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Lesson 31 – Leviticus 21

LEVITICUS

Lesson 31 – Chapter 21

We got a little way into Leviticus 21 last week and the thrust of those first few verses dealt with

death and the uncleanness of death. Let’s be clear that this passage is speaking to the Levites and Priests of Israel NOT to the population at large. So as you think about how these verses apply to you keep that in mind. Yes, I know that in the New Testament Believers in Yeshua are called “a priesthood”; but that is speaking to us in a more spiritual level because we do not become physical Levites when we are saved anymore than we become physical Jews. Death and the ritual uncleanness of it are an issue because God hates death; it is an

abomination to him because death is abnormal. While we refer to an average life span of 80 or 90 years as “normal” in our society, and the Bible says that the ideal life span for a human is 120 years, a person who dies at an advanced age is generally spoken of as having died a “natural” death (age has caused his or her body to just wear out); but for the Lord the two terms natural and death do not belong together. Death and the resultant decay of the human body happened due to sin entering the lives of Adam and Eve; sin results in uncleanness, so just as sin is abnormal for mankind so is death. And God treats it just that way. Therefore we have those who are nearest to God, His priests, being given severe restrictions

when it comes their being in proximity to death. This is not an act of unkindness or a lack of sympathy on the part of the Lord; rather it is a demonstration and illustration of just how seriously He views death as something that never belonged in His Universe to start with. The good news for His redeemed is that we have only to face a physical death; our spirits will live on with the Lord and we’ll never miss these frail tents of flesh that serve us for the moment. Let’s re-read some of this chapter.

RE-READ LEVITICUS 21:1 – 6

Verse 4 has always presented problems for the Hebrews. The plain sense of it says bluntly

that a priest can NOT attend to his wife should she die. In a physical, biological sense those half-dozen relatives that a priest is allowed to attend to in their death (mother, father, sister, brother, son, daughter) are his “flesh and blood” relatives; a wife, though usually a Levite woman, was NOT considered “flesh and blood” of her priest husband. Let me say that in another way: the relatives that a priest was permitted to attend to were closely genetically tied to the priest. But a wife is NOT genetically tied to a priest; in fact the Torah is very specific about how close of a blood relative any Israelite could marry and a wife had to be outside of that boundary to qualify otherwise it would be considered incest. 1 / 10

I’m sure that many of you are already thinking, well what about the principle stated in Genesis 2:24 that when a man and women are joined together in marriage they become as one flesh? Here is another instance of our having to mature in our faith so that we can distinguish between the spiritual and the physical sense of things in the Scriptures. Common sense and mere observation tells us that literally and physically a man and his wife do not magically fuse together upon the last words of their wedding ritual and from that point forward share one set of legs, arms, noses, ears, or any other body parts. Rather this “one flesh” is meant in a spiritual sense and refers to a mental attitude a married couple should adopt, and to a degree it is a metaphor of the perfect unity of the Godhead. The Hebrew sages acknowledge that from a spiritual standpoint a man and his wife are as

one, echad , but they separate that from the physical and biological sense of it. Therefore the Law was applied such that since in all cases of legal regulations a man’s wife could NOT be a close genetic relative, she was also excluded from the group of family members that a priest could attend upon her death. Later in Hebrew history this prohibition was amended by some Scribes who determined that since Abraham and Jacob personally attended to their wives’ funerals, then it should also be permitted for a Levite priest. The rationale behind their ruling is interesting; they determined that even though a priest would be infected with a VERY high and serious degree of impurity by attending to his wife’s death that it was his reasonable duty to do so notwithstanding. However this was ONLY to occur WHEN the priest and his wife had no other close family to bury her. Now, I find that reasoning quite interesting; because that more or less embodies the idea that

as Believers we are made clean, and we are to remain separate from anything that is unclean. NAS 2 Corinthians 6:17 “Therefore, come out from their midst and be separate,” says the Lord. “And do not touch what is unclean; And I will welcome you. In Scripture there is NOTHING more unclean than death. Yet we are commanded for the sake of love and mercy to go to the unclean people of this world and take to them the Word of God that brings Salvation…..the Gospel message. In other words it’s not that by doing the loving and merciful thing of presenting the Good News that we are somehow exempted from the rules of clean and unclean; rather it is that we are to personally RISK coming into contact with the unclean for the sake of the Gospel. The Hebrew urged the priest that, if necessary, he may make the CHOICE to RISK personal defilement if it is the necessary and loving and merciful thing to do to care for his dead wife. I’ll tell you I wish that in some ways this principle about ritual purity were not so. I wish that by

