THE LAW OF WITNESSES
One of the most boring books in the Bible has got to be the book of Leviticus, called the Vayikra by Jews. The third of the five books of Moses, Leviticus is full of laws. Laws of the Temple, laws of cleanliness, laws of birth and death, giving and taking, working and not working. Along with Numbers and Deuteronomy, it is tedious and almost entirely uninspiring. I avoided reading Leviticus as much as I could as a younger Christian. For every one time I’ve read Leviticus, I’ve read Psalms or Song of Solomon or even Isaiah as many as five or ten times.
One year, though, when I was much younger than I am now, I felt strongly impressed to read Leviticus. I felt I was to read it with love and the sort of attentiveness that expects a blessing. And so I did. I read Leviticus and thought about the book in present-day terms rather than relegating my head and the book to the ancient past. I began to see patterns and deep truths in the laws of Leviticus, Deuteronomy, and even the counting and classifying of the book of Numbers. I saw that laws had purpose and meaning and were not merely constructs of an ancient, backward people.
One law of which I’m especially fond is the rule of witnesses in Deuteronomy, which states that no one can be condemned on the testimony of only one witness. All facts, this law says, are to be established “out of the mouths of two or three witnesses” (Deuteronomy 17:6). This law is also applied to New Testament church discipline, since St. Paul taught that a church elder or pastor should not be accepted unless “two or three witnesses” were willing to testify. Two or three witnesses; keep this in mind.
The year I saw that these ancient laws can have meaning here and now was a very good year, for one of the primary things I learned was from this law of witnesses: Facts come with two or three. What this means, among other things, is that whenever truth is welling up within me, or coming at me from the outside, it will come in two or three ways. I may miss it if it comes only once, and since the universe is bountiful and God is good and giving, He will give me more than one chance to get a clue.
So this is my gift to you today, dear reader: the law of witnesses. Try it out. See how it works for you. How many times of seeing something does it take before you see that you see it?