Purpose of Leviticus

Book of Leviticus links the idea of holiness to everyday life. It goes beyond the issue of sacrifice though the sacrificial worship and the work of the priests is explained with great care. The concept of holiness affects not only the relationship that each individual has with God, but also the relationship of love and respect that each person must have for his neighbor. The code of holiness permeates the work because each individual must be pure even as God Himself is pure and because the purity of each individual is the foundation of the holiness of the entire covenant community.

It deals with God’s character and will, especially in matters of holiness, which the Jewish sages considered to be of primary importance. Another major theme of the Book of Leviticus is the sacrificial system.

The Burnt Sacrifice (Hebrew olah) refers to the only sacrifice that is entirely consumed upon the altar, and therefore it is sometimes called the whole offering.

The Grain Offering (Hebrew minchah) is a tribute offering made in order to secure or maintain the divine favor, indicating that the fruits of a person’s labor should be dedicated to God.

The Peace Offering (Hebrew shelamim) is designed to provide expiation and permits the one who makes the offering to eat the meat of the sacrifice. It was often given on a joyous occasion.

The Sin Offering (Hebrew chatta’t) is employed to remove impurity from the sanctuary.

The Trespass Offering (Hebrew asham), also referred to as the Guilt Offering or the Offering of Reparation, is prepared for violation of the sanctity of the property of God or of another person, usually by use of a false oath. The trespass had desecrated the sanctity of God and an offering is required.

In addition to the sacrifices, the liturgical calendar holds a significant place in the Book of Leviticus. The Sabbath year refers to the emancipation of Israelite slaves, and people in debt, as well as the redemption of the land (see also Ex. 21:2–6; 23:10, 11; Deut. 15:1–11, 12–18). The Jubilee Year refers to the fact that the land of Israel, as well as the people, belongs to God and not to any individual. The land, therefore, must have rest after each period of forty-nine years (Lev. 25:8–17), which teaches God’s ownership.

The entire Book of Leviticus is permeated with the sanctity of God, the holiness of His character, and the necessity of the congregation to approach Him in purity of heart and mind