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Leviticus 8-10 Listen
1 And the LORD spake unto Moses, saying,
2 Take Aaron and his sons with him, and the garments, and the anointing oil, and a bullock for the sin offering, and two rams, and a basket of unleavened bread;
3 And gather thou all the congregation together unto the door of the tabernacle of the congregation.
4 And Moses did as the LORD commanded him; and the assembly was gathered together unto the door of the tabernacle of the congregation.
5 And Moses said unto the congregation, This is the thing which the LORD commanded to be done.
The tabernacle is assembled, and now it's time for the ribbon-cutting ceremony. But this is no ordinary ribbon cutting; I mean...we're talking about the opening of God's house for business among the Hebrews. God instructs Moses to assemble the whole congregation before the Tabernacle, and the ceremony begins.
By the way, there are some things that Moses is to bring with him to the ceremony. Here's the itemized list in verse 2:
We've been anticipating this day since Exodus 28 (see notes). It was there that Moses revealed that Aaron and his sons were to be the priests, and all of these specifications regarding the dress of the priesthood were specified. The actual ceremony that we see here was specified in Exodus 29 (see notes).
6 And Moses brought Aaron and his sons, and washed them with water.
7 And he put upon him the coat, and girded him with the girdle, and clothed him with the robe, and put the ephod upon him, and he girded him with the curious girdle of the ephod, and bound it unto him therewith.
8 And he put the breastplate upon him: also he put in the breastplate the Urim and the Thummim.
9 And he put the mitre upon his head; also upon the mitre, even upon his forefront, did he put the golden plate, the holy crown; as the LORD commanded Moses.
10 And Moses took the anointing oil, and anointed the tabernacle and all that was therein, and sanctified them.
11 And he sprinkled thereof upon the altar seven times, and anointed the altar and all his vessels, both the laver and his foot, to sanctify them.
12 And he poured of the anointing oil upon Aaron’s head, and anointed him, to sanctify him.
13 And Moses brought Aaron’s sons, and put coats upon them, and girded them with girdles, and put bonnets upon them; as the LORD commanded Moses.
14 And he brought the bullock for the sin offering: and Aaron and his sons laid their hands upon the head of the bullock for the sin offering.
15 And he slew it; and Moses took the blood, and put it upon the horns of the altar round about with his finger, and purified the altar, and poured the blood at the bottom of the altar, and sanctified it, to make reconciliation upon it.
16 And he took all the fat that was upon the inwards, and the caul above the liver, and the two kidneys, and their fat, and Moses burned it upon the altar.
17 But the bullock, and his hide, his flesh, and his dung, he burnt with fire without the camp; as the LORD commanded Moses.
18 And he brought the ram for the burnt offering: and Aaron and his sons laid their hands upon the head of the ram.
19 And he killed it; and Moses sprinkled the blood upon the altar round about.
20 And he cut the ram into pieces; and Moses burnt the head, and the pieces, and the fat.
21 And he washed the inwards and the legs in water; and Moses burnt the whole ram upon the altar: it was a burnt sacrifice for a sweet savour, and an offering made by fire unto the LORD; as the LORD commanded Moses.
22 And he brought the other ram, the ram of consecration: and Aaron and his sons laid their hands upon the head of the ram.
23 And he slew it; and Moses took of the blood of it, and put it upon the tip of Aaron’s right ear, and upon the thumb of his right hand, and upon the great toe of his right foot.
24 And he brought Aaron’s sons, and Moses put of the blood upon the tip of their right ear, and upon the thumbs of their right hands, and upon the great toes of their right feet: and Moses sprinkled the blood upon the altar round about.
25 And he took the fat, and the rump, and all the fat that was upon the inwards, and the caul above the liver, and the two kidneys, and their fat, and the right shoulder:
26 And out of the basket of unleavened bread, that was before the LORD, he took one unleavened cake, and a cake of oiled bread, and one wafer, and put them on the fat, and upon the right shoulder:
27 And he put all upon Aaron’s hands, and upon his sons’ hands, and waved them for a wave offering before the LORD.
28 And Moses took them from off their hands, and burnt them on the altar upon the burnt offering: they were consecrations for a sweet savour: it is an offering made by fire unto the LORD.
29 And Moses took the breast, and waved it for a wave offering before the LORD: for of the ram of consecration it was Moses’ part; as the LORD commanded Moses.
30 And Moses took of the anointing oil, and of the blood which was upon the altar, and sprinkled it upon Aaron, and upon his garments, and upon his sons, and upon his sons’ garments with him; and sanctified Aaron, and his garments, and his sons, and his sons’ garments with him.
31 And Moses said unto Aaron and to his sons, Boil the flesh at the door of the tabernacle of the congregation: and there eat it with the bread that is in the basket of consecrations, as I commanded, saying, Aaron and his sons shall eat it.
