Survey of the Old Testament - Lesson 13


Leviticus is primarily instructions to promote the holiness of God’s people. It provides a system that allows for a holy God to live among an unholy people. In the sacrificial system, there are 5 kinds of offerings. Jesus is the fulfillment of the observance of the Day of Atonement.

Miles Van Pelt
Survey of the Old Testament
Lesson 13
Watching Now

I. Introduction

II. Outline and Contents

A. Sacrificial system

1. Burnt offering

2. Grain offering

3. Peace offering

4. Sin offering

5. Guilt offering

B. Institution of the priesthood

C. Laws of impurity

D. Day of Atonement

E. Love your neighbor

III. Leviticus as the Gospel Promised Beforehand

  • Dr. Miles Van Pelt is offering an opportunity to study the Old Testament and understand its overall message in more detail. The Old Testament consists of 2/3 of the Bible, and serves as a foundation for many teachings found in the New Testament. Its main purpose is to point towards Jesus who makes possible a new covenant with God's people. The structure of both Testaments follows a covenantal pattern that compels humans to make choices regarding their relationship with God, while demonstrating His patience and perseverance in doing so.
  • Knowing the purpose, structure and theological center of the Old Testament, will help you understand more accurately the character of God, and his purpose in the world and in your life. The Old Testament teaches you about Christ and describes his ministry. Colossians 3:15-16 reads, "Let the peace of Christ rule in your heart, let the word of Christ dwell in you richly."

  • What you decide is the theological center of the Bible will determine how you understand the Bible and apply it to your life. You can see unity in biblical authorship by the number of times the phrase, “thus says Yahweh” is used in the Old Testament.  The person and work of Jesus is the theological center of the Old Testament. The living force of the canonical word must be the incarnate word. The proper nouns used in the Bible indicate the important characters and themes.

  • Jesus claims that the Old Testament finds its ultimate meaning in him. After his resurrection, Jesus meets two disciples on the road to Emmaus and gives them a lesson in biblical interpretation. The Father and the Scriptures testify about who Jesus is. In Romans 1:3, Paul refers to the Gospel being revealed through his prophets, in the holy Scriptures, concerning his Son. Every book in the Bible teaches about Christ so every sermon should teach about Christ. Hebrews 11 refers to the great cloud of witnesses.

  • The Kingdom of God is the over-arching theme of the whole Bible. God governs his kingdom by his covenants. The covenant of grace is in effect throughout the Bible and has different administrations.

  • The form that our Bibles come to us in is meaningful for interpretation. The Hebrew Bible has a different order of the books than the English Bible.  

  • The order of books in the English Bible and the Hebrew Bible is different because the criteria for determining the order is different. The order of the books in the Hebrew Bible reflect an emphasis on covenant, and also teaching important concepts then giving a practical example to illustrate how to put it into practice.

  • The three divisions in the Old Testament are the Law, the Prophets and the Writings. Genesis and Revelation are the introduction and conclusion to the Bible and have parallel themes. Exodus, Leviticus, Numbers and Deuteronomy are the four covenant books that record the birth and death of the covenant mediator and contain his life and teachings. The former prophets record the history of Israel. The latter prophets call people to repent and return to God.

  • Your presuppositions about whether or not the authors who wrote the books of the Bible were inspired by God will influence your position the authorship of the Pentateuch. The traditional view is that Moses wrote the first five books of the Old Testament at about 1200 to 1400 B.C. The documentary hypothesis claims that there were four or more separate authors that wrote beginning in about 900 B.C.

  • Genesis is the covenant prologue and is both protological and eschatological. It is the most covenantal book in the Bible. One way to outline the book is into twelve parts, each beginning with the phrase, “these are the generations.” Creation is described using a theological order.

  • Chapter 2 is a detailed description of the sixth day of creation, culminating in the creation of woman. Chapter 3 describes the Fall and the consequences. Hebrew homonyms link the passages and intensify the descriptions.

  • Noah functions as a prophetic covenant mediator. God promises a remnant in his covenant with Noah and also renews the covenant of common grace. God continues his redemptive covenant with Abraham and his descendants. The book of Genesis ends with the narrative of Joseph.

  • This is the beginning of the formal documents of the covenant of God with the people of Israel. It begins with the birth of Moses and ends with the people of Israel coming out of Egypt.

  • Leviticus is primarily instructions to promote the holiness of God’s people. It provides a system that allows for a holy God to live among an unholy people. In the sacrificial system, there are 5 kinds of offerings. Jesus is the fulfillment of the observance of the Day of Atonement.

