Day 8: God Calling Us to Holiness, Faith and Love         (Leviticus: Types and Shadows)

Let me set the scene for today’s teaching by giving you a New Testament lens in which we can preview the last three books of the Pentateuch together. Our goal is to get through the book of Leviticus, Numbers and Deuteronomy in the next two sessions. We will cover Leviticus in this first session with an emphasis on types and shadows. Then finish up with Numbers and Deuteronomy in the next session.

To start off, let’s consider these four verses from the New Testament:

  • Col 2:16-17 Therefore do not let anyone judge you by what you eat or drink, or with regard to a religious festival, a New Moon celebration or a Sabbath day. These are a shadow of the things that were to come; the reality, however, is found in Christ.
  • Much of what we will look at today are shadows of things to come, things that find their ultimate fulfillment in Christ. What I mean by shadow, is that these historical events, were designed to give us a picture of the reality that we would find in Christ.
  • Heb 8:1-5 The point of what we are saying is this: We do have such a high priest, who sat down at the right hand of the throne of the Majesty in heaven, and who serves in the sanctuary, the true tabernacle set up by the Lord, not by man. Every high priest is appointed to offer both gifts and sacrifices, and so it was necessary for this one also to have something to offer. If he were on earth, he would not be a priest, for there are already men who offer the gifts prescribed by the law. They serve at a sanctuary that is a copy and shadow of what is in heaven. This is why Moses was warned when he was about to build the tabernacle: "See to it that you make everything according to the pattern shown you on the mountain."
  • In other words, there is a reason why Moses gives us detailed instructions about the building of the tabernacle, sometimes down to the very color of the thread! And then repeats himself three times throughout the Pentateuch. Why would he do that? Because God is trying to give us an accurate picture, albeit a copy and a shadow of that which is in heaven!
  • Heb 10:1 The law is only a shadow of the good things that are coming-not the realities themselves. For this reason, it can never, by the same sacrifices repeated endlessly year after year, make perfect those who draw near to worship.
  • 1 Cor 10:1-12 For I do not want you to be ignorant of the fact, brothers, that our forefathers were all under the cloud and that they all passed through the sea. They were all baptized into Moses in the cloud and in the sea. They all ate the same spiritual food and drank the same spiritual drink; for they drank from the spiritual rock that accompanied them, and that rock was Christ. Nevertheless, God was not pleased with most of them; their bodies were scattered over the desert.
  • Now these things occurred as examples to keep us from setting our hearts on evil things as they did. Do not be idolaters, as some of them were; as it is written: "The people sat down to eat and drink and got up to indulge in pagan revelry."   We should not commit sexual immorality, as some of them did-and in one day twenty-three thousand of them died. We should not test the Lord, as some of them did-and were killed by snakes. And do not grumble, as some of them did-and were killed by the destroying angel. These things happened to them as examples and were written down as warnings for us, on whom the fulfillment of the ages has come.
  • The main point being stressed here, is that all the events of the Old Testament were given to us as examples of what heaven is like, and what was to come, namely Christ!
  • Theologians call this typology types and shadows. Types and shadows are illustrations of spiritual truths or principles that are lived out in the natural realm but point to deeper realities that find their fulfillment in the coming of Christ!

Quick Review:

  • Remember, when it comes to interpreting scripture accurately, "All meaning is context dependent!" Which is why I want to do another quick review, so the context is fresh in your mind as we go through this portions of scripture.
  • In Genesis we saw the beginnings of all that life consist of. We saw how the world was created, we saw the creation of men and women, who were created in the image of God. We discovered the beginning of God's purposes as he told Adam and Eve to be fruitful, multiply and fill the earth with his image!
  • We were then introduced to the serpent, who we discovered from the book of Revelation and Isaiah, was no other than Satan himself, an archangel who was in charge of heavenly worship, but then became corrupted by his own pride.
  • He no longer wanted to exist to worship God, but rather wanted all to exist to worship him. So, he seduced Adam and Eve with the same lie that brought about his own downfall. That God was not as good as he said he was, and that he was holding back good things from the creation. That creation could be God's themselves!
  • Adam and Eve believed the enemies lie which lead to their disobedience and rebellion, allowing sin to enter God's creation. The consequences of this sin were immediate, and were removed from the Garden of Eden.
  • They were now driven by fear and shame rather than peace and joy. They were now separated from their God because of their sin. Furthermore, sin had distorted and marred the image of God within their own lives. And death had now entered the world and corrupted the entire creation.
  • But we are not without hope, because we are given a promise that one day all that was lost in the Garden of Eden would be restored through one who would come and crush the head and power of the enemy.
  • We then saw God begin to unfold his plan of redemption by entering into a covenant relationship with Abraham. And that through Abraham's seed, the whole world will be blessed.
  • At that point we began to follow what scholars call the golden thread, the lineage of Abraham, which will climax in bringing forth the Messiah, who will restore all the things we lost when Adam and Eve chose to sin.
  • In the book of Genesis, we began to follow the thread of Abraham's seed! Abraham begat Isaac, who begat Jacob, who gave birth to 12 sons who would become the heads of the 12 tribes of Israel.
  • One of Jacob's sons was a man named Joseph, who God used to bring his family to Egypt, that they might be preserved when a great famine came through. In Egypt they multiplied into a great nation, so great that the Egyptians became afraid of them and enslaved them.
  • For 400 years Israel cried out to God to rescue them from their bondage. God heard their cry and remembered the covenant he made with Abraham and determines to rescue them. This brings us to the book of Exodus.
  • As we saw a few lessons back, Exodus is the controlling narrative of the Bible and consists of three sequential episodes:

           1.     The Exodus: God as sovereign King, judged the gods of Egypt and made a way for Israel to escape through                    the parting of the red sea! At that point, from the New Testament’s perspective, God's people emerged as a                      new creation, a nation whom God has adopted as his firstborn son to bring about the fulfillment of his original                  purposes.

           2.     Mount Sinai: Being delivered from the bondage of slavery was just the first step in seeing God's restorative                     purposes emerging! To continue the process of restoration, Israel now needed their relationship to God                           restored (by the establishing of God’s temple), and God’s image restored (through the giving of the law).

           3.     The Promise Land: Now that they have been delivered from bondage and were becoming a holy people,                       once again reflecting the image of God, God's messenger will show them "the way" to the promise land (a                       picture of Eden). A land flowing with milk and honey (i.e., God's ample provision) where the "dwelling of God                     is with men." Special Note: On the way, the Egyptians (gentiles) are                       invited to journey with them!                   God’s heart has always been for all the people of the earth!

  • The first five books of the Old Testament written by Moses is called the Pentateuch! The books of Leviticus, numbers and Deuteronomy are now the final pieces. In them we will find insights on how God plans to bring about the completion of his restorative purposes!

Leviticus

  • In the book of Exodus, we saw the establishing and building of Moses’s tabernacle, a way for God's people to have a relationship with God!
  • Thus, the question becomes, how was this relationship to be maintained? The Israelites could not dwell forever at Mount Sinai. This is where the book of Leviticus comes into play. Building upon the revelation of God's temple that we found in the last part of the book of Exodus, Leviticus introduces us to the whole sacrificial system needed to keep their relationship with God right.
  • And then God established special celebratory feasts and dates to help Israel keep their history and mission ever before them!
  • In a very real sense, Leviticus is a picture window into ancient Israel's worship, where they are taught how a sinful humanity can have a relationship with a holy God!
  • This becomes a vital for us today because it provides us the background, we need for grasping the significance of Christ's sacrificial death.
  • The word Leviticus has its roots from the word Levites, who if you remember, was the tribe called to become priests. This is probably the reason why the Jewish people refer to this book as the law of the priests.
  • So, it shouldn’t surprise us when studying the book of Leviticus, the question people often ask; is Leviticus primarily a handbook for the priests? The answer to that is no. There are too many details concerning rituals that are missing for it to be that. But rather, this book was compiled for the instruction of the congregation in matters pertaining to being the people in relationship with God!
  • Meaning, that the heart of this book is the desire to see the promise that was made to the patriarchs be fulfilled, that God would enter a special relationship to them!
  • Leviticus is part of a large section of instructions and regulations that runs from Exodus 25:1 to Numbers 10:10. From this section we can identify five key ingredients to seeing God's purposes being fulfilled in our lives!

