Today we begin our study of Leviticus Chapter One.
For the Complete Jewish Bible, click here.
For the King James version, click here.
Adonai called to Moshe and spoke to him from the tent of meeting. He said, “Speak to the people of Israel; say to them, ‘When any of you brings an offering to Adonai, you may bring your animal offering either from the herd or from the flock.-Leviticus 1:1-2
Okay, FINALLY we can now begin to get into the actual Scriptural text itself.
I remind you that what we are about to study in Leviticus is the PRIESTLY WORLDVIEW.
Everything will be from the perspective of God’s newly formed group of priests who all come from the tribe of Levi.
Keep in mind that the foundational principle behind the Sacrificial System is SUBSTITUTION.
In other words, the deaths of all the animals we will read about were SUBSTITUTING or taking the place of what should have been the deaths of the Israelites who were guilty of sinning against the Lord.
Let’s also not forget that Leviticus is just a continuation of Exodus and should be read that way.
The Bible is to be read in consecutive order starting from beginning to end, not starting at the Gospel of John.
Also, I don’t think I mentioned this yet, but be aware that the sacrificial system was about much more than atoning for sin.
Several of the God-ordained sacrifices actually had nothing to do with sin, but we’ll get into those details soon enough.
Okay, let’s start by taking a look at the opening words of Leviticus “Now Adonai called to Moses…“.
In Hebrew, this phrase is VAYIKRA and this also happens to be the name the Jews give to this book the gentiles call Leviticus, which is just its Greek name.
Wrapped up in this one little word is some weighty significance that is important for us to grasp.
What’s happening here is that the Lord is about to deliver a very formal and important address to the people.
This is similar to when the President of the United States of America delivers a speech from his desk in the Oval Office.
We know that the words we are about to hear are meant to have a special impact and meaning and carry much more importance than a regular press conference or interview.
This is a special event that is about to occur!
The ceremonial procedures here are actually pretty identical to what happened back in Exodus when the Lord called to Moses from the top of Mount Sinai in order to give him the Law.
However, instead of the Law, this time Moses is about to receive the Sacrificial System that would appease the wrath of the Lord when men offended Him.
Can you see how the Lord is making a formal distinction between The Law and the Sacrificial System?
The importance of that one little word VAYIKRA (Now He “called”) underscores the fact that a special event of great magnitude is about to take place.
This is the preamble the Lord used when He told Moses to come up and receive The Law in the Book of Exodus.
And the very same preamble is being used here, but this time the Lord will give Moses the Sacrificial System.
In Exodus, the Lord gave Moses the definition of sin and the consequences for sinning.
Just as the Lord gave Adam and Eve that one command to NOT eat from the Tree of Good and Evil, so in Exodus the Lord placed in front of Israel a list of moral choices that each Israelite could decide to either obey or disobey.
However, here in Leviticus the Lord is delivering that other part of His justice system-the part that provides atonement and forgiveness when somebody breaks the Law code or sins.
And as I’ve already mentioned, atonement under the Levitical sacrificial system was ONLY FOR UNINTENTIONAL SINS.
I’m going to keep hammering this point home because it is this specific aspect of the sacrificial system-that it provided atonement for ONLY unintentional sins -that causes Paul to explain Yeshua’s sacrifice as superior to the Sacrificial System.
Finally, notice verse 2 where it says, “Speak to the people of Israel” or in Hebrew BENEI YISRA’EL.
This make clear that the Lord is speaking ONLY to Israel, nobody else.
The Lord draws very strict boundaries between peoples groups, nations and worship practices.
God excludes those who are not His People, which is ONLY Israel, and this fact hasn’t changed today.
However, understand when I say “only Israel”, I am also referring to that mixed multitude who enjoined themselves unto Israel when they left Egypt.
Let’s take a quick look at that term BENEI YISRAE’L.
Literally, it would mean the “young” or “youth of Israel”.
Most Bibles translate it as “the children of Israel”.
However, to accurately reflect our modern thinking, it would be best to just say “the Israelite people”.
This expression doesn’t mean just the “young” or “children” of Israel but all those who have Jacob’s blood flowing through their veins.
This expression is basically referring to the genealogical descendants of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob.
But later on, thousands upon thousands of foreigners (GER) would join and continue to join Israel, as it is happening today through faith in Israel’s Messiah.
Understand that BENEI Y’ISRAEL is a national term.
It would be like saying “the American people”.
CONNECTING THIS TEACHING TO THE NEW TESTAMENT
“Therefore, remember your former state:
you Gentiles by birth
— called the Uncircumcised by those who,
merely because of an operation on their flesh,
are called the Circumcised
— at that time had no Messiah.
You were estranged from the national life of Isra’el.
You were foreigners to the covenants
embodying God’s promise.
You were in this world
without hope and without God.”