Episode 57: Introduction to Leviticus – can God dwell with humans?

We continue our introductions to the books of the Torah, the first five books of the Bible, with Paul and Laurence covering the book of Leviticus.  This is maybe not the most appealing read, after all, what does how long you remain unclean if you touch a dead body, have to do with a Christian today?  But as Paul and Laurence scratch the surface they find that the careful structure of this book points to something, or rather someone, who is so much greater than the law (no prizes for guessing who!)

Show Notes

Laurence and Paul begin by reminding themselves that the objective for this episode is to provide a high level overview of the book of Leviticus, following on from the episodes on Genesis and Exodus. They immediately note how difficult this book is to read compared to the first two books of the Torah. Unlike Genesis and Exodus, Leviticus has almost no storyline to it whatsoever and is full of rituals, sacrifices and ancient feast days. How is it relevant to a Christian today?

The structure of the book of Leviticus

After considering how Leviticus might begin to address the question that Exodus ends with – how can God dwell with humans? – Laurence and Paul start to think about how this book is written in a careful structure.

There are 7 main sections within Leviticus, with an eighth section to conclude the book after the main content. Each of the main sections are distinct in subject matter, progressing from (1) sacrificial offerings, (2) ordination of priests and (3) ritual impurities to the centre of the book, (4) the Day of Atonement. Described as the High Priest’s busy day, Paul outlines how this unique day in ancient Israel’s calendar involved specific sacrifices, unique activity with the release of a goat into the wilderness, and the High Priest going into the most holy place of the tabernacle to cleanse the people and the sanctuary.

Beyond the Day of Atonement, the book continues to describe (5) moral impurities, (6) priestly qualifications and finally (7) ritual feasts, of which there are 7 in the annual cycle.

Laurence and Paul note how the book appears to be carefully designed in a chiastic structure, (a mirror image where sections 1 and 7 correspond, sections 2 and 6 also parallel, and so on, pointing to the middle section). The Day of Atonement seems to be saying something very important about the relationship between God and humans and how it can be restored.

The scapegoat of Leviticus

After discussing the differences between ritual and moral impurities, Laurence and Paul unravel the curious details in the Day of Atonement, including the scapegoat that is sent away into the wilderness to carry the sins of the people of Israel away. They turn to Hebrews 13:10-13 and see how the writer there looked back to this feast day as a pointer to Jesus, the one who would save, “outside the camp”.

The Day of Atonement appears to be teaching that the way to a restored relationship with God will be through the sacrifice of something, or someone, that is outside of the Levitical system. In this way, at the very heart of the book, and at the centre of the first five books of Moses, there is an offering that is teaching that there needs to be a more effective way of reconciliation to God. This is all pointing towards the need for someone to enter as a saviour, who ultimately turns out to be Jesus.

More content about the book of Leviticus

There is little in our own archives about Leviticus, but it is referred to alongside other Old Testament books in Episode 56: How Jesus read the Old Testament. The series on Matthew explored many links back to the Old Testament, in the same way as explored in this episode.

A helpful summary of the structure of Leviticus can be found here, alongside other useful content at Open Bible Learning.


Introduction to Leviticus – can God dwell with humans?


Laurence: Welcome everybody. We’re doing another of our overviews of biblical books as in our previous episodes. The aim is to fit a book into the biblical story, to examine the structure, identify the themes that we find in the book and hopefully lay a structure out so that you can read it for yourself and get some value out of these amazing books that we find in the Bible.

We want to try and understand what the authors are trying to communicate and this time we’re looking at Leviticus. So I have Paul here with me. Why would we spend time looking at this book? It seems like the contents may be irrelevant to us today and from a completely different world!

Paul: It is, isn’t it? As you kind of read through, we’ve done Genesis, we’ve done something on Exodus and there’s some good stories in there, and then you hit Leviticus and you [00:01:00] think, this is just so disconnected from my day to day life. It’s just from a different planet almost. You think, what am I doing reading this?

