Hildebrandt, OT History, Lit., and Theology, Lecture 13
© 2012, Dr. Ted Hildebrandt
This is Dr. Ted Hildebrandt in his Old Testament History, Literature and Theology course, Lecture #13 on the Book of Leviticus: holiness, purity laws, problems.
Okay, class, let’s get started here. We’ve got a lot to do today. We’re going to try to cover the book of Leviticus, which is the most fascinating book in the Old Testament. We’re going to try and make it dance today for us.
Thursday’s quiz, what do we have up? Thursday it’s Quad Break. Okay, so you
have Thursday off. Merry Christmas! For the following Thursday you’re working
on the Book of Joshua. Joshua’s about twenty-four chapters. It’s not that big
or bad. There’s an article there on the concept of war, and so that might be
interesting to you. It’s on war and loving your neighbor as yourself, so kind
of putting those two ideas together. Then there’s also some memory verses.
Psalm 100 starts out “Make a joyful noise to the Lord.” That’s another famous
Psalm, not quite as famous as Psalm 23, but there’s a couple verses and there’s
Joshua 1:8 which is a really classic verse in the book of Joshua. So, you will
be working on Joshua. I’m going to start trying to catch up with you guys. I’ll
probably never catch up with you all semester but I’m going to start moving
faster. We’ll get a good chunk of the book of Leviticus done today, probably
not the whole thing. So you are going to be working on Joshua.
We’re going to jump back into Exodus and we’ll get into Leviticus. And before we do that let’s open with a word of prayer and then we’ll get down to it, okay?
thank you for this day. We thank you for your kindnesses to us and giving us your
Word. We pray for our brothers and sisters in Egypt that are struggling this
day, who are under persecution. Churches being burned. Christians being killed.
We remember our brothers and sisters and we pray that you might protect them,
that you might give them a sense of meaning and purpose amidst all the chaos
that’s going down there now. Help us in this class as we go over the book of
Leviticus. I pray that you might help me to explain it in a way that is good, that
is accurate, and reflects your holiness and your goodness. You are a holy God.
It is a great privilege to call you Father and to know that you gave your son
Jesus Christ on our behalf. And it’s in his precious name that we pray. Amen.
Exodus Law on Abortion?--Not
Okay, let’s finish up the book of Exodus. And what I’d like to do is kind of introduce this one law in Exodus and, this is called a case law. What is a case law? Do you realize there are laws like: Thou shalt not kill. Thou shalt not steal. Thou shalt not bear false witness? Those are general principle laws. There’s a whole other type of law that and called “case law”. And a case law goes like this: if Johnny drinks and Johnny drives, Johnny will get put in jail. Okay, it’s an if-then type of law that gives you specific cases. That’s why they call it “case law.” If the person does this, then this will happen. It is if-then with specific cases prescribing what should happen.
So what we have in Exodus chapter 21, here, is a specific case law. And let me just read the passage from Exodus 21:22. It says: “If men who are fighting—“ So you’ve got two guys fighting. “If men who are fighting hit a pregnant woman...” Okay, so you got two guys fighting and what happens, probably? The woman tries to break it up or whatever, she gets into the fight. You got two guys fighting and then if the woman who’s pregnant gets hit. “And she gives birth prematurely, but there is no serious injury, the offender must be fined.” The guy who hits the pregnant woman must be fined “whatever the woman’s husband demands and the court allows. But if there is serious injury, you are to take life for life, eye for eye, tooth for tooth, hand for hand, foot for foot, burn for burn, wound for wound and bruise for bruise.” We would call that the, what? The lex talionis. Do you remember the eye for eye, tooth for tooth? That’s actually listed here. “Eye for eye, tooth for tooth, hand for hand, burn for burn” and this is called the lex talionis, the law of retaliation. The law of retaliation is given in this case law.
Now, what is actually going on here? You’ve got two guys fighting, this woman jumps in, she tries to break the fight. The guy punches her. Now, it says there’s two situations that come out of that. One is if there’s no injury. No injury to whom? The guy is fined that hit her. There’s no injury to the woman, but the woman apparently miscarries or has a child and the child, it’s assumed here, the child dies. So then, the guy who hit her has to pay a fine for the loss of the child. So then what happens is you have here a situation where basically this premature birthing with the baby suffering an injury, most likely death because premature birth back then, they don’t do the premies like we do in hospitals today that save the life of the mother and the baby. Back then, the baby would often die. But notice what the penalty is. The penalty is that a fee be paid. So this raises the question about the fetus. Is the fetus a person before the fetus is born? And fetus now, there’s been a miscarriage as a result of the woman getting hit and things. Notice a fee is charged here that is arranged by the husband. So apparently it’s negotiable. This fee is negotiable and it may depend on what month she was, whether it was early or later and things like that.
But if the woman is hit and we said, if there’s damage done to her, basically, well, let’s go back. If the woman is hit, then it’s eye for an eye tooth for a tooth. Eye for an eye, tooth for a tooth for the woman, if she’s damaged. Now, why would there be less for the fetus that dies? Why would there be less of a penalty? By the way, in that culture, too, if a slave gets hurt, was there fee paid for a slave being hurt rather than eye for an eye, tooth for a tooth? So, is there a certain hierarchy for how of a fine is applied? Now, does this passage have anything to tell us about the abortion issue? People have used this passage for abortion. Is abortion really the question here? Is this passage addressing the abortion issue? No, it’s not. Two guys are fighting, a woman gets in the middle, and bam! They hit her and she has a miscarriage.
Now, let me just work another aspect of this. Does intent matter in terms of punishment? I’m driving down Grapevine Road. There’s a kid riding his bicycle. The kid, all of a sudden, out of the clear blue, just turns his bike and swerves right in front of me and I hit the kid, I kill the kid, the kid’s under my car. I just killed the kid. Question: do I go to jail the rest of my life for murdering that kid? Do I probably regret that for the rest of my life? Yes. But do I go to jail for that? Now, by the way, in that situation did I kill the kid? I killed the kid. Question: do I go to jail for murder? Why don’t I go to jail for murder? You go to jail for manslaughter?! Would I go to jail here? If the kid swerved right in front of me like that? Alright. Part of my defense would be, was it my fault or was there anything I could do? The brakes were good in my car and you don’t understand, I probably didn’t even hit my brakes. The kid just wam! Bam! And it’s over. Question: was there any malice and aforethought? Do malice and aforethought count? Yes. Now, is it possible, suppose my brakes were bad and my brakes couldn’t stop my car. Would you call that, what? Negligence. There could be negligence and things like that, but in that case there was no malice and aforethought.
Now, let’s go back to the woman getting hit. The guy’s getting the woman off his back. The woman’s trying to pull this guy off her husband or something and he goes wam! And he gives her an elbow or something like that. Question: is the guy trying to hurt the woman to get the woman off his back? Yes. So for her, it goes eye to eye. Question: he hits the baby and the baby miscarriages. Was there any intent against the baby? There was no intent against the child. So, in other words, yes, the woman, he was trying to hit her but he wasn’t necessarily trying to hit the baby. So, I think there’s a distinction there between those two. So a fine is given for the child. Does this have anything to do with abortion? No, it doesn’t. You have to be really careful about pulling verses out like this and using them for purposes for which they were not given? This was not given to give us the Bible’s position of abortion. This, by the way, does this have to do with a fetus? Yes it does. But it’s not given for that purpose and I think you have got to be careful about pulling verses out like this and using them for purposes for which they’re not designed or intended. Okay, that’s my point for this. Be careful about pulling verses out of context of Scripture and using them for a different context for which they were not designed.
is called a case law. If two men are fighting and if the guy slugs the woman,
then this is what it’s called “case law.” If-then. If this happens, then this
happens, then this would be the punishment for that. So basically the
implication for some is the fetus is human. This does not really address that
issue, however. That’s not the point of this. Is the fetus valued? Yes. But it
doesn’t answer the whole question. And by the way, I’m very much, very, very
strongly pro-life, but what I’m saying is you have got to be careful with the
context. Develop good arguments and don’t use verses like this, that aren’t meant
to be used this way.
Introduction to Leviticus
over to Leviticus. Leviticus, the most fun book in the Old Testament! I’m going
to try to make this interesting. Actually, to be honest with you, once upon a
time I taught a whole course on the book of Leviticus and actually we had a
great time. The problem is the book of Leviticus is thousands of years from our
culture? The major theme of the book is this: “Be holy as I the Lord your God
am holy.” This is basically the major theme, “holiness”.
