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Priesthood is a high calling. It takes a special person to be chosen and ordained to become a priest. It is a Godly appointed office that no man can assume. Unlike the priesthood seen in many churches today, the priesthood of which we shall speak is completely different to its modern day equivalent. The special kind of person to occupy such an office had to meet with stringent requirements to satisfactorily fulfil his priestly duties. In this book we shall investigate such matters and I think that you will be very surprised at the findings.  Our approach will be slightly different in that to understand what it takes to qualify for priesthood, we shall actually look at the things as seen in scripture that disqualify someone from this office.

We shall commence by looking at the Priest of all priests, our Lord Jesus Christ. After that, permit me to take you to the Old Testament to see how He is linked with the Priesthood of the Hebrews and afterwards reveal what it takes to be a priest.
I ask you to stop before continuing and pray that the Holy Spirit will speak to you and give you understanding the way Paul prayed.

Wherefore I also, after I heard of your faith in the Lord Jesus, and love unto all the saints, Cease not to give thanks for you, making mention of you in my prayers; That the God of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of glory, may give unto you the spirit of wisdom and revelation in the knowledge of him: The eyes of your understanding being enlightened; that ye may know what is the hope of his calling, and what the riches of the glory of his inheritance in the saints, And what is the exceeding greatness of his power to us-ward who believe, according to the working of his mighty power, Which he wrought in Christ, when he raised him from the dead, and set him at his own right hand in the heavenly places, Far above all principality, and power, and might, and dominion, and every name that is named, not only in this world, but also in that which is to come:  And hath put all things under his feet, and gave him to be the head over all things to the church,  Which is his body, the fulness of him that filleth all in all. Ephesians 1:15-23.

Robert Carter

Our Great High Priest

Much  mention is made in the Old Testament about the priesthood. The books of the Pentateuch go into much detail concerning the priesthood and the various laws and ordinances involved and the way of life for God’s people. Everything hinged around the Tabernacle, the Ark of the Covenant and the Priesthood. The positioning of the various tribes ensured that Moses and the priests camped at the entry to the tabernacle complex. Everything about the priesthood speaks about Jesus and the plan of salvation, but mention of priesthood actually begins well before the Exodus.

After Abram came back from defeating Chedorlaomer and his allies, the king of Sodom came out to meet him in the Shaveh Valley (that is, the King’s Valley). Then King Melchizedek of Salem brought out bread and wine. He was a priest of God Most High. He blessed Abram, and said, “Blessed is Abram by God Most High, maker of heaven and earth (the greater blesses the lesser). Blessed is God Most High, who has handed your enemies over to you.” Then Abram gave him a tenth of everything. The king of Sodom (a type of the devil) said to Abram, “Give me the people, and keep everything else for yourself.” (the devil wants souls. We can have the {world’s} money ... If we let him have the people) But Abram said to the king of Sodom, “I now raise my hand and solemnly swear to the Lord God Most High, maker of heaven and earth, that I won’t take a thread or a sandal strap. I won’t take anything that is yours so that you will never be able to say, ‘I made Abram rich.’ (he had made God his source) I won’t take one single thing except what my men have eaten. But let my allies Aner, Eshcol, and Mamre take their share” Genesis 14:17-21 (emphasis mine).

I personally believe that the man Abraham met may have been Jesus. This requires more in-depth study of course, but it is worth consideration. We know little of him until the book of Hebrews. Little is said of this elsewhere in the New Testament. We read of the priests in the Gospel accounts and the book of Acts, but as for the priesthood we are discussing in particular, little is said until Hebrews chapter two that speaks much about Jesus. The table below shares some interesting facts.

Example Old Testament New Testament
Unsure genealogy Micah 5:2 Hebrews 7:3-6
Gave bread and wine Luke 22:14-30
An endless Priesthood Psalm 110:4 Hebrews 5:10, 6:20, 7:21-28
He was both Priest and King Zechariah 6:12-13 Hebrews 7:1
Greater than Abraham Hebrews 4:7-8; John 8:55-59
King of righteousness Hebrews 1:8, 7:2; 1 Corinthians 1:30
King of  peace Isaiah 9:6 Revelation 1:5-6
Wherefore in all things it behoved him to be made like unto his brethren, that he might be a merciful and faithful high priest in things pertaining to God, to make reconciliation for the sins of the people. Hebrews 2:17.

Scriptures reveal that a  High Priest’s role is to offer gifts and sacrifices for sin and that no man assumes this office unless Divinely appointed. Jesus was appointed to be a priest like Melchisedec. God brought Israel out of Egypt with mighty signs and wonders and during their journeys throughout the wilderness instructing Moses to build a tabernacle.

And let them make me a sanctuary, that I may dwell in their midstExactly as I show you concerning the pattern of the tabernacle, and of all its furniture, so you shall make it. Exodus 25:8-9 (emphasis mine).

God’s instructions were very specific. The tabernacle and everything associated with it had to be constructed in strict accord with His design or pattern. They were not to deviate from the design, because everything about it and its service spoke in some way about Jesus.
It revealed the plan of salvation. If it was the type, Jesus
 was the anti-type. If it was the shadow of things to come Jesus was the fulfilment of that shadow. This is reinforced in summary form in Hebrews 8:1-5.
Now of the things which we have spoken this is the sum: We have such an high priest, who is set on the right hand of the throne of the Majesty in the heavens; A minister of the sanctuary, and of the true tabernacle, which the Lord pitched, and not man.  For every high priest is ordained to offer gifts and sacrifices: wherefore it is of necessity that this man have somewhat also to offer.  For if he were on earth, he should not be a priest, seeing that there are priests that offer gifts according to the law:  Who serve unto the example and shadow of heavenly things, as Moses was admonished of God when he was about to make the tabernacle: for, See, saith he, that thou make all things according to the pattern shewed to thee in the mount.

