name of the book comes, in Hebrew, from its opening words, “The
Lord called,” or “he called” but was subsequently referred to
as “the book of the priests” or, as the later Greek version of
the Old Testament put it, “the book of the Levites.” (for the
priest were all Levites). Someone has suggested that it was a
book purely for the Israelite priesthood and as its operation
ceased when the Temple was destroyed in AD70 and has never been
rebuilt, it is no longer relevant. But if we ignore it we a) ignore
part of the accepted canon Scripture and b) ignore many of the
lessons about God and His people, which the book conveys.
Read Leviticus: When
we came to the end of the book of Exodus, we had read about the
establishing of the Tabernacle and the Priesthood. Purely to create
an historical context, the reader might now want to know, what
did the priests do at the Tabernacle? Moreover, why did they do
these things, apart from the fact God said to do them? What reason
was there to perform the various procedures, what effect did they
have on the people and so, what was the meaning of these procedures?
simple short answer to these questions is “to create a God-orientated
environment,” a series of practices that would guide people in
their worship and in the way they dealt with their corporate or
individual guilt, as well as laying out many guidelines in resect
of daily life and hygiene, for that particular people at that
particular period of history.
saying that we find ourselves facing two dramatic and highly remarkable
differences from that which constitutes modern church ‘worship'.
The first is an emphasis on a personal accountability
and relationship with God whereby a believer was required
to do something very specific in a very practical way to demonstrate
their heart. The second is an even greater emphasis on
the fact that God is holy and therefore sin
and guilt are issues taught and faced by the individual and the
community with ways laid down specifically how to deal with that
sin and guilt. These ways were complex but would have both challenged
and expressed the emotions in possibly a much fuller ways than
many believers today experience. Yet Leviticus goes much further
than worship, it includes health and hygiene and how to live as
a holy people.
no, this is not to suggest that we need to return to these practices
because, as the writer to the Hebrews in the New Testament points
out, all the Offerings are covered by the death of Jesus. Moreover
many of the ‘laws' fitted this particular nation at this particular
time – as they were getting ready to ender the Promised Land and
live lives very distinct from the pagan occupants they would encounter.
a day when most agree that Leviticus is probably one of the least
read books of the Bible, for the reader of the Bible, that challenge
to get to grips with this book – it's structure, its procedures
and its meaning – should be sufficient to get us into it. This
will not be for everyone but the overall goal of these ‘Frameworks'
– to provide assisted bible reading – is as much true in this
book as any other and our hope is that it will go to more than
just intellectual understanding but will, like any other part
of Scripture that is read with God's help and an open heart, touch
us and change us.
story is told that one unbeliever decided to read the Bible through
and by the time they reached the end of Leviticus they committed
their life to Christ, having been convicted about their state
before the holy God seen in this book. We present these breakdowns
and notes, with varying styles and breakdown-approaches that we
hope match the nature of the contents, with such an anticipation
in the back of our mind.
you wish to go to any particular chapter without going back to
the Main Frameworks Contents Page, just click on the chapter number