My Confusion Over Leviticus Has Ended!

So for the last 4 weeks (the whole time we’ve been doing Leviticus), I’ve been confused over the ordering of the chapters and their readings.  For the longest time, I thought we had skipped Leviticus 24.  Then I go back and see we skipped Leviticus 21-24.  What happened?  What was I missing?  So I got out all of my lesson questions and lined them all up and this is what I found:

Leviticus 1-7–Lesson 14

Leviticus 8-10–Lesson 15

Leviticus 11-15–Lesson 14

Leviticus 16–Lesson 16

Leviticus 17-20–Lesson 14

Leviticus 25-27–Lesson 17

So where’s Leviticus 21-24?  Well if you look at Day 6 of Lesson 14, it says to read Leviticus 17-24.  However, we are not asked any questions on Leviticus 21-24.  Almost always (in fact, this is the first time I have seen this) Day 6 is a re-reading of the passages you have already read in the lesson.  Apparently, not for Lesson 14.  You were supposed to read Leviticus 21-24 for Day 6.  I noticed this when I did lesson 14, but thought it was typo or that we’d come back to it since we weren’t asked any questions on it.

Therefore, if you were like me and missed this, you need to read Leviticus 21-24.  Even in the notes, it’s glossed over as well.  Now, in lesson 16 day 5 we are asked to read a small part of Leviticus 23 so if you read that, you need to read the rest.

Not being a Bible scholar, I’m unsure why we skipped over these parts of the Bible.  I’m assuming too much to cover and not enough time.  But I’m a stickler for thoroughness (I’m also a stickler for chronological order as well which I’d recommend here) so as a stickler who didn’t read it on Day 6 of Lesson 14 since I had assumed it was a review day, I’m reading it.  Focus on Leviticus 24 since it’s so often quoted and misunderstood.

BSF Study Questions The Life of Moses Lesson 14, Day 5: Leviticus 17-20

Introductory Note:  Leviticus 16 is studied in Lesson 16.  I’m unsure why we are skipping it here but am sure once we get there it will be clear.

Summary of passage:  Leviticus 17:  The Lord tells Moses that anyone who sacrifices an animal away from the Tent of Meeting is to be cut off from his people because these are pagan sacrifices. The Lord says no one is to eat blood of a creature for life is in the blood which is what makes atonement for one’s sins.  Any animal hunted for food must be drained of blood before eating. Anyone eating a dead animal will be considered unclean and must be cleansed.

Leviticus 18:  The Lord says to not follow the Egyptians or the people in the land of Canaan.  To follow His laws only.  God says no one is to have sexual relations with any close relative:  mother, father, sisters, brothers, in-laws, aunts, uncles, etc.  Do not offer your children as sacrifices to other gods.  Do not have sexual relations with animals or with the same sex.  Do not defile yourselves as other nations have.  If you do, you will be cut off from their people.  Even the land was defiled and punished.

Leviticus 19:  A list of laws, many of which have been repeated such as honor the Sabbath, keep God’s name holy, honor your father and mother, etc.  Other notable laws:  leave gleanings in the field for the poor, love your neighbor as yourself, and treat others fairly.

Leviticus 20:  God lays out the punishments for sins and for disobeying his decrees, most of which is death.  He orders not to offer child sacrifices to other gods, not to sleep with close relatives (much of which is said in Leviticus 18), and not to see mediums or spiritists.  God wants His people to be separate from other nations and to be holy because He is holy.


10)  Because the life of the creature is in the blood and it is the blood that makes atonement for one’s life and sins.

11a)  That it is defiling, dishonoring, and detestable and requires being cut off from your people if done.

b)  Part personal question:  Because this is how the nations that God is going to drive out before His people became defiled and God wants His people to be separate and good.  My response is God’s laws and reasonings are good.  We all know having babies with close relatives results often in inherited diseases and deformations and having sex with close relatives causes strife among families plus having indiscriminate sex promotes the spread of sexually transmitted diseases and an impure heart and mind.  Everything God does is for our good.