The design and construction of the tabernacle is seen in Exodus 25 to 27. God was adamant about the details of its construction. The Priesthood also had strict requirements. Three full chapters are devoted to their appointment and service, also revealing the priestly ministry and service of Jesus. It was a Divinely appointed position that was established with the same stringent requirements and was therefore reserved for a special kind of person.

Then bring near to you Aaron your brother, and his sons with him, from among the people of Israel, to serve me as priests—Aaron and Aaron’s sons, Nadab and Abihu, Eleazar and Ithamar. And you shall make holy garments for Aaron your brother, for glory and for beauty. You shall speak to all the skillful, whom I have filled with a spirit of skill, that they make Aaron’s garments to consecrate him for my priesthood. Exodus 28:1-3.

Their consecration for ministry is as follows-

Here is what you are to do to consecrate them for ministry to me in the office of cohen. Take one young bull and two rams without defect, also matzah, matzah cakes mixed with olive oil, and matzah wafers spread with oil—all made from fine wheat flour; put them together in a basket, and present them in the basket, along with the bull and the two rams...

 The bull had to be a young bull in its prime. The lambs had to be without defect and the bread had to be of fine wheat flour. God set a very high standard. The two lambs had to be deemed without defect, so this meant that they had to be inspected and pass the qualifying tests. The actual ordination for service followed the same lines. When talking about the anointing oil, God went into much detail and we need to look carefully at this-
ADONAI said to Moshe, Take the best spices—500 shekels of myrrh [12 1/2 pounds], half this amount (250 shekels) of aromatic cinnamon [6 1/4 pounds], 250 shekels of aromatic cane, 500 shekels of cassia (use the sanctuary standard), and one gallon of olive oil—and make them into a holy anointing oil; blend it and perfume it as would an expert perfume-maker; it will be a holy anointing oil. Use it to anoint the tent of meeting, the ark for the testimony, the table and all its utensils, the menorah and all its utensils, the incense altar, the altar for burnt offerings and all its utensils, and the basin with its base. You are to consecrate them—they will be especially holy, and whatever touches them will be holy. Then you are to anoint Aharon and his sons—you are to consecrate them to serve me in the office of cohen. “Tell the people of Isra’el, ‘This is to be a holy anointing oil for me through all your generations. It is not to be used for anointing a person’s body; and you are not to make any like it, with the same composition of ingredients—it is holy, and you are to treat it as holy. Whoever makes any like it or uses it on any unauthorized person is to be cut off from his people.’ ” (emphasis mine) ADONAI said to Moshe, “Take aromatic plant substances—balsam resin, sweet onycha root and bitter galbanum gum—these spices along with frankincense, all in equal quantities; and make incense, blended and perfumed as would an expert perfume-maker, salted, pure and holy. You are to grind up some of it very finely and put it in front of the testimony in the tent of meeting where I will meet with you; you are to regard it as especially holy. You are not to make for your own use any incense like it, with the same composition of ingredients—you are to treat it as holy, for ADONAI. Whoever makes up any like it to use as perfume is to be cut off from his people.” Exodus 30:22-38

God had a precise image in mind. He had a plan that required precise planning, accuracy; faithfulness and obedience; dedication and consecration and strict rules for application. Quality control had to be of the highest order. The selection of persons and materials used for the job had to be done carefully. Similar principles had to apply for Jesus so that He could qualify to be our Great High Priest.

The bible describes these matters as shadows of things to come, so it is evident therefore that the one who would represent all of mankind as our advocate with the Father met the criteria. We readily accept the nativity story, think of His three years of ministry, trial, execution and bodily resurrection, but forget that He walked the earth as an ordinary man. He was thus subject to all things that affect us. He was tempted in all ways that we are, but never sinned (i). Hebrews 5:8-10 says something worth investigating.
Although He was a Son, He learned [active, special] obedience through what He suffered  And, [His completed experience] making Him perfectly [equipped], He became the Author and Source of eternal salvation to all those who give heed and obey Him,  Being designated and recognized and saluted by God as High Priest after the order (with the rank) of Melchizedek.

In this clear reference to Melchizedek, Jesus (the man) was designated, recognized and saluted by God as Great High Priest! I cannot overemphasize this fact because it is vitally important. Jesus had to meet His criteria! This raises the question, “How”? How could anyone ascertain that the man was fit to represent humanity? After all, the priest inspected the sacrificial lamb to ensure it was worthy ad if Jesus is our sacrificial lamb slain before the foundation of the world, He had to pass similar tests to ensure that He was indeed God’s chosen sacrificial lamb. If not then God would have been unrighteous. He would have shown partiality and the whole plan of salvation thus rendered illegal by God’s own high standards. Please think about this.

I reiterate. Jesus had to be found perfect in the same way that the Old Testament lambs or goats had to be perfect. The animals chosen for sacrifice were thoroughly inspected for purity. If any defects or blemishes of any Kind they were not acceptable, so the priest examined them closely before pronouncing them fit for the sacrifice. I present the following incident to you for your prayerful assessment. Matthew 17, Mark 9 and Luke 9 talk about the Mount of Transfiguration.

The mount of transfiguration

And Jesus said to them, Truly and solemnly I say to you, there are some standing here who will in no way taste death before they see the kingdom of God come in [its] power.  Six days after this, Jesus took with Him Peter and James and John and led them up on a high mountain apart by themselves. And He was transfigured before them and became resplendent with divine brightness.  And His garments became glistening, intensely white, as no fuller (cloth dresser, launderer) on earth could bleach them.   And Elijah appeared [there] to them, accompanied by Moses, and they were holding [a protracted] conversation with Jesus. And Peter took up the conversation, saying, Master, it is good and suitable and beautiful for us to be here. Let us make three booths (tents)—one for You and one for Moses and one for Elijah. For he did not [really] know what to say, for they were in a violent fright (aghast with dread). And a cloud threw a shadow upon them, and a voice came out of the cloud, saying, This is My Son, the [most dearworthy] Beloved One. Be constantly listening to and obeying Him! And looking around, they suddenly no longer saw anyone with them except Jesus only. Mark 9:1-8

