Podcast Episode

Why Is the Sabbath So Important?

Throughout the Leviticus scroll, Yahweh instructs Israel, “Be holy as I am holy.” But what does that actually mean? As we enter into the third and final movement of Leviticus, we’ll find that living holy lives had everything to do with how Israel treated others and utilized their time, a theme reinforced by the continual command to honor the Sabbath. Join Jon and Tim as they explore the wisdom we can find in these ancient laws.

Episode 7
1hr 9m
Jul 11, 2022
Play Episode
Show Notes


Woven into their lives are these rhythms of time, all in patterns of seven. The weekly Sabbath and the monthly/annual rhythms of Sabbath teach the Israelites that their lives and their time are not their own, that their whole existence as a people is dedicated to the purpose of becoming holy. “Be holy as I am holy.”


  • The third movement of Leviticus is a “holiness charter,” which answers the question: If the Holy One of Israel has come to dwell among the people, how should they live?
  • One element that occurs repeatedly in this movement is the number seven—seven sets of commands for the people, sets of laws grouped in numerals of seven, seven feasts of Israel, seven lamps of the menorah, and an in-depth discussion of the seventh (Sabbath) day. These rhythms of time (feasts and Sabbaths) teach the Israelites that their time is not their own.
  • The final movement of Leviticus contains many laws governing sexual and familial relationships. The core idea is that the way our families operate and the way we practice our sexuality reveals a lot about which god we’re loyal to and the primary means by which we either honor or profane Yahweh’s name and reputation.

God’s Chosen Representatives

In part one (00:00-15:18), Tim and Jon discuss where we’ve been and where we’re headed in this series on the Leviticus scroll. In this episode, we start exploring the scroll’s third and final movement, where we’ll be tracing the theme of Sabbath.

Leviticus comes as part of God’s response to human disorder and evil. Throughout human history and the story of the Bible, God intervenes in his creation by selecting one person out of many to lead and bless others, restoring unified relationships among humans and Yahweh. But again and again, these chosen representatives fail. Sometimes God intervenes before humans mess things up too much, but God also honors human decisions. (This is the source of many frustrated psalms, where the psalmists wonder why God won’t intervene.)

The levitical priesthood is next in this tradition of chosen representatives, complete with all the same special responsibilities—and the messy track record. Ideally, the priesthood is meant to be an example of how Israel should live among the nations.

A Holiness Charter

In part two (15:18-32:43), Tim and Jon review the sections of Leviticus we’ve covered so far.

The tabernacle is depicted as a new micro-Eden, where God dwells and where humans can come meet with him. His presence, however, is both good and dangerous, so Leviticus 1-7 is the guide for how humans can safely dwell with Yahweh. The practices described in Leviticus are not like the rituals of other ancient peoples—other deities demanded to be appeased, to be given gifts in return for favor. This is not the case with Yahweh. He gives his people both the method and means for how to draw near to him simply because he wants them to.

Leviticus 11-15 defines the difference between what is pure and impure, and Leviticus 16 describes the Day of Atonement, the ritual in which Israel’s impurities are cleansed.

Leviticus 17-27 is the climax of the scroll. Discerning the structure within this final movement is challenging, as a case can be made for its subdivision into two or three parts. One element that occurs repeatedly in this movement is the number seven—seven sets of commands for the people, sets of laws arranged in groups of seven, seven feasts of Israel, seven lamps of the menorah, and an in-depth discussion of the seventh (Sabbath) day.

These rhythms of time (feasts and Sabbaths) teach the Israelites that their time is not their own and become a major way they are transformed into a people that are holy like Yahweh. In fact, this entire movement is a “holiness charter,” which answers the question: If the Holy One of Israel has come to dwell among the people, how should they live?

Gleaning Wisdom From Ancient Laws

In part three (32:43-48:12), the guys talk about how God’s guidelines for ancient Israel might translate into a contemporary context.

Some of ancient Israel’s laws can be directly copied and pasted into a modern context. For instance, laws prohibiting the oppression of immigrants, or the famous command to “love your neighbor as yourself” have immediate application. However, there are also laws about orchard use and tattoos that require a more nuanced interpretation. We are meant to derive wisdom from all of these laws, and we learn that wisdom by learning to read these laws in context.

