A Holy People to the Lord
How often do we hear that there are contradictions in the word of God? It is true that many things are difficult, and some things are exceptionally hard to pin down as to why they seem to, in fact, contradict.
However, the more we study the word, the more we learn the context of what is being said, and the more we evaluate these supposed contradictions in that context, we find that they do not only not contradict, instead, they make complete sense.,
Many people within the faith dismiss the idea of dispensations, but it is the dispensational model that eliminates many of these supposed contradictions. In Genesis 9, it says –
rightx“And the fear of you and the dread of you shall be on every beast of the earth, on every bird of the air, on all that move on the earth, and on all the fish of the sea. They are given into your hand. 3 Every moving thing that lives shall be food for you. I have given you all things, even as the green herbs.” Genesis 9:2, 3
The implication is that until that point in human history, man didn’t eat animals. So, something different was happening that did not happen before that time.
Next, in our verses from Deuteronomy today, it says that the people cannot eat a perfectly porky pig. This stands completely at odds with what was said to Noah, unless there is a reason for it.
Further, the implication at this time, as will even be seen in our verses today, is that these things did not apply to non-Israelites. What was said to Noah still applied to all but Israel. And then in the New Testament, Paul says the following…
Text Verse: “I know and am convinced by the Lord Jesus that there is nothing unclean of itself; but to him who considers anything to be unclean, to him it is unclean.” Romans 14:14
But wait. Paul was an Israelite. His people had been told that there are things that are unclean for them. Here we are piling up contradictions… unless. Unless God is working out the redemptive narrative in — anyone? Yes, in dispensations.
He is doing different things at different times, and for different reasons. And yet, none of these things contradict in any way, shape, or form. Rather, they complement the narrative – if one understands the narrative.
One could say that each of those eras was initiated with a covenant, and thus covenantalism is what is being described here. But if that is so, then how can it be that the dispensation of grace that Paul speaks of in Ephesians 3, which applies to both Gentiles and Jews (remember, Paul is a Jew and the Ephesians were Gentiles), doesn’t apply to all Jews?
And, further, it is obvious that the Mosaic Covenant still surely applies to Israel today, and yet it doesn’t apply to all Jews today. How is that possible if the Covenantal model of theology is the complete and final answer to the question. Indeed, it is not.
There are clearly covenants in Scripture, but there are also set dispensations plainly presented in Scripture as well. Understanding this is one avenue to eliminating supposed contradictions in the word. Without properly applying set dispensations you will – not maybe, but will – have contradictions in your theology.
Keep the boxes straight, don’t mix dispensations, and spend as much time in the word as you can. The more you are in it, the more it will make sense to you. This is actually a precept typologically implied in our verses today. Yes, it’s all to be found in His superior word. And so, let us turn to that precious word once again and… May God speak to us through His word today and may His glorious name ever be praised.
I. Clean and Unclean Quadrupeds (verses 3-8)
3 “You shall not eat any detestable thing.
lo tokal kal toevah – “No you shall eat all abomination.” The word is toevah, an abomination. It is derived from ta’av, a verb signifying “to abhor.” The precepts in these verses follow largely from Leviticus 11 where the word sheqets or, detestable thing, was predominantly used.
That chapter contains eight of its eleven uses, but all eleven refer to detestable animals. Rather than that word, Moses uses a more common word, one which was heavily stressed in Leviticus 18, a chapter dealing predominately with sexual immorality.
