Clean and Unclean - RR172K20
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|This transcript is unedited. It was:|
|Archived by the Mt. Olive Tape Library|
|Digitized, transcribed, and published by Christ Rules|
|Posted by with permission|
Let us worship God. Oh Lord God of Hosts, we come into Thy presence rejoicing that Thou art on the throne, that all the plans of men are futility in the face of Thy government. It is Thy Will, it is Thy kingdom, it is Thy purpose that shall be done on earth as it is in Heaven. Make us joyful therefor in Thee, in Thy so great salvation, in Thy judgment, in Thy blessings, in Thy victory; and make us ever faithful in Thy service that we may be more than conquerors through Christ our Lord. In His name we pray. Amen.
Our scripture is Leviticus 11:1-8. Our subject, “Clean and Unclean.” Leviticus 11:1-8:
“1 And the Lord spake unto Moses and to Aaron, saying unto them,
2 speak unto the children of Israel, saying, these are the beasts which ye shall eat among all the beasts that are on the earth.
3 Whatsoever parteth the hoof, and is cloven-footed, and cheweth the cud, among the beasts, that shall ye eat.
4 Nevertheless these shall ye not eat of them that chew the cud, or of them that divide the hoof: as the camel, because he cheweth the cud, but divideth not the hoof; he is unclean unto you.
5 And the coney, because he cheweth the cud, but divideth not the hoof; he is unclean unto you.
6 And the hare, because he cheweth the cud, but divideth not the hoof; he is unclean unto you.
7 And the swine, though he divide the hoof, and be cloven-footed, yet he cheweth not the cud; he is unclean to you.
8 Of their flesh shall ye not eat, and their carcass shall ye not touch; they are unclean to you.”
We come now to a careful consideration of these verses which we looked at last week also. Uncleanness has a broad meaning in the Bible. It can mean the worship of foreign gods, which was emphatically uncleanness. It was an uncleanness which polluted both the people and the land, according to numerous texts, and Jeremiah has a great deal to say about this in particular in Jeremiah 2:7, 23; 3:2; 7:30; and elsewhere. Leviticus 20:6 tells us turning to mediums and prophesying spirits is uncleanness. Pagan mourning rituals and forms, religious prostitution, also are forms of uncleanness and a great many other things. [00:03:27]
Now some of these things classified as unclean are
Now some of these things classified as unclean are natural in and of themselves. But they are still to be separated from worship. The fertility cults which use these things, stress the power of human acts to determine God’s actions. Some of the forbidden meats had a place in pagan cults, precisely because they were recognized to be bad. They were assumed to have some association with the demonic, and people wanted demonic powers. Pigs were routinely used in many cults in antiquity in their communion services, precisely because they saw pigs as allied to demonic powers. This is not the reason, however, for God’s prohibitions.
It is interesting to view the Jewish attitude on dietary laws in the inter-testamental period, in the era just before our Lord’s coming. According to 4 Maccabees 5:19-26, Eleazar told Antiochus, in defending the whole of God’s Law, “Accordingly, you must not regard it as a minor sin for us to eat unclean foods. Minor sins are just as weighty as great sins, for in each case, the Law is despised. You mock at our philosophy as though living under it were contrary to reason. On the other hand, it teaches us temperance so that we are in control of all our pleasures and desires. And it gives us a thorough training in courage so that we willingly endure all hardships. And it teaches us justice so that whatever our different attitudes may be, we retain a sense of balance. And it instructs us in piety so that we may most highly reverence the only living God. Therefore, we do not eat unclean foods. Believing that God established the Law, we know that the creator of the world, in giving us the Law, conforms us to our nature. He has commanded us to eat whatever will be well-suited to our souls and has forbidden us to eat food that is the reverse.” [00:06:25]
In very recent years, on scholar, Harrison, has called
In very recent years, on scholar, Harrison, has called attention to the hygienic aspect of the dietary laws, noting that these laws “Have been amply justified by subsequent studies in the general area of preventive medicine.” The research in this area is apparently considerable. Public knowledge of the research is not.
In verses 1-8 we have the clean and unclean animals described. Now this description is neither a scientific, nor an unscientific statement. In other words, it is not intended for scientific experts, but for people to guide their daily lives. As a result, it is an empirical description, describing what an animal is visibly. To be clean, an animal must be ruminant in habit, not in stomach. That is, he chews the cud and he must also divide the hoof.
Now the world-over, diet is normally determined by three things: availability, taste and custom. Availability, taste and custom. The Bible says that God’s judgment must determine our diet. Now one of the far-reaching consequences is that more attention has been given to the systematic knowledge of and production of food by ancient Israel and Christendom than any other culture in the world. Our diet must be governed by God. Therefore it has been important for ancient Israel and Christians since, to understand what it is they eat, to develop the implications of those things, and therefore you have had animal husbandry, you have the improvement of varieties of grains, and so on. Something unprecedented in other cultures no matter how far advanced they have become. In other words, because God’s Law sees religion as a matter of action and life, diet is inescapably a part of the life of faith. It is not an accident that the word ‘unclean’ is used over a hundred times in chapters 11 – 16.
When we are linked to God by His covenant, we cannot be linked to anything outside His Will. This if very strongly stressed for us in Leviticus 20:24-26, which reads,
“24 But I have said unto you, ye shall inherit their land” (The land of the Canaanites) “and I will give it unto you to possess it, a land that floweth with milk and honey: I am the Lord your God, which have separated you from other people.
25 Ye shall therefore put difference between clean beasts and unclean, and between unclean fowls and clean: and ye shall not make your souls” (and ‘souls’ can be translated from the Hebrew as ‘lives’) “abominable by beast, or by fowl, or by any manner of living thing that creepeth on the ground, which I have separated from you as unclean.
