We have been examining the books of Moses and some of the things we can learn from them. This month we have arrived at the book of Leviticus. Although it is a book that contains much detail regarding the priesthood, it really is a book that Christians should study. While Hebrews (10.4, 10) teaches that Jesus’ death upon the cross is the crowning and only necessary sacrifice for us, thereby making unnecessary the sacrifices found in Leviticus; the book itself remains seemingly an untapped source of righteous instructions.
Perhaps we are not as familiar with Leviticus as we should be, after all, the name itself, Leviticus, makes one think that the third book of Moses is designed only for the Levites and the priesthood. Yet perhaps, if it were referenced in English as And He Called (the translation of the Hebrew word wayyigra)1 we might have a different approach to the book. God did not limit His call of holiness to the Levites and priesthood. He liberated and called an entire nation of people to holiness – priests, kings and citizens alike.
One commentator spoke of the holiness required of all the people saying, “[In] eight passages Moses is directed to speak to the priests, [but] in seventeen places he is told to speak to the children of Israel.”2 When we understand that God had Moses address the average Joe more than twice as many times as the priests, the book becomes much more valuable to the Christian for understanding holiness before God.
Knowing this, we can further appreciate that Leviticus helps answer a question that all humanity must grapple with: how can an unholy people approach and please a holy God.3 The way in which anyone is to please God is by cleansing and clean living.4 This is further described as: one attains fellowship with God through worship, and then must maintain fellowship with God through practice.5 Is this not the exact same message of the book of James?
When we recall that Paul, by inspiration, states, “Whatsoever things were written aforetime were written for our learning, that we through patience and comfort of the Scriptures might have hope”6 we can appreciate Leviticus beyond academic levels. We should be motivated to learn Leviticus for spiritual reasons and determine what God considers righteous under the Law of Christ. The Scriptures record that acceptable worship before God has changed but godliness has never changed, and neither has holiness. May we study the Leviticus and gain further insight into righteous living.
1 Nelson’s Complete Book of Bible Maps and Charts, Leviticus, p. 39.
2 The Pentateuch, James E. Smith, Leviticus, p. 345.
3 Nelson’s Complete Book of Bible Maps and Charts, Leviticus, p. 41.
4 The Pentateuch, James E. Smith, Leviticus, p. 348.
6 Romans 15.4