In this, one can see that for Israel the animal was to be considered as a detestable thing because it is considered an abomination. However, the reason for it being an abomination must be drawn out from the purpose of the law. These cannot be abominable in and of themselves. This is seen first from Genesis 9 –
“Every moving thing that lives shall be food for you. I have given you all things, even as the green herbs. 4 But you shall not eat flesh with its life, that is, its blood.” Genesis 9:3, 4
God gave all living creatures into man’s hand for food. This would have been the case with Noah, Abraham, Isaac, Jacob, and all other people within this line until the giving of the law. Job, and those outside of this line who are considered upright before God, were also free from these precepts. Further, Jesus says in Mark 7 –
“Are you thus without understanding also? Do you not perceive that whatever enters a man from outside cannot defile him, 19 because it does not enter his heart but his stomach, and is eliminated, thus purifying all foods?” 20 And He said, “What comes out of a man, that defiles a man. 21 For from within, out of the heart of men, proceed evil thoughts, adulteries, fornications, murders, 22 thefts, covetousness, wickedness, deceit, lewdness, an evil eye, blasphemy, pride, foolishness. 23 All these evil things come from within and defile a man.” Mark 7:18-23
Paul further, and very clearly, reveals that all foods are acceptable to eat. He does this several times and, in several ways, plainly presenting this as axiom. Therefore, it is the law itself that makes these things both detestable and an abomination. It is not that they are so in and of themselves.
As this is absolutely established, and as the law is only given to Israel – and no other person or group of people in all of redemptive history – then the reason for the precepts in Leviticus, which are substantially repeated here, is found in the purpose of the law. That purpose is to then be drawn out with such a consideration in mind. With that understood, Moses defines what is acceptable for Israel to eat first…
4 These are the animals which you may eat:
Moses states it in the singular to define each type: zot ha’behemah asher tokelu – “This the animal which you may eat.” In Leviticus 11, the clean animals were not defined, only what defined them as clean. On the other hand, the unclean animals were defined, giving some (but not all) examples of what was forbidden.
Moses takes a different approach here, showing examples of what can be eaten, and only later of what cannot. Many of these animals are implicitly (or explicitly) noted as clean elsewhere, but Moses is being precise in first telling which are clean, without yet explaining the reason for it being so.
4 (con’) the ox, the sheep, the goat,
Moses continues the precise wording, leaving off any articles: shor, seh kesavim, w’seh izzim – “ox, lamb (of) sheep, and kid (of) goats.” In this, he first names the animals acceptable for sacrifice and then he mentions all others. Here, he starts with the shor, or ox. That comes from a root signifying “to wander about.” It is a traveling animal.
The seh, or “lamb,” probably comes from a root, sha’ah, signifying to crash, or make a din. Thus, it would be an animal that pushes out to graze. That is then defined by the word kesavim, identifying it as a flocking animal.
Moses then says v’seh izzim – “and kid (of) goats.” It is the same word, seh, that was just used for “lamb,” but it is then identified with the word izzim, or goats. It is the plural of ez, or goat which comes from a word signifying “to be strong.”
Being sacrificial animals, it has already been explained in Leviticus how they point to Christ and His work. To understand that, check out those earlier sermons. These are all animals of the flock and herd. Next, Moses says…
5 the deer, the gazelle, the roe deer, the wild goat, the mountain goat, the antelope, and the mountain sheep.
Moses continues by stating the wild, non-sacrificial animals. He does so without using any articles, simply stating each animal in the singular – ayal, u-tsviy, v’yakhmur, v’aqqo, v’dishon, u-teo, va’zamer – “deer, and gazelle, and roe deer, and wild goat, and mountain goat, and antelope, and mountain sheep.”
It should be noted that due to the rarity of the names, the identification of some of these is highly debated. The first two are rather common in Scripture. The ayal, or deer, comes from ayil, or ram, which then comes from ul, signifying mighty, or strength.
This anticipates believers in Christ where Paul says, “be strong in the Lord and in the power of His might.” (Ephesians 6:10).
Next is the tsviy, or gazelle, which signifies beauty or honor. The word is used when speaking of the coming Messiah in Isaiah 4:2. It comes from tsavah, to swell up. Thus, the description of the animal is that of prominence or splendor.
This speaks of believers in Christ who are each to “be a vessel for honor, sanctified and useful for the Master, prepared for every good work” (2 Timothy 2:21).
The third, the yakhmur, or roe deer, is found here and in 1 Kings 4:23. That comes from khamar, meaning to ferment or boil up. Its color is what then defines it, appearing as if its coat is vivid and alive.
This animal anticipates the position of believers who are to be “not lagging in diligence, fervent in spirit, serving the Lord” (Romans 12:11).
