Consecration and Investiture - RR172H15

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Contents

Lesson

Professor: Rushdoony, Dr. R. J.
Title: Consecration and Investiture
Course: Course - Leviticus; The Law of Holiness and Grace
Subject: Subject:Pentateuch
Lesson#: 15
Length: 0:31:22
TapeCode: RR172H15
Audio: Chalcedon Archive
Transcript: .docx Format
Leviticus The Law of Holiness and Grace.jpg

This transcript is unedited. It was:
Archived by the Mt. Olive Tape Library
Digitized, transcribed, and published by Christ Rules
Posted by with permission


Let us worship God. Our help is in the name of the Lord, who made Heaven and earth. The hour cometh and now is, when the true worshipers shall worship the Father in spirit and in truth. For the Father seeketh such to worship Him. God is a spirit and they that worship Him must worship Him in spirit and in truth. Let us pray.

Most merciful Father, we come to Thee mindful of our need, the need of our times, of our world, of the church, and of the nation. Oh Lord our God, Thy judgment is upon us, for we have sinned. We have gone astray and we have in all our ways, renounced and forsaken Thee. We give thanks unto Thee our Father, that in judgment there is mercy, and in adversity there is grace, and that we have Thy sure Word that Thy will never leave us nor forsake us, so that we may boldly say, “I shall not fear what man may do unto me.” That Thou wilt always sustain us. And so we come into Thy presence. We come to be made strong by Thy Word and by Thy spirit, so that in the time of trouble, we may be more than conquerors, so that the times of trouble might become the times of the birth of a greater freedom, a greater righteousness, justice, peace and prosperity in Thee. Bless us to this end, in Christ’s name, amen. [00:02:23]

Our subject this morning is ...

Our subject this morning is “Consecration and Investiture,” and our concern is with Leviticus 8:14-36. But we shall read just a few verses from Leviticus 8:22, a key portion of the chapter. Leviticus 8:22,

22And he brought the other ram, the ram of consecration: and Aaron and his sons laid their hands upon the head of the ram.

23And he slew it; and Moses took of the blood of it, and put it upon the tip of Aaron's right ear, and upon the thumb of his right hand, and upon the great toe of his right foot.

24And he brought Aaron's sons, and Moses put of the blood upon the tip of their right ear, and upon the thumbs of their right hands, and upon the great toes of their right feet: and Moses sprinkled the blood upon the altar round about.”

In this chapter, and in chapters 9 and 10, also Leviticus 24:10-23, we have the only historical data in Leviticus. Here it is an account of the investiture and consecration of Aaron and his sons.

The sacrifices for consecration came first. They were a sin offering, and the purpose was purification. This we have in verses 14-17. Then, verses18-21 we have the second offering, a burnt offering for dedication. And then third in verses 22-32 we have the consecration offering, a peace offering, and communion. All this, we are told, was done “As the Lord commanded Moses,” a recurring phrase throughout Leviticus. The text gives us, in very meticulous detail what God requires so that in all things God is meticulously obeyed in all particulars.

This is done to stress he necessity of very precise obedience. As R.K. Harrison noted, “Obedience is at the heart of both the Old and the New Covenant. And this, rather than love, is God’s prime demand of His followers. The Christian is urged to bring every thought to the obedience of Christ and to see obedience as one mark of the sanctified personality.” Now, this is important, and we shall return to this, this precise ritual, and the emphasis on meticulous obedience. [00:05:37]

The rites lasted a week and were connected to the whole

The rites lasted a week and were connected to the whole idea of the week, the Sabbath. The Sabbath represents the covenant and rest; a rest in the Lord. Similarly, a priesthood is a faithful rest for a people. In judges, we are told the land had rest when the people were godly. In Leviticus 8, in this chapter, the peace and rest of the covenant people is tied to their faithfulness. Paul says concerning Christ, “He is our peace, having abolished judgment against us and reconciling us with God.”