Luke’s account reveals something interesting.
And it came to pass about an eight days after these sayings, he took Peter and John and James, and went up into a mountain to pray. And as he prayed, the fashion of his countenance was altered, and his raiment was white and glistering. And, behold, there talked with him two men, which were Moses and Elias: Who appeared in glory, and spake of his decease which he should accomplish at Jerusalem. Luke 9:28-31

Luke said that both Moses and Elijah spoke with Him about Calvary. There are two aspects to consider. The Law came through Moses requiring sacrifice for sin and demanding that the lamb had to meet the criteria! Moses represented The Law. Could it be that he “inspected” the Lamb according to The Law? Having done so, he could declare that the one he spoke with was qualified. What then about Elijah?  He was a prophet and scriptures link the prophet Elijah with the coming of the Lord. John the Baptist came in the spirit and power of Elijah to prepare the way of the Lord, calling Him the Lamb of God twice, once calling Jesus-
…the Lamb of God which takes away the sins of the world. John 1:29

John spoke of the sacrificial lamb! If Elijah spoke with Jesus about His death, this conversation must have touched on the Sacrificial Lamb. Perhaps Elijah inspected Jesus in this light to determine if He met the terms of prophecy and fulfilled what was spoken.

The bible talks about confirmation of things at the mouth of witnesses (1 corinthians 13:9) and there are witnesses in this account. Moses tested Jesus according to The Law and pronounced Him fit for Priesthood and qualified Him as acceptable for the sacrificial lamb. Elijah looked at Him in the light of prophecy. He assessed Jesus as meeting the fulfilment of prophetic injunctions and pronounced Him fit. What about the third witness? It must have been Peter! He saw something extraordinary and said, “It is good”, wanting to build a tabernacle as a memorial. If witnesses see things, he was in essence a witness to something. What was it? By way of answer, please consider that it was by the hand of man that the fall came. Therefore it may have been necessary for man to be witness to the way God intended to restore man. It was as if Peter acted as our representative to say on our behalf, “We accept God’s provision”.

No matter how men think about anything however, the question remains, “Does this satisfy the Father God”? We always need to remember if it pleases God or not. We should always keep such matters in our minds and ask that question if we are unsure. Stop and ask, “What would Jesus do?” The voice that came from Heaven after all those things transpired declared, “I accept your choice”! The voice that came from Heaven ratified their actions. We would do well to heed it today. “This is My Beloved Son. Listen to Him. Obey Him”.

It would seem to me that this is where the Lamb of God was inspected and approved to be the Lamb that met all of Gods stringent requirements. Jesus was a man approved by God (Acts 10:38) to be Prophet, Priest, Sacrificial Lamb and soon coming King.

A royal Priesthood

We are now coming to the part that directly relates to us in this study.  I want to say something now that is designed to bless you, in keeping with the instructions given to us by the Holy Spirit.
Blessed (happy, to be envied) is the man who reads aloud [in the assemblies] the word of this prophecy; and blessed (happy, to be envied) are those who hear [it read] and who keep themselves true to the things which are written in it [heeding them and laying them to heart], for the time [for them to be fulfilled] is near.

The apostle John may have been writing to the seven churches of Asia, but he could equally as well be addressing the churches of our day. According to John, you are blessed because you just read it! He continued-
...May grace (God’s unmerited favor) be granted to you and spiritual peace (the peace of Christ’s kingdom) from Him Who is and Who was and Who is to come, and from the seven Spirits [the sevenfold Holy Spirit] before His throne, And from Jesus Christ the faithful and trustworthy Witness, the Firstborn of the dead [first to be brought back to life] and the Prince (Ruler) of the kings of the earth.  To Him Who ever loves us and has once [for all] loosed and freed us from our sins by His own blood, And formed us into a kingdom (a royal race), priests to His God and Father—to Him be the glory and the power and the majesty and the dominion throughout the ages and forever and ever. Amen (so be it).
Behold, He is coming with the clouds, and every eye will see Him, even those who pierced Him; and all the tribes of the earth shall gaze upon Him and beat their breasts and mourn and lament over Him. Even so [must it be]. Amen (so be it) (emphasis mine) Revelation 1:3-7.

There is it in black and white. No matter what you feel or think about it or what you may be going through—you my friend are royalty. You are a priest and no human ordination ceremony, licensing requirement, certificate or diploma can provide that. The precious blood of Jesus did that! You therefore are qualified to offer spiritual sacrifices to God, acceptable to Him.
So as you come to him, a living stone rejected by men but chosen and priceless in God’s sight, you yourselves, as living stones, are built up as a spiritual house to be a holy priesthood and to offer spiritual sacrifices that are acceptable to God through Jesus Christ... But ye are a chosen generation, a royal priesthood, an holy nation, a peculiar people; that ye should shew forth the praises of him who hath called you out of darkness into his marvellous light: 1 Peter 2:9  1 Peter 2:5-9.

We qualify through Jesus, but what about the Old Testament Priests?

Precision, planning & purpose

I briefly mentioned Exodus before and we shall now look into this in depth. God spoke at length in chapters 28 and 29 on the status of Priests who had to have the right lineage and the right background. Aaron and his sons were to be separated and holy to the Lord to minister to him in prescribed ways that are-

  • They were required to keep Gods word
  • They were not to touch a dead person (excluding their immediate family)
  • They married virgins only. Their wives were to be of the right lineage
  • They wore specially made priest’s garments that clothed or COVERED them
  • The borders of the priest’s garment were to be embroidered with golden bells and pomegranates of blue, purple and scarlet
    They had to be consecrated and anointed for service and this consecration was something special, because-

(a) Blood sacrifices were made
(b) They were washed clean with water
(c) They had to have a covering on their heads and
(d) They ate unleavened bread

Everything has a special place and function. Paul described this when talking about the Church, using our bodies as an example. The eyes have a unique design and purpose that differs from that of the big toe.  The ear cannot smell and the index finger does not pump blood the way the heart does. Everything in God has a design... a function and a purpose and nothing happens by chance.  The Kingdom functions by precise laws and principles. For example, we sometimes think that Abraham went to a place not knowing where it was and have a totally incorrect image of a man whose life affects us all to this day.

