03 Leviticus 17-27 – The Holiness CodeLeviticus, Numbers, and Deuteronomy - Life in the Desert
All written materials for this series will be posted on this website, http://servingandsharing.com/, under the category, “Leviticus, Numbers, and Deuteronomy – Life in the Desert.” Here is my video presentation introducing this series – https://youtu.be/Lynx51p0tJA.
Watch this specific class presentation here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tKKB1uvyHFM. The entire series will be added to this playlist as they are recorded: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tKKB1uvyHFM&list=PL7JRppjEn33bCHyqZFRQ2JDiJnGRnOYyR. Please use the “Contact” button to request corresponding handouts and outlines.
Please forward this post to anyone that you think would benefit from this study and invite others to subscribe.
In the first sixteen chapters of Leviticus, Yahweh has told the Israelites through Moses how they must approach his holy presence. We’ve learned about offerings and sacrifices, ritual cleanness, clean and unclean creatures, clean and unclean matters of health, etc. Now, however, God turns his attention to how the Israelites must behave just because they have come into his holy presence.
Here we will find, among so many important moral commandments, this statement quoted so often in the New Testament: “You shall love your neighbor as yourself” (Lev 19:18; cf. Matt 5:43; 19:19; 22:39; Mark 12:31, 33; Luke 10:27; Rom 12:19; 13:9; Gal 5:14; Jas 2:8). Read all of Leviticus 19, especially verses 9-18 and 30-37. and consider ways in which Christian behavior compares with that which Yahweh required of israel.
Lev 17: Sacrifice and Blood
17:1-9 The Place of Sacrifice Specified
17:3-9 Domestic animals killed for sacrifice. Must be brought to the doorway of the tent of meeting. To prevent idolatry (“harlotry”) (17:7).
“Bloodguiltiness” – serious term used often for killing humans.
“Cut off” – left without descendants, excommunicated, or executed.
17:10-12 The Eating of Blood Prohibited
Began in Noah’s time (Gen 9:4). Two reasons here: 1. The life principle is centered in the blood. 2. The LORD chose blood for atonement.
17:13-14 Wild animals killed by hunters.
17:15-16 Animals having died from other causes.
Lev 18: Forbidden Sexual Relationships
Ancient covenant/treaty format: Ruler’s self-identification; historical prologue; stipulations; blessings and curses.
18:1-5 Rationale: not to do as Egypt or Canaan. I am the LORD.
“… live if he does them.” Unless one obeyed perfectly, all the laws, all the time, he would be cursed. Hence, the gospel. Gal 3:10-14.
18:6-18 Forbidden to “uncover the nakedness of” one’s mother, step-mother, sister, granddaughter, half-sister, aunt, daughter-in-law, sister-in-law, wife’s daughter or granddaughter, or his living wife’s sister.
18:19-23 Not during monthly cycle; no adultery; no child sacrifice; not male with a male (abomination); not with an animal (perversion).
18:24-30 “Lest the land vomit you out.”
Lev 19: “Love Your Neighbor as Yourself.”
Note these repeated words: “I am the LORD.”
19:1-2 Holiness in every part of life. Because …
19:3-4 Father and mother. Sabbaths. No idols. (Ten Commandments)
19:5-8 Eating the sacrifice of peace offerings.
19:9-18 Regard for poor. Ethics. Honesty. No cruelty. No partiality. No slander. No hatred or vengeance. Work it out! Love neighbor as self.
19:19 Consistency and unity. Not to mix cattle (unequally yoked offspring), seed (hard to harvest), or material (shrinkage and ruin).
19:20-22 Relations with another man’s slave. Penalty and sacrifice.
19:23-25 Fruit forbidden (“uncircumcised”) for 3 years, holy (offered to Yahweh) in the 4th year, and permitted as food in the 5th year.
19:26-29 No blood, (pagan) haircuts, omens, fortune-telling, cuts for the dead, (pagan) tattoos, daughters as (cult) prostitutes.
19:30-37 Sabbaths and sanctuary. No mediums or necromancers (who call up the dead). Respect for the gray-headed elderly. Treatment of the sojourner same as the native. Love the sojourner as yourself, because you were strangers in Egypt. Honest measurements.
“Love your neighbor” (19:18) — the stranger (19:34). Matt 5:43-48.
Characteristics of These Laws (Dr. Coy Roper)
- Great concern for the powerless and disenfranchised—the poor, the stranger, the handicapped, and the aged (see 25:35–55).