Now last week in Exodus 29:42-46, which we saw in passing, God declared the purpose of His sanctuary. First that He will there meet with His people, and second that God’s glory will sanctify the sanctuary and the priest, and third, God declares that He will dwell among His people and be their God, “And they shall know that I am the Lord, their God.” The sanctuary and the priests were carefully consecrated because a sanctuary is not as other buildings. It is set apart for sacred use, and the profanation of God’s house is a serious matter. If the Bible means what it says, God requires beauty and glory in all houses of worship dedicated to Him. In Haggai 1:4 God tells the people that it is a sin to live in lovely palaces when His house lies in waste.

Similarly, God’s people are to be holy and to be set apart for Him. Now, how serious this matter of consecration, of sanctification is, we see in 1 Corinthians 7. Even the unbelieving spouse of a believer is sanctified (or separated), and protected and blessed to a degree by God, as are also the children. Too often, Christians are unwilling to face up to the implications of this, because they view things in terms of a person’s faith and a person’s works. So they say, “Well, what is there about a building that makes it holy? And what is there about an unbelieving husband or wife married to a believer that makes them holy and separated and sanctified by God, protected by Him?” Now, this objection, which is especially common in all circles today, tells us a great deal about our times. Christians are unwilling to face up to this fact because they view things in terms of the individual, not in terms of Godly … not in terms of the covenant, mercy, and grace. [00:09:17]

If we give priority to what Man is, we forget what

If we give priority to what Man is, we forget what God is, and then our concern is, ‘well, that unbeliever married to a believer certainly can’t’ be called consecrated or separated, or sanctified, and this building, just because we call it a church, we can’t call the building holy—what has the building done to be holy? This is Humanism. It puts the emphasis on what Man is, or what a building of wood or brick or stone may be. When the truth is, the emphasis must be on what God says and what God does.

The heart of this chapter is consecration and investiture. And the significant fact is that this is history, and therefore, history is chronological, a fact which throws a tremendous light on this chapter. It comes after the incident of Exodus 32, the worship of the golden calf—an incident in which, while Aaron was not the innovator, he was very definitely a willing participant. And now, he is made High Priest. What did it mean to sanctify Aaron? Did this ceremony make him a better man? What does it mean today to ordain, consecrate or invest a pastor to his task? Does it make him a better man? What if you consecrate a man who really is unworthy of his office? Does it make him a better man?

There are times in history when this has been the case. There’ve been some dramatic cases. The most obvious perhaps is Thomas a’ Becket, who changed completely on being made Archbishop, and so upset Henry that it led to a permanent breech between them and finally to the murder of Thomas a’ Becket. But we can say there the man changed. How are we going to view this? Well first, Leviticus 4, which we dealt with sometime earlier, makes clear that the greater the calling, the greater the responsibility, and the greater the culpability. As our Lord says in Luke 12:48, “For unto whomsoever much is given, of him shall be much required, and to whom men have committed much, of him they will ask the more.” [00:12:38]

The High Priest therefore was liable to more judgment

The High Priest therefore was liable to more judgment. This is also true of the Church. As 1 Peter 4:17 says, “Judgment must begin at the House of God.” Similarly, the favored, the covenanted nations that have the greater gifts and responsibilities are also judged more harshly. We see this in the Bible with regard to Israel. We have seen it in history repeatedly with greatly blessed nations. And the United States having been so richly blessed had better repent and mend its ways or it will receive also the greater judgment.

Then second, the greater the responsibility given and the greater the culpability, there is also the accompaniment of greater grace. Aaron was not deserving. He was weak before and after, and the episode where he and Merriam objected to Moses’ marriage to an Ethiopian woman, they came out badly and Aaron’s basic weakness—a follower—was very obvious. But what consecration and investiture will do is to give a man more grace if he will abide in it. Thus there is more grace and also more judgment depending on the tenor of the men’s life.

