Priests represent God to the people and represent the people to God. Since God must be presented as perfect, priests had to be as perfect as possible. Furthermore, being human, there are different ways a priest can become “unclean”. In these next two chapters of Leviticus, we find what a priest has to do to get clean and stay clean. Remember, in this book are the instructions from God for the Levites, the priestly tribe of Israel.
Let’s dig in…
The Lord said to Moses, “Give the following instructions to the priests, the descendants of Aaron.
“A priest must not make himself ceremonially unclean by touching the dead body of a relative. 2 The only exceptions are his closest relatives—his mother or father, son or daughter, brother, 3 or his virgin sister who depends on him because she has no husband. 4 But a priest must not defile himself and make himself unclean for someone who is related to him only by marriage.
5 “The priests must not shave their heads or trim their beards or cut their bodies. 6 They must be set apart as holy to their God and must never bring shame on the name of God. They must be holy, for they are the ones who present the special gifts to the Lord, gifts of food for their God.
7 “Priests may not marry a woman defiled by prostitution, and they may not marry a woman who is divorced from her husband, for the priests are set apart as holy to their God. 8 You must treat them as holy because they offer up food to your God. You must consider them holy because I, the Lord, am holy, and I make you holy.
9 “If a priest’s daughter defiles herself by becoming a prostitute, she also defiles her father’s holiness, and she must be burned to death.
10 “The high priest has the highest rank of all the priests. The anointing oil has been poured on his head, and he has been ordained to wear the priestly garments. He must never leave his hair uncombed or tear his clothing. 11 He must not defile himself by going near a dead body. He may not make himself ceremonially unclean even for his father or mother. 12 He must not defile the sanctuary of his God by leaving it to attend to a dead person, for he has been made holy by the anointing oil of his God. I am the Lord.
13 “The high priest may marry only a virgin. 14 He may not marry a widow, a woman who is divorced, or a woman who has defiled herself by prostitution. She must be a virgin from his own clan, 15 so that he will not dishonor his descendants among his clan, for I am the Lord who makes him holy.”
16 Then the Lord said to Moses, 17 “Give the following instructions to Aaron: In all future generations, none of your descendants who has any defect will qualify to offer food to his God. 18 No one who has a defect qualifies, whether he is blind, lame, disfigured, deformed, 19 or has a broken foot or arm, 20 or is hunchbacked or dwarfed, or has a defective eye, or skin sores or scabs, or damaged testicles. 21 No descendant of Aaron who has a defect may approach the altar to present special gifts to the Lord. Since he has a defect, he may not approach the altar to offer food to his God. 22 However, he may eat from the food offered to God, including the holy offerings and the most holy offerings. 23 Yet because of his physical defect, he may not enter the room behind the inner curtain or approach the altar, for this would defile my holy places. I am the Lord who makes them holy.”
24 So Moses gave these instructions to Aaron and his sons and to all the Israelites.Leviticus 21 NLT
The Lord said to Moses, 2 “Tell Aaron and his sons to be very careful with the sacred gifts that the Israelites set apart for me, so they do not bring shame on my holy name. I am the Lord. 3 Give them the following instructions.
“In all future generations, if any of your descendants is ceremonially unclean when he approaches the sacred offerings that the people of Israel consecrate to the Lord, he must be cut off from my presence. I am the Lord….Leviticus 22:1-3 NLT
The rest of this section goes into a lot of detail, so you can read it here.
Worthy and Unworthy Offerings
17 And the Lord said to Moses, 18 “Give Aaron and his sons and all the Israelites these instructions, which apply both to native Israelites and to the foreigners living among you.
“If you present a gift as a burnt offering to the Lord, whether it is to fulfill a vow or is a voluntary offering, 19 you will be accepted only if your offering is a male animal with no defects. It may be a bull, a ram, or a male goat. 20 Do not present an animal with defects, because the Lord will not accept it on your behalf.
