I’m reading through the Bible in a year, and every month I (try to) post about what I’ve read. Here’s Part 1.
I could have titled this post Reflections on the Book of Leviticus, so consider yourself warned.
Lev 4:1-2: Sin is an objective category: it doesn’t matter if one was intentional about it or not.
Lev 6:2: Sins against a fellow human are treated as sins against God.
Lev 10: Nadab and Abihu knew better than to do what they did (v1: “contrary to [the LORD’S] command”). For this reason, though it may sound harsh, no sympathy is warranted in their case. God shall be honoured (v3), and especially by the leaders of God’s people.
Contrast 9:24 and 10:2—so similar, and yet so not.
Lev 11: Why did God issue these commands about food? Here are some possible explanations:
- For health / hygiene purposes: Eating undercooked pork can be dangerous; the birds that are unclean are scavengers and can transmit diseases, etc. However, if this were the case, why were the food restrictions lifted in the NT? ( Mark 7:19; Acts 10; 1 Timothy 4:3)
- Because of pagan/ cultic associations with unclean animals, that is they were used in pagan sacrifices. But, the bull prominently figured in pagan and Hebrew rituals.
- The food laws were to set apart the Israelites from the people in the surrounding nations (Deut 14:2).
- External purity was pointing towards internal purity (Mark 7:17-23)
Lev 12: What about giving birth makes a woman unclean? The loss of blood, which represents life (Lev 17:11). Why is the period of purification for a female child double that of a male child? We really don’t know.
Lev 13 – 15: What courage and faith it must have taken for all those lepers, and especially the woman with an issue of blood, to approach Jesus! And for Jesus to reach out and touch the leper (Matt 8:3), who probably hadn’t felt the touch of a non-leper in a long time… Just, WOW.
Lev 16: Again, WOW. Jesus is our priest, going into the Holy Place to offer up a sacrifice. Jesus is our perfect, unblemished sacrifice. Jesus is our scapegoat, who takes on Himself our sins and carries them far away from us.
Lev 18: Kevin DeYoung does a great exposition of this chapter, and especially verse 22 in his sermon, Holiness and Sexuality.
Lev 19: In 37 verses, “I am the LORD” (or a variant) is repeated 14 times. The is noteworthy because the chapter is about relationships with other people: even the social commandments are bound up with pleasing God.
Lev 21-22: “I am the LORD who makes _______ holy.” (Lev 21:8, 15; 22:9, 16, 32). Reminds me of what Jesus said in relation to swearing in Matthew 23:16-22.
Lev 23: Jesus is Lord of the Sabbath (Luke 6:5) and there remains a Sabbath-rest for the people of God (Heb 4:9). Christ is our Passover Lamb (1 Cor 6:7). Jesus Christ has been raised from the dead as the firstfruits of those who have fallen asleep (1 Cor 15:20).
Lev 25: As far as we can tell, Israel never observed neither the Sabbath year nor the Year of Jubilee. Both were an extraordinary show of trust in God. The Israelites’ disobedience resulted in the land vomiting them out (Lev 20:28) so that it could enjoy its sabbaths (Lev 26:33-35).
Lev 26: “One of the striking features of the punishments listed in Leviticus 26 is how God gradually ratchets them up, culminating finally in exile. Disease, drought, military reverses, plague, the dreadful famine of siege conditions (26:29), and even a sovereignly induced fearfulness (26:36) all take their toll. The Lord’s forbearance with covenant-breakers, over generations of delayed judgment, is massive. But the only real solution is confession of sin and renewal of the covenant (26:40-42).” – Don Carson
Lev 26:11-12 sounds a lot like Revelation 21:3, and in the OT, Jeremiah 7:23; Jeremiah 11:4; Jeremiah 24:7; Jeremiah 30:22; Ezekiel 11:20; Ezekiel 14:11; Ezekiel 36:28; Ezekiel 37:27; Exodus 6:7. The greatest blessing for God’s covenant people is God Himself; He is God with us.
Sources: D.A. Carson, Kevin DeYoung.