our doing what is right or merciful or compassionate all the consequences would be nothing but good. Doing the right thing can often be harmful to our health, our relationships, our jobs, our ministries and more. But what kind of trust in Yehoveh or what type of love are we displaying if we only do good if it brings us good consequences? The good news for Believers is that Yeshua’s Living Water rushes over us at all times. We may well become defiled at times, in a sense, for going to the unclean and unsaved people of this world and coming into contact with them; we may well be violating God’s ritual purity instructions in laying a hand on the prostitute who is in spiritual ruin, or lovingly caringly for the deceased, or comforting the homosexual who is so confused and miserable; but I am convinced that Yeshua’s Living 2 / 10

Water washes us clean practically before it happens. I’ve said on a number of occasions that the only reason for God’s rules about sin and about

ritual impurity to exist is because of the fallen state of mankind. As the centuries have passed and as the fabric of the world has become more and more saturated with sin and deprivation, it is now virtually impossible for a man (including Beleivers) not to commit sin at some point in his life, even if the intention is always to be obedient to God’s commands and to do good. I often give the illustration of Corrie Ten-boom hiding Jews and lying to her government authorities about it because it is one that most people can identity with; the Torah never makes an exception for lying. A lie is always a sin; yet in order for Corrie to do a greater good (saving the lives of innocent Jews) she took that sin and its eternal consequences upon herself. If she had not been redeemed by Messiah that sin of lying would still be on her head throughout eternity. But because she trusted Yeshua she was forgiven for it. Point being that the lie was still a lie even though it was meant for good, the Lord saw it as trespassing against Him, and His justice demands a penalty was due for it. Our attempt at kindness and compassion does NOT negate the requirement to be obedient to God’s commands. The priest who attended to his deceased wife did not avoid becoming defiled simply because he did a loving and compassionate act; rather he willingly accepted the spiritual and physical consequences of becoming ritually unclean as a greater good. And by the way understand that there is a BIG difference between

ministering to the unclean of this world and uniting with them. We are to NEVER compromise God’s principles, nor water down the truth, nor become one of the unclean in our behavior in order to minister to them. We are not come into UNION with the unclean; Paul specifically gives the example of avoiding illicit sexual relations with the unclean because sex is itself a sacred union. To create this kind of union between the clean and unclean is called tevel , confusion. It is improper mixing (or as the phrase the modern church prefers, unequal yoking) that a Believer must always avoid. There is a rather interesting instruction in verse 5; it says that the priest’s head should not be

shaved smooth nor should the side-growth of his beard be removed nor is he to make gashes in his skin. Every one of these acts were pagan Canaanite funeral rituals, which Yehoveh prohibited. Now, in fact, these prohibitions have been instructed before as a GENERAL rule for priests to observe at all times, not just for a funeral. But this is actually just adding a bit of detail by explaining that even during a formal time of mourning priests were not to do these things. As a quick reminder what is being explained here is that the priest’s head…..meaning the crown of the head…..is not to be shaved NOR is any hair to be pulled out. The mention of the “side-growth” of the beard is what we today call “sideburns”. The Hebrew priests were to have full heads of hair and full beards, joined together with the sideburns. One of the reasons for this prohibition is that since these same rules also apply to the general

Hebrew population how much more strenuously they must be followed by those who, it says in verse 6: “……offer the Lord’s offerings by fire, the food of their God…..” If one is going to be a priest of God…..one who approaches God with sacrificial offerings….. then His rules must be followed even more scrupulously……not less. Think about your standing, as a Believer in Yeshua, and let that sink in for a minute. Our redemption (bought at such a great price) is not a Get-Out-Of-Jail-Free card; it is also not a permanent mulligan (for our golfers out there). Far 3 / 10

from it our redemption is a commitment to our Lord to obey Him. As we have studied the Torah it has become crystal clear that the Lord didn’t expect the unredeemed to abide by His laws and commands; the Torah wasn’t for them. Rather it was those who He set-apart and saved for Himself that He demanded adherence to His rules and regulations. And those who were blessed with an even greater nearness to Him, His priests, were thus expected to be even more perfect. By the way notice the reference in that same verse to calling the burnt offerings “the food of