By the way, this book is called the book of Leviticus. If you take the -cus off the end here, who is the book about, the book of Leviticus? It’s about Levites and who would be the other group of people? Levites and priests. What’s the difference? What are Levites? They're of the tribe of Levi. So they’re Levites, if they’re from the tribe of Levi. What are the priests? Where did the priests come from? Aaron’s descendants, yes. So Aaron is a Levite, but Aaron’s descendants are priests. Aaron was designated as a high priest, his children, his children’s children also become priests. So Aaron’s descendants are the priests. The Levites carry the Tabernacle stuff. The priests do what? The priests minister at the altar and in the Holy of Holies and things like that. The priests get engaged in doing sacrifices, whereas the Levites are the ones that haul the Tabernacle.
Extrinsic and intrinsic religion
religion uniquely personal and private with few external requirements? In our
culture, have we privatized religion? Is it almost out of place to speak
in the public arena about one’s religion? Have they silenced, in as far as a
public expression, the public articulation of Christianity? Has it almost been
silenced in the public arena? Your religion is supposed to be something that’s
personal and private that you keep to yourself.
It’s kind of funny in our culture, isn’t it? Question: is it more inappropriate to speak about religion in public or to see sexual acts in public? Which is more accepted in our culture? Yes, did you get the irony there? It’s incredible! Something that should be very private is made public and it’s okay. Something that should be public has been silenced. So, is this something I want you to think about in terms of how has religious expression has been silenced in our culture? It’s been very purposeful and I’ve watched it happen over forty years. It’s very particular and now it’s almost impossible to speak about religion in public. Does religion have external things? Does religion have its external expression or is it only personal and private?
Cult in Old Testament Studies
another one: what is the cult in the Old Testament? Now, when I use the
word “cult” often times peoples’ heads go back to remember this guy Jimmy Jones
and drinking Kool-Aid and all the people that they’re dead—that’s a cult,
right? A cult is people brainwashed and they’re go into this cult closed kind of
context. That’s what we think about “cult”.
When you’re in Old Testament studies, you can’t think like that. In Old Testament studies the cult is anything you do externally to symbolize your religion. So for example, when we prayed before class, question: did I bow my head and close my eyes to pray? I bowed my head—is that part of the cult? Yes, that’s part of the cult, that’s something I do externally. When someone prays, do some people take off their hats to pray to show respect? Does anybody do this?--cross themselves. Is that an external act of worship that you do to symbolize religion. Those are external things. Some of you come from churches that do a lot with the cult in terms of external things. Like liturgy? Do some of you come from churches that have a lot of liturgy? Do some of you come from churches that have almost no liturgy? So you get into the different traditions. Cult is anything you do externally to symbolize your religion.
By the way, will some people symbolize their religion externally by wearing a T-shirt? I’m in Greek class and a kid says, you know “Jesus Rules” on his T-shirt. Is that an external expression of his religion? So you could say anything that you do externally, liturgy typically in churches with the cult, is there a lot of external expression of religion in the Old Testament? Yes. They had to think about how they approached God in various ways. So, the cult has to do with the importance of externals as you approach God.
Do externals matter or does only your heart matter? Do externals matter, when you approach someone? Now, I used a ritual, I call it um a torture ritual I have with my wife. I probably shouldn’t say it like that, you have to understand, my background as I grew up. I grew up g athletics since I was a kid in high school I played soccer, basketball, and tennis. Three seasons, three different sports. When I went to college, played two different seasons. Basketball and tennis. Have I been working out? I don’t work out anymore, it’s obvious. But anyways, but when I was younger, did I work out like every day, sweat was part of my life? Does sweat bother me? The answer is: no. I’ve been sweaty half my life. Okay, so then now all of a sudden I find myself married. So I’m out cutting the lawn and then I do the weeding and I’m doing all this work outside and I come in and I got a t-shirt on and stuff. So I’m drenched with sweat and stuff. And then I have this ritual and I come up to my wife and I say, “Honey…do you love me? How much do you love me? I want a hug!” I come and I usually have to check how much she loves me. Now the question is, does she love me or love me not? Okay, when you’re sweaty like that, love me not. But what I’m saying is, okay, what happens? How come when I approach my wife and I’m all sweaty like that--does approach matter? Does that affect how she thinks about me? When I’m all sweaty does that gross her out, and she says, “Get away from me! Get away from me!” “My wife doesn’t love me anymore!” No, it’s time to take a shower buddy! Time to get your act together. So anyways, what I’m saying is: approach matters. How does that affect how we approach God?
other day I was in my office. Usually when I study in my office, I kick back in
my chair I put my feet up on my desk and I read. Okay, that’s how I read. I
kick back, I put my feet up on my desk and I read. All of a sudden I hear a
knock at the door. I turn around (this is the third floor, Frost with all of
the faculty up there and nobody goes up there but faculty, nobody can find
their way up there and it’s like a maze!) Okay, so we’re up there and all a
sudden I turn around and honk! There’s the president of Gordon College!
I’ve got my feet up on my desk going “Holy cow! There’s the president!” Now,
question, did I get a little bit embarrassed about that? This is the president
of the college. Do I want to be siting there with my feet up on my desk when
the president of the college stops by? I just never have seen the president in
12 years up there. Do I like this guy? He’s a real go-getter—so, he’s up in my
office and all of a sudden it’s like “Whoooah! Okay, not used to having the
president up here.” We had a conversation. He’s a really good guy. But what I’m
saying is question: president shows up—okay, now suppose Elaine Phillips, who
I’ve known for 35 years, a good friend. Elaine pops over and I’ve got my feet
up on the desk. Is that a big deal? No. She knows me, it’s no problem.
Question: president shows up, big deal? Okay, so question: does it matter, the
stature of the person on how you approach? Do you approach your friends the
same way you would approach someone who’s, you know, your boss or somebody
that’s very significant? Would you approach the president of the United States,
would there be a sense of “He’s the president of the United States!” There’s
that sense of respect.
So, what I’m saying is as you approach God, are there certain things God says that are repulsive to him and are there certain things that God likes? Actually I’m referring to Psalm 15. Does God like gossipers? No, he doesn’t. Okay, so you gossip and come to God? God says, “I don’t like that.” Does God like people that are righteous, that are kind, that are just, that are fair, that are compassionate to the poor? Yes. Those people God likes and you know what I’m saying?
So this whole, the book of Leviticus then describes how one approaches a holy God. There’s certain things that are an abomination to him, that are offensive to him, that are disgusting to him, and it’s like coming to him with a soaking wet T-shirt and asking for a hug. It’s just not appropriate at that point because you’re coming the wrong way. So the book of Leviticus describes this approach.
here’s another way to look at pretty much the same thing: what in life is
secular? Okay, my car’s low on gas. I’m going to go buy some gas on the way
home probably or tomorrow morning. Question: when I go to buy gas is that
secular or sacred? Well it’s impoverishing is what it is. Okay, but is it
secular or sacred. Okay, when I go to the gas station, it’s a secular thing. I’m
going to go up to Sam’s Club probably this weekend and buy some food for my
son’s coming back and he eats like a horse. So I need to buy all this food and
stuff. When I go up to Sam’s club is that secular or sacred? That’s you know
again a secular activity. I go out shopping you know and I buy all this food
and bring it home.
So, what would be sacred? Would like going to church, would that be more sacred? Reading my Bible and praying would those be more like sacred things? My question is when my wife goes shopping is that secular or sacred? Yes, actually it turns out many of you answered the question and as a guy you just have got to get used to that. That’s sacred time. But anyways, sacred: going to church, reading your Bible, praying, those things are considered sacred.
What the book of Leviticus tells us is and this is a big message of the book of Leviticus, and this is an important message and stuff, basically the book of Leviticus tells us that the whole of a person’s life, everything we do is sacred. Everything we do is sacred. When the Jewish people sit down to eat, did they have to think about God in the types of food that they eat? Yes. When an Israeli woman has a child does she have to think about God in the having of that child and how many days she’s unclean for? As a matter of fact, even when the Israeli people, when they’re in the desert and they go to relieve themselves, do they have to think about God? Can they relieve themselves just anywhere? Did God tell them that they have to relieve themselves outside the camp and they have to bury it? Yes. So, all of life is sacred.