  • The book of Numbers is a record of the events of the forty years of wandering in the wilderness. The purpose is to contrast the faithfulness of God with the faithlessness of the Israelites. The time in the wilderness was a period of testing for the people of Israel.

  • This is a renewal of the Mosaic covenant in preparation for entering the Promised Land. It’s an encouragement to keep the Law and a reminder of blessings for obedience and cursings for disobedience. Deuteronomy points us to Jesus who ultimately fulfills the Law.

  • Joshua, Judges, Samuel and Kings describe the nature and purpose of the Sinai Covenant and the historical events of the occupation of the land. God know that the people of Israel would fail to obey the Mosaic Covenant, so he had planned from the beginning to establish the New Covenant when the time was right.

  • Joshua was the successor to Moses. The book of Joshua focuses on the Promised Land. The people of Israel enter the land, conquer the land, divide the land between the tribes and then renew their covenant with God. Holy war and covenant obedience are important themes.

  • Judges has two introductions, two conclusions, six major judges, six minor judges and one anti-judge. It can be described as the, “uncreation” of Israel. Their purpose was to judge the nations and to deliver the people of Israel from their oppressors.

  • The book of Samuel provides the answer to the crisis of kingship. Samuel, as the last judge and first prophet, anoints Saul as king. The people of Israel reject Yahweh as king. Saul is anointed by Samuel and serves as king but is later rejected because of disobedience. David is anointed king because God acts according to his own will. Solomon begins well and ends badly.

  • The book of Kings is the story of the monarchy in the nation of Israel. It begins with the united monarchy under Solomon, then after his death, is divided into the northern kingdom of Israel and the southern kingdom of Judah. We can learn about God’s character and the importance of living in a covenant relationship with God.  

  • The Latter Prophets are covenant lawyers. They are executing the lawsuit of God against Israel for unfaithfulness to the covenant. Prophets use both oracular prophecies and sign acts to communicate their message.

  • Isaiah is sometimes described as the, “fifth gospel” because it is quoted so much in the New Testament. The themes in Isaiah are both timely for his generation and also point to their ultimate fulfillment in Jesus and the end of time.

  • Jeremiah’s call was to tell the people of Judah why they were going into exile and also to give them hope for future restoration. The book contains oracles, accounts of visions and symbolic actions, prophetic laments and historical narratives.

  • One key to understanding Ezekiel is the glory of God in the temple. The book begins with God appearing to Ezekiel, then God leaves the temple and, in the end, God returns. Ezekiel’s oracles and signs illustrate each of these.

  • In the Hebrew Bible, these 12 minor prophets are treated as one book. Each one is a covenant lawyer that is prosecuting God’s lawsuit against the unfaithful nation of Israel and also preaching a message of hope for restoration. The Day of the Lord is the day of the king’s victory over his enemy, either to crush an enemy or to save a people.

  • These books are about how you think and live in light of the covenant. The genres include narrative, poetry and prophecy. The Hebrew Bible order emphasizes teaching then example.

  • Covenant life is a life of worship. The book divisions in the manuscripts were purposefully arranged so the book as a whole has a meaningful narrative. It emphasized the kingship of Yahweh, the Davidic line and the temple. You can use specific patterns of construction for understanding lament, thanksgiving and hymns of praise psalms. You can also use the same patterns to help you respond to God and worship him.

  • Job deals with the issue of human tragedy and suffering. Job never knows what happened in heaven that resulted in his suffering. His three friends made correct theological arguments but they were misapplied. Job speaks about suffering and hope. God challenges Job at the end of the book, and also restores his possessions and children.

  • Solomon created a collection of practical wisdom sayings. Some were for instructing children, some for instructing kings, but they all are applicable to help everyone live in the light of the covenant of grace in the context of common grace.

  • Ruth follows Proverbs in the Hebrew Bible. Even though she is from Moab, she lives in Israel with her widowed Israelite mother-in-law to take care of her. She marries Boaz and is included in the genealogy of David and Jesus.

  • Marriage should be both rock solid in terms of covenant commitment and white hot in terms of sexual intimacy. If it is both, you can better resist temptation, endure hardship and promote wholeness.   

  • The message of Ecclesiastes is that true knowledge, wisdom and meaning in life begins with the fear of the Lord. The author of Ecclesiastes, likely Solomon, tests this conclusion and is unsuccessful in finding ultimate meaning in activities, “under the sun,” like wealth, relationships, power, projects, etc.

  • Lamentations is a collection of funeral dirges lamenting the fall and exile of Jerusalem. The elegant structure of the book is a contrast to the chaos and destruction of the events that are taking place. Each poem gives you a different perspective on God’s character and his covenant faithfulness.

