The Agora
Bible Commentary

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Leviticus 11

Lev 11:7

THE PIG... IS UNCLEAN TO YOU: "Nowadays, in modern hygienic farms, pigs can be reared without the historically important diseases such as the pork tape worm and the round worm Trichinella spiralis. But in the wilderness setting, as in any uncontrolled environment, the habit of pigs of eating waste and carrion means that they are a considerable risk as food animals. Another disease, trichinosis, is common in parts of the world, and the major culprit is undercooked pork or wild boar. This disease can be fatal" (SP, Tes 71:205). Cp Deu 14:8.

Thus is the wisdom of the Law of Moses seen, in this as in many other particulars -- a wisdom far beyond what might be expected for its day, from any scientific viewpoint. The only real explanation for such "enlightened" laws in ancient times is that they came -- not from man -- but from God Himself.

Lev 11:28

We are "washed by the water of the word", and are unclean until the "evening" of Gentile times!

Lev 11:31

Vv 31-40: "In these passages there is a clear recognition that the carcasses of diseased animals can transmit 'uncleanness' to anything which they come into contact with, and that these secondarily contaminated objects can also transmit 'uncleanness' " (SP, Tes 71:205). Cp Num 19:11-16.

Lev 11:42

GROUND... BELLY: Among the animals forbidden for food were "any creature that moves about on the ground, whether it moves on its belly or walks on all fours or on many feet; it is detestable." Since "nothing is unclean of itself" (1Ti 4:4; Rom 14:14,20; Mar 7:15), it may reasonably be concluded that -- when God designated certain creatures as "unclean" under the Law of Moses -- He intended so to teach moral lessons. But what lesson is being taught by Lev 11:42?

This verse is an obvious allusion back to the curse upon the serpent in the Garden: "You will crawl on your belly" (Gen 3:14). The serpent indirectly brought sin into the world, though without question the moral offence of Eve and Adam was greater than his -- they being "under law". The sin of our first parents was crystallized in a change of nature, and of relationship to the Father and the angels. Thereafter, it appears that their minds would be inclined toward the sin which they had willingly embraced.

This mind of the flesh, or "serpent" mind, has been inherited by all their descendants. It is a frame of mind characterized by thinking according to the natural desires, rather than the spiritual guidelines of God's word. This is an "abomination"; any man who lets the flesh take over his mind is "going upon his belly"! He is letting the grosser, more materialistic impulses -- his "belly" -- crowd out and choke the Spirit-mind that a concentration upon Scripture could cultivate. Such a state of mind, if persisted in, will at last bring the curse of Eden upon its holders -- death without remedy!

In similar language, Paul speaks of such "natural" men -- and he describes the moral equivalent of this Mosaic "abomination": "The first man was of the dust of the earth" (1Co 15:47). Adam was created from the dust, and when he submitted to sin and its consequences, he was in a sense returning to that dust -- going upon his "belly" and "feeding" upon the dust (Gen 3:14). Likewise, Paul says, "For, as I have often told you before and now say again even with tears, many live [or 'walk': AV] as enemies of the cross of Christ. Their destiny is destruction, their god is their stomach [or 'belly': AV], and their glory is in their shame. Their mind is on earthly things" (Phi 3:18,19). These men were nominally brethren of Christ -- that's the implication of Paul's "live" or "walk". But their lifestyles had made them "enemies" of the cross! Why?

The cross was the means by which Christ had conclusively put to death the lusts of the flesh, and it is the invitation and challenge to us to do the same: to crucify "the world" (Gal 6:14) within ourselves. Any who aspire to put on the name of Christ, yet make no meaningful attempt to live as he did, are really his "enemies" and not his friends. They profess friendship, but their actions make them liars. Their God is not Yahweh -- it is their "belly"; their mind is not on heavenly, spiritual things -- but on earthly, sensual things. They see all the enticements of the world. Like Eve did with the fruit of the tree, they desire, they take, and they "enjoy" -- like the serpent, "their destiny is destruction".

Lev 11:44

BE HOLY, BECAUSE I AM HOLY: "If we are to attain to the Kingdom of God, and to a condition of eternal usefulness to God, we must in this life lift our minds to an entirely new plane of consciousness and thinking: to the plane of holiness -- far above the natural, animal desires and interests of the flesh. Holiness is Beauty: the Beauty of Holiness: all else is ugliness. Holiness is Separateness and Purity: a Separate Purity: a Pure Separateness. The mental food that creates the transformation of our minds from natural repulsiveness to spiritual attractiveness is the Spirit-Word, continuously and liberally indulged in. 'Without holiness, no man shall see the Lord.' Naturally, we are the very opposite of holy. To become so, more and more, is life's purpose: its ONLY purpose. Any time spent that does not contribute to this is precious divine time wasted: unfaithful stewardship. 'Perfecting holiness in the fear of the Lord' is a large enough command, and a high enough ambition, to completely fill any lifetime. With God's bountiful and loving help, lift your mind above all natural childishness and foolishness, all interest in worldly things, all unclean fleshly habits and thoughts, all of the ugliness of the flesh, as anger, impatience, harshness, unkindness, selfishness, lack of sympathy and compassion and healing, forgiving love. 'Be ye holy, even as God is holy.' What a joy! What a revelation! What a beautiful, noble company! 'Worship the Lord in the beauty of holiness!' " (GVG).

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