"We see, in many a land, the proudest dynasties and tyrannies still crushing, with their mountain weight, every free motion of the Consciences and hearts of men. We see, on the other hand, the truest heroism for the right and the greatest devotion to the Truth in hearts that God has touched. We have a work to do, as great as our forefathers and, perhaps, far greater. The enemies of Truth are more numerous and subtle than ever and the needs of the Church are greater than at any preceding time. If we are not debtors to the present, then men were never debtors to their age and their time. Brethren, we are debtors to the hour in which we live. Oh, that we might stamp it with Truth and that God might help us to impress upon its wings some proof that it has not flown by neglected and unheeded." -- C.H. Spurgeon . . . "If ye continue in my word, then are ye my disciples indeed; And ye shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free." John 8:31, 32 . . . . .

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Wednesday, October 20, 2021

LEVITICUS – A HOLY PEOPLE’s ACCESS to The HOLY GOD – Chapter SEVENTEEN & EIGHTEEN

Contributing commentaries by pastors Sonny Islas, Albert Lopez and James Fire
Complete Study of Leviticus by pastor Chuck Smith 

LEVITICUS 17 & 18: “Regarding the World’s Two Religions” – by James Fire, Facebook video

INTRODUCTION: John MacArthur did a phenomenal job, teaching about how there really aren’t countless numbers of religions in the world. There are really only two religions. The true religion as established by GOD upon the righteous sacrifice of Christ by grace, shedding His blood on the cross for our sins; that’s one. The other is the religion of self, that by our own deeds, and being ‘a good boy’ and following the rules, ‘God will accept me’. This second religion glories in the works of the flesh; the first religion glories in the Cross of our LORD Jesus Christ (GAL 6:13-14). Every religion in the world demands that we perform for our salvation; not biblical Christianity. Biblical Christianity saves by grace and then by the Spirit, empowers us to perform – not for salvation, but because of salvation!

The religion of self inevitably leads to satanic influences that brings about depravity; the true religion leads to the influences of the Holy Spirit that brings about divine holiness.

LEVITICUS 17

LEVITICUS 17:1-6
1 And the LORD spoke to Moses, saying, 2 "Speak to Aaron, to his sons, and to all the children of Israel, and say to them, 'This is the thing which the LORD has commanded, saying: 3 "Whatever man of the house of Israel who kills an ox or lamb or goat in the camp, or who kills it outside the camp, 4 "and does not bring it to the door of the tabernacle of meeting to offer an offering to the LORD before the tabernacle of the LORD, the guilt of bloodshed shall be imputed to that man. He has shed blood; and that man shall be cut off from among his people, 5 to the end that the children of Israel may bring their sacrifices which they offer in the open field, that they may bring them to the LORD at the door of the tabernacle of meeting, to the priest, and offer them as peace offerings to the LORD. 6 "And the priest shall sprinkle the blood on the altar of the LORD at the door of the tabernacle of meeting and burn the fat for a sweet aroma to the LORD
.

As stated before:
JOHN 4:24
God is Spirit, and those who worship Him must worship in spirit and truth
.
GOD gave Israel very specific, very detailed instructions on how He wanted to be worshiped: everything from the furnishings in the tabernacle, to the tabernacle itself, to the priestly clothing, to the types and methods of sacrifice, and what kinds of animals for the different sacrifices – everything! Nothing was left to chance, guess work, or the whims of the worshipper.

Here GOD is telling His people, that there are to be no ‘free-style’ sacrifices done wherever, however the people felt like it. All sacrifices were to be done “at the door of the tabernacle of meeting”, that is, in the outer court of the tabernacle, at the bronze altar just inside the door that led into the outer court.

The people themselves were not to offer sacrifices; the priests did all the sacrifices on behalf of the people – if sacrifices were made outside of the tabernacle, either inside the camp of Israel or outside of the camp, those offerings would be made by the people, not the priests and this was against the ordinances of GOD!

Also, this prohibition prevented the people from sacrificing animals that were not ordained of GOD. By bringing their sacrifices to the tabernacle, they would of course have to bring prescribed animals to the offering. The priests would reject the sacrifice of any animal not prescribed in the Law of Moses; or prescribed animals that were blemished in any way. No bats, cats, rats or pigs or any such things were legitimate sacrifices!

