J. B. Hewitt, Chesterfield
This is the central book of the Pentateuch, the book of sanctification, divinely enjoined and typically expressed. Its keywords are "atonement" (over forty times), and "holy" (over eighty times), and the key verses are 17. 11 and 19. 2. It looks back to redemption in Exodus and looks forward to pilgrimage in Numbers. Exodus tells me that I may live since Christ has died; in Leviticus I can approach for Christ is my Priest; in Numbers I should go on for Christ is my Leader.
Name. The Hebrew title is taken from the opening words - "and he called". "Leviticus" was the name given to this book by those who translated the Old Testament into Greek because it contained, as they said, the charges for the Levites. It has been called the "law of the priests", and presents the law of approach, chs. 1-16, and the law of holiness, chs. 17-27, each being associated with sacrifice.
"Christ in His grace and work is the golden key to open every part. Leviticus is Calvary foreshown. Calvary is Leviticus unfolded. The one casts forward the morning ray. The other pours down the mid-day blaze" (William Law).
Writer. The opening verses reveal that Moses had the subject matter of the book given to him. He is referred to fifty times. The book is part of the "book of the law", and we are told over fifty times that "the law" was given by Moses. The testimony of the Lord and also the writer to the Hebrews, which is the divine commentary upon this book, are final. Here we have instruction concerning worship.
Authority. It contains more of God's direct utterance than any other part of the Bible of equal length, all introduced by the phrase "The Lord spake unto Moses saying", which occurs thirty-six times. The basis of all its commands is "I am the Lord", which is repeated forty-five times.
"It is fitting that Leviticus holds the central place among the five books of Moses, for, with its doctrine of mediation through a priest, absolution through a sacrifice, and reconciliation at the altar, it is the very heart of the Pentateuch and of the Gospel" (J, Sidlow Baxter).
Purpose. Here are directions as to how a redeemed people may draw near to God in acceptable worship. Sacrifice and priesthood are necessary for the maintenance of fellowship with God. The covenant with Israel established their relationship with God and this book shows that worship can be acceptable through blood shedding. The sacrifices were but types of that once for all offered sacrifice of Christ, Heb. 10. 10, 12. What is portrayed in Leviticus is perfected by Christ as unfolded in Hebrews.
Dr. A. T. Pierson speaks of the following purposes underlying the ceremonialism of this book:
A sanitary purpose - guarding physical health.
A salutary purpose - separating from surrounding nations.
A typical purpose - in moral distinctions.
A practical purpose - in diminishing carnal and sensual passions.
A spiritual purpose - in antagonizing prevailing idolatry. A prophetical purpose - in forecasting the great atoning sacrifice.
Value. The book is a revelation of the divine character, "be ye holy; for I am holy", 11. 44 r.v. The redeemed must be holy, for their Redeemer is holy. It is a treasure of symbolic and typical teaching. The space devoted to the "offerings" and the ritual surrounding them, clearly indicates the importance of the subject for us today. They say, "Get right with God"; the seven feasts say, "Keep right with God".
Message. The Holiness of God. The Holy God receiving His people, dwelling with them, blessing them, then warning them of judgments which will fall upon them through their departure. There are two main divisions; one is Godward telling of the way to God - by sacrifice, the foundation of fellowship, chs. 1-16; one is manward telling of the walk with God - by sanctification, the obligations of fellowship, chs. 17-27.
A Suggested Analysis.
1. The way of approach, 1. 1 to 7. 38. Sacrifices of the people.
Light on the Offerings, 1. 1 to 6. 7. Christ Presented.
Ch. 1. Burnt Offering. Christ in consecration. His presentation to God; at the door; pre-eminence, "bullock", Luke 9. 51; peerless manhood, "male", John 14. 30; purity, "no blemish", 1 Pet. 1.19; perfect surrender, "own will", John 10. 17-18.
Ch. 2. Meal Offering. Christ's character. Materials, w. 1,6, 12,13,14; manner, vv. 2,4,5,7; marks, w. 1,2,3,8,11; message, vv. 2,8,9,12,14,16; moral, w. 6,16, 1 Pet. 2. 21-23.
