Listen:  

Audio clip: Adobe Flash Player (version 9 or above) is required to play this audio clip. Download the latest version here. You also need to have JavaScript enabled in your browser.

Let’s begin by reading Leviticus 21:1, “And the LORD said unto Moses, Speak unto the priests the sons of Aaron…”  This shows us that the words were given to the priests.  They were the sons of Aaron and were of the tribe of Levi.  This chapter gives instruction for the qualifications of the Levites to do the work of priests.  Now let’s read Leviticus 21:17-21, “Speak unto Aaron, saying, Whosoever he be of thy seed in their generations that hath any blemish, let him not approach to offer the bread of his God.  For whatsoever man he be that hath a blemish, he shall not approach: a blind man, or a lame, or he that hath a flat nose, or any thing superfluous, Or a man that is brokenfooted, or brokenhanded, Or crookbackt, or a dwarf, or that hath a blemish in his eye, or be scurvy, or scabbed, or hath his stones broken;  No man that hath a blemish of the seed of Aaron the priest shall come nigh to offer the offerings of the LORD made by fire: he hath a blemish; he shall not come nigh to offer the bread of his God.”

At first glance, these words might seem harsh and unfair, but we need to keep in mind the words of 1 Corinthians 10:11 which says, “Now all these things happened unto them for ensamples: and they are written for our admonition, upon whom the ends of the world are come.”  So many of the events recorded in the Old Testament were written to instruct us.  What is the lesson we learn from reading that those with physical infirmities were not allowed to do the work of priests?

The priest represented the Lord before the people, and as such, should have no physical imperfections.  This outward deficiency is an illustration of an inward deficiency.  In order for the priest to function as a mediator between God and men, he must be free from every infirmity or spot.  The man who ministers in these holy things should have nothing about himself that would be an imperfection.  In type, the priest is a picture of the Lord Jesus, Himself.  The priest who offered the sacrifices had to be without imperfection because he represented Christ as our unblemished High Priest.

The Lord Jesus is represented in both the priests and in the offerings they made on behalf of the people.  Of Christ it is said in Hebrews 7:26, “For such an high priest became us, who is holy, harmless, undefiled, separate from sinners, and made higher than the heavens.”  As our high priest, Christ had no infirmity or blemish.  Let’s read 1 Peter 1:18-19, “Forasmuch as ye know that ye were not redeemed with corruptible things, as silver and gold, from your vain conversation received by tradition from your fathers; But with the precious blood of Christ, as of a lamb without blemish and without spot.”  As our sacrifice, Christ had no infirmity or blemish.  It is proper that the Old Testament priests would have no infirmity or blemish, so that they could accurately portray Christ, who is our great High Priest.  (118.5)