Finding Jesus as the Lawgiver (Leviticus)

Can Jesus Christ be found in the book of Leviticus? Find out with guest Stan Lee on television’s “Christ in Prophecy”!

Air Date: November 21, 2021

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Key Verse Commentary

JOT Study Sheet

To many Christians, Leviticus seems dull and full of Law superseded by Christ. But overlooking the third book of the Torah would be a mistake.

In it, God demonstrates the painstaking process for approaching His unfathomable holiness. He shows His own desire to dwell in and among His people. And, He offers a warning to all who would treat Him with callous disrespect—even those called to serve Him.

The book derives its name from its focus on the role of the Levites. But it conveys the ordinances for cleanliness, worship, and relationship given to the Children of Israel by the great Lawgiver Himself.

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JOT 8 – Leviticus A – God as Lawgiver

Key Verse: Leviticus 10:3 Then Moses said to Aaron, “It is what the LORD spoke, saying, ‘By all who come near Me I will be treated as holy, and before all the people I will be honored.'”

Explanation: There is a tendency for modern man to succumb to the age-old fallacy of elevating ourselves to godlike status. But even more insidious is the inclination to diminish God to our level. “Me and God” is the mantra of some, as if the two should ever be listed as co-equals. Others relegate him to mere co-pilot status (the subservient position when two pilots are at the controls).

The clear teaching of Leviticus is that dwelling in the divine Presence of God was so wonderful—yet so perilous—that the Israelites themselves wondered at times what power was in their midst. The intersection of the holy and the profane (God and Man) could only be achieved and maintained by careful obedience to God’s specified ordinances. Nadab and Abihu found out the hard way that even offering “strange fire” before the living God led to quick condemnation and death.

The first lesson from Leviticus is that God is so holy—so set apart—from Man that we can only consider ourselves fortunate and blessed that He pursues a relationship with us. Indeed, we cannot rise to Him; He must come down to us. And so He did—in the garden of Eden (Genesis 3:8), by the oaks of Mamre (Genesis 18:1-2), on Mount Sinai (Exodus 24:9-17), in the tent of meeting (Leviticus 1:1), and in Bethlehem in Judea (Luke 2:4-7).

The second lesson is that only by following His plan can we approach Him. In the Old Testament that was through faithful obedience to the Law. But it soon became obvious that no one can achieve the level of perfection necessary to remain in ongoing proximity to God. Even Moses failed, and David had to ask, “O LORD, who may abide in Your tent? Who may dwell on Your holy hill?” (Psalm 15:1). And, “Who may ascend onto the hill of the LORD? And who may stand in His holy place?” (Psalm 24:3).

David answers his own questions and sets an impossibly high bar when He says, “He who walks with integrity and works righteousness, and speaks truth in his heart,” and “He who has clean hands and a pure heart” (Psalm 15:2 and 24:4). But, as Isaiah recognized, all our righteous deeds are as “filthy rags” (Isaiah 64:6). What hope can we have?

Thanks be to God, we know that Jesus offers us “the way, the truth, and the life.” He said, “No one comes to the Father but through Me” (John 14:6). His finished work on the cross tore the veil separating us from God (Matthew 27:51). So, in the fullness of time the Lawgiver came not to abolish the Law but to fulfill it (Matthew 5:17).

We can give thanks that we have such a Savior, and praise Him even as the world rejects and scorns Him. Soon and very soon, though, Scripture says every knee will bow and every tongue will confess “that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father” (Philippians 2:9-11). Then, finally, before all the people He will be honored.

Transcript

Nathan Jones: Welcome to Christ in Prophecy! I’m Nathan Jones, the Internet Evangelist here at Lamb & Lion Ministries.

Tim Moore: And I’m Tim Moore, the Senior Evangelist at Lamb & Lion. So far in our “Jesus in the Old Testament” series, we’ve been in Genesis and Exodus. Those books are marked by sweeping narratives and colorful characters. They offer many stories that can be broken out to teach our children—from Adam and Eve to Noah and the Flood to Joseph and his coat of many colors, to Moses leading the children of Israel through the Red Sea.

