Everyone needs to connect with God. Deep inside, everyone knows this. And for thousands of years, Jewish priests were the primary group of people that helped people get connected with Him.
Let’s start with a biblical definition.
A priest is a person that is in charge of sacrifices and offerings at worship places; someone who offers sacrifices to God on behalf of people; a person who helps people connect to God.
In the Old Testament, we see two orders of the priesthood. First, there was the high priest. This was a very important role. The high priest was the leader of all the priests, and certain sacrifices each year could only be performed by him. An important fact is that there could never be more than one high priest at a time. Moses’ brother, Aaron, was the first high priest.
Second, there were the common priests. These priests worked alongside the high priest, following his directions, doing the work of a priest to offer sacrifices and help people connect with God. Aaron’s sons were the first common priests.
The high priest was a shadow of Christ. Jesus is THE eternal high priest.
Hebrews 4:14-16 (HCSB)
14 Therefore, since we have a great high priest who has passed through the heavens—Jesus the Son of God—let us hold fast to the confession. 15 For we do not have a high priest who is unable to sympathize with our weaknesses, but One who has been tested in every way as we are, yet without sin. 16 Therefore let us approach the throne of grace with boldness, so that we may receive mercy and find grace to help us at the proper time.
Christ-followers are the common priests. Each follower of Christ has direct access to God, and does not need anyone else to be a mediator between them and God. We are connected to Him by Christ. We are His people. We are called to declare His praises to others, to help others to get connected to God.
1 Peter 2:9-10 (HCSB)
9 But you are a chosen race, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a people for His possession, so that you may proclaim the praises of the One who called you out of darkness into His marvelous light. 10 Once you were not a people, but now you are God’s people; you had not received mercy, but now you have received mercy.
See these seven truths that we learn from Leviticus 8 about priests. Notice how these truths point toward Christ and our relationship with Him.
Truth #1 – Priests were sons of the high priest. We are priests because of our connection to Jesus.
Leviticus 8:1-2 (HCSB)
1 The Lord spoke to Moses: 2 “Take Aaron, his sons with him…”
Truth #2 – God calls people to be priests. God calls us to relationship with Him.
Leviticus 8:1-5 (HCSB)
1 The Lord spoke to Moses: 2 “Take Aaron, his sons with him…” 5 Moses said to them, “This is what the Lord has commanded to be done.”
Truth #3 – People must choose to surrender to God’s calling. This was true of Aaron and his sons, and it’s true of us today.
Leviticus 8:1-4 (HCSB)
1 The Lord spoke to Moses: 2 “Take Aaron, his sons with him, the garments, the anointing oil, the bull of the sin offering, the two rams, and the basket of unleavened bread, 3 and assemble the whole community at the entrance to the tent of meeting.” 4 So Moses did as the Lord commanded him, and the community assembled at the entrance to the tent of meeting.
Truth #4 – The consecration of the priests was a public and open event. If we are true followers of Christ, we will confess Christ before men. We will be unashamed followers of Jesus.
Leviticus 8:4 (HCSB)
4 So Moses did as the Lord commanded him, and the community assembled at the entrance to the tent of meeting.
Truth #5 – The priests were consecrated according to specific divine directions. When we are followers of Christ, we follow His instructions.
Washing with water – “Then Moses presented Aaron and his sons and washed them with water.” (Leviticus 8:6)
Put on the priestly garments – “He put the tunic on Aaron, wrapped the sash around him, clothed him with the robe, and put the ephod on him. He put the woven band of the ephod around him and fastened it to him. Then he put the breastpiece on him and placed the Urim and Thummim into the breastpiece. He also put the turban on his head and placed the gold medallion, the holy diadem, on the front of the turban, as the Lord had commanded Moses. (Leviticus 8:7-9)
Anointing with oil, representing the Holy Spirit being upon the life of the priest – “Then Moses took some of the anointing oil and some of the blood that was on the altar and sprinkled ⌊them⌋ on Aaron and his garments, as well as on his sons and their garments. In this way he consecrated Aaron and his garments, as well as his sons and their garments.” (Leviticus 8:30)
Laying hands upon the head of the offering – “Then he [Moses] brought the bull near for the sin offering, and Aaron and his sons laid their hands on the head of the bull for the sin offering.” (Leviticus 8:14)
Put some blood from the sacrifice on the priest’s earlobe, thumb and big toe, showing that he was totally dedicated to the LORD – “Moses slaughtered it, took some of its blood, and put it on Aaron’s right earlobe, on the thumb of his right hand, and on the big toe of his right foot.” (Leviticus 8:23)
Eat a meal of lamb and bread – “Moses said to Aaron and his sons, ‘Boil the meat at the entrance to the tent of meeting and eat it there with the bread that is in the basket for the ordination offering as I commanded: Aaron and his sons are to eat it.'” (Leviticus 8:31)
The consecration took seven (7) days – “The Lord commanded what has been done today in order to make atonement for you. You must remain at the entrance to the tent of meeting day and night for seven days and keep the Lord’s charge so that you will not die, for this is what I was commanded.” So Aaron and his sons did everything the Lord had commanded through Moses.” (Leviticus 8:34-36)
Truth #6 – One of the pictures we see at Jesus’ baptism was His consecration as a priest. His baptism included two important elements that the consecration of the priest included: water and the Holy Spirit.
Matthew 3:16 (HCSB)
16 After Jesus was baptized, He went up immediately from the water. The heavens suddenly opened for Him, and He saw the Spirit of God descending like a dove and coming down on Him.
Truth #7 – God calls us as priests to proclaim His praises to others.
1 Peter 2:9 (HCSB)
9 But you are a chosen race, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a people for His possession, so that you may proclaim the praises of the One who called you out of darkness into His marvelous light.
Through Christ, our Great High Priest, we are priests before God. Doctrinally, we refer to this as the priesthood of the believer. Every believer in Christ has direct access to God through Bible reading and prayer. What an amazing privilege, to be connected eternally to the God of the Universe. Through Christ, we are connected.
Tell others this wonderful news: they can be connected to God too, through a personal relationship with Jesus Christ!
2 thoughts on “The Gospel in Leviticus, Part 2: Priests”
If and when we accept the full time assignment and responsibility of being a priest, our lives will reflect the ultimate purpose.