Leviticus 16,17, and 18 are the chapters we are reading today.
Chapter 16 –
The Day of Atonement was the most important solemn day on Israel’s calendar. The emphasis in this chapter is on the necessity of sin being atoned for so that God’s people may be forgiven and reconciled unto Him. The ministry of the high priest was crucial in facilitating this. God set out clear instructions on how this was to be carried out.
Aaron entered and left the most holy place three times during the day’s sacrifices and rituals. The first time ws to burn fragrant incense before the Lord. The second time was to get some of the bull’s blood from the sin offering and sprinkle it against the east side of the mercy seat and before the mercy seat seven times. His third entrance into he most holy place was to bring the blood of the male goat for the people’s sin offering and sprinkle it on and in front of the mercy seat.
Once Aaron had purified the most holy place in this way for all Israelites sins, he would the same for the tent meeting itself. The ritual of the male goat was another unique feature of the Day of Atonement. Aaron was to lay both his hands on the head of the goat and confess the sins over it of the people.
Following this ritual Aaron was to bathe again, the he offered the burnt offering that made the atonement for sins.
The Day of Atonement was to be established as an annual event to make atonement for the sin of the people.
Chapter 17 –
Chapter 17 discusses living before a holy God. Beginning in chapter 17 the focus of Leviticus focuses on hoe god’s people were to be holy in their everyday lives. The Lord spoke to Moses and gave him instructions for Aaron and his sons and the Israelites. The first command was a prohibition against sacrificing animals anywhere except the tabernacle. This provided two things, one they would offer proper sacrifices and secondly it would eliminate any opportunity to offer a sacrifice to a foreign god.
The second prohibition was against eating blood. This had been stated earlier bur the verses give the reason that eating it was forbidden: the life of a creature is in the blood, and I have appointed it to you to make atonement on the altar for your lives, since it is the lifeblood that makes atonement.
The final verses deal with the handling of any animal that was to be eaten. If the animal was hunted and killed the blood and to be drained and covered with dirt, if someone did this improperly they were unclean until the evening and had to ceremonially bathe.
Chapter 18 –
The laws relating to sexual relations are covered in chapter 18. The prohibitions in this chapter are outlined to provide for the sanctity of marriage and family. God left no doubt about the importance of sexual purity in His sight.
He begins the chapter with these words I am the Lord your God. He established these laws in order for the Israelites sexual practices to be completely different from those of the Egyptians. No matter where they lived, they were to follow His law.
It is very clear here what His laws were and what they are today. He outlines laws against having sex with anyone outside a martial relationship and even addresses the men laying with men in verse 22 which today people are tuning their backs on a heterosexual relationship. It seems clear He is speaking against a homosexual relationship. Do not defile yourselves.