New European Commentary

 

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Exo 29:1 This is the thing that you shall do to them to make them holy, to minister to Me in the priest’s office: take one young bull and two rams without blemish-
This looked ahead to the unblemished character of the Lord Jesus. The offering of sacrifices "without blemish" uses a word which is used about Abraham and Noah being "without blemish" (AV "perfect") before God (Gen. 6:9; 17:1). Although the word is used about the sacrifices, it is really more appropriate to persons- "you shall be perfect with Yahweh your God" (Dt. 18:13), "serve Him in sincerity (s.w. "without blemish")" (Josh. 24:14). The idea, therefore, was that the offerer was invited to see the animal as representative of himself. Our lives too are to be as "living sacrifices" (Rom. 12:1). And yet in practical terms, no animal is without blemish. They were to give the best they could, and God would count it as without blemish; as He does with us. David frequently uses the term in the Psalms about himself and the "upright", even though he was far from unblemished in moral terms.

Exo 29:2 unleavened bread, unleavened cakes mixed with oil, and unleavened wafers anointed with oil: you shall make them of fine wheat flour.
Exo 29:3 You shall put them into one basket, and bring them in the basket, with the bull and the two rams.
Exo 29:4 You shall bring Aaron and his sons to the door of the Tent of Meeting, and shall wash them with water.
Exo 29:5 You shall take the garments, and put on Aaron the coat, the robe of the ephod, the ephod, and the breastplate, and clothe him with the skilfully woven band of the ephod;
Exo 29:6 and you shall set the turban on his head, and put the holy crown on the turban-

The commands relating to the rebuilt temple of Ez. 40-48 are expanded upon in Zechariah 3. There we read that Joshua the high priest was to be dressed first with the headpiece and then with the rest of the priestly garments (Zech. 3:5). This is the reverse order to the Mosaic commands in Ex. 29:5-7 and Lev. 8:7-9- implying that this was to be a new kind of high priest. Likewise the two onyx stones and the twelve gemstones of the Mosaic breastplate are replaced by a singular stone for the restored high priest (Zech. 3:9).


Exo 29:7 Then you shall take the anointing oil, and pour it on his head, and anoint him-
 
We read in 1 Jn. 2:20,27 that we have each been anointed. The idea of anointing was to signal the initiation of someone. I'd therefore be inclined to see 1 Jn. 2:20,27 as alluding to baptism; when we become in Christ, in the anointed, then as 2 Cor. 1:21 says, we too are anointed in a sense. We're given a specific mission and purpose. "The anointing that you received" would therefore refer to our commissioning at baptism. It seems to imply a one time act of being anointed / commissioned / inaugurated for service. Baptism isn't therefore merely an initiation into a community; it's a specific commissioning for active service, in ways which are unique to us. We do well to bring this point out to those we prepare for baptism. The words for 'anointing' are unique to 1 John but they occur in the LXX to describe the anointing / initiation of the priests, and of the tabernacle / dwelling place of God (e.g. Ex. 29:7; 35:14,28). John sees us as the dwelling place / tabernacle of the Father.

The Septuagint word used for ‘anointing’ here occurs in the New Testament only in 1 Jn. 2:20,27, where we read that we have each been anointed. The idea of anointing was to signal the initiation of someone as they began a specific calling or work. When we are baptized into Christ, the anointed One, we too are anointed in a sense (2 Cor. 1:21). We're given a specific mission and purpose. "The anointing that you received" in 1 Jn. 2 would therefore refer to our commissioning at baptism. It seems to imply a one time act of being anointed / commissioned / inaugurated for service. Baptism isn't therefore merely an initiation into a community; it's a specific commissioning for active service, in ways which are unique to us. We do well to bring this point out to those we prepare for baptism. 


Exo 29:8 You shall bring his sons, and put coats on them.
Exo 29:9 You shall clothe them with belts, Aaron and his sons, and bind headbands on them; and they shall have the priesthood by a perpetual statute; and you shall consecrate Aaron and his sons-
It was promised to the family of Aaron that the priesthood would be theirs for a perpetual statute (Ex. 29:9). And yet the family of Eli, a descendant of Aaron (1 Kings 2:27; 1 Chron. 24:3), were told that they were to be cut off as they had abused the priesthood. The promise of Exodus was therefore conditional, although the conditions weren’t laid down. Indeed, just because of this fact, the Levites often assumed that they were acceptable just by reason of who they were.