The fourth, aqqo, the ibex or wild goat, is found only here. It is derived from anaq, to cry or groan, and so it is a slender animal. This anticipates all believers. Of us, Paul says in Romans 8:23 that “we ourselves groan within ourselves, eagerly waiting for the adoption, the redemption of our body” (Romans 8:23).
The fifth, dishon, or mountain goat, is found only here. It is from dush, meaning to tread or thresh. It is the leaper. If you’ve ever seen one, you would understand the description. This looks to Paul’s words of 1 Corinthians 9:10, where he says, “that he who plows should plow in hope, and he who threshes in hope should be partaker of his hope.”
The next, teo, or antelope, is found only here and in Isaiah 51:20. It comes from taah, to draw out or mark a line. Thus, it is named probably for its white strip, or maybe for its long horns that form a line. This anticipates believers who are to “walk circumspectly, not as fools but as wise” (Ephesians 5:15).
Lastly, the zemer, or mountain sheep, is found only here. That probably comes from zamar, to make music in praise of God. Just as a person playing an instrument will lightly touch the string or windpipe, so this animal would lightly touch the ground.
This anticipates the state of those in Christ who are to be “speaking to one another in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing and making melody in your heart to the Lord” (Ephesians 5:19).
As noted, these were not specified in Leviticus 11. But Moses specifically names these to the people here and only next explains why they may be eaten…
6 And you may eat every animal with cloven hooves, having the hoof split into two parts,
As a point of correct translation, the word hoof is singular here and in verse 7. Moses repeats the substance of Leviticus 11:3, stating the requirements in reverse order –
“Among the animals, whatever divides the hoof, having cloven hooves…”
The words to focus on are maphreset paresah, or “cloven hooves,” and the fact that they are v’shosaat shesa shete pherasoth, or, “and having split the hoof into two parts.” Every word here gives the sense of division, or of dividing completely.
The repetition of the words is purposeful. It isn’t enough to simply say, “splits the hooves,” because some animals do this, but they don’t have fully split hooves. They are to split the hooves so that the hooves are completely split.
6 (con’t) and that chews the cud, among the animals.
maalat gerah babehemah otah tokelu – “ascends cud in the beasts you may eat.” The word gerah, or cud, comes from garar, “to drag away.” Thus, this speaks of the cud, as in scraping the throat. To make it ascend, then, means to bring the food back up.
In animals, it is the process of up-chucking food from the first of several stomachs where it is chewed a second time before passing into the second stomach. The idea behind this is that the maximum amount of nutrition is obtained from the food. It is also necessary because the foods these animals eat are difficult to digest, and so the extra process makes it much easier for them.
The requirements given in Leviticus and here do not assign reasons as to why such animals are acceptable for food. They are merely distinguishing marks of what is considered acceptable. And so, this verse gives the specifics of what is authorized.
It is claimed that the meat of these animals is better for people for a variety of reasons, but that is untrue. It also doesn’t explain why God specifies this now. One can say, “Oh, of course, it is because the Lord wants His people to be healthy, and this is how it will come about.” But that is an insufficient explanation.
In fact, it would simply muddy the theological waters. If that were true, then it would imply that He didn’t really care about this in anyone from the time after the flood until the giving of the law. It would also then imply that He doesn’t care as much about us now. We have no such dietary restrictions.
It is unreasonable to claim that the Lord didn’t care about the health of those both before, outside, and after the time of the law. And so there must be another reason for specifying this. And there is. It anticipates what believers are to do now.
The purpose of both of these is that they anticipate the believer’s responsibility concerning God’s word. First, it concerns the proper handling of the word as outlined by Paul in 2 Timothy where he speaks of “rightly dividing the word of truth.” Both commands – concerning the division of the hooves, and to rightly divide the word – are positive in nature.
The fully divided hooves give us this picture. Likewise, the chewing of the cud gives us another picture. We are not to simply eat, swallow, and forget. The word, like the food for these animals, is difficult to digest. It must be contemplated and meditated upon.
Like the animal that chews the cud, we are to call the word back to mind and chew on it, contemplate it, and get every ounce of nourishment that we can out of it. It must be chewed and re-chewed. This is why Paul said to the Philippians and then again to Timothy to “meditate on these things” (Philippians 4:8).
