Exodus 29: Lessons on Being a Priest for God From the Ordination of the Priests

Introduction: After designating Aaron to lead the priesthood, God gave Moses instructions for ordaining the priests (Ex. 29; Lev. 8). These instructions apply to every believer today because being a believer in Christ automatically makes you part of His holy priesthood (1 Pet. 2:5, 9; Rev. 1:6). While the ordination process in Moses’ day involved the sacrifice of animals, today it involves “spiritual sacrifices” to Jesus: “you also, as living stones, are being built up as a spiritual house for a holy priesthood, to offer up spiritual sacrifices acceptable to God through Jesus Christ.” (1 Pet. 2:5). “Therefore, I urge you, brothers, in view of God's mercy, to offer your bodies as living sacrifices, holy and pleasing to God--this is your spiritual act of worship.” (Rom. 12:1). Each time the Bible mentions a specific animal or organ sacrifice, it is your task to first see how it foreshadowed Jesus and then find the equivalent spiritual sacrifice for Him. From this chapter, God gives every believer seven important lessons on being a priest for Him.

First, God gave Moses a list of items to be sacrificed or used in the ordination process. Each thing on God’s list foreshadowed Jesus. Only He can wash you clean of your sin and ordain you as a priest for Him. Second, God instructed the priests to place blood at the bronze altar. This required faith in believing that the priest’s sins were transferred to the altar. This also foreshadowed the need to have faith that your sins were transferred to Jesus at the cross. Third, through His directions to the priests to sacrifice the “lobe of the liver” and the “kidneys” (organs that keep you clean inside), He directs you to surrender to Him control over the things that keep you clean on the inside. Fourth, through His direction to place blood on the right ear lobe, the right thumb and the right toe of the priest (the dominant side of the body), He directs you to let Christ be the dominant force leading your life. Fifth, through His direction for the priests to give Him the animal “fat” mixed with oil and bread in a “wave offering”, He directs you to deny your flesh and give the best of your life to Him. Sixth, through His directions to give the “breast meat” and “thigh meat” as a wave offering, He directs you to commit both your love and your strength to serving Him. Finally, through His direction to the priests to eat a fellowship meal at the doorway of the Tent of Meeting, He directs you to open the door of your heart to Jesus so that He may dine with you in communion.

1. Be Washed Clean Through the Blood of Christ. Ex. 29:1-9.

  • Jesus brings everything necessary for salvation. The consecration process began with Moses being ordered to collect the animals and other things needed to make the priests holy before God: “Now this is what you shall do to them to consecrate them to minister as priests to Me: take one young bull and two rams without blemish, and unleavened bread and unleavened cakes mixed with oil, and unleavened wafers spread with oil; you shall make them of fine wheat flour. You shall put them in one basket, and present them in the basket along with the bull and the two rams.” (Ex. 29:1-3). Each of these things foreshadowed things that only Jesus can provide to make a believer holy. First, the sacrificed bull without blemish foreshadowed Jesus’ blood that was spilled for everyone: “This is my blood of the covenant, which is poured out for many,’ [Jesus] said to them.” (Mk. 14:24; 1 Pet. 1:18-19; 2:24; Is. 53:4-5, 10, 12). Second, the two rams without blemish also foreshadowed Jesus. Abraham first offered the ram as a substitute sacrifice for Isaac (Gen. 22:8). Later, God ordered the Jews to sacrifice a ram as trespass, “guilt”, or “restitution” offering for sins against God (Lev. 8:18; 5:15; Nu. 28:19). This was to pay the cost to God for any wrong that a person committed. Jesus became our “guilt”, trespass, or restitution offering: “But the Lord was pleased to crush Him, putting Him to grief; if He would render Himself as a guilt offering.” (Is. 53:10). The fact that there were two rams also has meaning. In the Bible, the number two symbolizes the confirmation of a fact (2 Cor. 13:1). In this context, Jesus’ promise to pay the price for your sins is confirmed. Third, He was the unleavened bread. Leaven is a symbol of sin because sin rises like the leaven in bread (1 Cor. 5:6-8; Gal. 5:9). He was the “unleavened” bread because He lived without sin (2 Cor. 5:21). He also became our bread to sustain us. At the Last Supper, “Jesus took some bread, and after a blessing, He broke it and gave it to the disciples, and said, ‘Take, eat; this is My body.”’ (Matt. 26:26; 1 Cor. 11:24). Fourth, He was also the fine flour. Like fine flour, He was beaten for us (Jo. 19:1). Fifth, although the oil symbolized the Holy Spirit (1 Sam. 16:13), it was only through Jesus’ death that the Holy Spirit came upon us (Jo. 14:16, 15:26). Thus, being a priest for God begins with gratitude that Jesus did everything to save you and make you eligible to serve God as a priest. If you are grateful, you can remove the sin or leaven in your life and make yourself a “living sacrifice” for Him (Ro. 12:1).

