Summary: The ordination of Aaron as High Priest has practical applications for us today. The blood on the ear, thumb and toe shows we are to Hear God's Word, be Active in His work, and Walk in His ways.
Title: Parashat 81 Ordaining a Priest
This week’s Torah Portion finds Moses ordaining his brother Aaron and his sons to be priests before the Lord. The details for this ceremony were outlined in Exodus 30:20. It was now time to actually ordain Aaron and his sons. It was time to begin the sacrificial system that God had devised so that men could be forgiven their sins and not be out of fellowship with Him.
As with all things regarding the sacrifices and order of worship, the instructions were fairly detailed. The priests were to be set apart, dedicated, holy to the Lord. They were required to do certain things and to dress in a prescribed manner. So what were some of these requirements? And more importantly, what could this Chapter 8 in Leviticus possibly mean to us today?
The former Dallas Cowboys quarterback Roger Staubach said that “It takes a lot of un-spectacular preparation, to get spectacular results.
Bible: Leviticus 8:2
“Take Aaron and his sons with him, the garments, the anointing oil, the bull of the sin offering, the two rams and the basket of matzot.
In order to get ready for this ordination service, there had to be special garments prepared. The priests would wear linen rather than the more common woolen garments of the people of Israel. Just the manufacture of linen was a long and involved process.
There was the ephod and breastplate, which had 12 precious stones representing the 12 tribes. It was embroidered with gold thread. It had pockets for the Urim and Thummim, the stones by which decisions were sometimes made.
The tunic had decorative bells and pomegranates attached to the bottom hem.
Imagine how long it took to make just this one garment. It could have taken months to prepare for this one week ceremony.
Leviticus 8:6 Moses brought Aaron and his sons and washed them with water.
One of the hallmarks of service to the Lord was His requirement for cleanliness. There was the bronze laver where the priests would wash before entering the Holy Place of the Mishkan. On the Day of Atonement the High Priest ceremonially washed and changed clothes several times during process of offering sacrifices on the Holiest Day of the year.
Leviticus 8:7-9 He put the tunic on Aaron, tied the sash on him, clothed him with the robe, put the ephod on him, and tied the skillfully decorated sash of the ephod around him and fastened it on him. (8) He then placed the breastplate on Aaron, and inside the breastplate he put the Urim and the Thummim. (9) He set the turban on his head, and on front of the turban he set the golden plate, the holy crown, just as Adonai commanded Moses.
The very public ceremony of dressing Aaron was one of pomp and circumstance where the office of High Priest a serious and responsible position. The Kohen HaGadol (High Priest) had the most important role of being the mediator between God and the people. It was essential that the people saw that God was investing His authority in Aaron and his sons. Even with this ceremony, it wasn’t long before there was an uprising against Moses and Aaron by the Levite Korach and his family.
This act of dressing for the work of the Lord is also reflected in the writings of Rav Shaul, Paul the Apostle in:
Bible: Ephesians 6:11-17
Put on the full armor of God, so that you are able to stand against the schemes of the devil. (12) For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the powers, against the worldly forces of this darkness, and against the spiritual forces of wickedness in the heavenly places. (13) Therefore, take up the full armor of God, so that you may be able to resist when the times are evil, and after you have done everything, to stand firm. (14) Stand firm then! Buckle the belt of truth around your waist, and put on the breastplate of righteousness. (15) Strap up your feet in readiness with the Good News of shalom. (16) Above all, take up the shield of faith with which you will be able to extinguish all the flaming arrows of the evil one. (17) And take the helmet of salvation and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God.
Don’t neglect the armor so that we are properly prepared for spiritual warfare.
But another important aspect of being an ordained priest to the Lord is preparing for service to the Lord every day.
Leviticus 8:14 Then he brought the bull of the sin offering, and Aaron and his sons laid their hands on the head of the bull of the sin offering.
And thus began the series of sacrifices that were to be accomplished during this first ordination ceremony. The animals were slaughtered in accordance with the instructions given earlier in Exodus 30. Blood was dabbed on the horns of the brazen altar. But then came a very curious instruction.