The Most Neglected Book:
The Most Important Book - Leviticus
by Chuck Missler
It may come as a surprise to discover that there are a number of Biblical
experts who regard the Book of Leviticus as the most important book of the
Bible! (Dr. Samuel H. Kellogg, Dr. Albert C. Dudley, J. Vernon McGee, et
The Most Important
What is The Most Important Thing in the world? Holiness! True happiness
begins with holiness.1
"If I had my choice of all the blessings I can conceive of I would choose perfect conformity
to the Lord Jesus, or, in one word, holiness." -Charles Spurgeon
Holiness isn't a luxury: it's a necessity. It's not limited to "the
Jews in ancient Israel": Leviticus instructs New Testament Christians how to
appreciate holiness and appropriate it into their everyday lives. We seem
to want Jesus to solve our problems and carry our burdens, but we don't want Him
to control our lives and change our character.
But as he which hath called you is
holy, so be ye holy in all manner of conversation; Because it is written,
Be ye holy; for I am holy.
2 -1 Peter 1:15, 16
What is "holiness"? It is the primary emphasis in the
Bible. This word occurs 87 times in Leviticus alone. The Hebrew word
for "holy" used in Leviticus, qodesh, means "that which is set
apart and marked off; that which is different; separateness; apartness;
sacredness." The English word "holy" comes from the Old English word
halig, which means "to be whole, to be healthy." The related word
"sanctify" comes from the Latin sanctis,
which means "consecrated, sacred, blameless."
Anything that God said was holy had to be treated differently from the common
things of life. The Sabbath was holy because God set it apart for His
people.3 The priests were holy because they were
set apart to minister to the Lord.4 Their
garments were holy and could not be duplicated for common use.
5 The tithe is holy.6
How did a Holy God reveal Himself and His holiness? The pagan religions were
notoriously immoral and involved occultic idols, temple prostitution, and the
like. God commanded His people to stay away from their altars and shrines
and to refuse to learn their ways. You never call any of the heathen
deities "holy." But the "Holy One of Israel" is one of the most
oft-repeated names of YHWH in Scripture (30X in Isaiah alone). In both
declaration and demonstration, YHWH made it clear to the people of Israel that
He is a holy God, righteous in all His works and just in all His
judgments. He also gave them a Holy Law that contained both promises and
penalties, of which the Ten Commandments are the essence.
7 It taught them right from wrong, defined things both
clean and unclean, and declared the penalties of disobedience. There was
no "value relativism" here! The requirements of holiness are
uncompromising. Near misses don't count. "The wages of sin is
death,"8 and "the soul that sinneth, it shall
God hates sin, but He loves sinners. And because He loves sinners and
wants to forgive them, He provided a substitute to die in the sinner's place.
The whole sacrificial system declared to Israel that a substitutionary death
would be required to die in the sinner's place. All this was a prefiguring
of a promised Savior who would lay down His life for the sins of the world. What
is the "Gospel"? It is God's proclamation of a plan of mercy to
sinners. The very definition of the "Gospel" is built on these very
That Christ died for our sins according to the Scriptures; And that he
was buried, and that he rose again the third day according to the
scriptures: -1 Corinthians 15:3, 4
The death of Jesus Christ was not a tragedy; it was an achievement. He
didn't just die: He fulfilled the myriads of precise specifications detailed in
the Scriptures that pointed toward this most significant event in the
Relevance of This Book to Us
Leviticus is the definitive revelation of the character of God. And God has not changed. It
is the revelation of the fundamental conditions of true religion. These spiritual
truths still abide: there is for sinful man no citizenship in the kingdom
of God apart from a High Priest and Mediator with a propitiatory sacrifice for sin.
Beyond the self-offering of the worshiper of God stands the
constant testimony that it is only through the shedding of blood - not his
own - that man can have remission of sin. We can't appreciate
Christ as the solution until we understand the requirements which had to be
The Epistle to the Hebrews lays down the principles upon which we are to
interpret Leviticus. The typical character of the ordinances is affirmed that
the Tabernacle was an "example and shadow of the heavenly things";
10 the sacrifices prefigured "better sacrifices than these,"
even the one offering of Him who "put away sin by the sacrifice of
Himself";11 and, that the holy times and sabbatic
seasons of the law were "a shadow of things to come."12
Still More to Come
We have seen the "type" of the day of atonement fulfilled in the entering
into heaven of our great High Priest, but in the type He came out again to bless
the people. Has that been fulfilled? Has He yet proclaimed absolution of
sin to guilty Israel? How about the Feast of Trumpets and that of the
ingathering at full harvest? How about that consummate type of all, the
year of Jubilee? Leviticus looks forward to a glorious future yet to come, with
the requirements of holiness fully met in Him.
The Book of Leviticus cannot
be "read"; it has to be studied. But fasten your seat belts. It's
going to be an exciting and highly privileged excursion!
* * *
FOR A MORE IN-DEPTH STUDY
- Hebrews 12:14; Matthew 5:6.
- Leviticus 11:44, 45.
- Exodus 16:23.
- Leviticus 21:7-8.
- Exodus 28:2.
- Leviticus 27:30.
- Exodus 20:1-17.
- Romans 6:23.
- Ezekiel 18:4.
- Hebrews 8:5.
- Hebrews 9:23, 26.
- Colossians 2:16, 17.
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