If you asked most Christians what their favorite book of the Bible is, more likely you wouldn’t hear “Leviticus.” In fact, it may not be too high on their list. For many, when they first read through this book in its entirety (if they can make it through it all), they find themselves lost. Caught up in all of the rules and regulations that are given. Sorting through what makes one “clean” and “unclean.” Perhaps even overwhelmed with all of the laws to keep up with.
I think we should “love” Leviticus instead of being “lost” in Leviticus. First, it is God’s Word for us so it can’t be ignored. We shouldn’t just skip over it because we see it as boring or tedious. We must examine it and take it seriously. Also, it communicates the life giving and life transforming gospel to us. It, along with the rest of Scripture, points us to our only hope that can be found in our Savior, the Lord Jesus Christ.
The main point of Leviticus can be found in chapter 11 verses 44-45. “For I am the LORD your God. Consecrate yourselves therefore, and be holy, for I am holy. And you shall not make yourselves unclean with any of the swarming things that swarm on the earth. For I am the LORD who brought you up from the land of Egypt to be your God; thus you shall be holy, for I am holy.” God calls His people whom He has delivered out of Egyptian slavery to be holy as He is holy. The word “holy” means “set apart and pure.” God is “set apart” from all things. He is unique and cannot be compared to anything else. Likewise, He calls His people to be “set apart” and unique from the rest of the world. The rules and regulations given in this book concern how God’s holy people should conduct themselves different from the world.
Now, why is it so important for God’s people to live a holy life? Well, God has set up His tent, the tabernacle, in the camp of His people in order to dwell among them. Since God is holy, He cannot dwell among unholiness. (For an example of God’s intolerance of unholiness, just look at what happens with Aaron’s sons, Nadab and Abihu, after they disobey God in how they perform their priestly service in the tabernacle in 10:1-3.) This is why those who do something that makes them “unclean” have to leave the camp. Due to their unholiness, they cannot be in the presence of a holy God.
The problem is though, that in light of these various laws, man is found to be “unclean” and “unholy.” John Calvin has described God’s law as a mirror that reveals our unholiness. So the dilemma is how can an unholy people ever be in the presence of such a holy God. God’s remedy for this comes in the sacrifices the people are instructed to perform; specifically the sacrifice required on the Day of Atonement (chapter 16). Since “the wages of sin is death” (Romans 6:23), God demands our life for our sins. We deserve to die, both physically and spiritually. However, God accepts the death of the animal sacrificed in place of the death of the sinner. This points to the ultimate sacrifice on the true Day of Atonement that we all need to embrace to have any hope to ever be able to stand before God. When God’s Son, the Lord Jesus Christ, died on the cross, experiencing God’s wrath for the unholiness of those who turn from their sins and look to Jesus alone and His death and resurrection as their only grounds to stand before God, the one sacrifice to take away the “uncleanness” and “unholiness” of God’s people’s sins has been given. The sacrifices we read of in Leviticus are just shadows with Jesus being the reality.
When we realize and understand this truth, the book of Leviticus should be exciting to us and move our hearts to praise God for the salvation that He has granted to us in Christ. That though we are “unclean” and “unholy” by nature, God accepts us in His presence because His Son, the true and better atonement sacrifice, has been made in our place.
Love in Christ,
Be diligent to present yourself approved to God as a workman who does not need to be ashamed, accurately handling the word of truth. ~2 Timothy 2:15
- I am a young man who is following God's call into pastoral ministry. I have been so blessed with the privileges which the Lord has granted me. I am blessed to serve the Mt. Joy congregation in Mt. Pleasant, PA. I am constantly humbled and amazed at what the Lord is doing in my life.