Leviticus for our Time
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LEVITICUS FOR OUR TIME
By Henry Jaegers
If you walk in my statutes and keep my commandments, and do them; then I will give you a rain in due season, and the land shall yield her increase, and the trees of the field shall yield their fruit. And I will give peace in the land, and you shall lie down, and none shall make you afraid: and I will rid evil beasts out of the land, neither shall the sword go through your land. And I will walk among you, and will be your God, and you shall be my people. I am the Lord your God, which brought you forth out of the land of Egypt, that ye should not be their bond men; and I have broken the bands of your yoke, and made you go upright (or stand tall). (Leviticus 26:3, 4, 6, 12, 13)
As we consider these words, one might wonder, with all of these promises from God, why we would not want to be part of the Levitical system. If these were applied to the Christian today, then indeed, Leviticus is a book for our time as well. If these promises are not enough, then we will share some other reasons why Leviticus is a book for our time.
To begin, Leviticus reveals to us the character of God. That is something that we all need to understand. As we study the New Testament our understanding of the character of God becomes clearer. When we understand how Christ fulfills these various aspects of the law, we gain clearer understanding of his love, his Holiness, his grace and his concern for those whom he has created. The character of God never changes. These aspects contained in the Levitical system are eternal principles found throughout the Scripture.
The Levitical system reveals fundamental characteristics of true religion. These are sacrifices and the need for a priesthood in the kingdom of God, demonstrated by Christ himself, especially His high priestly ministry. They are seen as essential in presenting the sacrifices for sin in making salvation possible through means of the atonement. That is God's plan both in the Old Testament and the New Testament. The one does not do away with the other but rather defines it more clearly.
Next the Levitical system presents to us of body of civil law. It is a law representing God's idea of perfect government. It is designed to guide men in formation of a government designed by the mind of God. If every government authority were under the Lordship of Christ we would have a true theocracy rather than the democracy. It would be a government run by divine standards rather than human inventions. This type of government would cover social issues including laws regarding labor and capital. How we need that today in the midst of the disharmony which presently is controlled by greed and selfishness. Since God has absolutes in place regarding social issues they would not be downplayed by men but seen as vital in laying foundations for true righteousness. This is the best in Proverbs 14:34, which says" righteousness exalts a nation but sin is a reproach to any people" Leviticus presents principles for righteous government. If God were to control the leaders and human government there would be less issues to deal with and controversial opinions would be eliminated.
By placing the law of the sacrifices at the beginning of the book it reveals that right relationships to God should precede everything else. No one could disagree with that. This would also take care of many psychological problems that people have. So at the outset, this book presents to us the various sacrifices and their purposes. That purpose is to show to us the importance of doing everything By Godís plan.
Them we must consider the seriousness of this severity that comes from breaking the law. It reveals to us how utterly horrible sin is in the presence of an absolutely holy God. If we could understand sin as God it would affect the choices that we make. When the institution of capital punishment is exacted, regardless of the opinions of immoral men, it serves as a deterrent to crime such as murder and other forms of taking human life. The criminal would realize the seriousness of the crime and would be given no more opportunity to repeat it. In Ecclesiastes 8:11 we have these words, ďbecause the sentence against an evil work is not executed speedily, therefore the heart of the sons of men is fully set in them to do evil.". This speaks about not delaying or prolonging sentences against those who are guilty. Period the Levitical system offers ways of determining guilt and innocence.
Leviticus also gives guidelines in relation to two the treatment of the poor as well as relationships between employer and employee. The book of Ephesians as some of the other letters of Paul the apostle speaks clearly to the importance of Masters treating their slaves properly as servants honoring their masters. There would be no more need for unions and labor relations committees since God's principles would solve the problems. Just think if every employer under the Lordship of Christ exercise Christian principles toward his workers what quality of work that would produce. Suppose also that every worker would appreciate having a job and being grateful for what was provided by God, how that also would motivate his master toward being fair.
The book of Leviticus is also a revelation of Christ. It presents a treasury of divine illustrations to show sinners the way of salvation from the priestly work of Christ. It also reveals the dignity we possess as Christís redeemed ones. Imagine we find that in Leviticus.
Finally the book of Leviticus gives reference to future prophecies especially as some of the feast mentions have not found their complete fulfillment as yet. Though they have some historical fulfillment they have reference to future times accompanying the return of Christ. We will explain more of this as we come to the details.
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