 


Exo 29:10 You shall bring the bull before the Tent of Meeting; and Aaron and his sons shall lay their hands on the head of the bull.
Exo 29:11 You shall kill the bull before Yahweh, at the door of the Tent of Meeting.
Exo 29:12 You shall take of the blood of the bull, and put it on the horns of the altar with your finger; and you shall pour out all the blood at the base of the altar.
Exo 29:13 You shall take all the fat that covers the innards, the cover of the liver, the two kidneys, and the fat that is on them, and burn them on the altar.
Exo 29:14 But the flesh of the bull, and its skin, and its dung, you shall burn with fire outside of the camp: it is a sin offering.
Exo 29:15 You shall also take the one ram; and Aaron and his sons shall lay their hands on the head of the ram.
Exo 29:16 You shall kill the ram, and you shall take its blood, and sprinkle it around on the altar.
Exo 29:17 You shall cut the ram into its pieces, and wash its innards, and its legs, and put them with its pieces, and with its head.
Exo 29:18 You shall burn the whole ram on the altar: it is a burnt offering to Yahweh; it is a pleasant aroma, an offering made by fire to Yahweh-

“A pleasant aroma” is a very common phrase. This concept is important to God. It first occurs in Gen. 8:21 where it means that God accepted Noah's sacrifice and vowed that the pole of saving mercy in His character was going to triumph over that of necessary judgment. Under the new covenant, it is persons and not sacrifices or incense which are accepted as a "pleasant aroma" (Ez. 20:41). The word for "pleasant" means strong delight; this is how God's heart can be touched by genuine sacrifice. Those pleasing offerings represented us, the living sacrifices (Rom. 12:1). And so it is applied to us in 2 Cor. 2:15- if we are in Christ, we are counted as a pleasant aroma to God. The offering of ourselves to Him is nothing of itself, but because we are in Christ and counted as Him, we are a delight to God. Hence the colossal importance of being “in Christ”. "Aroma" or "smell" is a form of the Hebrew word ruach, the word for spirit or breath. God discerns the spirit of sacrifices, that was what pleased Him rather than the burning flesh of animals. Our attitude of mind in sacrifice can touch Him. Sacrifice is therefore accepted, Paul says, according to what a person has to give, but the essence is the attitude of mind behind it. We think of the two coins sacrificed by the widow.
Exo 29:19 You shall take the other ram; and Aaron and his sons shall lay their hands on the head of the ram.
Exo 29:20 Then you shall kill the ram, and take some of its blood, and put it on the tip of the right ear of Aaron, and on the tip of the right ear of his sons, and on the thumb of their right hand, and on the big toe of their right foot, and sprinkle the blood around on the altar.
Exo 29:21 You shall take of the blood that is on the altar, and of the anointing oil, and sprinkle it on Aaron, and on his garments, and on his sons, and on the garments of his sons with him; and he shall be made holy, and his garments, and his sons, and his sons’ garments with him-

‘To make holy’ or to ‘sanctify’ is something Jesus often spoke in discussing the meaning of His death. He makes many allusions to the language of the High Priest in His prayer of John 17, e.g. “for their sakes I sanctify Myself so that they also may be sanctified” (Jn. 17:19). We are all called to be part of a new priesthood (1 Pet. 2:5,9); Christ’s death sanctified us, prepared us for service in God’s house. Spiritually serving others is therefore not something just for a specialist minority, but for all who are in Christ, ‘the anointed one’, anointed just as the priests were anointed to serve (:21). The unblemished animals which were sacrificed in order to sanctify the priests therefore represent the sacrifice of Jesus.


Exo 29:22 Also you shall take some of the ram’s fat, the fat tail, the fat that covers the innards, the cover of the liver, the two kidneys, the fat that is on them, and the right thigh (for it is a ram of consecration),
Exo 29:23 and one loaf of bread, one cake of oiled bread, and one wafer out of the basket of unleavened bread that is before Yahweh.
Exo 29:24 You shall put all of this in Aaron’s hands, and in his sons’ hands, and shall wave them for a wave offering before Yahweh-
 
Preaching work isn’t glamorous. It is a living out of the cross. Paul felt he had been “separated unto the [preaching of the] gospel of God” (Gal. 1:15); and he uses a word which the LXX uses for the separation of part of a sacrifice to be consumed (Ex. 29:24,26). The Greek word for "witness" is martus, from whence 'martyr'. To witness to Christ is to live the life of the martyr; to preach Him is to live out His cross in daily life.


