Reading: Exodus 29:1-21
This passage describes the ordination of the priests into their holy office. It follows a special procedure so that sin does not corrupt or cause shame in the service of holy God. It is important that the priests are cleansed and made holy because Israel depended on the priest’s ability to enter into God’s presence with prayer and sacrifice.
The whole human race is corrupt and infected with many impurities. This uncleanness prevents every person from having access to God. Moses therefore consecrates the priests by a special ritual. First he washes them with water, which symbolises the removal of their sinful impurities and makes them ritually clean and pure. After they had been washed, God commands that they should be dressed in the special garments described in chapter 28. For the High Priest this included the ephod with the Urim and Thummim, and the turban with the golden plate, on which was written “holiness to the Lord”. This is followed by the anointing with specially prepared oil.
A bull is to be sacrificed as a sin offering to take away the sins of the priests. Rams are also sacrificed. The blood of one ram shall be put on the priests’ right ear, thumb and big toe and their garments. It is through blood that they are hallowed (vs 21). In other words through blood the priests are made acceptable to God as mediators for the people.
Hebrews 10 teaches us that the Old Testament priests were a shadow or picture of Jesus Christ. He was the perfect high Priest (Hebrews 9:11) who was pure because he committed no sin. He sacrificed His own blood which was acceptable to God to bear the sins of many (Hebrews 10:28).
Key text: Exodus 29:35 “Thus you shall do to Aaron and his sons, according to all that I have commanded you. Seven days you shall consecrate them.”
Question: The priests are made holy in order to serve in the tabernacle. How do the people of Israel benefit from this?