I think it’s particularly hard for Americans to read the Old Testament without becoming intensely uncomfortable at some point.
The reason is because of the many scenes depicting the Lord destroying individuals or entire nations for the sake of His purposes and for Israel.
I was born and raised in the United States but I’ve travelled quite a bit in my time.
When I was a young child, I lived in Europe for two years.
As an adult, I lived in South Korea for one year.
And I’ve been living in Japan for a total of about 16 years now.
And one thing I can tell with you is that I have yet to encounter a culture that is more individualistic than the United States.
Americans consider the rights of a single person to be most important and above the group as a whole.
It is this “prize-the-individual-above-everything-else” aspect of American culture that I think causes problems for Americans when they read the Bible, especially chapter 13 of Leviticus, where we’re at now.
In Leviticus we have multitudes of innocent animals being sacrificed.
We see otherwise innocent people who after being stricken with a skin disease ostracized from their family and the community.
We see the Lord roasting to a crisp priests who seemed to have done nothing more than commit a small error in ritual procedure.
We see that God’s HOLINESS, represented by His Tabernacle and His people Israel, will tolerate no threat.
The HOLINESS of YHVH is so important and so preeminent that individuals and sometimes whole families had to suffer or even die in order to protect the Lord’s HOLINESS and purity.
The discomfort of certain individuals was not going to be spared at the expense of jeopardizing the spiritual well being of God’s holy nation and His Kingdom.
This is a far cry from tolerating homosexuals who complain that they don’t have the same marriage rights as the majority heterosexual population or sympathizing with Muslims who whine about racial profiling when they board an airplane.
Do you think such an attitude would have been tolerated in ancient Israel?
If we really want to understand the character of God, we have to view Him in the context of who He actually is instead of viewing Him through our politically correct assumptions.
The God of Israel is not a politically correct being, far from it!
The God as we see Him depicted in the Torah and the rest of the Old Testament Scriptures is the exact same God we will see in the New Testament.
One has NOT replaced the other.
They are both one and the same.
When we come to the New Testament, the God of Israel didn’t just all of a sudden discard some of His attributes in favor of others.
If you really want to understand the TRUE nature and character of God, then you need to accept all parts of Him as portrayed in Scripture.
The sum of ALL His parts will give us a most accurate picture of who He really is.
Here in Leviticus 13, we see that when somebody contracted a skin infection, instead of being considered “innocent until proven guilty“, he or she was “guilty until proven innocent”.
In other words, a person who was suspected of contracting TZARA-AT was considered UNCLEAN, even before the official pronouncement by the priest.
We have to recognize that the laws dealing with TZARA-AT and ritual impurity are a PHYSICAL DEMONSTRATION of a spiritual reality that still applies today.
And that reality is that the UNCLEAN are viewed by the Lord as unfit to have a relationship with Him or be a part of His community.
Who are the UNCLEAN today?
The UNCLEAN are the unbelievers.
Why can I say this with such confidence?
Because of the words of Paul, who astutely observed that even though all people are born common, due to man’s corrupt nature, all sin.
“For all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God.”
Hence, the UNCLEAN today are in a hopeless state unless they repent and accept the one whom God has sent- YESHUA HAMASHIACH.
And this applies to both Jews and Gentiles.
I’m well aware that I just made what could be one of the most politically incorrect statements ever.
It matters not.
God’s Holiness and His Word are preeminent.
Heck, even Yeshua’s words themselves were some of the most politically incorrect statements ever made in the history of mankind.
The biggest mistake the liberal churches make is preaching a doctrine that says God’s love is too great to damn or curse anyone.
They contend that surely a “loving” God would not turn His back on those who lived a good and moral life even if they overlooked that technicality of making Yeshua the Lord of their lives.
Again, the problem with that kind of thinking is that it is man’s ways of thinking, it is man’s wishy-washy standard of morality that is being elevated above what the Lord has made clear in His Word.
So here are some very politically incorrect truths you’re going to have to learn to accept, or you’re going to have serious problems accepting the content of Scripture at face-value.
First, the God of the NT is the exact same God in the OT.
He is no less severe in His rulings and administrations in the NT because He is the SAME yesterday, today, and forever.
Second, you are either clean and holy and thus eligible for entrance into the Kingdom of God, or you are UNCLEAN and UNHOLY and thus not eligible for the Kingdom of God.
Third, the determination of whether you are CLEAN and HOLY is based on one thing:
Do you trust the one He has sent?
CONNECTING THIS TEACHING TO THE NEW TESTAMENT
“I am the Way — and the Truth and the Life;
no one comes to the Father except through me.”
P.S. Now how’s that for a politically incorrect statement?