Numbers 4-5

?#?OTin52? Our reading today is Numbers 4-5.

IV. Duties of the Kohathites (Numbers 4).

• God instructs Moses and Aaron to count up the number of Levites from
thirty to fifty years old who will serve at the Tabernacle.
• The descendants of Kohath, Gershon, and Merari are get assigned specific
jobs around the Tabernacle.
• Aaron and his sons prepared and covered everything in the Tabernacle for
• The Kohathites will be responsible for carrying the pieces of furniture
through the wilderness along with the oil, incense and flour.
• Ithamar will direct the Gershonites who will be responsible for carrying
the tent covering, the curtains, screens, and fabrics.
• Ithamar will also direct the Merarites who will carry tent poles,
pillars, bars, and all kinds of structural supports.
• The Gershonites and Merarites could place their items on wagons; the
Kohathites always had to carry their burdens.
• Moses and Aaron count everyone up and get 8,580 who are ready to serve.
• The Israelites are ready for their journey to the Promised Land.

V. Confession, Restitution and an Adultery Test (Numbers 5).

• God addresses several different areas of defilement or uncleanness that
can affect the camp.
• Before the Israelites strike camp, God directs Moses to remove anyone who
has a skin disease, suffers from a discharge or touches a dead body (vv.
• God also sets down the rules for wrongdoing (vv. 5-10).
• The offender has to confess his or her sins publicly.
• The wrongdoer also has to make financial amends by paying person they’ve
offended plus 20% more.
• If there’s no wronged party or next of kin, the money goes to the priests
along with the offering of a ram to make atonement.
• Israel was about to go to war and they could not afford any cases of
unresolved conflict.
• God also arranges a test for finding out if a man’s wife has been
• A man is to publicly bring his wife to the priest at the door of the
Tabernacle along with an offering of barley. The priest takes a cup of holy
water, mixes it with some dust from the floor of the Tabernacle, and then
mixes it in the woman’s hair.
• The priest place her under an oath before God. He writes the curses on a
scroll and washes them off in water. Next the priests tells her that the
water of bitterness carries a curse. If she’s been faithful – nothing will
happen. But if she’s been unfaithful she will experience bitter suffering
(i.e. God will cause her womb to discharge and her uterus to drop).
• The priest then writes the curse on the cup and makes the woman drink the
water. The water will reveal her guilt or innocence. This unusual test was
designed to protect the woman from false accusation.
• Comment: If the man brought his wife before a priest and she was not
guilty (he looked silly) and if she was guilty (everyone would suffer).
Overall, this test was designed to scare off anyone from committing
adultery and keeping the community of God’s people pure.

Jesus in the Old Testament

• When we enter the new Jerusalem, our Promised Land, it will not be by
purifying ourselves but because we have been washed in the blood of the

Numbers 3

?#?OTin52? Our reading today is Numbers 3.

III. Duties of the Levites (Numbers 3).

• Aaron had four sons—Nadab, Abihu, Eleazar, and Ithamar. Nadab and Abihu
were struck dead when they offered unauthorized fire at the Tabernacle.
Eleazar and Ithamar are the two sons of Aaron who remain to serve as

• Eleazar will be chief of the Levites and eventually follow his father as
High Priest.

• Ithamar will receive the offerings for the Tabernacle and oversee the
Gershonites and Merarites.

• The Levites, substituting for the firstborn males in Israel, will serve
as assistants to the priests.

• The Levites would devote their lives to the serving God.

• The sons of Levi: Levi had three sons and his descendants are broken down
into three groups and given special places to live and specific duties to

• The descendants of Gershon live on the west side of the tabernacle and
take care of various fabrics.

• The offspring of Kohath live on the south side and they take care of all
the furnishings inside the Tabernacle.

• The descendants of Merari live on the north side and are in charge of all
the structural components of the tabernacle (i.e. tent poles and pillars).

• Moses, Aaron and his sons live on the east or entrance side of the

• A census was taken numbering 22,000 Levites.

• A census taken of the firstborn sons of Israel numbering 22,273.

• The extra 273 had no Levites to represent them in the Tabernacle so each
Israelite male who did not have a representative had to tithe five shekels.

