Bible Study Day 8: Leviticus; Why?

Reading Time: 3 minutes

Leviticus 9 – 22

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This will probably be the only post I make as it relates to Leviticus, this book was written “for the Levites” hence the name. Leviticus is one of the dreaded books to read when you’re attempting to read the entire Bible because it centers around sacrifices, garments, construction, and some rules as it regards to culture. The big themes are God is holy, the land is holy, how the priest should carry themselves, and how the people should behave. This book isn’t that interesting to read, except for perhaps a couple of chapters that have been highly debated. I won’t be getting into that topic now, but probably on a future post when this topic is revisited.

So what is the point of the book of Leviticus, most of the dietary restrictions aren’t followed by Christians (or Jews), and I’m sure an ark of the covenant is not in high demand, so a manual to build one is not that much of a use? Then what is the point? Is the book’s purpose now merely to serve as ammo when we’re are looking to judge, or as an example for Christian detractors to show how Christians cherry pick parts of the Bible they choose to follow? Leviticus seems to help only a small number of people and doesn’t seem relevant to today’s society. So I keep thinking what the point is?

The typical story I hear is Leviticus shows how interested God is in His people and how they behave and His desire for the people to be holy like He is holy. Towards the end of Exodus and all of Leviticus you see God start demanding things of His people and how he wants them to behave. The book has some good things to say as it regards to sexual sin and how we should treat our neighbors, where it seems to drag and read like a book from the Neolithic age is when it starts talking about sacrifices and offerings. Since the temple was burned down 2000 years ago there hasn’t been a sacrifice, is the book then to serve as a reminder on how demanding God is and how Jesus fulfills all the obligations He requires? Perhaps.

My theory on the purpose of this book and how I see it, as a lay lay theologian,  is to demonstrate how desperately God is trying to make things work with His people. It’s like the husband trying to make it work with his unfaithful wife and bending over backward so that they can be together. Well, why doesn’t God just lower his standards to meet ours? Because He is holy, God can’t not be holy. Think of it this way, truth can’t be any less of a truth without devolving into a lie, the same logic applies with God. Because He is God, He is holy if He were unholy, then He would not be God. His being is the standard, we use words like ‘honest men’ to describe a quality of man, but to say ‘honest God’ is redundant because God is honest, and not like He won’t tell a lie kind of honest, but that He can’t lie. If God were to say the sky is green, He wouldn’t be lying because the sky would immediately become green.

This is the theory I have, God is holy, and His desire to be with His people requires that His people be holy like Him and so He makes every effort to make it a reality. To most people Leviticus reads like a rule book, and fair enough; however, it can also be read as God trying to communicate to His people how they can be like Him through their own efforts so they can be with Him, the Ultimate Goal.

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