For the life of the flesh is in the blood, and I have given it for you on the altar to make atonement for your souls, for it is the blood that makes atonement by the life.” – Leviticus 17:11 (ESV)
This is quite an understatement, but reading through the Bible for the first time last year was a life-changing experience for me. To really hear the voice of God for the first time in my life is not something I can describe easily. I remember those first couple of weeks and how I simply could not get enough of God’s Word (and still can’t !). The stories of creation, the patriarchs, the flood, and on and on…I was overcome by the messages that God was giving me as I was reading through Genesis and Exodus.
And then I got to Leviticus.
I can remember thinking to myself, “OK, I think I’ve missed something…” Why couldn’t I understand the meaning behind the burnt offering, the sin offering, the grain offering ? What’s God trying to tell me here ? All of these meticulous laws and regulations that were so detailed, I just couldn’t get my head around it. I finally came to the conclusion that God’s message in Leviticus is that there is a proper way to worship Him that we all need to understand and follow. But was that it ? I mean, this is God’s Word. It’s not a book to just “get through” and then move on to Numbers. What was I missing ?
As I was about to start Leviticus this time around, I decided that God didn’t want me to do what I did last year, and just read this difficult book and move on. Then somehow I came across a review for a book that came out just last year. It’s called “The Beauty of Holiness” by Philip H. Eveson. The subtitle of it is “The Book of Leviticus Simply Explained”. I read a sample chapter online and ordered it that day from Amazon. I’m now about halfway through it, and Mr. Eveson has helped me to understand what I was missing the first time around. Here’s an example:
“The things that happened to Israel in God’s providence are symbolic pointers to the wonderful salvation we have begun to enjoy in Christ.” (p. 15)
It’s this major theme that I couldn’t put together until now. God is calling us to a life of holiness. The animal sacrifices offered at that time were an effort to cleanse from the impurity of sin. But the blood that was shed then has been surpassed now by the blood of Christ. Only His blood can purify us !
Mr. Eveson has many gems throughout his book that I hope to share as I continue reading. A great aspect of his teaching in this book is that he continually points to a New Testament equivalent for many of these offerings and sacrifices. I’m now starting to have a much greater appreciation for the message of Leviticus. Thank you God for helping me to grow in this way and closer to you each day !