  • Esther is a story of living a life of faith in exile. It Bringing “shalom” into a hostile environment sometimes even requires risking your life. The festival of Purim commemorates God saving his people and is still celebrated today.

  • Daniel and Esther are examples of living a life of faith while in exile. Daniel was different than the writing prophets because he is not primarily a covenant lawyer prosecuting God’s lawsuit against the people of Israel. The first six chapters are biographical stories highlighting God’s power to save and his sovereignty over the nations. The second six chapters are visions of the future.

  • The book of Ezra-Nehemiah records the last events, chronologically, in the Old Testament. Ezra returned from exile with authorization to teach the Law of the Jews and institute the sacrificial system. Nehemiah returned to rebuild Jerusalem. They fail in their human attempt to rebuild heaven on earth, which encourages you to look forward to the city built by God.

  • The return from exile is not the greater one prophesied by the prophets. We still look forward to the return from exile with them in the resurrection. Chronicles traces the seed that was promised and gives an account of the return from exile.

Take this opportunity to study with Dr. Miles Van Pelt as he shows you patterns and themes that will help you understand the Old Testament and the whole Bible. He will give you an overall view of the Old Testament then discuss specifics about each of the books. 

For instance, you might ask, "What kind of book is the Old Testament?" The OT is a single story told three times over: once in Genesis, once in Exodus through Nehemiah, and once again in Chronicles (just like day 6 in Genesis 1–2). The OT loves to repeat itself, repeat itself, repeat itself. This is how it teaches us. The Old Testament is about 2/3 of the Bible and is the basis for everything you read in the New Testament. The better you understand the Old Testament, the clearer you will understand the message of the Bible. 

What is the Message of the Old Testament? The Old Testament points to the New Covenant. The teachings, prophecies and examples of covenant life point to Jesus who makes the New Covenant possible and inaugurates it. There are also examples in the Old Testament of how human efforts to create heaven on earth fall short, so that we will anticipate and yearn for our ultimate deliverance from exile.

What is the Structure of the Old Testament? The structure of the Old Testament, and the Bible as a whole, is covenantal. God offers to live in the covenant of grace with him and compels them to make that choice. The administrations of the covenant with Noah, Abraham, Moses and Jesus demonstrate God's patience and perseverance to include as many as are willing.


Recommended Books

Survey of the Old Testament - Bible Study

Survey of the Old Testament - Bible Study

Take this opportunity to study with Dr. Miles Van Pelt as he shows you patterns and themes that will help you understand the Old Testament and the whole Bible. He will give...

Survey of the Old Testament - Bible Study

Dr. Miles Van Pelt

Survey of the Old Testament



I. Introduction (00:13):

We are now moving into our lecture on the book of Leviticus, the third book in the Pentateuch. It's Hebrew name is vayikra, which just means the simply, "And he," that is, Yahweh, "called or proclaimed." Again, it's the first word in the book. We call it Leviticus in English because it deals with the stuff pertaining to the Levites. This book is going to be a lot about worship, sacrifices, and Levitical service, so that's why we call it Leviticus. But in Hebrew it just means, "And he called." Notice that in Hebrew, it begins with word "and," and it's connecting it back to the previous two books. Genesis and Exodus and Leviticus, we've got one united narrative sequence that really is going to go all the way from Genesis to Second Kings. That's the big history section that we're in right now.

There's no narrative progression in the book of Leviticus. We've come to a halt. Israel is now camped at Sinai for about one year, and this single year began in Exodus 19. So they came out of Egypt, wandered in the wilderness, camped at Sinai, had the Massah Meribah event, and appointed 70 elders. Now Moses is up on the mountain and they're going to be there for a year, getting the covenant started. So from Exodus 19 all the way to Numbers 10, Israel's camped at the base of Sinai.

Now, if you think about that, that's a pretty amazing number. It's called narrative focus, in terms of time stamping. Think of how much time the book of Genesis covers, from the creation all the way down to when Israel went into Egypt, the 70 members of Jacob's family were there. Then you've got covered in Exodus, some 80 years. You've got Moses' first 40 years in Egypt and his second 40 years wandering in the wilderness. We've got a one year halt, so this is an important year. Yahweh on Sinai arranging, organizing, administering His kingdom in this theocratic moment.

The purpose of Leviticus is to promote the holiness of God's people. So when you think about Leviticus, think about it as being the book of holiness, okay? The priests mediate the presence of God, and the sacrificial system does two things. It atones for our covered sin, and it provides the means of fellowship or communion with God. This system has both positive and negative aspects to it, right? You've got to sacrifice for sin, confess your sin, get your sins forgiven, but then you have fellowship with God subsequent to that. Okay?

