Life-Study of Exodusby Witness Lee
Printed Copy: Available Online from Living Stream Ministry
Printed Copy: Available Online from Living Stream Ministry
In this message we come to another section of the book of Exodus. We have covered the tabernacle with its furnishings and also the priestly garments. When God’s people were gathered at Mount Sinai, Moses received the revelation of the pattern of the tabernacle and the design of the furniture of the tabernacle. The children of Israel were to build a house, a sanctuary, for the Lord to dwell among them and for His people to serve Him. Following this, the book of Exodus records a description of the priestly garments.
In the Bible garments signify our living, behavior, conduct, and character. This indicates that, concerning the priests, God’s serving ones, Exodus first takes care of their outward conduct signified by the priestly garments. Now in chapter twenty-nine we have a section dealing with the sanctification of Aaron and his sons to be priests.
Those who read Exodus 29 can easily be impressed with what is often called the consecration of the priests. Apparently this chapter is concerned with consecration, for here we see that the priests and their garments have been made ready and need to be consecrated. Some versions use the word ordination instead of consecration. This translation of the Bible is based on the traditional, religious practice of ordination. Actually, there is no ground for this translation. Verse 9 says, “And you shall gird them with a girdle, Aaron and his sons, and bind caps on them; and the priesthood shall be theirs for an eternal statute; and you shall consecrate Aaron and his sons.” The Hebrew word rendered consecrate literally means “fill their hand.” Neither the word consecrate nor the word ordain is accurate. Therefore, I prefer not to use the word consecrate in verse 9. What this verse talks about is the filling of the priests’ hands. Because their hands were empty, they needed their hands to be filled. This indicates that we cannot serve God empty-handed. If we would serve Him, our hands must be filled with Christ. Thus, to consecrate the priests, to ordain them (if we want to use that word), means the filling of their hands. The hands of those who serve the Lord need to be filled with Christ.
In 29:1 the word sanctify is used: “And this is the thing which you shall do to them to sanctify them to serve as priests to Me: Take one young bull and two rams without blemish.” To sanctify something is absolutely different from ordaining it or consecrating it. To sanctify means to set something apart. For example, there may be many cattle in a herd, but one of these cattle is set apart from the herd. As a result, that animal is sanctified. Furthermore, when an animal is set apart from the herd or flock, a mark may be put on it to indicate that it has been set apart. Hence, to sanctify means to set something apart with a certain mark.
Formerly we were among all the sinners in the world. But one day the Lord set us apart. Salvation is an all-inclusive matter, and it includes being set apart. One day the Lord Jesus came to set us apart, that is, to save us. He separated us from sinners. To be saved and set apart in this way is to be sanctified.
The Lord’s sanctifying always labels us, puts a mark upon us. We bear a mark to indicate that we have been saved, sanctified, and set apart unto God. Do you know what is the mark that separates us and sets us apart? This mark is Christ Himself.
When we were among sinners, we were empty. Not only were we empty-handed, but our whole being was empty. When we were saved, Christ came into us and became the mark that sets us apart from empty sinners. From that time on, we have had something within us, something in our hand, with which to serve God. Many Christians, however, do not realize this. No one has told them they have Christ to fill their hand. Nevertheless, from the time we were saved, we have had Christ.
Since we have Christ, we should not come to God empty-handed. Rather, we should always come to Him with Christ. This is the reason we pray and meet in the name of the Lord Jesus. To meet in the Lord’s name is to meet with Him. Those, such as the Jews, who pray to God without praying in the name of the Lord Jesus, pray to Him in a way that is empty-handed. But our praying in the name of the Lord Jesus is different because we are praying to God with our hands filled.
Now we can understand that consecration in Exodus 29 means to fill our hands. Genuine consecration is the filling up of our emptiness with Christ. This also is sanctification. Whenever we come to the meetings, we should have something of Christ to offer to God. We should not come to the meetings empty-handed. To be empty-handed in the meetings is to be condemned. We all should be priests whose hands are filled with Christ.
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