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 16, Day 5: Leviticus 16:29-34 & 23:26-32

Summary of passages:  Leviticus 16:29-34:  The Day of Atonement is to be a lasting ordinance made once a year for all the sins of the Israelites.  The people are not to do any work and are to fast and the high priest is to make atonement for you.

Leviticus 23:26-32:  The Day of Atonement is to be a fasting and an offering made of fire.  No work is to be performed and if you do, you will be cut off from your people and destroyed.  This is to be a lasting ordinance.


11a)  Once a year forever

b)  It was to be on the tenth day of the seventh month.  All were to gather together and fast and do no work and offer sacrifices to God.

12a)  Jesus made one sacrifice–himself and his blood–to take away the sins of the people completely.  The Day of Atonement had to be done once a year and only covered the people’s sins–never truly eliminated it–because the blood of goats and lambs and bulls would never be sufficient.  Only the blood of Our Savior cleanses us forever and makes us holy to be with God–justified–and gives us the Holy Spirit.

The blood of animals was a holding pattern per se, a temporary solution or a “shadow” as Hebrews calls it until Jesus was sent.  It was what would do for now until the goal (Jesus) arrived.

b)  Personal Question.  My answer:  By living God’s way and not mine or the devil’s.  By doing His work here on earth.  By sharing the gospel with others.  By preparing my heart and the hearts of those around me for Jesus’s second coming and being prepared for life everlasting.  Constantly pray and thank Him for sending His son, for choosing me, for forgiving me.  Having a heart of gratitude continually and trusting Him with everything.

c)  Personal Question.  My answer:  Oh, Lord, thank you for sending your Son to die for my sins once and for all.  To cleanse me, to forgive me, to justify me, to reconcile me to you.  Thank you, Jesus, for bearing a burden that was not yours to bear, for loving me enough to bear it, and for doing so without any regrets.  Words will never be enough so I pray my heart is.

Conclusions:  Ever wonder why God even did the Old Covenant.  Why not just send Jesus?  Why not just institute the New Covenant straight away?  Why make His people go through all of this elaborate rituals that never really did the job in the first place?  My instinct is to say because God was testing man–testing his will, his desire, his strength, his dedication, his faith.  Growing man to be ready to receive Christ.  Making sure man’s heart was right for Jesus and not just going through the motions for a temporary fad or new religion.

One scholar says if God had created Christianity first, man would not have known he needed a Savior.  He would have thought he’d be alright himself as long as he performed the sacrifices and be saved.  That didn’t work, now did it?

God instituted the Old so we could understand the New such as the need for sacrificial blood.  Basically, man was not yet ready for Jesus; he slowly had to be led to him.  Great article HERE on this topic.

I liked this lesson.  The Hebrews passages (and I’d read all of Hebrews from 7-10 to get the full argument) paired with the Day of Atonement passages really is what hit home with me in terms of how much Jesus did for us with one sacrifice and how grateful we should be to him for his mercy and grace.  I’ve never read the Day of Atonement along with the Hebrews passages before and this was brilliant to me.  All around good stuff!

End Notes:  Most of Exodus, Leviticus, Numbers, and Deuteronomy are about the tabernacle and the sacrifices and offerings for sin.  It’s the largest single subject in the Bible.  Yet, Jesus eliminates all of that with the cross.  Powerful!

The Day of Atonement or Yom Kippur is still celebrated today by Jews and included a period of rest and fasting.  It falls on the tenth day of the seventh month of the Jewish calendar.  It is the holiest day of the year for the Jewish people.  Usually no sacrifices are made as the Jews believe either good works, charity, or sufferings are a suitable sacrifice.

Interesting Fact:  The Old Covenant was only ever binding on the Jews, which they say ended at the fall of the temple in 70 AD and not at Jesus’ death.  Gentiles did not have to become Jews first and then Christians–they were merely Christians first and always.  This is why in Acts we see some of the apostles still practicing the Old Covenant rules and regulations and debating them.  Thus, scholars say the Old Covenant was binding upon the Israelites until 70 AD.  After that, the New Covenant was instituted for all.  This is cool to me because as a Gentile I never really considered how and when the Old Covenant faded since it never affected me.  Neat stuff!

