© 2000 "Yes Lord" Ministries
Hi and Welcome Back to this, another lesson, in this study of the Book of Leviticus. And, Wow! Leviticus certainly contains a lot of important information; yet, we are only scratching the surface of this Book. There is more, so much more! But, we are learning a lot and this will be a great foundation for understanding the Laws and Lifestyles of the Jewish Nation and the reason why God is so insistent that all of His people live separated and Holy lives.
In previous lessons, we studied many of the things which God told His people as He established them as His very own and special Nation. But, the foundational and fundamental truths and principles told to God's people then are also very relevant to us today. Indeed, these truths contain important guidelines for living -- guidelines and principles which are universal and enduring throughout all ages.
And, since these guidelines and principles are still applicable and necessary for anyone who desires to worship, serve, and fellowship with The Holy Creator and God of the Universe, this book of Leviticus still needs to be studied in detail today.
So, that is what we are going to do in this lesson -- we are going to continue to study what God told His Nation almost 4000 years ago. And, as we study these "ancient" truths and principles, we will discover that they endure and that they are still essential in the 21st century and forever!
You need to keep this in mind, because, as we study Chapters 21 &
22, the subject of this lesson, your first impression is going to be that
"surely this has NO application for today!", because these chapters
are mainly directed to the Priests of the Jewish nation. And, since 70
AD, there have been no sacrifices, offerings, priesthood, or Temple worship.
So, you might wonder how is this still applicable today?
Hang in there! You will find out. Indeed you will "figure this
And, as we begin, your first assignment is to get your Bible and
read Leviticus 21 and 22. As you read these two chapters,
put a green circle around every occurrence of the word,
holy (or use any symbol and color of your choice to mark the
word, holy). That is it! That is all that you have to do. Then, as usual,
when you have finished, return here and we will think about what we have
Wow! Who would have believed that the word, Holy, would have been used so many times in these two chapters!
Astounding! And, we have already noticed in previous lessons, the word, holy, is a repeated (ie. KEY) word throughout the entire book of Leviticus. Obviously, God is trying to teach His people, and us, something very important about holy and holiness.
You also recall that we have previously done a word study on
the word, holy. But, if, perchance, you have forgotten
what this word means (or, gasp!, you did not do that study), please go
back to lesson 4 in this series, and review what we studied there concerning
Ok, I see you are back (or you are continuing on). And, we were saying that we had just observed that the word, holy, was used a lot in the Book of Leviticus and especially here in chapters 21 & 22. But, in these two chapters, to whom was this word, holy, mainly referring? (21:1) = the _______________ of the Nation Israel.
And, to whom are these two chapters mainly addressing? (21:1) = the _______________ of the Nation Israel.
Yes, you are exactly correct. These 2 chapters are mainly addressed to the priests of the nation of Israel and these two chapters give very explicit directions, guidelines, and details of what the priests are to do (and not do) as they live and function as holy priests of God.
But, you ask, what does this have to do with us today? After all, there are no functioning Jewish priests today (March 2000). So, how is this valid to the Jewish Nation? How is this valid to Christians?
Well, as usual, you are thinking and those are good questions. And, there is a reason WHY these chapters are still valid today. Let's see if we can find out how and why the truths and principles concerning priests and holiness, which were given almost 3500 years ago, ARE still relevant and applicable to us today.
First, let's think about what we have read. Answer the following questions. (Circle the correct answer from the choices given below.)
As we mentioned earlier, to whom are Chapters 21 & 22 mainly directed?
a. Everyone in the nation IsraelDid the Priests, (to whom these laws, commands, rules, regulations, and directions are mainly given), seem to have to adhere to a higher standard in the way they lived and walked before God than the rest of the people did?
a. YesWhat were some of the things a priest could not do that the rest of the nation of Israel could do? To answer that, let's list, on the following chart, several of the many rules and regulations and, if a reason is given, note that also. (I will begin this assignment to show you how.)
