Notes on Leviticus 20-23


Chapter 20 continues with the things the people will be exposed to in Canaan. To pick up these behaviors would compromise the very reason God was sending the people to Canaan.  God was judging Canaan. He will drive them out and replace them with a nation that will live God’s plan as a witness to the world. I would encourage you to read Deuteronomy 4:1-8.

 While we are on the subject of God’s plan for Israel, God’s plan for the Church can be found in Matthew 28:19&20.  That is the message we are to bring, but like Israel, we are to exhibit in our lives the reason for and the value of becoming a Christian. If we conduct our lives as the world conducts their lives then how effective can our message be? We are to be different in the eyes of the non-believer.  That is why Jesus gave us this command in John 13:34&35, “A new commandment I give you, that you love one another, as I have loved you, that you also love one another. By this all will know that you are My disciples, if you have love for one another.”  NKJV

Jesus had a diverse group of disciples. Jesus picked some rough and tough fisherman who wanted to call down fire from heaven on a city in Samaria. Luke 9:51-56.

One of those disciples became known as the Apostle of Love. Jesus also picked some who would naturally be polar opposites like Simon the Zealot. Zealots wanted to be rid of Roman rule. They had a hatred for the Romans. So, Jesus calls another disciple who is a tax collector for Rome, no less, and it is to this group He gave the above command. Jesus set the example. The disciples were to set the example then, and now we are to set the example. Psalms 133&134 speak to this as does verse 7 in Chapter 20 of our study today.

 Chapters 21&22 continue along the same line. Those who call themselves believers are to be serious about their relationship with the Lord. Earlier we looked at Luke 9. I would encourage you to look at verses 57-62 where several say they will follow Jesus, but not now. Jesus is looking for those who will deny themselves, take up their cross, and follow Him.

 We have been looking at just one side of our walk with the Lord and it seems like we are getting quite the to-do list. Chapter 23 reminds us of God’s love and provision. The Sabbath day and the feasts were reminders they could participate in so they would not forget what God had done and what God was doing. This chapter begins with the Sabbath day and quickly moves to the feasts.

 The first feast is Passover. They were to remember that a lamb was sacrificed and its blood was painted on the doorpost of their house.  When the Death Angel came to claim the first born and saw the blood, the angel “passed over” the house and the first born was not taken.

 John the Baptist, the forerunner of Jesus, identified Jesus as the Lamb of God who takes away the sins of the world. Jesus is our Passover Lamb. We can have new life, eternal life, because He gave His life and His blood was shed for our sins.

 The next feast is the Feast of Unleavened Bread and it starts the day after Passover. Jesus was buried on the Feast of Unleavened Bread. (The new day for the Jews starts at twilight not midnight like our day.) Leaven is a symbol of sin. The effect of sin is death. The reason Jesus died was because our sin was placed on Him. He took our sin to the grave and to Hades, but there was just one problem. Jesus was sinless. Death had no claim on Him so death had to send Him back. This brings us to the Feast of First fruits. The date of this feast will be set when they reap the first crop in the Promised Land. We will read about that in Joshua 5. For us we need to know that when Jesus died there was an earthquake in Jerusalem and many people were raised from the dead after Jesus was raised.  So the death and resurrection of Jesus fulfilled these three Feasts.

 Fifty days after this feast is the Feast of Weeks or First Fruits as it is very similar to the one when Jesus was raised.  This feast also recognizes God’s provision for the people. Again, these feasts are a physical picture so we can understand what God has provided spiritually. Fifty days after Jesus was raised from the dead and offered the first fruits of those who would be raised to eternal life, the Holy Spirit was given. Jesus died for our sins and when we believe in Him we are born again. But Jesus said He would not leave us alone as orphans to fend for ourselves. He promised that He would send the Holy Spirit to be with us. I believe that if we will look at how Jesus led and trained His disciples we will better understand the work of the Holy Spirit in our lives. The Apostle Paul tells us that as believers our body is the temple of the Holy Spirit. The Greek word for temple means the most Holy Place in the Temple. Truly, believers are new creations in Christ.

 These feasts occur at the time of year when seeds are planted, the crop grows, and is harvested.  I believe there is a message for us in the timing. Jesus has done it. He has paid for our sins. We are to be seed planters looking for a crop. I believe we are to be planting the Word, taking care of the new believers, giving God a harvest of glory honor and praise. We are here to serve but one day we will be with Him and that will be glorious. This brings us to the final three Feasts which occur at the end of the farming season.

 Trumpets is the next feast and it occurs on the dark of the Moon. I believe this feast will be fulfilled with the rapture of the Church. One day there will be a trumpet blast and the Church will be caught up into heaven and spend the next seven years with the Lord. At this time the world will go through the Great Tribulation, Israel will again serve the Lord by completing the task God has for them in Daniel 9:24 by the end of the Great Tribulation

 At the end of the Tribulation Israel brings in the Most Holy. The Lord returns not as Savior, but as King, and atonement is made for Israel. The Feast of Atonement was the one time of the year where the High Priest could enter the Most Holy Place and offer sacrifices for himself and the nation, thus seeking to make atonement for sin.  Zechariah 12:10-13:6 gives us a good description of what will take place when the Lord returns and the relationship between God and Israel is restored.

 Finally, the last feast is Tabernacles. In our reading presently the Tabernacle has been built and will be traveling with the people. The Tabernacle represents God with the people and the people in their tabernacles or tents, with Him. The fulfilment of this feast will be when Jesus returns as King and sets up His “Tabernacle” in Jerusalem. Ezekiel 37:24-28 describes this perfectly.

   So we began with a warning to not be corrupted by this world and the people of the world. It is tempting to make a list of things to do or not do but the Feasts in Chapter 23 remind us to keep our focus on the Lord and what He has done and provided. The fall feasts remind us that our future and hope is not in this world but in the Lord and that one day we will be with Him and spend eternity with Him. This is our future and our hope!

 Look up, your redemption is nearer today than ever before.

Pastor Dave