A cow spends about eight hours of every day chewing the cud. This, plus their normal chewing of food totals approximately 40,000 jaw movements a day. If God’s people would carefully and rightly divide the word, and then spend such a great amount of time contemplating it and then applying it to their lives, nothing could hinder them in their daily walk.
With this understanding, Moses next refers to what is forbidden–
7 Nevertheless, of those that chew the cud or have cloven hooves, you shall not eat, such as these: the camel, the hare, and the rock hyrax; for they chew the cud but do not have cloven hooves; they are unclean for you.
In Leviticus 11:4-6, the Lord named these animals and gave similar explanations as to why it was to be –
‘Nevertheless these you shall not eat among those that chew the cud or those that have cloven hooves: the camel, because it chews the cud but does not have cloven hooves, is unclean to you; 5 the rock hyrax, because it chews the cud but does not have cloven hooves, is unclean to you; 6 the hare, because it chews the cud but does not have cloven hooves, is unclean to you.”
To understand why each of these specific animals was singled out, and how they then are typological of New Testament truths, please be sure to rush home and watch the Leviticus 11 sermon…
8 Also the swine is unclean for you, because it has cloven hooves, yet does not chew the cud;
This delightful and delicious animal that has more flavor and variety of taste running through it than a candy factory is noted in Leviticus 11:7. To understand why it is mentioned here, and what type of a person it is referring to, please be sure to watch that sermon. Of all of these animals, Moses tells Israel…
8 (con’t) you shall not eat their flesh or touch their dead carcasses.
The utterly ridiculous nature of reinserting these precepts from the law into New Testament theology is revealed in these words. Those who are overly pious and yet underly educated in theology make a show of how they are so much better than others because of their rejecting the eating of such meat.
But this list is not all-inclusive. Any animal that does not meet the requirements laid out by Moses is included in this list, such as the cat and the dog (and etc).
However, Jews around the world, and these uniformed, or willfully ignorant supposed followers of Christ, will openly mourn over their dead Fifi or Fido, pick him up, and carry him to his little grave – thus violating the second and equally important precept given here. To further understand this precept, it is more fully explained in the Leviticus 11 sermons.
What’s for dinner ma? I’m hungry and my tummy is achin’
What’s for dinner ma? I can’t wait till we eat
Will we have some burgers topped with cheese and bacon?
I can’t wait to taste the nummy-delicious treat
No sonny boy, you can’t have that as you know
I don’t care if that is for what your tummy is achin’
We’re legalists in this house. It is true and that is so
Here we don’t eat anything topped with bacon
We are working our way to heaven despite the work of Jesus
We’re on our way; this is the path we’ve taken
I’m sure God will look with super favor on us
When we eat our burgers without any bacon…
II. Clean and Unclean Water Life (verses 9 & 10)
9 “These you may eat of all that are in the waters: you may eat all that have fins and scales.
This is more fully explained in Leviticus 11:9 –
“These you may eat of all that are in the water: whatever in the water has fins and scales, whether in the seas or in the rivers—that you may eat.” Leviticus 11:9
The senappir and qasqeseth, or fins and scales are rare words. The fins are only found in the Torah, and only in regard to fish. The word scale is found elsewhere when speaking of scale-armor, as was worn by Goliath.
As a reminder of the symbolism, fins are used to keep a fish swimming properly in moving forward, turning, staying upright, and stopping. They guide the fish smoothly and efficiently through the water. Scales are predominantly used for protection, among other things.
The symbolism is perfectly obvious. Like fins, the word of God is intended to keep us moving properly and in an upright manner – ever towards Christ, not racing ahead of ourselves and not going beyond what is written. It is to be the rule and guide of our walk. And like scales, it is intended to protect us from harm.
As there are many scales, and as they vary in size, they are indicative of satisfactory good works which the Bible exhorts us to apply to our lives in order to be well-rounded and fully protected from that which would otherwise bring us harm. For this reason…
10 And whatever does not have fins and scales you shall not eat;
This is more fully defined in Leviticus 11:10 –
“But all in the seas or in the rivers that do not have fins and scales, all that move in the water or any living thing which is in the water.”
