Oh Father, we thank you that you've given us all things that pertain to life and godliness to the knowledge of Him who called us. I know that those are Peter's words, they're not mine. Peter said that. In other words, everything we need to grow up to mature for a godly life you have provided, and Peter included in that, the knowledge of the one who called us. We know that faith comes by hearing and hearing by the word of God and as we are committed as believers, to studying the principles of Scripture, to go going through that text consecutively chapter by chapter. Speak to us Lord even though we're dealing with the system that is adequate that has no practical bearing. It certainly has a bearing of the picture that it represents to us of Christ and of our approach to you. So teach us, we pray in Jesus name. Amen.
We're looking at the first congregation. The first church you might say that God called to Himself. The congregation of the children of Israel out in the desert as God was revealing to them how to have a relationship with Him. What made this congregation unique is they didn't have their own building like this to meet it that was permanently fixed. They carried their building with them on their shoulders.
It was a tent, and it was a tent that didn't hold the entire congregation of two and a half million people but just a few representatives of the Sun Severian from the Tribe of Levi who would represent the people of God before God himself through a series of sacrifices.
As we look at the worship of God in the Old Testament, we discovered a couple of things that worship – certainly their worship involved sacrifices. Chapters 1 to 7 are all about the sacrificial system based upon five main offerings that were brought.
They would bring in animal or some grain before the Lord. There were five different prescribed offerings that we looked at in the last two weeks. The idea is that if you want to approach God and you want a relationship with the Lord, you have to be cleansed with the only God-given detergent, and that was blood. The blood of an innocent victim on your behalf, all of it a perfect set-up pointing toward the New Testament, the new covenant.
So, though the practices of the Book of Leviticus have no bearing on us, the principle or the picture of what it represents or looks forward to in Christ is very applicable to us. So, worship involves sacrifice.
Now if one of the people of Israel said, "You know? I don't feel like bringing a sacrifice to the Lord today, and since I don't feel like bringing a sacrifice to the Lord, I better not do it because it really should be something I feel like I want to do. It has to really be in my heart otherwise I'm just being a hypocrite." God won't accept that.
You had to respond to Him in obedience. Part of worship and part of sacrifice includes the idea of obedience. So, even today I believe that when we worship God, there's an element of sacrifice.
The very last Chapter of the Book of Hebrews, which is based off the Book of Leviticus says, "Therefore let us continually by Him that is by Christ, offer up the sacrifice of praise that is the fruit of our lips giving thanks unto His name."
You might feel like you're in a downer mood, this week hasn't been a great week for you. I don't feel like singing tonight, or I'm not the kind of person that really likes to engage in song in a public assembly. I just like to sit there and look at the words with my mouth open. That's sort of my style.
Well then, enter into a sacrifice of praise. Not because you feel like it, because Lord, I don't feel like it, I'm not really great at it or my voice may not be good, but here it is. It's my sacrifice of praise. Our approach to God, the sacrifice or the worship must include sacrifice, that's at Chapters 1 through 7.
Now Chapters 8, 9 and 10 is about the priesthood, and it shows us that worship must include service. The focus here isn't the sacrifices but rather the ones who offer the sacrifice. In Chapters 8 and 9 is about how they were ordained into the ministry called by God and ordained. This is their ordination service. A special group of men from a certain tribe and a certain family could participate as being mediators for the people before the Lord.
Now I want to throw something out at you. It's a possibility. Some believe that this was not God's original intention and there is a case to be made that the priesthood through Aaron of the Tribe of Levi.
It was not God's original idea or intention, but rather that His ideal would have been that the entire nation of Israel have the same basis of approach as the Tribe of Levi, the family of Aaron. That he wanted to make a priesthood out of all of them.
It's an interesting case and here's is the text that is cited for that back in the Book of Exodus, I'll read it to you. This is Chapter 19 it says, "Moses went up to God, and the Lord called to him from the mountain and saying, 'Thus you shall say to the house of Jacob, and tell the children of Israel: "You have seen what I did to the Egyptians, and how I bore you on eagles' wings and brought you to myself. Now therefore, if you will indeed obey my voice and keep my covenant, then you shall be a special treasure to me above all people for all the earth is mine and you shall be to me a kingdom of priests, and a holy nation. These are the words which you shall speak to the children of Israel."
So the thought is that God's original intention was to make the entire nation a kingdom of priest, all of the people but His idea was cut short because of the people's idolatry as Moses was coming down from the mountain and they set up that golden calf.
The idolatry spun that plan out of control. So, rather than the entire nation, one tribe was selected out of one tribe, one family and that is Aaron and his sons as mediators for that nation.
Now why is that even important to bring up? Only because if that is the case, and certainly there's a case to be made for it. Then that idea that was broken in the Old Testament, the Old Covenant has been restored in the New Covenant because the Bible talks about the priesthood of all believers.
