"We see, in many a land, the proudest dynasties and tyrannies still crushing, with their mountain weight, every free motion of the Consciences and hearts of men. We see, on the other hand, the truest heroism for the right and the greatest devotion to the Truth in hearts that God has touched. We have a work to do, as great as our forefathers and, perhaps, far greater. The enemies of Truth are more numerous and subtle than ever and the needs of the Church are greater than at any preceding time. If we are not debtors to the present, then men were never debtors to their age and their time. Brethren, we are debtors to the hour in which we live. Oh, that we might stamp it with Truth and that God might help us to impress upon its wings some proof that it has not flown by neglected and unheeded." -- C.H. Spurgeon . . . "If ye continue in my word, then are ye my disciples indeed; And ye shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free." John 8:31, 32 . . . . .

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Saturday, July 24, 2021

LEVITICUS – A HOLY PEOPLE’s ACCESS to The HOLY GOD – Introduction, Chapter ONE & TWO

Contributing commentaries by pastors Sonny Islas, Albert Lopez and James Fire

Complete Study of Leviticus by pastor Chuck Smith 
LEVITICUS 1 & 2: “ ” – by James Fire, Facebook video

INTRODUCTION: We are witnessing the architectural genius of GOD in the building of His ‘cathedral of doctrine’ that we call the Bible. Laying the foundation that is GENESIS which begins the Bible with “beginnings”: the beginning of creation, of the fall of man and its consequences, the wiping clean the slate by way of the Flood and grace granted in a man of faith who obeyed GOD and built the ark; the beginning of institutionalized rebellion at the Tower of Babel, the beginning of languages and nations, the beginning of GOD’s relationship with one man He had chosen: Abraham, the model example of faith whereby the grace of GOD is demonstrated in the LORD’s heart: redemption. And demonstrated in a staged event between a father, a son, and a would-be sacrifice. A dress rehearsal for the Father of heaven and His Son’s performance of propitiation!

This is the beginning of a family of faith, with Abraham, Isaac, Jacob and Joseph.
With the foundation laid in GENESIS and the account of this family established, we move on to EXODUS which means “departure” and the family story has grown into the saga of a nation – it continues with deliverance from Egypt in grand display of redemption once the Passover Lamb was slain – in anticipation of the LAMB of GOD Who takes away the sin of the world.

Then there is the revelation of the Holy Law of GOD in EXODUS, as well as the plans and purposes of the Tabernacle, its various sacrifices and feasts, the priesthood, and the construction of all these things. We see greater revelation of GOD and His truth in EXODUS, and what we learn here is confirmation of what we learned about GOD in GENESIS.

As we learned in the last chapter of EXODUS, GOD went to great lengths in order to dwell among His people Israel. The Hebrews witnessed the great power of GOD while in Egypt and heard from GOD through His representative Moses.

By the time of the Exodus, Israel was delivered from slavery in Egypt and ‘departed’ and eventually ended up at Sinai, where they saw the glory of GOD on the mount and at that time actually heard the voice of GOD, that absolutely terrified them. Then they were instructed, and they built the Tabernacle and finally – this glorious crescendo: GOD dwelled among His people, which is what He desired all along out of His great love and grace for His people.
What is the even greater crescendo we read about later on in Scripture? When GOD tabernacled among us not in a tabernacle made with hands, but in human flesh: the LORD Jesus Christ:

JOHN 1:14
And the Word was made flesh, and dwelt among us, (and we beheld his glory, the glory as of the only begotten of the Father,) full of grace and truth
.

We’ll learn greater and deeper things in the book of LEVITICUS before us, and still greater and deeper things as we proceed through the Pentateuch, these five books of Moses, then the historical book of Joshua that chronicles the saga of Israel; and further on in the Word of GOD. Again, this is known as the progressive revelation of GOD’s truth, and this revelation will climax when we reach the Gospels and the arrival of the WORD made flesh, Jesus Christ our LORD, the highest pinnacle of this cathedral GOD has built, we call the Bible.

So, without taking a breath, GOD continues this serial in LEVITICUS and the specifics in the inauguration of the Tabernacle, its sacrifices, ceremonies, and feasts in which the people find access by the priesthood to a relationship with the GOD of all creation.