a)     The Law:

  • Usually when we hear the word law, we often think of the 10 Commandments. But actually, in the Old Testament thinking there are three kinds of law.
  • There is Ceremonial law, Civil law, Moral law
  • They are not introduced as such when you read them in the Bible, but they can be identified as we read them. First there is...

           1.     Ceremonial Law: This has to do with those things which related directly to the Jewish religion, which was                        based on the sacrificial system. This whole system was a type and shadow of what was to come. They all                          pointed to the time Jesus would be sacrifice on the cross for our sin once and for all!

           2.     Civil Law: Civil Laws provide for the day-to-day government of a nation. The civil laws were those that told                       you what to do if my cow kicks down your fence, or if your goat injures my servant. They often have to do                         with personal injury or property damage. Often the civil laws in the OT set down a certain punishment for a                       civil offense. This too was a type and shadow of one who come and sit on the throne as judge over all the                       earth. Meaning that too was fulfilled in Christ!

           3.     Moral Law: The Moral Law is summarized in the 10 Commandments. Unlike the Ceremonial and Civil Laws,                       the Moral Law was not given to foreshadow the work of Christ as Savior or the role of Christ as King, but                           rather, just as we have seen over the last two lessons,  a revelation of the Character of God. The same                             character God wants to build into our lives! Meaning the moral law was always intended for all people, for all                   times!

 

b)    The Tabernacle:

  • The Tabernacle of Moses consisted of 3 courts: Outer court, inner court and the Holy of Holies.
  • Distribute throughout the three courts were six pieces of furniture.

