Ordination of Levitical Priests
Symbolism of Hands and Feet
“Then you shall bring Aaron and his sons to the gate of the tent of meeting (Tabernacle), and wash them with water. (Exodus 29:4)Then Moses anointed the Tabernacle and all that was in it with anointing oil. The oil represented the God the Holy Spirit.
Leviticus 8:10-11The Tabernacle and its furniture were anointed with oil to consecrate them, i.e. to set them aside for a Spiritual purpose. Moses sprinkled the oil over the Tabernacle and its seven articles of furniture. Note, the Ark and Mercy Seat are counted as two. When he came to the Brazen Altar, he sprinkled it 7 times to signify the completion of the category of articles of furniture.
10 Moses then took the anointing oil and anointed the tabernacle and all that was in it, and consecrated them. 11 And he sprinkled some of it on the altar seven times and anointed the altar and all its utensils, and the laver and its stand, to consecrate them.
The oil on the utensils and furniture of the Tabernacle indicated that God the Holy Spirit had consecrated them for a Spiritual purpose. The Tabernacle and its contents, even the pots and pans, were thus set aside to become "channels and vessels of the blessings of grace and salvation, which God the Holy One would bestow upon His people."1 Thus, inanimate objects can be sanctified, even stones (Genesis 28:18, 35:14) and clothes (Leviticus 8:30). The application for the Church Age believer is not to anoint things with oil, but to obey the Holy Spirit in all things. Only Logistical Grace provision should be used, which includes sanctified frying pans and clothes. The Holy Spirit will teach the beginner how to do this.
Next, the Levitical Priests put on their clean, new robes of the Priesthood and were anointed with oil. The anointing for Aaron, the High Priest, is described in Exodus 29:7 and the anointing of his sons is described in Exodus 40:15. Aaron had special anointing oil poured on his head.
“Then you shall take the anointing oil, and pour it on his head and anoint him. (Exodus 29:7)The oil symbolized God the Holy Spirit. The head symbolized authority. Pouring the oil on the head was a demonstration of Aaron's promotion to High Priest. His authority was the work of God the Holy Spirit. As the oil anointed his head, so the Holy Spirit would sustain his authority. Aaron was given a new occupation in the nation of Israel. God the Father planned it; God the Son authorized it; and God the Holy Spirit performed it (Exodus 29:9). Aaron had arrived at his destiny.
Next, a ram was to be sacrificed and its blood placed on the right ear lobe of Aaron and his sons. The ram was sacrificed after the sacrifices of a bull and another ram. The sacrifice of the second ram was for the sins of Aaron and his sons. Since they would be ministering in the Holy Place, they must be purified from their sins. The blood of the second ram represents the blood of Christ, who paid for the sins of Aaron and his sons. The blood of the animal represents the substitutionary spiritual death of Jesus Christ in payment for the sins of the world. The blood of Christ does not refer to his physical blood but to his substitutionary Spiritual death. The second ram offering was part of the ordination ceremony. The ear represents hearing. The blood on the ear lobe represented hearing the Doctrine of Redemption. The Levitical Priests must metabolize Bible Doctrine by hearing and obeying before they could teach through the offering of animal sacrifices.
“And you shall slaughter the ram, and take some of its blood and put it on the lobe of Aaron’s right ear and on the lobes of his sons’ right ears and on the thumbs of their right hands and on the big toes of their right feet, and sprinkle the rest of the blood around on the altar. (Exodus 29:20, NAS)The blood was also to be placed on the thumbs of the right hands. The thumb represents the volition. Everyone must be free to choose Salvation, which is represented by the Brazen Altar. Thus, blood on the thumb identified the thumb with the Brazen Altar. Under the doctrine of Infralapsarianism, only those who choose Salvation will be saved, and all others will be left in condemnation. This is one of the fundamental reasons for the creation of mankind. People would be allowed to choose Salvation or reject it. The blood represents Christ our sacrifice and Redemption. The blood on the thumb represents the purification of the Levitical Priests for service through the blood of the Redeemer, who is Jesus Christ. Jesus Christ is the same as Jehovah, the Savior of the Old Testament. Jesus Christ is the only Savior. There is Salvation in none other. There was only one payment for the sins of the world. However, there were many demonstrations of Redemption through the daily sacrifices before Christ came.