Even the apostle Paul does this when he quotes Deuteronomy 25:4 in 1 Timothy.

1 Timothy 5:18 For the Scripture says, “You shall not muzzle the ox while it is threshing,” and “The laborer is worthy of his wages.”

In context, the original commandment deals literally with treatment of animals. Paul finds wisdom at the heart of the law and uses it to point to the need to pay leaders in a local house church. Christians throughout history have looked to Paul’s words to guide how leaders are compensated in other church structures.

We can use a similar method to understand the significance of the final movement of Leviticus, in which the themes of Sabbath and holiness are inextricably linked.

In Leviticus 17, Yahweh equates murder with killing an animal and using it without dedicating it to him. The context here is that Israelites were making animal sacrifices to other deities outside the camp, covering their bases for protection and provision. It’s a strange ancient law, but there’s an important core principle that is also seen throughout the New Testament: The motives of our hearts matter just as much as our external actions. The Israelites were misusing these animals, taking what belonged to Yahweh and using them to create a sense of security for themselves apart from trust in Yahweh.

Our Choices Reveal Our Loyalty

In part four (48:12-01:08:13), Tim and Jon explore Leviticus 18-20.

Leviticus 18 is famous for containing laws governing sexual practices and familial relationships, all set against the backdrop of God’s prohibition against living like the Egyptians and Canaanites (Lev. 18:1-3). The core idea is that the way our families operate and the way we practice our sexuality reveals a lot about which god we’re loyal to and the primary means by which we either honor or profane Yahweh’s name and reputation.

Leviticus 19 is another section of commandments (where the command to honor the Sabbath is centrally located) that kicks off with the exhortation to be holy as Yahweh is holy. Leviticus 18 contains 14 (two times seven) laws, Leviticus 19 contains 21 (three times seven) laws, and Leviticus 20 contains 14 (two times seven) laws. These laws can feel like a hodgepodge, but they are meant to sample a variety of issues that comprise the entirety of human life, centering around a core theme. Over and over again, we as readers can see that honoring Yahweh is closely related to honoring other people and even animals, particularly sexually. The patterns of seven symbolize a complete thought.

Referenced Resources

  • Interested in more? Check out Tim’s library here.
  • You can experience the literary themes and movements we’re tracing on the podcast in the BibleProject app, available for Android and iOS.

Show Music

  • “Defender (Instrumental)” by TENTS
  • "Alive" by Ouska
  • "No Problem" (from a contributor)
  • “Beneath the Cross" by Eventide

Show produced by Cooper Peltz. Edited by Dan Gummel, Tyler Bailey, and Frank Garza. Show notes by Lindsey Ponder. Podcast annotations for the BibleProject app by MacKenzie Buxman.

Powered and distributed by Simplecast.

Scripture References
Exodus 32
Genesis 3
Genesis 1-2
Leviticus 23-27
Isaiah 1
Leviticus 24:1-4
Exodus 19:6
Genesis 12
Exodus 19:4-6
Matthew 5:48
Exodus 34
Exodus 16
1 Corinthians 9:9
Leviticus 1-7
Leviticus 17:11
Genesis 6-9
Leviticus 11-15
Genesis 3:23-24
Leviticus 16
Exodus 40
Leviticus 10
Deuteronomy 25:4
Leviticus 17-27
Leviticus 9
Leviticus 17
Leviticus 10-11
Leviticus 10:10
Leviticus 19
Leviticus 19-20
1 Timothy 5:18
Leviticus 17:1-7
Matthew 5:21-22
Exodus 20:13
Leviticus 18:1-5
Romans 10:5
Leviticus 18:6-30
Leviticus 18:21
Leviticus 19:1-4
Leviticus 17-20
Matthew 6:19-21
Leviticus 23:1-24:9
Exodus 23:14-19
Leviticus 23:15-22
Leviticus 23:26-32
Leviticus 23:33-43
Leviticus 23:40
Leviticus 24:5-9
Leviticus 24
Romans 14
Leviticus 23:23-25

Why Is the Sabbath So Important? 