HEBREWS 10:1
For the law, having a shadow of the good things to come, and not the very image of the things, can never with these same sacrifices, which they offer continually year by year, make those who approach perfect
.

We will be examining Leviticus with a perspective from the book of Hebrews, the New Testament counterpart. One of the primary themes of Hebrews is the superiority of Christ over the Law and all that it entails – He is better than Moses, better than the angels, better than the Law and sacrifices and feasts, etc. so we will make comparisons between the two books.
These chapters we will be examining are shadows cast by the light of New Testament Truth and the Person that is central to both the Old and the New Testament, the LORD Jesus Christ:

PSALM 40:7
Then said I, Lo, I come: in the volume of the book it is written of me
,

The theme of Leviticus is twofold: the holiness of GOD that He calls His people to by means of the sacrifices offered up by the priests of Levi; and also access to the LORD in meaningful relationship by means of blood atonement and blessing through obedience to His Holy Law. This book answers the question, How can sinful man approach a holy GOD?
The five subordinate themes of Leviticus are:
- A holy GOD
- A holy priesthood* with the central person being the holy high priest.
- A holy people to abide by the holy law
- a holy land
- a Holy Savior.
*The Levitical priesthood parallels who we are as the New Testament priesthood (with our own high priest, not Aaron but Jesus Christ). Like the Levitical priesthood, we who are the New Testament priesthood (1 PET 2:9) have common experiences:

We are also washed (1 COR 6:9-11); clothed in the priestly garments of righteousness (2 COR 5:21); likewise, anointed by the Holy Spirit (1 JOHN 2:20,27); we’re given access into His presence (HEB 10:19-20); and follow after our high priest, Jesus Christ, after the order of Melchizedek (HEB 7:21; PSALM 110:4)

BREAKING DOWN The BOOK of LEVITICUS:
1. The way of access to GOD:
    1) Through sacrifices and offerings: Ch’s. 1-7
       a) Burnt offerings – signifying atonement and consecration (LEV 1:2-9).
       b) Meal (“meat”) offerings – signifying thanksgiving to GOD (LEV 2:1-2).
       c) Peace offerings – signifying fellowship (LEV7:11-15).
       d) Sin offerings – signifying reconciliation (LEV 4).
       e) Trespass offerings – signifying cleansing from guilt (LEV 6:2-7).
       f) A summary of all of these offerings (LEV 7)
    2) Through Priestly Mediation: LEV 8
       a) The calling of the priesthood (LEV 8:1-5).
       b) The cleansing of the priesthood (8:6).
       c) The atonement for the priesthood (8:14-34).
2. Special Enactments Governing Israel: Ch’s. 11-22
    1) Regarding dietary laws (LEV 11).
    2) Regarding cleansing and sanitation, customs, morals, etc., the all-encompassing purity of life as a condition for divine favor. (Ch’s 12-20).
    3) Regarding specifically the purity of priests and offerings (Ch’s. 21 & 22).
3. The Five Annual Feasts: Ch. 23
    1) The Feast of the Passover (April 14), commemorating the Exodus (LEV 23:5).
    2) The Feast of Pentecost (June 6), commemorates the giving of the Law (LEV 23:15).
    3) The Feast of Trumpets (Shofars), aka Rosh Hashanah (October 1), commemorating the end of harvest time, also preparation time for the Day of Atonement or Yom Kipur; (LEV 23:23-25).
    4) The Day of Atonement (Oct 10), the High priest enters the Holy of Holies to make atonement for the sins of the people (LEV 16 & LEV 23:27-32).
    5) The Feast of Tabernacles (Oct 15), commemorating life in the wilderness, and thanksgiving for the harvest (LEV 23:39-43).
4. General Enactments and Instructions: Ch’s. 25-27
    1) The Sabbatical year, once every seven years the land was to rest, left untilled (LEV 25:2-7). 
    2) The Year of Jubilee, once every fifty years all slaves were liberated, debtors were free, and general restitution took place (LEV 25:8
    3) Conditions of blessing and warnings concerning chastisement (LEV 26)
    4) The law of vows (LEV 27)
    *) The book of Hebrews should be studied in parallel to Leviticus.
LEVITICUS CHAPTER ONE

