Theological Trajectories from Eden & Sinai in Habakkuk 3 continued….

As the Song of Moses celebrates the defeat of the Egyptian slave masters, this psalm-like prayer contains a broad recollection of the Lord’s past powerful deeds of judgment for the salvation of His people. O. Palmer Robertson describes it as

a collage, a collecting of many images to convey an impression both of past experience and of future expectation is the medium of the prophet. Moses’ song, Deborah’s song, David’s song blend to provide a framework for anticipating the future.[1]

It is composed with an eye to the impending conquest of the captors of God’s people (the Babylonians). James Hamilton, Jr., in his aptly-titled work of biblical theology, God’s Glory in Salvation Through Judgment, concurs on this point:

Habakkuk’s psalm of praise rehearses Yahweh’s past acts of salvation through judgment in order to assure his audience that they can trust Yahweh, in spite of the faith-threatening nature of their circumstances.[2]

What are the actual points of connection in the text of these two songs? There are many terms and significant images in Habakkuk 3 that recall the Exodus, the Red Sea event, and specifically, the Song of Moses.[3] Certainly to the ancient Israelite’s ear, finding these in the climax of the book of Habakkuk would trigger a connection with the great, prototypical salvation event of the Old Testament — in some cases creating vivid contrasts.

The listing that follows is a brief overview of these connections, with comments, drawn from more detailed observations in the Hebrew text.

  • God, the Holy One, comes from a far mountain to powerfully interact with men… The Lord is the primary actor in both the psalm of Habakkuk and the Song of Moses, and He is the one celebrated for the display of His character, His power and the great salvation (through judgment) which He affects. Both use His covenant name, Yahweh, and both mention His holiness/distinctness from other beings.
  • the glory of the Lord covers [overwhelms] creation, to His praise… The verb for cover, used earlier (Habakkuk 2:17) to state how God will “overwhelm” His enemies, is also part the fulfillment of the great goal of Habakkuk 2:14. The widespread cover of the knowledge of the glory of the Lord certainly includes the execution of just judgments on His enemies, as well as the display of His redeemed grace to His people. The flood-victory over Egypt was but a foretaste of the coming defeat of the Chaldeans — and the ultimate victory over Babylon in Revelation.
  • His coming is attended by “pestilence” and “plague”… These particular terms which occur early in the Habakkuk psalm narrow the hearers recollection to the period of the great signs and wonders of the Exodus.
  • imagery of rivers,waters, and seas as sites of powerful conflict… Certainly the references of Habakkuk’s psalm could be pointing to several events in the Old Testament besides the Exodus deliverance at the Red Sea. Yet the reader’s mind is drawn to the scenes at the Nile River (where wonders were performed) and the Red Sea (at the supernatural climax of the deliverance), especially when taken in concert with the other terms and images presented by Habakkuk.
  • images of horses, chariots in conquest… While these are common elements of Old Testament battle scenarios, when mentioned by Habakkuk they add further impetus to recall the Exodus conflagration. The unforgettable refrain from the Song of Moses (Exodus 15:1, 21) rushes to mind:  “Sing to the LORD, for he has triumphed gloriously; the horse and his rider he has thrown into the sea.” Notice, however, that this is a contrasting connection between the two passages. In the Song of Moses, it is the man-made chariots of superpower Egypt which are destroyed by the Lord; whereas in Habakkuk’s psalm it is the Lord who rode a figurative chariot of salvation — referring to forces of physical forces of creation harnessed against His enemies at the day of judgment. This contrast does not undo the link, but strengthens the designs of Habakkuk, exalting the superior ways of God.
  • specific graphic actions involving the deep, trampling, and arrows… Among the key action verbs found in both passages, Habakkuk’s reference to the deep connects not only with the death-by-flood event of the Exodus, as described in the Song of Moses, but also with the great flood of Genesis. This world, and its heights and its depths are the Lord’s possession — and all are designed to function within the great blueprint of God for creation. In the hands of the Creator, the forces of nature are the greatest of all tools or weapons.
  • personal words of trust, hope, and praise at the closing… The opening and closing elements of both the psalm of Habakkuk and the Song of Moses convey the related purpose for the passages — to exalt and praise the Lord for past deliverances, as well as to express faith and trust in Him for full salvation in the future. The closing confession of Habakkuk (3:18-19) arrives with similar, profound power as does the refrain of Miriam at the close of the Song of Moses. What do the people of God need to fear, when He is such a powerful and faithful conqueror over the greatest armies and warriors of men?

