A Christian Perspective on Leviticus (Pt. 3)

In a ceremony similar to crowning a new monarch, Aaron’s installation started with his investiture: with the congregation watching, Moses clothed Aaron with the symbols of his office (Lev. 8:5–12), followed by the investiture of his sons (8:13). A list of the items of Aaron’s apparel can help us consider thoughts you have about their significance in Christ as our Great Hight Priest. (See Ex. 28:1-43; 39:1-43) 

However, on the Day of Atonement, only the High Priest was allowed in the Most holy of holies and only the Altar of Incense and Ark of the Covenant was sprinkled with blood, Ex. 30:1-10.

  1. The Ark, being the most holy piece foreshadowing the living Word & law of faith in Christ.
  2. The Altar of Incense foreshadowing the Aroma of Christ in His Children, Eph. 5:2 & 2nd Cor. 2:15 & Exodus 30:1-10, Ex. 40:5, Heb. 9:3-4, Lev. 16:12.
  3. The Veil foreshadows the ancient Covenant since Abraham, which would be regulating access to God and changing the Old inferior into the New superior covenant, allowing intimacy in Christ.
  4. The Gold Lampstand foreshadows the Light of the World as Christ
  5. The Table of Showbread foreshadowing the Bread of Life as Christ
  6. The Altar of Burnt Offerings foreshadowing the Death of Christ at the Cross.
  7. The Bronze Basin foreshadowing the Burial & Resurrection of Christ in Baptism.

The seven-day installation ceremony was followed by a public worship service on the eighth day. This was the first worship service under Aaron’s leadership. What was the stated purpose of that worship assembly and the name given to the tent where it took place (Lev. 9:4–6)? What can we learn about the nature of worship from this passage?

Once the rituals of atonement were completed by the priests, the service reached its climax: Aaron pronounced the benediction (vv. 22–23; compare Num. 6:22-27.. Why do you suppose God added the visible mark of fire from heaven to the close of that inaugural service, Lev. 9:24?

How many times do you find the phrase “as the Lord commanded” attached to the activities of the ordination and first worship service., (Chs 8-9)? (This frequent repetition is preparing for a contrast about to emerge in the next chapter.)

The closing scene (10:12–20) was truly amazing: Aaron corrected Moses on a point of ritual protocol, and Moses admitted that Aaron was right! What does Aaron’s precise ritual discernment (even correcting Moses!), in contrast with Nadab and Abihu’s ritual missteps, teach us about the kind of high priest the people were to expect?

Readers are often stunned that Nadab and Abihu died for their infraction, Lev. 10:1-7. Actually, what should amaze us is that our Great High Priest mediates such a perfect atonement that we are able to approach such a holy God without fear of the same outcome! Confronting the presence of God is a life-or-death matter, and our sins deserve the fire of his just wrath. The people of Israel got it right when they “shouted and fell on their faces” (9:24)—resulting in God’s benediction (not his condemnation) and in seeing his glory (rather than falling under his judgment). The acceptable venue in the worship service is taught in Leviticus 9:22-23. It is because of the atoning sacrifice that the people receive the guarantee of blessing from God at the close of their worship in his house. In the New Testament, Jesus also lifted his hands to pronounce blessing on the disciples after his completion of the final atonement sacrifice. Luke 24:50., and the apostles closed their letters with benedictions. 1Thes. 5:23, Eph. 6:23-24, Heb. 13:20-21.. The benediction is much more than a fancy way to say “the end” at the close of a worship service. It is a declaration of God’s favor because of his atonement.

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