Leviticus 18:1-30 (In These, Israel Will be Defiled)

Leviticus 18:1-30
In These, Israel Will be Defiled

In today’s passage, we have some requirements which did not previously apply to the people of the world. They were things which were not forbidden before the law was given. As those things are mentioned, I will cite to you the applicable examples so that you can see this.

However, there was a time when these things became unacceptable for the Lord’s people to participate in, and the reason for this is to be explained as well. And yet, one of the laws which is mandated here is actually set aside, and even mandated to be done for a certain circumstance which will also be noted.

It is a surprising thing, the law of Moses and its many commands and precepts. And without a careful, contemplative, and detailed understanding of it, one could come away thinking there were either errors or contradictions in it. But this is definitely not so. Each difficulty we have faced has been overcome through a detailed analysis of what is presented.

One truth that stands out about the law though, is that if it were not given, then sin would not be imputed for violating its precepts. This was the case with Abraham, it was the case with Jacob, it was the case with Moses’ parents, and it was the case with others along the way as well. They lived and died without sin being imputed to them for what would suddenly become offenses punishable under the law. Paul explains how this works in detail in the book of Romans. A part of that explanation forms our text verse today –

Text Verse: “For apart from the law sin was dead. I was alive once without the law, but when the commandment came, sin revived and I died. 10 And the commandment, which was to bring life, I found to bring death. 11 For sin, taking occasion by the commandment, deceived me, and by it killed me.” Romans 7:8-11

Apart from the law, sin was dead. But then… the law. Adam was alive apart from the law. But then came… the law. It was one simple thing, but disobeying it threw the entire human race into a catastrophic whirlwind which continues to tear humanity apart to this day. There is but one remedy to the storming gale winds, and that is found in Jesus Christ.

Paul understood the torment of the introduction of law upon humanity, and he cried out for relief from the dilemma he faced. Where! Where can I turn to in order to be freed from what I face? And then He found Christ. He closes chapter 7 with wonderful words of release for us to consider –

I find then a law, that evil is present with me, the one who wills to do good. 22 For I delight in the law of God according to the inward man. 23 But I see another law in my members, warring against the law of my mind, and bringing me into captivity to the law of sin which is in my members. 24 O wretched man that I am! Who will deliver me from this body of death? 25 I thank God—through Jesus Christ our Lord!

So then, with the mind I myself serve the law of God, but with the flesh the law of sin.” Romans 7:21-25

Sexual sin. It is something that many of us have faced. Maybe some of us still secretly face it. It is certainly something every single one of us must deal with. Perversion is plastered openly on the internet, on TV, and even in open society as we head down the roads of life. It is something terribly enticing, and yet it is even more destructive. And like all sin, it never satisfies. It simply leads us down a spiraling eddy from one level of perversion to the next.

The word is not silent on the subject, and so neither may we be silent on it. Instead, it is a theme which is prominently detailed in His superior word. And so let’s 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. Words of Law (verses 1-23)

Then the Lord spoke to Moses, saying,

The words which lie ahead are words of law, and thus Moses alone is the addressee. What will follow are words not of ritual and ceremonial pollution, but instead they concern the moral state of life in regards to holiness. So far in Leviticus, the idea of ceremonial uncleanness and its accompanying remedy has been noted. Now, begins moral uncleanness and its penalty.

Many of the laws of this chapter concern domestic purity, and thus they are laws which are appropriate for conduct even though the law of Moses is now set aside. In following them, there will be happiness and purity in the home. In not following them, discontent and moral perversion becomes evident. This is all the more true because the writers of the New Testament continue to warn against sexual immorality, and Jesus’ words on the final page of Scripture warn against it as well, stating –

Blessed are those who do His commandments, that they may have the right to the tree of life, and may enter through the gates into the city. 15 But outside are dogs and sorcerers and sexually immoral and murderers and idolaters, and whoever loves and practices a lie.” Revelation 22:14, 15

The sexual perversion which is being thrust upon society in general, and upon the church in particular, in the recent past is wholly contrary to Christian conduct, and it is to be rejected. Sex has been ordained by God to be between a man and a woman who are united in the bonds of marriage. That is the extent of what is biblically acceptable.

