Today’s readings are Leviticus 11-13
We have a LOT to cover today so grab a snack and a drink and settle in.
Leviticus 11 is one of the better known chapters in Leviticus because it goes into detail on what animals are considered clean and unclean. I have a graphic sampling of clean and unclean animals below. Originally I was using one from another ministry but I replaced it with one I created myself. See the one I refer to in my audio notes by clicking here. Note that I am not affiliated in any way and do not follow or endorse this ministry, but they have a great graphic. Test everything.
Many folks have tried to determine why some animals are considered clean and others are not. Personally, I’m not concerned with this. When He says jump, I prefer my answers to be either “how high?” or “Yes Lord!” rather than starting a discussion as to why He would want me jumping.
Having said that, though, many have noticed that by and large most of the unclean animals are what is known as the clean up crew of the animal world. They are the trash collectors, the garbage eaters, the scavengers, the filters of the ocean, etc.
It is important to understand that to a Hebrew mindset, unclean animals are never considered food.
Why are we even talking about this today? Because YHWH is talking about this in our reading today. YHWH will talk about other things tomorrow so keep your seatbelt fastened because the train is about to depart for a new station.
So this is how you eat kosher? Nope. This is how you eat Biblically clean. There is a difference. All Kosher foods are Biblically clean but not all Biblically clean foods are kosher. Why is that? Well, the laws of Kashrut (Kosher guidelines) have additional distinctions in order for something to be considered “clean”. Remember we had that talk about the verse that says “don’t boil a baby goat it its mother’s milk” and what it could possibly mean? Well, our beloved Jewish brethren, centuries ago, decided this meant that they should not mix meat and dairy. So you won’t see cheese or dairy in a meat dish. They also take additional measures to keep their food clean by not cooking meat and dairy in the same pots, etc. Personally, I respect their zeal in taking additional steps taken to help prevent them from going against the word of YHWH. The problem comes in when any of YHWH’s people hold up these manmade commandments as more important than YHWH’s (Jews and Christians alike do this daily) .
Really interesting to consider: If we go back to Genesis 7:1-3 , we see that the concept of what animals were clean and what were unclean had actually been conveyed by the Father at an earlier time as evidenced by Noah knowing the difference between clean and unclean animals.
There are verses that are commonly used to say that God changed these ordinances although we see no such statement from the Father or Messiah (Malachi 3:6). Here are the common verses used and a little background on each one as it is used.
•Mark 7:1-23 is often used as the famous verse in which Messiah “declares all things clean” but there are three key issues with this.
- Messiah is being judged by the Pharisees for not ritually washing his hands before the meal. We are clearly told this. This is one of their manmade doctrines which they held up as equal to or even more important than, a commandment from YHWH. He is specifically calling this out, contrasting their doctrines with actual commandments.
“‘This people honors me with their lips, but their heart is far from me; in vain do they worship me, teaching as doctrines the commandments of men.” Mark 7:7
- These were Jews. There would not have been unclean food on the table as unclean animals were not considered food.
- Mark 7:19 That whole sentence in which Messiah “declared all things clean”? Well, He never said that. It was added in later. Click here to see the translations in which it does and does not appear. https://biblehub.com/mark/7-19.htm Click here to see the interlinear version so that you can see it is not in the original Hebrew texts. https://biblehub.com/interlinear/mark/7-19.htm.
•Acts 10: Peter and the sheet. This one absolutely kills me because it is one of the most PIVOTAL verses in the Bible with regards to Gentiles, this is a MAJOR event for us! Up until this moment, the gospel was pretty much reserved for our Jewish brethren (See what Messiah said in Matthew 15:24 ). The Gentiles were considered unclean. But at this moment in history, all of that changed – and the Father used Peter’s dream to bring that about!
Most folks ignore all of that by pulling out a single sentence, blatantly ignoring all obvious context, and then walking away with sentence in hand. If we read Acts 10-11 we will see that Peter had a dream wherein a voice told him to Arise, kill, and eat. Peter was horrified at this very thought. Acts 10:14 Why? Because, in Peter’s words, he had never eaten anything the Father deemed unclean. Now this was long after Messiah had taken on human form, Peter had personally learned under His direct teachings, and Messiah had given Himself as atonement for our sins. Long after Messiah had ascended, Peter had still not eaten anything unclean.
So what did Peter do as soon as this vision had passed? He pondered it and then the Father (in spirit form) spoke to him and told him that three men were looking for him and he was to go with them.
In Acts 10:28-29 Peter arrives at the house of the gentile Cornelious and promptly interprets the dream.