 

These connections from Habakkuk 3 to the Song of Moses in Exodus 15 are readily spotted reading an English translation of text. But how much more, would a native Hebrew speaker react to Habakkuk’s chosen terms and images to recall the Song of Moses and events of the Exodus.

[1] O. Palmer Robertson, The Books of Nahum, Habakkuk and Zephaniah, (William B. Eerdmans, 1990). 219.

[2] James Hamilton, Jr., 252-3.

[3] Thomas Schreiner, 413.

posted on behalf of Pastor Dave Bissett

C.M. Granger

Theological Trajectories from Eden & Sinai in Habakkuk 3

What follows is Dave’s paper (in sections) which was presented at the recent meeting of the Evangelical Theological Society at Gordon-Conwell Theological Seminary.  It’s also going to be published in the July issue of the Puritan Reformed Theological Journal….

 

I.  Introduction

The trajectory of the various biblical motifs and themes woven within both the Old and the New Testaments reaches a climax in the book of Revelation. For instance, the garden-like temple-city of Revelation 21 is the climax of a major theme first evidenced in Genesis by the Garden of Eden, where “humans were created to build for God a temple-city on the earth.”

Additional themes from the creation account (e.g., man’s status as the Lord’s vice-regent) are developed in the story of the Bible, even as the fall of mankind into sin created significant twists and turns. The book of Exodus further develops these, as well as unique sub-themes (e.g., how God can continue to dwell among His people after their fall into sin). The tabernacle, the temple, and the city of Jerusalem in the promised land, all play very important roles in the grand theme of God’s design to dwell on earth with His people, and set the stage for the specific developments of the New Testament — the coming of Jesus Christ, the church, and ultimately, the “New Jerusalem” of Revelation 21.

This paper identifies a few of the key theological trajectories from Genesis and Exodus as they appear in the minor prophet Habakkuk, specifically focusing on chapter 3 — the “prayer of Habakkuk the prophet” — the final, climactic chapter of that book.

II.  Overview of Habakkuk

The book of Habakkuk is the eighth of twelve minor prophets found at the end of the Old Testament. These three short chapters were composed in Judah during the last days of Josiah and the regime of Jehoiakim, sometime prior to invasion by the Chaldeans (Babylonians) and the exile of Judah, c.605–587 BC.  Habakkuk himself is a main character of his book, yet little is known about him other than his title “prophet” (1:1). “Less is stated in the Bible concerning Habakkuk than almost any other prophet” says David Baker.  He was likely a contemporary of Jeremiah, as well as other minor prophets Nahum and Zephaniah. The minor prophets are often called The Twelve to stress their shared emphases and their collective unity. Stephen Dempster observes they all typically emphasize three things:  the sin of Israel, the just judgment of God, and, the hope after the judgment. Habakkuk focuses primarily on the first two of those common elements, while the third element is implied in several spots, as we will see.

Not every prophet in this collection predicts all these events, but the entire combination (12 minor prophets) presents a more panoramic view of the future than found in the previous prophets. … All announce coming judgment.

The times in which Habakkuk lived were filled with violence, and gross disobedience towards God and His law. “The fabric of national life had begun to come apart at the seams.”  God would chasten His people with the invasion of Judah, the destruction of Jerusalem and exile from the land — all as “the result of covenantal defection, of a failure to trust in and obey the Lord.”

The theme of the book of Habakkuk typically magnifies the pivotal verse, 2:4b, the righteous shall live by his faith.   R.K. Harrison provides a summary-like statement of the theme, while F.F. Bruce highlights Habakkuk’s personal application.

Spiritual rectitude is an absolute necessity for both individuals and nations; that wealth is at best a teachers foundation for a secure life; that evil is bound to fail ultimately even though it may experience temporary triumphs at the expense of good; and that trust in the power of God is the only sure basis of strength … whatever the external circumstances may be.