Nathan Jones: But when people get to the book of Leviticus they usually bog down. And without a compelling narrative, it seems dry and irrelevant to Christians today. But the third book of the Torah, which was handed down by God and recorded by Moses about 3,400 years ago, offers us important insights into the person and purpose of God.

Tim Moore: We trust that God’s Word is living and true—from beginning to end. So, there must be a reason why He included this book of Law in the Holy Canon. To that end, I traveled to Lexington, Kentucky, to sit down with a close friend.

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Part 1- Interview with Stan Lee in Kentucky

Tim Moore: Our guest today is an expert on the Law—not the 613 laws that observant Jews follow even to this day. But an expert on the Law as it is applied at least in the United States.

Stan Lee is a lawyer from Lexington, Kentucky. And not only that, he is a person who served in the legislature here in Kentucky for over 20 years. So, he is an expert in the Law, and he was an outspoken voice of Christian values, a strong advocate for life, and my own dear friend and mentor. Stan I got to tell you I’m delighted to have you on the program, and I appreciate you joining me on this episode of Christ in Prophecy.

Stan Lee: Well, Tim, thank you for allowing me to be here, and share a little bit in the ministry your engaged in now. We’ve known and followed Lamb & Lion for years, supported it, and want to continue to do so. And I’m just thrilled to death to be here and participate.

Tim Moore: Well, one of the things I learned, Stan when I was doing a little research even on you, and I don’t think I recollected this from your time in the legislature, but you’re actually first name is Joseph. You know I could have had you on a few weeks ago when we focused on that biblical exemplar, but we didn’t do that. Instead, I knew I wanted to talk to you about the Law. So, today our focus is on the book of Law, Leviticus, and you actually determined early in your life to pursue a career in the Law. So, what motivated you to follow in the footsteps of another famous Kentuckian Abraham Lincoln?

Stan Lee: You mean other than my striking resemblance?

Tim Moore: Well, I didn’t say that, but yes, of course.

Stan Lee: No, I always wanted to engage and advocate for underdogs, and really to fight for people, and the Law is a natural place to do that. It a natural arena to be involved to help people. And then later, of course, politics, and the legislature, which is just an extension of that.

Tim Moore: Well, clearly. And sort of like, me in your late 30’s you felt motivated to run for elected office. And so, I am curious what motivated you, and you already mentioned to advocate for the underdog. But what else motivated you to pursue, at least a season of life serving in the Kentucky Legislature, and what was your goal when you went to Frankfort, our state capital, and served all those many years?

Stan Lee: Well, one of the primary reasons is the Life issues, and I think we’ll touch on that a little bit later. But that has always been a very important issue for me; protecting unborn children. It seems like a no-brainer to a rational and sane person.

But the other reason, which involved to become the primary reason to stay, and fight is the attacks on religious liberty, and religious freedom that have become so pervasive. I saw that as a threat, not only to our country, but a threat to Christians as a whole. I mean what is going on in my view is a systematic effort, as you know, to try to get God out of everything. And I believe that was wrong, and that we needed to fight against that, and fight for biblical views, Christian views because I believe our country, and I don’t think there is any doubt about it, was founded as a Christian nation, that is embodied in our founding documents, and other places, as we’ll probably talk about. But those are the reasons why I ran and continue to serve for so many years.

Tim Moore: Well, Stan you really bring a unique perspective, and this is why I wanted to have you on this program, because you are not only a convictional Christian who has practiced Law, but you’ve actually been a position to enact laws in this state and be part of the American Jurisprudence system. And once upon a time our system of laws was just that, it was jurisprudence, it was a prudent or sensible approach to applying the Law. And, I would dare say that at one point our founders understood that our laws came from, what I will call a natural law kind of basis. Obviously, our government was modeled somewhat after Rome, and other republics, but our founders considered the Bible as the absolute and obvious foundation upon which to build our system of laws. Would you agree?