their God”. Food, for God? Does God eat food? Well, the thing is that as inspired as the Holy Scripture is it was men who were writing it down. It was men who needed it and men who were being communicated to; so it was written and spoken in terms normal for their society and culture. For all practical purposes every known culture of that era practiced giving burnt offerings to their gods. Employing an altar and bringing sacrificial offerings to a god were completely known by Israel long before Moses and Mt. Sinai, and they would have expected nothing less as Yehoveh gave them the Torah. The word used for “food” in this passage is “lechem”. And lechem is a very general and

common Hebrew word that means food but also doubles as the word for bread……and this, since, bread was their primary food. In Hebrew thinking, when we use the phrase we gentile Christians have so readily adopted…..”the bread of life”…..the sense of it was “the food of life”; we simply have a common way of Hebrew speaking being laid out here. And you can bet that in some way or another the Israelites indeed DID envision God eating those sacrifices as food much in the same way as they envisioned God “smelling” the aroma of the smoke of the burnt offerings as it wafted up into the heavens. The pagan cultures they were so familiar with TAUGHT that these burnt offerings were the

food of the gods; that if they didn’t get those sacrifices of food that the gods literally would grow hungry, and in time some might even grow weak from lack of food. That God declared Israel not to be pagan anymore didn’t mean that they stopped thinking like pagans or behaving like pagans. Certainly after several hundred years of living away from Egypt and under the Law the concept of there being only One-God, and of His purely spiritual attributes needing no physical sustenance, took stronger root among the Hebrews. But if we read the Bible honestly there is no way we can miss the constant references to the multiple-god, pagan- style-of-thinking that remained within the Israelites. Let’s re-read a little more of chapter 21.

RE-READ LEVITICUS 21:7 – end

Next is the prohibition of a priest marrying a woman who (according to most translations) is a

harlot or a divorcee. The actual Hebrew words that are usually translated “harlot” is zonah va- halalah; and most literally it means “degraded by harlotry”. So it is NOT saying, “don’t marry a harlot”, it is saying, “don’t marry a woman who has been defiled by ANY act of harlotry”. There is a big difference in status and the Rabbis wrote about it. In a nutshell a woman was not considered to BE a harlot unless she regularly practiced prostitution or sexual immorality of 4 / 10

some sort. A woman who had, once or twice, fallen into sin by committing fornication was NOT considered a harlot. Rather she was not of exemplary and pure enough character to be eligible to marry a priest. Do you see the difference? God lays down the principle that to commit a certain type of evil act…an act that is not typical of

your character or regular lifestyle….. does not necessarily identify you as being in union with that particular kind of evil. But it is a slippery slope; it’s not a long way from occasionally participating in a certain sin to making it your lifestyle. Yet if that evil behavior is indeed indicative of your typical character and desires and regular behavior, then you have already come into union with that evil and you ARE to be identified with that sin. That may sound like double-talk but Paul gives us further food for thought. Paul tells us in NAS

1 Corinthians 6:9 Or do you not know that the unrighteous shall not inherit the kingdom of God? Do not be deceived; neither fornicators, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor effeminate, nor homosexuals, 10 nor thieves, nor the covetous, nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor swindlers, shall inherit the kingdom of God. By applying the principles from Leviticus to this quote from Paul we see that it is NOT if you commit an isolated act of idolatry that you are now labeled an idolater by the Lord and disqualified from redemption. Nor does one who has gotten drunk some small number of times become automatically labeled a drunkard by Biblical standards. Rather it is when you have thoroughly given yourself OVER to these things that you gain a label. It happens when idolatry becomes a way of life; when getting drunk and behaving irresponsibly becomes the norm for you; when sexual immorality becomes your lifestyle; and the same standard applies for all these other offenses Paul names. It is when you have come into such a comfort level with an evil behavior that God’s judges that you have come into union with it such that He sees you and that sin as joined together. Your name…..your reputation…..has become one with the name of that sin. As I said, this is God’s call not ours. It is He who judges when a spiritual line has been crossed; but it is often evident who is in great danger of crossing (or having already crossed) that line. And it is also fairly evident to ourselves if we qualify to be lumped in with that group. I’m spending a little time with this issue because I want you all to be able to look into the mirror

