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Scripture reading – Leviticus 1

Our chronological Scripture reading schedule brings us to the Book of Leviticus, the third book of the five books of the Old Testament known as the Pentateuch. As its name implies, Leviticus is a book directing the Levites in their priestly duties, addressing worship, offering sacrifices, festivals, and matters of the Law.

The following will serve as a brief outline of the Book of Leviticus.

Leviticus 1-7 presented the guidelines that were followed in sacrificial offerings. Then the consecration and ministry of the Aaronic priesthood were the subjects of Leviticus 8-10. Next, a distinction between animals deemed clean and unclean was defined in  Leviticus 11-15. Finally, Leviticus 17-25 reminded the people that God is holy and expects the same of His people when they worship and offer sacrifices. (Remember, the offerings specified in Leviticus were a prefigure of Jesus Christ, the Lamb of God. He was the perfect, complete, “once, and for all” sacrifice for our sins, Hebrews 10:10).

The LORD Ordered the Starts and Stops of Israel. (Exodus 40)

The LORD’s glory, whose presence was signified in a cloud that descended and “covered the tent of the congregation,” had “filled the Tabernacle” (Exodus 40:34). The cloud was a visible testament of the LORD’s presence in Israel. In the day, the cloud rested upon the Tabernacle. At night, God’s presence was seen as “fire…in the sight of all the house of Israel” (Exodus 40:38). The LORD, not man, dictated the starts and stops of His people, for “when the cloud was taken up from over the tabernacle, the children of Israel went onward in all their journeys: 37But if the cloud were not taken up, then they journeyed not till the day that it was taken up” (Exodus 40:36-37).

Leviticus 1 – The Laws and Ordinances for Burnt Offerings

The LORD, having filled the Tabernacle with His glory (Exodus 40:34), “called unto Moses, and spake unto him out of the tabernacle of the congregation, saying, 2Speak unto the children of Israel, and say unto them, If any man of you bring an offering unto the Lord, ye shall bring your offering of the cattle, even of the herd, and of the flock” (Leviticus 1:1-2).

Guidelines Concerning Burnt Offerings (1:1-17)

The first offering required in Leviticus was the “burnt offering.” It was to be “a male without blemish” (1:3). The LORD required a bull (1:5), sheep or goat (1:10), or an “offering of turtledoves, or of young pigeons” to be sacrificed (1:14). These, the children of Israel were to bring to the courtyard of the Tabernacle. There, a worshipper would place his “hand upon the head” of the sacrifice, thus identifying that animal’s death as the substitutionary sacrifice for his sin (1:4-5, 10, 14-15).

The sacrifice was then killed and processed as described by the law. The priest would then take the blood of the sacrifice and sprinkle it on the altar (1:5, 11). Then, flaying and cutting the animal, the priest laid the pieces of the sacrifice on the fire of the altar (1:12-13).

Closing thoughts:

Some 21st-century believers dismiss the book of Leviticus, supposing it has no application to their lives. I urge you, don’t make that mistake. Much of the carnality seen in our churches and homes will be eradicated if believers examine their lives in light of the precepts and principles derived from the Old Testament’s Commandments, Laws, and Ordinances. Obeying the LORD comes with a promise of His blessing:

Leviticus 26:3-4, 12 – “3If ye walk in my statutes, and keep my commandments, and do them; 4Then I will give you rain in due season, and the land shall yield her increase, and the trees of the field shall yield their fruit…12And I will walk among you, and will be your God, and ye shall be my people.”

Questions to Consider:

  • From where did the LORD call unto Moses? (Leviticus 1:1)
  • What were the requirements for a burnt offering? (Leviticus 1:3, 10)
  • How did the worshipper identify with the death of his sacrifice as an offering and atonement for his sins? (Leviticus 1:4)

Copyright © 2023 – Travis D. Smith

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