Leviticus 12 to 15—Natan’s Commentary Notes on Some Disgusting Subjects

Leviticus 12–15

Leviticus chapters 12 through 15  are some of the most distasteful and difficult to explain in the whole Bible, much less to relate to and to apply to our lives. After all, who wants to talk about diseases, disgusting molds and mildews, and bodily discharges? And who can relate to leprosy? Yuk!

Yet the Torah contains these subjects for a reason. Yes, sanitation, cleanliness and our physical good health is important to our Creator for obvious reasons, but lurking behind this distasteful and, at times, even revulsive subject is a much deeper issue: the disease of sin. When we view sin in terms of a contagious spiritual disease, suddenly we gain a new and deeper understanding of its destructive nature.

Even though the old adage, “Cleanliness is next to godliness” is not in the Bible, it is a biblical truism. Our cleanliness at all levels, body, soul (mind, will and emotions) and spirit are vital to a right relationship with Elohim. He is holy or set-apart (i.e. from the pollution, filth and defilement of this world), and without holiness, no one can see Elohim (Heb 12:14). In essence, holiness is nothing more than spiritual cleanliness. This is the deeper meaning behind Leviticus chapters 12 through 15.

Overview of Parshiot Tazria-Metzora (Lev 12–13 and 14–15)

Often these two parshiot (the plural of parashah meaning “Torah portion” in Hebrew) are combined in the yearly Torah reading cycle depending on how the biblical calendar falls for the year. Their combining is likely due to the fact that each is relatively short and deals with related subjects: namely, the ritual purity laws. 

As we shall see, the causes of ritual impurity involve sin issues. As a remedy to this problem, the Torah prescribes procedures that the afflicted person had to follow in order to be deemed cleansed and thus be readmitted into the camp of Israel after having been temporarily expelled because of ritual impurity. All the ritual cleansing laws prophetically pointed to Yeshua’s atoning death on the cross.

These two parshiot dealing with diseased and unclean persons immediately come after the laws concerning clean and unclean meats (Lev 11). What the Israelites ate as well as the state of their physical bodies was an important aspect of holiness in the eyes of YHVH.

From these two parshiot, we learn that an unclean person could only become clean through the atoning blood of a sacrificed animal or through ritual cleansing of water by which he was reconciled to Elohim and brought back into the camp of Israel. 

What can we learn from the juxtapositioning of these subjects (i.e. the laws pertaining to unclean meats and unclean people) in the Torah? Simply this. Man can easily become impure and defiled because of his innately depraved, crooked, and wicked heart that is at enmity with the laws of Elohim (Jer 17:9; Rom 8:7). 

Since the fall of Adam, man has been in a state of impurity from Elohim. Thus, sin separates him from the presence of Elohim and from his fellow Israelites. Only the sin-atoning blood of Yeshua can bring the sinner to a place of purity where he can be reconciled to the Kadosh (Holy) One of Israel, and become part of the camp (i.e. the congregation of the saints or kadosh ones) of YHVH.

Leviticus 12:1–8 deals with the purification of women after childbirth. Adam Clarke in his commentary states that when a woman has to bring a sacrifice after the birth of her child, Elohim maintained the remembrance of the fact that through woman sin entered the world. He also required the memorial of a sacrifice to show that the state of a sinner, howsoever deplorable, is not hopeless. In every ceremony, we may see both the justice and the mercy of Elohim. Hence, while we have the knowledge of our spiritual impurity, we have also the knowledge of our cure—the sacrifice of an innocent animal, which always points to Yeshua who once and for all, in his sacrificial death, cleansed us from sin’s impurity.

Leviticus 13–14 deals with the disease of tzara. The noun tzaarath means “disease” or “skin disease” and is from the root tzara meaning “to be stricken, strike down, to smite heavily.” This is another disease that pictures the ravages of sin.