and ask yourself if it is possible that you and some sin have become one, or if you are liable to lapse into that sin from time to time and are honestly repentant of it. I’m also telling you this because if at one time you indeed had given yourself over to one of these lifestyles of sin, but have repented in Yeshua’s name, you can rest assured that you are no longer labeled by that sin (at least by anyone who counts…..namely the Lord). But if you continue to revel in that sin, or make excuses for it and refuse to acknowledge it as sin, or have no interest in giving it up…..if you refuse to even recognize that you have come into union with that sin….well that is another matter for another discussion. But it is serious and a dangerous matter to say the least. What I’m hoping is that those of us who may live with terrible guilt of the past, and have truly repented of those ways, will be released to God’s Shalom; because just as Yeshua has liberated us from the sin, He has liberated us from the label. We should accept it, be grateful, and move on. 5 / 10

The same law also prohibited a priest from marrying a divorced woman. Notice that the two things……being degraded by an act of harlotry, and being divorced……are kind of lumped together. There was a reason for this; NAS Deuteronomy 24:1 “When a man takes a wife and marries her, and it happens that she finds no favor in his eyes because he has found some indecency in her, and he writes her a certificate of divorce and puts it in her hand and sends her out from his house,,,,,,,,,” The Torah specifies one cause and one alone for a man divorcing his wife……that she committed an act of sexual immorality. That is what is meant by “he has found some indecency in her”……which really isn’t as pointed a remark as it should be. The word translated in English as “indecency” is in Hebrew ervah . And, ervah most literally means “nakedness”…..ervah is a sexual term. By our modern language, it would be better rendered “he found out she committed a sexually immoral act…..”. It was not until a little before the time of Jesus that the disciples of Hillel attempted to make divorce less restrictive by saying that this verse applied to many more kinds of “unfaithfulness” than sexual. Up to that time it was ONLY some form of sexual infidelity that had legal grounds for divorce. So the idea here is that a man should not marry a woman who had shown herself to be capable of immoral sexual activity, through either selling her body or by means of marital infidelity. Now ladies here is a little insight to keep an eye on in Biblical stories: men weren’t much

different yesterday than today. If a man decided he was tired of his wife and wanted to divorce her, he simply accused her of infidelity. He did NOT have to prove it. He simply accused her and that was that. In fact, due to the Law, if he WAS able to prove it the requirement was that she be executed. And you’ll find many cases of divorce in the Bible, but precious few of executions because of it. Last week we talked about a child’s duty to his or her parents and that to not properly honor

them merited the death penalty. Here in verse 9, we get a good example of what “not honoring” could amount to; a daughter of a priest who commits an act of sexual immorality must be burned to death BECAUSE she defiles more than herself…..she has defiled her father. In our society, sexual immorality used to be winked at; now it’s celebrated. For God, there is almost NOTHING more serious than for one of His people to be sexually immoral. The death by fire method of execution indicates the worst of the worst forms of punishment set aside for the worst sins. Let me take a few minutes to put some things in perspective, and to make some connections.

The last several weeks in particular have, I hope, given us a better understanding of just how holy Yehoveh is; and, how He will take whatever means are necessary to protect His Holiness; and that it is not just His expectation but His demand that those who claim allegiance to Him are to be themselves holy. We have seen a long series of ordinances and rules…..typically called laws… that carefully spell

out the human behaviors that express holiness, and conversely, those which are against holiness. Of course what usually impacts the average Bible student more than the listing of the laws is the severe nature of the consequences, the punishments, for what happens if one breaks any of those laws. These consequences and punishments are often referred to as 6 / 10

curses……and, taken together, sometimes as the “curse of the law”. In chapter 20, and here again in chapter 21, we have seen a ranking of sins in a kind of

hierarchy of bad and worse, and then the prescribed punishments……and remember all sin is, is a violation against God’s holiness, will, and laws. Earlier in Leviticus, by means of the various kinds of sacrifices we were taught about, what each sacrifice was meant to accomplish, the required sacrificial animal for each kind, and a few other rules of sacrificial protocol we were shown conclusively that the typical church doctrine that says all sins are the same……that a sin is a sin is a sin…..that stealing a candy bar is no different in God’s eyes than murder…..is simply not Scripturally sound. That in fact some sins are far worse and more dangerous than others, and this is expressed by means of the level of punishment prescribed ascribed to each. And it startles us after years of being taught about a grandfatherly, all merciful, all forgiving,