Exo 29:25 You shall take them from their hands, and burn them on the altar on the burnt offering, for a pleasant aroma before Yahweh: it is an offering made by fire to Yahweh.
Exo 29:26 You shall take the breast of Aaron’s ram of consecration, and wave it for a wave offering before Yahweh; and it shall be your portion.
Exo 29:27 You shall sanctify the breast of the wave offering, and the thigh of the wave offering, which is waved, and which is heaved up, of the ram of consecration, even of that which is for Aaron, and of that which is for his sons;
Exo 29:28 and it shall be for Aaron and his sons as their portion forever from the children of Israel; for it is a wave offering; and it shall be a wave offering from the children of Israel of the sacrifices of their peace offerings, even their wave offering to Yahweh-

Exo 29:29 The holy garments of Aaron shall be for his sons after him, to be anointed in them, and to be consecrated in them-

Although there was a special priesthood, it was clearly God's intention that all Israel should be like priests; they were to be a "Kingdom of priests" (Ex. 19:6). Israel were all “saints”, and yet saints and priests are paralleled in passages like Ps. 132:16. Israel in the wilderness had clothes which didn’t wear out- just as the Priestly clothes didn’t, and were handed down from generation to generation (so Ex. 29:29 implies).


Exo 29:30 Seven days shall the son who is priest in his place put them on, when he comes into the Tent of Meeting to minister in the holy place.
Exo 29:31 You shall take the ram of consecration, and boil its flesh in a holy place.
Exo 29:32 Aaron and his sons shall eat the flesh of the ram, and the bread that is in the basket, at the door of the Tent of Meeting.
Exo 29:33 They shall eat those things with which atonement was made, to consecrate and sanctify them, but a stranger shall not eat of it, because they are holy-

Eating the things with which the atonement was made points forward to the breaking of bread service. We can see in this echoes of the consecration of the priests; and we should realize each time we do it that we have been sanctified in order to proactively serve in God’s house.


Exo 29:34 If anything of the flesh of the consecration, or of the bread, remains to the morning, then you shall burn the remainder with fire: it shall not be eaten, because it is holy.
Exo 29:35 You shall do so to Aaron, and to his sons, according to all that I have commanded you. You shall consecrate them seven days.
Exo 29:36 Every day you shall offer the bull of sin offering for atonement; and you shall cleanse the altar, when you make atonement for it; and you shall anoint it, to sanctify it.
Exo 29:37 Seven days you shall make atonement for the altar, and sanctify it; and the altar shall be most holy: whatever touches the altar shall be holy.
Exo 29:38 Now this is that which you shall offer on the altar: two lambs a year old day by day continually.
Exo 29:39 The one lamb you shall offer in the morning, and the other lamb you shall offer at evening;
Exo 29:40 and with the one lamb a tenth part of an ephah of fine flour mixed with the fourth part of a hin of beaten oil, and the fourth part of a hin of wine for a drink offering.
Exo 29:41 The other lamb you shall offer at evening, and shall do to it according to the meal offering of the morning, and according to its drink offering, for a pleasant aroma, an offering made by fire to Yahweh.
Exo 29:42 It shall be a continual burnt offering throughout your generations at the door of the Tent of Meeting before Yahweh, where I will meet with you, to speak there to you-

Although we are a great multitude of redeemed, yet the communication of the Father and Son to us are still amazingly unique, even though we all hear and read the same actual words, and reflect upon the same facts. Right back at the beginning of God’s relationship with Israel He had made the point that “I will meet you [plural] to speak there unto thee [you singular]” (Ex. 29:42).  

 


Exo 29:43 There I will meet with the children of Israel; and the place shall be sanctified by My glory.
Exo 29:44 I will sanctify the Tent of Meeting and the altar: Aaron also and his sons I will sanctify, to minister to Me in the priest’s office.
Exo 29:45 I will dwell among the children of Israel, and will be their God-

"The tabernacle of God" being God's people; He being our God; God living and walking with us (Rev. 21:3) is evidently alluding to Lev. 26:11,12 and Ex. 29:45,46 concerning the ultimate blessings of the covenant after Israel's final repentance. The shadowy fulfilment they have had in the past through God's manifestation in an Angel doesn't mean that these promises can and must only be fulfilled by some form of God manifestation. Surely Rev. 21:3 is saying that at the second coming the principle of God manifestation will change in that God will personally be with His people. Because we have so far lived under the paradigm of God manifestation, let's not think that it's not possible for God to personally be with us.  

Rev. 21:3 understands this as coming true when Christ returns to earth, seeing that God’s intention for this to happen with Israel didn’t materialize. And yet, having prophesied that He will be their God, He says that He is right now their God (:46). This could mean that even if God’s people choose not to have Him as their God, yet He keeps His side of the covenant; He is their God. In this we see God’s hopefulness for us, His earnest desire to have a relationship with His people. 


Exo 29:46 They shall know that I am Yahweh their God, who brought them forth out of the land of Egypt, that I might dwell among them: I am Yahweh their God-
Often we read this two fold intention of God- to bring His people out from the world [Egypt], and then to do something positive with them. Our separation from the world isn’t therefore negative; for ‘holiness’ means both separation from and separation unto.