Hmmmmmm. Yes, it is obvious that there were very detailed rules and standards imposed upon those who served as Priests for the Nation Israel before their Holy God. You noted some of them directly and the rest you observed as you filled in the blanks above. And, I assume that you correctly filled in the blanks in the last 4 rows as follows:
No priest with any defect can come near to God to serve Him and to present offerings to the Lord because this would defile God's sanctuary;
The Priests must treat with respect the sacred offerings so that they will not profane God's Holy Name.
No priest who is ceremonially unclean can come near the sacred offerings because God is Holy.
No priest can serve with any defect, skin disease, bodily discharge, etc. because this makes him unclean and, therefore, he and they will be treating God and His things with contempt.
But, not only were there things which defiled a priest so that he would
be unable to worship and serve God, but there were also acceptable and
unacceptable sacrifices. These are described in detail in verses
17-30 of Chapter 22. Let's look at a few of these and see what is
and is not acceptable to God as a sacrifice and why.
Again, let's chart our findings.
Wow! it is very obvious that God gave very stringent requirements and rules concerning worship, who could worship Him, how, and with what!
And, in case you are wondering, my answers to those blanks on the chart concerning acceptable and unacceptable sacrifices were: without, defect, accepted, defect, blemish, blind, injured, warts, sores, testicles, deformed, defects.
But, to continue -- Why? Why were there such strict and stringent
requirements concerning the lifestyles of the priests and why were the
details concerning the sacrifices so very important? Before you answer
this, ask yourself, "could there be a picture or a type or a shadow
being given in these requirements and sacrifices?" Yes, Of course.
So what, then is being pictured concerning the sacrifices, the priests
that offer them, and the way they are to be offered? (Write your answers
in the spaces below.)
Let's look at Hebrews 9:11-15, which is where the Bible, being its own commentary, explains this for us. I will include those verses here for you (or you can look them up in your own Bible). As you read these verses, mark every reference to Christ (or words such as He, Him, Himself, etc. used in place of the word, Christ) by putting a BLUE or RED CROSS on each occurrence of those words (or use a symbol or color of your choice). Also, every time you see the word BLOOD, put a red circle around that word.
11. When Christ came as high priest of the good things that are already here, He went through the greater and more perfect tabernacle that is not man-made, that is to say, not a part of this creation.There is another passage, that is no doubt well known to you, which also explains what Christ did when He died to pay the sin penalty and what His death sacrifice means to us today. I will put it here for you. As you read it, underline in RED the PURPOSE of Christ's life, death, and resurrection as it relates to sin -- yours, mine, and anyone who will let Jesus be their substitute sacrifice.
16. "For God so loved the world that he gave His one and only Son, that whoever believes in Him (Jesus) shall not perish but have eternal life..
Now let's think about what we have read, marked, and studied so far in this lesson. So, based on what we read in Chapters 21 and 22 of Leviticus and the "commentary" on these verses as recorded in Hebrews 9:11-15 and John 3:16-18, how would you sum up what God is teaching His priests and His people concerning Worship, Sacrifices, and Holiness? (Write your answer in the space below:)
Obviously, God gave very stringent requirements concerning Worship and the sacrifices had to be perfect and undefiled. We also learned that the priests had a much stricter lifestyle than the rest of the citizens of the Nation Israel. And, we have correctly seen that all of this is important because the sacrifices and the priests are picturing and prophesying the final ultimate and perfect sacrifice of Jesus. It will be Jesus' death that will pay the ultimate penalty for sin. After Jesus' sacrifice of Himself there will no longer be a need for the sacrifices of bulls and goats and etc. Why? Because they were only temporary. They were only shadows and pictures of the future sacrifice of Jesus. Jesus' blood is the ONLY blood that can pay the full, complete, and final penalty for sin. And, Jesus willingly and purposefully died to pay that death penalty for everyone, Jew or Gentile (non-Jew), who would accept His gift of His life as an atonement (substitute payment) for their sin.
Therefore, the underlying basic reason for the stringent requirements concerning the Priesthood and the reason that the priests had to be holy and the sacrifices had to be perfect and without blemish or defect was because they were illustrating the Holiness of Christ and of God the Father. They were picturing the fact that the Lord God Jesus Christ is perfect, sinless, and without blemish and, as such, is the only sacrifice which is acceptable to God for the payment for sin.
