Tuesday, March 31, 2009

Leviticus 12:1-8


At this point, the LORD begins to instruct Moses about cleanliness laws. This section continues from chapter twelve to chapter fifteen and covers everything from the cleanliness of a woman haven given birth, issues of leprosy, mold within a home, skin diseases and other genera cleanliness laws.

However, there is a very real element in Leviticus 12 which contradicts what the largest "church" in the world teaches. And for that, it is probably good for us to take a moment to look at Leviticus twelve.


Again, the LORD instructs Moses in regard to these laws. Moses is then called to respond to these words and teach the nation of Israel.

When a woman gives birth to a child, she will be unclean for the first seven days. On the eighth day, however, her son will be presented before the LORD for circumcision. The act of circumcision is an exterior response to the covenant God has made with Israel. Circumcision does not enter a person automatically into the covenant with God, but is an exterior sign of an inward reality. Consider:

For he is not a Jew who is one outwardly, nor is circumcision that which is outward in the flesh. But he is a Jew who is one inwardly; and circumcision is that which is of the heart, by the Spirit, not by the letter; and his praise is not from men, but from God.
Obviously, an eight day old baby cannot choose to be circumcised, so this is really a response from the parents to the promises of God. Simply cutting the foreskin of a son does not grant eternal life. But this is a response to the promise made by God, and the passionate desire to walk in obedience, not to establish the covenant, but to celebrate it. (see Genesis 17).

If the woman gives birth to a son, she remains unclean in her blood for a period of thirty-three days. Though she does not remain "unclean," there is some restriction which looks similar to that of uncleanness.

The time is doubled for a girl baby. There is no circumcision process for the girl, however the mother remains unclean for two weeks. Her total time of purification is sixty-six days.

Once her days of purification are completed (thirty-three days if she had a son, sixty-six if a daughter), she is to come to the doorway of the tent of meeting and offer a one year old lamb as a burnt offering and a young pigeon or turtledove for a sin offering. The priest will offer the sacrifice for the woman and atonement will be made and she will be cleansed from the flow of her blood.

God offers another opportunity for those without financial means. Any parent knows that the birth of a child immediately makes you assess your finances differently. The LORD offers that the person who may not have financial means, but has been blessed witha son or daughter is able to respond to the LORD in obedience without the sacrifice being too burdensome. Instead of the lamb and a pigeon/turtledove (again, notice the LORD does not give parameters as to what constitutes poverty), the LORD provides two pigeons or two turtledoves. One bird would be for the burnt offering and one is to be for sin offering. Again, we are assured that the sacrifice is pleasing to the LORD for we are told the priest will make atonement for her.


Why would the female child cause the mother to be unclean and in her blood of purification for twice as long? There are a lot of theories, but none proves ultimately satisfactory. The text does not give us any indication as to the purpose but simply states that this is God's standard and we should comply.

But why would child birth make a person unclean?

First, the union of a husband and a wife is not sinful. God was pleased that a husband and wife would become one flesh, and such a union is intended to point us to the beauty of Christ and the church. (Genesis 2:24/Ephesians 5:31-32).

Second, reproduction is not sinful. God is not displeased when a family grows and multiplies. (Genesis 1:28)

Instead, this is a testimony to the imputation and pervasive effects of the sin nature. David stated, "Behold, I was brought forth in iniquity, And in sin my mother conceived me" (Psalm 51:5). Some assume this means than David was conceived in illegitimacy. However, nowhere is Scripture is this indicated and people should be cautious about making such charges. Instead, it should be understood that David is acknowledging that the sin nature was present in him from the moment of conception.

The sin nature is often misunderstood. We do not become a sinner the moment we sin, for David acknowledges the sin anture at conception. No, we sin because we are a sinner. The emphasis of the blood flow in this passage should remind us that the process of childbirth has become cursed, due to sin. Sin effects childbirth. Sin effects the child, for he/she will be conceived as a sinner.

However, the emphasis of Leviticus 12 is upon the woman. She bears the child and is unclean or in the process of purification. She offers the sacrifice. The priest presents it for her. The priest will make atonement for her. The emphasis is not upon the father or the child, but upon the mother. It should remind us of the pervasive effects of our sin nature and its universal application to all men and women.

However, many actually deny this principle!
And when eight days had passed, before His circumcision, His name was then called Jesus, the name given by the angel before He was conceived in the womb. And when the days for their purification according to the law of Moses were completed, they brought Him up to Jerusalem to present Him to the Lord (as it is written in the Law of the Lord, "EVERY firstborn MALE THAT OPENS THE WOMB SHALL BE CALLED HOLY TO THE LORD"), and to offer a sacrifice according to what was said in the Law of the Lord, "A PAIR OF TURTLEDOVES OR TWO YOUNG PIGEONS."--Luke 2:21-24
From this text, we see two things:
    a) Mary and Joseph were not wealthy.
Jesus was not born into a family of prestige or privilege. Mary does not offer up a year old lamb, but instead offers two birds. This tells us that she and Joseph could not afford to offer anything else.
    b) Mary was a sinner.
First, we see that Leviticus says the offering is for the woman. Second, we know that Joseph is not actually involved in the process of Jesus' conception and is therefore removed from the birth process (other than general emotional support to Mary). Thirdly, we know that Jesus is unblemished and therefore without sin. However, Mary does not just offer a burnt offering, but presents to the priest a pair of birds.

