PDA

View Full Version : Confused by Leviticus



Jurell
Oct 19th 2008, 11:08 AM
A few months ago I began to read my bible everyday prior to bed. I kinda bounced around and read whatever book my finger landed on. Well, being the curious one, every time something was mentioned from earlier in the bible, I went back and read that story... well I got to the point that I figured it'd be easier if I started over and went cover to cover.

Well, I just finished Leviticus, and it's left me with more questions than answers...

I know we don't offer animal sacrifices anymore because Jesus paid that price for us. But what about what is considered clean and unclean. What struck me as odd is the time limits and restrictions for when "Aunt Flow" makes her monthly visit, after a woman gives birth, or after a man has a "release". Today's society have developed cures for the disease that are mentioned. We have better ways of taking care of mold, mildew and stains. So, we still to follow those laws that were given to Moses, or are these questions addressed later on?

And the various festivals? I know passover is a Jewish holiday, but the festival of Thin Bread, The Harvest Festival, The Festival of Trumpets & the great Day of Forgiveness are new to me

BTW, if it maters, I have been reading from a Contemporary English Version (CEV) Bible, and using a New International Version (NIV) Bible as a comparison.

Veretax
Oct 19th 2008, 01:57 PM
your not alone here. I've often been told that folks are amazed at my OT knowledge, although I knew in some areas I lacked I've recently been lead to realize that some things like the Feasts I do not have a full understanding of, so at some point I'm going to study up on them.

Honestly, there is a lot of doctrine in the bible. And often I'll reread passages I've read more than ten times in the past, and each time the meaning is fresh and as new, and many times fuller than it was before.

I don't have an answer for you on your cures question though :/

Kahtar
Oct 19th 2008, 02:32 PM
The natural first, then that which is spiritual.

Leviticus, and all those levitical laws and ordinances, etc. are a shadow of the true. The true is spiritual.

So when studying Leviticus and Numbers, if you look, you will see that they are the physical action of spiritual truth.

For example, then there was a physical temple in which the priests served.

They had a daily service. Actually a twice daily service. An animal was sacrificed, the temple was cleansed and prepared for the service, etc.

Now, the temple is US, and God dwells in our 'holy of holies', or our spirit.Just as the priests daily sacrificed an animal, so we should daily examine ourselves and repent and place our sins 'on the head of the sacrifice' Who is Jesus Christ. We should daily 'trim our wicks' and 'refill our lamp' with the oil of the Spirit, and daily offer up sacrifices of praise, and offer ourselves a living sacrifice which is our reasonable service.

Just as the priests daily burnt incense in the temple, so we should be offering up our prayers daily.

Virtually every aspect of the priests life and service has its counterpart in the New Testament. What was then done in the physical realm, is now done in the spiritual realm.

As to what is clean and unclean, Jesus answered that one. The physical food we eat just passes through and 'comes out in the draught'. It is what we eat spiritually that is our concern. Is what we are feeding our spirit clean, or unclean?

Of course, you will find that all those unclean animals then are also not the healthiest thing for us to eat today. But even then, if a person ate something unclean, he was only unclean till evening.

The same general idea holds true with the feasts of the Lord, also. Then, they were physically practiced, but they were also prophetic, on at least 3 levels.

Jesus Christ was the Passover Lamb, and He bore our sins out of the house just as the 'thin bread' as you called it was removed from the house. When Christ rose on the third day, He became the Firstfruits of the church. The Holy Spirit was poured out in the upper room on the feast of Pentecost.Trumpets, Atonement and Tabernacles have been fulfilled by Jesus Christ, but they have not yet been fulfilled in the body of Christ, the 'church'.
Also, the very conception of Jesus and the following nine months to his birth fulfilled those same feasts.

Should we observe the feasts today? That's your call. Some celebrate the birth of Christ at Christmas, others celebrate it at the true time of His birth, the first day of Tabernacles. Some celebrate His death and resurrection on Easter, while others celebrate His death and resurrection on those days they actually took place, Passover and Firstfruits.

