Leviticus 9 – 12
Today we see Levi’s sons being “consumed by fire” for offering “profane fire before The Lord.” This is tough, but it shows how sacred the process was and how things should be done exactly as God instructs. Although this seems unreasonable, there is a lesson to us (and that’s really what it’s all about, instruction).
We should follow the instructions (I suppose especially the sermon on the mount since that seems to be Christ’s description of the New Covenant we hear so much about) that God gives us. We obviously can’t follow the instructions properly, unless we know what they are, so, read the Bible.
Food can be a contentious issue, but I’ll save that debate until the New Testament, for now I’m just going to look at the text.
The instructions forbid us from eating certain foods – very nice foods. Things like pork; ostrich; shellfish and so on are delicacies, but Leviticus forbids them. This isn’t because God was being mean, research has been done which supports that these foods can affect health and thus there was a purpose to the laws. I will do a post on food at some point to cover some of this, but suffice it to say, the dangers of pork are reasonably well known. The laws are a health thing and came down to obedience to the New Testament law of keeping the body like a temple, but I’ll worry about the New Testament when we get there.
There are a few problems, some insects use their front legs almost like arms, and this is possibly why God refers to four legged insects, it isn’t a scientific classification. Bats are listed as birds, but they are mammals. I’ve mentioned before that the Bible isn’t a science textbook, and this is another example (like the insects, or the reference to deciduous trees in Job). Bats appear to be bird like, and the Hebrew linguistic classification would cover them as flying beings, so in that they are birds. We simply need to understand the difference between scientific and linguistic classification.
The big problem here seems to be four legged birds, which to be honest, I’m not sure how to answer, but I doubt that someone would have made something like that up without an explanation. If anyone can help (I know there are better qualified people out there to answer this), please do.
We see the re-affirming of circumcision, and I’ll cover whether or not this is still a requirement when we get to the New Testament as it was a serious bone of contention in the first century church. Meanwhile we’ll just accept that the Old Testament was ambiguous about this.
We also see (in chapter 12) the implication that childbirth is sinful, yet God gave the command in Eden (prior to sin) to be fruitful and multiply. Other things needed a sacrifice to restore cleanliness, like leprosy. Obviously getting ill is not a sin, but certain things need to be done to get rid of the “uncleanliness.” Obviously scientifically speaking, sacrifice isn’t going to take away any health problems caused in childbirth or leprosy, but an interventionalist God may act on the sacrifice and sort out problems. Another point is that this showed how serious cleanliness surrounding certains situations was paramount and thus people may have taken more care in cleaning up afterwards, and thus this helped teach an important lesson that still applies today, even if the sacrifice is unnecessary.
What are your thoughts?
Please give the reading through the Bible page a look if you haven’t already, there are some background posts and the index to this reading plan. Share it with others who you think can benefit from Reading the Bible.