Stan Lee: I would agree. And I would further remind people that there is so much evidence of that in the founding of our country, and in the evolution of our country, and our laws. Our Constitution, our form of government was drafted by our founders, and it was John Adams that said, “Our Constitution was made for a religious and moral people. It’s unsuitable for any other kind of people.” And that comes from God. I believe our founders were Christians, and therefore it was from God, the Ultimate Authority, that our Constitution, the ultimate legal authority on this earth, or at least in this country was formed.

And then it is from that Constitution that we get our other laws, or statutes, and then case law, and so, and so forth. So, I don’t think there is any doubt about it, there is no real series argument that Christianity, the God of the Bible is the basis for all of the laws. We can go into courts now and you can see, and government, in the legislative sessions where we still open them in prayer, thank God, for that. There is a reason for that, we are asking for the blessing of the Lord over the legislative process, because we know in Romans 13, God ordained government. And in our country the government is not supposed to the leaders in Frankfort, or Washington, the government really is the people, of the people, for the people, and by the people, that’s not just a fancy phrase, it’s not just a cliché, that’s our country. And as long as we preserve that, we’ll preserve liberty, particularly religious liberty. Again, enshrined in our Constitution and the Bill of Rights.

Tim Moore: Certainly, it is. We often cite, and I have the Chief Justice of the Supreme Court, Earl Warren who was not always conservative, but in the mid-50’s gave an interview in “Time Magazine” where he said, “This country was founded on Christian principles, and on the Good Book.” And so, he referenced the Bible, and he said, “As long as we honor those principles, I believe no great harm will come to us.” And you can’t imagine a Supreme Court Justice saying that today in a national magazine, let alone it being tolerated by many in our country.

But you and I served at the state level, and a lot of Americans today lament what they would consider the “swamp” of politics at all levels, but especially in Washington, and yet, as we’ve discussed the founders really enshrined Judeo-Christian values and principles in all of our founding documents, in our system of government itself, at every level. And that is engraved throughout Washington even at the state level. You can go to the United States Supreme Court and see Moses carved on the phrase outside the court itself holding the Ten Commandments. You can go to our legislature here in Kentucky, and we have “In God we Trust,” right above the speaker’s dais. And so, what other examples could you cite that point to the fact that our own country, at every level, is founded upon these Judeo-Christian principles?

Stan Lee: Well, a couple just examples at least in our country, we still celebrate, and still recognize as national, federal, and state holidays Christmas and Easter. The two most important Christian holidays. And we still do that. And hopefully we still will despite the efforts to rename those and try to minimize those.

But I think what might be as good as an example as any is the court system in America, which is based on you getting a decision, and if you disagree with the decision you appeal to a higher court, a higher authority. And if you don’t like the decision from that first appellate level, then you’ve got another appellate level you can go to, still in higher authority. And if you don’t like that then you can still appeal to a higher level even then. Then when you get to the highest level, that is the United States Supreme Court. That is emblematic in my view that there is a Higher Authority, and I think our court system is just reflective of that, is at the highest authority is God. And God was kind enough, wise enough, obviously to give us His Word. And we can see it there. So, I think our court system, and I know people, and some will disagree with that, but I think it is emblematic of the higher authority of God. And in this country in particular there is no dispute about it.

Tim Moore: Well, I agree completely, obviously, that’s what motivated me to serve. You know at one time Western civilization had an awareness of what I referred to already as natural law. And we understood that a natural law would require a Lawgiver, in other words, a higher authority a source other than mere lawmakers, like us when we served in the legislature. And the unchallenged consensus in this country was that it was the God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, later revealed in the person of Jesus Christ who was the Great Lawgiver.

Stan Lee: Right. Well, and as I think it says in Matthew, Jesus said, “He didn’t come to abolish the Law, He came to fulfill the Law.” And I think that some people forget that. But I think Jesus as the lawgiver helped defined and helped that concept to be involved a little bit more. For example, when Christ said, “You know you’ve heard it said, ‘Don’t commit adultery'” But then He tells you, “If you look at a lady and lust after her you’ve already committed adultery.”