Jesus in the Old Testament

• Just as the Levites were a substitute for the firstborn sons of the other
tribes, so Jesus is our substitute who came to serve and whose food was to
do the will of the Father (cf. John 4:34).

Numbers 1-2

?#?OTin52? Today we begin reading the book of Numbers, chapters 1-2:
The Book of Numbers
The reason for the English title becomes clear as we read the first two
chapters. God is numbering His people. However, the actual numbering takes
up just a small portion of the book. Other titles given to this book
include, (1) “And He Spoke;” and (2) Bemidbar – “In the Wilderness.” The
book is also a travel narrative as it tracks Israel’s wandering in the
I. Counting the Tribes (Numbers 1).
• Moses and the Israelites are still camped around Sinai, where they’ve
been for the past 14 months since their exodus from Egypt.
• God tells Moses that He intends to take a census of all the people.
• Every man who’s over twenty years old should have his name recorded.
• God recruits twelve men, chosen from each tribe, to help with the census.
• The final tally, not including women and children, is 603,550. In most
cases the numbers were rounded off to the nearest hundred, except for Gad.
• When you add women and children and the tribe of Levi (who weren’t
counted) is nearly nearly two million people.
• The Levites aren’t counted because the census is meant to count those who
are able to go to war. Israel’s army was not a voluntary force.
• The phrase, “able to go to war” appears 14 times in this chapter. One of
the themes of this book is getting ready for battle.
• The Levites, exempt from military service, were appointed to oversee the
Tabernacle, protect it, carry it from place to place, and take it down, set
it back up wherever the Israelites camped and also dwell around it.
II. Organizing the Tribes (Numbers 2).
• God gets very specific about the tribal arrangement around the Tabernacle.
• The Tabernacle occupied the center of the camp and tribes were arranged
around it as God determined.
• On each of the four sides, there will be three tribes:
• Judah, Issachar and Zebulun, the eastern tribes (guarding the entrance to
the Tabernacle) are the largest contingency of 186,400 me.
• Reuben, Simeon and Gad, the southern tribes, had 151,450 men.
• Ephraim, Manasseh, and Benjamin are the western tribes numbering 108,100
• Dan, Asher and Naphtali, the northern tribes numbered 157,600 men.
• God also arranges the order that the Israelites will strike out on their
• The Ark, carried by the priests, would lead the procession followed by
the eastern tribes, the Gershonites and Merathites who carried the frames,
curtains and coverings, then the southern tribes, followed by the
Kohathites who carried the tabernacle furnishings, then the western tribes
and bringing up the rear the northern tribes (the second largest
• Each tribe would display its standard and each family its banner (1:52;

Jesus in the Old Testament

Nahshon (1:7) was in the family tree of David and was an ancestor of Christ
(cf. Matthew 1:4).
Having been redeemed from sin and judgment by Jesus’ life, death and
resurrection, we are now called to be a people engaged in spiritual battle.
Judah’s eastern placement at the entrance to the Tabernacle reflects God’s
promise that Jesus would come from Judah’s line (cf. Genesis 49:8-12).

Leviticus 26-27

?#?OTin52? Our reading today is the last two chapters of Leviticus (
26-27). For those who read through Leviticus – well done! Though the book
is filled with challenging terrain,overall, it is filled with wonderful
pictures of Jesus.

XXVI. Blessings and Curses (Leviticus 26).

• God promises to give Israel the best future any nation could imagine. The
foundation of His blessings is rooted in the covenant He established with
His people (The word covenant is used 8 times in this chapter).
• Blessings and curses are a part of the covenant (A common feature in
other Middle Eastern documents).
• Everything in the book has been moving toward this climax: A flourishing
future (i.e. bountiful harvests, bread aplenty, safety and security, and
most of all God’s presence among them) if Israel follows God’s statutes and
obeys His commands.
• Curses occur (i.e. God’s discipline will come in the form of fear,
disease, defeat, drought, futility of labor, dangers to family and
children, deserted roads, desolation of sanctuaries, rejection of
sacrifices, scattering and exile) when the covenant is broken.
• “If … then …”: Actions have consequences.
• God will keep His covenant (the covenant He made with Abraham, Isaac and
Jacob) when His people humbly confess their sin.

