Thursday Morning Leviticus Bible Study
Leader: Pastor Warskow
Beautiful Savior Lutheran Church
N5015 Beaverbrook Avenue
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Meeting Day(s): Thursday
Meeting Time: 10:00 AM
The title of this book, Leviticus, comes from the Greek translation of the Old Testament called the Septuagint. It refers to the duties and responsibilities performed by the Levites, who were entrusted with the priesthood.
Much of the book deals with the Lord's commands regarding the priests' duties and the sacrificial system of worship. However, it should be understood that the book covers more than formal worship; it provides principles and rules to guide the Old Testament believer in a life of worship on a day-to-day basis. What does Romans 12:1,2 say about what God considers true worship?
THE BENEFIT OF STUDYING LEVITICUS
What does Colossians 2:16,17 tell us about how the Old Testament laws apply to us today?
Why, then, should we bother to study a book whose contents were designed to benefit people living before the time of Christ by focusing them on their need for and blessings from the coming Savior?
This book was written by Moses, as were the other four books that make up the "pentateuch" (the first five books of the Bible).
This book is a continuation of the story of salvation history recorded in Genesis and Exodus. At the end of Exodus we left Israel marveling at the glory of the Lord as it filled the newly-constructed tabernacle. A natural question that might have come to mind is "How can we have fellowship with such a holy God? How can we possibly meet his demands?" The book of Leviticus answers that concern by explaining the sacrifices and rituals required to establish a right relationship with the Lord.
THEMES IN LEVITICUS
The word "holy" occurs over ninety times in Leviticus. What does this word tell you about the nature of Israel's God?
What does this word tell you about God's expectations for his people?
The word "atonement" also occurs quite often (over forty times). Why all this emphasis on "atonement"?
"Uncleanness" is also frequently mentioned. There were any number of deeds or situations recorded in Leviticus for which a person was considered "unclean". What message was God trying to convey by this emphasis
THE SIGNIFICANCE OF THE SACRIFICES
The sacrifices were generally meant to convey to the people one of these two concepts:
1) The closeness of the covenant relationship of God and his people
2) The need for that relationship, broken by sin, to be restored
The sacrifices reminded people of the seriousness of sin (death is the penalty) but also of the principle of substitutionary atonement (the death of another for me is accepted by God).
Outwardly, there seems to be many similarities between Israel's sacrifices and the sacrifices of pagan countries. On closer study, however, it becomes clear that there are very significant differences between the two. Below are some characteristics of pagan sacrifice rituals. How did Israel's sacrifices differ?
1. Pagan sacrifices were offered to gain the favor of the gods.
2. Pagan sacrifice rituals sometimes involved self-mutilation as a means of showing dedication to the deity.
3. Child sacrifice was not uncommon.
4. Sexual acts often were included in the sacrificial systems of pagan countries since fertility and reproduction were important among people who made their living off the land and livestock.
5. The animals offered on pagan altars were actually thought, in some cases, to be food for the gods.
What does Hebrews 7:26ff tell us about sacrifices and the removal of sin?
OUTLINE FOR LEVITICUS
I. How Israel was to come near God (1-16)
A. By blood sacrifices (1-7)
B. Through the priesthood (8-10)
C. By avoiding defilement (11-16)
II. How Israel Was To Express Its relationship with God (17-27)
A. Personal holiness (17)
B. Holiness in sexual matters (18)
C. Holiness in society (19-20)
D. Holiness for priests (21-22)
E. Holy festivals (23-24)
F. Holiness for the land (25)
G. Reward for obedience and punishment for disobedience (26)
H. Redeeming what is the Lord's (27)
THE OLD TESTAMENT SACRIFICIAL SYSTEM
The presentation of Old Testament sacrifices generally involved these five steps:
1. Formal presentation at the tabernacle entrance, including examination of the animal
2. Laying on of hands (symbolizing the transfer of guilt from the guilty party to the animal
3. Slaughter of the victim
4. Use of the blood (applied to the altar, ark, people, etc.)
5. Use of the flesh (Consumed by priest or people)
LEVITICUS - Section 1
1. (1:1) What remarkable fact is again repeated in this verse?
