Chapter 29 is a long chapter, and at first glance not very interesting and thrilling as the previous chapters. I am confident, however, that the Spirit of God wants to use it to minister to us. Exodus is God’s A-B-C Book for us and it contains spiritual lessons in every verse.
The rituals and ceremonies of the OT are fulfilled in Christ, which helps us to understand the significance of NT theology. Usually the NT writers take for granted that we understand the significance of ceremonies and rituals of the OT. Rarely, are the A-B-C’s explained. What we are told in Chapter 29 of Exodus is like Sherlock Holmes’ famous statement, “Elementary, my dear Watson!”
The writer of Hebrews was appalled that his readers failed to understand this chapter, when he wrote in Hebrews 5:12—
In fact, though by this time you ought to be teachers, you need someone to teach you the elementary truths of God’s word all over again. You need milk, not solid food!
Today, we’re back in elementary school to learn about the A-B-C’s. For you that have been chewing solid food, bear with me, there are young Christians in our congregation that need the milk—the ABC’S of Scripture. Take a drink of milk—“Its good for you too!”
The ceremonies for consecrating the priesthood are commanded by Yahweh in Exodus 29:1-4—
This is what you are to do to consecrate them, so that they may serve me as priests: Take a young bull and two rams without defect. And from fine wheat flour, without yeast, make bread, and cakes mixed with oil, and wafers spread with oil. Put them in a basket and present them in it—along with the bull and the two rams. Then bring Aaron and his sons to the entrance to the Tent of Meeting and wash them with water.
These instructions were not carried out till after the erection of the Tabernacle. CONSECRATION for believers is nothing that we do for ourselves—it is something God does for us. It rests upon the finished work of Christ, yet we must apply His finished work to our life to be consecrated.
It is interesting to observe that seven different things were necessary for the consecration of the priests: they were taken, brought, washed, clothed, anointed, sprinkled with blood, and their hands filled. Aaron and his sons, therefore, were called into the priesthood. Aaron did not take this honor unto himself.
So Christ also did not take upon himself the glory of becoming a high priest. But God said to him, “You are my Son; today I have become your Father” (Hebrews 5:5).
Neither did Aaron’s sons choose the priesthood, Yahweh called them also. What is true of them is true of us. Revelation 17:14 speaks of Christians this way—
They will make war against the Lamb, but the Lamb will overcome them because he is Lord of lords and King of kings—and with him will be his called, chosen and faithful followers.
CALLED and CHOSEN is God’s work in our salivation, while FAITHFULNESS and FOLLOWING CHRIST is our responsibility. Hence, it’s God who consecrates every believer into His royal priesthood.
CONSECRATED denotes being dedicated to the service of or set apart by God. It is synonymous with being holy, blessed, hallowed, sacred, sanctified.
The consecration of Aaron and his sons uniquely marked them for service of the Tabernacle and excluded all others.
The sacrifices are to be WITHOUT DEFECT and WITHOUT YEAST and the consecratees are to be WASHED. In other words, sin was to be removed by sinlessness! The unblemished sacrifices speak of Christ’s unblemished, spotless and intrinsic purity. The NT says of Christ:
In Him is no sin—1 John 3:5.
He knew no sin—2 Corinthians 5:21
He did no sin—1 Peter 2:22
The CLEANSING with water symbolizes regeneration through the Holy Spirit and Word of God in the Bible. For example, John 3:5—
Jesus answered, “I tell you the truth, no one can enter the kingdom of God unless he is born of water and the Spirit.
Paul writes in Titus 3:5—
He saved us, not because of righteous things we had done, but because of his mercy. He saved us through the washing of rebirth and renewal by the Holy Spirit.
Ephesians 5:25-27 records—
Husbands, love your wives, just as Christ loved the church and gave himself up for her to make her holy, cleansing her by the washing with water through the word, and to present her to himself as a radiant church, without stain or wrinkle or any other blemish, but holy and blameless.
Our Lord as the spotless Lamb of God, who did not need it, nevertheless yielded to John’s baptism at Jordan to identify Himself with sinners and fulfill the Aaronic pattern.
