You Lost Me at Leviticus, Part 1

Leviticus at Wisdom
October 30, 2022 | By Tyler Carroll

Leviticus is foreign. It’s a 19,000-word document written in ancient Hebrew about events that took place 3500 years ago. Over the next few weeks, we will get familiar with Leviticus, specifically the sacrificial system outlined in the first seven chapters. We hope that by shedding fresh light on parts of the Bible that generally confuse or scandalize us, we can gain the wisdom we need to be better followers of Jesus now and in the future.


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By going back and honoring a previous moment in my story, I gain wisdom for the present and future moments of my story.

Tim Mackie, Bible Project
“These texts are designed to produce people who live with wisdom, justice, righteousness, and the fear of the LORD, resulting in the blessings of Eden in my life and the life of those around me.”

The Biggest Obstacles of Leviticus
1. It’s boring

The Biggest Obstacles of Leviticus
2. It’s baffling

John Walton
“Just as Israel in the Old Testament was identified as the covenant people of God through whom he would carry out his plans and purposes, so in the New Testament the church is co-identified with God as the Body of Christ to carry out his plans and purposes…The Torah provides wisdom to the Israelites to help them understand what their co-identification should look like as Yahweh carries out his plans and purposes through them in their time and culture…The Torah was not given as God’s revelation to help the Church be the church; It was given to help Israel be Israel…

“If we have learned what Torah was and how it functioned, we will be a be able to use that understanding of God’s plans and purposes to gain insight into how these [plans and purposes] are being carried out today through the New Covenant…

What we can learn from the Torah is important, but we are not participants in that program…

The Biggest Obstacles of Leviticus
3. It’s barbaric

John Walton
“Israelite society needed to be a more or less ideal embodiment of social order by the standards of the ancient world.”

The Biggest Obstacles of Leviticus
4. It’s backwards

The Biggest Themes of Leviticus
1. Holiness
2. Sacrifice

Leviticus is 19:2
“Be holy because I, the LORD your God, am holy.”

The sacrifices are not about earning anything.

They are rituals through which God transforms the hearts and minds of the people destined to bless the world.

Or said another way:

They are practices through which God transforms the hearts and minds of the people destined to bless the world.

Psalm 15:1
“O LORD, who may abide in your tent; Who may dwell on your holy mountain?”

Exodus 40:34-35
And the cloud covered the Tent of Meeting and the glory of the LORD filled the Tabernacle. And Moses could not come into the Tent of Meeting, for the cloud abode upon it and the glory of the LORD filled the Tabernacle.

Leviticus 1:1
“And the LORD called to Moses and spoke to him from the Tent of Meeting…”

Numbers 1:1
“And the LORD spoke to Moses in the Wilderness of Sinai in the Tent of Meeting on the first of the second month in the second year of their going out from Egypt…

Leviticus 9:22-24
“Aaron lifted his hand toward the people and blessed them, then descended from offering the purification offering, the ascension offering and the peace offerings. Moses and Aaron entered the Tent of Meeting and they came out and blessed the people. Then the glory of YHWH appeared to all the people…”

Tish Harrison Warren
Most of our days, and therefore most of our lives, are driven by habit and routine. Our way of being-in-the-world works its way into us through ritual and repetition…We are shaped every day, whether we know it or not, by practices–rituals and liturgies that make us who we are…Whoever we are, whatever we believe, wherever we live, and whatever our consumer preferences may be, we spend our days doing things–We move in patterns that we have set over time, day by day. These habits and practices shape our loves, our desires, and ultimately who we are and what we worship.”

Isaiah 2:2-3, 5
“Now it shall come to pass in the latter days, that the mountain of the house of the LORD shall be established as the summit of the mountains, and shall be exalted above the hills. And all nations shall flow to it. Many peoples shall walk and say, Come, and let us ascend the mountain of the LORD, to the house of the God of Jacob. He will teach us his ways so that we may walk in his paths. For out of Zion shall go forth the Torah and the word of the LORD from Jerusalem…O house of Jacob, come, let us walk in the LORD’s light.”