The consecration process began with blood of atonement1

  • The washing – Jesus makes you righteous through His blood and His Word. After assembling the things needed for the ordination process, God directed Moses to bring Aaron’s family to the doorway of the Tent of Meeting to wash them with water. Only then could the priests be dressed in their fine garments: “Then you shall bring Aaron and his sons to the doorway of the tent of meeting and wash them with water. You shall take the garments, and put on Aaron the tunic and the robe of the ephod and the ephod and the breastpiece, and gird him with the skillfully woven band of the ephod; and you shall set the turban on his head and put the holy crown on the turban.” (Ex. 29:4-6). This process symbolized the cleansing offered through Christ’s blood and His Word: “so that He might sanctify her, having cleansed her by the washing of water with the word,” (Eph. 5:26). “You are already clean because of the word which I have spoken to you.” (Jo. 15:3). He is also our High Priest who is dressed in splendor in heaven advocating for us (Heb. 4:15; 7:26; 8:1). As our High Priest, He also imparts elements of His righteousness to dress us as priests in fine linens, which are the “righteous acts of the saints.” (Rev. 19:8; 3:5). Without Christ, even our best works are but “filthy rags” before Him (Is. 64:6). The linen was white and clean. They would have also reflected light. They would have also served as a beacon to others. In a similar way, believers in Christ are the light of the world (Matt. 5:14). Are you washing in Jesus’ Word on a daily basis to stay clean to be a light to others?

Aaron’s consecration included washing with water2

  • The oil - a saved believer is sealed with the Holy Spirit. After being dressed in their fine garments, God directed Moses to pour oil on the head of the high priest to anoint him: “Then you shall take the anointing oil and pour it on his head and anoint him. You shall bring his sons and put tunics on them. You shall gird them with sashes, Aaron and his sons, and bind caps on them, and they shall have the priesthood by a perpetual statute. So you shall ordain Aaron and his sons.” (Ex. 29:7-9). Oil again symbolized the Holy Spirit (1 Sam. 16:13). Pouring the oil on the head and the bound caps and the girded sashes all foreshadowed the seal of the Spirit that each believer in Christ receives: “In Him, you also, after listening to the message of truth, the gospel of your salvation-- having also believed, you were sealed in Him with the Holy Spirit of promise,” (Eph. 1:13). “Do not grieve the Holy Spirit of God, by whom you were sealed for the day of redemption.” (Eph. 4:30). Being a priest for God should also include giving thanks for the Holy Spirit in your life.

The consecration process also included oil3

2. Have Faith in the Power of Christ’s Blood. Ex. 29:10-12.

  • The blood on the horns of the bronze altar. After pouring oil on the high priest and dressing his sons, God directed Moses to have Aaron and his sons lay their hands on a bull without blemish. The bull was then slaughtered before the doorway of the Tent of Meeting. The blood was then put on the horns of the altar and poured out at its base: “10 Then 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. 11 You shall slaughter the bull before the Lord at the doorway of the tent of meeting. 12 You shall take some 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.” (Ex. 29:10-12). Each step in this process pointed to Christ and the need for faith in Him.

