God’s Purposes In The Old Testament – With Rabbi Daniel Lapin: How do we know which directives in Leviticus to obey and which are no longer applicable? Are there any permanent principles of ancient Jewish wisdom? Are there important blueprints written in the Bible? What is God’s purpose of His message to mankind. How does hair contribute to the stability of a society? What is one of the greatest threats to a long-term durable society? Does the moral law of God change over time? Tune in to hear Rabbi Daniel Lapin answer some tricky questions with surprising answers!
Air Date: 05/05/2021
Guest: Rabbi Lapin
On-air Personalities: David Barton, Rick Green, and Tim Barton
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Faith and the Culture
This is the intersection of faith and the culture. Thanks for joining us today here on WallBuilders Live, where we talk about the hot topics of the day. Everything from the policy, faith, the culture, all these different things that are happening around you, on all of those things we should have the perspective of what does the Bible say about it, what’s the Constitution say about it, what can we learn from history? That’s what we do here at WallBuilders.
So check out our website, wallbuilderslive.com, where you can get archives the program from the last few weeks. And it’s also a great place to make a one-time or monthly contribution so that we can continue to speak this truth, and encourage people to have courage and go out and speak that truth as well.
We’re here with David Barton, America’s premier historian and our founder at WallBuilders, and Tim Barton, national speaker and pastor and president of WallBuilders, and my name is Rick Green, I’m a former Texas legislator. David, Tim, you know, a lot of people ask, what can I do, what can I do?
I see problems in the culture. I see where the nation’s headed. But I just don’t know what to do. Well, part of what we give people the opportunity to do is come alongside us here at WallBuilders, both in sharing the information so they can be a force multiplier in that way, but also, when helping to fuel the machine, make that donation that gives us the ability to reach more people with these things. So that’s two easy ways that folks can be a part of the solution.
Yeah, one of the things that we know from culture in general is people are looking for truth, they’re desperate for truth. And unfortunately, truth is a little harder to find in culture than it used to be. And this is something that as hopefully people are listening to WallBuilders, you’re encouraged, you’re informed, you’re educated, inspired to go make a difference.
You can have a part in helping more people get that information where not only are you equipped with answers and truth to go and share with your friends and your loved ones, but you can help make WallBuilders even have a bigger megaphone to reach more people. And certainly lots of ways you can do that, sharing programs, but also just donating online wallbuilderslive.com, where you can donate and be part of the process of helping us reach more people.
Well, and one of the important things we do when we reach people is we bring great interviews on the program to address some of these, sometimes difficult issues of the day. And we had a question from the audience. And actually, the person that asked the question even said, you know, you ought to have Rabbi Lapin back on to help answer this question.
So we have Rabbi Lapin on a lot for that very reason. His website, youneedarabbi.com, and we all need a rabbi. Don’t we?
We do. There’s a lot of things that even consistently throughout this year, guys, we’ve talked about the Bible on many occasions. Some of the things that have stood out to us from Revelations or from Romans, or John, and there’s a lot of things. Like even this year, we’ve talked about several verses that we have seen in a new way this year that we hadn’t seen before.
Well, when it comes to the Torah, when it comes to things in the Old Testament, there’s a lot of things and understanding the Jewish culture, the Jewish people, the Hebrew traditions, that if you don’t have some basic knowledge of some of those things, there’s a lot of context lost along the way.
And over the years, we can’t even guess how many times, actually several times this year we have emailed Rabbi Lapin and said rabbi, what is your take on this verse? How would you interpret it? And he sends back this great couple of paragraphs and we go oh, well, that makes total sense the way he explained it.
So even guys, for us, we still need a rabbi at times to help explain biblical truth that isn’t always as readily available. And that’s why it’s great having someone like Rabbi Lapin who can come on and explain some great biblical truth that we would want to know; we just sometimes need help in getting that understanding.
Rabbi Daniel Lapin with us today when we come back from the break. Stay with us, you’re listening to WallBuilders Live.
A Moment from AMERICAN HISTORY
This is David Barton with another moment from America’s history. At the time of the American Revolution, numerous other nations also had revolutions, yet 200 years later, America is the only of those nations still under its original form of government. Is this just good luck? Not according to Founding Father Benjamin Rush.
