A Christian Perspective on Leviticus (Pt. 3)

In a ceremony similar to crowning a new monarch, Aaron’s installation started with his investiture: with the congregation watching, Moses clothed Aaron with the symbols of his office (Lev. 8:5–12), followed by the investiture of his sons (8:13). A list of the items of Aaron’s apparel can help us consider thoughts you have about their significance in Christ as our Great Hight Priest. (See Ex. 28:1-43; 39:1-43) 

However, on the Day of Atonement, only the High Priest was allowed in the Most holy of holies and only the Altar of Incense and Ark of the Covenant was sprinkled with blood, Ex. 30:1-10.

  1. The Ark, being the most holy piece foreshadowing the living Word & law of faith in Christ.
  2. The Altar of Incense foreshadowing the Aroma of Christ in His Children, Eph. 5:2 & 2nd Cor. 2:15 & Exodus 30:1-10, Ex. 40:5, Heb. 9:3-4, Lev. 16:12.
  3. The Veil foreshadows the ancient Covenant since Abraham, which would be regulating access to God and changing the Old inferior into the New superior covenant, allowing intimacy in Christ.
  4. The Gold Lampstand foreshadows the Light of the World as Christ
  5. The Table of Showbread foreshadowing the Bread of Life as Christ
  6. The Altar of Burnt Offerings foreshadowing the Death of Christ at the Cross.
  7. The Bronze Basin foreshadowing the Burial & Resurrection of Christ in Baptism.

The seven-day installation ceremony was followed by a public worship service on the eighth day. This was the first worship service under Aaron’s leadership. What was the stated purpose of that worship assembly and the name given to the tent where it took place (Lev. 9:4–6)? What can we learn about the nature of worship from this passage?

Once the rituals of atonement were completed by the priests, the service reached its climax: Aaron pronounced the benediction (vv. 22–23; compare Num. 6:22-27.. Why do you suppose God added the visible mark of fire from heaven to the close of that inaugural service, Lev. 9:24?

How many times do you find the phrase “as the Lord commanded” attached to the activities of the ordination and first worship service., (Chs 8-9)? (This frequent repetition is preparing for a contrast about to emerge in the next chapter.)

The closing scene (10:12–20) was truly amazing: Aaron corrected Moses on a point of ritual protocol, and Moses admitted that Aaron was right! What does Aaron’s precise ritual discernment (even correcting Moses!), in contrast with Nadab and Abihu’s ritual missteps, teach us about the kind of high priest the people were to expect?

Readers are often stunned that Nadab and Abihu died for their infraction, Lev. 10:1-7. Actually, what should amaze us is that our Great High Priest mediates such a perfect atonement that we are able to approach such a holy God without fear of the same outcome! Confronting the presence of God is a life-or-death matter, and our sins deserve the fire of his just wrath. The people of Israel got it right when they “shouted and fell on their faces” (9:24)—resulting in God’s benediction (not his condemnation) and in seeing his glory (rather than falling under his judgment). The acceptable venue in the worship service is taught in Leviticus 9:22-23. It is because of the atoning sacrifice that the people receive the guarantee of blessing from God at the close of their worship in his house. In the New Testament, Jesus also lifted his hands to pronounce blessing on the disciples after his completion of the final atonement sacrifice. Luke 24:50., and the apostles closed their letters with benedictions. 1Thes. 5:23, Eph. 6:23-24, Heb. 13:20-21.. The benediction is much more than a fancy way to say “the end” at the close of a worship service. It is a declaration of God’s favor because of his atonement.

Leviticus From A Christian Perspective (Pt. 2)

Atonement is all about fellowship between God (the host), and His people (whose sins are forgiven in the atonement) via the priests (who accomplishes our atonement) Notably the word ‘atonement’ is used by God more so in Leviticus, than any other book in the Bible. The root word is “Levi” which means to attach or join, Genesis 27:34.

Mealtime today in our society rarely has the same significance it did in biblical times. It is easy for us to overlook the importance of ritual meals in God’s house as the culmination of the sacrifice. Having already discussed the sacrifice procedures for all five categories of offerings (Lev. 1:1–6:7), Leviticus revisits all five offerings again, this time with particular focus on how the resulting fellowship meals were to be eaten in the Lord’s house (Lev. 6:8–7:38).

When offerings are presented at the Temple, the entire offering becomes the Lord’s. It is the Lord who gives portions of the sacrifice, as food, back to the priests (Lev. 6:17). Instructions for eating the various sacrifices is given in three groups: the one offering wholly consumed by God (Lev. 6:8–13); the three offerings consumed by God and the priests (6:14–7:10); and the one offering meal shared by God, the priests, and the people (Lev. 7:11–38)

However, The burnt offering was consumed wholly on the altar. It was intended to be kept burning around the clock, replaced daily (ref: Exodus 29:38-42). The other sacrifices were piled on top of this one and carried heavenward in its flames (6:12). How would an ancient Hebrew believer have felt knowing that, wherever he or she was at any time of the day, a “pleasing aroma” was rising to God for his or her atonement? Can we see Jesus in this sentiment? See Ephesians 5:2 & 2nd Corinthians 2:14-16.