The book of Exodus laid the foundation for the biblical theme of divine presence, that we saw. The book of Leviticus provides the system that allows or permits a holy God to dwell in the midst of an unholy or unclean people. How can we purify and sanctify the people so that when God gets into their midst, He doesn't consume them?

II. Outline and Contents (03:15):

In terms of genre, we have law or legislation being the largest part of the book of Leviticus. There's just some limited historical narrative. So we've got probably the least amount of narrative in Leviticus compared to that of Genesis, Exodus, Numbers, or Deuteronomy. It's mostly about Levitical instruction. In terms of outline and contents, we can see that there is perhaps a chiastic structure here, A, B, C, D, sin or day of atonement. Then coming back out, C, B, A. This is suggested by Michael Morales, who has a book called Who Shall Ascend the Mountain of the Lord? It's what I would consider the best biblical theological treatment of the book of Leviticus currently out there. It's excellent. You should get that.

Leviticus begins with describing some sacrifices, like guilt offering and  sin offering. We talk about the institution of the priesthood, the clean, unclean in daily life, and the day of atonement. Coming back out, holy and profane things in daily life, legislation for the priesthood, mirroring the institution for the priesthood, festivals, and sacred time, and then sacrifices that relate to them.

So you can see that there's an intentional literary design behind this. Some people would think, "Oh, this has all been messed up and redacted. Why don't we just put the institution of priesthood and the legislation of priesthood together?" That would be what we would think about doing in our brains. "And let's talk about clean and unclean and holy and profane together." But the ancient narrative mindset didn't like to do it that way. They liked to do part of it, pause, do another part. Do part of it, pause, and do another part and then come back to it. That's one of the ways in which they created this chiastic arrangement that helps us to know when the book begins and when it ends and what maybe is the focus of it all, the day of atonement. This is the one day each year that the high priest can go into the holy of holies to have Israel's sins forgiven, and to be in God's presence. This is the day of days. It's the high point of the year.

A. Sacrificial System (05:22):

Let's talk about chapters one through seven, the sacrificial system. There are five offerings that occur in the sacrificial system that they institute here. There's the burnt offering, the grain offering, the peace offering, the sin offering, and the guilt offering. I'll tell you a little bit about each one of those.

1. Burnt offering (05:46):

The sacrificial system, the burnt offering. The burnt offering is a sacrifice that offers atonement for sin. The animal is killed and totally consumed by a fire, since it represents the sinner who needs to restore his relationship with God. The worshiper identifies with the animal by laying his hands on its head before it's killed. So there's a transfer. You say, "I should be like this animal. The animal's acting as my substitute." They slay the animal instead of slaying you.

Then it's completely offered up as a whole burnt offering. You get none of it back. Some offerings you get back. This is the same type of offering that Abraham was told to offer as Isaac. So he was going to offer him all up, or that Jephthah did when he vowed to offer up whatever came out of his house as a whole burnt offering. It's the same one. The offering in Hebrew is called an olah. It just means, "that which goes up," because you get none of it back. They just say it's a whole going up offering or a whole burnt offering.

2. The grain offering (06:45):

The second offering is the grain offering. The grain offering is also listed as a gift or tribute offering because the Hebrew term for this grain offering actually means gift. It's called minkhah, which is a gift offering or a grain offering. The grain offering may be uncooked or cooked in various forms. A portion of the grain is taken and mixed with incense and burned as a gift to God. The rest is given to the priests. So the whole burnt offering, no one gets any of it. The grain offering, some of it gets offered up, but the rest of it goes to the priests and that's how they make their income. In fact, that's how the tithe worked. The tithe was to pay the wages of the Levitical system. The priest got 10%, and then Aaron got 10% of that or 1%. So all burnt up, partially burnt up. The rest goes to the priest.

3. The peace offering (07:33):

The peace offering is not like the burnt offering. You've heard the word Shalom. This is shelamim so it's a form of that. It's a Shalom or a peace offering. As opposed to the burnt offering, only part of the animal is burned on the altar to God. The rest is enjoyed by the worshipers themselves in the context of fellowship. Sometimes called a fellowship offering, because it is designed to promote communion with God. This is what many of the tithing rituals involve in Deuteronomy, so that you may rejoice before your God. So you take your 10%, and you take it to the temple. Some goes to the priests, but the rest of it, you party with God using that stuff. That's what it was for. It was actually to gladden you or to cause you to rejoice in the Lord.

So that's the whole burnt offering, the grain offering, and the peace offering. You can also call the peace offering a fellowship offering because there it was, think of it like communion. You're there to eat and commune with God. It's a meal with Him and it's a covenant meal. You only eat with those in which you're in covenant with. You don't eat with the enemy.

