The sons of Israel were charged to put off the former Egyptian conduct (18:3a). This signifies that the believers should put off the former, old way of living.
The Israelites were also charged not to walk in the customs of the Canaanites, into whose land they would come (18:3b). This signifies that, after being saved, the believers should not be conformed to the living and conduct of the worldly people.
The sons of Israel were to have God’s holy living (18:4— 20:27). This signifies putting on the new man. Living a holy life according to God’s holiness is equal to putting on the new man.
These chapters emphasize the requirement that God’s people be holy because He is holy. “You shall be holy, for I, Jehovah your God, am holy” (19:2). “You shall sanctify yourselves therefore and be holy, for I am Jehovah your God” (20:7). “You shall be holy to Me, for I Jehovah am holy; and I have separated you from the peoples to be Mine” (20:26). Being holy because God is holy signifies walking according to God’s holiness, living a holy life.
“When you sacrifice a sacrifice of peace offerings to Jehovah, you shall sacrifice it so that you may be accepted” (19:5). This signifies that the breaking of bread for the remembrance of the Lord should be done in a way that is acceptable to the Lord (cf. 1 Cor. 11:17-21). We must not have the Lord’s table in an abusive way but in a proper way.
We have seen that the propitiation in Leviticus 16 involved four of the five basic offerings: the sin offering, the trespass offering, the burnt offering, and the meal offering. The issue of these offerings is the peace offering. This means that these four offerings issue in a result, and this result is that we enjoy peace with God and with God’s people. This is the peace offering.
Chapters eighteen through twenty are not concerned with propitiation but with the holy living of God’s holy people. In this kind of living it is important that we have fellowship, communion, mutual enjoyment, in peace. This is fully signified by the peace offering.
The peace offering is the Old Testament type of the Lord’s table. When we have the Lord’s table, we enjoy the peace offering. At the Lord’s table we enjoy Christ as our peace offering for our fellowship with God and with one another. This enjoyment of the peace offering issues from the trespass offering, the sin offering, the burnt offering, and the meal offering. Our enjoyment of Christ as these four offerings will have an issue, a result—the enjoyment of Christ as our peace offering for us to have fellowship with God and with our fellow believers.
Through the four offerings in Leviticus 16, our negative situation is propitiated. Thus, concerning the holy living in Leviticus 18—20, we need to take care of the enjoyment of Christ as our peace offering.
“It shall be eaten on the day you sacrifice it, or on the next day; but what remains until the third day shall be burned with fire” (19:6). This signifies that the saints’ fellowship with one another and with God should be kept fresh. Our enjoyment of Christ as the peace offering for our fellowship with God and with one another should be fresh.
“If it is eaten at all on the third day, it is an abhorrent thing; it will not be accepted” (19:7). This signifies that the enjoyment of the saints’ stale fellowship with one another and with God is not acceptable but abhorrent to God.
We should not have any stale practices at the Lord’s table. We should not come to the Lord’s table with anything stale. Rather, we should come with something new. For this, we need a new repentance, a new confession, a new dealing, and a new touch with the Lord. In other words, we need a new washing, a new bathing in the Word or in the Spirit, so that we can have a fresh remembrance of the Lord. When we have a fresh enjoyment of the Lord. He also will have a fresh enjoyment because of our fresh enjoyment.
“And he who eats it shall bear his iniquity, for he has profaned the holy thing of Jehovah; and that person shall be cut off from his people” (19:8). This signifies that the one who participates in the saints’ stale fellowship is guilty of having despised the holy things of God and will lose the fellowship among God’s people.
“You shall keep My statutes. You shall not breed your cattle with a different kind; you shall not sow your field with two kinds of seed; and you shall not put on a garment of two kinds of materials mixed together” (19:19). The fact that no mixture was allowed indicates that God wants everything to be after its kind (cf. Gen. 1:11, 21, 24-25), without any kind of mixture. In the church life we should avoid any kind of mixture.
In Leviticus 19 three illustrations of mixture are given. The first illustration is the breeding of cattle without mixture. This signifies that life is not allowed to be mixed; those living by the life of God must not live by the flesh. To live by the life of God on the one hand and by the flesh on the other hand is a mixture. Such mixture is not acceptable to God.
