Before Aaron and his sons could serve as priests in service to God and Israel they had to be ordained. They had to be bound for their intended office and title and given the priests’ authority in The Lord. Ordaining them and consecrating them or separating them for a holy purpose took more than just one sacrifice. First, they were ceremoniously clothed. Chapter 8 verses 5-9 describe the clothes they wore for their ordination.
“And Moses said to the congregation, “This is the thing that the Lord has commanded to be done.” 6 And Moses brought Aaron and his sons and washed them with water. 7 And he put the coat on him and tied the sash around his waist and clothed him with the robe and put the ephod on him and tied the skillfully woven band of the ephod around him, binding it to him with the band. 8 And he placed the breastpiece on him, and in the breastpiece he put the Urim and the Thummim. 9 And he set the turban on his head, and on the turban, in front, he set the golden plate, the holy crown, as the Lord commanded Moses.”
The priests had to be washed first. They had to be clean before they put on the garments God commanded for them. The ephod was a garment especially for the priests, it was made of blue, purple, and scarlet fine linen and embroidered with gold thread. It set the priest apart, it indicated that he was performing a sacred duty, and it put the responsibility of all of Israel on his shoulders. The ephod and its belt are described in Exodus 28:4-14.
“4 These are the garments that they shall make: a breastpiece, an ephod, a robe, a coat of checker work, a turban, and a sash. They shall make holy garments for Aaron your brother and his sons to serve me as priests. 5 They shall receive gold, blue and purple and scarlet yarns, and fine twined linen.
- 6 “And they shall make the ephod of gold, of blue and purple and scarlet yarns, and of fine twined linen, skillfully worked. 7 It shall have two shoulder pieces attached to its two edges, so that it may be joined together. 8 And the skillfully woven band on it shall be made like it and be of one piece with it, of gold, blue and purple and scarlet yarns, and fine twined linen. 9 You shall take two onyx stones, and engrave on them the names of the sons of Israel, 10 six of their names on the one stone, and the names of the remaining six on the other stone, in the order of their birth. 11 As a jeweler engraves signets, so shall you engrave the two stones with the names of the sons of Israel. You shall enclose them in settings of gold filigree. 12 And you shall set the two stones on the shoulder pieces of the ephod, as stones of remembrance for the sons of Israel. And Aaron shall bear their names before the Lord on his two shoulders for remembrance. 13 You shall make settings of gold filigree, 14 and two chains of pure gold, twisted like cords; and you shall attach the corded chains to the settings.”
The breastpiece was a squared inlaid with twelve precious stones, one representing each tribe. It was attached with gold rings, gold cord and blue lace and it was fit and attached with the band of the ephod. Israel was precious to God. He loved them and He made the way for them to be able to express their love of Him through the priests and the offerings.
The turban the priests wore indicted the nobility of the office, submission to The Lord as King, and authority to serve Him.
Once dressed properly and after all the altar and all the objects were consecrated with oil, the sacrifices began. First the sin offering, as repentance for the sins the priest committed. Then the burnt offering for atonement of the priest. Then the ordination sacrifice for sanctification of the priest. For seven days, Aaron and his sons remained in the tent of meeting at its entrance. And each day of those seven days the sacrifices were offered.
On the eighth day Aaron and his sons were called out of the tent and offered a sin offering and an ordination offering. Then they served the people who offered their burnt offering for atonement followed by a peace offering and a grain offering. Aaron and his sons did all these things, one by one exactly as The Lord has prescribed for each offering.
Chapter 9 verses 22-24 read,
“Then Aaron lifted up his hands toward the people and blessed them, and he came down from offering the sin offering and the burnt offering and the peace offerings. 23 And Moses and Aaron went into the tent of meeting, and when they came out they blessed the people, and the glory of the Lord appeared to all the people. 24 And fire came out from before the Lord and consumed the burnt offering and the pieces of fat on the altar, and when all the people saw it, they shouted and fell on their faces.”
Aaron and his sons had been blessed by God. The seven days they spent separated from Israel in the tent of meeting were not spent playing tiddlywinks. They spent the time with The Lord in prayer and making the offerings. They were faced each day with the gore their sin caused, with the blood required for compensation to make them priests.
When they were called out on the eighth day they didn’t accept laud from the people, they served the people. They blessed the people. And God honored them and Israel by
The priests starting with Aaron and his sons and continuing through the Levitical line were set apart from the people, destined for a sacred purpose, and trained for that purpose. They were necessary for Israel to commune with the Lord. Only an ordained priest could perform the duties required to allow for peace with God.
Under the New Covenant, Jesus is our High Priest and we, His followers are priests. Jesus’ one perfect sacrifice was enough to forgive our sins, atone for our sinfulness, and ordain us for His service. We as His priests can’t keep His blessings to ourselves. We have the responsibility to tell others about the saving grace of Christ. Their names are on God’s heart and so they are on ours. We are called, sanctified, and consecrated to show God’s glory to the lost and broken. Aaron and his sons left the tent and glorified The Lord. So must we.