Leviticus 11-15 – Clean and Unclean

Clean and unclean laws

Leviticus 16 – Day of Atonement

Lev 16:1-3

1 The LORD spoke to Moses after the death of Aaron’s two sons, who died after they entered the LORD’s presence and burned the wrong kind of fire before him. 2 The LORD said to Moses, “Warn your brother, Aaron, not to enter the Most Holy Place behind the inner curtain whenever he chooses; if he does, he will die. For the Ark’s cover—the place of atonement—is there, and I myself am present in the cloud above the atonement cover.

3 “When Aaron enters the sanctuary area, he must follow these instructions fully…


  1. Special preparation for the High Priest (v. 3-14)

Props needed:

  • baby wipes, apron, hat
  • four stuffed animals – bull, ram and two goats
  • Leash for the scapegoat
  • Plus two more burnt offerings (v. 24-25)
  • Coin to flip or dice to roll
  • Plastic knife
  • Candle with lighter (for incense)
  • Two bowls for ketchup
  • Stool or table to serve as altar (with wipe-able surface for easy cleanup of ketchup)
  • Artwork
    • Draw ark of the covenant on white board and line on the left for the curtain. And need a chair to represent the altar outside the tent

3 “When Aaron enters the sanctuary area, he must follow these instructions fully. He must bring a young bull for a sin offering and a ram for a burnt offering. [pull out ram and bull]

4 He must put on his linen tunic and the linen undergarments worn next to his body. He must tie the linen sash around his waist and put the linen turban on his head. These are sacred garments, so he must bathe himself in water before he puts them on. [ baby wipes, apron and hat]


5 Aaron must take from the community of Israel two male goats for a sin offering and a ram for a burnt offering. [pull out goats]

7 Then he must take the two male goats and present them to the LORD at the entrance of the Tabernacle. 8 He is to cast sacred lots to determine which goat will be reserved as an offering to the LORD and which will carry the sins of the people to the wilderness of Azazel. [flip a coin to pick a goat]

9 Aaron will then present as a sin offering the goat chosen by lot for the LORD…

10 The other goat, the scapegoat chosen by lot to be sent away, will be kept alive, standing before the LORD…

11 “Aaron will present his own bull as a sin offering to purify himself and his family, making them right with the LORD. After he has slaughtered the bull as a sin offering,

[priest slaughters bull with plastic knife and I squirt ketchup into bowl]

12 he will fill an incense burner with burning coals from the altar that stands before the LORD…

13 There in the LORD’s presence he will put the incense on the burning coals so that a cloud of incense will rise over the Ark’s cover—the place of atonement—that rests on the Ark of the Covenant. If he follows these instructions, he will not die.

[light candle in front of ark]


14 Then he must take some of the blood of the bull, dip his finger in it, and sprinkle it on the east side of the atonement cover. He must sprinkle blood seven times with his finger in front of the atonement cover.

[use plastic spoon to dab ketchup on the board]


  1. Come back out to kill the first goat (v. 15-17)

15 “Then Aaron must slaughter the first goat as a sin offering for the people and carry its blood behind the inner curtain.

[kill goat with plastic knife, squirt more ketchup]

15b There he will sprinkle the goat’s blood over the atonement cover and in front of it, just as he did with the bull’s blood.

[more ketchup on the ark]

16 Through this process, he will purify* the Most Holy Place, and he will do the same for the entire Tabernacle, because of the defiling sin and rebellion of the Israelites. 17 No one else is allowed inside the Tabernacle when Aaron enters it for the purification ceremony in the Most Holy Place…

  1. The Aaron purifies the altar (v. 18-19)

18 “Then Aaron will come out to purify the altar that stands before the LORD. He will do this by taking some of the blood from the bull and the goat and putting it on each of the horns of the altar. 19 Then he must sprinkle the blood with his finger seven times over the altar. In this way, he will cleanse it from Israel’s defilement and make it holy.

[Ketchup on the outside altar]

  1. Scapegoat (v. 20-22)

20 “When Aaron has finished purifying the Most Holy Place and the Tabernacle and the altar, he must present the live goat. 21 He will lay both of his hands on the goat’s head and confess over it all the wickedness, rebellion, and sins of the people of Israel. In this way, he will transfer the people’s sins to the head of the goat. Then a man specially chosen for the task will drive the goat into the wilderness. 22 As the goat goes into the wilderness, it will carry all the people’s sins upon itself into a desolate land.

