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CONSECRATING THE PRIESTHOOD
THE consecration of the Priesthood was typical of the consecration of the human nature of the Lord Jesus and his Body, the Church, to the will of Jehovah—the obedience of Jesus even unto death, and the obedience of the members of his Body suffering for righteousness' sake "even unto death" with him. The whole Body, represented by Aaron's sons (as well as the Head, represented personally by Aaron himself), is, by the antitypical sacrifices, being made during the Gospel age, consecrated for their future work as kings and priests, to restore and rule and bless mankind. This consecration signifies the giving up of their ALL to the will of God in his service. But the extremity of the sacrificers becomes Jehovah's opportunity; when these priests have consecrated all they have, all they are, and all they hope for, as human beings, devoting or sacrificing these to destruction, [T40] thus becoming joint-sacrificers with Jesus their Redeemer, then, in accepting their sacrifices, Jehovah begets these to a new nature—the spiritual nature. And not only so, but as a reward for faithfulness he promises to bestow the highest order of spiritual existence—the divine nature: and at once they are reckonedly owned as spiritual sons of God. Gal. 4:4-7; 2 Pet. 1:4
That some who consecrate to sacrifice, and thus join the "royal priesthood," will not reach the future royal service is also shown in these types, as well as expressly declared in the New Testament. One class will be "saved so as by fire," "coming up through great tribulation," but missing the prize for which they started out in consecration, because not sufficiently appreciative of their privilege of sacrificing as priests—not sufficiently zealous to "suffer with him," the High Priest. These we will consider particularly later on, when examining the sacrifices of the Atonement Day.
Another class of those who consecrate as priests, which will not gain the royal blessings promised to these priests, will be destroyed in the Second Death. These, clearly brought to our notice by the New Testament (Heb. 6:4-6; 10:28-31; 1 John 5:16), are pictured also in these types or shadows of the Tabernacle service.
Aaron's four sons at first represented the under-priesthood, but two of these were destroyed—corresponding to the two classes above described, both of which fail, as respects the royal priesthood; one of them suffering the Second Death, the other saved from it only "so as by fire"—tribulation, purgation. And as Aaron and the two remaining sons were forbidden to make lamentation for their brethren who were thus cut off, this signifies that all the [T41] faithful of the priests will recognize the justice of the Divine decisions, and will bow to them in humble submission, saying, "Just and true are thy ways, thou King of saints." Indeed, it brings a blessing to the faithful, leading them to greater zeal, saying, "Let us fear lest a promise being left us of entering into his rest any of us should seem to come short of it." Lev. 10:1-7; Rev. 15:3; Heb. 4:1
The invitation to the justified believer to consecrate, sanctify, or set apart himself to the divine service, is an invitation to sacrifice earthly interests and rights: and the promise on God's part is that such sacrifices will be holy and acceptable through the merit of our Redeemer, and that in return he will accept us as new creatures, begetting us to the new nature by the holy Spirit of the truth. Thus God sanctifies or sets apart such as are reckoned holy new creatures.
The typical consecration service performed upon the typical priests shows the two parts of the consecration—our part in surrendering the human nature and its rights, and God's part in accepting our sacrifice, and setting us apart and recognizing us as new creatures. The new spiritual nature was represented in Aaron and his sons; the earthly nature sacrificed was represented in the bullock and rams offered on the altar. Lev. 8:14-33
The bullock for the sin-offering was brought, "and Aaron and his sons laid their hands upon the head" of it, thus saying, This sacrifice represents us. From that moment, all that happened to the bullock, represented what was to be done to Jesus and to his Body, the Church, as human beings. The bullock was delivered up to the "Law" (represented by Moses), to meet its demands against Israel, typical of mankind in general. To meet the demands of the Law [T42] it had to be slain—"And Moses slew it." He then applied the blood to the horns of the altar. The "finger" of the "Law" thus pointed out that the altar of earthly sacrifices was acceptable to God by reason of the shed blood, (the life given), and that all who realize the power of the altar (horns are symbols of power) must first recognize the blood which sanctifies it. The blood poured at the base of the altar showed that through the blood of the sacrifice (life given) even the earth was purchased back from the curse. "Unto the redemption of the purchased possession." See Eph. 1:14.
And Moses took the bullock, his hide, flesh, etc., and burnt them with fire without the "Camp." (Verse 17) Thus the humanity of the Christ complete—Head and Body—is made "a sin-offering," suffering the destruction to which the world was doomed, and from which, by this sacrifice, it will ultimately be delivered—the merit being in the sacrifice of our Lord Jesus, we, his "brethren," being privileged to fill up a measure of HIS sufferings, as "members of his Body." (Col. 1:24) But while the humanity of the royal priesthood is destroyed, as a vile thing in the eyes of the world, as represented by the burning of the bullock without the "Camp," God accepts the heart devotion which prompts the sacrifice, which says, "Lo, I come to do thy will, O God." "I delight to do thy will, O my God." This was represented by the offering on the altar of the fat and parts of the inward life-producing organism, as a "sweet savor" unto the Lord.