XXVII. Vows, Property and People (Leviticus 27).

• This chapter, serving almost like an appendix, deals with more direction
concerning voluntary gifts (vv. 1-25) and required offerings like the tithe
(vv. 26-33).
• There are some basic guidelines for Israelites as they voluntarily offer
cattle, crops, land, or property.
• An Israelite who changes his mind about a voluntary offering can redeem
it by covering its value plus a 20% penalty. The priest determines the
value. The word valuation is used around twenty times in this chapter).
• Promises and agreements matter. People must honor their commitments to
the Lord. Rash promises were costly.
• Israelites are also required to give ten percent (literally, a tithe) of
their cattle, flocks and harvest.
• The last verse of Deuteronomy is a summary of the while: Moses received
these instructions from God near Mount Sinai to give to the people of
Israel for the ordering of their lives before Him.

Jesus in the Old Testament

• Under the New Covenant, Jesus takes on Himself all the curses our sin and
rebellion deserves.
• Jesus also commands us to keep our relationship with God at the center of
our lives, trusting Him to provide all we need (cf. Matthew 6:25-33).

Leviticus 24-25

?#?OTin52? Our reading today is Leviticus 24-25:

XXIV. Fire and Bread at the Tabernacle/A Story of Blasphemy and Justice
(Leviticus 24).

• This chapter is an overview of the arrangement of the Tabernacle with a
perpetual fire or light and showbread.
• The lamps are lit continually (vv. 1-4).
• A dozen specially baked loaves (showbread) representing the twelve tribes
of Israel are set on the table of pure gold each Sabbath (vv. 5-9).
• A rare dramatic narrative in Leviticus tells the the story of an unnamed
son of an Israelite woman named Shelomith, daughter of Dibri, from the
tribe of Dan, whose father was Egyptian.
• The son gets into a fight with an Israelite and blasphemes God’s name.
• He is arrested and put in jail until God made known His will for him.
• God directs Moses to take him outside the camp, those who heard his
blasphemy were to lay their hands on his head, and then the community was
to stone him to death.
• There is a play on words in verse 16: “The person who strikes a hole in
God’s name shall be struck with stones.”
• God sets down the the principle of Israel’s justice system – “an eye for
an eye, a tooth for a tooth.” The principle of justice in Israel was not
one of personal vengeance but equal justice – the punishment must fit the

XXV. The Sabbatical Year and the Year of Jubilee (Leviticus 25).

• This chapter lays down instructions related to property, household
management, and provision for the poor.
• The Israelites are to work the land for six years and let it rest for the
• Every seventh year is a Sabbatical year.
• The seventh year after an accumulated seven Sabbatical years is the year
of Jubilee (jubal means to blow a trumpet).
• Every fifty years the land purchased over the previous forty-nine years
is returned to its original owner and slaves are set free.
• This would help foster human flourishing and harmony for all.
• The basis for these two provisions of land and servitude: “for the land
is Mine” (v. 23) and the Israelites are “My Servants” (vv. 42, 45).
• Provision is also made for the poor and the sojourner in Israel who do
not own land.
• Israelite landowners cannot exploit the poor, enslave a fellow Israelite,
exploit his employees, or charge interest of a poor Israelite.

Jesus in the Old Testament

• In Jesus’ day, some were violating Israel’s principle of justice and
using it to exact revenge in personal matters. Jesus makes it clear that in
personal matters love and patience should prevail (cf. Matthew 5:38-42).
• Jesus used Leviticus 25 as the basis for His mission: helping the poor,
setting people free from sickness, and redeeming people from the debt of
• Jesus used the year of Jubilee as a picture of salvation (cf. Luke
4:16-21). We are living in the Jubilee year because He has given us rest
and freedom.

Leviticus 19-21

OTin52 Our reading today is Leviticus 19-21.

