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November 29, 2018

Please read today’s Scriptures and use the comment section on this page to share your insights from today’s reading. You can also just mention a verse that impacted you or post a question!

Read (and Hear) the Bible in One Year

Text: 1 Corinthians 1-4
Audio: 1 Corinthians 1-4

You can use the audio Bible as a guide to help “set the pace” as you read along.

Leviticus 11 (ESV)

And the Lord spoke to Moses and Aaron, saying to them, “Speak to the people of Israel, saying, These are the living things that you may eat among all the animals that are on the earth. Whatever parts the hoof and is cloven-footed and chews the cud, among the animals, you may eat. Nevertheless, among those that chew the cud or part the hoof, you shall not eat these: The camel, because it chews the cud but does not part the hoof, is unclean to you. And the rock badger, because it chews the cud but does not part the hoof, is unclean to you.And the hare, because it chews the cud but does not part the hoof, is unclean to you. And the pig, because it parts the hoof and is cloven-footed but does not chew the cud, is unclean to you. You shall not eat any of their flesh, and you shall not touch their carcasses; they are unclean to you.

“These you may eat, of all that are in the waters. Everything in the waters that has fins and scales, whether in the seas or in the rivers, you may eat. 10 But anything in the seas or the rivers that does not have fins and scales, of the swarming creatures in the waters and of the living creatures that are in the waters, is detestable to you. 11 You shall regard them as detestable; you shall not eat any of their flesh, and you shall detest their carcasses. 12 Everything in the waters that does not have fins and scales is detestable to you.

13 “And these you shall detest among the birds; they shall not be eaten; they are detestable: the eagle, the bearded vulture, the black vulture, 14 the kite, the falcon of any kind, 15 every raven of any kind, 16 the ostrich, the nighthawk, the sea gull, the hawk of any kind, 17 the little owl, the cormorant, the short-eared owl, 18 the barn owl, the tawny owl, the carrion vulture, 19 the stork, the heron of any kind, the hoopoe, and the bat.

20 “All winged insects that go on all fours are detestable to you. 21 Yet among the winged insects that go on all fours you may eat those that have jointed legs above their feet, with which to hop on the ground. 22 Of them you may eat: the locust of any kind, the bald locust of any kind, the cricket of any kind, and the grasshopper of any kind. 23 But all other winged insects that have four feet are detestable to you.

24 “And by these you shall become unclean. Whoever touches their carcass shall be unclean until the evening, 25 and whoever carries any part of their carcass shall wash his clothes and be unclean until the evening. 26 Every animal that parts the hoof but is not cloven-footed or does not chew the cud is unclean to you. Everyone who touches them shall be unclean. 27 And all that walk on their paws, among the animals that go on all fours, are unclean to you. Whoever touches their carcass shall be unclean until the evening, 28 and he who carries their carcass shall wash his clothes and be unclean until the evening; they are unclean to you.

29 “And these are unclean to you among the swarming things that swarm on the ground: the mole rat, the mouse, the great lizard of any kind, 30 the gecko, the monitor lizard, the lizard, the sand lizard, and the chameleon. 31 These are unclean to you among all that swarm. Whoever touches them when they are dead shall be unclean until the evening. 32 And anything on which any of them falls when they are dead shall be unclean, whether it is an article of wood or a garment or a skin or a sack, any article that is used for any purpose. It must be put into water, and it shall be unclean until the evening; then it shall be clean. 33 And if any of them falls into any earthenware vessel, all that is in it shall be unclean, and you shall break it.34 Any food in it that could be eaten, on which water comes, shall be unclean. And all drink that could be drunk from every such vessel shall be unclean. 35 And everything on which any part of their carcass falls shall be unclean. Whether oven or stove, it shall be broken in pieces. They are unclean and shall remain unclean for you. 36 Nevertheless, a spring or a cistern holding water shall be clean, but whoever touches a carcass in them shall be unclean. 37 And if any part of their carcass falls upon any seed grain that is to be sown, it is clean, 38 but if water is put on the seed and any part of their carcass falls on it, it is unclean to you.

39 “And if any animal which you may eat dies, whoever touches its carcass shall be unclean until the evening, 40 and whoever eats of its carcass shall wash his clothes and be unclean until the evening. And whoever carries the carcass shall wash his clothes and be unclean until the evening.

41 “Every swarming thing that swarms on the ground is detestable; it shall not be eaten. 42 Whatever goes on its belly, and whatever goes on all fours, or whatever has many feet, any swarming thing that swarms on the ground, you shall not eat, for they are detestable. 43 You shall not make yourselves detestable with any swarming thing that swarms, and you shall not defile yourselves with them, and become unclean through them. 44 For I am the Lord your God. Consecrate yourselves therefore, and be holy, for I am holy. You shall not defile yourselves with any swarming thing that crawls on the ground. 45 For I am the Lord who brought you up out of the land of Egypt to be your God. You shall therefore be holy, for I am holy.”

