03 Leviticus

03 Leviticus

One Sin, One Dollar

Leviticus is very descriptive about what sacrifices you need to make for sinning. A bull here, a sheep there… It makes me think two things.
First it makes everything in the Bible feel very Pagan. Now, I don’t have a real definition of Paganism, but in my own mind it involves sacrificing things and doing all kinds of rituals to appease the gods.
There is so much detail in how to sacrifice to God that it feels like a Pagan manual. It seems disturbing to me in today’s world. I cannot imagine a situation where I would place my hand on the head of an animal while it is killed, then taking the blood and anointing horns on an altar, cutting off the fat…
It is probably my modern day city boy mentality, but it feels scary. I started to think this in Exodus when it described how to make Aaron and his sons priests. It talked about placing blood on their earlobe, thumb, and big toe. It almost feels like it is going to start talking about bonfires, naked dancing, killing virgins, and chanting in low tones.
I think if I grew up on a farm I may have a slightly different perspective. It also may have a lot to do with growing up hearing that Jesus died for my sins. That idea makes all this sacrifice talk seem primitive.
I also don’t fully understand why something must die if I sin. But it makes me think about sinning in the constraints of economics.
It seems as though you should not sin because it is a bad thing to do, but knowing that you have to sacrifice something every time you do it, I start to think about how much I can afford to sin.
How big is my herd of livestock? How much time do I have to spend during sacrifices? It almost seems that if I have a lot of time and a lot of animals, I might just sin because of the benefits I will get from it.
To me it seems like this approach doesn’t instill the idea of being good as much as make being bad a scarce resource.

Bible Read: Leviticus 5


Big G God as a Little g god

In the past I have heard people say that God is an alien that created us. This has always been pushed into the corner of my mind that is reserved for insanity. But I can see where that logic is coming from.
As I have wrote, it seems very likely to me that the Bible is not claiming that God is the only god and that he may be a part of a larger group of being, a species of sorts. Adding in the Nephilim and the miracles, God being an alien seems to be rational explanation for the unexplained events of the Bible.
If God was a species and created man’s DNA to mimic his own it would be expected that the science he possessed could be capable of defying the known laws of physics. Not defying the all the laws of physics, just the ones we know of making everything seem beyond the realm of possibility.
It would explain some of the things I have talked about already. But, I am not ready to jump on that band wagon. Plus, it leaves lots of questions for the creation part of Genesis.
But, I don’t think it is important. If you believe God is a physical being then what does it matter if he is an alien? Technically if he is from heaven and heaven is a physical place whether it is in this dimension or not, he is an alien. It just sounds crazy to phrase it as such.
That also brings up the question of science. I have never understood the idea that science and religion don’t mix. I would think if anything religion gives science goals. If you believe that all the events of the Bible are historic facts then that should give science something to strive for.
It should give scientists something to explore and try to explain. At one time, the idea of space travel seemed beyond our reach. The splitting of an atom was an impossibility. Then why can’t the miracles in the Bible be scientifically explained? I am not saying they would be statistically probable, but they could be a possibility in the real world.
I for one would rather not understand a miracle. The idea that life can produce for you, no matter how impossible, is rather uplifting. To understand how everything works and doubt the possibilities of God feels backwards.