32 And that which remaineth of the flesh and of the bread shall ye burn with fire.
33 And ye shall not go out of the door of the tabernacle of the congregation in seven days, until the days of your consecration be at an end: for seven days shall he consecrate you.
34 As he hath done this day, so the LORD hath commanded to do, to make an atonement for you.
35 Therefore shall ye abide at the door of the tabernacle of the congregation day and night seven days, and keep the charge of the LORD, that ye die not: for so I am commanded.
36 So Aaron and his sons did all things which the LORD commanded by the hand of Moses.
First they put that big ol' laver to use to get Aaron and his sons ceremonially washed up; then they are dressed up for the priesthood. This initial preparation for induction into the priesthood for each of them consists of three steps (verses 6-13): washing, clothing and anointing.
The next step consists of a series of three sacrifices on behalf of the priesthood, a bullock and two rams.
This is an eight-day process. Notice in each sacrificial instance here that Aaron and his sons put their hands upon the animals' heads as they are being sacrificed. Moses presides over the whole process. I find verses 23-24 interesting. Look at where the blood of the second ram is placed - on the priests' right ear, right thumb and right big toe. The sacrifice is boiled and eaten with unleavened bread. As mentioned earlier, the priests served bare footed.
Incidentally, you will notice the Urim and the Thummim (see notes) in verse 8. The necessity for these two items to be with the high priest is found in Exodus 28:30 (see notes), "And thou shalt put in the breastplate of judgment the Urim and the Thummim; and they shall be upon Aarons heart, when he goeth in before the LORD: and Aaron shall bear the judgment of the children of Israel upon his heart before the LORD continually." We're not sure what these two items looked like, and they are only mentioned six other times in the Old Testament. They obviously had much to do with knowing God's will. These items were placed into the breastplate of the High Priest beginning with Aaron. Those other mentions of the Urim and the Thummim are found in: Numbers 27:21 (see notes), Deuteronomy 33:8 (see notes), I Samuel 28:6 (see notes), Ezra 2:63 (see notes) and Nehemiah 7:65 (see notes). Upon the return to the land after the exile, we see in Ezra and Nehemiah that these two items were considered absolutely essential for the complete restoration of worship as it had been originally under Aaron. This worship was never resumed...to this day. In addition, the Ark of the Covenant (in the Most Holy Place i.e. Holy of Holies) was not restored back to the Temple in Jerusalem following Israel's return to the land. Hence, though they returned to Jerusalem in 535 B.C. (the fall in Jerusalem was consummated in 586 B.C.), worship was never restored to its Aaronic style.
We see in verse 33 that the same offerings were repeated daily for seven days while Aaron and his sons remained in the court of the Tabernacle.
1 And it came to pass on the eighth day, that Moses called Aaron and his sons, and the elders of Israel;
2 And he said unto Aaron, Take thee a young calf for a sin offering, and a ram for a burnt offering, without blemish, and offer them before the LORD.
3 And unto the children of Israel thou shalt speak, saying, Take ye a kid of the goats for a sin offering; and a calf and a lamb, both of the first year, without blemish, for a burnt offering;
4 Also a bullock and a ram for peace offerings, to sacrifice before the LORD; and a meat offering mingled with oil: for to day the LORD will appear unto you.
5 And they brought that which Moses commanded before the tabernacle of the congregation: and all the congregation drew near and stood before the LORD.
6 And Moses said, This is the thing which the LORD commanded that ye should do: and the glory of the LORD shall appear unto you.
7 And Moses said unto Aaron, Go unto the altar, and offer thy sin offering, and thy burnt offering, and make an atonement for thyself, and for the people: and offer the offering of the people, and make an atonement for them; as the LORD commanded.
8 Aaron therefore went unto the altar, and slew the calf of the sin offering, which was for himself.
9 And the sons of Aaron brought the blood unto him: and he dipped his finger in the blood, and put it upon the horns of the altar, and poured out the blood at the bottom of the altar:
10 But the fat, and the kidneys, and the caul above the liver of the sin offering, he burnt upon the altar; as the LORD commanded Moses.
11 And the flesh and the hide he burnt with fire without the camp.
12 And he slew the burnt offering; and Aaron’s sons presented unto him the blood, which he sprinkled round about upon the altar.
13 And they presented the burnt offering unto him, with the pieces thereof, and the head: and he burnt them upon the altar.
14 And he did wash the inwards and the legs, and burnt them upon the burnt offering on the altar.
15 And he brought the people’s offering, and took the goat, which was the sin offering for the people, and slew it, and offered it for sin, as the first.
16 And he brought the burnt offering, and offered it according to the manner.
17 And he brought the meat offering, and took an handful thereof, and burnt it upon the altar, beside the burnt sacrifice of the morning.