To eat something without these attributes typologically anticipates believers who run ahead without them, heading into their own self-made disaster. Hence, for Israel…
10 (con’t) it is unclean for you.
Leviticus 11:10 says, “they are an abomination to you.” The reason for including these words (“for you” or “to you”) is to show that they are not unclean in and of themselves, but only to Israel under the law. When the law was annulled in Christ, the wall of partition was taken away. These dietary restrictions went away with the law. The purpose they were given was to lead us to understanding what these things only typified for the believer.
Honey, I went down to the beach and caught us some fish
And while I was down there, I got some lobster too
There’s plenty here, more than I could wish
Where should I put them, and what else can I do?
Ack! Lobster! What are you nuts my dear?
That isn’t clean according to the Law of Moses
We’re working our way to heaven, but we won’t make it I fear
If you bring home stuff like lobster. We’ll get an F minus
If we go eating the wrong stuff, things just won’t go well
It would be no different than if we were a couple of mobsters
The last thing we need is to be cast into hell
Because we sat down to a nummy meal of buttered-up lobsters
III. Clean and Unclean Flying Things (verses 11-20)
11 “All clean birds you may eat.
kal tsippor tehorah tokelu – “All bird clean you may eat.” This is not stated in Leviticus 11. Rather, the Lord begins with, “And these you shall regard as an abomination among the birds.” It is then anticipated that anything not forbidden in the word is, by default, clean.
As there are countless birds in the world not mentioned here as unclean, but which would fall into the unclean category, it is obvious that typology is the main consideration here. It would be naïve to think otherwise.
And to say, “All clean birds,” without further defining what that means, only solidifies this notion. There are a couple changes between the list here and of that in Leviticus. These changes will be noted, and the typology will be explained for them.
For all the others, you will just have to continue watching the Leviticus 11 sermons as there is no need to reexplain all of those details…
12 But these you shall not eat: the eagle, the vulture, the buzzard,
These are recorded in Leviticus 11:12 and are explained there.
13 the red kite, the falcon, and the kite after their kinds;
Of this verse, it should be noted that the words are so similar to Leviticus 11:14 that someone might mistake them as the same names, but there are differences. The similarity between them is noticeable and confusing if not carefully analyzed.
The raah (called the “red kite” here) is not mentioned in Leviticus 11, but the daah is. It is possible that both are the same bird. The D and the R in Hebrew are almost identical. Thus, it may be that the Hebrew contains a scribal error as the NAS concordance states.
If not a scribal error, then the raah comes from a word signifying to see, or to look. Thus, it is a bird of exceptionally keen sight, as birds of prey are known to be.
Also, if it is not a scribal error, then what is equally probable is that the daah of Leviticus 11 is represented by the third bird, the dayyah, or kite, and only having a variant spelling. If not, then it is only mentioned here and in Isaiah 34:15. It is a completely different bird than the ayyah, or falcon seen in Leviticus 11:14.
As you can see the names are so closely spelled that it is very hard to know what is actually being conveyed. I broke my brain on trying to give you a reasonable analysis of these things.
14 every raven after its kind;
v’et kal orev l’mino – “And all raven to its kind.” The only difference between this verse and Leviticus 11:15 is the addition of the word “and.”
15 the ostrich, the short-eared owl, the sea gull, and the hawk after their kinds;
The words are identical, word for word and letter for letter, to Leviticus 11:16.
16 the little owl, the screech owl, the white owl,
Here the first two birds are mentioned in Leviticus 11:17. However, the third bird, the tinshemeth, or “white owl” is mentioned in Leviticus 11:18 and is also translated in Leviticus 11:30 as a “chameleon.”
17 the jackdaw, the carrion vulture, the fisher owl,
The first two are mentioned in Leviticus 11:18. The only difference there in them is that the carrion vulture is pronounced ha’rakham in Leviticus and ha’rakhamah in Deuteronomy. The third was mentioned in Leviticus 11:17, coming out of order now.
18 the stork, the heron after its kind, and the hoopoe and the bat.