Series: Leviticus Scroll E7

Speakers in the audio file: Jon Collins, Tim Mackie

Jon Collins: Throughout the story of the Bible, God is on a mission to draw near to humanity, to dwell among us. And this is the gift God gives Israel when he fills the tabernacle with his presence. And what Israel discovers is that God's holiness is both good and dangerous.

Tim Mackie: Now that God has come to live among his people, that causes a crisis, because there's a collision between God's holiness and the impurity and death among Israel.

Jon Collins: [00:00:30] God provides an answer in the Day of Atonement where Israel's sins are cast out into the wilderness. And this radical gift, it begs a question.

Tim Mackie: If the holy one, the source of all life and goodness and beauty, lives in the middle of our camp, how should we live? How should we treat each other?

Jon Collins: What we find is that God gives many rules and rituals, and at the heart of all of them is God's desire to transform Israel. And at the center of it all is [00:01:00] a practice we call the Sabbath.

Tim Mackie: The weekly Sabbath and then the monthly, annual rhythms teach the Israelites that their lives and their time are not their own, that their whole existence as a people is dedicated to the purpose of becoming holy. "Become holy, as I am holy."

Jon Collins: Sabbath is about resting, but it's more than that. It's an opportunity to stop providing for yourself and to trust that God will meet your needs. And so perhaps it won't be a surprise to find out that while God [00:01:30] gives many practices to transform Israel, Sabbath is right at the center.

Tim Mackie: The practice of justice for the vulnerable, the practice of mercy and generosity, and of personal moral integrity, they're all bound together as one way of life with one story underneath them. And so Sabbath and holiness are really inextricable.

Jon Collins: I'm Jon Collins. Today, Tim Mackie and I begin the third movement of Leviticus. We talk about holiness, love for God and neighbor, a surrendered [00:02:00] life, a life of mercy and justice, and at the center of it all, Sabbath. Thanks for joining us. Here we go. Hello, Tim.

Tim Mackie: Hey, John. Hello.

Jon Collins: Hello. We are in the book of Leviticus. We have been for a little bit of time now.

Tim Mackie: Quite. Wait. [00:02:30] This is our seventh.

Jon Collins: Seventh episode in Leviticus. (laughs)

Tim Mackie: This is our seventh episode in Leviticus. (laughs) 'Cause we've done in the first movement three in the second movement. We're beginning the third movement of Leviticus, and this is our first conversation of three on the third part.

Jon Collins: Yeah.

Tim Mackie: So this is conversation number seven.

Jon Collins: Hmm. Three sets of three conversations is also kind of biblical, right?

Tim Mackie: Oh, so biblical.

Jon Collins: (laughs)

Tim Mackie: We're so biblical right now. (laughs) Yeah. Yes, this is our seventh conversation [00:03:00] on Leviticus. And for many people, the fact that you could wring out of the book like Leviticus so much ... I'm using a metaphor, like wringing water out of a, you know, like, a washcloth.

Jon Collins: Yeah, I feel like the washcloth is still pretty soaked. We have not … 

Tim Mackie: Oh, yeah. Oh, yeah.

Jon Collins: ... wrung this thing much.

Tim Mackie: No. No, we just, we're just skimming, skimming the surface to use a different, entirely different metaphor. So yeah, we are here, entering into [00:03:30] the third and final movement of the Leviticus scroll that goes from chapter 17 through 27. And I think my first help, to just do a quick overview of the whole scroll and how it fits into the Torah, but then also, the previous two movements, 'cause they had a real coherence and closure moments. And so when we come to Leviticus 17, we open up a new horizon in the scroll. It's a significant step forward in the developing themes and argument [00:04:00] of the book.

Jon Collins: Yeah.

Tim Mackie: And we're gonna focus in on just one main theme for this section. There are many themes going on, and I'll play tour guide and point different things out. But the main thing, it corresponds to a theme video that we made, and it corresponds to the reader's journey that we've created for people to experience within the BibleProject app. The focus theme is Sabbath.

