Leviticus The holy people of a holy God

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2 Leviticus The holy people of a holy God Key verse: 20:26 You shall be holy to Me, for I the LORD am holy and have separated you from the peoples, that you should be Mine.

3 you were ransomed from the futile ways inherited from your forefathers, not with perishable things such as silver or gold, but with the precious blood of Christ 1 Pet. 1:18-19 Question: What is it about blood that makes it so precious? Lev. 17:11 we ll get to that in a bit.

4 Next question: If the blood of Jesus His Son cleanses us from all sin, (1 Jn. 1:7), then why did Jesus have to die? Why didn t He just bleed some and get it over with? I think I ll let John MacArthur touch on this

5 The meaning of the crucifixion, however, is not fully expressed in the bleeding alone. There was nothing supernatural in Jesus blood that sanctified those it touched. Those who flogged Him might have been spattered with blood. Yet that literal application of Jesus blood did nothing to purge their sins. Had the Lord bled without dying, redemption could not have been accomplished

6 If the atonement had been stopped before the full wages of sin had been satisfied, Jesus bloodshed would have been to no avail. If blood per se could redeem sinners, why did Jesus not just bleed and not die? He did not because the shedding of blood in Scripture is an expression that means more than just bleeding. John MacArthur The shedding of blood was the visible manifestation of Jesus life being poured out in sacrifice for sinners.

7 And yet another question: What is progressive revelation? Simply, God has revealed truth gradually, sequentially. For example, truth may be introduced early in the OT, developed later in the prophets, and revealed in its fullest form in the NT. So beginning in Genesis, what is revealed (big picture) about blood in Scripture?

8 The progressive revelation of blood in Scripture: Gen. 4:10-11 the shedding of innocent blood is very significant to God. Gen. 9:4 post-flood, God reveals that an animal s blood has special, or sacred, meaning. Ex. 12:7-13 the blood of a slain lamb showed that they belonged to God and was their protection from the killing plague. Lev. 17:11 the lifeblood of an animal was given as the means of atonement for sin. Is. 53:4-7, 10 the shed blood of a later substitute sin-bearer would result in salvation. We see the full, final revelation in 1 Pet. 1:18-19.

9 Lev. 17 The precious blood The chapter outlines fairly simply Animal sacrifice: Put the LORD 1 st v Animal blood: Put the LORD 1 st v Game animals: Put the LORD 1 st v Some of these items have already been addressed in chs. 1-7 and 11 ch. 17 draws together themes that run through the previous 16 chs. It is a hinge point in the book: Broadly speaking, chs contain ritual regulations for public life & worship; chs regulate the personal & private life of individuals.

10 Animal sacrifice: Put the LORD 1 st 17:1-9 V. 1-2 serve as Moses introduction to the laws of ch. 17 This is the thing that the LORD has commanded V. 3-7 deal with domestic animals killed outside the tabernacle, whether in the Israelites camp or outside of it. V. 8-9 address animals sacrificed outside of the tabernacle.

11 Animal sacrifice: Put the LORD 1 st 17:1-9 V. 3-7 are clearly temporary law: if they wanted to eat meat, the animal must be brought to the tabernacle as a peace offering. More on this shortly The priest would kill it appropriately, sprinkle the blood & burn the fat, then the person bringing the animal would receive the meat back to eat (cf. 3:1-17; 7:22-36). Notice the penalty: v. 4 pretty serious; the same penalty as murder.

12 A quick theological footnote What does cut off from among his people mean? Examples of this penalty: Gen. 17:14 (failure to circumcise); Ex. 12:14-19 (eating leaven during Passover); Ex. 31:14-15 (profaning the Sabbath); Lev. 7:20-21 (eating a sacrifice while unclean); & many others. In some cases it resulted in death at the hand of the congregation (Ex. 31:14-15), at other times by God s direct intervention (Lev. 10:1-3). Death was not the most serious consequence, however In all cases, it was grounded in theology: cut off from the covenant people, and thus from the covenant blessings & benefits. It was an indication of the person s heart condition, and a warning to others to not disregard the Lord s covenant.

13 Animal sacrifice: Put the LORD 1 st 17:1-9 Why such a harsh penalty for killing an animal outside of the tabernacle? V. 5-7 The problem was, once again, idolatry. A clear breach of the 1 st commandment. V. 8-9 address sacrifices made outside of the tabernacle, probably banned for the same reason given in v. 7. cf. 1 Cor. 10:20-21 Israel was Jewish in name and family, but Egyptian in culture after 400 years as slaves in Egypt. See Ex. 22:20.