The same birds are mentioned here as in Leviticus 11:19, but the structure of the sentence is a bit different. In all, they both convey the same thoughts.
19 “Also every creeping thing that flies is unclean for you; they shall not be eaten.
The words are similar to Leviticus 11:20 –
“All flying insects that creep on all fours shall be an abomination to you.’
The major difference here from Leviticus 11 is that there it goes on to describe those creeping things in much more detail, including the exemptions to this law – meaning the various locusts, crickets, and grasshoppers.
Because of the lack of exceptions here, the Pulpit Commentary seems to suggest a contradiction in the text, saying, “Winged insects are forbidden without exception in Deuteronomy; in Leviticus, the locust and certain other insects of the same kind are excepted.”
This is not correct. The words of this verse say: v’kol sherets ha’oph tame hu lakem – “And every swarming thing the flyer unclean it for you.” However, the next verse says…
20 “You may eat all clean birds.
Kal oph tahor tokelu – “All flyer clean you may eat.” In other words, the clean exemptions from Leviticus 11 are considered under these words here. This was perfectly understood by the Hebrew society. We know this because of what it says about John the Baptist, it says he “ate locusts and wild honey.”
Unclean until evening, what will I do?
Nobody saw me touch that thing, and yet this is right
To myself and to my God, I must be true
And it’s only 10 more hours until comes the night
It’s kind of hard for me to understand this
If I had touched it at 5pm, I would only be unclean an hour
What am I not getting, or from the law what did I miss?
That being unclean would carry such a varying power
What is it about the ending of the day?
What is it about the turning of that one hour?
That will my debt of uncleanness pay
What is it about that certain time, that carries cleansing power?
I know that in Messiah, all of this will be made known
And the revealing of every mystery will be shown
IV. A Holy People to the Lord Your God
21 “You shall not eat anything that dies of itself; you may give it to the alien who is within your gates, that he may eat it, or you may sell it to a foreigner; for you are a holy people to the Lord your God.
The words here are a lot of clauses that would normally be taken one by one. But the precepts overlap with quite a few other passages. Three of them are –
“And you shall be holy men to Me: you shall not eat meat torn by beasts in the field; you shall throw it to the dogs. Exodus 22:31
“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.” Leviticus 17:15, 16
Whatever dies naturally or is torn by beasts he shall not eat, to defile himself with it: I am the Lord. Leviticus 22:8
First is the immediate verse which pertains to eating something that died of itself. The people were not to eat that. Of the three references, the first from Exodus 22 referred to meat torn by beasts.
That was forbidden for two reasons. The first is that it had not been properly bled, making it unclean. Secondly, the beast which tore the animal would have been an unclean animal and thus passed on ceremonial defilement. Hence, there was defilement in both ways.
The second reference speaks in the same verse of that which died naturally and that which was torn, showing that this was not allowed, but if it did happen, there was a remedy for the sin. This clearly shows that the prohibitions are spiritual in nature, and this for several reasons.
An animal that died by itself, or one which was killed by other beasts, did not have the blood drained out of it. The animal is dead because its lifeblood has stopped flowing. To eat this animal cannot be compared to eating blood itself, because the soul had departed.
And yet, it is still true that the blood remained in the animal. Such meat was forbidden to be eaten, but if it were, the person was merely considered unclean. Because he ate something forbidden, it shows the spiritual nature of the mandate.
And then, secondly, comes the means of purification from defilement. The first is washing the clothes, and the second is bathing. Both of these are external acts. They have absolutely nothing to do with what went into the man. And yet, they are required in order to be considered purified.
And finally, the last part of the purification was to wait until sundown, at which time he would be clean again. If he ate his meal at 6:55 pm, and the day started at 6pm, then he would be defiled for 23 hours and 5 minutes.
If he ate and then washed at 5:45pm, then he would only be defiled for 15 minutes. This shows us that the defilement is spiritual. Further, it pertained to an Israelite and stranger alike. In order to be considered clean, the command stands for both.