The blood was to be placed only on the thumb of the right hand, not the left. This is significant because the right hand of the Lord was symbolically inscribed in the Tabernacle. The right hand of a right handed person is the stronger, and the Lord's right hand symbolized salvation and deliverance (Psalm 18:35; 20:6; 63:8; 89:13; 108:5-6; 139:9-10). The right side is the Spiritual side and the left side is the temporal side. The right hand also goes first, and the left hand helps. Believing in Jesus Christ is a Spiritual decision. The Holy Spirit makes the gospel clear to the unregenerate person so that he or she can choose Salvation.
The blood was to be placed only on the thumb, not the hand. Blood on the hands represents a murderer (Genesis 4:11; Isaiah 59:3; Proverbs 6:17; Ezekiel 23:37, 45). And blood was to be placed on the big toes of Aaron and his sons. The big toe is analogous to the thumb on the hand. Just as the hand has a thumb and four fingers, the foot has a big toe and four smaller toes. The hands represent service and the feet represent walking. The thumb represents serving the will of God. The big toe represents walking in the will of God. Aaron and his sons, the Levitical Priests, were to serve the will of God and walk in the will of God.
Adam obeyed God and walked around the Tree in the will of God until he sinned. This was illustrated by the picture of the hand with the thumb pointed up toward God. After Adam sinned, the Levitical Priests could only begin to obey God by obeying the will of God for Salvation. When they were saved, they were to walk daily in the will of God and offer animal sacrifices to explain the doctrines of the Spiritual Life, which included Redemption, Atonement, Propitiation, Reconciliation, and Rebound. The line around the thumb that was labeled Father, for God the Father, in the hand of Adam corresponds to the path of the Levitical Priests as they walked daily in the will of God.
The rest of the blood was to be sprinkled around the Brazen Altar, the symbol of Salvation. Aaron and his sons with the blood on their ear lobes, thumbs, and big toes were identified with the blood that was sprinkled around the Brazen Altar. The sprinkling of the blood identified the Brazen Altar with blood that represented the Redemption of the Levitical Priests by the sacrifice of Jesus Christ for their sins.
The blood was sprinkled with the index finger, which is also called the forefinger or the first finger (Leviticus 4:6, 17; 16:14, 19; Numbers 19:4). The first finger was thus used as a pointer finger to sprinkle the blood on the object at which the finger pointed. The first finger was also being used to execute a religious procedure. The procedure was the first ceremony, or ordination ceremony, in the service and walk of the Levitical Priesthood. The first finger was being used by the one who is leading the ceremony like an orchestra leader leads, or directs, the orchestra. The first finger was being used by a person in a public display. There were no words or other gestures by the leader of this ceremony. He only used his index finger, the first finger. That finger placed the blood on Aaron and his sons and sprinkled the blood around the Brazen Altar.
Exodus 29:22-23In the next part of the ordination ceremony, Moses took the fat from the ram, the appendage of the liver, the kidneys, and the right thigh. Appendage is the Hebrew, yotereth, which is a fatty mass at the opening of the liver of a sacrificial animal, extending to the kidneys. There were, thus, four layers of meat: a layer of fat, a layer of liver fat, the kidneys, and thigh. He placed three types of pastry upon these. The first pastry was unleavened bread, which represented the impeccability of the humanity of Jesus Christ, who was uniquely qualified to be the sin offering. The second was unleavened bread mixed with oil. The oil represented the Holy Spirit. The third was an unleavened wafer, which also represented the impeccability of Jesus Christ. The sandwich that was made contained 4 layers of fat and meat and 3 breads, which made 7 layers, the number for the completion of a category. This was a large club sandwich.
22 “You shall also take from the ram the fat, including the fat tail and the fat that covers the entrails, the appendage of the liver, the two kidneys and the fat that is on them, and the right thigh (for it is a ram of ordination), 23 and one cake of bread, one cake of bread mixed with oil, and one wafer from the basket of unleavened bread which is set before the Lord;
Then Moses placed the sandwich in the hands of the Levitical Priests. This act was to identify the next offering with the Levitical Priests. It also established the precedent that the priest who offered a sacrifice was to receive the right thigh as his portion in the future. The word, "ordination," is the Hebrew aWLm! (millu') from a root that means filling. The explanation, "for it is a ram of ordination," is correctly translated but it means "for it is a ram of the filling, or fill-offering." The ordination ceremony derived its name when the sandwiches were placed in the hands of the Levitical Priests.
and you shall put all these in the hands of Aaron and in the hands of his sons, and shall wave them as a wave offering before the Lord. (Exodus 29:24, NAS)The sandwiches filled the hands of the Levitical Priests. The word for hand is the Hebrew [K^ (kaph), which has a root meaning of hollow, for the hollow of the hand or palm of the hand. The word may be translated hand or palm. The hands of the Levitical Priests were filled with things that symbolized great blessing. Having the hands filled full of blessing requires capacity for blessing, which demands capacity for life. This is one of the passages that helps to establish the meaning of the hollow of the hand, which represents capacity for life as shown in the new illustration of the mounts of the hand.
