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ŇProfane not My Holy NameÓ
ŇAnd the LORD spake unto Moses, saying, Speak unto Aaron and to his sons, that they separate themselves from the holy things of the children of Israel, and that they profane not my holy name in those things which they hallow unto me: I am the LORD. Say unto them, Whosoever he be of all your seed among your generations, that goeth unto the holy things, which the children of Israel hallow unto the LORD, having his uncleanness upon him, that soul shall be cut off from my presence: I am the LORDÉTherefore shall ye keep my commandments, and do them: I am the LORD. Neither shall ye profane my holy name; but I will be hallowed among the children of Israel: I am the LORD which hallow you, That brought you out of the land of Egypt, to be your God: I am the LORD.Ó (Leviticus 22:1-33)
There is a struggle in the hearts and minds of all men, a struggle many try to silence, but a struggle from which none can escape. It is a struggle arising from the fact that God has stamped upon all men a God consciousness by which all men know that God is, that God is holy, and that man is both corrupt and condemned (Romans 1:18-20).
Here is the struggle. — How can I come to God? He is infinitely holy. I am a sinner, utterly vile. How can I approach the holy Lord God and find acceptance with him? This I know. — If we would come to God and find acceptance with him, we must do so in a way that will not profane his holy name.
ŇAnd the LORD spake unto Moses, saying, Speak unto Aaron and to his sons, that they separate themselves from the holy things of the children of Israel, and that they profane not my holy name in those things which they hallow unto me: I am the LORD.Ó (Leviticus 22:1-2)
The Lord God will not be worshipped by any who profane his holy name in their approaches to him. He will not accept any who profane his name in coming to him. His commandment is plain. — ŇProfane not my holy name.Ó But how? How can sinners come to God without profaning his holy name? Leviticus 22 gives the answer to that question.
Leviticus 22 records GodŐs law regarding the households of his priests. These thirty-three verses specifically detail for us the reverence God requires of his people. If we would worship God, we must reverence him in the details of our lives. If we do not reverence him and worship him in the privacy of our homes, even at our dinner tables and in our closets, in the house and in the field, we cannot reverence him and worship him in his house. — Believers are men and women who worship and serve the Lord God in the totality of their lives.
That is the teaching of God the Holy Spirit in this chapter. As we go through this chapter, five things are clearly set before us, five lessons about the worship of God that need to be inscribed upon our hearts. Oh, may God be pleased to teach us these five, vital lessons.
First, God requires total consecration. None but priests (chosen, consecrated, anointed priests) can approach God and offer sacrifice to him. Read 2nd Chronicles 26 and see how King Uzziah learned that. All who are GodŐs are made to be priests unto God in Christ. And GodŐs priests are GodŐs priests in all places and at all times.
ŇAnd the LORD spake unto Moses, saying, Speak unto Aaron and to his sons, that they separate themselves from the holy things of the children of Israel, and that they profane not my holy name in those things which they hallow unto me: I am the LORD.Ó (vv. 1-2)
When I speak of GodŐs elect as his priests, I am not talking about the priestcraft of religious idolatry practiced by papists, Mormons, and all others who call men their priests. We have only one Mediator between us and God — Christ the Lord! Christ alone is our sin-atoning High Priest, Mediator, and Advocate, by whom we have access to and acceptance with the holy Lord God.
When I speak of GodŐs elect as his priests, I am talking about saved sinners, men and women who are accepted of God in the holy place, upon his throne. If we are GodŐs, if we are saved by his almighty grace, if we are believers, we are the consecrated, anointed servants of the Most High God by his almighty grace, through the merits of ChristŐs blood and righteousness. Christ has made us priests of the Most High God (Exodus 19:4-6; 1 Peter 2:5-10; Revelation 1:5-6; 5:9-10).
And GodŐs priests are to act like GodŐs priests at all times, in all circumstances, in all things. The requirement here given to separate himself from the holy things, means that he must keep aloof from them at home, as if the holy things were placed away from him to show reverence. The priests at home were not to handle holy things familiarly; they must act even there with deepest reverence. Even though the man was a priest, if he was ceremonially unclean in any way, he was to separate himself from the holy things, lest he profane GodŐs holy name.