[Habakkuk’s theme is the] preservation of loyal trust in God in face of the challenge to faith presented by the bitter experience of foreign invasion. …Habakkuk, in hardship and privation, comes to know God more fully and to rejoice in Him for His own sake and not for the benefits He bestows.

Immediate context for Habakkuk

The book of Habakkuk is easily divided in two, with chapters one and two forming the first part — presenting a unique dialogue-of-sorts between the prophet and the Lord. The dialogue is initially about the sins of the people of Jerusalem and the seeming inattention of the Lord to the situation, but then quickly shifts, driven by the prophet’s concerns over the Lord’s harsh plan to deal those sins (invasion and exile at the hand of a wicked nation). Chapter three forms the second part — a prayer in the form of a psalm-like poem  presenting the prophet’s final response of faith in the Lord’s plans.

The third chapter, then, is the climax of the book, the result of the prophet’s dialogue with his Lord, and his digestion of that revelation.  Chapter three is titled a prayer (3:1), yet packaged and apparently presented to the people for use as a psalm in public worship (see 3:19c).  The intended audience was not limited to the doomed residents of Judah, but included any who would face similar, stark circumstances from the hand of the Lord.

In this prayer, Habakkuk asserts that he will do what Yahweh calls the righteous to do in 2:4, namely, he will trust Yahweh and rejoice in Him even if it seems that Yahweh’s promises of a prosperous land — blossoming fig trees, fruit on the vines, flocks in the fold, herds in the stalls — are not seen (3:17–19).

III.  Habakkuk 3 in the Bible’s Historical-Redemptive Story

The book of Habakkuk has several points of contact with the Bible’s central historical-redemptive storyline; the text of chapter 3, in particular, playing a crucial role. This section of the paper looks, first, at two broad connections with the Bible’s grand storyline in Habakkuk. It then narrows to examine the text chapter three in light of key trajectories from Eden and Sinai.

Connections to the Dominion Mandate.

Perhaps the strongest point of contact is found in the declaration of the prophet in Habakkuk 2:14, at the center of the “vision” (2:2) which he was instructed to write plainly and distribute widely:  For the earth will be filled with the knowledge of the glory of the LORD as the waters cover the sea. This verse is anchored to the very purposes of creation, and displays God’s design behind the placement of mankind in the garden, as stated in the “Dominion Mandate” of Genesis 1:28 — And God blessed them. And God said to them, “Be fruitful and multiply and fill the earth and subdue it, and have dominion over the fish of the sea and over the birds of the heavens and over every living thing that moves on the earth.”

At creation, Yahweh designed a cosmic theater for His glory. On the cosmic stage God constructed a garden-temple, and He put His image in the temple. The image of God, man, was to extend the borders of the garden-temple by ruling over the earth and subduing it.

The grand design of God for establishing His dwelling with men on the earth took a great turn at the Fall of Adam and Eve and their exile from the garden (Genesis 3). When the wickedness of mankind grew great, the Lord permanently exiled all but eight souls from the face of the earth in the flood (Genesis 6–9). As the descendants of Noah increased and disobeyed the Creator’s commands, they attempted to build for themselves a man-made mountain-city named Babel, (Genesis 11) — revealing that “by instinct, men are city builders” who would “attempt to access heaven and avoid filling the earth.”

Nevertheless, God’s plan and purpose to fill the earth with His glorious presence remain. They are reiterated in Habakkuk 2:14, which speaks of “God’s purpose to establish and expand His presence in a new Edenic temple even after the exile.”  Whether God’s people were living east of Eden, or in Egypt as slaves, or in the southern half of a divided kingdom, or exiled from Jerusalem to the land of Babylon, the goal of our Creator’s Dominion Mandate — to fill the earth with His presence and the knowledge of His glory — will be passionately pursued.

The Lord’s commitment to be present with His people is overwhelming — strong enough to conquer sin and death. Nothing can thwart God’s plan to be with His people in a relationship that surpasses the intimacy of Eden. God’s goal to be with His people still directs the flow and outcome of salvation history as God providentially brings His redemptive mission to completion, a mission accomplished through covenants.

