William Kelly Major Works Commentary
And it came to pass on the eighth day, that Moses called Aaron and his sons, and the elders of Israel;Leviticus Chapter 9
THE PRIESTS CONSECRATED.
There is an "eighth day" here, as for the leper's cleansing in chap. 14: 10-20. It was the day of circumcision also. These instances suffice to show that we do not wait till the millennial morn or even the day of our resurrection glory to enjoy the privileges which they severally express. They are ours in virtue of Christ risen and glorified Who has given the Spirit from on high, both for our communion and for our communication in testimony of His grace. No doubt in that day what is perfect will have come, and we shall know as we are known.
" 1 And it came to pass on the eighth day, Moses called Aaron and his sons, and the elders of Israel 2 and said to Aaron, Take thee a bull calf for a sin-offering, and a ram for a burnt-offering, without blemish, and present [them] before Jehovah; 3 and to the children of Israel shalt thou speak, saying, Take a buck of the goats for a sin-offering, and a calf and a lamb, yearlings, without blemish, for a burnt-offering; 4 and a bullock and a ram for peace-offerings to sacrifice before Jehovah; and a meal-offering mingled with oil; for to-day Jehovah appeareth to you. 5 And they brought what Moses commanded before the tent of meeting; and all the assembly drew near and stood before Jehovah. 6And Moses said, This [is] the thing which Jehovah commanded that ye should do; and the glory of Jehovah shall approach you" (vers. 1-6).
It was on that day which inaugurates a new and heavenly order of things, and looks on to the appearing of the glory. But our Lord has taught us in John 7:37-39 how it can bear on us now, were it even the last and great day of the Feast of Tabernacles, the closing scene of the Jewish holy year. For He Himself, rejected here, was about to be glorified, and the Holy Spirit was to be here as He never had been nor could be, to work in virtue of His ever and all-efficacious death. Hence all things are ours who now believe on Him and have received the Spirit, not things present only but things to come also. As at the beginning (Leviticus 8:3-4), all the assembly was there, as well as Aaron and his sons, and the elders of Israel. But first Moses directed Aaron to take a Sin-offering and a Burnt-offering, without blemish, and offer them before Jehovah. Then he was to bid the children of Israel bring their suited Sin-offering and Burnt-offering, with Peace-offerings for sacrifice before Him.
Thus it is not only for the ordinary days and their necessities, being what they were, that sacrifice and offering were needed. In view of that day and the glory to follow they are presented with all care and solemnity. Priests and people, all were made to feel that they are at least as requisite if we look on to glory; whether those who had the entry into the sanctuary, or those who were outside. On that sacrificial basis of divine righteousness all enjoyment of God hangs for heaven or earth, now or evermore. Without Christ and His work, no sinful man can stand, still less in view of the glory of God. For all sinned and do come short of the glory of God, as the apostle puts it in Romans 3:23. When man fell by sin from innocence, earth was lost, and the question is of fitness for God's glory. The redemption that IS in Christ Jesus alone can fit for such a place. But grace justifies freely by faith in Him. This gives its title for faith to boast in hope of divine glory. Nor will its fruition cause any emotion to His own but of joy, thanksgiving, and praise.
In this connection we may profitably weigh the words of the apostle Peter in his Second Epistle (2 Peter 1:3-4): "As his divine power hath granted to us all things that are for life and godliness through the full knowledge of him that called us by (or, by his own) glory and virtue, through which he hath granted to us the greatest and precious promises," etc. It is not by present things God acts on the soul but by glory, on which faith lays hold and forms the moral courage that refuses the allurements of the enemy, who seeks to counteract faith by sight and sense, by lust and passion. In the gospel is revealed God, and Jesus our Lord, as indeed just before He is said to be "our God and Saviour Jesus Christ." On the one hand His divine power has granted to us all things that pertain unto life and godliness; on the other we through His greatest and precious promises (far above the earthly grandeur pledged to Israel) which He has also granted to us, become partakers of a divine nature (as this life is with the godliness attached to it), having escaped the corruption that is in the world by lust.