Peter talks about that. You are a chosen generation, a royal priesthood, a peculiar people and some of us are more peculiar than others. So that we all have approach to God, we don't have to go to a priest, we don't have to go to a clergy person, we don't have to go through a sacrifice. I was brought up in a system that taught me that I have to go through an earthly priest and go through a system in order to get to God. That's all based on the Old Covenant.
The New Covenant, the great doctrine of the priesthood of all believers, mark it well, takes us back to that restoration of God's idea.
So now Chapter 8, "And the Lord spoke to Moses saying, 'Take Aaron and his sons with him. And the garments, the anointing oil, a bull as the sin offering, two rams and a basket of unleavened bread. And gather all the congregation together at the door of the tabernacle of meeting. That front portion, facing the East of that outer white cloth fence." That was the outer perimeter of the tabernacle cord.
So, Moses did as the Lord commanded him. The assembly was gathered together at the door of the tabernacle of meeting.
Moses said to the congregation, "This is what the Lord commanded to be done." Something I'd like you to note, twice in what I just read in these verses is the word commanded.
Commanded, 20 some times in Chapters 8, 9 and 10 that word appears, the Lord commanded as the Lord command it. In other words, Moses didn't have to sit around and -- caught in ordination service for Aaron and his kids. The Lord commanded what needed to be done.
Here's what you do, here's how you do it. Do this, this is what I command. That's an important principle because, so it is in the New Testament. We don't have to guess what God's intention for the church was. We have the entire New Testament where Jesus announced that He would build His church.
We see it unfolded in the pages of church history be at the Book of Acts. We see Paul giving principle after principle in his epistles especially the Pastoral Epistles of how churches are the function with leadership. I wish that modern churches would go back to the New Testament ideal of what the Lord commanded.
There are many fads and when people go out to begin their ministries and start their churches. They often try to follow the newest fad. Well what is this person doing and what is that group up to? Oh, I see, we have to get a flashy website, that's how we start a church.
What we really need is more a men who will spend time on the mount and get the idea of what the Lord commanded and step out in faith and do that. This is what the Lord commanded.
So Moses didn't say, "Well -- well why?" In fact here's what's interesting about most of the Book of Leviticus, God says, "Do these sacrifices". He doesn't say, "Why?" Here's the priesthood, this is how you do it. He never tells them why, just do that.
See, there comes a point where we engage with God and have a relationship with Him based upon faith. I don't always know why, I just know what He said to do. So I say, "Okay. Good enough. I'll take that by faith and I'll go with it." Sometimes people will ask me, "Why do you do that?" "Well, because -- of the New Testament." "Why did it say that?" I don't know, and I don't feel like I need to always explain why God chooses to do whatever He does. So God gives them, the "What?" and the "How?" And tells them to do it.
Now, you'll notice that the Lord commanded them to bring the assembly together at the door of the tabernacle. Would you agree that it would probably have been impossible to get two and a half million people at the door of that tent?
So, probably the way it was done, where all of the tribal heads, and the heads of the clans, the representative heads of all of the groups, tribes and subgroups would gather together representing the nation because after all you would have moms and tents a mile away or a half mile out perhaps that are nursing children. They are not going to be able to make that church service.
So you'd have representatives and if you just look ahead, I'll have you just skip ahead to Chapter 9 Verse 1, I think you see that, it came to pass on the 8th day that Moses called Aaron and his sons and the elders of Israel.
These elders then represented the entire assembly. Moses said, "This is what the Lord commanded to be done."
Verse 6, "The Lord brought Aaron and his sons, and washed them with water." Without going back over it in depth, do you remember that in the outer courtyard of that enclosure there was a brass alter of sacrifice and not far from it was a basin, or a laver of water.
That was for the cleansing of the priest while they were doing animal sacrifices but probably that water was used on this first day, this ordination ceremony as Moses would cleanse ceremonially the priest before the representatives of Israel.
He put the tunic on him, that is on the high priest Aaron. Girded him with the sash, clothed him with the robe, put the ephod on him, and he girded him with the intricately woven band of the ephod, and with it tied the ephod on him."
We've already gone through the garments of the priesthood back in Exodus 28 and Exodus 39. It's all detailed for us, but the ephod is mentioned.
If you'll remember, the ephod was that dressed, that outer garment that hangover the tunic, over the long robe. The ephod was two pieces, front and back. Tied together with straps at the shoulders, and upon the straps were two stones. Remember onyx stones, one on each shoulder of the priest.
On one stone, six names – six of the tribes of Israel were engraved, on the other the other six. So that the priest, on his shoulders bore the names of the children of Israel before the Lord as priest, he would represent the people before God. That was the tunic.
Then Verse 8, "And then he put the breastplate on him." Now do you remember what that breastplate was?
