Have you ever read the last few chapters of Exodus, as well as the books of Leviticus, Numbers, and Deuteronomy (the law) and wondered, “What in the burnt offering is going on?” For example, there are renderings about ointment and wafers in Exodus 29-30 that make you wonder, “Why do we need to know all of these details?” You are not alone.
We recently posted a poll for our community on our YouTube Channel, Triumph30 Live, and 55% of the 552 votes received at the time of writing said they get confused when reading these books, 27% skip them entirely in their Bible reading, and 18% are excited to read them. This reflects the general attitude toward the reading of the books of the Law among young Christians, and possibly even older Christians. How encouraging for the Law Books.
Perhaps we struggle to relate to with the Law because
They are not applicable to us
All of the requirements of the Law were met with the death, burial, and resurrection of Jesus Christ (Matthew 5:17, Colossians 2:13-14). “We have been sanctified by the offering of the body of Jesus Christ once for all,” says Hebrews 10:10.
Verse 11-12 adds, “And every priest stands ministering daily and offering repeatedly the same sacrifices, which can never take away sins but this Man, after He had offered one sacrifice for sins, sat down at the right hand of God…”
14 & 18 seals it: “For by one offering He has perfected forever those who are being sanctified. Now where there is remission of [sins], there is no longer an offering for sin.” Glory to God! We would not have been saved if Jesus had not come to fulfill the law, because the law does not justify anyone, including Jews, to whom the Law was given! (Galatians 3:11) In every way, and this is a big one, the Law does not apply to us.
The laws are tedious to read
This one is quite distressing. Unlike the other books of the Bible, which are full of stories and enjoyable to read, the books of Law contain a plethora of laws (613), numbers, and animals (save the goat, sheep, and bulls) that one has never seen before — sabbath regulations, one kid goat, one ephah of flour, two turtle doves, do this, don’t do that, and so on. As a result, we skip these books in favor of more enjoyable stories of the Bible. What about the dimensions of the Tabernacle, Altar of Incense, and so on? Which leads to the next point:
It is difficult relating to the requirements of the law
We don’t need to construct a tabernacle or an altar of incense to worship God. We don’t need to make a burnt offering or atone for our sins with a kid goat or a scapegoat because we are already forgiven in Christ Jesus. As a result, we skip these books in favor of more enjoyable stories of the Bible.
Yes, the books of the Law are not applicable to us; they are tedious to read, and we cannot relate to everything written in them. Knowing the requirements of the law, on the other hand, is beneficial for us not only because it adds to our knowledge of the Scriptures (Romans 15:4), but it also helps us understand the efficacy of Jesus’ sacrifice, which is well explained in the Epistles.
As some of our voters correctly stated, reading the law helps you appreciate Jesus’ sacrifice and not take it for granted because it came so easily to us. Remember that these are the same “books” that Apostle Paul, the other Apostles, and the early church read to solidify their faith and convictions that Jesus Christ is the Messiah. They didn’t have the Bible as we know it; they only had the Scriptures (Genesis, Exodus, the Law and Prophets)!
Other reasons to read the books of the Law include:
- In them, we recognise that God is holy, and sin cannot exist in His presence! As a result, we need salvation.
- These laws establish guidelines for holiness, justice, sacrifice, and the sanctity of time. Of course, some of these must be interpreted in the context of the new covenant realities.
- They help us understand the religious climate in which the Israelites lived at the time. They were surrounded by nations that worshiped idols and performed evil rites such as forcing children to pass through fire, sexual perversion such as homosexual behavior, bestality, incest, and so on. (Leviticus 18). Other laws governed human relationships, clothing, and so on, all to make a distinction between them and the nations around them.
- We can see in these laws how God is creating new people out of the human race. These individuals will have the capacity of loving God and others, but as seen in the case of the Israelites, they could not inspite of all that He did for them. (Exodus 20:1-17, Deuteronomy 6)
- We can also see in the Law its inability to make people perfect. The problem is not that the Law is bad in and of itself, but that the people are incapable of obeying it, leading us to something (or someone) greater than the Law for assistance, God Himself.
- The importance of passing down a godly heritage to future generations is emphasized in the books of the Law. (Deuteronomy 1:1-5)
- Finally, as God’s children, we must read the Bible, regardless of whether we believe some parts of it do not apply to us. Study and understand it, because you never know when you’ll have to compete for it. (1 Peter 3:15)
Of course, it goes without saying that as Christians, we are not required to obey these laws. Even if we wanted to, we couldn’t! However, they can be understood as wisdom for ancient Israel in their cultural context, among other things. Also, we see various types and shadows of Christ in them as we study them alongside the Epistles. Now, isn’t that exciting?
What are your thoughts about the Books of the Law? Kindly share in the comment section. Also, have you read “Bible Reading Plan Recap: Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob?