One of the many outstanding qualities of God’s word is the reality of prophetic messages presented to us in prefigured forms. The Bible is brimming with them. They are found primarily in the Tanakh, what is referred to as the Old Testament. They are usually centered on narratives involving notable biblical characters: such as Abraham, the first such notable example, prefiguring the believer walking in faith; and King Solomon, a type of the Sovereign King and Son of David, King Jesus Himself.
There are, however, prefigurations that are not centered on characters of the Bible but rather on bold actions and expressions on God’s part. Usually these paint for us grand pictures of the end goals of God’s great work of redemption. One such example is found in the book of Leviticus, chapters 8 and 9. Before we begin to consider this example, I think it’s important at this time to mention that the primary objective of God, as revealed in the Bible, is redemption of fallen creation. This is where God’s heart is and we should frame our paradigms accordingly.
This example begins with the consecration, anointing and ordination of Aaron and his sons as Kohanim (כֹּהֲנִים the Hebrew word for priests). Chapter eight begins with God giving Moses very detailed instructions as to how to proceed with this event. As one reads the chapter, the inherent seriousness of the proceedings becomes evident. In many cases this is indicative of a bigger picture being painted. Towards the end of the chapter we see the culmination of all that Moses was instructed to do, carried out by him; “So Moses took some of the anointing oil and some of the blood which was on the altar and sprinkled it on Aaron, on his garments, on his sons, and on the garments of his sons with him; and he consecrated Aaron, his garments, and his sons, and the garments of his sons with him” (Leviticus 8:30). At that point God’s anointed vessel is ordained and equipped for His work of redemption.
I should mention here that Aaron, as High Priest, is presenting yet another type—that of Jesus, the ultimate and “Great High Priest” (Hebrews 4:14, 6:20). Jesus was consecrated and ordained for this function from the very world’s foundation (Rev.13:8). It is important to note that, like Aaron’s sons, we, in Jesus, were also appointed at the same time as Jesus, The Great High Priest: “Just as He chose us in Him before the foundation of the world, that we would be holy and blameless before Him. In love. He predestined us to adoption as sons through Jesus the Messiah to Himself, according to the kind intention of His will” (Eph. 1:4-5). This fact on its own merit should bring us to humility.
My reason for bringing to bear what was presented in the former paragraph is to bring to light what follows at the end of Leviticus chapter 8: “You shall not go outside the doorway of the tent of meeting for seven days, until the day that the period of your ordination is fulfilled; for he will ordain you through seven days”. (Lev. 8:33). And “At the doorway of the tent of meeting, moreover, you shall remain day and night for seven days and keep the charge of the LORD, so that you will not die, for so I have been commanded”. (Lev. 8:35). God’s vessel, sanctified for His work within Israel, is ready after seven days—the number seven being God’s number of completion or perfection.
What follows in chapter 9 of Leviticus brings together the grand collage that God has assembled for us see. God instructs that on the eighth day, offerings of sacrifices would be made on behalf of Aaron and his sons and that the children of Israel would make offerings for themselves as well. Following these offerings, God declared that He would appear, that same day, to all Israel (Leviticus 9:1-5). Moses relates this to Israel in verse 6; “Moses said, “This is the thing which the Lord has commanded you to do, that the glory of the Lord may appear to you” (Note: Moses said that God would appear in His glory). Following Moses’ and Aaron’s execution of all that God had instructed them to do, we see a glorious manifestation of God recorded in verses 23 and 24; “Moses and Aaron then went into the tent of meeting. When they came out, they blessed the people; and the glory of the Lord appeared to all the people. Fire came out from the presence of the Lord and consumed the burnt offering and the fat portions on the altar. And when all the people saw it, they shouted for joy and fell facedown”.
To sum-up what we’ve seen thus far; God sanctified His anointed High Priest together with his sons for a period of seven days and then revealed Himself in glory on the eighth day.
Allow me now to bring this picture into prophetic focus. The number eight, as it follows a specific action of God relative to the number seven, is pointing to the hope of a new beginning or the initiation of something new. The greatest hope provided for us in scripture is the hope of a new beginning. Isaiah the prophet saw this hope: “For behold I create new heavens and a new earth; and the former things would not be remembered or come to mind’. (Isaiah 65:17-18). The apostle John saw the same event but with greater detail. He reported: “Then I saw “a new heaven and a new earth, for the first heaven and the first earth had passed away, and there was no longer any sea. I saw the Holy City, the New Jerusalem, coming down out of heaven from God, prepared as a bride beautifully dressed for her husband.” (Rev. 21:1-2) Yes, indeed. The New Creation is the hope of all creation and is the great culmination of God’s work of redemption. At this time God would again dwell in the midst of His creation as He had intended from the beginning, “And I heard a loud voice from the throne saying, “Look! God’s dwelling place is now among the people, and he will dwell with them. They will be his people, and God himself will be with them and be their God. ‘He will wipe every tear from their eyes. There will be no more death or mourning or crying or pain, for the old order of things has passed away”. (Rev.21:3-4).
With Israel, God revealed Himself in glory following seven days of preparation for Aaron and his sons. God likewise will reveal Himself to all creation in glory at the end of the seven millennia which have been set aside for redemption. Jesus, our High Priest, has been set aside—or consecrated—for this from the beginning of God’s work of redemption and we, the Royal Priesthood (as we are referred to in 1 Pet. 2:9 ) along with Him.
God’s longing desire to return fallen creation to perfect order and, once again, to dwell in the midst of man is great; so great that He gave us that picture through His Word millennia ago by His servant Moses. Our responsibility is to proclaim it, for this is the message of the Kingdom of Heaven.