BibleProject - Old Testament - Lesson 6

Leviticus - BibleProject

The Bible Project's "Leviticus" study provides an in-depth overview of the third book of the Old Testament, also known as the Torah or Books of Moses. The lesson starts with an introduction to Leviticus, covering its historical and literary context. The themes and structure of Leviticus are then explored, focusing on the theme of holiness and the book's structure. Finally, the lesson looks at the significance of Leviticus in the Old Testament, including its relationship to the other Books of Moses and its relevance for Christians today.

Taught by a Team
Taught by a Team
BibleProject - Old Testament
Lesson 6
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Leviticus - BibleProject


I. Introduction to Leviticus

A. Overview of Leviticus

B. Historical Context of Leviticus

C. Literary Context of Leviticus

II. Themes and Structure of Leviticus

A. The Theme of Holiness

B. The Structure of Leviticus

III. The Significance of Leviticus in the Old Testament

A. The Relationship Between Leviticus and the Other Books of Moses

B. The Importance of Leviticus for Understanding the Torah

C. The Relevance of Leviticus for Today's Christians

  • By watching this video, you will gain a comprehensive understanding of the Old Testament, including its literary design and flow of thought. You will learn about the different sections of the Old Testament, including the Pentateuch, Historical Books, Wisdom Literature, Major Prophets, and Minor Prophets. You will also gain insights into the stories, themes, and messages of each of these sections and how they contribute to the overall narrative of God's relationship with humanity.
  • By studying Genesis, you will gain a deeper understanding of the Old Testament and its key themes and characters, as well as the literary features of the book, such as its structure, style, and genre. The creation story is a key part of the book, as are the stories of Abraham and the patriarchs, the fall and sin, the flood and Noah, and God's covenant with Israel. Additionally, Genesis introduces readers to the Old Testament and sets the stage for the Pentateuch and Books of Moses, while also introducing many themes and motifs that continue throughout the Bible.
  • Discover the captivating stories of the patriarchs in Genesis Part 2, exploring themes of covenant, God's sovereignty, human responsibility, faith, and obedience.
  • Explore the Bible's book of Exodus to gain insight into God's rescue of the Israelites from slavery in Egypt, the significance of the covenant and law, and its connection to the New Testament.
  • Gain insight into the book of Exodus and its themes of salvation and redemption, revealing God's character through his interactions with Israel, with significant influence on Jewish and Christian traditions and connections to the New Testament through its foreshadowing of Jesus Christ.
  • By studying Leviticus with The Bible Project, you will gain a comprehensive understanding of the historical and literary context, themes, and structure of this important book in the Old Testament. You will also learn about the significance of Leviticus for understanding the Torah and its relevance for Christians today.
  • By studying The Bible Project's lesson on Numbers, you'll comprehensively understand its structure, themes, and significance, gaining insight into the journey of the Israelites in the wilderness, God's guidance, rebellion, priesthood, and offerings, as well as its historical, theological, and contemporary relevance.
  • Explore Numbers' authorship, context, structure, and theology to gain a comprehensive understanding of its significance to the Pentateuch and the Old Testament, as well as its relevance to the Christian faith today.
  • You will gain knowledge and insight into the book of Joshua, including its historical context, literary genre, and summary. You will learn about the book's themes, such as God's faithfulness, obedience, and judgment, and its significance in foreshadowing Christ's work and providing historical and theological implications.
  • Explore the historical and cultural context, literary design, and theological significance of the book of Judges in the Old Testament, and learn how it fits into the broader biblical storyline, including its relevance for today.
  • Explore the Book of Ruth to understand its historical context, literary features, themes of loyalty and faithfulness, redemption, the kinsman-redeemer's role, and its Old Testament significance.
  • Studying the Book of Samuel provides insight into the rise of the Israelite monarchy, the lives of Saul and David, and the importance of obedience to God, covering themes of leadership and kingship with the presence of the Ark of the Covenant.
  • By exploring the story of Absalom in 2 Samuel and the broader context of the Old Testament Historical Books, you will gain insight into the themes and messages of these books, as well as their historical and modern-day significance.
  • Through the study of 1 Kings and 2 Kings, you will gain a deeper understanding of the history of Israel and Judah, as well as valuable spiritual lessons from these Old Testament books.
  • By studying this lesson, you understand the historical and literary aspects of 1 and 2 Chronicles, emphasizing God's sovereignty, covenant faithfulness, worship, and obedience.
  • Through this lesson, you grasp the historical context, key themes, and modern applications of the books of Ezra and Nehemiah, enriching your understanding of faith, community, and commitment to God's Word.
  • You will gain an understanding of the book of Esther, a narrative in the Hebrew Bible that tells the story of a Jewish woman named Esther who becomes queen in the Persian court and, with the help of her cousin Mordecai, saves the Jews from genocide orchestrated by the villain Haman. The story highlights God's sovereignty and providential care, and the feast of Purim celebrates the Jews' victory.
