Leviticus, Serving God
This next book is a natural progesssion in the developing theme of tracing God's Plan
of Redemption throughout the Old Testament. A background study of the tribe of Levi
is in order.
The Levites, Living Sacrifices in the Lord's Service.
The book of Leviticus is a book about service to the Lord. The Levites were a
tribe of Israel devoted enterely to service to the Lord. As such, the
Levites paint an interesting picture of our Christian life. They were ordinary Israelites
with one exception; because they had chosen the Lord during the golden calf incident, God
promised them a special blessing - they were to be inducted into the service of the Lord.
This gives us a valuable lesson that we can apply to our own lives.
The Lord, our Service
Special blessing for the tribe of Levi, service in the Lord's
"house." Exod 32:26, 29; Num 1:49-53
Then Moses said, "You have been set apart to the LORD today, for you were
against your own sons and brothers, and he has blessed you this day."
Exodus 32:29, NIV.
As the believer/priest has been cleansed from the filth of his sin, he now enters into
the service [worship, fellowship] of the Lord. The tribe of Levi was consecrated to the
service of the Lord. It was their appointment by the Lord to act as assistants to the
A little background is necessary. Both Moses and Aaron were descendants of the tribe of
Levi (Exod 6:16-27). When the Israelites grew tired of waiting for Moses while on
mount Sinai, they rebelled and made a golden calf for an idol. When Moses returned from
the mount and discovered their sin, he stood at the gate of the camp and said,
"'whoever is for the Lord, come to me!' and all the sons of Levi gathered together to
him." (Exod 32:26). Because of this loyalty to the Lord and to Moses, the Lord
reserved a special blessing to the tribe of Levi (vs 29). This blessing was to
be in direct service unto Jehovah in the keeping and maintenance of the tabernacle, a type
of Jesus Christ (Num 1:49-53).
It was the Levites who were to prepare the tabernacle for Israel's journey in the
wilderness. "...it had been their duty to look after the sacred vestments and
vessels; the store-houses and their contents; and the preparation of the shewbread, of the
meat-offerings, of the spices, etc. They were also generally to assist the priests in
their work, to see to the cleaning of the sanctuary..."
The tabernacle is a picture of Christ and His relationship to His disciples. This
close relationship teaches the total consecration of the Levites to the Lord and
the total consecration of believers today to Jesus Christ.
The Levites, in the Service of the Lord. Num 8:11-26; Rom
It is significant that the wave offering was used in conjunction with the Levites.
Moses did not bring the usual material that was used in a wave offering (a harvest
of grain). Rather, he was to present the Levites themselves as the wave offering.
The Levites are a picture of you and me. They were appointed to the worship/service of
the tabernacle of the Lord (which we know, is a picture of our Lord, Jesus Christ).
Aaron is to present the Levites before the LORD as a wave offering from the
Israelites, so that they may be ready to do the work of the LORD.  "After
the Levites lay their hands on the heads of the bulls, use the one for a sin offering to
the LORD and the other for a burnt offering, to make atonement for the Levites.
 Have the Levites stand in front of Aaron and his sons and then present them
as a wave offering to the LORD.  In this way you are to set the
Levites apart from the other Israelites, and the Levites will be mine.
Numbers 8:11-14, NIV.
Num 8:11-23. Here the Levites are a wave offering to the Lord - living
sacrifices, if you please (vs 13; 15; 19; 21). Vs 16 "...I have taken the
Levites for myself."
The wave offering involved a special way of presentation, as the offering was moved back
and forth in an horizontal fashion as it was presented to the Lord. However, the Levites
being a wave offering may refer to the it's root meaning which refers to a swinging motion
as in wielding a sickle as a tool in harvesting grain. The Levites were to be a tool
in the Lord's hands in the service of the tabernacle.
Now turn to Rom 12:1.
Therefore, I urge you, brothers, in view of God's mercy, to offer your bodies
as living sacrifices, holy and pleasing to God--this is your spiritual act of worship.
