Leviticus Chapter 18

The Law of Moses was given to the Israelites when they had recently been led from the land of Egypt. The children of Israel had been living amongst the Egyptians for somewhere around 400 years, which is plenty of time to get used to the customs there. While, they may not have lived lifestyles exactly as the Egyptians did, I am sure there was a need for them to know what things were not acceptable to the Lord that other people in the world were treating as more common. The Lord commanded them that they were not to worship other gods as the Egyptians did, or as was done when they lived among the Egyptians. They were also not to make idols among other things. This chapter of Leviticus goes into further details regarding those things that are forbidden by the Lord for His people. This chapter begins as follows:

1 And the Lord spake unto Moses, saying,
2 Speak unto the children of Israel, and say unto them, I am the Lord your God.
3 After the doings of the land of Egypt, wherein ye dwelt, shall ye not do: and after the doings of the land of Canaan, whither I bring you, shall ye not do: neither shall ye walk in their ordinances.
4 Ye shall do my judgments, and keep mine ordinances, to walk therein: I am the Lord your God.
5 Ye shall therefore keep my statutes, and my judgments: which if a man do, he shall live in them: I am the Lord.

There was no other people on the earth, who were the covenant people of God. Their covenants required them to live to the higher standard and therefore, they could not live as they had when they were with the Egyptians or as the people of Canaan lived. The people of the world were walking in darkness, and the Israelites were called to walk in the light of the Lord. When we make covenants with the Lord today, we also have to learn how to live in the world, but not of the world. There is far too much wickedness and darkness around us, and we must not allow the ways of men to cloud our judgment. The Lord gives us the laws to follow today, just as he gave the laws to the Israelites. The wonderful part of it all is, even though we are human and err often, as long as we are willing to return to him and walk in His ways, we will be blessed with eternal life.

6 None of you shall approach to any that is near of kin to him, to uncover their nakedness: I am the Lord.
7 The nakedness of thy father, or the nakedness of thy mother, shalt thou not uncover: she is thy mother; thou shalt not uncover her nakedness.
8 The nakedness of thy father’s wife shalt thou not uncover: it is thy father’s nakedness.
9 The nakedness of thy sister, the daughter of thy father, or daughter of thy mother, whether she be born at home, or born abroad, even their nakedness thou shalt not uncover.
10 The nakedness of thy son’s daughter, or of thy daughter’s daughter, even their nakedness thou shalt not uncover: for theirs is thine own nakedness.
11 The nakedness of thy father’s wife’s daughter, begotten of thy father, she is thy sister, thou shalt not uncover her nakedness.
12 Thou shalt not uncover the nakedness of thy father’s sister: she is thy father’s near kinswoman.
13 Thou shalt not uncover the nakedness of thy mother’s sister: for she is thy mother’s near kinswoman.
14 Thou shalt not uncover the nakedness of thy father’s brother, thou shalt not approach to his wife: she is thine aunt.
15 Thou shalt not uncover the nakedness of thy daughter in law: she is thy son’s wife; thou shalt not uncover her nakedness.
16 Thou shalt not uncover the nakedness of thy brother’s wife: it is thy brother’s nakedness.
17 Thou shalt not uncover the nakedness of a woman and her daughter, neither shalt thou take her son’s daughter, or her daughter’s daughter, to uncover her nakedness; for they are her near kinswomen: it is wickedness.
18 Neither shalt thou take a wife to her sister, to vex her, to uncover her nakedness, beside the other in her life time.

The Israelites were commanded not to be intimate with their family members. These included their father, mother, step-mother, sister, step-sister, half-sister, granddaughter, aunt (by blood or marriage), uncle, daughter-in-law, sister-in-law and so on. They were not to be intimate with two women who were mother and daughter. They were also not to marry their sister-in-law, to be intimate with her in order to frustrate their own wives during their lifetime. These things were forbidden and seen as wickedness to the Lord. As far as I am aware, there is nothing in this law that has been changed for the people of the Lord in our day.

