"We see, in many a land, the proudest dynasties and tyrannies still crushing, with their mountain weight, every free motion of the Consciences and hearts of men. We see, on the other hand, the truest heroism for the right and the greatest devotion to the Truth in hearts that God has touched. We have a work to do, as great as our forefathers and, perhaps, far greater. The enemies of Truth are more numerous and subtle than ever and the needs of the Church are greater than at any preceding time. If we are not debtors to the present, then men were never debtors to their age and their time. Brethren, we are debtors to the hour in which we live. Oh, that we might stamp it with Truth and that God might help us to impress upon its wings some proof that it has not flown by neglected and unheeded." -- C.H. Spurgeon . . . "If ye continue in my word, then are ye my disciples indeed; And ye shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free." John 8:31, 32 . . . . .

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Monday, November 1, 2021

LEVITICUS – A HOLY PEOPLE’s ACCESS to The HOLY GOD – Chapter TWENTYONE & TWENTYTWO

Contributing commentaries by pastors Sonny Islas, Albert Lopez and James Fire

Complete Study of Leviticus by pastor Chuck Smith
 
LEVITICUS 21 & 22: “The Holiness of the High Priest and priests of Levi” – by James Fire, Facebook video may be seen here (soon!).

INTRODUCTION: The people of Israel were to be holy unto the LORD, set apart and distinct from the pagan nations around them that committed trespasses, pollutions, and abominations even before their Creator. Israel was to be a witness to the nations, revealing the holiness of GOD through their own lives. In as much as the people of Israel were to be holy and set apart from the nations around them, the priests were to be sanctified above and beyond the people of Israel, and among the priests, the high priest sanctified even more so.

Today the church has been compromised just as Israel was during the time of her own apostasy; sin is winked at, holiness is sneered at, obedience is considered legalistic, and few there are that desire to walk in the Spirit: but those that do, these are the faithful remnant who stand apart from the world, as well as from the compromised church and we are a witness before all, testifying that GOD has 
not changed; not only is He holy but He demands holiness from all souls that He has made.

But the only holiness that’s acceptable to our GOD is that of the holy high priest after the order of Melchizedek, the LORD Jesus Christ, and so we have the righteousness of Christ imputed to us (ROMANS 4), His church – and this righteousness works out into our daily lives as a witness to all.

LEVITICUS 21

LEVITICUS 21:1-4
1 And the LORD said to Moses, "Speak to the priests, the sons of Aaron, and say to them: 'None shall defile himself for the dead among his people, 2 'except for his relatives who are nearest to him: his mother, his father, his son, his daughter, and his brother; 3 'also his virgin sister who is near to him, who has had no husband, for her he may defile himself. 4 'Otherwise he shall not defile himself, being a chief man among his people, to profane himself
.

To touch the dead, or anything that touches the dead would bring defilement; so for the priest of GOD, they were forbidden to defile themselves with the corrupt – except where their own immediate family was concerned.

As priests of GOD, they represent the LORD of life – and while the corpses of people are defiled, corrupt, and eventually turn to dust, these are mere shells of what we truly are; temporary tents to dwell in (2 PET 1:14); until we receive our permanent homes – our glorified bodies (2 COR 5:11). The spirits of the saints of GOD ever live, never to see death, because they are joined to the LORD of life (1 COR 6:17) so that He is not the GOD of the dead, but of the living.

The LORD Jesus speaks of those accounted worthy by His redemption to obtain the resurrection of the just and the kingdom of GOD said:
MATTHEW 22:31-32
31 But concerning the resurrection of the dead, have you not read what was spoken to you by God, saying, 32 'I am the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob'? God is not the God of the dead, but of the living
.

LEVITICUS 21:5-6
5 'They shall not make any bald place on their heads, nor shall they shave the edges of their beards nor make any cuttings in their flesh. 6 'They shall be holy to their God and not profane the name of their God, for they offer the offerings of the LORD made by fire, and the bread of their God; therefore they shall be holy
.

As we saw in the previous chapters, the people of Israel were to be set apart and make distinctions according to the will of the LORD that would mark them as being different. In this case, dealing with hair or their bodies: they were not to follow after the ways of the heathen who routinely cut their hair, braided it, make bald spots – and who carved into their bodies the signs and symbols of the false gods that they worshiped.