The breastplate was made out of cloth, it wasn't like a hard plate or a metal breastplate, it was a little square piece of cloth that hang around the neck of a high priest and there were 12 beautifully ornate stones four of them in three rows, each representative of the tribes of Israel.
So on his shoulders and on his heart bearing the burden of the nation and carrying them on his heart before the Lord. Beautiful picturesque symbolism as the high priest bore the people, represented the people before the Lord as their priest.
Fast forward to the New Testament, Jesus Christ is our great high priest. That's one of the remarkable things about the Book of Hebrews. Using the Book of Leviticus, it says that "That priesthood, the Levitical Priesthood, the sons of Aaron, that's past away, that's old covenant, that's done with. We have a great high priest, Jesus Christ."
He ever lives, the writer says to make intercession for us. Seeing then, Hebrews Chapter 4, "That we have a great high priest who has passed through the heavens, Jesus the Son of God, let us hold fast to our confession. For we do not have a high priest that is unable to sympathize with our weaknesses, but was on all points tempted like we are, yet without sin." So He's our great high priest.
Back to Leviticus, Leviticus 1 through 7, we need a sacrifice. As sinners, we need a sacrifice.
Chapter 7, 8 and 9 as God's people, we need a priest. So the priest points forward to Jesus Christ. Something else, let's tie something else together.
These stones were multi-colored, precious stones, variegated in color and you find them again in Revelation 21.
Do you remember where? In the New Jerusalem, as John describes the Holy City, the New Jerusalem coming down out of heaven toward the new earth, because God creates a new heaven and a new earth after the Millennial Kingdom, this earth is destroyed, new heaven, new earth and a new capital city, a satellite city literally because it harbors around the new earth.
The New Jerusalem, that foundation stones, or the same stones as in the breastplates of the high priest. So it ties the two together beautifully. So you put the breastplate on him. He put, notice the Urim and Thummim in the breastplate.
Have you been using your Urim and Thummim lately? Of course not because they are not around anymore. Here's the deal, we don't exactly know what they were, we can only guess Urim and Thummim literally means lights and perfections or it comes from the words the stem word which means lights and perfections.
The best guess is that the Urim and the Thummim were two stones that were used to determine the Will of God in what would be considered otherwise in impossible situation. You didn't have clear revelation concerning it, and because you didn't have clear revelation, when the leadership was stamped and had to know the direction or the Will of God, they would use the Urim and Thummim. How? Again, it's a guess. Some scholars believe that one stone was white, one stone was black.
That -- they would glow, that when the Lord wanted to give you a yes, one would glow and if He wanted to give you a no, the other, the black one would glow. It's just a guess. Sort of like a sacred lots, holy dice if you will. Okay, you probably won't.
The other guess is that the words "Yes" in Hebrew "ken", yes was written on one side of the stones and the word "No" "Lo" in Hebrew was written on the other side.
So if you were to ask the Lord a question that the only way you would have an affirmative is if both stones came up yes, which would be a one in four possibility. That's the idea, again this is all conjecture, it's all a guess, we're not sure and we have a question.
So since we haven't had one in the long time, this is from Jacob James on the internet, the question is, "Why did God set-up this system and then later say it's detestable?"
Well a couple of reasons, Jacob, one is that it was temporary. It was never meant to be permanent. It anticipated the ending of it even in the Old Testament, Jeremiah 31.
The Lord said, "The days are coming, saith the Lord, when I will establish a new covenant with the house of Israel. My law will be written on your heart. And then anticipated the coming of Messiah, the sacrifices being completed not having to be done day after day, week after week, year after year. But they would be done once and for all."
The second reason God calls them detestable, like in – you're referring to probably Isaiah Chapter 1 and the couple of the Minor Prophets – is because people were bringing the sacrifices simply as a matter of ceremony without their hearts being engaged, their will being engaged with it.
So they were just like, "Go to the ceremony but live anyway you want." That's my idea. They were living a duplicitous, double life style. They would go to church, they would sin all week long but they would keep the sacrifices.
So God says, "What meaning, what purpose is the multitude of your sacrifices to me, saith the Lord?" This is Isaiah Chapter 1.
When you offer your sacrifices on your new moons in your Sabbath, my soul despises them. That is because they were neglecting the values of keeping the poor and regarding the fatherless and the homeless. Instead of regarding a love for their fellowman, they were keeping the sacrifices, but living anyway they chose. So for those two reasons, the Lord set it up but He said it was detestable because of what they did to them.
So back to the Urim and the Thummim, we don't know what they were but we knew they were used. There are a couple of references in the Old Testament.
Now, I tell you what they are not. They are not mystical glasses given by the Angel Moroni to Joseph Smith to read the Egyptian Hieroglyphics on golden tablets as the Mormon church teaches. They are not that.
They were used specifically under the Old Covenant and then they pass from history that is a myth. That is a legend that is not biblical.
