Overview of the book of Leviticus
Book of Leviticus is known as the book of rules. The ancient Israelites believed to follow these rules in order to be close to God. It is also the priestly code. It is the law that is applied to the sacrificial and ceremonial system. The book begins with the burnt offerings and ends with redemption. It is also a book about holiness.
The English title of Leviticus means “pertaining to the Levites.” The books give information about the practices of the priests and the laws concerning all the Israelites. The Hebrew title of this book was And He called and it all reminds about God’s call to holiness. ( Leviticus 11:45)
The word sacrifice in the book of Leviticus is used about 42 times. The word priest is used about 189 times. Blood is about to 86 times, holy for 87times, and atonement about 45 times. In the new testament, the Leviticus is about 90 times larger. The phrase I am the lord is used 45 times in this book. The phrase before the lord is found 58 times. The phrase unto the lord was found 74 times. The word Lord is used 303 times in 27 chapters in Leviticus. Elohim is used 53 times.
Who wrote Leviticus?
Moses is the human author of the old testament book of Leviticus. It is also known as the law of Moses. It is a part of the Torah. Moses is the one who received directives from God and He plays the main human character of this book.
The role of Leviticus in the bible
The book of Leviticus is all about holiness. it’s about God’s holiness and the holiness of His people. In exodus, The holiness of God displayed on a cosmic scale but whereas in Leviticus shows the holiness of God in fine detail. God spells out his expectations for His people and also priests so that they can worship and dwell with Him. The holiness in Leviticus is found in both the old and new testaments. Some of the Levitical laws were fulfilled in Jesus Christ. The call to holiness still stands today, Peter encourages us to be holy in all our behavior.
What is the book of Leviticus about
Chapters 1-13: God’s promise of blessing Chapters 14-39: God’s promise of cursing Chapters 40-43: God’s promise of remembrance if they confess Chapters 44-46: God’s promise to never reject them Divisions: The book of Leviticus was divided into subjects. It can be divided into three parts.
Priestly services 1-10
1. The sacrifices 1-7
- burnt offering
- Grain offering
- Peace offering
- Trespass offering
- Attending regulations
2. The priesthood 8-10
- Conduct 10
3. Time out for God 23-27
- The feasts
- Provisions for the tabernacle
- Blasphemy and retribution
- Seventh year and jubilee
- Blessings and cursing
- Laws of Redemption
Important characters in Leviticus
God( Yahweh): The whole book of Leviticus is about how the nation needs to live by following the rules and regulations in order to survive to live in the presence of such a powerful holy being.
Moses: He is the one who leads the Israelites from Egypt to Sinai. He also passed many laws to them on God’s behalf. In Leviticus, Moses also continued to list the ways to Israel and said them to stay pure enough to live along with God.
Aaron: He is the high priest of Israel and the brother of Moses. Leviticus’ narrative elements have a lot to do with Aaron, the high priest. He is consecrated as the high priest and his sons were also killed by God in this book.
Outline of Leviticus
A. The way to God: sacrifice, 1:1-10:20
Through the offerings, 1:1-7:38
- 1. The burnt offering, 1:1-17
- The grain offering, 2:1-16
- The peace offering,3:1-17
- The sin offering, 4:1-5:13
- The guilt offering, 5:14-6:7
- Added instructions concerning the offerings, 6:8-7:38
2. Through the priests, 8:1-10:20
- The consecration to priestly service, 8:1-36
- The inauguration of priestly service,9
- The sacrilege of priestly service: 10:1-20
B. The walk with God: sanctification, 11:1-27:34
Laws concerning purity, 11:1-15:33
- In relation to food,11:1-47
- In relation to childbirth, 12:1-8
- In relation to leprosy,13:1-14:57
- In relation to the body, 15:1-33
C. law of the day of atonement, 16:1-34
- Preparation, 16:1-4
- Instructions, 16:29-34
D. Laws concerning sacrificing,17:1-16
E. Laws concerning standards for the people, 18:1-20:27
- Concerning sexual relationships, 18:1-30
- Concerning daily life, 19:1-37
- Concerning heinous offenses, 20:1-27
F. laws concerning standards for the priests, 21:1-22:16
G. Laws concerning offerings, 22:17-33
H. Laws concerning Festivals, 23:1-44
- The sabbath,23:1-3
- The Passover and Unleavened Bread, 23:4-8
- Firstfruits, 23:9-14
- Pentecost, 23:15-22
- Trumpets, 23: 23-25
- The day of atonement, 23:26-32
- Booths, 23:33-44
I. laws concerning the oil, bread, and blasphemy, 24:1-23
J. Laws concerning the sabbath year,25:1-7
K. Laws concerning the year of jubilee, 25:8-55
L. Laws concerning obedience, 26:1-46
M. Laws concerning vows and Tithes, 27:1-34
Key themes in Leviticus
The two main key themes in the book of Leviticus were Holiness and cleanliness and uncleanliness. Holiness: The word Holy means set apart. God is holy and also far greater in love, power, goodness, and justice than humans. God has also communicated with humans and in some cases, He has also appeared privately and has yet to publicly manifest his presence on earth since the garden of Eden. But all these were changed.
God has made Israel his people and wanted them to represent him on earth. He has established his presence in the tabernacle, a holy place where God can dwell in the midst of his people. If people need to live in the presence of God, then something will need to change. God is holy so the people of Israel should be holy. Cleanliness and uncleanliness: If people want to get closer to God, they need to be purer in order to survive. The ancients understood the holiness in terms of whether something was clean or unclean. It means a sense of purity.
The core theme of the book of Leviticus is when someone is operating in alignment with God’s purity laws and they are said to be clean. When someone is out of their bounds then they are unclean. The book of Leviticus will explain a lot to say about how to stay clean and how to become clean again.
Leviticus in context
Leviticus is the middle book of the Torah, the first five books of the bible. In Genesis, we saw Israel’s origin story. At the tower of Babel, God and divine beings scattered the families of the world into nations with their own languages. After a few generations, God chooses Abraham as the patriarch of his nation.
In Exodus, Abraham’s descendants were multiplied by becoming mighty people. The pharaoh enslaved the people for a few centuries until God rescued them. After the release of the bondage of Israel from Egypt, God made a special agreement with Israel by making them his own people and himself their only God. Then the people built a tabernacle and God began to dwell among his people.
In Leviticus, we see Yahweh is publicly living with his people. The people of Israel stay at mount Sinai throughout the book.
Book of Leviticus summary
The purpose of this book was God’s people must be holy. The book of Exodus ends with the erection of the tabernacle. The people of Israel built the tabernacle according to God’s pattern given to Moses. In this book, it tells about how Israel people use the Tabernacle to meet with God. The book also reveals the sinfulness of man and God’s provision to forgive and cleanse man of sins. It also explains how they are to be his holy people and worship him in a holy manner.