Ironically, in an offering that is intended to teach the pervasive universal truth of sin nature, Mary's actions refute the Roman heresy of Mary's sinlessness. The "Immaculate Conception" is not about the sinlessness of Jesus Christ. The Immaculate Conception, as a Roman doctrine, is the heresy that Mary was actually born without a sin nature, so that she could then bear the Messiah. Therefore, Roman Catholicism teaches the perpetual virginity of Mary and that since she did not have a sin nature, she also lived a sinless life. When we carefully study Leviticus 12, we see that Luke 2 exposes and destroys the heretical concept of a sinless Mary! If Mary was without sin, why would she offer a sin sacrifice?

At this point, you may wonder, why would this matter? This is not a Christian apologetic blog, nor is it devoted to exposing and debunking the views of false religions. This is intended to be an online commentary of Scripture. However, I would suggest that the Roman Heresy of the perpetual virginity of Mary is deeply personal.

    The Roman church has declared me damned to hell.
Consider the following "anathemas" from the Council of Trent:
“If any one saith, that by faith alone the impious is justified; in such wise as to mean, that nothing else is required to co-operate in order to the obtaining the grace of Justification, and that it is not in any way necessary, that he be prepared and disposed by the movement of his own will; let him be anathema.” Sixth Session CANON IX

“If any one saith, that justifying faith is nothing else but confidence in the divine mercy which remits sins for Christ's sake; or, that this confidence alone is that whereby we are justified; let him be anathema.” Sixth Session CANON XII

“If any one saith, that, in the Catholic Church there is not a hierarchy by divine ordination instituted, consisting of bishops, priests, and ministers; let him be anathema.” Twenty-Third Session CANON VI.

“If any one saith, that in the Catholic Church Penance is not truly and properly a sacrament, instituted by Christ our Lord for reconciling the faithful unto God, as often as they fall into sin after baptism; let him be anathema. “ Fourteenth Session CANON II

“If any one saith, that baptism is free, that is, not necessary unto salvation; let him be anathema.” Seventh Session CANON V

“If any one saith, that all Christians have power to administer the word, and all the sacraments; let him be anathema.” Seventh Session CANON X
(This list is not a complete list of the anathemas from the Council of Trent, nor is it the only ones which are in direct conflict with the Scriptures and therefore consider me condemned to hell. It is also noteworthy that the Roman Catholics are not the only ones who proclaim these rules. A very strong case can be made that the Old German Baptist Brethren place all of these listed restrictions [and many more] upon people as well--except for that of confession to a priest.)

Therefore, the Roman system has officially declared that the biblical message of salvation is a message that condemns a person to hell. They have officially convened and "gone on the books" to state that I am condemned forever for believing the Bible.
    I have experienced the agony of this deception upon others.
Just last week, my mother buried her father. He was honored during a mass. I had shared the gospel several times with my grandfather. My father had shared the gospel several times with my grandfather. Neither of us ever saw him respond with an affirmation of the Biblical gospel. Instead, he would ponder what was said, meet with a priest and allow the priest to explain away the Scriptures. I never had the joy of seeing my grandfather respond to the Biblical gospel with understanding.

Is my grandfather in heaven? I hope so. But my only hope is that the coma he was in for the last week of his life was actually the gracious work of My Heavenly Father to shut his ears of from the lies of the "priesthood" and allow him to be alone with the Scriptures he had heard. I prayed madly during that week that God might save him since the lies were silenced. Perhaps in His grace He did.

My ministry has been marked by too many heartbreaks due to the enemy's use of false religion. A person is counseled to read the Scriptures for a week. They return and see things which are not in the text, or ignore the obvious things that are, because a religious system has lied to them and Satan uses it as a veil over their eyes to keep them from seeing the gospel.
    My Savior, the Only One Who is truly holy, Who died for my sins, is robbed of His glory.
This is actually that which is most personal. In the throne room of God, as we declare, "Holy, holy, holy is the Lord God Almighty" (Revelation 4:8), should I also sing a song to Mary's holiness? Is she able to ascribe to the Lord the praise He is due when she also stands in the throne room holy in her own right? Is God's holiness really a factor that sets the Trinity apart if there is another in the room who is holy? (See how their system quickly finds Mary elevated to divine status?)

I have no idea if we will sing songs written in our present age, but how could Mary join us in singing "Jesus Paid It All?" For what has Jesus paid for Mary if she has no sin? How could she cry out "Worthy is the Lamb," a direct attestation to His atoning work, when it was not necessary for her? Furthermore, when we add just one person to the Throne room of heaven who does not actually need Christ's righteousness imputed to her, how have we not diminished His glory and made Him a liar when He said "no man gets to the Father but through Him?"

So what?