As was seen in Leviticus, the washing of the garments pointed to trampling out sin in one’s life. The bathing points to the purification of one’s life by Christ. And the evening time points to the time that Christ died and was placed in the tomb. With His death and burial, all defilement of man is truly washed away. This ceremonial period of defilement simply looked forward to the cleansing from all defilement provided by the Lord.
The third reference from Leviticus 22 was a prohibition for the priests. They were never to eat such an animal because they, in their work, anticipated the coming mediatorial role of Christ. Thus, they were specifically prohibited from this.
For the rest of this verse in Deuteronomy, it speaks of the alien or the foreigner. That is clearly showing a distinction between those in Christ, and that who are not in Christ.
The key thought is always Christ. It is either looking forward to Him in typology by Israel, or looking back on what He did for us, and which now includes us in Him. As it says, “for you are a holy people to the LORD your God.” The church is, like Israel was intended to be (and will be someday), a holy people to the Lord.
*21 (fin) “You shall not boil a young goat in its mother’s milk.
This is the third and final time this is stated. The first was in Exodus 23:19 –
“The first of the firstfruits of your land you shall bring into the house of the Lord your God. You shall not boil a young goat in its mother’s milk.” Exodus 23:19
The second time was in Exodus 34:26 in a verbatim repeat of Exodus 23:19. Now, it is repeated, but without the note concerning the Firstfruits.
Both of the first two mentions of this were in relation to the three annual pilgrim feasts. This particular prohibition is logically tied to the third such feast, the Feast of Ingathering. The boiling of a young goat in its mother’s milk was a pagan practice.
After it was boiled, and along with magic rites, the milk was used to sprinkle plantations, fields, and gardens in hopes of them being more productive the next year. This then reflects those who refuse to give up magic practices right through the entire dispensation of grace, and even through the tribulation period. Thus, it speaks of what is stated in Revelation 9 –
“The rest of mankind who were not killed by these plagues still did not repent of the work of their hands; they did not stop worshiping demons, and idols of gold, silver, bronze, stone and wood—idols that cannot see or hear or walk. 21 Nor did they repent of their murders, their magic arts, their sexual immorality or their thefts.” Revelation 9:20, 21 (NIV)
This is a prohibition that speaks of what the people of God are not to do, just as was the case with the first two verses of this chapter that were looked at last week. The positive and negative precepts laid down here are all given in anticipation of Christ and in our relationship to Him. As it says in both verse 2 and then again here in verse 21, “For you are a holy people to the Lord your God.”
The marvel of these dietary laws given first in Leviticus 11, and then repeated here in our passage today, is that they convey this truth to Israel in typology. They were really to do these things, but the reason for doing them wasn’t because it brought them any closer to God. Instead, it is because what they picture does.
An observant Jew can stick to every single dietary precept given here today, and indeed many do, and yet he can be as far from God as the greatest pagan. However, for those who live out what these laws typologically anticipate, they will come closer to the Lord.
God is not looking for our externals, but He is carefully evaluating our internals. What is our heart condition before the Lord? And above all, that heart condition must first be set and fixed through trusting in the gospel of Jesus Christ. Without that, nothing else matters.
One is either apart from Christ and tainted with sin that blocks his fellowship with God, or he is in Christ and has fellowship with God. From that point on the fellowship that we experience is based on how we respond to what we have been instructed under the New Covenant which is outlined in the New Testament epistles.
Let us not fail in our wholehearted devotion to applying this wonderful word to our every step. In this, God will certainly be pleased with our actions. As a reminder, if you have forgotten the details of what each of these animals signifies from the Leviticus sermons, go back and brush up on them.
Finally, please make sure that you truly are in Christ. Without that, all of the head knowledge on the planet won’t do you a bit of good. In case you forgot it, the typology of the swine will reveal that to you. Make your head knowledge a heart knowledge today. Call on Christ and be reconciled to God through Him.
Closing Verse: “For every creature of God is good, and nothing is to be refused if it is received with thanksgiving; 5 for it is sanctified by the word of God and prayer.” 1 Timothy 4:4, 5
Next Week: Deuteronomy 14:22-29 Are you supposed to give 10%? Is that what the Bible does tell…? (The Tithes of Israel) (46th Deuteronomy Sermon)
The Lord has you exactly where He wants you. He has a good plan and purpose for you. But He also has expectations of you as He prepares you for entrance into His Land of Promise. So, follow Him and trust Him and He will do marvelous things for you and through you.
