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