Saturday, February 24, 2007

Leviticus Outline and Survey

I'm sorry to be a couple of days behind on Leviticus, but this has been a crazy week. At any rate, here goes.

I. The Sacrifices chs 1-7
II. Aaron's installation chs 8-10
III. Clean and Unclean chs 11-15
IV. The Day of Atonement ch 16
V. A People Holy unto the Lord chs 17-27

In many ways, Leviticus is perhaps the OT book most alien to a modern American audience. It is all about sacrifice and ritual purity, things that are alien to our own experience, even to our Christian experience, since we don't pay much if any attention to the kind of religious ritual outlined in Leviticus. What then, is the purpose for Leviticus as it concerns a modern American Christian audience? I would say three things.

First, the content of the book focuses on the Day of Atonement. That is really the centerpiece of the book. Hence the primary theme of the book is maintaining the purity of God's people. In the OT this is expressed in a ritual fashion. The sacrifices (chs 1-5) and the festivals (ch 23) are the specifically religious aspects of that purity. The laws of cleanness (chs 11-15), the holiness laws (chs 17-20), and the sabbath year/jubilee year laws (ch 25) all show the necessity of purity in everyday life. In a certain sense, the Book of Leviticus is the expansion of Deut 4:6-8. It shows the people of Israel how they are to display the wisdom of God before a watching world. Christians, likewise are to display the wisdom of God before a watching world (see Eph 3:8-13).

Second, the rituals of the book, particularly the sacrifices, point us to the work of Christ, and fill out the richness of it for us, if properly understood (see the blogs that I will post in the next couple of days). Third, the book impresses upon us the importance of holiness not just in religious ceremony (that is, in public worship) but in the totality of life. Our lives are to be distinct in their holiness before a watching world.

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