Leviticus 8:1-36

Key Verse(s):

Leviticus 8:34 (HCSB)

34 The Lord commanded what has been done today in order to make atonement for you.


Leviticus 8 is the recording of the ordination of Aaron and his sons as the high priest and priests, respectively. This is the fulfillment of Exodus 29, where God had provided instructions to consecrate His priests. We quickly see why the gap exists between Exodus 29 and Leviticus 8: a number of sacrifices are performed, all of which were outlined in the previous chapters of Leviticus.

There are three sacrifices presented during the ordination. First is the sin offering for Aaron and his sons. This should be expected, after all, we would expect God’s priests to be atoned for, not remain guilty of sin, when serving God in a role such as priest. Similar to our relationship with Christ, His atonement removes our guilt, and is the first step.

Next was the “burnt offering for a pleasing aroma”. (Leviticus 8:21) This was an offering to God, an act of worship, and request for favor. This is an announcement that God is above all, is all powerful, and that the Israelites worship Him as such. The entire ram is burned up, the entire thing is given back to God. This, it seems to me, is symbolic of what our attitude towards God should be like following His salvation of us: total and complete worship, full surrender and submission to God. Just like none of the sacrifice was held back for man to do with as he wants, none of ourselves should be held back from God to do with as we desire.

The final sacrifice was an “ordination offering”. (Leviticus 8:28) This sacrifice is a sort of combination of offerings. First it is some sort of substitutionary sacrifice, with the smearing of blood on the right earlobe, thumb, and big toe, of both Aaron and his sons. It seems this would suggest some sort of cleansing of the priests, just as Moses had applied the blood to the horns of the altar, thereby purifying it, previously (Lev 8:15). Then the sacrifice  Then the sacrifice is like a thanksgiving offering, with Moses taking the role of the priest in this special offering.

I was especially struck by Leviticus 8:34. Amongst all these instructions and rules, and following through with offering rituals, Moses slips in this one line about why all this is happening. It is so easy to forget why we do some of the things we do while we are in the middle of meeting all requirements and following the steps. But this is all not just for show, or just to do it to do it… this was all done to make atonement for Aaron and his sons! And it was God’s command, in order to do it. We should never lose sight of that when we are going through our routines on Sunday morning… all that Jesus did, all that God commanded and arranged, was to make atonement for us. What is our response?


Lord, thank You for caring about me. I don’t deserve it, yet You made atonement for me. Thank You! I pray that I will not forget that, and that when I am just going through the motions, because I’m a messed up, broken, fool, that You would remind me, that You would shake me out of it, and help me to remember You. Amen.


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