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Leviticus and the Bible Storyline

Leviticus and the Bible Storyline

For those of you following the reading plan, we are making our way through the book of Leviticus right now. As I read it, a difficult book to read, I am amazed at the exacting rules, the often gruesome details, and at times ask myself, why? What is all this for? Well, we must see the book in the context of the grand storyline of the Bible, culminating at atoning and saving work of Jesus Christ. I read this helpful post today from the Gospel Coalition, hoping it will serve you as you seek to find the Savior in the midst of Leviticus.

Jay Sklar, professor of Old Testament at Covenant Seminary, writes this (you can read a more full explanation here):

. . . [I]t is vital to remember that Leviticus is part of a much larger story, especially the one told in Exodus.

You could tell that story like this:

In Exodus the Lord delivers his people from slavery with mighty signs and wonders (1-15) and brings them to Sinai (16-19), telling them there that they are to be his “kingdom of priests and holy nation.”

He confirms their kingdom status by entering into a covenant with them as their king and giving them kingdom laws to follow (20-24).

But that is not all! He is going to be a king who is near to them, dwelling in their very midst, and this is why he proceeds to give them directions for his tabernacle, his earthly palace (25-31, 35-40).

And all of this leads to a very burning question if you’re an Israelite:

How in the world can the holy and pure king of the universe dwell among his sinful and impure people? How can he live here—in our very midst—without his holiness melting us in our sin and impurity?!

Answer: Leviticus, which begins by explaining the sacrifices that address sin and enable them to worship this king rightly (Leviticus 1-7).

Answer: Leviticus, which provides them with priests to intercede on their behalf and lead them in worship before the king (Leviticus 8-10).

Answer: Leviticus, which gives them laws to teach them how to deal properly with impurity (Leviticus 11-15).

Answer: Leviticus, which provides a yearly ceremony to remove every last ounce of sin and impurity from the kingdom (Leviticus 16).

Answer, Leviticus, which provides a whole series of laws in other areas to direct them in living like a “kingdom of priests and a holy nation” (Leviticus 17-27).

HT: Justin Taylor