One of the great sayings of Dr. Wilson here is—how many of you here see your studies as sacred? Is it possible to study or do your studies as something that’s totally secular? Can Calculus be made sacred? What Dr. Wilson says this: “Study is the highest form of worship.” In other words, what he’s saying is take your studies, can you offer your studies up to God. Can even your study of mathematics or biology, chemistry, physics, whatever, literature. Offer it up to God, so that all of life and study is the highest form of worship. All of life is sacred that’s the message of Leviticus. Everything is specified. Everything is sacred. There’s no secular-sacred distinction in this. Leviticus says that which is secular and sacred, they’re one. All of life is sacred and lived out in the presence of God.
Holiness Theme in Leviticus
Now, what does holiness mean? This is the key verse in the book of Leviticus. You may be vaguely familiar with this verse. “Be holy because I the LORD—“Notice how this is spelled. Capital L, capital O capital R, capital D. What’s the Hebrew term behind this? This is Jehovah or Yahweh. See how it’s all capitalized? So this is the term for God. “—because I am LORD your God, I am Yahweh, I am Jehovah your God.” God would be what the Hebrew word “Elohim”? God’s most precious name. He says, “…because I the LORD your God am holy.” So you are to be holy because God is holy. We are to reflect his holiness. Now 1 Peter 1:15 in the New Testament echoes the same command. So in other words, this isn’t just an Old Testament concept. 1 Peter says the same thing: “Be holy,” so we as Christians are to be holy, “because the LORD our God is holy.” So Peter says the same type of thing.
what does it mean to be holy? The root idea of holiness, I like this phrase
here: totally other. What holiness or qadosh, qadosh means is that God
is totally other, that God is totally different than anything you’ve ever
experienced. God is different, he’s totally other, he’s totally different than
anything you’ve ever experienced in your life. By the way, what does that tell
us? When we meet God, when we actually meet God are we all going to be shocked?
When we meet God are we all going to meet the Totally Other? In other words, there’s
nothing in this world that’s like God. He’s totally different. All our
imaginations, all our wonderings and stuff like that, God is different than
anything we can imagine.
The idea of holiness means this idea of separateness. He’s different. He’s separate. He’s separate from the rest of creation. There’s nothing like him. He’s separate, He’s distinct from creation. God is totally unique. He’s totally unique. There’s only sui generis--he’s one of a kind. There’s only one like him in the whole universe. He’s special. That may be another way to say holiness, is to say, “he’s ‘special’.” Holiness is making something special. Something separate, distinct, unique. Something that’s special.
Isaiah says it this way—by the way, the Book of Isaiah also has a lot on the concept of holiness. Isaiah says this: “To whom will you compare me?” Now first of all, what kind of question is that? Is he expecting an answer to that question? “To whom will you compare me?” What’s the answer? Is he asking for a cognitive answer? Is that a rhetorical question? Does a rhetorical question expect an answer? No. So what he’s doing is here? A rhetorical question is a statement in the dress of a question. What he’s trying to say here—what is he trying to say by this? “To whom will you compare me?” What is he trying to say? What is the statement he’s making there? There is no one like God. There is no one—who is like God? So the statement here “To whom will you compare me?” There is nothing you can compare him to, there is no one you can compare God to. Or “‘Who is my equal? God has no equal,’ says the Holy One.” The incomparability, Old Testament scholars call this the “incomparability of Yahweh.” The incomparability of Yahweh, He is totally different than anything. There’s nothing we can compare Him to. He’s totally different.
need to keep some ideas—now, I thought you were going to go the other way. Some
of you will say, “Well we can know something about God because we were made in
God’s image, so therefore we know something about God.” Okay, we have got to
put that aside and say “Yes, God is love.” Do we know how to love? Yes, we know
how to love. Do we know compassion? Yes, okay. Do we know justice,
righteousness, those types of things. We have ideas of those things, but what
this is saying is go beyond that. In other words, those categories don’t
describe God who is beyond all those things. So the holiness thing is about the
beyond-ness of God. And it’s not saying there’s totally no connections. In
other words, when you start reading a statement like this, he’s saying because
we’re made in his image. So there are things where we are similar to God and I
think that’s what Lewis is referring to there. But there’s another sense in
which, while we are similar to God in some ways and in other ways he’s beyond
anything we’ve ever experienced in life. So, the holiness points out that
beyond-ness? So the holiness focuses on that beyond-ness, the other-ness. That
would be another way to say it, the other-ness of him. So, this is a beautiful
verse in Isaiah.
Holiness does not mean remoteness
another one from Isaiah about this idea of separateness. God is separate, He’s
distinct from everything. Separateness, but does separateness mean remoteness?
Check this verse out from Isaiah 57:13, this is a beautiful verse. It says,
“For this is what the High and Lofty One says.” So God calls Himself, “this is
what the High and Lofty One says.” He’s high, He’s lofty, He’s out there. “This
is what the High and Lofty One says: He who lives forever—“ In other words,
eternity in both directions, “He who lives forever, whose name is,” what?
“Holy.” Okay, and that’s the focus here. “Whose name is Holy.” He’s totally
different. He lives forever. He’s the High and Lofty One. He lives forever. His
name is “Holy.” He says “I live in the high and holy place.” The holy place is
where God lives. His name is holy and he lives in the high and holy place, a
place set apart, separate, special, unique. He says “I live in this holy place.”
So you get this image of this guy high, lifted up, holy and then the verse
turns with this “but” here. It’s beautiful. He says, okay, this high and holy
God, who does he live with? Who does God live with? “But also with him who is
contrite and lowly in spirit.” What’s contrite mean? It means “the broken ones.”
Who does God live with? The high and lofty God, the holy one who’s separate,
who lives in this high and holy place, he lives with the broken ones. Do you
see the turn? You get this holy God, rather than living with all those who are
high and holy, he lives with people that are broken, the contrite, the lowly in
Now by the way, what does our culture tell us? Do you have to promote yourself? You have got to be confident, you have got to promote yourself, you have got to brand yourself, you have got to, you know yourself. With whom does God live? With the lowly in spirit, with the humble--the humble; with the broken ones. This is beautiful to see. So God’s holiness, does it mean that he’s remote? God lives with the broken ones. And this—I love the way this verse just shifts from this High and Lofty One to those that are lowly with whom he lives. This is another beautiful verse from Isaiah.
Response to holiness: Fear of God
Now, what about holiness? Does holiness mean that we should be afraid of him? When God’s holiness comes is there like this fear that comes? By the way, what does the Bible say? “The fear of God is the beginning of wisdom.” But how many of us have been taught that the fear of God doesn’t really mean the “fear” of God but that you reverence God, that God is awesome and the fear of God doesn’t really mean “fear”. It means “reverence”. I just want to tell you that the fear of God means the “fear of God”. The terror of God. Now by the way, does the notion of the fear of God also mean reverence and respect? Yes, it does. It also means obedience as well. Actually, I’ve worked on that concept. I actually just did a paper last November on the fear of God. It’s online now. And so it’s an interesting concept. Part of the fear of God is this notion of fear. How many of you fear—are there certain individuals that cause fear? You’re travelling down the road, all of a sudden the man pulls up in back of you. He’s got a set of lights across the top of his car and you have no clue how fast you were going. Question: fear?
experienced this last weekend. My son was flying out from Logan Airport out to
Denver to visit my other son and they’re going to go elk hunting. And so I
have a gun a Thirty-Odd-Six and it’s in a case. So my son and I went down, we took
him down. His plane was at nine-twenty so we were down there about eight-thirty
or so. So my son and I walk up and I take my gun case and so he’s going to go
out and so he has gun for my other son in Denver, who scouted out all the elk.
So, we put the gun case on and they’re going to check luggage? So it’s going to
go through. Apparently, you have to declare that you’re flying with a gun even
if you check it in. And I, to be honest with you, I didn’t know the laws and my
son didn’t know the laws either. So they took the gun case and things and then
my wife and I went home.
So he was supposed to be getting on his airplane. All of a sudden about nine o’clock we get this phone call from my son saying, “Dad, how do you get this case open? They want me to open this case.” I said, “What do you mean ‘open this case’?” He said they pulled him aside just before he’s supposed to fly out. They pulled him aside and forced him to open the case. I said, “Well, I gave you the key to it.” He said, “Yeah, but the key won’t work.” And so I told him there’s this special thing where you have got to monkey with the key. So I got him monkeying with they key and he said, “Okay, I got it, I got it.” So then he hangs up. About ten minutes later he calls up again and says, “Okay, now how do I lock this thing?” And I say, “Okay, well you go back and you have got to get in the right way and you have got to feel it a little bit.” And I said, “Don’t snap the gear or you’re done.” So then, all of a sudden, he goes and he calls back.