46 This is the law about beast and bird and every living creature that moves through the waters and every creature that swarms on the ground, 47 to make a distinction between the unclean and the clean and between the living creature that may be eaten and the living creature that may not be eaten.

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Next: Leviticus 12

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This Post Has 3 Comments
  1. Unclean

    The word "unclean" appears ninety-eight times in the Book of Leviticus with "uncleanness" appearing eleven times. In the New Testament, the word "unclean" appears forty-five times. 

    In Matthew, Mark and Luke, "unclean" is always in the context of unclean spirits which surprised me because I expected the word to appear in the context of Jesus' interactions with lepers. 

    "Unclean spirits" are again referenced in Acts chapters 5 and 8. 

    But then, in Acts 10, when Peter fell into a trance and saw the heavens open, and he saw all kinds of animals, reptiles and birds appearing in a "great sheet" (Acts 10:10-11). Then Peter hear the voice of Jesus saying, "Rise, Peter; kill and eat.” 14 But Peter said, “By no means, Lord; for I have never eaten anything that is common or unclean.” 15 And the voice came to him again a second time, “What God has made clean, do not call common.” 16 This happened three times, and the thing was taken up at once to heaven" (Acts 10:13-16). 

    After pondering the vision he went to Cornelius' house, who fell at Peter's feet and worshipped him. Peter said, "'Stand up; I too am a man.' 27 And as he talked with him, he went in and found many persons gathered. 28 And he said to them, 'You yourselves know how unlawful it is for a Jew to associate with or to visit anyone of another nation, but God has shown me that I should not call any person common or unclean. 29 So when I was sent for, I came without objection. I ask then why you sent for me.'"

    After Cornelius told Peter what happened when he was praying the previous day, Peter said, "Truly I understand that God shows no partiality, 35 but in every nation anyone who fears him and does what is right is acceptable to him" (Acts 10:34-35).  Peter then goes on to give testimony of the Lord Jesus and "the Holy Spirit fell on all who heard the word. 45 And the believers from among the circumcised who had come with Peter were amazed, because the gift of the Holy Spirit was poured out even on the Gentiles" (Acts 10:44-45).

    It's interesting that the Levitical laws relating to food carried into the New Testament (and continue to this day by practicing Jews). The observance of these "food laws" was one of the marks of being faithful. Abstaining from certain foods and following Old Testament rituals was a way for Jews to distinguish themselves from the Gentiles.  

    In Mark 7, Jesus spoke about what defiles a person. He said, "'Hear me, all of you, and understand: 15 There is nothing outside a person that by going into him can defile him, but the things that come out of a person are what defile him.' 17 And when he had entered the house and left the people, his disciples asked him about the parable. 18 And he said to them, 'Then are you also without understanding? Do you not see that whatever goes into a person from outside cannot defile him, 19 since it enters not his heart but his stomach, and is expelled?' (Thus he declared all foods clean.) 20 And he said, 'What comes out of a person is what defiles him. 21 For from within, out of the heart of man, come evil thoughts, sexual immorality, theft, murder, adultery, 22 coveting, wickedness, deceit, sensuality, envy, slander, pride, foolishness. 23 All these evil things come from within, and they defile a person.'"

    In writing about these "food laws" in relation to Christians today, Gordon Wenham writes, "The NT teaches that the OT food laws are no longer binding on the Christian. These laws symbolized God’s choice of Israel. They served as constant reminders of God’s electing grace. As he had limited his choice among the nations to Israel, so they for their part had to restrict their diet to certain animals. At every turn these laws reminded them of God’s grace toward Israel. In the new era when salvation was open to all men, and Israel was no longer the only object of divine grace, the laws lost their particular significance. They could only serve to divide mankind into Jew and Gentile, whereas in the age which has now begun God’s further purpose is revealed “in Christ … to unite all things in him” (Ephesians 1:10). The distinction between clean and unclean foods is as obsolete as the distinction between Jew and Gentile.

    "This is not to say that these laws have nothing to teach the Christian. As we have seen, they were constant reminders to Israel that they were chosen to be a holy people, that they were called to imitate God, and that the laws were a reminder to give thanks for this calling. The NT believer is in a very similar position. The Church is now “a chosen race, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, God’s own people” (1 Peter 2:9). They are bidden to set their “minds on things that are above, not on things that are on the earth” (Colossians 3:2), to “give thanks in all circumstances” (1 Thessalonians 5:18). Though the Christian is so much more privileged than ancient Israel, it is easy to take for granted the grace that has been given him and fail to acknowledge it. The ancient food laws were designed to curb such forgetfulness."

