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Shemot/Exodus 29:1 This is the thing that you shall do to them to consecrate them to be priests to Me
Now that the details for the priestly uniforms have been described,HaShem proceeds to tell Moshe how he is to install Aharon as the anointed Cohen Gadol, High Priest, and his sons as priests, to be holy and set apart for G-d. This ritual actually takes place in Vayikra chapters 8-9. Nahum Sarna (JPS Torah Commentary: Shemot/Exodus, pg 186) points out that "Moshe is to preside over the ceremonies, during which he will act as the sole priest." Moshe was neither the first-born in his family (the old order) - Aharon was Moshe's older brother - nor of the sons of Aharon (the new order) - being his brother - yet by divine command he is to act as a priest on this occasion, in order to induct Aharon as the Cohen Gadol. Once Aharon is installed, Moshe backs away and does not serve as a priest again, yet this occasion is enough for the Psalmist to record that "Moshe and Aharon were among His priests" (Psalm 99:6, NASB).
From this we can learn the importance of ordination, so that people whom G-d has called to serve Him in various ways can be recognised and set apart - their calling by G-d acknowledged - by the people amongst whom they serve. In some parts of the Body, this is done by formal ordination of priests or rabbis, a professional clergy; in other parts it is "setting in" of elders and/or deacons. Some groups recognise new house-group leaders by calling them out to the front of a meeting, introducing them and praying for them, while others are less formal and simply make an announcement in the weekly bulletin. Whatever the level of formality or the names and titles involved, the same process is taking place: peoples' calling by G-d is being recognised and they are being set apart to serve Him in some particular capacity. At Mt. Sinai, when our people heard G-d Himself speak to them, Israel was ordained as "a kingdom of priests and a holy nation" (Shemot 19:6), G-d's "special possession among all the peoples" (v. 5) and some of that function was fulfilled each year at Sukkot when part of the sacrifices offered each day during the festival was on behalf of the nations of the world.
But within Israel, the Levites were set apart for the service of the Tabernacle, to serve G-d on behalf of all the other tribes; within the Levites, the priests were set apart for the offering of the sacrifices and the daily service in the presence of G-d; while just one man - the High Priest - was chosen by G-d to represent the whole nation in the annual act of atonement, entering the presence of G-d in the Holy of Holies. So also within the Body of Messiah, there are levels of formal heirarchy, be it bishop, priest and deacon; superintendent, minister and deacon; overseer, elder, house-group leader; or ministries that have a board or a council of reference - all are set apart by G-d and equipped by Him to carry out the ministry that he has called them to, whether full-time, part-time or spare time!
More importantly, however, to each and every one of us, is the truth that we have all been set apart by Yeshua as believers, for the gospel. Each of us has been called out of the world - "out of the darkness into His glorious light" (1 Peter 2:9) - so that we may serve Him both at an individual level, sharing the gospel and good news of the Kingdom with those that G-d brings into our path, but also as members of His Body, building each other up, "in order to spur each other on to love and good deeds" (Hebrews 10:24, CJB). So that we can carry out this calling, G-d has equipped, empowered and commissioned each of us with His Ruach - Spirit - in specific and deliberate measure to fulfil the "life of good actions already prepared by G-d for us to do (Ephesians 2:10, CJB).
Further Study: Isaiah 61:1-3; 1 Corinthians 3:16-17
Application: Consider today how you have been called and appointed by G-d. His calling is not without purpose and effect, so wherever you are, and whatever you are doing, know that He has chosen you and set you apart to serve Him in the way and place that He has given you. Just as Aharon was unique - the only High Priest - so you are unique: the only person to serve G-d exactly where you are and as you can do.
© Jonathan Allen, 2007
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