The book of Leviticus was named after the third son of Jacob.
(Num 1:49-51 NIV) “You must not count the tribe of Levi or include them in the census of the other Israelites.  Instead, appoint the Levites to be in charge of the tabernacle of the Testimony—over all its furnishings and everything belonging to it. They are to carry the tabernacle and all its furnishings; they are to take care of it and encamp around it.  Whenever the tabernacle is to move, the Levites are to take it down, and whenever the tabernacle is to be set up, the Levites shall do it. Anyone else who goes near it shall be put to death.
The Levites were given the special care of the Tabernacle. They were the “set aside” class who cared for the sanctuary. (No such classes exist in the New Covenant. Every believer has total access. No Aaronic “priestly” class, and no Levitical “special attendants” class. )
The scroll named after the tribe of Levi is a book of laws. The children of Israel had been given the 10 commandments but they had broken them even before they received them. A more detailed set of laws and disciplines was introduced to guide them into a better relationship with a holy God.
God requires of His people that they be holy. (Holy = consecrated, sacred, morally and spiritually perfect, belonging to and serving God. ) This is a very high standard, and without a means of constantly restoring the sinner to grace an impossible task for wayward and imperfect man.
The Levitical instruction was given as a means to this end and in its structure pointed forward to the perfect answer. This was found in Christ. God still requires that we be holy.
The whole bible is built on the understandings hidden in the services, ordinances and ceremonies connected with the Tabernacle of Moses. In the Covenant (promise, agreement.) God made with Moses these five topics can be found:
i. the LAW. Exod. 20
ii. the PRIESTHOOD. Exod. 28, 29, 39.
iii. the FIVE OFFERINGS. Lev. 1 to 7
iv. the THREE CHIEF FEASTS. Lev. 23
v. the TABERNACLE OF THE LORD. Exod. 25 to 40.
As with all Scripture these are stepping stones towards a more perfect understanding of the Lord Jesus Christ, the Church and the purposes of God over the ages of time. The central thought of the tabernacle is best seen as the place God chose to dwell and demonstrate Himself to Israel in the form of “Visual aid” for a less sophisticated people than those of today.
Shown in the type.
(Ex. 3:1,5 NIV) Now Moses was tending the flock of Jethro his father-in-law, the priest of Midian, and he led the flock to the far side of the desert and came to Horeb, the mountain of God. . . . “Do not come any closer,” God said. “Take off your sandals, for the place where you are standing is holy ground.”
(Ex. 28:36 NIV) “Make a plate of pure gold and engrave on it as on a seal: HOLY TO THE LORD.
(Josh. 5:13-15 NIV) Now when Joshua was near Jericho, he looked up and saw a man standing in front of him with a drawn sword in his hand. Joshua went up to him and asked, “Are you for us or for our enemies?” “Neither,” he replied, “but as commander of the army of the LORD I have now come.” Then Joshua fell facedown to the ground in reverence, and asked him, “What message does my Lord have for his servant?” The commander of the Lord’s army replied, “Take off your sandals, for the place where you are standing is holy.” And Joshua did so.
(Isa 6:3 NIV) And they were calling to one another: “Holy, holy, holy is the LORD Almighty; the whole earth is full of his glory.”
(Zec 14:20-21 NIV) On that day HOLY TO THE LORD will be inscribed on the bells of the horses, and the cooking pots in the Lord’s house will be like the sacred bowls in front of the altar.  Every pot in Jerusalem and Judah will be holy to the LORD Almighty, and all who come to sacrifice will take some of the pots and cook in them. And on that day there will no longer be a Canaanite in the house of the LORD Almighty.
As in the type so also in the substance.
(1 Cor 3:17 NIV) If anyone destroys God’s temple, God will destroy him; for God’s temple is sacred, (holy)and you are that temple.
(2 Cor 7:1 NIV) Since we have these promises, dear friends, let us purify ourselves from everything that contaminates body and spirit, perfecting holiness out of reverence for God.
(Eph 1:4 NIV) For he chose us in him before the creation of the world to be holy and blameless in his sight. In love
(Eph 2:21 NIV) In him the whole building is joined together and rises to become a holy temple in the Lord.
(Col 1:22 NIV) But now he has reconciled you by Christ’s physical body through death to present you holy in his sight, without blemish and free from accusation—
(1 Pet 2:5 NIV) you also, like living stones, are being built into a spiritual house to be a holy priesthood, offering spiritual sacrifices acceptable to God through Jesus Christ.
(Rev 4:8 NIV) Each of the four living creatures had six wings and was covered with eyes all around, even under his wings. Day and night they never stop saying: “Holy, holy, holy is the Lord God Almighty, who was, and is, and is to come.”