And I think what Christ is saying there is that these laws, these rules were not put in place, were not handed down from on high simply to be traps or snares to enslave people, but to show you how to live, to have a life that is full. To live a life as full as you can. If you live within the Christian perimeters that God has clearly set out, you’re not going to have the stress that you would otherwise have. You’re really able to live more free. You really are able to live more free. And with that freedom comes a peace that is one of the most important things you can have on this earth, and you can only find that peace through God, through Jesus.

Tim Moore: Amen to that. Well, you know at one time, again as a society recognized and reflected those truths and yet, how far we’ve come, or perhaps how far we have fallen in this nation. Just as an example today many states are embracing laws that encourage the calloused destruction of unborn human life, something that you and I find abhorrent. And you were on the frontlines, we were in the trenches together in Frankfort fighting for laws that would defend innocent life, and we finally passed some of those that would protect unborn life at least here in Kentucky. What is the status from a legal perspective of some of those laws as it relates to going forward to the Supreme Court, because they are always challenged by those on the Left who want to embrace abortion.

Stan Lee: Sure. And I’ll give you a good example, and I’ll try to be as brief with it as I can. In 2018 when you and I were still serving together we passed House Bill 454, Addia Wuchner was the primary sponsor of that. You and I and Joe Fischer and some others co-sponsored that legislation. And this was a bill to basically prohibit abortion after 11 weeks of gestation, but more importantly, or more specifically to prohibit the dismemberment and evacuation procedure. Which is really hard to even discuss, because if you did that to a live animal you would be vilified and tarred and feathered and drugged out to the street by so many people, but they were doing this to unborn babies. That bill passed overwhelmingly in the House, and the Senate, it was signed into law by the governor, and then it was immediately challenged at the District Court level, was declared unconstitutional. Then it went to the Sixth Circuit where our new governor decided he was not going to defend the law anymore. So, our new Attorney General Daniel Cameron decided that he wanted to step in and defend the law. Which is what our Attorney General should be doing.

Tim Moore: Of course.

Stan Lee: So, in any event they sought a writ of certiorari with the US Supreme Court, and they accepted it. And they just had arguments within the last 30 days on that issue before the United States Supreme Court. And based on the argument, and comments of the justices it appears pretty clear that they are going to side with the Attorney General, allow his intervention into that. And hopefully he’ll be able to continue to defend that law. But again, the point is that you pass laws like this, the people support it wholeheartedly, overwhelmingly and then you have a District Court judge appointed for life, and really has no accountability to anyone, throwing out a law like that. And then for them to say, the Attorney General can’t defend it. It’s outrageous. But I think we know where that comes from.

Tim Moore: You know, Stan anyone whose watched a courtroom drama on TV, or the movies knows that a witness must swear to tell the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth, and often they lay their hand on a Bible as they swear that oath. Why has that been the practice in an American courtroom? And what does that signify?

Stan Lee: Well, the significance of it is that, again, this goes back to the founding of our country, as a Christian country, it is a Christian country. We were founded as a Christian country, to be tolerant of other people’s faiths and beliefs is certainly, but we were founded as a Christian nation. And because of that founding the Ultimate Authority has always been seen in our country, and is embodied in the court system, I believe. And by this act as well. That when you take an oath, when you swear an oath on the Bible you are swearing an oath to God that you will tell the truth. That’s an oath you don’t want to break, the Bible is pretty clear about that, and there are bad consequences if you were to break an oath like that. If you tell untruths under oath that is called perjury, that’s a crime. But breaking your oath to God is even seen as a worse thing to do, so to speak. So, yeah, that is further evidence–

Tim Moore: Of that Higher Authority.

Stan Lee: Of the Higher Authority, not a higher authority, the highest authority in my opinion.

Tim Moore: Yes, well, obviously so. As America continues down a path to moral revolution what do you see as the next wave of laws that the progressive left, the radical left will tend to advocate?