From the words of this chapter, this will be made perfectly evident. The Lord sets His standards for sexual conduct in contrast to the practices of the surrounding nations who were engaged in all sorts of unnatural, perverse practices.

“Speak to the children of Israel, and say to them: ‘I am the Lord your God.

Two thoughts are to be derived from these words. The first is that what follows is intended for the entire congregation. “Speak to the children of Israel” means that all are to hear, and all are included in what follows. The words of the Lord proceed through the human lawgiver, Moses, to the ears of the entire congregation.

The second thought is found in the words, “I am the Lord your God.” This is a phrase that has been spoken only once so far in Leviticus, in 11:44. They are again being reminded that Yehovah is sovereign over them. They had agreed to the words of the covenant, they had agreed that Yehovah would be their one and only God, and they had placed themselves under His complete authority, including all things forbidden and all things commanded.

Three times in this chapter He will repeat, “I am the Lord your God,” and three times He will say, “I am the Lord.” The reminders are to call attention to the people that it is Yehovah who has directed, and His directions are in contrast to the workings of those of the other nations. This is then noted in the following words…

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.

Egypt is the land they had left; Canaan is the land they were heading to. Egypt was destroyed by the Lord upon their departure; Canaan’s destruction is promised to occur upon their arrival. The gods of those lands were thus shown to be nothing in comparison to the Lord, and the practices of the people, allowed under their gods, were not to be practiced.

The words, “nor shall you walk in their ordinances” means exactly that. To “walk” in the Bible indicates life conduct. To walk according to the ordinances of Egypt and Canaan would be to conduct their lives as these defeated nations had conducted their own lives.

As Egypt pictured the bondage of Satan, and as Israel was brought out from that bondage, they were not to return to its practices. As Canaan signifies the land in which these redeemed will dwell, even while walking in this world, so the Lord’s redeemed were not to re-engage in the practices of the world. These two thoughts – leaving Egypt and dwelling in Canaan – are seen in Paul’s words –

And you He made alive, who were dead in trespasses and sins, in which you once walked according to the course of this world, according to the prince of the power of the air, the spirit who now works in the sons of disobedience, among whom also we all once conducted ourselves in the lusts of our flesh, fulfilling the desires of the flesh and of the mind, and were by nature children of wrath, just as the others.” Ephesians 2:1-3 (Egypt)

But fornication and all uncleanness or covetousness, let it not even be named among you, as is fitting for saints; neither filthiness, nor foolish talking, nor coarse jesting, which are not fitting, but rather giving of thanks. For this you know, that no fornicator, unclean person, nor covetous man, who is an idolater, has any inheritance in the kingdom of Christ and God. Let no one deceive you with empty words, for because of these things the wrath of God comes upon the sons of disobedience. Therefore do not be partakers with them.” Ephesians 5:3-7 (Canaan)

You shall observe My judgments and keep My ordinances, to walk in them: I am the Lord your God.

The contrast is now set. There WAS Egypt, there WILL BE Canaan, and there IS the covenant of the Lord. This expression, “You shall observe My judgments and keep My ordinances” bears emphasis, and it is set in direct contrast to the “ordinances” of Egypt and Canaan. In essence, He is saying, “You shall observe ONLY my judgments and keep ONLY my ordinances.”

The mishpat, or judgments, are an extension of His justice. They are right, and they are intended for the good of the people. The khuqqah, or ordinances, are those things prescribed by the Lord as fixed patterns of conduct for right living and proper order.

With the observance of these determined, He again repeats the reason for this, “I am the Lord your God.” “I am Yehovah, and I am your God. Your walk will be as I direct because I have brought you out of Egypt, and we have covenanted together that you will walk in obedience to My precepts henceforward.” And there is a good and blessed reason for this…

You shall therefore keep My statutes and My judgments, which if a man does, he shall live by them: I am the Lord.