12a)  Personal Question.  My answer:  Love your neighbor as yourself.  I have a hard time with this one cause I’m so inherently selfish.

b)  Personal Question.  My answer:  If you sin, you pay the consequences.  Nowadays, it most likely won’t be a physical death, but it could be a spiritual death.  If you keep God’s laws, you will live–both physically and spiritually.  You will blossom and lead productive lives.  If you choose to live in sin always and not change your ways, you will perish.  We are to lead lives different from those around us because we are His and we are holy.

Conclusions:  I like how all of God’s laws cover every facet of life.  Nothing is separate.  Nothing is sacred.  God is in charge of every aspect of our lives and He makes that clear.  Hence, we cannot hide anything from Him or justify any sin by saying “But God doesn’t say anything about this.”  God is concerned about it all–politics, life, economics, diet, family, friends.  He wants us to be like Jesus in all ways and here in the Old Testament He is preparing His people for just such a thing.

End Notes:  Laid out in the Old Testament are just over 600 laws for the entire nation to live by. That’s it!  Think of the millions of laws the US has and try to figure all that out!  The laws are brief and simple (as opposed to say ObamaCare).  Life should be simple.  Right and wrong are simple. God wanted compassionate, consistent, fair-minded, and loving people.  If His people possessed such characteristics, everything else would fall into place.

Leviticus 17:  Pagan cultures and even the early patriarchs built altars and offered sacrifices to their gods or our God wherever they pleased.  Here God is saying “No longer”.  He wants all the sacrifices brought to Him.  Again, setting the Israelites apart from their neighbors.

Besides the life being in the blood, many pagan cultures drank blood.  Again, setting His people apart.

Leviticus 18:  We are God’s, and thus we must follow His laws.  Old translations of “sexual relations”, which is mentioned 17 times in this chapter read “uncover nakedness”, which scholars say is broad enough to cover anything inappropriate from sex to inappropriate fondling.  Thus, it doesn’t necessarily have to be consummation.

These laws emphasize the importance of protecting the sanctity of marriage of which sex is only to occur within those covenant boundaries.

God’s laws here are simple and clear:  homosexuality is wrong.  Adultery is wrong.  Sex with animals is wrong.  Incest is wrong.  It is a defilement against yourself as well as the other party.

We must remember one of the reasons God chose Canaan to give to the Israelites was as a punishment against the people who were living there who were engaging in sin among which was sexual sin.  God does judge and execute punishments for sin.

God made it clear sexual sin was immoral and one paid a big price in the eyes of society if engaged in.  So different from today’s world of “do what feels good” instead of “do what God commands.”

Leviticus 19:  Read “separate” when you read “holy” and you’ll see what God is driving at. Just like God is separate from God, He wants His people separate from others since we are called to be like God and be with Him.

The word for idol means “nothing”.  Israel will continue to struggle with idols for the next 800 years until they are punished and sent to exile in Babylon.  There, their idols switch from a physical representation to a lifestyle one–riches, power, control, etc.

The best example of gleaning the fields in the Bible was Ruth.

A slanderer is a gossiper as well.  Just gossip is a nicer word these days.

A lot of these regulations was specifically against pagan cultures and their worship as verse 19 demonstrates.  God wanted to make sure His people did nothing the other peoples did.

Letting trees become mature before picking the fruit allowed them to bear more fruit in the future.

“I am the Lord” appears 15 times in this chapter.  If you think on medieval times, the lord of the castle was obligated to care for his people who farmed his fields.  In return the people worked for him and cared for him.  So it goes both ways as it does today with God.  He cares for us.  We care for Him.

Leviticus 20:  We tend to skip over the worship of Molech but this was a HUGE problem for the Israelites and continued to be up to their Babylonian exile.  King Solomon built a temple to Molech (1 Kings 11:7) and King Ahaz sacrificed his own son to Molech (2 Kings 16:3).  To think that God Himself has been warning about Molech for centuries and His people keep forgetting and sinning.  What a merciful God we have!

Most of these penalties had to be carried out by the court of law.  Once accused you had to be tried and convicted just like today before put to death for any sin.  Still, rarely were people executed in ancient Israel.  But unlike today the ancient culture condemned the act.

