THE BOOK OF LEVITICUS
The key word to Leviticus is holiness, occurring 87 times. Ch. 19:2 clearly states God’s desire for the walk of His redeemed people. In Exodus, God spoke out of the mount to which approach was forbidden. In Leviticus God is shown dwelling in the most holy place, in the midst of His people. As the epistles of the New Testament show God and His people in a close fellowship, in contrast to approaching Him more distantly in the Gospels, so Leviticus is in a like contrast with the book of Exodus.
The Book of Leviticus has nine chief divisions: --
1. Chs. 1-6:7. The offerings
2. Chs 6:8-7:38. The Law of the Offerings.
3. Chs. 8:1-9:24. Consecration.
4. Chs. 10:1-20. A warning example.
5. Chs. 11-15. A Holy God must have a cleansed people.
6. Chs. 16 & 17. Atonement.
7. Chs. 18-22. The relationships of God’s people.
8. Chs. 23. The feast of Jehovah.
9. Chs. 24-27. Instructions and warnings.
There are five main offerings called for in the book of Leviticus. The order in which they are given typifies Christ in the offering of Himself to God, obeying the prophetic forecast of Himself. In Hebrews 10:5-7, we have a quotation of Psalm 40:6-8, the heart of which is “Lo, I come...to do Thy will, O God.” In order to fulfill such a prediction, we see the Lord Jesus offering Himself as a full Burnt Offering to God, Ch.1: 3. After such a step is taken, He is the Meat Offering, Ch.2: 1, a type of the perfect servant. As such He becomes the Peace Offering, Ch.3: 1, whereby He makes peace for us by the Blood of His Cross. This came about when He was made sin, or became the Sin Offering, Ch.4: 3, for the entire race. Because sin brings forth fruit in many transgressions, Christ offered Himself as the Trespass Offering, Ch. 5:6, so that our many sins are forgiven for Jesus’ sake.
When a sinner approaches God the order of the offerings is naturally reversed. His trespasses must be forgiven, he must be cleansed from sin, and in obtaining peace with God through Jesus Christ, he then becomes a qualified servant who must offer himself as a burnt offering to do the whole will of God.
THE LAW OF THE OFFERINGS
Under this heading we have an enlargement of application connected with the five offerings, which gives more in detail how the one making the offer should proceed.
This phase of teaching concerned only the priesthood. In order for them to labor in close contact with the tabernacle they must be explicit in their obedience lest a Holy God be offended.
A WARNING EXAMPLE.
In Ch. 10:1-2 we have an account of a very tragic occurrence. Nadab and Abihu, two sons of Aaron, were careless in observing direction connected with their priestly ministry. To warn of the seriousness of such transgression lest others err likewise, the fire of God broke forth and consumed the two men. Aaron and his other two sons were told not to observe any mourning rites for them lest God break forth again. How awed they must have been. No wonder Paul said, “Knowing therefore the terror of the Lord, we persuade men.”
A HOLY GOD MUST HAVE A CLEANSED PEOPLE.
In this section of the book, we read of the regulation of diet; ceremonial cleansing in family life; the cleansing of the leper; and the cleansing of routine defilement. By all these things God would impress upon us that fellowship with Himself, while it is a thing to be cherished, must be accompanied with a sanctifying and cleansing by the Water of the Word.
In Ch. 16, we read of the Day of Atonement, which was to be observed annually. Because the blood of bulls and goats never took away sins, Aaron the high priest had to offer blood once a year both for himself and for the people. He stands out in great contrast with our high priest who needs no offering for himself, but can offer his own pure blood for the rest of us. Ch. 17:11 is one of the key verses to the whole Bible. “For the life of the flesh is in the blood; and I have given it to you upon the altar to make an atonement for the soul.” No animal slain elsewhere could be eaten with its blood. That blood must be poured out upon the ground, v.13, that the people might be impressed with the truth of the substitutionary death of their offered animals in order that the atoning death of Christ might be fully emphasized.
THE RELATIONSHIPS OF GOD’S PEOPLE.
Moral defilement is an abomination to God. It was all too common among the heathen of the land. The people of Israel were therefore carefully warned against such things, Ch.18: 3.
Idolatry was also a most serious sin, Ch.19: 4, and the people were exhorted in detail against it. The priesthood was especially instructed concerning their domestic relationships, Ch.21: 6-7, that due regard should be had for their high and holy calling. Sacrificial animals must be physically perfect, Ch. 22:19-20, for since the coming Redeemer would be sinless; things, which typified Him, must be without blemish.
THE FEASTS OF JEHOVAH.
Three great annual feasts were to be observed by the Israelites. They were: The feast of the Passover and Unleavened Bread. These two were really one and commemorated the redemption of the people from Egypt and the holy walk, which God asked of them and The Feast of Pentecost. This was symbolic of the outpouring of the Spirit upon the church age and later on Israel during the millennium.
The Feast of Tabernacles. This foreshadowed the return of Christ and His millennial reign when Israel would recall not only her release from Egypt, but from the lands wherein she is not scattered. All of these are dealt with in Ch.23 and a few other annual gatherings are also mentioned.
INSTRUCTIONS AND WARNINGS.
Chs. 24-27 contain various instructions relative to the full well-being of the people. The lamps of the Golden Candlestick must burn continually, Ch.24: 1-4. The Shewbread must also be in place and be renewed weekly, vs.5-9. No blasphemy of God’s name was allowed on the penalty of death. Such an incident happened, vs.10-14, and the guilty party was stoned.
The Sabbatical year was to be observed, Ch.25: 3-4, for the good of the land and that the people might prove the goodness of the Lord in His provision for them.
The Year of Jubilee gave freedom to every man who had sold himself out to slavery because of temporal reverses. No man’s property was to pass out of his own family. In the year of Jubilee all such should revert to the original owners. A poorer brother could look to his next of kin to redeem him. Ch. 26 offers conditions for Divine blessing and protection. God, who foresaw the rebellion of their natures, said they would be scattered abroad, v.33, but He would always remember his covenant with Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, and restore such as humbly confessed their sins to Him, vs. 40-42.
In closing, God mentions in Ch. 27 that vows must be paid; that the firstborn of clean beasts must be sacrificed; and that the tithe of the land, tree, and beast must be regarded as holy unto the Lord.