If Leviticus 11:44 contains the central theme of the book of Leviticus, “…you shall be holy; for I am holy,” Leviticus 18:5 certainly contains the main logical reason for this, and the promised outcome for walking in holiness. It is such an important verse, that it is incorporated into the thought of Genesis 2 & 3, and it is substantially repeated several times in both the Old and New Testaments. In Genesis 2, the Lord gave a command which promised death if disobeyed. The implication then is that life would result through obedience –

And the Lord God commanded the man, saying, “Of every tree of the garden you may freely eat; 17 but of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil you shall not eat, for in the day that you eat of it you shall surely die.” Genesis 2:16, 17

In Genesis 3, because of man’s disobedience to the Lord’s law, access to the tree of life, by which man could live forever, was denied. Death entered the world. Now a promise is made that through obedience to this law, the man shall live. Many scholars pass this off as meaning “live happily,” have a “higher life,” possess “true life,” etc. This is not at all what is being relayed here. It is a promise that if a man keeps the requirements of the law, he will live and not die. On the flip side, if one does not keep the requirements of the law, he will die and not live.

The Lord is dwelling there in their presence. Access to Him is restricted because of the sin-nature of man, but also because of the law itself. But in fulfillment of the law, access would naturally be granted once again. It could not be otherwise. The law is given to give life. If life is promised, then it must be granted.

If one doesn’t die, then he continues to live. If he lives forever, then he has eternal life. This is the implication of the words, and it is solidified by the use of a definite article in front of the word “man.” It doesn’t say “if a man does.” It says, “if the man does.” Be sure to correct your Bible. This verse is looking forward to Christ – The Man who, in fact, did keep the ordinances and judgments of Yehovah, and He thus possesses eternal life.

This is exactingly explained in the book of Romans, but elsewhere in the New Testament as well. Christ fulfilled the law, and thus the law is fulfilled. In Him, life is granted. If you are looking for access to restored paradise, and to the Tree of Life, you need look no further than Jesus Christ. He is “The Man who did.”

Nehemiah 9:29 refers to this verse after the people’s return from the punishment of exile. Ezekiel 20 repeats this verse three times showing that failure to keep the Lord’s law is what resulted in that punishment. Paul then cites this same verse twice, in Romans 10:5, and in Galatians 3:12 to show that Christ, who fulfilled the Law of Moses, is the end of the law for righteousness to everyone who believes in Him. It is faith in His completion of this law that grants eternal life. He did the work, we must do the believing.

And so now, with the promise of life made, the laws of the Lord which began in earnest in Exodus 20 with the giving of the Ten Commandments now continues here once again. As I said earlier, the laws which follow are moral in nature. In obeying what is stated, either as a command under the Law of Moses, or a precept of holy living in the New Covenant, many troubles will be avoided.

‘None of you shall approach anyone who is near of kin to him, to uncover his nakedness: I am the Lord.

The Hebrew uses two words which essentially both mean “flesh.” None of you shall approach anyone who is sheer besaro, or flesh of his flesh. Although nearly synonyms, the first is certainly flesh as in nearness – I am of the same flesh as my father. The second word is flesh in substance – We are all made of human flesh. The prohibitions here are based on the first word sheer. Sexual relations, stated by the term “uncover nakedness,” in near family relations is prohibited.

It has to be noted that this was not something that could have been implemented at the beginning. When the human race was getting started, or when it was expanding after the flood, it was necessary for kin to be intimate. Even Abraham married his own half sister.

However, the Lord is now mandating this for His people in order to ensure proper functioning of the family unit, and strengthening of the greater societal structure as well. In the family, a brother cannot perform the role of both a brother and a husband in the most effective manner. A mother could not be a mother and a wife to the same man and perform both roles effectively.

In society, a strengthening of families occurs when a man and a woman join together. There is a new unity which strengthens the overall community in such marriages. The Lord’s intent is for the protection and strengthening of both. To ensure that they realize this is from His wisdom and at His direction, he then once again states His name, ani Yehovah, I am Yehovah. From here, three classes of forbidden intimacy are given, 1) relations through blood; 2) direct relations by affinity; and 3) indirect relations by affinity.

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.

