Leviticus is written specifically for the children of Israel, containing laws and rules for Israel to obey as they prepare to occupy the land of Canaan.
Does God tell us, in the Bible, to whom the laws in Leviticus apply?
Yes, God states precisely, to whom Leviticus and the Law applied. Moses writes under inspiration, II Timothy 3:16-17.
“The LORD made not this covenant with our fathers, but with us, even us, [the Jewish nation] who are all of us here alive this day.” Deu 5:3.
“This day” was around 1450 BC, when Moses originally wrote the Law that God gave him on Mt. Sinai for the nation of Israel.
Notice Two Important Things
First, the law of Moses did not apply to anyone before God gave it to Moses.
Read Deuteronomy 5:3 again and let it sink into your heart. Adam and Eve, Abraham, Isaac and Jacob were not under the law of Moses.
Second, God made His covenant of law, as given in Leviticus, in approximately 1450 BC, with Moses and the Jewish people who were getting ready to possess the land of Canaan, what we today call Israel.
The Holiness Code was not given to Abraham, Isaac and Jacob. They lived hundreds of years before Moses.
The Holiness Code was not made with everyone living on earth. It was a specific covenant with a specific people, the Jews, at a specific time in history, for specific purposes related to the specific situation in Palestine at that time.
The Holiness Code of Leviticus did not apply to anyone anywhere, until God gave it to Moses, for Israel to obey, in the land of Israel, Deuteronomy 4:5, 14, 5:31, 6:1.
Throughout Leviticus, Moses is speaking to the children of Israel, giving instructions for living in the land, under the Law. Moses is not setting down rules and regulations for Christians, in the twenty first century. The Holiness Code was intended to outlaw the pagan practices of fertility goddess cults in ancient Canaan.
It is important to distinguish between Jews and Christians as we interpret the Bible.
Christians do not show up in scripture until Acts 11:26, some fifteen hundred years after the Holiness Code was given.
Some of the Bible is written to Jews but not written to Christians. For example, we have demonstrated above, that Leviticus is written to Jews (the children of Israel).
The New Testament never instructs us that Christians must live under Jewish Law or that Christians must observe Jewish rituals practiced by Old Testament Jews.
The Law Of Moses went out of force when Jesus died on the Cross.
If you don't understand that, you'll have difficulty understanding law and grace.
God, through Moses, addressed Himself to a particular people in a particular cultural situation at a particular time in history for a particular purpose under particular Jewish Laws which went out of force the moment Jesus died on the Cross.
“But Jesus, again crying out loudly, breathed his last.” Matthew 27:50. The Message.
The New Testament went into force when Jesus died on the Cross.
"For where a testament [covenant] is, there must also of necessity be the death of the testator [the person making the covenant].
The Law was in effect from the time God gave it to Moses on Mt. Sinai, around 1450 BC until Jesus died on the Cross, around AD 30. When Jesus died on the Cross, even the Jews who did not believe in Him knew that something had changed because the veil of the temple, which separated the Holy of Holies, was torn from top to bottom.
"And behold, the veil of the temple was rent in twain [torn in two pieces] from the top to the bottom; and the earth did quake, and the rocks rent [were torn]. Matthew 27:51.
As we noted above, Leviticus is not addressed to people who lived before the Law, Deuteronomy 5:3, and it is not addressed to people who live after the Law ended.
This Is Easy to Understand Because The Bible Is So Clear And Specific.
Matthew 11:13 tells us “For all the prophets and the law prophesied until John [the Baptist].”
That word until is important. If I'm going on vacation and I ask you to watch my house until I get back, does that mean you have to watch my house forever or only until I get back? Well obviously, you would be watching my house only until I get back. Until indicates an ending point.
Just so, when the Bible says "For all the prophets and the law prophesied until John" God is telling us that the Law is not in force forever. According to Jesus, the Law was only in force until John the Baptist.
The Old Testament Law Had An Ending Point.
The Law ended when the Jewish Messiah, Jesus Christ, died for the sins of the world.
God never intended that Leviticus 18:22 & 20:13 should be applied to Christians in the twenty first century.
“And the LORD spake unto Moses, saying, Speak unto the children of Israel, and say unto them, I am the LORD your God. After the doings of the land of Egypt, wherein ye dwelt, shall ye not do: and after the doings of the land of Canaan, whither I bring you, shall ye not do: neither shall ye walk in their ordinances.”
In Leviticus 18:22 and 20:13, God intends to prohibit shrine prostitution or Molech worship, that is, men having sex with men in worship of Ashtoreth, Molech's Canaanite fertility goddess consort.
We know that by the context.
Leviticus 17:7 and 18:3 and 18:21 set the context for Leviticus 18:22. God warns Israel against worshiping the goat idols, the goat demons, the pagan gods and pagan practices of Egypt and Canaan, also specifically mentioning Molech (which includes Molech's fertility goddess consort, Ashtoreth).
Leviticus 20:2-5 & 23 set the context for Leviticus 20:13. God makes the same warning against the pagan practices of Egypt and Canaan, specifically mentioning Molech. The rules God gives in Leviticus specifically target the children of Israel. They are God's rules for Israel, living under the Law, in the land of Palestine, at a particular time in history.
Christians are commanded to study the Bible, rightly dividing the word of truth, II Timothy 2:15.
"Study to shew thyself approved unto God, a workman that needeth not to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth." II Tim 2:15.
"Rightly dividing" means to apply the scripture in its proper context. II Timothy 2:15 is God's warning that we must not take scripture out of context. All scripture is written for us but all scripture is not written to us to practice. For example, Old Testament Law required Jews to bring a ram or a lamb to the Tabernacle and give it to the priests as an offering for sin. Jesus became our passover Lamb.
"Behold the Lamb of God, which taketh away the sin of the world." John 1:29.
The Cross Is The Great Dividing Point
Since Jesus died on the Cross, God requires no one, including Jews, to offer blood sacrifices at the Jewish Temple because Jesus has shed His sinless blood on Calvary. The sinless blood of Jesus satisfies all the demands of God's justice and never needs to be offered again, Hebrews 10:10, 12, 14.
God no longer requires us to offer a blood sacrifice or to keep the Law in order to be right with God or to get saved. God requires us to accept Jesus' blood as the offering for our sins, a transaction that took place nearly two thousand years ago.
Scriptural Conclusions Based On
Our new book, Gay Christian 101 - Spiritual Self-Defense For Gay Christians, contains a wealth of information about gay Christian morality.
I am saying that the Holiness Code was aimed at Israel, in a specific place, the land of Israel, in a specific time period, while Israel was in the land, living under the Law. And what some Christians wrongly interpret as a universal prohibition of all gay relationships is, in reality, a prohibition of shrine prostitution in worship of the Canaanite fertility goddess.
What was a sodomite in the Bible? Was it a homosexual, as many conservative preachers insist or was a sodomite in the Bible always a shrine prostitute who worshipped the Canaanite fertility goddess?
In Gay Christian 101: Spiritual Self-Defense For Gay Christians, I list 18 possible ways to interpret the Levitical Holiness Code, where it is alleged to deal with homosexuality.
Family Values in the Bible are so different from Traditional family values as taught by Focus On The Family that modern Christians would totally reject the "family values" practiced by Abraham and Sarah, Ruth and Boaz and many of the heroes of faith in the Old Testament.
Did you know that Christians are not required to keep the Old Testament Law to get saved, stay saved or to be in right relationship with God?
The consistent Christian teaching for 2000 years is that we do NOT keep Torah Law.
This page revised February 27, 2015