It was up to the priests to diligently inspect each diseased person—based on YHVH’s instructions and criteria—to determine whether one was unclean or not, and whether one was fit to remain in the camp of Israel. The priests were not to be hasty in their judgments, but were to make determinations based on diligent inquiry and to follow the exact protocols as outlined in the Torah. This teaches us that YHVH is exacting as to how sinners can be cleansed spiritually from sin and thus become part of the spiritual camp of the righteous redeemed. The Torah is the standard of righteousness that will judge all men. It also defines sin (1 John 3:4), and will determine one’s rewards in YHVH’s eternal kingdom (Matt 5:19).

Today, from time to time, those involved in gross sin must be put out of the congregation of the righteous. This is the duty of the leaders who must inspect individuals and make righteous decisions. Yeshua discusses this in Matthew 18:15–19 where he instructs leaders on how to deal with sin in the camp.

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Leviticus Chapter 9—Natan’s Commentary Notes

Leviticus 9:1, 9, 15, 18, Take for yourself…sons of Aaron…the people’s offering. Redemption (along with obedience to YHVH’s commands leading to righteousness and holiness) starts with the individual (in this case, Aaron the high priest)—especially the head or priest of the home (i.e. the husband or father) and then ripples out to the immediate family (“the sons of Aaron”) and then spreads to those around us (“the people”). 

Leviticus 9:2–4, YHVH will appear. It is impossible to appear before YHVH Elohim without the shedding of innocent blood for the atonement of man’s sins. Man is too sinful and unholy to be able to come before his perfect and holy Creator. The sooner human’s realize their sinfulness and unworthiness, and the need to deal with the sorry state their live is in, the sooner they will be able to fill their inner (some say the “God-shaped) void and the unmet need of having an intimate relationship with their Creator.

Leviticus 9:6, This is the thing. When atonement for sin is made, and a person comes to their Creator on that basis, YHVH and his glory will appear in one way or another in that person’s life.

Leviticus 9:6, 23, The glory [kobowd] of YHVH. Kobowd means “glory, honour, glorious, abundance, riches, splendour, dignity, reputation, reverence.” The root word of kobowd is the verb kabad or kabed meaning “to be heavy, be weighty, be grievous, be hard, be rich, be honourable, be glorious, be burdensome and be honoured.” According to The TWOT, the literal meaning of kabad/kabed is rarely used in Scripture; rather, its figurative meaning (e.g. to be heavy with sin) is more commonly used. As such, in Scripture it often refers to a weighty, impressive or prominent person in society who is worthy of honor and respect. 

Derivatives of kabed include kabed meaning “great,” kabed meaning “liver,” kobed meaning ­“great,” kabod meaning “glorious” (Ps 45:14; Exek 43:41), kabod meaning “glory,” k’budda meaning “abundance, riches” (Judg 18:21) and k’bedut meaning “heaviness” (Exod 14:24).

In Lev 9:6 and 23, kabod is a noun referring to glory, glorious, honor or honorable and is often used combination with another noun as a noun-adjective (e.g. the glorious king).

Leviticus 9:7, Go to the altar…sin offering…make atonement. For the glory of YHVH to appear in one’s life, one must first go to the altar of the cross, and must do two things: lay one’s life down as an offering or living sacrifice (i.e. die to one’s carnal sin nature) before YHVH, and then receive Yeshua as an atoning sin offering in payment for one’s sins. 

Leviticus 9:12, Sprinkled all around. (Other references to sprinkling of the blood include Exod 24:6; 24:8; Lev 6:27; 8:11; 8:19, 24, 30; 9:12, 18.) This is a prophetic picture of Yeshua’s shedding or sprinkling his blood on the cross. The apostolic writers use the term sprinkling on several occasions to describe what happened on the cross for the atonement of sin (1 Pet 1:2; Heb 9:13–14; 10:22; 12:24).