The hands of the Levitical Priests were filled with sacrificial gifts for the Lord, which symbolized that in the future they would receive sacrificial gifts from others and sacrifice them to the Lord. Moses waved the sandwiches before the Lord to indicate that they would be offered to Him from the hands of the Levitical Priests.
Then Moses took them from their hands and offered them up in smoke on the altar with the burnt offering. They were an ordination offering for a soothing aroma; it was an offering by fire to the Lord. (Leviticus 8:28)Then Moses burned the sandwiches on the Brazen Altar as explained in the parallel passage in Leviticus. The sweet smell of the burning fat went up to Heaven and represented Propitiation, which means the satisfaction of God. God was pleased with the sacrifice, which represented the sacrifice of the humanity of Jesus Christ.
There is another reason for anointing the head first. The oil represents God the Holy Spirit, who controls the Human Spirit. The Spirit came first and then the blood because the blood represents the soul. The Spirit comes before, or is higher than, the soul. The soul of the animal is in the blood.
‘For the soul of the flesh is in the blood, and I have given it to you on the altar to make atonement for your souls; for it is the blood by reason of the soul that makes atonement.’ (Leviticus 17:11)The word translated "soul" is the Hebrew vp#n# (nephesh), which literally means soul and implies soul-life, or life, because the soul is the source of life for the body. The soul of the sacrificial animal was in the blood. Therefore, the sacrificial blood was atonement for the souls of the Levitical Priests. When the Old Sin Nature controls the soul, a person sins and accumulates guilt in the subconscious. The anointing of the Levitical Priests with oil followed by placing blood on their thumbs and big toes, first, stressed the importance of purifying the head, which is the source of Spiritual and soulish problems. The Spiritual Life is a new way of life that requires a new modus operandi. Atonement must be made for sin and guilt from the Old Sin Nature control of the soul.
The hands and feet were addressed after the head. The hands represent service, while the feet represent the walk or the stand. Hands may act or respond. The finger that was applying the blood and sprinkling the blood was acting. The thumbs that were receiving the blood were responding. Feet may act or respond. Moses had to walk around to apply the blood and sprinkle it, but the Levitical Priests stood still and received the blood. Moses was leading in the will of God. The Levitical Priests were following the will of God by standing still and receiving the blood.
The hands perform service. They perform work. They respond. And they help. However, they do not perform a strategic or tactical advance. Strategy refers to a long range objective or destination, while tactics refer to the short term objectives or steps in the overall plan. The feet execute strategy and tactics while the hands perform service or work where the feet go. To be successful a person must be on the right path to do the right thing. The feet follow the right path, and the hands do the right thing.
The lines in the palm of the hand or sole of the foot represent the paths of life. The fingers and other parts of the hand represent service, skill, and methodology. The toes and other parts of the foot represent the type of advance. A few steps may represent a tactical advance while a long journey may represent a strategic advance. Walking with the big toe covered with blood represents walking in the will of God and being purified from sins through the atonement of Christ, our sacrifice. The walk of a person with a large big toe may be accompanied by overt expressions of the will such as talking, singing, or fanfare. The walk of a person with a long first toe may be accompanied with a bold expression of leadership or ambition. The service of a person with a large thumb may be authoritarian or very demanding. The service of a person with a long first finger may exhibit strong leadership, whereas the service of a person with a short first finger may tend to follow another.
The first part of the cleansing, which is not part of the study of the hands, included two birds (Leviticus 14:1-8). One bird was sacrificed and the other released to fly away free into the open country. The dead bird represented the disease of leprosy that would have killed the leper. The bird that was set free represented the leper's new freedom to enter social life because of the substitutionary death of the other bird. The leper was sprinkled 7 times with a mixture of fresh water and blood from the sacrificed bird. The water represented cleansing of his body and the blood represented purification of his soul because the soul of the animal is in the blood (Leviticus 17:11).
At the end of the first ceremony, the leper had to wash his clothes, shave off all the hair from all parts of his body, and bathe. He was then allowed to go to his tent in the camp, but he was not allowed to go inside for 7 days (Leviticus 14:8). Staying outside the tent was to prevent sexual intercourse, which would defile him before the completion of the second part of his cleansing.
