Leviticus 22 – 24
In chapter 22we have more instructions for priests, how they should be ceremonially clean when approaching the Lord.
Chapter 23 we have a list of feasts. What is interesting is the fact that work is forbidden on feast days and they are (in some cases) actually referred to as sabbaths. I note this here because it has caused some controversy over which day Jesus was crucified (I’ve heard people adamantly defending Thursday over Friday). I’ll address the issue when we get there, but thought it was right to point it out now, so that you’d remember it when I get there. This is also the basis for the Adventist defence against people using Colossians 2:16 as a criticism of Sabbath keeping.
Finally chapter 24 gives us the “eye for an eye” story. This was how it was, and God commanded that it be that way, there’s no point in Christians trying to wiggle out of that. The only questions really are whether God likes it that way and whether it should still be like that. Obviously the second one is one I’ll answer when we’re reading the New Testament, because it seems contradictory.
As for God liking it, I don’t think God much liked a lot of what He commanded in the Old Testament, but he needed a disciplined society to carry His word. While He criticised their stubbornness against him, it’s likely that which made them such a good example. Once these laws became entrenched (as much as they did, which wasn’t entirely) they’d stick due to the stubbornness. Obviously the process of killing livestock for doing wrong (apart from the symbolic function) would make people think before doing wrong, as it could seriously diminish their wealth and stomachs (an ancient form of fining). As with the death penalty, the sacrificial stood as an example (for Christ’s sacrifice) and as a deterrent.
What are your thoughts?
Please give the reading through the Bible page a look if you haven’t already, there are some background posts and the index to this reading plan. Share it with others who you think can benefit from Reading the Bible.