Leviticus 9:22–23, Aaron lifted his hand…blessed the people…the glory of YHVH…fell on their faces. The acceptance of and the blessings from heaven flow down to us when what we are doing lines up with heaven’s word and will. Aaron lifting his arms up and blessing the people pictures the river of life flowing from heaven through him and onto all the people. This river of life occurred because Aaron had followed the instructions Moses had received from YHVH (i.e. the Torah), then he cleansed himself of sin (v. 1), then the spiritual renewal and the river of life and redemption flowed to his immediate family (v. 9), then outward to the people around him (vv. 15 and 18). This done, the people were blessed and “the glory of YHVH appeared to all the people” (v. 23), and their sin offering was accepted as in heaven and earth came into agreement with each other resulting in the people worshipping Elohim (v. 24). 

Leviticus 9:24 and 10:1,Fire from heaven versus profane fire. Fire is a biblical metaphor for spiritual light and truth. Divinely revealed Truth originates only from heaven. Man, because of his fallen, sinful condition, is incapable of originating Truth. Whatever religion, philosophy or ideology man invents out of his own carnal mind will, at best, be a mixture of Truth and error. This mixture is the result of humans feeding from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, and listening to the fork-tongued two-pathed serpent (i.e. of good and evil or talking out of both sides of his mouth at once), who is lurking in that tree waiting to subvert and deceive man into joining his sinful rebellion against the Almighty Creator. That is why walking away from YHVH’s the divinely revealed (Torah) instructions—the spiritual light and fire of YHVH, is so perilous. This is what Nadab and Abihu did when they offered up strange fire to Elohim; they followed the inclinations of their sinful and fallen natures instead of walking in the light of YHVH’s truth by following his instructions. Playing with fire is a double-edged sword; fire both enlighten, energizes and purifies, but is also a symbol of divine judgement in that it destroys and consumes the carnal and often sinful works (the wood, hay and stubble, 1 Cor 3:12–15) of rebellious and prideful man.

 

Leviticus Chapter Seven—Natan’s Commentary Notes

Leviticus 7:6, Every male…may eat it. 

The Torah Origins of the Communion Ritual and the Priesthood of All Believers

Why were the priests allowed to eat some of the offerings? What’s this all about? Let’s answer this question with a question. Why do believers in Yeshua eat the communion elements, and what do they represent? Is there a connection between the Levitical priests eating of the sacrifice and the saints eating the communion elements? Now let’s explore this idea. 

In Leviticus 6:26 and 29, only the male priests were allowed to eat of the sin offering. Likewise, YHVH commanded the male priests to eat the baked unleavened bread of the minchah offering (Lev 6:16, 18). Yeshua himself not only continued this Levitical practice, but expanded and elevated it to a higher level at his last supper. 

When Yeshua initiated communion among his disciples, what in essence was he saying? Simply this. His disciples were all now his holy or set-apart priests. This is the origination of the concept of the priesthood of all believers, or the royal priesthood as Peter terms it (1 Pet 2:9), or a kingdom of priests John calls it who will rule with King Yeshua in his millennial kingdom (Rev 1:6; 5:10; 20:6). 

It was YHVH’s desire that the children of Israel would become such a priesthood even before he called the Levites to be his set-apart priests (Exod 19:6). However, they failed in this mission when they chose to worship the golden calf instead of YHVH (Exod 32). At that time, YHVH chose the faithful Levites to be his priests instead of the firstborn male leaders from all the tribes of Israel (Exod 32:26, 29; Num 3:11–13, 44). 

Moreover, Isaiah prophesied about the priesthood of all believers—a priesthood that would extend beyond the confines of the Aaronic priesthood (Isa 66:21 cp. Dan 7:18). This higher level priesthood would extend beyond the patriarchal male leaders, who were the original priests in Israel (Exod 19:22, 24), to include all the Israelites, both male and female (Exod 19:6), as well as Gentiles who have been grafted into Israel through Yeshua the Messiah (Gal 3:28–29; Eph 2:11–19; Rom 11:11–32), which Paul refers to as the Israel of Elohim (Gal 6:16).

