W. T. Whybrow.

Christian Friend vol. 15, 1888, p. 75.

Consecration - a word of comparatively rare occurrence in the Holy Scriptures, but where used fraught with the deepest and most precious meaning - is of infinite import and blessing to our souls. In ordinary speech it is generally understood as the entire devoting to God of self or substance, and thus is linked intimately with sanctification. That this thought is scriptural is clear from 1 Chr. 29:5, where David invited the congregation to consecrate their service to the Lord; and 2 Chr. 29, when in Hezekiah's day, after the apostasy of Ahaz, the congregation of all Israel is anew consecrated to the Lord. We learn too, from the same chapter (v. 33), that "things" were consecrated or made sacred to the Lord.

But apart from these instances (where the word is used in a limited and general sense) it is only Aaron and his sons that are said in Scripture to be consecrated, though any man or woman among the children of Israel might consecrate themselves by vowing the vow of a Nazarite. It is probably in Ex. 28:41 and Ex. 29 that we have for the first time the full teaching as to consecration, and blessed indeed it is to remember that the voice of Jehovah alone broke the silence of the holy mount while instructing Moses as to what fitted Aaron and his sons to minister unto Him in the priest's office. How solemn the occasion, and deeply concerned was the honour of Jehovah! Man was to be permitted to approach Him in His earthly courts. A thing unprecedented hitherto, indeed, impossible; but redemption being now accomplished in the power of the sprinkled blood, Jehovah would have His dwelling-place with man. But if so, what befitted that Presence and what should fit man to draw near? Three times had the Lord specially required Moses' attention to the pattern showed him in the mount; first as to all the furniture of the sanctuary itself (Ex. 25:40), then with respect to the structure of the tabernacle (Ex. 26:30), and finally of the altar of burnt-offering. (Ex. 27:8.) The veil and hangings are not thus spoken of.

The dwelling-place and furniture arranged, the Lord graciously appoints those who should minister unto Him in the priest's office, together with their garments for glory and for beauty. (Ex. 28) Then says He, "Thou shalt anoint them, and consecrate them, and sanctify them, that they may minister," etc. (28)

Here then before the details are given we have the order of power. First, for us to enter the heavenly sanctuary is needed the anointing of the Holy Spirit, Himself the Seal, the power, the unction from the Holy One, and the source and energy of all that follows. Next in importance comes the thought of consecration as distinct from "to sanctify them." Notice the term employed. The literal meaning of the Hebrew word, here translated "consecrate," is "to fill the hand," and the corresponding Greek word in the Septuagint is also used in Heb. 2:10, Heb. 5:9, Heb. 7:28, Heb. 10:14. This is evidently a fact of deep significance, the intention clearly being to connect these scriptures for our instruction. What "fills the hand" of God's priestly worshippers the next chapter (Ex. 29) sets forth, and joy it is to the heart to see in the detail of it how the excellency of the person of the blessed Lord is jealously guarded. Aaron first is clothed and anointed alone, before any sacrifice or other service is performed. Adorable Saviour, Thou alone art worthy! Yet, how truly are we one with Thee! "Thou shalt consecrate Aaron and his sons." (v. 8.) Thou Leader of our salvation! Thine "hand filled" through sufferings! But it "became Him," and it was in "bringing many sons to glory." (Heb. 2:10.)

Of these sufferings the chapter (Ex. 29) then proceeds to speak. In Leviticus 8 we read the history of Aaron's consecration; and, together with the distinction of the person, in type, of the blessed Lord, we notice that sanctification is first before us. Thus the anointing of Aaron was to sanctify him, and the offering the bullock for a sin-offering was to sanctify the altar. Indeed not even with the ram for the burnt-offering, but with "the other ram" (v. 22.), is the thought of consecration introduced. The power of the Holy Spirit is surely needed and the glorifying God about sin; but consecration is founded on this, and the being identified with all the sweet savour of that burnt-sacrifice - an offering made by fire unto the Lord. Then follows consecration: it is the offering and presentation before God of all that Christ's sacrifice is to Him according to the intelligence of Christ, and the feeding upon it in communion in the holy place.

How graciously does the Lord Jesus associate us with Himself in this. He was Son, but He learned obedience from the things He suffered; and having been perfected - His hand filled - He became the author of eternal salvation to all them that obey Him. (Heb. 5:8-9.) What are His thoughts, bearing upon Him - His person characterized as it were by, the marks of the Cross! We too sprinkled by the blood - ear and hand and foot. What unfathomable depths of communion are we permitted to have our part in, as anointed and indwelt, associated with Himself in the power of the Spirit. For if He is a Son "perfected for ever," we are sons, and such a high priest became us, holy, harmless, undefiled, separated from sinners, and become higher than the heavens. (Heb. 7:26.)

We learn moreover that the consecration of the priests lasted seven days, a perfect interval of time, during which they were not to go out of the door of the tabernacle of the congregation. The hand is to be full for God all this interval of grace, and our souls to abide in His unveiled presence in the heavenly place. How forcibly does this remind us that we have not only been sanctified through the offering of the body of Jesus Christ once for all, but "by one offering He has perfected in perpetuity the sanctified" (Heb. 10:14) - the hand filled continuously. But if this is our unchangeable place and portion, may our souls have ever that energy that abides in Christ in order to realize it.

In conclusion it is deeply solemn to notice that the word "consecrate" or "fill the hand," which Moses learned alone from the lips of the Lord at the top of the mount, he first employs to express the unflinching judgment of those who had corrupted themselves and turned aside out of the way commanded them. (Ex. 32:29.) Said he, "Who is on the Lord's side? let him come unto me … slay every man his brother," etc. "And the children of Levi did so: and there fell that day about three thousand men. For Moses had said, Consecrate [fill your hand] yourselves today to the Lord, even every man upon his son, and upon his brother; that He may bestow upon you a blessing." Is our hand to be filled with Christ in the Father's presence, His eternal delight, offering the sacrifice of praise continually to God, the fruit of the lips confessing His name? Then it must be in rejecting all that is corrupt in the camp and contrary to that name. W. T. W.

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There are two kinds of Nazarites; those who, like Samson, were so from their birth, and those who "separate themselves to vow a vow of a Nazarite, to separate themselves unto the Lord." (Numbers 6) All believers answer to the first class by virtue of the sanctification of the Spirit; but only those answer to the second who walk through the world in separation from evil, and in entire devotedness to Christ, through the power of an ungrieved Spirit.