    Wenham, G. J. (1979). The Book of Leviticus (pp. 183–184). Grand Rapids, MI: Wm. B. Eerdmans Publishing Co.

    Detestable

    The word "detestable" appears eleven times in Leviticus, nine of which are in today's chapter.

    In all the references to what is detestable, all but one refer to things which are detestable or should be regarded as detestable.

    Leviticus 11:10 But anything in the seas or the rivers that does not have fins and scales, of the swarming creatures in the waters and of the living creatures that are in the waters, is detestable to you

    Leviticus 11:11 You shall regard them as detestable; you shall not eat any of their flesh, and you shall detest their carcasses. 

    Leviticus 11:12 Everything in the waters that does not have fins and scales is detestable to you.

    Leviticus 11:13 And these you shall detest among the birds; they shall not be eaten; they are detestable: the eagle, the bearded vulture, the black vulture…

    Leviticus 11:20 All winged insects that go on all fours are detestable to you

    Leviticus 11:23 But all other winged insects that have four feet are detestable to you.

    Leviticus 11:41 Every swarming thing that swarms on the ground is detestable; it shall not be eaten.

    Leviticus 11:42 Whatever goes on its belly, and whatever goes on all fours, or whatever has many feet, any swarming thing that swarms on the ground, you shall not eat, for they are detestable.

    But the last time the word "detestable" is used in Leviticus 11, it gets personal. "You shall not make yourselves detestable with any swarming thing that swarms, and you shall not defile yourselves with them, and become unclean through them" (Leviticus 11:43). 

    Be Holy For I Am Holy

    The concluding exhortation in Leviticus 11 gives us insight into the significance of these restrictions: holiness. 

    Israel was chosen to be God's holy people (Exodus 19:6). He reminds them of this in today's chapter. And as He did throughout Exodus, He reminds His people of His redeeming them from slavery in Egypt. 

    These laws served as a constant (and perpetual) reminder of God's grace to Israel. Just as the laws distinguish between clean and unclean animals, God reminds them that they are separate from all other nations and as such, are to be holy because He is. 

    R.C. Sproul's notes on holiness in the Reformation Study Bible are powerful:

    "The word 'holy' is often taken to mean 'separate' or 'set apart,' but it implies much more than simply being set apart. It is associated with wholeness and perfection. Only God is intrinsically holy. He is by nature majestic, awesome, pure, and perfect. He demonstrated His transcendent holiness by His creation of the world, by His great acts in history such as redeeming His people from Egypt, and by His perfect laws. Israel’s holiness is derived from her unique covenant relationship with the only true and living God. His covenant provides, among other things, moral and judicial laws that reflect God’s own righteous standards, and the sacrificial system to atone for sin. The immediate background for this designation of Israel as a 'holy nation' is the Lord’s appearance on Mount Sinai: they washed their clothes, avoided contact with the mountain, and abstained from sexual intercourse in preparation for that unique event (Exodus 19:10–15, 21–24; Hebrew 12:18–21). By dwelling among the people, God makes them holy and demands that they be holy as He is holy.

    "Jesus Christ, the Mediator of the new covenant (Hebrews 8:6; Hebrews 9:15; Hebrews 12:24), also demands perfection (Matthew 5:48). But He provides the new Israel with holiness by His perfect sacrifice, which removed the sins of His people forever (Hebrews 9; 10), and by His Holy Spirit, who inscribes God’s moral law on their hearts (2 Corinthians 3:3). Without holiness, no one will see God (Hebrews 12:14).

    Sproul, R. C. (Ed.). (2015). The Reformation Study Bible: English Standard Version (2015 Edition) (p. 172). Orlando, FL: Reformation Trust.

    (I encourage you to watch R.C. Sproul's classic teaching series on the Holiness of God here)!

    It's important to remember that being holy does not mean we will be completely sinless or that will always walk in the Spirit and never gratify the desires of the sinful nature. If we could be sinless, we would not need the righteousness of Christ for salvation. If we were sinless, we would always walk in the Spirit and would never gratify the desires of the flesh/sinful nature (Galatians 5:16). 

    Our pursuit of holiness and our desire to be holy is evidence of the Holy Spirit's work in our lives. The fruit of righteousness and the fruit of the Spirit are evidences of new birth and our maturing growth in holiness and faith. This fruit is how we test ourselves to see if we're in the faith (2 Corinthians 13:5) and help us confirm that our calling and election is sure (2 Peter 1:3-10). 

  2. Thank you for the explanation of why these food laws don't apply to Christians today – that was going to be a question for "Ask the Pastor!" 

    The Bible amazes me everyday. There is so much to learn,  and it's so important to me that I have accurate interpretations. Thank you! 

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