Leviticus 21 – Is there a Priest in the House?


After reading this chapter you might feel like, “What does this have to do with us, we’re not Aaronic Priests?” Though it might seem that there’s nothing here for us we must remember what 2 Timothy 3:16 says, “All Scripture is inspired by God and is useful to teach us what is true and to make us realize what is wrong in our lives. It corrects us when we are wrong and teaches us to do what is right.”
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Instructions for the Priests

21 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[a] 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.
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This chapter really goes into detail on what a priest can and cannot do. I think that it’s safe to assume that none of here is an Aaronic Priest but that doesn’t mean we just say, “Okay, we read chapter 21, let’s press on and not learn anything.” There are some valid applications we can make in our lives.

One is that Christ is our High Priest – Jesus, according to Hebrews, is our High Priest forevermore. We don’t need anyone but Christ to represent us before the Father. If not, the Christian Church would still have Aaronic Priests to intercede in our behalf.

The other is the priesthood of all believers – According to 1 Peter 2:5-9 we are called “holy priests” (not necessarily talking about pastoral ministry) to be Jesus’ hands and feet in this world and that we are all called to, “show others the goodness of God, for he called you out of the darkness into his wonderful light.” (vs. 9b).

Jesus is the only way to reconcile yourself with God the Father. Take you sins, pain, and praise to Him. And because of Jesus’ love and grace, go and “show others the goodness of God.”

God be with you.
Angel Rivero

Holy Bible. New Living Translation copyright© 1996, 2004, 2007 by Tyndale House Foundation. Used by permission of Tyndale House Publishers Inc., Carol Stream, Illinois 60188. All rights reserved.

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