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in the Scriptures, which assert that “in him is no sin ;'* that the prince of this world came, and had nothing in him.f Unlike the Jewish High Priests, who had to offer first for themselves, and then for the errors of the people, all the infinite value of his offering was available for those for whom it was presented.
3. That the High Priest should be restricted as to his diet, and manners and customs, would seem to be quite in accordance with the economy under which he lived; but there were certain peculiarities commanded to be observed in reference to him, which would not appear to be required by a compliance with analogy to the relation in which he stood, or the sanctity of the office he filled. In some respects, indeed, the reverse would seem to have more become him.
Thus, being strictly forbidden to take wine or strong drink, especially when about to officiate before the Lord, we can perhaps easily understand; and so we may the circumstance of his not being allowed to marry any but a virgin; I but why he was not to mourn for the dead, even his own dearest relations,g does not so readily appear: but putting these things together, we may regard them as pointing out the perfect purity of the life of Christ. He was called a Nazarene,ll and was holy, harmless, undefiled, separate from sinners. He did no sin, neither was guile found in his mouth.** * 1 John iii. 5. + John xiv. 30. Lev. xxi. 13, 14. § Lev. xxi, 10-12. || Matt. ii. 23. | Heb. vii. 26. His church, to which he is espoused, is pure, and often represented as a chaste virgin; and as not mourning for the dead may sometimes be a proof of confidence in God, so his entire satisfaction with the conduct of the Almighty, and his deadness to the world, were typified by this peculiarity in the conduct of the High Priest.
** 1 Pet. ii. 22.
This distinguished person was a type of Christ,
II. In his consecration. In which we may notice,
1. His being washed with water. This, it seems, was common both to the High Priest and also to those of an inferior order. “ Aaron and his sons thou shalt bring unto the door of the tabernacle of the congregation, and shall wash them with water," Exodus xxix. 4. Whether this washing had anything literally corresponding with it in the New Testament dispensation or not, it is hard to say. We know that Christ was baptized; and the reason he assigned for submitting to the ordinance was, that it became him to fulfil all righteousness: from which some have thought that the washing of the High Priest was alluded to by him, as meeting its counterpart in baptism: but however it may have been with respect to this, there can be no doubt, that while in the first place the washing of Aaron was designed to be a ceremonial purification in regard to the High Priest himself, it was a symbolical representation of the holy character of the High Priest of our profession.
Another thing observable is,
2. His being arrayed in his pontifical vestments. These were seven, or, according to some writers, eight in number, What the different articles were designed to symbolize remains to be noticed hereafter; it may suffice now to observe, that they were very rich and beautiful, though not all worn, except on official occasions : for it is expressly said, Exod. xxviii. 43, “ They shall be upon Aaron, and upon his sons, when they come in unto the tabernacle of the congregation, or when they come near unto the altar to minister in the holy place:” and again, in chap. xxxix. 41, they are called “the cloths of service, to do service in the holy place.” The circumstance of Aaron being invested with these on the day of his inauguration, was not only to add solemnity to the scene, but it was also a sacred investiture with that office to which he had been elected by the call of God.
3. It was also commanded, in the consecration of the High Priest, that he should be anointed with holy oil, or, as it is sometimes called, the unction, Exod. xxx. 30. Thus the Lord spake unto Moses, “Thou shalt anoint Aaron and his sons, and consecrate them, that they may minister unto me in the priest's office.” And again, Numb. iii. 2, 3, it is said, “ These are the names of the sons of Aaron; Nadab the first-born, and Abihu, Eleazar, and Ithamar—the priests which were anointed, whom he consecrated to minister in the priest's office.”
The ingredients of which this sacred preparation was to consist, were distinctly mentioned to Moses, accompanied with a strict injunction restricting its use to this one purpose of anointing the High Priests in all their generations. :. Whatever other purposes may have been designed by this compound, its symbolical use was to point out the influences of that Divine Spirit which is given to all believers, but was poured out upon our Great High Priest in its richest abundance. There was one other practice observable at the consecration of the High Priest, and that was,
4. The presentation of certain sacrifices. These are fully described in Exod. xxix. 10; and appear to have consisted of various kinds, as a bullock, two rams, unleavened cakes and wafers. As these were offered only on the occasion of the High Priest's consecration, this circumstance would seem to show that the design of them had respect to him alone. The bullock being a sin-offering was 'to indicate that he who was to minister for others was a guilty creature before the Lord, and needed first to offer for himself,-after that for the errors of the people ; and until he himself was accepted of God, could perform no available service for the persons for whom he officiated. The other two being a whole burnt-offering and a peace-offering, pointed out the gifts which from time to time he was to offer to God in the shape of scriptural service, and the intercourse which he should maintain with heaven on his own account, and on behalf of those he represented.
Thus He whom he typified in this part of the
ceremony of his inauguration was consecrated by blood which was shed not for himself, but for all who come to God by him. The season at which he poured it forth was when he fully entered upon his priestly office, and by the presentation of himself to God satisfied all the demands of Divine justice, and ever lives to maintain that peace which flows to the world through him. The next particular we have to notice in the High Priest as typical in its design is,
III. His official dress * in which the four things that distinguished him from all others were—the robe of the ephod, the ephod itself, the breastplate, and the mitre.
Each of these has been thought by some respectable writers to represent some particular feature in the character of our Lord. The robe, from its being of blue, which is the colour of the heavens, has been considered to have been designed to remind the Israelites of Jehovah whom the firmament reveals, and from the circumstance of its being woven throughout, it has been imagined to teach the firmness and stability of that covenant into which God has taken his church, and also the character of the Priest himself as the representative of a covenant people. On the bottom of the robe were artificial bells and pomegranates, and since the latter is said to be, amongst the Jews, the accredited symbol of the word of God, the one of these is concluded to have denoted the integrity and perfection of the Divine Law, and the other the fact of its being promulgated to the people.
* Ex. xxviii. 1, 40.