Today’s passage includes the command that Aaron and his sons would serve The Lord as priests. Who were the priests of the OT? What was their purpose? How does that apply to us today? The writer of Hebrews gives us some insight into these questions:
Hebrews 5:1-4: For every high priest chosen from among men is appointed to act on behalf of men in relation to God, to offer gifts and sacrifices for sins. 2 He can deal gently with the ignorant and wayward, since he himself is beset with weakness. 3 Because of this he is obligated to offer sacrifice for his own sins just as he does for those of the people. 4 And no one takes this honor for himself, but only when called by God, just as Aaron was.
Essentially, priests were mediators between God and man. They acted on behalf of men offering the gifts and sacrifices necessary for God to forgive the sins of the people. The formal priesthood began when Aaron was appointed the first High Priest of The Lord. Every sub sequential High Priest and priest of any degree would come from his linage. We read the magnificent description of the formal robes God required Aaron to wear as he made his intercession for the people. The detail is exquisite and full of significance and meaning. I’m a pretty visual person and I found a diagram of what these garments would have likely looked like according to their description in Exodus 28:
One of the primary things that the priestly system shows us today is the absolute Holy nature of God. Priests, especially the High Priest, had to be set apart and consecrated thoroughly to carry out their duties. If they failed to do their job the proper way “the bell” stopped ringing and they got dragged out. Not a good day at the office!
The New Testament book of Hebrews is most important for us today in understanding the connection between the priesthood of the OT and the New Covenant system of grace by which we live. Here’s another passage to help us see this today:
Hebrews 4:14-16: 14 Since then we have a great high priest who has passed through the heavens, Jesus, the Son of God, let us hold fast our confession. 15 For we do not have a high priest who is unable to sympathize with our weaknesses, but one who in every respect has been tempted as we are, yet without sin. 16 Let us then with confidence draw near to the throne of grace, that we may receive mercy and find grace to help in time of need.
Jesus is our High Priest! We no longer need a man appointed to intercede on our behalf according to the OT Law. Jesus fulfilled the Law of God perfectly and now intercedes for us on the basis of His shed blood and righteousness.
Take time today to draw near to the throne of grace confidently, knowing that your great High Priest has made a way for you to personally approach God and petition Him for all your needs.
By: Matt Mofield