4. The sin offering (08:41):

The sin offering is connected in large part do to infractions of ritual purity, and therefore is sometimes understood to be a purification offering or a purification ritual. When you become unclean, let's say you touch a leper, let's say like a scab or something is wrong with your skin. Or you just become unclean somehow. You touch a dead body, that kind of thing. You need to offer a sin offering so that you're ritually pure again and you can go in and worship. That's what that's for.

5. The guilt offering (09:10):

Then finally there is the guilt offering. The guilt offering involves a violation of any of the Lord's holy things. It also appears to be the one able to put a monetary value on sin, since restitution is part of the penalty. So you have to pay for it plus 20%. For this reason, the sacrifice is sometimes called a reparation offering. So let's say you do something wrong. Let's say the sin would be, I would steal someone's 10 ounces of oil. I have to restore that plus 20%. So it's a restitution offering to clear your guilt.

Now the reason they have these offerings, all of them, is for two reasons. It's, one, is to promote your cleanness or ritual purity, both internally and externally. But also then to allow you to have fellowship with God and be in His presence and worship. You cannot approach the Lord in any unclean state, either internally or externally. These are our means of promoting cleanness, temporary typological. The blood of bulls and goats cannot take away sin really. It just does so symbolically. You are symbolically recognizing that you need something greater than what you have. That you're not worthy. That's what those are, the sacrifices. We're going to see those return down here.

B. Institution of the Priesthood (10:35):

The institution of the priesthood. In Leviticus eight through 10, is the installation of the priest. This is where Aaron and his sons are set apart for service in the holy place. They're given priestly garments and anointed with oil in order to identify them with the tabernacle and to set them apart in the presence of God. They offer sacrifices to atone for sins. This section also includes the tragic story of Aaron's sons, Nadab and Abihu, who offer unauthorized or strange fire before the Lord. They approach Him in an unworthy or an unsolicited fashion. God responds by consuming them with fire, thus serving as a warning of the dangers of the priesthood and of approaching God in an unworthy manner, either in the way in which you're not invited or in a way in which He's not instructed you to do.

C. Laws of impurity (11:20):

Next, in chapters 11 through 15, the clean and unclean things in daily life. So this would include bodily discharges, things you come in contact with, what food you eat, childbirth, and leprosy. Those are the categories. You say, "All the gross things in life." You’ve got to remember back then, cooking involved slaughtering. You would come in contact with a lot of bad stuff. I'm so thankful I live in the day of grocery stores. I don't know how they did it a hundred years ago.

So in this section, things that make you impure, things that require you to have sin offerings or guilt offerings. That's what this section is, 11 through 15. This leads up to the day of atonement. We're going to come back and talk about the day of atonement, so I'll skip that. Then we come back down here to holy and profane things in daily life, where we have things like sacrifices, consumption of blood, sexual behavior, civil and religious life, priests, holy things, offerings, feasts, et cetera.

This has a lot to do with sexual purity here. These are the kind of sexual activities that are not permitted, like union with a sister, union with a cousin, union with a parent, union with an in-law, all the abhorrent things that are outside of the design of the Genesis chapter two which consists of male, female, one flesh relationship. God is saying, "Just in case you didn't get me the first time in Genesis two, I'm going to give you a whole lot of things." It's a tough section to read, and a lot of euphemistic language in there as well. Like they won't even say maternal incest, because it so abhorrent to them. So they just say, "uncovering the nakedness of your father, which is the nakedness of your mother." That's euphemistic. Even the Bible draws a line, even talking about it in a particular way.

D. The Day of Atonement (13:26):

Then we go back to the legislation for the priests and the festivals, but really the big thing here is the day of atonement. What is the day of atonement? Or we know it more popularly today as Yom Kippur. Yom means day, Kippur means atonement. This is the day. This day is the only time anyone can enter the holy of holies. It can only be the high priest for the purpose of purifying, one, the holy place from the accumulation of sins of the year. It's like the holy of holies, the outer court just wells up with sin. Once a year, the high priest has to go in and office sacrifices to flush it all out.

These sins are seen as being carried off by the scapegoat that is driven out into the wilderness. So here's what happens. There's two goats. One, you lay your hands on, lay all the sins of the people on, and you send it out to the wilderness. The other one, you take it in and you sacrifice it and use that to purify the holy of holies. It can only be done once a year. That was really the high point of the year, because it was the way in which it typified Israel's ultimate desire was to be in a communion of God and in that holy place. It's the place that we long to be. It's the center of the universe. It's the place that Jesus gives access to in the true temple.