Religious teaching has led us astray. He was no wandering simpleminded nomad but a rich and powerful man with clout and vision.
He did in fact know where God was sending him but that is another story.
God demands excellence and planning and Abraham had all that and more, leaving Haran with servants and substance or, goods, property, supplies and servants according to Genesis 12:5. That was before he arrived in Canaan. Genesis 13:2 states that he was very rich! He had a fully trained equipped and motivated army of 318 men and no one has such a force by chance. Precision, structure, organization, planning, discipline and other traits were in this man. God chose him, knowing he had those qualities He could use for His purpose.

Joshua entered the Promised Land with plans and preparations in place.
The Israelites travelled through the wilderness in a precise order of procession and a prescribed way of doing things whereby everyone knew his place and his function.

This is so with the Priesthood and it should be so in Christian ministry. We get into a mess when people do not know their roles and identities, abilities and talents and are not organized, trained or equipped. We should know who we are, what we are called to be and do and it.

You are Christ’s body—that’s who you are! You must never forget this. Only as you accept your part of that body does your “part” mean anything. You’re familiar with some of the parts that God has formed in his church, which is his “body”: apostles prophets teachers miracle workers healers helpers organizers those who pray in tongues. But it’s obvious by now, isn’t it, that Christ’s church is a complete Body and not a gigantic, unidimensional Part? It’s not all Apostle, not all Prophet, not all Miracle Worker, not all Healer, not all Prayer in Tongues, not all Interpreter of Tongues. And yet some of you keep competing for so-called “important” parts. But now I want to lay out a far better way for you. 1 Corinthians 12:27-31.

Peter reinforces this saying-
So be done with every trace of wickedness (depravity, malignity) and all deceit and insincerity (pretense, hypocrisy) and grudges (envy, jealousy) and slander and evil speaking of every kind. Like newborn babies you should crave (thirst for, earnestly desire) the pure (unadulterated) spiritual milk, that by it you may be nurtured and grow unto [completed] salvation, Since you have [already] tasted the goodness and kindness of the Lord. Come to Him [then, to that] Living Stone which men tried and threw away, but which is chosen [and] precious in God’s sight. [Come] and, like living stones, be yourselves built [into] a spiritual house, for a holy (dedicated, consecrated) priesthood, to offer up [those] spiritual sacrifices [that are] acceptable and pleasing to God through Jesus Christ. For thus it stands in Scripture:
Behold, I am laying in Zion a chosen (honored), precious chief Cornerstone, and he who believes in Him [who adheres to, trusts in, and relies on Him] shall never be disappointed or put to shame.
To you then who believe (who adhere to, trust in, and rely on Him) is the preciousness; but for those who disbelieve [it is true], The [very] Stone which the builders rejected has become the main Cornerstone, And, A Stone that will cause stumbling and a Rock that will give [men] offense; they stumble because they disobey and disbelieve [God’s] Word, as those [who reject Him] were destined (appointed) to do.
But you are a chosen race, a royal priesthood, a dedicated nation, [God’s] own purchased, special people, that you may set forth the wonderful deeds and display the virtues and perfections of Him Who called you out of darkness into His marvelous light. 1 Peter 2:1-9.

The priesthood was a prime example of how God appointed special people for special jobs, one of which was that of Priest. We now come to the actual requirements, or those things that qualify a person to be a priest.  This is seen in Leviticus 21, particularly verses Leviticus 21:18-19 that list the requirements that will either qualify one for priesthood or disqualify him if he falls short of the mark. The priest was to be without defect.

Without defect

... I am יהוה, who sets him apart.’ ” And יהוה spoke to Mosheh, saying, Speak to Aharon, saying, ‘No man of your offspring throughout their generations, who has any defect, is to draw near to bring the bread of his Elohim. Leviticus 21:16-17.

God clearly says here that anyone with any kind of a defect was not to be a minister of the Gospel... oops, I should say a priest! No Man! No exceptions! No excuses! The King James Version says it like this-
Thou shalt sanctify him therefore; for he offereth the bread of thy God: he shall be holy unto thee: for I the LORD, which sanctify you, am holy.

The word Bread is Leḥem in the Hebrew . We are not what we eat, but we are what we become. Deuteronomy 8:3 states that we do not live by bread as in food alone, but by spiritual manna which is the word of the Lord.
Jesus is called the bread of life. The Israelites ate unleavened bread before the Exodus, because leaven represents sin. To qualify, we have to know what God said, because by doing so we know the heart, mind, will, purpose and intent of God.

The bible itself speaks volumes about living clean, pure and holy lives by meditating the word of God. The word of God, when applied to our lives purifies us, prepares and equips us and helps us know what to do so that we can indeed be appropriately qualified to minister to God. See 2 Timothy 2:15 & 2 Timothy 3:15-17 where the concluding verse says it is to perfect us and thoroughly equip us for anything and everything. That was the foundation then and it is the same foundation for us today.

To qualify, the priest had to possess insight, understanding, relationship and revelation. There are no second-hand relationships. No one can read the bible for you. No one can pray for you. You have to do those things for yourself.  They may pray with you of course, but you have to do things yourself or risk eventual failure.

We must cultivate and develop our own intimate relationship with God and not be content with someone else’s experience. When we have this relationship, we can purify ourselves even as we are pure. God said that if the priest had ANY blemish, he was not qualified. A blemish, or Mûm, relates to any kind of spot, stain, moral imperfection, physical defect... anything! It originally referred to physical defects, but as we know, the physical represents the state of the spiritual.

A person with such defects was not even permitted to try getting close to God. That was serious, but I am so glad that Jesus opened the way for us to come into His presence with joy and boldness. The individual elements that qualified or disqualified anyone from holding such an office are listed in the order written in our two core verses. We shall now look at each in turn and in so doing, please remember that some topics may appear to be repeated. They do sound alike but there are slight differences that stand out, so I have listed them separately because they appear separately in scripture and it facilitates study.