"...living sacrifice..." I think Paul had precisely in mind the service of
the Levites. The Levites were living sacrifices. They were the offering,
not a shief of grain. The whole idea of this unique sacrifice was that the
Levites were to be dedicated wholly to the Lord Jesus Christ in the type of the
tabernacle. You and I are an offering to the Lord Jesus Christ.
They were given to Aaron and his sons (a type of Jesus Christ)
Of all the Israelites, I have given the Levites as gifts to Aaron and his sons
to do the work at the Tent of Meeting on behalf of the Israelites and to make atonement
for them so that no plague will strike the Israelites when they go near the
sanctuary." Numbers 8:19, NIV.
You and I are given to Jesus Christ Hebrews 2:13 "And
again, "I will put my trust in him." And again he says,
"Here am I, and the children God has given me." They had no
inheritance in the land of Israel for the Lord was their inheritance "But to
the tribe of Levi, Moses had given no inheritance; the LORD, the God of Israel, is their
inheritance, as he promised them." Joshua 13:33, NIV.
Likewise you and I have no inheritance in this world, Jesus Christ is our inheritance (Eph
1:11, 12; Gal 4:7).
They were to be a tool in the hand of the Lord (the meaning of the root word) -
their vocation was Jesus Christ (again, the tabernacle) Num 8:26; 3:5-4:49. You and
I are to be a "tool" in his hands - our vocation is Jesus Christ "Therefore,
my dear brothers, stand firm. Let nothing move you. Always give yourselves fully to the
work of the Lord, because you know that your labor in the Lord is not in vain."
(1 Cor 15:58, NIV). We are His ambassadors "We are
therefore Christ's ambassadors, as though God were making his appeal through us. We
implore you on Christ's behalf: Be reconciled to God." (2 Cor 5:20, NIV).
We are his servants (John 13:13-16; Rom 1:1; 16:1; Col 4:12; Jude 1). He has made
us a kingdom of kings and priests unto God (Rev 1:5, 6).
Anything short of total consecration to the service of Jesus Christ is rebellion
against his service. For this read Num 16 - the Levitical rebellion led by Korah.
Finally, this consecration is our reasonable service, worship (Rom 12:1) - it is
the only Christian life-style that makes sense. It is our "charge," our work,
An Outline of the Book of Leviticus.
The book gets its name from the LXX and then on the the Latin version in translating
"relating to the Levites." The subject of the book is living a holy life
before Jehovan in service to Him. The language of the book addresses the approach to
Jehovan and includes regulations on how to live a holy life before Him. The believer
of New Testament times should not pass on from Leviticus shunning it because of some of
the ceremonial laws because intertwined with the ceremonial are very important principles
of living a holy life before Him.
Here's an outline:
- How to approach The Holy God - 1:1 - 16:34.
- Approaching the Lord with offerings 1:1 - 7:38.
- Ordination of the priests and the sin of Nadab and Abihu - 8:1 - 10:20.
- Living a clean life before Him - 11:1 - 15:33.
- The Day of Atonement - Standing before Him - 16:1 - 34.
- How to live for Him - 17:1 - 27:34.
- The relevance of the Shed Blood - 17:1 - 9.
- Keeping the horizintal and vertical in perspective - 18:1 - 20:27.
- Living a clean life before Him - 21:1 - 22:33.
- Observing the Agenda of the Lord. - 23:1 - 44.
- Observing a balance between what we do at church and in the world - 24:1 - 23.
- Observing The Lord's Sovereignty in our lives - 25:1 - 55.
- Avoiding the temptation of idolatry - 26:1 - 46.
- Placing great importance on our commitments - 27:1 - 34.
I am convinced that there is to be no distinction between work in the secular workplace
and a full-time, professional, Christian vocation - not when it comes to any perceived
difference in levels of commitment to the Lord. We are all in full-time Christian
service. Some of us happen to be gainfully employed in a professional vocation and
others are in the so-called secular workplace. We are all to be in full-time
Christian service to the Lord.
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1. The Temple: Its Ministry and Services, Pg 60 Alfred