Leviticus is a tough book that most people would rather just skip over. The focus is the Mosaic/Levitical Law of do’s and don’t. It can be very boring at times reading about the ritualistic requirements of obeying the Law. But the Law was the Law of the Land; no pun intended. The people of Israel, God’s people were to be a select, peculiar people; different from everyone else. As such, God’s requirements for their spiritual and physical lives were under specific Covenant Commands. 1 Peter says the we all are to be a holy people [those that live by faith in Jesus]. We are a chosen people, we cannot live like others live. Our lives need to be visible and noticeable different. Romans 12:1-2; I beech you therefore brethren by the mercies of God that you present your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and acceptable to God; which is your reasonable service; and be not conformed to this world but be transformed by the renewing of your mind so that you will know the acceptable will of God. The Old Testament Law has been discounted by many today as being outdated and irrelevant. However when we look closer at the prohibited laws; there is wisdom in them. Remember that there is approximately 1.6 million “camping Israelites” – any disease or sickness would wipe them out. Most of the prohibited – do’s and don’t have to do with maintaining a healthy people. In our reading this week, the focus was primarily on was is called by the Anchor Dictionary “Permitted Impurity” versus “Prohibited Impurity.” The Permitted Impurity concerns things that are by NATURE unclean or impure. Things like dead carcasses, sexual [bodily fluids], disease [leprosy] and cultic rituals. There is clear identification of what this “unclean” condition is, and most of the cases was rectified by the “washing of Water” and time. We can also include in the state of “uncleanliness” diet restrictions we read about in chapter 11. These animals were by NATURE unclean. This is addressed in Acts 10- with Peter and his vision of the unclean animals coming down on a sheet. Remember, Jesus’ statement to him, “DO not call unclean, that which I declare Clean.” This had immediate implications for the Gentile people – who were by NATURE considered Unclean by Jewish laws. It is interesting that again, the washing of water made something clean in the Permitted classification. Hum, were we all not “Baptized, and have the Washing of the water of the Word?” We symbolically look at baptism as spiritually being cleansed. SO we are now Holy in God’s eyes as Gentiles. This however, does not deal with the second classification: Prohibited Impurity. In this class, what is being dealt with is the Sin – actions which result in an UNCLEAN state. Sexual sins, idolatry and taking of life – interesting that these prohibitions are all addressed in the Ten Commandments from God. In this situation, these sins are not dealt with by water, but by a Blood sacrifice. While the Gentiles may have been declared Clean in Acts 10 – it took the Blood of Jesus to Cleanse them of their sin. Isaiah 1:18-20; addresses this cleansing action by the Father.
Our minds often just think of something be impure, dirty or unfit. The point of the Levitical Laws are more than just what they touched and ate, but what they did in life. Life is more than food and drink [Matthew 6:25-33]; what really makes one unclean is what comes out of our lives, not what goes in our stomachs. [Matthew 15:15-20]