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.” 10:28-29
But the Father knows us and so, in His grace, He is repetitive when He knows we are going to be dense about things. So Peter repeats his interpretation fully from start to finish in Acts 11:11-18
11 Now the apostles and the brothers who were throughout Judea heard that the Gentiles also had received the word of God. 2 So when Peter went up to Jerusalem, the circumcision party criticized him, saying, 3 “You went to uncircumcised men and ate with them.” 4 But Peter began and explained it to them in order: 5 “I was in the city of Joppa praying, and in a trance I saw a vision, something like a great sheet descending, being let down from heaven by its four corners, and it came down to me. 6 Looking at it closely, I observed animals and beasts of prey and reptiles and birds of the air. 7 And I heard a voice saying to me, ‘Rise, Peter; kill and eat.’ 8 But I said, ‘By no means, Lord; for nothing common or unclean has ever entered my mouth.’ 9 But the voice answered a second time from heaven, ‘What God has made clean, do not call common.’ 10 This happened three times, and all was drawn up again into heaven. 11 And behold, at that very moment three men arrived at the house in which we were, sent to me from Caesarea. 12 And the Spirit told me to go with them, making no distinction. These six brothers also accompanied me, and we entered the man’s house. 13 And he told us how he had seen the angel stand in his house and say, ‘Send to Joppa and bring Simon who is called Peter; 14 he will declare to you a message by which you will be saved, you and all your household.’ 15 As I began to speak, the Holy Spirit fell on them just as on us at the beginning. 16 And I remembered the word of the Lord, how he said, ‘John baptized with water, but you will be baptized with the Holy Spirit.’ 17 If then God gave the same gift to them as he gave to us when we believed in the Lord Jesus Christ, who was I that I could stand in God’s way?” 18 When they heard these things they fell silent. And they glorified God, saying, “Then to the Gentiles also God has granted repentance that leads to life.”
THIS IS HUGE NEWS FOR US! The Father has always made a way for sojourners to join themselves to Him but this is opening up a full on highway for Gentiles to become part of His chosen people. And we’ve reduced it to being about a ham sandwich. This reminds me of when Esau gave up his birthright for a bowl of lentil stew. Tragic.
•Colossians 2:16-17 is another popular verse that is used to refute Leviticus 11. The problem is that when this is taken out of context it sounds like the opposite of what Paul is saying.
Col 2:16 Let no man therefore judge you in meat, or in drink, or in respect of an holyday, or of the new moon, or of the sabbath days
These verses are often used as “proof” that YHWH’s feasts are to no longer be observed and that “all foods are clean” (see #3 in this list), despite Messiah keeping them and Paul keeping them long after Messiah had ascended – but most important YHWH said that (regarding the feasts) “it shall be a statute forever throughout your generations in all your dwellings.” Lev 23
Knowing that view contradicts YHWH’s Word, let us look at it from another possible angle. Paul is encouraging new believers. Now let us assume they were previously taking part with multiple god worship, in accordance with the custom and culture they lived in.
Suddenly, they stop all of that and begin worshipping only one God. They get a medical issue and friends urge them to go to this temple and offer a sacrifice to Asclepius for healing and they refuse, letting them know that they only have one God now. They have a bad harvest and are told they should have made sacrifices to the goddess Demeter and they reiterate that “no, I worship the one true God now.”
And so now they’re already acting very strange in the eyes of their friends, going against their logic, and to top it off they start keeping the feasts that the Jews keep, which includes new moon observance, and avoiding certain foods. Also, holy days to Paul are what they are to YHWH, days that YHWH has declared holy unto Him, not manmade holidays.
So in the thick of this culture, when these folks suddenly stop what they’ve been doing all of their lives and step away from what everyone else they know is doing, they’re going to get judged, harshly, by those close to them as well as by those not so close to them. They’re going to hear it. A lot of “it”: Reasons why they shouldn’t do that, reasons why they shouldn’t be abandoning their gods, and why it is foolish to do so, etc. And let me tell you, when you come into the way and start obeying the Father and following the example of Messiah, the pressure from those who are not doing so increases exponentially and it doesn’t let up. Therefore, these people desperately need encouragement from those walking this way, especially when surrounded by folks who aren’t. Paul knew that from his own personal experience doing much the same thing and therefore wrote this letter to strengthen and edify them.
With that perspective, lets read this passage:
Col 2:11 In Him you were also circumcised with the circumcision made without hands, by putting off the body of the sins of the flesh, by the circumcision of Christ, 12 buried with Him in baptism, in which you also were raised with Him through faith in the working of God, who raised Him from the dead. 13 And you, being dead in your trespasses and the uncircumcision of your flesh, He has made alive together with Him, having forgiven you all trespasses, 14 having wiped out the handwriting of requirements that was against us, which was contrary to us. And He has taken it out of the way, having nailed it to the cross. 15 Having disarmed principalities and powers, He made a public spectacle of them, triumphing over them in it.
16 So let no one judge you in food or in drink, or regarding a festival or a new moon or sabbaths, 17 which are a shadow of things to come, but the substance is of Christ. 18 Let no one cheat you of your reward, taking delight in false humility and worship of angels, intruding into those things which he has not seen, vainly puffed up by his fleshly mind, 19 and not holding fast to the Head, from whom all the body, nourished and knit together by joints and ligaments, grows with the increase that is from God.