Other features of the same consecration were shown by the two rams mentioned in verses 18 and 22. The first mentioned was the ram for the burnt-offering. Aaron and his sons laid their hands upon its head, thus indicating that it represented them. It was killed; its blood was sprinkled upon the altar; and Moses "cut the ram into pieces, and washed the inwards and legs in water," and "burnt the head and the pieces and the fat." Thus during the entire
[T45] Gospel age Jesus and his Body, the Church, are being presented, member by member, before God on the altar, yet all are counted together as one sacrifice. The Head was laid on the altar first, and since then all who are "dead with him," and cleansed, as in the type, by the washing of water—through the Word—are reckoned as laid with the Head upon the same altar. The burning of the offering on the altar shows how God accepts the sacrifice, as "a sweet smelling savor."
The second ram, "the ram of consecration," showed what effect the sacrifice will have upon us, as the first showed how God receives our sacrifice. Aaron and his sons laid their hands upon the head of the ram of consecration, showing thus that it represented them. And Moses slew it and took its blood (consecrated life) and put it upon each separately, thus showing that our consecration is an individual work. And he put it upon the tip of the right ear, and upon the thumb of the right hand, and upon the great toe of the right foot. Thus by our consecration we are enabled to have the "hearing of faith," and to appreciate God's promises as none but the consecrated can. Our hands are consecrated, so that whatsoever our hands find to do we do it with our might as unto the Lord. Our feet are consecrated, so that henceforth we "walk not as other Gentiles" but "walk in newness of life," "walk by faith," "walk in the spirit," "walk in the light" and even "as we received Christ, so walk in him." Verses 23,24
The choice portions of the ram, its "inwards" and "fat," represented our heart sentiments, our best powers. These were taken in the hands of the priests and "waved "—passed to and fro before the Lord—representing the fact that a consecrated offering is not given to the Lord for a moment, a day or a year, but that we consecrate to continually keep our affections and powers uplifted, never ceasing until accepted [T46] of him as having finished our course. And Moses took the wave-offering off their hands (the priests did not lay it down), God's acceptance being shown by fire. So we, the "royal priests," may not lay down or cease to offer all our powers in God's service while we have them, nor until all are consumed in his service, until God shall say, It is enough—come up higher. When the love ("fat") of our inmost being is laid upon the altar, it helps to increase the fire of God's acceptance. The more love there is connected with our consecration to God, the more quickly will it consume our offering.
The first, an unleavened cake, represented the actual purity of Jesus as a man, and the imputed purity of the Church as men, as attested by the Law (Moses)—justification—for "the righteousness of the Law is fulfilled in us" so long as we are accepted members of his Body. (Rom. 8:4) The second unleavened cake, mingled with oil, represented the indwelling spirit of God—sanctification. The third, a wafer, represented our hope and faith in the exceeding precious promises of glory, honor and immortality.
Without these elements it is impossible for our consecration to be complete, and hence acceptable; viz., Justification (purity), Sanctification by the Spirit, through the belief of the truth, and faith in the promised Glorification.
The anointing oil mingled with the blood of consecration was sprinkled over them (verse 30), teaching that our consecration is accepted only because we are justified by the precious blood of our Redeemer; thus we are told that we are "accepted in the Beloved"—only. Ephesians 1:6
The boiling of the flesh of consecration (verse 31) was no part of the sacrifice: it was merely the preparing of the portion which was to be eaten. It was all to be disposed of (verse 32), showing that we are to be completely and entirely consecrated, and none of our time and power should be wasted.
The seven days of consecration (verses 33,35) showed again that we are consecrated to God's service, not for a part of our time only, but for all of it. Seven, in Scripture, is a complete number, and signifies all or the whole of whatever it applies to. ("Seven seals," "seven trumpets," "seven plagues," etc.) Verse 36 shows the completion of the work of consecration.
There never was a time when it was more necessary than it is now that all who are consecrated as priests should see to it that we "be dead with him," and our every ability waved before God, that he may accept and make use of our talents to his glory. Especially is this a matter of interest to those who understand the Scriptures to teach that very soon all the members of the Body will be accepted with the Head, a sweet savor to God; and that the work of self-sacrifice being then finished, the glorious work of blessing mankind and fulfilling the Covenant of God will begin.
The antitypical consecrating of the antitypical priests is confined to the present [Gospel] age. It has progressed steadily since our Lord and Forerunner "offered up himself"—and will be complete before this age has fully ended. And if we fail to be among the priests now, during the time of consecration, we cannot be of them when they begin their service for the people in the Kingdom, when these same priests (now despised of men, but a "sweet savor to God") will have the title of King added, and will, with their Head, Jesus, rule and bless all nations. (Rev. 20:6) Do we earnestly desire to be among those who will sing to the [T48] praise of our great High Priest, "Thou hast made us unto our God Kings and Priests, and we shall reign on the earth"? If so we will be fully consecrated now, for it is only "If we suffer with him" that "we shall also reign with him." 2 Tim. 2:12
"Victorious High Priest!
No more in garments stained
Shalt thou for sacrifice draw near;
No more with sin's dread penalty shalt thou be pained.
The great redemption-price is paid, the glory-heights attained,
And soon to bless shalt thou appear!
"All-glorious High Priest!
All power in heaven and earth,
All grace and love dost thou possess!
As rightful King of kings and Lord of lords, stand forth!
While joyful trumps proclaim thy righteous name and worth,
And prostrate hosts thy praise confess.
"O merciful High Priest!
O tender Advocate,
The penitent's unfailing Friend,
Still touched by feeling for our griefs and low estate!
The future work of grace for all anticipate,
And now, on us, thy blessing send!"