LEVITICUS 1:1-6
1 Now the LORD called to Moses, and spoke to him from the tabernacle of meeting, saying, 2 "Speak to the children of Israel, and say to them: 'When any one of you brings an offering to the LORD, you shall bring your offering of the livestock - of the herd and of the flock. 3 'If his offering is a burnt sacrifice of the herd, let him offer a male without blemish; he shall offer it of his own free will at the door of the tabernacle of meeting before the LORD. 4 'Then he shall put his hand on the head of the burnt offering, and it will be accepted on his behalf to make atonement for him. 5 'He shall kill the bull before the LORD; and the priests, Aaron's sons, shall bring the blood and sprinkle the blood all around on the altar that is by the door of the tabernacle of meeting. 6 'And he shall skin the burnt offering and cut it into its pieces.

“’The Lord called’," that is, He declared all of His good pleasure and commands, as kings on their thrones, and generals in their camps, would do. Yet He did this, with expressions of tenderness and love. It wasn’t for His own sake alone that He imposed on them these rites of worship, but for theirs; His people would now have access to the GOD of all creation. 

They would remember how utterly dependent they were upon Him, by these sacrifices. They are accepted by GOD because He knows that without the shedding of blood, there is no remission of sins. Sin is terribly powerful in its ability to destroy. Sin brings death, and only by the death of another – these sacrificial animals, are we spared the judgment of a Holy GOD who would have to destroy us otherwise. These animals through these sacrificial rites would die in our place!”

“The LORD called to Moses…” There is no doubt about who is speaking here. The phrase, “Thus saith the LORD” occurs in Scripture 430 times. There can be no misunderstanding or confusion about whether or not the Bible is a book written by mere men or by inspiration of GOD. Here the LORD calls to Moses, not from the heavens, not from Sinai, but from the tabernacle of meeting, in the midst of the people that He loves!

This passage is speaking of a burnt offering – something done according to the free will of the people. An offering made by any moved in their heart, out of devotion to GOD, to express their love and thankfulness to their Creator, their Savior. Notice that the beasts offered are all useful for the Hebrews: in plowing fields or providing food and milk, and clothing. They wouldn’t offer up unclean animals that they would never eat like swine; they’d never sacrifice animals that couldn’t plow for them like rabbits, nor provide proper clothing for them like dogs.

Sacrifices are sacrificial when they are something we could use for ourselves, out of selfish motivation but instead, offer them up to the LORD. Things of no value to us couldn’t be a sacrifice to GOD. It must cost us something. In 2 SAMUEL 24 King David sought for an altar to offer sacrifices to GOD as the LORD commanded him, and he was intent on buying land, the threshing floor of Araunah the Jebusite, and this man was willing to give king David the land, the oxen, and threshing instruments for the wood to make a fire, all for free, no cost to the king!

David replied,
2 SAMUEL 24:24
24 . . . No; but I will surely buy it from you at a price: neither will I offer burnt offerings unto the LORD my God of that which doesn’t cost me anything. So David bought the threshing floor and the oxen for fifty shekels of silver.

Others might see sacrificial living as a waste and worthless, but we see it as worship and something GOD is worthy of!

As you may recall, the burnt offering was a sacrifice for general atonement – acknowledgment of the sin nature, and a prayerful request for both access and a renewed relationship with the Holy GOD. Access is paid for by shed blood that covered over the sins of Israel. Priests were at times instructed to offer burnt offerings for the entire nation and their renewed relationship with GOD on a national level.

All of these sacrifices were types of the LAMB of GOD, who was offered up, and suffered on our behalf, being made a sacrifice by GOD the Father:

HEBREWS 2:9-11

9 But we see Jesus, who was made a little lower than the angels for the suffering of death, crowned with glory and honor; that he by the grace of God should taste death for every man. 10 For it became him, for whom are all things, and by whom are all things, in bringing many sons unto glory, to make the captain of their salvation perfect through sufferings. 11 For both he that sanctifies, and they who are sanctified are all of one: for which cause he is not ashamed to call them brethren,

HEBREWS 2:14, 17

14 Forasmuch then as the children are partakers of flesh and blood, he also himself likewise took part of the same; that through death he might destroy him that had the power of death, that is, the devil;
17 Wherefore in all things it behooved him to be made like unto his brethren, that he might be a merciful and faithful high priest in things pertaining to God, to make reconciliation for the sins of the people.