Meanwhile, my wife is freaking because she realizes he’s gotten pulled aside for flying with a weapon without declaring it. That is a felony. Is a federal felony. My wife is freaking out and she’s getting like sobbing and sobbing and sobbing and it’s like, “I can’t believe you let him go without that. You didn’t tell your son!” I said, “I didn’t know you were supposed to declare it!” Meanwhile, my other son calls up and he starts screaming (he never screamed at me in his life), he says, “Dad I can’t believe you…” Anyways, he goes off on me and he says, “You’d better get your tail down there! Your son is being hauled off to jail right now and he’s going to need your help! You’d better get back down there.” I said, “Okay, okay, I’d better get back down there.”
Meanwhile, Zach then calls my daughter, who is married to a top lawyer and my son-in-law now, who’s a lawyer tells Zach that he knew a friend who carried on a thing without declaring his weapon, as well, and he was put in prison for two years. The guy that was put in prison was a lawyer. So now, all of a sudden we jump in the car, we’re going down there and Robert’s calling. He’s got a good lawyer friend in Boston and this is like 11 o’clock at night and he’s saying “This is going to cost you thousands of dollars and he still may end up in jail because I’m not sure I can get this done.” So he’s calling up his lawyer friend. We’re going down there. Question: was there fear in me? I’m going down there realizing it’s my gun. Is it possible “Gordon College Prof. sits in Jail for giving an unauthorized weapon to his Son.” I’m thinking, “I prayed for this kid for like seven months when he was over in Afghanistan getting shot at everyday. God brings him back to America and when he gets back to America they put him in jail!” So, anyways I’m freaking out and going down. But question: was there fear? Now, question: was there fear of the law? Of the police? Have you guys ever had the fear of the police? So there was real fear. So now, you say that doesn’t mean that like with God…Police can put me in jail. Does God have power to do other things beyond that? So all I’m saying is the fear of God, you need to think about that. I know we’re in a “no-fear” culture kind of thing but what I’m saying is you need to think about that.
by the way, I actually met the guy that interviewed my son. I came down there
and I said, “Excuse me, can anybody here tell me whether Elliot Hildebrandt got
on the plane to Denver?” And the guy was going to punch it in the machine.
There was another guy kicked back in the corner. He says, “Yeah, he’s on his
plane.” So then I said, “How do you know him?” I said, “What did you memorize
all the people in the list of the plane or something?” And I was just joking
around with the guy because I wanted to make light of this because it was
really serious. The guy says, “No, no,” he says, “I only know the names of
those guys that are trying to carry on firearms.” Okay, so I just backed off.
Did he talk his way out of it? Apparently, he talked his way out of it and the
guy gave him a break. He didn’t report Elliott because otherwise it would have
been real serious. So question: as a parent, I know never to do that again.
Holiness responses: cleanness from sin
so, fear and dread of God. Isaiah is standing before God and God is up in the
heavens and these angels are winging around God saying, what? “Holy, holy,
holy, is the Lord God Almighty.” Isaiah looks at a holy God, seeing these
seraphim, cherubim type beings going around with six wings flapping and saying
“Holy, holy, holy” and what happens? Isaiah feels what? “I am a man of” what?
“Unclean lips and dwell in the midst of a people of unclean lips.” He feels his
own shame in front of the presence of a holy God. But the angel then takes the
thing of hot coal and puts it on his lips and burns and purifies him and says,
“Isaiah you’re my man.” This is Isaiah 6, it’s the call of Isaiah where the
angel says—and God basically comes and says to Isaiah, “You’re going to speak
for this holy God that you saw. You’re going to be a prophet, Isaiah, and
you’re going to speak God’s Word.” So a lot of the book of Isaiah’s about
holiness because Isaiah saw God in his holiness and then felt this tension
between himself and God with his holiness kind of thing.
Holiness moves to the selection of a special people
holiness then, he is holy, he is special, he is unique. He moves to select and
make a people holy. So God’s holiness leads him to select a people and he says
here in Exodus 9:16, “You will be for me a kingdom of priests,” the whole
nation, a kingdom of priests “and a holy nation.” Out of all the nations of the
earth, Israel was special. Israel was special, Israel was unique, Israel was
separated and special to God. A holy nation, separated from all the other
nations of the earth. It is through that nation that God would send his Son.
And so God’s holiness moves to select and make a people holy.
Making things holy: Shabbat
can we make something holy? Now this is a little bit weird, but just
follow me. Can we make something holy? The answer is: yes. Remember the
Ten Commandments tell us, “Remember the Sabbath Day” to do what? “To keep it
holy.” How was the Sabbath day holy? Is the Sabbath day a special day? Are we
supposed to reverence this Sabbath day to make it special? We don’t do, what on
the Sabbath? Work. You’re an Old Testament Jewish person. You don’t do that on
the Sabbath? By the way, when is the Sabbath? When is the Sabbath? Okay,
for the Jewish folks Saturday? When does the Sabbath start? Friday night when
the sun goes down. Most Jewish families, when the sun goes down, the Jewish
family will have Shabbat dinner as a family together and that’s when they’ll
celebrate as a family. They usually have Shabbat dinner Friday night when the
sun goes down and the family eats a dinner. They call it Shabbat dinner. When
does the Sabbath end? It begins Friday night when the sun goes down and it goes
till when? Sun down Saturday night. What do the Jewish people do Saturday night
after the sun goes down? They party! Okay, the sun goes down, Shabbat is over.
Saturday night the sun goes down, everybody’s out on the streets. If you’re
ever in Jerusalem, you go to Kikar Zion [Zion Square] and you’ll see ten
thousand, at least ten thousand Jewish people swarming all over. Everybody’s
having a good time and they’re all out in the streets dancing, partying and
getting down. And this is on Kikar Zion, they call it “Zion Square.” So
anyways, so that’s the Sabbath. So Sabbath you don’t work Saturday night when
the sun goes down, boom, then the lid’s off and they have fun.
Sanctify and holiness
you can sanctify something. Does anybody do Latin? The first part of this, do
you see this word ‘sancti’? What’s another “sancti” word that you know? Sancti
is the Latin word for “holy.” What’s another “sancti” that you know? Sanctuary.
If I said a sanctuary, is a sanctuary a holy place where we go to worship? By
the way, let me just say this: what about a bird sanctuary? Have you ever heard
of a bird sanctuary? Is a bird sanctuary a place that is special for birds? Yes,
so the idea of sanctuary being some special place for in that case birds.
[Student asks a question] Okay, Jewish folks do it on Saturday because that’s the seventh day. It got moved to Sunday basically by the early Christians actually celebrated Sabbath because they were Jewish. The apostles were all Jewish, Jesus was Jewish. They celebrate the Sabbath—when Jesus rose from the dead, they switched to celebrating the seventh day, the special day to celebrate the resurrection of Christ on Sunday the first day of the week. There was also probably some tensions between the Jewish folk and Christian folk and so largely they moved it to Sunday because of the resurrection. Some of the people celebrate both Saturday and Sunday. But largely the resurrection because the resurrection was on Sunday, the church moved our special day to celebrate the resurrection of Jesus. Good question.
Okay, so sanctify something means “to set it apart.” To set it apart as something special and these are special things to make holy. Now, what we want to do is say “How do you make something holy?” What types of things can be holy? There’s holy oil. Now when the Bible says “oil,” what type of oil does it mean? I heard a preacher once get up and say “Asher will dip its foot in oil” and that means that the tribe of Asher has oil underneath it and they needed to drill for oil because the Bible says there’s oil down there. It says, “Asher will dip its foot in oil.” Is that totally bogus? Totally, absolutely, crazy. Whenever the Bible refers to oil it’s not referring to 10-20 or 10-30 weight of car oil. It’s talking about olive oil. They do everything with olive oil. They cook with olive oil. And so olive oil they take olives, they press them, it makes olive oil. They do everything over there with olive oil. By the way, it’s really good on bread. Oil is like a holy substance. What do they do with the oil? They oil someone, that is they put oil on someone’s head. We call that what? Anointing. Now what is the Hebrew term for taking is you’re taking this holy substance of oil and you’re designating somebody as holy. What do we call that process of taking oil and putting it on someone’s head? You say we call that “anointing” but what’s the Hebrew term for that? You all know it. I’ll say it. It’s called Messiah. “You oil someone.” You messiah them. Can you hear the word? It’s in English, okay? It’s the word messiah. The term “messiah”, actually comes from—the messiah is the oiled one. So, for example, who was oiled in that culture? Would the priests be oiled or anointed with oil? Would the kings? Does anybody remember Saul? You haven’t read that part yet but Saul and David were anointed with oil as kings of Israel. And so the kings would be anointed. So the Messiah is the oiled one. How does the oiled one come over into the New Testament? The New Testament’s in Greek. Do you know what the Greek word for “oiled” is? “Christos.” Does anybody hear this? Jesus, what? Jesus Christ. You thought it was his last name. No “Jesus Christ” isn’t his last name. Jesus the what? Jesus the Anointed One. Jesus the Messiah, the Oiled One. So olive oil is used. When you want to make something holy, you anoint it with oil. So oil is this special substance, okay?