BSF Study Questions The Life of Moses Lesson 16, Day 4: Leviticus 16:20-28

Summary of passage:  After atoning for the Most Holy Place, the Tent of Meeting, and the altar, Aaron shall bring in the goat and lay all of the sins of the people on its head and send it out into the desert.  Then Aaron is to take off his clean garments and leave them in the Most Holy Place, bathe himself, and put back on his regular garments.  Then he will sacrifice up the burnt offering for himself and the people and the sin offering.  The man who led the goat into the desert must wash his clothes and bathe before returning.  The bull and the goat are to be burnt up and the man who burns them is to bathe and wash his clothes as well.


9a)  Aaron lays both hands on the head of the live goat and confesses over it all the wickedness and rebellion of the Israelites–all their sins–to put them on the goat.  Then he sends the goat out into the desert.

b)  Jesus took upon himself all of our sins and carried them away as well except he made it permanent with his blood.  Hebrews tells us that just as Jesus was sacrificed outside the city walls, the goat was sent away to make the people holy.

10a)  Then Aaron is to go the Tent of Meeting and take off the linen garments he put on before he entered the Most Holy Place and leave the clothes there.  Then he was to bathe himself and put on his old garments.  Then he was to sacrifice the burnt offering and the sin offering.

b)  The burnt offering made atonement for himself and the people and the fat of the sin offering.  This was in accordance with the normal sin offering which was offered on regular days as well–nothing special here (Leviticus 4:8-12 , 8:14-17).

Conclusions:  Lots of copying out the passage here.  Not sure why the huge focus here except to say how Jesus was the goats here and emphasize the comparison.  Basically, how the High Priest of the Old Testament compares to the High Priest of the New Testament–Jesus Christ.

End Notes:  Note how the goat was still alive, bearing the people’s sins so the people’s sins were never really buried or eliminated.

Christ is also the High Priest.  Two goats represent Jesus as well–one that dies for our sins and the second goat which remains alive that takes away our sins so that we can live.

Some scholars say the High Priest entering into the Most Holy Place represents us entering into heaven that Christ paved for us to do.  The High Priest comes out again as does Jesus who forever lives.

BSF Study Questions The Life of Moses Lesson 16, Day 3: Leviticus 16:15-19

Summary of passage:  Aaron will then slaughter the chosen goat as a sin offering for the people and do what he did for himself:  sprinkle the blood on the atonement cover, which will cleanse the Most Holy Place since people have fouled it.  He is to do the same for the Tabernacle and no one is to go in whilst Aaron is performing the ceremony.  He is to do the same for the altar to cleanse it since people have touched it.


6)  To make atonement for it, to cleanse it since people and their sins have touched it/polluted it.

7)  Basically, everything in the world is polluted by sin when Adam and Eve allowed the serpent in.  Hence, there is a need for a cleansing which we receive through Jesus Christ on this side of heaven but the ancient Israelites, not having Jesus, had to atone with sacrificial blood to cleanse themselves and everything else.

8a)  Any way that breaks God’s laws and commandments.  Any time a person sins.  Any time a person turns from God towards sin.  You name it, it’s probably sin:  adultery, murder, revenge, greed, lust, gluttony, etc.

b)  1 Corinthians 8:9-13 warns us that if we sin, then others weaker than us shall follow us into sin and fall as well.  We set the example that human nature being what it is will follow.  Call it peer pressure or crowd mentality or weakness it’s all the same–if one person thinks it’s okay, undoubtedly someone else will as well.

c)  Personal Question.  My answer:  Strive above all else to follow God’s commands and do His will and when I fall, ask for forgiveness and tell others of my shortcomings so they don’t make the same mistakes. However, as fallen man, all of us will hurt someone in our lives as a result of sin.  Perfect only exists in Christ.  Thus, even when we do inevitably hurt those we love, God forgives and enables us to do better.  That is my comfort.

Conclusions:  Again like yesterday, I get a renewed appreciation for just how great our God is to send His son for us so that we can live in a world cleansed by Jesus Christ.

End Notes:  The house of God needed to be cleansed since man constantly touched it.  It’s like Midas and everything he touched turned to gold until it became a curse.  I can’t imagine living knowing everything I touched, I polluted merely because I was a sinner.  God is good.

BSF Study Questions The Life of Moses Lesson 16, Day 2: Leviticus 16:1-14

Summary of passage:  After Aaron’s two sons died when they approached the Lord unannounced (Leviticus 10), the Lord warns Moses to tell Aaron to not approach the Most Holy Place when he chooses, because He dwells there.  The Lord tells Moses exactly how Aaron is to approach Him:  cleansed and with sacrifices and proper atonement.