As we look at the culmination of all these offerings ascending, we should not miss out on the fellowship God had in sharing portions of the sacrifices after the burnt offering. It was his way of honoring their work in accomplishing the people’s atonement ( Lev. 7:7).  This can be an expression of God’s pleasure in the work of the priests and it’s purpose can serve as a backdrop to our understanding of what Jesus says in John 10:17-18. In sharing sacrifices as a meal, we can learn something from the warnings God places in these instructions, Lev. 7:11-27. He prohibits consumption of the sacrifice’s blood (Lev. 7:26–27) which is very significant. Some ancient religions required worshipers to consume blood in order to unite the participant’s life with that of the offering (“the life of every creature is its blood” Lev. 17:14). What do you think it means that Old Testament believers were not to consume the animal’s blood (being a foreshadowing of the true sacrifice), yet the Lord’s Supper (the fulfillment of the peace offering meal) includes our participation in Christ’s blood, as we drink the cup in communion, see Mark 14:23-24 ?

This fellowship means we do not come to worship to appease God and end up coming away with a blessing, but rather our fellowship with him does mean we are pleasing to God and are honored as His guests in this priceless gift of his body & blood, because we have already been blessed!

A Christian Perspective on Leviticus (Pt.1)

Chapter 1, The Burnt Offering
The burnt sacrifice was to be a male animal without blemish, portraying the One ”who through the eternal Spirit offered Himself without spot to God” Hebrews 9:14.  

Chapter 2, The Meal Offering
It consisted of finely ground flour with no lumps in it. Jesus Christ displayed no unevenness in His humanity or character. Oil, a symbol of the Holy Spirit, was then poured out upon the fine flour. (1st Sam. 16:13 & Isa. 61:1 & 1 John 2:20, 27 The Heavenly Father pointed to the Lord Jesus with a dove as representing the Holy Spirit at his baptism. Then frankincense was placed upon the oil and flour. This produced a fragrance when fire was applied. Our Lord stated ”My food is to do the will of Him that sent Me, and to finish His work.” His death & resurrection completed the picture. John 4:34. Oil was part of a continual and all encompassing generational statue for Israel, to burn for light, Ex. 27:20-21, an obvious reminder of the eternal light of the world to come into the world as the Spirit of Christ in the church. In addition, the sacrifice was seasoned with salt. Salt is a barrier against corruption. This word is sometimes used in Scripture in connection with speech, Colossians 4:6, ”Let your speech be always with grace, seasoned with salt.” The believer is told, ”Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly” Col. 3:16. A handful of this offering of flour, oil, and frankincense was presented to God. The rest was eaten by the priests. How beautifully this pictures our spiritual nourishment as we partake of Christ, our meal offering, who was sacrificed for us! We abide in Him, and His words abide in us.

Chapter 3, The Peace Offering
The law of this offering is in Lev. 7:28-36. It presents a beautiful picture of reconciliation, making possible communion with God. The offerer was to ”lay his hand upon the head of his offering and kill it at the door of the tabernacle of the congregation” Lev. 3:2. Then Aaron’s sons, the priests, sprinkled the blood upon the altar. The New Testament fulfillment says, ”And, having made peace through the blood of His cross, by Him to reconcile all things unto Himself. Colossians 1:20. Once the reconciliation was accomplished by the sprinkling of the blood, the priests were to eat of the sacrifice. Lev.7:32-34. This speaks of communion and fellowship. The priests and the ones presenting the peace offering both ate of it in the presence of the Lord. This sacrifice was the basis of their peace and fellowship. It was indeed a ”thank offering”, Lev. 711-12.

Chapter 4, The Sin Offering
In the burnt offering the believer is seen as identified with Christ. In the sin offering, Christ is seen as identified with the believer’s sin. These factors apply:

  1. It was given for sins of ignorance, humans are sinners, Rom. 8:3, whether we know it or not.
  2. The victim was the substitute for the sinner, 2nd Cor. 5:21
  3. The victim was taken outside the camp and burned to ashes. Christ died outside the city wall, Heb. 13:12-13..The ashes were spread outside the camp, showing sins put away. Christ outside the camp died for us

Chapter 5, The Trespass Offering
The sin offering dealt with the root; the trespass offering with the fruit. The cleansing from sins was made possible through confession, Lev. 5:5. Likewise, the Lord Jesus died, not only for what we are by nature but also for what we do because of that nature. Furthermore, the Christian knows that ”if we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness, 1st Jn. 1:9, 2:1