The washing of the priests in this passage has to do with regeneration. The BRONZE BASIN FOR WASHING of the Tabernacle described in Chapter 30 deals with a different type of washing.
In this ceremony of consecration the new birth is pictured by that cleanses by the power of the Holy Spirit. The blood of Christ revealed in the Word of God is applied by the power of the Holy Spirit, and regenerates the soul and the believer is born again!
In 1 Corinthians 6:9-11, the apostle describes a variety of fearful uncleannesses and sins, which shut out those that commit them from the kingdom of God, and then adds—
And that is what some of you were. But you were washed, you were sanctified, you were justified in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ and by the Spirit of our God.
We read in Hebrews 10:22—
Let us draw near to God with a sincere heart in full assurance of faith, having our hearts sprinkled to cleanse us from a guilty conscience and having our bodies washed with pure water.
In this chapter, we see the outward ceremonial sprinkling and cleansing; and in the NT, we have inward sprinkling and cleansing it pictured. Both the OT priests and the NT believers have a responsibility to KNOW and USE their CONSECRATION to draw near to God with a sincere heart!
Let me repeat: Consecration is what God does rather than what we do. We hear of CONSECRATION SERVICES where people promise to do something. Many promise God big things but never make good on them. Consecration is not what we promise God. Rather, consecration is is coming to God with empty hands, confessing our weakness and our inability to do anything, the letting God do the rest. That’s the picture painted for us in verses 5-9—
Take the garments and dress Aaron with the tunic, the robe of the ephod, the ephod itself and the breastpiece. Fasten the ephod on him by its skillfully woven waistband. Put the turban on his head and attach the sacred diadem to the turban. Take the anointing oil and anoint him by pouring it on his head. Bring his sons and dress them in tunics and put headbands on them. Then tie sashes on Aaron and his sons. The priesthood is theirs by a lasting ordinance. In this way you shall ordain Aaron and his sons.
Unlike his sons, Aaron is anointed with the anointing oil before the blood of the consecration sacrifices was shed. The anointing oil is poured on his head. This sets Aaron off as striking picture of Christ, who was anointed with the Spirit by virtue of what He was in Himself in His deity and sinless humanity, not by virtue of redemption, as is the case of all believers. Also Christ was baptized before He shed His blood for the forgiveness of sins, and the believer is baptized after Christ’s blood is applied according to the pattern of Aaron and his sons.
We can do absolutely nothing outside of believing in the Atonement of Christ to save ourself. Jesus said on the Cross, “IT IS FINISHED.” It’s God that clothes the believer in the garments of righteousness. He imputes and imparts Christ’s righteousness to everyone who is born again. We cannot make clothes of righteousness for ourself. As in the case of Aaron and his sons, the garments of dignity and honor must be made for us and put on us.
Man is incapable making acceptable clothes and clothing himself. Adam and Eve made clothes of fig leaves and dressed themselves, but their man-made garments were unacceptable. So we read in Genesis 3:21—
The LORD God made garments of skin for Adam and his wife and clothed them.
Like with little children, God made garments and clothed our first parents. Folks, we come to Christ as a little child and allow Him to clothe us. Salvation takes place no other way! Any man-made attempt is futile!
If you read the prayers of Moses, Samuel, David, Daniel, and Nehemiah in the OT and Paul in the NT, you will find that these men never came to God on the basis of what they were, who they were, or what they promised God that they would do. We don’t have anything to offer to God, we come empty handed and allow Him to fill our hands. That’s where serving God beings and that’s where salvation begins. That’s why Jesus’ Beatitudes begin with—
Blessed are the poor in spirit: for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.
Unless you see yourself as a miserable beggar and hopeless without the helping hand of God’s grace, you have not hope of the kingdom of heaven!
Notice the order of consecration presented in the first nine verses—theologically, it’s very important— sacrifice, washing, dressing, anointing.
SACRIFICE: Christ sheds His blood for our sins.
WASHING: We identify with Christ and are cleansed of sin by His blood.
DRESSING: God imputes and imparts Christ’s righteousness to us.
ANOINTING: We receive the Holy Spirit and are born again!
If you grasp the fourfold order of a priest’s consecration, you understand how you entered into God’s royal priesthood —how God saved you!
