The Moral Law of God, Part 1: Leviticus

torah-scrollOnly the moral law remains (Romans 8:4): laws in the Old Testament that are repeated in the New Testament are considered “moral” laws; a deeper study of this difference from the ceremonial law would be in order (see Walter C. Kaiser, Jr, “The Law As God’s Gracious Guidance for the Promotion of Holiness” in Five Views on Law and Gospel). But for now, I will use my gut and natural reason to bold-text commands in Leviticus that look moral. This is Part 1, the second will be a codification of Deuteronomy. Christians are expected to obey the moral law if they are to expect the blessing, presence, and salvation of God: albeit, under the justifying grace of the cross. Note: while I will say that the execution laws might not necessarily be applicable in the United States today, they are still laws that express the moral opinions of God about these sins…

Lev. 1 – atonement; animal sacrifice

Lev. 2 – atonement; meat / food offering

Lev. 3 – atonement; animal sacrifice – “eat neither fat nor blood” (v. 17)

Lev. 4 – atonement; animal sacrifice (bull; sin offering)

Lev. 5 – no swearing and oaths (v. 1, 4); no touching uncleanness (v. 3), atonement; animal sacrifice; guilt for sins of ignorance (v. 17)

Lev. 6 – against using deception to steal (v. 2), atonement; animal sacrifice; food for the priests (males only)

Lev. 7 – atonement; animal sacrifice; don’t eat rotting meat (v. 18), eat no fat or blood (vv. 23-27)

Lev. 8 – priests wear special garments (v. 7): basis for pastors wearing vestments?; Moses ordained Aaron and his sons with a blood and animal sacrifice; if they did wrong, they would die (v. 35)

Lev. 9 – atonement; sacrifice offered; Moses knew that the Holy Spirit would visibly appear to everyone (v. 6); when it happened, the fire of God lit up the altar (v.v. 23-24, cp. 1 Kings 18)

Lev. 10 – Nadab and Abihu killed for offering strange fire (vv. 1-2); no alcohol in church (v. 9)

Lev. 11 – eating or touching the carcasses of unclean animals forbidden (observation: demons tend to appear as unclean animals)

Lev. 12 – childbirth and circumcision

Lev. 13 – leprosy laws

Lev. 14 – atonement for leprosy; the lamb is the animal sacrifice for the poor lepers (v. 21, 32)

Lev. 15 – the uncleanness of discharges, semen, periods (sex forbidden during periods, v. 24, 33)

Lev. 16 – Moses knew that God would appear in a cloud above the ark to Aaron (v. 2); atonement; animal sacrifice (scapegoat); the Day of Atonement (v. 29)

Lev. 17 – no rogue animal sacrifices: had to bring them to the temple; no animal sacrifices to demons (cp. Satanism, occult, v. 7); “it is the blood that makes atonement for the soul” (v. 11)

Lev. 18 – Egyptian and Canaanite practices forbidden (v. 3): incest (vv. 6-19); adultery (v. 20), abortion (child sacrifice), idolatry (v. 21), homosexuality (v. 22), bestiality (v. 23): exile, death, and execution will happen as punishments for these sins (vv. 24-30)

Lev. 19 – respect for parents; keeping the Sabbath, going to church (v. 3, 30); against idolatry (v. 4); free will offerings (v. 5); leave gleanings for the poor (vv. 9-10); stealing, deception, and lying forbidden (v. 11); no false oaths in God’s name (v. 12); swindling, robbing, and delaying wages forbidden (v. 13); cursing the deaf, tripping the blind forbidden (v. 14); “blind justice” commanded (no favoritism) (v. 15); malicious gossip and murder forbidden (v. 16); have no hate for brothers, rebuking your neighbors encouraged (v. 17); do not take revenge or bear a grudge, but love your neighbor as yourself (v. 18); no mixed cattle breeding, no mixed planting of seeds, no mixed clothing fabrics (v. 19); no sex with an engaged slave (v. 20-22); permission granted to eat from a planted tree once it reaches the age of five years (vv. 23-25); eating blood, casting spells, and going to fortunetellers, mediums, and wizards forbidden (v. 26, 31); shaving your face forbidden (v. 27); tattoos forbidden (v. 28); making your daughter a prostitute forbidden (v. 29); stand up to respect the elderly (v. 32); show hospitality to foreigners (vv. 33-34); use fair prices and just measurements in the marketplace (vv. 35-36)