The sacrifices in the Tabernacle4

  • Have faith in the power of Christ’s blood. The altar of judgment in the courtyard had four horns (Ex. 27:2). As stated above, some of the blood from the sacrifice was put on the horns before the rest was poured out at the base (Ex. 29:12). The requirements for this process are repeated throughout the book of Leviticus (Lev. 4:7, 18, 25, 30, 34; 8:15; 9:9; 16:18). In the Bible, horns symbolize power and refuge (Ps. 18:2; 89:17; Lk. 1:6; Lam. 2:3; 1 Kgs. 1:50; 2:28). The pouring of the blood on the horns therefore meant that they had great power. The transfer of sins from the sinner to the blood of the sacrifice also foreshadowed what Christ did for us: “He made Him who knew no sin to be sin on our behalf, so that we might become the righteousness of God in Him.” (2 Cor. 5:21). In fact, the power of Christ’s blood is so strong that anyone who believes in it has “no condemnation” for any prior sins: “Therefore there is now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus.” (Rom. 8:1). “Christ redeemed us from the curse of the law by becoming a curse for us, . . .” (Gal. 3:13). The horns also “reached out” in all directions (Ex. 27:2). Christ’s sacrifice also provided atonement for the entire world for anyone who might believe in faith (Jo. 3:16). But if a person today lacks the faith to believe that their sins were transferred to the blood of the Christ, Jesus’ sacrifice does nothing for that person: “And without faith it is impossible to please Him, for he who comes to God must believe that He is and that He is a rewarder of those who seek Him.” (Heb. 11:6). “God presented him as a sacrifice of atonement, through faith in his blood.” (Rom. 3:25). Do you have the faith to believe that all of your sins are forgiven, including the really bad ones?

3. Let God Keep You Pure. Ex. 29:13-18.

  • The liver lobe and kidneys – let God control what you fill your mind with. God also required that the priests sacrifice the “kidneys” and the “lobe of the liver” of the animal. “13 You shall take all the fat that covers the entrails and the lobe of the liver, and the two kidneys and the fat that is on them, and offer them up in smoke on the altar.” (Ex. 29:13). In the book of Leviticus, these instructions are repeated 10 times (Lev. 3:4, 10, 15; 4:8; 7:4-5; 8:16, 25; 9:10, 19; 17:5). As stated previously, believers should study the details of the sacrifices to learn how to make “spiritual sacrifices” for Christ (1 Pet. 2:5). Although the functions of these organs would have been a mystery to the Jews and the early Christians, their functions are revealed today through modern science. The kidney and the liver are vital organs for keeping a person clean inside by removing toxins. The kidneys also serve several essential regulatory roles. They remove toxins and waste from the blood. They also, among other functions, regulate blood pressure by maintaining a proper balance of water and salt. In addition to removing toxins, the liver’s functions also include making the chemicals necessary for digestion and protein synthesis. The “lobules” referenced in God’s instructions refer to the most important units of the liver, which consist of millions of hepatic cells. Without the liver or the kidneys, a person would die. Thus, God used organ symbols that mankind would not fully understand until thousands of years later to direct believers to be pure and holy for Him. If humans had written the Bible without God’s inspiration they would not have known to select the liver and the kidneys as symbols of cleanliness.

  • Be holy because God is holy. Being “unstained by the world” is also one of the two parts of “true religion.” (Jam. 1:27). Jesus further promises to bless those who stay pure: “Blessed are the pure in heart, for they shall see God.” (Matt. 5:8). He wants you to be holy because He is holy: “you shall be holy, for I am holy.” (1 Pet. 1:16; Lev. 11:44-5; 19:2; 20:7). The pathway to heaven is also only available to those who are purified by Him: “A highway will be there, a roadway, and it will be called the Highway of Holiness. The unclean will not travel on it, . . .” (Is. 35:8). Are you walking on the “Highway of Holiness?” Does the Spirit or the flesh guide what you watch, read, touch, and talk about?