Connections to Babel–Babylon

This city of Babel not only “casts a long shadow over the whole of the biblical narrative”  but is particularly significant to the content of the book of Habakkuk. Babel is more widely known in the Old and New Testaments by its other name, Babylon. It represents the determined, rebellious efforts of man’s opposition to dwelling with God on His terms. It will only be finally destroyed in the last day (Rev. 18) at the return of Christ and the coming of the New Jerusalem.

The book of Habakkuk connects with the Babylon theme in two ways:  first, in the middle “woe” of the five announced in chapter two; and then, more generally in the rapidly-rising Babylonian empire (“Chaldeans” in 1:6), whom God raises up to destroy the holy city and take its residents into captivity!   The particular woe of Habakkuk 2:12-13 is clearly against those who live and labor as did the first Babylonians:  12 Woe to him who builds a town with blood and founds a city on iniquity! 13 Behold, is it not from the LORD of hosts that peoples labor merely for fire, and nations weary themselves for nothing?

Tellingly, Habakkuk’s comments highlight the futility of building Babylon through the oppression of others, for ultimately when the New Jerusalem comes, the earth will be filled with God’s glory (2:14).

In the days of Habakkuk, although the northern kingdom had gone into exile, there were people of God dwelling in Jerusalem, with the temple of God in their midst. And as her prophets faithfully labored, “the importance of Jerusalem [began] to grow in prophetic eschatology.”   But the people were living in sin and spiritual rebellion even after witnessing the exile of the northern kingdom a century earlier.

She herself had not learned, however, that repeated violation of the covenant with God on her own part would not be left unpunished forever. She would not, according to the prophet, be faced with a similar fate herself.

The Lord will not let the residents of Jerusalem continue to live as if they were residents of Babylon — and so He ordains through Habakkuk that He will exile them to that very place (1:6ff). “Israel sinned like Adam and was exiled from God’s presence and out of the land, and God withdrew His presence from their temple.”  Such a corrective move was vital to the larger mission of God, because “only by Israel being distinct from the nations was there any purpose in being Israel at all or any hope for the nations themselves eventually.”

It is a grand theme indeed, that Babel-Babylon — the “archetypal god-less city”  which represented the first rebellious effort to compete with the proper establishment of God’s dwelling with men on earth — would arise centuries later as a swift, merciless, military empire to overrun the holy city of Jerusalem during the lifetime of Habakkuk. Yet, as the book of Revelation makes clear, the Lord will destroy Babylon in the end, as the New Jerusalem arrives.

Connections to the Exodus and the “Song of Moses”

Perhaps the most exciting discovery in this study of Habakkuk is how the psalm-like prayer of chapter three makes use of the “Song of Moses” in Exodus 15. We will unpack those connections after first recalling the context of the Song of Moses, and showing how Habakkuk 3 is to be understood as a song.

After 400 years in slavery in Egypt, the LORD delivered His people from Pharaoh by powerful signs and wonders. Arie Leder reduces the theme of Exodus to one sentence:  “By mighty signs of power the Lord rescues Israel from Pharaoh and brings her to His presence at Sinai in order to dwell in her midst by means of the tabernacle.”[1]  To honor the Lord and to celebrate that great deliverance, Moses and the people of Israel sang this song to the LORD (Exodus 15:1).

This song reminds the reader of the wider perspective of the biblical narrative:  The nations will tremble at the passing of God’s people (15:14-16), and the establishing of the Lord’s dwelling place (15:13, 17).[2]

Blackburn concurs, that not only the Song of Moses but the entire book of Exodus sees “the Lord’s missionary commitment to make Himself know to the nations as the central theological concern.”[3]

But is the third chapter of Habakkuk also such a song? It is considered to be a psalm-like piece with designs for liturgical use in the temple[4] or by worshippers in the coming exile. There are clues that point the reader in this direction.

