Leviticus 21 Commentary
Chapter 21 is written to display and highlight the holiness of the LORD.
The sanctuary systems were designed to reflect the holiness and perfection of the LORD. And they didn’t disappoint. The material specification for the golden box was pure gold. The animals selected met strict conditions such as sex, age and physical wholeness. The flour was of the highest quality possible. The oil had its own special formula and so did the fragrance.
The all emphasized the otherness of God.
Now here in chapter 21 we meet conditions for qualification to be a priest or to serve as high priest. The first station is the strange instruction for the priest never to come near a dead body. Shocking? Not anymore. The LORD had mentioned death to Adam as the consequence of disobedience. The priest standing right in the presence of God must be far away from death. Death is representing disobedience. Its very presence is the essence of sin.
It is indeed little wonder that the LORD seem to love the death sentence for just about every serious sin. Man should not be left in doubt regarding his actual status: he is dead. The death sentence is a real-life movie depicting the realities behind the scenes. You want to contrast death here with the life that the LORD Jesus gives. John puts it this way: “The one who believes in me will live, even though they die; and whoever lives by believing in me will never die” John 11 verses 25 and 26. What a beautiful picture!
But our attention is here and we must look deep into the physical qualities being mentioned. Defects? No. Blind? No. Lame? No. Disfigured? No. Deformed? No. Broken foot or arm? No. Hunchbacked? No. Dwarfed? No. Defective eye? No. Damaged testicles? No. The worshipper must be perfect! Crushed testicles may represent disfigured and consequently diminished manhood which is the right spelling for disorder as the consequence of sin.
We saw earlier that monthly periods were a problem. Nocturnal emission of semen was equally a problem. Now crushed testicles are an issue. Note that these are important components in the reproduction system. It is this system that perpetuates life on behalf of the LORD. “Increase in number”, the LORD has said. But we all know what Genesis 3 did to the process. There are deeper things being represented by the symbolism here.
In the same line the process to produce future worshippers must resemble the purity of the intention of the LORD. Virgins. Yes, virgins for the priest come into picture.
Hair is used to cover something. We can call it anointing. We can borrow the thought from Samson and assume that the anointing of the LORD had to be worn at all times. It is a standard requirement for the saint today. You don’t leave your anointing at church!
Again here is the correct view of an offering: it is food prepared for the LORD. How do you look at your own offering at church?
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