Exodus 29: Set Apart

“And this is what you shall do to them to hallow them for ministering to Me as priests: Take one young bull and two rams without blemish, 2 and unleavened bread, unleavened cakes mixed with oil, and unleavened wafers anointed with oil (you shall make them of wheat flour). 3 You shall put them in one basket and bring them in the basket, with the bull and the two rams.

-        The Levites were set apart to minister to God. The idea of them ministering actually means in the Hebrew "to mediate". In reading 1 Timothy 2:5 we know that Christ is our Mediator: “For there is one God and one Mediator between God and man, the Man Christ Jesus, who gave Himself a ransom for all…”

-        Exodus 29 consists of the instructions the Lord gave to Moses regarding the inauguration of the priests. Leviticus 8 records the actual act of Moses performing this ceremony with Aaron and his sons. 

-        The bull was a symbol of strength, laboriousness, and patience of Christ (John Gill). The purity of both the bull and the rams spoke to the perfection in both Christ’s nature and life. He was a pure and holy sacrifice for us.

4 “And Aaron and his sons you shall bring to the door of the tabernacle of meeting, and you shall wash them with water. 5 Then you shall take the garments, put the tunic on Aaron, and the robe of the ephod, the ephod, and the breastplate, and gird him with the intricately woven band of the ephod. 6 You shall put the turban on his head, and put the holy crown on the turban. 7 And you shall take the anointing oil, pour it on his head, and anoint him. 8 Then you shall bring his sons and put tunics on them. 9 And you shall gird them with sashes, Aaron and his sons, and put the hats on them. The priesthood shall be theirs for a perpetual statute. So you shall consecrate Aaron and his sons.

-        Aaron and his sons were committing themselves entirely to the work of the Lord. Hebrews 5 tells us that Aaron was called by God and a high priest is taken from men and is appointed for men in things pertaining to God. Now, read that again, this time straight from the text: “For every high priest taken from among men is appointed for men in things pertaining to God, that he may offer both gifts and sacrifices for sins.” Doesn’t that sum up exactly what Christ did for us?! He became man, was appointed for us, lived His life, and embraced His death for God. And because of that sacrifice, we have the gift of the Spirit and freedom from sin.

10 “You shall also have the bull brought before the tabernacle of meeting, and Aaron and his sons shall put their hands on the head of the bull. 11 Then you shall kill the bull before the Lord, by the door of the tabernacle of meeting. 12 You shall take some of the blood of the bull and put it on the horns of the altar with your finger, and pour all the blood beside the base of the altar. 13 And you shall take all the fat that covers the entrails, the fatty lobe attached to the liver, and the two kidneys and the fat that is on them, and burn them on the altar. 14 But the flesh of the bull, with its skin and its offal, you shall burn with fire outside the camp. It is a sin offering.

15 “You shall also take one ram, and Aaron and his sons shall put their hands on the head of the ram;16 and you shall kill the ram, and you shall take its blood and sprinkle it all around on the altar.17 Then you shall cut the ram in pieces, wash its entrails and its legs, and put them with its pieces and with its head. 18 And you shall burn the whole ram on the altar. It is a burnt offering to the Lord; it is a sweet aroma, an offering made by fire to the Lord.

-        First, a sacrifice had to be made for the sins of Aaron and his sons. They placed their hands on the sacrifice, recognizing that they should be the one dying. Are we not called to do the same spiritually? Can you say, “I am crucified with Christ! I’m not the one living; it is Christ living in me!” (Galatians 2:20 paraphrase). These men were physically resting their hands on a live animal and saying, “Hey, this should be me lying here. I should be on this altar.” And then the bull is killed and the sin is covered.

19 “You shall also take the other ram, and Aaron and his sons shall put their hands on the head of the ram. 20 Then you shall kill the ram, and take some of its blood and put it on the tip of the right ear of Aaron and on the tip of the right ear of his sons, on the thumb of their right hand and on the big toe of their right foot, and sprinkle the blood all around on the altar. 21 And you shall take some of the blood that is on the altar, and some of the anointing oil, and sprinkle it on Aaron and on his garments, on his sons and on the garments of his sons with him; and he and his garments shall be hallowed, and his sons and his sons’ garments with him.

-        ­Odd places to put blood, right? The significance behind putting blood on the tip of the ear, the thumb, and the big toe is that these are considered the outermost part of the body. They are the extremities. It’s like God is making this statement: “Even the most distant parts of you are Mine.” The same is true for us spiritually, too. The “compartments” of our life – the ones on the outskirts that we fail to put under Christ’s jurisdiction – they still belong to God. Examine your life today. Is there any extremity in which you need to apply the blood to in your life?

-        Notice that these intricate and beautiful garments were now stained with blood and oil. Have you ever tried to get blood or grease out of clothing? These stains of righteousness were on the garments. I’m sure when Aaron went to put on the garments, he would see those stains of blood and oil and think of God’s work in his life. What do your spiritual garments look like? Are they tattered from a battle you’re losing or stained with the righteousness of Christ Jesus and the power of His Holy Spirit?