Ch. 3. Peace Offering. Christ in communion. Fellowship - its privilege, 7. 16; experience, 3. 2; anointing, 7. 35; communion, 7. 19-21; enjoyment, 7. 29.
Ch. 4. Sin Offering. Christ the Sinbearer. Our Lord in presentation, 4. 32; identification, 33; substitution, 35; restoration, 24,26,35; acceptation, 4,8,16,35; sanctification, 27,28; intercession, 15-17.
Ch. 5. Trespass Offering. Christ our Expiator. Condemnation, W. 1,2,3; 6. 1-2; provision, 7-11; substitution, 6; confession, 5; restoration, 6.1,2; compensation, 5.16.
The first three offerings present the Godward side of Calvary, while the sin and trespass offerings present the manward side.
Law of the Offerings, 6. 8 to 7. 38. Practical and Spiritual Teaching.
Burnt - live a consecrated life, Rom. 12. 1; Phil. 4. 18.
Meal - have a commendable character, 1 Pet. 2. 21-24.
Sin - confess your sin, 1 John 1.9; Jam. 5. 16.
Trespass - correct and compensate for failure, Luke 19. 8.
Peace - enjoy cloudless communion, Amos 3. 3.
Drink - continued gladness of heart, Acts 2.46; Phil. 2.17.
1. The way of access, chs. 8-10. Service of the priesthood.
Consecration, ch. 8. Calling, 1-5; cleansing, 6; clothing, 1~9> I3» consecration, 10-30; appropriation, 31; separation, 33-35.
Ministration, ch. 9. Inaugurating the ministry, 1-22; preparation, 1-6; confirmation, 6; acceptation, 7-13; benediction, 14-22. Revelation of glory, 23-24.
Desecration, ch. 10. Violation of law, 1-7; preservation of principles, 8-15; restoration, 16-20.
3. The way of acceptance, chs. 11-22. Separation from all evil.
Laws of Purity. The Physical Man, chs. 11-15. Selfward.
Clean foods, ch. 11. Permission and prohibition 1-23; no contact with dead, 24-42; principle of holiness, 43-47.
Clean bodies, chs. 12 to 14. 32. Childbirth; laws of purification, 12. 2, 4, 5, of circumcision 3, restoration, 7-8. Leprosy, ch. 13. Its character, confession, control. Its cleansing, 14. 1-32.
Clean homes, 14. 33-57.
Clean contacts, ch. 15. For men, 1-18; for women, 19-33.
Laws of Purity. The Spiritual Man, chs. 16-17. Godward.
Atonement, ch. 16. A day of humiliation, 4; representation, 5-11; propitiation, 12-15; imputation, 21, 22; affliction, 29; relaxation, 29, 30; pacification, 31-32.
Approach, ch. 17. Clean worship, the place, 2-9;
prohibition, 10-16. Laws of Purity. The Moral Man, chs. 18-20. Manward.
Family holiness, ch. 18. The basis, 2-4; barriers, 6-23; blight, 24-30.
Social holiness, chs. 19-20. Twenty commands and regulations, ch. 19. Miscellaneous laws, ch. 20.
Priestly holiness, chs. 21-22. His family mourning, 1-6; marriage, 7-15. His fellowship, 21. 6 to 22. 16; disqualification, 16-24; defilement, 22. 1-16. His function, 22. 17-33, sacrifices and service.
4. The way of adoration, chs. 23-24. Seasons and supplies.
Holy Seasons, ch. 23. Typical feasts telling of redemption..
resurrection, reception of the Spirit, return of the Lord,
reconciliation and rest.
Helpful Service, ch. 24. The privilege of believers, 1-9;
punishment of blasphemer, 10-16.
5. The word of application, chs. 25-27. Submission to god.
Divine Recognition, ch. 25. The Sabbatic year, 1-7; the year of jubilee, 8—55.
Divine Regulations, ch. 26. The path of obedience, 1-13; punishment of disobedience, 14-45.
Divine Requirements, ch, 27. Observation of vows as to persons, 2-8; animals, 9-13; houses, 14-15; lands, 16-24.
Suggestions far Closer Study. The offerings in chs. 1-7; the consecration of the priests in ch. 8; the day of atonement in ch. 16; Feasts of Jehovah in ch. 23; the year of jubilee in ch. 25.