Why was Aaron permitted to remain a priest?

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Ben Mordecai

Puritan Board Freshman
Aaron personally fashioned an idol. After being confronted about it, he lied, "I threw it in the fire and this calf came out" and he blame shifted, "These people are stubborn".

It seems like Aaron suffered no consequences for this. The people did when Moses had the people kill one another for it. Later on, Aaron's sons would be killed for offering strange fire. As bad as that offering was, it seems to be a comparably lesser offense than fashioning an idol.

I am struggling to understand why Aaron would have been allowed to remain the high priest and have faced no apparent consequences for this behavior.
 

BayouHuguenot

Puritanboard Clerk
I am struggling to understand why Aaron would have been allowed to remain the high priest and have faced no apparent consequences for this behavior.

He didn't get to enter the promised land, for one. And this might be an early example of why we don't hold to Donatism. A priest's failings do not erase the gift given to him.
 

Hamalas

whippersnapper
It's also worth noting the providence of God pedagogically here. God established mediators between Israel and Yahweh when He called and consistuted them as a nation (prophets, priests, and later, kings). These mediators played a vital role, but even the "greats" in each of these categories (men like Moses, Aaron, and David) also had great sins and failures. The point? God's people need a perfect mediator, but even the best of human mediators are flawed. What is needed is the perfect mediation of the perfect God-Man - Jesus Christ! (1 Timothy 2:5)
 

Contra_Mundum

Pilgrim, Alien, Stranger
Staff member
It's also worth noting the providence of God pedagogically here. God established mediators between Israel and Yahweh when He called and consistuted them as a nation (prophets, priests, and later, kings). These mediators played a vital role, but even the "greats" in each of these categories (men like Moses, Aaron, and David) also had great sins and failures. The point? God's people need a perfect mediator, but even the best of human mediators are flawed. What is needed is the perfect mediation of the perfect God-Man - Jesus Christ! (1 Timothy 2:5)
Ben's reply is hitting closest to the mark, I think.

Aaron is the high-priest designate, though he is not yet ordained at the time. He is already elevated in the sight of the people, ever since Moses returned to Egypt to lead them out. He was in the party representing all Israel that went up the mount, saw God, and ate and drank, Ex.24. His two sons who died went up as well, but they were expendable. Aaron was not.

The high priest, who happens to be Aaron; this high priest, who happens to be the first; is--to be perfectly honest--too important to the people as a whole (if they should be spared, and they are spared) to be taken out. Remove the priest, not just a subordinate priest but THE priest, and the mediator is gone, and with him the needed sanctity with which to approach God on behalf of the sinful people. Already the people are forming solidarity with this man, their high priest designate.

If Aaron is not spared, the people cannot be spared.

The fact Aaron is such an imperfect high priest anyway--in spite of his greatness--shows how much a perfect one is required, for his sake (and for his sons' sake in their generations) and for all men.
 
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