Nepaug Bible Church - - Pastor's Prayer Meeting Lesson Notes -

Leviticus: Fellowship With A Holy God
Part III: Acceptable Living Before A Holy God, Leviticus 11:1-27:34
A. An Upright Dietary Testimony Before A Holy God
(Leviticus 11:1-47)
  1. Introduction
    1. Much confusion exists in Christendom over the diet God wants believers to observe: for example, some hold God had Israel avoid certain meats for hygienic reasons, but this is countered by Acts 10:9-16 et al.
    2. We thus view the dietary laws in Leviticus 11 in view of its context to discern God's intent in giving dietary laws to Israel, and to discern how the chapter is applicable to us now in accord with Romans 15:4:
  2. An Upright Dietary Testimony Before A Holy God, Leviticus 11:1-47.
    1. In viewing the dietary laws of Leviticus 11:1-47 and its companion passage in Deuteronomy 14:3-20, we must clarify the truth from popular misconceptions (as follows), Bible Know. Com., O. T ., p. 287-288:
      1. Some hold these dietary laws were given for Israel's health, but Scripture counters this view:
        1. A popular assumption made about these laws was that God prohibited Israel from food like pork as pork can be a source of trichinosis, and from eating the hare as that can give man tularemia, Ibid.
        2. However, Jesus declared all foods innately clean in Mark 7:14-23, a stance affirmed in God's vision to Peter in Acts 10:9-23, and after the Noahic Flood, God let man eat all kinds of meat, Genesis 9:3.
        3. Besides, eating some "clean" animals can lead to greater health problems than ingesting some "unclean" ones listed in Leviticus 11 and Deuteronomy 14, Ibid., p. 288.
        4. Finally, God gave no health reasons for His dietary laws in Leviticus 11 and Deuteronomy 14, Ibid.
      2. Others have concluded the "unclean" animals such as pigs were extensively used in pagan rites, and that God wanted Israel to take a stand against such error by not ingesting animals like them, Ibid. Yet, the bull, a clean animal, was a common symbol in the pagan religions of the Ancient Near East, Ibid.
      3. Still others have felt the clean and unclean animals respectively symbolized good and evil in the human realm, Ibid. However, "this symbolic interpretation should be rejected since it is divorced from the controls of grammatical historical exegesis, and therefore is impossible to validate," Ibid.
      4. A fourth, defensible position is that God arbitrarily distinguished clean from unclean animals to testify before pagans that Israel was a unique people who submitted to a uniquely Sovereign God, Ibid.
    2. Thus, in giving the dietary laws, God pronounced "clean" from "unclean" animals in all the major realms of ancient man's universe: these involved land animals, animals in the sea and animals that fly in the air, Ibid. This would testify that God was the Supreme Creator of all realms of the universe versus the pagan deities whose powers were limited to their personal realms, Bruce K. Waltke, Creation and Chaos, p. 48.
    3. Thus, God's dietary restrictions testify of Israel's Lord as Sovereign Creator of the whole universe:
      1. In Leviticus 11:1-8, God as Creator of land animals declared only certain of them clean, Ibid., p. 190f.
      2. In Leviticus 11:9-12, God as Creator of sea animals declared only certain of them clean, Ibid., p. 191.
      3. In Leviticus 11:13-23, God as Creator of birds (Lev. 11:13-19) and flying insects (Lev. 11:20-23) of the heavens declared only certain of their two classes of life forms to be clean.
      4. In Leviticus 11:24-38, God taught that touching the carcass of any unclean animal left one in need of washing and waiting until evening to participate in worship (Lev. 11:24-28), and the dead of unclean animals that swarmed on the ground were unclean together with anything they touched except in the case of a cistern that was needed for man's survival, Leviticus 11:29-35, 36-38, Ibid., p. 191.
      5. Even clean animals that died apart from the eater's slaying of them were unclean, and touching their carcasses required washing and waiting until evening for ceremonial purification, Lev. 11:39-40.
      6. Finally, in Leviticus 11:41-47, God summarized by the repetition of certain examples the dietary laws He had given so that Israel might be always reminded of her holiness before the Lord, Ibid.
Lesson: Israel was to treat certain animals of the land, sea and air as edible, and certain as inedible to TESTIFY to the PAGANS who held to many deities that Israel's God was Sovereign Creator of all life!

Application: Though all things are innately edible for us Christians today (1 Timothy 4:1-5), may what we EAT properly TESTIFY of our LORD, a fact that MAY LIMIT our diet as in 1 Corinthians 8:10-13!