Being a kingdom of priests who will teach the inhabitants of planet earth the ways of Elohim is the role and destiny of all the modern day saints of Elohim who have been washed of their sins (i.e. Torahlessness, 1 John 3:4) in the blood of Yeshua (Rev 1:6), for they will reign with Yeshua on this earth (Rev 5:10) for a thousand years as Elohim’s resurrected and glorified adopted sons and daughters (Rev 20:6; John 1:12 cp. Rom 8:14–15, 23; 9:4; 2 Cor 6:18; Gal 4:5–6; Eph 1:5; 1 Jhn 3:1–2; Rev 21:7). 

So saints of the YHVH Elohim, encourage yourself with these immutable promises from the Word of Elohim! Are you presently preparing yourselves now for auspicious and lofty role?

Leviticus 7:13, Leavened bread. The Torah prohibited the offering of leavened bread on the altar (Lev 2:11). There are only two instances where leavening in bread was permitted in the tabernacle service. In this verse, leavened bread was offered in conjunction with the peace offering (Lev 2:13), where it was eaten as part of the sacrificial meal. This was not a sin offering, but the peace offering. Therefore the bread of this offering didn’t represent the body of Yeshua. It was merely part of the fellowship meal representing a peaceful and loving relationship between the offerer and the Creator, and was similar to a family picnic, dinner or barbecue. But it wasn’t placed on the altar, nor was it a part of the sacrifice, therefore, it wasn’t a prophetic picture of the sinless Yeshua dying on the cross.

The second instance of leavened bread being offered in a tabernacle service occurred when the Torah instructs the priests to wave two loaves of leavened bread on Shavuot or Pentecost before YHVH (Lev 23:17). These two loaves prophetic and symbolic metaphors for the two houses of Israel (the northern kingdom and southern kingdom)—a spiritual picture of Jews and Christians. In this ceremony, the gracious and merciful Creator was demonstrating his acceptance of his people despite their sin.

Leviticus 7:23, Not eat any fat. All the organ fat of the ox, sheep and goats was used as part of the sacrificial service (Lev 7:30–31).The organ fat was given to YHVH as part of the burnt offering (Lev 1:3), the peace offering (Lev 3:3–4), the sin offering (Lev 4:8–10, 19). Fat is the Hebrew word cheleb/CKJ meaning “fat of humans or animals” or metaphorically, “the choicest, best part, or abundance of the land.” Therefore, the fat as one of the choicest parts of the animal was reserved for sacrifice to YHVH on the altar. But not eating fat, the Israelites in their minds preserved a reverence for YHVH’s altar upon which the fat or the best part was offered to YHVH. To eat the fat was to show irreverence for that best part that belonged to Elohim, which is why the offender was cut off from the nation of Israel. As living sacrifices who have been redeemed or bought with the blood of Yeshua, are we giving YHVH the best part of our lives? After all, he so loved us that he gave us Yeshua, which was the best he had to offer.

Leviticus 7:26, Not eat any blood. 

The Supreme Significance of Blood

YHVH revealed in the Torah that the life of flesh is in the blood (Lev 17:11). Therefore, the blood symbolizes the whole life of the living being. This is why the blood being poured upon the altar made atonement for the souls of men (Lev 17:11–12), since it represented and pointed to the shedding of Yeshua’s blood when he sacrificed his life on the cross in atoning for men’s sins. Respecting the blood is necessary not only because it symbolizes the sanctity of the life of man who was made in the Creator’s image (Gen 1:26 cp. 9:6), but more importantly, because of the blood of Elohim’s Son that was shed for man’s redemption (Lev 17:11). For one to eat the blood showed disdain for what the blood typifies. In times past, this was so important to YHVH that a violation of this prohibition resulted in banishment from the nation of Israel.

