Leviticus, Part 1 (Theology of Leviticus) - 2017 March, 4 (Date), Books (Topic)
I have heard that Leviticus was the first book Jewish children studied in the synagogue. I don’t know if modern Christians are really interested in this book. The Book of Leviticus is one of the most neglected, and the least understood, books in the Bible. Many Christians might have read through Genesis and Exodus and got bogged down in this book of ceremonial laws and rituals. Is this book relevant to us today? Are these ancient laws about animal sacrifices, and priests, and ceremonial uncleanness relevant to Christians in the 21st century? The subjects Leviticus talks about may seem irrelevant today. But, its theological value still endures. If we pay more attention to each subject, we can understand how it is related to New Testament Christians. Levitical ideas are pervasive in the New Testament.
Levitical theology can be categorized under four main headings: the presence of God, holiness, the role of sacrifice, and the Sinai Covenant.
1. “The Presence of God”: God’s presence with His people is an idea that is repeated numerous times in Leviticus. “God is preeminently present in worship”. But God is also present in the everyday aspects of life. “Leviticus distinguishes between the permanent presence of God with his people, a presence which is to regulate their whole way of life, and his visible presence in glory which was obvious on special occasions”. God’s presence in the tabernacle was, of course, the heart of the covenant.
For the NT Christian, God’s presence was made known in the incarnation. Alluding to the OT description of the tabernacle John wrote “the Word became flesh and tabernacled among us…; we have beheld his glory” (John 1:14). For Paul every Christian is a walking shrine, a temple for the Holy Spirit in which God is to be glorified (1 Cor. 6:19-20). Like the OT tabernacle the Christian enjoys the permanent presence of the Spirit, but just as the old shrine enjoyed a special manifestation of God’s glory from time to time, so the Christian should be filled with the Spirit and display God’s glory to the world (cf. Acts 6:15; 7:55-56; 2 Cor. 3; Eph. 5:18).
2. “Holiness”: Everything that is not holy is common. Common things divide into two groups, the clean and the unclean. Clean things become holy, when they are sanctified. But unclean objects cannot be sanctified. Clean things can be made unclean, if they are polluted. Finally, holy items may be defiled and become common, even polluted, and therefore unclean… cleanness is a state intermediate between holiness and uncleanness. Cleanness is the normal condition of most things and persons. Sanctification can elevate the clean into the holy, while pollution degrades the clean into the unclean. The unclean and the holy are two states which must never come in contact with each other.
3. “The Role of Sacrifice”: Sacrificial blood is necessary for cleansing and sanctifying. “Sin and disease lead to profanation of the holy and pollution of the clean. Sacrifice can reverse this process”. The holy and the unclean can never come in contact. “Sacrifice, by cleansing the unclean, makes such contact possible. The holy God can meet with sinful man”.
4. “The Sinai Covenant”. “Leviticus explains how covenantal worship should be conducted”. It also explains how covenant people should live. Chapter 26 of Leviticus even contains a list of blessings and curses showing that it is a covenant document.
God's ways in our sufferings - 2017 April (Date), Christian life - Discipleship (Topic)
Human life is not without sufferings, sickness, loses, trials, tribulations, temptations, hardship, difficulty, distress, misfortune, discomfort, anguish, etc. People may react and respond in different ways whey they go through sufferings. When under sufferings, we should learn God’s ways, and what He expects from us. That will help us to face the sufferings, and to come out of that, if possible.
1. As everyone on the earth faces sufferings, God’s people also face sufferings. But the preachers of prosperity gospel say that God’s people will not have sufferings and that they need not. That is not true. God’s people are not exempted from sufferings.
2. All sufferings are not because of our sins. However, while under sufferings, it is healthy to search our hearts (Psa. 139:23, 24). We should humble ourselves before God. If God convicts us of any sin, any transgression, any guilt or mistake in us, we have to confess and seek His forgiveness. God disciplines us for our failures. However, He does not treat us as our sins deserve or repay us according to our iniquities. He give us amazing discounts!
3. We should not take our sufferings as random events in our lives. God uses the sufferings to change our constitution, to break our outer man. Our inclinations, our aspirations, our desires, our longings, our preferences, our tastes, our thoughts, our opinions, our ideas, our feelings, etc is our constitution. We do not know our inner constitution. Others may know it to some extent. But we will not allow them to touch it. To be a blessing to others, we must be a broken and blessed vessel.
4. Sufferings will create godly character in us, especially, forbearance. While under sufferings, we should remain steadfast. Suffering produces endurance and endurance produces character.
5. While under sufferings, we should genuinely pray.
6. While under sufferings, we should have faith in His wisdom, power, and character.
7. While under sufferings, His grace is sufficient.
8. The end of the sufferings is always glorious.
Inheriting Christ (1) - 2017 April (Date), God's eternal plan and purpose (Topic)
1. God’s objective for His people is to inherit Christ. God has an objective for us c. God intends that all His people must inherit Christ. At the end of this age, only the Christ His people have inherited will make Him happy and satisfied. This is His desire and longing. We inherit Christ and He inherits us. It is mutual.
2. His people must inherit Christ in their daily lives in practical matters. Living by Christ practically and experientially at all times, in all situations, and in all our needs, is the only way to inherit Christ. This does not happen all of a sudden through dramatic events or spectacular practices.
3. In fact, God’s enemy, Satan, is waging a war against us from living such a life of inheriting Christ. He uses many things like sins in our flesh, religious system, earthly things and people, etc. So inheriting Christ is not without a strong fight.
But, the end will be glorious. For, He will come to be glorified in His saints. This is what from Egypt into Canaan means.