the third book of the Pentateuch; so called in the Vulgate, after the LXX., because it treats chiefly of the Levitical service.
In the first section of the book (1-17), which exhibits the worship itself, there is,
The various ordinances contained in this book were all delivered in the space of a month (Compare Exodus 40:17 ; Numbers 1:1 ), the first month of the second year after the Exodus. It is the third book of Moses.
No book contains more of the very words of God. He is almost throughout the whole of it the direct speaker. This book is a prophecy of things to come, a shadow whereof the substance is Christ and his kingdom. The principles on which it is to be interpreted are laid down in the Epistle to the Hebrews. It contains in its complicated ceremonial the gospel of the grace of God.
The third book in the Pentateuch is called Leviticus because it relates principally to the Levites and priests and their services. The book is generally held to have been written by Moses. Those critics even who hold a different opinion as to the other books of the Pentateuch assign this book in the main to him. One of the most notable features of the book is what may be called its spiritual meaning. That so elaborate a ritual looked beyond itself we cannot doubt. It was a prophecy of things to come; a shadow whereof the substance was Christ and his kingdom. We may not always be able to say what the exact relation is between the type and the antitype; but we cannot read the Epistle to the Hebrews and not acknowledge that the Levitical priests "served the pattern and type of heavenly things;" that the sacrifices of the law pointed to and found their interpretation in the Lamb of God; that the ordinances of outward purification signified the true inner cleansing of the heart and conscience from dead works to serve the living God. One idea --HOLINESS-- moreover penetrates the whole of this vast and burdensome ceremonial, and gives it a real glory even apart from any prophetic significance. [E] indicates this entry was also found in Easton's Bible Dictionary