2. (1:3) Why did it have to be a male "without defect"?
Consider the following passages:
A. I Peter 1:18-20:
B. Colossians 1:22:
C. Ephesians 5:27:
3. (1:4) How does this offer a good picture of "God's Great Exchange"?
4. (1:5,11,15) Why all this blood? Let's "search the Scriptures"...
- Genesis 9:6 - What does it mean to "shed blood"?
- Exodus 12:13; 24:8 - What purpose did blood serve here?
- Leviticus 17:10-14 - What is the reason for "sprinkling blood" in the sacrifices?
- Deuteronomy 12:23 - What does blood symbolize?
- Matthew 26:28 - What are Jesus' exact words here?
- Matthew 27:24 - What is he claiming to be "innocent" of?
- Romans 3:25 - What does this mean?
- Romans 5:9 - How were we justified?
- Ephesians 1:7; 2:13 - What was the price?
- Colossians 1:20
- Hebrews 9:22
- I Peter 1:19
- I John 1:7
- Revelation 7:14
Summary of the study:
5. (2:11) Why "without yeast"? Let's search the Scriptures...
Exodus 12:15,18,19,20 -
Matthew 13:33 -
I Corinthians 5:6-8
6. (3:16) Why is "the fat" only the LORD's? (see Leviticus 7:22-25)
7. (3:17) Compare the fellowship offering to the Lord's Supper.
8. Compare the fellowship offering to Christmas/Thanksgiving Dinner.
THE SIN OFFERING – Chapter 4
- 4:1 In our world today we excuse ourselves from wrong by saying, "I'm sorry, I didn't mean to . . ."
What does God say about that excuse?
NOTE: Burning the discarded animal parts outside the camp symbolized the removal of sin.
- (4:2) A/D: "Even if I don't know it's a sin, if I do it, I am guilty."
- The priest was commanded to offer a greater sacrifice (bull) than an ordinary leader (goat). Why?
THE GUILT OFFERING – Chapter 5:14-6
- Making restitution is proof of a repentant heart which acknowledges guilt. How does this principle, evidenced in this offering, apply to us today?
- (5:5) A/D: "We should confess each specific sin."
The Blood Sacrifices of the Old Testament
Burnt Offering : Leviticus 1
- Cattle, sheep, goats, or doves. Perfect male.
- Burning of entire animal.
- Morning and evening. Also for personal devotion.
- For worship and prayer.
Fellowship Offering – Leviticus 3
- From the flock. Perfect, male or female.
- Burning of selected fat and flesh. Part for priests remainder for worshipers.
- For blessings received. On taking or completing a vow. Voluntary.
- For thanksgiving, praise, requests, sharing of blessings.
Sin Offering – Leviticus 4
- Young bull, goat, sheep, doves, or grain offering.
- Burning of selected parts. Remainder for priests or burned.
- For sins of high priest, congregation, rulers.
- Atonement for sin.
Guilt Offering – Leviticus 5-6:7
- Ram or lamb.
- Burning of selected parts. Remainder consumed by priests.
- For specific sins.
- Fruits of repentance, making amends.
- (5:16) While this law is part of the "ceremonial law" and therefore no longer applies today (Colossians 2:16,17 etc.), this idea of "making restitution" to those we wrong is part of God's eternal "moral law" (read Matthew 5:23f.). How could a Christian make restitution in the following situations?
A. In a marital argument, Jill said something to hurt Jack...
B. The Smith children were playing and broke a light/tore hymnal pages...
C. Tom promised to do it, but forgot, and it wasn't done...
D. Bob daydreamed almost through the entire church service...
E. Sandy promised God that she would give 10% of her income to the Lord, as a first-fruit offering of thanks, but she missed church all month while on summer vacation.
F. On Confirmation Day, Willie and Nellie vowed to be "faithful" to the LORD to the very end of their lives, but neither has received the sacrament in two years, and now they say that they just don't have time for church...