3)  The Ark holds the laws and commandments given to Moses on Mount Sinai.  The atonement cover is the cover of the ark where the Lord dwells here on earth.  The Most Holy Place is an area in the tabernacle where only the High Priest (right now Aaron) may enter and where the Ark is placed where the Lord dwells.

4a)  Well, I would think killing Aaron’s sons, Nadab and Abihu in Leviticus 10 would be a very clear statement.  But here in Leviticus 16, the Lord lays out specifically how to approach Him and says specifically “not to come whenever he (Aaron) chooses” verse 2.  The whole passage lays out the proper way to approach the Lord.

b)  Personal Question.  My answer:  Well, it should be an example to follow in that when we approach the Lord it should be reverently and with the proper attitude.  It shouldn’t just be “on a whim” or “when we feel like it” or someone dares us to or you’re drunk.  It should be as God’s humble servant.  In my life, I should have the proper fear of the Lord when I speak to Him.  That is all He asks of us.

It should also humble you, knowing that because of Jesus, we can approach God without all of this elaborate ceremony.  Romans 5:1-2 assures us that through faith in Jesus, we have access to God so not just one guy, but all of us.  It increases my gratitude, my reverence, my total reliance on God.

5a)  One goat was to be sacrificed to pay the penalty of man for his sins by dying as a sin offering and through its blood.  The other goat that went into the desert symbolically carried all the sins of the Israelites into the desert.  The word “scapegoat” (escape goat) comes from here and today is used to mean anyone who takes the blame for something someone else or other people did.

This is a picture of Jesus:  one paid the penalty for our sins; the other took our sins away.  Awesome!

b)  Blood is required to make atonement with the Lord and receive His forgiveness.  The blood of the bull was required so Aaron himself could be cleansed and Aaron’s household BEFORE he could make atonement for the Israelites.  He himself had to be cleansed first.

c)  Aaron is to bring the bull and slaughter it to make atonement for his own sin and for his household.  Then he is to take a censer full of burning coals from the altar before the Lord and two handfuls of finely ground fragrant incense and take them behind the curtain.  There he is to put the incense on the fire before the Lord and the smoke will conceal the atonement cover so that he will not die.  Then he is to sprinkle some of the bull’s blood on the front of the atonement cover.

d)  Personal Question.  My answer:  Again “this” is vague to me and we’re talking about atoning for sin here, not praying, and we’re talking about Aaron so far in this passage, not others.  This passage describes how Aaron is to approach the Lord so he won’t die in His presence and how he must be cleansed first before he can cleanse the people.  I would assume we should come with a clean heart to Jesus before we pray for others?  That would be what this passage implies; yet, with Jesus we can pray any time we like.  Basically, I will pray for others.  That’s what I get out of this.

Conclusions:  I think I was in a foul mood when I did this lesson.  Didn’t like 5c at all and in general I  don’t like these kinds of questions where we have to type up the Bible word-for-word and still not for sure how we get praying for others out of atoning for sin here.

I do get a renewed appreciation for how simple life and God is with Jesus. We don’t have to go through elaborate ceremonies to be with Him.  We have Him (the Holy Spirit) and that is all we need.

End Notes:  The Day of Atonement was the only day the high priest was allowed to call God by “Yahweh”, His True Name.  He was the only one and this was the only time.  He was to pass on the pronunciation of God’s name with his last dying breath to the next High Priest.

In the Old Testament, sin was merely covered over with the sacrificial blood; it was never taken away.  In the New Testament, sin is taken away by Jesus.  So the idea behind the blood being sprinkled on the atonement cover was so when God looked down from above, He’d see the blood instead of the sin, hence making atonement with Him.

The goat is comparable to Jesus.

BSF Study Questions Matthew Lesson 16, Day 5: Matthew 15:29-39 and Mark 7:31; 8:1-9

Summary of passages:  Matthew 15:29-39:  Jesus traveled back to Galilee and healed many on a mountainside.  He says that he has compassion on these people who have been with him for 3 days and have nothing to eat.  The disciples ask where could they get enough food to feed them.  Jesus, just like in the feeding of the 5000 (Matthew 14:13-21), gave thanks for a few loaves of bread and fish and broke the food, resulting in enough to feed the crowd with some leftover.

Mark 7:31; 8:1-9:  Mark’s version of the same story.  Jesus wants to feed the people so they don’t collapse from hunger on the way home.  The disciples wonder where they will get enough bread to feed them.  Jesus again breaks bread and feeds all.