God is judging the peoples of Canaan for their sins by driving them out.  Unfortunately, He judges His own people as well and drives them out too.

God gave all of these laws in an effort to keep His people separate, holy, and out of sin.  So very, very sad that we as humans still disappoint and fall into the same old habits–even when explicitly outlawed.

BSF Study Questions The Life of Moses Lesson 14, Day 4: Leviticus 11-15

Introductory Note:  Leviticus 8-10 is studied in Lesson 15.  There’s some good lessons in there especially Chapter 10 where Aaron’s sons are killed by God when they do not follow His instructions.

Summary of passages:  Leviticus 11:  God tells Moses and Aaron that the people may only eat animals that have a split hoof completely divided and chews the cud.  They may eat any animal that has fins and scales.  God lists the birds to not eat.  The people may eat only those winged insects that walk on all fours and have jointed legs for hopping.  God lists the ground animals that can not be eaten and says do not touch carcasses of dead animals or you will be unclean.

Leviticus 12:  A woman who gives birth is ceremonially unclean afterwards.  She must wait a certain number of days so that she may quit bleeding and then offer a sacrifice to make atonement and be clean from her flow of blood.

Leviticus 13:  If anyone has a spot on their skin, he is to go to Aaron to have it examined and diagnosed.  Aaron will decide if the person needs to be quarantined or cleaned.  If the disease is infectious, that person is to cry out “unclean, unclean” and live apart from others as long as he has the disease.  If any clothing is contaminated by mildew, it must be shown to the priest who will determine if it is destructive mildew or not and burn it if it is.

Leviticus 14:  If a diseased person with skin disease is cured, then he must be ceremonially cleaned by the priest who will sprinkle him with eh blood of a bird.  He must then wash, bathe, and shave and bring two male lambs and one ewe lamb to the Tent of Meeting as offerings or doves or pigeons if he cannot afford the others.

The priests are to inspect homes infected with mildew and remove the infected stones and areas.  If the mildew returns, then the house is unclean and most be torn down.  If there is no mildew, then the house will be considered clean and purify it with the blood of a bird.

Leviticus 15:  God lays down regulations for a man with a discharge, for anyone made unclean by an emission of semen, for a woman in her monthly period, for a man or a woman with a discharge, and for a man who lies with a woman who is ceremonially unclean.  If you become unclean, you must atone by bringing a sacrifice to become clean again and wait seven days after the ceremony.


8 )  11:1-47:  Clean and unclean food and animals.  Eating of dead carcasses could have bacteria that can kill people or make them sick.  Pork carries many parasites.  Dead animal carcasses lying around attract disease and can spread disease (think Bubonic Plague here).

12:1-8:  Purification after Childbirth.  I see this as a protection from the woman’s husband who may try to have sex with her too soon after childbirth.  This regulation is to allow the woman to fully heal before sex again.

13:1-46:  Regulations about Infectious Skin Diseases.  To protect the people from contracting infectious diseases.

13:47-59:  Regulations about Mildew.  This was to prevent the spread of disease through the clothes people wore.

14:1-32:  Cleansing from Infectious Skin Diseases.  The only practical benefit I see here is this allowed the cured person to be accepted back into Hebrew society.  It does reflect Jesus’s ritual sacrifice for us however, which may have been the point by God.

14:33-57:  Cleansing from Mildew.  To ensure no one gets sick from mildew from the home.  If we use the translation of mildew, this is true as mildew can sicken us today if left in the home.

15:1-33:  Discharges causing Uncleanness.  These rules would help the Israelites avoid venereal diseases that plagued their neighbors.

9a)  Jesus explains in Mark that it is what comes out of a man that makes him unclean, not what goes in–for the heart is what is reflected by evil thoughts, sexual immorality, theft, murder, adultery, slander, etc.  Acts says God makes things impure or unclean.  They were for spiritual health and to help the people follow God’s laws for their lives.  Jesus declares that all things are clean.  And if you believe in him, you are clean.

b)  That God is holy and His desire was for them to be holy as well, to be separate from other peoples.

c)  Personal Question.  My answer:  We are to be mindful of what we ingest since our body is a temple to God.  We are to be mindful of what comes out, so we are clean which includes words, actions, and good works.  As long as I remember God’s purpose for my life and His ways, I will try to do my best to be more and more like Jesus every day.

