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Leviticus 11:7-8

And the pig, though it has a split hood completely divided, does not chew the cud; it is unclean for you. You must not eat their meat or touch their carcasses; they are unclean for you.

Leviticus 11:11-12

And since you are to detest them, you must not eat their meat ad you must detest their carcasses. Anything living in the water that does not have fins and scales is detestable to you.

Leviticus 11:19

Do not wear clothing woven of two kinds of material.

I haven't come across many Christians that campaign against the eating of bacon, the eating of lobsters/squid or that refuse to wear clothes made of mixtures of cotton and wool.

If a believer doesn't follow every instruction, how do they decide which to follow?


Note: I must credit the excellent book "The Philosophy Gym" by Stephen Law, from which these examples are taken

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There are some believers that try to observe the law. eliyah.com/law.htm has reasons why and responses to those that do not. They know they can't follow everything perfectly and rely on grace/mercy. The understand they are not saved by observing the law and understand legalism. –  user16659 Sep 8 '11 at 19:53
    
WaxEagle's answer should certainly be accepted, as testimony to the number of votes it has gathered. This is by no means a new question, and the answer is quite simple, as WaxEagle points out. The Levitical Law did not even bind Abraham, but was instituted for a time (~2500 B.C. - 30 A.D.) to a certain people (the Jews). –  Narnian Jan 20 at 13:14

4 Answers 4

I believe that this passage from Hebrews 9 gives some clarity in that the old covenant was fufilled by Jesus' life and death and therefore not applicable thereafter. All of Hebrews 8-10 give some really important context in my opinion.

"11 But when Christ came as high priest of the good things that are now already here,[a] he went through the greater and more perfect tabernacle that is not made with human hands, that is to say, is not a part of this creation. 12 He did not enter by means of the blood of goats and calves; but he entered the Most Holy Place once for all by his own blood, thus obtaining[b] eternal redemption. 13 The blood of goats and bulls and the ashes of a heifer sprinkled on those who are ceremonially unclean sanctify them so that they are outwardly clean. 14 How much more, then, will the blood of Christ, who through the eternal Spirit offered himself unblemished to God, cleanse our consciences from acts that lead to death,[c] so that we may serve the living God!

15 For this reason Christ is the mediator of a new covenant, that those who are called may receive the promised eternal inheritance—now that he has died as a ransom to set them free from the sins committed under the first covenant."

Hebrews 9:11-15

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Welcome to C.SE. When you get the chance, please check out our tour and specifically How we are different than other sites. While I think you're on the right track here, more explicit connection to the question would be good. –  Affable Geek Jan 20 at 19:41

The laws in Leviticus are not separate, individual commands, but rather the whole of the Moses' Law is a unit, "which if a man do, he shall live in them" (Leviticus 8:5). This includes the laws of the temple and the sacrifices. You can't keep some or most. This answer is the entire basis of the Christian's faith in Jesus. In answering this question, I will present the purpose of the Law and the inadequacies of the law, and the expectations that Lawgiver Jesus has for his followers today.

Galations 3:11. Here Paul quotes Habakkuk to prove that the law does not bring about righteousness. This is confirmed in Galatians 2:16. The purpose of the law is not our salvation, but rather it serves as an preface to the coming Messiah. The purpose of the Law is to point to Christ.

23But before faith came, we were kept under the law, shut up unto the faith which should afterwards be revealed. 24Wherefore the law was our schoolmaster to bring us unto Christ, that we might be justified by faith. 25But after that faith is come, we are no longer under a schoolmaster. Galatians 3:23-25, KJV

Jesus is the Prophet spoken of by Moses in Deuteronomy 18:15 (See John 1:45). His role on earth was to "wrap up" the Law. This is why Romans 10:4 says that "Christ is the end of the law for righteousness." The law was already weak in that it could not provide the Spirit or righteousness through obedience in it. However, in fulfilling the law completely, Jesus is able to say, "It is finished." He did not fulfill it solely by obeying each of the individual laws, he also tied all the loose ends left in the inadequacies of the Law to absolve sin.