The second illustration in verse 19 is sowing seed without mixture. This signifies that the ministry of the word is not allowed to be mixed. The word of God that is ministered should not be mixed with the word of the world.
The third illustration is that of making garment material without mixture. This signifies that our conduct is not allowed to be mixed. Those living in the life of the New Testament should not live by the ordinances of the Old Testament, and those who belong to the Lord should not live according to the customs of the Gentiles.
In both Catholicism and Pentecostalism there is the mixture of the things of the New Testament with certain things from the Old Testament. The garments worn by the cardinals in the Catholic Church are similar to the robes worn by the priests in the Old Testament. Furthermore, many of the formalities and rituals in Catholicism are from the Old Testament. In Pentecostalism there is much prophesying in the Old Testament manner, with the speaker often saying, “Thus saith the Lord.” In this kind of speaking the Old Testament, especially the Psalms and Isaiah, may be quoted more frequently than such New Testament books as Ephesians and Romans. I doubt if anyone in Pentecostalism speaks the way Paul did in 1 Corinthians 7. First Paul said, “I have no commandment of the Lord, but I give my opinion as having received mercy of the Lord to be faithful” (v. 25). After giving his opinion, Paul concludes, “I think that I also have the Spirit of God” (v. 40b). Paul’s speaking is very different from the speaking of those in Pentecostalism who pretend to be Old Testament prophets and whose speaking is a mixture of the New Testament with the things of the Old Testament.
Three verses in Leviticus 18 and 20 speak of the land vomiting out its inhabitants (18:25, 28; 20:22). Leviticus 20:22 says, “You shall therefore keep all My statutes and all My ordinances and do them, that the land where I am bringing you to dwell may not vomit you out.” The good land vomiting out the defiled and unholy people signifies that the all-inclusive Christ as our dwelling place and everything we need for our enjoyment will vomit us out of Himself (Rev. 3:16).
This matter of the land vomiting out the people implies a great deal. It implies that the land is the supply for the existence and living of God’s people. It also implies that the land is for their enjoyment. If the people are proper with the land, the land will allow them to enjoy it. Otherwise, the land will vomit them out; it will give them up. This indicates that if we are not proper with Christ, who is our good land, He will vomit us out and not allow us to enjoy Him any more.
The ordinances and statutes in Leviticus 18—20 cover many things. First, we are forbidden to have anything to do with demons, idols, spiritism, and witchcraft (19:4, 26; 20:2, 6, 27). These ordinances and statutes also cover humanity and include such matters as reverencing our mother and father (19:3a; 20:9), respecting aged persons (19:32), not mistreating the alien but instead loving him (19:33-34), having just measures and weights (19:35-36), not lying or deceiving (19:11), not oppressing one’s neighbor (19:13), not mistreating the deaf or the blind (19:14), not being partial in judgment (19:15), not going about as a slanderer (19:16), and not hating our brother in our heart (19:17). The most crucial thing is that we never commit any kind of incest. Incest is the most destructive thing to humanity, and a lengthy section of these chapters is devoted to it in detail. We must be pure in this matter.
Chapters eighteen through twenty of Leviticus show us a very high standard of morality. We need to live a high human life, a human life that is according to God’s image. God is holy and righteous, and He is love and light. We, then, must live a life that is full of light. For us to serve God, we need a holy life with the highest standard of morality and ethics. Although we are serving God, we must nevertheless have a proper human life with all those around us, not only with our relatives and neighbors but also with the sojourners. We need to treat everyone properly. This is God’s requirement because He is righteous, holy, loving, and full of light.
We should not think that in the Lord’s recovery we care only for Christ, the Spirit, life, and the church and not for ethics and morality. Yes, due to the lack in Christianity, we have stressed Christ, the Spirit, life, and the church. However, this certainly does not mean that we do not care for the highest standard of ethics and morality. In the Life-study of Luke I presented the high standard of the Lord’s humanity, which is the model, the pattern, for us to take and to follow. In order to live a life that matches our service to God, we must live a high standard of humanity. This high standard of humanity is strict, right, frank, bright, and loving.