13a)  In the feeding of the 5000, the people only had to wait one day (Matthew 14:15; Mark 6:35; Luke 9:12).  In the feeding of the 4000, the people waited 3 days (Matthew 15:32; Mark 8:2).

In the feeding of the 5000, the disciples ask Jesus to send the crowds away so they can buy their own food (Matthew 14:15; Mark 6:35-36; Luke 9:12).  In the feeding of the 4000, it is Jesus who notices their need (Matthew 15:32; Mark 8:2-3).

In the feeding of the 5000, there are 5 loaves of bread and 2 fish (Matthew 14:17; Mark 6:41; Luke 9:13).  In the feeding of the 4000, there are 7 loaves of bread and a few small fish (Matthew 15:34; Mark 8:5; 7).

In the feeding of the 5000, Jesus looks to heaven as he breaks the bread (Matthew 14:19; Mark 6:41; Luke 9:16); while in the feeding of the 4000, this is not mentioned (Matthew 15:36; Mark 8:6-7)).

In the feeding of the 5000, there were 12 basketfuls of broken pieces left over (Matthew 14:20; Luke 9:17).  In the feeding of the 4000, there were “several” basketfuls of broken pieces leftover (Matthew 15:37) according in Matthew and Mark says there are 7 (Mark 8:8).

Of course, the number of people was different:  5000 (Matthew 14:21; Mark 6:44; Luke 9:14); 4000 (Matthew 15:38; Mark 8:9).

In the feeding of the 5000, Mark  and Luke mention how the people sit in groups of hundreds and fifties (Mark 6:40; Luke 9:14).  In the feeding of the 4000, the people are merely told to sit (Matthew 15:35; Mark 8:6).

[Scholars say the different in the grass indicates a difference in the seasons.]

NOTE:  The Greek word for baskets is also different between the 5000 versus the 4000 (the baskets are larger here).  I did not mention this because it could just be a translation error so one can not conclusively say that the baskets for the 4000 were larger than for the 5000.

b)  Personal Question.  My answer:  Anything is possible with Jesus.  Jesus has great compassion on the people both spiritually and physically.  Even when other doubt Jesus never does.

c)  Personal Question.  My answer:  Believe that I can accomplish anything with Him.

Conclusions:  Loved part a where we compared both miracles.  Thought part b and c were lackluster.  A better question would have been a focus on how the disciples lacked faith AGAIN when it came to Jesus feeding the 4000 after witnessing the miracle of the 5000.

Matthew mentions Jesus then went to a place called Magadan after the feeding of the 4000.  If you google this, you’ll see this is a modern town in Russia.  Some scholars think this refers to Magdala (location known) and the alleged hometown of Mary Magdalen.  However, others think Magadan is correct; the location today is just unknown.

Mark calls the place Jesus went after the miracle Dalmanutha, which its location is also unknown but believed to be on the Sea of Galilee.

This MAP is a guess as to the location of Dalmanutha:  This map also shows possible locations of Magadan and Magdala.

Good explanation on possible locations:

End Notes:  Most scholars agree that this was the eastern side of the Sea of Galilee–a predominantly Gentile place known as the Decapolis.  Hence, Jesus did heal and minister to the Gentiles as well as the Jews.  Matthew’s description of the people praising the “God of Israel” also supports that these people were Gentiles.  Note how God is praised, not Jesus.

The leftovers show how God provides abundantly.

Scholars say the feeding of the 5000 and the 4000 foreshadow the predicted Messianic banquet. However, the Jews did not see this because they believed the Messianic banquet did not include the Gentiles.

BSF Study Questions Matthew Lesson 16, Day 4: Matthew 15:21-28

Summary of passage:  Jesus leaves Gennesaret for Tyre and Sidon.  A Canaanite woman came and asked Jesus to heal her demon-possessed daughter.  At first, Jesus did not answer and she kept on crying out to him.  The disciples, annoyed, asked Jesus to send her away.  Jesus said he was only sent to the lost sheep of Israel.

The woman begged Jesus again to help her.  He replied that it’s not right to help her when he came to help the Jews.  He called her a dog (a derogatory name Jews called Gentiles).  Yet she said she wanted only the crumbs.  For her great faith in him, Jesus granted her request.


9a)  Well, he had just insulted the Pharisees so he may have been hiding from them or leaving to decrease their wrath against him.  Commentaries I read said Jesus left Israel for this area specifically to heal this woman’s daughter.

