THE PRIESTHOODS OF AARON AND CHRIST

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    [Exodus:28:1-5]; [Leviticus:8:1-36]; [Leviticus:9:22-24]; [Hebrews:7:11-28]; [Hebrews:8:1-2].

    Lesson No.: 
    84
    Class: 
    Junior
    Memory Verse: 

    “For he testifieth,  Thou art a priest for ever after the order of Melchizedec” (Hebrews 7:17).

    Notes: 

    The Need for an Intercessor
    Because of the holiness of God and the sinfulness of man, there has always been the need for someone to stand between God’s holiness and our sinfulness to plead for us. God hates sin, and has made the law: “The soul that sinneth, it shall die” (Ezekiel:18:4). But Jesus was willing to bear our blame and die in our stead. He now stands before God with His five bleeding wounds to win God’s favour for everyone who asks forgiveness for his sins. “And if any man sin, we have an advocate with the Father, Jesus Christ the righteous” (I John:2:1).

    We shall never be able to face God in Heaven with sin in our hearts. We must have our sins forgiven before He will accept us. We must come to Jesus, ask Him to forgive our sins and wash them away. Then when God sees that Blood over our hearts, He can look upon us with love. There is no other way that we can come to God. Jesus said when He was on earth, “No man cometh unto the Father, but by me” (John:14:6). He meant that if we did not ask Jesus to cover our sins with His Blood, God would not receive us as His children. When we are forgiven, justified before God, we do not sin any more.

    The Blood of Animals a Type of Jesus
    People lived on earth thousands of years before Jesus came to die for sinners. How could they be saved? From the beginning God had a plan that people could kill animals and that blood would make atonement for them. The blood of bulls and goats was a type of the Blood of Jesus that would someday be shed to take away sin.
    During the patriarchal period, before Israel became a nation, the heads of the families acted as priests, and offered the sacrifices for their own sins and the sins of their children. We notice that Job rose early and offered burnt offerings for his sons and daughters, in case they had sinned and deserved the wrath of God ([Job:1:5]).

    Israel’s Priests a Shadow of Jesus
    It was hard for the Children of Israel in their day to understand the plan of redemption, which Jesus was going to unfold when He came to earth, so God gave them the Law, which included the Tabernacle and its forms and ceremonies of worship, and the priests who performed the holy rites. The entire service was a shadow of Jesus and prefigured what He would do when He came to earth to die on Calvary to pay the price of redemption and win favour with God for us.

    When Jacob was about to die, after he had moved his family into Egypt, he called his twelve sons about him to bless them; and he prophesied that his eldest son would not be the head of the Israelites and offer the sacrifices for the rest of the family. Later, when Israel sinned by making the golden calf and bowing down to it, the tribe of Levi came over on the Lord’s side; and it was from this tribe that Aaron was chosen to be the spiritual head of the nation and serve as high priest. Only his descendants were to minister in the priest’s office.

    Adorned for the Priesthood
    Moses was instructed by God to have beautiful garments made for Aaron and his sons, to be worn when they performed their duties in the sanctuary. God Himself designed those robes, which were made of gold, blue, purple, scarlet, and fine linen, and were artistically embroidered. The clothes were to be for “glory and for beauty” and would adorn the priests for their duties before the Lord in the Tabernacle.

    We today who are born again are priests unto God, and the beautiful garments which adorn the children of God are the robes of righteousness: “He hath clothed me with the garments of salvation, he hath covered me with the robe of righteousness, as a bridegroom decketh himself with ornaments, and as a bride adorneth herself with her jewels” (Isaiah:61:10).

    After the priests had put on their beautiful clothes, they had to be consecrated and sanctified before they could offer sacrifices for the people. All the congregation came to the Tabernacle to see the ceremony that would make Aaron and his sons holy. For seven days they stayed in the Tabernacle and did all that God told them to do. They washed with water, were anointed with holy oil, and made offerings unto the Lord. A bullock was killed for a sin offering, and a ram for a burnt offering, and another ram for their consecration. Aaron and his sons placed their hands upon these animals to show that the animals were dying for them.

    Our Consecrations
    All these sacrifices were particularly instituted by God, and had to be offered exactly as God said, so that Aaron and his sons could do the duties of the priesthood. We would consider it strange indeed if we had to go through such ceremonies; but we have to do things, too, in order to be sanctified. We do not need to offer animals, but we must present our bodies “a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable unto God,” which is our reasonable service ([Romans:12:1]). We must be just as careful that we offer unto God the things that are pleasing to Him. He is not pleased if we make careless consecrations. We must give Him our very best, and promise to do anything He wants us to do.

    More than to be anointed with oil, the priests had to have blood put on their right ear, their right thumb, and the big toe of their right foot. This showed that they were covered with the blood. We learn by this that we must have become “priests,” or have been saved.

