Leviticus 21 "1 And the LORD said unto Moses, Speak unto the priests the sons of Aaron, and say unto them, There shall none be defiled for the dead among his people: 2 But for his kin, that is near unto him, that is, for his mother, and for his father, and for his son, and for his daughter, and for his brother, 3 And for his sister a virgin, that is nigh unto him, which hath had no husband; for her may he be defiled. 4 But he shall not defile himself, being a chief man among his people, to profane himself. 5 They shall not make baldness upon their head, neither shall they shave off the corner of their beard, nor make any cuttings in their flesh. 6 They shall be holy unto their God, and not profane the name of their God: for the offerings of the LORD made by fire, and the bread of their God, they do offer: therefore they shall be holy."
Chapter 21 is written to the priests. The priests were appointed to teach the people the statutes God had given concerning the differences between clean and unclean. Now they are instructed that they must be an example to the people by doing what they were teaching. It is never enough to just tell someone to "do what I say." The best way to teach is by example! The priests were to be closer to God than the people so they had to keep a greater distance from every thing that was defiling. They could not come near a dead body unless it was a very close relative - a mother, father, child, brother or unmarried, virgin sister. (A wife goes without saying.) Anyone who attended a funeral could not come into the sanctuary for 7 days so it was important that the priests not incapacitate themselves in this manner unless it was a close relative they were mourning. The higher our responsibilities in the church the more we should watch our behavior because others are watching for us to set the standard!
Leviticus 21 "7 They shall not take a wife that is a whore, or profane; neither shall they take a woman put away from her husband: for he is holy unto his God. 8 Thou shalt sanctify him therefore; for he offereth the bread of thy God: he shall be holy unto thee: for I the LORD, which sanctify you, am holy. 9 And the daughter of any priest, if she profane herself by playing the whore, she profaneth her father: she shall be burnt with fire ."
When my children were growing up they didn't understand why there were certain things they couldn't do because their father was a deacon in the church. They would say their friends got to go, why couldn't they and I would remind them that their friends' fathers were not deacons. It was hard to explain then and it is still hard to explain today. The wife and children of a priest were not to bring a reproach on his good name. I'm afraid if every daughter who profaned her father by playing the whore today was "burnt with fire" we'd have a lot of cremations going on in America!
Leviticus 21 "10 And he that is the high priest among his brethren, upon whose head the anointing oil was poured, and that is consecrated to put on the garments, shall not uncover his head, nor rend his clothes; 11 Neither shall he go in to any dead body, nor defile himself for his father, or for his mother; 12 Neither shall he go out of the sanctuary, nor profane the sanctuary of his God; for the crown of the anointing oil of his God is upon him: I am the LORD. 13 And he shall take a wife in her virginity. 14 A widow, or a divorced woman, or profane, or an harlot, these shall he not take: but he shall take a virgin of his own people to wife. 15 Neither shall he profane his seed among his people: for I the LORD do sanctify him."
More was expected from the high priest than from the other priests. He could not defile himself at all for the dead for there was no one to take
his place in the sanctuary. He was not allowed to grieve the passing of a loved one. What a heavy burden to place on a human being! He
was to take a virgin for a wife and his children must remain virgins until married. Some believe this also means they had to marry within their
Leviticus 21 "16 And the LORD spake unto Moses, saying, 17 Speak unto Aaron, saying, Whosoever he be of thy seed in their generations that hath any blemish, let him not approach to offer the bread of his God. 18 For whatsoever man he be that hath a blemish, he shall not approach: a blind man, or a lame, or he that hath a flat nose, or any thing superfluous, 19 Or a man that is brokenfooted, or brokenhanded, 20 Or crookbackt, or a dwarf, or that hath a blemish in his eye, or be scurvy, or scabbed, or hath his stones broken; 21 No man that hath a blemish of the seed of Aaron the priest shall come nigh to offer the offerings of the LORD made by fire: he hath a blemish; he shall not come nigh to offer the bread of his God."
