Friday, February 25, 2011

February 25- Vampires Need Not Apply

February 25, 2011

Scripture Readings:
Leviticus 16:29-18:30; Mark 7:24-8:10;
Psalm 41:1-13; Proverbs 10:15-16

Surely it was a good way to die, in the place of someone else, someone I loved. Noble, even. That ought to count for something.  
~Bella Swan   Twilight

Leviticus 16:29-18:30

Have you noticed how obsessed everybody is with vampires these days?  Twilight, the novel about Bella Swan falling in love with Edward Cullen who is a vampire, has swept the nation and the world.  Television is also jumping onto the vampire bandwagon.  Popular shows have included The Vampire Diaries, Buffy the Vampire Slayer, and True Blood.  Human beings have always had a fascination with drinking blood.  Today in our reading we see that as part of the Mosaic Law the Israelites are forbidden from drinking blood like the pagan nations around them.  We also get regulations with regards to sexual behavior.  Both sets of rules tie to God's preservation of the Jewish nation and the effect that our physical lives have on spiritual realities.

In this portion of Leviticus, Moses instructs the Israelites that they are not to kill an animal at their own home.  Any animal killed for consumption was to be brought to the Tabernacle where a priest would kill the animal, drain the blood, and then give the remainder of the animal's body back to the person to take home and use.  Why is there this rule?  This rule was designed to prevent pagan idol worship.  The Jews had just received their freedom from Egypt and are about to go into the Promised Land of Canaan.  Both places were dominated by idol worship.  As part of the idol worship animals were sacrificed to goat gods.  Goats, in particular, were sacrificed.  The Israelites had participated in this worship while in Egypt.  God wanted this to stop!  Each time they killed an animal they were to be reminded of the One True God.  Bringing the animal to the Tabernacle to be killed would remind them of the God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, who they worship.  This symbolically tied them to Christ each time they took the life of an animal.  Remember, the whole Tabernacle is a picture of Jesus Christ. Bringing an animal to the Tabernacle also reflected faith in the coming Savior.

If you are interested in knowing God's personality, here is one aspect for you to see.  HE IS JEALOUS FOR YOUR LOVE.  God is not interested in sharing you with pagan false idol-gods.  He wants you to love Him alone.  He wants your loyalty and passion.  This is a husband who gets jealous.  The Israelites were prone to cheat on their spiritual husband.  He was not happy about this.  You and I are prone to cheat on our spiritual husband.  He's not happy about that either.  These rules set relationship boundaries for the Israelites.  We can learn from today's rules, even though they do not apply to us now.  The lesson to me is...don't let anything get between me and God.  He loves me and wants my full attention and love.

The next regulation is not to drink blood.  You might have guessed that in addition to health issues, this is a highly symbolic requirement.  Leviticus 18: 11 states,
"for the life of any creature is in its blood. I have given blood so you can make atonement for your sins. It is in the blood, representing life, that brings you atonement."  (NLT)
The word atonement means "covering."  Going back to Genesis and Abel's righteous offering to God, we see that from the beginning, in order to picture what Christ would do to solve the problem of man's sin, God has required the shedding of innocent blood to cover sin.  Blood is sacred for that reason.  It was not to be consumed, because you do not consume the life of another creature.  Many pagan cultures to this day drink blood to receive power.  People eat death when they eat a dead animal. 

Jesus shed his blood to cover the sins of all mankind.  Jesus brings about a revolutionary teaching in the New Testament when he commands all believers to take Communion and remember him by drinking his blood and eating his flesh.  He is tying back to this regulation and now saying that those who believe in him are to partake of his death (bread/body) and drink the new resurrected LIFE (found in the blood) that only he can provide.  We are not only eating death when we take Communion, we are symbolically drinking new life that lasts forever!

Back in Genesis you may have wondered who Cain and Abel slept with in order to populate the earth.  They would have slept with their sisters.  We see throughout the writings of the ancient world that blood relatives have married and mated.  In many parts of the world today it is common for cousins to marry.  God allowed this practice for a period of time, but the Mosaic Law now forbids the Israelites from having sexual intercourse with blood relations.  God is once again setting the Israelites apart from other people groups and protecting them against disease and genetic problems so that the Messiah could come through their line.  Most of these rules are woven into the fabric of our own judicial system in the United States today.  If followed, these rules prevent sexual abuse and degradation in families.

Other forms of sexual perversion are dealt with in this chapter.  The domination of the pornography industry signals mankind's constant tendency to devolve into sexual perversion.  Remember, sex is intended to be a picture of our intimacy with God.  The marriage theme is constant in the Bible.  That is because our physical marriages are pictures of God's relationship with us.  Our love should be passionate, intimate and in the right context.  The love of a husband and wife should be one of trust, deep love, comfort, encouragement, and passion.  The sexual acts listed in this chapter do not comprise acts that God considers legitimate pictures of His love for us.  This is His universe and He makes the rules.  Perhaps you could form your own universe and make your own rules if you do not like His.

Have you accepted our modern take on sex, which by the way, is not modern at all, but actually ancient in its practices?  How can you practice intimacy with God in your life?  Does your marriage reflect your intimacy with God? If you are single, does your singleness reflect your intimacy and loyalty to God?

Mark 7:24-8:10

Today Jesus expels an evil spirit from a little girl, heals a deaf man, and feeds a hungry crowd.  Busy, busy, busy.  The story of the little girl being saved from an evil spirit is interesting because of the conversation Jesus has with the girl's mother. This woman comes to Jesus and makes her request.  It just so happens that she is a Gentile.  Jesus, being true to his mission to come to the Chosen people (Israel) first, tells her that he has come to help his own family, the Jews.  She counters that even the dogs get scraps from the Master's table.  Jesus says that she has given a good answer.  In the gospels, Jesus is healing Gentiles and Jews, alike.  So why did he have this conversation with this woman?  My belief is that Jesus is testing her faith.  Her answer shows humility, belief that he is the Master, and it reflects her persistence.  Are you picking up on the fact that Christ likes persistent requests asked with humility in faith?  Does your prayer life reflect these qualities?  The deaf man's friends reflect these same qualities.

Next, Jesus shows us that he is a living picture of the Law and the Psalms.  He has compassion on the poor and needy.  He feeds the hungry and always has pity on those in need.  Does your life reflect those qualities?  Do you find ways to help those less fortunate than you?  Do you have compassion for other people?

Psalm 41:1-13

Verse 1 says, "Oh the joys of those who are kind to the poor. The Lord rescues them in times of trouble."

Proverbs 10:15-16

Here, again, a theme emerges...The wealth of the rich is their fortress; the poverty of the poor is their calamity.

What would like to share today?


Jubilee Gal
Kathy Fullerton


  1. Interesting tie from the blood rules to communion. And isn't it neat to read about Jesus having compassion, and then in Psalms read of the joy to be had when we are kind to the needy? I imagine Jesus experiencing great joy as he healed and fed people. It was his work but I'm thinking also his joy.

  2. Yes. This study changed the way I will look at communion. It makes more sense now. : )

  3. I have given blood so you can make atonement for your sins. It is in the blood, representing life, that brings you atonement is the picture of Jesus' death for us.
    Good insight for Jesus' encounter with the Gentile woman.
    Either I forgot or haven't read Leviticus 18:22 dealing with homosexuality. These sexual rules if kept, still keep people healthy.
    I like it Kathy..."This is His universe and He makes the rules. Perhaps you could form your own universe and make your own rules if you do not like His." :)

  4. Glad you liked the study today, Terri. I always learn so much each time I read God's Word.