  • Make your prayers a sweet aroma to God. The “fat” around the inner parts, the liver, and the kidneys created a “smoke offering” when burned on the altar (Ex. 29:13; Lev. 8:16). The smoke from the burnt offering was a “soothing aroma” to God (Ex. 29:18; Lev. 1:9). Christ’s blood was pure and therefore a soothing aroma to God (Eph. 5:2). Today, you can create a “soothing aroma” for God through your prayers: “May my prayer be counted as incense before You . . .” (Ps. 141:2; Rev. 5:8; 8:4). By only using the fat around the organs that keep the body clean to create this smoke, this meant that the priest was to only offer up prayers that were holy (Lev. 8:16). By contrast, the hide and the flesh were burned away from God: “14 But the flesh of the bull and its hide.” (Ex. 29:14; Lev. 8:17). Jesus fulfilled this requirement by being sacrificed outside of Jerusalem (Heb. 13:11-13). Excluding the hide and the flesh from the smoke offering meant that a believer is not to dwell on evil things (Ex. 29:14; Lev. 8:17). Are your prayers filled with righteous petitions for the sins of others? Or, are they filled with bitter and selfish complaints?

  • Wash the entrails and legs – let God purify your hidden sins and the sins of your walk. The priest also had to wash the “entrails” and the legs of the ram with water. “15 You shall also take the one ram, and Aaron and his sons shall lay their hands on the head of the ram; 16 and you shall slaughter the ram and shall take its blood and sprinkle it around on the altar. 17 Then you shall cut the ram into its pieces, and wash its entrails and its legs, and put them with its pieces and its head. 18 You shall offer up in smoke the whole ram on the altar; it is a burnt offering to the Lord: it is a soothing aroma, an offering by fire to the Lord.” (Ex. 15-18). These instructions are also repeated in the book of Leviticus (Lev. 1:9). These parts of the animal were dirty. Water also symbolizes the cleansing of the Holy Spirit (Ez. 36:25-27). Many Christians have been led to believe that Christ fulfilled all the details of this sacrifice, and there is nothing left for them to do. But this is simply not true. You only need to read the details of the Last Supper to prove it.

  • You must wash your sins by reading the Word and confessing your sins. Jesus makes clear that your entrails (your inner thoughts) and your legs (what you do each day) still need to be washed after you are saved. At the Last Supper, Peter initially refused Jesus’ offer to wash his feet. Jesus responded by rebuking him: “If I do not wash you, you have no part with Me.” (Jo. 13:8). Peter then asked Jesus to wash his feet, hands, and head. Jesus responded: “He who has bathed needs only to wash his feet.” (Jo. 13:10). In other words, Christ died once for your sins, but your flesh gets dirty each day and must still be washed. Thus, the ram sacrifice directs you to do two things. First, you must cleanse your daily sins. How do you do this? You read God’s Word to first expose your sins: “so that He might sanctify her, having cleansed her by the washing of water with the word . . .” (Eph. 5:26). Second, you must confess the sins that the Word reveals to you: “If we confess our sins, He is faithful and righteous to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.” (1 Jo. 1:9). Are you regularly reading the Word to cleanse yourself? Are you confessing the sins of your daily life to have them forgiven?

4. Let God Lead You Through the Blood of Christ and the Holy Spirit. Ex. 29:19-21.

  • The blood on the right ear lobe, the right thumb, and the right toe – let Christ lead your life. After sacrificing the animals, the priest then sprinkled blood on the right ear lobe, the right thumb, and the right big toe: “19 Then you shall take the other ram, and Aaron and his sons shall lay their hands on the head of the ram. 20 You shall slaughter the ram, and take some of its blood and put it on the lobe of Aaron’s right ear and on the lobes of his sons’ right ears and on the thumbs of their right hands and on the big toes of their right feet, and sprinkle the rest of the blood around on the altar.” (Ex. 29:19-20). The right side was considered the dominant side of a person because most people are right handed. The blood on the right appendages symbolized the person’s agreement to allowing God to control the best of his or her life and his or her actions. In Leviticus, these same instructions were given for someone healed of leprosy, a symbol of sin (Lev. 14:14; 8:23-24). Do your thoughts and actions reflect the things of God or the things of the world?

