Numbers – 7 – Anointed and Consecrated
Whatever else the book of Numbers may be it is certainly a narrative demonstrating a sequence of events in the fledgling nation of Israel. Numbers 7:1 is one more evidence of the narrative nature of Numbers.
7:1 Now it came to pass, when Moses had finished setting up the tabernacle, that he anointed it and consecrated it and all its furnishings, and the altar and all its utensils; so he anointed them and consecrated them.
When encountering Biblical narrative one may be tempted to adopt the perspective that since it is historical narrative and not doctrine, imperative, or encouragement there’s not much that I can apply to my life in it. Let’s explore this first verse of chapter seven to see if we can comfortably dismiss it as incidental facts.
Though it is a worthwhile exercise and should be employed far more often than it is, I will not be attempting an exhaustive list of observations in this verse. Not only would I risk boring you, but it would also make this particular article unwieldy. As you study this verse don’t limit yourself to the observations I make. If it were gum I would suggest you chew it until you’ve gotten every last drop of flavor out of it.
If you allow it to, Numbers 7:1 pulls you into the story. It is as if you can see Moses, Aaron and the priests (Aaron’s sons) bringing things into the tabernacle and arranging them just so. Moses looks – everything is in place, then he does something. What does he do, and why did God feel it was important enough to include in His Holy Word?
Moses does two things. He anoints and consecrates. Let’s take a brief look at both words. In the Old Testament, anoint מָשַׁח (yimsah) means to put oil on something or someone. Consecrate קָדַשׁ (qadash) means to set someone or something apart.
You may think I am splitting linguistic hairs, but you could say Moses really only did one action, which was to anoint the tabernacle and all its items with oil. When the text says Moses consecrated the tabernacle it is not communicating some secondary action performed following the anointing. It could accurately be restated this way, “Moses consecrated the tabernacle and all its items by anointing them with oil”. Starting in Exodus 30:20 details are given about the tabernacle anointing oil Moses used. It was unique – different from the oil they used to anoint prophets and kings.
Exodus sheds some light on Numbers 7:1.
26 With it you shall anoint the tabernacle of meeting and the ark of the Testimony;
27 the table and all its utensils, the lampstand and its utensils, and the altar of incense;
28 the altar of burnt offering with all its utensils, and the laver and its base.
29 You shall consecrate them, that they may be most holy; whatever touches them must be holy.
30 And you shall anoint Aaron and his sons, and consecrate them, that they may minister to Me as priests.
The point of anointing the tabernacle and all the items contained within is they were to be singularly used in service to YHWH God. This becomes an important consideration when later in the Bible we see pagan captors of Israel defiling these consecrated items, for example, while drinking wine out of the temple vessels.
The Exodus passage tells us the priests (Aaron and his sons) were also anointed by Moses and consecrated or set aside for YHWH’s use in the tabernacle and untouched by anything or anyone outside the tabernacle. The concept of anointing and consecrating is not ritualistic expressions of religion. YHWH God commanded and expected dedicated service. He wanted it demonstrated that items and people dedicated in service to Him were separate or consecrated and holy or distinct from all other endeavors.
So that’s Old Testament, right? What about us today? Can we find any application for us today?
1 Peter 1:15-16
15 but as He who called you is holy, you also be holy in all your conduct,
16 because it is written, “Be holy, for I am holy.”
When we became believers we changed associations. We left satan’s family and were adopted into God’s. We were actually and practically set apart from the world and set apart to God. We have been made holy by the blood of the lamb, but do we live as though we have been anointed and consecrated (set apart) for the Master’s use?
All Scripture Quotations from The New King James Version. Nashville: Thomas Nelson, 1982. Print.