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LEVITICUS HOLINESS AND RITUALS (Purity concerns).

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Presentation on theme: "LEVITICUS HOLINESS AND RITUALS (Purity concerns)."— Presentation transcript:

1 LEVITICUS HOLINESS AND RITUALS (Purity concerns)

2 LEVITICUS The Book of Leviticus provides instructions for Israel’s worship. The Book of Leviticus can be thought of as a handbook of instructions for Israel’s worship. Leviticus prescribes special sacrifices for sin and purification (chaps. 4-7) It also describes sacrificial rituals of atonement

3 Leviticus Leviticus 4 prescribes rituals to be followed in cases where people have committed unintentional sin. Sin is regarded as an objective fact- it must be atoned for even if it was not committed intentionally. Leviticus also legislates for cases of intentional sin. In some cases, such as robbery or fraud, the sin entails damage done to other human beings, and restitution must be made (6:5).

4 The Writer The writer of the Book of Leviticus was probably an Israelite priest Priests were members of the tribe of Levi, who led worship in the Temple. The book is described as having to do with matters associated with priests

5 The Purity Laws: Leviticus Impurity, or uncleanness, is o having an imperfection of some kind o not in itself a sinful state o but renders a person unfit to approach the altar. o Priests very concerned w/Purity o The people as a whole are expected to aspire to purity. o Leviticus deals with various matters that can cause impurity. o Ritual cleanliness is next to Godliness

6 Sources of Impurity Sources of Impurity 1) Dead bodies Stay away from what appear to be dead bodies 2) Bodily emissions Lev. 12, 15 o childbirth (Lev. 12) Mother of a boy unclean for 7 days, + 33 day blood purification Mother of a boy unclean for 7 days, + 33 day blood purification Mother of a girl 14 days +66 Mother of a girl 14 days +66 menstrual blood menstrual blood o Sexual intercourse o seminal or other discharge 3) skin diseases leprosy Any blemish 4) Certain types of animals

7 Sources of purification Mikvahs ritual baths Animal/grain sacrifices

8 THE SACRIFICIAL SYSTEM (Lev 1-7) Sacrifice is one of the oldest and most basic ways in which people have tried to communicate with the gods. They thought of sacrifices as a way of feeding the gods. The sacrificial system provides a symbolic means for people to express their gratitude and indebtedness to God, or to make amends for their sins. A sacrifice is something that is made sacred by being offered to god. In the case of animals, the offering required that they be killed, and so made to pass over into the world of spirit.

9 Types of sacrifices in Lev The burnt offering 2. Sacrifice of Well-being 3. The Cereal or grain offerings The burnt offering literally means “that which ascends.” The equivalent Greek term is “holocaust,” which means “wholly burned.” In such a sacrifice, the victim is given completely to God, as “a pleasing odor.”

10 The sacrifice of well-being was a communion sacrifice, where the animal was eaten by the worshipers. Since the slaughter of animals was permitted only in the context of sacrifice in early Israel, these sacrifices were the occasions on which people could eat meat.  The fat, like the blood, could not be eaten, but was deemed to belong to the deity. The blood was given to God by being sprinkled on the altar.  Blood represents life People could eat the meat after been “made sacred” It suggests some form of communion with the Deity

11 The cereal or grain offerings (Leviticus 2) were less expensive than the meat sacrifices and so could be offered more frequently. Only part of the offering was burned, and the rest belonged to the priests.

12 The Day of Atonement Ritual: Leviticus 16 Purpose: Cleanse community from sin Requirement: a young bull & two goats o Young bull Is sacrificed o Two Goats o one offered in sacrifice to God o one driven into wilderness (scape goat), for “Azazel o (a demon of some sort) and is driven away into the wilderness.

13 The “SCAPE GOAT” or AZAZEL GOAT The priest “shall lay both his hands on the head of the live goat, and confess over it all the iniquities of the people of Israel, and all their transgressions, all their sins, putting them on the head of the goat. The goat shall bear on itself all their iniquities” “shall lay both his hands on the head of the live goat, and confess over it all the iniquities of the people of Israel, and all their transgressions, all their sins, putting them on the head of the goat. The goat shall bear on itself all their iniquities” (Leviticus 16:21-22). (Leviticus 16:21-22). Iniquities (sins) deeds that people have done (murder, for example), and in many cases they cannot be undone. The action of the priest is symbolic Is effective if everyone involved believes

14 HOW IT ALL WORKS In the ancient Near East, people explained that the source of all sorts of problems were angry demons that had to be appeased. An individual who made an offering for sin would be pardoned not only by God but by the society that believed that the ritual works. Just as a judge in a court has the power to declare someone guilty or innocent, the priest has the power to declare sin forgiven.

15 The Motivation for Sacrifices 1. It acknowledged God’s dominion over all creatures by returning to him a portion of his gifts. 2. It was a means of communication with God. 3. It repaired a covenant relationship.


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