Any that violated this law of GOD was to be cut off from the people – and it doesn’t indicate when they could be brought back in among the people, so it sounds permanent! Any who are guilty of this, would no longer be considered a member of Israel!

Now Job made sacrifices to the LORD, as did Abraham, and others – but this was no longer permissible now that the LORD has authorized these proceedings in the “House of meeting” and 'tabernacled' with His people; He wants all offerings to be conducted in the house of meeting and only by the Levitical priesthood!

LEVITICUS 17:7-9
7 They shall no more offer their sacrifices to demons, after whom they have played the harlot. This shall be a statute forever for them throughout their generations."' 8 "Also you shall say to them: 'Whatever man of the house of Israel, or of the strangers who dwell among you, who offers a burnt offering or sacrifice, 9 'and does not bring it to the door of the tabernacle of meeting, to offer it to the LORD, that man shall be cut off from among his people.

When did Israel ever offer sacrifices to demons?

Well, we remember the golden calf, right? And even though that was just a dumb idol made of gold after the appearance of a bull and we understand that “an idol is not anything” (1 COR 8:4-7) but a block of carved wood or molten bronze, silver or gold, but there are demonic spirits behind the worship of false gods:
1 CORINTHIANS 10:19-20
19 What am I saying then? That an idol is anything, or what is offered to idols is anything? 20 Rather, that the things which the Gentiles sacrifice they sacrifice to demons and not to God, and I do not want you to have fellowship with demons
.
Now concerning the conduct of the Hebrews while in Egypt as far as their religious persuasions, it’s not inconceivable that affinity for the pantheon of the Egyptian gods could have rubbed off on at least some, if not many of them; after all, they were used as slave labor to build the temples and shrines to the various gods of Egypt, which would include their statues.

If that is the case, this is a severe warning to the children of Israel.
In fact, the LORD even told His people that in the future, they would eventually turn to idolatry once they entered into Canaan land and that GOD would end up casting them out of the land for this very reason (DEUT 29:14-29):
DEUTERONOMY 29:26-28
26 'for they went and served other gods and worshiped them, gods that they did not know and that He had not given to them. 27 'Then the anger of the LORD was aroused against this land, to bring on it every curse that is written in this book. 28 'And the LORD uprooted them from their land in anger, in wrath, and in great indignation, and cast them into another land, as it is this day
.
When GOD issues warnings in Scripture about falling into various sins, that at the time don’t seem to pose a problem in tempting us, we need to pay attention. We can’t foresee the future, what lies around the bend in the days to come, but the LORD does. So whether a particular warning in Scripture seems to be necessary or not on a personal level – pay attention to them! GOD doesn’t warn us without cause; if He does, it’s necessary and we need to be watchful!

LEVITICUS 17:10-14
10 'And whatever man of the house of Israel, or of the strangers who dwell among you, who eats any blood, I will set My face against that person who eats blood and will cut him off from among his people. 11 'For the life of the flesh is in the blood, and I have given it to you upon the altar to make atonement for your souls; for it is the blood that makes atonement for the soul.' 12 "Therefore I said to the children of Israel, 'No one among you shall eat blood, nor shall any stranger who dwells among you eat blood.' 13 "Whatever man of the children of Israel, or of the strangers who dwell among you, who hunts and catches any animal or bird that may be eaten, he shall pour out its blood and cover it with dust; 14 "for it is the life of all flesh. Its blood sustains its life. Therefore I said to the children of Israel, 'You shall not eat the blood of any flesh, for the life of all flesh is its blood. Whoever eats it shall be cut off
.'

Without blood there can be no life in the body; that’s how GOD created this world. Each body of fish, animal or human is comprised of organs and tissues; and among the tissues, blood is vital, for the nutrients we get from the food we eat is brought from our digestive system and enters the blood stream providing energy, empowering our immune system, creates the raw materials to replace our cells (incidentally, did you know that all of our cells in our bodies are replaced every seven years? So in the course of seven years, you have a new body comprised of cells that replaced the old ones!).

So naturally, the life is in the blood, and for a person to consume the blood of another organism can not only result in disastrous effects but it can also produce any number of diseases and brain disorders.

