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“The Thing which the Lord Commanded”
“And the LORD spake unto Moses, saying, Take Aaron and his sons with him, and the garments, and the anointing oil, and a bullock for the sin offering, and two rams, and a basket of unleavened bread; And gather thou all the congregation together unto the door of the tabernacle of the congregation. And Moses did as the LORD commanded him; and the assembly was gathered together unto the door of the tabernacle of the congregation. And Moses said unto the congregation, This is the thing which the LORD commanded to be done…So Aaron and his sons did all things which the LORD commanded by the hand of Moses.” (Leviticus 8:1-36)
Nothing is more important to our God than his Word. In fact, the psalmist declares, “Thou hast magnified thy word above all thy name” (Psalm 138:2). What is more important to you than your word? Your word is but the reflection of you. “Out of the abundance of the heart the mouth speaketh.” We reveal what we are by our speech.
The same is true of our God. His Word reveals what he is. His Word makes his character known. His Word declares his will. It is only by his Word that we know him. It is only by his Word that he speaks to us, leads us, comforts us, and teaches us. If we honor God’s Word, we honor him. If we dishonor his Word, we dishonor him. David, being a man after God’s own heart, understood how highly God had magnified his Word. Therefore, he wrote, “Thou hast magnified thy word above all thy name.” — Oh, that we might learn this and learn to honor God’s holy Word.
Because he has so greatly honored his Word, the Lord God has given special sanctions concerning it (Deuteronomy 4:2; 12:32; Proverbs 30:6; Revelation 22:18-19). We dare not presume to add anything to it or take anything from it.
Let us always, as we read the Scriptures, ask God the Holy Ghost to give us grace that we may read his Word applying it to ourselves. Particularly, as we read this 8th chapter of Leviticus, I want us to put ourselves into this passage. It applies as much to God’s elect today as it did in the days of Moses and Aaron. As we come together in the house of God, just like Moses, Aaron, and the children of Israel, we come seeking to hear his Word and worship him through the person and work of the Lord Jesus Christ our great High Priest.
Like Israel of old, we come today to the house of God to worship him. As the children of Israel were gathered together in one place, at the door of the tabernacle of the congregation, with Aaron, the holy anointing oil, the sin offering, and the rams and unleavened bread for offerings of thanksgiving and praise, symbols of consecration to the Lord, so God’s church gathers to worship him today. As the assembly of God’s saints meet for worship, we come together as “the house of God, which is the church of the living God” (1 Timothy 3:15). We meet together in the house of God with the Lord Jesus Christ, our great High Priest, our sin atoning Sacrifice, our Altar, having upon us the holy anointing oil, God the Holy Spirit, and bring our offerings of praise, thanksgiving, and consecration to our God (Hebrews 12:22-24).
How blessed we are to have this great privilege! This is our Bethel, the House of God. — “I was glad when they said unto me, Let us go into the house of the Lord!” “How amiable are thy tabernacles, O Lord of hosts!” (Psalm 84:1)
How different things are in the house of God than in the places where Baal is adored. Here the whole assembly comes together as one, upon the same footing. We come to God as blood-washed sinners saved by grace. There are no big dogs, or little dogs here, just dogs! All enjoy the same privileges and have the same responsibilities. Like Israel of old, we come to one place, the altar of God (Christ), to behold him (our divinely appointed Mediator and Priest), who has been entrusted with the everlasting care of our souls.
Each one, the lowest and the highest, the richest and the poorest, the most learned and the most unlearned, the strongest and the weakest, the most pure and the most polluted, the oldest and the youngest, the fathers, the young men, and the babes, the men and the women, each one has his place being “fitly joined together” (Ephesians 4:16). All are standing upon the same ground. — The holy ground of blood atonement! All have come for the same reason. — To gaze upon God’s High Priest, the sacrifice which he offered, and the gorgeous robes with which he was adorned as he did his work for us!
We come to the house of God, each with our own specific, peculiar needs. The God of Israel would have us see and see clearly that each of our individual needs are supplied by our great High Priest. — Look yonder, needy soul of mine! What need do I have that is not fully supplied in that Man who stands in the Holy Place? His blood is our atonement. His perfection is our righteousness. His shoulders are our strength. His wisdom directs our lives. His heart is touched with the feeling of our infirmities. His bounty is our supply. His power is omnipotence. His faithfulness is sure. His grace is abundant. His acceptance is indisputable.
Every aspect of our Priest’s gorgeous attire is designed by God to tell us and assure us that he is both qualified and able to meet our souls’ every need. He wears a coat of blue, and purple, and scarlet, interwoven with strands of beaten gold! The blue is the color of heaven above. Purple is the color of royalty. Scarlet represents blood. The beaten gold is God in our flesh. His golden girdle is faithfulness! Upon his very heart he carries our names! In him is all Light and Perfection! Upon his miter there is the golden, holy crown, inscribed with “Holiness to the Lord!” Can you hear the golden bells of the gospel ringing out the glad tidings of grace?
“The gospel bells in music tell
The story that we love so well
Of peace on earth, good will to men:
Ring out sweet bells, ring out again!”
Like those worshippers of old, we come to the house of God with great need. Have you ever thought of the many needs represented in that vast congregation in the wilderness? Some, no doubt, were so needy that they were insensible to their need. Others came to the house of God with heavy, heavy hearts. — Grieving with bereavement. — Broken with sorrow. — Heavy with care. — Tortured with guilt. — Hungry. — Thirsty. — Weary. — Heavy Laden!
