11:24-47 ~ 20160807 ~ Pastor Rodney Zedicher ~ Ephraim Church of the
Bible ~ www.ephraimbible.org
Leviticus 11:24-47; Be Holy!;
week we looked at the food laws of Leviticus 11:1-23 and saw that
God gave these laws to the people that he had chosen to be his
distinct people, to teach his priests to make a distinction between
clean and unclean.
also looked at the New Testament or New Covenant, where Jesus
declared all foods clean and by his cross broke down the wall of
division that separated Jew from Gentile. God told Peter to make no
distinction, and that what God had cleansed he was no longer to call
common or unclean.
of the Gentiles
is an analogy between the food laws and the nations. In the
beginning God blessed Adam and Eve and told them to be fruitful and
multiply and fill the earth. His blessing extended to all nations.
But with Abraham, Isaac and Jacob, God began to narrow his focus,
blessing his chosen people, but promising, that 'in your offspring
all the nations of the earth shall be blessed' (Gen.22:18). Jesus,
the fulfillment of the promises, brought blessing to the Jew first,
and then to the Gentile; ultimately to all the nations. In
Revelation we will see people from every tribe and language and
people and nation worshiping around God's throne (Rev.5:9; 7:9).
The food laws were a mirror of this. These laws were not in effect
at creation; only plants were to be eaten in the garden. Although
Noah understood the distinction between clean and unclean, God gave
him every living thing for food (Gen.9:2-4). But then, to make a
distinction, his chosen people Israel were to eat only clean things,
setting themselves apart from the nations. Now that the promised
Messiah has come, the food laws are irrelevant and serve only to
Ephesians 2:13 But
now in Christ Jesus you who once were far off have been brought near
by the blood of Christ. 14 For he himself is our peace, who has made
us both one and has broken down in his flesh the dividing wall of
hostility 15 by abolishing the law of commandments expressed in
ordinances, that he might create in himself one new man in place of
the two, so making peace, 16 and might reconcile us both to God in
one body through the cross, thereby killing the hostility.
14 and the Law of Love
there were many who had been raised under the law who struggled to
accept that God had declared all foods clean. When I see a platter
of shrimp and baby back pork ribs, I begin to salivate. But a Jew
raised kosher would instinctively and unconsciously recoil, as Peter
did with the sheet. Paul makes clear in Galatians, that when the
gospel is at stake, when false brothers are slipping in to spy out
our freedom that we have in Christ Jesus to bring us under slavery,
we are not to yield even for a moment. When anyone denies the truth
that we are justified by faith in Jesus Christ and not by the works
of the law, we are to contend earnestly for the faith. In 1 Timothy
4 Paul is scathing against those who require abstinence from foods,
calling them liars with seared consciences, who have departed from
the faith and devoted themselves to deceitful spirits and teachings
of demons. But when the issue is a weak conscience, emotional
hangups that do not allow a person to participate in things that God
has cleansed without feeling a sense of guilt, Paul teaches in
Romans 14 that we must submit to the law of love. I think it will be
worth our time to detour over to Romans 14 before we get back in to
Romans 14:1 As for
the one who is weak in faith, welcome him, but not to quarrel over
opinions. 2 One person believes he may eat anything, while
the weak person eats only vegetables. 3 Let not the one who eats
despise the one who abstains, and let not the one who
abstains pass judgment on the one who eats, for God has
welcomed him. 4 Who are you to pass judgment on the
servant of another? It is before his own master that he stands or
falls. And he will be upheld, for the Lord is able to make him
stand. 5 One person esteems one day as better than another,
while another esteems all days alike. Each one should be fully
convinced in his own mind. 6 The one who observes the day, observes
it in honor of the Lord. The one who eats, eats in honor of the
Lord, since he gives thanks to God, while the one who abstains,
abstains in honor of the Lord and gives thanks to God. 7 For none of
us lives to himself, and none of us dies to himself. 8 For if we
live, we live to the Lord, and if we die, we die to the Lord. So
then, whether we live or whether we die, we are the Lord's. 9 For to
this end Christ died and lived again, that he might be Lord both of
the dead and of the living. 10 Why do you pass judgment on
your brother? Or you, why do you despise your brother? For we
will all stand before the judgment seat of God; 11 for it is
written, “As I live, says the Lord, every knee shall bow to
me, and every tongue shall confess to God.” 12 So then each of
us will give an account of himself to God. 13 Therefore let us not
pass judgment on one another any longer, but rather decide
never to put a stumbling block or hindrance in the way of a brother.
