What is Leviticus All About? — Part II

“YOU CAN’T EAT THAT!”

“Unclean, Unclean!” “Don’t eat that!!!

What do a pastor, bartender, and a barber have in common?  People usually share their deep-seated secrets and sins with these men.  But I had a very surreal experience the last time I visited my barber, he confessed his sins to me!  What was it that he confessed?  Nothing that would mar his character I assure you.  His words, “I love to fish and eat all kinds of seafood, even though the Bible commands us not to, I can’t help it.”

Is that really the purpose Leviticus 11?  What is the purpose of the clean and unclean descriptions?  Did God command Moses to write this so my barber, and others like him, can be condemned to hell for enjoying a Lobster or some shrimp?  I don’t think so.  The general purpose of Leviticus is worship, but I think the specific reason for the description of the clean and unclean animals is to foreshadow Jesus.

God declares what is clean and unclean.  His people will follow what He commands no matter how silly it may seem to those who reject Him.  Those that follow Him will be holy for He is holy.  His children will do what He commands and grow in holiness.   As God’s people follow His commands, there will be an outward and obvious difference between the ‘clean’ and the ‘unclean.’  There would be a gulf between the clean – the Hebrews, and the unclean – the Gentiles.  But there will come a day when God will declare some Gentiles as ‘clean.’  That gulf would be destroyed and the clean, both Jew and Gentile, will be declared clean in one new Man – Jesus the Christ.  That day is finally  here!  God gave the apostle Peter a dream and told him, “What God made clean, do not call common” (Acts 11:9).  This message was so important, that God gave him the dream three times (Acts 11:10).  The apostle Paul also testifies that the day is here.  He writes in Ephesians that Jesus is our peace and made both one and has broken down in His flesh the dividing wall of hostility… and created in Himself one new man in the place of one.  The purpose for the list in Leviticus 11 was ultimately to point to Jesus.

So to those who love seafood, enjoy your lobster and shrimp and listen to the apostle Paul’s words: “The one who eats, eats in honor of the Lord, since he gives thanks to God.” (Romans 14:6)

Brian L. Spivey

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7 thoughts on “What is Leviticus All About? — Part II

  1. Off topic, but God tearing down the dividing wall between Jew and Gentile is another argument against dispensationalism, which asserts that God is going to, essentially, put that wall back up. WIthout realizing it, they would have us go backward in redemptive history.

    So, what did you say to your barber?

    • I did not realize how wide-spread Dispensationalism is/was. Tear down the wall, only to build it up again… sounds illogical to me, but I was there not too many years ago.

      I haven’t said anything to my barber yet. The time I wrote about was a month ago. Thanksgiving Eve was the last time I was there and it was very late and crowded… I didn’t think it was appropriate to bring it up… PLUS, I need to be careful not to moralize but present CHRIST. I am still praying.

    • The first three chapters describes in detail the different offerings. The sin offering (Chapter 5) was to be presented for sins of omission, guilt realized after the fact. The guilt offering was a constant reminder that the people of God was guilty before the Lord. There was only one way to escape that gift — life for life. The book of Hebrews tells us that the blood of bulls and goats could not take away sins, only the shed blood of Jesus Christ. So the book of Leviticus, repeatedly called for animal sacrifices, which constantly reminded Israel of the sin and guilt, pointed them to the One who was promised to come to take away their sin and guilt permanently (Isaiah 53:5).
      The priest themselves pointed to Christ (See Hebrews 2-4), and then we see the fulfillment of the atonement (Chapt 16) in the death of Jesus). The clean and unclean animals pointed to Christ (Chapt 11), and even the reason why the Hebrews could not eat blood pointed to Christ. There is obviously a bigger picture when Jesus said, “If you don’t eat my flesh and drink my blood” you have no life in you (John 6:53-54). This points back to Leviticus.
      Jesus Himself told taught that the Old Testament pointed to Him. Many of the rituals and ceremonies were given to children of Israel so that they would look for the Suffering Servant, who would come to serve and not be served. The One who would usher in the Kingdom of God through the heart of men, not through the gates of Rome. They looked for the Judge who would rule and reign on the earth. One who would destroy His enemies, but that is the picture of Christ in His second coming. Those natural Jews missed their Messiah the first time, I pray that when they ( and we) read Leviticus and the other OT writings, we look for Him, while He may be found. (With the Help of the Holy Spirit) When He returns, it will be too late.

      Thanks for the question and the opportunity to clarify my post. Look out for more about Leviticus.

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