The Gospel In Leviticus -- By: Henry Nelson Bullard

Journal: Bibliotheca Sacra
Volume: BSAC 064:253 (Jan 1907)
Article: The Gospel In Leviticus
Author: Henry Nelson Bullard

The Gospel In Leviticus

Rev. Henry Nelson Bullard

To some the value of the Old Testament is an unknown quantity; to others what was the whole Bible of Jesus of Nazareth is a very important factor in the making of Christian character. If we take a stand with those critics who estimate this larger part of our Bible as an artificial collection of Hebrew writings, we cannot escape the question of its practical spiritual value, and, to judge by the experience of others, we shall have difficulty in finding any satisfactory answer. At the same time we may take our stand with the apostle Paul in his belief that the sacred writings with which Timothy had been familiar from infancy, our Old Testament, are sufficient for salvation through faith which is in Christ Jesus. Believing that the Old Testament is the Word of God, his revelation of the way of salvation, each book takes to itself an importance which not one of them could claim on any other basis. A brief outline of the Book of Leviticus, by Rev. Daniel S. Gregory, closes in this wise: “Leviticus thus becomes the one book of the Old Testament fullest of Christ and Redemption.” Upon any such estimate of the book, we cannot afford to neglect it. In any study of it we find its value to be twofold,—as an Old Testament book, and in its relation to the New Testament. The purpose of the different books of either testament is different and the message different. A great deal may be learned from the first chapters of First Chronicles, but that information will be used not at all in the same way as what we learn from certain chapters of Isaiah. So it is important to

know the purpose and the message of Leviticus. We do not lack help for such a study, for commentaries and outlines are not few. When the question is raised of the relation of an Old Testament book to Christ and the gospel, we have another line of study entirely. Some of the books are never referred to, or quoted from, by the New Testament writers. In other cases we can find no direct references, but the entire explanation of the New Testament story is dependent upon the Old Testament book. In a study of Leviticus as a book of the Old Testament, we may find much of it dry and uninteresting, its value only in its interpretation of Hebrew custom and worship, a welcome side-light on the history of the children of Israel, but little more. When we study the relation of Leviticus to the New Testament, we find there is no other book any more essential to a proper understanding of the New Testament. We might understand the story of the Messiah even were the prophecies lost to us, but we of to-day could hardly work out the meaning of references to sacrifices, priesthood, and such, in nearly every book of the New Testament, and would be entirely ...

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