Remember that our Lord told His disciples that they would suffer persecution, that they would be hailed and taken before kings and governors to be tried, and He said in that trying circumstance when you would think the horror of the situation will destroy you, “take no thought of what you shall say; the word will be given you by the Spirit.” Very often when we find ourselves, because, remember, all this is tied to the doctrine of the Priesthood of the Believers, when we face a situation, or we face an audience to whom we must speak, or a person to whom we must speak, we find that grace is given to us and we are raised above ourselves and above our normal powers and we speak and we perform in a way unexpected to ourselves. Grace is given. Thus, the greater the responsibility, the greater the grace that can be given.

Then third, the Levitical priesthood is a type of Christ. As Langey said, “Emphasis is everywhere placed upon the fact that they were appointed of God. They were in no sense appointed by the people. Had they been so, they could not have been mediators. All was from God. The Levitical priest could be but a type of that ‘seed of the woman’ who should ‘bruise the serpent’s head.’” The continuing endowment of grace apart from the gifts of the Spirit in the New Testament was thus given in consecration and investiture through the laying on of hands. Paul in 2 Timothy 1:6, 7 writes, “Stir up the gift of God which is in thee by the putting on of my hands, for God has not given us a spirit of fear, but of power and of love and of a sound mind.” What Paul there says, when he says ‘stir up’ is literally ‘rekindle’. Something was given to you on that occasion, now rekindle it! Thus, the laying on of hands and the gifts of power, love and sound mind which are here specified is no automatic. It is not a necessary concomitant of a person’s life, because Paul gives many warnings and instructions after saying this, and he says that the gifts of grace can be neglected. So he tells Timothy, ‘stir up’ or ‘rekindle’ God’s gift. It is a fire which neglect can reduce. [00:18:33]

Colin {?} commented with regard to this, “This investiture regarded as the putting on of an important official dress, was a symbol of his endowment with the character required for the discharge of the duties of his office. The official costume being the outward sign of installation in the office which he was to fill.” The endowment is an act of grace; and it is grace, but not a grace which was automatic and a concomitant with the ordained man’s every act. But this is not all. Paul takes this whole fact—the consecration and investiture of priests and summons all believers as members of Christ’s body to do the same with their lives because they are all priests, prophets and kings in Christ. He writes in Romans 12:1,2, “I beseech you therefore brethren, by the mercies of God, that ye present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable unto God, which is reasonable service. And be not conformed to this World, but be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind, that ye may prove what is that good and acceptable and perfect will of God.”

Now pagan priesthood had an inherent autonomous power, thus, the priesthood of Egypt, which culminated in the monarch, or Pharaoh (a priest came with absolute powers), was emphatically unlike the Biblical priesthood. It is significant that Egypt never had a Law code. A Law code was unnecessary because the divine priest-king could not be under law, since his word was the sufficient law. Every pagan state has to some degree or another come to the same position. In the study I’m dealing with currently, a follow-up on Christianity and the state, I developed this point. Whenever there is a claim to Lordship, or to sovereignty, this places the State above the law, so there can be no law to bind the State. This is why no law passed by Congress cannot be overturned by the bureaucracy, by the courts—because nothing can bind a sovereign power! But God’s priests, His apostles, His pastors, His people are all under God’s revealed law as given in His Word. And the sin offering makes clear this fact, because priesthood began by self-abnegation, by the confession of sin, by the renunciation of personal merit. And this renunciation of personal merit must be accompanied by as strict obedience to God’s every word. And as a result of this strict obedience, there are then blessings. And the declaration is, “The glory of the Lord shall appear unto you.” [00:22:33]

And then fourth, because all God’s people are called

And then fourth, because all God’s people are called to be His servant-priests. We are all, when we give ourselves to our service with all our heart, mind and being, consecrated and invested by His grace to do His work. His grace summons us, redeems us, and then His grace invests us.