Satanists, occultists, and animists are all accustomed to one degree or another in shedding and drinking blood because it’s believed that the shedding and drinking of blood releases the ‘life force’ which can be harnessed for empowerment of spells and incantations. This practice certainly attracts all kinds of demonic attention!

There is even a spiritual application here; pagan blood eaters believed that by drinking the blood of their enemies, that they would be stealing their strength and thereby make themselves invincible against other enemies; eating of the heart did very much the same thing supposedly.

Remember the words of JESUS CHRIST:
JOHN 6:53-57,63
53 Then Jesus said to them, "Most assuredly, I say to you, unless you eat the flesh of the Son of Man and drink His blood, you have no life in you. 54 "Whoever eats My flesh and drinks My blood has eternal life, and I will raise him up at the last day. 55 "For My flesh is food indeed, and My blood is drink indeed. 56 "He who eats My flesh and drinks My blood abides in Me, and I in him. 57 "As the living Father sent Me, and I live because of the Father, so he who feeds on Me will live because of Me.

63 "It is the Spirit who gives life; the flesh profits nothing. The words that I speak to you are spirit, and they are life.
We have no true empowerment in this life by the blood of another unless it’s by the blood of the LAMB. His Spirit gives us life, strength, and everything else that we have need of. We have eternal life not because we have consumed the blood of the LAMB, but rather because by His blood, we have remission of sin!

LEVITICUS 17:15-16
15 "And every person who eats what died naturally or what was torn by beasts, whether he is a native of your own country or a stranger, he shall both wash his clothes and bathe in water and be unclean until evening. Then he shall be clean. 16 "But if he does not wash them or bathe his body, then he shall bear his guilt."

So biblically speaking, we are not permitted to eat ‘road kill’!

LEVITICUS 18

LEVITICUS 18:1-5
1 Then the LORD spoke to Moses, saying, 2 "Speak to the children of Israel, and say to them: 'I am the LORD your God. 3 'According to the doings of the land of Egypt, where you dwelt, you shall not do; and according to the doings of the land of Canaan, where I am bringing you, you shall not do; nor shall you walk in their ordinances. 4 'You shall observe My judgments and keep My ordinances, to walk in them: I am the LORD your God. 5 'You shall therefore keep My statutes and My judgments, which if a man does, he shall live by them: I am the LORD.

IF a man …” is entirely obedient to the Law without a single flaw in deed, word or thought, THEN he could live by them. But the ONLY man that can make that claim is the Author of Eternal Life – the Spotless Lamb of GOD. That’s why salvation must be by faith in the grace of GOD and not by the Law.

The LORD claims His rightful ownership over Israel; “all souls are [His]” EZEK 18:4, but Israel in particular is His, because of the promises He made with Abraham: a covenant based on promise, not the Law, by which, according to the plan of GOD would establish righteousness not on the Law, but upon the grace of GOD:
ROMANS 10:1-11
1 Brethren, my heart's desire and prayer to God for Israel is that they may be saved. 2 For I bear them witness that they have a zeal for God, but not according to knowledge. 3 For they being ignorant of God's righteousness, and seeking to establish their own righteousness, have not submitted to the righteousness of God. 4 For Christ is the end of the law for righteousness to everyone who believes. 5 For Moses writes about the righteousness which is of the law, The man who does those things shall live by them. 6 But the righteousness of faith speaks in this way, Do not say in your heart, 'Who will ascend into heaven?' (that is, to bring Christ down from above) 7 or 'Who will descend into the abyss?' (that is, to bring Christ up from the dead). 8 But what does it say? The word is near you, in your mouth and in your heart" (that is, the word of faith which we preach): 9 that if you confess with your mouth the Lord Jesus and believe in your heart that God has raised Him from the dead, you will be saved. 10 For with the heart one believes unto righteousness, and with the mouth confession is made unto salvation. 11 For the Scripture says, "Whoever believes on Him will not be put to shame.

HEBREWS 10:8-10

8 … "Sacrifice and offering, burnt offerings, and offerings for sin You did not desire, nor had pleasure in them" (which are offered according to the law), 9 then He said, "Behold, I have come to do Your will, O God." He takes away the first [old testament] that He may establish the second [new testament]. 10 By that will we have been sanctified through the offering of the body of Jesus Christ once for all.