Yes, thank God, it is true, we who are the Lord’s are one with that Man who is at his right hand. As Israel was one with Aaron symbolically in the holy place, we are really and truly one with Christ, members of his body.
Being one with Christ, we are accepted in him, accepted with him, accepted for his sake. All our sins are blotted out. In Christ, before God, we have no spot of sin, no wrinkle of infirmity, no blemish or flaw of any kind. As one of the old writers put it, God’s saints are “all fair and lovely beneath the eye of God.” This is our joy, our consolation, and our peace (Ephesians 2:5-10; Colossians 2:6-15; 1 John 3:5; 4:17).
Yet, so long as we are in this wilderness, we are in the place of need. Needy souls need no convincing. Our need is great. We know it. We acknowledge it. We come together in the house of God because we need him. Our weakness needs his strength. Our tried souls need his grace. Our tempted hearts need the grip of his mighty hand. Our wandering affections need his correction. Our falls need his restoration. Our sins need his forgiveness. Our filth needs his cleansing. Our coldness needs his fire. Our death needs his life!
O my needy soul, look away to Christ! My dear brother, whatever your soul needs, Christ is the supply. My heavy-hearted sister, whatever it is that your heart demands, Christ is the supply! O poor sinner, all that you need Christ is, Christ has, Christ gives! His blood meets the demands of my troubled conscience! His life meets the demands of my soul day by day and forever!
We come to the house of God to see, and worship, and hear from our God through the person and work of one representative Man, the Man Christ Jesus. God will not receive us, accept us, forgive us, hear us, speak to us, or allow us to speak to him, but by a Mediator, a Priest, an Intercessor, an Advocate, a Substitute. And that one Man by whom we can and do come to God, by whom God speaks, in whom God is well-pleased, in whom we see and worship God, is Jesus Christ our Lord. He is our Priest, our ever-living Priest, our Priest in the Holy Place above. Christ’s obedience in his humiliation, as the last Adam, brought in everlasting righteousness for us (Romans 5:18-19). Our Savior’s death as the Lamb of God, our sin-atoning Substitute, satisfied all the demands of God’s holy law and forever put away our sins (Hebrews 9:26; 10:10-14). But it is our Savior’s life in Heaven above, as our great High Priest, which secures our souls in life (Romans 5:10-11). Christ’s priestly work is done only in heaven, in the holy place not made with hands.
It is his presence in the sanctuary above that gives us hope and assurance. It is his presence above that causes us to rejoice. We could not stand for a second down here, if he did not live for us there. It is our Savior’s life yonder in heaven, the life of him who died, and rose, and ascended on high that assures us of our everlasting, immutable salvation and acceptance with the holy Lord God (Hebrews 8:3-4; 9:11-12, 24).
If we would truly worship the Lord our God, if we would see and hear from the God of heaven, if we would see the glory of God, we must worship him according to the revelation he has given in his Word. As you carefully read this 8th chapter of Leviticus, you see that everything in the worship of God is dictated by the Word of God. This we must learn. — We will either come to God the way he requires, or we cannot come to him at all (Leviticus 8:5; 9:6).
Let these words sink down into our hearts. — “This is the thing which the Lord commanded to be done.” After every aspect of the holy service described in this chapter, we are told that everything was done as “the Lord commanded.” This is repeated seven times in the chapter (vv. 9, 13, 17, 21, 29, 34, 36).
Moses did not say, this is the thing that is expedient, or agreeable, or suitable. He did not say, this is what people want and expect. He did not say, this is what the fathers, the elders, and our creed require. Moses did not say, this is what history and custom demand. The man of God recognized no such authority. He said, “This is the thing which the Lord commanded!”
In Moses’ estimation, there was but one, solitary, authoritative voice by which the kingdom of God must be governed, and that solitary voice of authority was the Word of God. So it was then, and so it is now. The Word of God alone has authority in the house of God.
“All scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness: That the man of God may be perfect, thoroughly furnished unto all good works.” (2 Timothy 3:16-17)
The Bible alone is Source of Doctrine. The Scriptures alone are Our Rule of Faith and Life! Our only guide for worship is the Book of God. In the house of God, according to the Book of God, there is nothing to be done except the worship of God by prayer, praise, and preaching. In the house of God there are two, and only two ordinances of divine worship: Believers’ Baptism (Immersion — The Confession of Christ) and The Lord’s Supper (The Remembrance of Christ).
What would be the result of this strict adherence to the Word of God? — “The glory of the Lord will appear unto you!” Is God as good as his Word? Let’s see…
“So Aaron and his sons did all things which the LORD commanded by the hand of Moses.” (Leviticus 8:36)
“And Moses and Aaron went into the tabernacle of the congregation, and came out, and blessed the people: and the glory of the LORD appeared unto all the people. And there came a fire out from before the LORD, and consumed upon the altar the burnt offering and the fat: which when all the people saw, they shouted, and fell on their faces.” (Leviticus 9:23-24)
Moses and Aaron (Truth and Mercy) went in before the Lord. Moses and Aaron (Truth and Mercy, Justice and Grace) came out and blessed the people on the basis of a sin-atoning sacrifice. And the glory of the Lord appeared. — “A fire came out from the Lord and consumed” the sacrifice.
What they saw in the types and shadows before them was the glory of God in the face of the Lord Jesus Christ, our crucified Substitute. Christ crucified is the revelation of the glory of God! When the people saw it, they shouted and fell on their faces. And if ever we see what these people saw, we will do what they did. — We will shout Jehovah’s praise and fall on our face before him (Revelation 4:10-11; 5:9-10).