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EXEGESIS > Old Testament > Pentateuch > Leviticus 


You shall therefore be holy;
for I am holy.
Lev. 11:45

Leviticus is the third book of the Pentateuch, the third book of Moses; therefore, the book was written during the life of Moses. Only the critical scholar will question the Mosaic authorship of Leviticus, and the questioning is predicated on principles foreign to traditional Christianity.

In Leviticus God is giving Moses commandments and guidelines regarding the religious and ceremonial life of the nation. Various offerings and sacrifices are outlined, as well as the duties of the Priests; also, moral instructions were given for the life of the people as they endeavored to be the people of God.

Central to all of this is the holiness of God and the responsibility of the people to imitate the Lord; God spoke to the nation: “You shall therefore be holy; for I am holy” (11:44-45; 19:2; 20:7, 26; see: I Pet. 1:16). Leviticus has been called “the Book of Holiness”; the word “holy” is used over 85 times. Spiritual holiness was symbolized and taught in the constant call for cleanness in the physical and religious practices of the nation.

In the middle of the book is the chapter on the Day of Atonement (16). This Day supremely teaches the people that God is holy and must be appeased, that the people are unholy and are unacceptable to God, and that the means for approaching God is through sacrifice and blood. Also the people were taught that the significance of blood resided in its identification with life; to shed blood was to shed life.

Following is a simple outline for Leviticus:

Ritual Regulations – Chs. 1-17

Ethical Instructions – Chs. 18-27

Note: These two divisions are not independent and unrelated, but are integrated in the life of the nation, and are actually integrated in the book, so the suggested outline is somewhat arbitrary.

Passages with Exegesis

        Lev. 11:45 - Foundation for Holiness

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