Matthew Henry's Complete Commentary

Verses 31-36 (Leviticus 8:31-36)

Moses, having done his part of the ceremony, now leaves Aaron and his sons to do theirs.

I. They must boil the flesh of their peace-offering, and eat it in the court of the tabernacle, and what remained they must burn with fire, Lev. 8:31, 32. This signified their thankful consent to the consecration: when God gave Ezekiel his commission, he told him to eat the roll, Ezek. 3:1, 2.

II. They must not stir out of the court of the tabernacle for seven days, Lev. 8:33. The priesthood being a good warfare, they must thus learn to endure hardness, and to disentangle themselves from the affairs of this life, 2 Tim. 2:3, 4. Being consecrated to their service, they must give themselves wholly to it, and attend continually to this very thing. Thus Christ?s apostles were appointed to wait for the promise of the Father, Acts 1:4. During this time appointed for their consecration, they were daily to repeat the same sacrifices which were offered the first day, Lev. 8:34. This shows the imperfection of the legal sacrifices, which, because they could not take away sin, were often repeated (Heb. 10:1, 2), but were here repeated seven times (a number of perfection), because they typified that one offering, which perfected for ever those that were sanctified. The work lasted seven days; for it was a kind of creation: and this time was appointed in honour of the sabbath, which, probably, was the last day of the seven, for which they were to prepare during the six days. Thus the time of our life, like the six days, must be our preparation for the perfection of our consecration to God in the everlasting sabbath: they attended day and night (Lev. 8:35), and so constant should we be in our meditation on God?s law, Ps. 1:2. They attended to keep the charge of the Lord: we have every one of us a charge to keep, an eternal God to glorify, an immortal soul to provide for, needful duty to be done, our generation to serve; and it must be our daily care to keep this charge, for it is the charge of the Lord our Master, who will shortly call us to an account about it, and it is at our utmost peril if we neglect it. Keep it that you die not; it is death, eternal death, to betray the trust we are charged with; by the consideration of this we must be kept in awe. Lastly, We are told (Lev. 8:36) that Aaron and his sons did all that was commanded. Thus their consecration was completed; and thus they set an example before the people of an exact obedience to the laws of sacrifices now newly given, and then they could with the better grace teach them. Thus the covenant of peace (Num. 25:12), of life and peace (Mal. 2:5), was made with Aaron and his sons; but after all the ceremonies that were used in their consecration there was one point of ratification which was reserved to be the honour and establishment of Christ?s priesthood, which was this, that they were made priests without an oath, but Christ with an oath (Heb. 7:21), for neither such priests nor their priesthood could continue, but Christ?s is a perpetual and unchangeable priesthood.

Gospel ministers are compared to those who served at the altar, for they minister about holy things (1 Cor. 9:13), they are God?s mouth to the people and the people?s to God, the pastors and teachers Christ has appointed to continue in the church to the end of the world: they seem to be meant in that promise which points at gospel times (Isa. 66:21), I will take of them for priests and for Levites. No man may take this honour to himself, but he who upon trial is found to be clothed and anointed by the Spirit of God with gifts and graces to qualify him for it, and who with purpose of heart devotes himself entirely to the service, and is then by the word and prayer (for so every thing is sanctified), and the imposition of the hands of those that give themselves to the word and prayer, set apart to the office, and recommended to Christ as a servant and to the church as a steward and guide. And those that are thus solemnly dedicated to God ought not to depart from his service, but faithfully to abide in it all their days; and those that do so, and continue labouring in the word and doctrine, are to be accounted worthy of double honour, double to that of the Old-Testament priests.

- Matthew Henry's Complete Commentary