Recently LCC posted the following article to their Facebook group in honor of #WorldOceansDay
If you take a close look at the bottom you’ll see a quote of Numbers 35:33. If you were the curious type like me you might wonder how this passage connects to World Oceans Day.
Here’s Numbers 35:30-34 with Numbers 35:33 in bold:
“If anyone kills a person, the murderer shall be put to death on the evidence of witnesses. But no person shall be put to death on the testimony of one witness. Moreover, you shall accept no ransom for the life of a murderer, who is guilty of death, but he shall be put to death. And you shall accept no ransom for him who has fled to his city of refuge, that he may return to dwell in the land before the death of the high priest.
You shall not pollute the land in which you live, for blood pollutes the land, and no atonement can be made for the land for the blood that is shed in it, except by the blood of the one who shed it. You shall not defile the land in which you live, in the midst of which I dwell, for I the Lord dwell in the midst of the people of Israel.” Numbers 35:30-34
Numbers 35 is about a “pollution of behavior” which is disobedience to God’s sacred instructions. This rebellion contaminates the land by Israel’s rebellious unjust actions offending the justice required by God’s perfect righteousness.
Here’s another example of pollution of behavior as it appears in Jeremiah:
“If a man divorces his wife
and she goes from him
and becomes another man’s wife,
will he return to her?
Would not that land be greatly polluted?
You have played the whore with many lovers;
and would you return to me?
declares the Lord.
Lift up your eyes to the bare heights, and see!
Where have you not been ravished?
By the waysides you have sat awaiting lovers
like an Arab in the wilderness.
You have polluted the land
with your vile whoredom. Jeremiah 3:1-2
Because she took her whoredom lightly, she polluted the land, committing adultery with stone and tree. Jeremiah 3:9
Both these examples refer to behavior that resulted from Israel’s rebellious unbelief when she abandoned faith in the Living God in order to pursue or “whore after” false gods. This unbelief and rebellious behavior is what caused the land to be polluted by their presence.
Romans 8 has further illumination on this topic:
For the creation waits with eager longing for the revealing of the sons of God. For the creation was subjected to futility, not willingly, but because of him who subjected it, in hope that the creation itself will be set free from its bondage to corruption and obtain the freedom of the glory of the children of God. For we know that the whole creation has been groaning together in the pains of childbirth until now. And not only the creation, but we ourselves, who have the firstfruits of the Spirit, groan inwardly as we wait eagerly for adoption as sons, the redemption of our bodies. Romans 8:19-23
So here’s the issue.
World Oceans Day is about curbing the contamination and pollution of the world’s oceans by foreign matter similar to the litter you’d see on a roadway:
…while the pollution cited in Numbers, Jeremiah, and Romans is about the spiritual condition of God’s people.
All this leads me to conclude:
- World Oceans day is about physical pollution contaminating the oceans.
- Numbers 35 and the like are about people’s spiritual pollution contaminating the land in the eyes of the Living God.
This means that using Numbers 35 to support World Oceans day is an inappropriate confusion of the two kingdoms. In turn, anyone reading this article will get the wrong impression what Numbers is talking about as opposed to learning how God’s given His creation to humanity for care and safekeeping.
There’s also the concern that the church placing herself in a position of support of a secular organization like World Oceans could risk watering down her Christ-centered message. Only the church can preach and teach a message of how God’s placed us as caretakers of His creation from the sacred Word of God Almighty. She should do so at every opportunity God gives her.