The Bitesized Bible
24 October 2020
Usually, the Christian gets to grips with the Old Testament book of Leviticus by reading it as a book of rules. In essence, that is what it is. However, it is a rule book for Judaism as opposed to Christianity. So often, sections of Christianity apply Leviticus instructions as a means of claiming holiness. The danger is always the same. Meaning that by doing so, Christianity develops judgmental forms of exclusivity that, for example, devalue the woman and elevate the man, or condemn others who live out their Christian faith in broader expressions of human relationships.
In addition to legal frameworks that prospered patristic dominance and narrow visions, ancient Israel understood God’s call to holiness as being “clean”, as opposed to ‘unclean’. All for the purpose of attaining . This is a core theme in the book of Leviticus. The suggestion is that when someone is operating within Mosaic purity laws, they are “clean.” When someone strays, they are “unclean’. This is legalistic obedience as the way to God, not the submission of the heart in faith and by Grace, for knowing God personally.
Leviticus’ other main purpose is as underpinning for appointed festivals – focusing of both ‘burnt’ and ‘grain’ offerings, with the rules and regulations being set down. From a Jewish perspective, it is legal obedience again that is the ticket to the feast of God– as any sense of God’s Grace or Unconditional Love are not yet on the horizon of human understanding.
For a Christian perspective, we need to shift focus on Leviticus and see it for the faith building block it is. A foundation stone of rich Old Testament theology that makes it clear just what Jesus fulfilled. It is not the Christian rule book, it is the Christian’s invitation to realize that the presence of the risen Jesus makes Holy the only feast required. His presence and our presence in unity, form the festival of salvation. All equal, all valuable and all in a Holy Communion dance with God in three persons.
© 2020 David Hollingsworth
Last Updated: 26 October 2020