But it is actually part of the storyline, it appears where it does for a reason as I think we’ll see. And the reason it is where it is has some relevance to the human story and Leviticus plays a part in that as well. We just maybe have to dig a little bit deeper and, and harder to find that.

Laurence: Okay, we like a challenge here on Bible Feed Podcast. So where does Leviticus fit in the storyline?

Paul: Okay, so I’ve kind of already given that away, haven’t I? We’ve done Genesis, we’ve done Exodus, we’ve done the first book, the second book, Leviticus, is the third book of the Bible. Not just third book of the Bible, it’s the third book of this collection of books that are the five books known as the Torah, the books of Moses, the Pentateuch. And that’s where Leviticus sits as the third book of that group of five.[00:02:00]

Laurence: So I remember when we looked at Exodus Paul, we finished, didn’t we, that beautiful section at the end where the tabernacle has been built and the glory of God descends and that juxtaposition of the problem where Moses is not able to enter. How do we follow on from that cliff hanger.

Paul: Yeah. And if we’re making the claim that Leviticus is carrying on the storyline, you’d expect it to address that question, that problem. What does Moses have to do to enter the tent, this place where God and human beings can come together? How can Moses enter that?

And Leviticus does seem to address that question and the whole issue of God partnering with human beings even though human beings keep going off and doing their own thing. And the connection between Exodus and Leviticus is there right at the beginning of the book of Leviticus.

So we finished Exodus with that tent, with the cloud over it, Moses is not able to enter and it begins Leviticus [00:03:00] one, verse one. “The Lord called Moses and spoke to him from the tent of meeting.” So it seems like it’s now going to address that question. In fact, the book of Leviticus in the Hebrew Bible is, is called Vayikra or something like that In Hebrew. The names of the Hebrew books are often the first couple of words of the book. And so that’s what it is. “He called” or, or “God called”. We have it called Leviticus, which is a Latin word, which means ‘to do with the Levites’.

It seems to start out trying to answer that question, but it’s not particularly clear how it’s answering that question because you immediately get into lots of dull stuff about sacrifices, rituals, purity laws and things like that.

Laurence: Mm. Okay. We mentioned, where was it in the storyline of these books? And you’ve mentioned some of those fascinating sections, like, you know, a list of sacrifices to make and how many bulls and rams, etc to use in rituals and purity laws. Doesn’t seem to be a lot of [00:04:00] storytelling in that Paul.
Not sure what you read to your children when they were just about to go to sleep, but I didn’t see a lot of storytelling here.

Paul: No, when you think of the biblical storyline or the narrative, there isn’t really that coming through much. There is a little bit, there’s some little accounts of the priests behaving badly. But as we shall see, when we go through the structure of the book, it’s really carefully interwoven and structured and compiled in this final form that we have in a really careful way, which I think is pointing our attention to something in particular and pointing our attention to something that’s really relevant to that human story.

So I think it’s really important to try and understand what it’s communicating, not just as a single book, standalone, but in the context of the Torah, the five books and, where it sits in that, in that storyline.
Laurence: [00:05:00] Well let’s get onto the structure now then. If you were given the task, and you have been given the task, to understand the structure of this book, how would you, how would you define the structure?

Paul: Okay. So we’ve got I think eight sections and these are delineated by most of the commentaries and outlines. So they’re pretty clear sections and the subject matter changes across these sections and these chapters.

And as we go into it, we have the Lord calling Moses and speaking to him at the beginning, and then it goes straight into when somebody wants to make an offering, this is what they should do. And it describes a burnt offering and what they should do at the altar, what they should do with the blood, what they should do with different parts of the carcass, and which parts of it the priests the Levites should receive. So you’ve got seven chapters in total in this first section. Of descriptions of sacrifices.

Laurence: The first section, [00:06:00] then sacrifices and what are these sacrifices and what are they for?
Paul: Well, there’s essentially four different types of offering. So the first one, it’s often called the Burnt offering. And it’s all about a person associating themselves with an animal that’s going to be sacrificed and sort of using that as an expression of their dedication, the whole of their life, their person, being dedicated to God.

