It’s likely if you’re here, you’ve wondered, “What’s the point in Leviticus?”, “Why should I read Leviticus today?”, or “How does Leviticus apply to life today?”. I don’t blame you. My first time reading Leviticus, it seemed like a bunch of mumbo jumbo. There are names and measurements and rules that don’t seem to make sense in modern-day life, so it can seem like you should just skip the book and count it as irrelevant. In this article, I want to share with you 7 ways the book of Leviticus applies to us today.
What is the Book of Leviticus?
First, if you’ve never seen or heard of the book of Leviticus, let me explain what it is…
In English Bibles, the Bible begins with the Book of Genesis then Exodus, and Leviticus is the third book in the Bible. Moses is credited as the author of the book of Moses, and it’s largely composed of revelations he received from God.
What is the Book of Leviticus About?
The book of Leviticus is a book of laws that were to be followed by the Israelites. As you read thru, you can see how they were supposed to interact with God, each other, their leaders, their families, and their communities.
Why Most People Might Believe the Book of Leviticus Doesn’t Apply today
Most people believe the book of Leviticus doesn’t apply today because it talks about things like animal sacrifice and other laws that aren’t commonly practiced today. Added to that, most people who follow Christianity, read the New Testament books of the Bible.
In the New Testament, Jesus has said animal sacrifice, and other laws are no longer activities that need to be upheld because His sacrifice on the cross has reconciled mankind to God in ways the animal sacrifice could not.
For it is impossible for the blood of bulls and goats to take away sins.Hebrews 10:4 (ESV)
What can we learn from Leviticus?
Despite the changes between religion in the time of Leviticus and today, the book can teach us a lot about things like honoring God, understanding how to consecrate things, being disciplined about what you believe, consequences for behavior, and following rules.
Does the Old Testament Law Still Apply Today?
Most Christian people will agree that the 10 commandments still apply today, but there are other laws within the book of Leviticus that are more controversial. Laws like:
- Forbidden foods
- Animal sacrifices
- and, The punishments for wrongdoing..
Are all controversial today. In some ways, the book of Leviticus still applies today. Of course, the Bible isn’t telling us to kill animals and spread their blood on God’s altars (like what was done in Leviticus), but we can still understand the book of Leviticus from a historic standpoint, and to gain principles from what we read in the book.
How does Leviticus apply to life today? – 7 Ways the Book of Leviticus Applies Today
Here are 7 ways the book of Leviticus can apply to Christians today…
1. Setting Boundaries
As you read the book of Leviticus, you can see that God instructed the people of Israel about the exact measurements of the temple, the colors of the curtains, the location of their camp, and so many other things.
In modern times, many people struggle with setting boundaries and reinforcing consequences for boundaries being crossed. Reading the book of Leviticus is a great reminder that God sets very precise boundaries, and we should to.
Next time you’re reading thru Leviticus, pay attention to the boundaries God set, the boundaries the people of Israel had, and how you can set healthy boundaries that positively influence how you interact with others and how you defend yourself.
And the Lord spoke to Moses and Aaron, saying to them, “Speak to the people of Israel, saying, These are the living things that you may eat among all the animals that are on the earth. Whatever parts the hoof and is cloven-footed and chews the cud, among the animals, you may eat. Nevertheless, among those that chew the cud or part the hoof, you shall not eat these: The camel, because it chews the cud but does not part the hoof, is unclean to you. And the rock badger, because it chews the cud but does not part the hoof, is unclean to you. …Leviticus 11:1-47 (ESV)
2. Avoiding Temptation
In Leviticus, we can see that there were clearly forbidden things for the people of Israel to eat, touch, or interact with. The forbidden things were called “unclean”.
If they were to interact with “unclean” things there was a consequence. Some consequences were reconcilable, but some things (like adultery or killing someone) weren’t reconcilable.
When I read thru Leviticus, I’m always reminded about temptation and the consequences of falling short. There are simple boundaries that we can set for ourselves. For example, maybe you want to lose weight or abstain from sex.
It can be tough to follow thru and avoid the temptation of doing something that’s forbidden (even if you’ve made the rule for yourself). Watching the discipline that was demonstrated in the book of Leviticus and the consequences is a reminder that discipline is good, and following thru is better.
“‘And when the days of her purifying are completed, whether for a son or for a daughter, she shall bring to the priest at the entrance of the tent of meeting a lamb a year old for a burnt offering, and a pigeon or a turtledove for a sin offering,Leviticus 12:6 (ESV)
3. Being Disciplined
When you consider some of the things the people of Israel had to do, you can see it took a lot of discipline. For example, when they had to do animal sacrifices, they were having to take something of significant value and killing it to reconcile themselves with God, or to demonstrate their love.
In modern times, there’s a lower number of farmers and butchers in proportion to the population, so in today’s day in age, we’d be more likely to go to the grocery store and make purchases that we’d have to prepare for sacrifice. Can you imagine doing that?
It takes quite a bit of time and effort.
As you read thru the book of Leviticus, you should think about how much effort was required to follow thru with the rules that were listed in the book. I also recommend you think about ways you can make sacrifices of your time, money, or other resources for the benefit of your honor to God, your family, friends, and community.
4. Understanding Reconciliation
When you do something wrong to someone, do you try to repay the wrong, or do you try to avoid the person until they “forget”? The book of Leviticus reminds us that when we do something wrong to someone, it’s almost like a debt we owe.
I’m sure you’ve broken promises, hurt feelings, or created distance in your relationships at some point. It’s common for most people to ignore the apology or to keep very simple apologies, but the book of Leviticus shows us how to reconcile relationships, and ignoring the process isn’t an option.
5. Grasping the Holiness of God
throughout the Bible, we can see God has always wanted to have a presence among man. In Genesis, before the fall, God and man walked together in Eden, then after the fall, sacrifices, temples, and cleansing rituals were required, but God still wanted to live with man.
The book of Leviticus shows us the power of God, and how our uncleanliness impacts our connection with Him. It’s a reminder that we should pursue becoming the best version of ourselves (using Jesus as our standard).
6. Historic Reference
The book of Leviticus can be read as a history book. It can tell us more about what the people of Israel were like, how they lived, where they lived, how they ate, how they dressed, and more.
7. Observing the Relationships with God
People like Moses and the Levites were main characters in the book of Leviticus. They demonstrated sacrifice, submission, honor, and a connection with God. Observing their relationships with God can show us what’s possible with a connection between God and man. It’s amazing the things that can be done when man is submitted to the will of God in their lives.
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There are quite a few things in the book of Leviticus that are difficult to imagine without a thorough understanding of Middle eastern history, so I recommend you digging deep, exploring the archaeology, and gaining in-depth insight of what the book means. You shouldn’t make the mistake of thinking the entire book isn’t relevant. There are great principles you can learn from reviewing the book of Leviticus, so be sure to check it out.
If you have questions about this, leave them in the comments section below.
Download our Checklist with these 7 Ways Leviticus Applies to Us Today
If you’d like to remember to look for these things when you’re reading the book of Leviticus next time, download this free checklist with the 7 ways Genesis Applies to us Today.