The word “or” here is not correct. The second sentence explains the first. It should say, “The nakedness of your father, and the nakedness of your mother, you shall not uncover.” As the father and mother are one flesh due to their union, a son sleeping with his mother would then uncover both her nakedness and the father’s. This then is further defined by the next verse…

The nakedness of your father’s wife you shall not uncover; it is your father’s nakedness.

A man is not to have sex with his father’s wife, even if she is not the person’s mother. This would then also uncover the father’s nakedness. It is something that actually occurred when Reuben, the eldest of Jacob, slept with Bilhah, his father’s concubine. Absalom also slept with his father David’s concubines in 2 Samuel 16. It also occurred in the early church as is recorded in 1 Corinthians 5. Paul fully condemned this occurrence.

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.

Intimacy with either a whole sister or a half sister is forbidden. This particular law was violated by Amnon, the son of David, when he went into his half sister Tamar in 2 Samuel 13.

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.

Intimacy between a man and his granddaughter is forbidden. Interestingly, nothing is said of a man and his daughter as was the case with a son and his mother. Some believe that was a part of this verse and that it was accidentally dropped from the original, but that is only scholarly guessing and there is no evidence of that.

11 The nakedness of your father’s wife’s daughter, begotten by your father—she is your sister—you shall not uncover her nakedness.

This verse is actually rather complicated. If it is as the English reads, then it is simply a repetition of what was said in verse 9. That would make it superfluous. One opinion is that verse 9 is speaking of the son by a second marriage, but this verse is speaking of a son by a first marriage.

A second opinion is that an error has crept into the text in verse 9 and so that is speaking of a full sister, whereas this is speaking of a half-sister. A third option is that this is referring to a Levirate marriage where a man performs the duty of rearing up a child for a deceased brother. This is outlined in Deuteronomy 25:5.

If such a relationship occurred, the two families would be near kindred, and marrying the daughter of a woman who had been given a child by the son’s father would then violate that near-family relationship. That seems the most likely. I am not a favor of claiming textual error just because a verse is difficult. It is an easy way out of complicated matters. In the end, the nearness of the relationship is what is being spoken of here.

12 You shall not uncover the nakedness of your father’s sister; she is near of kin to your father.

One was not to have intimacy with one’s paternal aunt. Having said that, Moses himself was the product of such a relationship. His father married his aunt, and Aaron, Moses, and Miriam were born to this union. Thus, one can see that this particular law is a divine statue rather than a natural moral law. This is evident because no prohibition is extended to one’s niece. Rather, it was an accepted practice in Israel for a person to marry one’s niece, such as when Othniel married his niece Achsah in Joshua 15.

13 You shall not uncover the nakedness of your mother’s sister, for she is near of kin to your mother.

As with the previous verse concerning the father’s sister, a man was likewise forbidden to be intimate with his mother’s sister.

14 You shall not uncover the nakedness of your father’s brother. You shall not approach his wife; she is your aunt.

Some interpret the first sentence to mean that a man was not to commit sodomy with his uncle. That is not at all what this is speaking of. Sodomy was forbidden in all cases and at all times. It is a perversion of natural order in all circumstances. Rather, the second sentence explains the first. By having intimate relations with a wife of an uncle, a person uncovered the uncle’s nakedness.

15 You shall not uncover the nakedness of your daughter-in-law—she is your son’s wife—you shall not uncover her nakedness.

In Leviticus 20:12, the penalty for this is death for both offenders. It uses there a word, tevel, which is found only there and in verse 23 of this chapter when speaking of bestiality. It indicates “confusion.” For a man to sleep with his son’s wife is a confusion of the natural order. In Ezekiel 22:11, it is shown that this abominable practice was not unknown among the Israelites.

16 You shall not uncover the nakedness of your brother’s wife; it is your brother’s nakedness.

This must be taken in the proper context of the Israelite society. If a brother died, and the wife had no children, the brother was under obligation by the law to go into the widow in order that she might bear a child in her dead husband’s name. The instructions for this are found in Deuteronomy 25. However, this was an exception mandated by the Lord to preserve the line. Any other intimacy would pervert the line. This law was broken by Herod Antipas who took his brother’s wife as his own in Matthew 14.

