Tag: Holy priesthood

Holy Priests

Scripture reading for February 9th: Leviticus 21-23

The job of a priest is to represent the people before a holy God.  In the old covenant, these priests had some strict rules about their dress and conduct if they were to do this job and live.  Dealing with God was (and is) not a matter to take lightly.  Two anointed young men, Nadab and Abihu, found out the hard way!  They took strange fire and entered the Holy of Holies where the Ark of the Covenant was and died instantly!  (Leviticus 10:1-2)  As we think about these requirements today, we can be thankful for the New Covenant and the blood of Jesus Christ!

Priests had to be careful what they touched and where they went.  They were forbidden to touch a dead body, except for a very close relative.  Shaving their heads or trimming their beards or cutting their bodies for a tattoo was forbidden.  God evidently loved and wanted them to present their bodies before Him without any modifications, other than a bath.

Priests also had to be careful who they married.  They must marry virgins only and could not marry anyone divorced or defiled by prostitution. (Leviticus 21:7, 13-15) God evidently looked on a priest’s marriage as He designed marriage.  The two of them become one and any defilement in the wife would also defile the husband.  God wanted holy offspring and these children would serve as priests as well so must be pure.  (Malachi 2:15)  Sexual immorality is often related to idolatry. In fact, God says this in His word and warns that an immoral person will not inherit the kingdom of God!  (Ephesians 5:8)

No priest could have a physical defect or deformity or sores related to disease and serve as a priest.  He could eat the holy food but could not go behind the curtain and come before the Lord.  These defects included blindness, lameness, dwarfism, or even damaged testicles.  Holiness in God’s sight was also related to physical health and soundness.  (Leviticus 21:18-23)

As we look at the requirements for priests, we are reminded of God’s statement, “I am the Lord, who makes them holy.” (Leviticus 21:8,15,23) Even though the priests kept the rules, only God’s grace allowed them to serve and come before Him.  A blood sacrifice must be offered to complete the process.  Cleansing is by faith and granted through God’s amazing grace!

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