Lev. 20 – execution by stoning to anyone who sacrifices their child to Molech (vv. 1-5); God is against all who go to mediums and wizards for help, all occult practitioners should be exiled (v. 6); execution for cursing your parents (v. 9); adulterers should be executed (v. 10); execution for incest, homosexuality, and bestiality (vv. 11-21); execution for having sex during a woman’s period (v. 18); God hates the people who do these things (v. 23); unclean foods forbidden (v. 25); execution by stoning for wizards and witches (mediums) (v. 27)

Lev. 21 – priests should not shave their heads to be bald, shave their face, or have tattoos: that is how pagan priests and prophets dressed: Adam Clarke, citing Herodotus, says the Egyptian priests did this (v. 5); priests should not marry prostitutes or divorced women (v. 7); if a priest’s daughter becomes a prostitute, she is to be burned to death (v. 9); the high priest should not uncover his head or tear his clothes (v. 10; a law broken by Caiaphas in Matthew 26:3, 65); the high priest must not touch a dead body (v. 11); the high priest must live in the sanctuary and never leave it (v. 12); the high priest must marry an Israelite virgin, but not a widow, a divorcee, or a prostitute (vv. 13-14); the high priest must not be a fornicator (v. 15); no priest with a physical deformity can be the high priest, nor can they go into the Most Holy Place (vv. 17-23)

Lev. 22 – priests must avoid “unclean things” prohibited in the ceremonial law, or else he will be cut off from God’s presence (vv. 1-16); maimed animals or the hands of foreigners should not be involved in sacrifices (vv. 17-25)

Lev. 23 – do no work on the seventh day of the week, but keep it as a Sabbath: a holy convocation and feast in your home (vv. 1-2); you shall celebrate the Feast of Passover (vv. 4-5); you shall celebrate the Feast of Unleavened Bread (vv. 6-8); you shall celebrate the Feast of Firstfruits (vv. 9-14); you shall celebrate the Feast of Pentecost (vv. 15-22); the Memorial Sabbath of Trumpets (vv. 23-25); the Day of Atonement (vv. 26-32); the Feast of Tabernacles (vv. 33-44)

Lev. 24 – the priests must continually burn lamps (vv. 1-4); there must be a continual display of the shewbread (vv. 5-9); God commanded Moses to stone a young man for blasphemy (vv. 10-16); murderers should be executed (v. 17); he that kills another man’s animal must buy him a replacement (v. 18); if a man disfigures another man, the same should be done to him (vv. 19-20)

Lev. 25 – a Sabbath Year should be kept in the seventh year of Canaan’s habitation (vv. 1-7); the Year of Jubilee will be kept in the fiftieth year, to release the people from financial oppression, and proclaim freedom for servants (vv. 8-55)

Lev. 26 – you shall not make or worship idols (v. 1); keep the Sabbath and go to church (v. 2); for those who obey God’s commandments in this book of Leviticus, God will give blessings of rain, fruit, prosperity, safety, security, victory over enemies, and God’s presence (vv. 3-13); for those who disobey, God will give curses and punishments of terror, life-threatening diseases, depression, fruitless work, subjugation to enemies, restlessness (vv. 14-17), and if impenitence continues even after these punishments, then things will be seven times worse: you will always have a barren farm, and no matter how hard you work, you will never make any money; wild animals will kill your children, your livestock, your animals, and wars and plagues will be sent to harm you, you have very little food, you will turn into cannibals and eat your children, and your idols will be destroyed, and your city will be laid waste, and your synagogues burned, and you will smell nothing pleasant, and the land will be replaced by your enemies, and you will be scattered among pagan countries, and you will be killed and antisemitic genocides will be committed against you (the Holocaust), and there will be a spirit of fear, panic, and paranoia among you (vv. 18-39); but if the people will confess and repent of their sins, and their fathers’ sins, and they accept their troubles as God’s punishments for their sins, then God will remember them, and bring them back to the land of Israel (as He did in 1948) (vv. 40-46).

Lev. 27 – the law of vows for people of different ages (vv. 1-8); law for the donation of animals to the priests (vv. 9-13); the donation of parsonages (vv. 14-15); the donation of fields to the priests (vv. 16-25); the donation of firstborn animals to the priests (vv. 26-27); the priests were not allowed to purchase things from the people: things had to be given with no strings attached (vv. 28-29); tithes to the priests were a tenth of fruits, vegetables, or livestock (vv. 30-33)

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