22 “Also you shall take the fat of the ram, the fat tail, the fat that covers the entrails, the fatty lobe attached to the liver, the two kidneys and the fat on them, the right thigh (for it is a ram of consecration), 23 one loaf of bread, one cake made with oil, and one wafer from the basket of the unleavened bread that is before the Lord; 24 and you shall put all these in the hands of Aaron and in the hands of his sons, and you shall wave them as a wave offering before the Lord. 25 You shall receive them back from their hands and burn them on the altar as a burnt offering, as a sweet aroma before the Lord. It is an offering made by fire to the Lord.

26 “Then you shall take the breast of the ram of Aaron’s consecration and wave it as a wave offering before the Lord; and it shall be your portion. 27 And from the ram of the consecration you shall consecrate the breast of the wave offering which is waved, and the thigh of the heave offering which is raised, of that which is for Aaron and of that which is for his sons. 28 It shall be from the children of Israel for Aaron and his sons by a statute forever. For it is a heave offering; it shall be a heave offering from the children of Israel from the sacrifices of their peace offerings, that is, their heave offering to the Lord.

-        I love what F.B. Meyer says in relation to the wave offering: “Part of the flesh was waved heavenward and burned, as though God fed on it, while part was eaten by the priests. It was as though God and they feasted together in one holy sacrament, the symbol of their at-one-ment.” Think about the joy of your “at-one-ment” with God. You are One with Him through the fellowship of His Word, prayer, and other believers. We can simply wave our hands to Him in an act of total and complete surrender!

29 “And the holy garments of Aaron shall be his sons’ after him, to be anointed in them and to be consecrated in them. 30 That son who becomes priest in his place shall put them on for seven days, when he enters the tabernacle of meeting to minister in the holy place.

-        The holy garments were to be passed down; no new garments were to be made. As parents, teachers, leaders, and the like, we too have a responsibility of training up the next generation and “passing down” the Truth of Christ Jesus to them. Let the garments which you wear today – that which makes up your life – be worthy of being passed down. 

31 “And you shall take the ram of the consecration and boil its flesh in the holy place. 32 Then Aaron and his sons shall eat the flesh of the ram, and the bread that is in the basket, by the door of the tabernacle of meeting. 33 They shall eat those things with which the atonement was made, to consecrate and to sanctify them; but an outsider shall not eat them, because they are holy. 34 And if any of the flesh of the consecration offerings, or of the bread, remains until the morning, then you shall burn the remainder with fire. It shall not be eaten, because it is holy.

-        Where were they to eat the meat and the bread? By the door of the tabernacle. They weren’t to take it home and eat with their family, or take it outside the camp – they were to eat it at the door because the tabernacle was God’s place of dwelling. He wanted His priests to be in His presence, just as He desires us to be in His presence today. The priests were receiving the atoning sacrifice by eating of it, just like we receive the atoning sacrifice of Jesus when we choose to fellowship with Him.  

35 “Thus you shall do to Aaron and his sons, according to all that I have commanded you. Seven days you shall consecrate them. 36 And you shall offer a bull every day as a sin offering for atonement. You shall cleanse the altar when you make atonement for it, and you shall anoint it to sanctify it. 37 Seven days you shall make atonement for the altar and sanctify it. And the altar shall be most holy. Whatever touches the altar must be holy.

-        “Seven days you shall consecrate them.” The number seven in Hebrew denotes perfection. Notice that it says, “Whatever touches the altar must be holy.” Was not Christ the holiest of sacrifices? When we lay our lives down on that altar – when we die daily – we identify with Him in His death.

38 “Now this is what you shall offer on the altar: two lambs of the first year, day by day continually.39 One lamb you shall offer in the morning, and the other lamb you shall offer at twilight. 40 With the one lamb shall be one-tenth of an ephah of flour mixed with one-fourth of a hin of pressed oil, and one-fourth of a hin of wine as a drink offering. 41 And the other lamb you shall offer at twilight; and you shall offer with it the grain offering and the drink offering, as in the morning, for a sweet aroma, an offering made by fire to the Lord. 42 This shall be a continual burnt offering throughout your generations at the door of the tabernacle of meeting before the Lord, where I will meet you to speak with you. 43 And there I will meet with the children of Israel, and the tabernacle shall be sanctified by My glory. 44 So I will consecrate the tabernacle of meeting and the altar. I will also consecrate both Aaron and his sons to minister to Me as priests. 45 I will dwell among the children of Israel and will be their God. 46 And they shall know that I am the Lord their God, who brought them up out of the land of Egypt, that I may dwell among them. I am the Lord their God.

-        A continual offering was to be made – one in the morning and one in the evening. Day after day after day. No vacations. This speaks to Christ’s unending grace and atonement. He was a once-and-for-all sacrifice. That’s why Hebrews 8:1 tells us that Christ, our High Priest, sat down in the place of honor. Why did He sit down? Because it was DONE!

-        “And there I will meet with the children of Israel” Isn’t it wonderful to know that our God wants to meet with us? He did then, and He does now. So much that He sent His only son to be the eternal atoning sacrifice so that He could tear the veil and dwell in us. Abide in Him today! Amen.