In the ritual of purification, at the center of it, Aaron’s right big toe and that of his sons, was smeared with blood; also his thumb and his right ear. His ear was first consecrated to listen always to God’s word. His hands were consecrated next (the part standing for the whole—the right hand’s thumb for both hands), to do God’s work, and his feet to walk always in the way of holiness. Psalm 119 is a long psalm, the longest chapter in the Bible, and it is a reflection on this holy duty of all of us. The psalmist declares among other things, “Order my steps in Thy Word and let not iniquity have dominion over me. Thou art near, oh Lord, and all Thy commandments are truth. Great peace have they which love Thy Law, and nothing shall offend it.”

In Leviticus 8:10, 11 the house of worship is also anointed, with all its furnishings. Again, it must be recognized that this is ordered by God. In our day, men are casual about God’s house and its furnishings. And too many see more than the barest expenditures here as wasteful; and yet those same people are often particular about having attractive clothing for themselves and desirable housing. But this attitude is not new. One woman poured an ointment of spikenard over our Lord’s head and body. Some of the disciples, we are told, were very indignant, saying, “Why this waste of the ointment made? For it might have been sold for more than 300 pence and have been given to the poor.” And they murmured against her. Our Lord however, rebuked the disciples and commended the woman. The description of the requirements for the tabernacle stressed beauty and costly construction. [00:25:30]

The very garments of Aaron area declared not only holy

The very garments of Aaron area declared not only holy, but to be for glory and for beauty. To assume that God wanted this to impress Israel because they were a childlike people, and that we do not need to do this today, is a childish opinion and insulting to God. Throughout the Law we are told that His honor requires the first fruits of our lives, abilities, and concerns. This means that in every sphere, including the construction of churches, only the very best is good enough for God. So there is nothing childlike or primitive of a requirement of excellence in the physical and in the moral spheres. In a requirement of excellence of men, and of what men build for Christ’s work and kingdom. God does not like left-overs. He sees it as an insult.

Let us pray.

Oh Lord our God, Thy Word is truth, and Thy Word is a light upon our way. Give us grace to walk in Thy Word and Spirit and to be more than conquerors in Christ our Lord. In His name we pray, amen.

Are there any questions now about our lesson?

Yes.

[Audience] We have ribbon cuttings now …

[Rushdoony] We have what?

[Audience] We have ribbon cutting ceremonies, and, uh, ground breaking ceremonies. But we don’t have consecrations.

[Rushdoony] No, we don’t. We no longer feel the need to consecrate ourselves or our work or our uh, buildings. We should remember there was a time that (and it’s still done to a minor degree in some communions), when a new house was consecrated, when a new fishing boat was consecrated, and men wouldn’t sail until it was so done. When, ah, a new vineyard was consecrated when a man moved into it, and I can remember that as boy! When every kind of work was set apart as a person took it over, a Christian took it over, to the Lord.

And the purpose of the vestiture was that the garments, when he functioned as a high priest, would set forth that in this capacity, the high priest, or priest, was more than himself. Now, this is an important symbolism. It sets for the fact that when we do God’s work, there’s more involved in it than ourselves. Of course, today, because of the hostility to Christianity, it’s not advisable for clerical garb to be worn in public, or even a cross, as some of us know.

So, we have a de-consecration of everything in progress today, which is a very ugly fact. What we need is, beginning with ourselves, to work towards a re-consecration of all things. [00:29:38]

Any other questions or comments? Well if not, let us

Any other questions or comments? Well if not, let us bow our heads in prayer as we conclude.

Oh Lord, our God, here and now, we consecrate and re-consecrate ourselves, our work, our possessions, our family, our all—into Thy service. Lord grant as the world seeks to de-consecrate us, that with all heart, mind and being, we give ourselves to Thee and to Thy Word, that we work to bring everything into Thy holy kingdom, and to make all things wholly Thine. And now go in peace. God the Father, God the Son and God the Holy Ghost bless you and keep you, guide and protect you this day and always. Amen. [00:30:58]

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