14 I know and am persuaded in the Lord Jesus that nothing is
unclean in itself, but it is unclean for anyone who thinks it
unclean. 15 For if your brother is grieved by what you eat, you are
no longer walking in love. By what you eat, do not destroy the one
for whom Christ died. 16 So do not let what you regard as good be
spoken of as evil. 17 For the kingdom of God is not a matter of
eating and drinking but of righteousness and peace and joy in the
Holy Spirit. 18 Whoever thus serves Christ is acceptable to God
and approved by men. 19 So then let us pursue what makes for peace
and for mutual upbuilding. 20 Do not, for the sake of food, destroy
the work of God. Everything is indeed clean, but it is wrong
for anyone to make another stumble by what he eats. 21 It is good
not to eat meat or drink wine or do anything that causes your
brother to stumble. 22 The faith that you have, keep between
yourself and God. Blessed is the one who has no reason to pass
judgment on himself for what he approves. 23 But whoever has doubts
is condemned if he eats, because the eating is not from faith. For
whatever does not proceed from faith is sin.
Romans 15:1 We who
are strong have an obligation to bear with the failings of the weak,
and not to please ourselves. 2 Let each of us please his neighbor
for his good, to build him up. 3 For Christ did not please himself,
but as it is written, “The reproaches of those who reproached
you fell on me.”
clearly sides with the one who eats anything, saying it is the weak
person who eats only vegetables, and that God has welcomed the one
who eats. His statements in verse 14 that 'nothing is unclean in
itself' and in 20 that 'everything is indeed clean' give away his
position. But Paul gives very specific practical instruction here on
these issues of conscience. The weak person is forbidden from
passing judgment on the one who eats (v.3, 4, 10, 13) because
everything is indeed clean. But the one who eats is forbidden to
despise the weak (v.3, 10), or to stumble the weak (v.13, 15, 20,
21). We are to walk in love, to welcome one another, to pursue peace
and mutual upbuilding, but we are not to quarrel over opinions.
Those who doubt, who are unsure if a thing is approved, those who
feel it would be a sin for them to participate are not to
participate, because their participation is not rooted in faith.
the gospel of grace through Jesus is in jeopardy, we are to defend
the truth of the gospel against false teachers. But in matters of
conscience, the one who abstains from food is not to judge the one
who eats, and the one who eats is not to look down on or selfishly
destroy the faith of one who does not eat.
let's jump back into Leviticus 11 and see what else it has to teach
us. Verses 1-23 dealt with distinctions between clean and unclean
land creatures, water creatures, those that live in the air, and
insects, in regard to what may or may not be eaten. The remainder of
the chapter deals with what kind of contact makes one unclean.
“And by these you shall become unclean. Whoever touches their
carcass shall be unclean until the evening, 25 and whoever carries
any part of their carcass shall wash his clothes and be unclean
until the evening. 26 Every animal that parts the hoof but is not
cloven-footed or does not chew the cud is unclean to you. Everyone
who touches them shall be unclean. 27 And all that walk on their
paws, among the animals that go on all fours, are unclean to you.
Whoever touches their carcass shall be unclean until the evening, 28
and he who carries their carcass shall wash his clothes and be
unclean until the evening; they are unclean to you. 29 “And
these are unclean to you among the swarming things that swarm on the
ground: the mole rat, the mouse, the great lizard of any kind, 30
the gecko, the monitor lizard, the lizard, the sand lizard, and the
chameleon. 31 These are unclean to you among all that swarm. Whoever
touches them when they are dead shall be unclean until the evening.
uncleanness was not limited to eating. Merely touching a carcass of
an unclean animal brought uncleanness for the rest of the day.
Touching a live animal that was unclean did not bring uncleanness.
So camels, mules, horses could be ridden and used for work, but they
were not to be eaten, and disposing of one that died, as would
certainly be a necessity from time to time, brought uncleanness
only did contact with a dead creature bring uncleanness to humans,
it also brought uncleanness to inanimate objects.
