Posted by: Heather | May 11, 2009

Emor (Speak) Lev. 21-24:23

Why does the ministering priest have to be so physically perfect? Why are so many “discriminated against” and disqualified?

I am pro-discrimination, so I may be biased as I attempt to wrap my mind around these restrictions. To discriminate is to see clearly the difference between things and then judge accordingly.

Discriminating must be the most unpopular thing anyone could ever do in our current society of professing ethical subjectivists (by that I only mean that the doctrine that “everyone can do whatever he or she thinks is ‘right for him’ or ‘right for her’ in his or her own eyes.” Okay, that was lame. This is how my students phrase it with the pronoun-antecedent disagreement intact: “Everyone can do whatever they think is right.” (Shudder twice–once for the poor grammar and once for the morally outrageous and utterly indefensible position.) I love to discriminate. I love to understand things as they are, comprehend them fully. Anything less is utter disrespect.

Back to the topic at hand, discrimination in the context of the Levites, the temple was supposed to be a copy of the one in Heaven. Do we really want lame priests in the heavenly temple? Can’t they all be every whit whole? Maybe that’s part of what was being demonstrated: the heavenly one will consist of perfected people–perfected by God himself. No disease, not because disease disqualifies a person but because God will heal the person.

The priest was supposed to be–as far as humanly possible–a reflection of part of Yeshua’s ministry, a sign pointing in his direction for ever more. Yeshua’s a spotless, sinless lamb. He’s also the annointed high priest after the order of Malchizedek. This discrimination is not an evil discrimination. It brings with it a greater understanding of the Messiah.

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