21 “If you present a peace offering to the Lord from the herd or the flock, whether it is to fulfill a vow or is a voluntary offering, you must offer a perfect animal. It may have no defect of any kind. 22 You must not offer an animal that is blind, crippled, or injured, or that has a wart, a skin sore, or scabs. Such animals must never be offered on the altar as special gifts to the Lord…Leviticus 22:17-22 NLT
In other words, God wants your best offering — not your leftovers. You must give / tithe / donate from top 10% of your income FIRST. It’s not if you any money leftover after you pay the bills, buy food, gas up your car, or even go out to dinner. It’s 10% off the top. It took me a long time to get this, but when I did, God started providing the abundance He promises to cheerful givers. Believe me. It may not make sense, but it works!
This chapter finishes with this reminder…
31 “You must faithfully keep all my commands by putting them into practice, for I am the Lord. 32 Do not bring shame on my holy name, for I will display my holiness among the people of Israel. I am the Lord who makes you holy. 33 It was I who rescued you from the land of Egypt, that I might be your God. I am the Lord.”Leviticus 22:31-33
The Despicable Abomination of Catholic Priest
Now, back to the perfect priest part.
They must be set apart as holy to their God and must never bring shame on the name of God.
32 Do not bring shame on my holy name…Leviticus 21:6, 22:32 NLT
Last year I did a deep dive into the history of the Roman Catholic Church. I wanted to find where and when the church went wrong and strayed so far from the true church that we find in the Book of Acts. After researching and writing one of those 16 articles, I felt dirty. I felt like I needed to be baptized again. It was the last one of the series where I tell just a few stories of the many Catholic priests who sexually abused children. You can read that article here.
The worst of it, are the popes, bishops and cardinals who looked away or arranged for these “priests” to be transferred quietly to a parish or diocese far away. Hiding a sin, doesn’t make it go away. These sex offenders should all have gone to prison for child sex abuse, molestation and rape. The Roman Catholic Church leadership who looked away was just as guilty.
To do nothing is to do something.
God said, “Do not bring shame to my holy name.” That’s exactly what they did.
13 Nothing in all creation is hidden from God. Everything is naked and exposed before his eyes, and he is the one to whom we are accountable.Hebrews 4:13 NLT
Enter Jesus — the Perfect High Priest
The Good News is that Jesus is our High Priest now and we no longer need human priests to represent us to God — we can talk directly to God through Jesus — and NO ONE ELSE!
The Great News is that we no longer need an earthly priest to confess our sins to or to do sacrifices for us! We have the best High Priest EVER in Jesus Christ himself. That’s what the Book of Hebrews tells us.
This is from the Bible study, “Jesus in all of Leviticus” by Spoken Gospel found in the free YouVersion Bible app…
Jesus is the only high priest who truly never had a blemish, deformity, or sin that needed atonement (Hebrews 4:15). That gave him the right to enter into God’s presence on behalf of all people.
What’s more, he is not only the perfect priest who brings the sacrifice without blemish, he is the spotless, perfect sacrifice himself.
A spotless male lamb was very valuable to an Israelite, but nothing was more valuable than “the precious blood of Christ” which 1 Peter tells us was “like that of a lamb without blemish or spot” (1 Peter 1:19). For our sacrifice, God gave the very best heaven had to offer – his very self.
And as the perfect priest and sacrifice, Jesus took our sickness, deformities, sin, and disease onto himself (Isaiah 53:4). Now, we are made whole, perfect, and acceptable through faith in him.“Jesus in all of Leviticus” by Spoken Gospel
What must you do to be made whole, perfect and acceptable?
Believe. Repent. Be Baptized. Receive the Holy Spirit.
- Believe — have Faith — that Jesus is the Christ and He died taking your sins away forever.
- Repent of your sins — stop sinning! Do a complete 180 in your life and surrender your life to Him.
- Be Baptized — show the world and yourself that you have died to your old life and are born again in Christ.
- Receive the Holy Spirit in your heart.