[Send away the goat with another volunteer]

  1. Cleanup (v. 23-28)

23 “When Aaron goes back into the Tabernacle, he must take off the linen garments he was wearing when he entered the Most Holy Place, and he must leave the garments there. 24 Then he must bathe himself with water in a sacred place, put on his regular garments, and go out to sacrifice a burnt offering for himself and a burnt offering for the people. Through this process, he will purify himself and the people, making them right with the LORD. 25 He must then burn all the fat of the sin offering on the altar.

[Sacrifice final two burnt offerings with plastic knife]

26 “The man chosen to drive the scapegoat into the wilderness of Azazel must wash his clothes and bathe himself in water. Then he may return to the camp.

27 “The bull and the goat presented as sin offerings, whose blood Aaron takes into the Most Holy Place for the purification ceremony, will be carried outside the camp. The animals’ hides, internal organs, and dung are all to be burned. 28 The man who burns them must wash his clothes and bathe himself in water before returning to the camp.

[second guy takes all the animals outside the camp]

Summary: Lev 16:32-34

32 In future generations, the purification ceremony will be performed by the priest who has been anointed and ordained to serve as high priest in place of his ancestor Aaron… 34 This is a permanent law for you, to purify the people of Israel from their sins, making them right with the LORD once each year.”

Q: What did you notice about the day of atonement ritual?

NT Fulfillment: Heb 9:6-12

When these things were all in place, the priests regularly entered the first room as they performed their religious duties. But only the high priest ever entered the Most Holy Place, and only once a year. And he always offered blood for his own sins and for the sins the people had committed in ignorance. By these regulations the Holy Spirit revealed that the entrance to the Most Holy Place was not freely open as long as the Tabernacle and the system it represented were still in use.

This is an illustration pointing to the present time. For the gifts and sacrifices that the priests offer are not able to cleanse the consciences of the people who bring them. 10 For that old system deals only with food and drink and various cleansing ceremonies—physical regulations that were in effect only until a better system could be established.

11 So Christ has now become the High Priest over all the good things that have come. He has entered that greater, more perfect Tabernacle in heaven, which was not made by human hands and is not part of this created world. 12 With his own blood—not the blood of goats and calves—he entered the Most Holy Place once for all time and secured our redemption forever.


Leviticus 17 – Blood

Regulations concerning sacrificial blood.

Key verse = Lev 17:11 – 11 For the life of a creature is in the blood, and I have given it to you to make atonement for yourselves on the altar; it is the blood that makes atonement for one’s life.

Leviticus 18-20 – Holiness Code

Lev 18 – Laws concerning sex

Lev 19 – More laws (19:2 – Be holy, for I am holy)

Lev 20 – Punishments for violations (mainly related to the sex laws)

Leviticus 21-22 – Priests (part 2)

More instructions for priests (along with Lev 8-10)

Leviticus 23 – Festivals


Pope Gregory XIII (1502–85) commissioned the calendar we use today. In fact, it is a revision of the old Julian calendar. Great Britain and its colonies adopted the Gregorian calendar in 1752… God gave Israel a calendar that was tied to the rhythm of the seasons and the history of the nation. It was an unusual calendar because it not only summarized what God had done for them in the past, but it also anticipated what God would do for them in the future. The salvation work of Jesus Christ, the founding of the church, and the future of the people of Israel are all illustrated in these seven feasts.


(v. 1-3) Weekly Sabbath: God Orders Our Times

1 The Lord said to Moses, “Give the following instructions to the people of Israel. These are the Lord’s appointed festivals, which you are to proclaim as official days for holy assembly.

“You have six days each week for your ordinary work, but the seventh day is a Sabbath day of complete rest, an official day for holy assembly. It is the Lord’s Sabbath day, and it must be observed wherever you live.

New Covenant believers are exempt

Col 2:16-17 – 16 So don’t let anyone condemn you for what you eat or drink, or for not celebrating certain holy days or new moon ceremonies or Sabbaths. 17 For these rules are only shadows of the reality yet to come. And Christ himself is that reality.