Verse 9, "And he put the turban on his head, also on the turban on his front. He put the golden plate, the holy crown as the Lord had commanded Moses."
Now, you'll recall without having to go back that it was a golden crown that have words written in Hebrew. In Hebrew there was Qodesh La-Yahweh, Holiness to the Lord. This was the high priest, the representative bringing holy sacrifices. He himself and his family was holy, set apart, and he wore on his head that the little crown that said, "Holiness to the Lord." As the Lord commanded.
Then Moses took the anointing oil, and anointed the tabernacle and all that was in it, and sanctified them. He sprinkled some of it on the altar seven times, anointed the altar and all of its utensils, and the laver and its base to sanctify them. He poured some of the anointing oil on Aaron's head, and anointed him to sanctify him. Then Moses brought Aaron's sons, and put tunics on them, girded them with sashes, put hats on them, as the Lord had commanded Moses. He brought the bull for the sin offering. Then Aaron and his sons laid on the head of the bull for the sin offering.
Moses killed it, and he took the blood, put some on the horns of the altar. That's that brass altar in the courtyard. The protrusions of the four corners called the horns. With his finger, purified the altar, and he poured the blood at the base of the altar, and sanctified it, to make atonement for it. He took all the fat that was on the entrails, the fatty lobe attached to the liver, the two kidneys, with their fat, and Moses burned them on the altar. All together there're four steps in this ordination service.
Step number one cleansing. The priest himself had to be cleansed because the priest, though a priest, was still a man, a human. The Bible says, "All have sinned and fallen short of the Glory of God, and you yourself must be cleansed before you are able to preach to anybody else about being cleansed."
It amazes me that there are men in pulpits who are unsaved. I know this because one Sunday morning. It happen to be a Christmas morning, it fell on a Sunday. We had a church service and I gave an ultra call and I noticed two gentlemen, an older gentleman came forward. At the end I asked him to tell me a story he said, "I've been an elder in a church for 37 years and I have never had a relationship with Christ until this morning."
Now, it was a shock to me. How are you able to be a leader, an elder, a representative, a pastoral representative without knowing the Lord, without being cleansed first? So these priests before they could offer sacrifices for others, that was the first step, they had to be cleansed – cleansing.
The second step wasn't cleansing, it was clothing. They had special clothes that they had to wear that were prescribed back in Exodus Chapter 28 and Exodus Chapter 39.
Now that was then, and this is now. As you can see, I'm not really like in the clergy clothing. In fact, one of the greatest compliments, a young couple once paid me this, "You're a Pastor? You don't look like a Pastor?" I thought that was a compliment.
There are Sects of Christianity that believed that clergy men should wear clergy clothes, a robe. Yet, when I read the New Testament, I noticed that Jesus said to the Scribes, he said, "For the Scribes, walk around in their flowing robes and they loved the greetings in the market places." He didn't place the priority on his representatives wearing a certain type of clothing in the New Covenant.
In the New Covenant it's different than the Old Covenant. It's fulfilled in Christ and if there's anything was to put on, it's humility. Peter said, "Clothe yourself with humility." Galatians says, "Clothe yourself with Christ." Those are good garments to wear for any Pastor or representative.
I will tell you a little story. When I first moved to Albuquerque years and years ago, a well meaning clergy man saw how I dressed and was unimpressed and felt sorry for me. He just thought, "Hey poor kid, he probably can't afford a good robe." So he called me up and he said, "I'd like to spring," or "I'll cope up the money for you," or "I like to spring to buy you a robe, or buy your robe and here's the catalog, you can select anyone you want." I said, "No. It's okay. Thank you for the gestures." It's a kind gesture but I won't be wearing a robe. Now could you see me in robe? See, you're picturing that right now. It's not a pretty picture.
Step number one, cleansing. Step number two, clothing. Step number three, consecration. Oil was sprinkled. Again without going back to the recipe, the recipe for this oil, it's a special oil is given in the Book of Exodus. They were to take liquid Myrrh, cinnamon, a cassia, sweet cane and mix that in a batch of olive oil and that was the special consecration oil with which to ordain the priest. With that oil, they were to sprinkle articles in the tabernacle as well as the priesthood.
Who could be sprinkled, anybody? --
-- only Aaron, and only Aaron's sons, and Aaron's grandsons, and great grandsons. So, God was the one who chose the tribe and who would be His clergy people. There's a very important principle there. Somebody couldn't -- from the Tribe of Judah or Issachar say, "You know? That's no fair. I feel called to join the priesthood." Well I wouldn't suggest that man of the Issachar because if you step in the tabernacle door with those clothes on, you just killed-over-dead. The Lord will kill you. You can intrude into that office. You have to have a calling of God.