Conclusions:  For Question 8, I just used the titles my Bible had given these sections.  Seemed to sum it up pretty well.  Most of us cannot imagine leading such lives where we’d become unclean and have to avoid such items and people and purify ourselves with sacrifices.  Yet, the lesson to learn is we must watch our own lives with just as much care and attention.  God is watching us with no less.

Keep reading the Mark passage.  Jesus goes on even further with specifics.

End Notes:  Dietary laws were meant to keep the Israelites apart from their neighbors.  Pigs were prominent in Canaanite worship; therefore the Israelites were not to eat pigs.  A different dietary standard would keep the two groups from mixing socially, for a meal was always part of Middle Eastern hospitality.

Some scholars think these rules fit into what the Israelites already thought was unclean–creeping insects, scavenger birds, bodily emissions, and skin diseases.

The point was not if you became clean or unclean since it was unavoidable in life.  The point was to watch your life with care in order to prepare themselves to meet God.  Clear standards were laid out about what was acceptable to God and God demands purity.

Jesus declared all things clean (Mark 7:19 and Acts 10:9-16).  He healed the lepers, made a bleeding woman clean.  Still, God may not be approached carelessly.  Your life must make sure God’s purity is not violated.  Jesus is the only thing that makes clean the unclean–forever.

Leviticus 11:  None of these rules are new.  Noah discussed them as well (Genesis 7:2, 8:20).  God was merely putting them on paper.  The birds listed are either predators or scavengers, both of which eat meat that is already dead.  The Jews largely avoided the plague because of their removal of dead rats.  Pigs are known for tapeworms.  Shellfish carry a lot of mercury in their bodies and are the more likely to be improperly stored for food and thus make one sick.

All of these laws promote cleanliness which in the ancient world no one understood germs or viruses or how diseases spread.  But God did.

And all these laws set the Israelites apart from everyone else who ate whatever they could find no matter how diseased.

With Jesus, these laws are nullified as well and Christians are under no obligation to observe the kosher diet (Acts 15; 1 Timothy 4:1, 3-5).  Does that mean we eat junk food all the time?  Everything is permissible but that doesn’t mean it’s good for you!  (1 Corinthians 6:12)

Leviticus 12:  The idea is that children are good but are born sinners and God wanted the Israelites to know this and remember this.  Scholars say the woman here is symbolically responsible for brining forth more sinners in the world.

The girl child was usually not wanted or valued.  The extra time gave the family more time to bond with the child.  Girls were also more likely to be smaller than boys, so they needed extra care.  Plus, again, the mother brought forth a child who will bring forth more children/sinners.

Jesus was poor.  Luke 2:22-24 tells us Mary and Joseph only brought 2 doves for Mary’s atonement.

Leviticus 13:  Old versions of the Bible translated “infectious skin diseases” as “leprosy”, which was wrong.  Leprosy is barely contagious.  Think such diseases as smallpox, measles, mumps, scarlet fever, etc.  There was no cure for such diseases back then.

Leprosy was feared because it did result in the eating away of flesh, was slow and painful, and did lead to death eventually.  However, the Israelites believed it was inflicted as a punishment for sin and was thus feared.  The people were outcast as they believed they were sinners and unable to stand before God as such.  People’s fears led to discrimination and the lepers took the brunt of it.  Today, leprosy is unknown in the modern world due to drugs to cure it, but does still exist in third-world countries.

For a great synopsis I did of Leprosy last year during our study of Matthew, click HERE for Definition of Leprosy and how lepers were treated in ancient times.

Scholars say the Hebrew people were the first to practice isolation of victims suspected of being contagious in order to stop its spread.

Most Bibles have “mildew” translated as “leprosy” and thus these two sections go together.  If you read it with this translation, then it makes more sense.  The Israelites wanted to make sure the clothes were not contaminated with the disease as well.  Today we know clothes do carry disease and because washing was so infrequent back then it was feared the clothes could spread the disease as well.