This is what God is picturing to His people, the Nation of Israel, in the rules and laws concerning the priesthood, holiness, and sacrifices. God, through these Old Testament sacrifices, was providing His people a way to have temporary holiness and forgiveness for sin as they awaited the final and ultimate fulfillment in the then future, perfect, substitute sacrifice -- the sacrifice of the LAMB OF GOD, the Lord Jesus Christ.
So, what does this tell us about Holy and Holiness?
Well, Obviously God is telling His people (and all who worship Him) that He (God) is _________ and all who worship Him must also serve and worship Him in ________ ways and with ___________ sacrifices and offerings and must live lives that are _______ and acceptable to God.
Indeed, their lives, actions, lifestyles, thoughts, everything must be ________ and pleasing to God.
And, if they are not ________ , if there are defects, impurities, ungodly, unholy things in their lives or offerings, then they and their offerings will ______ be acceptable to God! They will be considered ______________ to Him. They will be rejected.
Had this happened to them? Had there already been a time in their brief
history as a nation when there was an unholy sacrifice that was
rejected? Could the Jewish people recall a time when God showed
them that He means what He says? Was there a time in their recent
memory when God had rejected an unholy offering by unholy offerers (priests)?
Yes! Surely you recall that event and surely they did, too, for it was
very vivid and awesome. In the space below, briefly summarize that event
and, now knowing what you know about God's requirements for holiness, explain
why it happened. (Hint: recall the events of Leviticus 10).
Why? Why were they killed?
WOW! God is really serious about what He says and demands!
In fact, the seriousness of all these stringent requirements concerning holiness and the offering of holy sacrifices in holy ways is explained again in Malachi, the last book of the Old Testament. I will include that passage here for you and, as you read these verses, underline or highlight in BLACK all that you see that the priests were doing that had been forbidden in Leviticus. Also, underline or highlight in RED what God's response is concerning what they are doing.
1:6. "A son honors his father, and a servant his master. If I am a father, where is the honor due me? If I am a master, where is the respect due me?" says the LORD Almighty. "It is you, O priests, who show contempt for my name. "But you ask, `How have we shown contempt for your name?' 7. "You place defiled food on my altar. "But you ask, `How have we defiled you?' "By saying that the LORD's table is contemptible. 8. When you bring blind animals for sacrifice, is that not wrong? When you sacrifice crippled or diseased animals, is that not wrong? Try offering them to your governor! Would he be pleased with you? Would he accept you?" says the LORD Almighty. 9. "Now implore God to be gracious to us. With such offerings from your hands, will he accept you?"--says the LORD Almighty. 10. "Oh, that one of you would shut the temple doors, so that you would not light useless fires on my altar! I am not pleased with you," says the LORD Almighty, "and I will accept no offering from your hands. 11. My name will be great among the nations, from the rising to the setting of the sun. In every place incense and pure offerings will be brought to my name, because my name will be great among the nations," says the LORD Almighty. 12. "But you profane it by saying of the Lord's table, `It is defiled,' and of its food, `It is contemptible.' 13. And you say, `What a burden!' and you sniff at it contemptuously," says the LORD Almighty. "When you bring injured, crippled or diseased animals and offer them as sacrifices, should I accept them from your hands?" says the LORD. 14. "Cursed is the cheat who has an acceptable male in his flock and vows to give it, but then sacrifices a blemished animal to the Lord. For I am a great king," says the LORD Almighty, "and my name is to be feared among the nations. 2:1. "And now this admonition is for you, O priests. 2. If you do not listen, and if you do not set your heart to honor my name," says the LORD Almighty, "I will send a curse upon you, and I will curse your blessings. Yes, I have already cursed them, because you have not set your heart to honor me. 3. "Because of you I will rebuke your descendants ; I will spread on your faces the offal from your festival sacrifices, and you will be carried off with it. 4. And you will know that I have sent you this admonition so that my covenant with Levi may continue," says the LORD Almighty. 5. "My covenant was with him, a covenant of life and peace, and I gave them to him; this called for reverence and he revered me and stood in awe of my name. 6. True instruction was in his mouth and nothing false was found on his lips. He walked with me in peace and uprightness, and turned many from sin. 7. "For the lips of a priest ought to preserve knowledge, and from his mouth men should seek instruction--because he is the messenger of the LORD Almighty. 8. But you have turned from the way and by your teaching have caused many to stumble; you have violated the covenant with Levi," says the LORD Almighty. 9. "So I have caused you to be despised and humiliated before all the people, because you have not followed my ways but have shown partiality in matters of the law."Wow! We said it before, and we will say it again, God is really serious about what He says and demands!