Incense is another thing that’s really pretty holy. They would burn incense in a really holy context and the fragrance would fill the air and there would be a special, holy incense. So these are two things that were considered holy in various contexts.
Now there’s holy places. Do you remember? Moses walks up, he sees this bush burning, so Moses goes, “Whoa! Look at that! This bush is burning the daylights out of itself there!” He walks up and he says, “the bush isn’t burning.” So he walks up, he takes a look and all of a sudden when he takes a step forward what happens? The bush says what? Mission accomplished! The bush says, “Take off your shoes. You’re on holy ground.” So was that place holy? Why was that place holy? There was a bush that was on fire. Why was that place holy? It was a special place. God’s presence was there. Moses approaches and what’s the problem with the approach? You’re getting too close. Take off your shoes. It’s holy ground. And do some religions even till this day express their feeling of holiness by taking off their shoes? So this holy ground there.
The Holy of Holies. Now what does this mean? The “Holy of Holies”? if I said to you “the Song of Songs” what am I referring to? Song of Solomon, but it’s called “The Song of Songs.” When the Jewish people say “the Song of Songs” plural, what they mean is that this is the best song ever. It’s a way of doing superlatives for them. The Song of Songs means the absolute best song. So when they say the Holy of Holies what does this mean? This is the most holy place. This is like—as that song is like the best song ever, this is the most holy place ever. The Holy of Holies is the most sacred place. So it’s a way for them to say the best, the most holy, the holiest of all. Like we would use “-est” on the end of a word to make it the “most.”
Lord is in his holy temple. Let all the earth be silent before Him.” The Lord
is in his holy temple. Why is the temple holy? Because his presence is there.
His presence then makes that place holy. Let me just narrate what she just
said. It’s exactly right. On the day of atonement, once a year they would go
into the Holy of Holies. They were so afraid that something would happen to the
High Priest, they basically would tie a rope around him and then a bell. And if
he went down then—well the problem is, they went down because they weren’t
pure. The other priests go in and what happens to them? They go down, too. So to
circumvent the problem the problem they put a rope on him so if he goes down
they can pull him out. So that would be for the Holy of Holies. That wasn’t
around the time of Christ, you’ll see because some of the other people mention
Now what we have so far here, we’ve had the Holy of Holies in the Tabernacle. The Tabernacle where they move in this tent that we’ve looked at. And eventually the Holy of Holies will come to reside in the temple and you’ll have it behind the veil there of the temple.
the way, you all said “the holy mountain.” What is the holy mountain? What is
the name of the mountain that God says “My holy mountain.” What mountain is
that? Mount Zion. Has anybody ever heard of that? Mount Zion, which is in
Jerusalem, the temple Mount. God calls it “My holy mountain.” By the way, let
me just do another one, just out of my head. Do you guys remember Mount Sinai?
You guys have read Exodus 32. Remember the mountain shaking? God’s presence was
on the mountain. God’s people were they allowed on that mountain or were they
told to stay off of it? The whole mountain became holy. God’s presence was
there. Moses gets to go up. The people stay off the mountain. The animals were
to stay off the mount, too. So God’s presence in a place makes it holy. Have
some of you experienced places that are special places to you where you’ve met
God? Those are special places. I want to call those holy places. Special
places where you’ve met God. Different places, and different things are holy.
Holy Days [Holi-days]
here, some other things that are holy. If you say this fast three times, what
do you get? “Holy Days.” Holy days becomes what? Holidays. This is what we call
holidays. The “y” changes to an “I” (by the way, “y” changing to an “I” is no
big deal linguistically). It’s our holidays--holy days. What’s a holy day? It’s
the Sabbath. The Sabbath as we said they celebrate on Friday night, begins the
Sabbath. They have family dinner and then they celebrate the Sabbath with no
work. And then Saturday night the Sabbath ends. The Bible says, “Remember the
Sabbath day and keep it holy.” So the Sabbath is a big important point. The Jews
will have a series of feasts. And by the way, will the feasts be listed in
Leviticus? Are the feasts going to be important for the priests? Do the priests
have to officiate at the feasts? Yes, so the book of Leviticus is going to go
through the feasts in detail because, the priests and Levites, officiate at
these feasts. That’ll be Leviticus chapter 23. So these are holy days, so are
there special times? Are there holy times? Do some of you have special times
that you meet with God? So I’m saying time and then we looked at space. So time
and space are experienced in the presence of God and that time and that space
become holy. When a person experiences in that time and that place these kind
of holy things.
Violation of holiness: Nadab and Abihu
what happens when holy things are violated? Do you remember these two guys,
Nadab and Abihu? Whose kids were these? Yes, these are Aaron’s two sons. Did
they offer up an unauthorized fire before the Lord in Leviticus chapter 10.
What happens to them? They get consumed and they’re destroyed. So these two
guys, Aaron’s kids, offer an unauthorized fire. They are smitten dead in the
presence of the Lord. They violate the holiness of God and the holiness of God
consumes them. By the way, do you think that affected Aaron very much? Okay,
when Aaron goes in there, do you think Aaron went bouncing in there saying, “Hey,
I’m the high priest, so these kids they didn’t know what they were doing. So I’m
here now.” Do you think Aaron went in like that? Or would Aaron go, “Woooaah.” Okay,
so do you see the change of attitude that would’ve happened? Okay, these were
Aaron’s kids, too. In our culture, do we always get a second chance? And
always the consequences never really come to bear on us because somebody will
come to bail us out. So the consequences fall on these kids, no second chance. I
think you need to think about that. Consequences happen. God doesn’t always
move with this grace and compassion in long suffering that means that there’s
no consequences to anything. It’s pretty strong here with Nadab and Abihu in
Leviticus chapter 10.
Violating God’s holiness: Uzzah
another one that’s also difficult. This one was difficult for David, King
David. What was David doing here? This guy’s name is Uzzah. The Ark of God had
been out with the Philistines. The Ark of God had been going from place to
place with the Philistines. The Philistines finally, they’re getting killed so
they say, “We have got to give this Ark back to the Jews.” So the Ark comes
back into the Jewish territory. David then makes Jerusalem his capital and he
wants to bring the Ark of God up to his political capital. So then Jerusalem
would be the religious capital as well as the political capital. So David
captures Jerusalem. It was owned by the Jebusites before. David was the one who
captured Jerusalem and so that’s why it’s called the city of David because
David is the one who captured Jerusalem. So David now is trying to bring the
Ark up to Jerusalem. They put it on a cart. The cart’s going up. It’s kind of
like New England, there’s rocks everywhere. So what happens is the cart hits a
rock and the Ark is going to fly off this cart. What does Uzzah do? Uzzah puts
out his hands to stabilize the Ark. He touches the Ark. What’s the problem when
you touch the Ark? Boom, he’s dead. You guys all know it from Indiana
Jones: you open up the Ark and what happens? Everybody’s face melts down. By
the way, did that scare David? What did David say? Okay, David’s bringing the
Ark up to Jerusalem wanting to bring it up, all of a sudden Uzzah’s and he
calls it “Perez Uzzah” “the breaking forth on Uzzah.” And David says, “Whoa,
keep the Ark there.” David then didn’t bring the Ark up at that time and
several years later, David goes down. Next time they bring it up, they bring it
up on the priests shoulders. Carrying it up, offering sacrifices every seven
steps all the way up to Jerusalem. Then David dancing before the Lord with all
his might, we’ll get into that later. But this bringing of the Ark of the Lord
to Jerusalem Uzzah, violated the holiness of God and he dies.