The blood added to the right ear lobe of the priest5

  • Let the Spirit lead you in seeking forgiveness and forgiving others. The use of a ram for sacrifice also had significance. The ram was the trespass offering for sins against God (Lev. 8:18; 5:15; Nu. 28:19). As stated above, Jesus became our trespass offering (Is. 53:10-11). If you confess your sins, God is faithful to forgive you (1 Jo. 1:9). But to be forgiven, you must forgive others (Lk. 6:37; Matt. 6:14; Mk. 11:25). Thus, you must ask God to forgive your trespasses. You must also forgive others when they sin against you.

  • The oil of the garments – Let the fruit of the Holy Spirit be visible in your life. God also required that oil be sprinkled on the priest’s garments: “21 Then you shall take some of the blood that is on the altar and some of the anointing oil, and sprinkle it on Aaron and on his garments and on his sons and on his sons’ garments with him; so he and his garments shall be consecrated, as well as his sons and his sons’ garments with him.” (Ex. 29:21). These instructions are repeated in Leviticus (Lev. 8:30 (oil on the garments); 14:18, 29 (oil on the palm of the healed leper)). Again, oil symbolizes the Holy Spirit (1 Sam. 16:13). In the Bible, only four types of people received an anointing. These included a prophet, a priest, a king, and a healed leper. You are both a priest and a healed leper. Thus, at a minimum, you have received a double anointing. By applying this oil, you agree to let the Holy Spirit control your thoughts. To do this, you must renew your mind daily (Ro. 12:1-2). Do things of the Spirit dominate your thoughts? Are you squandering the gift that God has given you?

  • Let the fruit of the Holy Spirit be visible in your life. Your garments also symbolize your outward acts (Is. 64:6). Jesus says that you will know a person by their “fruits” (Matt. 7:16-20). Is the fruit of the Spirit clearly visible in all that you do for others to see? (Gal. 5:22-23). Or, are the deeds of the flesh the only thing visible in your life? (Gal. 5:19-21).

5. Deny Your Flesh and Give God the Best of Your Life. Ex. 29:22-25.

  • The fat mixed with oil for a bread “wave offering” – deny yourself for God. The priests also created a sandwich out of bread, the fat of the animal and oil to make a “wave offering” before God: “22 You shall also take the fat from the ram and the fat tail, and the fat that covers the entrails and the lobe of the liver, and the two kidneys and the fat that is on them and the right thigh (for it is a ram of ordination), 23 and one cake of bread and one cake of bread mixed with oil and one wafer from the basket of unleavened bread which is set before the Lord; 24 and you shall put all these in the hands of Aaron and in the hands of his sons, and shall wave them as a wave offering before the Lord. 25 You shall take them from their hands, and offer them up in smoke on the altar on the burnt offering for a soothing aroma before the Lord; it is an offering by fire to the Lord.” (Ex. 29:22-25). In the book of Leviticus, God also told the priests 10 times to give the “fat” to Him (Lev. 3:3, 9, 14; 16-17; 4:8; 7:3; 9:10; 9:19; 17:5, 25). For “all fat is the Lord’s.” (Lev. 3:16). The priest who ate the fat was “cut-off” from the Lord (Lev. 7:25). Thus, this instruction was important.

  • Self-denial is a key to being a priest for God. You are a priest for God (1 Pet. 2:5, 9). Thus, these instructions apply to you. The fat was a pleasure and a delicacy because it was considered the best tasting part of the animal. The priest was to give up the best pleasures in life to God. Christ says that those who want to follow Him as His disciples need to “deny” themselves: “For whoever wishes to save his life will lose it; but whoever loses his life for My sake will find it.” (Matt. 16:25-26). “So likewise, whoever of you does not forsake all that he has cannot be My disciple.” (Lk. 14:28-33). “He who loves his life will lose it, and he who hates his life in this world will keep it for eternal life. If anyone serves Me, let him follow Me; and where I am, there My servant will be also. If anyone serves Me, him My Father will honor.” (Jo. 12:25-26). To deny yourself, you must deny the unholy desires of your flesh. Is there anything in your life that you have consciously decided to give up for God? If the answer is nothing, pray for God to reveal what should be cut out of your life.