This does not become a simple exercise in doctrinal fidelity for doctrine's sake. Anyone who passionately loves Christ should greatly desire that He receive the glory He is due and hate any false doctrine which robs Him of this glory. However, in our pluralistic society, we are exhorted to believe it really doesn't matter as long as a person is sincere. Right worship matters, and right worship requires right doctrine.

The point is not simply to avoid Catholicism, for most people can easily apply this principle, and quite frankly, few probably find themselves tempted by it. The point is to passionately pursue and proclaim the glory of Christ in all His fullness and reject anything which diminishes that glory.

The Roman Catholic Church does not preach a gospel that leads to salvation and presents Christ in His deserved glory. The German Baptist Brethren Church does not preach a gospel that leads to salvation and presents Christ in His deserved glory. Neither does a liberal protestant church. Neither do silly Grace Brethren Churches which do not think it necessary to preach the gospel (because their people already know it), or who claim to be centered in Christ but do not find it necessary to talk about Him every week. There are multiple avenues and every religious organization is prone to deny or even neglect the truth of the gospel in Jesus Christ.

At this point, it is necessary to clarify. There are Roman Catholics who are saved. There are German Baptists who are saved. There are people in liberal protestant churches who are saved. There are people in gospel neglecting, Christ diminishing Grace Brethren churches who are saved. I am not saying that a specific church membership can separate a genuine believer from the love of God which in Christ Jesus our Lord.

However, our hearts should be broken to realize that Mother Teressa (a woman typically lauded for her piety) is facing eternal condemnation if she actually believed the "gospel" her church taught. If she believed in the denial of imputed righteousness (as the Catholic church proclaims), then none of her works were considered righteous by God and she did not have the wrath for her sin transferred to Christ.

This should be used as a litmus to search your own soul for salvation. If you believe that you are saved by grace through faith in Jesus Christ, but that others may be saved through a different way, I would challenge that you do not have saving faith. If you believe Mother Teressa could accomplish salvation through her good works, you do not believe Jesus is the only way. If you believe Mary could actually be sinless and stand before God in His glory in her own merit, you believe there is another way to God than through Christ alone. The truth of the sinfulness of all of humanity should not be used as a self-righteous study to take pride in our own accurate doctrine. This truth should instead drive us to humility as we understand the severity of our own sin problem and then fill us with compassion as we genuinely try to win others to salvation in Christ.

And if you know a person who knows genuine salvation in Jesus Christ but is in the fellowship of a gospel denying fellowship, you should be compassionately pleading with them to get out! God's glory matters and we should fear the contamination of poor teaching and genuine dislike those doctrines which rob Him of His glory.


Such understanding of doctrine is offensive to many. It is considered judgmental and "heresy hunting." False doctrine matters and has grave consequences. How then should we respond to false doctrine?
But you, beloved, building yourselves up on your most holy faith, praying in the Holy Spirit, keep yourselves in the love of God, waiting anxiously for the mercy of our Lord Jesus Christ to eternal life. And have mercy on some, who are doubting; save others, snatching them out of the fire; and on some have mercy with fear, hating even the garment polluted by the flesh.--Jude 20-23
If you know Christ as your Savior, yet the noise of our pluralistic society has influenced you, and you find yourself doubting the firm conviction of the exclusivity of Christ, find a merciful believer who will help instruct you with the Word of God. Repent of the ways you have conformed to the image of the world and seek the transformation into the image of Christ by the renewing of your mind. And if you know someone who professes Christ but is struggling with doubt, seek to be that person who mercifully ministers the Word of God to him/her.

If you have not seen the severe and total depravity caused by your sin nature, nor have you understood the exclusive nature of the perfect sacrifice of Jesus Christ for sin, then understand your soul is at stake. This is the universally, eternally, undeniably most important issue in your life to resolve. Your soul hangs in the balance. Find someone who understands this urgency and seeks to share the message of salvation with you. If you know someone who does not understand the consequence of their sin and the exclusivity of Christ, understand their soul hangs in the balance and seek to share Christ with them. It is not your love for them that keeps you silent (for how can you claim you love them if you allow them to continue to hell without you pleading them to repent and turn). It is your love for self (and desire to avoid awkward confrontation) that keeps you silent.

And if you attend a church because it is socially acceptable, makes it easier to find customers for your multi-level-marketing home business or simply gets your mother-in-law off your back, yet you resist the message of salvation preached regularly by your church, quit coming to the church. Other souls are at risk and if you do not care enough about your own soul to submit to Christ, at least do not prevent others through your influence. And if you know someone who weekly (or regularly) attends and participates in the life of a congregation but has no interest in submitting to the gospel, have the courage to speak to them about how you do not want to see the garment polluted by the flesh.

The issue is not doctrinal fidelity for doctrine's sake. If you have tasted and seen that the Lord is good, we should desire that people understand that message. Like a person who is enjoying their best meal they have ever tasted at a restaurant raves about the meal and even offers others a bite. We should be people, who once we have seen the severity of our sin are drawn to see the glory of the grace offered in Christ and should be calling others to taste and see as well!

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