Sunday, February 7, 2021

Leviticus, why bother?

Other than snow and cold, it has been a pretty calm week. I spoke virtually to a class of RT students, but that was about all. Every morning, I continue reading through the Bible. I am now in Leviticus, and some may wonder why this is needed in modern Bible study.

The main point of the Old Testament is to point toward the coming Messiah and His payment for our sins. This book, while sometimes hard to read, is a major illustration of what is needed to cover sins against God. While it is aimed at the Levites in their service in the tabernacle, it also has application for Christians.

First, the animal had to be perfect to be accepted as a sacrifice. It couldn't have any blemish, and then it had to be offered on the alter in a prescribed manner with only certain pieces of the animal. Every part had a function, and even the ashes had a required method for disposal. Sacrifices were also required regularly, some at prescribed festivals, but others every morning and evening. They were to be a continual reminder of the need for forgiveness.

In the New Testament, Jesus was called the lamb of God. Just as the lamb had to be perfect for sacrifice, so did Jesus. He was the only one who had not sinned, and was holy, blameless, and acceptable to cover our sins. The blood of sheep and goats could not cover our sins for all time, but Jesus' one act on the cross paid for the sins of all who truly come to Him for forgiveness.

Other sections of Leviticus tell the Israelites how to live as a distinct nation, apart from the people around them. Just as they were not to follow many of the practices of other nations, so Christians are to be distinct as well. In 1 John 2:15, Christians are told not to love the world or the things in it. While the world moves further away from God's Word, we need to hold to it and live as His people, no matter the cost.

Just reading through some of the Old Testament can be a challenge. However, when we pay attention and apply it, the difficult passages make sense. If medical personnel in the Civil War, or Black Plague, had followed Leviticus and separated sick people from the well, and cleaned instruments with running water, it would have saved many lives. This is why it is still useful to read books such as Leviticus and see how it can point to today.

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