BOOK OF LEVITICUS: ACCESS GOD WITH HOLINESS AND WORSHIP
The third book of the Pentateuch takes its name from one of the twelve sons of Jacob, Levi, whose family was chosen by God to act as priests and assistants in the Tabernacle. The book covers the national and personal laws given by God to the Jewish people regarding worship and religious activities. It contains laws regarding cleanliness, morality, ethics and hygiene which guided the Jews on a day-to-day basis, and still does today. Animal sacrifice was introduced as a covering for the individual and national sins of the people.
When the Israelites prepare to take possession of the land God promised them, God gives them careful instructions about how to worship Him, how to serve a Holy God, and how to live as a holy people. There are five kinds of offerings that fulfill two main purposes: one to show praise, thankfulness, and devotion; the other for atonement, the covering and removal of guilt and sin. Animal offerings demonstrated that the person was giving his or her life to God by means of the life of the animal.
The sacrifices were for worship and forgiveness of sin. Through them we learn about the cost of sin, for we see that we cannot forgive ourselves. God’s system says that a life must be given for a life. In the Old Testament Hebrew Scriptures, an animal’s life was given to save the life of a person. But this was only a temporary measure until Yeshua’s death paid the penalty of sin for all people forever.
Seven festivals were designated as religious and national holidays. They were often celebrated in family settings. These events teach us much about worshiping God in both celebration and quiet dedication. God’s rules about worship set up an orderly, regular pattern of fellowship with him. They allowed times for celebration and thanksgiving as well as for reverence and rededication. Our worship should demonstrate our deep devotion.
Civil rules for handling food, disease, and sex were taught. In these physical principles, many spiritual principles were suggested. Israel was to be different from the surrounding nations. God was preserving Israel from disease and community health problems. We are to be different morally and spiritually from the unbelievers around us. Principles for healthy living are as important today as in Moses’ time. A healthy environment and a healthy body make our service to God more effective. Holy means “separated” or “devoted.”
God removed his people from Egypt; now he was removing Egypt from the people. He was showing them how to exchange Egyptian ways of living and thinking for his ways. We must devote every area of life to God. God desires absolute obedience in motives as well as practices. Though we do not observe all the worship practices of Israel, we are to have the same spirit of preparation and devotion.
Finally, the Levites and priests instructed the people in their worship. They were the ministers of their day. They also regulated the moral, civil, and ceremonial laws and supervised the health, justice, and welfare of the nation. The Levites were servants who showed Israel the way to God. They provide the historical backdrop for Messiah, who is our High Priest and yet our Servant. God’s true servants care for all the needs of their people.
SUMMARY OF LEVITICUS CHAPTERS
Chapters 1 to 10 reveal how to access God by way of the five offerings, the law of the offerings, and the Priesthood. The five offerings represent five distinctive aspect of the one offering of our Lord Messiah Yeshua. The law of the offering sketches the giving particulars as to order and arrangement. The priesthood illustrates the call, the cleansing, the clothing, the atonement, the anointing, the food, the ministry, and the failure. Chapters 11 to 27 sketch holiness by focusing on the laws of purity, sundry laws, and laws related to vows. When we read about the laws of purity, we learn that holy people must have pure food, pure bodies, pure homes, and pure habits. Holy people must continually return to the blood. The 16th chapter is the great atonement chapter. The sundry laws reveal that holy people must have pure worship, sacred regard for innocent blood, pure morals, pure customs, and pure clothing. The laws concerning vows demonstrate that we must honor our words.
ANALYSIS AND MESSAGE
This book is for believers in Yahweh God because it reveals how God is to be approached and worshiped. Genesis sketches man’s fall, Exodus illustrates man’s redemption, and Leviticus shows man worshiping. Leviticus is the book of worshiping God. The key word in the book is “HOLY.” The next key word is “ATONEMENT.” How can a sinful person approach a Holy God? How can we gain access to God? Who is the answer to this
Biblical Mysteries; Donald P. Ryan, Ph.D; 2000. The Bible; Jim Bell and Stan Cambell; 1999. The Complete Guide to the Bible; Stephen M. Miller; 2007. The Hand Writing of God; Dr. Grant Jeffrey; 2000. The Signature of God; Dr. Grant Jeffrey; 2010. The Septuagint With Apocrypha: English; Sir Lancelot C.L. Brenton; 1851. The Outline Bible by Robert Lee.