Thus does faith answer to God's call armed by divine power. Compare 1 Peter 1:5. His glory is the goal set before us, and virtue is the guarding means along the road; as both find their perfect display in Christ. Such in principle was that which wrought in Abel, Enoch, Noah, and all the elders who obtained witness through faith. But in the gospel it is set forth in full light for our full knowledge of God and of Jesus our Lord. Thus have we the light of heaven shining on us here before we go to heaven. It is day dawning and the Day-star arising in our hearts, and thus distinct from and superior to the lamp of prophecy, however excellent this may be for the squalid place of the earth as it is.
OFFERINGS FOR PRIESTS AND FOR PEOPLE
Now we have, not Moses acting as well as directing, but Aaron ministering as high priest of the Jewish confession. It was the inauguration of the priesthood in full standing.
" 7 And Moses said to Aaron, Draw near unto the altar, and offer thy sin-offering and thy burnt-offering, and make atonement for thyself, and for the people; and offer the offerings of the people, and make atonement for them, as Jehovah commanded. 8 And Aaron drew near to the altar and slaughtered the calf of the sin-offering which [was] for himself; 9 and the sons of Aaron presented the blood to him, and he dipped his finger in the blood and put [it] on the horns of the altar, and poured out the blood at the bottom of the altar. 10 And the fat and the kidneys, and the net above the liver, of the sin-offering, he burnt on the altar, as Jehovah commanded Moses. 11 And the flesh and the skin he burned with fire outside the camp; 12 And he slaughtered the burnt-offering; and Aaron's sons delivered to him the blood which he sprinkled on the altar round about. 13 And they delivered to him the burnt-offering piece by piece, and the head; and he burnt [them] on the altar. 14 And he washed the inwards and the legs, and burnt [them] upon the burnt-offering on the altar" (vers. 7-14).
Accordingly Aaron and his sons offered the calf as Sin-offering for himself, putting of its blood presented by his sons on the horns of the altar and the rest at its base, and burning the fat and the kidneys and the net above the liver on the altar; but the flesh and the skin without the camp as prescribed. But nothing is said here, as in Leviticus 8:14, of laying their hands on its head, though there is the same witness borne to Christ's sacrifice in the acceptance of the inwards as holy and precious on the altar, but the body reduced to ashes without as identified with sin. His work explains the seeming inconsistency but bright witness, that though He knew no sin, God made Him sin for us.
Again, we should note, that atonement was not complete according to God without the Burnt-offering as well as that for sin. This at once followed; and Aaron sprinkled its blood too, delivered by his-sons, on the altar round about, and burned it all, piece by piece, with the head, on the altar, even the inwards and legs when washed, burnt on the Burnt-offering. It was for acceptance and not only covering sin. The very words for "burns" in verses 10 and 11 are here as elsewhere pointedly different, as often noticed.
" 15 And he presented the people's offering, and took the goat of the sin-offering which [was] for the people, and slaughtered it, and offered it for sin, as the first. 16 And he presented the burnt-offering, and offered it according to the ordinance. 17 And he presented the meal-offering, and took a handful of it, and burnt [it] on the altar, besides the burnt-offering of the morning. 18 And he slaughtered the bullock and the ram of the sacrifice of peaceofferings which [was] for the people. And Aaron's sons delivered to him the blood, and he sprinkled it on the altar round about; 19 and the fat pieces of the bullock and of the ram, the fat tail and what covereth [the inwards], and the kidneys and the net of the liver. 20 And they put the fat pieces on the breast pieces, and he burnt the fat pieces on the altar. 21 And the breast pieces and the right shoulder Aaron waved, a wave-offering before Jehovah, as Moses commanded" (vers. 15-21).
Next, Aaron presented the people's offering, the young buck-goat for sin, then as Burnt-offering a bullock, as Peace-offering a ram, with an oil-mingled Meal-offering. Here each class of the Levitical offerings was represented on behalf of the people. They mean Christ in the fulness of His work and person as well as His grace.
How lamentable to read what a good and learned man (as was Dr. Chr. Wordsworth) remarks on the chapter! "Since therefore even Moses, who had been employed to consecrate Aaron, did not venture to perform any priestly function after Aaron had been consecrated, it is evident that no one else might do so," citing Hebrews 5:4, Acts 19:15, Judges 1:11, as well as Exodus 29:11, and Numbers 16:1-43. He would not have denied that all Christians have free access through the blood of Jesus into the holies, and that all saints can now through Him offer up a sacrifice to God continually, that is, fruit of lips confessing to His name. What could he himself or any one else do more priestly? Preaching or teaching is a different question, and neither of them is worship or priestly.