  • Strive for the things of God and not the world. Part of giving up the fat in your life is surrendering the pursuits of the world. Paul believed that the many things that he accomplished before he knew Christ were a waste of his time: “What things were gain to me, these I have counted loss for Christ. Yet indeed I also count all things loss for the excellence of the knowledge of Christ Jesus my Lord, for whom I have suffered the loss of all things, and count them as rubbish, that I may gain Christ and be found in Him . . .” (Phil. 3:7-9). Are your life’s ambitions focused mostly on the things of God?

  • Avoiding the fat in life is good for you in the long run. Some fat in your life is important for digesting vitamins and for other reasons. Fat is also a pleasure in life. The ancient Jews understood fat in their food to be a blessing from God. Yet, although fat tastes good, it can be bad for you if consumed in excess. It can cause people to become overweight. It can cause heart disease, hypertension, diabetes, and other problems. Fat is also where toxins are stored in the body. Giving up excessively fatty foods can lead to a healthier life. Giving up excess consumption can likewise lead to a happier life. Learn to be content with less and avoid overspending and excess debt. Also learn not to crave that which you do not have. Feeding your flesh less allows God the opportunity to instead fill you with the joy of the Holy Spirit. Is there any area of excess in your life where you can cut back to focus on God?

6. Love God With All Your Heart and Mind. Ex. 29:26-30.

  • The breast and thigh wave offering – Commit your love and your strength to serving Christ. The priest also made a “wave offering” using both breast and thigh meat of the sacrifice: “26 Then you shall take the breast of Aaron’s ram of ordination, and wave it as a wave offering before the Lord; and it shall be your portion. 27 You shall consecrate the breast of the wave offering and the thigh of the heave offering which was waved and which was offered from the ram of ordination, from the one which was for Aaron and from the one which was for his sons. 28 It shall be for Aaron and his sons as their portion forever from the sons of Israel, for it is a heave offering; and it shall be a heave offering from the sons of Israel from the sacrifices of their peace offerings, even their heave offering to the Lord. 29 “The holy garments of Aaron shall be for his sons after him, that in them they may be anointed and ordained. 30 For seven days the one of his sons who is priest in his stead shall put them on when he enters the tent of meeting to minister in the holy place.” (Ex. 29:26-30). The commandments for the “wave offering” are repeated 12 times in Leviticus and Numbers (Lev. 7:30-34; 8:26-27; 9:21; 10:14-15; 23:10; 15-20; 23:10; Nu. 6:20; 8:11-13; 18:11, 18, 26-29). The wave offering showed that the priest was both bound by and connected to God. Depending upon the English translation used, this offering included either the right “thigh” (NASB/NIV) or the right “shoulder” (KJV), both amongst the strongest muscles in the body. The priest also gave the meat of the breasts to the Lord (Lev. 7:31-32; 9:20; 10:12-15; Nu. 18:18). The breast is also a symbol of love, like the bond between a nursing mother and her baby. Because Christ loved us, He gave both His strength and His life for us out of love (Ro. 5:8; Gal. 2:20; Jo. 3:16). By eating these two portions of the animal in fellowship with God, the priest acknowledged that his life, love, and strength had come from God. Conversely, the priest acknowledged that he would give his life, love, and strength to God. Yet, at a later time, the wicked priests refused to follow this rule (1 Sam. 2:12-14). This symbolized their lack of love for the people that they served. If you are searching for the strength to do something, you must give up your own strength and turn to Christ through whom all things are possible: “I can do all things through Him who strengthens me.” (Phil. 4:13). Do you have a love in your heart to help others? Do you rely upon your own intellect to get through a difficult situation? Or, do you rely upon God?

The wave offering6

  • Be accountable. The ordination of the priests took place in front of the Tent of Meeting for all to see (Ex. 29:4, 10). This means that the priests would be held accountable to others. Believers are also encouraged to be accountable toward others. For this reason, believers are admonished not to forsake the fellowship of other believers. “[L]et us consider how to stimulate one another to love and good deeds, not forsaking our own assembling together, as is the habit of some, but encouraging one another; and all the more as you see the day drawing near.” (Heb. 10:24-25). Floating in and out of a large mega church does not bring true accountability. Are you accountable to others?

