HOW DID A LEVITE BECOME A PRIEST?
Not every Levite became a priest. Those Levites who did decide to become priests had to be consecrated. In the same way, not every Christian really becomes a practicing priest either. Through a lack of consecration, many today lack this ministry.
Korah and 250 others wanted to occupy the ministry of the priesthood without the proper consecration. Moses let them try, after their complaining. The earth opened and swallowed them alive down into sheol.
Nadab and Abihu, two sons of Aaron, did not take the commands of consecration and obedience to that consecration seriously. In Leviticus 10, it reveals that (though they had previously been consecrated) they did not remain in that consecrated state. They offered strange fire (of their own making, and not from the burnt altar as commanded). They then offered incense at the wrong time and place. They failed to sanctify themselves before God and the congregation. They became drunken, and sought to carry on the holy services in that condition.
Some today think the ministry of the priesthood of believers can be done with little consecration. It is a difficult and demanding profession. It cannot be done half-heartedly. It demands time, consecration, and a continuing effort.
"For Moses had said, Consecrate yourselves today to the Lord..."
"Consecrate" is from the Hebrew words "yad mala", which mean "to fill your hands." To be consecrated means to let go of everything else, and fill your hands with the work of the Lord. Christianity, and being one of the priesthood of believers, is not a part time, partial effort, hobby...
STEPS OF CONSECRATION
1. BROUGHT TO GOD (Lev. 8:1-2)
First, the Levite was brought to God. Commitment to God, not the church, not the denomination, not a paycheck, and not prestige... is necessary. God is the boss... it is His priestly ministry that is given to those who allow Him.
2. WASHED IN WATER (Lev. 8:6)
Secondly, the person was washed in water. There is a definite need of a special cleansing for this work. The laver at the tabernacle was there for constant, and frequent cleansing. If one saw dirt on their hands or feet, and did not immediately go to the laver to be cleansed, they would be stricken dead by the Lord.
The sins of others may defile us as we do our priestly ministry. Some work where foul, and God demeaning language is present. These words enter our ears, and are heard by our hearts. It should not only grieve us, but lest we become insensitive to the sin, we must go to the Word, and wash our hearts, minds, and souls from the defilements of those sins.
Other sins as backbiting, gossip, criticism, envy, etc. can defile the Christians about them. Lest we grow tolerant and accepting of these as a norm... we need to cleanse ourselves by the Scriptures. Sometimes we cannot avoid being near the sin, and the sinners.
Sometimes the sin that defiles us is our own. Grudges, bitterness, jealousy, pride, envy, selfishness... etc. can creep into the lives and hearts of even the saints. We must cleanse those out of our lives and minds. We need frequent cleansings to be consecrated.
3. CLOTHED (Lev. 8:7-9, 13)
There were special garments that were to be warn by the priesthood. We, as the modern day priesthood, need to also be clothed with spiritual garments. The righteousness of Christ needs to clothe us. The only reason we can do these spiritual acts of service, is because of the righteousness of Christ that clothes us. All our own righteousness is "as filthy rags."
The "effectual fervent prayer of a righteous man availeth much." It does not say, that we, in our own righteousness ever deserved to be able to stand in the very presence of God. The priesthood of believers do have the privilege of standing in the very presence of God.
4. ANOINTED WITH OIL (Lev. 8:10)
The anointing oil represents the Holy Spirit. We need the anointing of the Spirit. The anointing comes as part of the consecration. Do not expect the anointing, if you are not consecrated yourself, the anointing will not come. If you lose your consecration, the Holy Spirit is grieved, and a refilling of the Holy spirit becomes necessary. Those who do not have their hands full, do not need an anointing.
( COMPOSITION OF THE ANOINTING OIL )
"Moreover, the Lord spake unto Moses, saying, Take thou unto thee three principal spices, of pure myrrh 500, of sweet cinnamon - one half so much- 250, and of sweet calamus 250. And of cassia 500, after the shekel of the sanctuary, and of olive oil a hin. And thou shalt make it an oil of holy ointment, an ointment compound after the art of the apothecary; it shall be an holy anointing oil. And thou shalt anoint the tabernacle... the ark,... the table and all his vessels... the candlestick and his vessels... the altar of incense... the altar of burnt offering with all his vessels... the laver and his foot... and thou shalt sanctify them, that they may be most holy; whatsoever touches them shall be holy. And thou shalt anoint Aaron and his sons, and consecrate them that they minister unto Me in the priest's office. And thou shalt speak unto the children of Israel, saying, This shall be an holy anointing oil unto Me throughout your generations. Upon man's flesh shall it not be poured, neither shall ye make any other like it, after the composition of it, it is holy and it shall be holy unto you... whosoever compoundeth any... shall be cut off..."
