LEVITICUS CHAPTER 9.
Aaron enters upon His Office.
THE PREPARATIONS FOR THE SACRIFICES. - V.1. And it came to pass on the eighth day, after the seven days of consecration, that Moses called Aaron and his sons and the elders of Israel, for it was necessary that the priesthood be in active exercise of its duties at once. V.2. And he said unto Aaron, take thee a young calf, a bull calf, or very young bullock, for a sin-offering, and a ram for a burnt offering, without blemish, and offer them before the Lord. These first offerings of Aaron were made altogether under the directions of Moses as the mouthpiece of God, for he was just entering upon his office. The fact that Baron, in spite of the consecration with all its sacrifices, still began the work of his ministry with a sin-offering and a burnt offering, shows plainly that the sacrifices of the Old Testament cultus cannot make those perfect that offer them, Heb. 10, 1. The temporary, the typical and symbolical character of the ancient sacrifices appears throughout. V.3. And unto the children of Israel thou shalt speak, saying, instructing them in the capacity of high priest, take ye a kid of the goats for a sin-offering, which was otherwise the offering for a prince. chap. 4, 23; and a calf, a young bullock, chap. 1, 5, and a lamb, both of the first year, without blemish, for a burnt offering; v.4. also a bullock and a ram for peace-offerings, to sacrifice before the Lord; and a meat-offering mingled with oil, representative sacrifices from every group; for to-day the Lord will appear unto you, that solemn manifestation was to be the climax of the dayís events. V.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, in the court of the Tabernacle and in its immediate neighborhood. V.6. And Moses said, This is the thing which the Lord commanded that ye should do; they should now witness the formal beginning of the worship by sacrifices, the explanation of Moses serving to make them attentive and intelligent witnesses; and the glory of the Lord shall appear unto you. This announcement was made in order to keep the people both interested and devout during the offering of the sacrifices. V.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. That was the nucleus of the idea of the sacrifices, that was the purpose of the offerings at all times, to cover the sins in the sight of God, that He might forgive them. And all this was accomplished for the believing Israelites in view of the perfect atonement of Jesus Christ, of which the blood atonement made by their priests was but a dim picture.
THE FIRST OFFERINGS. - V.8. Aaron, therefore, went unto the altar, and slew the calf of the sin-offering, which was for himself. V.9. And the sons of Aaron brought the blood unto him, thus performing the work which was afterward assigned to the Levites in catching the blood of the slaughtered animal and keeping it from coagulating; 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. He brought no blood into the Holy Place, for the object at this time was the removal of the sin which might make his service in the name of the congregation displeasing to the Lord. The sin-offering served to remove the estrangement which existed between God and the people on account of the trespasses made by Israel, individually and collectively. V.10. But the fat and the kidneys and the caul above the liver of the sin-offering he burned upon the altar, as the Lord commanded Moses, chap. 4, 8. V.11. And the flesh and the hide he burned with fire without the camp, chap. 4, 11. V.12. And he slew the burnt offering, according to the ordinance, chap. 1, 3-9; 8, 18-21; and Aaronís sons presented unto him the blood, passed it to him as before, which he sprinkled round about upon the altar. V.13. And they presented the burnt offering unto him with the pieces thereof and the head; they passed the single pieces to him as he had dissected the animal; and he burned them upon the altar. This sacrifice expressed the complete and devout surrender of the worshipers to the Lord. V.14. And he did wash the inwards and the legs, and burned them upon the burnt offering on the altar. No mention is made of an oblation of meat-offering with this sacrifice, either because the special law referring to this rite was not yet given, Num. 15, 2 ff., or because it had already been made in connection with the morning sacrifice. V.15. And he brought the peopleís offering, which consisted of all three varieties of sacrifices, made in the usual order, and took the goat, which was the sin-offering for the people, and slew it, and offered it for sin, as the first. In this case also the blood was not brought into the Holy Place, for the purpose at this time was merely to make the proper beginning of the sacrificial worship. V.16. And he brought the burnt offering, the young bullock and the lamb, and offered it according to the manner, as the ordinance required it. V.17. And he brought the meat-offering, which accompanied the burnt offering, and took an handful thereof, and burned it upon the altar beside, that is, in addition to, the burnt sacrifice of the morning; for the usual offerings had been made on this morning, as always. V.18. He slew also the bullock and the ram for a sacrifice of peace-offerings, which was for the people, an act of thanksgiving for the grace received till now and a prayer for the maintenance of the merciful fellowship on the part of Jehovah. And Aaronís sons presented unto him the blood, which he sprinkled upon the altar round about. V.19. And the fat of the bullock and of the ram, the rump, that is, the heavy, fatty tail, and that which covereth the inwards and the kidneys and the caul above the liver, all the loose fat of the abdominal cavities; v.20. and they put the fat upon the breasts, upon the wave-breasts of the two animals, and passed it to Aaron in this manner; and he burned the fat upon the altar; v.21. and the breasts and the right shoulder, the wave-breasts and the heave-shoulders, Aaron waved for a wave-offering before the Lord, chap. 7, 30-34; as Moses commanded. V.22. And Aaron, standing upon the elevated slope which led to the altar of burnt offering, lifted up his hand toward the people, in a gesture transmitting the grace of the Lord, and blessed them, and came down from offering of the sin-offering and the burnt offering and peace-offerings. The various animals had been dissected and laid on the fire according to the ordinance of God, and the service was concluded with the blessing. Cp. Num. 6, 22-24. V.23. And Moses and Aaron went into the Tabernacle of the Congregation; for the latter had to be introduced to his future place of activity, as a part of the ceremony of installation; and came out and blessed the people. And the glory of the Lord appeared unto all the people; there was some glorious manifestation in the cloud which covered the Tabernacle, the presence of the Lord thus being demonstrated with great effectiveness. V.24. And there came a fire out from before the Lord, and consumed upon the altar the burnt offering and the fat. Either the entire cloud shone with a supernatural light, or there was a sudden flash of fire from the cloud, like a bolt of lightning, which in a moment completely devoured the sacrifices smoldering upon the altar. Similar manifestations of Godís glory are related also at later times, especially at the dedication of the Temple of Solomon. Which when all the people saw, they shouted, they called out in glad wonder, thanksgiving, and praise, and fell on their faces, in the gesture expressing joyful and reverential awe, The awe which we Christians feel at the manifestation of Him in whom is life, and the life is the light of men, John 1, 4, will continue through time into eternity.