INTRODUCTION TO LEVITICUS
We have now come to one of the most challenging sections of the Bible. Not because the language is difficult to understand, but because the intricate details regarding the sacrifices and feasts seem so boring and monotonous. Church Age believers mistakenly believe that Leviticus does not pertain to them because we no longer offer animal sacrifices or celebrate the Jewish feasts. However, God tells us that “ALL scripture is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness” (II Tim 3:16; see also Ro. 15:4). So what does Leviticus have to do with my life today? Consider the following:
•Leviticus contains more words spoken directly by God than any other
book in the Bible (Lev 1:1).
•Leviticus is quoted more than 40 times in the New Testament.
Apparently, there is something very important that God wants to
communicate to us in the book of Leviticus!
•Without Leviticus we could never understand the New Testament book
of Hebrews. Leviticus foreshadows New Testament truths regarding
the person and work of Jesus Christ.
•David continuously and emphatically declared that he delighted in
God’s “statutes” (Ps. 119:16, 54, 80). Many of God’s statutes are
recorded in Leviticus (Lev. 3:17). Apparently, David, the man
after God’s own heart, DELIGHTED in the book of Leviticus!
•Leviticus reveals that God, through Jesus Christ, has prepared for
us a SACRIFICE (Jesus Christ, the Lamb of God – John 1:29), a
PRIEST (Jesus Christ, the great High Priest – Heb 3:1) and a PLACE
(Heaven, where Jesus Christ is enthroned – I Pet. 3:22). Not only
has God prepared these things for us, but He has made each believer
a SACRIFICE (Rom 12:1, 2), a PRIEST (I Pet. 2:5) and a PLACE
The purpose of Leviticus is twofold: first, to show us that we must worship the LORD in holiness (the word “holy” appears 94 times in Leviticus!); and second, that worship is the only pathway to peace, rest and fruitfulness. God will not give you peace, rest or fruitfulness until you are worshiping Him in holiness.
Historically, the events recorded in Leviticus occur at the door of the tabernacle (Lev 1:1) over a period of one month (cp. Lev 1:1; Ex 40:17; Num 1:1). Having delivered His children by the blood of the lamb (Exodus), God plans to take them to a place of peace, rest and fruitfulness, but before they embark on their journey, they must first establish worship. Leviticus is Israel’s instruction book on worship. The word Leviticus means “that which pertains to the Levites” and is so called because the tribe of Levi was chosen by God to be Israel’s worship leaders. The word Levi means “joined to God” and because the Levites were joined to God they had no inheritance in the promised land; God was their inheritance.
DAY 33 – MONDAY, FEBRUARY 2, 2004
TODAY’S READING: LEVITICUS 1-5
The burnt offering; the meat (meal, grain) offering; the peace offering; the sin offering; the trespass offering.
HIGHLIGHTS & INSIGHTS:
Chapters 1-5 describe five types of sacrifices, all of which are a prophetic picture of both Jesus Christ and New Testament believers.
Chapter 1 – The Burnt Offering.
This offering represents the substitutionary sacrifice of Jesus Christ. As believers, we are to offer our bodies as living sacrifices, holy, acceptable unto God (Rom. 12:1). Note that the head and fat of the animal is laid upon the wood (vs.8), a picture of you and I laying our plans, our wills and our treasures upon the cross of Christ (Lk. 9:23). Notice also that the inside and the legs are washed in water (vs.9), representing our “inner man” (Eph. 3:16) and our “walk” (Col. 1:10) being washed with the water of the word of God (Eph. 5:26,27).
Chapter 2 – The Meat (Meal, grain) Offering.
This is the only bloodless sacrifice. It represents the sinless life of Jesus Christ. The remnant of this offering was given to Aaron’s sons (vs.10) picturing Christ’s righteousness given to believers (II Cor. 5:21).
Chapter 3 – The Peace Offering.
This offering represents the peace which Jesus Christ purchased for us with His own precious blood (Col. 1:20). Note that the kidney, caul and liver were taken away. These organs filter out poisonous chemicals. Through this sacrifice, God tells us that we have permanent genuine peace with Him through our Savior Jesus Christ.
Chapter 4 – The Sin Offering.
This offering reveals how Jesus Christ has given believers victory over our sinful nature, the flesh. The sin referred to here is “ignorant sin”, meaning sin that mysteriously permeates our flesh; sin that is so deeply rooted that we are sometimes unconscious of it (see Ps. 19:12;90:8;139:23,24;Jer. 17:9; Rom. 7). Note that the whole body of the bullock (an ox or horned cow) is taken outside of the camp and burned. Our flesh is of no value or use to God and must therefore, be “put off” and “mortified” (Col. 3:5-17; Rom. 6:1-23).
Chapter 5 – The Trespass Offering.
This offering represents Christ’s victory over specific individual sins, also called trespasses. This is the only sacrifice associated with money (v.15). Truly, “the wages of sin is death” (Rom. 6:23). Thanks be to God, Jesus Christ has paid the price for our sins with His precious blood (Acts 20:28).
Leviticus is a book of violence and blood. In fact, the word “offering” occurs 387 times, and the word “blood” appears 88 times. Why would a loving God require such horrible violence? Several reasons are obvious: first, without the shedding of blood there is no remission for sins (Heb. 9:22); second, God doesn’t want us to forget the horrible consequences of sin (James 1:15); third, God wants us to know that He loved us so much that He voluntarily (Lev. 1:3; Rom. 5:8) subjected His Son to bloody violence for the price of our sin; fourth, we are in a violent war with our flesh; finally, God desires to have every part of us, severally and wholly, and that can be very painful.
CHRIST IS REVEALED:
As our voluntary substitutionary sacrifice (Lev. 1 – burnt offering) who lived a sinless life (Lev. 2 – meat offering) and purchased peace with God (Lev. 3 – peace offering) by paying the price for our sins (Lev. 4 – trespass offering) and giving us victory over our flesh (Lev. 5 – sin offering).