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Book of Leviticus


Authorship and Origin:

Leviticus is the third of the five Old Testament books ascribed to Moses. It is also called "The book of the Law of the Priests" in that it contains very little historical information, but is mostly priestly legislation and the practice of the law among the people. It records God's instructions, given at Sinai, for worship by His people. See Exodus for information on the dates and origins of this book.

Overview and Significant sections

This book addresses two groups of people, the priests, and the people as a whole. There are three major themes that can be identified throughout the book. The first theme can be summarized by the word 'Holy'. This word is used 87 times in the book, and shows that the true importance of worship is more than just ritual. The second theme is summarized in the word 'Sacrifice'. This word, or words meaning the same (e.g. offering) is used more than 300 times. The final theme is 'attonement', which appears some 49 times. In studying Leviticus, these three key themes help to define how we can better understand our relationship with God, what He has done for us, who He is, and what He expects from us.

Significant sections:

Some special notes:
In Chapter 8:1-36, Aaron's sons are ordained. Aaron is of the tribe of Levi, and this defines the Levites from now on as being the priests for Israel.

In Chapter 9:1-24, the sacrificial system is defined as the method for the people to seek forgiveness and re-establish God's acceptance. This practice or covenant stood until Jesus came to be the final all-sufficient sacrifice for the sins of all. Only through forgiveness and atonement, can a right relationship with God be attained.

What is atonement? The word means to cover or to 'wipe away'. It is key in reconciliation. The message of atonement which God communicates is that through the sacrifices, God would wipe away the sin.

In Chapter 23, the various 'feasts' were defined. These include the 'Sabboth', 'Passover', 'First fruits', 'Feast of Weeks', 'Feast of Trumpets', 'Day of Atonement', and 'Feast of Tabernacles'. Hanukkah, or the 'Feast of Lights' was added much later after 164 B.C., just before the time of Jesus.

For more detailed study:
Read Chapter 1. (the entire book is available starting here.)
The Concise Matthew Henry Commentary on this book. introduction of this book.
the World Wide Study Bible has Dictionary, Commentary, Scripture and sermons available on this book.