But, you say, that was then and this is now. Surely God is not as demanding and exacting now. After all, we live in the time of Grace, right? So we can "get away with things" now, right? We can offer God whatever we want and whenever we want, and in whatever way we want, right?
God has not changed! God never changes. God is the same
yesterday, today, and forever! Therefore, the truths, concepts,
and principles underlying whatever God said or demanded in the past are
still valid today. God is still Holy and those who worship Him can
ONLY worship Him in acceptable ways, with acceptable sacrifices, and in
Well, before you conclude that God does not require His people, whether
Jews, Priests, or Christians, to be holy today, let's read what the Bible
says about "Priests" in the New Testament. I
will print several of the references to priests found in
the New Testament. And, as you read these verses, every time you
see the word, priest (or a word used as a synonym to mean the same
thing), UNDERLINE in GREEN or put a GREEN CIRCLE around each occurrence
of the word. Then, in the margin, write who it is that is
considered to be the "priest." I will do the first one for
you as an example.
Hmmmm. Very interesting. In each of these New Testament passages, the people referred to as priests were Christians. Hmmmm.
In the book of Leviticus, we saw that there were very definite guidelines and rules concerning the priesthood and sacrifices for those who were called to serve God as Priests to the Jewish Nation of Israel.
But, now we have we also seen in these New Testament passages (1 Peter and Revelation) that Christians are also referred to as Priests and that they are also given guidelines and that they are also expected to be holy and live holy lives!
WOW! What does this mean? Does this mean that Christians are to
offer sacrifices of animals? Of bulls and goats and etc?
Of course, Christians are not to offer sacrifices of animals -- of bulls and goats and etc. But why? Why not? (Write your answer in the space below.) Hint: Re-read Hebrews 9:11-15 and John 3:16-18.
Yes, you are absolutely correct, if you said that the reason that Christians do not offer sacrifices of bulls and goats is because there is no need for those sacrifices any more because Christ, the Lamb of God, has paid the once and for all sacrifice to atone for sins -- for all sins -- for all time -- for every person.
If, then, this is true, and it is, then how does a person get their
sins forgiven now today? What does a person have to "do" to be made holy
(to be saved, to have their sin penalty atoned for by blood)? (Write
your answer in the space below) (Hint: reread John 3:16-18)
OR are you trying to attain holiness by doing good deeds and good works, and trying to be "nice", and trying to obey the 10 Commandments and the myriad of other Old Testament laws and rules, and trying to be better than the next person, and depending on your works and actions to earn you salvation?
In other words, What are you depending on -- what are you doing or what have you done -- to be "saved" from the death penalty of your sins. (Circle your answer from the choices below).
a. Nothing, because I don't think it is really necessary to believe in Jesus for salvation.If your answer to that question was "g", then, you are a "Christian" (i.e. You believe in the Lord Jesus Christ and His blood sacrifice that atones for your sins and that has redeemed you from the death penalty of sin.).
Now, based on what you read in those verses in 1 Peter and Revelation, what did you discover that Christians are? Christians are _________________ of God.
Priests! Christians are priests?! Priests of God?! Yes, they are, we are! That is exactly how God looks at and considers His followers. Christians are priests; therefore, they are God's ambassadors, God's messengers, God's representatives. They are presenting and representing God to the world around them. And, as Priests, God's people are to be different! They are holy and are to live in such a way that this holiness, this priesthood, will be apparent to all.
