Today’s post is the 12th in the series entitled “Bible Boot Camp,” which is systematic theology in everyday language. Today’s post will discuss what the Levitical Law (also called the Mosaic Law) was, and why God gave the Law. If you haven’t read the rest of the Bible Boot Camp lessons, click here for the other articles in this series.
Did you know that God has been in the business of drawing men to Himself for thousands of years?
It's true. God's first recorded effort to draw men to Himself en masse occurred thousands of years before Christ’s birth, when He gave the Law to the Israelites.
What was the Law?
The Law was an extensive series of statutes and rituals that God ordered the Israelites to observe. It was dictated to Moses and the Israelites in the wilderness. The Law was recorded in the biblical books of Exodus, Leviticus, and Numbers.
Why was the Law needed?
When the Law was given, the Israelites had just come out of four hundred years of slavery in Egypt. Egypt was a pagan, idol-worshipping country. With that kind of influence, the Israelites' concept of morality and godliness was tarnished, to say the least.
So God gave the Law to the Israelites to show them what He is like, and what His standards are. The Law was their moral compass. God used it to restrain evil; every commandment they could keep resulted in that much less wrongdoing.
What was the problem with the Law?
The Law was good and holy, but the Israelites could not keep the entire Law. Thanks to Adam and Eve, they were sinful human beings, so they could not reach the perfection the Law demanded.
There was no room for error, either. Breaking even one part of the Law meant an individual was considered to be a lawbreaker; one offense meant he or she had broken the entire Law as a unit. (James 2:10 states: “For whoever shall keep the whole law, and yet stumble in one point, he is guilty of all.”)
The Law was impossible for sinful men to keep, and God knew it.
So why did God give a Law that He knew men could not keep?
God used the Law to expose the people’s sin and help them understand that they were not capable of meeting His requirements. Also, through the symbolism and rituals of the Law, God gave men a peek at His ultimate plan to redeem mankind from sin through the life, death, and resurrection of Jesus Christ.
God used the Law to draw men to Himself by showing them their need and dependence on Him.
What kind of rules did the Law contain?
The Law had many parts, including ceremonial laws, social rules, and moral rules.
A central feature of the Law is a set of rules that is commonly called the “Ten Commandments.” The first four of these ten commandments outline rules for how to show love to God. The last six commandments provide rules for how to show love to other people. All ten commandments are noble and righteous, but all are impossible for us to keep in our original, sinful natures.
Anyone who does not follow Jesus may look at the Ten Commandments, or any other part of the Law, and feel hopeless. He would be justified in feeling that way! The Law cannot be kept by humans, and when we break the Law, we must suffer the consequence of our sin. Romans 6:23a states that “the wages of sin is death….” Because we are so sinful, we would be completely hopeless if there weren't another way out.
Is there another way out?
Yes, indeedy! That's the good news! The Way Out's name is Jesus Christ. Romans 6:23b tells us that good news:
The price of breaking the Law is death. However, the good news is that Jesus Christ came to earth and lived a sinless life. He loves you so much that He couldn't stand the thought of living without you. So He became a man–fully God yet fully man too–took our sins upon Himself, died, and rose again to pay the price of our sin on our behalf.
When we accept the sacrifice He made for us, God forgives our sins and gives us eternal life. No more Law needed. No depending on rules and rituals for significance. We become God's kids, in relationship with Him because of the Gift of His Son.
The Law is all about Jesus.
Our need for Him. His love for us. His gift of salvation.
Do you know Jesus as the Savior and Lord of your life? If not, don't you want to meet Him today? Click here to find out how.