Leviticus Help

Discussion in 'Bible Study' started by Jordan Kimberly, Oct 19, 2015.

  1. Hopefully this is the right place to post! If not, please direct me in the correct direction and I will repost this question there :)

    I have been reading the bible cover to cover in an attempt to get closer to God and I am very confused by Leviticus. I am a newly awaken Christian, so forgive me if this is a silly question. How do I know which laws to follow in Leviticus and which ones no longer apply to modern Christians? I know that many of the laws in the Old Testament do not apply any more due to Jesus' death and resurrection. But at the same time, I am told that some of the Old Testament still holds true for us striving to walk in The Christ's path. Which makes the book of Leviticus a bit intimidating. Is there any resource to help identify which of the laws are important, and why the other laws no longer apply? Thank you so much!
  2. Do you belong to a church? Having said that, you should live from the New Testament not the old. I love the whole bible it's so awesome and amazing! As a new christian you should read Mathew, Mark, Luke, and John. Reading the whole bible is good, I read it four times a year. You should also worship the Lord, as you do that, something happens thats exhilarating! I think you should read the new testament first then the old. Keep me posted :)
  3. #3 CCW95A, Oct 20, 2015
    Last edited: Oct 20, 2015
    Man is a sinner, but knowing this can only be found out by God giving man a set of rules to keep that he knew man could not possibly keep. The "law" which is known by the first five books of the Bible was given to man as a means for man to find out he could not keep them, and needed a savior. The law is not bad in any way, but man could not keep it. The Lord had to do something for man so man could fulfill the law with out doing it himself. Jesus came to fulfill the law for us, and then that exact same spirit that was in Jesus is placed inside man after you ask him to be your Lord, so he could receive it's benefits. No one will ever be declared right with God by keeping the law (except Jesus Christ), but by "faith" in Jesus Christ as their Lord, and savior.

    Gal 2:16.. But we know that no one is made right with God by following the law. It is trusting in Jesus Christ that makes a person right with God. So we have put our faith in Christ Jesus, because we wanted to be made right with God. And we are right with him because we trusted in Christ--not because we followed the law. I can say this because no one can be made right with God by following the law. (ERV)
    calvin, Euphemia and Angela333 says Amen and like this.
  4. the New Testament? : )
    I read here before, and I agree, that the OT is to be read, in the light, in the guidance of the NT....

    some verses come to mind:

    John 7:21-24New King James Version (NKJV)
    21 Jesus answered and said to them, “I did one work, and you all marvel. 22 Moses therefore gave you circumcision (not that it is from Moses, but from the fathers), and you circumcise a man on the Sabbath. 23 If a man receives circumcision on the Sabbath, so that the law of Moses should not be broken, are you angry with Me because I made a man completely well on the Sabbath? 24 Do not judge according to appearance, but judge with righteous judgment.”

    John 4:23-24New King James Version (NKJV)
    23 But the hour is coming, and now is, when the true worshipers will worship the Father in spirit and truth; for the Father is seeking such to worship Him. 24 God is Spirit, and those who worship Him must worship in spirit and truth.”

    Matthew 22:35-40New King James Version (NKJV)
    35 Then one of them, a lawyer, asked Him a question, testing Him, and saying, 36 “Teacher, which is the great commandment in the law?”
    37 Jesus said to him, “‘You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, and with all your mind.’[a] 38 This is the first and great commandment. 39 And the second is like it: ‘You shall love your neighbor as yourself.’ 40 On these two commandments hang all the Law and the Prophets.”

    That is, what is Sabbath is for?
    As I understand, the Sabbath, as well as all the Laws and the Prophet are summarize into: Love God, Love other as oneself...

    Letter and spirit of the law

    The letter of the law versus the spirit of the law is an idiomatic antithesis. When one obeys the letter of the law but not the spirit, one is obeying the literal interpretation of the words (the "letter") of the law, but not necessarily the intent of those who wrote the law. Conversely, when one obeys the spirit of the law but not the letter, one is doing what the authors of the law intended, though not necessarily adhering to the literal wording.
  5. #5 KingJ, Oct 20, 2015
    Last edited: Oct 20, 2015
    Two scriptures come immediately to mind Matt 5:17 and Col 2:14 'Do not think that I have come to abolish the Law or the Prophets; I have not come to abolish them but to fulfill them''.

    ''having canceled the charge of our legal indebtedness, which stood against us and condemned us; he has taken it away, nailing it to the cross''

    When reading the OT you just have to understand two things: 1. It was to the Jews, 2. God does not change.

