Read 52.) Leviticus 11:1 thru 12:8. From Leviticus 11, we learn of those things that Israel could, or could not, eat. It starts with land animals in verses 1 thru 8, water creatures with verses 9 thru 12, and then birds in verses 13 thru 19. There were insects they could, and could not, eat in verses 20 thru 23. Israelites could not eat rabbits, pigs, lobsters or shellfish! What is this about? Does God hate clams and scallops? If we understand the most important words and terms properly, there’s nothing to even be remotely concerned about. First, this is about holiness. To be holy, means to be set-apart unto the Lord. He determines what will, and will not, be set-apart unto Himself. Second, this does not mean, in any way, that there is something bad, wrong or wicked about that which is unclean. Third, the expression, holy, is juxtaposed against that which is common, in 10:10. You see, that which is bad, wrong, wicked and evil is sinful, and will render one to be unclean. But, there are also those things which are common, which the Lord said would also render an Israelite unclean. Note carefully, that the instance of uncleanness in chapter 11, concerning common foods, has to do with ceremonial uncleanness says verse 4; and therein lies the distinction and difference. Grasp this, and all concern is gone! Understand then, these have nothing to do with New Testament Christian believers today. Jesus declared all foods to be clean in Mark 7:19. And, from Colossians 2:20-23, we read that these things no longer pertain to holy living, the Law having been cancelled in Christ, says Col.2:14 and Ephesians 2:15. Now, we look for commands as to how Christians ought to live from directly out of the New Testament, that we may know what holy living ought to look like in our day, and it does not include any dietary restrictions as these. So, what is the real point? The real point here, and elsewhere, as we go much deeper into all of this: Is to see how incredibly difficult is was for any Israelite to ever be truly ceremonially clean and, therefore holy, so as to be able to approach the Lord. The point is: Once everything is considered, when could an Israelite ever be truly holy? The point was to cause each individual Israelite to realize that they were in desperate need of a Savior! The point is today: That if you would read of every proscription, and seriously try to imagine how you could get, and remain, ceremonially clean, so as to ever be able to come before the Lord at His tabernacle, in holiness… that it would be nigh unto impossible; you could almost never, ever, get all the requirements lined up, whereby you could approach in holiness. And that was the real point!
Go ahead, read through, and give consideration to all the many ways that you would have to consider yourself to have been rendered ceremonially unclean, according to all the 613 Laws of Moses, and then, ask yourself, “When would I ever be holy enough to ever be able to come before the Lord?” And, the answer you will arrive at will simply be… almost never! It only begins with foods, and the matter of childbirth in Leviticus 12, but it in no way ends here. Wait ’til you see all the rest! It’s what the Book is all about!
Harold F Crowell