On the seventh day, he had to wash his clothes, shave all over, and bathe again. And on the eighth day, where eight symbolizes the new birth, the second half of the ceremony began (Leviticus 14:9-20). He was to bring to the priest 2 male lambs, a ewe lamb, 3/10 of an ephah of flour (2 gallons) mixed with oil, and a log (.5 pint) of oil as sacrificial gifts (Leviticus 14:10). The priest then presented the leper and the sacrificial gifts before the LORD at the Gate of the Tabernacle before the Brazen Altar. Presentation to the LORD was a symbolic giving of things to the LORD. The leper and the gifts, then, belonged to the LORD. Then the priest slaughtered one of the male lambs for a guilt offering.
“The priest shall then take some of the blood of the guilt offering, and the priest shall put it on the lobe of the right ear of the one to be cleansed, and on the thumb of his right hand, and on the big toe of his right foot. (Leviticus 14:14, NAS)The guilt offering was for believers who had sinned after Salvation. The guilt of the leper was due to his failure to comply with the worship ceremonies associated with the Tabernacle, which he could not attend because he was banned. The guilt offering was a reminder that the sins would be paid for by the Redeemer who would come, and, therefore, the person who had sinned could be forgiven based upon that Redemption. That is the same concept as Rebound in the Church Age in which a person names his sins to God (1 John 1:9) and God forgives them because they were paid for on the Cross (1 John 1:7). Under the Mosaic Law, Rebound had to be accompanied by an animal sacrifice as a reminder that forgiveness was only possible based upon the sacrifice for sins that was to come. Old Testament saints looked forward to the Cross, and Church Age believers look back at the Cross.
The similarities between the cleansing ceremony of the leper and the ordination ceremony of the Levitical Priests provide additional insight into the meanings of the hands and feet. The leper needed to be purified of his sins just as the Priests did. Both were sinners, and, therefore, both required a similar ceremonial cleansing. Rams were used for the Priests, while lambs were used for lepers.
In addition to representing purification for sins, the blood also represented the soul because the soul of the animal is in the blood. The blood represented atonement for sins and the soul. The blood was placed on the leper's right ear lobe, right thumb, and right big toe just as in the ordination of the Levitical Priests. The blood on the parts of the leper represented:
Leviticus 14:15-16The log was a Hebrew unit of measurement, which was about half a pint. The oil represents the Holy Spirit. The word for forefinger is the Hebrew uB^x=a# ('aetseba`), which is also the word for a finger. The forefinger is the foremost representative finger. In this verse it should be translated forefinger per the lexicon.4 By using the forefinger, the priest was pointing the finger at the object to be sprinkled, which in this case was the Brazen Altar. The Brazen Altar represented Christ, our sacrifice. The oil represented the Holy Spirit, and by sprinkling the oil seven times for the completion of a category, the priest was identifying and dedicating the oil to the LORD.
15 “The priest shall also take some of the log of oil, and pour it into his left palm; 16 the priest shall then dip his right forefinger into the oil that is in his left palm, and with his forefinger sprinkle some of the oil seven times before the Lord.
“And of the remaining oil which is in his palm, the priest shall put some on the right ear lobe of the one to be cleansed, and on the thumb of his right hand, and on the big toe of his right foot, on the blood of the guilt offering; (Leviticus 14:17, NAS)The priest then put oil on top of the blood on the leper's right ear lobe, right thumb, and right big toe. The oil represented God the Holy Spirit who empowers the human spirit, controls the soul, and imparts the Spirit of Life to the body. This was the Old Testament representation of the Enduement of the Holy Spirit. In the Filling of the Holy Spirit in the Church Age, the Holy Spirit controls the soul and empowers the body. The oil represented the Holy Spirit and the Spirit of Life, which the leper had received from the Lord. The Spirit of Life gives human life and health to the body. The blood represented the soul. The oil on the parts of the leper's body represented:
while the rest of the oil that is in the priest's palm, he shall put on the head of the one to be cleansed. So the priest shall make atonement on his behalf before the Lord. (Leviticus 14:18, NAS)The oil on the head represented the Spirit of God that empowered the head to be further expropriated into the hands and feet. The thinking determines the actions of the hands and feet. The head represents authority, and oil on the head represents humility of being under the authority of the Holy Spirit. The head empowered by the Holy Spirit means a soul not under the power of the Old Sin Nature. The leper was reconciled to God and back in fellowship. This is the same meaning as Rebound in the Church Age.