God's requirements

The following is a full extract of Leviticus 21:1-24 where God stated the elements that qualify or disqualify a person from becoming a Priest.
Althought no gender separation exists in the Chruch, God specified that males only were to hold office.

And the LORD said to Moses, “Speak to the priests, the sons of Aaron, and say to them: ‘None shall defile himself for the dead among his people, except for his relatives who are nearest to him: his mother, his father, his son, his daughter, and his brother; also his virgin sister who is near to him, who has had no husband, for her he may defile himself. Otherwise he shall not defile himself, being a chief man among his people, to profane himself. 

‘They shall not make any bald place on their heads, nor shall they shave the edges of their beards nor make any cuttings in their flesh. They shall be holy to their God and not profane the name of their God, for they offer the offerings of the LORD made by fire, and the bread of their God; therefore they shall be holy. They shall not take a wife who is a harlot or a defiled woman, nor shall they take a woman divorced from her husband; for the priest is holy to his God. Therefore you shall consecrate him, for he offers the bread of your God. He shall be holy to you, for I the LORD, who sanctify you, am holy. The daughter of any priest, if she profanes herself by playing the harlot, she profanes her father. She shall be burned with fire. 

‘He who is the high priest among his brethren, on whose head the anointing oil was poured and who is consecrated to wear the garments, shall not uncover his head nor tear his clothes; nor shall he go near any dead body, nor defile himself for his father or his mother; nor shall he go out of the sanctuary, nor profane the sanctuary of his God; for the consecration of the anointing oil of his God is upon him: I am the LORD. And he shall take a wife in her virginity. A widow or a divorced woman or a defiled woman or a harlot—these he shall not marry; but he shall take a virgin of his own people as wife. Nor shall he profane his posterity among his people, for I the LORD sanctify him.’ ” 

And the LORD spoke to Moses, saying, “Speak to Aaron, saying: ‘No man of your descendants in succeeding generations, who has any defect, may approach to offer the bread of his God. For any man who has a defect shall not approach: a man blind or lame, who has a marred face or any limb too long, a man who has a broken foot or broken hand, or is a hunchback or a dwarf, or a man who has a defect in his eye, or eczema or scab, or is a eunuch. No man of the descendants of Aaron the priest, who has a defect, shall come near to offer the offerings made by fire to the LORD. He has a defect; he shall not come near to offer the bread of his God. He may eat the bread of his God, both the most holy and the holy; only he shall not go near the veil or approach the altar, because he has a defect, lest she profane My sanctuaries; for I the LORD sanctify them.’ ” 

And Moses told it to Aaron and his sons, and to all the children of Israel.

Detailed list

One qualification listed was clarity of vision. See verse 18. The priest was disqualified if he were blind or had poor vision. As it is with people in the ministry today, the priest had to possess insight, understanding, relationship and revelation. Job 42:5 states that Job had heard about God but had no personal revelation at that time. There are no second-hand relationships as I said before. The Pharisees had natural sight, but lacked spiritual sight and were blind leaders of the blind.

Jesus brought natural sight and spiritual sight. In Mark 8, the man said “I see men as trees walking” and “I see all things clearly now”.

The Hebrew word used is ʿiwwēr. Some of the meanings refer to skin, hide and leather.

It describes the poor vision one experiences when something clouds the vision, such as a cataract. It refers to a flap of skin covering the eye!  Perhaps we get the term thick-skinned from this when people don’t see it. We need clear perception of spiritual matters, stemming from personal relationship with God, especially in these last days, when there will be massive deception to those who are spiritually blind. Many Christians just do not know the mind and will of God. The outcome is a lack of spiritual perception, resulting in living less than God’s best (for them). They may love the Lord, but their lives are unfruitful, or less fruitful than they could.

They are unaware of the devil’s ploys and the bible clearly tells us that we are not ignorant of his devices. If you are blind, you can be cheated, lied to, led astray, deceived or live in a state of fear.

The second requirement was consistency. It is a sad thing to come to a church or a minister seeking help or advice and not know if you’ve got them. One day they are like this but the next day like that. Some believers are like that—yo-yo believers who are up one day and down the next—vacillating believers cannot be trusted in my opinion, but we do know someone who never changes. You always know where you stand with Him. His name is Jesus!

The priest had to walk right and it means walking physically, hence the reference to lameness in verse 18. Physical lameness disqualified him, but spiritual lameness is worse. The meaning for Lame as used is Pissēaḥ.

The meaning for lameness is to hop, hesitate or limp. It describes someone whose life is unstable, or whose walk is inconsistent.

Elijah used the same word when he confronted Jezebel in 1 Kings 18:21.

It describes someone who hobbles on two crutches (the words are halt, hop or hobble) This is manifest in the Church by those who are shallow; those with an itching ear syndrome; camp followers; those with selective hearing and those who exhibit preferential treatment. They are blessing chasers and those with lack of commitment.

A flat nose as listed in verse 18 represents discrimination and discernment, both vital qualities for ministry. More than ever before perhaps, we need the ability to sniff things out! We need good discernment of spirits and the ability to check things out. I often tell people to always check out what is said from the pulpit regardless of the speaker (i). This is for two reasons. One is to ensure that they are not preaching error, but the other is to let the word sink in. By following through on it, the hearer of the message acts like a cow in the field that is chewing the cud! This relates to meditating the word of God. We need to know the timetable and agenda of God. Knowing the seasons of God is of paramount importance. It can avoid hurt, frustration and disappointment and allow us to move into the plan of God the way He intends.

In 1 Chronicles 12, many people were listed, showing their qualities and achievements and in verse 32, a small group of men had this testimony.

