Friday, June 4, 2010

Why Should I Study Leviticus?

In reaching the book of Leviticus, we finally reach, and quite early on too, a book that is seen by many as pointless to study. When one looks at the theme of the book, it might seem to be a valid thought at first. Leviticus is a book that contains the Mosaic Law, which was given to the Jewish nation as a standard of living and holiness by God. These laws do not apply to Christians as we are under the Law of Christ, and not the Mosaic Law. When one sees a book of laws that they are not even under, it might be easy to see why the book would seem pointless. Every book of the Bible serves a purpose though and Leviticus is no different.

The theme of this book is important as the theme is holiness. God is a holy God, so how can a sinful man approach a holy God? God is the only one who can determine such a thing. This book teaches that man can only gain access to God through the shedding of blood of a sacrifice. Moses wrote, “For the life of the flesh is in the blood: and I have given it to you upon the altar to make an atonement for your souls: for it is the blood that maketh an atonement for the soul” (17:11). This was a shadow of the Christ who would come to earth to shed his blood that man may have salvation.

This book also teaches and reminds us that God requires obedience of His children. God gave a standard that Israel had to meet in order to approach Him. God did not want pure ritualism by any means. In the future, God would speak harshly to His people because even though they obeyed His commands, they did so with an improper heart and attitude. If man wishes to approach God, he must do so on God’s terms. Man must have the right actions, but these actions must be completed with the right heart or attitude.

Leviticus teaches us that God’s thoughts are not our thoughts. As one reads through this book, he will find many commands from God that just seem beyond foolish to the mind of men. Leviticus 11:29-35 has commands concerning dead animals, and if certain animals were to touch a pot in anyway after they had died, the pot was to be broken. Some may wonder why the big fuss was made over what might be a minor event. Why not just wash the pot very well? God did not want to take any chances. These animals mentioned would often carry many diseases. What may seem minor to some was God’s way of doing all He could to help prevent disease and sickness from quickly spreading throughout His people. While God took care of His people physically, He also took care of them spiritually. God forbid His people from marrying those from other nations. The reason was to try and keep His people pure. The other nations were idol worshippers and to marry into these nations would surely bring idolatry along. In fact, when this command of God’s was broken, that was exactly what happened. Idolatry spread across Israel like a plague.

This book is also important in being able to understand the book of Hebrews. The book of Hebrews is a beautiful book that clearly expresses the superiority that the New Covenant has over the Old Covenant. This is done through comparing the two. If one does not know the Mosaic Law through the book of Leviticus, they are going to miss out on many great lessons from the book of Hebrews. This greatly ignored book is one that plays an essential role in understanding one of the great books of the New Testament.

The book of Leviticus is important. It may not seem so, but the Christian who fails to grasp the concept of Leviticus will have a hard time fully grasping the greatness of the New Covenant.

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