So it’s a sacrifice to do with dedication. And then chapter two is about grain offerings. And they are to do with flour and oil and certain quantities and they’re burnt and they’re offered, and some of it goes to the priests, and that’s more about a thanks offering. So that might be, you know, the offering of the first fruits of the harvest in thanks.

It’s actually the word that’s used for that second offering in chapter two is corban. So if you’re familiar with where that appears in the New Testament in a conversation that Jesus has with the Pharisees, [00:07:00] that’s what it’s talking about, this kind of offering, the second one in Leviticus chapter two. And then chapter three, there’s peace offerings and they’re more about a celebration of friendship or fellowship.

They’re sometimes called fellowship offerings. So both of those, the second one and the third one, somebody offers when they feel moved to make that offering of thanks or of celebration or of fellowship. The fourth one is in chapter four, and that’s to do with sin offerings.

And it says at the beginning of chapter four, the Lord spoke to Moses saying, speak to the people of Israel, saying if anyone sins unintentionally in any of the Lord’s commandments. And then it describes what the offering should be. And there’s actually four different offerings depending on whether you’re a high priest or you’re a member of the congregation or a leader of the people and so on. So there’s those sin offerings for unintentional sins.

Laurence: So it’s kind of seeking forgiveness for something that you’ve done.

Paul: yeah. But it wasn’t premeditated, [00:08:00] you know, a deliberate rebellion against the law of God.

Laurence: Okay, so that’s the first seven chapters. It’s about sacrifices of those varying different types. You know, we could spend a long time looking at that and it’s very far from our lived experience of worship, isn’t it like all of these, these physical offerings, so what’s the next section?

Paul: Next section is three chapters, chapters 8 to 10, and it shifts the focus away from those sacrifices and offerings in different circumstances and onto the priests, and it’s all about Aaron taking his sons, his four sons and getting them all set up, taking them through an induction course on getting them ready to fulfil this role as priests and to make sure they’ve got the right dress code and suitably prepared and ritually clean and they go through a practice run of all the different offerings as part of ordaining them as priests.

So that’s chapters [00:09:00] 8, 9 and then chapter 10, two of the sons of Aaron, having been through the course and been taught how to make all the offerings and you know what to do and what not to do, they go and use the wrong sort of fire on the altar. And they do it wrong, and it’s not stated explicitly, but it seems as though they may well have been under the influence of drink as they decided whatever we’ve just learned as to how we should do all this thing and approach God, we are not going to pay that due respect, and just do what we like. And as a result, these two sons, Nadab and Abihu they, they are killed. They die in the tabernacle, in the tent.

And that’s the second section.

Laurence: Right. That’s seems like it seems harsh. You know, you’ve got these two new priests that have just finished their training course maybe under the influence, then die as a result of maybe making a mistake on the fire [00:10:00] is that, is it right to think of that as being a harsh decision?

Paul: Well, it seems it, but when you think about what’s gone before, we’ve had this sort of repeating pattern, Adam and Eve in the garden, prepared and given everything that they need. They break the law that God gave them. Then in Exodus, we had the people brought out of Egypt. God has provided everything for them in the wilderness, and then they go and make this golden calf and you know, the relationship is damaged as a result. And this is following the same pattern, really, there’s all this detail, intricate detail about you’ve prepared, you’ve got all the right garments, you’ve got all the right animals, all doing things, all in the right order. You’ve been through it. And then they just deliberately do something that is just doing their own thing, disrespecting God’s way. And so it is just a repeating of that pattern.

So yes, it sounds harsh, but it’s absolutely in keeping with the pattern that we’ve seen unfolding [00:11:00] in the narrative so far, and you’re left again with this question, how is God going to continue to dwell with, work with this people that seems intent on just doing their own thing.

Laurence: Okay, it’s got deep really quick there, Paul. So with that, we’ve come to the end of the second section and you’ve talked about eight sections. So the third section, I presume is the next section (look at me with the maths).