First, the presence of a formal title — which is explicitly a “prayer” but similar to many such titles in the Psalter used for poetic, liturgical prayer.[5]  Second, the liturgical term Shigionoth — which may refer to an instrument or a type of psalm (the term appears only here and at Psalm 7:1).  Third, we notice the repeated presence of the musical term Selah in 3:3, 9 and 13.  Finally, unique in the prophetic writings, there is an explicitly musical postscript, To the choirmaster: with stringed instruments (3:19c).

[1] Arie Leder, Reading Exodus to Learn and Learning to Read Exodus, Calvin Theological Journal 34 (1999), 35.

[2] Arie Leder, The Coherence of Exodus:  Narrative Unity and Meaning, Calvin Theological Journal 36 (2001), 258.

[3] W. Ross Blackburn, The God Who Makes Himself Known, NSBT 28, (Apollos/InterVarsity Press, 2012), 15.

[4] Daniel I. Block, 20.

[5] See Pss 17; 55:1; 61:1-2; 86; 90;102; 141:2; 142; and, 143:1. [Also, c.f., Ps. 72:20, The prayers of David, the son of Jesse, are ended.]

posted on behalf of Pastor Dave Bissett

C.M. Granger

What Does God have in Common with the Incredible Hulk?


In Scripture we are directed to look at a shepherd, a rock, and a lamb, all for the purpose of understanding the many attributes of God. There are also things that God is contrasted to so that we can know what God is NOT.
God is not a man that He should lie (Numbers 23:19), God is not blind (Hebrews 4:13), and God is not quick-tempered (Nahum 1:3). We can contrast God to the Incredible Hulk because God is nothing like him. The Incredible Hulk has a quick fuse, but the God of the Scriptures is patient.
This is one reason why the book of Nahum is such an important book. In the book of Nahum, the prophet highlights three attributes of God – He is Jealous (v. 2); He is Patient (v3), and He is Good (v.7). Though these attributes appear to be opposites, they all exist, at the same time, in our Majestic God.
God’s people in the book of Nahum were skeptical about judgment coming to the Ninevites. Just 150 earlier, Jonah said judgment was coming the Ninevites repented. They had been slaves for so long they just couldn’t imagine a life of freedom. Nahum reminded them that though God was going to deliver them from their oppressors, it was going to be in His sovereign time and it may be longer than they expected because God is slow to anger. To those of us who are carrying heavy burdens and it seems like forever, let’s take courage in Nahum’s words: “The Lord is slow to anger and He is good.” The God of the Bible will never lose His temper after warning people, “Don’t make me angry, you won’t like me when I’m angry.” He is so different than the Incredible Hulk. They have nothing in common. When His judgment is finally executed against His enemies, and His deliverance finally comes for His people, it will be for our good and His glory.

Brian Spivey – D.O.C.

THERE’S NOBODY LIKE JESUS


When was the last time you heard a sermon about Joseph? The famous ‘Coat of many Colors.’ “The Favored Son.” “The Tenacity of Joseph” “The Joseph Spirit.”
It probably focused on Joseph’s entrepreneurial spirit. Or how God will raise us up after we have been faithful in our trials. Is that the major theological lesson God wants us to understand from that story? The narrative of Joseph is just a demonstration of the Messiah and His future work. Joseph was sent to his brothers, and his brothers rejected him. Sound familiar? Joseph was put into a pit? Does this remind you of someone? His brothers were the ones who ate bread with him, and they were the ones who lifted up their heel against him. The ones who betrayed Joseph were the very people with whom he dipped morsels of bread. Remind you of another person? Joseph was raised and seated in authority to preserve the life of his people. What about the ‘Coat of many colors’? How does that point to Christ?
A sermon about Joseph that doesn’t mention Christ is missing the point!
There’s Nobody Like Jesus. He secured our salvation and lives forever.
In my past life, I once heard an “evangelist” sermonize for 70 minutes about how Christians need the armor of God to go to heaven. We need the armor, but the armor does not forgive our sins and change our eternal destiny. There’s Nobody Like Jesus.

ONLY ONE person can turn a woman who was famous for singing about adultery into a changed woman who now sings, (Shirley Murdock with Darwin Hobbs) “There’s Nobody Like Jesus” – JESUS THE MESSIAH.