The consecration of the priests required various unblemished offerings in which the shedding of animal blood took place—the first was a BULL. Verses 10-14—
Bring the bull to the front of the Tent of Meeting, and Aaron and his sons shall lay their hands on its head. Slaughter it in the LORD’s presence at the entrance to the Tent of Meeting. Take some of the bull’s blood and put it on the horns of the altar with your finger, and pour out the rest of it at the base of the altar. Then take all the fat around the inner parts, the covering of the liver, and both kidneys with the fat on them, and burn them on the altar. But burn the bull’s flesh and its hide and its offal outside the camp. It is a sin offering.
The choicest parts were burned on the altar, the enveloping fat adding fuel to the fire. The FLESH and HIDE were burned outside the camp! Similarly, Christ our sacrifice offered up His spirit to the heavenly father, but His flesh died and went into the tomb outside the camp. Hebrews 13:11-13 offers this explanation—
The high priest carries the blood of animals into the Most Holy Place as a sin offering, but the bodies are burned outside the camp. And so Jesus also suffered outside the city gate to make the people holy through his own blood. Let us, then, go to him outside the camp, bearing the disgrace he bore.
The life in the blood of the sacrificial bull made atonement for the Aaronic priests, whose lives, like the lives of all of us, were forfeited through sin. The BULL’S BLOOD points to the blood of Jesus, God’s Son, that purifies us from all sin according to 1 John 1:7.
The High Priest and priests put their hands on the BULL. There are many people who believe that the laying on of hands transmits something magical or spiritual. It does not! That’s not the purpose of the laying on of hands. The only thing you can transfer to another man by the laying on of hands is diseased germs. That’s all that is passed on! The laying on of hands on an animal speaks of identification. When a sinner came up to the altar and put his hands on the head of the animal he had brought, it meant that the animal was taking his place. The animal would die for him!
When I was ordained, two pastors and the bishop put their hands on my head. Missionaries are often sent off to service in the mission field with a consecrations service where hands are laid on their head. Nothing was transferred to the missionaries or to me when hands were laid on the head. The purpose of the service was identification. Those who lay hands on the head of another identify with that person in his ministry, and they have a certain responsibility to pray for that person and support him.
The second animal’s blood to be shed for the consecration of the priests was a RAM. Verses 15-18—
Take one of the rams, and Aaron and his sons shall lay their hands on its head. Slaughter it and take the blood and sprinkle it against the altar on all sides. Cut the ram into pieces and wash the inner parts and the legs, putting them with the head and the other pieces. Then burn the entire ram on the altar. It is a burnt offering to the LORD, a pleasing aroma, an offering made to the LORD by fire.
The burnt offering of the RAM is a PLEASING AROMA—A SWEET SAVOR to the LORD. Why does this burnt offering please Yahweh? Because it causes the wrath of God to cease! The fire consumes His anger against sin! God Himself is a consuming fire, therefore, His righteous indignation against sin is appeased when the sacrifice identified with the sinner and his sin is consumed by fire. It is a PLEASING AROMA.
This sacrifice bridged the gulf between offerer’s sinful state and the holiness of God. It’s not for humanitarian or hygienic grounds that the NT puts an end to animal sacrifice. It’s because it is impossible for the blood of bulls and goats to take away sins. Therefore, Christ had to come as the once for all sacrifice. His death ended the animal sacrifices—because He made complete atonement!
The third animal’s blood to be shed for the consecration of the priests was a SECOND RAM. Notice where the blood is put in verses 19-21—
Take the other ram, and Aaron and his sons shall lay their hands on its head. Slaughter it, take some of its blood and put it on the lobes of the right ears of Aaron and his sons, on the thumbs of their right hands, and on the big toes of their right feet. Then sprinkle blood against the altar on all sides. And take some of the blood on the altar and some of the anointing oil and sprinkle it on Aaron and his garments and on his sons and their garments. Then he and his sons and their garments will be consecrated.
Blood on the LOBES OF THE RIGHT EARS pictures the organ that hears the Word of God. One cannot understand the spiritual truths of the Bible outside of redemption!