Paul: It is, very good, yeah. Chapters 11 to 15 and, and here it gets really legalistic, legal. It’s all about unclean animals, what you can eat, what you can’t eat, not touching dead bodies. And it’s about uncleanness that arises from things like childbirth, skin diseases, bodily discharges.
Yeah, it doesn’t really hold back in the way things are described here, and it’s all about the things that make a man or a woman impure, unclean, and unable therefore to participate in [00:12:00] the ritual and the worship of the community.

Laurence: And, and how does that then get resolved? So how do they become clean again?

Paul: So in each of those situations, whether it’s to do with, you know, unclean animals or touching a carcass, or there’s skin diseases and so on, they’re resolved by making an offer that is specified. And then there’s a period of waiting where it might be just to the evening of that day, or it might be for seven days.
And then after that period the person is clean again and is able to rejoin the community activities and, and worship and so on.

Laurence: Seems simple, seems straightforward. So that’s the third section. Now we’re onto the fourth section. What’s the fourth?

Paul: Yeah. So the fourth section is the middle of the book really. It’s all about the Day of Atonement. So it’s chapter 16 and 17. And it’s all about this one day in the year called the Day of Atonement.

Laurence: And what does that involve?

Paul: So this is the High Priest’s Busy [00:13:00] Day as you might call it, you know, everybody else is not allowed to do any work. But the high priest is doing loads of work on this day. And he offers a bull that’s kind of a sin offering for himself. And then there’s this offering that constitutes two goats that are taken, and one of them is offered as a sacrifice and the blood is sprinkled.

And the blood is taken into the holy place, he takes the blood of this offering into the tabernacle itself, into the holy place, and actually goes into the most holy place where the ark of the covenant was put. So this is the only day in which anybody from the people of Israel goes into that chamber where the ark of the covenant is.

It’s the only time in the ritual calendar of the year. It’s the only time the high priest goes in there with this blood and sprinkles it, and then the second goat [00:14:00] isn’t killed, but there’s a placing of the sins, the transgressions of the people collectively placed on this goat. And the goat is sent off out of the camp into the wilderness somewhere carrying the sins of the people away from them. And so, you know, the whole thing is about cleansing of the people and cleansing of the sanctuary from all that might get in the way of the relationship between God and the people.

Laurence: Excellent, and I presume that’s where we get the phrase scapegoat from, that idea?

Paul: It is, and we’ll come back and look at that and think about what exactly that might mean.

Laurence: Yeah, so maybe that’s another podcast series, like common phrases that we use, which have come from the Bible. So anyway, we’ve got this central section here the Day of Atonement section when it’s the High Priest’s Busy Day. Okay, so that’s section four, what’s section five?

Paul: Yeah, so section five is another section [00:15:00] about impurities. So kind of either side of that Day of Atonement, all about cleansing. You’ve got sections that are about impurities, but this time they’re a lot more serious. So this is chapters 18 to 20. And I think we’d call this section that it’s to do with moral impurities.

So it’s all about sexual immorality, it’s about people making decisions to worship idols, and often in association with worship of idols there’s immorality or even child sacrifice. So, those sort of abominable behaviours that represent a moral failing of the people that are choosing to do that.

Laurence: And before in the impurities section you told us about the offerings that they made in order to become clean again. Do we see any here?

Paul: Well that’s what is different about this kind of impurity. There is no offering described [00:16:00] the only solution that’s given is don’t do it.

Laurence: Right. Okay.

Paul: Because if you do follow those practices of immorality and idolatry and child sacrifice and bloodshed and murder and so on, then you are actually behaving in a way that is just like the Canaanites.

So they were in the land before you and that you displaced. If you behave like them, then the same thing will happen to you. You know, expulsion from the land will happen. And, you know, there’s a little bit of a kick forward as a prophetic element to it, in that, that is exactly what happened with Israel later in their history. So there’s no offerings.

Laurence: So it’s basically, it is impurities, but basically keep away from them because things are going to go sideways if you do this stuff.

Laurence: Yeah. Okay. So that’s section five. Section six?