The practical application of that is this. — We must constantly acknowledge and confess our sin, trusting Christ alone as our Salvation (Righteousness, Redemption, Holiness), ever bathing our souls in his precious blood (1 John 1:9). And we must never treat sacred things lightly or irreverently. We who are the LordŐs priests ought always to think and speak of our God and the things of God with utmost reverence and sobriety.
We who have been made the priests of God by Christ, we who are born of God, we who worship and serve and live for God must constantly and in all things be separated to the Lord. We must ever seek his honor. Moses learned this lesson at great cost (Deuteronomy 32:49-51).
The Lord my God, the Triune Jehovah, is totally consecrated to me. Let me, therefore, be totally consecrated to him!
Second, only those who are altogether, perfectly clean can approach the holy Lord God and be accepted of him. All believers are GodŐs priests, living in the holy place all the time, accepted in the holy place, brought nigh by the blood of Christ, being made perfectly clean in him, by him, and with him.
ŇSay unto them, Whosoever he be of all your seed among your generations, that goeth unto the holy things, which the children of Israel hallow unto the LORD, having his uncleanness upon him, that soul shall be cut off from my presence: I am the LORD. What man soever of the seed of Aaron is a leper, or hath a running issue; he shall not eat of the holy things, until he be clean. And whoso toucheth anything that is unclean by the dead, or a man whose seed goeth from him; Or whosoever toucheth any creeping thing, whereby he may be made unclean, or a man of whom he may take uncleanness, whatsoever uncleanness he hath; The soul which hath touched any such shall be unclean until even, and shall not eat of the holy things, unless he wash his flesh with water. And when the sun is down, he shall be clean, and shall afterward eat of the holy things; because it is his food. That which dieth of itself, or is torn with beasts, he shall not eat to defile himself therewith: I am the LORD. They shall therefore keep mine ordinance, lest they bear sin for it, and die therefore, if they profane it: I the LORD do sanctify them.Ó (Leviticus 22:3-9)
These priests were never to be careless, especially regarding the worship of God. If one went into the tabernacle in a careless state, unclean through some ceremonial pollution, the Lord God would cut him off, as he did Nadab and Abihu (v. 3). Let us apply the law here given to ourselves. Believers are men and women purified and made clean by the blood of Christ (Titus 2:11-14).
GodŐs object in giving these laws was to keep the priesthood from the very appearance of evil, even in their homes (vv. 4-7). The causes of defilement were such (many of them) as could be known only by the man himself and the Lord his God. It might be only the very slightest pollution, pollution from Ňcreeping things.Ó But even the slightest pollution meant banishment. In his most private situations, the priest must be ceremonially holy, undefiled, and clean. He could not eat of the holy things, even at his own table, until he was ceremonially purified. — Why? Because he was a type of Christ, our High and Holy Priest. But he is particularly set before us here as a type and representative of believers as GodŐs priests, sinners sanctified by GodŐs grace in Christ.
Those Ňholy thingsÓ were the portions of the sacrifices that were the priestŐs due. They were pledges of GodŐs fellowship and communion. But, because he is the holy Lord God, he cannot allow even a ceremonial symbol of fellowship and communion with one who was defiled. Before he could eat the dainties of divine fellowship, even these ceremonial dainties, the unclean priest must wash his flesh in water and wait for the setting of the sun.
Even so, we cannot come to God until we have been washed by his Spirit in regenerating grace, experimentally washed in the blood of Christ (Zechariah 12:10-14; 13:1). Once the sun of GodŐs wrath and fury has set, we can and will enjoy sweet communion with him. And the sun of GodŐs wrath and fury went down forever after those three hours of darkness seen at Calvary when our Savior finished the work of redemption for us.
In his home, the priest was never to set on his table anything that died a natural death or was torn, anything that spoke of death and violence. Even in the food he provided and served to his family and ate himself, GodŐs priest was to have an eye to GodŐs worship and honor. The neglect of GodŐs honor, even in the privacy of his family dining room, was rewarded with death (v. 9). That brings us to the next lesson.
Third, God requires absolute holiness. Any who profane GodŐs ordinance shall be put to death. — ŇThey shall therefore keep mine ordinance, lest they bear sin for it, and die therefore, if they profane it: I the LORD do sanctify themÓ (v. 9). We read in Hebrews 12:14 that we must Ňfollow peace with all men, and holiness, without which no man shall see the Lord.Ó That holiness we must pursue, without which we cannot see the Lord, is Christ. He is our Holiness, our Sanctification. We pursue (seek) him by faith.
