God led the Israelites out of captivity in Egypt into the desert. He was taking the long route. This gave Him time to prepare the Hebrews, to teach them laws, rules and proper worship rituals in preparation for the Promised Land. See, the land of Canaan was inhabited by pagans. The pagans did everything that God told the Jews NOT to do in these chapters. God says that they defiled the land and that their way of living was detestable to Him. What were these pagans doing that was so bad? Let’s dig in….
Leviticus 17 – Don’t Eat or Drink Blood
Then the Lord said to Moses, 2 “Give the following instructions to Aaron and his sons and all the people of Israel. This is what the Lord has commanded.
3 “If any native Israelite sacrifices a bull or a lamb or a goat anywhere inside or outside the camp 4 instead of bringing it to the entrance of the Tabernacle to present it as an offering to the Lord, that person will be as guilty as a murderer. Such a person has shed blood and will be cut off from the community. 5 The purpose of this rule is to stop the Israelites from sacrificing animals in the open fields. It will ensure that they bring their sacrifices to the priest at the entrance of the Tabernacle, so he can present them to the Lord as peace offerings. 6 Then the priest will be able to splatter the blood against the Lord’s altar at the entrance of the Tabernacle, and he will burn the fat as a pleasing aroma to the Lord. 7 The people must no longer be unfaithful to the Lord by offering sacrifices to the goat idols (demons). This is a permanent law for them, to be observed from generation to generation.
8 “Give them this command as well. If any native Israelite or foreigner living among you offers a burnt offering or a sacrifice 9 but does not bring it to the entrance of the Tabernacle to offer it to the Lord, that person will be cut off from the community.
10 “And if any native Israelite or foreigner living among you eats or drinks blood in any form, I will turn against that person and cut him off from the community of your people, 11 for the life of the body is in its blood. I have given you the blood on the altar to purify you, making you right with the Lord. It is the blood, given in exchange for a life, that makes purification possible. 12 That is why I have said to the people of Israel, ‘You must never eat or drink blood—neither you nor the foreigners living among you.’“Leviticus 17:1-12 NLT (bold emphasis mine)
Points to Ponder
- Offering sacrifices to idols was being unfaithful to God. You’ll see many warnings about pagan worship. Remember the first 2 Commandments? Which makes you stop and think — How and Why did the Catholic Church Adopt all the Pagan Rites and Rituals?
- Why such a big deal about blood? The life of a living being is in its blood. If you watch any of the medical or rescue shows, you see that the first thing they do with a gunshot or stabbing wound is to stop the bleeding. Lose too much blood and a person dies. Same with a heart attack. If a heart stops beating, oxygenated blood can’t get to the brain and other parts of the body and one dies. That’s why they want to get the heart beating again as fast as possible.
- With this in mind, and I’ve mentioned this before, imagine how Jesus’ disciples felt when Jesus took up the cup of wine and said, ‘This my blood shed for you, take and drink it”? That was radical and totally against everything the Jews were taught.
- Consequently, Jesus’ blood gives us Eternal Life! He was the final sacrifice!
Leviticus 18 – Forbidden Sexual Practices
Yep! This is that chapter. I’ll shorten the agony here and highlight the important parts, but click here to read the whole thing.
Then the Lord said to Moses, 2 “Give the following instructions to the people of Israel. I am the Lord your God. 3 So do not act like the people in Egypt, where you used to live, or like the people of Canaan, where I am taking you. You must not imitate their way of life. 4 You must obey all my regulations and be careful to obey my decrees, for I am the Lord your God. 5 If you obey my decrees and my regulations, you will find life through them. I am the Lord.
6 “You must never have sexual relations with a close relative, for I am the Lord.”Leviticus 18:1-6 NLT (bold emphasis mine)
The next part is a detailed breakdown on “You must not commit adultery” and “You must not covet your neighbor’s wife, male or female servant, ox or donkey, or anything else that belongs to your neighbor.”
Wait! There’s more…
21 “Do not permit any of your children to be offered as a sacrifice to Molech, for you must not bring shame on the name of your God. I am the Lord.
22 “Do not practice homosexuality, having sex with another man as with a woman. It is a detestable sin.Leviticus 18:21-22 NLT (bold emphasis mine)
These pagans would also have intercourse with animals! Gross! As God calls it, “This is a perverse act.”(v.23)
Then He continues…
24 “Do not defile yourselves in any of these ways, for the people I am driving out before you have defiled themselves in all these ways. 25 Because the entire land has become defiled, I am punishing the people who live there. I will cause the land to vomit them out. 26 You must obey all my decrees and regulations. You must not commit any of these detestable sins. This applies both to native-born Israelites and to the foreigners living among you.
27 “All these detestable activities are practiced by the people of the land where I am taking you, and this is how the land has become defiled. 28 So do not defile the land and give it a reason to vomit you out, as it will vomit out the people who live there now. 29 Whoever commits any of these detestable sins will be cut off from the community of Israel. 30 So obey my instructions, and do not defile yourselves by committing any of these detestable practices that were committed by the people who lived in the land before you. I am the Lord your God.”Leviticus 18:24-27 NLT
Leviticus 19 – Holiness in Personal Conduct
The Lord also said to Moses, 2 “Give the following instructions to the entire community of Israel. You must be holy because I, the Lord your God, am holy.