Dani H
Oct 19th 2008, 03:56 PM
Many of the Levitical laws were health laws and given by God (who was certainly aware of how diseases are caused and spread) to protect the people from illnesses that come from overlooking personal and community hygiene. God was aware of the damage that molds and bacteria and viruses can do to our bodies, and how quickly they can spread and wipe out a whole community that had no access to medical care. There is a very practical aspect to God's laws, too. :)

Biastai
Oct 19th 2008, 04:18 PM
Many of the Levitical laws were health laws and given by God (who was certainly aware of how diseases are caused and spread) to protect the people from illnesses that come from overlooking personal and community hygiene. God was aware of the damage that molds and bacteria and viruses can do to our bodies, and how quickly they can spread and wipe out a whole community that had no access to medical care. There is a very practical aspect to God's laws, too. :)

This explains it nicely. Remember, the laws had to be given in a way able to be understood by those who receive them. Its comparable to when kids ask their parents where babies come from and depending on the kids' ages an answer is formulated differently. A camp of six hundred thousand nomads cannot afford to have animal carcasses lying around, human feces unburied, to use vessels which touched dead animals, etc. Its why "plague" is a common punishment for disobedience in these books.

A short but informative chapter on the Law is found in How to Read the Bible for All its Worth by Fee and Stuart. It turns out some laws were made to prevent Israel's assimilation into Canaanite fertility cult practices i.e. sewing two fabrics together, mating different species of animal.

petepet
Oct 19th 2008, 04:44 PM
A few months ago I began to read my bible everyday prior to bed. I kinda bounced around and read whatever book my finger landed on. Well, being the curious one, every time something was mentioned from earlier in the bible, I went back and read that story... well I got to the point that I figured it'd be easier if I started over and went cover to cover.

Well, I just finished Leviticus, and it's left me with more questions than answers...

I know we don't offer animal sacrifices anymore because Jesus paid that price for us.

But we can learn a great deal from considering the animal sacrifices. The first lesson is one of atonement. They are a reminder that we need constantly to recognise that our Lord Jesus Christ has made atonement for us. 'In this was love, not that we loved Him but that He loved us and gave His Son as a propitiation for our sins'.

The second is one of continual dedication of ourselves (Romans 12.1-2). The idea of the burnt offering was of total dedication to God (it was wholly consumed), in our case through Jesus Christ our Lord.

The idea of the sin offering was to remind us that we must seek cleanising from our sins in the blood of Jesus (1 John 1.7).

The idea of the peace (wellbeing) and thanksgiving offerings was that we should seek constantly to be at peace with God and that we should daily offer Him thanks, through Jesus Christ our peace and thanksgiving offering.


But what about what is considered clean and unclean.

The lesson from the idea of what is clean and unclean is huge. Have you noticed what made the difference between the clean and the unclean? The clean lived in 'clean areas', and did not pollute themselves with what was dirty and unpleasant. It was a constant indication to Israel of the kind of life that God wanted them to live, the spiritual 'high life'.

The unclean snuffled in the dirt, and ventured into places where death was contacted. They lived the low life.

In the words of the poet, 'The high souls choose the high way, and the low souls choose the low, and in between on the misty flats, the rest go to and fro. And every man decideth, which way his soul will go.' That is the lesson of clean and unclean. But now our example is found in Jesus Christ Who leads us in the ultimate high way. 'the way of holiness'.

The same lesson is taught by all the references to what is 'unclean'. The idea was the preservation of purity and cleanness (and much of it was good medical advice).

To learn something about the lessons of Leviticus read Bonar's Commentary on Leviticus (available on the net).

What struck me as odd is the time limits and restrictions for when "Aunt Flow" makes her monthly visit, after a woman gives birth, or after a man has a "release". Today's society have developed cures for the disease that are mentioned. We have better ways of taking care of mold, mildew and stains. So, we still to follow those laws that were given to Moses, or are these questions addressed later on?

No they have been replaced in Jesus Christ, Who is our perfect example, and by greater knowledge on such matters. . But there was good sense to them. And they gave clear instructions to young men and women on how to deal with 'private matters', at a time when people were unwilling to talk about such things..

