(I am changing some of my “Pages” to “Posts,” so some of this info is older to my site)
This will be a response to the “shellfish” mantra. These two challenges are from a much larger conversation in a private group on Facebook with a large group of gay or either homosexual behavior supporting friends and family.
I will deal with the above in a couple ways. Firstly, the entirety of Leviticus was not written for everyone.
Let me repeat that, the entirety of Leviticus was not written for everyone.
There are parts that speak to the Jewish nation of the day (the Hebraic peoples), and other commands that included more than just the Jewish nation. The Moral versus the dietary and ritual laws.
We know this because God says, “Speak to the sons of Israel saying…” He gives instructions to the Israelites, not to the rest of the nations.
✂ *SNIP* ✂
Here is a list of instances when the occurrence of the phrase “Speak to the Sons of Israel saying…” is found in Leviticus, the book under consideration.
Lev. 4:2, atonement for unintentional sins Lev. 7:23, don’t eat fat from ox, sheep, or goat Lev. 7:29, procedures for peace offering to the Lord Lev. 11:2, list of animals the Israelites may eat Lev. 12:2, uncleanness after giving birth Lev. 23:24, rest on 1st day of 7th month Lev. 23:34, Feast of Booths on 15th day of 7th month Lev. 24:15, the one cursing God will bear his sin
So, we can see a host of things that dealt only with Israel.
However, there are abominations that did not apply only to Israel, but to everyone else also. Again, let’s look at Leviticus.
✞ Lev. 18:22-30, “You shall not lie with a male as one lies with a female; it is an abomination. Also you shall not have intercourse with any animal to be defiled with it, nor shall any woman stand before an animal to mate with it; it is a perversion. Do not defile yourselves by any of these things; FOR BY ALL THESE THE NATIONS WHICH I AM CASTING OUT BEFORE YOU HAVE BECOME DEFILED ‘For the land has become defiled, therefore I have visited its punishment upon it, so the land has spewed out its inhabitants. But as for you, you are to keep My statutes and My judgments, and SHALL NOT DO ANY OF THESE ABOMINATIONS, NEITHER THE NATIVE, NOR THE ALIEN WHO SOJOURNS AMONG YOU (FOR THE MEN OF THE LAND WHO HAVE BEEN BEFORE YOU HAVE DONE ALL THESE ABOMINATIONS, and the land has become defiled); so that the land may not spew you out, should you defile it, as it has SPEWED OUT THE NATION WHICH HAS BEEN BEFORE YOU. ‘For whoever does any of these abominations, those persons who do so shall be cut off from among their people. ‘Thus YOU ARE TO KEEP MY CHARGE, THAT YOU DO NOT PRACTICE ANY OF THE ABOMINABLE CUSTOMS WHICH HAVE BEEN PRACTICED BEFORE YOU, so as not to defile yourselves with them; I am the Lord your God.’”
What abominations is Lev. 18:22-30 speaking of? Contextually, chapter 17 is about blood atonement procedures, so that is for Israel, not for everyone. In Chapter 18 God says to Israel, “You shall not do what is done in the land of Egypt where you lived, nor are you to do what is done in the land of Canaan where I am bringing you,” (Lev. 18:3). So, now instead of it applying only to Israel, God mentions things that are done by Egypt and the land of Canaan. What were the things those nations did? The chapter contains the following.
Lev. 18:6-18, don’t uncover the nakedness of various relatives. Lev. 18:19, don’t have sexual relations with woman on her period Lev. 18:20, don’t have intercourse with your neighbor’s wife Lev. 18:21, don’t offer children to Molech Lev. 18:22, don’t lie with a male as with a female Lev. 18:23 don’t have intercourse with animals.
The next day, as they were traveling and nearing the city, Peter went up to pray on the housetop about noon. Then he became hungry and wanted to eat, but while they were preparing something, he went into a visionary state. He saw heaven opened and an object that resembled a large sheet coming down, being lowered by its four corners to the earth. In it were all the four-footed animals and reptiles of the earth, and the birds of the sky. Then a voice said to him, “Get up, Peter; kill and eat!” “No, Lord!” Peter said. “For I have never eaten anything common and ritually unclean!” Again, a second time, a voice said to him, “What God has made clean, you must not call common.” This happened three times, and then the object was taken up into heaven.
While Peter was deeply perplexed about what the vision he had seen might mean, the men who had been sent by Cornelius, having asked directions to Simon’s house, stood at the gate. They called out, asking if Simon, who was also named Peter, was lodging there. While Peter was thinking about the vision, the Spirit told him, “Three men are here looking for you. Get up, go downstairs, and accompany them with no doubts at all, because I have sent them.” Then Peter went down to the men and said, “Here I am, the one you’re looking for. What is the reason you’re here?” They said, “Cornelius, a centurion, an upright and God-fearing man, who has a good reputation with the whole Jewish nation, was divinely directed by a holy angel to call you to his house and to hear a message from you.” Peter then invited them in and gave them lodging. The next day he got up and set out with them, and some of the brothers from Joppa went with him.
