Why would a priest not want to "transfer holiness" to the people in the courtyard?

I find this passage to be confusing. Maybe I don't understand what the "transferring of holiness" really means. This verse implies there is some sort of danger in the transfer of holiness to the people in the outer courtyard. Does this have to do with the priests only being able to be this intimate with the presence of God?

Ezekiel 46:20

NLT - 20 He explained, “This is where the priests will cook the meat from the guilt offerings and sin offerings and bake the flour from the grain offerings into bread. They will do it here to avoid carrying the sacrifices through the outer courtyard and endangering the people by transmitting holiness to them.”

Clarify Share Report Asked October 25 2015 1539050103 Kyle Gillette

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Mini Tim Maas Retired Quality Assurance Specialist with the U.S. Army
As I understand it, the restriction in Ezekiel 46:20 was specified by God for the purpose of maintaining order in the priestly community of Israel and in the system of worship, as well as in Israelite society as a whole.

Any person (even if they were not a member of the priestly tribe of Levi) who came into the presence of the sanctified offerings would, as a result, become "holy" -- not in the sense of being sinless, but of being "set apart" or consecrated for the specific duties that only the priests could perform. (The New International Version of the Bible found on http://www.biblegateway.com clarifies this verse by translating the word that is rendered as "endangering" in the New Living Translation as "consecrating".)

Being consecrated in this manner would also have the effect of taking the affected individual(s) away from the normal daily duties that they had been carrying out in their lives apart from worship. Thus, it would introduce disruption and confusion into both the religious and non-religious lives of the Israelites.

The verse therefore does not refer (as one might think, depending on the translation being read) to people being placed in actual physical danger by being in the presence of the sanctified offerings, or of God not wanting the people of Israel to pursue holiness (in the sense of sinlessness) as a goal in their conduct, but speaks of holiness in the specific context of consecration or sanctification for the performance of duties that only the priests were authorized by God to carry out.

October 26 2015 1 response Vote Up Share Report

My picture Jack Gutknecht ABC/DTS graduate, guitar music ministry Baptist church
Good question, Kyle! 

Why wouldn’t God want the people consecrated? (Ezekiel 44:19) Consecrating the people would have contaminated the priests’ garments, making them unusable in the Lord’s service (Ezekiel 44:19). They had to separate their priestly duties and clothing from their common activities. Just like with/ as is true with the temple itself, God wanted a clear separation between the holy and the common.

October 27 2019 0 responses Vote Up Share Report

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