Remember all of this is just a copy of something greater, a shadow, a pattern. If you want to understand why all of this is important, because what this is all saying is, "How can I have access to the divine presence, which means satisfaction and joy and pleasure forever more, without being consumed?" It's going to require a priest to intercede on your behalf and to get God's access to you somehow. It's going to require sacrifices because you're a sinner and so you're permanently unclean. What this points to is we already know in the language of this course, that Jesus is the better tabernacle. Jesus is the better priest. Jesus is the better scapegoat. The best place to look at this because of time, we don't have time to do everything, is to go to Hebrews nine and 10.

Before I begin there, let me just show you. In Hebrews nine and 10, they're going to talk about the day of atonement and what that means. But let me just read to you explicitly Leviticus 16:21 and 22, and then Leviticus 16:16, because that's what tells us the method of atonement and then the purpose of atonement. So let's begin with the method of atonement in Leviticus 16:21. "And Aaron shall lay both his hands on the head of the live goat and confess over it all the inequities of the people and all their transgressions, all their sins. And he shall purify them on the head of the goat and send it away into the wilderness, by the hand of a man who is in readiness. The goat shall bear all of the inequities on itself to a remote area and he shall let the goat go free into the wilderness." The wilderness is the place of the demons and all the bad things. That's the method.

Here's the purpose. In verse 16 of Leviticus 16, "Thus he shall make atonement for the holy place because of the uncleanness of the people of Israel and because of their transgressions, all their sins. And so he shall do for the tent of meeting, which dwells with them in the midst of their uncleanness." Verse 30 states, "For on this day, shall atonement be made for you to cleanse you. You shall be clean before the Lord from all your sins." In a temporary typological fashion, just so you know. Okay.

Now the author of Hebrews in nine and 10, I'm going to read you. I wish I could read to you all of it, but I'm going to read to you bits of it. Then we'll talk about the other thing that's important besides holiness in Leviticus. So here I'm going to begin in Hebrews chapter nine and they're going to paint the context for us, where it's going to be talking about a contrast between the old covenant in Leviticus and the new covenant sacrifice in the New Testament.

Where the author says, "Now even the first covenant had regulations for worship and an earthly place of holiness." Do you see how he's talking about this? "For a tent was prepared, the first section in which where the lamp stand and the table and the bread of presence, it is called the holy place. Behind the second curtain was a second section called the most holy place," so it has concentric degrees of holiness. The closer you get to the center, the more holy it is. "And it had the golden altar of incense, the Ark of the Covenant, covered on all sides with gold, in which was a golden urn holding the manana and Aaron's staff,".

9:6, "These preparations having thus been made, the priests go regularly into the first section, performing their duties. But in the second, only the high priest goes, but he only once a year, and not without taking blood, which he offers for himself and for the unintentional sins of the people, by which the Holy Spirit indicates that the way into the holy places is not yet open as long as the first section is still standing." Listen to this in verse nine, "which is symbolic for the present age." So we're blocked from going to that holy place because of this present age. "According to this arrangement, gifts and sacrifices are offered that cannot perfect the conscience of the worshiper." See the problem? "But deal only with food and drink and various washings, regulations for the body imposed until the time of the reformation." So they're talking about this being a temporary typological institution, and the problem is it can't fix the conscience of the person. We need something that can actually free us from guilt, not just cover us over from it.

Well, how does that happen? Well, 9:11 happens, "But when Christ appeared as a high priest of the good things that have come, then through the greater and more perfect tent, the one not made with hands, that is, not of this creation. He entered once for all into the holy of places, not by means of blood of goats and calves, but by the means of his own blood, thus securing eternal redemption." 14, "How much more will the blood of Christ, who through the eternal spirit offered himself without blemish to God, purify our conscience from dead works to serve the living God." Now notice this in 15, "Therefore He is the mediator," that's what the priest is doing, "of a new covenant. So that those who are called may receive the promised eternal inheritance, since a death has occurred that redeems them from the transgressions committed under the first covenant," that is, the Mosaic covenant. It’s important to get those covenants right.

Now, watch this language here that's going to relate the earthly tabernacle to the heavenly tabernacle temple. "Indeed, under the law," that is what we're listening to in Leviticus, "almost everything is purified with blood, and without the shedding of blood, there is no forgiveness of sins. Thus, it was necessary for the copies of the heavenly things to be purified with these rights, but the heavenly things themselves with better sacrifices than these. For Christ has entered not into holy places made with hands, which are copies of the true things, but into heaven itself, now to appear in the presence of God on our behalf."