Paul: So here we are, section six, and we’re back with the priests again. And this little section is [00:17:00] about what qualifies you to be a priest and how you should remain holy and set apart for that role in the congregation.

Laurence: Okay, so holiness of priests is described and what chapters were they?

Paul: So that’s chapters 21 and 22.

Laurence: And after that, I presume we get chapter 23. So that’s another section.

Paul: Yeah. So we’re into the seventh section now, and that’s chapters 23 to 25, which is a description of feasts and gatherings and festivals throughout the annual calendar. And it describes seven feasts at which certain offerings and rituals were to be made through the annual cycle for the people of Israel.

It more or less follows the agricultural cycle of the people. And that’s chapters 23 and 25.

Laurence: Okay. And we get to section eight then with my maths. And what’s that about? That’s the [00:18:00] final one.

Paul: Yeah. So this is the final one and, and I’d kind of put this one as separate, and kind of treat it separately. We’ve got one to seven, which is covering certain material, and then we’ve got this final couple of chapters, which is really about calling on the people to be faithful to the covenant. But it includes a section that talks about if you are faithful to the covenant you’ll be blessed, you’ll be prosperous, you’ll be able to live in peace, live your lives out in peace. And there’s a little bit about that, and it’s quite short. And then if you don’t, then all these terrible things are going to happen to you. And there’ll be famines and your enemies will invade and overthrow you and, and ultimately be taken out of the land.

So in chapter 26 in particular there’s a long list of things that that can go wrong. So it, it almost, as I said before, it almost presumes that [00:19:00] that’s the situation that’s going to unfold. They’re not going to be faithful to the covenant. And it even talks about some of the things that would happen once they had been expelled from the land which which did happen later in their history. So we can kind of treat that one separately.

But now that we’ve covered all of the sections, the eight sections in Leviticus, We’ve got seven sections that form the body of it, and then that last section as a call to faithfulness now that we’ve covered them all.

And you Laurence, with the benefit of seeing them written down in the notes what can you see in that as a pattern?

Laurence: Yeah, absolutely not because it’s in the notes. I obviously knew this before! But yeah, it’s clear that we have a correlation between the first and the last. So you’ve helpfully in the notes, used the same words, so even somebody like me can identify them.

So section one is ritual sacrifices. Section seven is ritual feasts. And then as you [00:20:00] go inwards towards what you were talking about as being the centre of the book, you’ve got priests ordained in section two and qualifications of priests in section six. And then as you get closer to the centre, you get ritual impurities in section three, and then you get moral impurities in section five.

And then boom, in the middle we have the Day of Atonement. I presume that’s the point you want to make?

Paul: Absolutely. Yeah. So we’ve got this it’s sometimes called a chiastic structure, which is a sort of a mirror image or like a V shape where the outer parts match and then you get a point in the centre that is the is the focal point that it’s leading you towards.

And it’s the day of atonement, so it’s right there in the middle of the book of Leviticus, you’ve got this Day of atonement, which we’ve said a little bit about. But it’s also interesting, and I’ll just mention it, I haven’t particularly studied this, but we’ve got five books in the Torah [00:21:00] and the middle book is Leviticus, and right in the middle of the middle book in this chiastic structure in Leviticus is the Day of Atonement.

So it seems like, whether it’s just Leviticus or the collection of five books we’re being pointed to the Day of Atonement as telling us something critical which I think is fascinating.

But I’ll just leave that with you to go and think about. It’s obviously pointing us to that thing which is telling us something really important about relationships between humans and God. And we’ll say something about that in a bit.

Laurence: Yeah. Interesting. I did some reading in last couple of weeks and it linked the end of Deuteronomy with the beginning of Genesis. So you have, the wilderness blessings and cursings and going into a new Eden, going into the promised land with Genesis. So if that, if your chiasm thing is right, then maybe it is pointing us [00:22:00] towards the Day of Atonement.