A Holy People to the Lord
“You shall not eat any detestable thing
These are the animals which you may eat:
The ox, the sheep, the goat, the deer, the gazelle, the roe deer
The wild goat, the mountain goat, the antelope, and the mountain
———-sheep; such are to be your meat
And you may eat every animal with cloven hooves
Having the hoof split into two parts
And that chews the cud as well
Among the animals, that’s where your clean animal list starts
Nevertheless, of those that chew the cud or have cloven hooves
You shall not eat, such as these, such you shall not do:
The camel, the hare, and the rock hyrax
For they chew the cud but do not have cloven hooves
———-they are unclean for you
Also the swine is unclean for you
Because it has cloven hooves, yet does not chew the cud
You shall not eat their flesh or touch their dead carcasses
Not even in a soup containing the spud
“These you may eat of all that are in the waters:
You may eat all that have fins and scales
And whatever does not have fins and scales you shall not eat
It is unclean for you, both for your ladies and your males
“All clean birds you may eat
But these you shall not eat: the eagle, the vulture, the buzzard too
The red kite, the falcon, and the kite after their kinds
Every raven after its kind shall be unclean for you
The ostrich, the short-eared owl, the sea gull, and the hawk
———-after their kinds
The little owl, the screech owl, the white owl
———-(you shall not eat that)
The jackdaw, the carrion vulture, the fisher owl
The stork, the heron after its kind, and the hoopoe and the bat
“Also every creeping thing that flies is unclean for you
They shall not be eaten; such you shall not do
“You may eat all clean birds
“You shall not eat anything that dies of itself
You may give it to the alien who is within your gates
That he may eat it, or you may sell it to a foreigner
———-but keep it off your pantry shelf
For you are a holy people to the LORD your God
———-so be ye pure like silk
“You shall not boil a young goat in its mother’s milk
Lord God, turn our hearts to be obedient to Your word
Give us wisdom to be ever faithful to You
May we carefully heed each thing we have heard
Yes, Lord God may our hearts be faithful and true
And we shall be content and satisfied in You alone
We will follow You as we sing our songs of praise
Hallelujah to You; to us Your path You have shown
Hallelujah we shall sing to You for all of our days
Hallelujah and Amen…
3 “You shall not eat any detestable thing. 4 These are the animals which you may eat: the ox, the sheep, the goat, 5 the deer, the gazelle, the roe deer, the wild goat, the mountain goat, the antelope, and the mountain sheep. 6 And you may eat every animal with cloven hooves, having the hoof split into two parts, and that chews the cud, among the animals. 7 Nevertheless, of those that chew the cud or have cloven hooves, you shall not eat, such as these: the camel, the hare, and the rock hyrax; for they chew the cud but do not have cloven hooves; they are unclean for you. 8 Also the swine is unclean for you, because it has cloven hooves, yet does not chew the cud; you shall not eat their flesh or touch their dead carcasses.
9 “These you may eat of all that are in the waters: you may eat all that have fins and scales. 10 And whatever does not have fins and scales you shall not eat; it is unclean for you.
11 “All clean birds you may eat. 12 But these you shall not eat: the eagle, the vulture, the buzzard, 13 the red kite, the falcon, and the kite after their kinds; 14 every raven after its kind; 15 the ostrich, the short-eared owl, the sea gull, and the hawk after their kinds; 16 the little owl, the screech owl, the white owl, 17 the jackdaw, the carrion vulture, the fisher owl, 18 the stork, the heron after its kind, and the hoopoe and the bat.
19 “Also every creeping thing that flies is unclean for you; they shall not be eaten.
20 “You may eat all clean birds.
21 “You shall not eat anything that dies of itself; you may give it to the alien who is within your gates, that he may eat it, or you may sell it to a foreigner; for you are a holy people to the Lord your God.
“You shall not boil a young goat in its mother’s milk.