We have a merciful and faithful high priest who offers salvation and forgiveness of sin, when we’ve fumbled and stumbled into sin, feeling dirty, and ashamed – and Jesus makes reconciliation for us when we approach Him with a humble, repentant heart! Hallelujah, What a Savior!

LEVITICUS 1:7-9

7 'The sons of Aaron the priest shall put fire on the altar and lay the wood in order on the fire. 8 'Then the priests, Aaron's sons, shall lay the parts, the head, and the fat in order on the wood that is on the fire upon the altar; 9 'but he shall wash its entrails and its legs with water. And the priest shall burn all on the altar as a burnt sacrifice, an offering made by fire, a sweet aroma to the LORD.

We have seen before that wood in the Tabernacle speaks of the humanity of Christ (and wood there was overlaid with gold speaking of Christ’s divinity); we also know that fire in Scripture speaks of the Holy Spirit. Here we see fire on the altar and wood provided so that the sacrifice shall be burned, the sweet aroma rising up to GOD: Christ took on humanity, lived by the power of the Spirit, and offered Himself up as the perfect sacrifice!

EPHESIANS 5:1

Be ye therefore followers of God, as dear children; 2 And walk in love, as Christ also hath loved us, and hath given himself for us an offering and a sacrifice to God for a sweet smelling savor.

GOD the Father takes in that sweet aroma, which is the sacrifice that His Son provided for us – and the Father says, ‘How sweet it is!’

LEVITICUS 1:10-13

'If his offering is of the flocks-of the sheep or of the goats-as a burnt sacrifice, he shall bring a male without blemish. 11 'He shall kill it on the north side of the altar before the LORD; and the priests, Aaron's sons, shall sprinkle its blood all around on the altar. 12 'And he shall cut it into its pieces, with its head and its fat; and the priest shall lay them in order on the wood that is on the fire upon the altar; 13 'but he shall wash the entrails and the legs with water. Then the priest shall bring it all and burn it on the altar; it is a burnt sacrifice, an offering made by fire, a sweet aroma to the LORD.

Notice here that this is to be a sacrifice without blemish – perfect, flawless; only one teensy little flaw, barely noticeable on this animal, no matter how perfect it is in the entire body would mean that animal was disqualified as a proper sacrifice. Priests were trained to spot any flaws, they knew what to look for and if they found any, the people bringing that offering couldn’t make any sacrifice!

We think about ourselves, how flawed and imperfect we are before the holy eyes of GOD’s scrutiny – He doesn’t need to look very far to find my flaws! THANK GOD that Jesus willingly, the One without flaws and without spot willingly traded His holy righteousness for our iniquities and sin and transgressions and rebellion – and He took all that and suffered GOD’s judgment in our place! Thank You LORD!

Can we offer sacrifices without blemish? Yes, that’s good news isn’t it? The blemish-free offering we give is given through us, not by us, as GOD’s Spirit works righteousness in us by His grace – we are able to make sacrifices without blemishes!

That’s why anytime a pastor approaches the pulpit to preach, he must give account for any sins committed, repent of them, seeking forgiveness and cleansing and be that vessel suitable for honor, in the service of our Holy King (2 TIM 2:21)!

We have the superior – no, the supreme high priest, Christ Jesus:

HEBREWS 9:11-15
11 But Christ being a high priest of good things to come, by a greater and more perfect tabernacle, not made with hands, that is to say, not of this building; 12 Neither by the blood of goats and calves, but by his own blood he entered in once into the holy place, having obtained eternal redemption for us. 13 For if the blood of bulls and of goats, and the ashes of a heifer sprinkling the unclean sanctifies to the purifying of the flesh: 14 How much more shall the blood of Christ, who through the eternal Spirit offered himself without spot to God, purge your conscience from dead works to serve the living God? 15 And for this cause he is the mediator of the new testament, that by means of [His] death, for the redemption of the transgressions that were under the first testament, they which are called might receive the promise of eternal inheritance.

