Theological Themes in Leviticus
The rituals for the A Day of Atonement is a ritual occasion of prayer and confession during which a community recalls its disobedience and wrongdoing. Among Christians such an occasion is known as a Day of Penitence. Among Jews Yom Kippur is the Day of Atonement; its origins in… More are detailed in Leviticus 16. Once a year, the The high priest was the most powerful priest in the temple in Jerusalem. The high priest Caiaphas held the office during the trial of Jesus. Later, in the New Testament book of Hebrews, the role of merciful high priest is ascribed to the resurrected Jesus. More is to enter the The holy of holies was, in the Old Testament, the tabernacle’s inner sanctuary that housed the ark of the covenant and its mercy seat. The space was separated from the rest of the holy place by a veil and was visited only once a year… More and to offer sacrifices to make atonement for himself, his fellow priests, and the people of Israel. In this way, the A sanctuary is the consecrated area around the altar of a church or temple. It also means a place of safety where one can flee for protection. In the Old Testament, especially in the Psalms, God is referred to as a sanctuary, a refuge from… More and the people are cleansed from sin so that the Lord might continue to dwell in their midst. The writer of Hebrews discusses the Day of Atonement in Hebrews 9, where Jesus is the Messiah whose life, death, and resurrection are God’s saving act for humanity More becomes both high A priest is a person who has the authority to perform religious rites. In New Testament times priests were responsible for daily offerings and sacrifices in the temple. More and Sacrifice is commonly understood as the practice of offering or giving up something as a sign of worship, commitment, or obedience. In the Old Testament grain, wine, or animals are used as sacrifice. In some New Testament writings Jesus’ death on the cross as the… More.
Creation, in biblical terms, is the universe as we know or perceive it. Genesis says that in the beginning God created the heavens and the earth. In the book of Revelation (which speaks of end times) the author declares that God created all things and… More
There are a number of links between Leviticus and the P account of creation in Genesis 1: the concern with boundaries and separation (Genesis 1:4-7; Leviticus 10:10); the phrases “of every kind” or “according to its kind” (Genesis 1:20-25; Leviticus 11:13-22); the emphasis on “seasons” and Sabbath (Genesis 1:14; 2:1-3; Leviticus 23:2-8; 26:2-4); and the use of the number seven (Genesis 2:2-3; the seven speeches of Leviticus 1-7; the seven days of the ordination service in Leviticus 8:35). The priestly writers of Leviticus relayed instructions on how to maintain or restore the good order that God established at the beginning in creation. They sought to restore the world–or at least Israel–to the state of being “very good,” as God created it (Genesis 1:31).
Leviticus uses the words “holy” some seventy-six times, referring to God, the priests, the people, the sacrifices, the priestly vestments, and other things. The holiness of God is the source of all other holiness: “You shall be holy, for I the LORD your God am holy” (19:2). The people’s holiness consists not only of ritual purity, but also of ethical living (19:3-37).
Presence of God
Leviticus envisions the The tabernacle, a word meaning “tent,” was a portable worship place for the Hebrew people after they left Egypt. It was said to contain the ark of the covenant. The plans for the tabernacle are dictated by God in Exodus 26. More as the dwelling place of the Lord in the midst of the Israelites. Its purity must therefore be strictly maintained, so that a Holy is a term that originally meant set apart for the worship or service of God. While the term may refer to people, objects, time, or places, holiness in Judaism and Christianity primarily denotes the realm of the divine More God can reside in the midst of a sinful people without destroying them (see 10:1-2). The theological claim is that the Lord God, the creator of the world, actually dwells with God’s people.
In Leviticus 26, provision is made for the very literal “redemption” of land and people. If an Israelite falls on hard times and sells his land or himself to another, the land or the person should be “redeemed” (that is, bought back) by his nearest relative. If there is no one to redeem the land or the person, both should be released in the Year of Jubilee is a time of celebration and rejoicing. Hebrew law, as prescribed in Leviticus 25 and 27, declared every fiftieth year to be a jubilee year during which time slaves would be emancipated, debts would be forgiven, and even the land would be allowed to rest. More.
Sabbath is a weekly day of rest, the seventh day, observed on Saturday in Judaism and on Sunday in Christianity. In the book of Genesis, God rested on the seventh day; in the Gospel accounts Jesus and his disciples are criticized by some for not… More
The priestly writers give a special prominence to the Sabbath (most notably in Genesis 2:2-3). Here in Leviticus, that emphasis continues: the weekly Sabbath is prescribed as the first of the regular “holy convocations” and “appointed festivals” that the people of Israel are to observe (23:1-8). Even the land is to observe a Sabbath year, when it must rest and lie fallow (25:1-7). Every seven “weeks” (or “sabbaths”) of years, the whole community is to observe the Year of Jubilee, when slaves go free and land is returned to its ancestral owners (25:8-55).
Leviticus views worship as central to the life of the community. The majority of the book (chapters 1-10, 16-17, 21-24, 27) is devoted to instructions about or descriptions of worship–sacrifices, other offerings, proper priestly vestments, the duties of priests, and the liturgical calendar. Worship is one of the primary means by which the Israelites maintain holiness.