Leviticus 25-27

Leviticus 25-27…The Sabbath/Jubilee year, rewards/punishment for obedience/disobedience, and redeeming what is the Lord’s.

All labor was to cease in the seventh year, as much as daily labor on the seventh day. These statues in Leviticus 25 tell us to beware of covetousness, because our lives are not about our possessions. This year of rest typified the spiritual rest which all believers enter into through Christ. Through Him we are eased of the burden of worldly labor, and we are enabled and encouraged to live by faith.

Leviticus 26 contains a general enforcement of all the laws given by Moses. Promises of reward in case of obedience, on the one hand, and punishment for disobedience, on the other. These great and precious promises, though they relate mainly to the life which now is, were typical of the spiritual blessings ensured by the covenant of grace to all believers, through Christ.

The Israelites acknowledge God to be the owner of their land, the giver of its fruits, and themselves to be His tenants. We are no different, which makes any teaching focused on accumulation of wealth and possessions false. If a “christian” teacher or pastor has ever taught you to do this, please flee from them immediately, and repent from this satanic false worship. God owns all of our possessions, and we are stewards of His gifts to us.

Leviticus 22-24

Leviticus 22-24…Unnacceptable sacrifices and the appointed festivals.

Passover was not the only spring festival celebrated under the covenant, for the Israelites also commemorated the Feast of Firstfruits and the Feast of Weeks, or Pentecost. The Feast of Firstfruits actually took place during the week-long Passover celebration (Leviticus 23), on the first day after the Sabbath that occurred in the midst of the week. Pentecost occurred fifty days after that Sabbath and marked the culmination of what started at the Feast of Firstfruits.

As its name indicates, the Feast of Firstfruits marked thanksgiving to God for the firstfruits of the harvest — in this case, the grain and cereal harvested in the spring in ancient Palestine. At this festival, the Israelites offered the very first sheaf of the harvest and were not allowed to eat anything from the crop until they gave its initial portion to the Lord. This required a great deal of faith on the part of the Israelites, as they would be giving the offering of firstfruits at a time when not much was ready to be harvested. They had to trust God that He would indeed provide the fullness of grain that had yet to come forth, something that from a human perspective was far from certain given the people’s utter dependence on the right amount of rainfall and so forth to give the best crop.

Leviticus 19-21

Leviticus 19-21…Various laws, punishments for sin, and rules for priests.

We need forgiveness not merely because we have sinned against others; rather, we need forgiveness because we have failed to reflect the image of God, having fallen far short of the glory He intended for us (Rom. 3:23). Our Creator demanded that His old covenant people be holy just as He is holy — set apart from all uncleanness and pure in character. This is very clear in Leviticus 19-21, especially when we consider the severity of the punishments. Ultimately, holiness is a call given to all, Jew and Gentile alike (Acts 17:22–34), and especially to the church (Matt. 5:48; 1 Peter 1:13–16).

The demand could not be higher — everyone is to be as holy as God is holy; our predicament could not be greater — sinners cannot possibly be this holy; and the Father’s answer could not be more gracious — His Son died in our place to satisfy His wrath, making Him able to forgive without forsaking His own righteousness. May we always recognize our failure to be holy as God is holy, our inability to obligate our Creator to forgive us, and the great mercy He has shown us in His Son, Christ Jesus.

Leviticus 16-18

Leviticus 16-18…The day of atonement and laws regarding purity.

Most of the procedures followed on the Day of Atonement were similar to those followed for the other offerings except that the blood of the sacrifices was sprinkled on the mercy seat in the Most Holy Place as well (Leviticus 16:14). This was done lest the accumulated sin cause God to immediately punish the high priest and the people. Aaron and the later high priests also had to throw incense in the air (vv. 12–13) in front of them as they approached the ark of the covenant so as to keep them from being able to see the Lord; otherwise, they would have died (Ex. 33:12–23).

Besides the sacrifice of a bull on behalf of the priesthood, two goats were brought to the tabernacle/temple to deal with the sin of the entire nation (Lev. 16:6–10). One goat was killed and its blood was sprinkled on the mercy seat (vv. 15–19). This sacrifice on the Day of Atonement resulted in propitiation — the satisfaction of God’s wrath on a substitute in place of the people. The other goat, after hands were laid on it, was sent to Azazel in the wilderness and freed, probably meaning it was taken to a desolate mountain and killed (vv. 20–22). Here it is clear that expiation was accomplished. The sins of the people were taken away from Israel and away from the holy camp.

Leviticus 13-15

Leviticus 13-15…Regulations and cleansing instructions on uncleanness.

Things which were declared unclean in chapters 13-15 either had to be purified or destroyed. People who were declared unclean by the priests suffered the humiliation of being declared (and, in some cases of having to declare oneself) unclean, and then the resulting isolation from the presence of God and from association with the people of God. That which was unclean was put outside the camp, away from the presence of God and His people. In some cases the unclean thing or person was viewed as being a contaminator of others.

