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OVERVIEW OF LEVITICUS - “Be holy because I am holy”

Author: Moses, the deliverer and lawgiver. Fifty-six times, the book itself mentions something to the effect of “the Lord spoke to Moses.” The New Testament and Jesus Himself confirms Moses as the author (Matt. 8:4; Luke 2:22; Heb. 8:5).

Date: Moses received the instructions recorded in Leviticus at Mt. Sinai and could have been written either around 1445 B.C. or possibly toward the end of the forty years of wandering in the wilderness 1405 B.C.

Audience/Purpose: Leviticus is written to the nation of Israel, who had just come out of slavery in Egypt, to explain how they were to approach and relate with the Holy God, and also how they were to now live out His holiness in everyday life and relationships.


  1. 1:1-10:20 - “I am holy” - How the Holy God is to be worshiped

  • 1:1-6:7 - God’s instructions for Moses about burnt offerings, grain offerings, fellowship or “peace” offerings, sin offerings for the guilt of unintentional as well as deceitful sins of Priests, the entire community, and its individual leaders and members, to atone sin as “an aroma pleasing to the Lord.”

  • 6:8-7:38 - God’s instructions for Moses to Aaron and his sons, the Priests, for administering burnt offerings, grain offerings, sin offerings, guilt offerings, fellowship offerings as thanksgiving or a vow, about not eating fat or blood of the sacrifices, and the breast and right thigh are reserved for Priests.

  • 8:1-10:20 - Moses consecrates and ordains Aaron and his sons for the Priesthood, who present their first offerings, bless the people, after which God manifests His holy presence before the people and in the death of Nadab and Abihu to confirm the holiness and importance of the role of the Priesthood.

  1. 11:1-27:34 - “Your are to be holy” - How we are to live holy

  • 11:1-15:33 - Instructions to distinguish between clean and unclean animals for food, about the purification of a woman following childbirth, and how Priests are to deal with various bodily and home conditions making persons unclean before Holy God.

  • 16:1-34 - Instructions for Aaron and his sons concerning the annual Day of Atonement, how they are to enter the sanctuary with proper dress and sacrifices, how the two goats are to be determined for the sacrifice made to the Lord and the one offered as the scapegoat, how the bull and goat are to be offered for the sin offering, how the scapegoat is to be released, how Aaron and the releaser of the scapegoat are to treat their clothes, and the mandate to observe the Day of Atonement as a holy day annually.

  • 17:1-25:55 - Additional rules of personal and corporate holiness

  • 17:1-16 - Bring all animal sacrifices for the Lord to the Tent of Meeting and do not eat any blood

  • 18:1-30 - Have no sexual relations other than between a man and woman who are married

  • 19:1-37 - Applications of 10 Commandments, proper worship of God, loving treatment of others

  • 20:1-27 - Those who sin against God’s commands are to be cut off from the people or put to death

  • 21:1-24 - Priests are to be holy

  • 22:1-33 - Priests are to make sure the people’s offerings are holy

  • 23:1-44 - The people are to observe Sabbath and the appointed feasts of Passover, Unleavened Bread, Firstfruits, Weeks, Trumpets, Day of Atonement, and Tabernacles as holy

  • 24:1-9 - Don’t neglect oil for the lamps or bread for the Table of Presence in the Tent of Meeting

  • 24:10-23 - Blasphemer is put to death as a harsh reminder of the seriousness God’s holy commands

  • 25:1-55 - The land rests in the Sabbath year, everyone and everything returns in the Jubilee year