Leviticus 8:1 ¶ And the LORD spake unto Moses, saying,
Leviticus 8:2 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;
Leviticus 8:3 And gather thou all the congregation together unto the door of the tabernacle of the congregation.
Leviticus 8:4 And Moses did as the LORD commanded him; and the assembly was gathered together unto the door of the tabernacle of the congregation.
Leviticus 8:5 And Moses said unto the congregation, This is the thing which the LORD commanded to be done.
This chapter opens with the Lord instructing Moses how to consecrate or set apart Aaron and his sons for their service as priests before Him. Point is made that this was to be done publicly before all the people. The ceremony was to take place at the door of the tabernacle, a place that represented entry to the presence of God. Moses was very careful to inform the people that these actions were being done according to the Lord’s command. Needed for the ceremony would be the special garments that had been made for the priests, the anointing oil, a bullock for the sin offering, two rams, and a basket of unleavened bread.
This chapter goes hand-in-hand with Exodus 28-29.
Exodus 29:1–3 “And this is the thing that thou shalt do unto them to hallow them, to minister unto me in the priest’s office: Take one young bullock, and two rams without blemish, And unleavened bread, and cakes unleavened tempered with oil, and wafers unleavened anointed with oil: of wheaten flour shalt thou make them. And thou shalt put them into one basket, and bring them in the basket, with the bullock and the two rams.”
Leviticus 8:6 And Moses brought Aaron and his sons, and washed them with water.
The first thing Moses does is to wash Aaron and his sons with water. We know from scripture that this is a picture of the importance of the word of God in the life of the believer.
Ephesians 5:25–27 “Husbands, love your wives, even as Christ also loved the church, and gave himself for it; That he might sanctify and cleanse it with the washing of water by the word, That he might present it to himself a glorious church, not having spot, or wrinkle, or any such thing; but that it should be holy and without blemish.”
David Guzik notes that this complete washing was done only once; after this, they only needed to wash their hands and feet. This ties directly to the teaching of Jesus when he washed the feet of His disciples.
John 13:9–10 “Simon Peter saith unto him, Lord, not my feet only, but also my hands and my head. Jesus saith to him, He that is washed needeth not save to wash his feet, but is clean every whit: and ye are clean, but not all.”
In other words, once we have placed our faith in the Lord for our salvation we are “clean” before Him, but we still have to deal with sin and strive to live a clean life before Him. Thus, the importance of 1 John 1:9, “If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.” This verse is sometimes referenced as the Christian’s bar of soap.
Leviticus 8:7 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.
Leviticus 8:8 And he put the breastplate upon him: also he put in the breastplate the Urim and the Thummim.
Leviticus 8:9 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.
Moses now turns to deal specifically with Aaron. He clothes him with the garments that had been made according to God’s specific instructions (see Exodus 28). They included a coat, girdle, robe, ephod with its special girdle, the breastplate in which he put the Urim and Thummim, and the mitre with the golden plate—the holy crown.
Š The coat was made of fine linen.
Š The girdle was made of needlework, or special embroidery.
Š The robe was blue and had a hem embroidered with pomegranates of blue, purple and scarlet. The pomegranates were to be alternated with golden bells around the hem. I heard a series of tapes by a Messianic Jew, Dick Reuben, who had some interesting insight or application regarding this garment. He stated that the blue represents the Holy Spirit who comes upon you at salvation. One must possess the Holy Spirit to enter God’s presence. The pomegranates represented the fruits of the Spirit and the bells the evidences of the Spirit at work in one’s life.
Š The ephod was formed of two pieces that joined at the shoulder with gold chains around an onyx stone that was engraved with the names of the tribes of Israel—six on each stone. It and the girdle specific to it were made of fine twined linen and worked with gold, blue, purple and scarlet thread. The fact that the priest was wearing the weight of the stones on his shoulders reminds me of how Jesus carries us in His power as we minister before God. It also reminds me of how we, as priests, are to “carry” one another in service before the Lord.
Š The breastplate was worn over the ephod and attached to it with fasteners of gold. It was made of square, double thick material to match the ephod. It was set with four rows of specific stones, each of which was engraved with the name of one of the tribes of Israel. The doubled fabric allowed for a pocket for the Urim and Thummin which stand for light and truth (according to Strongs). These stones were used to reveal the will of God to the priests and through them the people. David Guzik made a good observation regarding the breastplate, “It isn’t enough for a priest to have a heart for God. He must also have a heart for the people.”
Š The mitre is a turban, and the golden plate read “HOLINESS TO THE LORD.”
Š It’s also important to note that everything pertaining to right standing before God has to be done according to God’s instruction and His provision. It is only through His provision that we can be saved from the curse and consequences of sin. His way is the only way.
Leviticus 8:10 And Moses took the anointing oil, and anointed the tabernacle and all that was therein, and sanctified them.
Leviticus 8:11 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.
Leviticus 8:12 And he poured of the anointing oil upon Aaron’s head, and anointed him, to sanctify him.
When Aaron was completely dressed, Moses anointed the tabernacle and everything in it. He sprinkled the altar seven times and anointed every part of it, including the vessels used there. Then he poured (liberally) the oil on Aaron’s head to anoint him. We know that oil is representative of the Spirit of God, and it is only through the anointing of His Spirit provided through the shed blood of Jesus that any of us can enter God’s presence.
Leviticus 8:13 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.
At this point Moses turns his attention to Aaron’s sons—Nadab, Abihu, Eleazar and Ithamar (Exodus 28:1). He then clothes them with the garments particular to all other priests and made according to God’s specific instructions.
Leviticus 8:14 ¶ 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.
Leviticus 8:15 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.
Leviticus 8:16 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.
Leviticus 8:17 But the bullock, and his hide, his flesh, and his dung, he burnt with fire without the camp; as the LORD commanded Moses.