The edict against the ethnic/religious Jew (“the sons of Israel”) was lifted in this verse. So contrary to the horrible arguments often made by Skeptics of the Christian faith, You, G.C., should not use the same horrible exegesis that non-believers use. The same can be said regarding arguments for same-sex marriage needing to be made well. (Per Mr. Blatt, whom I agree with on this point — that is, a coherent reasonable case needs to be made for same-sex marriage. A case that isn’t arbitrary, like liberals tend towards.) So to do hermeneutics need to be used well in the Christians life. No matter where it leads you (often times it leads ALL OF US to face our sins and sinful nature, right?).
Here are the very next words/list out of G.C.’s mouth [keyboard]:
You see, G.C. (as well as E.M.) do not want to accept what the Bible says at face value.
They have no need for ways to approach ancient texts to allow personal opinion and deconstructionism (progressive values) to be set aside and create a model for all people to equally and fairly come to these texts to get the most truth from them.
I explain this well in another post where the Bible is attacked and the people doing so are the literalists/legalists, similar to G.C. and Others.
They are the absolutists.
Conservative Christian and Jews are not the Biblical literalists as these skeptics define it (wrongly, creating a straw-man)… even though we are painted as such.
In other words, they incorporate what they deny, while applying straw-man positions to our side, its very convoluted on their part and why progressives typically think these attacks are acceptable.
A final word from Dr. Copan, that also touches a bit on the salvonic history involved in this discussion, that is often overlooked by the skeptics. He makes a point also about the wooden interpretation of the pharisees and has to point out that these topics (divorce, slavery, and the like) are not ideals from God but Him dealing with man’s “hardness of heart.”
…Jesus’s approach reminds us that there’s a multilevel ethic that cautions against a monolithic, single-level ethic that simply “parks” at Deuteronomy 24 and doesn’t consider the redemptive component of this legislation. The certificate of divorce was to protect the wife, who would, by necessity, have to remarry to come under the shelter of a husband to escape poverty and shame. This law took into consideration the well-being of the wife. So when Jesus spoke to the Pharisees, their wooden interpretation made it difficult to see that Moses’s words didn’t represent an absolute ethic. (Keep in mind that God’s commands involving divorce—and even slavery—are given not as ideals, but because of the hardness of human hearts [Matt. 19:81.) These Pharisees approached Scripture in a way that made it virtually impossible for them to see any further, as Jesus pointed out—to see that there was an even greater good of sacrificially serving in the kingdom by forgoing the joys and benefits of marriage (Matt. 19:10-12).
So as we look at many of these Levitical laws, we must appreciate them in their historical context, as God’s temporary provision, but also look at the underlying spirit and movement across the sweep of salvation history. As we do so, we see that the movement of Scripture consistently prohibits homosexual activity (for example), on the one hand. However, the movement of Scripture consistently affirms the full humanity of slaves (e.g., Job 31:13-15), eventually encouraging slaves to pursue their freedom (1 Cor. 7:21). As we noted earlier, slavery wasn’t commanded but permitted (as was divorce) because of the hardness of human hearts. Homosexuality is a different matter. New Testament scholar R. T. France writes that direct references to homosexual activity in Scripture are “uniformly hostile”; homosexual behavior—so common in surrounding cultures (ancient Near Eastern/Greco-Roman)—was “simply alien to the Jewish and Christian ethos.” Note too that acts—rather than mere inclinations/tendencies (whether homosexual or heterosexual)—are judged to be immoral and worthy of censure in Scripture.
So it’s wrongheaded to claim that homosexual acts were “just cultural” or simply “on the same level” as the kosher or clothing laws that God gave to help set Israel apart from its pagan neighbors. Levitical law also prohibits adultery, bestiality, murder, and theft, and surely these go far beyond the temporary prohibitions of eating shrimp or pork!
One last small dialogue from the larger strain. E.M. mentioned the following:
“Jesus never mentions homosexuality in the bible.”
To which I quoted Scripture (not to mention Jesus was heavily involved in writing Leviticus! Just Sayin’). I respond:
You are wrong E.M., Jesus specifically mentions the ideal (Matthew 19:4-6) I have continuously spoken to above.
He answered, “Haven’t you read in your Bible that the Creator originally made man and woman for each other, male and female? And because of this, a man leaves father and mother and is firmly bonded to his wife, becoming one flesh—no longer two bodies but one. Because God created this organic union of the two sexes, no one should desecrate his art by cutting them apart.” (The [“Dummy”] Message Bible ~ Red is Jesus)
You can read more about how to approach text in ways any deep-thinking literary critic is trained to as well as the person seeking truth. Obviously G.C. rejects portions of Scripture to embolden his view how he views man’s nature and his own standing before God. He fashions God and His Holy Spirit to fit his conception. Not based on deep study, but of psychological wants and needs. You can click through to my other post. I caution you however, this is a step those interested in truth should take. Those not interested in literary criticism, history, hermeneutics, and the like, shouldn’t take.
These are three books I recommend to the serious student: