Quarter #1 – Lesson #3
Leviticus means “about or relating to the Levites” and gets its name from the Levites, which provided assistants to the priests in worship in the Jewish temple. The Levites were all those belonging to the tribe of Levi, one of the 12 tribes of Israel. Their roles consisted of taking care of the tabernacle (temple), teaching, recording manuscripts, music, officials and judges (1 Chronicles 23). The entire book of Leviticus contains the majority of Hebrew law instituted by God, articulated by Moses and administered through the Levitical priesthood. The tribe of Levi was the only tribe that did not inherit their own land when Israel conquered Canaan. They were instead spread throughout the land to govern the spiritual ____________of Israel (Numbers 35:7; Joshua 21:19). Since they did not receive any land or inheritance, they were not required to support themselves; they were instead supported through the tithes presented by the rest of Israel.
THE CENTRAL MESSAGE
The central message in the book of Leviticus is that God, who is holy, requires his people to be holy. It shows that God graciously provides a means of atonement for sin through the sacrificial shedding of blood. Leviticus demonstrates the ______________ of a holy nation under the leadership of a holy God. “I am the Lord, who brought you up out of Egypt to be your God; therefore be holy, because I am holy”. Lev. 11:45
- The Way To God – Sacrifice – God’s Foundation for Fellowship (Chapters 1-17)
- 1. The sacrificial system outlined in the first 17 chapters of Leviticus provided a way for people to approach God. The book of Leviticus is known by many to be called, “The Book of Atonement.”
- Atonement is the central theme surrounding the book. The biblical translation for the word “atonement” means—to cover, to coat or to pacify.
- The word atonement is found 49 times throughout the book of Leviticus- far more than any other book of the bible. In this way the priest will make atonement for them before the Lord, and they will be forgiven for any of the things they did that made them guilty. Leviticus 6:7
- Atonement was mandatorily made by every person for sins against God and sins against one another. “You are to lay your hand on the head of the burnt offering, and it will be accepted on your behalf to make atonement for you”. Leviticus 1:4
- Atonement was achieved by means of sacrifice. The unceasing sacrifice of animals and the unending glow of altar fire, burned in the conscious of the people of Israel. This undoubtedly was a constant ___________ of their deep sinfulness. “But the internal organs and the legs must first be washed with water. Then the priest will burn the entire sacrifice on the altar as a burnt offering. It is a special gift, a pleasing aroma to the LORD”. Leviticus 1:9
- Animal sacrifices could only “cover” sins- it could not remove them. Therefore, atonement was temporary precursor to the One who would come to remove sin forever. The old system under the law of Moses was only a shadow, a dim preview of the good things to come, not the good things themselves. The sacrifices under that system were repeated again and again, year after year, but they were never able to provide perfect cleansing for those who came to worship. Hebrews 10:1
“Behold the Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world”. John 1:29
- The Tabernacle – The Place of worship
“Have the people of Israel build me a holy sanctuary so I can live among them.” Ex. 25:8
- The People – The Vessels of worship
“I will walk among you; I will be your God, and you will be my people”. Leviticus 26:12
- Fellowship – The Unity of worship
“Gather the entire community of Israel together at the entrance of the Tabernacle”. Leviticus.8:3
- The Walk With God – Separation – Man’s Condition for Fellowship (Chapters 18-27)
God implemented a sacrificial structure in chapters 18 thru 27 that clearly defined the __________ path of Israel distinguishing them from all others living in the world.
- The language spoken throughout the book of Leviticus is love- a love accompanied by consideration for the lives of others. Love your neighbor as yourself (Lev. 19:18)
- In fact, the entire law and commandments were predicated on the act of love- first toward God, then toward others. Love, therefore, remains the key to obedience. “This is how we know that we love the children of God: by loving God and carrying out his commands. In fact, this is love for God: to keep his commands. And his commands are not burdensome (1 John 5:2-3)
- The law instructed people to ____________ love and compassion to the poor. Wages were paid to them on a daily basis. Loans and gifts were made to them, and no interest was permissible to be charged to their accounts.
- A portion of every man’s harvest was to be left for the poor to gather (Lev. 25:36-37; 23:22). Throughout the entire Old Testament, strong emphasis is placed on revealing kindness toward the poor, the needy, widows, orphans and strangers alike.
- The Levitical law made the weak and the poor everyone’s responsibility to love and take care of. “If one of your fellow Israelites falls into poverty and cannot support himself, support him as you would a foreigner or a temporary resident and allow him to live with you. Do not charge interest or make a profit at his expense. Instead, show your fear of God by letting him live with you as your relative”. Leviticus 25:35-36
III. The Holy Feasts of God
For the Jews of this time, understanding the Old Testament was key to discovering that Jesus is their promised Messiah.
Old Testament prophecies and symbolism provide further proof and assurance that Jesus is the Christ, the son of the living God. We see Christ in the following 7 feasts that God appointed Israel to observe:
- The Feast of Passover celebrated Israel’s redemption from death and bondage in Egypt. Jesus is our Passover Lamb. (John 1:29)
- The feast of unleavened bread represents Jesus’ __________ life; he is the only perfect sacrifice for our sins. (John 6:35)
- The feast of first-fruits was celebrated the third day, the 16th of Nisan. This “third day” celebration was the same day that Jesus resurrected from the dead. (I Corinthians 15:20)
- In The feast of Pentecost people were expected to bring the first harvest of grain to the Lord. Pentecost means 50. It was 50 days after Christ resurrected that the Holy Spirit came upon the disciples and the church was born. (Acts 2:1-4)
- On the feast of trumpets God commands his people to gather and to commemorate the decree with a food offering. They are to celebrate with trumpet blasts. On the same front, the sound of a trumpet is also associated with the rapture, or the time Jesus will return for his bride. (Revelation 19:9)
- The Day of Atonement is where the “scapegoat” took on their sins. Jesus took our sins away! (Hebrews 9:12)
- The feast of tabernacles points to the promise that God will return and rally with his people — in the person of Jesus. (Matthew 1:23)