Bible Readings for April 5th

Leviticus 8 | Psalm 9 | Proverbs 23 | 1 Thessalonians 2

Leviticus 8 marks the official ordination of Aaron and his sons to serve as priests before Yahweh, a pivotal moment for Israel. We saw the leadership of Israel expanded beyond Moses alone in Exodus 18 when Moses appointed a hierarchy of judges to help him give justice to the people, but now Aaron and his sons step into the role of priests to help meditate between Yahweh and Israel.

The Levitical priests were called out of Israel and set apart from the rest of the nation—and even from the other members of the tribe of Levi who did not descend directly from Aaron himself—for a special purpose. From this point on, they will serve as the chosen representatives for the rest of the nation of Israel before Yahweh himself in the tabernacle, bringing the nation’s offerings and sacrifices and pleading with Yahweh on behalf of their people. Accordingly, the names of the tribes of Israel are physically inscribed on jewels on the ephod and the breastpiece of the priests (Lev. 8:7–8; cf. Ex. 28:29, 39:14), and even the Urim and Thummim symbolize the judgment of the people of Israel that the priests bear on their hearts before Yahweh (Lev. 8:8; Ex. 28:30).

Also, the Levitical priests will serve as the chosen representatives of Yahweh to Israel. Their turbans carry a crown with the inscription “Holy to Yahweh” (Lev. 8:9; cf. Ex. 28:36, 39:30), and the priests will consult the Urim and Thummim to determine the will of Yahweh on complicated matters (Ezra 2:63). The priests (along with the other Levites) will also serve as the main teachers of the law to the people of Israel (Deut. 33:10; Neh. 8:1–8).

Yahweh has not permitted that any others should come before him in this way, so the Levitical priests both shoulder a great burden and also enjoy a great privilege that the rest of their people will never experience.

It’s important to recognize, however, that this priestly role was never meant to be permanently exclusive to the sons of Aaron. Yahweh intended the Levitical priests to execute this responsibility of mediating between himself and the people of Israel only until he could introduce a single new high priest—his own Son Jesus Christ—who would serve as the one mediator between God and men (1 Tim. 2:5), obtaining his priesthood not according to the legislation of the Levitical priesthood but according to promise (Ps. 110:4), after the order of Melchizedek (Heb. 7).

But also, Yahweh only intended the sons of Aaron to serve as priests until he could make his entire people a nation of priests through the new covenant. In fact, you and I have been made priests before Yahweh (1 Pet. 2:5) through Christ—a subject we will explore in tomorrow’s meditation.

Scripture quotations are from The Holy Bible, English Standard Version copyright © 2001 by Crossway Bibles, a division of Good News Publishers. Used by permission. All rights reserved.

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