Debate about how many people get sick from clothes goes on especially in hospitals when doctors wear the same scrubs for operations.  However, the transmission rate is small but possible.  Here, God says to make sure the clothes are clean as well.

[Side Note:  Anyone remember The Velveteen Rabbit by Margery Williams?  The Velveteen Rabbit was the favorite toy of a boy.  But when he contracted scarlet fever, the boy’s doctor orders the room to be disinfected and all of the toys burnt.  He was thrown out by the boy’s nurse for fear he contained the dreaded disease.  Hence, he was unwanted and turned into a real rabbit and lived in the forest next to the boy’s home.

I thought of this story.  In the case of scarlet fever, it can only be spread through bodily contact and cannot survive very long outside the body so the bunny here was safe.  Back in 1922 when the book was written though no one knew that.  However, germs and diseases can survive outside the body for quite some time so it’s better to err on the side of caution God says.]

Leviticus 14:  The regulations for ceremonial cleansing seem to reflect Jesus.  One bird was killed and its blood was applied to a living bird and then the living bird is freed to live out its life, which is what Jesus’s blood does for us on the cross.  Even cedar wood is mentioned which scholars say reference the cross.  Hyssop as you may recall from last year in Matthew 27:48 was offered to Jesus while he was on the cross.  The shaving of the hair was like a rebirth like a newborn babe and live began all over again.

The leper was consecrated the same way as a priest and also anointed.  This meant he or she had a special calling on his life.  However, since the cure for leprosy was unknown in ancient times, this ceremony was undoubtedly rarely performed.

Scholars say here leprosy and mildew are related in the Hebrew word used here.

Leviticus 15:  We are to understand this as not any discharge from the body but an abnormal one.  In the case of sex or masturbation, both men and women had to cleanse themselves.  God is not saying these discharges are sinful, just made you ceremonially unclean to be in His presence.  He also made the distinction clear that sex was not to occur in His tabernacle or as a means of worshipping Him.  This was important because in pagan cultures sex was often associated with worship of gods and occurred quite frequently.  Remember the golden calf?  The people engaged in sexual revelry all in the name of worship.

Semen and menstruation are connected with the seed and the blood of man.

In Mark 7:1-9, Jesus emphasized the need for internal cleanliness, not external.  Our outward cleanliness does not make us right with God.  Only Jesus can cleanse us spiritually.  If you have him, then you are clean.  Period.

BSF Study Questions The Life of Moses Lesson 14, Day 3: Leviticus 2-7

Summary of passage:  Leviticus 2 describes the procedure for bringing a grain offering to the Lord.  Leviticus 3 describes the procedure for bringing the fellowship offering to the Lord.  Leviticus 4 describes the procedure for bringing the sin offering to the Lord.

Leviticus 5 lists various specific reasons people can sin either knowingly or unknowingly and once he becomes aware of his sin, he is considered guilty and must make atonement for his sin.

Leviticus 6 continues the list of Leviticus 5 with the same consequences and then repeats much of Leviticus 1-4.  Leviticus 7 repeats Leviticus 3 & 5 and describes the priestly portions.


6)  The Grain Offering:  The grain offering was to be of fine flour with oil and incense poured on it and taken to Aaron’s sons.  Aaron’s sons would burn a portion of this and keep a portion for themselves.  It’s purpose was for the Lord as an expression of thanks for all He has provided.  Note this offering was the only one prepared at home and then brought.

The Fellowship Offering (or Peace Offering):  An animal without defect to the Lord was offered. The person is to lay his hand on the animal and slaughter it.  Aaron’s sons will sprinkle the blood on the altar.  Aaron’s sons will burn the fat to the Lord.  It’s purpose was to honor the Lord and represent peace and fellowship with Him and brings the person closer to Him.  The meat was shared–the priest received a portion and the person ate the rest as a fellowship meal with God.

The Sin Offering:  A young bull without defect was offered.  He is to lay his hand on the animal and slaughter it.  The blood will be sprinkled by Aaron’s son on the altar and on the ground.  The fat will be burned for the Lord. The rest of the bull must be taken outside the camp and burned on a wood fire.  This purpose was to atone for any sin done unintentionally or anything done that is forbidden by the Lord’s commands.

