Bible Study: Leviticus

Leviticus is the central book of the Pentateuch. Atonement is mentioned 40 times, holy 80 times. Leviticus means, “And He called.” The expression, “The Lord Spake unto Moses” is found 37 times in the book and the central one is in Leviticus 16. “I am the Lord” appears 45 times. The Holy Spirit is not mentioned. Every eye is turned to Christ

Leviticus is to Exodus what the epistles are to the gospels.

There are very few events which further the history of Israel in Leviticus. Very little time elapses through the book. It begins with the first day of the first month of the second year (Exo 40:17), and ends with the second month and the 20th day (Num 10:11).

Exodus is the book of redemption; Numbers is the book of progress. In between comes Leviticus with its collective worship.

Ch 1-16 Approach to God – Worship; Altar occurs 83 times in ch 1-17 and 13 times in ch 1

The Means – ch 1-7

The Mediators – ch 8-10

The Manner – Purity – ch 11-15

The Maintenance – ch 16

Ch 17-27 Abiding with God – Walk – I am the Lord thy God – 30 times in ch 18-26; “walk” 12 times all in this section

The People – ch 17-20

The Priests – ch 21-22

The Periodic Feasts – ch 23-24

The Prospect – Canaan – ch 25-27

Leviticus was the first book a Jewish boy had to learn.

(x = times mentioned) ch 1-9 ch 10-17 ch 18-27
Sacrifice/Offering 270x 84x 77x
Blood 44x 9x
Washing 22x 201x 19x
Walk 0 0 12x
Holy 22x 31x 81x

 

The last block of chapters can be subdivided by the reasons to be different due to redemption

20:8 Sanctify – 7 times

18:27 God’s Signature – I am the Lord your God 40 times. In ch 1-17, only twice

19:30 My Sanctuary

My Statutes 10 times

ch 23 My seasons

Different “Fives”

Looking at the Levitical offerings, there is an interesting recurrence of items in groups of “five.” Note that there are five offerings, five different animals used in sacrifice, five ways the meal offering could be presented, five mentions of Aaron’s sons in connection with the burnt offering, five responsibilities given to the priest concerning the burnt offering, five pieces of fat for the peace offering, five sin offerings, and the fifth part had to be added to the trespass offering. You may well discover other groupings of five as you explore these offerings. All of this is not curious coincidence, but a technique which the Spirit of God employs to help stress a particular truth linked with the number “five.”

Different Features

When you are looking at the first offering, or the burnt offering, all the animal sacrifice is to be burnt (1:9). In the meal offering, it is all the frankincense (2:2). When you come to the peace offering, it is all the fat (3:3-4), and finally, in the sin and trespass offerings, it is all the blood (ch 4:7; 7:7).

While the meaning of these may seem obtuse to a young believer, an awareness that there is nothing accidental, incidental, or insignificant in the Word of God, especially when so carefully and thoroughly described by the Spirit of God, should encourage at least some thought and consideration. If your school assignment were to explain the symbolism of blood in Shakespeare’s Macbeth, the resurrection in Dickens’ A Tale of Two Cities, or the white whale of Melville’s Moby Dick, you would be able to find a consistent theme to write about. Why not give your mind to the very same thought process for what will be an even more rewarding study?

Different Fires

Leviticus 1:9 speaks of an “offering made by fire.”  Leviticus 2:2 tells them they “shall burn the memorial of it upon the altar.” In Leviticus 4:12, the sin offering is taken outside the camp, where they were to “burn him on the wood with fire.” Different words are employed to express both different acts and different results from the burnings.

Referencing a Hebrew lexicon, even by the novice, would reveal that these words convey some specific truth:

The burning or “consuming” of the sin offering suggests the Fury of God against sin.

The burning of the meal offering suggests the Fragrance of the Offering to God

The burning of the fire in the burnt offering suggests the Fitness of the Victim to God.

Different Focus

It should seem obvious there must be a different focus linked with each offering. God has chosen to reveal something of the greatness of the work of Calvary, by displaying it in this five-fold manner. Are we left to imagination or our intellect to discover what each sacrifice means? The five sacrifices are divided into three and two in a very obvious way. Notice that chapter 1:1 (KJV) begins with “And the Lord called unto Moses.” There is no break in the message until we arrive at chapter 4:1 (KJV) when again, “The Lord spake unto Moses.” This sets the first three apart from the last two. The first three do not mention sin and are not primarily dealing with sin; the last two major on it.

In the first offering, God received everything. In the meal offering, the offering priests received some of the offering; in the peace offering, offerer, priest, and family joined with God in enjoying the offering.

As a suggestion, consider the following and look for details to substantiate it:

Burnt Offering – the Fitness of the victim who was all for God

Meal Offering – the Fineness of the flour which was for God and the priest

Peace Offering – The Fellowship enjoyed by man with God

Sin Offering – The Forgiveness which the blood procured

Trespass Offering – The Failure through sin rectified

Commentaries

Leviticus by P. Grieves in WTBT

An Outline of Leviticus by C. A. Coates

Leviticus by S. H. Kellogg

The Law of the Offerings by Andrew Jukes

Types of Levitical Offerings by Thomas Newberry