Gaebelein's Annotated Bible
And the LORD spake unto Moses, saying,V. PRACTICAL HOLINESS IN DAILY LIFE
1. Different Unholy Relationships
1. Separation and obedience (Leviticus 18:1-5)
2. Unholy relationships (Leviticus 18:6-18)
3. Vile and abominable practices (Leviticus 18:19-23)
4. Judgment threatened (Leviticus 18:24-30)
This section of Leviticus contains the words of Jehovah addressed to His people, whom He had redeemed and in whose midst He dwelt. They are to be a holy people. About thirty times in this section we find the solemn word “I am Jehovah. Ye shall be holy: for I, Jehovah your God, am holy.” This is Jehovah’s calling for His people. Four times in the beginning of this chapter the Lord tells His people “I am Jehovah” (verses 2, 4, 5 and 6). His name was upon them and therefore they are to manifest holiness in their life and walk. This demand and principle is unchanged in the New Testament, in the covenant of grace. His people are exhorted to walk “as obedient children, not fashioning yourselves according to the former lusts in your ignorance, but as He, who hath called you is holy, so be ye holy in all manner of conversation, because it is written, Be ye holy for I am holy” (1Peter 1:14-16). Brought nigh by blood, knowing the blessed relationship into which Grace of God has brought us, our solemn duty is to present our bodies a living sacrifice, holy and acceptable unto God. The Spirit of God, the Spirit of holiness and power, is bestowed upon us that we can walk in the Spirit and fulfill not the lusts of the flesh. Israel was not to walk after the doings of the land of Egypt which they had left, nor after the doings of the land of Canaan whither they were going. And the church is told the same thing in the New Testament. “This I say therefore, and testify in the Lord, that ye henceforth walk not as other Gentiles walk, in the vanity of their mind, having the understanding darkened, being alienated from the life of God through the ignorance that is in them, because of the blindness of their heart; who being past feeling have given themselves over unto lasciviousness, to work all uncleanness through greediness” (Ephesians 4:17-19).
And Jehovah’s words reveal all the degradations and vile abominations human nature, the nature of sin and death, is capable of. He is the searcher of hearts and Jehovah only can sound the depths of the desperately wicked heart of man. The incestuous relationships against which the Lord warns were commonly practised among the Gentiles. These unholy impure things are still common in the world, not alone among the heathen, but also in the so-called civilized world. The laxity of the marriage laws, divorces and other evils in the same line are the curse of our age. Polygamy is forbidden in verse 18. All that would destroy the sanctity of the family and bring in abuse is solemnly warned against and forbidden. In the New Testament the Spirit of God emphasizes the absolute purity of the family relation and how the Christian family is to be a witness of the holiness and love of Jehovah to make known the mystery of Christ and the church (Ephesians 5:22-32).
Molech worship is forbidden. Read 1Kings 5:7; 2Kings 23:10; Jeremiah 32:35; Jeremiah 7:31; Jeremiah 19:5). The awful worship of Molech is described in these passages. The most unnatural crimes and vile things mentioned in verses 22-23 were connected with the idolatries of the nations which surrounded Israel. These things were practised in Egypt and in Canaan. Romans 1:18-32 gives the inspired history of the degradation of the Gentile world. Idolatry and moral degradation always go together. The fearful road of the apostasy in Christendom is no exception. Rejection of God’s revelation leads into idolatry (not necessarily idols of wood and stone) and moral declension. The days of Lot, the grossest licentiousness of Sodom, are predicted to precede the coming of the Son of man (Luke 17:26-32).
A solemn warning concludes this chapter. The inhabitants of Canaan were to be cast out on account of their vileness. Jehovah would not spare His people if they practised these things. They did commit all this wickedness. Israel cast out of the land, the homeless wanderer bears witness to the fulfillment of this solemn warning.