3 “Each of you must show great respect for your mother and father, and you must always observe my Sabbath days of rest. I am the Lord your God.
4 “Do not put your trust in idols or make metal images of gods for yourselves. I am the Lord your God.
5 “When you sacrifice a peace offering to the Lord, offer it properly so you will be accepted by God. 6 The sacrifice must be eaten on the same day you offer it or on the next day. Whatever is left over until the third day must be completely burned up. 7 If any of the sacrifice is eaten on the third day, it will be contaminated, and I will not accept it. 8 Anyone who eats it on the third day will be punished for defiling what is holy to the Lord and will be cut off from the community.
9 “When you harvest the crops of your land, do not harvest the grain along the edges of your fields, and do not pick up what the harvesters drop. 10 It is the same with your grape crop—do not strip every last bunch of grapes from the vines, and do not pick up the grapes that fall to the ground. Leave them for the poor and the foreigners living among you. I am the Lord your God.Leviticus 19:1-10 NLT
He goes on to detail the 10 Commandments. You can read the rest here.
31 “Do not defile yourselves by turning to mediums or to those who consult the spirits of the dead. I am the Lord your God.
32 “Stand up in the presence of the elderly, and show respect for the aged. Fear your God. I am the Lord.
33 “Do not take advantage of foreigners who live among you in your land. 34 Treat them like native-born Israelites, and love them as you love yourself. Remember that you were once foreigners living in the land of Egypt. I am the Lord your God.
35 “Do not use dishonest standards when measuring length, weight, or volume. 36 Your scales and weights must be accurate. Your containers for measuring dry materials or liquids must be accurate. I am the Lord your God who brought you out of the land of Egypt.
37 “You must be careful to keep all of my decrees and regulations by putting them into practice. I am the Lord.”Leviticus 19:31-37 NLT
Now we’ll see what happens when people disobey…
Leviticus 20 – Punishments for Disobedience
The Lord said to Moses, 2 “Give the people of Israel these instructions, which apply both to native Israelites and to the foreigners living in Israel.
“If any of them offer their children as a sacrifice to Molech, they must be put to death. The people of the community must stone them to death. 3 I myself will turn against them and cut them off from the community, because they have defiled my sanctuary and brought shame on my holy name by offering their children to Molech. 4 And if the people of the community ignore those who offer their children to Molech and refuse to execute them, 5 I myself will turn against them and their families and will cut them off from the community. This will happen to all who commit spiritual prostitution by worshiping Molech.
6 “I will also turn against those who commit spiritual prostitution by putting their trust in mediums or in those who consult the spirits of the dead. I will cut them off from the community. 7 So set yourselves apart to be holy, for I am the Lord your God. 8 Keep all my decrees by putting them into practice, for I am the Lord who makes you holy.Leviticus 20:1-8 NLT
Again, He goes into detail and you can read it all here….
22 “You must keep all my decrees and regulations by putting them into practice; otherwise the land to which I am bringing you as your new home will vomit you out. 23 Do not live according to the customs of the people I am driving out before you. It is because they do these shameful things that I detest them. 24 But I have promised you, ‘You will possess their land because I will give it to you as your possession—a land flowing with milk and honey.’ I am the Lord your God, who has set you apart from all other people.
25 “You must therefore make a distinction between ceremonially clean and unclean animals, and between clean and unclean birds. You must not defile yourselves by eating any unclean animal or bird or creature that scurries along the ground. I have identified them as being unclean for you. 26 You must be holy because I, the Lord, am holy. I have set you apart from all other people to be my very own.
27 “Men and women among you who act as mediums or who consult the spirits of the dead must be put to death by stoning. They are guilty of a capital offense.”Leviticus 20:22-27 NLT
Jesus’ Final Sacrifice Makes Us Holy
- “Holy” means “set apart”. It doesn’t mean arrogance or vanity. That’s the conotation society puts on these words because they don’t want to give up their vices and sin.
- Because of Adam and Eve’s sin, we are not perfect. However, we must STRIVE to be Christlike.
- Unfortunately, we disobey God’s laws every day. I used to be into the occult. I knew all the Zodiac signs, read my horoscope every day, and did all the things a prodigal child would do. I was guilty of a lot of what we are told here NOT to do!
- But Jesus died on the cross taking all my sins away once and for all! The moment I accepted that, and asked for His forgiveness, all my sins were washed clean. I was sanctified at my baptism and I strive to be Holy every day. Furthermore, with the help of the Holy Spirit in my heart, I can live up to God’s glorious standards and I am right with God.
Are YOU right with God?
If you’re not sure if you’re saved or not, if you truly want to be born again and have the assurance of salvation, receive the Holy Spirit, and get a 1-way, non-stop ticket to Heaven after you die, or that you won’t be left behind at the Rapture, this is what you have to do…
Believe. Repent. Be Baptized. Receive the Holy Spirit.
- Believe — have Faith — that Jesus is the Christ and He died taking your sins away forever and that He rose from the dead 3 days later.
- Repent of your sins — stop sinning! Do a complete 180 in your life and surrender your life to Him.
- Be Baptized — show the world and yourself that you have died to your old life and are born again in Christ.
- Receive the Holy Spirit in your heart.