In many ways, this is the fundamental question of Old Testament Israel’s cult—and, indeed, of life itself. How can creatures made from dust become members of God’s household “forever”? The question of ascending God’s mountain to his house was likely recited by pilgrims on approaching the temple on Mount Zion during the annual festivals. This entrance liturgy runs as an undercurrent throughout the Pentateuch and is at the heart of its central book, Leviticus. Its dominating concern, as well as that of the rest of the Bible, is the way in which humanity may come to dwell with God. Israel’s deepest hope was not merely a liturgical question, but a historical quest.
Under the Mosaic covenant, the way opened up by God was through the Levitical cult of the tabernacle and later temple, its priesthood and rituals. The advent of Christ would open up a new and living way into the house of God—indeed, that was the goal of his taking our humanity upon himself, his suffering, his resurrection and ascension.
In this stimulating volume in the New Studies in Biblical Theology, Michael Morales explores the narrative context, literary structure and theology of Leviticus. He follows its dramatic movement, examines the tabernacle cult and the Day of Atonement, and tracks the development from Sinai’s tabernacle to Zion’s temple—and from the earthly to the heavenly Mount Zion in the New Testament. He shows how life with God in the house of God was the original goal of the creation of the cosmos, and became the goal of redemption and the new creation.
“The primary theme and theology of Leviticus (and of the Pentateuch as a whole) is YHWH’s opening a way for humanity to dwell in the divine Presence.” (Page 23)
“Whether the laws pertain to sacrifice, to distinguishing between clean and unclean, or to ethical and moral behaviour, the aim of the laws is fellowship and union with the living God. For this reason, though Leviticus is often characterized thematically by holiness,29 it is preferable to discern holiness not as an end in itself but rather as a means to an end, which is the real theme, the abundant life of joy with God in the house of God.” (Page 30)
“The shape of the Pentateuch, I posit, follows (and forms) its unifying theme: YHWH’s opening a way for humanity to dwell in the divine Presence. The essence of that way and the heart of the Pentateuch’s theology is the Day of Atonement.” (Page 38)
“Thus to be clean means to be fit for the Presence of God, while to be holy means that one belongs to God.” (Page 155)
“Indeed, the fundamental plotline of the Pentateuch (and redemptive history) is often missed precisely from the failure to discern the ultimate goal of creation, namely for humanity to dwell with God.” (Page 40)
Many Christians who try to read through the Bible stumble when they get to Leviticus because they don't understand what is going on. They then skip the book that is at the structural and theological heart of the Torah. . .If you enjoy books that help you grasp the meaning of Scripture and provide numerous 'Aha!' moments, put this book on your reading list."
—Keith Mathison, professor of systematic theology, Reformation Bible College
Michael Morales has written an excellent book, Who Shall Ascend the Mountain of the Lord? A Biblical Theology of Leviticus, that I hope will help people to better understand the purpose of Leviticus, and in particular the nature of true biblical worship. Highly recommended.
—Mark Jones, Reformation 21
Morales convincingly reads Leviticus as solving these problems through the Levitical approach to the house of God (Leviticus 1–10), cleansing of the house of God (11–16), and meeting with God (17–27). Levitical worship is obsolete today, but Morales demonstrates its significance to those entering God's presence through a better way.
—Caleb Nelson, World Magazine
In the Logos edition, this volume is enhanced by amazing functionality. Important terms link to dictionaries, encyclopedias, and a wealth of other resources in your digital library. Perform powerful searches to find exactly what you’re looking for. Take the discussion with you using tablet and mobile apps. With Logos Bible Software, the most efficient and comprehensive research tools are in one place, so you get the most out of your study.