Posts Tagged ‘Leviticus’


Under Gods Command (Book of Leviticus)

Standards for the People

Unlawful Sexual Relations

After the sacrificial system for forgiving sins was in place, the people were instructed on how to live as forgiven people. Applying these standards to our lives helps us grow in obedience and please God

18:4-30 4You must obey my laws and be careful to follow my decrees. I am the LORD your God. 5Keep my decrees and laws, for the person who obeys them will live by them. I am the LORD.

    6“ ‘No one is to approach any close relative to have sexual relations. I am the LORD.

    7“ ‘Do not dishonor your father by having sexual relations with your mother. She is your mother; do not have relations with her.

    8“ ‘Do not have sexual relations with your father’s wife; that would dishonor your father.

    9“ ‘Do not have sexual relations with your sister, either your father’s daughter or your mother’s daughter, whether she was born in the same home or elsewhere.

    10“ ‘Do not have sexual relations with your son’s daughter or your daughter’s daughter; that would dishonor you.

    11“ ‘Do not have sexual relations with the daughter of your father’s wife, born to your father; she is your sister.

    12“ ‘Do not have sexual relations with your father’s sister; she is your father’s close relative.

    13“ ‘Do not have sexual relations with your mother’s sister, because she is your mother’s close relative.

    14“ ‘Do not dishonor your father’s brother by approaching his wife to have sexual relations; she is your aunt.

    15“ ‘Do not have sexual relations with your daughter-in-law. She is your son’s wife; do not have relations with her.

    16“ ‘Do not have sexual relations with your brother’s wife; that would dishonor your brother.

    17“ ‘Do not have sexual relations with both a woman and her daughter. Do not have sexual relations with either her son’s daughter or her daughter’s daughter; they are her close relatives. That is wickedness.

    18“ ‘Do not take your wife’s sister as a rival wife and have sexual relations with her while your wife is living.

(God prohibited marrying relatives for physical, social, and moral reasons. Children born to near relatives may experience serious health problems. Without these specific laws, sexual promiscuity would have been more likely, first in families, then outside. Improper sexual relations destroy family life.)

    19“ ‘Do not approach a woman to have sexual relations during the uncleanness of her monthly period.

    20“ ‘Do not have sexual relations with your neighbor’s wife and defile yourself with her.

    21“ ‘Do not give any of your children to be sacrificed to Molek, for you must not profane the name of your God. I am the LORD.

    22“ ‘Do not have sexual relations with a man as one does with a woman; that is detestable.

    23“ ‘Do not have sexual relations with an animal and defile yourself with it. A woman must not present herself to an animal to have sexual relations with it; that is a perversion.

    24“ ‘Do not defile yourselves in any of these ways, because this is how the nations that I am going to drive out before you became defiled. 25Even the land was defiled; so I punished it for its sin, and the land vomited out its inhabitants. 26But you must keep my decrees and my laws. The native-born and the foreigners residing among you must not do any of these detestable things, 27for all these things were done by the people who lived in the land before you, and the land became defiled.

(Several detestable activities are listed here: (1) having sexual relations with close relatives, (2) committing adultery, (3) offering children as sacrifices, (4) having homosexual relations, and (5) having sexual relations with animals. These practices were common in pagan religions and cultures, and it is easy to see why God dealt harshly with those who began to follow them.)

28And if you defile the land, it will vomit you out as it vomited out the nations that were before you.

    29“ ‘Everyone who does any of these detestable things—such persons must be cut off from their people. 30Keep my requirements and do not follow any of the detestable customs that were practiced before you came and do not defile yourselves with them. I am the LORD your God.’ ”

(Several detestable activities are listed here: (1) having sexual relations with close relatives, (2) committing adultery, (3) offering children as sacrifices, (4) having homosexual relations, and (5) having sexual relations with animals. These practices were common in pagan religions and cultures, and it is easy to see why God dealt harshly with those who began to follow them. Such practices lead to disease, deformity, and death. They disrupt family life and society and reveal a low regard for the value of oneself and of others. Society today takes some of these practices lightly, even trying to make them acceptable. But they are still sins in God’s eyes. If you consider them acceptable, you are not judging by God’s standards.)

Lets Bring it home: Such practices lead to disease, deformity, and death. They disrupt family life and society and reveal a low regard for the value of oneself and of others. Society today takes some of these practices lightly, even trying to make them acceptable. But they are still sins in God’s eyes. If you consider them acceptable, you are not judging by God’s standards.


Under Gods Command (Book of Leviticus)

Standards for the People

Unlawful Sexual Relations

(18:1—27:34) After the sacrificial system for forgiving sins was in place, the people were instructed on how to live as forgiven people. Applying these standards to our lives helps us grow in obedience and please God

   18:1-3  1The LORD said to Moses, 2“Speak to the Israelites and say to them: ‘I am the LORD your God. 3You must not do as they do in Egypt, where you used to live, and you must not do as they do in the land of Canaan, where I am bringing you. Do not follow their practices.