  • By studying the Book of Job, you will explore the complexities of human suffering, the search for divine wisdom, and the tension between God's sovereignty and human limitations within a unique literary structure.
  • You will gain a comprehensive understanding of the book of Psalms, including its background, structure, authorship, and theology. You will also learn about the various themes and motifs present in the Psalms, which will help you better understand and appreciate this important book in the Old Testament.
  • By studying Proverbs, you will understand the definition and purpose of wisdom, the fear of the Lord, and the personification of wisdom in the book. You will also gain insights into the literary structure of Proverbs and the themes of the book, including the importance of listening to wisdom, the power of words, and the value of hard work.
  • In the Ecclesiastes lesson, you gain insights into the book's structure, themes, and significance, while exploring the search for meaning, vanity, and the importance of fearing God and enjoying life.
  • You will gain an understanding of the literary features, interpretation, theology, and application of the book Song of Songs, including its authorship, historical and cultural context, allegorical and literal interpretation, and its teachings on God and human love, sexuality, and relationships.
  • Through this lesson, you gain insight into Isaiah's historical context, literary features, major themes, and its significance in the Old Testament.
  • Discover how Isaiah's prophetic message of judgment and hope for Jerusalem evolves, as it predicts the fall of Israel's kingdom and envisions a new, purified Jerusalem where God's kingdom will be restored through a future messianic king, uniting all nations in peace.
  • Through this lesson, you will gain understanding of the book of Jeremiah, including its historical and cultural context, literary features, major themes and message, and significance in the Old Testament.
  • In this lesson, you learn about the Book of Lamentations, its structure, themes, and the role of God in the midst of suffering and divine judgment, while ultimately highlighting His faithfulness and mercy.
  • In the book of Ezekiel, you follow the story of a priest named Ezekiel who has a vision of God's glory riding on a royal throne chariot, and is commissioned by God to accuse Israel of rebellion and warn them of their impending destruction due to their covenant violations and rampant social injustice, while also providing a small glimmer of hope for the future.
  • By viewing this lesson on Daniel, you will gain understanding of its structure, themes, and significance in the Old Testament, gaining knowledge about living as faithful exiles in a hostile culture, God's sovereignty and faithfulness in times of trial, and remaining faithful to God even in difficult circumstances.
  • Through this lesson, you grasp the complexities of Hosea, discovering the book's themes, messages, and its role in the Old Testament, emphasizing the relationship between Israel's unfaithfulness and God's unwavering love.
  • By studying the book of Joel, you will gain insight into the historical and cultural context of Judah, the literary features of prophetic literature, and the themes of repentance, restoration, and the Day of the Lord. Joel's prophecy also has significance in the New Testament as it is quoted by Peter at Pentecost, emphasizing the fulfillment of Joel's vision through the outpouring of the Holy Spirit.
  • In the Amos lesson, you explore its historical context, literary features, and themes, enhancing your understanding of justice, the Day of the Lord, and God's sovereignty within the Old Testament.
  • By studying Obadiah, you will gain insight into the historical context and literary features of this prophetic oracle. You will learn about the pride of Edom, their judgment, and the hope for Israel. Through understanding the significance of Obadiah in the Old Testament, you will have a deeper appreciation for the themes and message of this book.
  • Through this lesson, you gain insight into Jonah's themes, including God's mercy, human rebellion, repentance, and the significance of mission, while also understanding its connections to other biblical narratives.
  • Studying the book of Micah will give you an understanding of its historical context, literary genre, prophetic message of judgment and restoration, and insights into God's character and how He interacts with His people.
  • In this lesson, you gain insight into the historical context, structure, and themes of the book of Nahum, learning about God's sovereignty, justice, and the relevance of these concepts in today's world.
  • Studying Habakkuk will deepen your understanding of how to wrestle with difficult questions about God's character and the problem of evil and respond with faith and trust in God's sovereignty.
  • In this lesson, you explore the book of Zephaniah, gaining insights into its background, context, literary features, themes, and significance in the Old Testament, including the central message of the Day of the Lord and the promise of future hope.
  • You will gain an in-depth understanding of the Book of Haggai, including its historical and cultural context, literary structure, purpose and themes, individual sections, and theological significance in relation to the Exile, Restoration, and Messiah.
  • In this lesson, you gain insights into Zechariah's historical context, structure, themes of restoration, the coming Messiah, God's sovereignty, and its significance in the Old Testament.
  • Discover the last book of the Old Testament and its themes, such as God's love for Israel, the importance of worship, and the coming of the messenger and the day of the Lord, as well as its connection to the New Testament, which prophesies the coming of John the Baptist and Jesus and calls for a return to God.