Now today there's not one tribe. There's not one sort of like nepotistic line. However, a person should be called to the pastoral ministry. How do you know if a person is called to the pastoral ministry? They've got to evidence the gifts that go along with it. The Bible says, "The Pastor has to be apt to teach along with certain other characteristics in his life, in his character as well as in his gift mixed."
One of my favorite books for preachers is a book called "Lectures to My Students" by Charles Haddon Spurgeon. I copied the paragraph, "No man may intrude into the sheepfold as an under-shepherd. He must have an eye to the chief Shepherd, and wait for His beck and command. Before a man ever stands forth as God's ambassador, he must wait for the call from above; and If he does not, but rushes into the sacred office, the Lord will say of him and others like him, 'I sent them not, neither did I command them; therefore they shall not profit this people at all, saith the Lord." That's Jeremiah 23.
That hundreds have missed their way, and stumbled against the pulpit is sorrowfully evident from the fruitless ministries and decaying churches which surround us.
It is a fearful calamity for a man to miss his calling, and to the church upon who he imposes himself. His mistake involves an affliction of the most grievous kind. It would be a curious and painful subject for reflection. The frequency with which men in the possession of reason mistake the end of their existence and aim at objects which they were never intended to pursue, or were intended to pursue.
In other words, make sure that God has called you, not just, "I really think I want to do that." You'll understand why as we progress.
So four steps, there was cleansing, clothing, there was consecrating and the fourth one there was contribution. That is sacrifice – special sacrifices were made on this day of ordination. Animals were killed. As we said last time, and I won't be laborite, when you give something to God, you make a sacrifice. For those in the priesthood, if they enter the priesthood, they are making a sacrifice.
First Timothy, Chapter 3 says this, "If any man desires the office of a bishop -- an overseer in the church, a pastor -- he desires the good work." What Paul doesn't say there, but does in another place, it's a good work, but it's a dangerous work. You know why I say that? Because here's the status, every month 1,600 ministers quit the ministry. It's an alarming statistic, every month, 1,600 ministers quit the ministry. Why? Variety of reasons burn out, staff issues, bored issues, splits in the church, moral failure, of those pastors who quit when they were surveyed 70% of those in ministry.
Seventy percent said they had a strong, felt the strong calling by God to be in the ministry before they entered the ministry. Three years later, just three years into it, only 50% were sure this was a call of God in their lives.
Eighty percent of the wives married to pastors wish their husband would have chosen a different occupation and many of them will divorce their husbands because it involves sacrifice. What do you sacrifice? Well, you sacrifice first of all your time.
Most people get weekends off, a pastor never get weekend off. My staff gets one day a week off, my pastoral staff at least. You have to be willing to sacrifice your time. You pour your whole life into ministry.
Number two, you sacrificed your privacy. Years ago, my mother-in-law was visiting Albuquerque for, I don't know maybe her second or third time, and wherever we in the city people would say, "Hi, Skip. Hi, Skip. Hi, Skip." My mother-in-law who sounded a believer said, "Men, you couldn't get away with anything in this town." I said, "You're right, and that's how I like it." That's accountability, you sacrifice your privacy.
So, the sacrifice was made in the priesthood. They made a contribution. Sometime ago, a violinist along with the chamber orchestra was playing at the famous Carnegie Hall in New York City. This violinist was superb, and she was asked afterward how she got to be so good. Here was her answer, "Planned neglect." They said, "Explain that." She goes, "I have planned to neglect everything in my life that doesn't draw me closer to my goal as being the best violinist in the world."
When God calls you in the ministry, whether it's priesthood or pastor, you have to live a life of plan-neglect where you hone and you focus on that calling. Well, as we go on to the chapter, sacrifices are made on this day of ordination, three of them to be exact.
Beginning in Verse 14 and then again in Verse 18, "The ram of the burnt offering: Aaron and his sons laid hands on them." So they bring a sin offering, a burnt offering, and a special consecration-offering for that day. I want to show that to you in Verse 22. "And he brought the second ram, the ram of consecration: and Aaron and his sons laid their hands on the head of the ram. And Moses killed it. And he took some of its blood and put it on the tip --" notice this "- of Aaron's right ear --" the right side was considered the side of dominance or the best of a person. "Put it on his tip of his right ear, the thumb of his right hand, and the big toe of his right foot."
You get the symbolism? This represents my life of consecration that I might hear God's word, that I might do God's work, that I might walk in God's ways. I'm consecrating my hearing of Him, my doing work for Him and my walking in His ways. "And he brought Aaron's sons, and Moses put some of the blood on the tips of their right ears, the thumbs of their right hands, on the big toes of their right feet: and Moses sprinkled the blood all around the altar."
Now do you know what the equivalent of this is in the New Testament? Think of a verse, and if you now it shout it out. A verse of consecration of dedication in sacrifice, you hear me quote it a lot. Romans 12 Verse 1, "I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that you present your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and acceptable to God, which is your reasonable service." Have you ever thought of the potential of a single human body, dedicated to the purpose and glory of God?