Gal 4:10-11 – You are observing special days and months and seasons and years! I fear for you, that somehow I have wasted my efforts on you.

But, taking a break is a good idea. People talk about getting “Sabbath” time around here – not because it’s required in this Old Testament sense but because it’s recommended according to common sense.

The we get a list of seven festivals: 3 in early spring, 1 in late spring, and 3 more in fall

(v. 4-5) Passover: Christ Died for Our Sins (March/April)

“In addition to the Sabbath, these are the Lord’s appointed festivals, the official days for holy assembly that are to be celebrated at their proper times each year.

“The Lord’s Passover begins at sundown on the fourteenth day of the first month.

We taught on this back in Exodus. It’s closely tied to the next festival…

(v. 6-8) Unleavened Bread: Separation from Sin

On the next day, the fifteenth day of the month, you must begin celebrating the Festival of Unleavened Bread. This festival to the Lord continues for seven days, and during that time the bread you eat must be made without yeast. On the first day of the festival, all the people must stop their ordinary work and observe an official day for holy assembly. For seven days you must present special gifts to the Lord. On the seventh day the people must again stop all their ordinary work to observe an official day for holy assembly.”

Luke 12:1 – Be on your guard against the yeast of the Pharisees, which is hypocrisy

1 Cor. 5:6-8

6 Your boasting is not good. Don’t you know that a little yeast leavens the whole batch of dough? 7 Get rid of the old yeast, so that you may be a new unleavened batch—as you really are. For Christ, our Passover lamb, has been sacrificed. 8 Therefore let us keep the Festival, not with the old bread leavened with malice and wickedness, but with the unleavened bread of sincerity and truth.

Ultimately only Christ can remove the yeast in our lives.

This is how seminaries and churches lose it though – they get a bad player in there and they don’t have the strength to remove the person.

(v. 9-14) First Fruits: Christ Raised From The Dead

Then the Lord said to Moses, 10 “Give the following instructions to the people of Israel. When you enter the land I am giving you and you harvest its first crops, bring the priest a bundle of grain from the first cutting of your grain harvest. 11 On the day after the Sabbath, the priest will lift it up before the Lord so it may be accepted on your behalf… 14 Do not eat any bread or roasted grain or fresh kernels on that day until you bring this offering to your God. This is a permanent law for you, and it must be observed from generation to generation wherever you live.

Q: What do you think was the point of this festival?

  • Showed that the first and the best belonged to God.
  • Showed gratitude
  • Brought people together too


John 12:23-24

23 Jesus replied, “The hour has come for the Son of Man to be glorified. 24 Very truly I tell you, unless a kernel of wheat falls to the ground and dies, it remains only a single seed. But if it dies, it produces many seeds.

1 Cor 15:20-21

20  But Christ has indeed been raised from the dead, the firstfruits of those who have fallen asleep. 21 For since death came through a man, the resurrection of the dead comes also through a man.


(v. 15-23) Pentecost: The Church is Born (May/June)

15 “From the day after the Sabbath—the day you bring the bundle of grain to be lifted up as a special offering—count off seven full weeks. 16 Keep counting until the day after the seventh Sabbath, fifty days later. Then present an offering of new grain to the Lord. 17 From wherever you live, bring two loaves of bread to be lifted up before the Lord as a special offering. Make these loaves from four quarts of choice flour, and bake them with yeast. They will be an offering to the Lord from the first of your crops…


  • Two loaves instead of the sheaves of grain. This marked the end of the wheat harvest.
  • Also interesting that these are supposed to have yeast.

Q: Any ideas why God might call for yeast in this case?

  • Maybe because they represent the church, and the church is full of sinners saved by grace?
  • Or because of how the church will grow?
  • Interpretation depends on how you take the parable of the yeast in Matt 13. I lean toward the “sin in the church” option, contrasted with Christ the sinless one (unleavened bread at Passover)

20 “The priest will lift up the two lambs as a special offering to the Lord, together with the loaves representing the first of your crops. These offerings, which are holy to the Lord, belong to the priests. 21 That same day will be proclaimed an official day for holy assembly, a day on which you do no ordinary work. This is a permanent law for you, and it must be observed from generation to generation wherever you live.

22 “When you harvest the crops of your land, do not harvest the grain along the edges of your fields, and do not pick up what the harvesters drop. Leave it for the poor and the foreigners living among you. I am the Lord your God.”