Now this is one reason why I'm so opposed to this phenomenon that goes on. It’s where we're trying to reinstitute the temple in Jerusalem or reinstitute the sacrificial system in Jerusalem, that has red heifers ready to go. There's a big movement in that. I strongly oppose that movement because that was only a temporary typological picture of a heavenly reality where it says, "pattern, copy, old," right? Christ has entered into the non-pattern, the non-copy, the non-old, and offered the sacrifice that was originally intended. So to want or desire that particular thing reestablished on earth is to deny the full and finished work of Christ. That is not a good thing. It states, "For Christ entered into a holy place not made with human hands," because they were copies, "nor was it to offer Himself repeatedly as the high priest into the holy place every year,". It says, "For then Christ has to suffer repeatedly since the foundation of the world, but as it is, He's appeared once for all at the end of the age, to put away sin by the sacrifice of Himself."

I want to concentrate on that statement, “once for all”. That means we don't need any other sacrifices, any other priesthood, any other work. The word is tetelestai in Greek. It is finished. Jesus' words on the cross. Chapter 10, at the beginning, then we're done. "For since the law has but a shadow of the good things to come, instead of the true form of these realities, it can never, by the same sacrifices that are continually offered every year make perfect those who draw near."

This is a really important part and concept for me. You need to understand that the Mosaic administration from Exodus to Deuteronomy is an important administration because it's a shadow of the good things to come. We study it and learn from it, because it actually points to and tells us and shows us good things to come. When you make a good thing, the ultimate thing, it will crush us. That's what an idol is, when a good thing becomes an ultimate thing. We don't want to make an idol out of the Mosaic covenant, in some sense. We want to make sure that we've got room for it to give way to the substance that comes in the new covenant, both in the first and second coming.

We've got to be careful in our theological arrangements that we don't see different epics and eras in terms of how God deals with His people. We see one continuous covenant of grace and different administrations that are shadow and substance, one pointing to the other, not in contradictory forms, but in actually substantive ways and in the true ways. So that's why I'm looking at these, is I'm looking at the highlighted words in my notes: "new covenant, first covenant, copy, copy, shadow, true form." Do you see? In the text I was reading, there's all these key words that are old and new, first and second, copy shadow, true.

We've got to keep that in our mind that when we're reading Exodus to Deuteronomy, we're seeing a picture. Let's put it this way. We don't know really what life was like in Eden because it's a very short narrative. So God is in some sense giving us a bigger picture of what Eden should have looked like. So in Leviticus, the tabernacle was built. They have it in the middle. God's in it. Then they station all the people around it. Then they put the priests in the right places. It looks like paradise out there, in the way it's gone from chaos to cosmos. God has taken that and He's made a new garden of Eden event, with Him dwelling in the middle of it. That's why you can't offer strange fire without getting consumed by it.

That's the theology of sacrifice that permeates this book, but it's the theology that we're not trying to reinstitute at all. It's gone and done, but it points us to the person and work of Christ. Christ will be the true and better sacrifice. He'll be the true and better priest. He won't need to offer a sacrifice for Himself to be clean. He already will be clean. So the sacrifice He offers is on our behalf. He's the only one worthy to do that.

E. Love Thy Neighbor (24:56):

The second major theme that is in the book of Leviticus is the love your neighbor theme, right? I really like this, the love your neighbor theme, which is really a major part of the Decalogue. There are 10 commandments that we're going to cover more in Deuteronomy, right? The first part is how do you love and worship God in the right way? And the second part is, how do you love your neighbor as yourself? Well, you honor your father and mother, you don't lie, cheat, steal, right? And don't covet, all that kind of business, murder. And so this we're into that section.

A major theme in the book of Leviticus is love your neighbor. So Leviticus 19:18, for example, "You shall not take vengeance or bear a grudge against any of your own people, but you shall love your neighbor as yourself. I am Yahweh." That's so great. Leviticus, 19:18, "You shall not take vengeance or bear grudge against the sons of your own people, but you shall love your neighbor as yourself. I am the Lord." That's very applicable to the context of the church. "You shall not take vengeance on or bear grudges against those in the kingdom of God, but you shall love your neighbor as yourself."

Not only shall you love your own people, the sons of your own people, Leviticus 19:18, it also says in Leviticus 19:34, "You shall treat the stranger who sojourns with you as a native among you." That is a radical statement there. "You shall treat the stranger who sojourns with you as a native among you, and you shall love him as yourself." Why? "For you were strangers in the land of Egypt. I am Yahweh, your God." I love how he punctuates it that way. This is me saying that, that formula right there.

