The Book of Leviticus

The name Leviticus is taken from the Septuagint, identifying the section of the Pentateuch which we call
Leviticus. The Hebrew word for the book is wayiqraa, which, according to Strong’s a primitive root definition comes
from qara, and which has the sense of calling a person by name. This name is based on the opening sentence of ch. 1:1
- “The LORD called to Moses and spoke to him from the Tent of Meeting.”
We reject the idea that this book would have belonged to the Priests’ Codex, which, supposedly, came into
existence after the Babylonian captivity. Thirty-four times we read: “The Lord spoke to Moses” or similar expressions.
It is only reasonable to suppose that we read the authentic account of words God spoke to Moses and of revelations
that were given to him. Actually, the book should be divided into thirty-four chapters if we take wayiqraa as the
heading of each chapter. God’s communications were given on Mount Sinai, as well as in the Tent of Meeting. In ch.
7:37-38 we read: “These, then, are the regulations for the burnt offering, the grain offering, the sin offering, the guilt
offering, the ordination offering and the fellowship offering, which the LORD gave Moses on Mount Sinai on the day
he commanded the Israelites to bring their offerings to the LORD, in the Desert of Sinai.” And ch. 27:34 says: “These
are the commands the LORD gave Moses on Mount Sinai for the Israelites.” And then again, the first verse of the book
speaks of the Tent of Meeting.
If we read through Leviticus in a superficial way it makes for rather dull reading; a dry piece of literature. If
we look at the book, however, as a handbook for sanctification in the light of the accomplished work of our Lord
Jesus Christ, the book becomes a document of vital importance. The message of Leviticus is: “Be holy because I, the
LORD your God, am holy.” (Ch. 11:44,45; 19:2; 20:7,26; 21:8). The subject of Leviticus is the sanctifying effect the
sacrifice of Christ can have upon our daily lives. The book links our daily stumbling with Life on the Highest Plane,
to which we are called by God.
The central role in the book is played by the Levitical priests. We may consider the chapters 8 and 9 as the
chapters around which everything revolves: the consecration of Aaron and his sons. The role of the priest is the main
topic in the first seventeen chapters and also in the chapters 21 - 25. So the name of the book, LEVITICUS, is very
appropriate. According to the Thompson Chain Reference Bible the theme of the book is: “How can a sinful man
approach a holy God?”
The Nelson’s Bible Dictionary gives the following outline of the book:
Part One: The Laws of Acceptable Approach to God: Sacrifice (1:1-17:16)
I. The Laws of Acceptable Approach to God 1:1-7:38
II. The Laws of the Priests 8:1-10:20
III. The Laws of Israel Regarding Purity 11:1-15:33
IV. The Laws of National Atonement 16:1-17:16
Part Two: The Laws of Acceptable Walk with God: Sanctification (18:1-27:34)
I. The Laws of Sanctification for the People 18:1-20:27
II. The Laws of Sanctification for the Priesthood 21:1-22:33
III. The Laws of Sanctification in Worship 23:1-24:23
IV. The Laws of Sanctification in the Land of Canaan 25:1-26:46
V. The Laws of Sanctification through Vows 27:1-34

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