 

Brian L. Spivey

Are You a Groundhog or a Christian?

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There are seven festivals instituted by God for the Israelites.  These festivals were shadows or types of Christ.  You can find a detailed description in Leviticus 23.  Males were required to travel to the temple in Jerusalem to celebrate three out of the seven – The Feast of Unleavened Bread, The Feast of Weeks and The Feast of Booths.  The one that’s probably most unfamiliar to us is The Feast of Booths.  They had to hold a holy convocation for the first day, and a holy convocation for the eighth day.  No ordinary work was to be done.  You can read about all the details of this festival in Leviticus 23:33-44.  The point I want to emphasize here is what the Israelites were suppose to remember during this time – that the people of “Israel dwell in booths when I (The Lord) brought them out of the land of Egypt: I am the Lord your God” (verse 43).

The children of Israel had to leave the ‘comforts’ of their homes and live in these ‘booths’ for seven days.  This helped remind them that when God brought them out of Egypt, they had nothing but His presence.  If they had His presence, then they needed nothing else to survive.  These booths, or ‘tabernacles,’ were reminders, but they also pointed forward.  They were to look forward to the Messiah who would be ‘God with them.’   The tabernacle stood as a visible witness that salvation was God’s way or no way.  It typified the Incarnation of Christ.  The tabernacle was also a visible reminder that God’s presence – the most holy place, was off limits; it was only accessible by a representative.  The curtain dashed all of our hopes, and kept us out of the presence of God.

But the greatest miracle the world has ever experienced happened over 2000 years ago – Jesus was born.

John said that Jesus dwelt (tabernacled) among us (John 1:14).  Jesus said that He was the only way to the Father – there is no other name whereby men can be saved.  Jesus became our hope that entered into the inner place behind the curtain (Hebrews 6:19).

Why do we need to participate in a shadow?   We don’t need to go back to darkness and build booths.  Jesus said He was the light of the world.  A shadow disappears when the sunlight is directly overhead.  When the true Light of the world came, He dispelled the shadows.  Those festivals were not the real thing, they only pointed to the real thing.  Only a groundhog is foolish enough to believe that a shadow is a real thing… Are you going to be Christ-follower, or a groundhog?

 

Brian L. Spivey

Jesus and Goats?

Jesus and Goats?

What is the Book of Leviticus All About Anyway? Part III

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  When you think of a goat, what is the first thing that comes to your mind?

For some people, goats conjure up images of curry and feasting.  Others may think of farms and sacrifice; or stubbornness and gluttony may come to mind.  If you are familiar with the deep-seated things of Satan, then ‘riding the goat’ may bring back fond fraternal feelings.  If you’re the type of person who associates goats with the words of Jesus, then you certainly want to be named among the sheep and NOT the goats.  But are we ever biblically justified to associate Jesus Himself with goats?

In the 16th chapter of Leviticus, Moses writes about how Aaron the priest is to enter the holy place with a bull for a sin offering and a ram for a burnt offering.  Aaron had to offer the bull as a sin offering for himself and for his house.  But Aaron was also commanded to take two goats.  The first goat was to be killed for the people and he had to sprinkle its blood over the mercy seat – this was to make atonement for the people.    Aaron had to lay both hands on the second goat and confess all the iniquities, transgressions and sins of the people.  The goat was sent into the wilderness.  The Bible declared, “The goat shall bear all their iniquities on itself to a remote area.”

Again, lets not get lost in the minutia of the rituals.  Remember that in many ways, the book of Leviticus points to Jesus.  We can biblically justify associating Jesus with these goats in Leviticus.  Both goats point to Him.  Like the first goat, He died on the cross for our sins and the prophet Isaiah said that He bore our grief and He was crushed for our iniquities. His blood was applied to the mercy seat of God and we have been set free from the penalty of sin.  Like the second goat, He has removed our transgressions far from us.  BUT unlike those priests with his natural goats, who had to do this ONCE every year, He did this ONCE AND FOR ALL!  Praise God!

Next time you read Leviticus, keep Jesus in the forefront of your mind.

Brian L. Spivey

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