...of the sons of Ephraim twenty thousand eight hundred, mighty men of valor, famous men throughout their father’s house; of the half-tribe of Manasseh eighteen thousand, who were designated by name to come and make David king; of the sons of Issachar who had understanding of the times, to know what Israel ought to do, their chiefs were two hundred; and all their brethren were at their command; From Issachar there were 200 leaders and all their relatives at their command — they understood the times and knew what Israel should do.

We can have such a testimony by remaining alert and obedient. Those who are not may miss out on many things.

Jesus spoke about this often also in His parables. 

Matthew 24:24 talks of falsehood designed to trick us up but only if we allow it.  We are of course, not ignorant of the devil’s devices (ii), but we also need to understand that in these closing times, there is a massive surge of interest in all sorts of things with a spiritual nature. Not all of them are good or Godly, so deception can take place to the uninformed.  Hollywood knows about this and produces numerous blockbuster movies based on the occult, witchcraft (even in the guise of “innocent” children’s style movies), new age practices and even going as far as to prompt demonic activity. Pause for a moment to ask where their inspiration came. Those grotesque beings are real.  Walk down the shopping malls or arcades in your town and you will see what I mean. Hosea 4:6 says,

My people are destroyed for lack of knowledge. Because you have rejected knowledge, I also will reject you from being My priest. Since you have forgotten the law of your God, I also will forget your children.

This man was a priest, but he got slack and sloppy and disqualified himself (see also 1 Samuel 2-4). This opens up the next topic or requirement, which is balance.

Notes: (i) Acts 17:11 (ii) 2 Corinthians 2:11

The reference to a deformed limb in Leviticus 21:18 speaks about someone out of balance because one leg is longer than the other. Even in the natural this leads to imbalance, but the implications for someone out of whack spiritually are serious. To qualify the priest needed to walk in balance, with orderly, precise and measured steps. 
People may be nice folk, but out of balance in some area, going perhaps into extremes or excesses. Some of these may be “legitimate” but overly emphasised. A balanced believer has three main elements of-

  • Personality (character, holiness and righteousness)
  • Purpose (evangelism, missions and charity)
  • Power (supernatural or spiritual manifestations such as miracles and healing).

The blessings are to be balanced with behaviour; manifestations balanced with both the fruits of the Spirit as seen in Galatians 5:22-23 and the gifts of the Spirit as seen in 1 Corinthians 12:1-11.

Correct balance is achieved in several ways, but primarily on correct application of Scripture.

In 2 Timothy 2:15, Paul said-

Study to show yourself approved by God, a workman who need not be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth. But avoid profane foolish babblings, for they will increase to more ungodliness

By inference, if the world of God can be "rightly or correctly divided" it can also be "incorrectly divided". That is, misapplied or used in the wrong manner. 2 Timothy 3:15-17, gives us an illustration of the reasons why we need such balance.

A foot relates to dominion.

In Deuteronomy 11:24-25 we see-
Every place whereon the soles of your feet shall tread shall be yours: from the wilderness and Lebanon, from the river, the river Euphrates, even unto the uttermost sea shall your coast be. There shall no man be able to stand before you: for the LORD your God shall lay the fear of you and the dread of you upon all the land that ye shall tread upon, as he hath said unto you.

The reference in verse 19 to a broken foot implies that if a priest had a broken foot, he lacked dominion.  We are to rule or possess dominion and see God’s intention when he gave such command to Adam in the Garden. He told Joshua,
Every place upon which the sole of your foot shall tread, that have I given to you, as I promised Moses. Joshua 1:3.

Ephesians 1:19-23 states that everything is under Jesus’ feet. If we are raised up and seated with Him, we should also have similar dominion. Romans 10:19 states that the God of Peace shall bruise satan under our feet. This is interesting because the word used for bruised is Suntribo, meaning bruise, break, broken to shivers, to tread down, to crush, to put Satan under foot and (as a conqueror) trample on him and to tear one’s body and shatter one’s strength.

A believer who is walking in the liberty and victory Jesus gave him or her is walking with solid and sure steps. Such a person overcomes, rules, reigns in life with Christ Jesus, rests in Him and inherits the promises. They are not lorded over by anything. On the other hand, someone who has a broken foot (spiritually speaking) is disqualified from priestly ministry.

Believers should be blessed. We are to be a blessing and we are to be able to bless others.  We need the wherewithal to bless others, which includes intellectual, physical and spiritual ability.

I can sum them all up in one attribute that is an intimate relationship with God. This gives a firm footed gait and understanding of our status in Christ and a working knowledge of how to go about it.

By design, we are the ones to bring these things to others. The ability to bless is thus very important. People should be able to come to us and leave enriched in some way. This should happen simply because they have been with us.  We should be able to walk into a room and the whole atmosphere changes, because we are carriers of THE BLESSING. The anointing is in us and on us. Jesus is called THE CHRIST! That is not His surname but His title. He is the ANOINTED ONE who came in and with that anointing. We are the anointed ones too. That is why we are called CHRIST-ians, and should be doing the things He said we would do. When we enter that room those present can detect something different. They should be able to say that they feel good—just by being with us. They can see that we have been with Jesus in the same way they saw this with Peter and John  in Acts 4:13.

Conversely, the anointing on us can make people feel uncomfortable. When light comes in, darkness is dispelled. When truth comes in lies are revealed.  When food tastes bland, seasoning gives it taste. We are that light! We are that salt! We are the ones who know the truth that sets men free! We cannot hide these things, as they seem to come naturally when you know the Lord.

You might think that you are not good enough and in a manner of speaking that is true, but God has made you worthy because of Calvary and the least one of us can do whatever God says we can do.  The vehicle is by the spoken word and in this instance the impartation comes through our hands.

The ability to bless and impart is signified by the hand, seen in verse nineteen.

A classic example is found in Genesis 48. Israel was getting old and Joseph brought his two sons to him to be blessed. This was very important and was in essence a prophetic declaration. He had named his first son Manashsheh. It means Causing to forget. Joseph had been sold into slavery but God raised him up to be a man who changed the destiny of a nation.

