Did God punish Aaron for making the golden calf?

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Original Question:

When Aaron yielded to the demands of the Israelites to build the golden calf (Exodus 32), God punished the people but was Aaron punished for his compromising sin?

Before God punished the Israelites for their sin, He gave them first a chance to repent and mend their ways. For “Moses stood in the gate of the camp and said, ‘Who is on the LORD’s side? Come to me.’ And all the sons of Levi gathered around him” (Exodus 32:26). Moses set himself at “the gate of the camp” and urged the faithful to join him in crushing the rebellion. So, the sons of Levi did according to the word of Moses (v. 28).

Aaron being one the sons of Levi, he immediately and openly sided with God and Moses, His prophet. Aaron repented of his weakness and submission to the demands of the people. Therefore, God forgave him for his sin. This was a testimony that when people forsake their evil ways, God forgives them and cleanses them from all unrighteousness (1 John 1:9).

Also, God accepted the intercessions of Moses on behalf of the camp. For Moses said: “You have sinned a great sin. And now I will go up to the LORD; perhaps I can make atonement for your sin” (Exodus 32:30).The intercession and mediation of Moses resemble those of Christ our high priest in the heavenly temple on behalf of the sinners (1 Timothy 2:5; Hebrews 4:14-16).

But Aaron’s compromising spirit brought grief to his heart as it became the seed for the rebellion of two of his sons and caused their death. Nadab and Abihu brought a strange fire before God (Leviticus 10:1) which was not from the altar of burnt offering (Leviticus 16:12,13) that God Himself had Kindled. This was a clear disobedient act from their side and they had no excuse for doing it. “So fire went out from the LORD and devoured them, and they died before the LORD” (v.2).

During the wilderness wanderings, although Aaron served the Lord with all his heart at the worship services of the tabernacle (Exodus 28), he died in the wilderness without entering the promised land for lack of faith (Numbers 20:28,29).

In His service,
BibleAsk Team


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