-Introduction: The book of Leviticus was written by Moses as one of the five books of the Torah (Law). Its setting was at the foot of Mt. Sinai somewhere in the southern part of the Arabian Peninsula. The date of the writing and events of this book occur somewhere close to the years 1445-1444 B.C. The primary purpose of this book is to offer the priests of Levi an outline for their duties and service unto the LORD God for worship. A further purpose for this Word of God in Scripture can be summed up with the theme of “holy living” for the Hebrew people extending to all people of faith in the one-true Living God. Holiness is mentioned 152 times in this book, which is more than any other book in the Bible. This is the predominant theme with the verse “You shall be holy, for I the LORD your God am holy (Leviticus 19:2)” being the key idea of the compilation. There are some other themes of note, which include the sacrifices and offerings, worship of the LORD Almighty, health and well-being, feasts of the LORD, and societal prosperity. The structure of the book includes a focus on worship with instructions for the offerings, priests, people, and altar (Leviticus 1-17). The second part structurally deals with living a holy life introducing proper standards for the people, rules for the priests, seasons and feasts for Israel, and receiving God’s blessing (Leviticus 18-27). These instructions were important for the Hebrew people as God prepared them for their Holy Land of promise even while they were in the wilderness following their dramatic escape from slavery in Egypt. For progressive revelation this book casts many shadows and types of the substance of things to come in Christ Jesus. Therefore, it is well worth our time and effort to study and dissect.
-Chapter 1- The LORD calls Moses and speaks to him from the tent of meeting telling him the proper way to present sacrifices of cows, sheep, goats, and birds (turtledoves or young pigeons). These are all burnt offerings and voluntary. The herd and flock had to be male without defect and offered at the doorway of the tent of meeting in the tabernacle. There are some specific instructions for how to carry out these sacrifices and how to arrange the parts of the dead animal on the fire or for washing. A special issue of note would be the arrangement for the sacrificing of birds. This was a poor man’s choice for making a voluntary offering before the LORD God, and ironically this was the type of sacrifice that Joseph and Mary made when baby Jesus was being dedicated at the Temple (Leviticus 5:11, Luke 2:21-24). These offerings were “a soothing aroma to the LORD (Leviticus 1:9, 13, 17)” meaning that they were accepted by the LORD because of the people’s humble and contrite attitude in obedience to Him.
-*Application* While we have Christ as our ultimate sacrifice in this day and age, the concept of holiness before our LORD should still be just as near and dear to our hearts. If we don’t walk in a righteous manner saved by the grace of God poured out upon us, we trample the work of Christ Jesus (Hebrews 10:26-31). Holiness in the Christian’s life is a big deal. Don’t minimize it.
Verse to Memorize: Leviticus 1:3