When it comes to dealing with the Book of Leviticus, Bible scholars and commentators tend to do one of two things.
One is they either gentile-ize this book to the point where everything in Leviticus somehow points to Jesus and the Church.
They will say that every detail of this book somehow points to Yeshua’s future ministry.
Or they will take the totally opposite approach and write off Leviticus as little more than an interesting historical footnote in ancient Israel’s societal development.
Proponents of this viewpoint are adamant in their insistence that the contents of this book applied to or only apply to Israel and therefore have no relevance to the modern believer who is “justified by Christ” as they put it.
Now the approach I’m going to be taking is based on a principle I’ve already discussed many times and that I’ve dubbed the “AS-IN-HEAVEN-SO-ON-EARTH Principle”.
I don’t think it’s necessary to treat Leviticus as just historical literature OR just theological instruction.
The “physical AND the spiritual” and the “historical AND the theological” simultaneously exist side-by-side together.
It’s NOT an either/or proposition.
The AS-IN-HEAVEN-SO-ON-EARTH Principle” is just my way of attempting to express this deep spiritual mystery of the two dimensions of reality, one spiritual and one physical, that co-exist together.
One way to illustrate this is to think of two railroad tracks where one is VISIBLE and the other INVISIBLE.
The visible railroad track represents the physical manifestation of God’s instructions, commands, and pronouncements that we can detect with our five senses.
However, running parallel to the visible track is the INVISIBLE track that we cannot detect with our senses and represents the very real spiritual world surrounding us.
The Wilderness Tabernacle is a great example of this as it was the PHYSICAL earthly model of God’s SPIRITUAL dwellings in the heavens.
However, since we humans are so easily swayed and influenced by things we can see, smell, touch, and hear, we tend to overemphasize the importance of the physical in comparison to the spiritual.
On a conceptual level, although we may accept that the invisible spiritual reality surrounding us is far more powerful and far exceeds anything possible in our physical world, we still have difficulty comprehending this on a very visceral or practical level.
The physical world is full of limitations while the spiritual world has ZERO limitations.
By this definition alone, the physical is INFERIOR to the spiritual.
The physical eventually succumbs to decay and dies, but not the spiritual.
I’m not saying the physical is bad, but compared to the spiritual, it is full of constraints.
Now the reason I’m saying all this is because as a general Biblical principle, the Lord’s commands and systems do NOT change or become obsolete, but they do transform.
When I say “transform”, what I’m saying is that while the outward physical appearance may change, the underlying SPIRITUAL structure AND REQUIREMENTS remain the same.
Now one way that transformation takes place is via SUBSTITUTION.
And it is this transformation via substitution that should greatly interest us, because that is what the God-ordained sacrificial system as detailed in Leviticus is all about.
Here’s the thing.
Although the PHYSICAL practice of killing specified animals under the Levitical sacrificial system is no longer practiced (but will be again in the future), the SPIRITUAL parallel of the sacrificial system continues to exist.
In other words, the requirements of the sacrificial system did NOT become obsolete, and the reason is because a physical sacrifice and the shedding of blood are still necessary to atone for sin.
The very fact that every human being on this planet today has to accept Yeshua as the perfect and permanent physical sacrifice for his or her sins, a price that was formerly accomplished by the slaying of prescribed animals, is evidence that the underlying spiritual reality of the Levitical sacrificial system still exists.
The sacrificial system was NOT done away with, it was TRANSFORMED by Yeshua’s sacrifice.
To say that something was done away with is to imply that what was required by that thing is no longer required.
Obviously this is not true because every soul who wishes to have peace with God and live eternally in His light must have his sins atoned for.
We can see the same physical/spiritual duality in Yeshua’s sacrifice
Physically speaking, His atoning death occurred about 2000 years ago.
However, from a spiritual perspective, His atoning death has no beginning or end.
Because the spiritual is NOT bound by time and space.
We are not relying on something old or in the past.
Yeshua’s atoning death IS ongoing and present.
Because the underlying spiritual requirements of the Levitical sacrificial system REMAIN!
Again, Yeshua did NOT do away with the SACRIFICIAL SYSTEM, He transformed it.
The outward physical track might have changed, but NOT the spiritual.
Rest assured, Leviticus is as relevant to us today as it was to the ancient Israelites so long ago.