Violating holiness: King Uzziah
one that you’re probably not aware of. This is King Uzziah from 2 Chronicles
26. Uzziah was thinking he was big stuff. And so Uzziah’s the king and he’s
going to show everybody he’s the big King. So he says, “Hey, I’m going to go
offer incense by myself. I don’t need a priest. I can go do it myself.” The
priests go, “Uzziah, don’t do it! Don’t do it, Uzziah! Don’t do it! Back off,
Uzziah!” Uzziah says, “I’m the king. I’m going in there.” He goes in there and
goes to do the incense thing and what happens to his hand? All of a sudden ssshhhhhoooom!
The guy gets leprosy and he’s covered with leprosy. By the way, when you’ve got
leprosy are you clean or unclean? Unclean. So all of a sudden the priests just
rush him out of there. By the way, Uzziah then, has leprosy for the rest of his
life and lives as a leper for the rest of his life for violating, again, that
holy space. So these are three examples of people violating that holiness and
kind of the response that you get there.
Sanctifying holy things
how are things made holy? How are things made holy? Things are designated or
what they call sanctified. “Sancti,” is the Latin word for “holy.” “Sancti” is
the Latin word as seen in “sanctuary.” Has anybody ever heard of the study of
sanctification? What is the study of sanctification? The study of being made
holy. By the way is anybody in the Holiness Movement? In my day they used to
have the Holy Rollers. Sanctified, that which is made holy. So you basically
set apart something for a special purpose. You sanctify, you designate it,
often times with oil. And how does the transmission go? The transmission goes
usually through touch. You anoint someone with oil, you—has anybody ever heard
the phrase, “laying on of hands”? Okay, when you’re designating a minister or
and elder in your church or a missionary, have any of you guys done that with a
missionary? They come up and they lay hands on you. It’s supposed to be that
laying on of hands through touch, you’re designating this person to be a
special person who’s going to be a missionary to a special place. You designate
that person as being special--dedicated to that cause. So usually it’s through
touch and usually it’s through oil. The holiness is usually touch and oil,
anointed. You anoint the person, you touch the altar and the altar is holy.
Jesus and holiness
Now, here’s a really cool story with Jesus, okay? Matthew 9:20, and this also occurs in some of the other Gospels. Jesus is walking through a crowd. Jesus is always walking through a crowd. There’s all these crowds around Jesus all the time. “Feed me! Feed me!” You know? Anyways, all these crowds are around Jesus. Question: when you get a crowd like that do people push people? You know, touch people? I mean, we went to a basketball game down at the Celtics there and you know, the guys come running out there. There was one guy that came out. Question: was everybody trying to touch him? Everybody was trying to touch him. This hand touched him. I had Michael Jordan’s sweat on my hand. I would never wash that. This is the honest truth. I did. My son made me do it, but anyways, he went over there….so, we did Michael! I got him! Michael Jordan—I’ll never wash that hand again? Do wash that hand. Everyone’s pushing Jesus. Jesus stops in the crowd and says, “Hey, who touched me? Who touched me?” The disciples say, “C’mon Jesus! You’ve got all these people around here! ‘Who touched me?’” You know, Jesus is, “Who touched me?” There’s a hundreds of people pushing you and touching you.” But Jesus says, “No, somebody touched me.” Now question: you can see the disciples, sometimes they just didn’t understand the guy. So he turns around. Somebody touched him, did something happen? Something happened. He turns around and there’s a woman behind him.
the woman’s got an issue of blood. Now you’ve read Leviticus. There’s a woman
there who’s got an issue of blood. Question: Is she clean or unclean? She’s
unclean. What happens when somebody’s got leprosy, somebody who’s unclean,
touches somebody who’s clean? What happens to the person who’s clean? Okay,
you’ve got leprosy, you touch a clean person. So when unclean touches clean,
what happens to the clean? The clean becomes unclean. What happens to Jesus?
The woman touches Jesus. Question: does Jesus become unclean? No. It backfires
and boom! The woman becomes clean. She’s healed! Is that cool? Does that
totally violate Leviticus? Is all that Leviticus stuff there, is she unclean?
She’s unclean. She touches Jesus. All of a sudden boom! She is healed.
Beautiful! Absolutely beautiful! Okay, so you get this really cool stuff
happening with Leviticus and Jesus, “Who touched me?” Well, yeah, she could’ve
been killed. Is it possible with Jesus being holy? My guess is that Jesus is
getting pushed around by everybody in the crowd so it probably wasn’t that high
on the priority list and she was hoping that Jesus would heal her and that’s
actually exactly what happened. And when you’re like that it’s probably worth
the risk? So anyways, that’s a beautiful story with Jesus and Leviticus and the
background of that story.
Summary chart of Leviticus: unclean/clean/holy
actually before we do this, this next chart, I love this next chart. This is
one of my favorite charts of all we do in PowerPoint, this one is my favorite.
This one chart has like the whole book of Leviticus. I’ll never forget, I was
teaching this whole course on Leviticus and I stole this chart off of Gordon
Wenham and his commentary on Leviticus. When I saw the chart it was like the whole
book of Leviticus just flashed in my head. This one chart’s got the whole book
of Leviticus in it. Sorry for overstating it, but this explains the whole book
of Leviticus. It’s an overstatement, a hyperbole. You have three different
states. You have the state of being holy. You have the state of being clean.
And you have the state of being unclean. The woman with the issue of blood she
was what? She was unclean. You got “clean” and then you have got “holy.” Now, in
much of the book of Leviticus, does it tell you about who’s unclean? If a woman
has a child, she’s unclean for thirty days after having a child and she needs
to get purification. A guy does certain things and he touches things he
shouldn’t and he’s unclean. He’s got to wash up. If you’re unclean, how do you
get to clean? If you’re unclean, you cleanse. What substance do you use for
cleansing? Water. Largely, you wash up. So unclean, to move to clean, you
wash. By the way, the Jews have a ton of ceremonies where they’re washing their
hands. By the way is that good hygiene? Okay, so they’re washing their hands.
The other substance that can cleanse, but they don’t wash in is blood. So
would you have sacrifices taking you this way? The blood shed for the
sacrifice. So water, blood, cleanse, and you become clean.
Now how do you move from clean to holy? How do you move from clean to holy? For moving from clean, you sanctify. What substance is usually used for sanctifying? Olive oil. You usually use oil, olive oil, for sanctifying, usually anointing and touching. It’s made holy. A lot of the book of Leviticus is about this movement.
Then, what happens when something is holy, goes the other way? When something is holy, you can profane that which is holy. You can defile or profane that which is holy and it goes down this direction. When you’ve got something that’s clean, you pollute it and it becomes unclean. So you go down this direction coming the other way. Is much of the book of Leviticus telling you these three states and the movement between these three states? Yes. This is like the book of Leviticus in just one chart (student asks question) Yeah, that’s why, you had to listen very carefully to what I said. When you hit holy here and you profane it, it moves in this direction. Actually it doesn’t move directly to clean, it actually moves off the chart when you profane stuff. The same thing here, when you pollute something that’s clean it kind of moves down, right off the chart. So you’ve got to be careful. On the coming up they work very specifically coming up. But going back down, you’re exactly right. It’s like you’re on a slippery slope here. Down and it’s bad to profane stuff. Good. Good observation.
Now, purity laws. Why is a pig unclean? Okay? Why is a catfish unclean? When I was growing up, we ate catfish? Do any of you eat ham or bacon? So catfish, why is a catfish unclean? Why is a woman—now this is a little trickier—why is a woman unclean after childbirth? Isn’t childbirth a natural process? Isn’t childbirth approved of God? Why is a woman after childbirth considered unclean? Here’s another one: a married couple after having relations is considered unclean. Did God ordain that right from the beginning? Yes. a man and wife become one flesh. So here, married couple after having relations is unclean. So how do you think about this thing of uncleanness. And how are we to understand it? Do you see the differences in these things? So I want to kind of explore different rational for that and these purity laws. By the way, is this really foreign to our culture? So what we’re doing is we’re moving to another culture and we’re moving back three thousand years. So in some sense you have got to get out of the American way we think about things. They think about things very differently way back then.
another one: Why was a priest with a deformed hand not allowed to serve. I’ve
got a good friend Floyd Votaw and he’s a librarian friend of mine. He’s got a
deformed hand like this. Would he be allowed to serve as a priest? He couldn’t
serve as a priest. You say, “Well that’s discrimination against the
handicapped!” You totally missed the point of the book of Leviticus. So how do
you make sense out of all these things? So that’s chapter 21 verse 5 and 17 and
other places. So, let me try to tackle that now.