18 He slew also the bullock and the ram for a sacrifice of peace offerings, which was for the people: and Aaron’s sons presented unto him the blood, which he sprinkled upon the altar round about,
19 And the fat of the bullock and of the ram, the rump, and that which covereth the inwards, and the kidneys, and the caul above the liver:
20 And they put the fat upon the breasts, and he burnt the fat upon the altar:
21 And the breasts and the right shoulder Aaron waved for a wave offering before the LORD; as Moses commanded.
22 And Aaron lifted up his hand toward the people, and blessed them, and came down from offering of the sin offering, and the burnt offering, and peace offerings.
23 And Moses and Aaron went into the tabernacle of the congregation, and came out, and blessed the people: and the glory of the LORD appeared unto all the people.
24 And there came a fire out from before the LORD, and consumed upon the altar the burnt offering and the fat: which when all the people saw, they shouted, and fell on their faces.
Aaron and his sons have been in seclusion inside the tabernacle for seven days now. That began in chapter 8 (see above). They emerge on day eight for the big public event before all of Israel.
This is Aaron's first sacrifice as High Priest; it's a sin offering for himself. It's rather amusing that the first sacrifice of Aaron's career turns out to be a calf. Hey! Wasn't it a golden calf that Aaron claimed had jumped out of the fire when Moses was up on the mountain back in Exodus 32 (see notes)? How ironic, don't you agree? We see Aaron and his sons making the sacrifices in accordance with the instructions that had been given in Leviticus 1-7 (see notes). Aaron first offers a sin offering and a burnt offering for himself in verses 8-14. Then Aaron offers a sin, a burnt, a grain, and a peace offering for the people in verses 15-18 - symbolizing atonement, dedication, sustenance, and communion. All of these were in compliance with the sacrifices specified in Leviticus 1-7 (see notes).
At the conclusion of this day's sacrificing, the whole operation is validated by the Lord himself in verse 24, "And there came a fire out from before the LORD, and consumed upon the altar the burnt offering and the fat: which when all the people saw, they shouted, and fell on their faces." Life in Israel with the Tabernacle has begun.
1 And Nadab and Abihu, the sons of Aaron, took either of them his censer, and put fire therein, and put incense thereon, and offered strange fire before the LORD, which he commanded them not.
2 And there went out fire from the LORD, and devoured them, and they died before the LORD.
3 Then Moses said unto Aaron, This is it that the LORD spake, saying, I will be sanctified in them that come nigh me, and before all the people I will be glorified. And Aaron held his peace.
4 And Moses called Mishael and Elzaphan, the sons of Uzziel the uncle of Aaron, and said unto them, Come near, carry your brethren from before the sanctuary out of the camp.
5 So they went near, and carried them in their coats out of the camp; as Moses had said.
6 And Moses said unto Aaron, and unto Eleazar and unto Ithamar, his sons, Uncover not your heads, neither rend your clothes; lest ye die, and lest wrath come upon all the people: but let your brethren, the whole house of Israel, bewail the burning which the LORD hath kindled.
7 And ye shall not go out from the door of the tabernacle of the congregation, lest ye die: for the anointing oil of the LORD is upon you. And they did according to the word of Moses.
8 And the LORD spake unto Aaron, saying,
9 Do not drink wine nor strong drink, thou, nor thy sons with thee, when ye go into the tabernacle of the congregation, lest ye die: it shall be a statute for ever throughout your generations:
10 And that ye may put difference between holy and unholy, and between unclean and clean;
11 And that ye may teach the children of Israel all the statutes which the LORD hath spoken unto them by the hand of Moses.
12 And Moses spake unto Aaron, and unto Eleazar and unto Ithamar, his sons that were left, Take the meat offering that remaineth of the offerings of the LORD made by fire, and eat it without leaven beside the altar: for it is most holy:
13 And ye shall eat it in the holy place, because it is thy due, and thy sons’ due, of the sacrifices of the LORD made by fire: for so I am commanded.
14 And the wave breast and heave shoulder shall ye eat in a clean place; thou, and thy sons, and thy daughters with thee: for they be thy due, and thy sons’ due, which are given out of the sacrifices of peace offerings of the children of Israel.
15 The heave shoulder and the wave breast shall they bring with the offerings made by fire of the fat, to wave it for a wave offering before the LORD; and it shall be thine, and thy sons’ with thee, by a statute for ever; as the LORD hath commanded.
16 And Moses diligently sought the goat of the sin offering, and, behold, it was burnt: and he was angry with Eleazar and Ithamar, the sons of Aaron which were left alive, saying,
17 Wherefore have ye not eaten the sin offering in the holy place, seeing it is most holy, and God hath given it you to bear the iniquity of the congregation, to make atonement for them before the LORD?
18 Behold, the blood of it was not brought in within the holy place: ye should indeed have eaten it in the holy place, as I commanded.
