The tabernacle would become the center of worship for the nation of Israel and God provided very specific instructions concerning the furnishings of the tabernacle (Exodus 24:12-25:40), construction of the tabernacle (Exodus 26:1-37), and the attire of the priests (Exodus 27:1-28:43). Moses was receiving these instructions directly from God during their 40 day encounter on Mount Sinai (Exodus 24:18) and He wrote on tablets of stone the Ten Commandments (20:1-21), civil/religious ordinances (20:22-24:11), and ceremonial regulations (24:12-31:18). Obedience to these regulations and laws would help Israel become a “special treasure…a kingdom of priests and a holy nation” (Exodus 19:5-6). Since the presence of God would inhabit the Holy of Holies in the tabernacle, those who served in it were to be consecrated to the Lord. In Exodus 29 God details the ceremony for installing priests for service in the tabernacle. A young bull and two rams were to accompany a basket filled with unleavened bread, unleavened cakes, and unleavened wafers to the tabernacle courtyard where Aaron and his sons would also meet (29:1-4). Aaron was to be dressed in the priestly garments described in Exodus 28 and then anointed with oil (29:5-7). This anointing symbolized God’s consecration of him for priestly service in the tabernacle. Although Aaron’s sons were not to be anointed, they were dressed in priestly garments including tunics, sashes, and head coverings (29:8-9). These rituals would solidify them as the ones who possessed the right of the priesthood.
The young bull was brought to the entrance of the tabernacle where Aaron and his sons laid their hands on the head which symbolized their sinfulness and the priests’ identification with the animal being sacrificed in their place (29:10). The bull was then sacrificed on the altar of burnt offering (Exodus 27:1-8) and some of the blood was to be placed on the horns of the altar and in its base (29:11-12). The insides of the bull were to be burned on the altar and the remaining outer parts were to be burned outside the camp as a sin offering (29:13-14). Another sacrifice was then to take place with the two rams. Aaron and his sons were to lay their hands on the head of the first ram, slaughter it, and then splatter the blood on all sides of the altar (29:15-16). The ram was to be cut in pieces, washed, and then burned as a burnt offering to the Lord (29:17-18). The other ram would also be slaughtered, but the blood was to be placed on the right earlobe, the thumb of their right hand, and the big toe of their right foot (29:19-20). Blood and oil was to be sprinkled on Aaron and his sons and on their garments (29:21). Blood on the earlobe illustrated the hearing of God’s word. Blood on the thumb illustrated doing the work of God and blood on the toe symbolized walking in the ways of God. Blood on the priests and their garments set them apart as holy in their service to God. The insides of the second ram were to be offered with the bread, cake, and wafers as a wave offering to the Lord (29:22-28; 31-34). The wave offering was to be waved back and forth between the priest and the altar which symbolized that the offering was being given to God. The elements waved as an offering to God were to be burned on the altar; however, the breast of the ram was to be eaten by Aaron and his sons (29:26-27).
The priestly garments for Aaron and his sons were to be passed down to future generations and be worn for seven days, which probably symbolized completeness (29:29-30). God repeats instructions for eating parts of the second ram (29:22-28) that the priests alone were permitted to eat (29:31-33). Any parts left over from the meal were to be burned because it was a holy meal (29:34). This ordination ceremony lasted seven days and the sacrifice of the young bull was to be repeated each day (29:35-36). The altar was to be purified each day following the sacrifice (29:37). Furthermore, God gives instructions to Moses concerning the daily offerings in the tabernacle (29:38-41). One lamb was to be sacrificed in the morning and one in the evening (29:42). As Israel obeyed God’s commands for offerings and blood sacrifice, He would meet with them and speak with them in order to fellowship with His people (29:43-46).
Dear God, I desire to meet with You daily so that I can know and follow Your ways.