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Leviticus study guide

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Preparation Participants should read the following portions prior to the study session.
Leviticus 4:27-35: animal sacrifices
Leviticus 11: 1-47: the kosher laws
Leviticus 16:1-34: the day of Atonement
Leviticus 26: 40-45: consequences of confession of sins
Orientation Leviticus is book #3 of 39 in the Old Testament. It is considered a book of Law. For more information see the Bible Overview page.
Synopsis Unlike Genesis and Exodus, which are historical narratives, Leviticus is a legal book; detailing some 600 laws. It was written at the time the Israelites were camped at Mt. Sinai for a year. Aaron is ordained a priest, then laws are set up including systems of sacrifices and offerings, dietary (Kosher) law, sexual practice, hygiene, disease prevention and treatment. The poor are provided for by a system of gleaning (19:9). The Year of Jubilee (ch. 25) is set up for a festival every 50 years, and the tithe (27:30) is introduced.
Major Characters Moses, who receives detailed worship instructions from God (1:1)
Aaron, brother of Moses, who is ordained chief priest (8:30) and in charge of implementing the instructions (8:36).
Major Events God creates a system of animal sacrifice (Ch. 4)
God sets up the kosher laws (Ch. 11)
The Day of Atonement (Yom Kippur) is organized (Ch. 16)
Activities 1. Chart kosher/non-kosher foods.
2. List the various feasts being organized.
3. Consider how Leviticus serves as a health manual. Are the various food handling, hygiene and disease laws based on science?
4. Consider the confession of sins in Lev. 26: 40-45. Compare the consequences with those in the New Testament (1 John 1:9). * Compare responsibility for parents' sins with those in the New Testament (John 9:1). ** Compare the language: "they" (Lev. 26:40) vs. "we" (1 John 1:9). ***
Connections 1. The Passover feast set up in Lev. 23 celebrates the Passover experienced in Exodus (Ex. 12).
2. The Christian faith is solidly built upon Jewish tradition, and this is clearly seen in the New Testament book of Hebrews. Jesus replaces the sacrificial system set up in Leviticus (where animals are sacrificed for sins) with a substitution system in which he himself becomes the sacrifice.

For source citations see the home page. Revised Apr 9 2014

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* In the Old Testament, sin - even confessed sin - has direct consequences of retribution (Lev 26:43) although tempered a little bit (Lev 26:44). In the New Testament, forgiveness is a resolution (1 John 1:9).

** In the Old Testament, responsibility for sins of the parents pass down to the children (Lev 26: 39-40). In the New Testament, Jesus teaches individuals are only reponsible for their own sins (John 9:1).

*** In the Old Testament, 'they' language indicates a top down, punitive enforcement strategy. In the New Testament, 'we' language indicates individuals taking the initiative for their own actions.