Leviticus 5 gives specific occasions for a sin offering as well:  not telling the truth or standing for the truth, becoming ceremonially unclean, or swearing a false oath (not keeping a promise is another way to think of this).

The Guilt Offering:  A ram without defect is to be offered.  It is to be slaughtered and its blood sprinkled  on the altar.  Its fat is to be burned but some can be eaten by a male in the priest’s family.  The person must also make restitution and bring one-fifth of the value of what was damaged to the priest. The purpose was to make restitution and atonement for what the person has failed to do in violation of the Lord’s holy things and sins committed unintentionally.

7a)  The definition of atonement according to Webster’s Dictionary is “reconciliation; reparation for an offense or injury.”

b)  Jesus made atonement for all of our sin through faith in his blood.  The sacrifices here tell a similar story.  The blood covered up the Israelites’ sins in God’s eyes.

c)  Personal Question.  My answer:  Romans says offer your body.  Ephesians says to live a life of love.  Philippians says money if you read around it.  Hebrews the better verse is 16 which says to do good, share with others, and praise Him.  I try to sacrifice my wants and desires for others and live a Godly-life.  I try to give generously and praise Him and offer up my body as a holy temple.  I know I fall short.  But I pray to be closer every day.

Conclusions:  Ugh!  This was boring to say the least so in my summaries I tried to sum it up.  I am not looking forward to Leviticus.  After the excitement of Exodus, Leviticus is like the arrival home after an intense adventure.  Question 7c added insult to injury with MORE reading.  Good thing our break is coming cause we’ll need it!

I would recommend reading the Notes and attending the lectures as much as possible in order to glean more out of these chapters because it will be too easy to dismiss these as antiquated and not get anything out of it with just a cursory read or study.

End Notes:  Leviticus 2:  The ancient Jew thought of the word “leaven” as we would think of the word “sin.”  It could corrupt.  Honey was a common sacrifice to pagan deities and God did not want to be associated with the pagan gods.  Also, note how leaven and honey are additives.  God does not want additives.  He wants us pure as we are.

Salt represented this purity.  It preserves just as is.  It was also costly.  We will see salt again in Numbers.

Leviticus 3:  The fat is considered to be the best portion of the animal.  Hence, it was the part of the animal burned and offered to God.

“The entire fat tail closest to the backbone” is where the best meat of the animal lies.

The fat (our best) and the blood (our life) belonged to God.

Scholars say the eating of fat and blood was prohibited to keep the Israelites healthy and free from disease and parasites.

Leviticus 4:  The sin offering was for those who believed in God and sinned.  It wasn’t for those whose hearts were hard and didn’t care if they sinned or not.  It was for God’s people who were truly sorry, repented, and needed cleansing.

Note the priest had to atone for his sin with the same sacrifice as that of the whole community (verses 13-14).  This shows the priests were held to a higher standard and also was a forerunner of what Christ would do for us.

Note with the sin offering none could be kept unless it was for the priest from another individual. Hence, you couldn’t bring the offering because you wanted some of the meat.  It was fully to atone for sins and be right with the Lord.

The only difference between the offering for the ruler and the people was the ruler’s offering had to be male.

Leviticus 5:  God obligated anyone who knew the truth to tell it.  All were responsible for keeping each accountable to His laws.

Confession of guilt and making amends still applies today.  Ignorance is no excuse for sinning.  It is your responsibility to know the laws (just like today) and follow them.  Otherwise, face the consequences.

Leviticus 6:  Sinning against a neighbor required restitution as well.  Get right with God and others.  Commit a crime against someone else and you committed it against God as well.  But God promises all sin will be covered here no matter what it is.

The burnt offering burned for a long time on the altar.  Priests could have a portion of the grain offering and the sin offering if it wasn’t for the whole community.

Leviticus 7:  Peace or fellowship offerings were voluntary as a way to be closer with God.  The meat did have to be eaten within three days.  To eat of it the person had to be clean–to be with God, you must be clean.

Interesting facts:  Why don’t the Jews then make sacrifices still today?  They substitute good works instead of sacrifices and believe this is sufficient to be right with God.