19 Also thou shalt not approach unto a woman to uncover her nakedness, as long as she is put apart for her uncleanness.
20 Moreover thou shalt not lie carnally with thy neighbour’s wife, to defile thyself with her.
21 And thou shalt not let any of thy seed pass through the fire to Molech, neither shalt thou profane the name of thy God: I am the Lord.
22 Thou shalt not lie with mankind, as with womankind: it is abomination.
23 Neither shalt thou lie with any beast to defile thyself therewith: neither shall any woman stand before a beast to lie down thereto: it is confusion.

They were not to be intimate with a woman while she was unclean, probably referring to an issue of blood. Committing adultery with another’s spouse, was forbidden. To sacrifice children in the ways of men, was also forbidden. People in their time made sacrifices to God of their seed, and the Lord who is the God of Israel, commanded them that they were not to do this to Him. In addition, they were forbidden to take the Lord’s name in vain. I think that this also means, they were not to swear to God in vain. Men were not to be physically intimate with other men as they were with women. I think that likewise, the women were not to be intimate with other women as they were with men. Moreover, no man was to be physical with any animals. Homosexuality and bestiality are perversions of the way humankind was designed by God. As the Lord taught them here, it is confusion. The bodies and spirits of God’s children are confused and frustrated from their eternal purposes, when they adopt these kinds of behaviors.

24 Defile not ye yourselves in any of these things: for in all these the nations are defiled which I cast out before you:
25 And the land is defiled: therefore I do visit the iniquity thereof upon it, and the land itself vomiteth out her inhabitants.
26 Ye shall therefore keep my statutes and my judgments, and shall not commit any of these abominations; neither any of your own nation, nor any stranger that sojourneth among you:
27 (For all these abominations have the men of the land done, which were before you, and the land is defiled;)
28 That the land spue not you out also, when ye defile it, as it spued out the nations that were before you.
29 For whosoever shall commit any of these abominations, even the souls that commit them shall be cut off from among their people.
30 Therefore shall ye keep mine ordinance, that ye commit not any one of these abominable customs, which were committed before you, and that ye defile not yourselves therein: I am the Lord your God.

The Lord had promised that he would drive out the nations which were in the land of promise and prepare a place for His people there. These acts of abomination were being committed by these other nations, which the Lord would soon cast out. They were the traditions of their fathers for many generations. If these acts were committed within the Israelite camp, it would defile the people and the land there. They were to be an obedient, virtuous, and holy people. If they wanted to obtain and retain the promised land, they had to follow these commandments. Their holiness to the Lord, was the key to his spirit and presence among them, which he had promised. Any who did these unholy things would be cut off from the people and from the Lord.

Likewise, we have been given commandments to remain a virtuous and holy people as well. In order to do this, we must also live to the higher standard. There are laws regarding our intimate relationships, which are mocked and skewed at every turn today. The law that adultery is forbidden remains a law of God. Homosexuality is still a sin today, even though it has become acceptable behavior to the world. The same goes for bestiality of any kind. The laws of sacrifice are laid out for us by the Savior himself, who fulfilled the law by his own sacrifice for mankind. To sacrifice any child, at any age of growth, is still forbidden. Likewise, we are commanded not to take the name of the Lord in vain. We all have agency and the right to choose for ourselves, but the law of God remains the same and unchanged, even though the world changes. Anyone, who wishes to follow Christ, and be a covenant child of God today, must abide by his law. When wrongs are done, repentance is made possible through that great atoning sacrifice of the Savior. Our own promised land of the Celestial Kingdom, salvation and exaltation will be the blessing to those who live worthy of those promises.

For more information on what the Lord expects of His covenant people today, read The Family: A Proclamation to the World.


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I am a member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints. I love the scriptures, but I am not a scriptorian. I've been told that I'm too "deep" for some, but if you are willing, I'd love to have others join me in my quest for a greater understanding of the gospel. Please feel free to leave me comments and hopefully we can help each other to learn.


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