Bible Read: Leviticus 7


Suffer for the Cause

The sermon at church on Sunday was about the sacrifice one faces in giving your life over to Christ. He was comparing the sacrifice one gives in the giving of their money, time, or work the sacrifice Paul gave while being imprisoned.
Now, I know nothing of Paul and what he did as I have not got to the New Testament, but I get the point. The obvious question is why you would do this. My guess was to have a deeper connection with God. But that isn’t the direction the Pastor went. He spoke about the expansion of the Gospels.
This seemed like a radical statement to me. I understand saying this to a group of Bishops. I would get it if you said it in seminary. But, to a congregation at church?
How many of the people who are at church feel so strongly about their faith that they will sacrifice portions of their life to spread the Gospels? He spoke about people who have risked their lives and received torture to spread the word of God. But for me, sitting in the church thinking about a book that I don’t even know if I believe in, I couldn’t imagine risking something of such great importance to my own selfish life to spread the word of Christ.
He talked about how great Jesus suffered for his people and how sacrificing your own possessions and parts of your life to spread his word displays to others how sacrifice is a part of the religion. He said that seeing such sacrifice for them shows them the love and passion of God.
In our selfish times I think this almost would be a deterrent for someone to turn to Christianity. Why would sacrificing your own life make someone else want to join your cause?
There are certain things in any religion that make things feel a little cult-ish and this was one of those.
But while I was sitting in the church the stories of the Israelites that I have read so far came to mind. The sacrifices of Joseph and Moses to do God’s will. The greatness that these men rose to through the serving of God seemed fitting for the sermon. And for those men it wasn’t a desire to sacrifice, but a willingness to for the returns that God promised.
Maybe it is the same today. People sacrifice for the kingdom of heaven. Maybe it is still a selfish motivation. Maybe people do what they do because of the promises they believe will be fulfilled.
It is a less inspiring thought, but feels realistic. Just as the Israelites questioned Moses and cursed him for driving them out of Egypt to certain death, I wonder if the kingdom of heaven came into question for the people who sacrifice great things to spread the word of Christ. Would they also question the value of their sacrifice?

Bible Read: Leviticus 9

Don’t be Greedy with God

I was listening to the radio show Coast to Coast AM the other day and they had a guest on named James L. Paris. He wrote a book called How to Pray for a Financial Miracle. The interview had a lot to be desired as the callers weren’t interested in asking questions, but he had something to say that floored me.
In the past when I have decided to pray, it involved me saying thank you, please do this and please do that. He started off by saying that is the incorrect way to pray.
My first response was to tune him out. But, he followed that by saying praying isn’t a one way communication, but a conversation with God. And, asking for this or that is not the way to go about it.
He talked about having a, few hour, prayer session on the beach where he told God the outcome he wanted and filling up a pages of a notebook with God’s ideas of how to achieve his goal.
This is groundbreaking to me. I keep going through the Bible seeing God as a being that actually communicates with people. He changed his mind because of Moses input. He convinced Moses to do things he did not want to do, but wanted the eventual outcome. Joseph in the end thanked God for putting him through what he went through because the end result was so wondrous.
If the Bible is telling me anything, it is telling me that God is not an unseen power that takes support tickets through prayer just to fulfill them in the order they are received. It is saying that God is a being that loves his followers and will help them reach righteousness through support, like that of a parent or mentor. He will push you past your hesitations and worries to achieve outcomes that everyone wants. So, my prayers from now on will not be me asking for God to give and give, but for me to ask God how I can give.

Bible Read: Leviticus 11
-Jiminy the Clean-

I have always heard that the Bible says you can’t have pork. I have reached a verse that says you can’t eat pork! It is kind of fun to find the verses that you always hear about and see what it actually says.
According to Leviticus pork is unclean and you shall not eat unclean foods. I think this is a little sad as I do enjoy some crispy bacon for breakfast, but it isn’t the biggest deal. But what else is unclean?
Just to name a few, on the land you can only eat animals that chew cud AND have a split hoof. So, the Bible tells me not eat Camel, the Rock Badger (no idea what that is), pig, rabbit… Ok, that isn’t that bad. To the best of my knowledge, I can still have my beef.
For the fowl it says no vultures, no owls, no osprey, no eagle… It goes on for a while, but it doesn’t mention chicken, turkey, or pheasant, so I think I am good there.
For the sea anything that does not have scales AND fins. That eliminates shell fish. There is another sacrifice, but at least I can have my trout.
In regards to animals that swarm. You aren’t supposed to eat the weasel, the mouse, the gecko, the alligator. I think there were a few more. Other than alligator I can’t imagine people wanting to eat these.
The winged insects are all unclean except for those with a bend in their leg over the foot. WHAT!? Insects? No thank you. And insects have feet? That could be a translation issue, but it makes me think of Disney characters. Like Jiminy Cricket walking around with a top hat and shoes on. Speaking of Jiminy, he isn’t unclean. You can eat crickets, grasshoppers, and Locusts.
My modern day mind is running wild again wondering how pigs are unclean, but crickets are not. That is just unappetizing.
I am glad that I don’t seem to have to worry about most of what I eat. Just pork and shrimp for the most part.
I wonder if there is a correlation between the amount of pork eaten and punishment from God. I’ve noticed an increase interest in bacon over the last couple years. Not sure of the general level of acts of God.

