Thursday, June 25th, 2009...10:07 pm

Blown away by God’s grace while reading…Leviticus?!

Jump to Comments

After reading this title, many of you might be thinking, “We’ve lost Mike. He’s gone off the deep end. We always knew he was one quirk away from dementia, and well…it’s Leviticus.”

My current Bible reading has me in Leviticus. Let’s face it: among contemporary evangelicals, Leviticus is not likely to win the “book we’re most eager to read” award. Even for those of us who have a relatively high view of Scripture, Leviticus is often seen as one of those “suck it up and deal with it” ordeals to persevere through on our journey of Christian piety. Rarely preached on or read from in church, this book is exiled to the private Bible reading of individual believers (and probably skipped whenever possible).

I went into Leviticus this time after having just finished Jeffrey Meyers’ fantastic book The Lord’s Service, so I was much more excited about reading through Leviticus with an eye toward the “covenant renewal” pattern of worship. I have also been listening to several lectures by James B. Jordan, in which he lectures on Biblical symbolism.

So I’m reading along and I hit Leviticus 14:1-32, which is about cleansing from leprosy, when I’m simply taken aback by the glory of God. A little background (heavily borrowing from Jordan):

  1. Ceremonial uncleanness is symbolic death. Leprosy was the most extreme example of this. A leper was cut off from the people and exiled to the outside of the camp.

  2. When a descendant of Aaron is ordained as a priest, blood is placed on his right ear, his right thumb, and his right big toe. This represents the four horns of the altar. (Circumcision symbolically being the fourth horn.) He is also anointed with oil.

So what do we see when a leper is cleansed? Blood is placed on his right ear, his right thumb, and his right big toe, and he is anointed with oil. This is priestly language, and is almost exactly parallel to the account of Exodus 29 and is not used in any other ritual. What do we learn from this? The leper is brought from the most stark ceremonial death and raised in glory on the eighth day as a symbolic priest. This ritual was not performed on kings or even the Levites that weren’t priests.

My mind is immediately drawn to the parable of the prodigal son. Kill the fatted calf! My son was dead but now he is alive! God does not merely take us back to where we were in the resurrection. This is no crude medical resuscitation. Nay, we are transfigured and brought to a more glorious state of being. This is the Triune God we worship; the God of death and resurrection. We also experience this death and resurrection to a degree every Lord’s Day as we worship and offer ourselves as living sacrifices to the Lord Most High!

Glory to God in the highest!

1 Comment

Leave a Reply

You must be logged in to post a comment.