Leviticus: Four Reasons and Resources as You Read

This past Sunday we began our second season of the Gospel Project. This season we pick up in the book of Leviticus. If you were with us last Sunday, you’ll remember that before we dove into the five offerings that Leviticus details, we began by outlining four reasons Christians should study/read the book of Leviticus.

Here are the four reasons that were mentioned…

 

  1. Leviticus teaches us about the holiness of God.

The words holy, consecrate, and sanctify (all from the same root) are used 143 times in Leviticus. It could be called the Book of Holiness because it has more references to this word group than any other book in the Bible. Leviticus is a book concerned with sanctifying (making holy what is not holy).

The central theme of the book is stated in Leviticus 19:1-2, “And the Lord spoke to Moses saying, ‘Speak to all the congregation of the people of Israel and say to them, You shall be holy for I the Lord your God am holy.’” This theme is repeated in chapters 11, 20, and 21. Holiness is the refrain of Leviticus.

Every law, instruction, regulation and ritual is prescribed to showcase the holiness of God. Man cannot just saunter into the presence of the Holy God, they must cleanse themselves before they can approach Him. Tom Schreiner captures the purpose of Leviticus well by saying, “No one can obtain access to the Lord without approaching Him in the way prescribed.”[1]

 

  1. Leviticus teaches us about the sinfulness of man.

At every turn Leviticus reminds us that we are sinful, unclean and in need of cleansing. God’s holiness exposes our sinfulness. We are not as clean, pure and lovely as we like to think we are. Whenever we come face-to-face with God in Leviticus (Scripture) we must walk away understanding that we are sinners. His holiness demands that we see our sin. Leviticus highlights again and again that we are unclean.

 

  1. Leviticus teaches us about our need for atonement.

As we come to grips with God’s holiness and our sinfulness, we begin to understand that something needs to change. How can we ever be clean before God? How are we going to become pure? We need atonement; we need cleansing! We actually need something greater than the sacrifices described in this book. We need a once-and-for-all sacrifice!

It’s interesting to note that the very structure of the Pentateuch and the book of Leviticus, suggest that man’s need for atonement is at the heart of this section of Scripture. Leviticus is the middle book in the Pentateuch and the middle section in the book of Leviticus is chapter 16. This chapter gives us explicit details about the Day of Atonement. At the very centre of this section of Scripture is this theme of atonement. You could call it the climax or pinnacle of the Pentateuch.

 

  1. Leviticus teaches us about Christ’s atoning death.

Leviticus is essential to a comprehensive understanding of the Christ’s death. Question: Why did God send His holy and righteous Son to the earth to die? One of the answers: as a once-and-for-all sacrifice; so that we wouldn’t have to offer unnumbered sacrifices anymore. Christ’s sacrifice is sufficient for all time! By His wounds we are healed. He has put an end to the sacrifices that could never take away sins permanently (Hebrews 10:4). Christ’s substitutionary sacrifice is permanently sufficient to take away sins!

As we read the countless law, regulations, and rituals that the Israelites had to uphold, we are reminded that Christ’s once-for-all sacrifice is sufficient to pay for our sins. Christ truly is the Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world (John 1:29).

Hebrews declares this truth clearly when it says,

“And every priest stands daily at his service, offering repeatedly the same sacrifices, which can never take away sins. But when Christ had offered for all time a single sacrifice for sins, he sat down at the right hand of God, waiting from that time until His enemies should be made a footstool for His feet. For by a single offering He has perfected for all time those who are being sanctified.” (Hebrews 10:11-14)

These four reasons (and there are more!) should cause us to read Leviticus with renewed vigor.

At the end of our time together, this past Sunday, I said that I would post some resources to this blog about the offerings found in the first five chapters of Leviticus. Here are some resources that will help you understand these offerings better…

http://www.ligonier.org/learn/devotionals/burnt-offering/
http://www.ligonier.org/learn/devotionals/grain-offering/
http://www.ligonier.org/learn/devotionals/peace-offering/
http://www.ligonier.org/learn/devotionals/sin-offering/

See you this Sunday!

[1] Schreiner, The King in His Beauty, pg. 52