What is consecration? Is it something we should even care about? Consecration is a word that occurs 87 times in 80 verses of the Bible. Consecration has to do with holiness. Holiness is not something we hear a lot about in our world today. This is unfortunately true even for churches. God in His word says He is Holy and that those who follow Him are to be holy (Lev. 11:44-45; 1 Peter 1:15-16). Being holy is a command of God. This is something we ought to take to heart and pay attention to. God loves us and if He wants something for us we should understand it is for our own good. So where do we find out about this word consecration and what it has to do with holiness? In the Old Testament book of Leviticus we are given a good picture of what consecration means.
In Leviticus 7:35 the word “consecrated” is translated from the Hebrew term meshach. Meshach means literally anoint, smear, and spread a liquid. Based on the context this term refers to the breast and thigh portions of the peace offering which are used as a worshipful wave offering and heave offering respectively to the Lord which are allocated to Aaron and the priests (Lev. 7:28-38). Consecration therefore has something to do with worship. That which is consecrated is set aside for God’s prescribed use or allocation. The breast and thigh are consecrated or anointed in that they are specifically set aside by God as the portion to be given to and used by the priests. This setting aside or consecration is an act of worship.
In Leviticus 7:37 the word “consecrations” is translated from the Hebrew term miluʾîm which refers to a fulfilling, a setting of gems, consecration or putting in place. The context here refers to the order of the sacrifices; putting them in place as precious stones in a ring. This word can also apply to the ordination or installation of priests. Priests are consecrated in the sense that God has called them to be set apart specifically for His use and service. Consecration has to do with being set apart or put into place in God’s plans like the setting of a diamond in a ring of God.
The word “consecrate” in its various other forms is synonymous with the word sanctify and is a translation of the Hebrew term qadash. The word qadash means, consecrate, dedicate, hallow, be holy, keep holy, holy, holy place, purify, sanctify, sanctified one, sanctified self, wholly. To be holy means to be unique in some way. God is holy in the sense that there is no one else like Him (Exodus 15:11; 1 Sam. 2:2; cf. also Ps. 86:8; Rev. 15:4). Priests are holy in the sense that God has called them apart for a special use, a unique use; to serve Him and be used by Him for His purposes. To consecrate or be sanctified means to be set apart for God’s use. This is the essence of what the words “Be holy for I am holy” mean.
Putting all of this together we find that consecration is an act of worship whereby we are set apart for God’s use to serve Him wherever and however He sees fit.
In Leviticus 8 instructions about how to consecrate priests is given. This is important for Christians in the sense that the New Testament declares Christians are a “royal priesthood”:
· 1 Peter 2:9-10 - But you are a chosen generation, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, His own special people, that you may proclaim the praises of Him who called you out of darkness into His marvelous light; 10 who once were not a people but are now the people of God, who had not obtained mercy but now have obtained mercy.
The consecration of priests in the Old Testament speaks to the priesthood of believers in the New Testament. How priests were prepared or consecrated, set apart for God in the Old Testament helps us to understand how we, the priesthood of believers can be prepared and set apart for God’s use today. In the next part of our study we’ll look at the consecration of priests in Leviticus 8. This chapter will give great insight into the consecration of priests and what it means to us as the royal priesthood in Christ.
How about you? Are you ready to present yourself to God in consecration as an act of worship? Are you beginning to see that consecration should be a big part of the life of the Christian? I hope so. God is calling us to a consecrated life. In the next part of this short series we’ll begin looking at Leviticus chapter eight. Leviticus is often viewed as a boring dead legalistic book of the Old Testament. Trust me, it’s part of God’s inspired word and as such is dynamic. As we look into Leviticus 8 we’ll see powerful aspects of consecration. I hope you will be challenged to incorporate those powerful aspects into your life. Until then, I ask you, are you willing to come before Holy God to have Him do His holy work in you? I pray you are.