peaceful God that this very same God would demand people to be burned to death for some of the most serious trespasses committed against Him. That He will quickly snuff out life, and permanently banish people from His presence, to protect and defend His Holiness. And that when He says someone must be perfect to be in His presence, He means perfect. Here’s the thing: those who have

not turned the Lordship of their lives over to Jesus STILL face these same consequences. Certainly, in this world, they may not receive them as punishment for crimes which parallel many of God’s biblical laws, because God has turned the matter of justice over to human governments, almost all of which have decided to go against God’s system of Law and Order, Crime and Punishment, and have established their own. And we live with those results every day. However the consequences, the curses, of the Law

will be faced by those who do NOT know Yeshua….. either at the direct hand of God in this life, or in the hereafter, or both. Remember that here in Leviticus God told Israel that if YOU won’t do as I instruct and prosecute those who violate My laws, I WILL! I will cut-off by My own hand those who trespass against me. The thing that I’m leading you to is this: Christ, the author of the Torah, the author the Law, could not order that such consequences be required for breaking His laws, and then not carry it out. How much respect would we have…..or, frankly, SHOULD we have….. for a God that runs around ordering things done, says these orders are everlasting, and then says, “Oh, forget it, I’ve changed my mind”. Please hear what I’m about to tell you: those punishments prescribed for most serious OR

most minute violation of the Law WILL be accounted for and paid for ; every last one. I don’t care whether that violation occurred in OT times, NT times, or 5 minutes ago. And it doesn’t matter whether a pagan or a lifelong Believer did those violations. Every sin that I committed, every one of these laws I have violated MUST be paid for, no exceptions. Otherwise God’s holiness is a hoax, and when He gives a command it is hollow and meaningless. If I don’t pay for my sins SOMEBODY else is going to pay…that’s the justice system that God has established. Someone is going to burn in fire for you or me having committed sexual immorality. Someone is going to be stoned to death for you or me committing blasphemy. But in the most amazing act of mercy the world has ever known, the Law Giver, the Torah Giver, the one who made the laws and decided the consequences, volunteered to be that somebody 7 / 10

who takes the countless punishments you…and I….are required to pay. When Jesus was hanging from that cross He was burned to death

by His Father a million times over. Yeshua was stoned to death by a landslide of rocks coming from God’s Wrath . He was cut-off, separated away from His people and His father by His Father … banished for the countless number of trespasses committed by us, each requiring those punishments (“My God, My God, why have You forsaken Me?” he yelled out when that banishment occurred). He bore all those horrible consequences, one by agonizing one, that we have spent the last several months reading about, and a lifetime accumulating; those consequences which come from violating the very laws He ordained. And when He was creating those laws He knew in advance that it would be Himself who would pay the price for, and in place of, those who loved Him. The good news is that as we see ourselves for who we really are through the eyes of the laws

of Leviticus…..and as we see the seriousness of the terrible things we’ve done against Yehoveh…some before we knew Him and some after….recognize that somebody has to pay for those things……and somebody has and continues to. My brothers and sisters in Yeshua we escaped the fire for what we’ve done and for what we do, but Yeshua didn’t. And now, redeemed and never having to face God’s just and terrible judgments against us,

how dare God’s people trivialize what Jesus did by our declaring that all those sins that arise from violating those laws of Torah can no longer even be committed. That those principles and commands He made from Heaven, and came to earth to pay the price for their violation, are now obsolete and gone. Perhaps it makes us feel better about ourselves to think that God solved the problem of sin simply by getting rid of the laws; but its not so. The laws remain, as do their consequences; it’s just that Yeshua is our substitute; He is the bearer of the horrific punishments required of those laws. We should walk out of here today free, grateful, sober and determined to obey Him. Not

because it gains us anything….but because we owe it to Him. We should leave here with our eyes opened that many deceived Church institutions now think that obedience no longer matters……yet Christ died a death for each of our disobediences. The Torah is alive and well. The curses of the Torah are alive and well. The question is only,

who bears the curse? If you have given yourself over to Yeshua, then He has agreed to bear it for you, and to set you free….free from the consequences not from the commands. If you have not turned to Yeshua, then as it says in Leviticus….your blood is on you. YOU shall pay that price with your eternal life and YOU shall bear all those punishments, with absolutely no hope of escape. I am certainly