Incidentally, it’s interesting that the Greek word for “mark” as in “the mark of the beast” refers to this same idea: “to scratch, to etch, to engrave”. The people of GOD would offer sacrifices by fire and the holy bread to the LORD and not offer the sort of sacrifices that the heathen were accustomed to.

We the church of the LORD Jesus Christ are also a royal, holy priesthood and we’re to make ourselves distinct from the world by living sanctified, consecrated lives, by the grace of GOD: and the world seeing how different we are, will certainly see us as odd, different – as they’ve called us before, “Jesus Freaks”:
1 PETER 4:1-4
1 Therefore, since Christ suffered for us in the flesh, arm yourselves also with the same mind, for he who has suffered in the flesh has ceased from sin, 2 that he no longer should live the rest of his time in the flesh for the lusts of men, but for the will of God. 3 For we have spent enough of our past lifetime in doing the will of the Gentiles--when we walked in lewdness, lusts, drunkenness, revelries, drinking parties, and abominable idolatries. 4 In regard to these, they think it strange that you do not run with them in the same flood of dissipation, speaking evil of you
(See also 1 COR 6:9-11; EPH 5:5-10).
LEVITICUS 21:7-9
7 'They shall not take a wife who is a harlot or a defiled woman, nor shall they take a woman divorced from her husband; for the priest is holy to his God. 8 'Therefore you shall consecrate him, for he offers the bread of your God. He shall be holy to you, for I the LORD, who sanctify you, am holy. 9 'The daughter of any priest, if she profanes herself by playing the harlot, she profanes her father. She shall be burned with fire
.

Again, the theme for this book of LEVITICUS is a Holy people’s access to The HOLY GOD. Priests were to have nothing to do with harlots or a defiled woman – they are to be holy as GOD is holy – set apart, not having anything to do with sin and corruption. The priests were to be consecrated and sanctified.

What’s the difference between consecrate and sanctify? I’m so glad you asked!
In almost all references in the Scriptures, to consecrate means to set people apart and make them holy for a particular function or purpose – this has to do with ministry; in sanctification both people and objects may be sanctified. Objects may be set apart and sanctified for special purposes but where people are concerned, sanctification has more to do with inward changes made by the Spirit of GOD towards purity. Where consecration has more to do with a calling on a person’s life, sanctification is more about growing in purity and obtaining by the Spirit of GOD a change of nature towards godliness.

The Christian is consecrated by GOD as a priest, as well as an ambassador of Christ, as a herald of the Gospel. The Christian is likewise sanctified by Christ in growing in Christ-likeness. Like the Levitical priests, we are to have no relationship with this world, this spiritual harlot and defiled woman that will corrupt us.

LEVITICUS 21:10-15
10 'He who is the high priest among his brethren, on whose head the anointing oil was poured and who is consecrated to wear the garments, shall not uncover his head nor tear his clothes; 11 'nor shall he go near any dead body, nor defile himself for his father or his mother; 12 'nor shall he go out of the sanctuary, nor profane the sanctuary of his God; for the consecration 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 a defiled woman or a harlot-these he shall not marry; but he shall take a virgin of his own people as wife. 15 'Nor shall he profane his posterity among his people, for I the LORD sanctify him
.'

Now we deal with the Priest of Levitical priests, the high priest who is not allowed to defile himself even in burying his own parents, something that priests were allowed to do. He was not even allowed to mourn on such occasions: by uncovering his head or tearing his high priestly robes (remember how Aaron wasn’t even allowed by GOD to mourn the death of his two sons, Nadab and Abihu who offered strange fire before the LORD?).

It was also unlawful for the high priest to tear his priestly robes – where did we see this done? Remember when the high priest was interrogating the LORD Jesus?
MARK 14:61-63
61 But He kept silent and answered nothing. Again the high priest asked Him, saying to Him, "Are You the Christ, the Son of the Blessed?" 62 Jesus said, "I am. And you will see the Son of Man sitting at the right hand of the power and coming with the clouds of heaven." 63 Then the high priest tore his clothes and said, "What further need do we have of witnesses?
.
As high priest, He represented the LORD GOD, and those robes he wore represented the righteousness of the LORD which is perfect and can never be ruined or destroyed. Thus his high priestly robes were never to be torn or mutilated in any way.