Leviticus 11:32 And
anything on which any of them falls when they are dead shall be
unclean, whether it is an article of wood or a garment or a skin or
a sack, any article that is used for any purpose. It must be put
into water, and it shall be unclean until the evening; then it shall
be clean. 33 And if any of them falls into any earthenware vessel,
all that is in it shall be unclean, and you shall break it. 34 Any
food in it that could be eaten, on which water comes, shall be
unclean. And all drink that could be drunk from every such vessel
shall be unclean. 35 And everything on which any part of their
carcass falls shall be unclean. Whether oven or stove, it shall be
broken in pieces. They are unclean and shall remain unclean for you.
36 Nevertheless, a spring or a cistern holding water shall be clean,
but whoever touches a carcass in them shall be unclean. 37 And if
any part of their carcass falls upon any seed grain that is to be
sown, it is clean, 38 but if water is put on the seed and any part
of their carcass falls on it, it is unclean to you.
is interesting. Containers that come in contact with an unclean
carcass become contaminated along with their contents. But the main
water source; a spring or cistern does not become unclean. If you
look at the gospels, you see Jesus coming into contact with and even
consciously touching unclean people, lepers, blind, deaf, even the
dead. He ate with prostitutes, tax collectors and sinners. But Jesus
does not become contaminated through contact. Rather those who come
in contact with Jesus are cleansed and made new, because Jesus is
the source of living water.
Animals that Die
“And if any animal which you may eat dies, whoever touches its
carcass shall be unclean until the evening, 40 and whoever eats of
its carcass shall wash his clothes and be unclean until the evening.
And whoever carries the carcass shall wash his clothes and be
unclean until the evening.
clean animals that are not butchered or sacrificed, but die on their
own bring uncleanness. Death entered God's good creation through
sin, and death spread to everyone because all sinned. God's people
are not to come into contact with death and decay. It is contagious
and it brings separation from God.
Serpent and the Garden
“Every swarming thing that swarms on the ground is detestable;
it shall not be eaten. 42 Whatever goes on its belly, and whatever
goes on all fours, or whatever has many feet, any swarming thing
that swarms on the ground, you shall not eat, for they are
this statement on swarming things we see a verbal connection with
the fall and the curse. The only other place the word 'on its belly'
is found is in Genesis 3:14, where the serpent is cursed to go on
its belly. The curse brings uncleanness and death. God's people are
not to pursue interaction with the enemy.
Leviticus 11:43 You
shall not make yourselves detestable with any swarming thing that
swarms, and you shall not defile yourselves with them, and become
unclean through them. 44 For I am the LORD your God. Consecrate
yourselves therefore, and be holy, for I am holy. You shall not
defile yourselves with any swarming thing that crawls on the ground.
45 For I am the LORD who brought you up out of the land of Egypt to
be your God. You shall therefore be holy, for I am holy.” 46
This is the law about beast and bird and every living creature that
moves through the waters and every creature that swarms on the
ground, 47 to make a distinction between the unclean and the clean
and between the living creature that may be eaten and the living
creature that may not be eaten.
concluding statement gives the reason for separation from that which
is unclean. Because God is your God, you must be holy as God is
holy. This statement is quoted verbatim by Peter and the principle
is taught throughout the New Testament. Peter says:
1 Peter 1:14 As
obedient children, do not be conformed to the passions of your
former ignorance, 15 but as he who called you is holy, you also be
holy in all your conduct, 16 since it is written, “You
shall be holy, for I am holy.”
not be conformed to the passions of your former ignorance. Paul says
in 1 Thessalonians 4
1 Thessalonians 4:1
Finally, then, brothers, we ask and urge you in the Lord Jesus, that
as you received from us how you ought to walk and to please God,
just as you are doing, that you do so more and more. 2 For you know
what instructions we gave you through the Lord Jesus. 3 For this is
the will of God, your sanctification: that you abstain from sexual
immorality; 4 that each one of you know how to control his own body
in holiness and honor, 5 not in the passion of lust like the
Gentiles who do not know God; 6 that no one transgress and wrong his
brother in this matter, because the Lord is an avenger in all these
things, as we told you beforehand and solemnly warned you. 7 For God
has not called us for impurity, but in holiness. 8 Therefore
whoever disregards this, disregards not man but God, who gives his
Holy Spirit to you.
requires holiness from believers today, but it is not abstaining
from certain foods; God's will is our sanctification, that we
abstain from sexual immorality.
