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Holiness

in the Wilderness
Leviticus and
Numbers
Leviticus
Hebrew Name: Way-yiqra “And He Called”

Structure and Outline


Becoming Holy Chapters 1– 16
Sacrifices and Offerings Chapters 1—9
Priests Who Officiates Chapters 8—10
Clean and Unclean Chapters 11—15
Day of Atonement Chapter 16

Maintaining Holiness Chapters 17– 27


Laws of Separation Chapters 17—22
Holy Days Chapters 23—26
Vows Chapter 27
Leviticus
Hebrew Name: Way-yiqra “And He Called”
• What is Leviticus?
The Hebrew title for Leviticus is “And He Called,” which is taken from
the first phrase of the book. The English title comes from the Greek
word meaning “things concerning Levites.” This is somewhat
misleading, however, since the book is about much more than just
the priestly duties of the Levites.
• Who Wrote Leviticus?
In Leviticus, the Lord speaks to Moses over 30 times. There are also
occasions when Moses is told to relate God’s words to the people
(1:1-2; 4:1; 6:8-9). The book’s date of origin could be attributed to
either the 15th or 13th century B.C., depending on the date of the
exodus from Egypt (see notes on Exodus). The content was
originally delivered after construction of the tabernacle and before
the beginning of the second month of the second year in the
wilderness (Leviticus 1:1; Numbers 1:1).
Leviticus
Hebrew Name: Way-yiqra “And He Called”
• Why was Leviticus Written?
Leviticus details the expansion of God’s covenant with Israel soon after
the tabernacle was completed. The glory of the Lord filled the
tabernacle, and He revealed the requirements for covenant life.
Leviticus provides instruction regarding the Levitical priesthood (the
ordination of Aaron and his sons), sacrifices, offerings, feasts and holy
days, including the Day of Atonement, and the Year of Jubilee. It also
contains laws regarding ceremonial cleanness, morality, and justice.

• Key Themes in Leviticus


The Holiness of God and His People
The Severity of Sin and Disobedience
The Consequences of Sin and Disobedience
Types of Sacrifices in Leviticus
• Whole Burnt
– Animal is slain; remains are burned
– Used for unwitting sin
• Sin Offering
– Fat portion of animal is burned; remainder eaten
– Used when restitution is not necessary
• Guilt Offering
– Fat portion of animal is burned; remainder eaten
Types of Sacrifices in Leviticus
• Cereal Offering
– Part is burned; part is eaten
– Done to retain the goodwill of Yahweh
• Peace Offering
– Fat portion of animal is burned; remainder eaten
by priest and worshiper
– Three types of Peace Offerings
1. Vows
2. Freewill
3. Thanksgiving
Notes on Sacrifices in Leviticus
• Sacrifices were only for INCIDENTAL sin.
– There is no sacrifice for high-handed, intentional sin.
• Sacrifices Did Not Automatically Earn
Forgiveness or Salvation
– These were for a people ALREADY in covenant relationship
– Israel’s salvation is based on covenant relationship
• Leviticus 17:11
– Life is found in the blood.
– Sin = Death
– Therefore…Sin requires a blood sacrifice.
The Seven Annual Feasts
1. The Passover 1st Month 14th Day
This feast was instituted by God to commemorate the salvation of
the Hebrews from Egypt. Before the Israelites were granted
freedom, God sent one final plague: death to the firstborn. The
Lord’s Angel of Death would “pass over” the home of any family
who had faithfully painted their doorposts with lamb’s blood (see
Exodus 12).
2. The Unleavened Bread 1st Month 15th—21st Days
This feast is closely associated with The Passover. God commanded
the Israelites to eat bread without leaven for seven days during
the time of the Passover (Exodus 12). Leaven is often figuratively
used in the Bible as a symbol of wickedness. As Passover
symbolizes the salvation of God’s people, this feast symbolizes
the purification of God’s people.
The Seven Annual Feasts
3. The First Fruits 1st Month 16th Day
This feast symbolized man’s thankfulness to God for His
faithfulness in providing a harvest. The Israelites were to take a
sheaf of barley from the first fruits to the priest to be waved in
the presence of the Lord. This was done on the day following the
Sabbath.
4. Pentecost 50 Days Following the Firstfruits
This feast marked the completion of the grain harvest season which
began with the Firstfruits. The term Pentecost is translated
“fiftieth day.” Apart from the Jewish world, this holy day is
perhaps best known by Christians who celebrate Pentecost as the
day when the Holy Spirit of God was given to the lives of
believers in Acts 2.
The Seven Annual Feasts
5. Trumpets 7th Month 1st Day
This festival instituted as a day of rest for Israel. The trumpets were
blown to represent God’s call to the people to prepare for the
festivals which were to follow closely.
6. Day of Atonement 7th Month 10th Day
This festival is perhaps Israel’s most holy. It was a time of
remembrance by God’s people over their sins, personally and
collectively. This was the only day the high priest entered the Holy
of Holies. One key occurrence on this day was that the high priest
would take two goats on which he would confess the sins of the
people. One goat, the “Azazel” (scapegoat), would be sent away to
the wilderness. The other goat, “Goel” (redeemer), would be
slaughtered with its blood covering the mercy seat in the Holy of
Holies.
The Seven Annual Feasts
7. Tabernacles (Booths) 7th Month 15th –21st Days
This feast was a celebration of God’s goodness throughout the
year. The people of Israel lived in booths (tents) for seven
days to remind themselves how God’s people lived in booths
in the wilderness after escaping Egypt. It symbolizes a future
time of peace and prosperity for God’s people.

