V. MOSES ANOINTING THE TABERNACLE, THE ALTAR, AND THE LAVER WITH ALL THEIR UTENSILS TO SANCTIFY THEM
“Moses took the anointing oil and anointed the tabernacle and all that was in it, and sanctified them. And he sprinkled some of it on the altar seven times, and anointed the altar and all its utensils, and the laver and its base, to sanctify them” (Lev. 8:10-11). This signifies that Christ and the church, then the cross and the washing of the Spirit, are related to the New Testament priesthood for the priests’ sanctification.
In the Bible, the tabernacle typifies Christ as an individual (John 1:14), and it also typifies the church as the dwelling place of God. In Leviticus 8 the tabernacle denotes the church much more than it denotes Christ. Moses anointed the priests, and he also anointed the tabernacle. The anointing of the tabernacle signifies the anointing of the church, in which we, the New Testament priests, serve God.
In ancient times, the priests and the tabernacle were two separate entities. Today the priests and the church are one and inseparable. We, the priests, are the church, and the church is we. Hence, for us today, the priests and the church are not two separate entities but one entity. Since we and the church are one, if we are anointed, the church also is anointed. Likewise, if the church is anointed, we also are anointed.
The altar in verse 11 refers to the burnt offering altar in the outer court. All the offerings were offered on this altar. The laver was a basin where the priests washed their hands and feet. The altar signifies the cross, and the laver signifies the Holy Spirit as the washing Spirit. In the washing Spirit is the washing water of life. The church, the cross, and the washing of the Spirit are all provisions for our practical consecration to be the priests today.
The church, the cross, and the washing Spirit are related to sanctification. Formerly, we were common; that is, we were not different from our relatives, neighbors, classmates, and colleagues. But now, having been consecrated and ordained to be God’s priests, we are a sanctified people. To sanctify is to separate, to make particular, to make holy. We must be a group of people who are not only clean and pure but also separated, particular, and holy. We should be very different from the common people. This does not mean, however, that we need to wear peculiar clothing to show that we are sanctified. We should wear ordinary clothing, yet in this ordinary clothing there should be a consecration.
Regardless of our background, we all need to be sanctified, for we have consecrated ourselves to God, and He has ordained us. Do you not have the sense deep within that you have been ordained? One day, perhaps recently, you prayed, “Lord, I give myself to You absolutely.” As long as you have prayed such a prayer, you have consecrated yourself to the Lord. God has accepted your consecration and has ordained you, filling your empty hands with Christ. God’s ordination is signified by the word sanctify.
God’s ordination is a matter of sanctification. Since God has sanctified us, we are no longer common.
The anointing brings the Triune God mingled with humanity to the priests and to the church life. This anointing includes Christ’s human living, His death on the cross, and His resurrection. According to Exodus 30, the anointing oil is an ointment composed of oil, typifying the Spirit, compounded with four spices, signifying humanity (typified by the number four), human living, the death of the cross, and resurrection. When we are anointed as priests and as the church, we are anointed with the Triune God compounded with Christ’s humanity, human living, death, and resurrection. This anointing of the priests and the tabernacle also involves the sin offering (Lev. 8:14-17) and the burnt offering (vv. 18-21). All the elements of the anointing oil, the compound Spirit, with the sin offering and the burnt offering must be constituted into our being. Then we will be real priests to God, not by what we are through our natural birth but by the Triune God compounded with Christ’s humanity, human living, death, resurrection, and ascension.
VI. MOSES ANOINTING AARON TO SANCTIFY HIM
Leviticus 8:12 tells us that Moses “poured some of the anointing oil upon Aaron’s head, and anointed him to sanctify him.” This signifies that Christ as our High Priest was anointed by God for His sanctification.
VII. A BULL AS THE SIN OFFERING FOR THE CONSECRATION OF THE PRIESTHOOD
Verses 14 through 17 speak of the bull of the sin offering for the consecration of the priesthood. This offering signifies the stronger and richer Christ as our sin offering for the assuming of our New Testament priesthood. (For details, see Life-study Messages on Exodus 29.)
The sin offering deals with our natural man, our flesh, the personified sin that dwells in us, Satan, the world hanging on Satan, and the power struggle. If we would be New Testament priests, all these things must be dealt with by Christ as the sin offering. When Christ was crucified as our sin offering, He dealt with the natural man, the flesh, the indwelling sin, Satan, the world, and the power struggle. In the divine ordination, such a sin offering is applied to us that we may be prevailing priests serving God.
VIII. A RAM AS THE BURNT OFFERING FOR THE CONSECRATION OF THE PRIESTHOOD
Verses 18 through 21 speak of the ram of the burnt offering for the consecration of the priesthood. This burnt offering, which is also included in God’s ordination of the priests, signifies the strong Christ as our burnt offering for the assuming of our New Testament priesthood. The burnt offering reminds us that as serving ones we must be absolute for God. Because we are not absolute for God, we need to take Christ as our burnt offering.
(Life-Study of Leviticus, Chapter 28, by Witness Lee)