Book of Leviticus:When asking someone about their favorite book of the Bible, rarely do you hear the answer "Leviticus." It's a difficult book for new Christians and casual Bible readers. Gone are the interesting characters and suspenseful stories of Genesis. Gone are the "stuff of Hollywood" plagues and miracles of Exodus. Instead, it contains a meticulous and sometimes tedious list of rules and regulations. But we will see in this introduction to Leviticus, that if understood properly, the book is rich with wisdom and instruction still practical for Christians today.
Leviticus is best explained as a guidebook for teaching God's people about holy living and worship. Everything from sexual conduct, to the handling of food, to instructions for worship and religious celebrations are covered in detail in the book of Leviticus. This is because every aspect of our lives--moral, physical and spiritual--is important to God.
Author of the Book of Leviticus:Moses is credited as the author.
Date Written:Most likely written between 1440-1400 B.C., covering events between 1445-1444 B.C.
Written To:The book was written to the priests, Levites and the people of Israel for generations to come.
Landscape of the Book of Leviticus:Throughout Leviticus the people were camped at the foot of Mount Sinai in the desert Peninsula of Sinai. God had just delivered the Israelites from slavery and taken them out of Egypt. Now he is preparing to take Egypt (and slavery to sin) out of them.
Themes in the Book of Leviticus:There are three significant themes in the book of Leviticus:
The Holiness of God - Holiness is spoken of 152 times in the book of Leviticus. It is mentioned here more than any other book of the Bible. God was teaching his people that they were to be set apart or "separated" for holiness. Just like the Israelites, we are to be different from the world. We are to devote every area of our lives to God. But how can we, sinful people, worship and obey a holy God? Our sin must be dealt with first. For this reason Leviticus opens with instructions for offerings and sacrifices.
The Way to Deal with Sin - The sacrifices and offerings detailed in Leviticus were a means of atonement, or symbols of repentance from sin and obedience to God. Sin required a sacrifice - a life for a life. The sacrificial offerings had to be perfect, spotless, and without defect. These were a picture of Jesus Christ, the Lamb of God, who gave his life as the perfect sacrifice for our sin, so we would not have to die.
Worship - God showed his people in Leviticus that the way into God's presence, the path into worship, was opened through the sacrifices and offerings made by the priests. Worship then, is about relationship with God and letting him into every part of our lives. This is why Leviticus carefully detailed rules of conduct for practical daily living. Today we know that true worship begins with accepting Christ's sacrifice for sin. Worship as a Christian is both vertical (toward God) and horizontal (toward men), involving our relationship with God and how we relate with people.
Key Characters in the Book of Leviticus:Moses, Aaron, Nadab, Abihu, Eleazar, Ithamar.
- Leviticus 19:2
"Be holy because I, the LORD your God, am holy." (NIV)
Outline of the Book of Leviticus:
- Instructions for Offerings - Leviticus 1-7.
- Instructions for God's Priests - Leviticus 8-10.
- Instructions for God's People - Leviticus 11-15.
- Instructions for the Altar and the Day of Atonement - Leviticus 16.
- Practical Holiness - Leviticus 17-22.
- Sabbaths, Seasons, Festivals & Feasts - Leviticus 23-25.
- Conditions for Receiving God's Blessing - Leviticus 26-27.