This week's study will take us through Leviticus chapters 18-27. The theme of Leviticus could be summed up in one word - holiness. The second section of Leviticus focuses on our walk with God through sanctification. Sanctification is the process by which we become holy or set apart for God's purposes. The key chapters to review in advance are: Leviticus 18-20, 22, 23, and 25.
Orthodox Jews believe that this entire book is the word of God, dictated by God to Moses on Mount Sinai. This was the first book of the Tanakh (Torah) taught in the Rabbinic system of education in Talmudic times. Probably due to the fact that this book goes hand in hand with their performance as priests. The theme of Leviticus could be summed up in one word - Holiness.
CALENDAR OF EVENTS:
c. 1915 B.C.
Joseph is born to Jacob and Rachel
c. 1898 B.C.
Joseph is sold into slavery
c. 1876 B.C.
Jacob and his family move to Egypt
c. 1730 B.C.
The Israelites are enslaved in Egypt
c. 1527 B.C.
Moses is born
c. 1446 B.C.
Moses leads the Israelites out of Egypt
c. 1445 B.C.
The Law is given on Mount Sinai
c. 1406 B.C.
Forty years of wilderness wandering end
The book of Leviticus can be divided into two sections. The second section focuses on our walk with God through Sanctification. Sanctification is the process by which we become holy or set apart for God's purposes.
1. Separation from Sensual and Spiritual Defilement - Leviticus 18-20
2. Separation of the Priests from the People - Leviticus 21-22
3. Separation in Worship - Leviticus 23-24
4. Separation in Land of Canaan - Leviticus 25-26
5. Separation through Consecration - Leviticus 27
PLACES OF INTEREST:
The Land Of Canaan - This was the land that God had given to the Israelites. According to Genesis 10, the territory extended from Sidon, in the direction of Gerar, as far as Gaza, and in the direction of Sodom, Gomorrah, Admah and Zeboiim, as far as Lasha. By the time of Moses it extended to all the land west of the Jordan River and the Dead Sea, including Jerusalem.
The Tabernacle - The tabernacle is the central location for the book of Leviticus. The tabernacle was the place of worship in the nation of Israel and the nation of Israel was organized with the tabernacle at the physical center of the nation. It was the temporary representation of the temple that would be built in Jerusalem. There is a great deal of symbolic meaning in the construction, furniture and utensils used in the tabernacle.
PEOPLE OF INTEREST:
Moses - Moses or Moshe (Hebrew) is described as the greatest prophet, leader and teacher that Judaism has ever known. The name "Moses" comes from a root meaning "take out," because Moses was taken out of the river. God gives the law to Moses at Mount Sinai, but the law embraced far more than the Ten Commandments. It included regulations regarding legal and familial relationships, rituals, foreigners and the worship of God.
Priests - The priests were the descendents of Levi through the sons of Aaron and had charge of the services and sacrifices in the Temple. They were responsible to facilitate all national public worship events and acted as musicians, judges, genealogists, janitors, porters and tradesmen.
THE FEASTS AND HOLY DAYS OF ISRAEL:
The Sabbath: Every 7th day was to be a day of rest from all work.
The Passover: The 14th day of the first month (Nisan), this festival commemorated God's deliverance of Israel from bondage in Egypt.
PROPHETIC EVENT: Jesus' sacrificial death on the cross.
The Feast Of Unleavened Bread (Hag Hamatzot): Marked the beginning of the barley harvest, immediately following Passover and lasted until the 21st day of the month. PROPHETIC EVENT: Deliverance from Egypt.
The Feast Of First Fruits: This feast accompanied the offering of the first harvested barley to God. It was celebrated on the 16th day of the first month (Nisan) and on the 6th day of the 3rd month (Sivan).
PROPHETIC EVENT: The resurrection of Jesus from the dead.
The Feast Of Weeks (Pentecost): This festival took place 50 days after the barley harvest, and involved new grain offerings to the Lord. PROPHETIC EVENT: The outpouring of the Holy Spirit and the birth of the Church.
The Feast Of Trumpets (Rosh Hashanah): The 1st day of the 7th month (Tishri) marked this occasion, which involved a Sabbath rest, the blowing of trumpets and a holy convocation. PROPHETIC EVENT: Some believe this may correspond with the Rapture of the Church.
The Day Of Atonement (Yom Kippur): Observed on the 10th day of the 7th month (Tishri), this was a day of fasting (on which no work was done) for the purpose of atoning for the sins of the year.
The Feast Of Tabernacles (Booths or Ingathering, Sukkot): This eight-day celebration lasted from the 15th to the 22nd day of the 7th month (Tishri). PROPHETIC EVENT: Some believe this may have marked the birth of Jesus.
The Sabbath Year: Every 7th year was designated as a "year of release" to allow the land to lie fallow. Israel never observed this festival.
The Year Of Jubilee: The 50th year, which followed 7 Sabbath years, proclaimed liberty to those who were servants because of debt, and returned lands to their former owners. Israel never observed this festival.
PARCHED GRAIN: A favorite food of those working in the harvest. Newly harvested heads of grain were roasted in a fire and eaten when cool.
SHEAF OF THE FIRST FRUITS: This bundle of the first harvest barley belonged to God as a special offering, acknowledging God's provision of the harvest.
WALLED CITY: A walled city indicates one of the larger cities of the land.
Figure 1: The Tabernacle
Figure 2: The Land Of Canaan