He declared, “I do not believe that the Constitution was the offspring of inspiration. But I am as perfectly satisfied that it is as much the work of a divine providence as any of the miracles recorded in the Old and New Testament.” George Washington agreed.
In fact, he declared “I should be pained to believe that the United States have forgotten that divine interposition which was so often manifested during our revolution, or that they failed to consider the omnipotence of that God who is alone able to protect them.” Our founders acknowledged that our national success had come from God.
For more information on God’s hand in American history, contact WallBuilders at 1808REBUILD.
Welcome Rabbi Lapin
Welcome back to WallBuilders Live. Thanks for staying with us. Always good to have Rabbi Daniel Lapin with us. Rabbi, thanks so much for some time today.
Oh, it’s wonderful to have the chance to be with you again.
Well, you know how it is, every time we get a tough question around here that deals with the Torah, we go to Rabbi Lapin, because you know you need a rabbi, folks. Youneedarabbi.com is the website. So many great materials there from Rabbi Lapin and Rabbi Lapin stars in our new Constitution class called Biblical Citizenship in Modern America. So you got to check that out as well.
So rabbi, we had a great question. And it’s this whole thing about, okay, there’s some stuff there in Leviticus that we don’t do anymore. How do we pick and choose which things to obey and which things not to obey?
Yeah, it was Nina’s letter, and I thought it was absolutely terrific. I mean, what a really good question. So specifically, then, what she was talking about was, and she gave two specific examples. But…
in fact, Rabbi, why don’t I read her email real quick? It’s pretty short for it. ‘
Go for it. Yeah.
She said, “Love the program, so thankful for your teaching. I’m doing my read the Bible through in a year plan, and thank you for encouraging me to do so, started doing it about four years ago. I’m in Leviticus, and today’s reading is chapter 19, and 20. My question is, how do you discern what commands are applicable and which aren’t?
Questions from Leviticus
“For example, Chapter 19, verse 16, says, Do not stand idly by when your neighbor’s life is threatened; then chapter 19, verse 27, same chapter says, Do not trim off the hair on your temples or trim your beard. 19:16 is a great verse to use when speaking out why Christians should care about abortion. And I was going to share it on my Facebook page. But I can already hear naysayers saying oh, you’re picking and choosing what to obey. I would love to hear Rabbi Daniel Lapin his view on this. Thanks so much. Nina.”
Nina. You’re right. We want Rabbi Lapin response on this too. So, yeah, great specifics that she pulled out from that day’s reading.
Thank you, Nina. And, obviously, you could have picked many different examples. You’re doing limited because 19 and 20, but almost any part of Deuteronomy, Leviticus, much of Exodus.
You could easily find all kinds of rules and regulations and rituals. And you know, some of them are self-evident and others are strange. So let me give you, first of all, one of the most important permanent principles of ancient Jewish wisdom. And that is that every single letter of the Torah is relevant and important.
And that means that if we go back to Genesis chapter 5, which you’ll remember all that begat, you know, Adam, and Eve had a son called Seth and after that many years, Seth had a child, and then that child had a child. And so we got 10 generations from Adam to Noah listed in chapter 5. And most people think to themselves, you know what, all these begat, so I mean, you know, we can skip over the move right on.
And then the same thing happens in chapter 11 of Genesis, you’ve got all that begat from Noah to Abraham, another 10 generations. And again, each person’s name listed. And again, people make the fatal flaw of thinking that you either don’t really have to pay any attention to that.
But the reality is that all those begat verses I every bit as important as Leviticus 19:18, you shall love your neighbor like yourself. They’re all very relevant. So they just give you a 32nd overview.
Systems Hidden in the Bible
One of the things is that in the one list of begats, we find that some arithmetic he’s done for us, oddly enough, and says so and so live 500 years till he gave birth and then lived another 400 years, and then he died. And his total years were 932 years. You know, why can’t we just do the arithmetic ourselves? Well, I’ve done some teaching on that, and amazingly enough, it has to do with revealing the base 10 arithmetic system.
In other words, there are a lot of different ways of doing arithmetic. We happen to have 10 fingers that might have had something to do with base 10, but it also has to do with that section of chapter 5. Another thing in chapter 11 is that you may say, well, you know, surely, lots of people have been born and died, why only these? And we look at each name actually designate the kind of generation that we get. And this is the way in which history repeats itself.