  • Outer Court: Anybody who wanted access to God had to come through the front gate which you notice is the biggest doorway of all.
  • The first thing that they would be confronted with is the bronze altar. A sacrifice would have to be made to atone them for their sins.
  • Once the sacrifices made, they would clean themselves off at the brazen laver.
  • One last note to highlight, one could function in the outer court as long as there was natural daylight.
  • The next court is called the Inner Court. This court was much smaller.
  • Here, only the priests could enter. A priest was someone who had gone through a more in-depth purifying process.
  • The First thing you would notice is that this room was lit by a seven-fold candlestick on the left. This candlestick supplies light to this room 24\seven days a week.
  • On the right, is the table of show bread or the bread of his presence. On this table you would find 12 loaves of bread. Each loaf represented one of the tribes of Israel. The bread was a constant reminder of the covenant that God had made to Israel. The priests would eat this bread every week.
  • In the middle of the room right before the curtain that goes into the holy of holies, is the altar of incense. Here the priests offered up sweet incense before God every hour of every day.
  • The last court was called the Holy of Holies, where only the high priest, once a year, would enter through even a smaller door, a curtain, or a thick veil. The high priest would take the altar of incense into the holy of holies on the Day of Atonement and both burn special incense and make a sacrifice on the mercy seat of the Ark of covenant.
  • The Ark of Covenant was a golden box with two cherubs face each other with the mercy seat in between. It was here that the very presence, the Shekinah glory of God dwelled!
  • Furthermore, this Ark of covenant contain three things within it. 1) The stone tablets of law that Moses had received. 2) A jar of manna that helped Israel survive 40 years in the wilderness. 3) Aaron's staff, which signified that God chose Aaron as the high priest.
  • From this we can see several applications that this type and shadow has for our lives.
  • First, this as with all of scripture points towards Christ, who would come and deliver his people.
  • It is interesting that the gospel of John in particular focuses on how Jesus was the complete fulfillment of everything that we see being expressed through the Tabernacle of Moses.
  • But the typology does not end here, because we are also being shown a picture of some of the experiences that a believer must go through to grow up in Christ. In other words, we have a pattern, a model, a roadmap of different experiences that help believers mature in their faith! For example:
  • First, notice that the door into the temple is wide, implying that everyone who is seeking God with a sincere heart, can enter.
  • But before you have access to the rest of the temple, a sacrifice must be made at the bronze alter!
  • In other words, our entrance into becoming part of the body of Christ (entering the temple) starts with us accepting what Christ did on the cross for, recognizing that he was the lamb of God slain for the forgiveness of our sins.
  • Once we accept salvation by putting our faith in Christ as our substitution for our sins, we are then baptized in water. The brazen Laver is a picture of two things. First, it points to our needing to be baptized by water, a picture of us dying to our old like and being risen into our new life with Christ.
  • And secondly, it points to our needing to be continually washed by the water of the word, which purifies us, and enables us to experience a greater degree of intimacy with God.
  • Eph 5:25-27 …just as Christ loved the church and gave himself up for her to make her holy, cleansing her by the washing with water through the word…
  • The next door into the inner court is smaller, signifying that fewer people experience this door. To go through this door, one now needs to go through a deeper purifying process and become a priest! To become a priest, one must have a desire to undergo all the rituals required to becoming a priest. We will look at that a little bit more we study the priesthood in our next section.
  • As a priest, the first thing you would notice as you entered the inner court, is that this room has its own source of light. The light is coming from the seven-fold candle stick, a picture of the Power of the Holy Spirit within our lives.
  • As we draw closer to God, it is important that we learn how now to walk more and more by the Spirit of God, who gives a supernatural light. And it is the spirit of God that enables us to begin to bear the fruit of the Spirit, the character of God, as seen engraved into in the candlestick.
  • It’s within the inner court that we see our need to experience the community life of the body of Christ as portrayed in the table of show bread. As mentioned before, these 12 loafs of bread, representing the 12 tribes of Israel. The priest ate these loafs each week! What a great picture of us being called to walk in unity with God’s people. In the New Testament, there are at least 25 "one another" verses that show us what it means to walk in unity with other believers. We need to learn what it is to bear one another... serve one another... exhorts another... and on and on.
  • We also need to learn what it is to enter a lifestyle of worship and intercession as seen in the altar of incense. As a believer grows closer and closer to God, they experience a deeper sense of worship and intercessory prayer for the world around them.
  • We as the People of God also learn what it means to pray without ceasing, which also brings us closer and closer to God!
  • That brings us to the holy of holies, where only the high priest could enter once a year to perform a sacrifice on behalf of the whole nation of Israel.
  • But now, we have access to all contained within because of what Christ did on the cross!
  • When Jesus died on the cross, the scripture says there was a great earthquake and the veil in the Tabernacle was torn!  Matt 27:51 At that moment the curtain of the temple was torn in two from top to bottom.
  • Notice if you would that the curtain was torn from top to bottom, signifying this was God’s doing, because of Christ's sacrifice! When Jesus took our sin upon himself and died in our place, the barrier that stood between God and man because of our sin, was now destroyed!
  • Thereby giving us intimate access to God! As a result of this, the writer of Hebrews encourages to take full advantage of this by boldly coming to God! Heb 4:16 Let us therefore come boldly to the throne of grace, that we may obtain mercy and find grace to help in time of need.
  • The only piece of furniture in the Holy of Holies was the Ark of covenant! And in the ark, were three significant items that represent three more experience we can have with God!
  • We now can live our lives in the very presence of God (Ark of covenant), where we can understand him in the more intimate way as revealed through his law. We can also experience a deep sense of fulfillment and satisfaction because we can feed on Christ who is our manna. And we now experience God's divine authority, as seen in Aaron’s staff, being expressed through us in ministry! We have the been given God’s authority to cast out demons and heal the sick!

c)    The Priesthood:

  • In the Old Testament, while it was always God's heart that the whole nation of Israel would serve Him as priests! Ex 19:5-6 Although the whole earth is mine, you will be for me a kingdom of priests and a holy nation.' These are the words you are to speak to the Israelites."
  • Unfortunately, because of Israel’s unbelief, only the tribe of Levi were allowed to become priests.
  • But now in the New Testament we discover that through Christ’s sacrifice on the cross, our calling to become God’s priest has been restored!
  • 1 Peter 2:9-10 But you are a chosen people, a royal priesthood , a holy nation, a people belonging to God, that you may declare the praises of him who called you out of darkness into his wonderful light.
  • Rev 1:5-6 To him who loves us and has freed us from our sins by his blood,  and has made us to be a kingdom and priests to serve his God and Father
  • Of course, the question then becomes what does that mean for us, to be priest of God. Some of the answers to that inquiry is found in the types and shadows of the Old Testament. For example, those who were called to be priests had to go through a deeper purifying process. They were stripped of their clothes before everybody, were then washed, and then anointed with oil and were given specific priestly garments to wear representing their function.
  • What a great picture of the cleansing experience we all must go through as God sanctifies us! Sanctification is the process of becoming more like Christ! All believers must go through this, which starts by confessing our sins to others and being washed by the word of God. Then as we learn to walk in the Spirit, he begins to address the issues of our heart for the purpose of clothing us with the character of Christ.

  • For example, I want to draw your attention to both the breastplate and the stones on the shoulders. On both pieces of clothing, there were 12 stones, each representing one of the tribes of Israel. This was a symbolic picture of a person who is carrying God's people in his heart and shouldering their burdens before God.
  • Of course, there is much more going on here than what we have time to cover, so I encourage you to explore and study this on your own.


d) The Sacrifice

  • -       Now we come to the whole Jewish system of sacrifice. 
  • Once again, there is far too much to cover than what we have time for, so again I am going to encourage you to study this on your own. This chart is a great place to start!    
  • Let it be sufficient to say, that Christ fulfilled all the sacrifices! But it does not stop there!      
  • The burnt offering is something that not only applies to Christ, but also applies to us. The burnt offering was a sacrifice that represents the complete dedication and surrender of one's life to God.      
  • Clearly, we see that walked out in the life of Christ. But the apostle Paul also sees this offering being fulfilled and walked out in the life of the believer. This is what Romans 12 is all about!      
  • Rom 12:1 Therefore, I urge you, brothers, in view of God's mercy, to offer your bodies as living sacrifices, holy and pleasing to God-this is your spiritual act of worship.      
  • As New Testament believers, we are called to live a life that is completely sold out to God. Unfortunately, that’s not what we see happening a lot of churches these days.
  • For many, a person dedicates himself to going to church once or maybe twice a week as his service to God. But then the rest of the week is his or hers to do with as they want!      
  • Obviously, this is not the type of relationship that God wants with us. He wants all of hearts, not just part of it! 

e)   The Feasts:

  • Once again there is too much to cover than what we have time here, so I would encourage you to study it on your own. This chart is a good place to start! Nevertheless, let me give you a few tidbits that might help you in your personal study.
  • There are three main feasts throughout the Jewish calendar 1) Passover 2) Pentecost 3) and the feast of Tabernacles. Passover as we have seen was fulfilled when Jesus died on the cross.
  • Pentecost was fulfilled when God poured out his Spirit on God's people 50 days after Passover was completed. It was here that God wrote God's laws on the hearts of his people, thereby fulfilling the giving of the law on Mt. Sinai!
  • The feast of Tabernacles, which was a reminder of the 40-year wilderness journey, for which they were about to partake in, as well a celebration for that years harvest.
  • It was during this feast that they would construct booths to live in for a week, symbolizing that they were separate from the world.
  • It also was a celebration of harvest, which represents the last days when the great evangelical harvest of souls will happen at the second coming of Christ!
  • In tomorrows lesson, I will give you a quick recap of all this and show you how it ties into our New Testament understanding!