Blood on the THUMBS OF THEIR RIGHT HANDS pictures organs by which the mediatorial work was to be performed on behalf of the people. Outside of redemption a person cannot serve God—there can be no spiritual act of worship that pleases God! Paul writes to Christians in Romans 12:1—
Therefore, I urge you, brothers, in view of God’s mercy, to offer your bodies as living sacrifices, holy and pleasing to God—this is your spiritual act of worship.
Blood on the thumbs of their right hands signifies the priest presenting himself for spiritual service as a living sacrifice, holy and pleasing to God.
Blood on the BIG TOES OF THEIR RIGHT FEET pictures the sanctified walk of the priests, who would be examples to the people.
The priest’s are to dedicate all their faculties and powers to the service of God; their ears to the hearing and study of His Law, their hands to diligence in the sacred ministry and to all acts of obedience, and their feet to walking in the way of God’s precepts. And this sprinkling appears to have been used to teach them that they could neither hear, work, nor walk profitably, uprightly, and well-pleasing in the sight of God, without this application of the blood of the sacrifice.
Bottom line: Our ears, hands, and feet are all to be used for the LORD, in His service.
Blood was SPRINKLED AGAINST THE ALTAR ON ALL SIDES. The ALTAR symbolizes the CROSS and CRUCIFIXION. The blood sprinkled on the altar, implies that if we are to serve Christ, we also must be crucified with Him. Paul said in Galatians 2:20—
I have been crucified with Christ and I no longer live, but Christ lives in me. The life I live in the body, I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me.
Lastly, some of the blood of the altar was to be mixed with the anointing oil and sprinkled on Aaron and his sons and their clothes as symbolic of their complete consecration as priests.
Take from this ram the fat, the fat tail, the fat around the inner parts, the covering of the liver, both kidneys with the fat on them, and the right thigh. (This is the ram for the ordination.) From the basket of bread made without yeast, which is before the LORD, take a loaf, and a cake made with oil, and a wafer. Put all these in the hands of Aaron and his sons and wave them before the LORD as a wave offering. Then take them from their hands and burn them on the altar along with the burnt offering for a pleasing aroma to the LORD, an offering made to the LORD by fire. After you take the breast of the ram for Aaron’s ordination, wave it before the LORD as a wave offering, and it will be your share.
The choice parts of this ram along with the unleavened bread, oiled cake, and wafer were to FILL the hands of Aaron and his sons and to be used as a WAVE OFFERING. The waving was not from side to side but toward the altar and back, showing that the sacrifice was given to God and then received back by the priest for his use. Everything that had been waved except for the BREAST OF THE RAM was then to be burned on the altar.
Consecrate those parts of the ordination ram that belong to Aaron and his sons: the breast that was waved and the thigh that was presented. This is always to be the regular share from the Israelites for Aaron and his sons. It is the contribution the Israelites are to make to the LORD from their fellowship offerings.
The BREAST and THIGH of every animal given as a FELLOWSHIP OFFERING would hereafter given to the priest. The priests would be apportioned no land for farming in the Promised Land, and this is one of the ways God provided for their support. The priests who served in the Tabernacle and later in the Temple would receive part of the offering.
The second RAM is for FELLOWSHIP or PEACE. Christ procured peace for sinners on the Cross. There God is propitiated and the sinner is reconciled. Colossians 1:19-20 asserts—
For God was pleased to have all his fulness dwell in [Christ], and through him to reconcile to himself all things, whether things on earth or things in heaven, by making peace through his blood, shed on the cross.
Aaron’s sacred garments will belong to his descendants so that they can be anointed and ordained in them. The son who succeeds him as priest and comes to the Tent of Meeting to minister in the Holy Place is to wear them seven days.
The ordained garments of the High Priest were to be passed down for future ordinations. The successor would wear them for seven days, perhaps symbolizing the completeness of his consecration.
Take the ram for the ordination and cook the meat in a sacred place. At the entrance to the Tent of Meeting, Aaron and his sons are to eat the meat of the ram and the bread that is in the basket. They are to eat these offerings by which atonement was made for their ordination and consecration. But no one else may eat them, because they are sacred. And if any of the meat of the ordination ram or any bread is left over till morning, burn it up. It must not be eaten, because it is sacred.