    Supernatural Fire
    The priests were in the Tabernacle seven days during their consecration. On the eighth day they were ready to offer the sacrifices for the people. God showed them that their service and their consecrations were pleasing to Him when He sent the fire, which burned the meat that was upon the altar. No man lighted the fire. God just made it burn suddenly. The people were so happy to see that God was with them that they fell on their faces and praised Him.

    When, for our sanctification, we make consecrations that please God, He lets His spiritual fire fall upon our sacrifice, and we know we are sanctified. Still greater blessings, however, await us in the baptism of the Holy Ghost, when the power for service is given to the sanctified person.

    The fire that God had kindled was kept burning always upon the altar. Every morning and night new offerings were put upon it, besides many special offerings. So we keep the fire of God’s love burning in our hearts by offering daily sacrifices of love and willing service unto the Most High.

    Our High Priest
    The priests all had certain duties, and they worked together with the high priest, who was their leader. There were some things that the high priest alone could do. We are workers together with Christ, our High Priest, as we spread the Gospel. Jesus is the head of the Church, and He alone can save the lost.
    We learned that Jesus came from the tribe of Judah, “of which tribe Moses spake nothing concerning priesthood” (Hebrews:7:14). How could He be a priest if the priests were of the tribe of Levi?

    There had once been a much greater priest than Aaron. He was a priest at the time of Abraham. (We remember that Abraham was the grandfather of Jacob; and through Jacob’s son, Levi, came Aaron and his priesthood.) This priest was Melchizedec, and he was called the king of Salem. When Jesus came, He did not have to come from the descendants of Aaron, but was a priest like Melchizedec who was also a king. Jesus will be the King when He comes back to reign on earth during the Millennium.
    Abraham was a great man, a man of God, called the father of faith. The scribes and Pharisees spoke of him as their father, and considered him the founder of their religion. But one day when he was returning from battle with much booty of war, he met Melchizedec; and considering him so much greater than himself, Abraham paid tithes to him. Melchizedec then blessed Abraham. Paul tells us that the lesser man pays tithes to the greater and is blessed by him; so we can easily see that Melchizedec was even greater than that wonderful man of God, Abraham.

    Christ a Priest as Melchizedec
    Melchizedec was a type of Jesus, so if Melchizedec was greater than Abraham, surely Jesus was much greater than Abraham. The scribes and Pharisees did not want to listen to Jesus, saying that they had Abraham for their father. But Jesus said, “Abraham rejoiced to see my day.” All the Old Testament prophets looked forward with joy to the time when Jesus would come, and there would be no more need for priests like Aaron.

    We remember in the study of the Tabernacle that God’s presence rested between the cherubims over the Mercy Seat in the Holiest of All. Only the high priest could enter that room, and only once a year. But by the time Jesus came to earth the Israelites had backslidden so far from God that His Presence did not come into the Holiest of All any more. When Jesus died on the cross the veil that enclosed the Holiest of all was rent from the top to the bottom, and everyone could go in. The time of the tabernacle worship and the temple worship was past. Jesus was the new High Priest, and He did not have to offer sacrifices of animals in the Temple every day, because He offered up Himself once, and shed His Blood for an atonement that lasts forever; then with His Blood He entered Heaven.

    Christ Anointed as Priest
    Jesus did not become a priest just because He wanted to be one. God appointed Him, just as He had called Aaron ([Hebrews:5:4]). He was washed in water and anointed with oil (the Spirit) when He was baptised in Jordan and the Spirit descended on Him in the form of a dove. The blood on the ear, thumb, and toe of the priests was fulfilled when Jesus wore the crown of thorns, and His hands and feet were pierced by the nails at His crucifixion. Jesus fulfilled the type of the priesthood; but how much greater was He!

    When Isaiah saw the vision of the Lord, he heard the cherubims cry: “Holy, holy, holy, is the LORD of hosts: the whole earth is full of his glory.” Isaiah answered: “Mine eyes have seen the King, the LORD of Hosts” (Isaiah:6:3, 5). That was Jesus who has become our High Priest. And John, on the Isle of Patmos, heard the angels singing: “Worthy is the Lamb that was slain to receive power, and riches, and wisdom, and strength, and honour, and glory, and blessing”; and every creature in Heaven and on earth and under the earth, and in the sea, answered: “Blessing, and honour, and glory, and power, be unto him that sitteth upon the throne, and unto the Lamb for ever and ever” (Revelation:5:12, 13). Jesus, our High Priest, offered Himself as the Lamb of God, to give us eternal life. He is making intercession today before God for us. All who will come repenting and asking pardon for their sins are justified before God through the Blood of Jesus, and have eternal life.

    Questions: 

    1. Why do we need a priest?
    2. Who is our High Priest, and how is His Priesthood better than the Aaronic priesthood?
    3. How did the tabernacle priests get their office?
    4. Was Jesus a descendant of Aaron? After what order was He a priest?
    5. How did Jesus atone for sin?