“The priests are not to make bald spots on their heads, mar the edges of their beards or cut gashes in their flesh. Rather, they are to be holy for their God and not profane the name of their God. For they are the ones who present Adonai with offerings made by fire, the bread of their God; therefore they must be holy.”-Leviticus 21:5-6
In verse 5 we are presented with the following three interesting instructions for the priests of Israel:
-their heads should not be shaved smooth
-the side growth of their beards should not be removed
-they are not to make gashes in their skin
The reason these acts were prohibited is because they were those very things that were performed at pagan Canaanite funeral rituals.
These instructions were actually given before as a general rule for priests to obey at all times, not just during funerals.
The Lord is adding more detail and making a point here that even during the formal mourning period, believers are not to do such things.
Again, when the Scripture says the priest’s head, it is referring to the crown of his head.
None of the hair on the crown of the head is to be shaved nor pulled out.
The “side-growth” mentioned is referring to what we call “sideburns”.
The priests were to have full heads of hair and grow out their beards that were to be connected with their sideburns.
There is an important point being emphasized here.
These same rules were to also apply to the general Israelite population.
So the point is if these rules applied to the general Israelite population, how much more should they be strictly adhered to by God’s especially chosen servants, the Levite priests?
Take a look at verse 6.
“Rather, they are to be holy for their God and not profane the name of their God. For they are the ones who present Adonai with offerings made by fire, the bread of their God; therefore they must be holy.”-Leviticus 21:6
Notice the reason being given: “for they are the ones who present Adonai with offerings made by fire”.
If one is going to be a priest, which means one who is especially near to God by virtue of his duty to approach God with sacrificial offerings, then he is under a higher obligation to be more scrupulous in obeying the Lord’s commands.
So what implication does this have for the follower of Rabbi Yeshua and God’s commands?
Does our redemption which was bought at such a great price allow us the freedom to throw God’s Torah in the trash?
Far from it, as representatives of the Most High, are we not demonstrate our commitment to the Lord by obeying His commandments?
One thing that will become crystal clear as we walk through the Torah is that God did NOT expect the unbeliever to abide by His laws and commands.
The Lord only expects those who are set-apart and saved for Himself to obey His rules and regulations.
For those who are blessed and given the privilege to come near to God, they were expected to be more perfect.
CONNECTING THIS TEACHING TO THE NEW TESTAMENT
“From everyone who
has been given much,
much will be demanded;
and from the one who has
been entrusted with much,
much more will be asked.”
“This is when perseverance is
needed on the part of God’s people,
those who observe his commands
and exercise Yeshua’s faithfulness.”
“Don’t think that I have come
to abolish the Torah or the Prophets.
I have come not to abolish but to complete.
I tell you that until heaven and earth pass away,
not so much as a yud or a stroke will pass from the Torah
— not until everything that must happen has happened.
So whoever disobeys the least of these commands
and teaches others to do so
will be called the least in the Kingdom of Heaven.
But whoever obeys them and so teaches
will be called great in the Kingdom of Heaven.”
“Whosoever commits sin transgresses also the law:
for sin is the transgression of the law.”
-1 John 3:4