Only the priests could eat of the holy ordination offerings. Leftovers were to be burned up.
Yahweh tells Moses in verses 35-37—
Do for Aaron and his sons everything I have commanded you, taking seven days to ordain them. Sacrifice a bull each day as a sin offering to make atonement. Purify the altar by making atonement for it, and anoint it to consecrate it. For seven days make atonement for the altar and consecrate it. Then the altar will be most holy, and whatever touches it will be holy.
Here Moses is commanded to consecrate the Altar to make it holy since everything that touched it was also be holy.
Based on ATONEMENT, Yahweh promises (in this chapter) to sanctify the Tent of the Meeting with His presence, to commune with His people, to reveal His will to them, to perpetuate a holy priesthood for them and to demonstrate to them that He was their God.
ATONEMENT comes from the root KAPAR, which denotes the COVERING of sin from God’s sight in view of Christ’s future redemptive work. The OT sinner’s forgiveness was secured by God’s covering sin until Christ’s death. That’s the point of Romans 3:25—
God presented him as a sacrifice of atonement, through faith in his blood. He did this to demonstrate his justice, because in his forbearance he had left the sins committed beforehand unpunished.
Not until Christ died was sin finally PUT AWAY and actual AT-ONE-MENT made between God and man secured!
Provision for daily sacrifice is made in verses 38-41—
This is what you are to offer on the altar regularly each day: two lambs a year old. Offer one in the morning and the other at twilight. With the first lamb offer a tenth of an ephah of fine flour mixed with a quarter of a hin of oil from pressed olives, and a quarter of a hin of wine as a drink offering. Sacrifice the other lamb at twilight with the same grain offering and its drink offering as in the morning—a pleasing aroma, an offering made to the LORD by fire.
The sacrificed LAMBS symbolized Christ’s death, the presentation of MEAL OFFERINGS pictured Christ’s sinless humanity, and the DRINK OFFERINGS foreshadowed Christ’s life poured out in death.
TWO LAMBS, one offered in the morning and the other in the evening, combined to make the daily sacrifice. It served as a constant reminder that someone was needed to take their place and that their sin merited death. There must be the shedding of the blood for the forgiveness of sin. Hebrews 9:26 brings out this truth—
Then Christ would have had to suffer many times since the creation of the world. But now he has appeared once for all at the end of the ages to do away with sin by the sacrifice of himself.
The blood of bulls, goats, and lambs could not take away sin, but the blood of Christ could. His sacrifice was adequate. He died once for all for sin! As we identify with Christ, we need to obey His command in Luke 9:23—
Then he said to them all: “If anyone would come after me, he must deny himself and take up his cross daily and follow me.
Daily sacrifice was necessary for the OT believer and it’s necessary for the NT believer.
For the generations to come this burnt offering is to be made regularly at the entrance to the Tent of Meeting before the LORD. There I will meet you and speak to you; there also I will meet with the Israelites, and the place will be consecrated by my glory.
Here the LORD gave Moses a prophetic glimpse into Israel’s future by referring to the obligation “for generations to come.” He promised to meet with Israel and priests regularly as the offerings were made.
So I will consecrate the Tent of Meeting and the altar and will consecrate Aaron and his sons to serve me as priests. Then I will dwell among the Israelites and be their God. They will know that I am the LORD their God, who brought them out of Egypt so that I might dwell among them. I am the LORD their God.
The purpose of CONSECRATION is holiness so that Yahweh can dwell with His people. In fact, the divine side of the Exodus was so that God might dwell among His people. The real significance of the Tabernacle theology is explicitly stated as God’s tabernacling or dwelling among people so that they could recognize that He indeed is God.
Chapter 29 of Exodus teaches the Church that the blood of the Cross lies at the foundation of everything. We could not be anointed with the Holy Spirit until the blood is shed and applied. Here the preeminence of the Son of God is set forth. He is the head of the Church. Aaron symbolizes Christ and his sons the Church. The sons being anointed after the blood is shed, Aaron before.
Every born again Christian has been consecrated by the blood of Christ and the anointing of the Holy Spirit for spiritual service. How will you serve God this day, this week, this month, this year?