I've told you before about the young man who heard a preacher say at a church service, "The world has yet to see what God can do through one person wholly dedicated to Him." And that young kid said, "By God's grace, I will be that man." He grew up to be Dwight Lyman Moody, great evangelist of Chicago of yesteryear.
A human body, the faculties of a human being surrender to God. Scripture is filled with examples of the Lord using the different members of people's body, Moses' mouth. Remember Moses said, "My mouth is my least attractive asset, I stutter." God said, "I'll use it. I will empower you. I will empower you to speak words before Pharaoh, The Big Kahuna in Egypt. I'll empower you to speak forth my love from Mt. Sinai to the children of Israel."
Moses' mouth by itself was not impressive, but that mouth dedicated and surrendered to God was impressive. What about David's hands? Put a sling in that kid's hands and he's a dead on marksman for Goliath's forehead. Took five smooth stone, only needed one. Some people say, "What do you do with the other four?" Keep reading the Scripture, Goliath had four brothers. Paul's feet. Isaiah says, "How blessed are the feet of those who preach the Gospel and bring good news." Paul, with his feet brought from Jerusalem to Rome, the three missionary journeys, the Gospel around the world.
Now think of your life being the base of operations for God. The Bible says, "You're the temple of the Holy Spirit, what God could do through you." If you were to wake up tomorrow and say, "Here's my mouth, here's my feet, here's hand, go for it. I want to see you use them, Lord."
So, Aaron and his sons were anointed in this way. I just want to stress this, God wants to use us. He wants to use you. He doesn't just use preachers or people He calls into official ministry, you are all in the priesthood. This is a priesthood of believers. You are all in the ministry. Find out what yours is. Use your body for His glory. You got to understand what a privilege this is. He doesn't have to use us. In fact He would be better off if He didn't use us, truly. If God wanted to get the job done, He would use the angels, they are much better at it. I submit to you that you go home and read through the Book of Revelation when one angel goes through heaven and preaches the everlasting Gospel to every tribe, every tongue, every person on the earth in the tribulation period.
Why doesn't God do that now? It's a good question. I believe in the principle that God has chosen the foolish things of this world to compound the wise. God likes to prove how wonderful, how powerful He is by using the weakest instrument.
I worked with the group of doctors. That work with Samaritans First, that wonderful organization that Franklin Graham heads out. These are group of doctors that go around the world, and they go to mission hospitals and they perform operations.
Some of them are confined to the most primitive tools and the most primitive operating suites. They are able to do in those countries an operation that they are used to doing in the United States with the best anesthesia and Anesthesiologist and tools. But for a doctor to go to a country like that with primitive tools, and do the same operation shows the skill of the physician. That's a good doctor. That's a mighty God if in the meantime before He uses that angel in the tribulation, He uses us. God is saying, "I'm confining myself to the kind of tools that I will use so that when people see my work, and they see the instrument that I chose to do my work, they will go, 'What a good God we served.'' Because that guy is like an idiot. God be praised. Speaking of myself.
After the sacrifices are given, the oil is sprinkled. Verse 30, "Moses took some of the anointing oil, some of the blood which was on the altar, sprinkled it on Aaron, his garments, his sons, the garments of his sons, with them, he sanctify Aaron, his garments, his sons and the garments of his sons with him. Then they were to take the meat of the sacrifice, boil it in the pot of the door of the tabernacle, stayed there and eat it. Now I take you to the end of Verse 33, "And you Aaron, you shall not go outside the door of the tabernacle of meeting for seven days, until the days of your consecration are ended: for seven days, he shall consecrate you as he has done this day, so the Lord commanded to do, to make atonement for you. Therefore you shall abide that the door of the tabernacle of meeting day and night for seven days, and keep the charge of the Lord, that you may not die. So don't step out of that door, or that would be your last breathe: for so I have been commanded." This is Moses giving the instructions from the Lord to Aaron.
So Aaron and his sons did all the things that the Lord commanded by the hand of Moses. They had to stay in the court. The outer courtyard for seven days, after seven days they were ready.
Chapter 9, they begin their ministry. Chapter 8 is the basis of their ministry. Chapter 9 is the beginning of their ministry. Chapter 10 will be the breakdown of their ministry. As two of the sons don't do it right and God strikes them dead.
So they begin, in Chapter 9, by offering sacrifices, burnt offerings, sin offering, first for themselves and then for the people. Again, all of these demonstrate something. It illustrates a principle. It demonstrates that the only approach to God is through sacrifice. It's on the basis of blood and a mediator. Blood and a mediator, sacrifices and a priest, sacrifices Chapters 1 through 7, a priest Chapter is 8,9 and 10. You want to approach God, you need two things, blood and a mediator, all of it points to Christ.