Also commanded to remember the poor. (Note: This is how Ruth ends up meeting Boaz, and eventually King David and the Messiah come from their line)

  1. 23-25 – The Feast of Trumpets (the calling of God’s people?)

Four months pass. The final three festivals take place in the fall.

23 The Lord said to Moses, 24 “Give the following instructions to the people of Israel. On the first day of the appointed month in early autumn,* you are to observe a day of complete rest. It will be an official day for holy assembly, a day commemorated with loud blasts of a trumpet. 25 You must do no ordinary work on that day. Instead, you are to present special gifts to the Lord.”

It was the first day of the seventh month for the festival calendar, but it began the new year for the government. Today it’s called Rosh Hashana.

Some see a reference to the return of Christ here:

1 Thess 4:16-18

16 For the Lord himself will come down from heaven with a commanding shout, with the voice of the archangel, and with the trumpet call of God. First, the believers who have died will rise from their graves. 17 Then, together with them, we who are still alive and remain on the earth will be caught up in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air. Then we will be with the Lord forever. 18 So encourage each other with these words.

  1. 26-32 – The Day of Atonement: Forgiveness

Lev 23:27 “Be careful to celebrate the Day of Atonement on the tenth day of that same month—nine days after the Festival of Trumpets…”

Already covered this. It’s called “Yom Kippur” today

(v. 33-44) Festival of Shelters/Booths (or Sukkot): Christ is our Provision

Corresponded to the end of all of the harvest season. Kind of like Thanksgiving for us today.

33 And the Lord said to Moses, 34 “Give the following instructions to the people of Israel. Begin celebrating the Festival of Shelters on the fifteenth day of the appointed month—five days after the Day of Atonement. This festival to the Lord will last for seven days. 35 On the first day of the festival you must proclaim an official day for holy assembly, when you do no ordinary work. 36 For seven days you must present special gifts to the Lord. The eighth day is another holy day on which you present your special gifts to the Lord. This will be a solemn occasion, and no ordinary work may be done that day.

42 For seven days you must live outside in little shelters. All native-born Israelites must live in shelters. 43 This will remind each new generation of Israelites that I made their ancestors live in shelters when I rescued them from the land of Egypt. I am the Lord your God.”

Total sacrifices by day 7 = 199 animals (cf. Num 29)

Q: What are some ways they may have benefitted from this festival?

Q: How might this apply to our lives?

Some see a reference to the final banquet with Christ.

Jews added two extra rituals to their celebration of the Feast of Tabernacles

  • Pouring out of water from the pool of Siloam, recalling God’s provision of water in the desert
  • placing of four large lighted candlesticks to recall the pillar of fire that led the people by night

New Covenant fulfillment in Jesus

  • During the Feast of Tabernacles, when the water was being poured out, that He cried out, “If any man thirst, let him come unto me, and drink’’ (John 7:37).
    • This is why Paul could say that “the rock was Christ” in 1 Cor. 10.
    • We are hungry and thirsty, and he provides water (and he’s “the Bread of Life” too John 6:35)
  • He also said to the temple crowd, “I am the light of the world’’ (John 8:12).
    • We are lost and confused, in the darkness. He lights up our lives and our way

The Jews were careful to maintain their traditions but completely missed the Messiah

Wiersbe: Each year, the grown males of the nation had to appear before God to celebrate three specific feasts: Passover and Unleavened Bread, Firstfruits, and Tabernacles (Ex. 23:14–19). These three feasts remind us of the death of Christ, the resurrection of Christ, and the return of Christ to establish His kingdom. Christ died for our sins; Christ lives; Christ is coming again! Hallelujah, what a Savior!

Leviticus 24

(v. 1-9) Oil and Bread Regulations

(v. 10-23) Laws for Just Punishment (including “eye for an eye” cf. Ex 21:24; Matt 5:38)

Leviticus 25

Sabbath Year, Jubilee and The Poor

This is really interesting and could be taught next time we study Leviticus. See Ron Sider’s material on this chapter in Rich Christians in an Age of Hunger. Cover Sabbath here too instead of under Leviticus 23.

Leviticus 26-27

Blessings and curses. Leave these for the end of Deuteronomy