The blood was to be reserved for the sacrificial service, where it was used symbolically to represent Yeshua’s shedding his blood on the cross. The blood of a lamb was put on the door posts to protect men from YHVH’s judgment against sin (Exod 12:7, 13). Moses sprinkled the blood of oxen on the people symbolizing their coming into covenantal relationship with YHVH (Exod 24:5–8). Additionally, the blood of sacrificed animals was sprinkled throughout the tabernacle, on Aaron and his sons, and all around the altar to sanctify it. All these acts and uses of the blood were illustrative of the unrestricted cleansing power of the blood of Yeshua (Rev 1:5; 7:14; 12:11; 1 Pet 1:2, 19; Heb 9:12; 10:19–22; 12:24; 1 John 1:7; Matt 26:28), which is why YHVH expected his people to treat the blood with a reverence. Those who didn’t evidenced a heart of indifference for the set-apart or kadosh things of Elohim—an intolerable offence in the Creator’s eyes.

On the dark and satanic side, the blood of humans and animals is profaned through demonic rituals involving drinking it and even cannibalism. This is an abominable perversion of holy communion and was an aspect of ancient heathen religions (Ps 16:4; Ezek 39:17, 19 cp. Num 13:32), and is a practice in which the end time antichrist heathens of the Babylonian whore system will engage (Rev 17:6; 18:13, 24).

 

General Overview of the Book of Numbers (B’midbar)

The English name Numbers derives from the fact that in this book the Israelites are counted or numbered on several occasions (see chapters 1, 2, 3, 4, 26). Leviticus ends with YHVH instructing his people to count their flocks for tithe purposes, while Numbers begins with YHVH, as the ultimate Good Shepherd (or in Hebrews, YHVH Rohee), counting the Israelites themselves, who are the sheep of his pasture (Pss 74:1; 79:13; 95:7; 100:3). The fact that this counting took place in the wilderness proves that it was not for political or national economic reasons, but was in fulfillment of YHVH’s Torah instructions. Each Israelite was to give a half-shekel of silver toward the maintenance of the tabernacle. The shekels then counted would give the exact number of Israelites (Exod 30:12–16).

The Hebrew name B’midbar meaning “in the wilderness” originates from the fact that this book chronicles Israel’s wandering in the wilderness. The book of Exodus, on the other hand, records the deliverance of Israel from Egypt, its establishment as a nation, its covenantal relationship with YHVH and the construction of the tabernacle (mishkan), which was the symbol of YHVH dwelling or tabernacling in the midst of his chosen people. The Book of Leviticus deals with the inner workings of that tabernacle and the mechanics of how sinful man could maintain a right spiritual relationship with a righteous Elohim. This was accomplished through the agency of the Levitical priesthood that would function within the tabernacle as a human intermediary between man and his Creator.

The book of Numbers covers much of Israel’s forty years wandering in the wilderness and recounts the early years of this nation under YHVH’s theocratic rule. Recorded are Israel’s triumphs and defeats, its obedience and disobedience to YHVH’s rule of law and the resulting consequences whether blessing or curses.

In this book, we see several main subdivisions. Chapters 1:1–10:10 cover instructions from YHVH to Israel while still at Mount Sinai. Chapters 10:11–36:13 cover the Israelite’s actual wilderness journey. The second section dealing with the wilderness journey has two main parts: the perishing in the wilderness of the older generation (Num 10:11–25:18), and the preparation of the second generation of Israelites to enter the Promised Land (chapters 26–36).

Reoccurring themes in the book of Numbers include the continual murmuring of Israelites and the divine punishment on them as a result. YHVH made promises to care for them and lead them into the Promised Land. Instead of having faith and trust in him, with few exceptions, the Israelites exhibited doubt and unbelief in YHVH. As a result, the entire older generation, with the exception of faithful Joshua and Caleb, perished in the wilderness never to realize the promises YHVH had made to them concerning the Promised Land. This is a poignant lesson for all believers in their faith walk. The spiritual application of this lesson is not missed by the writer of the Epistle to the Hebrews in chapter four of that book. When YHVH makes promises, his people need to embrace those promises with enthusiastic and optimistic faith and never let them go. After all, if we cannot trust our Creator, then who or what can we trust?