If we are saved, then we have been made perfectly clean through Christ’s righteousness. These chapters teach us just how massive the chasm is between God and us. The carefulness regarding holiness is still to be an important part of how we help to maintain God’s glory in our local churches. For the one in our church, who is unrepentant and persistent in sin, but claims to be a Christian, there must be specific steps taken to keep God’s name from being defamed. Matthew 18:15-20 provides a blueprint for how the church should deal with sin. If we truly love our brothers and sisters in Christ, we’ll know, understand, and apply this text with gentleness. This passage should always be understood with God’s glory through the corporate witness of the local church being of utmost importance. Restoration and repentance are what we should desire for the one caught in sin.

Leviticus 10-12

Leviticus 10-12…The death of Nadab and Abihu, and outlining things unclean.

Many biblical texts clearly teach that our holy Creator takes His worship very seriously. In these chapters, for example, we read of the occasion in which God struck Nadab and Abihu dead for worshiping Him in a way that was strange (Leviticus 10:1–3). Commentators are not sure about the exact nature of their error, but they do agree that the seriousness of the offense is related to their worshiping God in a manner that He had not commanded. They sought to be innovators in worship, and they paid the price for it. The Lord does have some lines within which we’re to color, especially when we consider 1 Corinthians 11:27–30. Many of the Corinthian Christians were taking part in the sacrament of the Lord’s Supper inappropriately, and some of them died for their unworthy partaking. These passages, and many others, make it clear that it is a very serious matter to worship God according to his command.

Leviticus 7-9

Leviticus 7-9…The peace offering, the consecration of Aaron and his sons, and the first offerings of Aaron for himself and the people.

The peace offering was the only sacrifice worshipers could eat. Only part of the animal was offered up, and the rest was left for the person bringing the offering and anyone else in the vicinity of the sanctuary to consume (Leviticus 7:11–18). Being at peace with God is a special occasion indeed and worthy of celebration with a great feast. For many Israelites, this may have been the only time they ever ate meat. Moreover, strict cleanliness laws had to be followed regarding the eating of the sacrifice (Leviticus 7:19–21). Though at peace with the worshiper, our Creator remained holy and could still not tolerate any impurity in His presence.

Leviticus 8 outlines the consecration of Aaron and his sons. This had been delayed until the tabernacle had been prepared, and the laws of the sacrifices given. Aaron and his sons were washed with water, to signify that they should purify themselves from all sin, and keep themselves pure. The anointing of Aaron was to typify the anointing of Christ with the Spirit.

The many sacrifices for the people in Leviticus 9, were all done away by the death of Christ. This passage, in light of Christ’s sacrifice, does teach us that our best services need washing in his blood. Also, our best sacrifices are not good enough, because they are tainted with sin. Let us be thankful that we have a Savior who perfectly believed, and submitted to His Father for our sake.

Leviticus 4-6

Leviticus 4-6…Sin offerings and guilt offerings.

The idea that sin brings pollution is thoroughly biblical, and the reality of this pollution was dealt with under the old covenant through the sin offering described in these chapters. “Sin offering” is a perfectly acceptable translation of the Hebrew term in Leviticus 4, but what the sin offering actually accomplished is better seen in the words purification offering. The sin offering purified the sanctuary; it removed the defilement of sin that occurred when the people broke the covenant.

Our holy God cannot be in the presence of those people and things that are unclean, and each time people sinned under the old covenant, they dirtied themselves. The burnt offering solved the problem of the Lord’s wrath, but it did not purify the one offering the sacrifice. There still needed to be expiation, or the removal of sin’s pollution, from the worshipers and the instruments of worship. The blood of the sin offering accomplished this cleansing. The tabernacle that became defiled because it was located in the midst of a sinful people was cleansed by the blood of the sacrifice, and the sinner was made clean and able to stand before God again (4:1–5:13).

Reading the Old Testament in light of the New is so important for the Christian. Christ’s ultimate, blood sacrifice permanently removed our sins forever. Leviticus shows us how our sin separates us from God, and His character is no different today than when this book was written. Apart from Christ, God’s wrath is awful. However, the joy we have if we’re in Christ is derived from both what we’re saved from (His wrath & Hell), and our reward (eternal life in perfect fellowship with God).

Leviticus 1-3

Leviticus 1-3…The burnt offering, the grain offering, and the fellowship offering.

Burnt offerings were the propitiatory sacrifices in ancient Israel. For God to maintain His justice, He must punish sin. To forgive at the expense of His just wrath would be inconsistent with His character; according to His holiness, those who have sinned must die (Gen. 2:15–17; Rom. 6:23). Once the Lord satisfies His wrath, it passes away, allowing fellowship between the Creator and His people. The burnt offering temporarily accomplished propitiation (satisfied God’s wrath) under the old covenant (2 Chron. 29:7–8), allowing God’s wrath to be appeased against Israel.

In this section of scripture (Leviticus 3 in particular), we also see God’s concern for His glory being made known through a corporate witness. God has always wanted His people to live together in unity, love, and holiness, so His name would be glorified. Today, this is done practically through the local church. This is Christ’s plan for his people, and it includes you if you’re a Christian. Commitment to a local church is they way in which we live out all the “one another” imperatives in the New Testament.