Numbers 3:9-10 Give the Levites to Aaron and his sons; they are the Israelites who are to be given wholly to him. Appoint Aaron and his sons to serve as priests; anyone else who approaches the sanctuary must be put to death.”
When God revealed, through the Prophet Isaiah, that the ‘born-of-a-Virgin’ ‘Messiah’ he promised to send would be called ‘Immanu-El’ (‘GOD-WITH-US’ – Isaiah 7:14), and when we saw this promise fulfilled in Jesus, the ‘FRIEND of sinners’ (Luke 7:34), it gave us a refreshing sense of God’s approachability, his ‘immanence’ in contrast with his ‘transcendence’ or ‘otherness’.
But we must never REJOICE in this disclosure at the expense of remembering what it COST God to make this possible. He is very zealous to demonstrate his HOLINESS throughout the whole book of Leviticus, and this helps me to appreciate, albeit imperfectly, the length he was prepared to go when he poured out his WRATH on his beloved, only Son on the cross. In doing this, he bore the guilt and punishment for ALL MY sin and so gave me, his ENEMY, access into his presence as his FRIEND! All Aaron and his sons were doing was foreshadowing what the Great High Priest, Jesus, would finally do with the sacrifice of his own body and the shedding of his own blood FOR ME! “Day after day every priest stands and performs his religious duties; again and again he offers the same sacrifices, [as laid down in detail repeatedly throughout Leviticus] which can never take away sins [but can only serve as pointers to Jesus’ PERFECT sacrifice]. But when this priest had offered for all time one sacrifice for sins, he sat down at the right hand of God. Since that time he waits for his enemies to be made his footstool, because by one sacrifice he has made perfect for ever those who are being made holy.” (Hebrews 10:11-14).
Sadly, we see, in Leviticus 10, that two of Aaron’s sons, Nadab and Abihu, decided to ignore all the warnings about the dire consequences of a carefree, ‘I’ll-do-it-MY-way-thanks-very-much’ approach to God, “so fire came out from the presence of the LORD and consumed them, and they died before the LORD . Moses then said to Aaron, ‘This is what the LORD spoke of when he said: “Among those who approach me I will show myself holy; in the sight of all the people I will be honoured.”’ Aaron remained silent.” (Leviticus 10:2-3). Two things impress themselves on me from all this:
1. I must always be very thankful that Jesus, by his own death in my place, has made it possible for me to approach God in worship with great joy and without fear; and
2. ALL my worship must be in accordance with God’s declared truth, and must be centred on JESUS ALONE as my sin-bearer and Mediator before a HOLY GOD. As Jesus himself said, “I am the way and the truth and the life. NO-ONE comes to the Father EXCEPT THROUGH ME.” (John 14:6).