Reading Schedule and Intro
Today’s Bible Reading is Leviticus 7-11
Wednesday, Feb. 7: Leviticus 12-16
Thursday, Feb. 8: Leviticus 17-21
Friday, Feb. 9: Leviticus 22-27
Next week we will go back to the apostles’ writings, to the Gospel of Mark. The overall year’s plan is here.
My commentaries are sometimes long. The Bible is the priority. Read it first, and my commentaries are carefully sectioned so you can find the passage you may want help on. Please use the comment section of my blog if I missed something or you have something to add!
Leviticus 7:1-10: The Priest’s Portion of the Guilt Offering
The Law has already told us what portions of the sacrifices go to the priests. This passage tells us to which priests. Some portions go to the priest who offers, and some is for all the household of Aaron.
Leviticus 7:11-18: The Peace or Thanksgiving Offering
I’m pretty certain that the peace offering is an offering that the offerer could eat of with the priest. It’s a little difficult to distinguish who all the pronouns (the hes and hims) apply to, but as we read more about the peace offering, it becomes more clear than the offerer gets to eat it in fellowship with the priests and with God.
You will find as we go through the Law that God wanted his people together, reminding each other of their covenant relationship with God.
This peace offering is a freewill offering, brought by any person who wants to express thanksgiving or just devotion. For thanksgiving all the meat has to be eaten the same day. If it’s an offering out of devotion, the meat can be eaten until the second day.
Leviticus 7:19-21: Rules for Fellowship with God
The peace offering is a great picture. Basically, it’s a barbeque with the Lord God Almighty, his priests representing him.
But throughout these next few chapters, we shall see that God distinguishes between what is clean and unclean. You can take advantage of free, open fellowship with God, but only if you are clean. If you are not clean, you will be cut off from the people as soon as you eat from that peace offering.
This idea reminds me of the parable in Matthew 22:2-14. The king in that parable invited everyone to the wedding, but when one was found without a wedding garment, he was ‘bound hand and foot and cast into utter darkness’ (v. 12-13).
Leviticus 7:22-27: Fat and Blood
Eating fat and blood are forbidden to the Israelites. Oddly enough, when the council in Jerusalem, some 1500 years later, meets to discuss what "necessary" laws must be kept by the Gentiles, the prohibition against eating blood is one of only four mentioned! (Acts 15:20).
Leviticus 7:28-36: Aaron’s Portion of the Peace Offering
Notice that only the breast and right thigh are given to Aaron. That’s the reason I was pretty sure that the peace offering is a sacrifice that the offerer and the priests shared together. Somehow, this aspect of free access to fellowship with the priests and thus with God seems delightful to me.
Leviticus 8:1-36: The Consecration of Aaron and His Sons
Wiser men than I have found incredible spiritual meaning in the consecration of the high priests, and as you advance in your spiritual studies, it is good to study at least a book or two on the symbolism in sacrificial and ceremonial aspects of the Law.
One thing I do like to point out in this passage is that blood was applied to the right ear, right thumb, and right big toe of Aaron and his sons. These things are never for no reason. God is asking Aaron to consecrate his hearing, his doing, and his walking (his direction in life) over to God. He was his own man, but now he is holy, set apart to God.
Further there is nothing easy about what God set up. It took a long time to do this consecration with Aaron and his sons, and there was a lot of beauty and color involved. There were jewels in the breastplate, a decorative belt, etc.
God does not despise ceremony! He wants the ceremony to be real and directed heavenward, but he doesn’t despise ceremony. Thus, entering Jerusalem on a donkey with a crowd shouting, "Hosanna! Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord!," was a ceremony he initiated and welcomed. The crowd at the temple, however, bent on making money, he dispersed with a whip.
One more comment. If you read last week’s reading, the last half of Exodus, then you realize how much careful description God put into the tabernacle and how very much work it took to create it.
The will of God is always worth the effort. And he will always provide the people and the grace to do what is needed (Ex. 31:2-6).
Leviticus 9:1-24: The Priest and Tabernacle Are Consecrated
This is the height of glory for Israel in the wilderness. Aaron is consecrated, and he offers all the burnt, guilt, and peace offerings that the Lord describes. At the final sacrifice, fire from God comes out of the Tent of Meeting and consumes the burnt offering, both terrifying and thrilling the people.