HOLINESS AND THE ATONEMENT.
The book of Leviticus has two key words
1. Holiness: 97 times.
2. Atonement: 48 times.
Blood is mentioned 87 times in Leviticus. Blood is significant in the concept of atonement and the offering of blood is an offering up of life. Many find the concept of blood offensive but the Christian faith cannot avoid the importance of blood to God and the necessity of giving blood its right and proper place.
(Gen 4:10 KJV) And he said, What hast thou done? the voice of thy brother’s blood crieth unto me from the ground.
The nature of the two offerings is a shadow of that which is to come. Cain brought fruit. Abel a blood bought offering. A curse and a mark followed for the blood rejection. In the last days there will be a marking of the sheep and goats in a similar way and for similar reasons.
(Rev 7:3 NIV) “Do not harm the land or the sea or the trees until we put a seal on the foreheads of the servants of our God.”
(Rev 13:16 NIV) He also forced everyone, small and great, rich and poor, free and slave, to receive a mark on his right hand or on his forehead,
The blood of Jesus speaks a better word than Abel’s blood.
(Heb 12:24 NIV) to Jesus the mediator of a new covenant, and to the sprinkled blood that speaks a better word than the blood of Abel.
Life is in the blood
(Gen 9:4 NIV) “But you must not eat meat that has its lifeblood still in it.
The blood is for atonement
(Lev 17:10-11 NIV) “‘Any Israelite or any alien living among them who eats any blood—I will set my face against that person who eats blood and will cut him off from his people. For the life of a creature is in the blood, and I have given it to you to make atonement for yourselves on the altar; it is the blood that makes atonement for one’s life.
(Heb 9:22 NIV) In fact, the law requires that nearly everything be cleansed with blood, and without the shedding of blood there is no forgiveness.
Consider also John 6:53-61. What is the significance of this teaching from the Master?
BLOOD A SIGN
Blood offends many today, but it has been given for a sign and for an atonement. All will see this truth in the last days. A shadow or type of this sign is seen in the confrontation between Moses and Pharaoh.
(Exo 7:19 NIV) The LORD said to Moses, “Tell Aaron, ‘Take your staff and stretch out your hand over the waters of Egypt—over the streams and canals, over the ponds and all the reservoirs’—and they will turn to blood. Blood will be everywhere in Egypt, even in the wooden buckets and stone jars.”
Pharaoh rejected the blood sign and plagues came upon Egypt.
Note also these Scriptures:…
A song … redeemed by the blood.
(Rev 5:9 KJV) And they sung a new song, saying, Thou art worthy to take the book, and to open the seals thereof: for thou wast slain, and hast redeemed us to God by thy blood out of every kindred, and tongue, and people, and nation;
The moon turned to blood.
(Acts 2:20 KJV) The sun shall be turned into darkness, and the moon into blood, before that great and notable day of the Lord come:
Seas turned to blood.
(Rev 8:8 KJV) And the second angel sounded, and as it were a great mountain burning with fire was cast into the sea: and the third part of the sea became blood;
Rivers & streams turned to blood
(Rev 16:4 KJV) And the third angel poured out his vial upon the rivers and fountains of waters; and they became blood.
Drink blood for you have shed blood.
(Rev 16:6 NIV) for they have shed the blood of your saints and prophets, and you have given them blood to drink as they deserve.”
Overcame by the blood.
(Rev 12:11 KJV) And they overcame him by the blood of the Lamb, and by the word of their testimony; and they loved not their lives unto the death.
Blood cannot be ignored or rejected. It speaks as a voice against all who do this, because the life is in the blood and blood is for an atonement.
Chapters 1 – 5 outline five separate offerings.
|Leviticus 1.||Burnt||(Rom 12:1 NRSV) I appeal to you therefore, brothers and sisters, by the mercies of God, to present your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and acceptable to God, which is your spiritual worship.|
|Leviticus 2.||Meal||(Heb 13:16 NRSV) Do not neglect to do good and to share what you have, for such sacrifices are pleasing to God.|
|Leviticus 3.||Peace||(Heb 13:15 NRSV) Through him, then, let us continually offer a sacrifice of praise to God, that is, the fruit of lips that confess his name.|
|Leviticus 4.||Sin||The shed blood of Jesus|
|Leviticus 5.||Trespass||(1 John 1:7-9 NRSV) but if we walk in the light as he himself is in the light, we have fellowship with one another, and the blood of Jesus his Son cleanses us from all sin.  If we say that we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us.  If we confess our sins, he who is faithful and just will forgive us our sins and cleanse us from all unrighteousness.|
From Adam and Eve’s acceptance of the covering of animal skin in Eden, through Noah’s offering, Isaac being offered, the Passover lamb and until the Levitical teachings; there had only been one sacrifice. Now in Leviticus the sacrifice of one changes to five offerings. This change illustrates more clearly the greater meaning of atonement and of God’s grace to humankind.