Alleged explanation of the purity laws: totally arbitrary
Some people say that these purity laws are totally arbitrary, that God said it, “Do this because I said so.” By the way, have your parents ever told you to do something just because “I said so”? Is God totally arbitrary? So that doesn’t usually work real well. God being totally arbitrary doesn’t fit his character or his normal pattern of behavior. He usually does stuff for a purpose. So this one I find the weakest of the arguments. To be honest with you, I’d throw that out. It just doesn’t match God’s character. He doesn’t ask people to do things just totally arbitrarily. It seems always to connect with his character or destiny or purposes or goals.
an explanation: cultic or cultural? Who God is saying is, “Hey, you guys, I
want you guys to be different than the Canaanites.” The Canaanites, when they
build an altar what do they build their altars out of? Cut stone. The stones
fit together and they build their altars out of cut stone. God says, “I don’t
want you to build your altar like that. I want you to build your altar out of
uncut stones.” Now, by the way, when we go back three thousand years, can we
tell a Jewish altar from a Canaanite altar? We can tell immediately. Yes,
Canaanite altars are made out of cut stone down in a place called Arad. For
example, you see a Canaanite altar made out of cut stone and the Jewish altars
are made out of uncut stone, at least some of them. The Jews actually did make
some out of cut stone [e.g. Beersheba]. They weren’t supposed to, but they did.
So anyways, so in other words, “The Canaanite culture does it this way.” God
says. “I don’t want you to do it that way. I want you to do it differently so
there’s a difference between your culture and Canaanite culture.” Some of the
laws seem to be explained by this difference in culture. So this does explain
some stuff. The difference in culture between the Canaanite culture and the
Israeli culture does seem to explain some things.
Now here’s another one: the hygienic. There was a guy in the 1950s named McMillan, who wrote a Book called None of These Diseases, and he was a medical doctor. He went through the book of Leviticus and he just said, “Is this healthy?” Now by the way, did the Jews know anything about germs? The Jews had no clue about germs--absolutely no clue. Even the people in early America. Do you remember—has anybody ever been to Williamsburg and how many people died just because of basic health concerns. They didn’t know about germs and these people died because of it. Hygienic then, the way, the Jews, did they always wash their hands? Is that very healthy? You don’t eat pork. Back in those days, did pork have trichinosis? Now by the way, when you guys go to eat pork, does pork have trichinosis in America anymore? It’s all been bred out. So you guys, to be honest with you, you don’t have to worry about it. But back when I was growing up earlier, you would not leave pork sit out very long. Would you eat pork without cooking it? Now, today the trichinosis is not a problem. And actually, has anybody ever seen some—this guy that married my daughter, he eats hamburger. Has anybody ever seen somebody eat hamburger, like, without cooking it? They eat ham—raw hamburger? Yes, I’m not kidding you! The guy eats raw hamburger. I don’t know. I thought that was really weird. Cook your hamburger, please! But trichinosis back then with pork.
the way, a woman is unclean after childbirth. Should a woman get a break after
childbirth? This is the way they did it. For thirty-three days a woman, you
know, is unclean after childbirth and it’s—by the way, is that a healthy thing
for her? Yes it is.
So many of the rules, let me just do this one more. Think about this in terms of bacteria. When you had to do your number, were you allowed to go to the bathroom inside the Jewish camp? No. The Bible says when you’re inside the camp of Israel, you have a problem, you have got to go, basically you have to go outside the camp and you have to bring a paddle with you to do what? You have to bury it outside the camp. Burying it outside the camp, is that healthy? Because if you did it inside the camp, would there be all sorts of flies and disease? And God says, “Hey, no, no, no, when you do your number, do it outside the camp. Bury it outside the camp.” Is that healthy? I mean, we still do it today. We call it septic tanks and things like that to this day. So what McMillan does is go through and says a lot of these rules are just downright healthy rules. Does that explain all of them? No, it doesn’t.
I’m going to propose another one now. This is actually built off a sociologist named Mary Douglas. I’ve kind of adopted it as my own. But this next one that I’m going to show you explains some of the really hard ones. The ones that I can’t figure out and I have no clue on and this is what I want to call the—the “Yuckiness View”. Okay, the Yuckiness View. Does each culture have that which within the culture is yucky? Go back to a ritual with my wife. I like hamburgers. I like them with ketchup. I love ketchup. And so I put ketchup on both sides of the burger. I crunch into it and then I get this ketchup thing going down here. And then I go to my wife and I say, “Do you love me? I want a kiss. I want to kiss my gorgeous bride.” And I’ve got ketchup coming down and I know I’ve got ketchup coming down and I want to see: “Do you love me? How much do you love me? Will you kiss me?” Of course, she won’t! “Get back from me! Get away from me!” “Go wipe your mouth!” Question: when I approach her and I’ve got ketchup hanging down my mouth, question: is that yucky? Okay, let me use a different example. That was a bad example. Let me use a different example.
Okay, I’m in a place called Grace College. There’s a girl from another part of the world. In that part of the world, this is no joke, they eat spiders. So she’s in the dorm and there’s a spider and she pops it. Question—yeah, okay? Bad. Does everybody see that? Is that—that’s yuckiness, okay? Now by the way, did she see it as yucky? No. By the way, insects, is there good protein in insects? Yes. She pops—this is kind of gross to us. I think she was doing it partially for effect. But she popped it. So what I’m saying is yuckiness, different things in different cultures and so, let me just do this, okay?
Let me do Dave Slusher’s a friend of mine. Dave had a brain tumor and the brain tumor was right behind his eye. He went to Cleveland Clinic and they went into his head and they pulled the tumor out. It was about the size of a golf ball. While they were in his head they cut the—there’s like a nerve that does your eyelid, goes up and down on this nerve thing. They cut the nerve on one of his eyelids. So what happens is his eyelid came down and it was like permanently down. So he can see through one eye but his eyelid was down on the other side. Now, what happens to your eye when your eyelid goes down after a period of time? Will your eye atrophies? And so basically, he went blind in one eye. So now he goes up to people. When people come up to Dave, he’s very gregarious person, is a wonderful conversationalist a delightful guy, big guy. He comes up to people. Will he watch people’s eyes to see when they do what? Yes. He comes up to them, he’ll talk with them and he’s watching their eyes the whole time. Will they look around just be talking to him. Then all of a sudden will he see their eyes just stare at that down eye? Yes. Now, by the way, if he’s talking with kids will kids be really dramatic? Have your parents ever told you not to stare? So you come up to Dave and he’s got this bad eye and all of a sudden you’re going, you know, “Holy cow, look at that!”
you’re coming in to worship God. Does God want you staring at his eye or does
God want you thinking about him in worship? You come up on a priest that’s got
a deformed hand. You bring your sheep or goat up to offer a sacrifice. You’ve
got this priest with a deformed hand. What are you going to be watching? This
one armed priest taking down your sheep. I’m sorry, but how’s this guy do this
thing? He’s got one arm taking the sheep down. Is everybody going to be
thinking about how this guy’s going to pull this off? I’m not that weird, you
guys think the same thing. You’re just too polite. I know you guys are just all
too classy for this stuff. But, anyways, what I’m saying is do you see how that
could take the focus off worship, that everybody’d be thinking, “How’s this guy
going to wrestle this sheep up there?” And so therefore God’s saying, Let me
use a different word, “I don’t want that which is non-normal.” In other words,
“I want things to be normal so that when you come there’s nothing yucky. That
when you come to my presence, everything is normal and you can focus on me and
that you’re not distracted with this other stuff.” So for example, when you do
your number you don’t do it in the camp. Now all of a sudden somebody’s walking
in the camp going to worship and all of a sudden, “Uggghhhh!” you know. And
they start going and they go to worship and they got this stuff on their foot
and it smells. God says, “Get it out of the camp. When you come into my
presence I want you to focus on me.” So that’s what’s normal. Now, by the way,
what is normal, will that be different in different cultures? And so, that
which is whole. God knows their culture and he says, “That which is whole. When
you come before me, I want everything to be normal. I don’t want anything to
be—create dissonance when you’re coming to worship me.” So this yuckiness view,
I think each culture does have these yucky things and God’s saying, “Don’t do that
when you’re coming to worship.” So I like this one because it explains some of
the hard ones and says some of the stuff we just don’t know the culture. But it
seems that this is a cultural differentiation. So that the focus can be on God
in an act of worship rather than on the particulars that are around.