These ordinances of divine worship spoken of in the book of Leviticus were all typical of Christ, his person, his work, his priesthood, his obedience, his righteousness, his sacrifice, his salvation. To profane GodŐs ordinance was to profane his name and his Son. For that, God still sends people to hell. Uzza put his hand to GodŐs ark, and Uzziah assumed the work of GodŐs priest. Both were killed, because they profaned GodŐs holy name, assuming that GodŐs work of salvation, portrayed in the ark and in the priestly sacrifices, needed assistance and that they could provide that assistance. I repeat, God still sends people to hell for such profaning of his name. And all freewill/works religion is profaning GodŐs name.
We are all guilty. We have profaned his ordinance, presuming upon his goodness, attempting to come to him and find acceptance with him upon the ground of our own worth and merit. We would yet, at this very moment, as we attempt to worship him, profane his name and his holy ordinance, except for one blessed fact of grace. — He declares, ŇI the Lord do sanctify them!Ó (See Hebrews 10:9-14.) By sovereign election, by blood atonement, and by gracious regeneration he sanctifies his people.
Fourth, in verses 10-16, we learn that we cannot come to God except we be perfectly sanctified. We must have a perfect sanctification. All who are sanctified and made holy by GodŐs grace are accepted of him. They can and do come to him, worship him, and serve him.
ŇThere shall no stranger eat of the holy thing: a sojourner of the priest, or an hired servant, shall not eat of the holy thing. But if the priest buy any soul with his money, he shall eat of it, and he that is born in his house: they shall eat of his meat. If the priestŐs daughter also be married unto a stranger, she may not eat of an offering of the holy things. But if the priestŐs daughter be a widow, or divorced, and have no child, and is returned unto her fatherŐs house, as in her youth, she shall eat of her fatherŐs meat: but there shall no stranger eat thereof. And if a man eat of the holy thing unwittingly, then he shall put the fifth part thereof unto it, and shall give it unto the priest with the holy thing. And they shall not profane the holy things of the children of Israel, which they offer unto the LORD; Or suffer them to bear the iniquity of trespass, when they eat their holy things: for I the LORD do sanctify them.Ó (vv. 10-16)
No strangers, none who were not priests of God, were allowed to eat of the holy things. — Why? Because, as we learn in 1st Corinthians 11, when unconverted people partake of the things of God and intrude into these holy things (baptism, the LordŐs supper, church membership, etc.), they eat and drink damnation to themselves, not discerning the LordŐs body, not knowing their need of a Substitute.
All who were members of the priestly family were given the right to the holy things of the priestŐs table (his sons, his daughters, his servants, even a daughter who had departed from his house and was returned). And all who are in the household of faith have a right in Christ to all things in the house of God (Ephesians 2:11-22).
If a man unknowingly participated in and ate of the holy things of the priesthood, he was required to make restitution and add to it a fifth part, acknowledging that he had defrauded God, taking that which he had no right to take (v. 14). If he refused, he was to be put to death. — Why? Because the holy Lord God will have no fellowship with man, except upon the grounds of perfect holiness (righteousness and satisfaction). The fifth part spoke of restitution made by Christ our Substitute at Calvary (Leviticus 5:15-16). By adding the fifth part, the transgressor acknowledged and confessed that Christ alone could make restitution to God (Psalm 69:4).
This perfect sanctification involves three things.
1. The priests of God are chosen of God. — Eternal Election.
2. Only those born into the priestly family are GodŐs priests. — The New Birth.
3. All of GodŐs priests are washed in the blood. — Redemption Effectually Accomplished by Christ and Effectually Applied to the Redeemed by the Holy Spirit.
Fifth, God requires a willing heart. God will not be worshipped except by those who worship him in the way he has prescribed with willing hearts (vv. 17-19).
ŇAnd the LORD spake unto Moses, saying, Speak unto Aaron, and to his sons, and unto all the children of Israel, and say unto them, Whatsoever he be of the house of Israel, or of the strangers in Israel, that will offer his oblation for all his vows, and for all his freewill offerings, which they will offer unto the LORD for a burnt offering; Ye shall offer at your own will a male without blemish, of the beeves, of the sheep, or of the goats.Ó
When an Israelite or a proselyte who had joined himself to Israel made a vow or resolved to bring a free-will offering, one essential condition was that it be unblemished and that it be a male (vv. 20-22).