Ephesians, where we saw that Jesus by his blood
...has broken down in his flesh the dividing wall of hostility 15 by
abolishing the law of commandments expressed in ordinances, that he
might create in himself one new man in place of the two, so making
goes on to say about this one new man, the church,
Ephesians 5:3 But
sexual immorality and all impurity or covetousness must not even be
named among you, as is proper among saints. 4 Let there be no
filthiness nor foolish talk nor crude joking, which are out of
place, but instead let there be thanksgiving. 5 For you may be sure
of this, that everyone who is sexually immoral or impure, or who is
covetous ( that is, an idolater), has no inheritance in the kingdom
of Christ and God.
...10 and try to
discern what is pleasing to the Lord. 11 Take no part in the
unfruitful works of darkness, but instead expose them. 12 For it is
shameful even to speak of the things that they do in secret.
is to be a clear distinction between God's people and the world.
Some things are not even to be touched, not talked about, not even
named among you. We are to pursue that which pleases God.
writes the church in Corinth to clarify what he meant about not
associating with sinners.
1 Corinthians 5:9 I
wrote to you in my letter not to associate with sexually immoral
people— 10 not at all meaning the sexually immoral of this
world, or the greedy and swindlers, or idolaters, since then you
would need to go out of the world. 11 But now I am writing to you
not to associate with anyone who bears the name of brother if he is
guilty of sexual immorality or greed, or is an idolater, reviler,
drunkard, or swindler—not even to eat with such a one. 12 For
what have I to do with judging outsiders? Is it not those inside the
church whom you are to judge? 13 God judges those outside. “Purge
the evil person from among you.”
is to be a standard of holiness within the church.
James 1:27 Religion
that is pure and undefiled before God, the Father, is this: to visit
orphans and widows in their affliction, and to keep oneself
unstained from the world.
Mark 7, when Jesus taught on what defiles a person, he said
Mark 7:15 There is
nothing outside a person that by going into him can defile him,
but the things that come out of a person are what defile him.”
17 And when he had entered the house and left the people, his
disciples asked him about the parable. 18 And he said to them, “Then
are you also without understanding? Do you not see that whatever
goes into a person from outside cannot defile him, 19 since it
enters not his heart but his stomach, and is expelled?” ( Thus
he declared all foods clean.) 20 And he said, “What comes out
of a person is what defiles him. 21 For from within, out of the
heart of man, come evil thoughts, sexual immorality, theft, murder,
adultery, 22 coveting, wickedness, deceit, sensuality, envy,
slander, pride, foolishness. 23 All these evil things come from
within, and they defile a person.”
is Jesus' teaching on what defiles. And what defiles is not what you
eat, but the heart issues that are already in you. Your thought life
can defile you. You don't have to do it, you don't even have to say
it; if you think it it demonstrates where your heart is and what you
love. Pornography defiles. Taking what doesn't belong to you
defiles. Taking another's life, or wishing another dead defiles.
Unfaithfulness to your marriage vows defiles. Wanting what doesn't
belong to you defiles. Wickedness defiles. Tricking or deceiving
others defiles. Sensuality defiles. Envy defiles. Speaking bad about
others defiles. Thinking of self more highly than you ought defiles.
Foolishness defiles. These are heart issues. These are not just what
we do; these are manifestations of who we are. These are inward and
outward attitudes and actions that betray a corrupt heart. Actions
and desires are evidence of a deeper problem.
good news is that this is not a list of things we must do or not do
to be clean; rather we worship a God who cleanses the unclean and
transforms sinners into saints. In the New Covenant Jesus gives a
new heart to those who turn to him. He doesn't plaster a superficial
coat of paint over a rotting core, making it look nice on the
outside; he comes inside, he gives us his Spirit, he gives us new
desires, he changes us from the inside out.
Rodney Zedicher ~ Ephraim Church of the Bible ~ www.ephraimbible.org