The Israelites moved from one idol-infested country (Egypt) to another (Canaan). They also had contact with other cultures (Moab). As God helped them form a new culture, he warned them to leave all aspects of their pagan background and surroundings behind. He also warned them how easy it would be to slip into the pagan culture of Canaan, where they were going. Canaan’s society and religions appealed to worldly desires, especially sexual immorality and drunkenness. The Israelites were to keep themselves pure and set apart for God. God did not want his people absorbed into the surrounding culture and environment.

Lets Bring it Home: Society may pressure us to conform to its way of life and thought, but yielding to that pressure will (1) create confusion as to which side we should be on and (2) eliminate our effectiveness in serving God. Follow God by obeying his Word, and don’t let the culture around you mold your thoughts and actions.


Under Gods Command (Book of Leviticus)
Eating Blood Forbidden

17:11-14For the life of a creature is in the blood, and I have given it to you to make atonement for yourselves on the altar; it is the blood that makes atonement for one’s life 12Therefore I say to the Israelites, “None of you may eat blood, nor may any foreigner residing among you eat blood.”
13“ ‘Any Israelite or any foreigner residing among you who hunts any animal or bird that may be eaten must drain out the blood and cover it with earth, 14because the life of every creature is its blood. That is why I have said to the Israelites, “You must not eat the blood of any creature, because the life of every creature is its blood; anyone who eats it must be cut off.”

(How does blood make atonement for sin? When offered with the right attitude, the sacrifice and the blood shed from it made forgiveness of sin possible. On the one hand, blood represented the sinner’s life, infected by his sin and headed for death. On the other hand, the blood represented the innocent life of the animal that was sacrificed in place of the guilty person making the offering. The death of the animal (of which the blood was proof) fulfilled the penalty of death. God therefore granted forgiveness to the sinner. It is God who forgives based on the faith of the person doing the sacrificing.)

(Why was eating or drinking blood prohibited? The prohibition against eating blood can be traced all the way back to Noah (Genesis 9:4). God prohibited eating or drinking blood for several reasons: (1) To discourage pagan practices. Israel was to be separate and distinct from the foreign nations around them. Eating blood was a common pagan practice. It was often done in hopes of gaining the characteristics of the slain animal (strength, speed, etc.). God’s people were to rely on him, not on ingested blood, for their strength. (2) To preserve the symbolism of the sacrifice. Blood symbolized the life of the animal that was sacrificed in the sinner’s place. To drink it would change the symbolism of the sacrificial penalty and destroy the evidence of the sacrifice. (3) To protect the people from infection because many deadly diseases are transmitted through the blood.)

Lets Bring it Home: The Jews took this prohibition seriously, and that is why Jesus’ hearers were so upset when Jesus told them to drink his blood (John 6:53-56). However, Jesus, as God himself and the last sacrifice ever needed for sins, was asking believers to identify with him completely. He wants us to take his life into us, and he wants to participate in our lives as well.


Under Gods Command (Book of Leviticus)

Disobedience can Kill

10:1-2 Aaron’s sons Nadab and Abihua took their censers, put fire in them and added incense; and they offered unauthorized fire before the LORD, contrary to his command. 2So fire came out from the presence of the LORD and consumed them, and they died before the LORD.

What was the “unauthorized fire” that Nadab and Abihu offered before the Lord? The nature of Nadab and Abihu’s wrongdoing is debated, but it clearly involved the burning of incense. The “unauthorized fire” could mean “foreign” (as in Psalm 44:20; 81:9), and thus “unauthorized” (see Exodus 30:9) or even “pagan.” Apparently, Nadab and Abihu used fire from a source not approved by God (Numbers 3:4; 26:61), possibly even a pagan source. It has also been suggested that the two priests gave an offering at an unprescribed time. Whatever explanation is correct, the point is that Nadab and Abihu abused their office as priests in a flagrant act of disrespect to God, who had just reviewed with them precisely how they were to conduct worship. As leaders, they had special responsibility to obey God. In their position, they could easily lead many people astray.

Aaron’s sons were careless about following the laws for sacrifices. In response, God destroyed them with a blast of fire. Performing the sacrifices was an act of obedience. Doing them correctly showed respect for God. It is easy for us to grow careless about obeying God, to live our way instead of God’s. But if one way were just as good as another, God would not have commanded us to live his way. He always has good reasons for his commands, and we always place ourselves in danger when we consciously or carelessly disobey them.

Lets Bring it Home: If God has commissioned you to lead or teach others, never take that role for granted or abuse it. Stay faithful to God and follow his instructions.


