God graciously provides a way for people to live in his presence.
God desires to live with Israel, but even Moses is unable to enter the Tabernacle. How can Israel, with all their moral corruption, become God’s covenant partners to bless the nations? Leviticus answers this question in three surprising ways.
God made a covenant with Israel and brought his own presence to dwell with them. However, Israel cannot enter his presence because of their corruption. In response, God introduces a set of sacrifices, the priesthood, and purity laws in the book of Leviticus.
Through sacrifice, God made a way for both praise and forgiveness. The ritual sacrifices and feasts allowed Israel to remember and relate to God as his people. In order to represent the people to God and God to the people, God institutes the priesthood, a royal responsibility for Aaron and his sons (who learn the hard way to respect their calling!). God also introduces ritual and moral purity laws to help Israel see how God’s holiness affects every part of life.
The book of Leviticus concludes with a call to covenant faithfulness. Despite the sin and impurity of Israel, God made a way for sin to be covered, allowing Israel to live near God.
The Five Offerings
God instructs Moses on five different offerings, two that express thanksgiving and three to cover for sin and uncleanliness.
God sets aside Aaron and his family as Israel’s first priests. Qualifications for the priesthood are also established after two of Aaron’s sons die by violating God’s holiness.
God establishes rules around ritual purity that are not sinful but are associated with death. He also calls Israel to be different in moral purity through care for the poor, sexual integrity, and social justice.
Day of Atonement
At the center of the book of Leviticus is the Day of Atonement. One day a year, the high priest made a sacrifice for all of Israel, sacrificing one goat for their sins and sending another symbolically into the wilderness.
Moses Enters the Tent
At the beginning of the next book, Moses is able to enter the Tabernacle, showing that God has successfully made a way for his people to live in harmony with him.