In this book, we see revealed the grace of YHVH, that he is longsuffering and slow to anger (Num 14:20–38), but that he is also just, and as a father, he disciplines those he loves. His judgments are measured and progressive. The more his children refuse to obey him and resist him, the stronger the judgments. Eventually, the older generation of Israelites died off in the wilderness. This teaches us that death is the final judgment against the sin of rebellion and unbelief. There are no eternal rewards or spiritual inheritance for those who refuse to take hold of YHVH’s promises and to go forward in faith and faithful obedience to him.

We see the work and person of the future Yeshua the Messiah in the book of Numbers as well. As Provider, he meets all of Israel’s needs both physical and spiritual. Paul reveals that Yeshua was the spiritual Rock that gave them water in the wilderness (1 Cor 10:4). Twice, Israel received water from the rock (Exod 17:1–7 and Num 20:1–13). Additionally, the secular prophet, Balaam, prophesied about the Messiah who was to rise out of Israel like a star (Num 24:17). Leading rabbinic Jews sages, such as Akiva ben Joseph of the early modern era, mistakenly applied this verse to the Jewish zealot, Bar Kokhba, when he endeavored to throw off the yoke of Roman rule over the Jewish people during the Second Jewish Revolt of A.D. 133–135.

 

Dealing with the viral pandemic of the disease of sin (part 2)

Leviticus 12–13 Explained

These chapters are perhaps some of the most difficult of the Torah for modern people to understand much less to ascertain the relevance of, so often we pass over them without much thought. However, when we view them from a more drash or allegorical level of biblical interpretation, suddenly they take on a whole new meaning and are packed full of deep revelations pertaining to our perennial internal struggle against sin as well as with sin in the world around us we explain in the discussion below. Sin is not a popular subject to discuss, but if we are to rise to the spiritual level for which Elohim created us—to be in some sense like him (1 John 3:1-3).

The Hebrew Terms Relating to This Passage Defined

  • Tzaraas: a skin disease (improperly translated as “leprosy” in some Bibles). This Hebrew word means “to be struck with leprosy” (BDB) or “to smite heavily, to strike, or scourged of Elohim” since the leprosy was viewed as a special divine infliction (Wilson’s Old Testament Word Studies, pp. 248–249) against such sins as jealousy (cf. Miriam, anger, lack of full compliance with Elohim’s commands (cf. King Uzziah), and covetousness (cf. TWOT, p. 777).
  • Niddah: this refers to someone who is separated or menstruous.
  • Tumah: this refers to spiritual impurity.
  • Metzora: one with a skin disease; Metzora is a contraction of the Hebrew word motzi and ra meaning “one who speaks slander.”

The Issues Explained

Leviticus chapters 12 and 13 deal with the subject of human contamination and delineates what could seem to be a lot of irrelevant and archaic, if not arcane, regulations relating to childbirth and skin diseases. Why is YHVH so concerned about “human contamination”? What is the larger picture here to help us gain understanding into the Father’s intent and heart behind these Torah-laws? The Jewish sages teach that man must not forget that even the gnats and earthworms preceded him in the creation. This is to teach man humility. But conversely, each stage of Elohim’s creation added something to that which had been created previously and that man was the final, crowning touch that would pull all the creation together to fulfill its purpose of spirituality in the performance of Elohim’s will. Man is therefore the last of the creatures to be created, but the first in significance because he is the purpose of it all and that if man is not worthy of his calling, then he has added nothing of substance to YHVH’s handiwork (The ArtScroll Tanach Series Vayikra, p. 184).

All this is to say that YHVH has a plan to redeem man from his sinful or depraved (animalistic) state. Man can choose to be elevated to this higher spiritual plane or to remain in a state no better than that of a gnat or a worm having added nothing to the creation’s spiritual betterment. 

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Dealing with the viral pandemic of the disease of sin (part 1)

As I write this, the viral pandemic called the Coronravirus or COVID-19 is sweeping the globe and taking lives with it. The world has not seen anything like this since the influenza epidemic of more than 100 years ago which killed tens of millions of people at that time. Viruses are analogous to sin: both are a lethal infectious diseases and a silent killers. With the stark images of the ravages of the Coronavirus in our minds and the ruination in its wake, let’s now switch over to the concept of the infectious spiritual disease of sin and where it leads to if it’s not appropriately dealt with.

