A lot of things happen in the wilderness that have never happened before in the history of God's people, and if you're paying attention in the Law, some of these things seem eerily similar - so similar, of course, that you couldn't possibly think it was just coincidence.
Take, for example, the anointing of Aaron and his sons as priests. There have been priests before; we know this because Abraham brought an offering to Melchizedek as a priest, at the very least. But for the first time, the priests will be anointed by the community and clothed in holy clothing, woven together by the skilled craftsmen. (Fun fact: the priestly robes were blue.)
The way this worked was that Aaron and his sons would come forward and slaughter the anointing animals as an offering before the Lord. Moses would then take some of the blood of the offering and put it on the right earlobe, the right thumb, and the right big toe of the ones being anointed. This would purify and signify them before the Lord for the work that they were going to do and cleanse them to come into the Tabernacle, into the presence of the Lord. No one else in Israel, beside the priests, was to be anointed.
Fast forward to Leviticus 14. Here, we're talking about Israelites with icky skin diseases, the contagious types. They have to be cut off from their community for 7 days until they are clean again, and once they are clean, present themselves to the priest, along with an offering for atonement for their uncleanness. Once their offering is slaughtered as a sacrifice pleasing to the Lord, the priest takes some of the blood and puts it on the right earlobe, the right thumb, and the right big toe of the one who just had the skin disease. And then he will be clean.
Looking at this, we could say that to be anointed as the priests were anointed is to be cleansed as the man with the skin disease is cleansed. After all, the priest must be ritually clean to come before the Lord in the Tabernacle, so it makes sense.
But we could also say, and this perhaps means more to us as common men than the other, that to be cleansed is to be anointed.
Say it again - to be cleansed is to be anointed.
Because the way the Scriptures present this, the anointing comes first. We know the cleansing sounds similar because we've already read about the anointing, and not the other way around. So the anointing is the frame of reference for the cleansing, which means it is more accurate to say that to be cleansed is to be anointed.
Which means that each of us, when we make ourselves presentable to God - clean in the most ritual sense, purified, bearing a new offering to Him (even though we no longer sacrifice animals, we often bring our hearts afresh) - come under a new anointing from Him. And anointing, of course, is the special call and mark to enter into the presence of God and do the work.
So...have you been anointed lately? Have you been cleansed?
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