Do not live by the regulations of the nation which I am expelling ahead of you; because they did all these things, which is why I detested them. But to you I have said, “You will inherit their land; I will give it to you as a possession, a land flowing with milk and honey.” I am YHVH your God, who has SET YOU APART from other peoples“.-Leviticus 20:23-24
The last few verses of Leviticus 20 reveal something of extraordinary importance.
God tells us that He is transferring ownership of the Land of Canaan to the Israelites.
And He makes it clear that His decision is anything but arbitrary.
The caveat God has attached to the Israelites inheriting their Promised Land is that they must NOT “live by the regulations of the nation which I am expelling ahead of you; because they did all these things, which is why I detested them”.
In verse 22, God further adds that if the Israelites are not faithful in keeping His commands, the Land will vomit them out!
Unfortunately, within 500 years from the time of Moses, that is exactly what happened.
The Land did vomit them out!
King Solomon ended up bowing down to the heathen god Molech (while simultaneously worshipping YHVH).
And later on, Kings Manasseh and Ammon would demand that all Israelites residing within their jurisdiction bow down to Molech.
Constant flirtations with any number of false gods seems to have been a constant theme with practically every king of Israel with the exception of King David.
Now in verses 24-25, a very interesting and significant statement is made concerning WHY the Lord established the laws of CLEAN and UNCLEAN as pertaining to diet, sacrifices and other areas.
Rarely, does the Lord give us a direct reason why, usually we have to look at the patterns in Scripture to gain understanding but this time He gives us a clear reason.
Let’s take a good look at these verses and note the words I have colored in red, bolded, and underlined.
“I am YHVH your God, who has set you apart from other peoples. Therefore you are to distinguish between clean and unclean animals and between clean and unclean birds; do not make yourselves detestable with an animal, bird or reptile that I have set apart for you to regard as unclean.”-Leviticus 20:24-25
English Bible translations miss the awesome significance of what is being communicated here.
Let me rewrite these verses replacing the red and bolded words with the original Hebrew, and prepare to have your mind blown into itsy bitsy little pieces.
“I am YHVH your God, who has BADAL from other peoples. Therefore you are to BADAL between clean and unclean animals and between clean and unclean birds; do not make yourselves detestable with an animal, bird or reptile that I have set apart for you to regard as unclean.”-Leviticus 20:24-25
The EXACT SAME Hebrew word is being used to indicate the separation of Israel from the world AND for the separation of CLEAN animals from UNCLEAN animals!!!
BADAL means to “set apart” or “distinguish from another”.
Are you catching the true meaning and significance of this?
In the same way that God makes a distinction between Israel and all the other nations of the world is the SAME WAY we are to make a distinction between CLEAN and UNCLEAN things in our lives!
And remember that Israel possessed no special merit of its own for God to declare them CLEAN, as opposed to everybody else being declared UNCLEAN.
The same goes for the issue of CLEAN and UNCLEAN animals.
No animal of its own merits “deserved” to be declared CLEAN and the opposite is also true.
CHOSEN and UNCHOSEN and CLEAN and UNCLEAN were all based on God’s sovereign decisions which He made for His own good reasons.