XIX. The Holiness Code: More Moral Absolutes (Leviticus 19).

• The basis for the Holiness Code is this core principle: “You shall be
holy, for I, YHWH, your God, am holy.”
• There is a repetition and expansion of the Ten Words throughout this
• Honor your parents; keep the Sabbaths; avoid idolatry.
• There are also rules for promoting the welfare of the community and
keeping it strong and united:
• Don’t exploit the poor; don’t be partial toward the rich and powerful;
don’t steal; keep your vows; don’t take the Lord’s name in vain; promptly
pay your workers; respect the disabled; use accurate weights and measures;
don’t seek revenge, and love your neighbor as yourself.
• Don’t mate two animals from different kinds of species; don’t mix
different kinds of plants or wear clothes with mixed fibers.
• Don’t sleep with a female slave who’s assigned to marry someone else.
• When an Israelite plants a tree, it is to grow freely for three years
without harvesting its fruit.
• Avoid flesh-cutting and tattoos.
• Avoid mediums and fortune-tellers.
• Respect your seniors; love the sojourner or immigrant among you.

XX. Serious Offenses (Leviticus 20).

• In this chapter God outlines the consequences when offenses are committed.
• The death penalty exists for serious offenses:
• Child sacrifice (vv. 1-5); necromancy (vv. 6, 27); cursing of parents (v.
9); adultery, sexual perversion and sexual misconduct (vv. 10-21).
• God tells the Israelites to set themselves apart from the people of other
nations (vv. 7-8; 22-26).

XXI. A Manual for Priests (Leviticus 21).

• God instructs the priests and their families to be holy.
• Priests can’t mourn for the dead like ordinary people (vv. 1-4; 11-12).
• They are not to shave their heads, trim their beards, or cut their flesh
(vv. 5, 10).
• Guidelines for whom a priest can marry (vv. 7-9; 13-15).
• Only blemish-free descendants of Aaron are to serve as priests (vv.

Jesus in the Old Testament

• The ultimate display of love for one’s neighbor is Jesus, who have
Himself for us and calls us to love others in self-sacrificing ways.
• God’s desire for His people was that they experience His good pleasure
and the joy of human flourishing even as Jesus calls us to a higher plane
to take His yoke upon us and find rest for our souls.
• Priests in Israel were held to a higher standard while spiritual leaders
today are called to follow Christ who strengthens each one for the task.


Come join us for worship this Sunday.

Pastor Paul’s message will begin our I*n My Father’s House* series with
“Church Matters.”

The passage will be Ephesians 2:11-3:13.

Service times are 9 and 11 am.

Leviticus 16-18

OTin52 Our reading today is Leviticus chapters 16-18:

XVI. The Day of Atonement (Leviticus 16).

• This is the most important chapter in this book outlining the Day of
Atonement or Yom Kippur – the most important day of the year.
• The Day of Atonement shows what God requires for dealing with the problem
of sin.
• The Day of Atonement provides a way for the cleansing of the Tabernacle,
the camp, and the people so that God will continue to dwell with His people.
• This was the one time the High Priest is permitted to enter the Holy of
Holies or the Most Holy Place.
• The High Priest enters the Most Holy Place three times with something to
• First, the purification offering to cleanse the Tabernacle (vv. 11-19).
• Secondly, the scapegoat offering to carry the sins of the people outside
the camp (vv. 20-22).
• Thirdly, burnt offerings to emphasize the atonement made that day (vv.

XVII. The Holiness Code: The Slaughter and Eating of Animals (Leviticus 17).

• God gives commands to Moses to cover the slaughter and eating of animals.
• No Israelite can eat meat from cattle, goats, or sheep unless it has been
sacrificed at the Tabernacle.
• Offering sacrifices outside the Tent of Meeting (at one’s own shrine, for
instance) is strictly forbidden (vv. 3-9).
• The blood of animals is not to be ingested (vv. 10-14).
• The purification rites for those who have eaten animals that have not had
their blood drained from them (vv. 15-16).

XVIII. The Holiness Code: Prohibited Sexual Activities (Leviticus 18).

• The the reason for these rules is to protect what matters most in the
community and to obey God out of devotion in every area of life.
• There is a moral code of forbidden acts (vv. 6-23): exposing nakedness,
incest, adultery, homosexuality, and bestiality.
• The chapter concludes saying the reasons for these rules is the purity of
God’s land and His people.

