Monday, February 13, 2012

Looking for Jesus in Leviticus: “Anointed," part 2

The Word for today:
Leviticus 24

Good morning, super sleuths of Scripture. Let’s jump right in where we left off yesterday…

Stand in the Rain has chosen a few “minor” verses from Leviticus chapter 8—verses that even the most avid Bible reader tends to skim over—to show that even the little things have a lot to say about Jesus.

Yesterday, we noted how the oil was poured over the head of the high priest, but only sprinkled over the rest of the priests.

Because oil is Scripture’s most prevalent symbol of the Holy Spirit, we concluded that the pouring was a prophetic picture of the true High Priest, Jesus, who was given the Spirit with out measure (1).

Before we leave that image, we want to point to some identical Old Testament images of Jesus the Anointed:

You love what is right and hate what is wrong. Therefore God, your God, has anointed you, pouring out the oil of joy on you more than on anyone else.  (Psalm 45:7)

Psalm 45 is one of the many great "Messianic" Psalms. (Messiah is the Hebrew equivalent of the Greek “Christ,” which means “anointed.”) Here we again see the word poured, which we focused on yesterday.  The one upon whom the Spirit was poured, not just sprinkled, would be the Promised King, Prophet, High Priest, and Deliverer—the Messiah.

Let’s turn to another remarkable image of the oil being lavishly poured out on the head of the high priest:
It is like the precious oil on the head, running down on the beard, on the beard of Aaron, running down on the collar of his robes!  (Psalm 133:2)

Along with the symbol of oil and the office of high priest, there is another subtle but definite hint of Jesus in that verse.  Can you find it?  (I’ll leave this one for you to track down.  The answer can be found below in footnote #2.)


Let’s conclude our basic Bible detective training by going back to where we started--with another major Jesus sighting that can be found among the “minor details” of Leviticus 8.   A very careful reading reveals that the anointing oil is poured over Aaron before the blood is applied to his ear, thumb, and toe. This is uniquely typical of Jesus Christ--our High Priest--who needed no sins forgiven before empowerment (anointing) for service.

Every other priest--representative of you and me as priests--has the order reversed: first the atoning blood and then the anointing.  Needing no forgiveness of sins, Jesus stands uniquely apart.


Do not be discouraged if some of the clues escape you on your first trips through Leviticus or any other “uneventful” portions of scripture.  For example, it took me about twenty readings before I first saw the prophetic pictures of Jesus in Leviticus 8 that we have examined over the last couple days.

On the other hand, don’t ever get to the point where you think you’ve seen it all. Experience tells me that -- miraculously -- the more pictures we find, the more we’ve yet to discover!

(1) John 3:34

(2) The clue is the word head  (upon which the oil is copiously poured) because Jesus is the head of the body, the church  (Colossians 1:18).  Note how the oil (Holy Spirit) then falls upon the rest of the body, which is true of the church as well.

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