Chapter 4 The Law – Living out the Covenant. Major Concepts Book of Leviticus : Holiness and Ritual Book of Numbers : Priestly Regulations and Inspiring Stories Book of Deuteronomy : The Law and Love On the Brink of the Promised Land. Leviticus: Holiness and Ritual.
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Chapter 4The Law – Living out the Covenant Major Concepts • Book of Leviticus: Holiness and Ritual • Book of Numbers: Priestly Regulations and Inspiring Stories • Book of Deuteronomy: The Law and Love • On the Brink of the Promised Land
Leviticus: Holiness and Ritual • Writer was probably an Israelite priest in the time after the exile when the Temple was being rebuilt • Priests were members of the tribe of Levi, who led worship in the Temple • A handbook of instructions for Israel’s worship • Community worship was critical for the Israelites because it expressed who they were: God’s own beloved people
Ritual was not to be treated lightly - had to be done according to precise instructions • Leviticus presents the regulations for rituals as if they came directly from God to Moses and were as if put down during the travel through Sinai • Actually written centuries later for worship in the 2nd Temple • Writer wanted Jews to see worship in the Temple as related to their daily life in the community
Writer knew that worship is genuine only if it is expressed in how people treat one another • In addition to ritual, the book of Leviticus teaches how Jews should live out holiness in their relationships. It encourages: • honesty • respect • tolerance • compassion • generosity • and, reverence
Sacrifices of Atonement • Leviticus deals with the rituals performed in the Temple • The rituals in the first half of the Book, deal with sacrifices of atonement, animal sacrifice, to be done in the temple whenever the Jews sinned against God • Once a year, on the Day of Atonement, Yom Kippur, the High Priest would offer sacrifice in the Holy of Holies to reconcile the whole Jewish people to God
Beginning with the Dispersion of the Jews around 70 C.E., the Jews continued to celebrate Yom Kippur but without the animal sacrifice • In the New Testament, the unknown author of Epistle to the Hebrews uses the idea of sacrificial rituals of atonement to give meaning to Jesus’ death and Resurrection: • He refers to Jesus as the true High Priest: • He offers Himself as the sacrifice • His blood is spilled for the people • He reconciles all of human-kind to God
The Holiness Code • Focus on how true worship is expressed in a person’s everyday life: • Leave some of the harvest for gleaning (collection) by the poor • Do not withhold the wages of a laborer until the next day • Do not curse the deaf or put a stumbling block in the way of the blind • Do not take vengeance or bear a grudge; “love your neighbor as yourself” • Do not oppress foreigners; treat them as your would your own people (continued on next slide)
The Holiness Code - continued • Do not fashion dishonest weights and measures (devices used for determining prices) • Every fifty years there will be a jubilee – that is, debts are to be canceled, and those who have lost their property are to have the opportunity to redeem it • Leviticus reminds us the holiness is not simply a matter of going through all the right prayers and rituals, although these are important
Love for God, the essence of true worship, is shown in love for one’s neighbor. For written homework, due tomorrow, answer the 5 review questions on page 78. Read up to and including page 78 in textbook.
The Book of NumbersPriestly Regulations & Inspiring Stories • A complex work created by many authors and editors • The title comes from the census mentioned early in the book which greatly exaggerated the number of living Israelites • The second part of the book was originally called in Hebrew “In the Wilderness” which described the Hebrews’ wandering in the wilderness on the way to Canaan & talks about the Jews’ jealousy, rebellion & greed
More Complaining & Grumbling • The 2nd part of the Book of Numbers gives a different version about the Jews’ unhappiness than that told in Exodus • In this version the people complain about food and disparage the manna given them by God • In this version Moses despairs of his own people and asks God to let him die • So God sends them food – flocks of quail and many people eat so much many of them die
The Lesson for the Israelites? God will provide • Especially when things look bleak • God will give them far more than they could ever have dreamed of