LEVITICUS 21:16-21
16 And the LORD spoke to Moses, saying, 17 "Speak to Aaron, saying: 'No man of your descendants in succeeding generations, who has any defect, may approach to offer the bread of his God. 18 'For any man who has a defect shall not approach: a man blind or lame, who has a marred face or any limb too long, 19 'a man who has a broken foot or broken hand, 20 'or is a hunchback or a dwarf, or a man who has a defect in his eye, or eczema or scab, or is a eunuch. 21 'No man of the descendants of Aaron the priest, who has a defect, shall come near to offer the offerings made by fire to the LORD. He has a defect; he shall not come near to offer the bread of his God
.

Under these prohibitions, because of my deformities, I wouldn’t have been eligible to offer sacrifices or the holy bread – in other words, I would be ineligible to be a Levitical priest, even if I was of the tribe of Levi. I could partake of them, but I would be forbidden to offer them.
How blessed I am, that under the New Testament priesthood, such physical deformities are not a prohibition! 

What the LORD is looking for in His New Testament priesthood are those matters of the heart and the mind, which affect our lives and actions taken. Such deformities of the heart and mind that are a result of the sin nature – evil desires, hatred, envy, covetousness, etc. The LORD wants a holy people in His priesthood – and even if we have these ‘deformities’ in our lives, simple and genuine repentance and confession are all that’s required by our High Priest, and our sacrifices and offerings are acceptable once again!
PSALM 24:3-6
3 Who may ascend into the hill of the LORD? Or who may stand in His holy place? 4 He who has clean hands and a pure heart, Who has not lifted up his soul to an idol, Nor sworn deceitfully. 5 He shall receive blessing from the LORD, And righteousness from the God of his salvation. 6 This is Jacob, the generation of those who seek Him, Who seek Your face. Selah.

1 PETER 2:4-5
4 Coming to Him as to a living stone, rejected indeed by men, but chosen by God and precious, 5 you also, as living stones, are being built up a spiritual house, a holy priesthood, to offer up spiritual sacrifices acceptable to God through Jesus Christ.
LEVITICUS 21:22-24
22 'He may eat the bread of his God, both the most holy and the holy; 23 'only he shall not go near the veil or approach the altar, because he has a defect, lest he profane My sanctuaries; for I the LORD sanctify them.'" 24 And Moses told it to Aaron and his sons, and to all the children of Israel
.

LEVITICUS 22

The priests in their uncleanness must abstain from the holy things

LEVITICUS 22:1-7

1 Then the LORD spoke to Moses, saying, 2 "Speak to Aaron and his sons, that they separate themselves from the holy things of the children of Israel, and that they do not profane My holy name by what they dedicate to Me: I am the LORD. 3 "Say to them: 'Whoever of all your descendants throughout your generations, who goes near the holy things which the children of Israel dedicate to the LORD, while he has uncleanness upon him, that person shall be cut off from My presence: I am the LORD. 4 'Whatever man of the descendants of Aaron, who is a leper or has a discharge, shall not eat the holy offerings until he is clean. And whoever touches anything made unclean by a corpse, or a man who has had an emission of semen, 5 Or whosoever toucheth any creeping thing, whereby he may be made unclean, or a man of whom he may take uncleanness, whatsoever uncleanness he hath;

So as with the previous chapter, holiness and entire abstinence of anything that corrupts and is unclean is an absolute requirement for the people and especially the priests and most especially the high priest.

Repeatedly in these chapters we keep reading “I am the LORD”. He is the LORD of all, but most especially of Israel. Because He is the LORD the nature of His relationship with Israel and with us, is that we submit our lives into His loving and holy care, and follow where He leads us, and He is the One Who will manage our lives, grant us His counsel, enable us to overcome all obstacles that stand between the LORD’s will and us. 

So, if you’re feeling burdened these days, if life is weighing on you so heavily so that you feel like you can’t take another step – be reminded: Jesus is your Almighty LORD. If He can take care of this entire universe, then He is well able to take care of – what looks to you like mountains – but to Him are specks of dust!

