Bible Commentary: Exodus 29

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Exodus 29

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Preparing Aaron and His Sons for Service

In order to be placed in the service of God's tabernacle, there needed to be specific duties carried out that would prepare and purify Aaron and his sons. Aaron and his sons were consecrated (purified) and sanctified (set apart for a special purpose) before God. The priests officiated at the earthly altar of the Creator God of the universe. They were to carry out their duties with a sense of awe, because of His holiness (Psalms 99:9 Psalms 99:9Exalt the LORD our God, and worship at his holy hill; for the LORD our God is holy.
American King James Version×
). They were not to be careless in any way. To violate what might have been viewed as minor details in their duties could have resulted in death. God is holy and He must be obeyed and worshiped according to His will. As The Nelson Study Bible notes on Exodus 28:43 Exodus 28:43And they shall be on Aaron, and on his sons, when they come in to the tabernacle of the congregation, or when they come near to the altar to minister in the holy place; that they bear not iniquity, and die: it shall be a statute for ever to him and his seed after him.
American King James Version×
: "It is difficult for us to grasp the gravity of the priests' responsibility as they ministered before the living God. They had to serve God with a pure heart, to represent the people without guile, and to worship without deviating from the commands of God. To fail would invite judgment—even death. Sadly, priests did die because they failed to show respect for the holiness of God (Leviticus 10:1 Leviticus 10:1And Nadab and Abihu, the sons of Aaron, took either of them his censer, and put fire therein, and put incense thereon, and offered strange fire before the LORD, which he commanded them not.
American King James Version×
, 2; 1 Samuel 4:17 1 Samuel 4:17And the messenger answered and said, Israel is fled before the Philistines, and there has been also a great slaughter among the people, and your two sons also, Hophni and Phinehas, are dead, and the ark of God is taken.
American King James Version×
; 2 Samuel 6:7 2 Samuel 6:7And the anger of the LORD was kindled against Uzzah; and God smote him there for his error; and there he died by the ark of God.
American King James Version×
). Of course, these are major issues with which we must all be concerned. In light of the fact that, as mentioned before, God refers to His people today as "a holy priesthood" and even "a royal priesthood" (1 Peter 2:5 1 Peter 2:5You also, as lively stones, are built up a spiritual house, an holy priesthood, to offer up spiritual sacrifices, acceptable to God by Jesus Christ.
American King James Version×
, 9), we should consider such passages very soberly. Still, God is a God of grace. If we slip up and sin, the answer is to repent and go to Him for forgiveness and restoration, trusting in His kindness and mercy.