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.

If a man married a woman who already had children, he could not afterward be intimate with either her daughter or one of her granddaughters – either through a son or a daughter. As they were of the same flesh as her, such was considered wickedness. The word used to describe it is a new one in Scripture, zimah. It comes from zamah, meaning to plan. Thus, this is an especially bad plan, even a scheme of mischief.

18 Nor shall you take a woman as a rival to her sister, to uncover her nakedness while the other is alive.

This prohibition stands only during the life of the wife. Should she die, then a man might marry the sister, but not while the wife was alive. The reason for this is because polygamy was acceptable under the law of Moses, and it is something not forbidden under the New Covenant except for anyone who is an elder or deacon within the church. Other than those two exceptions, Paul never comments on such a matter. He let society determine the rules of marriage in that regard. But though polygamy was acceptable in Israel, it did not include marriage of two sisters. The lesson of Leah and Rachel proved to them that only enmity could result. Thus the Lord uses the term tsarar, or adversary, to describe the matter.

19 ‘Also you shall not approach a woman to uncover her nakedness as long as she is in her customary impurity.

No intimacy was to occur during the time of a woman’s period. Ezekiel notes this as one of the crimes of the people of Israel which led to exile.

20 Moreover you shall not lie carnally with your neighbor’s wife, to defile yourself with her.

Here a word is introduced to ensure no mistakes were made. It is shekobeth. It means specifically intercourse. Thus this is an explicit description of a violation of the seventh commandment concerning adultery. Violations of this precept are recorded in both testaments.

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.

u-mizarkha lo titen l’ha’abir la’molekh – “And your seed no give to pass over to Molech.” The Hebrew word translated as “descendant” here is zara, it simply means “seed.” The words, “the fire” are inserted by the translators.

This is the first mention of the Ammonite god Molech. The name simply means “king.” What this verse is speaking of isn’t as easy to determine as one might think. As the word “seed” is used, and as the term “the fire” is inserted, one must go forward in Scripture to assume that this means burning one’s children as an offering to Molech.

Further, it would then be a giant departure from the tone of the entire chapter, which is speaking of sexual intimacy. Therefore, this is probably speaking of a perverse offering of intimacy to the idol Molech where the man’s semen is made an offering, either to a prostitute of Molech, or to the idol itself. This type of sexual intimacy is still practiced by both sexes in cultures of the world today. Later, in Scripture, offerings to Molech by Israel will actually take on the form of human sacrifice through fire.

Whatever the practice is, whether sexual perversion, or actually burning a literal descendant, it is spoken against in the sternest manner by saying, “…nor shall you profane the name of your God.” By making an offering to Molech, the name of Yehovah would be profaned. Thus He ends with ani Yehovah, “I am Yehovah.” Molech is a false king, Yehovah is their true King.

22 You shall not lie with a male as with a woman. It is an abomination.

Though this is a precept of the law of Moses, it is also something which is shown to be perverse both before the law of Moses, and which is considered as such in the New Testament as well. Despite modern teaching by many apostate churches, this is, and it continues to be, a vile practice which is wholly incompatible with proper human sexuality, and the commands of both testaments. The same is true with the next verse…

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.

As I said above, this is the first of two uses of tevel, or confusion, in Scripture. In this practice, there is an unnatural mixing, or confusing of the order which God created and ordained. As will later be seen, such infractions were punishable by death. It is contrary to holiness and normalcy, and so it is forbidden to be practiced by the Lord’s people. For now, it is warned against because it was something known to have been practiced in Egypt, and it was an abomination that would be seen in Canaan.

Lord God, Your word is written, Old Testament and New
And the words are clear concerning sexual sin
There is intimacy we may enjoy, and other things we may not do
One will bring us life; by the other we are done in

But the lines are blurred, even in our church today
People call evil that which is right and good
And that which is perverse is given a resounding “It’s OK!”
How can something so clear be so hugely misunderstood?