**A majority, if not all, of Christian denominations believe each of the


Jewish Holy Days to be a foreshadowing of a fulfillment to be found in
the life, ministry, death, and resurrection of Jesus Christ.
Yom Kippur: Day of Atonement
• Priest bathes in the laver.

• Priest offers a bull for himself and family


– Whole Burnt Offering

• Priest confesses the sins of the people onto


two goats.
– Azazel “scapegoat” sent away into wilderness
– Goel “redeemer” killed &blood sprinkled over altar
Numbers
Hebrew Name: Ba-midbar “In the wilderness”

Structure and Outline


Preparing for the Promised Land Chapters 1:1—10:10
From Sinai to Kadesh Barnea Chapters 10—12

From Kadesh Barnea to Moab Chapters 10—12


Miscellaneous Events in Moab Chapters 22—26
Numbers
Hebrew Name: Ba-midbar “In the wilderness”
• What is Numbers?
The English title “Numbers” comes from the Geek and refers to the
two censuses in chapters 1-4 and 26. However, the Hebrew title
more accurately reflects the contents of the book: “In the
Wilderness.” Interestingly, this is the only one of the first five
books that does not derive its Hebrew name from the very first
word of the book, but it is from the, fifth phrase.
• Who Wrote Numbers?
Even though Moses is referred to in the third person, this is a
common practice in ancient writings. Moreover, much of the
material within the book indicates a time of writing during the life
of Moses. All indications are that it was composed by Moses near
the conclusions of the wilderness wanderings, which puts the date,
depending on when the Exodus is dated, at either around 1406
B.C. or 1220 B.C.
Numbers
Hebrew Name: Ba-midbar “In the wilderness”
• Why was Numbers Written?
Numbers contains censuses and a condensed narrative of the 40 years
the Israelites spent in the wilderness. Beginning at Sinai, it details
the preparations for the journey to Kadesh-barnea. Because of the
people’s refusal to enter Canaan, however, the next 40 years were
spent wandering through the wilderness. The book ends with Israel
encamped near the Jordan, poised to take possession of the
Promised Land. Throughout this time, Israel is seen as a difficult
and rebellious people. God is righteous, and disobedience is costly.
However, God is the faithful provider and protector; He is the
keeper of His covenant.
Numbers
Hebrew Name: Ba-midbar “In the wilderness”
• Key Themes in Numbers
The Faithfulness of God
Numbers 11:31—35 God provides quail for food.
Numbers 14:20 God forgives Israel’s rebellion.
Numbers 21:21—35 Israel defeats the Amorites.
Numbers 31:1—12 Israel defeats Midian.
Disobedience Is Costly
Numbers 20:8—13 Moses strikes the rock.
The Rebelliousness of God’s People
Numbers 11 The people complain to Moses.
Numbers 12 Aaron & Miriam complain.
Number 13:25—29 Spies give a negative report.
Numbers 14:1—10 Israel regrets leaving Egypt.
The Levites by Division
• Descendants of Kohath
– Charged with carrying and caring for the holy things

• Descendants of Gershon
– Charged with carrying curtains and walls of the tabernacle

• Descendants of Merari
– Charged with transporting the wooden parts of tabernacle

• Descendants of Aaron
– Charged to fill the role of priest
Key Passages in Numbers
• The Nazarite Vow Chap. 6
There were vows that could be taken by non-levites
who wanted to serve God.
1. No Fruit of the Vine
• sanctification
2. No Razor
• Hair is seen as a symbol of life and strength
3. No Touching Dead Bodies
• Represents a devitalized person
Key Passages in Numbers
• Aaronic Blessing Numbers 6:22-27

• Moses’ Failure Numbers 20:10


– Moses takes credit from water from the rock

• Bronze Snake Numbers 21:4-9


– Deliverance must follow God’s plan
– Deliverance must accompany repentance
– Deliverance must include faith.