Parashat Emor (Say) Leviticus 21:1-24:23
Haftarah: Ezekiel 44:15-31
In this week’s Torah portion, there is a brief section concerning the High Priest. One reads that the “oil of HaShem’s anointing is upon him” (See Leviticus 21:12). This anointing signifies a unique calling from G-d, which relates to a special responsibility. Contrary to Catholicism, which forbids their priests to marry, a position which has no Scriptural basis, the Biblical priests of Israel can marry. One reads in the passage which relates to the High Priest that he may marry only a virgin. If he should marry a divorced woman, a widow or a woman who has acted sexually immoral, he forfeits his position as the High Priest.
Wait, where is the forgiveness and grace? Please do not confuse “grace” as an instrument which permits the violation of the word of G-d. The High Priest is free to make a decision concerning who he wants to marry, but HaShem does not have to change is Holy standards. G-d is not being ungracious when He anoints a new Kohen to become the High Priest in place of the man who had rejected the parameters of his calling. Naturally, the former High Priest can maintain a relationship with G-d and be used by HaShem, for perhaps great things. However, he may not serve any longer as the High Priest.
Grace and forgiveness are vital in order to heal relationships, but never do they provide a basis for violating the commandments of G-d. When one rejects the word of G-d, there are consequences to the violator and often times to innocent individuals who are affected by the sin. Here is the crux of this article, GRACE WHICH IS MISUNDERSTOOD AND MISAPPLIED ACTUALLY ATTACKS HOLINESS AND DOES NOT BRING ABOUT THE WILL OF G-D. However, when grace is provided in an appropriate manner, it is able to return the situation to a Holy status; hence, a new High Priest serving out the anointing of his calling.
The decisions which you and I make have real consequences. Often the consequences have long term effects, perhaps even eternal. There is not always a second chance. Remember, the subject of this article is not salvation, but a calling from HaShem upon an individual. The misapplication of grace today, which is epidemic, robs the body of Messiah (the congregation of the redeemed) of power and a testimony which can impact individuals and bring them to faith. When holiness is ignored and Biblical standards are casually set aside, expect judgment to manifest itself first at the house of G-d.
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