Book Overview - Leviticus
by Robert Hawker
I MUST not forget to remind the Reader, that he place over this third Book of Moses, as in the two former, the same Motto, Moses wrote of Christ. For here, in every part of this Volume, in a very eminent degree, under types, and figures, may be discovered the most striking allusions, to the Person, and Offices, and Character, of the Lord Jesus Christ.
The Book itself, is called Leviticus, because it contains, the laws and ordinances of the Levitical Priesthood: in which department, the tribe of Levi particularly ministered. Here are contained, all the special rites and ceremonies relating to purification, which belonged to the Tabernacle service. And, as the Apostle, under the gospel dispensation, had it in express authority from the Holy Ghost, to tell the Church, that these were the shadow of good things to come, but the body was Christ; it may serve to teach us, with what awakened attention, and earnestness, accompanied with prayer to the Lord, to be directed in our perusal of it, we ought to read this holy Book. Colossians 2:16-17; Hebrews 7:11; Heb_10:1.
It will be readily acknowledged, by every lover of this precious Book of Leviticus, that to an unenlightened, carnal Reader, there will appear, many things in it, dry and uninteresting. But to a soul truly taught of God the Holy Ghost, whose blessed office it is, to take of the things of Jesus, to show unto his people, he will find so many delightful sketches of the great Redeemer, marked here and there through the whole Book, in type and shadow, as will abundantly refresh the mind, in the contemplation of Him who is the same yesterday, and today, and forever. Reader! look steadily at the character of Aaron, as he is represented in this Book of God: consider him, as peculiarly called of God, to be an high Priest: anointed to the service: going in before the people, in this great office, in all his ministrations: behold him and his offerings accepted; and divine blessings following: and then turn to the Gospel, and trace him, whom Aaron represented; and I venture to believe, that if the Holy Ghost, be your teacher, you will discover, such a striking resemblance as will overpower your mind, with the most absolute conviction, that in all Aaron's ministration, it was the Lord Jesus in his priestly office, whom he typified, and represented.
It will be proper, to inform the Reader, before he enters upon the perusal of this book, that as it is a book of laws and ordinances, he must not expect to find anything relating to the history of the Church in it. Indeed, there is nothing of the kind in it, excepting a short account, in Le 8; 9; 10, and also in Le 24, which can be considered as historical. The Reader, will recollect therefore, that as the Church's history, to the close of Exodus, brought on the era of Creation, to the year 2514, that is about 1490 years before the coming of Christ; the beginning and close of Leviticus leaves it just the same.
I will detain the Reader no longer, from entering upon the perusal of Leviticus, than just to observe to him, that if, as he goes along, he finds his mind exercised, as well he may, in beholding the long, tedious, and painful train of sacrifices, of the law, which as the apostle saith, was a yoke, which neither our fathers nor we were able to bear; (Acts 15:10) I pray God to give him grace, at the same time, both to behold in it, God's unalterable displeasure at sin, which those sacrifices manifested; and to feel his heart drawn out, yet more and more in every review of them, in love to him, who alone could do away sin by the sacrifice of himself, and who hath by that sacrifice of himself once offered, forever perfected them that are sanctified. Hail! thou holy Lamb of God! thou great High Priest, the altar, and sacrifice, for thy people!
the Second Week after Epiphany