Aaron [Aâr’on]—a mountain of strength or enlightened. The son of Amran and of Jochebed his wife, and of the family of Kohath, who was the second son of Levi, who was the third son of Jacob. Miriam was Aaron’s elder sister and Moses was his junior brother by some three years. Aaron married Elisheba, daughter of Amminadab and sister of Naashon, and by her had four sons—Nadab and Abihu, Eleazar and Ithamar (Exod. 6:16-23).
It is somewhat fitting that Aaron should not only begin the list of men under the letter A—one of the longest lists of all—but also of all the men listed alphabetically in the Bible. The first glimpse we have of this great Bible saint is that of an eloquent speaker, and because of this fact he was chosen by God to be the prophet and spokesman of his brother Moses in his encounters with Pharaoh. The fame of his oratory was known in heaven, and recognized by God. A great orator has been defined as a good man well-skilled in speaking, and of such capacities was Aaron. When Moses protested against appearing before Pharaoh, pleading that he was not eloquent, but slow of speech and of a slow tongue (Exod. 3:10; 4:11, 12) did he refer to a defect of speech he suffered from? “Not eloquent” means, not a man of words and “slow of speech, and of a slow tongue” means heavy of speech and heavy of tongue.
There are those authorities who suggest that Moses had a stammer or lisp, a physical impediment of speech necessitating a spokesman of Aaron’s ability. It would seem as if God’s promise that He would be with his mouth and was able to help him overcome any disability as a speaker, bears out the thought of an actual defect of speech. This we do know, Aaron must have spoken with great power when he addressed Pharaoh on the signs and plagues of Exodus four through eleven.
Aaron plays an important part in the inauguration and development of priestly functions, all of which are prescribed in Leviticus. Among the mature males of Israel there were three classes:
From the tribes of Israel came the warriors.
From the tribe of Levi came the workers.
From the family of Aaron came the worshipers.
Aaron became the first high priest of Israel, and in Aaron and his sons we have a fitting type of Christ and His Church. The ministry of Aaron in connection with the Tabernacle with all of its services is referred to by the writer of the Hebrews as a figure of the true ministry of the High Priest who is Jesus.
Yet in spite of his high and holy calling. Aaron suffered from the murmurings of the people (Exod. 16:2; Num. 14:2). He was persuaded by the people to make a golden calf and was reproved by Moses for his action (Exod. 32). Aaron’s penitence, however, was complete, and his service faithful. Perhaps Aaron could be placed at the head of all Old Testament penitents, for his own sins as well as for the sins of others. While Aaron was Jesus Christ in type and by imputation, he yet remains Aaron all the time, Aaron of the molten image and of many untold transgressions besides. With Moses, Aaron was excluded from the Promised Land (Num. 20:12). He died at the age of 123 years on Mount Hor, in the land of Edom, and was buried there (Num. 20).
A profitable meditation on “The Priestly Calling” could be developed along the line of the following suggestions.
1. Aaron was a type of Christ, the Great High Priest.
A. Both were chosen of God. Christ is the only mediator between God and man.
B. Both had to be clean, seeing they bore the vessels of the Lord. Aaron was a sinner and needed cleansing—Christ was sinless.
C. Both are clothed—Aaron with his coat, robe and ephod; Christ robed in garments of glory and beauty.
D. Both are crowned—Aaron with his mitre, or holy crown, Christ with His many diadems.
E. Both are consecrated or set apart—Aaron was blood sprinkled and had his hands filled for the Lord (Lev. 8:24-27); Christ is sanctified forever (John 17:16, 17).
F. Both feed on the bread of consecration (cf. Lev. 22:21, 22 with John 4:32).
G. Both are blameless. No man with a blemish could come nigh to offer a sacrifice unto the Lord. Christ was holy, harmless, undefiled.
2. Aaron’s sons were types of the Christian. What a precious truth the priesthood of all true believers is.
A. They had names closely associated. “Aaron and his sons” appears ten times. Aaron’s sons were called in him. We were chosen in Christ from the eternal past. Priests because sons, is true in both cases.
B. They had the same calling. Aaron and his sons were priests. Christ and ourselves are priests unto God.
C. They had the same anointing. Aaron and his sons were accepted by the same blood and anointed with the same oil. Christ entered the veil by His own blood, and we enter by the same blood. Head and members alike are anointed with the same blessed Spirit.
D. They had their hands filled with the same offering, ate the same food, were under the same authority. How these aspects are likewise applicable to Christ and His own!