Stan Lee: One, I think they’re going to try to do away with homeschooling. They have been fighting against that for years. They don’t want parents to be able to teach their own children. They want to take our children and indoctrinate them.

Tim Moore: We saw that even in the race in Virginia for governor.

We just saw how that played out.

Tim Moore: Yes, we did.

Stan Lee: And the parents pushed back. I was so encouraged by that. But the other thing they’re going to do is they are going to use health as a means to try to ultimately restrict Christians. I mean that is what is going on. And it doesn’t take a historian to see the parallels with what the Nazis did in Germany. They used health as a reason to first identify Jews. They used health then as a reason to segregate the Jews. And then they used health because they considered Jewish people to be dirty, disease filled people. Then they used health as a reason to start rounding them up and exterminating them. And what has gone on in the past year in this country, they’ve used health as a reason to close churches, to tell people they can’t get together and worship. We had a governor in our state who closed churches, who sent the police to take down license plate numbers of people who were wanting to worship. They put nails down at the entrance of churches to try to keep people from going to church. That’s what our governor did, in this state, and all under the guise of healthcare. So, that is going to be the modus operandi I think that they are going to try to employ, to ultimately try to shut down Christianity. But I’m here to tell you it’s not going to work because God is bigger, God is greater, and we are going to prevail. God will prevail. I have no doubt about that.

Tim Moore: Well, we know He wins in the end, that’s the whole message of scripture in Revelation. Speaking of which Jesus said, “That He came to fulfill the Law, not to abolish it.” So, on a personal note describe your relationship with the One who fulfilled the Law of God.

Stan Lee: Well, I think I touched on it a little bit earlier. When I was saved, when I came to Christ I was able for the first time in my life to have a peace. I grew up with a bit of anger about this and that, and whatnot, and anger at some injustices and that sort of thing. I didn’t really know how to deal with that until I came to the Lord. And through Jesus, you can be forgiven of sins, of shortcomings, and have your sins forgiven and forgotten. And to have someone else to help carry the burden, and carry, not help, but carried the entire burden gives you a peace. I’ll give you an example, any success that I have had in my career has been because of God, it has been because of Jesus Christ. God has brought me any measure of success I’ve had, which is great. And if something hasn’t gone my way, then there was a reason for that. God has a reason for that. And sometimes you can’t immediately see that, but I’m old enough now, years later, I can see where He’s taken me in different directions, and that has given me a peace, and it’s a peace I never would have had. And again, the longer I live the more important it is for me, and I think for other believers, is to be able to have that peace. And it’s a peace that transcends any earthly understanding, and you can only have that from Jesus.

Tim Moore: When obviously Paul wrote about how we cannot fulfill the Law and so we fall short of the glory of God. But Christ not only did fulfill the Law, but He offers us a remission for sins when we do fall short. I can tell you, Stan I am personally grateful for your dedication to upholding truth and preserving justice. And as I’ve said already, we’ve been in the trenches together, and I know we both look forward to the coming of the King of kings, and the reign of the Prince of Peace on Mount Zion when He floods the earth with not only peace and holiness, but also justice. Stan, thank you very much for participating with us today on this episode of “Christ in Prophecy.”

Stan Lee: Tim, I enjoyed it. Thank you. And God bless you for your ministry.

Part 2- How Then Shall We Live? A Tale of the Christ

Tim Moore: While I was in the Kentucky legislature, I grew to have a love-hate relationship with the Law. I swore an oath to protect and defend the US Constitution—just as I had done when I entered the Air Force. But as I watched the process by which laws are enacted, I realized there had to be a better way.

Scripture tells us that God handed down laws to allow His people to be in relationship with Him and each other. Faithfully heeding those laws led to what we call human flourishing, while disregarding them led to disappointment and eventual destruction.

We know that Jesus came not to replace the Law, but to fulfill it. And, based on revelations given to Peter and Paul and the other writers of the New Testament, we know that we no longer have to abide by all the detailed laws and ordinances regarding kosher foods and cleanliness. In fact, when Gentiles began to be added to the body of Christ, the early church fathers determined that only a few laws needed to be applied to Jew and Gentile alike. So much for the argument that we have to attempt to honor the dietary and hygienic laws of the Old Testament.