Thus, the anointing oil consisted of:
a hin of olive oil mixed with...
500 shekel weight of myrrh...
250 shekel weight of cinnamon...
250 shekel weight of calamus...
500 shekel weight of cassia...
Each of these has a message for us... our anointing from the Holy Spirit consists of certain elements.
The olive oil is a healing and soothing agent. The Holy Spirit is called the "Comforter." He will comfort and give us peace and love as we are anointed. He will minister through us that same soothing and healing peace and love to others.
The myrrh flowed freely from the plant from which it is extracted. It is very bitter in taste. The Holy Spirit gives, or allows some bitter things to happen to the anointed, and it is sometimes something we wish would not flow so freely. Yet, these bitter events come, but we must remember we are on the battle field, not at a summer resort.
The cinnamon is an aromatic spice. The Holy Spirit anointing gives a fragrant aroma to our lives as we serve the Lord.
The sweet calamus is a spice that comes from a cane (as sugar comes from a cane). This is the new sweetness that comes to our lives as we are anointed by the Spirit.
Cassia is a word that means "to cleave", "to stoop", or "to bow down". This indicates that the anointed life is a life of humility, not pride. The truly anointed do not lift up themselves, seek praise and adoration from others... The truly anointed are bowed down in worship and adoration of the Lord Jesus.
The anointing oil is typical of the Holy Spirit resting upon the priest. No imitation of the anointing oil was to be made. Likewise, no human imitation of the gifts or unction of the Spirit is to be attempted. Some have tried to imitate what happens when one is truly anointed. Some preach their sermons without the anointing, but continue to shout, wave arms, show emotion... This is a fake of the real anointing... and it is sinful to imitate the true anointing of the Spirit.
There is a danger of mistaking the indulgence of self-conceit to be a movement of the Holy Spirit. This dishonors the Spirit. Beware of false spirituality. It is found in many, many religious circles. The big Bible, the spiritual looking smile, the fake "Amen", and the shouting, dancing, and arm waving that is not inspired by the Spirit's anointing... easily fool some to think that the Spirit's anointing is present. Too many congregations are filled with false spirituality, and not a true anointing of the Spirit.
The anointing oil was poured upon the head of Aaron, and over the mitre. This was Aaron's anointing to minister. Jesus had an anointing like this...
"...the Spirit of the Lord is upon Me, because He hath anointed Me to preach the gospel to the poor..."
The anointing is for only the consecrated. It is for those who have filled their hands with the work of God. The Holy Spirit is willing to anoint any who thus come and ask.
5. OFFERED SACRIFICES TO GOD (Lev. 8:14-30)
There were a number of offerings sacrificed in the anointing of the priests. The sin offering, the ram offering, the consecration ram, the wave offering, and the putting of oil and blood on the clothes of the priest.
These offerings were the beginning of the intercessory work of the priesthood. The first part of any priest's ministry should be intercession. While God is consecrating us to our priestly ministry, he teaches us to intercede. This consecration sacrifices prepared them for the ministry.
The priesthood of believers have a HEAVY ministry. They need a consecration that prepares them for this difficult ministry. It is foolish to think that we can do this ministry if half-hearted.
a.THE SIN OFFERING (Exodus 29:10-14, Lev. 8:14-17)
The first offering brought by Moses was the bullock for the sin offering. They laid their hands on the head of the bullock. This indicates a strong controlling grasp upon the animal. They thus, by the holding of the animal, identified with it. They were transferring their sin from them to the bullock. This is like the act of faith when someone is saved, and they trust in the work of Jesus to save them, for none of their own works could do it.
Moses slew the bullock, and this illustrates the fact, that when sin is upon one, death is a necessary result.
Moses then took the blood and put it on the horns of the altar with his finger, and poured the blood at the bottom of the altar. This sanctified it, and made reconciliation. We must realize the value of the blood of our Savior, and the cleansing power of that blood. The horns of the altar speak of power... there is power in the blood of Jesus. The blood was poured out at the bottom of the altar, and this is to show that the priest is sanctified, purified, and reconciled to the Lord completely by the completeness of the sacrifice.
"...He poured out (or emptied) His soul unto death..."
To be consecrated into the priesthood of believers, one must truly recognize the value and power of the blood that was shed for the world by Jesus.
Portions of the bullock were burnt upon the altar, but other portions (the hide, some flesh and the dung) were burnt outside the camp. Two different words are used to refer to the burning. One is used to refer to burning as incense... The death of Christ is a sweet savour to God. The other word for burning is one used to describe burning of wrath. The death of Christ atone for the wrath of God against sin.
b. THE RAM FOR BURNT OFFERING (Exodus 29:15-18, Lev. 8:18-21)
This offering entirely ascended in fragrance to God. This offering delighted and satisfied God. It pleases God when we accept the sacrifice of Jesus for our sins. It must be done willingly, and no one can force such an acceptance.