14 Another quick theological footnote What about the sojourners/aliens in Israel? They were foreigners who loved the true God and His ways and sought to follow Him. But still foreigners, so many laws required Israel to be concerned for their situation i.e., Ex. 22:21; Lev. 19:10; Deut. 26:11; etc. Sojourners were often grouped in the Law with orphans & widows, and so deserving of charity & good will. Israel is often reminded that they were sojourners in Egypt, so be sensitive to their needs (Ex. 23:9). They were expected to conform to Israel s laws (i.e., Ex. 20:10; Lev. 16:29, 20:2, 24:16; etc.) NT Jews should not have had such a problem with Gentiles becoming partakers of the New Covenant the foundation is laid in the OT laws for the sojourners.

15 Animal sacrifice: Put the LORD 1 st 17:1-9 v. 1-9 are clearly temporary law what would happen when Israel entered the promised land and was scattered? Would they all have to become vegans?? Deut. 12:20-28 is the answer but notice the same prohibitions about blood and unlawful sacrifice.

16 Animal blood: Put the LORD 1 st 17:10-12 Okay Bible study principle: if it s repeated 6 times in 5 verses, it s important. The prohibition against eating blood is repeated 6 times in v It originates in the time of Noah (Gen. 9:4), and is restated in Lev. 7:26-27, Deut. 12 & 15, and 1 Sam. 14. But why? Why was eating blood prohibited? The answer; two reasons

17 The value and role of blood Lev. 17:11 The value of blood The life of the flesh is in the blood ; that is, when an animal loses its blood, it dies. The picture is that its blood gives it life. By not eating blood, life is honored; to eat the blood is to dishonor the life. The blood remains sacred; all life is a gift of God. So, the sanctity of human life is reflected in the prohibition to not eat blood.

18 The value and role of blood Lev. 17:11 The role of blood I have given it for you on the altar to make atonement for your souls make atonement to ransom, to pay a ransom. The ransom price for a human soul is not money, and it is not cheap it is the costliest thing we can imagine: the life of a substitute. Because God gave animal blood as the means of atonement for human sin, it must not be consumed by man.

19 Game animals: Put the LORD 1 st 17:13-16 First domesticated sacrificial animals are addressed but what about wild game? Do the same concerns apply? Did you have to drag your deer alive into the tabernacle to kill it? And what about the prohibitions of blood does the blood need to be drained? And what if an animal died naturally, could you use good meat from it? Vs answer those questions.

20 Game animals: Put the LORD 1 st 17:13-16 Only the blood prohibitions apply to wild game. If it dies naturally you don t know if the blood has been drained, so you might become unclean if you eat the meat. And so a cleansing ritual is specified.

21 A few observations from Lev. 17 We have seen this principle repeated over & over in Leviticus, and it sounds very simplistic, but it is worth repeating: Put the LORD first. That is why the Holy Spirit breathed out this book through Moses Lev. 19:2-4, 20:26. Israel and NT believers must learn God s values. We call it sanctification, the process of becoming increasingly conformed to Christ. Even when Israel hunted wild game, God came first. Why? The phrase is repeated often in Leviticus: I am the LORD.

22 A few observations from Lev. 17 Notice what will happen if the Israelites obey Lev. ch. 17 Eat for the glory of God. By this law the Lord dignified ordinary meals and made them a sacred experience. Warren Wiersbe See 1 Tim. 4:1-5 Paul corrects a mistaken view of holiness: holiness is not determined by what you abstain from. Rather, holiness is determined by applying biblical priorities and making wise choices for the glory of God. Thus, regular meals are made holy by the word of God and prayer.

23 A few observations from Lev. 17 Only once in Scripture are we ever told to drink blood. Know where that is? John 6: What is Jesus saying here? What He is NOT saying is that we must literally drink His blood. What He is NOT saying is that the Lord s Supper is eating His flesh/drinking His blood. Communion is not in view here. The meaning is this: Atonement is won for us in Christ s shed blood; therefore, we trust in His atoning death on our behalf.

24 A few observations from Lev. 17 Never forget the stunning benefits of the shed blood of Christ: Justified by His blood Rom. 5:9 Redeemed by His blood Eph. 1:7 A purified conscience by His blood Heb. 9:14 Confidence to approach God by His blood Heb. 10:19 Sanctified by His blood Heb. 13:12 Ransomed by His blood 1 Pet. 1:18-19 Cleansed by His blood 1 John 1:7, 9 Forgiveness through His blood Rev. 1:5 Conquer our enemy by His blood Rev. 12:10-11

25 I have given it for you on the altar to make atonement for your souls. --Lev. 17:11 There is a fountain filled with blood Drawn from Emmanuel s veins; And sinners, plunged beneath that flood, Lose all their guilty stains!

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