Under Gods Command (Book of Leviticus)
Leviticus 6:12-13

12The fire on the altar must be kept burning; it must not go out. Every morning the priest is to add firewood and arrange the burnt offering on the fire and burn the fat of the fellowship offerings on it.
13The fire must be kept burning on the altar continuously; it must not go out. 
While the previous offerings and sacrifices were ones that the people did, the section from 6:8–7:38 deals with general and continual priestly duties. The burnt offering was presented in the morning and evening for the whole nation (see Exodus 29:38-43). The holy fire on the altar had to keep burning because God had started it. This represented God’s continual presence in the sacrificial system. It showed the people that only by God’s gracious favor could their sacrifices be acceptable.

Lets Bring it Home: God’s fire is present in each believer’s life today. He lights the fire when the Holy Spirit comes to live in us, and he tends it so that we will grow in grace as we walk with him. When we are aware that God lives in us, we have confidence to come to him for forgiveness and restoration. We can carry out our work with strength and enthusiasm.


Under Gods Command (Book of Leviticus)

Leviticus 5:14-19 (The Guilt Offering)

14 – 19 The LORD said to Moses: 15“When anyone is unfaithful to the LORD by sinning unintentionally in regard to any of the LORD’s holy things, they are to bring to the LORD as a penalty a ram from the flock, one without defect and of the proper value in silver, according to the sanctuary shekel. It is a guilt offering. 16They must make restitution for what they have failed to do in regard to the holy things, pay an additional penalty of a fifth of its value and give it all to the priest. The priest will make atonement for them with the ram as a guilt offering, and they will be forgiven.

    17“If anyone sins and does what is forbidden in any of the LORD’s commands, even though they do not know it, they are guilty and will be held responsible. 18They are to bring to the priest as a guilt offering a ram from the flock, one without defect and of the proper value. In this way the priest will make atonement for them for the wrong they have committed unintentionally, and they will be forgiven. 19It is a guilt offering; they have been guilty of wrongdoing against the LORD.” 

The guilt offering was a way of taking care of sin committed unintentionally. It was for those who sinned in some way against “holy things”—the tabernacle or the priesthood—as well as for those who unintentionally sinned against someone. In either case, a ram with no defects had to be sacrificed, plus those harmed by the sin had to be compensated for their loss, plus a 20 percent penalty.

Lets Bring it Home: Even though Christ’s death has made guilt offerings unnecessary for us today, we still need to make things right with those we hurt.


Under Gods Command (Book of Leviticus)

Leviticus 4 (The Sin Offering) 

1-3: The LORD said to Moses, 2“Say to the Israelites: ‘When anyone sins unintentionally and does what is forbidden in any of the LORD’s commands   

  3“ ‘If the anointed priest sins, bringing guilt on the people, he must bring to the LORD a young bull without defect as a sin offering for the sin he has committed

The sin offering was for those who: (1) committed a sin without realizing it or (2) committed a sin out of weakness or negligence as opposed to outright rebellion against God. Both individuals and groups could be guilty of unintentional sin. Different animals were sacrificed for the different kinds of sin. The death of Jesus Christ was the final sin offering in the Bible

13-14 “ ‘If the whole Israelite community sins unintentionally and does what is forbidden in any of the LORD’s commands, even though the community is unaware of the matter, when they realize their guilt 14and the sin they committed becomes known, the assembly must bring a young bull as a sin offering and present it before the tent of meeting.

22-25“ ‘When a leader sins unintentionally and does what is forbidden in any of the commands of the LORD his God, when he realizes his guilt 23and the sin he has committed becomes known, he must bring as his offering a male goat without defect. 24He is to lay his hand on the goat’s head and slaughter it at the place where the burnt offering is slaughtered before the LORD. It is a sin offering. 

27-29 “ ‘If any member of the community sins unintentionally and does what is forbidden in any of the LORD’s commands, when they realize their guilt 28and the sin they have committed becomes known, they must bring as their offering for the sin they committed a female goat without defect. 29They are to lay their hand on the head of the sin offering and slaughter it at the place of the burnt offering. 

In this way the priest will make atonement for the man’s sin, and he will be forgiven. (This statement is mention 4 times in Chapter 4 after each Offering). 

Have you ever done something wrong without realizing it until later? Although your sin was unintentional, it was still sin. God’s commands served to make the Israelites aware of their sins (even the unintentional ones) so they could be forgiven for them, and to keep the people from repeating those sins. Leviticus 4 and 5 mention some of these unintentional sins and the way the Israelites could be forgiven for them.

Lets Bring it Home: As you read more of God’s laws, keep in mind that they were meant to teach and guide the people. Let them help you become more aware of sin in your life.