You may be facing difficulties and wonder why things are happening the way they are, but not realize that God could be working on something.  You are a work in process my friend— a work in process. The day may come soon when you can declare what Joseph declared, “God has caused me to forget my bondage and slavery”.

The name of Joseph’s second son was ’eprayim. It talks about fruitfulness and blessing. It means double fruit and is a derivative of ’eprātâ which means fruitfulness and is another name for Bethlehem where Jesus was born.

By giving his two sons their names, Joseph had stopped looking at the past and looked ahead into the future that contained the promises of God.  My friend, your past never sees a future.  If you keep looking backward, you will probably never enter your future and take possession of the promises of God for your own life. Let it go! Let it go.

Joseph brought his two sons to his father for that blessing that came by the laying on of hands. He placed Ephraim on his right hand and Manasseh on his left.  In his mind’s eye, he saw Israel in front of them in such a position that when that blessing came, it would be onto his firstborn who would be on the right hand of Israel.  Jacob knew this of course but deliberately crossed his hands to place that blessing on Ephraim.  He and his descendents had a big impact on the nation that was not always a good one but much of their inheritance in the Promised Land was afterwards called Samaria.  It lay in the centre of all traffic, from north to south, and from Jordan to the sea. The tabernacle and the ark were deposited within its limits at Shiloh, where it remained for four hundred years. You never know what could happen later in life do you?

The laying on of hands is a powerful Christian doctrine. It appoints and anoints one for ministry and for such ministry ventures as praying for the sick as per Mark 16:18 and James 5:13-15. It is used to pass on something to another and to bless another.

A priest had to be free. He had to be liberated in all areas of life and this is specified by the demand that anyone who was a hunchback was disqualified.
The reason is evident. Hunchbacks cannot look up. Their heads are cast down and their vision looks downwards and inwards.
Hunchbacks therefore describe people who are not liberated.
Praying the sinners prayer may save or cleanse someone from sin, but they may have to work on their salvation to eradicate bad habits, mind-sets, or problems in life that can weigh them down. Low self-esteem and similar attitudes can often cause people to avoid eye-to-eye contact and they look away from the other or downward. Guilt sometimes causes people to look down! They are saved but are still in bondage. They cannot see who they are in Christ.

The daughter of Abraham in Luke 13:11 is a good example.
She was an heir of the Abrahamic covenant. She was a faithful worshipper. She was a tither. She went to all the prayer meetings, but she was not free!
The devil, according to Jesus, had her bowed down for 18 years, but he came to set her free.
She was in a state of Astheneia, which means disease, diseased, infirmity, sick, sickly, sickness, weak, weakened, weaker and weakness. She had Asthenēs that relates to feebleness of body or mind. Related meanings include a malady, moral frailty, disease, infirmity, sickness, weakness, feebleness, impotent, sick, sickly, sickness, weak, weakened, weaker, weakness, impotence, without strength. She was strength-less (which can be literal, figurative or moral). Her condition was Synkyptō. That means she was bowed, bowed together, stooped altogether and completely overcome. She also suffered from Anakyptō meaning that she could not lift, look, look up, lift herself  up, unbend, rise, or be elated.

Satan was the author of her sickness but those who professed to be priests could not or would not do anything for her.
The woman was suffering until Jesus came, but those priests were the real hunchbacks.
A priest or minister must be free and willing enough to set others free.  When Jesus saw her, He did something about it. When we see someone bound, we should also do something about it.

The next requirement for ministry or qualification for priesthood was that the candidate was not to be a dwarf. A minister of the Gospel must be fully grown and mature. A dwarf could never be a priest because dwarfism is something that takes on several spiritual meanings:

  1. Sometimes in dream vision interpretation, a dwarf may represent an evil spirit and
  2. A dwarf may represent stunted growth and immaturity.

1 Peter 2:2 says-
Like newborn babies you should crave (thirst for, earnestly desire) the pure (unadulterated) spiritual milk, that by it you may be nurtured and grow unto [completed] salvation.

As priests, we are to grow in the knowledge of Jesus and measure up to the fullness of the stature of the man Christ Jesus (Ephesians 4:11-14).  When the writer of the book of Hebrews was talking about the Priesthood of Christ, Being designated and recognized and saluted by God as High Priest after the order (with the rank) of Melchizedek he admonished them because they had BECOME dull of hearing. Listen to what he said-
Concerning this we have much to say which is hard to explain, since you have become dull in your [spiritual] hearing and sluggish [even slothful in achieving spiritual insight]. Hebrews 5:11-14

He was talking to believers who had tasted of the things of God but had lapsed in their growth, describing then as ones who had become dull and slothful.
In other words, they regressed in their experience and it was for this reason that he was rebuking them.
Dwarfs speak about believers who have not grown and remain like babies. It describes believers who do not get their foundations right in the beginning.  What do you do if you stop growing? The answer is “repent and make a determined effort to grow and press on towards the mark”. That term press to the mark is an aggressive manner of speech. It says that we must take strong disciplined action. He told Timothy Study to- 

shew thyself approved unto God, a workman that needeth not to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth. 2 Timothy 2:15

The word for Approved is Dokimos, which means tried, pleasing and accepted.

In those days, there were no banks, as we know them and no paper money. Money was made from metal, which was melted, poured into moulds and allowed to cool.  When the coins cooled down, it was necessary to smooth off the uneven edges. The coins were comparatively soft and many people shaved them and collected the shaving. In Athens, more than eighty laws were passed to stop this practice. Moneychangers with honor and integrity would accept no counterfeit money. They used genuine full weighted money and nothing else and were called Dokimos or Approved. The Term Rightly Dividing comes from the word Orthotomeo which means to cut straight, to proceed on straight paths, to hold a straight course, to do things right, to make straight and smooth, to handle aright and to teach the truth directly and correctly. If we can do these things, we are qualified to be Priests.

Priests had to possess clear vision and understanding. Leviticus describes this as having Defective eyes or a blemish in his eye! People with defective eyes have a lack of clear vision and understanding. This is different to blind people who have no sight whatsoever. This speaks about people who cannot focus properly or cannot see clearly.