ROMANS 8:1-4

1 There is therefore now no condemnation to those who are in Christ Jesus, who do not walk according to the flesh, but according to the Spirit. 2 For the law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus has made me free from the law of sin and death. 3 For what the law could not do in that it was weak through the [sinful] flesh, God did by sending His own Son in the likeness of sinful flesh, on account of sin: He condemned sin in the flesh [the body of Christ on the cross] (2 COR 5:21), 4 that the righteous requirement of the law might be fulfilled in us who do not walk according to the flesh but according to the Spirit.

GALATIANS 3:16-22

16 Now to Abraham and his Seed were the promises made. He does not say, "And to seeds," as of many, but as of one, "And to your Seed," who is Christ. 17 And this I say, that the law, which was four hundred and thirty years later, cannot annul the covenant that was confirmed before by God in Christ, that it should make the promise of no effect. 18 For if the inheritance is of the law, it is no longer of promise; but God gave it to Abraham by promise. 19 What purpose then does the law serve? It was added because of transgressions, until the Seed should come to whom the promise was made; and it was appointed through angels by the hand of a mediator. 20 Now a mediator does not mediate for one only, but God is one. 21 Is the law then against the promises of God? Certainly not! For if there had been a law given which could have given life, truly righteousness would have been by the law. 22 But the Scripture has confined all under sin, that the promise by faith in Jesus Christ might be given to those who believe.
Now even though we can’t obtain righteousness by the Law, what the LORD was wanting in vs.1-5 in Leviticus 18 was a show of loyalty, a pledge of allegiance by the people that would show their love for the LORD. Would they remain faithful in a pagan culture, and only allow the LORD to influence their lives, not those who served other gods? 
Are we remaining faithful to the LORD in the pagan culture that now surrounds us – allowing only the LORD to influence our lives?

LEVITICUS 18:6-18

6 'None of you shall approach anyone who is near of kin to him, to uncover his nakedness: I am the LORD. 7 'The nakedness of your father or the nakedness of your mother you shall not uncover. She is your mother; you shall not uncover her nakedness. 8 'The nakedness of your father's wife you shall not uncover; it is your father's nakedness. 9 'The nakedness of your sister, the daughter of your father, or the daughter of your mother, whether born at home or elsewhere, their nakedness you shall not uncover. 10 'The nakedness of your son's daughter or your daughter's daughter, their nakedness you shall not uncover; for theirs is your own nakedness. 11 'The nakedness of your father's wife's daughter, begotten by your father-she is your sister-you shall not uncover her nakedness. 12 'You shall not uncover the nakedness of your father's sister; she is near of kin to your father. 13 'You shall not uncover the nakedness of your mother's sister, for she is near of kin to your mother. 14 'You shall not uncover the nakedness of your father's brother. You shall not approach his wife; she is your aunt. 15 'You shall not uncover the nakedness of your daughter-in-law-she is your son's wife-you shall not uncover her nakedness. 16 'You shall not uncover the nakedness of your brother's wife; it is your brother's nakedness. 17 'You shall not uncover the nakedness of a woman and her daughter, nor shall you take her son's daughter or her daughter's daughter, to uncover her nakedness. They are near of kin to her. It is wickedness. 18 'Nor shall you take a woman as a rival to her sister, to uncover her nakedness while the other is alive.

Essentially, GOD is saying, Don’t look on anyone’s nakedness at all, except for the one you’re married to!

To be completely open and exposed in this way of nakedness implies a level of intimacy that is only appropriate in marriage. Between husband and wife, this is very similar to the sort of intimacy and fellowship that Christians enjoy in a spiritual sense: koinonia, or ‘unmasked, revealed, exposed, nothing-hidden’ fellowship in GOD’s light, without hiding, without darkness:
1 JOHN 1:7
But if we walk in the light as He is in the light, we have fellowship with one another, and the blood of Jesus Christ His Son cleanses us from all sin.
This is the spiritual fellowship each saint has with the LORD – when we walk in the light as He (the LORD) is in the light. Yet also as other saints are likewise walking in the light – this is a fellowship we have with one another.

