11 May 2009

Is Leviticus Getting You Down?

My friend, Paul McCain, and I were yacking about the readings in Treasury from Leviticus. There are a few points in the recent readings that I think are well worth noting.

First, verse 8 in both yesterday's (Lev. 20) and today's (Lev. 21): "The Lord who sanctifies you; keep the commandments!" I note the same train of thought in Philippians 2: Work out your own salvation with fear and trembling, for it is God who works in you, both to will and to work for His good pleasure. Sanctification comes from living in the presence of the Holy One, but that leads to the keeping of His commandments, and always rejoicing in the blood of atonement for our sin.

Second, the intense interest in physicality in the holiness codes teaches us the importance that God attaches to our bodies. This theme runs from start to finish in Scripture. It fits so well with asking God for daily bread before we even ask for forgiveness in the Our Father.

Third, the whole matter of what is suitable for the priests comes to great "aha" when you remember that this is what the New Covenant lifts you into: you now are members of God's royal priesthood, who have access to the holy place, and offer the incense of prayer and eat the holy bread that God provides. When we never forget that God has given US this inner access to His presence, much of Leviticus lights up!


joesanchez said...


Never have I had a friend like you, a true friend in life.
You cracked the veneer, you accept me for who I am
and for who I am not.
You showed me there is no need to live in disguise
and so I drop the fear because you are here.
To hold my hand, to walk me through this foreign land
Explore a life of truth between you & I
This is how we grew to this friendship
I know now, like I never have
I have you to thank and this is how
I love you my friend
My true friend till the end.
Copyright 2009 By Joseph Anthony Sanchez

Ben said...

Yes, Pastor, amen on your last sentence. The letter to the Hebrews really opened up the entirety of the Temple codes to me.

Dennis Peskey said...

For those who find "Grace Upon Grace" worthy of study, I suggest Dr. Kleinig's Concordia Commentary on Leviticus. Dr. Kleinig finds Christ where no pharasee dared look. And - for the rest of the story, Dr. Kleinig is working on the Concordia Commentary on Hebrews (what I affectionly refer to as "the rest of the story")

Ryan said...

I second the "read Dr. Kleinig's Commentary on Leviticus" it has made Leviticus one of the most Christ centered and now favorite books of Scripture for me. I'm actually doing a Leviticus Bible Study for the second time using Kleinig's work and the people are eating it up.

Paul McCain said...

I can't wait for Dr. Kleinig's commentary on Hebrews. I know it is going to be fantastic!

Pr. Jim Wagner said...

A few years ago we (I) reluctantly took up Leviticus in our evening adult class. It turned out to be illuminating not only for the class but for me. Absolutely great, thanks in no small part to Dr. Kleinig's commentary. Next came Hebrews, and a whole new world opened up to all of us.

As I think about those recent lessons in TDP, I cannot help but think that there is something deeply imbedded in the human psyche (or law of God?) about the priestly role.

This is not to take away from what Prs. Weeden and McCain have written about the priesthood we all share in Christ, but simply to add that there is a holiness about the role of those who serve before the altar that cannot be taken lightly.

I think our forefathers in the faith understood this in a way that many of our colleagues in the last 50-60 years may have forgotten.