Then the ewe lamb was sacrificed as a sin offering because even after all this, the leper still had uncleanness due to his past sins and the sins of the Client Nation. The leper's sins could not be isolated from the rest of the Client Nation. When one part of the body was sick, other parts felt the pain. The sin offering was also for the sins of the Client Nation. The sin offering demonstrates the systemic view. An individual is a part of a greater system. That concept is exemplified in the middle finger, although that finger is not specifically mentioned in this passage. The middle finger represents a person's systemic view of himself in relation to the system, or group, of which he is a part.
Finally, the other male lamb was offered as a burnt offering and the flour mixed with oil was offered as a grain offering.
“And the priest shall offer up the burnt offering and the grain offering on the altar. Thus the priest shall make atonement for him, and he shall be clean. (Leviticus 14:20, NAS)The burnt offering represented Redemption and Propitiation.
1 Peter 1:18-19, NASThe grain offering represented the impeccability of Jesus Christ in Hypostatic Union, who was alone qualified to go to the Cross.
18 knowing that you were not redeemed with perishable things like silver or gold from your futile way of life inherited from your forefathers, 19 but with precious blood, as of a lamb unblemished and spotless, the blood of Christ.
For we do not have a high priest who cannot sympathize with our weaknesses, but One who has been tested in all things as we are, yet without sin. (Hebrews 4:15)
The thumb represents will, or volition, related to serving in the will of God.Every day before ministering in the Tabernacle, the Levitical Priests had to wash their hands and their feet. This represented Rebound. It also stressed again the symbolism of the hands for service and feet for walking in conjunction with the need for both to be sanctified. Service was performed with the hands and fingers while walking was along a path. There are lines in the palms and the soles of the feet that correspond to the paths taken. For example, the path around the thumb represents the path around the Tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil in the Garden.
The big toe represents the expression of the will in the walk in the will of God.
The thumb and big toe were singled out to be anointed with blood and oil. No other fingers were acceptable. Thus, there must be special significance attached to the thumb and big toe. There is much more significant than might be thought because the thumb and big toe are tied directly to the brain and soul and spirit. That was the symbolism of anointing them with blood and oil. The thumb and big toe were the physical layer to which were added the soul and spirit. Now, the soul and spirit couldn't be seen, even if they were in the thumb or big toe because the soul and spirit are immaterial and invisible. Nevertheless, the physical hand still exists under the power of the soul and spirit. So the hand will reveal the result of a life lived in relation to the soul and spirit even though the soul and spirit are invisible.
The soul and spirit cannot be seen in the hand because they are invisible.This is not a trivial point. Indications of the soul and spirit cannot be seen in the hand. The soul does a poor job of understanding the soul as evidenced by the confusion in psychology, which literally means the study of the soul, or psyche. The only way to understand the soul and spirit is through Bible Doctrine. Furthermore, the Spiritual Life is above the physical, which includes the hands. That does not, however, do away with the physical. The physical life still exists. God created it; made provision for it; and punishes it. The physical life must be lived in compatibility with the soul and spirit. The hands and feet are records of the physical life.
Another thing defined by the ministry of the Levitical Priests was the forefinger, which is also known as the index finger or first finger. The forefinger was used for sprinkling the blood and oil. It was the natural finger to use. The forefinger is a pointer. It points to things to identify them. The Priests pointed to the things as they sprinkled them with oil or blood. The forefinger represents the light of a person that shines into the world or demonstrates things to the world. It also represents the ego, which is how a person presents himself to the world. The ego is not the real self, but the public self. It is the self that a person shows to the world. Sprinkling blood on a person is a pretty bold expression. Similarly, pointing the index finger at someone is a bold expression. It may mean pointing a person out for destruction.
The first finger represents a person's light and ego.The meaning of the thumb, first finger, and big toe was explained from the ministry of the Levitical Priesthood. In addition, the distinction between the right and left hands and feet was observed. The right side is the spiritual side, while the left side is the temporal. However, the right hand is also the dominant hand in a right handed person while the left hand helps. The right foot is the leader while the left foot follows. Blood was placed on the right thumb because the right hand takes the initiative in service. In Marriage, the right hand represents the man, and the left hand represents the woman. Similarly, the right foot represents the man and the left foot represents the woman, who is supposed to follow the man.
Released June 29, 2002 - Revised September 23, 2013