For just a moment, though, I want to highlight a specific Christian lawyer. I know, the joke would suggest that it is a contradiction of terms, like military intelligence or honest politician. But God has called men and women from every walk of life to follow Him—from fishermen and tax collectors to pilots and politicians to lawyers. Stan Lee proved that today.

One of my own American heroes was a Union General who served during the Civil War. Amazingly, he was tasked with defending Cincinnati at one point, and in less than 48 hours he had overseen the construction of a pontoon bridge across the Ohio River. I’d challenge anyone to do that today.

Following the war, he returned to practicing law. But his faith in Christ compelled him to take on a sweeping project. He decided to approach the account of Jesus and His resurrection as if he were examining a legal case. The result was a work of historical fiction that conveyed the beautiful truth of Jesus’ life and resurrection—and His power to change lives. You know his story as “Ben Hur—A Tale of the Christ.”

Lew Wallace was the American lawyer, Union general, and gifted author who penned this story. His fame was so widespread that Indiana chose him as one of their two exemplars to be honored in the US Capitol’s National Statuary Hall.

How does this apply to you? No matter what your profession or calling, you can be used of God to bring glory to Him. Foremost among the opportunities presented to you is the commandment to share the Gospel. You have your very own tale of the Christ. Communicate with everyone you can how He has impacted your life, and why you are looking forward to His soon return.

Part 3

Nathan Jones: Tim, I sure loved the example of the lawyer you gave us, Lew Wallace. I also love the Charlton Heston movie. I think that Ben Hur has some of the best chariot races in all the movies out there.

Tim Moore: You’re exactly right. And Lew Wallace did an incredible amount of research and wove a lot of historical facts into his novel. As a matter of fact, because it culminates with Ben Hur’s life-changing encounter with Jesus Christ—it qualifies as a work of historical fiction. Although, I would warn our viewers, that the original book has sentences that run entire paragraphs and pages long.

Nathan Jones: Not too much different than the Apostle Paul.

Tim Moore: Not at all.

Nathan Jones: Well, in the novel and the movie, Ben Hur experienced the injustice of life, and like Job, he fell from blessing into abject suffering. And like Joseph he was adopted into a foreign culture and was restored to a position of honor. But he was spiritually empty and full of bitterness.

Tim Moore: Then Jesus touched that literary character just like He touched real historical figures—transforming his life. Ben Hur’s bitterness evaporated, and he became a new creature full of joy and love.

Ben Hur was crushed under the inherent injustice of Roman Law. We often chafe at the frustration of bureaucratic and unjust laws even in America. But when Jesus comes to dwell among us, He will rule with a rod of iron and there will be no more legislatures or laws enacted by the whim of man. Abominations like abortion will cease.

Nathan Jones: Oh, thank God. You don’t have to wait for that glorious day for Christ to reign in your heart. Well, our Key Verse for today, Leviticus 10:3 says, “By all who come near Me I will be treated as holy.”

Tim Moore: The rest of that verse says, “before all the people I will be honored.” Someday every knee will bow, and every tongue will confess that Jesus is Lord. Don’t wait to make Him Lord of your life. Ask Him to dwell in your heart today and every day of the year.

Nathan Jones: And on that note, we’d like to offer you a copy of our 2022 Calendar, filled with wonderful artwork by a gifted Israeli artist. For a donation of $10 or more, including shipping, we’ll be glad to send you this beautiful resource that will leave you praising our great God and Savior every day of every month. The cover alone portrays Jesus as the Lion of Judah, representing Him as our soon-returning King. We know this calendar would be a blessing to you.

Well, next week, we’ll consider one more wonderful truth conveyed in the book of Leviticus. Until then, this is Nathan Jones.

Tim Moore: And Tim Moore saying, “Look up, be watchful, for our Holy Lawgiver is drawing near. Godspeed!

End of Program