"...he shall offer it of his own voluntary will..."
Again the hands of the priests had to be laid upon the ram. This identifying with the sacrifice of the Lord, and the transferring of the sins to Him is vital. After the ram was killed, the blood was sprinkled round about. The ram was then cut in pieces, and the whole ram was burnt. The head of the ram that was cutoff indicates the need of our mind and intellect being involved in accepting the sacrifice of the Lord for our sins. The inwards of the ram represent the will, affections, and emotions being surrendered in our consecration. The legs of the ram represent the outward walk, and the conduct of our lives being affected by this consecration process.
While we realize that the priest deserved this death, that the ram just suffered for them... we must admit that we too were worthy of death, but the Lord took our sins upon Himself, and died that we might have an atonement for our sins.
c. THE RAM OF CONSECRATION (Exodus 29:19-28, Lev.8:22-24)
This ram of consecration is the ram of the "filling of the hands." The blood of this ram was put on the tip of the right ear, the tip of the right thumb, and the right big toe. These three must be dedicated to God when we become consecrated.
The ears were to listen only to that which God would want us to hear. Their hands were to do the work that pleased God. And their feet were to take them wherever it pleased God.
Seven portions of the ram were taken by Moses. The fat, the rump, the fat of the inwards, the caul above the liver (the diaphragm), the two kidneys, the fat of the two kidneys, and the right shoulder. These were considered the best parts.
Then bread of three kinds (one unleavened cake, one unleavened cake with oil, and one wafer, unleavened, and anointed with oil) were brought. Leaven is a type of sin, and the Lord is our sinless purity (unleavened bread), and Christ was filled with the Holy Spirit (unleavened cake with oil). The wafer that was unleavened and anointed with oil represents the anointing with the Spirit upon our lives.
Jesus likely was speaking with this offering in mind when He preached the sermon on the bread of life.
John 6:51, 54, 55, 57, 58
"The bread that I will give is My flesh... whoso eateth My flesh and drinketh My blood hath eternal life... for My flesh is true meat, and My blood is true drink... he that eateth Me even he shall live by Me... this is the bread that came down from heaven, he that eateth of this bread shall live forever..."
d. THE WAVE OFFERING
These seven parts of the ram, and the bread were put in the hands of the priests, and waved before the Lord. This is the expressing to God our satisfaction and appreciation for the sinless perfection that He showed, and the total sacrifice of His being for our sin. Our hands will be full of the things of this world, or the things of God. He should fill our hands with His work, and the praise for His being and His life should occupy our minds, actions, and words.
These things are waved before the Lord, and the Lord ponders our actions, words, and thoughts. He looks to see of what we have our hands full. Before we are ready to minister to others, the consecration of our own lives needs to be filled with the work of God, be committed, and have open lines to God.
These parts were then burnt upon the altar.
e. THE SPRINKLING OF THE CLOTHES (Exodus 29:21)
Oil and blood represents the purity of Christ and the power of the Spirit. As they were truly, and correctly consecrated to the ministry, the purity of the Lord, and the power of the Spirit came upon them. Today, some call this event SANCTIFICATION.
"Christ loved the church and gave Himself for it, that He might sanctify and cleanse it, with the washing of the water by the Word."
With the sprinkling of the garments with the blood and oil, the priests were ready to do ministry.
6. FEED UPON THE MEAT OF THE BURNT ALTAR AND THE BREAD OF THE TABLE OF SHEWBREAD
Once you are consecrated to the work of the priesthood of believers, you will find your sustenance must come, and will come, from the Lord. The meat and the bread are for those who have entered into this consecrated life.
7. SEPARATION AND SERVICE (Leviticus 8:33-36)
The priests that had just been consecrated had to remain at the burnt altar night and day for seven days. They did not go home for a celebration, but they entered immediately into their work of intercession for sinners. They lay aside all other distractions to do this work.
Too many want to be consecrated, and then want to go back to life as usual. Life will never be normal, predictable, ordinary, or sane for the consecrated priest. Your commitment, your consecration, your dedication, your willingness to commune with the Lord directly, your willingness to submit to the Spirit's leadings without hesitation will set you apart from the world. They will wonder where you are, why you act so strange, why your priorities have shifted so dramatically.
Do you want this type of consecrated life? Call for God to witness your commitment. Claim the cleansing power of God to wash from you all defilements of sin. Be clothed with the purity and righteousness of Jesus. Seek the anointing of the Spirit. Begin your work of intercession. Feed upon the Word, and devour the meat of Word of God. Separate yourselves unto the Lord, and unto the ministry of intercessory prayer. Be ready to answer and help those who come to you for guidance.