Leviticus Chapters 12–15

Leviticus chapters 12 through 15  are some of the most distasteful and difficult to explain in the whole Bible, much less to relate to and to apply to our lives. After all, who wants to talk about diseases, disgusting molds and mildews, and bodily discharges? And who can relate to leprosy? Yuk!

Yet the Torah contains these subjects for a reason. Yes, sanitation, cleanliness and our physical good health is important to our Creator for obvious reasons, but lurking behind this distasteful and, at times, even revulsive subject is a much deeper issue: the disease of sin. When we view sin in terms of a contagious spiritual disease, suddenly we gain a new and deeper understanding of its destructive nature.

Even though the old adage, “Cleanliness is next to godliness” is not in the Bible, it is a biblical truism. Our cleanliness at all levels, body, soul (mind, will and emotions) and spirit are vital to a right relationship with Elohim. He is holy or set-apart (i.e. from the pollution, filth and defilement of this world), and without holiness, no one can see Elohim (Heb 12:14). In essence, holiness is nothing more than spiritual cleanliness. This is the deeper meaning behind Leviticus chapters 12 through 15.

Overview of Parshiot Tazria-Metzora (Lev 12–13 and 14–15)

Often these two parshiot (the plural of parashah meaning “Torah portion” in Hebrew) are combined in the yearly Torah reading cycle depending on how the biblical calendar falls for the year. Their combining is likely due to the fact that each is relatively short and deals with related subjects: namely, the ritual purity laws. 

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Overview of the Book of Leviticus/Vayikra

Outline of Leviticus

Leviticus is divided into to several main parts. Chapters one to 16 deal with laws of sacrifice and purification. In the second section (chapters 17–25), Elohim sets forth his demands for holy living that his people might maintain a right relationship with him. Chapter 26 lays out the blessings and curses for obedience to YHVH’s commands. The final chapter of the book ends with some miscellaneous laws. The following is an overview of Leviticus chapter-by-chapter.

  • The five main offerings (Lev 1–7)
  • The ordination of priests (Lev 6:8–7:38)
  • Laws of cleanliness (food, childbirth, diseases, etc.) (Lev 11–15)
  • Day of Atonement (Lev 16–17)
  • Moral laws regulating relationships between humans (Lev 18–20)
  • Regulations for priests, the offerings of the annual feasts (Lev 21:1–24:9)
  • Punishment for blasphemy, murder, etc. (Lev 24:10–23)
  • The Sabbatical year, Jubilee, land laws, slavery (Lev 25)
  • Blessings and curses (Lev 26)
  • Regulations pertaining to vows made to YHVH (Lev 27)

