The Jewish Writings, or Torah, consists of the first five books of the Bible; Genesis, Exodus, Leviticus, Numbers, and, Deuteronomy. The Christian calls these the five books of Moses, or, The Pentateuch.
There are people who believe that these books are true without exception; of course, many people do not. It is important, as the author of the article, to make my views known, so that you, as the reader, can consider my personal bias. I do believe that the Bible is the inspired Word of God written through about 40 human authors; 39 Old Testament books and 27 New Testament books. My personal reason for that belief is the number of completed prophecies from the Old Testament; without one error. Additionally, the total agreement among authors even though their books were written without prior knowledge, makes the odds that the Bible is true, too great for me to ignore.
This article is not designed to be an “apologetic” or a defense of the faith in any way; although I do hope to do a series on apologetics, inerrancy of scriptures and book outlines in the future. This particular article is simply a look at a person who had a lot to do with an important central theme in the Bible; forgiveness.
Most people know the name Moses and, in addition to that, many people have some idea about the life of Moses. He was the baby the Pharaoh’s daughter found and he was raised in Pharaoh’s court. He killed an Egyptian and had to run for his life. When he returned to Egypt it was to free the Israelites from slavery.
Often, little is made of the fact that Moses tried to cop out of doing what God asked him to do. He suggested he was not eloquent enough to talk to Pharaoh. God was angry with him over that situation.
The man who was sent by God to be the mouthpiece for Moses, was a man named Aaron, or, “Aaron the Levite”. (Wilkipedia Aaron) As a younger person I really never took the time to put together the fact that Aaron and Moses were brothers, and, that Miriam was their older sister.
Why take the time to write an article on Aaron who, according to Wilkipedia, was around about 1200 BCE. Aaron represents an important theme in the Bible; forgiveness. That is the issue that the entire Christian Faith is built on, so, Aaron’s life as the first High Priest, cannot be ignored; especially since he made some pretty severe mistakes.
Aaron is never given much clout from God’s standpoint. In fact, only once does he address him over Moses, and, that is in Numbers 3:11 (Gardner Page One); only being addressed directly by God on two occasions; Exodus 4:27 and Numbers 18:1-20 (Gardner Page One)
Aaron acts independently twice. In one situation he leads the Israelites in “worship revolt” by giving in to their pressure and building a Golden Calf for which God would have put him to death had it not been for Moses. Further he weakly went along with Miriam in her rebellion regarding the position Moses had of leadership. She paid for that by being struck with leprosy by God. Again, God relented after just seven days thanks to Moses’ intervention. (Numbers 12)
As we study the lives of Aaron, Miriam and Moses, we begin to see a picture. Moses was very confident prior to going into the wilderness but, 40 years away from civilization put him in a self-doubting frame of mind. Yet, he was picked by God for a reason and that was because he was even-tempered and kind.
We don’t get that same picture of Aaron. We get a picture of weak person. He is a follower. He gives into the Israelites and he gives in to Miriam. Later, his two oldest sons, Nadab and Abihu, are put to death by God for failing to follow the Levitical, Priestly Law ( Leviticus10:1). One has to surmise, given his history, that Aaron may not have been as ardent as he should have been in teaching and demanding obedience to these Laws. His decision to stay silent following Moses’ rampage upon the death of his two sons attests to that.
Miriam, from the first time we meet her in scripture, is strong-willed, and while it aids Moses’ in his early survival; it later becomes a problem for which she pays a heavy price.
Basically the life of Aaron the Levite starts, from our standpoint, with him aiding Moses when bringing the ten plagues upon Egypt, and, ultimately freeing the Israel Nation from slavery. Next, however, he fails when he acts on his own without Moses.
Ultimately, however, the Bible, in several places, is kind to him regarding his priesthood; (Psalms 77:20; Psalms 99:6; Psalms 106:1) to name just a few references.
Aaron by virtue of his role as first High Priest; introduces sacrificial redemption through animal sacrifice. The act of putting the hand on the head before killing the animal is referred to several times in Leviticus. Further, the proper way to prepare a bird offering as well as an animal offering was part of his initial work (Gardner Page Two)
We are introduced to the concept of the “Scapegoat”; a goat carrying the sins of the entire nation into the wilderness. (Leviticus 16:20-22)
The Old Testament in the person of Aaron the first High Priest points to the Coming of the God-Man Sacrifice in the New Testament: Jesus Christ. That is why, in my opinion, Aaron must be considered as far as his role in the early scriptures. We are able to see the emanation of the Ultimate Sacrifice that was to come roughly 1200 years later portrayed through his Old Testament work.
As I said at the outset of this article, this is a look at Aaron the Levite. I present him as a true historic being; he is represented in Judaism and the Muslim Faiths as well as Christianity although, not necessarily in the same way. However, I do personally believe in Aaron’s work in terms of pointing to Christ who, again in my view, gave the world an alternative to sin as the ultimate Sacrifice.