    Most stop at 1 and forget 2. What this means is that a Jew who disobeyed law X received punishment Y. Not a non Jew. When Jonah preached to Nineveh (non Jewish city) he did not preach that they should stone each other to death for adultery. He did not teach them to respect the Sabbath. He simply said they must repent, because the level of their wickedness was really upsetting God. They did repent and they fasted for a month and God spared them. No sacrifices. No meetings with Levites. No respecting the Sabbath. So it is key to understand that it is not an OT to NT change.

    Lets look at two laws. 1 Murder and 2. Disrespecting the Sabbath. 1. God ordained Jews who murder come before a panel of elders and if found guilty they be stoned to death. This is because murder angers God at a very high level. This hatred of the sin by God has not changed today. Its just that that time of the Jews is gone. They were chosen for a purpose. It is really important to understand that. God wanted them to be a holy nation, it was not negotiable. They would receive the full curse of the law and at the same time many promises of His blessings if they obey.
    2. Disrespecting the Sabbath resulted in ex communication and for a few who were more accountable, death. We have to understand that God wanted the Jews to set aside this day primarily out of thanks and respect for Him helping them escape Egypt / setting them free. So for a Jew to disrespect this day is literally spitting in God's face. We are not Jews. We were not in Egypt. So this law does not apply to us at all. Though we can learn from this and understand that God wants us to recall / hold onto the time He set us free. Rev 2:4, 1 Cor 15:2.

    Jews and Christians have categorized the laws of the OT into Moral, ceremonial and judicial laws. Here is a good link explaining them http://www.gotquestions.org/ceremonial-law.html.

    Perhaps mention the law you are having a hard time digesting?
  6. #6 JohnC, Oct 20, 2015
    Last edited: Oct 20, 2015
    So... I think KingJ does a good job with this. Much disinformation and much misunderstanding.....

    Second - ethnic "jews" that lost their heritage, assimilated into the Gentile world, and were "Regathered" into Christianity already decided to forsake Sinai whenever they left Judaism.... So - they are not under the law anymore because they broke the covenant and were already "Banished".... In the terms of Sinai - they are "Dead" to the covenant.. They have no right of return into Sinai (Modern Judaism notwithstanding)

    Third - The covenant of Sinai was broken by The Jews soon after it was received... It was broken by man... This is what's actually behind the 1st and second captivities/destruction of Jerusalem... God's statement that since Man had broken the terms of keeping the Land - God was no longer under any compulsion to retain them in the land.... One of the arguments that Paul makes over and over in The Epistles is that Man doesn't just get a "Do over" back into a covenant with God because we think we are somehow better and can get it right this time.. It's broken from God's perspective and done is done.... To enter BACK into Sinai - the Jews would literally have to compel God to return and renew the covenant.... Last time I checked - that has never happened. It's not as if Jesus didn't have a chance... and when Jesus issued His Covenant - that's not what He did...

    So... What "Rules" is a Gentile Christian required to follow? Look at Acts 15... James, as official "Leader" of the Church at Jerusalem decreed in Acts 15:13-21 that Gentile Christians were required to abstain from only a few things (Acts 15:20):
    Eating Blood
    Eating things strangled
    "Polluting" Christianity by mixing it with Idolatry
    Fornication (porneia - basically all forms of sexual immorality)

    Paul gives additional guidance in The Epistles....

    So... Where does that put The Law? Jesus himself stated that he was NOT here to Abolish the law... As such - it's not abolished..... BUT... Why not? It's not abolished because The Law was never "Defective" with respect to God's Creation - it was just not useful as a vehicle to achieve spiritual salvation.

    It's critical to realize that The Law contains vital truth about Both The Creation AND the inner workings of Man.... As such, we ought to not ignore or reject it out of hand... Because The Creation and Man still exist - The Law still provides important insight into it - though we are not bound by covenant to follow it... That's why we should still study Leviticus....

    When I study The Torah (The first 5 books of Moses), I like to reflect about what God is trying to teach Man about His creation.... There are many important lessons and insights - but you have to do some digging to figure them out.. Truths that "Science" is just now getting around to "Proving" 3,500 years after it was given to The Jews... Unfortunately, Christians are at fault in a lot of cases - because we want to "Abolish" the law... and that means that the law can't be valuable or be Actual Truth given by God.. because then - The Law would be Important and Valuable and we wouldn't be able to "Do whatever is right in our own eyes"... As such - we intentionally don't often search for the truth behind it.....

