They could be all dressed up . . . even have somewhere to go . . . but without this, they couldn’t get even in the door . . . literally.
I’m wrapping up Exodus this morning. And the prevailing theme is the building, the setting up, and the commissioning of the tabernacle of the tent of meeting. Each piece of the meeting place architected by God. Moses the “general contractor” to make sure it all comes together according to spec. The people are moved to generously supply the needed raw materials. And men, raised up of God and with Spirit-infused skill and ability, fashioning each part of the tabernacle in exact conformance with God’s command.
And within the tent and amidst the furniture of the tabernacle, entering the holy place and ministering only a veil’s width from the Most Holy Place, there is the human factor. Ministering in this place upon which the glory of God would descend, were the priests. Aaron, the high priest, and his sons. And it’s something recorded concerning their ministry that struck me this morning. Something that reminded me of our anointing.
“Then you shall bring Aaron and his sons to the entrance of the tent of meeting and shall wash them with water and put on Aaron the holy garments. And you shall anoint him and consecrate him, that he may serve Me as priest. You shall bring his sons also and put coats on them, and anoint them, as you anointed their father, that they may serve Me as priests. And their anointing shall admit them to a perpetual priesthood throughout their generations.” (Exodus 40:12-15 ESV)
They were to be washed before putting on the holy garments. They were to put on the holy garments before serving before the LORD. But, before serving they were to be consecrated, to be set apart for their spiritual service, and that with a holy anointing. Without the anointing, they could be all dressed and still have no place to go. But with the anointing, they were admitted into a perpetual priesthood.
And I can’t help but see some parallels. I don’t naturally come from a priestly line, but have been adopted as a child of God, considered a brother of His Son, the Great High Priest of whom Aaron was but a shadow. And, says His word, coming to Jesus, the Living Stone rejected by men but precious in the sight of His Father, I am made like a living stone too, “being built up as a spiritual house, to be a holy priesthood, to offer spiritual sacrifices acceptable to God through Jesus Christ” (1Peter 2:5). What’s more, I am part of “a chosen race, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a people for His own possession, that you may proclaim the excellencies of Him who called you out of darkness into His marvelous light” (1Peter 2:9).
As such, I have been called to “the priesthood.” I have been washed by the blood of Christ, cleansed from all sin and stain. I have been given garments — not of my making or based on my merit — but holy garments representing the righteousness of the Savior, all sufficient for allowing access into the Most Holy Place. And — it overwhelms me even considering it — I have been consecrated, set apart for this high and holy work, with an anointing. The anointing of the Holy Spirit of God.
And it is God who establishes us with you in Christ, and has anointed us, and who has also put His seal on us and given us His Spirit in our hearts as a guarantee. (2Corinthians 1:21-22 ESV)
Just as the anointing of the priests of the tent of meeting admitted them to their perpetual priesthood, so too, our anointing seals us and establishes us forever in Christ. And, under His rule, we are considered qualified participants in what has been called the “priesthood of believers.” The offering of spiritual sacrifices to our God, the proclaiming of His excellencies to a lost world. Who am I? Wrong question. It’s all about who He is!
Praise God for our anointing. Grace upon grace for those who had no right to even approach the outer courts of God’s dwelling place, but now, have not only been granted access though Christ, but have been consecrated by His blessed Spirit to minister in the holy place.
All for His glory . . .