There is a great jump between reading Leviticus and Luke. Leviticus is laying out all the rules surrounding what to do when you sin and honoring God. The moral law, as some refer to the Ten Commandments. It involves animal sacrifice, grain sacrifices, bread and oils and basically, it would have served you well to have been a shepherd or an ox breeder and baker and farmer to have been able to fulfill all sin offerings.
And then jumping into Luke, there is Jesus walking around telling people to follow Him and that their sins are forgiven. Their debt is paid (the wages of sin are death). Jesus performed healing miracles, raising people from the dead and in the eyes of the priests, He was sinning by performing life saving measures on the Sabbath (the most holy day).
When Jesus walked among us, He saw how difficult life was for mere mortals and He saw that no matter what, we would always fall short of His glory. But He loved us and He wanted to preserve us, despite the fact we were all born sinners thanks to the inheritance of said sins from Adam and Eve.
I know many people may find it difficult walking the Christian path, but imagine how hard it would have been to have followed the Mosaic laws to the letter, as it was in the Old Testament times. Jesus did the hardest part of all. He paid the price for all sin. For everyone. So that we could turn away (repent) from our old ways and live a life for God.
Jumping back to Leviticus again, and yes, this can be a difficult read because it’s often quite dry, as the book is about laying down the offerings and sacrifices to God and all the things that must be done to satisfy Him. Reading this, I thought this is so hard!
And then I got to Leviticus 9: 24 Fire came out from the presence of the Lord and consumed the burnt offering and the fat portions on the altar. And when all the people saw it, they shouted for joy and fell face down.
Note that the the Lord consumed the burnt offering by fire.
Fire is all-consuming. It’s used as a purifier to restore farming ground. It’s used to clear brush. It’s used to destroy disease in animals and human remains. Fire is a great cleanser. Some say that the Great Fire of London of 1666 was the event that ended that particular outbreak of plague. If the fire hadn’t occurred, who knows how long the plague would have lasted?
While I’ve digressed a little to discuss fire, when I read this particular verse in Leviticus, I was immediately pulled to think about Hell and what Hell is and what it’s meant for.
Hell is for sin. Hell is fire. Hell is consuming. It wasn’t originally intended for us, but we’re sinners, so the moment we’re born (thanks to Adam and Eve and their original sin following through all the generations that went after them), our default destination is Hell and it takes us making a conscious decision to manually change the final destination. *
Many people like to dismiss the concept of Hell, even if they do believe in God. But here’s the thing: God is so holy and cannot stand to be in the presence of sin.
I guess the way I can understand it, is imagine you’re forced to be around the most vilest of people you could ever conceive of existing and then think about spending the rest of your days in their presence, knowing what they have done. The worst of the absolute worst. (That absolute worst is going to be different for everyone.) Well, if God is so Holy and sin cannot enter Heaven and he cannot stand sin, then it seems to me the only way he can actually dispose of it and make the rest that remains good again, is to purify the bad, with fire (basically, it’s a purge). Now, that’s pretty awful, but in reality, if we don’t get right with him we cannot enter Heaven. Sin cannot enter Heaven. Therefore unrepentant sinners who don’t seek to improve themselves through Christ, cannot enter Heaven. That leaves only one place left.
So while Leviticus is dry reading. If paired with a side of Luke, it actually makes for very good contrasts and God has shown me how good we have it now, compared to before our Messiah came. Yes, our Messiah. Our liberator of sin, our Saviour from Hell. He has literally paid our debt of sin in order that we may join Him in Heaven. But we can’t get there if we don’t apologize, turn from our sins and start trying to live right (repent) and following Him.