THE NUMBER FIVE.
This number speaks of the grace of God and all of the atonement is an act of grace. this study of offerings consider these examples of five …
1. Satan’s five “I wills”
2. The five wounds on the cross.
(Gen 15:9 NIV) So the LORD said to him, “Bring me a heifer, a goat and a ram, each three years old, along with a dove and a young pigeon.”
Abram offered five creatures in eight pieces. Later Abraham was asked to offer his only son. This also had typical meaning that pointed towards the cross. After Abraham offered up Isaac we read of no more offerings by Abraham.
In the same way after the offering of Jesus there can be no more offerings. The time of any physical offering by a separate priesthood had come to an end.
After the cross ALL believers were to be priests and ALL were to offer up SPIRITUAL sacrifices
No other sacrificial offering is acceptable.
SCRIPTURES FOR FURTHER STUDY.
(Psa 50:7-15 NIV) “Hear, O my people, and I will speak, O Israel, and I will testify against you: I am God, your God.  I do not rebuke you for your sacrifices or your burnt offerings, which are ever before me.  I have no need of a bull from your stall or of goats from your pens,  for every animal of the forest is mine, and the cattle on a thousand hills.  I know every bird in the mountains, and the creatures of the field are mine.  If I were hungry I would not tell you, for the world is mine, and all that is in it.  Do I eat the flesh of bulls or drink the blood of goats?  Sacrifice thank offerings to God, fulfill your vows to the Most High,  and call upon me in the day of trouble; I will deliver you, and you will honor me.”
(Psa 51:16-19 NIV) You do not delight in sacrifice, or I would bring it; you do not take pleasure in burnt offerings.  The sacrifices of God are a broken spirit; a broken and contrite heart, O God, you will not despise.  In your good pleasure make Zion prosper; build up the walls of Jerusalem.  Then there will be righteous sacrifices, whole burnt offerings to delight you; then bulls will be offered on your altar.
(Isa 1:11-20 NIV) “The multitude of your sacrifices— what are they to me?” says the LORD. “I have more than enough of burnt offerings, of rams and the fat of fattened animals; I have no pleasure in the blood of bulls and lambs and goats.  When you come to appear before me, who has asked this of you, this trampling of my courts?  Stop bringing meaningless offerings! Your incense is detestable to me. New Moons, Sabbaths and convocations— I cannot bear your evil assemblies.  Your New Moon festivals and your appointed feasts my soul hates. They have become a burden to me; I am weary of bearing them.  When you spread out your hands in prayer, I will hide my eyes from you; even if you offer many prayers, I will not listen. Your hands are full of blood;  wash and make yourselves clean. Take your evil deeds out of my sight! Stop doing wrong,  learn to do right! Seek justice, encourage the oppressed. Defend the cause of the fatherless, plead the case of the widow.  “Come now, let us reason together,” says the LORD. “Though your sins are like scarlet, they shall be as white as snow; though they are red as crimson, they shall be like wool.  If you are willing and obedient, you will eat the best from the land;  but if you resist and rebel, you will be devoured by the sword.” For the mouth of the LORD has spoken.
(Jer 6:20 NIV) What do I care about incense from Sheba or sweet calamus from a distant land? Your burnt offerings are not acceptable; your sacrifices do not please me.”
(Micah 6:6-8 NIV) With what shall I come before the LORD and bow down before the exalted God? Shall I come before him with burnt offerings, with calves a year old?  Will the LORD be pleased with thousands of rams, with ten thousand rivers of oil? Shall I offer my firstborn for my transgression, the fruit of my body for the sin of my soul?  He has showed you, O man, what is good. And what does the LORD require of you? To act justly and to love mercy and to walk humbly with your God.
Although the Lord God ordered the sacrifices, He did not require or delight in them. This was not His perfect will. When His son came he was able to say, ” This is my beloved son in HIM I am well pleased”
Jesus said, “I come to do thy will”. Animals could not do this and were unable to make the perfect sacrifice required for our redemption.
(Mat 3:17 NIV) And a voice from heaven said, “This is my Son, whom I love; with him I am well pleased.”
(John 1:29 NIV) The next day John saw Jesus coming toward him and said, “Look, the Lamb of God, who takes away the sin of the world!