[Note:  Nothing else is recorded in the Bible about what Jesus did here.  The very next scene Jesus is back at the Sea of Galilee.  Hence, it seems he traveled to Tyre specifically for this woman.]

b)  She called him “Lord, Son of David.”  The Canaanites are Gentiles, unbelievers in the Lord, enemies of the Jews since Abraham was called to Canaan.  This shows that she understood exactly who Jesus was.

10a)  He was explaining that he had come only for the Jewish people which we studied in Matthew 10:5-6 when Jesus told his disciples to go to the lost sheep of Israel and not the Gentiles.  Jesus came first to save God’s chosen people (the Jews).  The Gentiles would come later.

b)  She called him “Lord” again and she beseeched him to help her.  She probably knew Jesus had never turned anyone down who approached him with faith for healing, including Gentiles (Matthew 4:24-25; 8:5-13).  She appealed to his compassion and to who he was.  Thus, she was answered.

c)  We learn Jesus went to a house and wanted to keep his presence secret.  We learn the woman was a Greek who was born in Phoenicia.  Jesus says it’s not right to take the children’s (Jews) portion from them.  The woman just asked for the crumbs.  She goes home and her daughter is healed.  We can speculate that the woman was educated somewhat if she was Greek and that’s how she knows about Jesus.

11a)  She knew she wasn’t asking for a lot so she used that analogy.  She called herself a dog and the Jews her master.  She called him “Lord” again.  She admitted she was beneath him.  By her reply, we see her faith.  She responded with even more dedication and determination.  She kept knocking and thus she was rewarded for her persistence.

b)  The fact is was her daughter who was suffering and in need of healing.  Most parents will do a lot of courageous things to help their children.  So she had strong motivation to be courageous and to have faith for she probably knew if Jesus couldn’t help her, no one could.

c)  Personal Question.  My answer:  Job losses.  Still praying for my book.

12a)  Her daughter was healed.

b)  Personal Question.  My answer:  She had faith in who Jesus was and she was rewarded for it.  The lesson is that we are rewarded for our faith as well.

Conclusions:  I had high hopes for this lesson because it’s the first time we see Jesus not responding immediately to a need.  We see him putting off the woman, testing her, telling her she is not Jewish and thus does not receive a portion of God’s grace.  Yet, we see the persistence of the woman and we see ourselves in her; we see our responsibility in being God’s children.  I just feel BSF didn’t drive this home enough.  Instead, we were sent to Hebrews (if you were here in Genesis, you know I constantly complained about the number of times we were sent to Hebrews and to these very same verses) and again asked about faith.  I would hope by now that it would be clear that Jesus healed based on faith of those whom he healed.  Can we move on now?

I’m not for sure how many of us wouldn’t have taken offense at the dog comment.  I know for me I am one to quickly take offense.  Yet the woman accepted it.  It might have been the times:  women were constantly berated and looked down upon so she was probably used to being compared to dogs and not challenging any authority who said so.  Yet in today’s time, it would be tough to accept it and still ask for more.  Quite the challenge and lesson for us today.

Map of Tyre and Sidon:

Another Map of Tyre and Sidon but showing Gennesaret (the Sea of Galilee) so you can see the distance Jesus traveled:

Scroll down once to see the map.  Not my favorite but the best I could find.

Concise explanation of why God chose the Jews over the Gentiles found HERE.  To simplify this though, you need only remember that the Jewish people is/was God’s chosen people–chosen to receive the gospel and carry the good news to the rest of the world.  They will always be special (which most of us Gentiles don’t like to admit–human pride and jealousy as we desire to be special as well).  The Gentiles (every non-Jew today) are included in God’s kingdom, but He will always hold the Jewish people closest to His heart.  They have a special place in His redemptive plan.

End Notes:  Tyre and Sidon were Gentile cities so why would Jesus go there?  The Phoenicians especially did not like Jews.  Jesus had a purpose.  It was this woman.  Jesus stops at nothing to achieve his purpose.  Do you?

Note the woman did not argue with Jesus or take offense at being compared to a dog.  She accepted it and pursued him until he took compassion on her.  Just as we should.

Fun Fact:  This is the only time in the Bible Jesus directly tells someone they have great faith (he told the crowd that the centurion had great faith; he never told the centurion directly like he does here).

Note also that the centurion and this woman were Gentiles–those who would not know Jewish law.  Hence, they indeed had great faith to believe in Jesus!  Again, another example of how God’s salvation is for Gentiles as well and how much He values us.