I bet the Israelites won’t mess up again, now they’re afraid of You since Moses came down from the mountain and his face was shining.
If you’re a casual reader of Leviticus you may be turned off by the immense amount of detail concerning feasts, sacrifices, and regulations of life in ancient Israel.
But when it comes to scripture it’s important to just casually look at things. It soon becomes evident that the key word of Leviticus is holy.
The book of Leviticus reads almost like a chronicle of the principal events during the 38 years which elapsed between Israel’s stay in the wilderness of Sinai, and their arrival on the borders of Canaan (this is where the Promised Land is).
What took place during the journey to Mount Sinai had been intended to prepare the people for the solemn events there enacted.
Similarly, the 38 years’ wanderings which follow were designed to fit Israel for entering on possession on the Land of Promise.
The outward history of the people during that period exhibited, on one hand, the constant care and mercy of God, and on the other, His holiness and his judgments; while the laws and ordinances given them were needful for the organization of the commonwealth of Israel in its future relations.
Leviticus seems to consists of three parts:
First: detailing the preparations for the march from Sinai,
Second: the history of the journeys of Israel through the wilderness, and
Third: the various occurrences on the east of the Jordan.
Atonement is all about the holiness of life and blood is life:
“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 your souls: for it is the blood that maketh an atonement for the soul.
For it is the life of all flesh; the blood of it is for the life thereof: therefore I said unto the children of Israel, Ye shall eat the blood of no manner of flesh: for the life of all flesh is the blood thereof: whosoever eateth it shall be cut off” (Lev 17:11 & 14).
Burnt Offering – Chapter 1,
Grain Offering – Chapter 2,
Peace Offering – Chapter 3,
Sin Offering – Chapter 4:1-5:13, and
Guilt or Trespass Offering – Chapter 5:14-6:7 & 7:1-10).
Consecration of the priests – Chapter 8
The priests’ ministry – Chapter 9.
Laws and Sins
Leprosy – Chapter 13-14,
Cleaning – Chapter 15,
Day of Atonement – Chapter 16,
Sacrifice – Chapter 17,
Relationships and walking with God – Chapter 18-20,
Homosexuality (18:22; 20:13)
Fornication and Adultery (18:20)
The Sabbath (19:3, 26:2)
Idolism (19:4; 26:1)
Judging others (19:15)
Eating blood (19:26)
Tattoos and Piercing (19:28)
Witchcraft (20:6, 27)
Disrespecting Parents (20:9)
And many more.
“This is the law of the burnt offering, of the meat offering, and of the sin offering, and of the trespass offering, and of the consecrations, and of the sacrifice of the peace offerings;
Which the LORD commanded Moses in mount Sinai, in the day that he commanded the children of Israel to offer their oblations unto the LORD, in the wilderness of Sinai” (Lev:7:37-38).
The Day of Atonement became the Hebrews’ national day of contrition and confession of sin. The whole people fasted and observed a Sabbath of rest.
The ritual for the Day of Atonement emphasized that sin is serious, that results in death.
Yet, God provided a miraculous atonement for sin by providing the sacrificial system, in which 1 another can die in one’s place.
The comprehensiveness of the sins atoned for by the Day of Atonement ritual is staggering.
“God had appointed Aaron and his two sons as priests, but that doesn’t mean they can break the law, which Aaron’s sons found out, found out a bit late, this is something the Catholics need to understand:
And Nadab and Abihu, the sons of Aaron, took either of them his censer, and put fire therein, and put
incense thereon, and offered strange fire before the LORD, which he commanded them not. And there went out fire from the LORD, and devoured them, and they died before the LORD” (Lev 10:1-2).
God is great and created us to be like Him (Gen 1:26-27).
“For I am the LORD your God: ye shall therefore sanctify yourselves, and ye shall be holy; for I am holy: neither shall ye defile yourselves with any manner of creeping thing that creepeth upon the earth” (Lev 11:44).
We don’t have to do anything special, or go through hoops, just respect His holiness and treat people equally with kindness. As Jesus had said to His disciples:
“Master, which is the great commandment in the law? Jesus said unto him, Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind.
This is the first and great commandment.
And the second is like unto it, Thou shalt love thy neighbor as thyself.
On these two commandments hang all the law and the prophets” (Matt 22:36-40).
You have seen what happens to those that go against God. It’s not like He owes us anything, nor do we deserve anything, but He loves us so what is our reward if we walk with Him?
“If ye walk in my statutes, and keep my commandments, and do them;
Then I will give you rain in due season, and the land shall yield her increase, and the trees of the field shall yield their fruit.
And your threshing shall reach unto the vintage, and the vintage shall reach unto the sowing time: and ye shall eat your bread to the full, and dwell in your land safely.
And I will give peace in the land, and ye shall lie down, and none shall make you afraid: and I will rid evil beasts out of the land, neither shall the sword go through your land.
And ye shall chase your enemies, and they shall fall before you by the sword.
And five of you shall chase a hundred, and a hundred of you shall put ten thousand to flight: and your enemies shall fall before you by the sword.
For I will have respect unto you, and make you fruitful, and multiply you, and establish my covenant with you” (Lev 26:3-9).
1 Jesus was our Sacrificial Lamb, He died for our sins – Matt 20:28, 26:28, Jn 3:16 – watch this short video.
The Middle Assyrian Laws
German excavations at ancient Asshur in modern Iraq between 1903 and 1914 yielded a significant number of cuneiform tablets containing regulations now known as the Middle Assyrian laws.
Although this cannot be established with certainty, the widely accepted view is that they date to the reign of Assyria’s Tiglath-Pileser (1114- 1076 B.C.).
It is notable, however that these tablets are copies of even earlier laws that originated during the 14th-15th centuries B.C.
Each tablet contains a separate law collection concerned with particular life issues such as:
- Marriage and family law
- False accusation
These decrees, like many of those recorded in Leviticus and Deuteronomy, are “casuistic laws”; that is, they follow an “if… then” pattern. For example:
lf the wife of a man should go out of her own house, and go to another man where he resides, and should he fornicate with her knowing that she is the wife of a man, the man and the wife shall be killed.
This particular law has direct Biblical parallels in Lev 18:20 and Deut 22:22.
In other cases, however, the Middle Assyrian laws prescribed harsher punishments than Biblical commands; theft, for example, was punishable by death or mutilation of the ears and nose.
Many Middle Assyrian laws demonstrate that men had greater rights than women in that ancient society. For example, if a married man were to rape an unmarried woman, his own wife was turned over to be raped and the rapist was obligated to marry the woman he had violated.
Acceptable means by which a man could punish his wife included beatings, whippings, plucking out her hair and mutilating her ears.
Wherever the decrees of Leviticus and Deuteronomy differ from the Middle Assyrian laws, the Biblical commands demonstrate greater equality between the sexes and a higher level of respect for human life and moral purity.