How they shall be cleansed

LEVITICUS 22:6-7
6 'the person who has touched any such thing shall be unclean until evening and shall not eat the holy offerings unless he washes his body with water. 7 'And when the sun goes down he shall be clean; and afterward he may eat the holy offerings, because it is his food
.

It’s interesting that the Hebrew day actually begins at sunset, and we see here, that “when the sun goes down he shall be clean”. This is how we are to approach our days: early in the morning, the beginning of our day, recognizing that His mercies are renewed day by day.
LAMENTATIONS 3:22-23
22 Through the LORD'S mercies we are not consumed, Because His compassions fail not. 23 They are new every morning; Great is Your faithfulness.
LEVITICUS 22:8-9
8 'Whatever dies naturally or is torn by beasts he shall not eat, to defile himself with it: I am the LORD. 9 'They shall therefore keep My ordinance, lest they bear sin for it and die thereby, if they profane it: I the LORD sanctify them.

And again, as stated before, “Road kill is not allowed (sorry to disappoint)!”

Who of the priest's house may eat of the holy things? Only those that belong to him, those born of his house, or purchased (redeemed) by the priest – no strangers that are only visiting, no servants (from foreign lands).

LEVITICUS 22:10-13

10 'No outsider shall eat the holy offering; one who dwells with the priest, or a hired servant, shall not eat the holy thing. 11 'But if the priest buys a person with his money, he may eat it; and one who is born in his house may eat his food. 12 'If the priest's daughter is married to an outsider, she may not eat of the holy offerings. 13 'But if the priest's daughter is a widow or divorced, and has no child, and has returned to her father's house as in her youth, she may eat her father's food; but no outsider shall eat it.

Note that the priest’s daughter, even though she is his daughter – if she is married to a foreigner, she is not allowed to eat of the holy offerings. Yet she is allowed to partake once again if she is widowed or divorced from the foreigner (and has no child). It’s only those who are the children of Israel, that belong, these may partake of the holy things.

It was true in the Old Testament, it’s true in the New Testament as well.

You see, if you are not born again, then you are not yet a child of GOD, you are not yet a member of the body of Christ, you are not yet part of the church of Jesus Christ. You are welcome here, to be in our midst: to hear the Gospel, to learn the Bible; and it’s our express and fervent desire that you are saved, because then you are born again child of GOD and a member of the body of Christ and of the church.

But until that happens, you are disallowed from water baptism, you are disallowed of partaking of the LORD’s Supper: these things belong to the repentant, to the church. You are disallowed from understanding the deep truth of GOD, which must be apprehended by the Spirit of GOD Who alone grants understanding. You are disallowed from having an audience with GOD, from fellowship with the LORD as your Abba Father. Your prayers don’t even reach the ceiling, much less the throne of GOD.

The prayer that GOD longs to hear from those who are foreigners to the kingdom of GOD is “GOD be merciful to me a sinner!” Understand, GOD is not into having an exclusive membership in the kingdom of GOD. He invites everyone to join, and they are welcome to do so, provided it’s through the way that GOD has established – through faith in the Gospel of Jesus Christ and the atonement made at the Cross of Calvary.

Some Christians disagree with the saying, “All paths lead to GOD”, but I don’t. In fact, I heartily agree with it and am convinced of its truth!

All paths do lead to GOD! And every single one of those paths, except for one, end up at the Great White Throne Judgment where they will be condemned as rebellious sinners before the HOLY GOD and consigned forever in hell fire and damnation! It doesn’t matter which path you are on; any one of millions of paths, a path of your own making, they will all, without exception, inescapably lead to this throne of Judgment! One path, and ONE ONLY will lead to GOD that ends up at those pearly gates, with a welcome mat laid there – the path that’s drenched with the blood of the LAMB of GOD!

LEVITICUS 22:14-16

14 'And if a man eats the holy offering unintentionally, then he shall restore a holy offering to the priest and add one-fifth to it. 15 'They shall not profane the holy offerings of the children of Israel, which they offer to the LORD, 16 'or allow them to bear the guilt of trespass when they eat their holy offerings; for I the LORD sanctify them.'