When will men live above prejudice and learn that through faith of the gospel and in virtue of Christ's death there is a disannulling of a foregoing commandment because of its weakness and unprofitableness (for the law made nothing perfect), and a bringing in of a better hope through which we draw nigh to God? Who on earth draws so nigh to God as the Christian? Two barriers once blocked the way: the comparative nearness of the Jew outwardly; and the absolute distance from God of the sinner, Jew or Gentile. But through our Lord Jesus we both have access by (ejn) one Spirit unto the Father. The assertion of an earthly priest denies this rich and essential privilege of Christianity, little as they think it who are beguiled into sacerdotalism. "Rejoice in the Lord alway," said the apostolic prisoner. How could it be, till we have had and have access by faith into this grace wherein we stand, and we boast in hope of the glory of God? This favour belongs to every Christian, and it transcends the privilege even of Aaron, leaving no room for an earthly priesthood between God and us.
The closing verses have their own interest, after we were shown how the blessing of the future day with its manifestation of glory hangs on Christ's sacrifice. But there is no entering within the veil, no putting of the blood in the holiest as on the day of atonement. The blood is not carried beyond the brazen altar. It is the same blood and of equal efficiency, and in a far higher way, when we have the grand central type of Lev. 16.
" 22 And 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 came out, and blessed the people; and Jehovah's glory appeared to all the people. 24 And there went out fire from before Jehovah, and consumed on the altar the burnt. offering and the fat; and all the people saw it, and they shouted, and fell on their faces" (vers. 22-24).
On the day of atonement there was a manifested basis of sacrifice with singular solemnity. It was the one standing fast of the holy year, a sabbath of rest, where all Israel abstained from all work and afflicted their souls on pain of being cut off. It was the sole day in the year when the high priest entered the holiest where he put the blood of the bullock for himself and for his house, and the blood of the goat for the people; as he made atonement also for the sanctuary and for the tent of meeting. Then followed his confession of Israel's iniquities over the living goat's head, before it was sent away bearing them into the wilderness. The slain bullock and goat were carried outside the camp and burnt with fire.
In the first ministration of Aaron after the consecration, as our chapter records, there is the remarkable difference that the blood of the Sin-offerings whether for the priest or for the people was put, not within the veil, but on the horns of the altar (the brazen altar) and poured out at its base, and the fat, etc., as usual burnt thereon, as Jehovah commanded Moses. On this occasion there was thus a signal difference, not only from the statutes of Atonement-day in Lev. 16 but also from the requirement in Lev. 4 for sin, whether for the anointed priest (or high priest), or for the whole assembly. In either case the blood was sprinkled before the veil seven times, as it was also put upon the horns of the altar of fragrant incense, besides pouring out the rest of the blood at the foot of the brazen altar.
We are thus taught the external character of what was done on the day when Jehovah appeared to Israel. It was grounded on sacrifice, as it could not be otherwise. But there was no action in the holiest as in laying the basis of atonement, nor yet in the holy place as in making good the communion when interrupted. It was simply the acceptance of priest and of people, on the ground of which "Aaron lifted up his hands toward the people and blessed them, and came down after the offering of the sin-offering and the burnt-offering and the peace-offerings." They are here therefore enumerated in the order, not of Jehovah's point of view, looking at Christ (as in Lev. 1 and following chapters), but of man's need, where the Sin-offering takes necessary precedence, the Holocaust follows with its Meal-offering, and the sacrifice of Peace-offerings concludes the rite. The last two were for the people expressly; for God takes especial care of the weaker sort. It may be for a similar reason that the same emphatic phrase, which occurs in Leviticus 6:26 in the law of the Sin-offering, is employed toward the end of ver. 16. "He sinned it (or made it sin)."
