“Be holy because, I, the Lord your God, am holy.” – Leviticus 19:2
Leviticus can be one of the hardest books to read when reading through the Bible. All the instructions, rules, and standards being mentioned can be hard to keep up with and follow. However, it is important to remember that the things mentioned in Leviticus play a large role in the story of redemption that flows throughout the Bible.
The call to be holy first causes us to think about what being holy means. In the Hebrew, holy is defined by being pure, set apart, and free from defilement and unclean things. God is holy; He is pure and set apart from sin. God cannot be around sin. God is calling His people now to be holy just as He is holy. That is why as you read through Leviticus over and over you will see phrases that say, “don’t touch this because it is unclean, or don’t do this because it is unclean.” If the Israelites do happen to touch or do something that is unclean, then there is a purifying process one must go through in order to make them clean again.
Sacrifices also play a large role in the regulations of Leviticus. God knows that His people will sin and fall short of the rules and standards He is setting. The various sacrifices allow the people to make an offering to the Lord to acknowledge how they have failed to be holy because of their sin. The death of animals would serve as a sign to remove the guilt and punishment from the individual. These sacrifices showed that the cost of sin is death and that people were unable to redeem themselves. Over and over, day after day, sacrifices would be offered for the people’s failures.
However, Christ would put an end to this practice. God knows that mankind will never be able to keep His holy standards. Reading through Leviticus reminds us of this difficulty. Christ comes to earth to live the holy, clean, and pure life that we cannot live. He is the perfect Lamb of God for a sacrifice. The sacrifice of Christ on the cross is the one final sacrifice that removes the power and guilt of sin. It is in the death of Christ that true forgiveness is found. The death that comes with sin is defeated in Christ, and now when God looks at us He sees believers as holy because of Jesus Christ. The message of the cross flows through Leviticus and the entire Old Testament. The Bible is God’s story of redemption for His imperfect people.