I am going to work my way through the Bible, but I can certainly understand why people stop here. Not only does Leviticus lack any story, I am not certain how a reader is supposed to react to this 100? 200? set of laws. I’ll summarize a few.

We learn about peace offerings, sin offerings and guilt offerings as well as the ordainment of priests. All of them involve the killing of a bull or a ram or turtledoves, the splattering of blood upon the altar (or the ear, thumb, and big toe in the case of priests), and much burning because the “odor is pleasing to the lord.”

We learn about the cleansing of lepers which involves killing one bird, dipping a live bird into its blood then sprinkling that blood on the leper. (I think.) We learn which animals can be eaten and which can’t. Lobsters and pigs fall in the latter category. We learn that women were unclean for seven days after the birth of a son but 14 days after the birth of a daughter. We learn what to do if we get semen on our clothes (just wash them, but they are still unclean until evening). We learn that menstruating women are unclean and that if someone sits where a menstruating woman sat, that person becomes unclean.

We learn that priests better be careful about what they do. Two of Aaron’s sons are killed by the Lord because they did something (not sure what exactly) with some fire. And we better not blaspheme during an altercation because the Lord tells Moses to have a man stoned after doing so.

We learn about the origin of the term scapegoat where one goat is killed and its blood is spread on a live goat which symbolically represents the sins of the people and then the live goat is sent out into the wilderness taking the sins with him.

We are also given a value placed upon members of society. Men over sixty are worth 15 shekels; women are worth 10. Men between 20 and 60 are worth 50 shekels; women are worth 30. Between 5 and 20, males are worth 20 shekels and females are worth 10. Between a month and five years, a male is worth 5 shekels and a female 3. There is no value placed on a newborn or a fetus. I wonder what that might mean to the abortion debate.

There is also a section detailing who cannot approach the altar. They include the blind, the lame, and those with broken hands and feet or crushed testicles.

There is information about slavery which would indicate that slavery was approved by God.

We are also told to obey these laws or God will do us much harm, including the sending of wild beasts that will rob them of their children.

I can understand why an ancient group of people might have these laws and why they might feel a need to follow them. But are they relevant today?

For sure there are some good rules. We are reminded not to lie, steal and cheat. We also get the famous “love thy neighbour as thyself” which is a pretty good philosophy to live by. There are also rules on being good to strangers and leaving the corners of fields unplowed for travelers or the poor.

But when people cherry pick a particular verse in Leviticus for example the one about homosexuality being an abomination and use the word of God to advance their argument, I would ask them to read the rest of Leviticus. Much of it makes little sense to our world. And if the word of God, any word of God, doesn’t make sense then I have to question everything that he says. I won’t reject everything; I am just not going to accept it because the Bible tells us so.

It is a very interesting read indeed. What I understand is that the Books of Moses i.e. the first Four of the Old testament, outline the laws and covenants between God and the Israelites, with Moses as the prophet. The Israelites were unable to live the higher law, as presented by the 10 commandments. You may recall that when Moses went up the mountain where he was given the 10 commandments, he returned only to find that the people had pressured Aaron into making a golden calf to worship because Moses was gone too long. They feared that they were abandoned. At that point Moses cast the stone tablets melting the calf. The Israelites were not ready for the full law, and were given very strict rules with strictly enforced punishments.
The key here is that the sacrifices were symbolic of the great and lasting sacrifice of Jesus Christ where his blood was shed for the sins of all people. When he fulfilled his duty, the law of Moses was fulfilled. With Christ came a higher law. So instead of “Though shalt not commit adultery” where the perpetrators were punished with death, the higher law was that “he who looketh upon a woman with lust” has committed adultery in his heart. Or You may remember the old saying “an eye for an eye and a tooth for a tooth”. The higher law was to turn the other cheek.
This is a long way to answer your question about how do these laws affect us today. They help us to know that the covenants the God has made in the past will be fulfilled in his own time. For example the prophets of the old testament prophesied of the coming of Christ, i.e. Isaiah etc. Well he came, but the Jews were so caught up with the physical law of worldly power that they completely missed the signs and killed the very person they were waiting for. Other promises that affect us are that Abraham was to be the father of all nations. That line comes through the 12 tribes of Israel. The prophesy of the gathering of Israel is to come to pass that affects us now.
Without the Old testament and the Mosaic Law, we wouldn’t see the signs of the coming of Christ, so we may not have recognized who he was. As we learn that God is the same yesterday, today, and forever, we can rest assure that all the promises of God will be fulfilled. That essentially is how the law effects us. It also helps us to learn from the mistakes of the past so that we don’t follow that same path as the Israelites that essentially resulted in their kingdoms being destroyed and them being scattered into slavery. Unfortunately, people don’t like to learn from the past and we can see a lot of the problems today have a lot of similarities to the past.
In regards to homosexuality that was forbidden in the law of Moses, as that would be a lessor law, a higher law would not reduce the severity of the law, but give higher responsibility for the people to follow the law. Maybe people won’t be killed for practicing, but the punishments will come in God’s due time. This isn’t to say that I hate them or am intolerant of them. I personally believe that they can practice whatever they want to. The same goes for all people, let them do what they want as long as it doesn’t infringe upon the rights of others. If they want to have same sex marriages, well if they want, but don’t force traditional christian groups to change their beliefs of the sacredness of marriage. It comes down to rights of people, as long as Christians aren’t spreading hatred and intolerance. It comes down to if a person breaks a law they will have to deal with whatever consequence arises. So I believe that people can do whatever they want, and in the end will have to deal with whatever happens. If nothing happens then there you go. But if something does happen as a direct consequence, well the warnings are there in the Bible. I will have to deal with my own actions and the consequences that are attached there. So I don’t feel I can judge someone to be evil based on their actions. I believe that everyone generally has good in them. Other then absolute pre-mediated murder.
I hope this provides some insight into the old testament for you. Let me know what you think, I’d like to have a good healthy debate if you are interested.

Mr/Ms Dwhite

Good to see you back. I very much enjoy reading your take on the bible. It is late so I wont debate any of the bible now, When I am of a clearer mind I will reread your musing and hopefully give some insightful feed back.