    For example... When you wash things - WHAT actually does the Washing and cleansing.... People often think it's the soap, detergents, and disinfectants that does the washing - and the water is just "Filler"... but that's not really correct... The WATER is what actually cleanses - the other stuff mixed in and the procedures behind washing (Scrubbing, rinsing, etc.) just facilitates the water to do the washing.... and that's what The Bible says... You wash with Water... The Water is what makes the washing effective...

    KingJ likes this.
  7. #7 Complete, Oct 23, 2015
    Last edited: Oct 23, 2015
    Hello @Jordan Kimberly,

    The reading of God's Word acts upon our spirit, like the cleansing of water (Eph. 5:26). Just reading it does that I believe. For just by reading, we are allowing the words to wash over us. It is then that something of the character and nature of God, His Holiness, righteousness, grace and love dawns upon our consciousness, by His Spirit: acting upon the mind to transform and adjust our thoughts and perceptions (Heb. 4:12; 5:14; Rom. 12:2). In that way we get to know God, in and through Christ Jesus, and our senses are exercised to know good from evil, and to know what pleases Him.

    The law is not something that need be a problem to us, for God has placed us in Christ. He has imputed His righteousness to us, and in His sight we stand Holy and without blame before Him. Accepted in the Beloved (Eph.1).

    Praise God!

    In Christ Jesus
    Cturtle and Euphemia say Amen and like this.
  8. When reading the OT law, i.e. Leviticus, Deuteronomy, Exodus, etc., you must understand the living conditions in their day and their knowledge level. Living conditions back then were brutal. We live with so many conveniences today that we have no idea what it would be like to have........none. Okay, maybe they had the convenience of having a goat or cow to milk. Chickens or geese for eggs. That was about it. I wouldn't consider those as convenient. It was a struggle just to survive.
    We must remember that this people were slaves for at least 200-300 years. They were made to work at whatever menial tasks the Egyptians wanted them for. So what knowledge would these people have? They had no schooling. Only the experiences of what they had been forced to do in Egypt.
    So God gave them these laws to learn how to live in a holy way. They didn't understand how germs and disease came from unsanitary conditions, so He gave them rules about: food to eat, how to handle dead bodies, diseased bodies, unsanitary conditions, how to adjudicate justice with the limitations they had, how to treat each other, and so on.
    This was a people who now had no visible authority. They could do whatever they wanted, and the only repercussions were from those they offended or harmed.
    So God gave them these laws to help them. Eventually they learned more and more to the point that when Jesus lived with them, they were ready to learn the desire of God, which is for us to love God and each other in whatever we do.
    Paul K likes this.
  9. If you read Exodus notice that no one died or suffered loss... until, Moses came down and told them all the Law and the punishments and they said, "yea we can keep it all" in pure arrogance. Then as Moses went up to get the tablets, they broke the first "Law" and when Moses came down from the mountain, 3000 died! Grace and truth came through Jesus and when Jesus came down the mountain, 3000 got saved! So what is Leviticus? A book of laws that no one can keep. God wrote it that way on purpose to show that man cannot keep His perfect law and MUST choose grace to live. Paul called the law the ministry of death, 2 Co 3:7. The law does not make anyone perfect, but it demands perfection. Grace does not demand perfection but gives it through faith - aka trust. Jesus fulfilled the law in the flesh as a Man. He paved the path to fulfilling the law God's way, John 15:25. NOW, we are to follow Jesus and His path so that we can fulfill the last too via the Holy Spirit, Rom 8:4, 13:8, Gal 5:14. That's what Leviticus is about. I hope this helps.
    Ravindran and Cturtle say Amen and like this.
  10. Here is a good rule of thumb..... walk in love and forgiveness towards everyone and that just about covers obeying the law. :)
    Fish Catcher Jim and Abdicate say Amen and like this.
  11. Hi Jordan. This is an excellent question, and one that is very relevant to our time because many outside the church ask why Christians don't keep such laws as refraining from pork, not mixing fabrics, and not cutting the edge of your beard, etc.

    The book of Leviticus is part of what is called the books of the Law. The Law is divided into various categories, there are ceremonial laws, dietary laws, moral law, etc. Of course we don't keep the ceremonial laws, such as animal sacrifice, because Jesus fulfilled all that, and they are merely shadows (things that point to and represent something yet to come) of Jesus and His Work. There are other laws that apply only to Israel. For example, the command to circumcise a male child at eight days old is a command to Israel, but not to the church (though there is nothing wrong with circumcision). The command to not eat pork is to Israel UNDER THE OLD COVENANT, not to Jews or Gentiles under the New Covenant. The moral laws (Do not kill, do not steal, etc.) apply under both covenants.