It's a demonstration. Educators will call this a Pedagogical Chapter. A pedagogy in biography, a demonstration of the principle that you need to sacrifice and a priest, blood and a priesthood.
I'm going slower than I anticipated it. It came to pass on the eighth day that Moses called Aaron and his sons and the elders of Israel. Now it's the eighth day, there's seven days in a week, this process is lasting eight days. They had to stay in the tabernacle seven days. On the eighth day, which will be the first day that they had begun, it's called the eighth day because you start it – you have seven days in a week, the next day is the first day of the next week or the eighth day.
So, eight becomes in the scripture a number that signifies a new beginning. The pattern of seven, eight is a new beginning. On the eighth day, Moses called Aaron and his sons and the elders of Israel and said to Aaron, "Take for yourself a young bull as a sin offering and a ram as a burnt offering, without blemish and offer them before the Lord. And unto the children of Israel you shall speak, saying, Take a kid of the goats as a sin offering; and a calf and a lamb, both of the first year, without blemishes, for a burnt offering; Also a bull and a ram as a peace offering, to sacrifice before the Lord; and the grain offering mixed with oil: for today the Lord will appear to you."
Well that would be great news to anticipate. Let's get ready for this thing boys, God is going to show up at church today. "So they brought was Moses commanded before the tabernacle of meeting and all the congregation drew near and stood before the Lord." On the beginning day, this day of their ministry, they offered four sacrifices.
Now, pause for a moment. Remember how we've studied in the last two weeks that the worship of Israel centered around how many offerings? Five, burnt offering, grain offering, peace offering, sin offering, trespass offering.
The first four, take away the trespass offering, the first four will be offered on the first day by the priest. What is the function of the priest?
The function of the priest is he acts as representative of whom? Not God – the people. He's representing the people before God. He's bearing their names on his shoulders and on his breastplates, his heart. He is representing the people before God. He's offering a sacrifice on behalf of the people to God. Later on another office will appear in Israel, it's the opposite function. That is that of the Prophet. The Prophet will represent God to the people.
Now in antiquity, go back to the times of the Patriarchs, Abraham, Isaac, Jacob. In the Patriarchal period, the Patriarch before this priesthood was established that we're reading about here.
The Patriarchs, the heads of the clans, the dads, grandpas, would often act as a priest on behalf of their family. That's why when we look at the Book of Job, Chapter 1 which we have placed in the Patriarchal period. It says Job offered animal sacrifices in the morning for his family, for each family member, an animal per family member.
Then in antiquity, sometimes kings of cities or kings of areas would also be a priest. They would act as a king and the priest. The most remarkable person is the guy you know called Melchizedek. Melchizedek was the king of Salem in ancient Jerusalem. He was also the priest, the Bible calls him the priest of the most high God. In fact Jesus is called the priest forever after the order of Melchizedek in that ancient period of time. The king also took on the role of the priest. So the priest should sort of morphed through time. Now God is revealing how it's to be done with Aaron and his sons.
Then Moses said, Verse 8, "This is the thing which the Lord commanded --" there's that word again, "– you to do and the glory of the Lord will appear to you." Moses said to Aaron, "Go to the altar, offer you sin offering, and your burnt offering, and make an atonement for yourself, and for the people: offer the offering of the people, and make atonement for them; as the Lord commanded."
Aaron therefore went to the altar, and killed the calf of the sin offering, which was for himself, scroll down because it's just, says how he prepared it. Which we've already discovered how to do that
Verse 12, "And he killed the burnt offering; and Aaron's sons presented to him the blood, which he sprinkled around on the altar." Scroll down to Verse 15, "Then he brought the people's offering, and took the goat, which was the sin offering for the people, killed it, and offered it for sin, like the first one."
Go down to Verse 22, "And Aaron lifted his hand toward the people, blessed them, and came down from offering the sin offering, and the burnt offering, and the peace offerings."
We believed that the altar of sacrifice was raised on a platform, just a little bit up earth, so that the offer would be able to look over the short wall, about shorter than about seven feet. That clothed wall around the tabernacle and be able to see the people.
So Aaron would go up, offer the sacrifice, he stretched out his hand and he blessed the people.
What did he say to them? Well, it doesn't tell us here, but it does tell us in Numbers, Chapter 6, says, "And this is how Aaron and his sons show bless to people. They will say to the people, 'The Lord bless thee and keep thee; the Lord make his face to shine upon thee and be gracious to thee; the Lord lift up his countenance upon thee and give thee peace." So the sacrifices were made and that blessing of Aaron was extended to the people.
By the way, just to note, Jesus did the same thing. As our great high priest, he offered the sacrifice on Calvary. He died, he rose from the dead, and after he rose from the dead, He ascended up into heaven, Luke Chapter 24 tells us. Jesus took his disciples atop of Mount of Olives as far as Bethany, and as He was ascending up, before He ascended up He put his hands out and he blessed them, I love that thought.