Lord God, keep us from sexual immorality which does defile
Keep us on the narrow path where life and health is found
In paying heed to your word, we shall receive a welcome smile
And in Your presence joy and peace shall evermore abound

Lead us, O God, be near and watch over us
We come to You, O Father, through our Lord Jesus

II. Words of Warning (verses 24-30)

24 ‘Do not defile yourselves with any of these things;

The chapter began with five verses of preamble, admonishing the people to pay heed to the instructions of the Lord. The chapter now ends with seven verses of warning concerning what has been presented. If the warnings are not heeded, the expected punishments for disobedience are also given.

24 (con’t) for by all these the nations are defiled, which I am casting out before you.

The Lord refers to exactly this in 2 Chronicles 33 in reference to Manasseh, King of Judah. Take time to read that today. For now, in Genesis 15, the Lord spoke these words to Abraham –

But in the fourth generation they shall return here, for the iniquity of the Amorites is not yet complete.” Genesis 15:16

The time has come. The longsuffering of the Lord towards the people of Canaan has ended, the land has become utterly defiled, and now after over 430 years there will be a change in ownership. Here he sets a direct challenge to the people. He uses the same word here concerning the defilement of these other people which he had just used in warning to them – “Do not defile yourselves” / “by all these, the nations are defiled.”

The promise to Abraham will be fulfilled, certainly and speedily. The Lord has spoken that He will cast out the land’s inhabitants before His chosen nation. But the warning is first given.

25 For the land is defiled;

Again, the same word tame, or defiled, is used. Not only are the people defiled, but the land itself is defiled. Therefore, from the land itself, a reaction necessarily results…

25  (con’t) therefore I visit the punishment of its iniquity upon it, and the land vomits out its inhabitants.

When man fell, creation fell. When man’s final restoration comes, so there will be restoration in creation. The land is subject to the moral conduct of the land’s inhabitants. This is expressly stated to Israel elsewhere. When they live properly and according to the law of the Lord, the land will yield its blessings. When they live improperly, the land will suffer the divine visitation of the Lord. So much so that it will vomit out its inhabitants.

This is now the first time that qo, or vomit, is used in Scripture. It will be seen only 8 times, but 3 of them will be in this chapter. In this, the land is personified. It will respond to the Lord’s divine visitation and do so by vomiting out its miserable inhabitants as if they were a stomach virus or putrid food.

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

It has been expressly stated that the people and the land are defiled because of their abominable practices. The Lord has likewise told them that they are to keep his ordinances and judgments in order to keep from defilement. The implication here is that if they do, they will not be cast out of the land as those there now will be.

However, these laws apply not only to them, but to anyone who dwells among them. Should they fail in this, then the land will continue to be defiled, and it will again vomit out the offenders. Divine judgment will fall regardless of how the righteous live. If the unrighteous are in the land, it can be expected. This was true at Noah’s time, it was true in the first exile of Israel, and it was true in their second exile. It has proven true in nation upon nation as well.

27 (for all these abominations the men of the land have done, who were before you, and thus the land is defiled),

The thought in this verse is quite similar to verses 24 & 25, but there the admonition was for the Israelites to not do what was done by the present inhabitants of the land and thus defile themselves and the land. Here the inhabitants of the land are specifically said to have committed these abominations, thus defiling the land. The reason is important, and is explicitly explained next…

28 lest the land vomit you out also when you defile it, as it vomited out the nations that were before you.

This is now the eighth time in this chapter that the term “defile” is used. Israel can, and would, become just as defiled as the people of Canaan if they didn’t pay heed to the warnings now given. And the land could, and would, vomit them out just as the present inhabitants were to be vomited out. The Lord is making no distinction between them and the people of Canaan here. Instead, He is highlighting the similarity between the two.

Further, the idea of them being vomited out actually accentuates the situation in comparison to Adam’s expulsion from Eden. There he was driven from Eden, but here the Israelites would be more violently vomited out of their own promised land.