So let’s see if we can dig a little deeper. So what themes do we find? If we were reading this, we’ve obviously got that structure and that’s pointing to the day of atonement, but what themes do we see?
Paul: Okay, so we’ll talk about the Day of Atonement in a bit and just pull something out of that, which I think is fascinating. But before looking at that, either side of the Day of Atonement, we’ve got these two sections that are about impurities and uncleanness and so we’ve got these ritual impurities in the section just before the Day of Atonement and the characteristics of these are to do with natural situations. They’re not something that you can avoid. you can’t avoid being born, you can’t avoid childbirth. You can’t necessarily avoid touching a carcass when you are preparing a carcass or butchering it for food.

And so there are all these things associated with essentially death or corruption or with [00:23:00] reproduction and all things associated with mortality of human beings and you know, if you become unclean because you’ve touched the dead carcass of something, it’s not a sin, it’s not described as sinful and it’s not a permanent problem. For a period you can’t participate in the worship, but then you make the offering, wait the period of time and you’re back in again. So that’s the characteristic of those ritual impurities, all to do with just being mortal and a human being.

And then you’ve got these moral impurities, which are very different. They’re about conscious decisions to committed adultery or do something immoral or to worship something else other than God or to shed blood. And those are sins there’s no offering for them. They defile the sinner and they defile the land, is the way it’s described. And that’s why the result is, is expulsion.

So they’re very different. [00:24:00] But actually I find that resonates quite well with how we might think about sin and what it is, and what it might be in our lives that, you know, we often feel like we fail and we are weak and we don’t have enough energy to do everything we want to do, and that’s just part of being mortal.

It’s not a sin. It’s just a part of being a human being, that is a bit weak and feeble at times. And so those rituals are kind of expressing that, yeah, you’ve got this weakness and it means we can’t be like God, we can’t have this full relationship with God while we’re in this mortal state.

But it’s not a sin. It’s just a state of being, if you like, and then you’ve got those conscious decisions to do really bad things. And yeah, those are sins. And if you do that and you just go that way, then that is breaking and damaging the relationship with God in a way that can’t be [00:25:00] healed.

And so that I think is an interesting way of thinking about those impurities, which as you read them it’s pretty dry and dull, but actually is saying something quite helpful about what we are as human beings and what God is interested in from us.

Laurence: So we can cast forward these elements of what we could describe as a dry book into our own kind of lived experience now.

Laurence: So you’ve mentioned you wanted to have a word about the Day of Atonement as well, and the themes that we can draw from that?

Paul: Yeah, let’s have a think about the Day of Atonement now. There’s so much going on in the High Priest’s Busy Day that we’re just going to pick out one or two points. So we described that this offering with the two goats and the way it’s talked about, the way it’s described is it’s one. But it’s got these two animals involved, these two goats involved.

So that’s really interesting in itself, in that it’s one [00:26:00] offering, but it’s achieving two things. There is a sacrifice, there’s a death of one of the goats and, and it’s blood is taken and sprinkled and so on. And then there’s the other goat that carries away the sins. And that’s really interesting, right. From there you can start to think, okay, I can see that might be pointing to somebody who makes one offering, but it achieves multiple things, and it achieves the forgiveness, the carrying away of sins.

One of them, the one that has its blood sprinkled in the holy place and taken into the tent is then the carcass of that goat is then burned outside the camp. So it’s taken away from the Israelites and it’s burned outside the camp. Now let’s just have a look at some words in the letter to the Hebrews, which talks exactly about that situation. [00:27:00] So in Hebrews chapter 13, and we want to read from verse 10.

Laurence: “We have an altar from which those who serve the tent have no right to eat. The bodies of those animals whose blood is brought into the holy places by the high priest as a sacrifice for sin are burned outside the camp. So Jesus also suffered outside the gate in order to sanctify the people through his own blood. Therefore, let us go to him outside the camp and bear the reproach he endured.”

Paul: So it’s referring to that exact situation that happened on the Day of Atonement. The blood of that sacrifice was taken into the holy places. Now, normally for the sin offering, that didn’t happen, but on this occasion it does, and the high priest takes it in. When that’s happened the body of that sacrifice is burned outside the camp.