- (6:5) Solve this counseling dilemma: Alex repeatedly beats his wife and children. But when confronted with it, he says, "I only have to confess it to God. I don't have to talk to you at all." (use this verse to explain)
- (7:31-34) What was the priest's salary?
- (ch. 1-7) Since these are "ceremonial laws," how do they apply today?
1. (8:1) Why is the phrase "The LORD said to Moses" found with such frequency in chapters 8-10?
2. (8:3) Why was the entire congregation to assemble for the ordination ceremony?
3. (8:8) What were the Urim and Thummim used for?
4. (8:12) Why did Moses anoint the tabernacle? Why did he anoint Aaron?
5. (8:22) What did the burnt offering for the priests express and signify?
6. (9:6) To what does the expression "the glory of the LORD" refer?
7. (9:21) What sacrifices did Aaron bring on behalf of the people? What is significant about the order?
8. (10:11) Why were Aaron's and his sons not permitted to mourn for Nadab and Abihu?
COMPARE THE SCRIPTURES:
9. What do the following verses tell us about the Urim and Thummim?
a. Exodus 28:30
b. Numbers 27:21
c. Deuteronomy 33:8
d. 1 Samuel 23:9; 28:6; 30:7
e. Ezra 2:63
f. Nehemiah 7:65
10. What was the purpose of the laying on of hands in each case below?
a. Genesis 48:14
b. Leviticus 16:21
c. Matthew 19:15
d. Mark 6:5
e. Acts 6:6
f. Acts 28:8
g. 1 Timothy 4:14
11. Compare the blessings found in the Old Testament with those found in the New.
Numbers 6:24-26 Romans 16:20
Joshua 22:5,6 2 Corinthians 13:14
1 Kings 8:55-61 2 Thessalonians 3:18
APPLYING THE SCRIPTURES:
12. Many would prepare for full-time ministry in the church, but don't consider themselves "good enough." What comfort can we offer from what we've learned about Aaron and Peter?
13. God detailed exactly what kind of clothing the priests were to wear. We know this is not the case today. What determines what worship leaders wear now? What purposes do such garments serve?
14. Discuss the difference between ordination and installation as these terms are used in the church today.
15. How does CW #469 "Take My Life And Let It Be" describe the Christian's life?
16. A/D: Since O.T. priests were to be separate from society, it is wrong for church workers of today to hold secular jobs in addition to their work in the church.
17. A/D: Proclaiming God's Word is a modern-day appearance of the "glory of the LORD."
18. How does the LORD's judgment of Nadab and Abihu also warn us today?
19. What are some specific ways that we can be more careful and less careless in our obedience to God?
- in worship (hymn singing, liturgies, materials, etc.)
Regulations for Cleanness and Uncleanness Chapters 11-16
- in doctrine (teaching, learning God's Word)
- in fellowship (unite with some, but not others)
- in service (time, talents, treasures, different types of service and giving)
- in our homes
- in our jobs
- in other ways
1. What was the purpose of the "Purification Code"? (11:44-47)
2. What four groups divide the creatures? (11:2,9,13,20)
3. What two qualifications were necessary for land animals to be considered clean? (11:3,4)
4. A/D: God was to the people, what the people were to the unclean creatures.
5. What was a mother to do after the purification time? (12:6f)
COMPARE THE SCRIPTURES:
6. What foods did the Israelites most commonly eat?
I Samuel 17:17
I Samuel 25:18
7. These regulations degenerated into empty rituals. What does God's Word say about formalism?
I Samuel 15:22
2 Timothy 3:5
8. A/D: There are still some foods which are "unclean" for Christians.
APPLY THE SCRIPTURES:
9. A/D: It can be wrong to eat or drink something.
Next time we will continue with chapter 16. Please read chapters 13-15 and consider the words below.
10. A/D: Death was "unclean" because it's foreign to God's plan.
11. If someone told you that these laws are still in effect and apply to you today, how would you reply?
12. By Jesus' day, many of the Jews had changed these regulations into ways of attaining righteousness before God. Are there religious customs and traditions in the church today which have been similarly misunderstood?
