CLEAN AND UNCLEAN ANIMALS | Bible Study | Leviticus 11

CLEAN AND UNCLEAN ANIMALS | Bible Study | Leviticus 11


This is Spoken Gospel. We’re dedicated to seeing
Jesus in all of scripture. In each episode, we see what’s
happening in a Biblical text and how it sheds light
on Jesus and his gospel. Let’s jump in. Have you ever wondered why the
people of Israel couldn’t eat pigs? Or have you ever been curious
what the kosher laws are all about? Well, in this passage God declares certain
animals clean and other animals unclean. Clean animals could be eaten, while
unclean animals must be avoided. In Leviticus, everything
is either clean or unclean. These are not
moral categories. So, clean things are always good
and unclean things are always bad. These are ritual categories about what
can and can’t come into God’s presence. If something is clean, it means it
is allowed to be in God’s presence. If something is unclean, it
cannot be in God’s presence. Cleanliness is also a picture of
God’s set apart nature and perfection. By following the cleanliness
codes, the people are showing that God is distinct and
clean among the whole earth. But why the distinction between
clean and unclean animals? The Bible never goes into detail
about how God made this distinction. What the Bible does show us is what the
separation of clean and unclean animals represented. You see, the issue was symbolic. Israel had been separated from the
nations simply by God choosing them. They were clean, while many
other nations were called unclean. In the same way, God chose some animals who
would be clean and others that would be unclean. God made the separation. Israel’s diet was a physical representation
of their distinction as God’s people. They ate clean animals as
a sign that they were clean. The nations ate unclean animals
as a sign that they were unclean. They were God’s chosen people,
eating God’s chosen food. Symbolically, the point was,
“You are what you eat.” But something very unique happens to
these laws when Jesus entered the scene. Jesus abolished the distinction
between clean and unclean animals. Through a series of teachings and
visions, God overturned these food laws. Now no animal
is unclean or clean. But why would Jesus
abolish this food law? The answer becomes clear when we
understand the clean and unclean animals listed in Leviticus as symbols for
Israel’s separation from the unclean nations. Under the new covenant,
all people can be made clean through the cleansing
provided by Jesus’ blood. Therefore, the good news
of Jesus’ sacrifice is not just for one people
group, but for all people. That’s what’s amazing
about the Lord’s Supper. No one who believes in Jesus
is restricted from the meal. All nations can gather at this table with
Jesus because Jesus can make anyone clean. By partaking of Christ’s cleanliness,
we become clean like Christ. In the best way possible,
in Christ, we are what we eat. I pray the Holy Spirit
would give you eyes to see the God who calls
people out from the world. And that you would see Jesus as the one who
has made a way to call the whole world to himself.

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