29 For whoever commits any of these abominations, the persons who commit them shall be cut off from among their people.

This verse refers to all people individually. In order to keep the community free from defilement, and in order to maintain their status in the land, and to not be vomited out as promised, those who commit any of the infractions mentioned in this chapter were to be cut off from among the people. As will be shown later, some were to be stoned to death, some would face divine judgment, but all were to be excommunicated from the community and driven out from among the people.

*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 word translated here as “ordinance” is mishmereth. It should be translated as “watch” or “charge.” The people of Israel are being told to stay awake, be alert, and not allow themselves to fall into error by failing to be attentive to the Lord’s charge. This then is a summary of all that has been said. In keeping the Lord’s watch, they will not allow corrupt people to come in stealthily and infect the whole.

This in turn would keep them from being defiled, and this in turn would keep them as a nation from being vomited out of the land. One thing will inevitably lead to the next. In the end, without attentiveness, there will be only defilement leading to disaster. And disaster is certain if defilement occurs.

The final words, ani Yehovah elohekem, “I (am) Yehovah your God,” are the same words which introduced the section to the ears of the people of Israel. Now they close out the same section. They are a signature of finality. The Lord is present, He is watching, and so the people are likewise to watch. The choice is theirs, but the laws are His. When the two conflict, Israel will be on the losing end of the deal.

Though this passage, like many more to follow in the near future, are somewhat lacking in Christological pictures, Christ is there nonetheless. He is there as THE MAN who did fulfill this law. He is THE MAN who then accepted the punishment for all violations under this law for those who would be willing to trust Him with their eternal souls. He is THE MAN who then died under this law which He fulfilled, taking it to the cross with Him. Thus the law died with Him. And He is THE MAN who rose again in order to justify those who have trusted Him.

But the Lord has not stopped calling us to holiness. The same idea of sexual purity in Israel is also expected in the church. Though the Law of Moses is annulled through His work, His moral standards are set, and they are repeated in the writings of the apostles.

Land was defiled by people both before the law came into effect, and it was defiled by those under the law. The land continues to be defiled by the same perverse acts today. And the worst part of the matter is that the church has begun to take the lead in both accepting and even promoting these vile actions of sexual impurity. And this brings us to the final use of “vomit” in Scripture. It is in Revelation 3, to the church at Laodicea. Let’s read that now (go read Revelation 3:14-22).

Not just localized lands, but the entire earth, has become defiled. The true and faithful church has retreated to almost a remnant in comparison to the false, wicked group who claim they are a part of the body. Judgment cannot be far off, but until it comes, we must do our part to maintain purity within the churches we attend.

We must provide the world with a view as to what they are doing wrong, so that when we are gone, they will have some sense of what is also expected of them. They must turn to the Lord, refuse the mark of the beast, and be willing to give their own lives up in order to gain what is true and eternal life.

But we would hope and pray that any listening to this message now would be wise enough to turn and call out to Christ, even before that time of worldwide judgment arrives. Christ Jesus is the answer, and He can bring your heart, defiled by sin, to a right state once again. But first you must call out to Him. Make today the day.

Closing Verse: “It is actually reported that there is sexual immorality among you, and such sexual immorality as is not even named among the Gentiles—that a man has his father’s wife! And you are puffed up, and have not rather mourned, that he who has done this deed might be taken away from among you. For I indeed, as absent in body but present in spirit, have already judged (as though I were present) him who has so done this deed. In the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, when you are gathered together, along with my spirit, with the power of our Lord Jesus Christ, deliver such a one to Satan for the destruction of the flesh, that his spirit may be saved in the day of the Lord Jesus.” 1 Corinthians 5:1-5

Next Week: Leviticus 19:1-37 Lots of people should have been stoned or jailed… (In This, Israel Failed) (32nd Leviticus Sermon)

The Lord has you exactly where He wants you. He has a good plan and purpose for you. Even if you have a lifetime of sin heaped up behind you, He can wash it away and purify you completely and wholly. So follow Him and trust Him and He will do marvelous things for you and through you.

Laws of Physical Intimacy

Then the Lord spoke to Moses, saying
These are the words He was then relaying 

Speak to the children of Israel
And say to them; as I now proclaim:
I am the Lord your God
So you shall pay heed to My name 

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 such too

Nor shall you walk in their ordinances
You shall observe My judgments, and My ordinances keep
To walk in them: I am the Lord your God
Is it blessings or curses you wish to reap? 