I have seen miracles of healing many times when blind people received their sight and it is a wonderful thing to behold, but I had a cataract appear in my left eye and underwent an operation to remove it. My right eye had the beginning of a small cataract but the Lord healed that. 
At least ten years later, my right eye suddenly developed what the doctors said was the worst, densest cataract they had ever seen. It happened very quickly and took us somewhat by surprize. Althought He had healed me in the first instance, I undertook an operation for that as well, but there was a purpose for having to receive medical treatment instead of receiving healing from the Lord which I would have preferred.
Over the past several years my visoin has actually improved and the oast time I had my annual checkup with the optometrist, I surprised the doctor at how well I could see. I am 69 years of age when I write this. I believe in living in divine health and indivine healing and it is working for me. My youth is being restored like the eagle's. 

With those cataracts, I would have been classed as having defective eyes & would have been disqualified from Priesthood.

People with sight can be either near-sighted or farsighted.

Near-sighted people are unable to see things clearly at a distance. They have little or no long-range vision.

Far-sighted people have difficulty in seeing things close up. They cannot see what is happening around them.

Both of these extremes present problems in a spiritual sense.

Near-sighted Christians focus on the short term or the immediate and become bogged down with the problems and current situations of life.

They cannot see what God has planned for them in the long term. It is like living for the moment (which sometimes has merit of course), but they do not see any escape, or are unable to see themselves as God sees them and live from moment to moment, going from crisis to crisis, despite the occasional temporary relief God provides. He wants us totally free so that we can be totally effective without restrictions.

Far-sighted people live for tomorrow. They are the “gonna” people… gonna do this… gonna do that. They cannot come to terms with the present. They are so focused on what is coming “one day” they cannot see what IS HAPPENING NOW. They live in the future, sometimes in the unreality of the future. Many prophets are far-sighted people. To qualify for Priesthood, one needs good vision—not just eyes without defect.

We understand such terms as Purity and Sanctification and rightly so. A priest had to be pure, demanded by God in verse 20 as having eczema or a scab.

Skin conditions such as leprosy in the bible indicate a lack of purification. They represent sin, rebellion and evil.
When Israel rebelled, God permitted boils, scabs and itches to come upon them (please do not start scratching now) to externally reveal the sinful internal condition.

The problem with this condition was that it became contagious.

Leaders have followers. Leaders are role models. Leaders... lead.

Their examples must therefore be without blemish.
A church or a group of people can only come as high as the leader.

A leader cannot stand to one side or lag behind and tell everyone where to go and how to do it—he or she must lead by biblical example. People in the church are not dumb. They can see.  If the pastor is not living right, despite what they say from the pulpit, discerning believers can see it and act as they deem fit, but those who can’t see things are led by the pastor they may all fall into the ditch together. It is imperative that our lives are squeaky clean before God. Everything we do and say, both in the public light and in private must be clean before God. Cleanliness includes attitudes, as well as the externals without legalism.  Both the inner man and the outer man must be free from such spiritual skin ailments.

God created everything and placed man in the Garden, one of his commandments was to multiply, replenish or reproduce. Jesus said in John 15:8 that his Father was glorified when we produce much fruit. Fruitfulness obviously has several applications, one of which is human reproduction.

The Levitical line was important, with the role being passed from father to son, from generation to generation, so a priest needed to be able to reproduce himself. In the Old Testament, the Priesthood was a very serious matter.  The Priest had to be of the right family, from the right tribe, of the right stock. If he had no heir, the Priestly line ceased! It was shameful. It was a disgrace. The family was ostracized for barrenness. They were treated as if they were lepers and all but cast out of town. I can image the conversations of others when they saw such a childless couple, “There must be sin in their lives”.

Imagine the consternation of Elizabeth and Zechariah! Little wonder that the birth of John the Baptist was special. The account is found in Luke chapter one.

A requirement in Leviticus 21 was that the priest was not to have crushed stones (or damaged testicles).

A priest had to be capable of reproduction. The priestly line had to be pure and remain so. His progeny was to succeed him and their progeny afterwards—for all time! If he was unable to father a child, he was out! This of course means that a priest had to be married!

To properly qualify, we also need to be fruitful and possess the ability to reproduce and impart something.

If a priest was found defective by definition, he was banned from making offerings. He could partake of the provision but was forbidden to enter the place where God was to be found.  I imagine that it would have been a sorry state of affairs. Everyone in the family line knew about it. His tribe knew he was dishonoured and, knowing human nature, the whole camp would find out.  I think that the load he carried would have been very heavy indeed, but I am so grateful that our Lord Jesus has taken all the heavy burdens and made us acceptable in the beloved.


If a priest was blemished in any of the points we have discussed, he had a diminished relationship with God and was not permitted to come close to God.

Intimacy of relationship is paramount and there is but ONE STANDARD! The standard is Jesus. He gave us Ministry Gifts in Ephesians 4 that have been given to us for specific purposes-

  • For the perfecting of the saints
  • To equip and release the saints into the work of the ministry
  • For the edifying of the body of Christ

They have been put into place until we all come in the unity of the faith, and of the knowledge of the Son of God, unto a perfect man, unto the measure of the stature of the fulness of Christ as seen in Ephesians 4:13.

The word Measure is Metron, which is a literal measure  such as a meter, or a degree.
The word Stature is Helikia, which means maturity such as in years or size, sometimes translated as age. 
The word Fulness is Pleroma, describing something filled up, copiousness, completion, multitude and fulfilling.

Christ of course is Christos… the Messiah… the anointed one and His anointing and God’s desire is that you can become like that perfect man who measures up in all those aspects.

It has been my pleasure to present this to you with the hope that you press into God and that you get to know the one who is both hidden and revealed in scripture—the Lord Jesus Christ. Ask Him now to make everything new in your life and to help you qualify. He is waiting!


Keep walking by faith

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