not saying that the cultural way in which the principles behind each of these laws and commands were at one time practiced must be practiced in an identical way in our day. Yet some things like the definitions of, and prohibitions against, sexual immorality, fair play and justice with our fellow man; and our staying away from that which is unclean for us, observing the Sabbath, and so many more of those ancient laws are rather straightforward and not bound up in culture. Other things like HOW we observe the Sabbath, HOW we celebrate Biblical 8 / 10

feasts, the roles of males and females in society, and more we are going to have to wrestle with. We’re going to have to learn how to reapply those principles to our own lives. I believe that it is my assignment to teach you the Torah….the place where all of these

principles are taught and demonstrated. Just remember that the Torah is every bit as much Yeshua, Jesus the Christ, speaking to you as any sentence in the NT. Let’s return to our study of chapter 21. With verse 10 we move from dealing with the ordinary priests, to the High Priest. The verse

partially defines the High Priest by speaking of him as the one who receives the anointing oil……in fact in priestly consecration (as we saw in Chapter 8) he is the only one who is anointed in oil……regular priests are not. And the first thing that is discussed is death in the High Priest’s family just as with the ordinary priests. Immediately we see a difference: the High Priest cannot touch the dead body, nor participate in the funeral, even of his parents. He can’t even be in the same room as a dead body. And one of the major reasons for this is because the High Priest is the ONLY one ever allowed to venture into the Holy of Holies; therefore it is nigh on to impossible for the High Priest to ever become sufficiently clean from having contacted death that He wouldn’t in some way defile God’s dwelling place on earth. Further the High Priest could marry only a virgin of the priestly family. Now no priest would

ever marry any but a virgin girl (and neither would most regular Israelite men); but regular priests could marry a girl from ANY Levite family. The High Priest was restricted to only certain family lines within the Levites to find a wife; she must have come from the higher classes of the ordinary priests. As tough as some of this has been verse 16 adds other stringent requirements for service in

the priesthood; namely no priest with a defect can officiate a sacrificial offering. The Hebrew word used here is “ mum ”…..and it means a blemish or defect. So priests who have any of a list of things wrong with their bodies may NOT present offerings to God. Now they remain as part of the priesthood, and they are given whatever is their normal portion of food and money taken in from the sacrifices…..so it’s not like they were expelled or made poverty stricken. The list is rather long and mostly self-explanatory, so I’ll limit my comments about it. The terms

blind and lame do not mean totally blind, or unable to walk. Blind can mean one eye has been damaged, and the other is intact. It could mean that the priest has cataracts. The idea is that his vision is severely impaired. Lame can mean a bad limp, or a foot is missing, or any number of impediments to normal walking. But, it by no means meant that the person was necessarily severely crippled, though the term COULD refer to that on occasion. It mentions a broken leg or arm because they didn’t do a very good job of setting bones, and

having a difficult break usually meant some amount of permanent deformity. Interestingly no one with a hunched back or who suffered from dwarfism could perform sacrifices either. This whole set of rules about blemishes and deformities are there because it continues to

develop the idea of holiness as being about wholeness and normality. Here it is demonstrated by physical attributes, such that the person who is going to serve the Lord must not be 9 / 10

blemished or abnormal. Merely a blemish disqualifies one from approaching God because perfection is required. What we’re going to find is that because certain animals are set aside for holiness….in the form

of being the acceptable sacrificial offerings for God….we get a very similar list of requirements for their physical perfection as for the priests; in fact the list is an almost precise parallel. Here’s the thing: nothing but perfection can be offered to God. No priest, no animal, and no ordinary person can have a blemish and be in God’s presence. God’s holiness is so transcendent that even the hint of imperfection is defiling to His immutable holiness, and He will protect His Holiness at any cost. Thus

there is the reason for Jesus the Christ, Yeshua HaMashiach. The principles and demands behind these strict laws of Leviticus have never been countermanded. If we hope to approach God, to find favor with Him, somehow we have to be perfect without the tiniest blemish. Thank God the sacrifice of Yeshua has atoned for our sins so completely that our blemishes are gone. His Living Water has washed us so clean that to God, we are as perfect, spotless. Not because we ARE perfect…..not because we have merited perfection, nor attained perfection…..but because we have been DECLARED perfect. So as the priests of Israel learned that a proper response to the unfathomable honor of serving God Almighty was to love Him with their entire mind, soul, and strength so should we. And the way we do that is as they strove to do it; to be obedient to His will as guided by the Holy Spirit, joyfully done out of gratitude for what He has done for us. We’ll move on to Chapter 22 next week.