You shall therefore keep My statutes and My judgments
Which if a man does, he shall by them live
I am the Lord
And these instructions to you I now give

None of you shall approach anyone
Who is near of kin to him, so I now say
To uncover his nakedness
I am the Lord; you shall not act in this way 

The nakedness of your father
Or the nakedness of your mother
You shall not uncover
She is your mother; her nakedness you shall not uncover 

The nakedness of your father’s wife
You shall not uncover
It is your father’s nakedness
It is his and not for another

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 

The nakedness of your son’s daughter
Or your daughter’s daughter, as to you I address
Their nakedness you shall not uncover
For theirs is your own nakedness 

The nakedness of your father’s wife’s daughter
Begotten by your father; heed the words I express
She is your sister
You shall not uncover her nakedness 

You shall not uncover the nakedness
Of your father’s sister as you know
She is near of kin to your father
Near her you shall not go

You shall not uncover the nakedness
Of your mother’s sister as well
For she is near of kin to your mother
Pay heed to the words I now tell 

You shall not uncover the nakedness
Of your father’s brother also
You shall not approach his wife
She is your aunt; near her you shall not go 

You shall not uncover the nakedness
Of your daughter-in-law; heed this address
She is your son’s wife
You shall not uncover her nakedness 

You shall not uncover the nakedness
Of your brother’s wife; this you shall not do
It is your brother’s nakedness
Pay careful heed to the words I instruct to you

You shall not uncover the nakedness
Of a woman and her daughter; refrain from this
Nor shall you take her son’s daughter or her daughter’s daughter
Such a thing is truly amiss

To uncover her nakedness, as I to you address
They are near of kin to her; it is wickedness

Nor shall you take a woman
As a rival to her sister; such a thing you shall not do
To uncover her nakedness while the other is alive
Pay heed to the words that I instruct to you

Also you shall not approach a woman
To uncover her nakedness
As long as she is in her customary impurity
This shall not be done as to you I so express 

Moreover you shall not lie carnally
With your neighbor’s wife, this you shall not do
To defile yourself with her
To your neighbor you shall be faithful and true 

And you shall not let any of your descendants
Pass through the fire to Molech, according to my word
Nor shall you profane the name of your God
I am the Lord 

You shall not lie with a male as with a woman, my holy nation
It is an abomination 

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, as to you I now submit

Do not defile yourselves with any of these things
For by all these are defiled the nations
Which I am casting out before you
For committing these abominations 

For the land is defiled
Therefore I visit the punishment of its iniquity upon it
And the land vomits out its inhabitants
For the perversions they did commit

You shall therefore keep My statutes and My judgments
And shall not commit any of these abominations; you shall not do
Either any of your own nation
Or any stranger who dwells among you 

(For all these abominations
The men of the land have done, so to you I say
Who were before you
And thus the land is defiled to this very day) 

Lest the land vomit you out also
When you defile it, if these things you do
As it vomited out the nations
That were before you 

For whoever commits any of these abominations
The persons who commit them, such I will repay
Shall be cut off from among their people
Pay careful heed to all I say

Therefore you shall keep My ordinance
So that you do not any of these abominable customs commit
Which were committed before you
And that you do not defile yourselves by them, so I now submit

I am the Lord your God
You shall in holiness before me trod

Yes, it is so. You are the Lord our God
And to You we owe all heart and soul
You have brought us from the wayward path we trod
And have instructed us in a life of self-control

We were defiled by sin, even sin of the flesh
We had walked in a manner contrary and impure
With the world’s ways, our lives we did enmesh
Judgment was looming, but then came the cure

You sent Jesus to cleanse us from sin and defilement
He fulfilled the law, and then offered Himself for us
Upon His cross, all Your wrath was spent
Thank You, O God, for our Lord Jesus

For Him and through Him we shall give you all our praise
And we shall do so evermore! Even for eternal days

Hallelujah and Amen…

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