Hello everybody, and welcome in to episode 48 of the Bible 2021 podcast. We are reading Leviticus 8 today and our focus is on ordination, and blood. And yes, I know that is weird, but hopefully it will make more sense after we read our chapter. We are a daily 10 minute podcast, where we will dig in to the truth of the Word of God by reading one Bible chapter a day and discussing it. Welcome to new listeners in Bavaria, Germany, Parts unknown, China, Haryana, India, Los Angeles, California, and Grand Junction, Colorado. Thanks for listening! Our goal is to encourage DAILY Bible reading, so you can jump in at any time and join with us. We want to invite as many people as possible to join us in daily Bible reading, so help spread the word and share the podcast Don’t forget about our new web-page, Bible2021.com – contact page, show notes, transcript and more – Click here for our reading plan!
Today we return to the Old Testament – for this year’s reading plan, we are following Discipleship Journal’s 5 by 5 plan, with 2 extra days of Old Testament reading added in. That means we’ll read 5 chapters in the New Testament and 2 chapters in the Old Testament per week, with the O.T. chapters selected to help us get a broad overview of the important events and themes in the Old Testament. Today we read about the ordination of Aaron and his sons. Ordination is still a practice that the church uses today. Some churches ordain people to several different offices or roles, such as deacon, pastor, elder, bishop, etc. Often times an ordination service or ceremony will involve a group of leaders laying hands on a newly appointed leader, and in some cases, the leader to be ordained is anointed with oil. But what does ordination mean, exactly? The Hebrew word used here is מָלֵא mâlêʼ, maw-lay’, and it is translated by the KJV as ‘consecrated’ in today’s chapter, and as ‘ordain,’ in the CSB. The word has a meaning indication a filling of some sort, or to accomplish – in other words, the person to be ordained will be filling a position or role. Our friends at Gotquestions.org expands on it a little bit:
The word ordain in the Bible refers to a setting in place or designation; for example, Joseph was “ordained” as a ruler in Egypt (Acts 7:10); the steward in Jesus’ parable was “ordained” to oversee a household (Matthew 24:45); deacons were “ordained” to serve the Jerusalem church (Acts 6:1-6); and pastors were “ordained” in each city in Crete (Titus 1:5). In none of these cases is the mode of ordination specified, nor is any ceremony detailed; the “ordinations” are simply appointments. The word can even be used negatively, as an appointment to punishment (Luke 12:46).
Acts 13 includes a good example of a ministerial appointment: “While they were worshiping the Lord and fasting, the Holy Spirit said, ‘Set apart for me Barnabas and Saul for the work to which I have called them.’ So after they had fasted and prayed, they placed their hands on them and sent them off. The two of them, sent on their way by the Holy Spirit, went down to Seleucia” (vv. 2-4). In this passage, we note some key facts: 1) It is God Himself who calls the men to the ministry and qualifies them with gifts (Acts 20:28; Ephesians 4:11). 2) The members of the church recognize God’s clear leading and embrace it. 3) With prayer and fasting, the church lays hands on Paul and Barnabas to demonstrate their commissioning (cf. Acts 6:6; 1 Timothy 5:22). 4) God works through the church, as both the church and the Spirit are said to “send” the missionaries. Paul regularly ordained pastors for the churches he planted. He and Barnabas directed the appointment or ordination of elders “in each church” in Galatia (Acts 14:23).
Let’s read our chapter, and then discuss all of the blood and animal sacrifices. Why did the Old Testament saints have to deal with blood so much – was it a merely primitive religion, or is there something much deeper here – something that connects us more closely with Moses, Aaron and his sons than we might realize at first?
Much of what happens in this chapter is very strange to the modern reader. Animals slaughtered, blood placed on the earlobe and toe – atonement – it can all be mystifying. We must be aware, however, that Christianity, like Judaism, is ALSO centered on blood – only, in our case, the blood that was shed was not shed by an animal, but by the God and creator of the universe! Old Testament professor Kenneth Matthews helps us understand this chapter a little better here:
With the altar prepared with anointing oil, Moses could now offer up animal sacrifices. The first was a bull for the sin offering in behalf of Aaron and his sons (vv. 14–17; cf. Exodus 29:10–14; Leviticus 4:3). By placing their hands upon the head of the animal, the priests depicted the transfer of their sin to the substitute victim. Although the priests were dressed in holy garments and the high priest had received the oil of consecration, Aaron and his sons had not yet received atonement for their sins. There remained the need to deal with their own sin before they could step into the role of mediation for the sin of the people. Because they were in a leadership position, the proper offering was the costly male bull. The blood from the animal made atonement first for the altar as the instrument of atonement made in the Tent of Meeting. Blood was necessary for the cleansing of the altar and for cleansing the priests who conducted worship. The colorful finery of their dress and the fragrant perfume of the anointing oil could not redress sin (Hebrews 9:22). Only the death of a substitute victim could do that, for as Paul said, “the wages of sin is death” (Romans 6:23). This requirement of death was fully satisfied on our behalf by the blood of our Lord Jesus Christ (Colossians 1:20) who gave himself as a sin offering (2 Corinthians 5:21).
Kenneth A. Mathews, Leviticus: Holy God, Holy People, Preaching the Word (Wheaton, IL: Crossway Books, 2009), 79–80.
End of the Show: Bible memory verse for FEBRUARY: Acts 9:31 So the church throughout all Judea, Galilee, and Samaria had peace and was strengthened. Living in the fear of the Lord and encouraged by the Holy Spirit, it increased in numbers.
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