7. Seek Out Constant Fellowship and Communion with Christ. Ex. 29:31-46.

  • The fellowship meal - to “dine” with Jesus, search for Him with all your heart. A final and important part of the ordination process involved eating a fellowship meal at the doorway of the Tent of Meeting: “31 You shall take the ram of ordination and boil its flesh in a holy place. 32 Aaron and his sons shall eat the flesh of the ram and the bread that is in the basket, at the doorway of the tent of meeting. 33 Thus they shall eat those things by which atonement was made at their ordination and consecration; but a layman shall not eat them, because they are holy. 34 If any of the flesh of ordination or any of the bread remains until morning, then you shall burn the remainder with fire; it shall not be eaten, because it is holy.” (Ex. 29:31-46). Portions of these animal sacrifices were offered as a “food” offering to God (Lev. 3:11, 16). With other offerings, the burned animal or grain was offered as a sweet aroma to the Lord. Some commentators suggest that we should not take the food reference literally. But this is exactly what Jesus promised to the believers at the Church of Laodicea who responded to his knocking at the door of their hearts to Him (Rev. 3:20). The commandment for the priests to eat at the doorway of the Tent of Meeting (Ex. 29:32) foreshadowed Jesus’ offer at the door of your heart to “dine” with Him. But to allow Jesus to dine with you, you must first seek Him with all your heart: “How blessed are those who observe His testimonies, who seek Him with all their heart.” (Ps. 119:2). “You will seek Me and find Me when you search for Me with all your heart.” (Jer. 29:13). “But from there you will seek the LORD your God, and you will find Him if you search for Him with all your heart and all your soul.” (Dt. 4:29). Jesus also revealed that this is the greatest Commandment: “You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your mind.” (Matt. 22:37). Are you fulfilling this Commandment?

  • You dine with Jesus when you seek His fellowship. One commentator explains that: “The eating did not begin the process of consecration. It came after the washing, the clothing, and the blood-atonement of the priests. The eating speaks of the continuing relationship of the priest with God. . . . In this way, eating is a good picture of a healthy, continuing relationship with Jesus. · Eating is personal. No one can eat for you, and no one can have a relationship with Jesus on your behalf. · Eating is inward. It does no good to be around food or to rub food on the outside of your body – you must take it in. We must take Jesus unto ourselves inwardly, not merely in an external way. · Eating is active. Some medicines are received passively – they are injected under the skin and go to work. Such medicines could even be received while one sleeps – but no one can eat while asleep. We must actively take Jesus unto ourselves. · Eating arises out of a sense of need and produces a sense of satisfaction. We will have a healthy relationship with Jesus when we sense our need for Him and receive the satisfaction the relationship brings.” (David Guzik on Exodus 29) (emphasis original).7

Jesus desires for you to seek His fellowship8

  • Don’t delay in seeking Jesus’ fellowship. The instructions to the priest also included a warning not to delay eating the sacrifice until morning (Ex. 29:34). This commandment is repeated three times in the book of Leviticus (Lev. 7:14-15; 19:6-8; 22:29-30). Christ rose before the third day so that His body would not be corrupted (Acts 2:27; Ps. 16:10). We can therefore eat the Communion that He offers from His body because it is holy. By telling the people not to delay until morning, God was also telling them not to delay in giving the best of their time, talent, and treasure for Him. At one point a disciple said to Jesus: “‘Lord, permit me first to go and bury my father.’ But Jesus said to him, ‘Follow Me, and allow the dead to bury their own dead.’” (Matt. 8:21-23). We cannot wait to get our personal affairs in order before we go and serve the Lord. Are you being disobedient to a calling in your life by waiting until a time you think is convenient?

