Levitical rules and regulations regarding blood and sacrifice, offerings and priests, cleanness and uncleanness at first appear irrelevant to contemporary Christians. Yet large portions of the New Testament can hardly be understood at all apart from some understanding of these Old Testament concepts. What does it mean for believers to be a royal priesthood? A holy nation? For Christ to be our great high priest? Our Passover lamb? R. K. Harrison illuminates these ideas within their Old Testament context, thus providing the needed background for their New Testament development.
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“Leviticus is a well-organized reference manual for the Old Testament priesthood, and consists of two principal divisions or themes which have as their pivot the sixteenth chapter, dealing with regulations governing the annual day of atonement. The first fifteen chapters deal broadly with sacrificial principles and procedures relating to the removal of sin and the restoration of persons to fellowship with God. The last eleven chapters emphasize ethics, morality and holiness. The unifying theme of the book is the insistent emphasis upon God’s holiness, coupled with the demand that the Israelites shall exemplify this spiritual attribute in their own lives.” (Page 15)
“The reason the newly consecrated Israelite priests were given such detailed instructions about the care of God’s sanctuary was to ensure his continuing presence with his people. In the covenant relationship God approached Israel and made specific promises to them, contingent upon their obedience to the terms of the Sinai agreement. One of these was the demand that the Israelites should live in a way that would show to contemporary Near Eastern nations the true nature of holiness.” (Pages 26–27)
“The priests are instructed to keep the altar fire burning continually (9–13), since the burnt offering had to be disposed of completely on the altar. The sacrifice now described is the continual burnt offering or tāmîd of Exodus 29:38–42, presented morning and evening for the community as a whole. This ceremony reminded the Israelites of their need for continuous worship of the Lord, and assured them of his constant vigilance on their behalf. The believer in Jesus Christ is freed from the necessity of observing prescribed ritual procedures as he walks with the Lord, and can rejoice in God’s presence and protection wherever he happens to be.” (Pages 76–77)