Bible Read: Leviticus 12

The Ever-Expanding Testament

Why is it that there are never any more books added to the Bible?
I understand that the Bible is supposed to be divinely inspired or divinely written, but why is it that only books from thousands of years ago can have that designation? If God guided the hand of man to write the Bible, I have to think he may still do it today.
The Vatican still canonizes saints why can’t they canonize new books of the Bible. I have to believe that there are books out there being written today that espouse the beliefs of God and Christ. I have to believe that there are events today that are guided by God, that defy the odds, and are a holy miracle.
Specifically, I wonder about the creation of America? From the pilgrims coming over and signing the Mayflower Compact, which dedicated the new government when arriving in America to the Glory of God and the advancement of Christianity, to the tiny colony defeating the world’s strongest military and forming a nation based on God given rights and truths. To me this seems like a miraculous story that helps promote the idea of God and the accounts and diaries of the time could be considered for canonization.
On the other hand, I wonder how the Bible inspires literature. There are the obvious books that are retellings of the biblical stories, but what about the obscure things.
What about Twilight? When Moses came down from the mount after facing God he was glowing. Twilight vampires sparkle. Coincidence?

Bible Read: Leviticus 13


Vacation Time!

Religious holidays have always been something that I thought employers should let you celebrate. If you need to take a day off because you believe it is necessary to celebrate or not work, I always thought that was appropriate.
Nearing the end of Leviticus I ran across sabbatical. Just as you are supposed to not work on the seventh day of the week, you are not supposed to work on the seventh year. Suddenly, I don’t think many employers are going to be very accepting of religious practices.
Don’t get me wrong, I am all for taking a year off every seven years. I could really use a whole year off every seven years, but I do not know of any employer who is going to allow this.
Sadly enough, IF your workplace had to allow you this time, it would probably convert more people than the promise of everlasting life. It is a sad state of humanity, but I would bet the number of people going to church every Sunday would increase dramatically if that meant they could have a 365 day vacation every seven years.
Who cares about the kingdom of heaven, the life of a good man, the love for your fellow man, and the sacrifice that is taught from the Bible? Who cares when you can sit on your butt for a year?
I could be wrong and if so I would feel better about the state of our world today, but I think that kind of promise goes further today than promises of the future.

Bible Read: Leviticus 26


Status Report Day 20

I am finished with Leviticus and not a moment too soon. That was a painful book to read. Sure, there are some interesting things in there, like God killing Aaron’s sons for not following directions, but it was tough to get through.
I have had somewhat of the opposite effect of Leviticus as I did from Genesis and Exodus. After Genesis and Exodus I felt closer to nature, closer to God, and more at peace with the world. After Leviticus I feel more at odds with life. The severe amount of rules and regulations just made me realize the amount of hardships that exist in life. But, it isn’t just the natural hardships of food and shelter. It is also the hardships created by society with taxes and the need for money.
I found Leviticus to be boring and kind of depressing. I am hoping we are done with the lists of rules for a while. I need something more inspiring than what I can and cannot eat.

New Questions
1. Why does God need so much attention? He has required his people to sacrifice things constantly and celebrate him many times throughout their lives.
2. How much livestock do these people have?

Bible Read: Leviticus