    The Bible is made up of two covenants; the Old Covenant and the New Covenant. The Old Covenant was to the Jews, and was TEMPORARY and PREPARATORY. God gave the Old Covenant to the Jews for several purposes...

    a. That they (and us) might have the knowledge of sin, and a need for a Saviour.
    b. To preserve the nation.
    c. To provide a wall of seperation between Israel and the pagan cultures around her. (She needed to retain holiness and seperation unto the LORD, for from her would come the Messiah/Christ
    d. To point forward to Christ so that people would be ready when Christ came.

    When Christ came, He fulfilled every commandment of the Old Covenant perfectly, and by His death and resurrection He fulfilled the "contract" and brought in a New Covenant based on better promises. The New Covenant is the New Testament, the Old Covenant is the Old Testament

    Going back to the book of Leviticus, the main theme of Leviticus is HOLINESS. Holiness basically means seperated from something to something else. Holiness in the Bible means seperated from sin and this evil age unto God. The seperation in the Old Covenant included things that are not immoral in themselves, (like certain diets and cultural restrictions) as well as seperation from immorality. The New Covenant emphasizes HOLINESS OF HEART, so whatever commands in Old or New Covenant that relate to HOLINESS OF HEART, (remembering that what is in our heart determines what we say and do), apply to us. What we eat, the clothing we wear, the way we trim our beard, etc have nothing to do with heart purity. The commands not to lie, not to steal, not to covet, etc do apply to us, because a. they relate to good and evil, and as holy ones we need to be seperated from the bad unto the good.

    So the moral commandments of the O.T books (like Leviticus) are as relevant as ever, but dietary or clothing restrictions etc do not apply to us, nor does the ceremonial laws of sacrifice, which have been replaced by Christ's finished work on the cross

    Another good rule of thumb is that the commands in the OT (like the book of Leviticus) that apply under the New Covenant which is the New Testament, are usually repeated in the New Testament. For example, all of the ten commandments except the Keeping the Sabbath are repeated in the New Testament, because Christ is our Sabbath. So the ten commandments still apply to us, but they cannot save us. Only the finished work of Jesus on the Cross and in His Resurrection and Ascension can save us.

    Lastly, we don't want to get caught up in "rule keeping" as the means to an end. What God is offering us is not a set of rules, but perfect forgiveness and cleansing from our sin, and a relationship with God through Jesus Christ by the Holy Spirit. This is eternal Life, that we may know God the Father and Jesus Christ whom He has Sent.
    KingJ likes this.
  12. Wow, that was brilliant Glad4Mercy.
  13. Thanks for the kind words, King
  14. Even though the food laws in Leviticus may not apply, we know that God created these bodies and what made these bodies sick during the Old Testament times still makes us sick in New Testament times. It is personal choice, but as a non-denominational Pastor, my family and I have followed Leviticus Chapter 11 for more years than I care to remember. In essence, we have CHOSEN to not consume the flesh of scavengers - such as pigs and shellfish. As most everyone knows, pigs will eat anything including the galvanizing on their metal gates, the paint on the walls in their pens and even the corpses their own deceased young and other animals. Pigs can not get rid of the toxins that they consume in a normal manner. They do not have very many conventional sweat glands except around the nose area, and can not sweat off any toxins as many other animals do.

    We also know that shellfish are bottom feeders - and what is on the bottom of almost every body of water in the world? Toxins - that contaminates the flesh of bottom feeders. Just because Christ died for our sins, did not change these bodies that God created and what can make us ill. In our case in our family, we have never had surgeries, we do not have arthritis and we do not look our age. In our particular case, we attribute this to God's instructions in Leviticus 11. While the old Law in many instances may no longer apply, many of the old Laws are God inspired common sense laws that should not be dismissed, but evaluated and considered. My Ministry does not require that our followers adopt Old Testament Law, but we do suggest that they look carefully at the Old Law and see if they might be better off in their lives if they make some lifestyle changes based upon God's original orders.

    May God Bless...
  15. Certainly! Nothing wrong with eating and living healthy! My point was that the dietary laws are not mandatory law any more, but it may be wise to follow the dietary laws for health reasons. Also, I think if one does choose to eat some of the things you mentioned, moderation may be an option too.
  16. I always have a hard time going through Leviticus. But if you read it with one understanding, it will help you tremendously. Jesus fulfilled Leviticus at the cross. And Leviticus explains what I cannot fulfill! It is as simple as that. I don't think you can read it to see if you can follow them.
    If you are finding hard with any particular law, we can try to explain them. I think everyone has made excellent points and brought so many good perspectives. Gotquestions also has a good read on this topic

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