Maybe you can help me. I’m starting a new book project that’s going to take a lot of research and writing, so I need to take advantage of these relatively-free summer months to make a giant dent.
I plan to write a book about Leviticus for millennials. Hilarious, right? It can be for anyone, really. I want the writing to be fun and hard-hitting at the same time. I want to try to avoid any sense of judgment or bias. Never dry. Never slow. And always honest.
These are the two main questions of the book:
1: Did God really eliminate the Mosaic Law Code in Jesus, or does he still require some of it? If so, which parts and why?
Jesus said that he didn’t come to get rid of the old Law, but to fulfill it. Growing up, I was never given a clear answer as to how Jesus fulfills that Law outside, say, his crucifixion being the ultimate sin offering. How could his sacrifice on the cross fulfill the hundreds of other laws, like the prohibition against cooking a baby goat in its mother’s milk, or not cutting your sideburns, or avoiding clothing with multiple kinds of fabric?
I have heard people say that God still requires the moral law, but not the ritual law. Is that something we made up? Does the New Testament actually make those distinctions clear?
2: What does the Mosaic Law Code tell us about God?
According to Jesus, the same God that sent his Son to serve mankind and lay down his life for their salvation is the same God that told Israel to stone their rebellious children, consider menstruating women unclean, and prohibit homosexual intercourse. Is God schizophrenic? Can he be loving and inclusive one minute, and cruel and discriminatory the next? Or can we blame these apparent discrepancies on the Biblical authors or certain cultural considerations?
Why would God set up such an elaborate program for Israel, then completely change things with Jesus? Was Jesus a natural part of Plan A, or was he Plan B? Didn’t God know that holding Israel to the Mosaic Law would ultimately force him to destroy ten of the twelve tribes, send the other two into exile, and then to take his kingdom from them and give it to the Gentiles? If he knew the Law would only be a stumbling block to his people, why give it to them in the first place?
This book should be a fun challenge, especially when I consider the variety of people that might open it up, flip to certain chapters, and quickly decide whether I am a bigot or a misogynist or homophobic or just a bad communicator or incompetent student of Scripture.
Thankfully, I’m not all that insecure. I’m actually very curious, open-minded and eager to get started. And I tend to like people. All kinds of people. But I love God the most. And I want to honor him with this project above all.
So what should the title be? What advice would you give me? What topics would you like me to explore? What questions do you have? I’m just starting to organize the context, so any feedback would be appreciated.
I hope to see you in the Belfry when things start cooling down here in Mississippi. Which, judging by experience, might be a while . . .