13. A/D: Some people use a certain Bible translation or hymnal edition just like the Jews used these laws.
Wholeness symbolized holiness among God's people. Anything which spoiled the wholeness of a person, clothing or dwellings symbolized sin. Such diseases, discharges, and molds were ceremonially unclean. The priests were to be judges of what was to be considered unclean. They did not treat or heal, they merely diagnosed. Cleansing and sacrifice were a shadow of the real cleansing by the sacrifice of Christ. Jesus healed many people with skin diseases (Mark 1:40-41; Matthew 10:8; Luke 8:43-44). Jesus fulfilled the laws and promises of the O.T., so He could touch and be touched by such "unclean" people and make them clean (Matthew 8:3; Mark 5:41; Luke 6:38). Jesus taught that such diseases were not the real problem, the real problem was sin (Matthew 15:11; Matthew 5:28 etc.).
Leviticus 17-20 - How Israel Was To Exhibit Its Relationship With God Chapters 17-27
Holiness in worship 17
The point of this chapter is "Do not worship false gods!"
1. See verses 7 and 10-12 What elements of pagan worship are described here?
2. Are these pagan worship characteristics around today?
Holiness in sexual matters 18
3. 18:21 Why is this practice noted in a chapter dealing with sexual sins?
4. 18:22 What is condemned here?
See Romans 1:18, 26,27
1 Corinthians 6:9,10
NOTE: Many sexual sins listed here are in the category of "incest" since the people lived close together in family groupings which made incest a common temptation
Holiness in society 19,20
NOTE: While the specific commands of this chapter are not all applicable to us living in the freedom of the New Testament era, there are timeless principles of God revealed here nonetheless,
5. 19:2: Why does God begin with this command?
6. 19:9,10: What is the point behind this command?
7. 19:11-16: What basic sin is behind all of these evils?
8. 19:17,18: What does 17b say to you?
9:19 This may be a reference to doing something that would symbolize mixing impurity with purity, when God demands untainted perfection.
19:20,22 Generally, in cases of adultery, both parties involved were put to death. Such is not the case here because, although a marriage promise had been made, the marriage had not been established since the woman had not been set free by her future husband.
9. 19:23-25 What was God trying to tell his people with this command? (also see Malachi 3:10 and 2 Corinthians 9:6)
19:26-31 Practices associated with heathen worship
10. 19:32-37 In what specific instances are respect for others here commanded?
11. How does the world's view of our responsibilities to others differ from God's view?
12. 20:22 and 26 What reasons are here given for "holy" living?
What regulation did God give for the lamps in the tabernacle? (verses 1-4)
What regulation did God give for the table of bread inside the tabernacle?
Why was an Israelite stoned to death? Where did the punishment take place?
How does the eternal light in the tabernacle picture Christ and apply to us?
How does the bread in the tabernacle picture Christ and apply to us?
Even though a blasphemer was stoned to death, how does God show respect for the sanctity of life in verses 17-22?
Leviticus 25 – 26
Holiness for the land, Chapter 25
25.1-17 We have seen that the seventh day of the week was to be holy (the Sabbath) and also that the seventh month was considered holy. The seventh year was also to be considered holy. What was to take place on this year?
The year after the seven-times-seventh year (50th year) was also considered holy and celebrated in what way?
What principles were to be understood behind these commands?
How does the Lord want us to view our relationship with fellow believers?
2 Corinthians 11:29
This chapter explains very thoroughly the Year of Jubilee and its significance. How did Jesus use the significance of the year of Jubilee as a picture of the significance of his coming to this world? (Luke 4:18,19)
Rewards For Obedience and Punishments For Disobedience
What rewards are promised for faithfulness to the Lord?
What punishments are promised for unfaithfulness to the Lord?
Can we expect physical rewards for faithfulness to God? (See Matthew 6:33,34)
Is it wrong to be faithful to God out of a desire to be rewarded?
Can we draw the conclusion, from this chapter, that God directly punishes us for specific sins? (See Hebrews 12:5-11)