Without a doubt the book of Leviticus is an under-appreciated book even among Christians, or perhaps especially among Christians. Truth be told, few would rank it a favorite even if you were to narrow it down to Old Testament books or the Pentateuch. Moseley's commentary on Leviticus may just help you better appreciate what you're probably only skimming.
Early on, he lists FIVE reasons why Leviticus is important:
- Leviticus describes the entire religious system of ancient Israel. If we hope to understand how religion worked in Israel, we must understand the book of Leviticus.
- Leviticus provides the theological foundation for the atoning work of Christ. The idea of a substitutionary sacrifice receives its fullest explication in the book of Leviticus.
- Leviticus demonstrates how important holiness is to God. Holiness is the main theme of Leviticus—God’s holiness and the holiness God expects from His people. Holiness is still important to God, and God reminds His people of that crucial fact in the book of Leviticus.
- Leviticus is important because it contains the very words of God in direct speech.
- The New Testament frequently alludes to the contents of Leviticus.
All Scripture is breathed out by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, and for training in righteousness, that the man of God may be complete, equipped for every good work. 2 Timothy 3:16-17
Each chapter of the book focuses on a chunk of Scripture. Sometimes a few verses--sometimes a few chapters. Each chapter is well-organized. Each begins with a main idea, follows an outline, and ends in reflection questions.
I haven't always loved the book of Leviticus. But I have come to better appreciate it over the last seven or eight years. I have come to see it not as a boring book of rules but as a how-to book of worship. God's glory is very prominent in Leviticus and God's glory is a beautiful thing. Reading this book has deepened my appreciation for the book of Leviticus.
Some of my favorite quotes:
Atonement is a central theme in Leviticus. The root word translated “atone” or “atonement” occurs 53 times in Leviticus, and only 43 times elsewhere in the whole Old Testament. Thus, Leviticus says more about atonement than any other book in the Old Testament.
God is perfectly holy, and sin is not allowed in His presence. Therefore, for sinners to be in the presence of God their sin must be removed, and that is the purpose of atonement.
All of God’s Word teaches us that sin is serious. We may not like it, but sin is what is wrong with humanity; it’s what is wrong with us. The question is, What do we do with sin? Praise God, He not only tells us our problem, He also gives the solution to our problem!
Our fallen nature will always be prone to think that the fire we invent is better than the fire God commands.
To be free of sin they had to confess sin. So do we. The reason for the sacrifice of Jesus on the cross was our sin, and to be reconciled to God we confess our sin and our need for the salvation from sin Jesus offers.
The message of the Bible is that all of humanity is in a war, and a hand grenade landed next to all of us. That hand grenade is sin, and it will destroy our lives and send us to everlasting condemnation. Jesus, who is the best friend we could possibly have, has jumped on that hand grenade for us. When He died on the cross as our substitutionary sacrifice, He was dying in our place, taking our sin and its penalty on Himself so that we might live. He could have chosen to let us die for our own sin; we deserve it. Instead, He gave Himself as our sacrifice, even though it cost His life.
Our holiness arises from a relationship with God. The key to holiness is staying close to God.
God is perfectly holy and cannot abide where there is sin, and sin leads to death. So the question of the Bible is not How could a loving God possibly send people to hell? but How could the holy God who always judges sin possibly allow guilty sinners in heaven?
© Becky Laney of Operation Actually Read Bible