BP100-06 Leviticus

The book of Leviticus is the third book of the Bible and it's set right after the exodus of the Israelites from their slavery when God brought them to the foot of Mount Sinai and invited Israel into a covenant relationship. Now they had quickly rebelled and broken the covenant. And God had wanted for his glorious presence to come and live right in the midst of Israel in the form of this Tabernacle, but Israel's sin has damaged the relationship. So, at the end of the previous book, Exodus, Moses as Israel's representative could not even enter God's presence in the tent. The Book of Leviticus opens by reminding us of this fundamental problem. It says the Lord called to Moses from the tent. So the question is, "How can Israel in their sin and selfishness be reconciled to this holy God?" That's what this book is all about--how God is graciously providing a way for sinful, corrupt people to live in his holy presence. Now let's pause for a second and explore this really important idea that God is holy. It's fundamental to understanding this book. The word holy means simply to be set apart or unique. And in the Bible, God is set apart from all other things because of his unique role as the Creator of all, as the author of life itself. And so if God is holy, then the space around God is also holy. It's full of his goodness and his life and purity and justice. So if Israel, who is unjust and sinful, wants to live in God's holy presence, they too need to become holy. Their sin has to be dealt with. Thus, book of Leviticus. Now the book has a really amazing symmetrical design. It explores the three main ways that God helps Israel to live in his presence. The outer sections are descriptions of the rituals Israel was to practice in God's holy presence. The next intersections focus on the role of Israel's priests as mediators between God and Israel and inside of that are two matching sections that focus on Israel's purity. And then right here at the center of the book there's a key ritual, the Day of Atonement, that brings the whole book together. The book concludes with a short section where Moses calls on Israel to be faithful to this covenant. Let's dive into the book. The first section explores the five main types of ritual sacrifices that Israel was to perform. Two of these were ways that, in Israel, I could say "thank you" to God by offering back to God the symbolic tokens of what God has first forgiven them. Three other sacrifices were different ways of saying sorry to God. So here in Israel, I would offer up the lifeblood of an animal while confessing that their sin has created more evil and death in God's good world. But instead of destroying this person, God of course wants to forgive them. And so this animal symbolically dies in their place and atones, which means it covers for their sin. And so through these rituals the Israelites were constantly being reminded of God's grace but also of his justice and the seriousness of their evil and its consequences. The second set of rituals lays out the seven annual feasts of Israel. And each of these retold a different part of the story about how God redeemed them from slavery in Egypt and brought them through the wilderness on their way to the promised land. And by celebrating these feasts regularly, Israel would remember who they were and who God was to them. Now the sections about Israel's priests: you have Aaron and his sons first ordained to enter into God's presence on behalf of Israel and then in this matching section we find the qualifications for being a priest. The priests were called to the highest level of moral integrity and ritual holiness because they represented the people before God but then also represented God to the people. Now we find out why the priests' holiness matter so much. Back here in this first section, right after the family of Aaron was ordained, two of his sons waltz right into God's presence and flagrantly violate the rules. And so they are consumed by God's holiness on