Date: Fri Feb 21 2003 - 08:05:48 EST
In a message dated 2/21/03 3:37:43 AM Eastern Standard Time,
> >I would assume that most of the OT prophets predicted negative
> circumstances that would arise when the people forsook the Law and in this
> respect much prophecy was similar.
> The prophets who wrote gave little support as a rule to the levitical laws
> and on occasion were anti-supportive.
I will concede that in the examples below, it is the priests and scribes who
supported levitical law, but it is inconceivable to me that the prophets
would be anti-supportive. Perhaps the prophets might be anti-supportive of
the priestly class when they abandoned the law as Jesus was when they favored
the letter of the law rather than the spirit of the law, but I would
appreciate if you could give me an example of a prophet with a reference who
gave little support 'as a rule' to Levitical law and an example of a prophet
who was 'anti-supportive.'
In the Book of Leviticus, Chapter 18, the Lord tells Moses that the
Israelites are not to conform to the institutions of Canaan or Egypt.
The Lord then introduces a host of sexual taboos, among them a
prohibition against a man lying with another man as with a woman.
What I found most interesting was not the prohibitions themselves but
what the Lord says after he lists the prohibitions. He goes on to
"You shall not make yourselves unclean in any of these ways, for in
these ways the heathen, whom I am driving out before you, made
themselves unclean. This is how the land became unclean, and I
punished it for its iniquity so that it spewed out its inhabitants.
You, unlike them, shall keep my laws and my rules: none of you,
whether natives or aliens settled among you, shall do any of these
abominable things. The people who were there before you did these
abominable things and the land became unclean. So the land will not
spew you out for making it unclean as it spewed them out; for anyone
who does any of these abominable things shall be cut off from his
people. Observe my charge therefore, and follow none of the
abominable institutions customary before your time; do not make
yourselves unclean with them. I am the Lord your God."
These Levitical prohibitions above are repeatedly reaffirmed in one way or
another throughout the OT.
In fact, the abhorrence by the Israelites of peoples who practiced these
abominations was so strong that we find:
"The policy described in the Book of Numbers, Dueteronomy and Joshua is to
commit genocide rather than permitting intermarriage with the conquered
peoples in the zone of settlement. (Deut.7:3, Josh 23,12-13, Numbers 25:6)."
APTSDA, K. MacDonald, p.41
Also, "The apotheosis of the abhorrence of exogamy appears in the Books of
Ezra and Nehemiah which recount events and attitudes in the early post-exilic
period. The officials are said to complain that," The people of Israel and
the and the priests and the levites, have not separated themselves from the
peoples of the lands, doing according to their abominations... for they have
taken of their daughters for themselves and for their sons, so that the holy
seed have mingled themselves with the peoples of the lands" (Ezra 9:2).APTSDA
also Nehemiah as in Neh:13:28, Neh. 13, 23-25).APTSDA
I don't know that anything more instructive of a return to Levitical law (not
in opposition to Mosaic Law but an elaboration of it) can be found than in
the return from exile in Babylon and the reestablishment of the Temple.
Some 1800 men, including a certain number of priests, Levites, and
Nathinites, started with Esdras from Babylon, and after five months the
company safely reached Jerusalem. Long-neglected abuses had taken root in the
sacred city. These Esdras set himself vigorously to correct, after the silver
and gold he had carried from Babylon were brought into the Temple and
sacrifices offered. The first task which confronted him was that of dealing
with mixed marriages. Regardless of the Law of Moses, many, even the leading
Jews and priests, had intermarried with the idolatrous inhabitants of the
country. Horror-stricken by the discovery of this abuse -- the extent of
which was very likely unknown heretofore to Esdras -- he gave utterance to
his feelings in a prayer which made such an impression upon the people that
Sechenias, in their names, proposed that the Israelites should put away their
foreign wives and the children born of them. Esdras seized his opportunity,
and exacted from the congregation an oath that they would comply with this
proposition. A general assembly of the people was called by the princes and
the ancients; but the business could not be transacted easily at such a
meeting and a special commission, with Esdras at its head, was appointed to
take the matter in hand. For three full months this commission held its
sessions; at the end of that time the "strange wives" were dismissed. What
was the outcome of this drastic measure we are not told; Esdras's memoirs are
interrupted here. Nor do we know whether, his task accomplished, he returned
to Babylon or remained in Jerusalem. At any rate we find him again in the
latter city at the reading of the Law which took place after the rebuilding
of the walls. No doubt this event had rekindled the enthusiasm of the people;
and to comply with the popular demand, Esdras brought the Book of the Law. On
the first day of the seventh month (Tishri), a great meeting was held "in the
street that was before the watergate", for the purpose of reading the Law.
Standing on a platform, Esdras read the book aloud "from the morning until
midday". At hearing the words of the Law, which they had so much
transgressed, the congregation broke forth into lamentations unsuited to the
holiness of the day; Nehemias therefore adjourned the assembly. The reading
was resumed on the next day by Esdras, and they found in the Law the
directions concerning the feast of the Tabernacles. Thereupon steps were at
once taken for the due celebration of this feast, which was to last seven
days, from the fifteenth to the twenty-second day of Tishri. Esdras continued
the public reading of the Law every day of the feast; and two days after its
close a strict fast was held, and "they stood, and confessed their sins, and
the iniquities of their fathers" (II Esdras, ix, 2). There was a good
opportunity to renew solemnly the covenant between the people and God. This
covenant pledged the community to the observance of the Law, the abstention
from intermarriage with heathens, the careful keeping of the Sabbath and of
the feasts, and to various regulations agreed to for the care of the Temple,
its services, and the payment of the tithes. It was formally recited by the
princes, the Levites, and the priests, and signed by Nehemias and chosen
representatives of the priests, the Levites, and the people .
from the Catholic Encyclopedia.
It is obvious that the first thing accomplished was a return to rigid
segregation and separation from the peoples who practiced the abominations
outlined above in Leviticus 18.
APTSDA = A People That shall Dwell Alone
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