BSF Study Questions The Life of Moses Lesson 14, Day 2: Exodus 40:34-35; Leviticus 1

Introductory Note:  We are spending all of January on Leviticus and unlike Exodus where a ton of action happens, this is mostly legalities and rituals and laws God institutes among His people.  Thus, the reading will be frankly boring.  The details here are unimportant.  Try to read with a big picture view as to what kind of people God wanted and how he wanted them to live.  How would these laws have set them apart from the nations around them and made them His?

Summary of passage:  Exodus 40:34-35:  The cloud covered the Tent of Meeting and God’s glory filled the tabernacle and Moses could not enter.

Leviticus 1:  Lord speaks to Moses about the kinds of offerings He wants brought.  If it’s from the herd or the flock, it must be a male without defect.  It is to be slaughtered and the blood sprinkled on the altar.  It is to be cut in pieces and burnt.  If it be a bird, it is to be a dove or young pigeon, head wrung, and blood drained on the altar and then burned.


3a)  The Lord had just inhabited the tabernacle with His glory.

b)  The whole purpose of the tabernacle was to offer sacrifices to the Lord and now that it was complete and the Lord’s presence was there, it only made sense to begin offering sacrifices to God and to atone for their sins.  Up until now, sacrifices had been made but haphazardly with no clear direction.  Here, God makes it clear what He wants.

4a)  A male without defect from the herd or flock (cows or sheep or goats) or a dove or young pigeon.

b)  Present it at the entrance to the Tent of Meeting so that it will be acceptable to the Lord. The person is to lay his hands on the head of the burnt offering and it will be accepted on his behalf to make atonement for him.  Then he is to slaughter it before the Lord.

c)  It was killed, its blood was sprinkled on the altar.  It was skinned and cut into pieces, placed on the altar by Aaron or his sons and burnt.  It was to atone for sins and honor God with an aroma pleasing to Him.

5a)  God dwells with His people through the indwelt Holy Spirit inside of us, given to us when Christ sacrificed himself for our sins.

b)  Thank you, Lord, for sending your Son to die for me.  For gifting us with the Holy Spirit and for being so near.  Words are insufficient.  Amen.

Conclusions:  What I like about reading these passages in the Old Testament is they give me an appreciation of how lucky I am to live on this side of heaven and not have to do daily, ritual sacrifices.  I get a new sense of gratitude and humbleness of God’s grace and majesty.

End Notes:  Israel is still encamped at the base of Mount Sinai where they will remain throughout all of Leviticus.  Chapters 1-5 of Leviticus deal with personal offerings.  Chapters 6-7 deal with priest offerings.  Thus, the first 7 chapters of Leviticus are all about offerings.

Sacrifices had to be made for sin.  Offering sacrifices has been around since the beginning of time.  Now, God just formalizes it.

The sacrifices had to be domesticated animals.  They had to cost the person something.  They had to be freely offered.  They had to be male because the males were thought stronger and more valuable.  They had to be perfect like Jesus was perfect.

With the placing of the hand on the animal, the person is transferring their sin to the animal to die in his place and accepting the sacrifice in place of his own–just like we must accept Jesus as our Savior.

The Hebrew word for atonement means to cover but this is different in the Old Testament than in the New Testament.  In the Old Testament, that was all that was possible–to cover up one’s sins.  With Jesus, sin is eliminated ‘at-one-ment.’

The point of all of these regulations was to surrender all to God and to do it His way, not yours.  To do it with the right heart.

Fun Fact:  Atonement appears over 50 times in the book of Leviticus.

Fun Fact:  The phrase “before the Lord” is used more than 60 times in the book of Leviticus, more than in any other book of the Bible.

Interesting Fact:  The word “holocaust” which means burnt whole comes from this practice of the Israelites of offering up the entire animal to God.  The Jews themselves began referring to Hitler’s mass destruction of them by the gas chambers and ovens as “the Holocaust.”

