The nation of Israel is the only nation in the history of the world that God Himself took out from another nation and consecrated to Himself (2 Sam. 7:23; 1 Chron. 17:21). To the Israelites, God gave detailed directives in His Law about every important facet of their lives (Deut. 4:7-8).
At the heart of Israel’s calling as a nation set apart to God was their calling to be distinctively excellent for His sake:
Exodus 19:5 Now therefore, if ye will obey my voice indeed, and keep my covenant, then ye shall be a peculiar treasure unto me above all people: for all the earth is mine: 6 And ye shall be unto me a kingdom of priests, and an holy nation. These are the words which thou shalt speak unto the children of Israel.
Among the nation that was called to be such a distinctive nation, God set apart the priesthood that He Himself ordained for ministering to Him (Exod. 28:1; 30:30; Jer. 33:22) in a special way even among all His people. Of all the people of Israel, the priests were called to have the closest access to God that He permitted to any of His people (Heb. 9:6).
By divine ordinance, all the priests in Israel were males. For these chief servants of His, God gave explicit directives concerning their marriages:
Lev 21:7 They shall not take a wife that is a whore, or profane; neither shall they take a woman put away from her husband: for he is holy unto his God.
Among the priests, the high priest was the sole person in the entire nation who was ever allowed to enter the Holy of Holies, and he could do so only once a year (Heb. 9:7). The high priest was called of God to be the person in Israel who enjoyed unique access to the presence of God.
Concerning whom the high priest was to marry, God gave even more definitive instruction than He did for the other priests:
Lev 21:13 And he shall take a wife in her virginity.
14 A widow, or a divorced woman, or profane, or an harlot, these shall he not take: but he shall take a virgin of his own people to wife.
15 Neither shall he profane his seed among his people: for I the LORD do sanctify him.
This revelation shows that God explicitly defined what marriage would be for all His priests in His chosen nation that was to be a testimony for Him to the entire world. In connection with Genesis 1-2 and Genesis 6-9, Leviticus 21:7 and Leviticus 21:13-15 make clear that God’s mind concerning marriage for His people throughout their history was that marriage would be exactly the same as it was when He originated marriage beginning with Adam and Eve.
As Israel was called to be of old, believers today are called to be distinctive for the sake of His name:
1 Pet. 2:9 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:
Concerning His ministers among His people today, God has plainly stated that their marriages are to be the same (1 Tim. 3:2, 12) as they were for His priests of old. Moreover, these ministers are the examples for all the rest of His saints (1 Tim. 4:12).
The plain revelation concerning what God has ordained concerning biblical marriage for His priests and ministers confirms for His servants today that His will for their marriages is the same today as it always has been.
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