Have you read Leviticus? If so, you probably wondered why Moses got mad at Aaron in Leviticus 10:16-20. Also, why Moses approved after Aaron explained his reason. You would’ve wondered about the significance of many of its rituals. I wrote about the overall intent of Leviticus already. Today I’ll explain more.
WHY LEVITICUS MATTERS
Christ’s work on the cross, his resurrection and ascension have made all these practices unnecessary [for us]. Yet it is important that the people of God today study…Leviticus because they are…pointers to the work of Christ. By reading Leviticus one realizes the depth and pervasiveness of sin, the chasm between God and man and the absolute necessity for atonement to make mankind right with God…it also manifests its own insufficiency to meet these needs.
EXTERNAL RITUALS VERSUS INTERNAL REALITIES
The New Testament (NT) has more straightforward descriptions of heart and mind sins and godly conduct. The more we grow in the Lord, the more we recognize these sins and repent of them before they grow into sinful words, attitudes, and actions. The Old Testament (OT, particularly Leviticus) covers more the external appearances of sin with representations of their uncleanness. Symbols of Christ’s work and cleansing is contrasted with this. All this makes the NT easier to understand, but the OT offers the solid foundations of the NT. Meaning without the OT it’s easier to believe God’s love and mercy will overlook all sin whether there’s real repentance or not.
THE FORMAT AND CONTEXT OF LEVITICUS 1-8
Leviticus 1:1-6:7 is addressed to the Israelites, and Leviticus 6:8-7:10, to the priests. I haven’t finished reading this commentary yet, but regarding the first eight chapters of Leviticus:
On the basis of our knowledge of ancient literature, particularly Punic Tariffs…Leviticus is a reference document…. Tariff documents from as early as the fifth century B.C. from Carthage and elsewhere are concerned with the amounts to be paid to priests who officiate over sacrifices, and the amount to be kept by the worshippers. Not only are there similarities between the content of these documents and Leviticus 1-7, but some of the phraseology used in both is similar. The point being made…in ancient times there was a genre of prescriptive ritual texts dealing with sacrifice, and Leviticus 1-7 is an example of this.
Leviticus 8 is a highly structured, well-designed literary formulation…clearly defined chiastic structure.
A Introduction at doorway of Tent of Meeting (8:1-5)
B Anointing of Aaron and his garments (8:6-13)
C Bull of the sin offering (8:14-17)
D Ram of the burnt offering (8:18-21)
C’ Ram of installation (8:22-29)
B’ Anointing of Aaron and his garments (8:30)
A’ Conclusion at doorway to Tent of Meeting (8:31-36)
THE TYPES OF SACRIFICES
The burnt offering:
the name derives from a verb that means “to ascend” or “go up.” The term probably signifies that the sacrifice is totally consumed on the altar and the resulting smoke “goes up” to God. Perhaps it also refers to the one presenting the sacrifice, who ascends to the altar to make the offering…. It is so that the offerer may be “accepted” by God…. The term “acceptance” in Hebrew is a cultic, technical one which denotes a sacrifice that has efficacious merit.
The grain offering:
a cereal offering, or minehah, to Yahweh–a Hebrew term which means “gift” or “tribute” and underscores the subservience of a person who comes into the presence of someone greater (see its usage in Genesis 32:13; Judges 3:15; 2 Kings 8:8).
The peace offerings:
are often used in covenantal ceremony, but not exclusively so (see Deuteronomy 27:7). Most often voluntary in nature, the offerings frequently include a sacrificial meal (Deuteronomy 12:7). The purpose…is not all that clear, although it appears to be a joyous occasion…. It apparently celebrates the bond between God and his people…. “Peace” as a Hebrew word is…related to the word shalom, which has a broad range of meaning, such as “completeness,” “prosperity” and “harmony” …Leviticus 7:12-18 indicates that it is a generic offering with numerous purposes: thanksgiving, fellowship, and oath-taking.
The sin and guilt offerings in Leviticus 4:1-6:7:
introduces a new section…separates the sin…and the guilt offering…from the…burnt…grain…and the peace offering. The reason is perhaps because the concepts of “sin” and its being “unintentional” are emphasized in Leviticus 4-6…. The Hebrew term for “sin” means much more than the mere act of going astray; it also includes the guilt….
WHY MOSES GOT ANGRY
The officiating priest distributes the sin offering to his fellow priests. He could hardly eat all of it himself; thus, he is permitted to give it to other priests. In Leviticus 10:16-18, Moses is angry…because they did not eat the sacrifice of the sin offering as…commanded. There is an exception: if some of the blood had been brought into the sanctuary itself, it would be a violation for the priest to eat any of it. That particular situation requires the victim to be wholly consumed by fire…
Aaron…argues that because of the exceptional circumstances of the day (Leviticus 10:1-7), it is too dangerous to perform the cultic ritual…. Aaron’s defense invokes the fear of God, on the one hand, and the funeral circumstances, on the other.
Do you fear God?
The above pictures were scanned from The Holy Temple of Jerusalem.