20 Therefore, if you died with Christ from the basic principles of the world, why, as though living in the world, do you subject yourselves to regulations— 21 “Do not touch, do not taste, do not handle,” 22 which all concern things which perish with the using—according to the commandments and doctrines of men? 23 These things indeed have an appearance of wisdom in self-imposed religion, false humility, and neglect of the body, but are of no value against the indulgence of the flesh.
The body of followers of Messiah should not concerned with judgements made towards us from folks outside of the body of believers or even from within when they are not Biblically based. Paul is saying not to let neither lawless idol worshippers judge us nor Pharisees holding up doctrine as if it were commandment. They judge us according to their ways and YHWH’s ways are foreign to them.
That’s just my thoughts on this. Test it. If it doesn’t line up with Scripture, toss it.
“Yeah, but this was for the Jewish people.” Actually, the Father is speaking to all of the tribes of Israel as His chosen people. Judah is just one of those tribes. Know what else He gave to Israel? The ten commandments. For more to chew on, see Romans 11 & Isaiah 56.
Isaiah 66:17 is another great rabbit trail. Who are they speaking of? Is this the past or the future?
In closing, Many of you are going to leave this post and go have a bacon or sausage biscuit for breakfast. Do I love you any less? I certainly do not. Will I join you? I’d be happy to drink a cup of coffee and chat while you eat. This is definitely something to prayerfully consider with the Father, one on one. He is the source of wisdom and He wants us to come to Him with questions about His instructions.
Reminder: Why are we even talking about this today? Because YHWH is talking about this in our reading today. YHWH will talk about other things tomorrow so keep your seatbelt fastened because the train is about to depart for a new station.
Lesson for the day: Never accept a verse taken out of context. If someone gives you a verse, take a chapter, better yet, take the whole book.
Put that verse back where it came from and see what it really says.
Okay y’all, ready to REALLY have your socks knocked off? WOOHOO! I’m excited. And in a few minutes, you will be, too. Today we are reading a lot about what most translations refer to as “leprosy”. But that isn’t a very accurate translation. Okay so it is completely inaccurate, quite wrong and even misleading. I guess I’m tossing subtlety out the door today.
The actual word is tzara’at and it is an affliction that happens superficially on someone’s skin – but it is temporary. (We will learn about other types of tzaraat later)
Now you’ll notice in our reading that, while the priests were called upon to diagnose the affliction and to declare the person cured, they did not ever attempt or do anything to actually cure them. Further, there isn’t even a mention of them even praying for the victim. Why is this? Well, one good reason would be that tzara’at is a spiritual affliction, a judgement from YHWH.
This was a special disease and there was no cure other than YHWH releasing them from their temporary affliction. Interestingly, the priest was not even required to discern what the person had done to cause this affliction. There are many reasons we see why God chose to temporarily punish someone this way. One is when Miriam speaks out against Moses in Numbers 12:1-16. We also see Moses temporarily afflicted and immediately healed when he was YHWH was teaching him signs he would be allowed to use before the great Exodus 4:6. Moses showed this sign to the Israelites in order to embolden them for what was ahead Exodus 4:30.
Some of the reasons why YHWH might afflict someone with this would be punishment for gossip or any form of “evil tongue” (A great rabbit trail for ya!), arrogance, murder, theft, etc. Any number of sins could potentially be punished this way – according to YHWH’s will and wisdom.
Now hang in there with me because we’re fixing to go around the block and end up somewhere you never expected.
So once a person was determined by the priest to be healed of his or her affliction, they were still unclean and had to be made clean before they were able to return to the community.
You will read today that this was done by taking two clean birds and sacrificing one. That one had to be bled out in a special bowl. Then, the remaining bird had to be dipped in the blood and then into “fresh” water. The actual word here is best translated as “living water”.
What is living water? I’m glad you asked! Living water is flowing water, such as a stream or brook or river. It is not stagnant, it is constantly renewing.
Living water was very important to YHWH’s people. It was often used in sacrifices, in making the unclean clean again, later in baptisms, and so on.
It was necessary.
And yet, streams and rivers dried up from time to time and new sources would have to be found. In other words, it was not necessarily an unlimited supply at any one source.
So once this person had suffered through the penalty for their sin, a sacrifice was made and another living creature was dipped in the blood of that sacrifice and then in living water and allowed to go free.
Now you may have already caught on to the other source of living water in the Bible.
In John 4:10 Messiah said: “If you knew the gift of YHWH and who it is that asks you for a drink, you would have asked him and he would have given you living water” and in John 7:38 He says “He who believes in Me, as the Scriptures said, ‘From his innermost being will flow rivers of living water.’.
Wow, it’s coming into focus now! So we are afflicted because of our sins, but Jesus came to be the sacrifice for our judgement. How was the sacrifice performed for tzarat? In order to become clean one needed blood and living water.
In the book of John, after Jesus had declared the sacrifice to be finished, John 19:34 tells us:
“But one of the soldiers pierced his side with a spear, and at once there came out blood and water.”
It is finished. Blood and living water. We are made clean.
Now onto being made Holy.
Test everything, hold tight to what is good.~ 1 Thess 5:21
We are saved by Grace alone: Obedience is not the root of our salvation, it is the fruit!