And the various festivals? I know passover is a Jewish holiday, but the festival of Thin Bread, The Harvest Festival, The Festival of Trumpets & the great Day of Forgiveness are new to me

There are wonderful lessons to be learned from the feasts, which were partly harvest feast, and feasts of thanksgiving. Unleavened bread celebrated the lambing season and the early promises of harvest. The feast of sevens (weeks) celebrated the grain harvest. Tabernacles celebrated the end of season of harvests, and especially the summer fruits and vintage, and included prayers for rain in the coming rainy season, rain on which future harvests would depend. We imitate this with our harvest festivals.

Passover was, of course, special as it was the feast of remembering redemption (like our Easter - 1 Corinthians 5.7). Unleavened bread reminds us that we have to get rid of the old leaven from our lives (1 Corinthians 5.6-7). Sevens is a reminder of what we owe to God for all His provision (see Matthew 6) and is also a reminder of God's giving of His covenant. Tabernacles celebrates the expectancy of the rain of the Holy Spirit (John 7.37-39).

And above all the Day of Atonement, expanded on In Hebrews 7-9, is a reminder of Christ's own sacrifice for us, and that one day He will return to receive us to Himself (Hebrews 9.23-28).

See Bonar's commentary for further detail. Or go to http://www.geocities.com/petepartington/ and click on Leviticus.

BTW, if it maters, I have been reading from a Contemporary English Version (CEV) Bible, and using a New International Version (NIV) Bible as a comparison.

After considering my comments added to the above quote in bold type you will hopefully see that read with guidance the Book of Leviticus is a treasure house of spiritual teaching.

Richard H
Oct 19th 2008, 05:26 PM
That’s a great answer, Kahtar.
Complete and yet concise.

Levin
Oct 19th 2008, 06:49 PM
It is encouraging to know that all Christians haven't completely abandoned the OT. It will help you interpret your reading if you ask a few questions:

Who was this written to?

Why was this written?

When was this written?

How did God relate to His people at this time?

Did Jesus (or any part of the NT) change or modify any of this teaching?

What does this say about God's character?

Asking these questions (and others) can help you understand difficult passages like those in Leviticus.

Regarding purity laws and the festivals of the OT, Paul gives some great teaching in Colossians 2:16-23:

Therefore let no one pass judgment on you in questions of food and drink, or with regard to a festival or a new moon or a Sabbath. These are a shadow of the things to come, but the substance belongs to Christ. Let no one disqualify you, insisting on asceticism and worship of angels, going on in detail about visions, puffed up without reason by his sensuous mind, and not holding fast to the Head, from whom the whole body, nourished and knit together through its joints and ligaments, grows with a growth that is from God. If with Christ you died to the elemental spirits of the world, why, as if you were still alive in the world, do you submit to regulations— "Do not handle, Do not taste, Do not touch" (referring to things that all perish as they are used)—according to human precepts and teachings? These have indeed an appearance of wisdom in promoting self-made religion and asceticism and severity to the body, but they are of no value in stopping the indulgence of the flesh.


There are many other helpful passages (especially in Romans) where Paul treats what the Law is for and whether we obey it or not.

I hope this helps in your study of Leviticus.


Sincerely,
Levin

BHS
Oct 19th 2008, 07:32 PM
Leviticus is the book of "holiness" and helps us to understand the holiness of God and how important it was for God to have a people that were set apart for Him. It was so important that this was the first book taught to the Israelite children for memorization.

Upon reading it, it seems like just a lot of rules and regulations, but God has placed within them a standard of moral behavior along with doctrines and teachings about Himself and the Messiah. Therefore, it is a book that should be read again and again to glean what God might have to say to us. The quote in 1 Peter 1:16 "YOU SHALL BE HOLY, FOR I AM HOLY" comes from Leviticus.

Blessings,
BHS

Chimon
Oct 19th 2008, 10:36 PM
So, we still to follow those laws that were given to Moses, or are these questions addressed later on?

And the various festivals? I know passover is a Jewish holiday, but the festival of Thin Bread, The Harvest Festival, The Festival of Trumpets & the great Day of Forgiveness are new to me

The harvest festival is also known as Pentecost, which is the same day (much later) that the Holy Spirit came on the disciples and inaugurated the church.