Those considered as “dead works” under our current dispensation are the sacrifices of goats and calves under the Old Testament system. They were effective during the times of Moses and the Law. No longer. So when the temple is rebuilt in our near future (MATT 24:15; 2 THESS 2:4; REV 11:1-2), those offerings are considered dead, fruitless, useless, ineffective works, because the greater sacrifice of the LAMB of GOD has been accomplished, establishing the new testament, annulling the old testament, BUT NOT annulling any of the Old Testament promises and covenants!

LEVITICUS 1:14-17

14 'And if the burnt sacrifice of his offering to the LORD is of birds, then he shall bring his offering of turtledoves or young pigeons. 15 'The priest shall bring it to the altar, wring off its head, and burn it on the altar; its blood shall be drained out at the side of the altar. 16 'And he shall remove its crop with its feathers and cast it beside the altar on the east side, into the place for ashes. 17 'Then he shall split it at its wings but shall not divide it completely; and the priest shall burn it on the altar, on the wood that is on the fire. It is a burnt sacrifice, an offering made by fire, a sweet aroma to the LORD.

The LORD is considerate of everyone, and desires that we all have an equal opportunity for the blessing of worshiping Him! There were those who couldn’t afford to purchase a bull or a goat or didn’t own any herds. The LORD considers the poor and provides turtledoves and pigeons as acceptable so that they too could have access to the Holy GOD!

PSALM 9:18

For the needy will not always be forgotten, nor the hope of the afflicted perish forever.

PSALM 72:12-13

12 For he shall deliver the needy when he crieth; the poor also, and him that hath no helper. 13 He shall spare the poor and needy and shall save the souls of the needy.

LEVITICUS CHAPTER TWO

LEVITICUS 2:1-6
1 'When anyone offers a grain offering to the LORD, his offering shall be of fine flour. And he shall pour oil on it and put frankincense on it. 2 'He shall bring it to Aaron's sons, the priests, one of whom shall take from it his handful of fine flour and oil with all the frankincense. And the priest shall burn it as a memorial on the altar, an offering made by fire, a sweet aroma to the LORD. 3 'The rest of the grain offering shall be Aaron's and his sons'. It is most holy of the offerings to the LORD made by fire. 4 'And if you bring as an offering a grain offering baked in the oven, it shall be unleavened cakes of fine flour mixed with oil, or unleavened wafers anointed with oil. 5 'But if your offering is a grain offering baked in a pan, it shall be of fine flour, unleavened, mixed with oil. 6 'You shall break it in pieces and pour oil on it; it is a grain offering.

A grain offering would have most likely been one of wheat or barley, depending on what was available. The requirements for the grain offering were that it had to be finely ground and have oil and salt in it (vs.1,4,13). It could not have any yeast (also called leaven) or honey in it (vs.11). When a person brought a grain offering to the priests, a small portion of it was offered to God, with some frankincense, on the altar. The rest of the grain offering went to the priests (vs. 10). No specific amount of grain was required for an offering; people were free to give what they had.

The grain offering is described as “a most holy part of the food offerings presented to the Lord” (vs.10). Grain offerings would often be presented after a burnt offering, which was an animal sacrifice God required for the atonement of sin. Blood had to be shed for the remission of sins to take place, so a grain offering would not serve the same purpose as a burnt offering. Instead, the purpose of a grain offering was to worship God and acknowledge His provision. The burnt offering, which had strict regulations and could have nothing added to it, aptly represents the fact that we take no part in our atonement for sin. The grain offering, however, could be somewhat “personalized” in its presentation. It was to be given out of a person’s free will, just as our worship is our free will offering to God today.” ~ from GOT QUESTIONS 

LEVITICUS 2:7-11

7 'If your offering is a grain offering baked in a covered pan, it shall be made of fine flour with oil. 8 'You shall bring the grain offering that is made of these things to the LORD. And when it is presented to the priest, he shall bring it to the altar. 9 'Then the priest shall take from the grain offering a memorial portion and burn it on the altar. It is an offering made by fire, a sweet aroma to the LORD. 10 'And what is left of the grain offering shall be Aaron's and his sons'. It is most holy of the offerings to the LORD made by fire. 11 'No grain offering which you bring to the LORD shall be made with leaven, for you shall burn no leaven nor any honey in any offering to the LORD made by fire.

