We are going to continue discussing the consecration of the priest and also the consecration of the altar (Exo 29.36-46). What is so important in these passages is that we are told that the altar is “Kodesh Ha Kodeshim” (Holy of Holies) in Exo 29.37. The altar had the the same kedusha as the Holy of Holies in the Mishkan and Temple, except that the priest could minister there. Only the high priest could enter the Kodesh Ha Kodeshim in the sanctuary. So, the rules and regulations of the altar are going to be very rigorous.
If you walk into the area that surrounds the altar without washing your hands and your feet at the Kior (laver), there was a death penalty. That is why the Kior was not located in the courts, as seen in most pictures of the Mishkan and Temple. It was in the southeast corner, in a tent, in the Mishkan, and in a building once the Temple was built called Beit Avtinas. If you were to come into this area and you were not a kohen, or a kohen not dressed in the priestly garments, there was a death penalty. This is because of the kedusha of the altar.
For a seven day period atonement is made for the altar and it is consecrated, then the altar will be “kodesh ha kodeshim” (most holy) and whatever touches the altar will need to be holy already. Hag 2.11 says that things were not made holy by touching them. This idea is being expressed by Yeshua in Matt 23.19. The altar is what gives the korban its kedusha. Before it was brought, it was common. But now that it is being brought to the altar, it must have the proper kedusha. Now, let’s move on to Exo 29.38-46.
Two one year old lambs were offered everyday, called the Tamid service. One lamb was offered in the morning, “bein ha boker” (“between the morning”) and the other was offered in the afternoon “bein ha eruvim” (“between the evenings”). Tamid means “eternal” or “continuous.” This will be discussed in more detail when we get to Concepts in Numbers (28.1-8). But, let’s talk about time in the Mishkan/Temple. You will have twelve hours in the day, and twelve hours in the night, for the most part. In the summer, we have longer days and shorter nights, and in the winter we have shorter days and longer nights. That is not the way it was done in the Mishkan/Temple.
You have twelve hours in the day, and twelve at night. So, sunrise to sundown was considered a day. Sundown to sunrise was considered a night. However long that time is, you will divide by ywelve. That will give you an “hour.” An “hour” is one-twelfth of the daylight. So, an “hour” in the summer is longer than an hour in the winter in the Mishkan/Temple. This also applies to the night time “hours.”
The day is divided into two parts, called morning and afternoon. The morning will be called “boker” and the afternoon will be called “evening” or “eruvim.” This confused people because “evening” means “after dark” to them, but in Hebrew thought it is afternoon. The word for “night” in Hebrew is “Lailah.” Bein ha Boker is the time you offer the Shacharit (morning) Tamid. It means “between the mornings.” It is the half-way point between the sunrise and high noon.
Then we come to the Mincha (afternoon) Korban which is offered “bein ha eruvim” or “between the evenings.” Eruvim means “mixture” and this alludes to the time between high noon and sunset. Basically, we are talking about 9 AM and 3 PM. They will offer these lambs in that time frame. In addition to the lamb, there will be one-tenth of an ephah of fine flour (solet) mixed with one-tenth of a hin (a hin is 1.5 gallons) of beaten oil, and one-fourth of a hin of wine for a libation. The other lamb was offered “bein ha eruvim” and the same things were offered as in the morning. It was a continual burnt offering (Olah Tamid) at the doorway of the tent of meeting. God will meet and speak to the sons of Israel there. It will have a kedusha on it. They will also consecrate the tent of meeting and the altar, along with Aaron and his sons. The Lord will “dwell” (shkan’ti) among the sons of Israel (v 45). This alludes right back to Exo 25.8. Then they shall know (“yada”) that the Lord is their God who brought them out of the land of Egypt, that he may dwell (shach’ni) among them.
In the book “Vayikra” by Mesorah Publications, there is a section at the end of Vol 1 called “The Summary of the Laws of Korbanot”, p.305. It will discuss the consecration offerings of the Mishkan, so we are going to be dealing with the korbanot for the priests and the altar as well. This was done only once. “When the Mishkan (Tabernacle) was first erected and Aaron and his sons were inducted into the Kehunah (priesthood), a special set of offerings were made. These are known as the “miluim”-inauguration offerings. The procedure for these was as follows. The Mishkan was inaugurated on the the first of Nisan, the year after the Exodus. On each of the seven days before then, a group of extraordinary offerings was brought, whose purpose it was to formalize the installation of Aaron and his sons as Kohanim. The group consisted of three offerings: a chata’at, an olah, and a shelamim. It is tha latter which the verse refers to as the miluim, inauguration offering.”
So, they were to bring three korbanot. The chata’at is a sin offering, and it is burned outside of the camp (except the innards). Then there was the olah (burnt) offering that is totally consumed on the altar. Last, we have the shelemim (peace) offerings. They were instructed to cook and eat the breast and the right thigh of the peace offering. Now, where did they cook it? They can’t take it into the camp to cook it because it had a kedusha. They can’t cook it inside the courtyard because it had restrictions on what you could do there, and having a bunch of cooking pots out in the open just wasn’t “kosher.” They can’t hold them over the fire on the altar to cook them, the altar also had strict rules. What did they do?
There had to be tents set up on the corners, like the corner buildings of the Temple, to cook the korbanot. Even though it is peace offering and they can be cooked in the camp (the Passover lamb was a peace offering), this particular offering had special rules. They needed tents, with openings leading into the Mishkan courtyard, for the Kior, fire wood, the garments of the priests, to cook in, and many other things that had to stay in the Mishkan. The priests had to have a place to change that was not in the open, and they couldn’t enter the courtyard or go near the altar without their garments on, or having their hands and feet washed, so there had to have been a place for them to change out of view. The Kior (laver) could not be in the courtyard near the altar as in most pictures of the Mishkan. They couldn’t cook in pots in the open court, and where was the firewood for the altar stored? So, the conventional pictures of the Mishkan that we have all seen is not a functional facility without these corner tents. Later, these concepts and usages translated over into the corner buildings of the Temple, with a gate opening up to the courts.
In Part 37, we will pick up with more from the book “Vayikra” on the miluim (consecration offerings).