Leviticus 10:1-3: Disaster Strikes
I will tell you from experience that if God begins to move, and there is not some authority to prevent it from happening, then excited, selfish fools will take over the Lord’s work, effectively killing it.
There is no room among those that the Lord has called to shepherd his people for the modern "everyone means well" idea. The Lord has enemies, his church has enemies, and satan’s servants strive to look like servants of righteousness (2 Cor. 11:14-15). A shepherd must be able to handle God’s authority, not create his own, and he must be able to silence those who would lead God’s sheep astray (Tit. 1:5-11).
This was not a new church among thousands in the world. This was God establishing the nation of Israel for the first time, and no one was going to jump in and guide it in their own way. When Nadab and Abihu did something that was not prescribed for them to do, he struck them dead.
Leviticus 10:4-15: Reacting to the Death of Aaron’s Sons
Moses had to tell Aaron that the congregation would do Aaron’s mourning for him. He is the Lord’s anointed, still wearing the anointing oil, he must put God first and honor God’s will above even the death of his own sons.
I do not want you to be ignorant, brothers, about those who have fallen asleep [i.e., died]. I do not want you to sorrow like those who have no hope. If we believe that Jesus died and rose again, then in the same way, God will bring those who sleep in Jesus with him. For this we say to you by the word of the Lord, that we who are alive and remain until the returning of the Lord shall not precede those who are asleep. For the Lord himself shall descend from heaven with a shout, with the voice of the Chief Messenger, and with the trumpet of God. The dead in Christ shall rise first, then we who are alive and remain shall be caught up together with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air. In this way we will always be with the Lord. Therefore, comfort one another with these words. (1 Thess. 4:13-18)
Aaron did so.
He and his two remaining sons got on with the rest of their business and did not mourn.
We have already seen, when we read Matthew’s Gospel, that Jesus was not afraid to make similarly hard demands. That’s not strange because Jesus, being the very Word of God, was the producer of the Law of Moses every bit as much as he was the producer of the new covenant.
Leviticus 10:16-20: Oops, We Missed Something!
God can be very picky because he knows what will result in the future. We are not God. We are not prognosticators who know what someone else does tomorrow.
We are, however, children of God who can learn discernment. We can learn to recognize that men like Nadab and Abihu will completely throw the work of God off track, and we can rise up and stop them.
On the other hand, other things have little effect on the future. God is sometimes puzzlingly merciful on such issues.
Moses is trying to be a stickler for God’s commands in this passage, but with a little talk he realizes that this issue is not one to be harsh about.
Leviticus 11:1-47: Clean and Unclean
Here are the food laws. The Israelites could eat animals that chew the cud and part the hoof. They could eat fish that have fins and scales. There are specific birds listed as unclean.
Now we’ve already read that Jesus dismissed the carnal version of the food laws because nothing going into a person can defile him (Matt 15:16-20).
There are those that believe that God gave the Israelites these food rules to keep them from health problems living in the wilderness. Perhaps this is true. I have to approach the Hebrew Scriptures, though, as if they are physical likenesses of spiritual realities because that is how Jesus (Matt 5:21ff) and the apostles approached them (1 Cor. 9:8-14).
There are lessons we can learn, even about each of the birds that are listed. (Notice the bat is listed among the birds; the Bible is not meant to be a science book. There was no study of the classification of animals in Moses’s time.)
Why would we want to beware of eagle-natured men in the church? Of a vulture nature? What about the raven, or the owl?
What is true of fish with fins and scales that is not true of fish without them? Many fish without scales are bottom dwellers, feeding off refuse. We’re not to be like them.
God, apparently, did not want a people that ate bugs and centipedes. He wanted his people to have a care for how their lives reflected upon him. Why, then would grasshoppers, locusts, and crickets be an exception to not eating bugs?
This last section has some speculation in it. You are welcome to disagree with me because the issue is not to get the right answer. The issue is to be led forward in your walk with Jesus Christ, experiencing your peace offerings of thanksgiving, the freedom to go boldly to his throne (Heb. 4:16).
The issue is for each church, together, each part doing its share (Eph. 4:16), to learn from everything the Scriptures have to give them. As a church pursues a deep and practical love for God, God will always take up teaching them, and they will be able to trust his teaching (1 Jn. 2:27).