BSF Study Questions Matthew Lesson 14, Day 5: Matthew 13:51-58

Summary of passage:  Jesus says every teacher about heaven is like an owner of a house who brings out new treasures out of storage.  Jesus finished telling these parables and returned to Nazareth, his hometown, where he taught the people in the synagogue where they were amazed.  Yet, they didn’t believe because they knew him as a boy and his family.  They thought of him as a simple carpenter’s son.  Hence, Jesus concluded only in his hometown is he without honor so he declined to perform miracles due to their unbelief.


10a)  As a “teacher of the law who has been instructed about the kingdom of heaven” and his responsibility is to teach others what he has learned.

b)  The old is the wisdom and understanding you had of God before you were instructed and the new is the new knowledge and wisdom you have after having been instructed in the law or any knowledge God has revealed to you.

c)  Through pastors and preachers, studying the Bible, by God Himself when He speaks to you through prayer or otherwise.

d)  Personal Question.  My answer:  All of the above.  Through church attendance, bible studies, the Bible itself, prayer, and God in my alone time.

e)  Personal Question.  My answer:  Impart Biblical knowledge to that person.  Quote them scripture.  Bring them to church and bible study with you.  Pray with them.  Show them God’s compassion on His people.

11)  Because they couldn’t believe a mere carpenter’s son whom they knew personally could possess such wisdom and perform such miraculous powers.  They thought him a charlatan instead.

12a)  Because of their “lack of faith” in him.

b)  Personal Question.  My answer:  The key word here is “seemed” because truly we do not know this until we get to heaven if Jesus was working in our lives or not because of unbelief.  For me, I’d say no.  Even in my darkest hours, I have cried out to God and I knew in my heart He was working even when I thought He wasn’t for sometimes not working is what we need.  But then I’ve always been a believer.  It is probably different for those who have not.

c)  Personal Question.  My answer:  Stay close to God.  Pray.  Read His word.  Go to church even when you don’t feel close to Him.  Seek out other believers further along in their walk with Him.  Don’t isolate yourself.  Strengthen your knowledge of Him and unbelief cannot help but fall away.

Conclusions:  This was my favorite day from this lesson because of its practicality, simpleness, and encouragement.  It is our job to learn about God and then teach others (the whole premise of BSF itself).  It is also our job to strengthen our faith so that unbelief never reigns.  This we do through what I said above:  prayer, study, etc.  And when we are rejected we can have faith and encouragement because Jesus was rejected as well.

End Notes:  The disciples who now understand are now commissioned to tell others and bring truth to their lives.

There is nothing special about spiritual people in most cases.  According to societal norms, Jesus came from the lowliest of the low and was as normal as God on Earth could be.  So we too do not have to be exceptional to be doing God’s work.

It is interesting to note how unbelief can limit God.  This is due to God’s gift of Free Will.  He wants to work in our lives on a miraculous scale.  But often times, we choose to not let Him.

BSF Study Questions Matthew Lesson 14, Day 4: Matthew 13:47-50

Summary of passage:  Jesus tells the parable of the net where he says the kingdom of heaven is like a net that catches all kinds of fish.  After the catch, the fish must be sorted and the good will be kept but the bad will be thrown in the fiery furnace at the end of the age by the angels (the fishermen).


8a)  God’s word or law (verse 47)

b)  believers (verse 48)

c) non-believers (verses 48-50)

d)  Angels (verse 49)

e)  The good fish will be separated from the bad fish who will be thrown in a fiery furnace (verse 49-50)

9a)  Angels are harvesters and here they are the fishermen (the sorters if you will).  The weeds are burned in the fire as are the bad fish.  Both mention this will happen at the end of the age.  The angels will separate the wicked from the righteous in both.  Verse 42 & 50 are identical “they will throw them into the fiery furnace, where there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth.”

b)  To convince unbelievers to believe for the picture is so gloom for them.  And as a warning to unbelievers.  As encouragement to us that one day sin will be eradicated from our world.

c)  Personal Question.  My answer:  Believed in Jesus and witness to unbelievers.

Conclusions:  Question 9c would be more for unbelievers who don’t know their future.  This one is very clear on its meaning:  you believe or you don’t and if you don’t you burn.  Simple.

End Notes:  Jesus reveals that the world will remain divided up until the very end; that he will not bring about peace to all.