Oddly enough, if we look at the 60s 1960s, the hippie generation, following on the heels of the great generation who fought and won World War II and built up an American economy that by 1960 was the envy of the world and then along after that, can be Children who think they’re going to reinvent reality. And then, after them comes a sexual revolution, after that comes economic stress. This is history repeating itself.
In other words, there is a blueprint given in chapter 11, which tells us the way human epochs go. And I think this is helpful in understanding the answer to your question. Because one of the ways we understand the purpose of God’s message to mankind, the Bible is that he wants his children that’s all of us to be able to live together in a state of peace and harmony and tranquility and prosperity but he wants us to communicate and connect and collaborate and create. He wants us connected with each other.
And this listing, in Leviticus 19:20 happened to be particularly rich in this are filled with all kinds of structures, which contribute long term to the longevity of society. Now, something that tends to happen, and I’ve written about this on my website, is that most nations seem to operate for about 250 years.
And this is true. I analyze the Babylonians and the Romans, and then more recently, the British Empire, the Russian Empire, the Islamic Ottoman Empire. And as you go through history, it’s actually rather scary, I have to tell you, how reliable is this pattern that most nations have their moment in the sun for about 250 years, specificially scary for us Americans…
The Longest-Lasting Group
Yeah, we’re right up next to that, are we?
We’re right there now. And you look around, and you say to yourself, well, I’m afraid yeah, this this may just be, you know, it’s not out of the question. But for the people of Israel, this hasn’t been the case. Right?
There is only one group of people where you can take an 11 year old street urchin, and he could read the writing of somebody who lived 2,000 years ago. A little kid playing soccer on the streets of Tel Aviv can read the words of Isaiah the prophet. But you take a little Greek kid on the streets of Athens, he can’t read the words of the poet, Homer, he can’t read the Iliad, or the Odyssey can’t, it’s a different language.
So in terms of a continuity of culture of the people of Israel have actually lasted well over 250 years and over 2,500 years. And that’s because of a degree of attention to detail throughout the five books of Moses.
And so when it says, don’t hate your neighbor in your heart, don’t stand idly by when your neighbor’s life is threatened, and I say to you now, do you understand how that contributes to the stability of society? And we all say, yeah, of course, that makes sense. I mean, that’s so obvious.
Don’t stand idly by when your neighbor’s life is threatened. That basically means that you have to have a judicial system. It means that if somebody threatened somebody else, you should come to their defense. And these things contribute to the stability of society.
But then we come to the other example you gave, do not trim off the hair on your temples or trim your beard, and I say, well, do you see how this contributes to the stability of society? I have no clue. And the answer is you’re right; in the short term, it doesn’t, in the long term, it does. Really what’s that got to do with it?
Well, let me just give you a real quick example of the way that hair links to other parts, particularly male hair. This is really rather amazing thing. This was first discovered about 40 years ago with an Arctic scientific expedition. And they had people out for periods of time.
The Significance of Men’s Hair
I don’t remember rivers for six months at a time or a year at a time or three months, I don’t remember. But they flew scientists in and out and they didn’t have anybody having to stay there terribly long, but I think it’s about six months.
And what they notice is that the male scientists from about two or three weeks before their departure date, their beards began to grow faster, and they drew it to the attention of everybody. In other words, their beard growth slowed down a little bit during the six months to term of duty in the Antarctic.
But about two or three weeks before they were scheduled to fly home, their beards and hair started growing more quickly. Anyway, bottom line…
Even though nothing was changing on the ground where they were, it was totally in their minds they were headed home?
Exactly right. That’s the important point. There was no change in diet, there’s nothing different and yet the hair started growing faster. Anyway, it turned out they were anticipating reuniting with their wives. And that’s what it turned out to be. So there’s a very significant link between hair growth and male sexuality.
Now, one of the greatest threats to the long term durability of any society is male sexuality. That’s one of the reasons that no durable society of all the 5,000 cultures in the history of the world, the only ones that have been durable of the ones that have had monogamous marriage. It’s absolutely crucial.