Themes and Main Points of Leviticus

  • Leviticus stands at the center of the Torah, and there’s a reason for this, since it shows man how to come into relationship with Elohim by addressing the sin issue and showing man the upward path of holiness and righteousness. 
  • Holiness (or being set-apart) is the key theme of Leviticus. This includes the set-apartness of YHVH and the need for man to become set-apart as well if he is to come into a relationship with the Almighty (Heb. kadosh, Lev 11:44). Leviticus lays out the terms are laid out by which an unholy, profane, polluted or sinful people can come into a spiritual and even contractual and marital relationship with their holy, morally pure and sinless Creator. It also delineates the terms of the contract including penalties for its violation and blessings for adherence to it.
  • Leviticus carries on to completion the giving of the Torah-law, which started in Exodus 20, and which firmly established the Torah as Israel’s binding covenant with Elohim and the legally binding document that would govern that nation. The Torah literally became the nation of Israel’s constitution. 
  • This book, for the first time in detail, shows man the way of expiation (or atonement) and forgiveness of sin, thus prophetically pointing the way in major detail to Yeshua the Messiah, the Lamb of Elohim, who was yet to come and who would ultimately take away men’s sin once and for all (without the continual need of animal sacrifices) by his sacrificial death on the cross.
  • The narrative of Leviticus covered probably only a month.
  • Leviticus is the first book of Torah that rabbinic Jews start teaching their young children, since they believe that those who are pure in heart (i.e. children) should be engaged in the study of purity (i.e. the laws of purification and atonement, which is the central themes of Leviticus).
  • Even today, Leviticus remains the foundation for Jewish life, since it includes the laws pertaining to diet, the biblical feasts, sex, marriage, family purity, and our relationship with our fellow man. 
  • The emphasis the modern rabbinic Jews place on Leviticus is evidenced by the fact that the tabernacle service found in this book is at the heart of the modern Jewish synagogue prayer service, and forms the basis for their daily devotions. Jewish liturgical prayer is largely based on the tabernacle sacrificial system  as outlined in Leviticus.
  • The offerings and other ceremonies revealed in Leviticus serve to show the holiness of YHVH.
  • Leviticus teaches us that YHVH can only be approached through proper and prescribed protocols.
  • In Leviticus, spiritual set-apartness (holiness) is symbolized by physical perfection. All blemishes or defects symbolize man’s spiritual defects, which break his spiritual wholeness. Therefore, the religious system in Leviticus required:
  1. Perfect animals for sacrifices (Lev 1–7).
  2. Priests without physical deformity (Lev 8–10).
  3. A woman to be ritually purified from hemorrhaging after childbirth (Lev 12).
  4. Ritual purification from sores, burns, baldness (Lev 13–14).
  5. Ritual purification from a man’s bodily discharges (Lev 15:1–18).
  6. Ritual purification after a woman’s menstrual cycle (Lev 15:19–33).

All of these ritualistic requirements point to one thing: the holiness of Elohim and man’s need to put off sin and the defilement of the flesh, which causes pollution and profaneness, thus separating us from a set-apart, pure and perfect Elohim. This teaches man to strive to reach higher spiritual levels and not to be content with the mundane, fleshly, earthly level of his own human existence, but to reach for the heavens where Elohim abides.

  • Leviticus reveals that those with certain diseases or ailments had to leave the camp (symbolic of leaving YHVH’s Presence—like Adam and Eve leaving the Garden of Eden after they had sinned). Israelites could be readmitted to the camp (symbolic of returning to YHVH’s Presence) only after certain protocols had been performed and the person had been pronounced whole by the priests.
  • In Exodus 19:6, YHVH’s call for Israel to become a kingdom of priests. As such, they were to be a light to the nations and, in a sense, to evangelize the world by showing Elohim’s glory to those nations around them (Deut 4:4–8). Israel was to be YHVH earthly representation of YHVH’s kingdom on earth. Leviticus showed Israel how to walk in a set-apart (kadosh or holy) manner before YHVH and the world—how to be in the world, though not of the world, as Yeshua taught his disciples in John 17:11, 14.

All Was Overseen by the Priests

The priests oversaw and controlled the sacrifices, rituals, ceremonies, the rest of the tabernacle service as well as the day-to-day life of the Israelites.

It was their job to establish Israel as a kadosh nation, and to instruct Israel in spiritual cleanliness and set-apartness (holiness), to preserve them spiritually, and to present them to YHVH as a pure and righteous people. YHVH has given the same responsibility to the five-fold ministry that he has raised up to operate within the spiritual body of redeemed believers today (Eph 4:11–16). This new, royal priesthood (1 Pet 2:9) is comprised of apostles, prophets, evangelists, pastors and teachers who have the purpose of “equipping of the saints for the work of ministry, for the edifying of the body of Messiah, till we all come to the unity of the faith and of the knowledge of the Son of Elohim, to a perfect man, to the measure of the stature of the fullness of Messiah” (Eph 4:12–13).

Holiness—The Dominant Theme of Leviticus and the Bible 

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