ŇBut whatsoever hath a blemish, that shall ye not offer: for it shall not be acceptable for you. And whosoever offereth a sacrifice of peace offerings unto the LORD to accomplish his vow, or a freewill offering in beeves or sheep, it shall be perfect to be accepted; there shall be no blemish therein. Blind, or broken, or maimed, or having a wen (running sore, cyst), or scurvy, or scabbed, ye shall not offer these unto the LORD, nor make an offering by fire of them upon the altar unto the LORD.Ó
Christ, the Ňholy, harmless, undefiledÓ One is ever set before our eyes. The Lord God never tires of the sight. Let us never tire of the sight. Surely saved sinners will never get tired of the sight of him who brings us life by his death.
There could be no blemish in the offering, because a holy God can have no fellowship with man, except in a blameless way. There can be no peace or reconciliation, except through an unblemished sacrifice. That Sacrifice is our blessed Savior, the Lord Jesus Christ (2 Corinthians 5:21).
ŇEither a bullock or a lamb that hath anything superfluous or lacking in his parts, that mayest thou offer for a freewill offering; but for a vow it shall not be accepted.Ó (v. 23)
The sacrifices for atonement and for a vow must be perfect, without blemish. But here an exception is made for sacrifices of free-will offerings. If the sacrifice was a free-will offering, it showed the offerorŐs view of things and not the LordŐs view. Therefore, if his sacrifice from his herd or flock was an animal that was in some way maimed, lacking an eye or an ear, or the like, it showed and expressed his present state of weakness, sin, and failure as a sinner in this world. Yet, it was accepted of God.
Why was this allowance made? — 1 Peter 2:5 has the answer. The Lord God accepts our feeble efforts at serving and honoring him through the infinite merits of our perfect Substitute and Sacrifice, the Lord Jesus Christ. Our free-will offerings of thanksgiving and praise, of worship and work, of ourselves, of life, all are always maimed sacrifices at best. But, oh, how different is the free-will offering of our Savior, the sin-atonement offering of the Son of God!
The Lord has measured the narrowness of manŐs soul. But who has measured the unlimited fulness of the mind of God? — ŇIt is as high as heaven; what canst thou do? deeper than hell; what canst thou know? The measure thereof is longer than the earth, and broader than the seaÓ (Job 11:8-9). Who can measure his infinite love? Who can comprehend what is the breadth, and length, and depth, and height, and know the love of God which passes knowledge (Ephesians 3:18-19)?
Verse 24 speaks of the sacrifice being one that was not bruised, crushed, broken, or cut (castrated), because Christ our Surety was a man, fully man in all things, sin alone excepted. There was no weakness or unmanliness in him. — ŇYe shall not offer unto the LORD that which is bruised, or crushed, or broken, or cut; neither shall ye make any offering thereof in your land.Ó
A StrangerŐs Sacrifice
Verse 25 prohibited GodŐs priests from offering the bread of God from a strangerŐs hand. A strangerŐs sacrifice was never to be offered by GodŐs priests. — ŇNeither from a strangerŐs hand shall ye offer the bread of your God of any of these; because their corruption is in them, and blemishes be in them: they shall not be accepted for you.Ó
Why couldnŐt they offer on the altar of God that which their heathen neighbors gave them to offer him? Because their neighbors were idolaters! They were never to mix or incorporate into the worship of God the worship of idols. There can be no mixture of law and grace in the worship of God. There can be no mixture of free will and free grace, no mixing of Christ and Belial, no mixture of merit and mercy!
God will not accept the sacrifice or worship of a strangerŐs hand, because that which the corrupt hand of an unsanctified man touches it pollutes. — ŇThe plowing of the wicked is sinÓ (Proverbs 21:4).
The Ewe and the Lamb
ŇAnd the LORD spake unto Moses, saying, When a bullock, or a sheep, or a goat, is brought forth, then it shall be seven days under the dam; and from the eighth day and thenceforth it shall be accepted for an offering made by fire unto the LORD. And whether it be cow or ewe, ye shall not kill it and her young both in one day.Ó (vv. 26-28)
Many suggest that this was meant to discourage cruelty. I do not doubt that it had that effect. But the typical reason for this law is far more precious than that.