What did Jesus say to them? I don't know but it could be very possibly that He gave the blessing of Aaron, the high priest. The Lord bless you. The Lord keep you. The Lord cause his face to shine upon you, be gracious to you, the Lord lift up his countenance upon and give you peace. I don't think He said, "Peace out, see you guys later." I think of that more debt in significance than that and probably, perhaps, my belief it was the blessing of Aaron, fulfilling that he was the great high priest.
"And Moses and Aaron went into the tabernacle of meeting, came out and blessed the people: then the glory of the Lord appeared to all the people."
What is the glory of the Lord? Well at some manifestation of God's spender, it could be what they call the Shekinah, the Shekinah we would say in English. We take the Hebrew words and sort of mispronounce them, we englishize them. And what is this Shekinah, but the Hebrews would say the Shekinah, it's the presence signified by that cloud that hovered the tabernacle.
Now could be a reference to this but we know from the last chapter of the Book of Exodus, that's already there. The Lord is abiding in that miraculous cloud by day and pillar of fire by night.
When it moved, they moved. They packed up the tent, put it on the shoulders of the priest and they went to the wilderness.
It could refer to that or it could simply be a reference to the next statement. "And fire came out from before the Lord, and consumed the burnt offering and the fat on the altar: when all the people saw it, they shouted, and they fell on their faces." Like, "Wow!" They were just humbled by it.
Now the fire coming out of heaven was symbolic. It consumed to the sacrifice. It was symbolic, the God was pleased. God was receiving this active worship and you would expect Him to receive it because this is what He commanded them to do. The worship that God accepts is the worship that God prescribes.
You can't just say, "Well picture God as such and such and there's a matter – I'm sort of feeling my heart that I want to worship Him like this." You don't get that option. He is God, you're not. He gets to tell you how you can talk to Him and approach Him and that's why He said, "Here's my son. This is the only means by which I will receive a person."
So here is the Old Testament model, fire comes from heaven, lights the fire on that outer court, that outer altar, the altar of sacrifice. Now they were told to keep the fire burning, right? Perpetually, this is that altar that they keep that fire burning day and night, don't let it go out. That's part of the job of the priesthood once it's lit you keep it going.
Which means when they travel they would no doubt have to carry a live coal or a set of live coals and keep that going for the next stop and set it up again. They could let it go out because that's the fire that started the sacrificial system that came out of heaven.
God is saying, "This is the sacrifice, this is the worship that I will receive. The worship that I prescribed is the worship that I accept." Fast forward then will close with this I promise because we're out of time.
In the New Testament, Jesus spoke about the Holy Spirit, and He said to his disciples, "You know boys, -- I'm paraphrasing – it's really good for you that I'm leaving because if I don't leave, I can't send the Holy Spirit to you. But if I leave, I will my send my spirit to you.
When He has come, He will convict the world of sin, of righteousness, and of judgement. Of sin, because they believe not on me; of righteousness because I go to my Father and you see me no more. Of judgement because they prince or ruler of this world is judged."
That second thought, He's going to convict the world of righteousness. When Jesus ascended into heaven, to the right hand of the throne of God, after sacrificing himself as the once and for all, lamb of God, God was saying by receiving His son back into heaven, this is the sacrifice that I will accept. This is the righteousness that I will accept. A righteous life and a substitutionary depth to the sins of all mankind, whoever, will receive Christ. I will receive this righteousness, His righteousness. That righteousness is then imputed to everyone who believes.
So just like God, fire came down from heaven and consumed the sacrifice signifying God that will pleased and would accept it. Jesus is ascending into heaven after making His own sacrifice, God is saying of righteousness because I go to my Father and you see me no more. Accepted by the Father, and that is what He accepts. You want to get to heaven, you come through His son. You want to get to heaven you too need sacrifice and a priesthood, and it happens to be the great high priest who sacrificed himself for the sins of the world.
Father, thank you for an opportunity to be in your word, to see the symbols on the types in the Old Covenant that speak of the New Covenant. They light the way, they point the way, they make us appreciate so much more that your plan was from the very beginning, anticipating the once and for all sacrifice of our great high priest, who is now seated at the right hand --Your right hand.
And He ever lives to make intercession for us. He knows what we go through. He knows our experiences as human beings and He can relate to every one of them. So Lord, we're told to come before your throne boldly and as priests in the New Covenant. Join Aarons with Christ, we can come boldly and I pray that we would. Finally Father, we consecrate ourselves to you, we dedicate our lives, ourselves and our service to you. We pray that you would use our bodies, our mouths, our hands, our feet like you did those of Aaron and Moses and David and Paul.
Thank you Lord that you are pleased to choose such weak instruments that your glory might be more renowned. We love that thought, in Jesus name. Amen.