The key to chapter 22 in Leviticus is found in the last passage: Keep my commands and follow them. I am the Lord. Do not profane my holy name. I must be acknowledged as holy by the Israelites. I am the Lord, who makes you holy and who brought you out of Egypt to be your God. I am the Lord. This chapter is divided into two basic parts. The first has to do with the priests and the offerings. There is a sacredness to the offerings and the service to the Lord which must be observed. In verse 9 we read, The priests are to keep my requirements so that they do not become guilty and die for treating them with contempt. I am the Lord, who makes them holy. The holiness of God is not really understood by men. What is holy? What does it REALLY mean? Until we really know God, there is no way we can really know what holy means. But God has done everything here to impress upon the Israelites, and, through them, to impress upon us, that part of what holy means is to be absolutely separate from anything 'not holy.' And while it may seem that God has arbitrarily declared some things as unclean, the point is not for us to judge God's reasons for declaring certain things clean or unclean, but to recognize that there is a difference and that this difference must be recognized not only intellectually, but as a matter of lifestyle. We, as Christians, are being formed into a 'nation of priests' -- and therefore the regulations concerning the priests should be read for the example they are setting to us. We are NOT to make ourselves unclean in terms of the things of the world. Instead we are to serve God while we also serve the world. And there is a fine difference between serving the world and joining in with it. The second part of the chapter has to do with what animals are acceptable as sacrifices, and again we see the importance attached to the idea of sacredness and holiness. Keep in mind that these animals were each a 'shadow' of the final, perfect sacrifice, Jesus Christ. Therefore none of them could be accepted if deformed in any way. The one exception is found here in this chapter, and it is an interesting one. Verse 23 reads, You may, however, present as a freewill offering an ox or a sheep that is deformed or stunted, but it will not be accepted in fulfillment of a vow. The Hebrew words used here indicate both male and female in terms of the sheep and oxen. They symbolism here is interesting and important. When we offer ourselves to the Lord in total submission, every one of us is a stunted and deformed offering. But we can only be offered through Jesus, in the final run. Still our submission to Christ Himself can be understood as the submission of the much less than perfect to the perfect. Every other sacrifice, however, must be without defect.