Leviticus 21:1 And the LORD said unto Moses, Speak unto the priests the sons of Aaron, and say unto them…
On some sense, I am sure that everyone is created equal, but I have yet to define what that sense might be. From birth we are all different. Some are stronger, some are hairier, some have different parts, and those differences confer varying responsibilities and powers.
God holds the physical descendants of Aaron to a higher standard than he holds the rest of us. For example, he deals with their sexual immorality much more harshly. The daughters of Aaron must remain virgins until married. If they don’t, the penalty isn’t just stoning. It’s burning.
Aaron’s sons are held to a higher standard than his daughters. Emor gives a short list of things that a priest may not do that other of God’s people may:
- Touch the corpse of anyone who is not an immediate relative.
- Shave his head or disfigure his beard.
- Marry a woman who has sex outside of marriage or who has been divorced.
- Drink alcohol while serving in the sanctuary.
- Touch the corpse of even immediate relatives.
- Marry a widow or any non-virgin.
- Leave the sanctuary while performing the duties of his office.
- Bring anything unclean into the sanctuary.
Paul alluded to this same concept when he told Timothy and Titus his standards for Church leaders. He never intended those lists to be taken as absolute laws for all believers. (Or even for all church leaders, for that matter! They aren’t priests serving in the Temple, after all.) He was illustrating how good leaders must have a different code of behavior. There is no sin in preparing and burying a corpse nor in having a rebellious child, but God said that his priests shouldn’t do those things.
That God’s standards for some people might be different than his standards for others only surprises the inheritors of the so-called Enlightenment. Many good things have come from the philosophical and theological revolutions of the past, but some things have also been lost and corrupted.