God the Father was to give up his darling Son. The Son was to be, as it were, torn from the FatherŐs care by the hands of wicked men. How could this be represented if both the ewe and her young were offered together?
It is written, and must never be forgotten, ŇGod so loved the world that he gave his only begotten Son.Ó The bleating of the tender lamb in its parentŐs ears, as it was taken from the fold, filling the air with the sad, mournful sound, represented the bleating of Ňthe Lamb of God led to the slaughter,Ó who so sadly, mournfully wailed, ŇEli, Eli, lama sabachthani! My God! My God, why hast thou forsaken me?Ó
Remember, these laws applied to domestic, household things, arrangements about what they were to carry out of their houses and herds for the altar. Thus, a picture was hung up in every house in Israel of this grand, gospel truth, — ŇGod spared not his Son, but delivered him up to us all.Ó
Now, read verses 20-33 together and learn how we can and must worship our God.
ŇBut whatsoever hath a blemish, that shall ye not offer: for it shall not be acceptable for you. And whosoever offereth a sacrifice of peace offerings unto the LORD to accomplish his vow, or a freewill offering in beeves or sheep, it shall be perfect to be accepted; there shall be no blemish therein. Blind, or broken, or maimed, or having a wen (running sore, cyst), or scurvy, or scabbed, ye shall not offer these unto the LORD, nor make an offering by fire of them upon the altar unto the LORD. Either a bullock or a lamb that hath anything superfluous or lacking in his parts, that mayest thou offer for a freewill offering; but for a vow it shall not be accepted. Ye shall not offer unto the LORD that which is bruised, or crushed, or broken, or cut; neither shall ye make any offering thereof in your land. Neither from a strangerŐs hand shall ye offer the bread of your God of any of these; because their corruption is in them, and blemishes be in them: they shall not be accepted for you. And the LORD spake unto Moses, saying, When a bullock, or a sheep, or a goat, is brought forth, then it shall be seven days under the dam; and from the eighth day and thenceforth it shall be accepted for an offering made by fire unto the LORD. And whether it be cow or ewe, ye shall not kill it and her young both in one day. And when ye will offer a sacrifice of thanksgiving unto the LORD, offer it at your own will. On the same day it shall be eaten up; ye shall leave none of it until the morrow: I am the LORD. Therefore shall ye keep my commandments, and do them: I am the LORD. Neither shall ye profane my holy name; but I will be hallowed among the children of Israel: I am the LORD which hallow you, That brought you out of the land of Egypt, to be your God: I am the LORD.Ó
We must worship God with a perfect sacrifice (v. 21). We cannot bring a sacrifice to God which costs us nothing. God will not be worshipped without self-denial. — A strangerŐs sacrifice is a sacrifice that costs nothing. — ŇNeither from a strangerŐs hand shall ye offer the bread of your GodÓ (v. 25). We must worship the Lord our God with a willing heart (v. 29). And the sacrifice must be eaten. The whole sacrifice was to be eaten on the day it was offered (v. 30; John 6:48-58).
In verses 31-33 the Lord gives us five motives for worshipping him, five words of inspiration to stir up and inspire our hearts in his worship.
1. ŇI am the Lord.Ó
2. ŇI will be hallowed among the children of Israel.Ó
3. ŇI am the Lord which hallow you.Ó
4. ŇI am the Lord which brought you out Egypt.Ó
5. ŇTo be your God.Ó
ŇProfane not my holy name!Ó — If you attempt to come to God in any way other than by Christ, his blood, his righteousness, his merit, his intercession, his sacrifice, you profane the name of God in doing so. You trample the blood of his Son under your feet. You do despite to the Spirit of grace. You mock God and attempt to rob him of his glory. His commandment is clear. — ŇProfane not my holy name!Ó
How can I, a vile, filthy sinner, come to God without profaning his name? How can I hallow his name and still come to him? How can I honor, sanctify, hallow, and glorify the King of Heaven and still come to him? I must come to him trusting his Son. I must come to him with his Son. I must come to him by his Son. I must come to him in his Son (John 14:6).
If you come to God by Christ, you can never profane his name. Faith in Christ honors his name. Faith in Christ honors God (John 6:28-29). This is how GodŐs priests live. And living by faith in Christ, God accepts us as his holy priesthood and accepts us entirely (Ecclesiastes 9:7).