the spot. It's a haunting reminder of the paradox of living in God's holy presence because it's pure goodness, but it becomes dangerous to those who rebell and insult God's holiness. And so it's important that Israel's priests become holy and also that all of the people of Israel become holy, which is what the next intersections are all about. Chapters 11 through 15 are about the ritual purity required of all the Israelites and chapters 18-20 are about the moral purity of the people. Here's what's underneath all of this purity and impurity language. Because God is holy, and he's set apart, the Israelites need to be in a state of holiness themselves. When they enter into his presence, this was called being clean or pure. God's presence was off limits to anybody who was not in a holy state. And this was called being unclean or impure. Now in Israel I could become impure in just a few ways: by contact with reproductive body fluids, by having a skin disease, by touching mold or fungus, or by touching a dead body. Now for the Israelites, all of these were associated with mortality, with the loss of life. Which gets us to the core symbol of all these ideas. You become impure when you're contaminated by touching death, so to speak. And death is the opposite of God's holiness because God 's essence is life. Now this is really key: simply being impure was not sinful or wrong. Touching these kinds of things was a normal part of everyday life and impurity was a temporary state. It just lasted a week or two and then it's over. What was wrong or sinful was to waltz into God's presence carrying these symbols of death and impurity on my body. Don't do that. Now the last way of becoming impure was by eating certain animals. And the kosher food laws are found right here in this section. Now there have been lots of theories about why certain animals were considered impure and off-limits. To promote hygiene or to avoid cultural taboos--the text just isn't explicit. But the basic point of all of these chapters is really clear. Altogether these work as an elaborate set of cultural symbols that remind Israel that God's holiness was to effect all areas of their lives. This corresponding section over here is about Israel's moral purity. The Israelites were called to live differently than the Canaanites. They were to care for the poor instead of overlooking them. They were to have a high level of sexual integrity, and they were to promote justice throughout their entire land. Now, here at the center of the book we find a long description of one of Israel's annual feasts, the Day of Atonement. Odds are that not every Israelite's sin and rebellion would be covered through the individual sacrifices and so once a year the high priest would take two goats. One of these would become a purification offering and atone for the sins of the people and the other was called the scapegoat. The priest would confess the sins of Israel and symbolically place them on this goat and then it would be cast out into the wilderness. Again, a very powerful image of God's desire to remove sin and its consequences from his people so that God can live with them in peace. The book concludes with Moses calling Israel to be faithful to all of the terms of the covenant and he describes the blessings of peace and abundance that will result if Israel obeys all of these laws. He also warns them that if they are unfaithful and dishonor God's holiness, it will result in disaster and ultimately exile from the land promised Abraham. Now if you want to see how Leviticus fits into the big storyline, it's helpful to look at the first sentence of the next book of the Bible, Numbers. It begins, "The Lord spoke to Moses 'in' the tent," so we can see that Moses is now able to enter God's presence on behalf of Israel. The Book of Leviticus, it worked! So, despite Israel's failure, God has provided a way for their sin to be covered so that God can live with sinful people in peace. And that's what the book of Leviticus is all about.