Text: Leviticus 21
The office of priest to the Lord was to be held in high regard because he was the one who approached the Lord, offering up in fire the food of the Lord on behalf of the people of God. The priestly line of Aaron had restrictions placed on them that were greater than that of the sons of Israel. They could not touch a dead body unless is was the body of a near relative and they could not take a wife that had been touched by any other man; harlotry, divorced or widowed.
However, I do not think that we should focus our attention on the priests. The precepts given for the priests in this chapter are intended to focus our attention on the holiness of the Lord our God. The Lord is holy, therefore, those who approach the Lord must be holy less they profane the Lord’s sanctuary.
The reason for death is sin. For this reason, touching a dead body defiles the priest to the Lord. Physical deformities are not the fault of the deformed person, however, they are a result of the curse. People are deformed and all people die because Adam and Eve ate from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil. (Gn. 3:16-19)
There has been a change of covenant with the advent of Jesus Christ. In Christ we are justified, as a gift, by the grace of God. (Rom. 3:24) We did not make ourselves righteous, it is by grace received through faith that we are saved. (Eph. 7-9)
In the old covenant there was a hierarchy regarding proximity to the holiness of God. Non-Jewish people were on the outside. The sons of Israel were considered the people of God. The Levites, his elect servants, and the priest, especially the anointed high priest were the closest to the Lord.
However, compared to the righteous position given to the Christian, the high priest was miles away from the Lord. In the new covenant, there is neither Jew nor non-Jew, there is neither male nor female; all are equal in Christ Jesus. (Gal. 3:27) No matter who you are or what you have done, at the resurrection, you will be with the Lord God and see his face. (Rev. 22:4)