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March 4, 2011 / Daniel

Further Reflection on the Food Laws

Torah inside of the former Glockengasse synago...

Image via Wikipedia

Here’s another thought that came to me about applying the food laws. God expected Israel to worship Him in a very specific way. You must come to God on His terms. In the OT, God determined which animals were clean and which ones weren’t. It was His prerogative. (Remember that the food laws are in many ways an extension of the sacrificial laws. See previous post).

Therefore, Israelites couldn’t worship God just any way that they wanted. They couldn’t worship Him the same way that someone might worship Baal. They couldn’t sacrifice a pig to YHWH and get away with Him. They had to worship YHWH according to His revelation in the Torah.

There was also an appropriate location to sacrifice.  You couldn’t just sacrifice any old place that you wanted.  You had to sacrifice in a place in which YHWH approved.   Throughout Deuteronomy, Moses looks forward to the day when YHWH chooses a place for His name to dwell (Deut 12:5; 12:11; 12:21; 14:23-24;  16:2; 16:6; 16:11; 26:2).   This, of course, is an anticipation of the temple in Jerusalem.   After the temple was built, sacrifice was to take place in a centralized location.   And this location was the only place where sacrifice could take place.  Worship must be done on God’s terms.

All in all, sacrifices in the OT had to be done with the appropriate animals (clean ones) and sacrifices had to be made in the appropriate location (the temple in Jerusalem).

This concept transfers over to the NT quite easy.   Throughout every period in redemptive history, God has invited human beings to worship Him on His terms. In the New Covenant, there is only one appropriate sacrifice for sin (Jesus’ death on the cross) and there is only one appropriate location to find God’s presence (Jesus as the true ultimate temple, God-with-us).   As Jesus said, “I am the way, the truth, and the life.  No one comes to the Father except through me” (John 14:6; cf. Acts 4:12).

In light of the recent developments involving the news of certain prominent “evangelicals” embracing universalism, this truth is especially relevant.


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