Boker tov! Good morning! I’m going to just give a quick summary today, with some links to extra reading. However, I actually believe these are some of the most important chapters in the entire Bible, so I hope you’ll have the time to read through all these resources. If not today, schedule it for this upcoming Sabbath!
This precious chapter is all about the atonement YHVH provided for us. We will learn more about each of the annual feasts we are to celebrate in a few days (Leviticus 23), but this chapter gives us a glimpse into the role of the priesthood on this MOST important of all days, Yom Kippurim, or Day of Coverings or Atonement.
The word atonement is used 15 times in this chapter alone. It is kaphar in Hebrew (Strong’s #3722), and it means “to afford protection or security; to hide from sight or knowledge; to cover over as with a lid. It is also the covering of a debt or wrong.” This word is used in Genesis to describe the “pitch” (Genesis 6:14) that Noah put over all the wood on the ark, to cover it and make it water tight.
Christine has written an excellent post on this chapter, which she believes is the central axis of the entire Bible — in other words, the most important chapter to read and understand!
I encourage you to celebrate this day with your family this coming fall (probably the end of September 2020). You can access resources from my website here.
This chapter highlights two important principles that you need to know as you continue reading through the Scriptures.
First of all, sacrifices were never to be offered anywhere except at the entrance to the door of the Tabernacle. This is a change from what we’ve seen so far up to this point in history. For instance, we know that YHVH slaughtered an animal to clothe Adam and Eve. Noah built an altar and offered sacrifices when he came out from the ark. Abraham frequently built altars and offered sacrifices to YHVH. I could list more, but from this point on, the instruction would be to only offer the sacrifices at the door of the Tabernacle. This topic will be revisited in Deuteronomy, right before the people entered the Promised Land, so we’ll talk about it more then. Meanwhile, if you’d like to learn more, you can read my post on why we should not offer a Passover Lamb at this point in history (highly recommended).
Please note that when sacrifices are offered at places or times that YHVH did not command, they are like making sacrifices to goat demons. Christine Miller has been researching extensively the past few months on sons of God, nephilim, and “mighty ones” and their connection to goat demons, and if this is something you’d like to investigate further, check out this series of posts (with links at the bottom to the entire series). I also recommend Brad Scott’s series, “Sons of God, Giants, and the New World Order.” These things apply to our lives now, not just to Israelites in the wilderness thousands of years ago!
This chapter also talks about the special status of blood. YHVH warns,
“And whatever man of the house of Israel, or of the strangers who dwell among you, who eats any blood, I will set My face against that person who eats blood, and will cut him off from among his people. For the life of the flesh is in the blood, and I have given it to you upon the altar to make atonement for your souls; for it is the blood that makes atonement for the soul. Therefore I said to the children of Israel, ‘No one among you shall eat blood, nor shall any stranger who dwells among you eat blood.’
“Whatever man of the children of Israel, or of the strangers who dwell among you, who hunts and catches any animal or bird that may be eaten, he shall pour out its blood and cover it with dust; for it is the life of all flesh. Its blood sustains its life. Therefore I said to the children of Israel, ‘You shall not eat the blood of any flesh, for the life of all flesh is its blood. Whoever eats it shall be cut off'” (Leviticus 11:10-14).
Do you see how serious YHVH takes this? It is an offense for which people are to be cut off, which as we have learned, means that they are no longer allowed to be included with the people of YHVH and, at the maximum, is a death penalty.
This chapter is really all about the sanctity of marriage and human life, for by placing restrictions on who may father a life or who may carry a child, we see that the Father cares about the lives of His people. It is important to know who your father is! It is important to have stable homes! It is important to be committed to a husband or wife for life!
Please note that the oft-repeated phrase “uncover the nakedness” of someone is to have sexual intercourse with them, but it does teach the importance of keeping modest and covered for all others in our lives. I think this chapter explains what really happened between Ham and Noah in Genesis 9:20-27, where Ham “saw the nakedness of his father,” or in the words of Leviticus 18:8, he went in to his mother while his father Noah was drunk, thereby conceiving a child named Canaan.
“The nakedness of your father’s wife you shall not uncover; it is your father’s nakedness” (Leviticus 18:8).
His brothers did righteously to enter the tent backward and cover up their parents, rather than to stare and lust.
But it was from this sin that Canaan and his descendants first got their notoriety, plunging deeper and deeper first into sexual immorality, then into idolatry, and then even to further abominations and finally to child sacrifice. These are all lumped together in this chapter, and really, you should put them into one category in your mind, too. From these first perversions, all that is evil and awful in our world comes. And please note, our righteous God will judge! The penalty is death!
Please read this passage slowly and carefully, and be warned.
“Therefore God also gave them up to uncleanness, in the lusts of their hearts, to dishonor their bodies among themselves, who exchanged the truth of God for the lie, and worshiped and served the creature rather than the Creator, who is blessed forever. Amen.
“For this reason God gave them up to vile passions. For even their women exchanged the natural use for what is against nature. Likewise also the men, leaving the natural use of the woman, burned in their lust for one another, men with men committing what is shameful, and receiving in themselves the penalty of their error which was due.
“And even as they did not like to retain God in their knowledge, God gave them over to a debased mind, to do those things which are not fitting; being filled with all unrighteousness, sexual immorality, wickedness, covetousness, maliciousness; full of envy, murder, strife, deceit, evil-mindedness; they are whisperers, backbiters, haters of God, violent, proud, boasters, inventors of evil things, disobedient to parents, undiscerning, untrustworthy, unloving, unforgiving, unmerciful; who, knowing the righteous judgment of God, that those who practice such things are deserving of death, not only do the same but also approve of those who practice them” (Romans 1:24-32).
But please note that the purpose of marriage is not to simply get the “right” to uncover someone’s nakedness in lust. The result of marriage is to bring forth righteous children, and this is a duty and responsibility that stretches far beyond a one-night stand or licentious party.
“But did He not make them one,
Having a remnant of the Spirit?
And why one?
He seeks godly offspring.
Therefore take heed to your spirit,
And let none deal treacherously with the wife of his youth” (Malachi 2:15).
And these weighty matters of true love and commitment, even to future generations, are why the Father gave these commands, which we are to take seriously and teach to our children!
I’ll close today by very briefly mentioning that this is one of my personal favorite chapters in the Bible, and I hope you’ll study it and mark it up and fall in love with it, too.
I’ve already written about it, however, so I’ll close by pointing you to that post here.
Unless otherwise noted, all Scripture in this blog post taken from the New King James Version®. Copyright © 1982 by Thomas Nelson. Used by permission. All rights reserved.