The short answer to this question is that yes, the Bible does address this later. Acts 10-17 address this issue. In Acts 10 the church is extended to the Gentiles, in Acts 15 the church leaders call a council to decide if the Gentiles should follow the Law, and in Acts 17 Paul preaches the gospel in Athens without using any Scripture. All of these events are quite surprising in the narrative, and warrant serious study. How they apply to us and whether we should emulate them is outside the scope of this discussion.

Also, the book of Galatians was written by Paul almost exclusively to address issues of the Law. I suggest a serious in depth study of this book. You could read the whole thing today, it's only 6 chapters. Paul reaches the thesis of his argument halfway through the book, in chapter 3, verses 23-26, "Now before faith came, we were held captive under the law, imprisoned until the coming faith would be revealed. So then, the law was our guardian until Christ came, in order that we might be justified by faith. But now that faith has come, we are no longer under a guardian, for in Christ Jesus you are all sons of God, through faith." (ESV)

As Levin said, Paul also deals with this in several places in Romans. Colossians 2 and Ephesians 2 also deal with the Law and the relationship between the Jews and Gentiles. The whole book of Hebrews compares the Old Covenant and the New Covenant and comes to the conclusion that, "Christ has obtained a ministry that is as much more excellent than the old as the covenant he mediates is better, since it is enacted on better promises." (8:6, ESV.)

So in conclusion, the Law was a big issue that in the early church, and there are many places where the New Testament addresses this question. Let us remember that Scripture interprets Scripture, and it is important to examine individual passages in light of the whole Bible.

The questions Levin asked are also very good, and worth taking the time to answer.


On a personal note, Leviticus is probably my third favorite book in the Old Testament (after Hosea and Ezekiel) because Leviticus really gives us an understanding for how far away from God we were and how magnificent the sacrifice of Christ was to bring us near to God. Without understanding Leviticus, Ephesians makes no sense when it talks about the peace and unity Christ has brought,

"Therefore remember that at one time you Gentiles in the flesh, called 'the uncircumcision' by what is called the circumcision, which is made in the flesh by hands— remember that you were at that time separated from Christ, alienated from the commonwealth of Israel and strangers to the covenants of promise, having no hope and without God in the world. But now in Christ Jesus you who once were far off have been brought near by the blood of Christ. For he himself is our peace, who has made us both one and has broken down in his flesh the dividing wall of hostility 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, and might reconcile us both to God in one body through the cross, thereby killing the hostility. And he came and preached peace to you who were far off and peace to those who were near." (2:11-17, ESV)

'peace to you who were far off and peace to those who were near,' is one of my favorite expression in the Bible, but it makes no sense without understanding the cleanliness laws and how the Jews were separate from God though he was near, and the Gentiles were far from God and there was hostility between them and the Jews because the Gentiles were defiled. But God has made us as clean as the High Priest and as holy as the Holy of Holies.*


I hope that helps.



*1 Corinthians 3:16-17, 6:19

Jurell
Oct 20th 2008, 04:44 PM
Thank you all for your thoughts. What you have said does bring the Leviticus more into focus for me

Emanate
Oct 20th 2008, 06:14 PM
And the various festivals? I know passover is a Jewish holiday, but the festival of Thin Bread, The Harvest Festival, The Festival of Trumpets & the great Day of Forgiveness are new to me


The Apponted Times of YHWH found in Leviticus are an excellent way to see not only the Plan of God as appointed in the beginning, but also to see Messiah in the very festivals that He observed. As I have said many times, both of my sons accepted Y'shua as Messiah in a Passover meal. Every year I see something new or I am reminded of something that might have passed my attention.

ƒσяєяυииєя
Oct 22nd 2008, 02:15 AM
Hello Jurell,

It is a good idea to read the whole book from cover to cover, once I tried but I need to continue to finish it, I took a break when i was reading more or less by Paul letters, it`s good you know there are some sites I think which have the chronology of the Bible so one can read it in such order, thus get or understand a bit clearer the entire story.

About the ceremonial law:

And you, being dead in your sins and the uncircumcision of your flesh, hath he quickened together with him, having forgiven you all trespasses;

Blotting out the handwriting of ordinances that was against us, which was contrary to us, and took it out of the way, nailing it to his cross; Colossians 2:13-14.


Cya later