Then it is, that "Moses and Aaron went into the tent of meeting, and came out and blessed the people; and the glory of Jehovah appeared to all the people." It is the union of the kingly with the sacerdotal dignity which is here indicated; for Moses was "king in Jeshurun" (Deut. 33). This took place within the tent of meeting, and was then manifested. It is not man asking as in the disastrous day that Saul was chosen after man's heart and the outward appearance. Nor was there really such a junction in after times. But here it was typically pledged by Jehovah; and it awaits its accomplishment in Christ for the earth in days rapidly approaching,. "Thus speaketh Jehovah of hosts, saying! Behold, a man whose name is Branch; and he shall branch up from his own place, and he shall build the temple of Jehovah: even he shall build the temple of Jehovah and he shall bear the glory, and shall sit and rule upon his throne; and he shall be a priest upon his throne; and the counsel of peace shall be between them both" (Zechariah 6:12-13).
How appropriate that at this point "there went out fire from before Jehovah and consumed on the altar the burnt-offering, and the fat pieces!" "Jehovah, he is God, Jehovah, he is God," cried the people even in the day of their idolatrous apostacy, when He answered by fire, as He now proffered the sign. Christ is the true Melchizedek, and shall reign over the earth in righteousness and peace. The zeal of Jehovah of hosts will perform this; for the counsel of peace is between Them both. How awful that what the priests of Baal failed to do in Elijah's day, the second Beast or Antichrist will be allowed to do, at least "in the sight of men," among the signs done in the sight of the imperial or first Beast, deceiving those that dwell upon the earth! It is the short season of the devil's great wrath, when the restraining person or power is no longer there.
And he said unto Aaron, Take thee a young calf for a sin offering, and a ram for a burnt offering, without blemish, and offer them before the LORD.
And unto the children of Israel thou shalt speak, saying, Take ye a kid of the goats for a sin offering; and a calf and a lamb, both of the first year, without blemish, for a burnt offering;
Also a bullock and a ram for peace offerings, to sacrifice before the LORD; and a meat offering mingled with oil: for to day the LORD will appear unto you.
And they brought that which Moses commanded before the tabernacle of the congregation: and all the congregation drew near and stood before the LORD.
And Moses said, This is the thing which the LORD commanded that ye should do: and the glory of the LORD shall appear unto you.
And Moses said unto Aaron, Go unto the altar, and offer thy sin offering, and thy burnt offering, and make an atonement for thyself, and for the people: and offer the offering of the people, and make an atonement for them; as the LORD commanded.
Aaron therefore went unto the altar, and slew the calf of the sin offering, which was for himself.
And the sons of Aaron brought the blood unto him: and he dipped his finger in the blood, and put it upon the horns of the altar, and poured out the blood at the bottom of the altar:
But the fat, and the kidneys, and the caul above the liver of the sin offering, he burnt upon the altar; as the LORD commanded Moses.
And the flesh and the hide he burnt with fire without the camp.
And he slew the burnt offering; and Aaron's sons presented unto him the blood, which he sprinkled round about upon the altar.
And they presented the burnt offering unto him, with the pieces thereof, and the head: and he burnt them upon the altar.
And he did wash the inwards and the legs, and burnt them upon the burnt offering on the altar.
And he brought the people's offering, and took the goat, which was the sin offering for the people, and slew it, and offered it for sin, as the first.
And he brought the burnt offering, and offered it according to the manner.
And he brought the meat offering, and took an handful thereof, and burnt it upon the altar, beside the burnt sacrifice of the morning.
He slew also the bullock and the ram for a sacrifice of peace offerings, which was for the people: and Aaron's sons presented unto him the blood, which he sprinkled upon the altar round about,
And the fat of the bullock and of the ram, the rump, and that which covereth the inwards, and the kidneys, and the caul above the liver:
And they put the fat upon the breasts, and he burnt the fat upon the altar:
And the breasts and the right shoulder Aaron waved for a wave offering before the LORD; as Moses commanded.
And Aaron lifted up his hand toward the people, and blessed them, and came down from offering of the sin offering, and the burnt offering, and peace offerings.
And Moses and Aaron went into the tabernacle of the congregation, and came out, and blessed the people: and the glory of the LORD appeared unto all the people.
And there came a fire out from before the LORD, and consumed upon the altar the burnt offering and the fat: which when all the people saw, they shouted, and fell on their faces.