The sacrifices must be without blemish

LEVITICUS 22:17-25

17 And the LORD spoke to Moses, saying, 18 "Speak to Aaron and his sons, and to all the children of Israel, and say to them: 'Whatever man of the house of Israel, or of the strangers in Israel, who offers his sacrifice for any of his vows or for any of his freewill offerings, which they offer to the LORD as a burnt offering- 19 'you shall offer of your own free will a male without blemish from the cattle, from the sheep, or from the goats. 20 'Whatever has a defect, you shall not offer, for it shall not be acceptable on your behalf. 21 'And whoever offers a sacrifice of a peace offering to the LORD, to fulfill his vow, or a freewill offering from the cattle or the sheep, it must be perfect to be accepted; there shall be no defect in it. 22 'Those that are blind or broken or maimed, or have an ulcer or eczema or scabs, you shall not offer to the LORD, nor make an offering by fire of them on the altar to the LORD. 23 'Either a bull or a lamb that has any limb too long or too short you may offer as a freewill offering, but for a vow it shall not be accepted. 24 'You shall not offer to the LORD what is bruised or crushed or torn or cut; nor shall you make any offering of them in your land. 25 'Nor from a foreigner's hand shall you offer any of these as the bread of your God, because their corruption is in them, and defects are in them. They shall not be accepted on your behalf.'

As we’ve learned from the beginning of GOD’s instruction for a proper sacrifice, every one of them must be without blemish, without flaw, perfect. And even then, we will learn later on that when Israel begins to fall into apostasy, she still offers proper sacrifices, but with an improper heart!

Offer the best sacrifice you have, but if you’re doing it with compromise or known sin in your life, it’s worthless. In fact, such a situation would bring disapproval from the heart of GOD. Scripture makes it plain: “To obey is better than sacrifice! And to hear [the LORD] is better even than the fat of rams” (1 SAM 15:22). It’s why I want to always maintain a good, spiritually healthy relationship with the LORD, to have no unconfessed sin upon me before I enter into ministry of whatever sort. If I’ve offended someone, I want to get that clear and find reconciliation before I take one step into ministry.

Any sacrifice is only as good as the heart that gives it – so we must rely on the grace of GOD that alone enables us to walk in holiness. And the LORD is well pleased with our sacrificial offerings – of our lives, of our worship, our personal times of prayer, evangelism, ministry of every sort, when we obey from a heart of love (1 COR 13) and devotion to the One Who loves us wholeheartedly!

So, wrapping up this study:

The age of the sacrifice

LEVITICUS 22:26-30
26 And the LORD spoke to Moses, saying: 27 "When a bull or a sheep or a goat is born, it shall be seven days with its mother; and from the eighth day and thereafter it shall be accepted as an offering made by fire to the LORD. 28 "Whether it is a cow or ewe, do not kill both her and her young on the same day.

The law of eating the sacrifice of thanksgiving

29 "And when you offer a sacrifice of thanksgiving to the LORD, offer it of your own free will. 30 "On the same day it shall be eaten; you shall leave none of it until morning: I am the LORD.

Ever and always, we as saints should have a thankful, grateful, worshipful heart before the LORD. He is worthy of our thanks for what He has done for us. If Jesus Christ only died for our sins and nothing else (besides rising from the dead, being victorious over sin, death and all the powers of hell), that would have been far more than we deserve. And yet the LORD lavishes us with all kinds of blessings besides!
Tell me why we should be sour, complaining, bitter, ungrateful, resentful or discontent? 
These things should never, ever be evident in a Christian’s life and the sure guarantee that we keep from these things is to keep our focus on Jesus, His sacrifice for us, His love for His, His future plans for us and to be ever thankful to the LORD for these things. We are allowed to sound like a broken record in our thanksgiving to our tender-hearted Abba Father!

LEVITICUS 22:31-33

31 "Therefore you shall keep My commandments and perform them: I am the LORD. 32 "You shall not profane My holy name, but I will be hallowed among the children of Israel. I am the LORD who sanctifies you, 33 "who brought you out of the land of Egypt, to be your God: I am the LORD."

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