Leviticus 9


‘On the eighth day Moses summoned Aaron and his sons and the elders of Israel. He said to Aaron, ‘Take a bull calf for your sin offering and a ram for your burnt offering, both without defect, and present them before the LORD. Then say to the Israelites: ‘Take a male goat for a sin offering, a calf and a lamb—both a year old and without defect—for a burnt offering, and an ox and a ram for a fellowship offering to sacrifice before the LORD, together with a grain offering mixed with olive oil. For today the LORD will appear to you.’ They took the things Moses commanded to the front of the tent of meeting, and the entire assembly came near and stood before the LORD. Then Moses said, ‘This is what the LORD has commanded you to do, so that the glory of the LORD may appear to you.’ Moses said to Aaron, ‘Come to the altar and sacrifice your sin offering and your burnt offering and make atonement for yourself and the people; sacrifice the offering that is for the people and make atonement for them, as the LORD has commanded.’ Leviticus 9:1-7

It was now time for Aaron and his sons to obediently put into practice everything they had learned and been commanded to do. It was time to begin their work as priests of Israel. Remember the first seven days were all about consecrating the priests who were to take care of the tabernacle, Leviticus 8:33-35, it is now the eight day, which was the day the tabernacle was finally erected, Exodus 40:27.

The eighth day in Scripture is interesting, if we remember it was also the eighth day that that circumcision was to take place, Genesis 17:12 / Leviticus 12:3, and it was the eighth day that the Lord appeared to the Israelites, Leviticus 9:4 / Leviticus 9:23.

The first thing which Aaron done was to offer a sin offering and a burnt offering, for himself and his sons. Notice that Aaron offered a young calf, a sin offering for the high priest was usually a young bull, Leviticus 4:3.

Coffin suggest that ‘Aaron’s full dignity had not yet devolved upon him. That full dignity would fall upon Aaron after he was ushered into the Holy Place by Moses’, Leviticus 23.

‘So, Aaron came to the altar and slaughtered the calf as a sin offering for himself. His sons brought the blood to him, and he dipped his finger into the blood and put it on the horns of the altar; the rest of the blood he poured out at the base of the altar. On the altar he burned the fat, the kidneys and the long lobe of the liver from the sin offering, as the LORD commanded Moses; the flesh and the hide he burned up outside the camp.’ Leviticus 9:8-11

We read here that Aaron done everything God told him to do regarding the sin offering, Leviticus 1-7. He didn’t eat the flesh of his own sin offering, he burned the flesh and the skin outside the camp. Aaron had to offer his own sacrifice first, so that he would be acceptable to God and in turn he would be able to offer sacrifices on behalf of the people.

The calf was to be killed on the north side of the altar, where all the sin offerings and burnt offerings were killed, Leviticus 1:11. The blood of the calf was collected in a basin, and Aaron would then dip his gingers in the blood and put it on the horns of the altar, Leviticus 8:15.

The rest of the blood was then poured out on the bottom of the altar. All the fat the fat, left over blood, and inward parts all belong to God and they are burned as a sweet aroma to God.

Because all four of Aaron’s sons were assistants and witnesses of this solemn ordination of the high priest, some suggest that this is symbolic of the Christ who was also assisted by the four witnesses of the Christian Gospel, that is Matthew, Mark, Luke and John.

‘Then he slaughtered the burnt offering. His sons handed him the blood, and he splashed it against the sides of the altar. They handed him the burnt offering piece by piece, including the head, and he burned them on the altar. He washed the internal organs and the legs and burned them on top of the burnt offering on the altar.’ Leviticus 9:12-14

The ram, Leviticus 9:2, was also sacrificed by Aaron on behalf of himself, the ram was killed at the north side of the altar, Leviticus 1:11. The blood again was collected in a basin but this time Aaron splashed the sides of the altar with the blood, Leviticus 8:19.

The ram was then cut into pieces, Leviticus 8:20 and burned, Leviticus 8:21. The reason for washing all the internal organs and legs is simply because God won’t accept anything unclean.

‘Aaron then brought the offering that was for the people. He took the goat for the people’s sin offering and slaughtered it and offered it for a sin offering as he did with the first one. He brought the burnt offering and offered it in the prescribed way. He also brought the grain offering, took a handful of it and burned it on the altar in addition to the morning’s burnt offering. ‘He slaughtered the ox and the ram as the fellowship offering for the people. His sons handed him the blood, and he splashed it against the sides of the altar. But the fat portions of the ox and the ram—the fat tail, the layer of fat, the kidneys and the long lobe of the liver—these they laid on the breasts, and then Aaron burned the fat on the altar. Aaron waved the breasts and the right thigh before the LORD as a wave offering, as Moses commanded.’ Leviticus 9:15-21

Some commentators suggest there’s a great deal of significance attached to what was being offered here. For example, the ram being offered was to bring to Israel’s mind that great event when Abraham was to sacrifice his son but God provided the ram in his place, Genesis 12:9.

The goat being offered was to bring to Israel’s mind the goat which was killed by Joseph’s brothers in order to deceive their father Jacob, Genesis 37:31. The calf being offered was to bring to Israel’s mind their sin when they made a golden calf, Exodus 32:4. The lamb which was bound was to bring to Israel’s mind Isaac being bound by his father before being sacrificed, Genesis 22:7.

What we must remember in all of this is that God wanted these services for everyone, including Aaron and his sons, because all of them were sinners, Hebrews 7:27. It’s only when we come to the New Testament do we find that Jesus who is now our High Priest, who was without sin, is the one who was able to enter the presence of God on our behalf.

All of these sacrifices, including the blood were all pointing to the Christ, the perfect lamb of God, John 1:29 / 2 Corinthians 5:21.

‘Then Aaron lifted his hands toward the people and blessed them. And having sacrificed the sin offering, the burnt offering and the fellowship offering, he stepped down. Moses and Aaron then went into the tent of meeting. When they came out, they blessed the people; and the glory of the LORD appeared to all the people. Fire came out from the presence of the LORD and consumed the burnt offering and the fat portions on the altar. And when all the people saw it, they shouted for joy and fell facedown.’ Leviticus 19:22-24

Aaron lists up his hands and blesses the people but we’re not told what words he uses, possibly the same words as we find in Numbers 6:22-26. Notice that Moses and Aaron then go into the tabernacle, this would be the Holy of Holies, the inner part of the tabernacle.

It appears that it was during this time in the tabernacle that Moses formally placed Aaron in charge of everything to do with the tabernacle, and so Aaron would then be the high priest. This was the first time Aaron had been in here and it would be the last time that Moses would enter.

When they came out of the tabernacle, they both blessed the people, this emphasised the harmony between them both. Notice also that it was then the glory of the Lord appeared to everyone. Exactly how God’s glory appeared we are not told but there’s a reasonable probability it may have been in the form of a pillar of cloud by day and a pillar of fire by night, Exodus 13:21-22 / Exodus 40:34-38.

Fire then comes out from the presence of the Lord, possibly from the Holy of Holies and consumed the offering. The people shout for joy and fall facedown, Judges 13:15-23 / 2 Chronicles 7:1-7 / 1 Kings 18:38-39.

What a wonderful day this must have been for God’s people, they are now one with God and each other, God will be their God and they will be His people. The priesthood is now up and running and everything to remain in fellowship with God and each other is in place. They’ve witnessed God’s glory and are now full of joy.

However, as we see time and time again with God’s people, this time of joy won’t last very long, as we shall see in the next chapter.

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