This sort of openness physically between married couples is to reflect an openness intellectually, emotionally and spiritually – but again, in this context, it’s only appropriate between married couples and no other. GOD addresses other circumstances as follows:

LEVITICUS 18:19-20

19 'Also you shall not approach a woman to uncover her nakedness as long as she is in her customary impurity. 20 'Moreover you shall not lie carnally with your neighbor's wife, to defile yourself with her.

Continuing on then:

LEVITICUS 18:21-23

21 'And you shall not let any of your descendants pass through the fire to Molech, nor shall you profane the name of your God: I am the LORD. 22 'You shall not lie with a male as with a woman. It is an abomination. 23 'Nor shall you mate with any animal, to defile yourself with it. Nor shall any woman stand before an animal to mate with it. It is perversion.

Verses 21-23 here can be directly connected to ROMANS 1, and note in these passages the deterioration, the stepping down deeper and deeper into sin, destruction and depravity. There are three levels mentioned here, the next far more destructive than the one before:

ROMANS 1:21-32

21 because, although they knew God, they did not glorify Him as God, nor were thankful, but became futile in their thoughts, and their foolish hearts were darkened. 22 Professing to be wise, they became fools, 23 and changed the glory of the incorruptible God into an image made like corruptible man--and birds and four-footed animals and creeping things. 24 Therefore [1st level] God also gave them up to uncleanness, in the lusts of their hearts, to dishonor their bodies among themselves, 25 who exchanged the truth of God for the lie and worshiped and served the creature rather than the Creator, who is blessed forever. Amen. 26 For this reason [2nd level] God gave them up to vile passions. For even their women exchanged the natural use for what is against nature. 27 Likewise also the men, leaving the natural use of the woman, burned in their lust for one another, men with men committing what is shameful, and receiving in themselves the penalty of their error which was due. 28 And even as they did not like to retain God in their knowledge, [3rd level] God gave them over to a debased mind, to do those things which are not fitting; 29 being filled with all unrighteousness, sexual immorality, wickedness, covetousness, maliciousness; full of envy, murder, strife, deceit, evil-mindedness; they are whisperers, 30 backbiters, haters of God, violent, proud, boasters, inventors of evil things, disobedient to parents, 31 undiscerning, untrustworthy, unloving, unforgiving, unmerciful; 32 who, knowing the righteous judgment of God, that those who practice such things are deserving of death, not only do the same but also approve of those who practice them.
Note: check out those four words ("uncleaness", "vile", "passions", and "debased") that are hyper-linked and see what these words mean. It's sobering to see how GOD proceeds to judge a people in rebellion to His authority!

When we worship anyone or anything other than the LORD GOD our Creator, it will pervert and corrupt us, and we will deteriorate from what GOD intended, into further, deeper and darker depravity as aptly described by the apostle Paul above.

LEVITICUS 18:24-29

24 'Do not defile yourselves with any of these things; for by all these the nations are defiled, which I am casting out before you. 25 'For the land is defiled; therefore I visit the punishment of its iniquity upon it, and the land vomits out its inhabitants. 26 'You shall therefore keep My statutes and My judgments, and shall not commit any of these abominations, either any of your own nation or any stranger who dwells among you. 27 '(for all these abominations the men of the land have done, who were before you, and thus the land is defiled), 28 'lest the land vomit you out also when you defile it, as it vomited out the nations that were before you. 29 'For whoever commits any of these abominations, the persons who commit them shall be cut off from among their people.

The House of Israel (Northern Kingdom) was vomited out of the land when they were completely given over to the worship of idols and committed grievous sins against GOD and one another – attacked, defeated, and made prisoners of the Assyrians (around 721 BC). The House of Judah (Southern Kingdom) paid tribute to Assyria but were left alone, until they too fell into apostasy (you would have thought, seeing how GOD dealt with the kingdom of Israel for their idol worship, that the kingdom of Judah would have learned by their neighbor's bad example - sadly though, such was not the case!), but by then Babylon seized Assyria (and the House of Israel still held prisoner there) and also took Judah captive (around 597 BC).

LEVITICUS 18:30

30 'Therefore you shall keep My ordinance, so that you do not commit any of these abominable customs which were committed before you, and that you do not defile yourselves by them: I am the LORD your God.

The same idea is echoed in this Psalm:

PSALM 119:11

Thy word have I hid in mine heart, that I might not sin against thee.

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