19 And Aaron said unto Moses, Behold, this day have they offered their sin offering and their burnt offering before the LORD; and such things have befallen me: and if I had eaten the sin offering to day, should it have been accepted in the sight of the LORD?
20 And when Moses heard that, he was content.
Verse 1 begins with a Hebrew conjunction, "and." This event appears to have taken place on the same day (day 8) when they emerged from the tabernacle to complete the eight-day ritual, the portion of the ritual which was done in the sight of all of the people of Israel. The Hebrew text flows from chapter 9, right on into chapter 10.
For some vague reason involving fire, Aaron loses his two oldest sons here in this inaugural tabernacle ceremony. Well...that's not entirely accurate; verse 2 says, "And there went out fire from the LORD, and devoured them, and they died before the LORD." That doesn't really sound like an accident! So, what was the deal with the fire? Let me venture a conjecture here. Recall with me Leviticus 6:13 (see notes), "The fire shall ever be burning upon the altar; it shall never go out." In addition, we saw in Leviticus 9:24 (see above) that God himself sent fire to consume the burnt offering. So, could it be that this fire at the Brazen altar was a continuation of the fire that God started in 9:24, and that no other fire for Tabernacle purposes would do? When Aaron's boys, Nadab and Abihu, fail to take their Tabernacle responsibilities as seriously as they should by using "strange" fire, verse 2 says, "And there went out fire from the LORD, and devoured them, and they died before the LORD." Well, that settles that issue; in the future we'll use only consecrated fire. One thing is clear: The boys did not follow specifications in this ritual. In public worship, only what is prescribed is legitimate; what is not, is sacrilege.
We only find two occasion when God spoke directly to Aaron and not through Moses, here in verse 8 and Numbers 18:1 (see notes). Why do you suppose an additional stipulation was given by the Lord unto Aaron in verse 9? Leviticus 10:9 says, "Do not drink wine nor strong drink, thou, nor thy sons with thee, when ye go into the tabernacle of the congregation, lest ye die: it shall be a statute for ever throughout your generations:" Could it be that whatever Aaron's sons had done was done while they were drunk? We don't know, but it is interesting that the stipulation of verse 9 is given in this context. Verse 10 goes on with a general differentiation, "And that ye may put difference between holy and unholy, and between unclean and clean;" That, again, could be a reference to the differentiation between God's supernatural fire and man-made fire.
"No mourning the death of your sons," Aaron is told by Moses. Aaron and his two remaining sons are to continue on with the sacrifices that were begun that day. They are commanded to go ahead and eat the offerings on behalf of the people according to the procedures established in Leviticus 1-7 (see notes). But they didn't do it; they wouldn't eat up as prescribed. When Moses angrily insists on an explanation, Aaron replies in verse 19 by saying that having lost his two sons kinda took away their appetites. Moses understands.
Now...here's an interesting aside to the events of chapter 10. Notice the specific instructions given to Aaron, Eleazar and Ithamar after the untimely deaths of their immediate family members in verse 6, "And Moses said unto Aaron, and unto Eleazar and unto Ithamar, his sons, Uncover not your heads, neither rend your clothes; lest ye die, and lest wrath come upon all the people: but let your brethren, the whole house of Israel, bewail the burning which the LORD hath kindled." There's another similar statement concerning the high priest in Leviticus 21:10 (see notes), "And he that is the high priest among his brethren, upon whose head the anointing oil was poured, and that is consecrated to put on the garments, shall not uncover his head, nor rend his clothes." While the penalty for doing such is not specified in Leviticus 21:10, it is not unreasonable to assume that the consequence remains that stated in Leviticus 10:6, "...lest ye die, and lest wrath come upon all the people." Now...let's roll the clock forward nearly 1,500 years to the appearance of Jesus before Caiaphas in Mark 14 (see notes):
Mark 14:61 But he held his peace, and answered nothing. Again the high priest asked him, and said unto him, Art thou the Christ, the Son of the Blessed?
Mark 14:62 And Jesus said, I am: and ye shall see the Son of man sitting on the right hand of power, and coming in the clouds of heaven.
Mark 14:63 Then the high priest rent his clothes, and saith, What need we any further witnesses?
Mark 14:64 Ye have heard the blasphemy: what think ye? And they all condemned him to be guilty of death.
Based upon these warnings in Leviticus, I first heard it suggested back in 1970 by Dr. Gordon Carpenter that Caiaphas formally refused the immediate establishment of the Davidic Kingdom and effectively ended the Aaronic priesthood with this simple act of defiance in Mark 14:63. Jesus was a priest after the order of Melchizedek, a priesthood that existed before Aaron and continues eternally through Jesus Christ. (Click here to read more details about Melchizedek.) It certainly seems plausible that Mark 14:63 recounts more than just a simple act of frustration by Caiaphas; it may have very well been the big deal breaker for the Aaronic priesthood that day.