This “fine flour” comes from wheat, but it’s not being offered as wheat kernels: it’s being ground up into fine flour. That takes a lot of grinding and grinding to make fine flour, right? Are you going through trials and hardships and stresses where you feel like you’re being ground into ‘fine flour’ with nothing left that’s whole and solid, and it’s painful and lonely; you think no one understands what you’re going through – this is the LORD’s doing, He sees! He knows!! He making you a glorious and worthy sacrifice unto Him! In such times of suffering, that is when worship is the most valued by GOD because you’re saying to Him, I don’t care what I go through, the LORD is good and worthy of worship!

Jeremiah Thomas, 17 year old son of pastor Rusty Thomas (Leader of Operation Save America http://www.operationsaveamerica.org/) was a godly young man who spoke against abortion, who stood up for the rights of the unborn. He was stricken with an aggressive form of bone cancer that grew a tumor so large in his back, that it severed the nerves impulses in his spine, effectively paralyzing him from the waist down. That didn’t stop him! He preached from his wheelchair!

This young warrior was in the battle for his life as this cancer ate him alive; and from his hospital bed, he wrote in his journal, “GOD I am not worthy of the least of Your mercies, but you will always be worthy of my praise!” 48 hours after that entry, he was brought Home, and I’m confident that when he was brought before the LORD, he heard, “Well done, good and faithful servant”!

What is first fruits in the Bible?

When you come into the land which I give you and reap its harvest, then you shall bring a sheaf of the first fruits of your harvest to the priest.” - Leviticus 23:10

The concept of first fruits is rooted in biblical times when people lived in an agrarian society. Harvest time was significant because that was when the hard work the farmers had poured into their crops all year began to pay off. They were literally reaping what they sowed.
Honor the Lord with your wealth, with the first fruits of all your crops.” — Proverbs 3:9

We see the term first fruits initially mentioned in the book of Exodus when Moses is leading God’s people out of captivity in Egypt. God instructed the Israelites to give up the first of their crops so that they could understand the value of God’s blessings.
Through the first five books of the Bible, Moses brings up the idea of a total of thirteen times. That’s because it was an essential concept for his people to understand. First fruits is mentioned throughout the Old Testament, and it’s even referenced in the New Testament books.

In the New Testament, the term first fruits takes on a symbolic meaning. In 1 Corinthians 15:20, Paul mentions Christ as the “first fruits of those who have fallen asleep.” Jesus was God’s first fruits—his one and only son, and the best that humanity had to offer. God gave Jesus, who was raised from the dead, up for us, in the same way that we sacrifice the best we have for him.

What started as a specific instruction for bringing crops to the temple priest was expanded on later in Scripture. It no longer refers to literal fruit—first fruits means any income, wealth, or blessings that a Christian has received over the course of the year.

God called his people to bring the first yield—the first fruits—from their harvest to him as an offering. This was to demonstrate the Israelites’ obedience and reverence for God. It also showed that they trusted God to provide enough crops to feed their family.

LEVITICUS 2:12-16

12 'As for the offering of the firstfruits you shall offer them to the LORD, but they shall not be burned on the altar for a sweet aroma. 13 'And every offering of your grain offering you shall season with salt; you shall not allow the salt of the covenant of your God to be lacking from your grain offering. With all your offerings you shall offer salt. 14 'If you offer a grain offering of your firstfruits to the LORD, you shall offer for the grain offering of your firstfruits green heads of grain roasted on the fire, grain beaten from full heads. 15 'And you shall put oil on it, and lay frankincense on it. It is a grain offering. 16 'Then the priest shall burn the memorial portion: part of its beaten grain and part of its oil, with all the frankincense, as an offering made by fire to the LORD.

For more on the book of LEVITICUS, check this out from K-house.org:

The Most Important Book: Leviticus 

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