[00:28:00] And the priests are not able to eat of what’s left of the sacrifice. So normally with the sin offering, they would eat of that and partake of the sacrifice as it were. So the Levites as priests weren’t able to do that with offering when it was taken and burnt outside the camp.

The significance of that is this is pointing to the sacrifice of Jesus. Jesus suffered outside the city walls, you know, where he was crucified, and then therefore let us go to him outside the camp. So embedded within that central ritual of the Torah, of the book of Leviticus, is an offering which illustrates that those offerings can’t save because the priests couldn’t partake of it.

Those offerings are burnt, they’re consumed, completely destroyed outside the camp. So embedded right in the middle of this offering is an indication that these offerings don’t [00:29:00] work in the way that God ultimately wants them to work, and that there will be another sacrifice that will achieve that!
Laurence: And so is it here linking the sacrifice that Christ makes in Hebrews with that goat within Leviticus? Is that what’s happening here in Hebrews?

Paul: Yes, I think so. Yes. it’s indicating that sacrifice which the Levitical priest couldn’t partake of was pointing forward to Jesus, that there was something else outside of the Levite priesthood and all their offerings and rituals that was needed in order to really save and heal the relationship between God and humans.

Laurence: So obviously that would then mean that right at the centre of Leviticus, we have Jesus…

Paul: Yeah.

Laurence: Beautiful! So where does this leave us then with the question that we posed right at the beginning with the end of Exodus. how can humans and God’s [00:30:00] relationship be fixed as it were, and they dwell together?

Paul: I think the answer is, that it can’t be a complete and full relationship, while human rebellion is not dealt with even on the Day of Atonement. So this is the one day when the high priest enters the most holy place where the ark of the covenant is. And even when he does that, it describes what he’s got to do is put some incense on a censor and it’s got to be burning and create this cloud so that actually he goes in and he doesn’t see the ark. The cloud of incense covers the ark so he can’t see it. So even on that day, it’s not a full and complete kind of coming together. And in fact, Hebrews, we looked at Hebrews 13 and Hebrews 9 comments that this structure, describing the tabernacle and the structure, is designed to illustrate that the way into the most holy [00:31:00] place is not yet made manifest.

And so, I think one of the things we do get from this is that there are all these barriers in place, while human behaviour and rebellion is not properly dealt with. But despite that, God is still staying with his people, in covenant relationship with his people, you know, he will bless them in their lives, he gives them a promise of a peaceful and prosperous mortal life.

Laurence: So is that then the extent of that blessing? You know, God is only able to bless us in the mortal lives that we have?

Paul: While yes, that is the outcome of the covenant relationship under the law. One of the things we’ve seen is that embedded in that law, this system of law, are features which predict its own failure, its own weakness, its own failure to save. Embedded in that law and its structure are [00:32:00] pointers that God is working towards a better solution, you know, one that can resolve that human behaviour issue. And that’s Jesus and the nature of that sacrifice and the way it can act on our hearts and our minds to change us.

Laurence: Superb. And that’s why I think it’s important to sometimes read the Old Testament through the lens of the New Testament in order to be able to get that extra nugget of information, Thank you very much Paul for this introduction to Leviticus.

Hopefully you are going to find it a little bit easier to tackle what is quite a challenging and maybe difficult book to sit down and wade through and understand what the purpose is as well. And in terms of other resources, we’ve had a little bit of a look around in our catalogue. We’ve not found that much material really sort of covering Leviticus. But there is a series “Discovering Jesus in Matthew”. And that really emphasizes the importance of looking at Jesus, looking at the [00:33:00] gospel records and using the Old Testament and things from the law that even, you know, Jesus used himself.

So also within the show notes for this podcast, we’re going to put some visual summary of Leviticus there to help you see that structure that we’ve been dwelling a little bit on during the podcast today. So thank you very much for listening. Comment on biblefeed.org or on Facebook, Instagram, etc.

And we’ll be back soon to cover another book overview. Goodbye.