1For the law having a shadow of good things to come, and not the very image of the things, can never with those sacrifices which they offered year by year continually make the comers thereunto perfect. 2For then would they not have ceased to be offered? because that the worshippers once purged should have had no more conscience of sins. 3But in those sacrifices there is a remembrance again made of sins every year. 4For it is not possible that the blood of bulls and of goats should take away sins... 12But this man, after he had offered one sacrifice for sins for ever, sat down on the right hand of God; Hebrews 10:1ff

I would like to emphasize that last verse, taken from Hebrews 10:12. In sitting down, Priest Jesus is contrasted to the ever-working priests of Leviticus. He is finished working, and the law is taken care of. Pleasing the Father never had to do with following the minutia of the law anyway. Micah 6:8. Today Christians walk in the Spirit, for "the law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus hath made me free from the law of sin and death" (Romans 8:2. See also vv 3-4). In a sense this is more difficult than following Moses' Law - there is no room for hypocrisy. The law of the Spirit means obedience in everything you do, not just in the 600+ commands in the Pentateuch. The Pharisees of Jesus' day were seemingly the most obedient of people, yet to them He said,

But go ye and learn what that meaneth, I will have mercy, and not sacrifice: for I am not come to call the righteous, but sinners to repentance. (Matthew 9:13)

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The typical reformed answer on this is that the Old Covenant is fulfilled in the the Death and Resurrection of Jesus and that we are now living under the New Covenant.

Lets look at this specifically point by point.

Leviticus 11:7-8 and Leviticus 11:11-12 have been fulfilled by by Acts 11:6-9

6I looked into it and saw four-footed animals of the earth, wild beasts, reptiles and birds. 7Then I heard a voice telling me, ‘Get up, Peter. Kill and eat.’

8“I replied, ‘Surely not, Lord! Nothing impure or unclean has ever entered my mouth.’

9“The voice spoke from heaven a second time, ‘Do not call anything impure that God has made clean.’ 10This happened three times, and then it was all pulled up to heaven again.

as far as Leviticus 11:19 is concerned this is pretty much the same line of thinking as above, its less explicit, but its essentially the same thing.

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Acts 11:6-9 is actually when Peter is told to go and preach to the Gentiles. Read the context of Acts 11. Peter doesn't go out and tell all his brethren they can now eat unclean animals. Instead, he tells others that the Gentiles can now be accepted as Christians. Also, look at the context of the story. (biblegateway.com/passage/?search=Acts%2011&version=ESV) The context is that of Peter telling the church why the Gentiles are now a part of the Christian church. –  daviesgeek Aug 23 '11 at 22:19
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Right the context is important, but so are the actual words. There are plenty of other discussions in the NT (specifically in acts) about no longer keeping the OT law, this seemed like the first reference. I can add a bit more about this later. –  wax eagle Aug 23 '11 at 23:25
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@davie: Wax Eagle is correct, the analogy would have been nonsensical unless Peter also was given to understand that the animals he saw in his vision were now clean to him. –  Lawrence Dol Aug 29 '11 at 0:31
    
I find this resolution to be unsatisfactory without any sort of discussion regarding Jesus's interaction with the Law. Otherwise it is just one of those things that leads to the slippery slope of Christian liberty (e.g. "OH. That's the Old Testament - a good set of moral teachings.") –  swasheck Feb 2 '12 at 23:14
    
@swasheck this goes back to the three parts of Old Testament law. You have moral law (still fully in effect), ceremonial law (fulfilled in the person and life of Christ, mostly points to Christ), and civil law (laws for Israel as a nation). Dietary restrictions fell squarely under ceremonial law. Bruce's answer addresses this quite well. –  wax eagle Feb 2 '12 at 23:18

Some Christians divide the Mosaic law into three components: Moral, Ceremonial, and Civil.

Moral laws apply to all believers at all times: the Ten Commandments, the Shema, etc.

Civil laws were for the governing of the nation of Israel. They may be valid today but the punishments listed with them might not apply to us.

Ceremonial laws were for the worship of the nation of Israel and are not binding on us. These include the animal sacrifices, which pointed to Christ the ultimate sacrifice.

That said, I have never seen a reliable method for sorting the 613 laws into these three categories without resorting to arbitrary divisions, so this may be merely an intellectual exercise with no practical application.

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