Verses 16-21 lists the disqualifications of a priest: blindness, lameness, flat nose, dwarfism, scabs and any other deformities or blemishes. Just as the offering had to be perfect, without spot or blemish, so did the one who presented the offering. This was not saying that people who have a deformity are unworthy to be a Christian or to come into the presence of God. Jesus called all men, women and children to come to Him and be cleansed. The priests represented God to the people and had to look perfect just as the offerings the people brought too to be sacrificed had to not only be perfect but had to look perfect as well. I think we are still hung-up on this principle today. Isn't it easier to sit and listen to a sermon on Sunday when the minister looks good?
Leviticus 22 "1 And the LORD spake unto Moses, saying, 2 Speak unto Aaron and to his sons, that they separate themselves from the holy things of the children of Israel, and that they profane not my holy name in those things which they hallow unto me: I am the LORD. 3 Say unto them, Whosoever he be of all your seed among your generations, that goeth unto the holy things, which the children of Israel hallow unto the LORD, having his uncleanness upon him, that soul shall be cut off from my presence: I am the LORD."
Aaron and his sons were to separate themselves from all uncleanness. They were to keep themselves from all unholy things. The parts of the sacrifice that were to be eaten could not be partaken of by anyone who was a leper, had a running issue, had touched anything dead or any creeping thing or any one who had just had sex until evening or until they had washed themselves. No one was to eat anything that had died from disease or from an unknown cause. God is also very concerned with what we eat. He wants us to be clean and to keep ourselves separated from the world in every way. We should be different in our looks, our manner of dress and our manner of living. Our homes should be clean, our clothes should be clean and our lives should be clean! (No, I'm not a fanatic and I don't always live up to these standards but I certainly strive to!)
Leviticus 22 "10 There shall no stranger eat of the holy thing: a sojourner of the priest, or an hired servant, shall not eat of the holy thing. 11 But if the priest buy any soul with his money, he shall eat of it, and he that is born in his house: they shall eat of his meat. 12 If the priest's daughter also be married unto a stranger, she may not eat of an offering of the holy things. 13 But if the priest's daughter be a widow, or divorced, and have no child, and is returned unto her father's house, as in her youth, she shall eat of her father's meat: but there shall no stranger eat thereof. 14 And if a man eat of the holy thing unwittingly, then he shall put the fifth part thereof unto it, and shall give it unto the priest with the holy thing. 15 And they shall not profane the holy things of the children of Israel, which they offer unto the LORD; 16 Or suffer them to bear the iniquity of trespass, when they eat their holy things: for I the LORD do sanctify them."
No stranger was to eat of the holy sacrifice. Here is a list of who was allowed to eat of the holy sacrifice: Servants who were born in the priest's house or bought with the priest's money. Any son. A daughter who was a virgin and still lived at home. A daughter who became a widow and had no children so returned to her father's house. Anyone who accidentally ate the sacrifice had to pay a fine.
Leviticus 22 "17 And the LORD spake unto Moses, saying, 18 Speak unto Aaron, and to his sons, and unto all the children of Israel, and say unto them, Whatsoever he be of the house of Israel, or of the strangers in Israel, that will offer his oblation for all his vows, and for all his freewill offerings, which they will offer unto the LORD for a burnt offering; 19 Ye shall offer at your own will a male without blemish, of the beeves, of the sheep, or of the goats. 20 But whatsoever hath a blemish, that shall ye not offer: for it shall not be acceptable for you. 21 And whosoever offereth a sacrifice of peace offerings unto the LORD to accomplish his vow, or a freewill offering in beeves or sheep, it shall be perfect to be accepted; there shall be no blemish therein."
The children of Israel were to bring an offering of their own free will. Their offering was to be a male without blemish. They could bring either a beeves, sheep or goat. A beeves was beef - either a steer, bull, ox, or cow. Anything else or anything that was not perfect would not be accepted. Evidently there was also a difference made in what was offered as a free will offering and what was offered as a vow. Each sacrifice had to be at least seven days old before it was slain and all thanksgiving offerings had to be eaten the same day they were offered.
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