We have Jesus commenting on this in Mark 12:29 to 31, "Jesus answered and said," asking about the most important of the laws, "'The most important is this: Hear, oh Israel, the Lord is our God. The Lord is one.'" Or you could say, "The Lord is our God, the Lord alone. And you shall love Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, with all your mind, with all your strength. And the second is this, you shall love the neighbor as yourself. There is no other commandment greater than these," which is a summary of the Decalogue right? Love God as hard as you can and love your neighbor as hard as you can. In these, all the law and the prophets are summarized. So union with the father, and the source of the image. It is important to love for the image itself, your fellow men, and women.

So those are the two main themes that I like to highlight in the book of Leviticus, holiness and how do you dwell in God's presence and not be consumed? Then loving thy neighbor, how are you to treat everyone around you, and why is that? You were once aliens and strangers. How can you not forgive someone who offends you, in light of the fact of how much you've been forgiven by the Lord? Whatever you've been wronged in this life is nothing compared to the wrong that he bore on your behalf. So you can say, "No big deal."

 III. Leviticus as the Gospel Promised Beforehand (27:49):

The book of Leviticus is the gospel promised beforehand in these ways, Jesus is the true and better priest and even high priest. So Hebrews 4:14, "Since then we have a great high priest who has passed through the heavens, Jesus, the son of God. Let us hold fast to our confession, for we do not have a high priest who's unable to sympathize with our weaknesses, but one who knew every aspect or respect, has been tempted as we are, yet without sin. Let us then with confidence draw near to the throne of grace that we may receive mercy and find help in the time of need."

Do you see the difference there? "Yet without sin." The high priests had to offer sacrifice for their own sins. Jesus did not. Jesus is the true and better sacrifice. Not like the blood of sheep and goats that had to be offered over and over again. But the once for all sacrifice. Hebrews 7:26, "For it was indeed fitting that we should have such a high priest, holy, innocent, unstained separated from sinners and exalted above the heavens. He has no need, like those high priests, to offer sacrifices daily, first for his own sins, then for those of the people, since He did this once for all, when He offered Himself up. For the law appoints men in their weakness as high priests, but the word of the oath, which came later than law, appoints a son who's been made perfect forever."

All of that weight is born by one person, all out here. Jesus is the true and better holiness. This is something that we see in the gospels, and I like to point this out. In this time, if I were to touch a leper or if I were to touch a dead body, or if I were to have some kind of skin discharge, bodily discharge, I would be considered unclean. If I touched anyone in that way, their uncleanness would transfer to me. The transfer is from the unclean to the clean. No human ever came and touched the unclean and made it clean until Jesus showed up. It reverses the trend. This one person, it's like a miracle every time.


For example, Matthew 11:5, "When the blind received their sight, the lame walk, lepers are cleansed, and the deaf hear, and the dead are raised up, and the poor have good news preached to them." Remember when Jesus puts His hand in the mud and spits on it, and rubs it in his eyes and the guy sees? He's the potter shaping the clay. He's transferring. He's taking their uncleanness and making it clean.


Or do you remember the woman who had the discharge, in Mark 5:24 to 29? "A large crowd followed and pressed around him and a woman there, who'd been a subject of bleeding for 12 years. She had suffered a great deal under the care of many doctors and spent all she had, yet instead of getting better, she grew worse. When she heard about Jesus, she came up behind him in the crowd and touched his cloak," which would've made him unclean, because he saw her. "'If I just touch His clothes, I'll be healed immediately.' Her bleeding stopped, and she felt in her body that she was freed from her suffering." So her uncleanness is reversed by touching that which can never be made unclean.

Jesus is our true and better high priest. He's our true and better sacrifice. He's our true and better cleanness, our holiness. That's the end of Leviticus lecture in 33 minutes and four seconds, just what I try to stipulate for.

So would you say that the theme of reaching out to the whole world that is alluded to in the Abrahamic covenant is included all throughout scripture? In Leviticus you have how you treat the foreigners and even in Christ's ministry, He goes to the place east of the Jordan. It doesn't just start with-

Ruth, the Moabite, and Rahab, the Canaanite.

It doesn't just start with Acts, with the Jerusalem, Judea thing. It's starting out right from creation.

VII. Conclusion (32:02):

The interesting thing about the Old Testament is that the nations are supposed to stream to Jerusalem in order for them to bear witness to that. Jerusalem is to be like a light shining on a hill. In the New Testament, it's not a coming into Jerusalem, but it's a going out of Jerusalem, the gospel being proclaimed from Jerusalem, Judea, to the outermost parts of the world. It's different directionally, but it's the same concept. But instead of coming to Jerusalem, here's the thing, Jerusalem's coming to you. That's the good news of the gospel. It's not hidden from you anymore. It's streaming out towards you.