In the book of Leviticus, we saw many of the requirements of the Priests of God to the Nation of Israel.
In the New Testament we find the requirements of the Priests of God (Christians) to the world.
Yes, the specific details of the priesthood and sacrifices recorded in the OT vs. those in the NT are different because we now live in the day of grace and Christ's sacrifice has paid the sin debt for us. Therefore, Christians today, for example, do not offer sacrifices of bulls, goats, lambs, etc. But, the foundational principles and concepts concerning holiness and service to a Holy God are unchanged.
So, with that in mind, the next question, then, is what are Christians, priests of God, to do? How are they to live? How are they to act? What is their lifestyle to be like? We know what the guidelines, rules, and regulations were for the priests of the Nation of Israel. But, what are the guidelines, rules, regulations, and expectations for Christians, as priests of God? To answer that, we need to know what is in the New Testament concerning this. Just as the priests and the people of the Old Testament needed to be thoroughly aquatinted with the Book of Leviticus, in the same way, Christians, as Priests of God to the world, need to be thoroughly aquatinted with the principles in the Old Testament as well as with the truths taught specifically to them in the New Testament.
Indeed, there are many places in the New Testament where Christians are told what God expects and desires from His people, Christians (Priests). We have read a few of these in the scriptures from 1 Peter and Revelation. There are more, but these are enough to give you a start in knowing what is expected of the Christian lifestyle as they (we) live and serve God as priests.
Re-read those verses in 1 Peter and Revelation, and, in the space below,
list what these verses teach concerning the lifestyle of a Christian
(priest of God). (I will begin this list for you as an example.)
1 Peter 2:1 ....get rid of all malice and all deceit, hypocrisy, envy, and slander of every kind.
Hmmmm. Verrrrrry interesting.
Now, let's take what we have learned in this lesson and draw some final conclusions.
You, no doubt, recall that, as we began this lesson, we said that the book of Leviticus contained guidelines and principles for the priests of Israel that are still applicable and necessary for anyone who desires to worship, serve, and fellowship with The Holy Creator and God of the Universe. We also said that the book of Leviticus needs to be studied in detail today, because what God told His Nation almost 4000 years ago contains concepts and principles that, though "ancient," still endure and are still essential in the 21st century and forever!
We also said that your first impression as we studied this lesson was likely going to be that "surely this has NO application for today!", because these chapters were mainly directed to the Priests of the Jewish nation. But, we assured you that you would discover how this is still applicable today. We also said that you would "figure this out" yourself. And, surely, now you have figured this out and you now know how the book of Leviticus in general and of the 2 chapters which we studied in this lesson, in particular, are applicable today.
So, thinking about all you have studied in this lesson and thus far
in this course, in the space below, explain in your own words how
and why this is still applicable today. In other words, How
and why are the concepts and principles taught to the priests and the nation
of Israel applicable to Christians (Priests of God to the world) today?
Wow, amazing, awesome! Yes, Christians are not to just accept Jesus as their Savior and redeemer and then continue to live as they had before. Quite the contrary! Instead, they are to live and serve the Lord Jesus Christ and God the Father, as priests!
Christians, having been redeemed and cleansed from sin by the precious blood sacrifice of the Lord God Jesus Christ, are holy. And, just as the priests of Israel were to live holy lives and worship and serve their God -- in the same way, Christians are priests of God to each other and to the world. Therefore, their lifestyle is also to be holy. They are also to serve and worship their God. They are also to be Holy. They are also to live in such a way as to introduce others to the God they serve and to show those others how to be saved from their own personal sin death penalty.
Do Christians, as priests, have to be "full time Church workers?" _________
Can and do Christians, as priests, have "secular" jobs such as teachers, store clerks, plumbers, lawyers, doctors, etc.? _______
Who are Christians, as priests, "ministering to" as they serve in their
daily tasks whether in full time Christian service as a Church worker or
Missionary or while being a teacher, clerk, etc.? (Be specific)
Are you a Christian? _________
If you are a Christian, then, do you understand that you are a Priest? ___________
What is your full time work or job? (student, teacher, clerk, doctor, lawyer, fireman, policeman, scientist, senator, pastor, music director, etc.) __________________
How can you / how should you live as a priest as you go about
your daily activities in your "full time" work or job? Think
about this and then list the things that you can do (and should do) as
you, as a Christian, serve as a Priest of God to those with whom you come
in contact each day. Be specific.