And you only have to look at dysfunctional subcultures in the United Kingdom, in parts of Europe, in the United States to see that when monogamous marriage begins to collapse within a subculture, that subculture becomes engaged in all kinds of dysfunctional anti-social behavior.
I mean, that timing with the 250 years and our nation’s moving away from that as our main, you know, used to that was the nuclear family, that was the thread, and that has been so under attack for the last 20-30 years. Yeah. Wow.
Exactly. So in terms of long term maintenance of God’s plans, hair may seem very subtle and very small, but its impact is very real over a period of time.
So let me ask it to you this way then. So there’s no question and you started with that principle that every jot and tittle, every word, every letter has meaning and is purposeful, and is God’s word. So then, how do you decide which ones are so important you absolutely push for that to be followed in your community and in your society, and those that you kind of let up on, even though you know they would be better, you don’t use the force of government? You know what I’m saying?
Yeah, I know exactly what you’re saying, very good point. Well, first of all, many, many of them don’t apply anyway. A lot of rules only apply in the land of Israel, they don’t apply if you’re living in America. A lot of rules only apply to the Kohens, the priest people.
Some of the rules only apply to Levites and so on and so forth. So they’re not actually quite as many as one might think on the surface of it, because some of them are evidently not applicable to you and me right here and now. There are many rules about temple sacrifices, and those don’t apply when there’s no Jerusalem temple.
So many, many of those things do not. But of those that do, we have an oral transmission, which speaks of relative importance, and it speaks about the order of adoption as well. So for instance, things that for us are really important are kosher food, that’s really important.
And, you know, there’s a popular expression out there in the organic food movement, which is you are what you eat. And I couldn’t agree more. I think it’s exactly true. So, kosher foods, hugely important.
Another one is observance of the Sabbath, the fourth commandment, that’s a biggie as well. And so we have a listing which says, okay, here’s where you stop, these are the really important ones. Don’t rate these down here towards the bottom of the list. You know, you’ll get to those one day maybe eventually, but right now you got to focus on the biggies.
And both of those that you mentioned, clearly your health, your life is better off following both you and you teach this so well. Whether it’s the health of what you’re eating, or having the mental and spiritual rest of the Sabbath, when you follow those things, you definitely have a huge, huge benefit.
And you can see and feel those benefits.
Yeah. Yeah, so good, I wish we had more time to go into more of these. Now, you have so many different teachings for this particular type of teaching that there’s so much ancient wisdom there that is applicable today, what’s the best series to point people to?
The best thing that I’ve done and am doing is cold scrolling through Scripture, and it’s literally from Genesis 1:1, in the beginning, God created heaven and earth. And it’s verse by verse, exposing the ancient Jewish wisdom that you would never know from the English translation. And that it’s called scrolling through Scripture. And it’s available to anybody at our website.
Alright, youneedarabbi.com is the website and then scrolling through Scripture to take what we’ve just scratched the surface of today, and actually dive in much deeper. Rabbi, we always enjoy having you. Thanks so much for your time.
Thank you so much. Looking forward to seeing you later in the year.
Stay with us, folks, we’ll be right back with David and Tim Barton.
The AMERICAN STORY
Hey, guys, we want to let you know about a new resource we have here at WallBuilders called The American Story. For years, people have been asking us to do a history book, and we finally done it. We start with Christopher Columbus and go roughly through Abraham Lincoln.
And one of the things that that so often we hear today are about the imperfections of America, or how so many people in America that used to be celebrated or honored really aren’t good or honorable people.
One of the things we acknowledge quickly in the book is that the entire world is full of people who are sinful and need a savior, because the Bible even tells us that all have sinned and fallen short of the glory of God. And yet what we see through history, and certainly is evident in America is how a perfect God uses imperfect people and does great things through them.
The story of America is not the story of perfect people. But you see time and time again how God got involved in the process and use these imperfect people to do great things that impacted the entire world from America. To find out more, go to wallbuilders.com and check out The American Story.
Welcome back to WallBuilders Live. Thanks for staying with us. A special thanks to Rabbi Daniel Lapin for joining us. The website is youneedarabbi.com. We’re back with David and Tim. And I noticed after that interview, I see Tim brushing out his hair trying to get longer and you know, canceling the barber. No?
