Leviticus (sort of) – part ten

Before we say goodbye to our series in Leviticus, there’s one more interesting (I think) place in which Leviticus interacts with an important issue in the New Testament.

We’ve already seen how Peter’s dream in Acts 10 showed that God had abolished the distinction between clean and unclean food because he had abolished the distinction between clean and unclean people. Which means that Jews can eat with Gentiles – there’s no longer a cultural barrier for the gospel to cross. And Gentiles don’t have to commit themselves to circumcision and obeying the law of Moses (that we’ve been looking at in Leviticus).

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Leviticus – part nine

On Monday we started to read through the purity regulations in Leviticus 11-15. For the rest of this week we’re looking at the various theories scholars have come up with to provide a rationale for the laws. Because I think each suggested explanation gives us a different insight on the laws. And from each we can learn something about God and something about being his holy people.

We look at the final two reasons today.

Separation from the Gentiles

Another explanation for the food laws in particular is that they were all about separation from the Gentiles, from the nations around.

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Leviticus – part eight

On Monday we started to read through the purity regulations in Leviticus 11-15. For the rest of this week we’re looking at the various theories scholars have come up with to provide a rationale for the laws. Because I think each suggested explanation gives us a different insight on the laws. And from each we can learn something about God and something about being his holy people.

We look at the reasons three and four today.

Separation from pagan religions

Some have suggested that the laws are all about ensuring Israel remains separate from the nations around; separate from pagan religions. They’re all about prohibiting practices which occur in the worship of other gods. That’s why certain animals were declared unclean, and therefore unfit for sacrificing to God – the animals used in pagan sacrifice.

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Leviticus – part seven

Yesterday we started to read through the purity regulations in Leviticus 11-15. For the rest of this week we’re looking at the various theories scholars have come up with to provide a rationale for the laws. Because I think each suggested explanation gives us a different insight on the laws. And from each we can learn something about God and something about being his holy people.

We look at the first two today.

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Leviticus – part six

Last week, we went through the various sacrifices in Leviticus 1-10 (and hopefully you also took the opportunity to read those chapters). This week, we change gear and look at the purity laws outlined in Leviticus 11-15 as we read through those five chapters.

To begin, let’s take a quick test to see if you’re ritually pure, according to Leviticus. Afterwards, please answer the poll question.

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Leviticus – part five

This week we’re going through the various sacrifices prescribed in Leviticus 1-10, and seeing how they were fulfilled in Christ. Monday was an overview, which you might like to look at first.

The Fellowship Offering

The final offering we’re looking at from Leviticus 1-10 is different, because it’s a purely voluntary one: a ‘peace’ or ‘fellowship’ offering. It was brought to God for a variety of reasons: thanking God for something specific; celebrating God’s goodness; the fulfilment of a vow; or even for no reason other than that he’s our God. It’s like surprising your wife by bringing her flowers ‘just because’. Rather than the usual reason, that of turning away anger…

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Leviticus – part four

This week we’re going through the various sacrifices prescribed in Leviticus 1-10, and seeing how they were fulfilled in Christ. Monday was an overview, which you might like to look at first.

The Purification Offering

The third offering we’re looking at is the purification offering. This is different from the burnt offering. The burnt offering focused on turning away God’s anger at our sin in general. The purification offering dealt with the uncleanness that resulted from our sin. Not just in general, but specific sins. Leviticus 5 lists a few such sins for which purification offerings must be made:

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Leviticus – part three

This week we’re going through the various sacrifices prescribed in Leviticus 1-10, and seeing how they were fulfilled in Christ. Monday was an overview, which you might like to look at first.

The Grain Offering

As well as the burnt offering, the Israelites were instructed to bring grain offerings. These were offerings from their crops – the best of their harvest. They were brought an acknowledgement that everything they had came from God. Everything they possessed was ultimately owned by God. And so they offered some of it – the best of it – back to God. Here are some of the instructions, from chapter 2:

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And now for something exciting…

Perhaps you’ll want to complain about misleading advertising, but I figured if I put the word “Leviticus” in the title you might not click on the link. Referred to in my circles as “the bible study killer,” Leviticus is a book that we often avoid—unless we’re finding it hard to get to sleep one night. But it doesn’t have to be that way. Trust me. Because that’s what we’re studying over the next week or so.

Now I’m not quite as confident as Rob Bell. (Disclaimer: mentioning Rob Bell in a post in no way suggests I endorse any theological positions he may hold.) Back before he was famous, he planted a church in Michigan, in 1999. And for the first year of his church plant – which had the specific mission of reaching people who had never been to church before – he preached from the book of Leviticus. For the whole year. Why?

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