Themes in Leviticus (05) - The Priesthood, Ordination, and Baptism
Themes in Leviticus (5): The Priesthood
Leviticus 8:29 - “So Moses took some of the anointing oil and some of the blood which was on the altar and sprinkled it on Aaron, on his garments, on his sons, and on the garments of his sons with him; and he consecrated Aaron, his garments, and his sons, and the garments of his sons with him.”
Review of Themes in Leviticus - In Leviticus have seen four main themes: 1) Holiness - The call for us to be like God is based upon God's redemption of us (11:44–45). 2) Sacrifices - The sacrifices point not only the fulfillment that is in Christ’s propitiation, but also that the sacrificial victim is representative of each worshiper (1:4, “hand on the head”). 3) Cleanness - The clean and unclean laws of Leviticus have their roots in symbolic illustrations of the curse of Genesis 3. Now the blood of the cross flows to make, “His blessings flow far as the curse is found.” The earth and the nations are clean and being cleansed. 4). Jubilee - The Sabbaths and Jubilee point to the new creation pattern of Christ’s resurrection, rest on the first day of the week and faithful labor in his kingdom for the next six days. The principal of the Jubilee was that the rightful landlords have returned the Land. So the Land of all the earth (Rom. 4:13) has been returned to the rightful LandLord (Jesus) and His people under his dominion.
ORDINATION - cleansed, clothed, and consecrated.
VOCATION - stand and serve - serve the Royal house - serve the House of God
OUR HIGH PRIEST: CHRIST
The Priesthood - The final theme in Leviticus the office of the priesthood and specifically the high priest. All of this will point to Christ. Anointing is a form of installation into office which itself restores fallen Man (‘adam) back into the presence of the Lord. This is presented in the elaborate history of the OT (Ps. 2:2, priest Ex. 40:13, for king 1Sam. 2:10, and prophet 1Kg 19:16 - ultimately “Messiah,” Lk 4:18). In the anointing of priests they underwent a ritual washing for their cleansing (“sprinkle purifying water on them,” Num. 8:7). The OT speaks of “the priest who is anointed [with oil] and ordained to serve as priest” (Lev. 16:32, Ex. 28:41, Num. 3:3, etc.).
Our Priesthood - Christ was ordained (Heb. 5:1, 7:28) and “designated by God as a high priest according to the order of Melchizedek” (Heb. 5:10) when He received, not the symbolic anointing oil of the Spirit, but the reality of the Spirit, at His baptism. Christ said of Himself, “The Spirit of the Lord is upon me, because He anointed me to preach the gospel . . .” (Luke 4:18). Hence, the final and transitional Levitical priest, John, ordained the greater Melchizedekian High priest, Jesus. Peter proclaims, Jesus as the High Priest, “having received from the Father the promise of the Holy Spirit, He has poured forth this which you both see and hear” (Acts 2:33). The shadows of the Levitical system illustrated that the priests were anointed for service with the symbolic oil, now Christ (literally, “the anointed one”) pours forth the real oil on the “royal priesthood”—the true temple (1 Pet. 2:9, 2:5).
Gregg Strawbridge, Ph.D., is the pastor of All Saints Church in Lancaster, PA. He became a committed follower of Jesus Christ at age 20, discipled in the context of a University Navigator Ministry. As a result of personal discipleship he went on to study at Columbia Biblical Seminary (M.A., Columbia, SC, 1990), as well as a Ph.D. in education and philosophy... read more