that power of the Holy Spirit is empowered at times in our lives in special ways to deal with difficulties or great opportunities. Ask the Lord to help you take hold of your anointing in Christ and walk in it with power.


a. Moses officiates three offerings here. The first is for sin (the bull), and its sacrifice must come first as we offer ourselves to the Lord without reserve. The second is the burnt offering, a voluntary offering signifying God’s acceptance of the offerer in anticipation of the blood of Christ.

b. Note that Aaron and his sons laid their hands on the animals before the sacrifice, symbolizing their admission of sin and need of acceptance.

c. The third offering is the ram of consecration or ordination. Moses put blood from this offering on each man’s right ear, right thumb, and right big toe, symbolizing that they would be holy in what they said and listened to, what they did, and where they went.

d. APPLICATION: What about you? Are you motivated to live a life worthy of the Lord and to please Him in every way, bearing fruit in every good work, and growing in the knowledge of God? Are you careful about what comes out of your mouth? Are you careful what you listen to? How about the things you do and the places you go? Did you know your holiness is affected by those things? As a believer-priest, do you respect the name of the Christ whom you carry, being careful in these things and being careful for the little ones around you of whom you have a responsibility?


a. Aaron and his sons were commanded to remain at the entrance to the Tent of Meeting for seven days and given provisions. From this command came the Levitical tradition of working a 7-day shift in the Tabernacle and the Temple.

b. Note that they were commanded to abide in His presence so that they would not die! Christians have a similar privilege. As Jesus said in John 15, if we abide in Him, we will have His life flow in us. If we do not, the branches wither and die.

c. John 15:4, 6: 4 Abide in Me, and I in you. As the branch cannot bear fruit of itself, unless it abides in the vine, neither can you, unless you abide in Me. 6 If anyone does not abide in Me, he is cast out as a branch and is withered; and they gather them and throw them into the fire, and they are burned.

d. ILLUSTRATION: Many years later, John the Baptizer’s father Zechariah was doing his rotation when the angel appeared to him in the Temple, announcing John’s coming birth. Does this picture make you think of Joshua? Joshua also spent a lot of time in the Tent and would stay there when even Moses left to attend to other duties. Joshua enjoyed remaining in the presence of God.

e. APPLICATION: What about you? Do you ever take an hour or two in the Lord’s presence? Do you enjoy sitting before Him with a Bible on your lap perhaps late at night or on an afternoon when you’re waiting for the kids to get out of practice or after breakfast when the warm winter sun is coming through the window or while you’re still hunting? Those are some great times to talk to the Lord, to submit your heart to Him. To pray for your children and your parents. To ask for His help with your bills or your marriage or your supervisor or your health. Look for those times. Aaron was commanded to stay there. We have the privilege of lingering there. What about this week? Why don’t you try it once? Some of you are in so much personal trouble that you need to sit and be in His presence. His presence is the only thing that heals the deep, long-standing wounds of the soul.


Leviticus 8 shows us the consecration of Aaron, but it really points us to Our Great High Priest, Jesus Christ. Do you know him? The writer of Hebrews says that “14 Seeing then that we have a great High Priest who has passed through the heavens, Jesus the Son of God, let us hold fast our confession. 15 For we do not have a High Priest who cannot sympathize with our weaknesses, but was in all points tempted as we are, yet without sin. 16 Let us therefore come boldly to the throne of grace, that we may obtain mercy and find grace to help in time of need” (Hebrews 4:14-16).

The High Priest Jesus sympathizes with us in our situations; therefore we can come boldly to His Throne, for it is full of grace right now when you need it. Won’t you respond today, and find the grace that the Lord has for you?

[1] W. Barry Garrett, "Priesthood of Believers,” Encyclopedia of Southern Baptists, 2:1113-4.

[2] Ervin N. Hershberger, Seeing Christ in the Tabernacle, (Harrisonburg, VA: Campbell Copy Center), 91.