Leviticus from a Christian Perspective

In Exodus, Abraham’s descendants have multiplied, becoming a mighty people group cohabitating with the Egyptians. The Pharaoh enslaved the people for a few centuries until God rescued them. After a dramatic exit from Egypt, God makes a special agreement with Israel, making them his people and himself their only God. The people then build a tabernacle, and the Creator of the world begins dwelling among his people. That’s why Leviticus is so important. It’s a new normal: The LORD God is publicly living with humans. This hasn’t happened since the Garden of Eden, when God would visit with Adam and Eve. Last time God shared a place with humans, the humans (with help from an evil serpent) messed it up. How can they get it right this time? Not a lot of narrative takes place in Leviticus. The people stay camped at Mount Sinai throughout the book. It’s not until the book of Numbers that they resume their journey to the promised land—and that journey isn’t completed until the book of Joshua. Leviticus is about holiness (being set apart, separate)—both God’s holiness and the holiness He expects of His people. Whereas Exodus displays God’s holiness on a cosmic scale (sending plagues on Egypt, parting the Red Sea, etc.)  Leviticus shows us the holiness of God in fine detail. God spells out His expectations for His priests and people so that the congregation can worship and dwell with Him. The call to holiness in Leviticus resounds throughout Scripture, both the Old and New Testaments. To see why Jesus is the fulfillment of God’s holiness in the world, is best read about in Hebrews 9:11-28. Parts of the Levitical law are fulfilled in Jesus Christ, such as distinctions between clean and unclean foods, See Mark 7:18-19, but the call to holiness still stands—Peter even quotes Leviticus when he encourages us to be holy in all our behavior, see 1st Peter 1:15-16. What does holiness mean to you?

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