  • Seek out Jesus every day. God’s instructions to the priests conclude with instructions to offer daily sacrifices to God: “35 Thus you shall do to Aaron and to his sons, according to all that I have commanded you; you shall ordain them through seven days. 36 Each day you shall offer a bull as a sin offering for atonement, and you shall purify the altar when you make atonement for it, and you shall anoint it to consecrate it. 37 For seven days you shall make atonement for the altar and consecrate it; then the altar shall be most holy, and whatever touches the altar shall be holy. 38 Now this is what you shall offer on the altar: two one year old lambs each day, continuously. 39 The one lamb you shall offer in the morning and the other lamb you shall offer at twilight; 40 and there shall be one-tenth of an ephah of fine flour mixed with one-fourth of a hin of beaten oil, and one-fourth of a hin of wine for a drink offering with one lamb. 41 The other lamb you shall offer at twilight, and shall offer with it the same grain offering and the same drink offering as in the morning, for a soothing aroma, an offering by fire to the Lord. 42 It shall be a continual burnt offering throughout your generations at the doorway of the tent of meeting before the Lord, where I will meet with you, to speak to you there.” (Ex. 29:35-42). The priests were told to offer a sin offering “every day.” (Ex. 29:36). According to Christ, you should also pick up your cross to follow Him daily (Lk. 9:23). Do you have time each day that you devote to Him?

  • Make your life a “drink offering” in communion with Christ. Part of the daily sacrifices included a “drink offering.” (Ex. 29:40; Lev. 23:1; Nu. 15:5, 7, 10). Jesus is the vine of life that you drink, and the wine symbolizes His blood (Jo. 6:53). In handing His cup to the disciples, Jesus said: “This is my blood of the covenant, which is poured out for many.” (Mk. 14:24). After drinking His cup in communion, you in turn can make your own “spiritual sacrifice” by making your life a drink offering to Him. Paul at one time compared his life sacrifice to a drink offering: “even if I am being poured out as a drink offering upon the sacrifice and service of your faith, I rejoice and share my joy with you”. (Phil. 2:17; same, 2 Tim. 4:6). In this context, wine is a symbol of joy or happiness (Ps. 104:14(f); Ecc. 9:7). Do people see the joy of the Lord radiating out of your life?

  • The need for a better sacrifice. While these sacrifices complied with God’s law, they could not by themselves take away sins. They could only cover the sins of the people: “Every priest stands daily ministering and offering time after time the same sacrifices, which can never take away sins. . . ” (Heb. 10:11). “For the Law, since it has only a shadow of the good things to come and not the very form of things, can never, by the same sacrifices which they offer continually year by year, make perfect those who draw near.” (Heb. 10:1). Thus, the sacrifices of the Old Testament were imperfect. Also, when the Romans destroyed the second temple after Jesus’ death, they left the Jews without a way to comply with the sacrificial laws. The Jews needed a long-term solution.

  • The one-time blood sacrifice of Christ. Christ offered a solution to the need for a one-time sacrifice for all: “For by one offering He has perfected for all time those who are sanctified.” (Heb. 10:14). “Jesus Christ, the faithful witness, the firstborn of the dead, and the ruler of the kings of the earth. To Him who loves us and releases us from our sins by His blood.” (Rev. 1:5). If God was willing to accept the sacrifice of animals to atone for sin, you have no reason to doubt Christ’s ability to atone for even the worst of your sins: “how much more will the blood of Christ, who through the eternal Spirit offered Himself without blemish to God, cleanse your conscience from dead works to serve the living God?” (Heb. 9:14). Are you letting any of your old sins hold you back from serving God?

  • God’s goal is to dwell with you in fellowship. God concludes by reminding Moses that His goal is to dwell with His people: “43 I will meet there with the sons of Israel, and it shall be consecrated by My glory. 44 I will consecrate the tent of meeting and the altar; I will also consecrate Aaron and his sons to minister as priests to Me. 45 I will dwell among the sons of Israel and will be their God. 46 They shall know that I am the Lord their God who brought them out of the land of Egypt, that I might dwell among them; I am the Lord their God.” (Ex. 29:43-46). Your worship should give thanks that God desires to dwell with you. His Spirit dwells in you, and you will dwell with Him in heaven.