- Virtually every aspect of life: farming, buying and selling, business and family relationships, the judicial system, morals, and worship.
- Governing thoughts as well as actions.
- Emphasizing the necessity of worshiping and serving the Lord exclusively, as well as the need to love one’s neighbors.
- Reasons for obedience:  what God had previously done for Israel (the exodus);  the promise of resulting prosperity;  primarily the fact that Yahweh is God is the Lord. His unilateral authority and power to enforce the laws He had given.
Lev 20: Punishments for Sin
20:1-5 Offering children to Molech. 2 Kgs 23:10; Jer 32:35.
20:6-8 Turning to mediums, spiritists, necromancers.
20:9 Cursing father or mother.
20:10-21 Committing sexual immorality.
In some cases, “put to death;” in others: “cut off” from God’s people.
20:22-27 Summary and reminder: Obey …
 lest the land vomit you out,
 because of the good land you are given,
 because God set you apart.
Lev 21: Holiness of Priests
Covers priestly behavior when someone died, the priest’s personal appearance, rules governing the priest’s marriage and family life, and personal defects which kept a priest from serving in a priestly capacity.
Why? They interceded with the holy God. As all Israelites were to be distinct and set apart from the world, the priests were to be distinct and set apart from the other Israelites, holy men doing a holy task.
21:1-9 Requirements for All Priests
21:10-15 Additional Requirements for the High Priest
21:16-24 Disqualifying Blemishes
Priests, like the sacrifices, were to be “without defect.” Why? Because of the holiness specific work they were to do.
Lev 22: Holiness of Offerings
22:1-9 Only the priest was allowed to eat of the sacred offerings, and only then if he was ceremonially unclean.
22:10-16 Only those fully in the priest’s family could share in eating the sacred offerings. Any other person who ate it by mistake was to make restitution with equivalent food plus a 20% fine.
22:17-30 Acceptable offerings were to be males without these specific blemishes or defects.
22:31-33 “Do not profane (make common), but rather sanctifyMy name. I sanctify you. I saved you. I am the LORD.”
Lev 23: Appointed Occasions
23:1-3 Sabbath Law
23:4-8 Passover, Unleavened Bread
23:15-22 Feast of Weeks (Pentecost)
23:23-25 Feast of Trumpets
23:26-32 Day of Atonement
23:33-44 Feast of Tabernacles or Booths
The feasts celebrated both their physical well-being and their spiritual redemption, both of which they owed to their gracious Lord.
Lev 24: Lamps and Bread; Blasphemy
24:1-4 Lamps: olive oil, continually burning.
24:5-9 Bread of the Presence: 12 loaves, set out each Sabbath, for Aaron and sons in a holy place.
24:10-16 Blasphemy, a capital sin.
Son of an Israelite mother and an Egyptian father.
Witnesses lay their hands on his head.
Entire congregation stones him.
24:17-23 Lex talionis (Law of Retribution) (Eye for an eye).
Penalty fit the crime, no more or less.
Lev 25: Sabbath Year, Year of Jubilee
25:1-7 Sabbatical Year
Land to have its own “Sabbath” rest from cultivation.
Began at time of sowing (in the Fall) every 7th year.
Voluntary produce would be enough for all. No systematic harvest.
All, including the poor, shared in eating and celebrating.
25:8-55 Year of Jubilee
Every fiftieth year, after seven sabbatical years. Property restored to original Israelite family owners; slaves freed. Liberty!
25:35-46 Kindness to the Poor
Lev 26: Rewards and Punishments
26:1-13 Promises for Obedience
Rain, produce, peace, military victory.
The LORD to dwell and walk among, with you.
26:14-46 Penalties for Disobedience
Panic; disease; defeat; pestilence; drought; cannibalism; destruction of religious centers, cities, and land; exile to a foreign land.
Even in exile …
If you confess and repent in that foreign land, the LORD will remember His covenant, restore you, and bring you back home.
Lev 27: Vows, Dedications, and Tithes
27:1-8 Valuation of Dedicated Persons
One could dedicate himself or a member of his family. Since a non-Levite could not serve in the sanctuary, he would make a payment to the sanctuary instead.
27:9-13 Dedicated Animals
27:14-25 Dedicated Real Estate
27:26-29 Objects Excluded
27:34 Summary of Leviticus