Jewish Vs. Christian
Well, I’m just wondering, right if I’m about to go see my wife later, is it going to grow faster? That was intriguing. You know, guys, even as we hear this, there’s so many good fundamental truths that Rabbi Lapin presented, where he said the purpose of God’s message to mankind through the Bible was God wants his children to live together in harmony, stability, prosperity.
And God’s commands give structure which contributes to the longevity of society. And he talked about the 250 year cycle that most nations don’t go there.
But if you follow biblical principles, it contributes to the longevity of society. And certainly this is where then you have the contrast now, we want to follow God’s principles, but we also know there’s a new covenant. And this is to me where I appreciate Rabbi Lapin so much and I learned so much from him.
Obviously, as a Christian, we have a different perspective than orthodox Jew does, who doesn’t necessarily believe that Jesus is the Son of God, Savior of the world, that sins are forgiven through him, etc, right? He has a different perspective.
And so even the notion of the New Testament being the New Covenant where God now has a new covenant with man, Jesus said he didn’t come to abolish the law, but to fulfill the law. And in the Old Testament, there are four kinds of law. You have moral law, which is like the 10 commandments, you don’t murder, you don’t commit adultery.
The moral laws never changed. You have ceremonial law and ceremonial law’s what you would have to do to be made clean before God. You couldn’t touch this or taste this or eat this or you had to bathe and, right, ceremonial things, how you presented yourself clean before God. Well, this also would include sacrifices.
And as Christians, we believe that Jesus was the pure, perfect, spotless Lamb who paid the penalty for our sin. So ceremonially, we are clean because of the blood of Jesus. So Jesus has paid that price, so the ceremonial law has been fulfilled. This is again where Jesus said he come to abolish the law, but to fulfill the law.
Now, Jesus upheld the moral law, but then you have social compact laws and your civil laws. And civil laws deal with the operations of court and social compact is what people agree to do to live together in a society and community.
Which Laws Can Change?
Social compact laws can change over time. The civil laws, the way that courts are held and operated can change over time. What never changes over time are the rights and wrongs, the moral law of God. It will always be wrong to murder.
It will always be wrong to commit adultery. It will always be wrong to covet, to steal, to dishonor your parents. Those things will always be wrong, because those are part of the moral law.
And this is where as again as valuable as what I think Rabbi Lapin said on a lot of levels, as Christians, we would fundamentally see things a little bit different than obviously an Orthodox Jewish rabbi would and I feel like that’s an important distinction to make in part of what he was saying.
And with all that, too, there’s another thing that I think is really helpful to just take and assume. Now there’s two verses we’ll often point people to, one is Joshua 1:8&9, the other is Deuteronomy 6:24. And in both of the places, God says, listen, everything I tell you is for your good.
And so we just make that assumption. Now when God tells us to do something, it’s not because he just wants to see us be puppets, it’s because it’s good for us.
And there’s so many times in history, we look back even into the Middle Ages, and the Dark Ages, etc, where that they didn’t follow scripture, but a priest pointed out said, well, you’re not doing it right, and when they started doing it right, their health changed, or it ended up there’s a great book on how the plague was ended, because they saw medical laws out of the Bible.
It didn’t make sense to them at the time. But they started doing and they started washing their hands after they touched dead bodies, don’t know why we should do that, haven’t done that in 1,000 years. They did it because the Bible said so and it brought a real impact.
So the default position is just because you don’t understand it doesn’t mean you shouldn’t be doing it. You just kind of go to the thing that God’s looking out for us. And when he tells us to do something like a good parent, it’s for our benefit and our aid.
God’s Purposes In The Old Testament – With Rabbi Daniel Lapin
And that’s the reason, if you go back to the question that we were asked by the audience member that started reading through the Bible once a year from listening to this program, is one reason we continue to encourage people to take up that tradition that the Founding Fathers did:
Read through the Bible every single year, constantly getting that wisdom, applying it to our lives today. Be sure to get a Founders’ Bible By the way, that’s a great way to read through because then you get all those great articles that really apply it to American Life.
Check that out at wallbuilders.com today and also visit wallbuilderslive.com today to make that one-time or monthly contribution, coming alongside us to help get more of this truth in the hands of as many Americans as possible. Thanks so much for listening today. You’ve been listening to WallBuilders Live.