Leviticus is a 27 chapter, 859 verse, and 24,546 word book that has as its central theme and key concept separateness, or holiness. The word appears some ninety times. It's quoted by Peter in 1 Peter 1:16 as being something Christians are to be. "Ye shall be holy; for I am holy." (Leviticus 11:44). What does it mean to be holy? It means to be "set apart." It means devoted and committed to God's ways. Though the English title (Leviticus: relating to the Levites) and Hebrew Title (And He called) are different, both are supported by the contents and theme of the book. Even though there is a lot of detail about sacrifices and health procedures that does not have relevance today, Leviticus teaches a great lesson regarding holiness. This central theme is repeated over and over again. God has revealed His will, and He expects us to hear and heed (obey) that will and to separate ourselves (be holy) from all other approaches to life and conform ourselves to His will (Rom. 12:1,2.)
This "How-To" book can be divided into two sections, How to Attain (Chapters 1-17) and How to Maintain (Chapters 18-27) fellowship with God.
Chapters 1-7. The five major offerings are discussed: the Burnt, Meal, Peace, Sin, and Trespass Offerings (1:1-6:7). The section closes with special instructions for the priests (6:8-7:38). Chapters 8-10 give an account of the priesthood. The consecration and commencement of ministry are discussed in chapters 8 and 9. In Chapter 10, Aaron's sons, Nadab and Abihu, are punished by God for offering unauthorized fire. Eleazar and Ithamar are then introduced. Chapters 11-15 focus upon laws concerning "Purity." Chapters 16 and 17 outline the Plan of Approach (The Day of Atonement) and the Place of Approach (The Door of the Tabernacle).
Chapters 18-20. Discussion centers on the Conduct of the ordinary people: Marriage and sexual relations in chapter 18, Social relations in chapter 19, and sin and its penalty in chapter 20. Chapters 21-22 again focus upon the Conduct of the Ordained Priests: Outlining the Requirements of the Priesthood, Ceremonial and Marital purity, Physical perfection, Ministerial Privileges and Duties. Chapters 23-25 instruct on the Conduct in Observances. Set feasts (Sabbath, Passover, Unleavened bread, First Fruits, Of Weeks, Of Trumpets, The Day of Atonement, and Of Tabernacles), Sacred Items, and Stewardship are discussed. The book closes with the discussion of Conduct in Obligations (26:1-27:34), Promises and Penalties (blessings and curses), and Redemption. The various ordinances contained in this book were all delivered in the space of a month (compare Ex. 40:17; Num. 1:1) as the Israelites were camped at Sinai.
Why should we study Leviticus? Hebrews 10:1 speaks of the blood sacrifices and the priesthood of Leviticus and describes them as "A shadow of good things to come" as they point to Christ. Every animal sacrifice was a type of the ultimate sacrifice of Christ (John 1:14,29; Phil 2:5-11). God required a blood sacrifice (Heb. 9:22; 10:1,4). God required the blood of Christ (Heb 9:12,26; Matt 26:28; Rev 1:5). God required the ultimate sacrifice - Christ (Acts 8:32; Isa. 53:7; 1 Pet. 2:24). God required a High Priest to offer the sacrifice (Heb 4:15; 9:11-14; 10:17-18). The Levitical priests never sat down; their job was never done; there continued to be a remembrance of sin. Christ Offered Himself- ONCE FOR ALL (Heb. 9:25-28; 7:27; 10:1,10-14). Christ sat down (Heb. 9:1-2, 1:3; 8:1; 10:12; 12:2). Sins are forgiven and remembered no more (Heb 10:10, 17-18). We must apply the blood of Christ (Rom. 6:1-4). 90 Pleasants Ave., Shinnston, WV 26431. email@example.com
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