Reading Leviticus

As we are reading through Leviticus, why do you think God wanted us to learn about all of their laws at that time? I always have a hard time going through that part of the Bible.

I can imagine that you speak for many Christians, so thank you for your question.

My sainted uncle wrote a Bible study book on Leviticus titled Shadows of Christ. He wrote this in the Preface: “Why should we study the Book of Leviticus? To many, a study of this book will appear but remotely profitable. On the surface it may appear as valuable as walking through a veil into a room of archaic objects—just vestiges of a former age and a form of worship that has completed its usefulness. Leviticus, as properly and commonly understood, is the Law of ceremonies and rites for the Church in the Old Testament. Yet, if we examine the book carefully, we can see that Leviticus has the story of man’s salvation to tell in its own way.

“If we can appreciate that the ancient Egyptians expressed themselves admirably through hieroglyphics, then we will also appreciate the fact that the Lord in His own way can communicate and foretell the world’s redemption in picture form, or through Old Testament ceremonies. St. Paul, it is true, calls the ceremonies and the calendar of ancient Israel ‘shadows,’ but he never said: ‘Don’t investigate them.’ We are going to visit the old rooms of the Tabernacle (Temple) and brush away the dust. When we study these vestiges of a former age, we discover that the shadows lead to Christ. They present an amazingly precise account of salvation through faith in Christ the Crucified.”

The Foreword to Connecting Sinai to Calvary highlights the importance of Leviticus with these words: “In years past, Leviticus was the first Bible book read by children in a Jewish family. Unfortunately, Leviticus is the last book most Christians read. At what cost? They won’t be able to understand as well as they ought the comparisons between the Old Testament priest and Christ, our great High Priest…They are likely to miss all the New Testament connections to the ceremony the people of Israel witnessed each year on the great Day of Atonement. That day’s high point occurred when the high priest stepped out of the sanctuary, hands red from having been dipped into a container of animal blood—at least 28 times. In plain view of all the worshipers, he wiped those bloody hands on the head of a goat, which was then led out into the desert to die. Leviticus chapter 16 gives us this graphic portrayal of Christ as the sin bearer. To overlook such details surely detracts from one’s understanding of how God forgives sin.”

You and other Bible readers would also benefit by supplementing your reading of Leviticus with The People’s Bible commentary for Leviticus.

I hope these thoughts provide encouragement for reading Leviticus.