In making a sin offering for Aaron and his sons, Moses acted as God’s chosen representative. The bull was brought to the altar and Aaron and his sons laid their hands on the head of the bull in identification with it and acknowledging their sinfulness before God. Moses then killed the bull and used its blood to purify and sanctify the altar. All the fat, recognized as the best part of the animal, was burned on the altar, and then the bull’s hide, flesh and dung were burnt outside the camp at the appointed place—all according to God’s command.
Leviticus 8:18 And he brought the ram for the burnt offering: and Aaron and his sons laid their hands upon the head of the ram.
Leviticus 8:19 And he killed it; and Moses sprinkled the blood upon the altar round about.
Leviticus 8:20 And he cut the ram into pieces; and Moses burnt the head, and the pieces, and the fat.
Leviticus 8:21 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.
One of the rams was then brought to the altar to make another sin offering, a burnt offering. Again, Aaron and his sons laid hands on the head of the ram to acknowledge that it was being sacrificed on their behalf. Moses again sprinkled the blood on and around the altar. This time the animal was completely burned on the altar after being cut into pieces. The inwards and legs were washed in water before they were burned. God describes this offering as a sweet smell coming from the fire to the Lord.
As I tried to make application to these two sacrifices in light of their application to the believer as a royal priesthood, I thought about how the true person, our inner being of soul and spirit is what is most treasured by the LORD. Our sinful flesh is not fit for heaven and must be destroyed outside of heaven. The ram better pictures the believer after having been redeemed by the blood of Jesus. Once redeemed, it is the submission of our whole being to His will that is treasured by God; He wants not only our faith, but our obedience to His will. In striving to serve Him in faith and obedience, we will certainly endure the fires of temptation and suffering that are part and parcel of living in a fallen world.
Moses continues to emphasize that all of this is being done according to the command of God.
Leviticus 8:22 And he brought the other ram, the ram of consecration: and Aaron and his sons laid their hands upon the head of the ram.
Leviticus 8:23 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.
Leviticus 8:24 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.
Leviticus 8:25 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:
Leviticus 8:26 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:
Leviticus 8:27 And he put all upon Aaron’s hands, and upon his sons’ hands, and waved them for a wave offering before the LORD.
Leviticus 8:28 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.
The second ram was then brought to the altar, and once again Aaron and his sons identified with the animal by placing their hands on its head. After killing the ram, Moses took some of the blood and put it on the tip of Aaron’s right ear, the thumb of his right hand, and the great toe of his right foot; he then repeated the process for each of Aaron’s sons. Once again he also sprinkled blood on and around the altar. This time he took the fat, the rump, all the fat on the inside around the liver, all the fat around and including the kidneys, and the right shoulder and placed them on the hands of Aaron and his sons. He then took one unleavened cake from the basket of unleavened bread, a cake of oiled bread, and one wafer and placed them on the fat and the right shoulder. The priests then lifted their hands to present them as a wave offering to the LORD. Moses then took everything off their hands and burned them on the altar as a sweet smell of willing consecration before the LORD; this was a peace and fellowship offering.
I liked David Guzik’s explanation for the purpose of the blood on the priest. “They should hear differently because the blood was on their ear. They should work differently because the blood was on their thumb. They should walk differently because the blood was on their toe. Specifically, it was applied to the right ear, hand, and foot. This isn't because God felt they could do whatever they wanted to with their left ear, hand, and foot. It is because the right side was considered superior, with more strength and skill (because most people are right-handed).”
Leviticus 8:29 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.
Moses then took the breast of the animal and waved it as a wave offering before God and as his part of the sacrifice of consecration. God always rewards His obedient servants.
Leviticus 8:30 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.
Leviticus 8:31 ¶ 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.
Leviticus 8:32 And that which remaineth of the flesh and of the bread shall ye burn with fire.
Finally, Moses took of the anointing oil and the blood together to sprinkle on Aaron and his garments and on his sons and their garments. The flesh of the ram was then boiled at the door of the tabernacle and eaten by Aaron and his sons along with the rest of the bread in the basket. Any that happened to be left over was to be burned with fire. I liked Guzik’s use of this quote from Spurgeon: "Let not this distinction be forgotten; the eating of the sacrifice is not intended to give life, for no dead man can eat, but to sustain the life which is there already. A believing look at Christ makes you live, but spiritual life must be fed and sustained."
Why burn the leftovers? Another good quote from Guzik: “God did not want to fellowship with them over stale food….He wants our fellowship with Him to be fresh.”
Leviticus 8:33 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.
Leviticus 8:34 As he hath done this day, so the LORD hath commanded to do, to make an atonement for you.
Leviticus 8:35 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.
Leviticus 8:36 So Aaron and his sons did all things which the LORD commanded by the hand of Moses.
The priests are commanded not to leave the tabernacle for seven days in order to complete their consecration to service. Seven is the number of completion and perfection in scripture. Exodus 29 makes a stronger statement that these offerings were to be made every day for each of the seven days.
Exodus 29:35-37 “And thus shalt thou do unto Aaron, and to his sons, according to all things which I have commanded thee: seven days shalt thou consecrate them. And thou shalt offer every day a bullock for a sin offering for atonement: and thou shalt cleanse the altar, when thou hast made an atonement for it, and thou shalt anoint it, to sanctify it. Seven days thou shalt make an atonement for the altar, and sanctify it; and it shall be an altar most holy: whatsoever toucheth the altar shall be holy.”
Though it only mentions the sin offering, the most important since it represents atonement, the wording implies that all the sacrifices were to be repeated on each of the seven days. It makes sense that the LORD was emphasizing the importance of daily dependence upon Him. Remember, they were to remain at the door of the tabernacle and not eat leftovers; they would need daily provision.