Why is there a higher standard? (Think about what you have learned
in this entire course so far and then write your answer in the space below)
The priests of the Nation of Israel were held to higher standards because, as Priests, they represented God to the people and served God on behalf of the people. They were God's ambassadors, priests, and servants. And. since God is Holy, they also were to be Holy in their actions, thoughts, deeds, dress, etc.
In the same way, Christians are also held to higher standards because,
as Priests, they also represent and serve God, They are also God's ambassadors,
priests, and servants. And. since God is Holy, they also are to be Holy
in their actions, thoughts, deeds, dress, etc.
Sin, all sin, must be atoned for before a person can be Holy, then or now.
In the Old Testament times (before Christ came), sacrifices of animals had to be offered repeatedly and they only provided a temporary atonement. Those Old Testament sacrifices pictured, as a shadow, the once and for all future final blood sacrifice of the coming Messiah, the Lord God Jesus Christ. Christ's sacrifice would be and is the ONLY sacrifice which would and could provide the once and for all final and complete atonement for sin.
That death and blood sacrifice of the Lord God Jesus Christ occurred on the Cross of Calvary almost 2000 years ago. It was followed 3 days later by His resurrection, proving that His sacrifice was acceptable and that He was God.
Now, anyone (Jew or Gentile) who will believe in and trust in Jesus as the substitute sacrifice for sin, can and will be saved from the penalty of sin.
There is no longer any need for animal sacrifices. Why? Because Jesus' sacrifice replaces them. The sacrifices described and detailed in the Book of Leviticus, were only temporary and shadows. Jesus' sacrifice was permanent and the real thing, the substance of the shadow.
Before Christ's perfect and final sacrifice, the temporary and incomplete sacrifices, offered in the Old Testament times, pictured the coming sacrifice of Christ.
Before Christ's perfect and final sacrifices, the Priests who offered the sacrifices were holy ambassadors of God and proclaimed by their ministry and the offering of sacrifices that there was a future final perfect sacrifice.
Today, after Christ's final and perfect sacrifice and resurrection from the dead, all Christians are to serve God as priests. And, as priests, Christians, are to also live holy lives so that people will learn of the God of the Universe, the God who loves everyone so much that He came and died in order to enable them (anyone who will believe in Him and accept his offering of forgiveness for sin) to be saved and to live forever with God in His kingdom.
So, yes, indeed, the truths of the book of Leviticus are still applicable for us today. This is not an old dusty musty book. Rather, it is a book filled with truths and concepts which are just as applicable today as when they were first recorded.
God is still on His throne. He is the same yesterday, today and forever. And He still has priests who serve Him in Holiness.
In the book of Leviticus, God's priests were set apart by their special garments, lifestyle, and actions.
Today, God's priests are Christians. They, too, are to live holy lives set apart from the world, clothed in the garment of Christ and living a life which glorifies God with actions which are holy and point others to Jesus!
If you are a Christian, you are a priest of God! Regardless
of what you "do" (teacher, preacher, lawyer, clerk, doctor, whatever...)
you are to live in such a way as to bring glory and honor to your God.
Therefore, do not defile your garments! Do not show contempt for or
defile your God or His Name. Honor God as a servant honors his master.
Show God the respect due to Him. Proclaim Him to the nations. Let your
life be such that it will turn many from sin. Teach His truth and let nothing
false be found on your lips. Preserve the knowledge of God. Be the
priest, the messenger, the ambassador of the Lord God Almighty. Walk in
peace and uprightness and set your heart to honor God.
.9 ...you (Christians) are a chosen people, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a people belonging to God, that you may declare the praises of Him Who called you out of darkness into His wonderful light. 10. Once you were not a people, but now you are the people of God; once you had not received mercy, but now you have received mercy. 1 Peter 2: 9-10.