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In Leviticus 21, a physical defect is a reason why one may not serve in the sanctuary. In Leviticus 22 the reason is mentioned: defilement. If you have a physical defect, you are not defiled. Although offering is not allowed, one may eat of the holy things. The latter is also prohibited in case of defilement.
Three Kinds of Uncleanness
Here three cases of uncleanness are mentioned.
1. Unclean by leprosy. Leprosy is a picture of sin breaking outwards.
2. Unclean by a discharge. A discharge is something that originates from someone and that defiles others who come into contact with it, for example false teaching. These impurities are permanent.
3. Unclean by touching something unclean, like a corpse or an unclean animal. Touching a corpse, we see in our going through this world. This uncleanness can be transient, for it is possible to be cleansed from it, as we see in the following verses.
Cleansing By Water
We cannot always avoid touching the world and the defilement it causes. It makes us unclean. But the means to be clean is given: washing with water. For us it means that we must be cleansed by the water of the Word (Ephesians 5:26). This happens when we read God’s Word and take it into our hearts. We then perceive we have become unclean, we condemn it before God and experience His peace in our hearts again.
Prohibition to Eat a Torn Animal
Eating a carcass is prohibited. What we read for diversion, during the week, is not food for the priest with which he can come to God. According to Leviticus 17, all flesh to be eaten must first be offered to the LORD as a peace offering.
What is “torn” is an animal that has been killed by force. A sacrificial animal has also died in an unnatural way, but has been killed with the sacrificial knife before God. It is emphasized again that the LORD has sanctified them and that they must therefore behave in this way.
Eating of the Holy Gift
In these verses we have further provisions about who may and may not eat of the holy gift. It is only allowed for the priest. An exception is the one who was bought by the priest or who was born in his house. In both cases, the priest has full authority over them. Being bought by the Lord Jesus and being reborn and thereby belonging to His family entitles one to participate in the priestly meal.
A priestly daughter who marries outside the priestly family forfeits the right to eat of the holy gifts. She is still a member of the people, but she has lost the right. Application: a believer who knows what it is to perform priestly service marries a believer who does not know that service. This will affect his own priestly service. If such a person marries someone who is not a member of the people of God at all, an unbeliever, it will have an even greater negative influence.
A priest’s daughter can return to her father when she is widowed, or rejected, and has no children. Then she can eat again from her father’s food. We can apply this to someone who, after sad experiences, returns to what was professed in youth. Then such a person may again take the priestly food.
It may also happen that inadvertent, yet unauthorized, someone eats of the holy things. Then there is guilt, but one can become free of it by bringing a guilt offering. There are situations in which someone participates in the priestly service and the enjoyment thereof, when he is actually unauthorized. This can happen when someone does or says something that hurts another person, without intent. A guilt has arisen. If he becomes aware of this, a guilt offering can be made, which in the spiritual sense means that it is remembered that the Lord Jesus had to die for it.
The Sacrificial Animals
In these verses the attention is focused on the sacrificial animals themselves. The word about this is not only addressed to Aaron and his sons, but to the whole people. They may only come with voluntary offerings, but these offerings must be perfect (Malachi 1:8; Malachi 1:13-2 Chronicles :). Then the offeror will be pleasing to God.
Animals with certain defects represent the lack of understanding that the offeror has of the Person and the work of the Lord Jesus. Some aspects are emphasized and others are not taken heed of. It is important to “grow in the grace and knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ” (2 Peter 3:18). It is important that we see more and more and remember that He is the perfect Lamb, “unblemished and spotless” (1 Peter 1:19), of Whom even the wicked Pilate testified: “I find no guilt in this Man” (Luke 23:4; Luke 23:14Luke 23:22).
Yet the grace of God goes so far that – even if the insight into the work of the Lord Jesus is imperfect – we may still come with that offering although its members are too long or too short. It refers to a knowledge of the Lord Jesus that is unbalanced. A disabled offering from a pure heart God appreciates more than no offering out of fear. God does not suppose the possibility that someone intentionally brings a disabled offering.
It indeed is in case of a voluntary gift. As a vow offering it may not be brought. The distinction seems to be that a voluntary gift arises more spontaneously, while a vow offering has a certain reason and consideration. Someone who has just been converted does not yet know much about the Lord Jesus, but brings an offering in his spontaneity, without having really thought about it. In doing so, he can use expressions of gratitude that injures the work of the Lord Jesus or in which he says something of the Lord Jesus that does not belong to Him. God cannot accept this of anyone who has already seen or should have seen more of the Lord Jesus.
What God does not accept are sacrifices that have been dealt with carelessly, so that the offeror is to blame for the defects in the offering. Nor does He accept them when they have arrived in the land. Nor does he accept the sacrifices brought by a member of God’s people through a foreigner. The so-called beauty that unbelievers tell us about the Lord Jesus, God does not take from our hands. He wants us to occupy ourselves with the Lord Jesus and to be taught by His gifts. The offerings which are so worked in our hearts will make us a pleasure before God.
No Unnatural Things
Here are some unnatural things that might be given a place in the service of God, but for which there are warnings.
For the first seven days, nothing should happen to a newborn animal. Only from the eighth day on can it serve as an offering. This is reminiscent of the newborn boy who is circumcised on the eighth day (Leviticus 12:2-:). Circumcision presents the judgment and cleanses. Animals are of course not circumcised, but the picture is the same. The first seven days they are, as it were, under the stain of ancient creation. The eighth day always speaks of a new beginning.
Every unnatural element in the offering is forbidden (Leviticus 22:28; Exodus 23:19). God acknowledges the natural relationships. The Lord Jesus also acknowledges them, as He does during His life on earth (John 19:27).
The sacrifice of thanksgiving must be eaten on the same day it is killed. What is consecrated to the LORD is also spiritual food for the offeror. If we worship God for His Son, it is, though not the goal, strengthening for the inner man. You can’t gain that reinforcement by thinking back a while later of what you brought then. Devotion to God is a matter that must be fresh every time. We can’t bring Him old stuff, things that we gave to Him in the past.
God gives His commandments to a people who have been redeemed by Him from Egypt for the purpose that He will be their God. The Lord Jesus redeemed us to make us His own people, a people who are devoted to Him and who recognize Him in all things in gratitude.
Kingcomments on the Whole Bible © 2021 Author: G. de Koning. All rights reserved. Used with the permission of the author
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de Koning, Ger. Commentaar op Leviticus 22". "Kingcomments on the Whole Bible". https://www.studylight.org/
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