Summary: Lesson 7 in a series on holiness as seen in Leviticus; focusing on cermonial cleansing from chapter 11-15
Leviticus Lesson 7 – Chapters 11-15
A. Dr. Semmelwies’ Discovery
1. An epidemic of “Childbed Fever”
a) In the middle of the 19th century one out of every six mothers died in childbirth.
b) In those days, even in the best of hospitals, a doctor’s daily routine started in the morgue.
c) From the morgue and autopsies, the doctor made his way to check on expectant mothers.
d) Then to the delivery room to deliver newborns.
e) All took place without a good hand washing.
2. A Great Discovery
a) Dr. Semmelwies concluded that the outbreak of “childbed fever” was due to a lack of cleanliness on behalf of the doctors.
b) Dr. Semmelwies started a routine of thorough hand washing in a chlorine solution.
c) Over an eleven year, he delivered over 8,500 babies and lost only 184 – About one in 50
d) In spite of his overwhelming evidence, the medical community ignored him and labeled him a lunatic.
3. A Sad End
a) Dr. Semmelwies died at the age of 47, labeled as a madman.
b) His theory was discarded and his researched was squelched in the medical community.
c) In the meanwhile thousands of women died each year in childbirth.
B. The Importance of Cleansing
1. In the Physical Realm
a) Matter of life or death
b) Health or sickness
2. In the Spiritual Realm
a) Matter of life or death
b) Abundant life or just life
C. God’s Cleansing in Leviticus – Chapters 11-15
1. Reasons for the Laws on Cleansing
a) Sanitation – For the physical well-being of Israel
b) Separation – To distinguish God’s people from other Nations
c) Sanctification – To draw God people close to Him
d) Succession – To have a pure lineage for the Messiah
2. Realm of the Laws
a) Ceremonial – To remind the nation to be pure and put God first.
b) Communal – To protect the nation from itself
3. Tonight – Four Principles for a Clean Nation
II. Four Principles of a Clean Nation
A. Be Mindful of What Comes Into the Body – Chapter 11
1. Chapter 11 – Clean and Unclean Animals
a) Most of the animal that are listed were either considered deity in Egypt or Canaan or were sacrificed to pagan deities.
b) Many of the animals listed carried within them inherent diseases, unless they were handled and prepared properly.
2. Four Classes of Animals Listed
a) Animals that walked upon the earth
a. Considered normal and natural food for man and widely available.
b. The clean met two qualifications – Chewed the cud and divided hoof.
c. One writer likened these qualifications to us today to us meditating (regurgitating) and discerning (split hoof).
b) Animals of the sea
a. Again we notice two main qualifications for the creatures – Both fins and scales were to be present.
b. Fins give fish the ability to progress in the water and scales protect the fish from outside attacks.
d. This would teach that we are to progress in the word and seek the protection from the word.
c) Animals of the air or the heavens
a. The birds listed as unclean were carnivorous or scavengers.
b. The wined insects were forbidden except for creatures like locust and crickets.
c. In observing these laws, man is to avoid that which carnal (Romans 8:6-7) and to appreciate the balance of being in the world and not over the world (jumping insects).
d) Animals that creep or crawl on the earth
a. This has ties to the curse of the serpent in the Garden – Genesis 3:14
b. Therefore Israel is to avoid all things with a tie to Satan.
3. The Application for Us
a) We must watch what we ingest – Spiritually and Physically
b) We need to keep our bodies healthy and rested that we might better serve God.
c) We must watch our social diets that influence us – Proverbs 4:23
d) We will become what we ingest – Proverbs 23:7
f) The reason for the cleansing was to allow the Israelites to come into the presence of God.
g) Our spiritual cleansing accomplishes the same thing.
B. Be Mindful of New Births in the Body – Leviticus 12
1. These laws deal with the rituals involving childbirth.
a) What this chapter does not teach.
a. That sexual relations (within marriage) that lead to childbirth are dirty or defiling – Genesis 1:28, 1:31, 2:24
b. There is something inherently sinful in children – Matthew 18:14, 19:13-15