Rules for eating Kosher
Now, how do we eat kosher? Let me just tell you in the last class Nate, who is actually Jewish, and so I don’t know if anybody in here is Jewish. And so you eat kosher. When you go to the grocery store what do you do? You pick up the can and you look for, it’s got a circle with a K in it. It’s kosher. I’m joking, but not really. Do you guys know about the K on the can? Yes. So if it’s got K on the can, it’s kosher. How do you eat real kosher land animals? There’s two rules for land animals. They have got to do what? Split the hoof chew the cud. Okay, split the hoof, chew the cud. Therefore, is beef good? Beef, is good; sheep, good; goats are good. Pigs are no good why? They split the hoof but don’t—chew the cud. So pork is not kosher. By the way, did pork have problems with trichinosis back in those days as well? So, pork is out. You go to a Jewish person. You say, “Hey, let’s go out for, get some ham and cheese.” Okay, now just between the two of us, have I seen Jewish people eat pork? Yes. Okay, you as a Gentile, should you offer them pork? Is that an insult? Once upon a time, remember I told you Saturday night, everyone’s partying in Jerusalem. Once upon a time I was out at Richi’s Pizzeria getting some pizza. So we’re going out we’re going to get some pizza. So there’s all these people pushing and yelling their orders for pizza. And all of a sudden, somebody yells out, this is the honest truth, “Pepperoni pizza!!” And all of a sudden, all of these people that are yelling, the whole place becomes like dead silent. Now, what’s the problem? You saw my hair, I did have hair back in those days. Is it clear that I’m not Jewish? And everybody’s looking around. Are they looking around for a Gentile? And I was a Gentile. And so question: is that the time where you get out of there? So all of a sudden you start backing up, you realize what’s happened. I didn’t do it! I’m not that dumb. I didn’t do it, but they’re looking around and I’m a Gentile. And so basically, we just backed out and then took off as fast as we could because that’s not cool. Okay, pepperoni pizza…don’t do that. Don’t do ham, because ham is not kosher.
Now, that’s land animals. What about sea creatures? Two rules for sea creatures. Sea creatures’ have got to have—actually, do it this way, what’s normal for a fish? It has scales and has fins. Is that a normal fish? Has scales and fins. So do you see how that normality thing fits in here? Now, that means what? Bass. are good; trout good, Northern pike good; Walleye are good. What other game fish do we eat? Salmon good. Halibut good. Tell me about catfish? What’s the problem with catfish? Scales and fins. Do you guys ever pick up a catfish? Catfish has got what on it? Skin, not scales. It’s like an eel. An eel, you know, skin and stuff. So they don’t do catfish, I don’t think they do lobster either. Actually I grew up, my dad used to catch catfish, too. I like catfish but it just, you know, if you’re Jewish, it’s not kosher. Yes. That’s another thing people suggested, because they’re bottom-feeders and things like that that there’s also more chance for disease. I look back and I say that may be, but I like this idea of normal, that a fish is normal. I think I’d take that over the bottom-feeder because you know, another fish we never ate was carp. Carp are suckers on the bottom but they have got fins and scales. So I’d rather eat a catfish than a carp any day.
Yes, let’s get on with this here. We got flying creatures. Flying creatures. What kind of flying creatures? No birds of prey. What are birds of prey? Birds of prey are birds that eat blood. Okay, do you get the notion that eating blood is not good? The Jewish people are not allowed to eat blood. The birds of prey eat blood. Could you eat a hawk or no? No hawk. Vultures, good or bad? Bad. Owls, good or bad? Bad. Any of these kinds of birds that eat, birds of prey, like vultures, hawks, owls, and these kinds. What about pheasants? Pheasants, good. I got a family of turkeys that come everyday in my yard now. I’ve got five turkeys that come out now and they are in my yard. Are turkeys good? Turkeys, good. What other kind of birds? Oh, quails! Did the Jews eat quails? Do we know that? Remember the quails from the wilderness.
the fourth one here is insects. They actually allow them to eat insects.
Hoppers, yes. Flyers, no. Can you tell me somebody that ate grasshoppers? Does
anybody know from the Bible somebody that ate grasshoppers? Yes, John the
Baptist. When I was out in Sinai, Ora, who was our tour guide, (we were out in
Sinai for three weeks) she made us walk everywhere. She said, “You’re not
riding, you’re walking.” And she made us walk and at one place she said, “I’m going
to have you walk up here.” We had to walk up over the ridge. And she said,
“When you go up there,” she said, “be careful about these black grasshoppers.”
They have black grasshoppers. In the desert are many things poisonous in the
desert? They only get like one chance to strike and so many are poisonous. She
said these black grasshoppers will spit and it’s like a bee sting that they
will spit. And she says, if it hits you in the eye, it will poke out your eye.
So we’re out there, walking down this path and guess what? All of a sudden, right
in front of us, a black grasshopper sits like that? So I see this black
grasshopper. I said, “Hey man, I came all the way over from America. I’ve got
to see a black grasshopper. I’m going to get a picture of this thing!” So, I’m
trying to get down there. I’ve got glasses, see? It doesn’t work. And I got a
camera. So I’m getting down to this black grasshopper. My wife, meanwhile, is
screaming, “Black grasshopper! Run! Run! Black grasshopper!” I’m trying to get
this picture. Problem was when you do it without a telephoto lens, what’s the
problem? The black grasshopper in my picture is just a little piece of black
and I—I totally blew the picture. Anyways, it was a disaster. So stay away from
that black grasshoppers. Oh, by the way, grasshoppers, I always said, put
grasshoppers in batter, call them chicken wings, nobody’ll know the difference.
Anyways, do insects have high protein? Yes. And so insects, hoppers yes, flyers
no. Hoppers would be grasshoppers. Grasshoppers, locusts, that kind of thing.
Whereas flyers would be things like bees and, you know, mosquitos. And so
hoppers yes, flyers no.
Three problems in Leviticus
Now, three problems that come up and we’ll just, after we finish this slide, we’ll call it a day. I had a friend Kevin Karr who was in a secular university. The professor in the secular university said, “The Bible is full of scientific errors.” So Kevin, being a wise cracker he was, raises his hand and says, “I’ve read the Bible through several times and I’ve never seen any scientific errors!” The professor says, “Oh, really? You’ve read the whole Bible, right? What about Leviticus 11:6?” And you just see Kevin cringing: Leviticus. He’s a Christian. Does he know Leviticus very well? So the professor says, “In Leviticus 11:6, it says the rabbit chews the cud. The rabbit does not chew its cud.” By the way is that true? In order to chew cud you need how many stomachs? Do you need multiple stomachs to chew cud? A rabbit doesn’t chew its cud. Is that correct? That’s correct. However, is the Bible always talking in scientific terms? Does a rabbit look like it’s chewing on things? Now, it’s possible—is this the language of appearance? In other words, the language of appearance is not necessarily a scientific description, that it’s actually cud come up from their stomach. The rabbit chews its food over and over and over again. Okay, is it also possible that this term “rabbit” is a mistranslation and it’s really talking about a rock badger? Okay, in other words, when you go between countries and you’re three thousand years different, is it possible you got the translation wrong between animals? So it could be a translation problem. It could be that it’s just the language of appearance.
The second one: bats. The bats are considered birds in chapter eleven, verse nineteen and it says the bats are grouped with the birds and you don’t mess with the bats. I told you about this guy named Probo that was in prison. Probo was a nonbeliever came in prison. Probo puts up his hand when he gets in class and says, “Professor, I found an error in the Bible.” And he says, “It says that the bats are birds. And everybody knows that bats aren’t birds.” I ask you: a tomato. What is it? It’s a fruit. Question: what happens if you’re in another culture and they call a tomato a vegetable? Is that a big deal—Does the whole world have to use the American classification system? A bat does, what? Does a bat fly like a bird? You say, “Well, a bat’s a mammal.” Did they have to follow exactly our classification system? No. They classify things differently, than we do. So it’s just a matter of classification difference. Don’t you miss the whole point there and things.
The third thing that’s a problem in the book of Leviticus that a lot of people have a problem with is this prohibition against homosexual behavior and stuff. Leviticus 18:22 and 20:13, two passages that come out really and say, you know, “Man shouldn’t sleep with another man” kind of thing. And so those are—those are three problems in the book of Leviticus and things that are there.
Now, what we will do next time is talk about the sacrificial system. We will finish Leviticus next time. So, take care. Have a good time with a long week end here.
This is Dr. Ted Hildebrandt in his Old Testament History and Literature course, Lecture # 13 on the book of Leviticus: Holiness, purity laws, problems.
Transcribed by Megan Sideropoulos
Rough edited by Ted Hildebrandt