http://bible.com/1/exo.29.4-9.kjv And Aaron and his sons thou shalt bring unto the door of the tabernacle of the congregation, and shalt wash them with water. And thou shalt take the garments, and put upon Aaron the coat, and the robe of the ephod, and the ephod, and the breastplate, and gird him with the curious girdle of the ephod: And thou shalt put the mitre upon his head, and put the holy crown upon the mitre. Then shalt thou take the anointing oil, and pour it upon his head, and anoint him. And thou shalt bring his sons, and put coats upon them. And thou shalt gird them with girdles, Aaron and his sons, and put the bonnets on them: and the priest’s office shall be theirs for a perpetual statute: and thou shalt consecrate Aaron and his sons.
The ministry is a sacred office. In the Old Testament it was an inheritance through the tribe of Levi. Today, it is a calling from God much more like the prophetic office in the Old Testament. But the solemnity and gravity of the office is still noteworthy.
1. There was a separation from the people. While we believe that God’s ordained men are still human and share in all the foibles of humanity, it cannot be ignored that the priest or minister is to be set apart from the people. It is not to be a separation in an arrogant or condescending manner. The minister is not set apart because he is better, nor is he better because he set apart. Yet the fact remains that he is set apart. His occupation and duties as a representative of the people in the presence of the Holy God require a type of separation. It is a spiritual separation, one which must exists in the mind of the minister first and the congregation second. This separation should determine his focus: for he is not called to engage in a variety of businesses but a single interest of the spiritual health of God’s people. This separation was especially visible in the noble garments and accessories designed for Aaron and his sons.
2. The ministry required cleanliness. Thus should go without saying. If God is holy, let his minister’s exhibit that holiness and purity better than anyone. The qualifications Paul outlined in 1 Timothy and Titus make it clear that the Christian ministry has prequalifications. The minister should be among our best men spiritually, morally and ethically. One whose character is questionable, either within the congregation or outside of it, will not be a fitting candidate for representing the Holy God of heaven.
3. The ministry was solemnized by the anointing. This anointing was performed by the leader of the congregation, Moses, and signified the divine selection of the candidates. Moses placed his hands upon Aaron and his sons in the place of God. In doing so, he was confirming God’s purpose and pleasure in using them for this sacred office. How humbling it is to be anointed for ministry! Further, the anointing serves to impress upon the minister that he is to be a servant, yielding to the patterns of life prescribed by God and committed to the spiritual welfare of those men, women and children for whom he would intercede.
These three marks, Separation, Cleansing and Anointing, comprise the consecration of the minister of God. The consecration was to implant a solemnity in the souls of priest and people. It gave the minister a robust understanding of his vocation as a sacred and permanent heritage.