Tuesday, February 01, 2011

New Year: Lev 10-12 for Feb 1

In these chapters what holiness refers to is extended; it had been directly used only of places and things, but now it is used directly of God Himself, and commanded to those who interact with Him.

Aaron's quiescence in the matter of his sons (10:3) might imply that the discussion between Moses and Aaron was previously undertaken: "this is what the Lord spoke" in the past. Or the two may have seen the applicability of it only then. In any case, Nadab's and Abihu's activity was directly toward God (10:1). The activity was "before the Lord," and their death was "before the Lord" (10:1,2).

What is to be learned about holiness is deliberately combined with food laws in Lev 11. The idea that holiness is only a procedural, ceremonial thing is negated, of course, by chapter 10 (even if we don't remember Moses' first meeting with God from Ex 3). The food laws are exemplary of the importance of holiness, not holiness an mere exemplary of the importance of food laws. This severity of consequence and deep moment of any event, when dealing with directly with God, is carried over into New Testament ideas about speaking a word against the Holy Spirit, and with the Lord's prayer, in the phrase "hallowed be Your name."

But why food laws? What better place than food laws, to show that holiness is because of God's person? That way, holiness is shown to be overarching, and is not a concept that is dependent on the particulars of a situation. Like air itself, food is a daily particular, in which an overarching concern should make a visible showing of itself.

How then could food laws ever be lessened? Is there a time in which the holiness of God should cease to be expressed? No. In the New Testament, there will come a time, and it does come then, in which the holiness of God becomes more universally expressed than in the food laws: redeemed people are holy temples among humanity (1 Cor 6:19), which the world will be held responsible for how handled (Mt 25:31-46). Holiness. Handle with care.

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