Jesus in the Old Testament

• The High Priest foreshadows Jesus who fulfilled His work alone, laying
aside His garments of deity, and sanctified Himself for us. The big
difference is that Jesus had no sin of His own that needed to be atoned.
Jesus Himself is the perfect and final sacrifice for the sins of the world.
• The only price for sin that God will receive is the blood of a sacrifice.
Jesus shed His blood in the ultimate sacrifice for the forgiveness of our
sins. The sacrifice of blood means the life of one for another. Jesus gave
Himself willingly.
• The blood of Jesus, shed at Calvary, is the only acceptable sacrifice to
God for the eternal sacrifice for sin.

Leviticus 22

XXII. Rules for Priests, Ritual Cleansing and Acceptable Sacrifices
(Leviticus 22).

• This chapter begins and ends with the same emphasis: “You shall not
profane my holy name … I am the Lord” (v. 2; vv. 32-33).
• Rules for priests when they can’t eat or touch holy offerings because
God’s name is holy (vv. 1-16).
• If a priest is ritually unclean, he has to avoid holy things until he
goes through a ritual cleansing.
• A priest can give holy food to foreigners purchased as slaves.
• God prescribes how He is to be worshipped (vv. 17-33).
• Rules for offering the proper animals in the proper way so that they will
be acceptable.
• By following God’s regulations for sacrifices, the Israelites were
acknowledging God as their holy and redeeming king.

XXIII. The Weekly Sabbath and Annual Feasts (Leviticus 23).

• The Jewish calendar is organized around a series of sevens: the 7th day
weekly and seven annual feasts, three of them occurring in the seventh
month; the seventh year was a Sabbatical year; and every 49 years (7×7) is
the Year of Jubilee.
• These dates are times to remember what God has done.
• The weekly Sabbath (v. 3).
• The Passover (vv. 4-8). A memorial of the Israelites deliverance from
• The Feast of Firstfruits (vv. 9-14); The Feast of Weeks (vv. 15-22); The
Feast of Trumpets (vv. 23-25) – these three are related to agriculture and
a reminder that God is the provider.
• The Day of Atonement (vv. 26-32). A day of confession and cleansing.
• The Feast of Booths. The Israelites live in temporary structures.

Jesus in the Old Testament

• Passover pictures Jesus as the Lamb of God who died for us (cf. 1
Corinthians 5:7).
• Firstfruits pictures Jesus’ resurrection (cf. 1 Corinthians 15:20-23).

Leviticus 14-15

?#?OTin52? Our reading today is Leviticus, chapters 14-15. Even for the
most determined readers, this is where many who would like to read through
the OT drop out. It’s hard to read this section without becoming squeamish
but press on. Our God is a very precise God.

XIV. Purification for Skin Diseases and Contaminated Homes (Leviticus 14).

• The first half of this chapter focuses on procedures for restoration to
the community following purification.
• Once a priest declares that the healing process was completed the
individual was to bring two birds. One bird was to be sacrificed. The
priest would dip the living bird in its blood and sprinkle the blood seven
times on the person being purified.
• The second half of the chapter focuses on the purification of a moldy
house (i.e. mildew or lingering fungus) which also involved a dead-bird and
a live-bird.
• The last four verses of chapter 14 are a summary of chapters 13 and 14.

XV. Discharges of the Body (Leviticus 15).

• The key words in this chapter are discharge and unclean.
• Verses 1-15 deal with infectious discharges.
• Any infectious discharge makes one unclean along with his bed, chair, or
another person if touched by the unclean person also becomes unclean.
• The unclean must pass through a seven-day process of washing while
offering a couple of birds for sacrifice.
• Verses 16-30 deal with normal male and female discharges.
• The reason for these rules is ritual cleanness. Uncleanness makes the
Tabernacle unclean.

Jesus in the Old Testament

• Restoration of someone with a skin disease is a picture of Jesus who went
outside the camp to die for us in order to cleanse us.
• God made provision for Israel’s ceremonial uncleanness and He has made
complete provision for our cleansing through the blood of Jesus (cf. 1 John