26 And ye shall be holy unto me: for I the Lord am holy, and have severed you from other people, that ye should be mine.”
The dietary laws thus have as their purpose our cleanness, so that we can be separated into association with God. This is the primary reason. [00:10:49]
The physical benefits clearly flow
The physical benefits clearly flow. Ari McMaster, in his March 6, 1986 Reaper gives the research of the Livingston Wheeler Foundation, which demonstrates that the highest correlation to cancer is of pork.
Now, we have to recognize the unity of our being as taught in scripture, that our faith must be a total faith, and that the Law is a unity also. So these laws are both about holiness and health, because God’s world is a unity. Our lives are a unity and what makes for our holiness makes for our health.
There is another important fact to remember. The donkey, or the jackass was, and is, unclean as food—but not as a working animal. The lamb was clean, for food. But if found dead in the field or killed by a wild animal, it was unclean. The rules exclude the beasts of prey.
The laws given in Leviticus 11 are summarized in Deuteronomy 14, but they are not new when they are given in Leviticus. The distinction between clean and unclean animals was familiar to Noah, and there are references to it, for example, in Genesis 7:2, 3, 8, 9; and in Genesis 8:20. Nothing in Genesis warrants limiting the distinction between clean and unclean, as some do, to animals to be sacrificed. It was both for sacrifice and for food. The reference is to every clean beast. Noah knew the distinction. He was told also to abstain from eating blood. The Law was given to Noah as a reminder of something he already knew, that his forefathers knew.
Just as the Law against murder was not new when enunciated to Moses, we encounter it in Genesis 4:8-14. In Genesis 9:4-6, God separated blood, which life, from man’s power. Whether of animals or of men, blood can only be taken according to His Law. The sacredness of life is very clearly asserted. Murder is an assault on the government of God, and so lies beyond the protection of God. And because all life is under God’s protection, man can take life only in terms of God’s Law: in self-defense, for food, to eliminate dangerous animals, to protect his property and his livestock. The shedding of blood—all blood, is subject to God’s government. [00:14:21]
Many pagan peoples believed and still believe that
Many pagan peoples believed and still believe that the drinking of blood gives them the power of the life taken. In such instances, two evils are present: both the taking of blood and shedding it and drinking it, and the attempt to gain lawless power. According to God’s Law word, He alone is the source of power. If His people should come to believe that health, power and wealth can be gained in contempt of Him, then God’s judgment follows, for we read in Deuteronomy 8:18-20,
“18 But thou shalt remember the Lord thy God: for it is he that giveth thee power to get wealth that he may establish his covenant which he sware unto thy fathers, as it is this day.
19 And it shall be, if thou do at all forget the Lord thy God, and walk after other gods, and serve them, and worship them, I testify against you this day that ye shall surely perish.
20 As the nations which the Lord destroyed before your face, so shall ye perish; because ye would not be obedient unto the voice of the Lord your God.”
Thus, when God divides diet into clean and unclean, he is telling us that there is a division in all of life; that in every area of life, we face moral issues, moral decisions, moral consequences.
Now, the obvious fact is that we don’t understand the reason for these things. Only lately are we beginning to understand what these dietary laws mean. However, there have been opportunities for men to know the truth of these laws previously, but they have chosen to disregard them. It is a very significant fact, and we’ll touch more on it next time, that when the Black Death hit Europe, the one group that had immunity to a very major extent—almost total immunity—was your Jewish element in Europe. This is what created a great deal of the anti-Semitism. Because they could not believe that these people were exempt from what all around them were dying from, unless they themselves were poisoning wells or doing something to harm their neighbors. And yet, if they had faced the fact, it was there: there was a dramatic immunity. [00:17:11]
And it’s ironic that today, most Jews despise the dietary
And it’s ironic that today, most Jews despise the dietary laws; despise their own history, which says that neither the Christians nor the Jews have learned from that history. It’s there in the books! But it’s a bit of antiquated data which is only occasionally referred to. We’re not ready to learn.
The world is divided for us. “This is the way, walk in it.” We are told what is the way of life; but men go to God in order for life and fire insurance. So as far as this life, thank you, Lord, my common sense will take care of me. The consequences of common sense are now overwhelming us as the era of judgment moves progressively into operation.
Let us pray.
Our Lord and our God, Thy Word is truth. Give us grace to believe it, to rejoice in it, and to obey it. Make us strong in Thy Word, faithful in every jot and tittle, that we may be armed for the days ahead to prevail and to conquer in Christ’s name. In His name we pray, amen.
Are there any questions now, about our lesson? Yes, Otto.
[Otto] There’s a tremendous amount of interest today on nutrition, and, ah, sugar has been labeled as a modern—almost a modern poison. The sugar industry is relatively recent, it’s only been in the last, say, three centuries, and it’s become a phenomenon where everything that we eat practically is loaded with sugar. People are cutting out on this, so the subject you might say is coming up.
[Rushdoony] Yes, isn’t it curious that when they have had research that apparently for 15 or 20 years has been calling attention to the Biblical facts, they concentrate on salt and sugar (rightfully), but forget pork and shellfish, which is very interesting. In other words, if it’s man’s discovery, fine. Of course, these are problems man has created. [Laughter] But if it’s something that was there all along, they’re not as willing to acknowledge it.
Any other questions or comments? If not, let us bow our heads in prayer.
Lord, give us grace to rejoice in Thy wisdom, the learning which Thou doest give us, the way Thou hast appointed for us, that we may grow and flourish in Thee and by Thy grace. And now go in peace, God the Father, God the Son and God the Holy Ghost bless you and keep you, guide and protect you this day and always. Amen. [00:21:08]