Jon Collins: Sabbath.

Tim Mackie: Sabbath, or the seventh day.

Jon Collins: [00:04:30] Yeah.

Tim Mackie: Yeah. The video we made is called Sabbath, but it's about the seventh-day rest throughout the whole story of the Bible.

Jon Collins: So you'll be tracing that theme, we'll be tracing that theme. In the app, you can also unlock that theme. And we're gonna see it at work here in the third movement of Leviticus.

Tim Mackie: Yes. Leviticus. Uh, but first, let's get a bird's-eye view before we dive into the details. So the book of Leviticus began from the launch pad of the [00:05:00] last paragraph of the previous scroll, which was Exodus. And there, God came to dwell and live among his people, fire and glory hovering over this beautiful sacred tent that got built at the foot of Mount Sinai. And the relationship between Yahweh and his people, however, has already become fraught with problems, 'cause the people have already broken the covenant relationship (laughs) they made with the God who want to live with them, like, within 40 days of having [00:05:30] agreed to it. That's the golden calf episode.

Jon Collins: Yeah. Would it be worth backing up even further, just if someone's coming in ... Mount Sinai, God's people?

Tim Mackie: Yeah, what ... Okay. All right.

Jon Collins: What's happening?

Tim Mackie: (laughs) All right, we're going macro. We're going big.

Jon Collins: Yeah.

Tim Mackie: Real big.

Jon Collins: It's helpful for me, too.

Tim Mackie: Okay. Good.

Jon Collins: Just re-situate it to me.

Tim Mackie: That's good. In the beginning … 

Jon Collins: (laughs) Ah.

Tim Mackie: ... God created the skies and the land. So the biblical story begins by trying to invite the reader [00:06:00] into viewing the world they inhabit in a particular way by telling the story of our world with a particular take or slant. And the slant goes like this. We live in a beautiful world, packed full of potential that has been ordered, which is why it's not a perpetual disorganized chaos. And God has appointed, among all the creatures of the land, one particular species to be a partner, an image of [00:06:30] God's character and purpose here in the world, human beings. They're given an ideal setup and abundant opportunity, but also are faced with a choice about how they're gonna partner with God and rule the world on God's path.

The humans make a really poor decision, but not entirely of their own doing. They're deceived by a dark, mysterious force of evil at work, trying to thwart God's [00:07:00] purposes. And so the human rulers make a stupid mistake and find themselves separated from the life and presence of God that wants to dwell on Earth. So that's Adam and Eve, exiled from Eden, which is like a sacred garden on a mountain high place, protected now by angelic beings and fire.

Jon Collins: The place that they were. What you're seeing is the ideal setup which the Bible calls the garden in Eden.

Tim Mackie: Yep.

Jon Collins: They no [00:07:30] longer have access. And it's actually guarded by angels and fire. (laughs)

Tim Mackie: Yeah, totally.

Jon Collins: So this is a story about, like, humanity's origins.

Tim Mackie: Yeah. It's also the introduction to the Hebrew Bible, which are the Scriptures of a particular people group.

Jon Collins: Okay.

Tim Mackie: So it's the introduction to a story of the world, but told from the vantage point of this people group and its convictions about the world, which they believe are a gift from God. They believe that how they [00:08:00] tell the story is how the God of the universe tells the story. It's quite a bold claim to make about a collection of scrolls, but there you go. That's the claim. That's certainly what Jesus believed about these scrolls, but that's getting way ahead of ourselves. So what God does is he allows human folly to keep spiraling because he honors the dignity of these image-bearing creatures. But at the same time, God keeps stepping in to prevent the worst from happening until the violence [00:08:30] of humans gets so out of control, God allows the world to descend into chaos and disorder. And so just as God brought order by separating the waters of chaos at the beginning, God allows the waters of chaos to collapse back in due to human violence. Cosmic collapse, otherwise known as the flood.

Jon Collins: (laughs) Thought you were gonna say otherwise known as Armageddon.

Tim Mackie: Oh. (laughs) Um, well, that's another kind of flood. But in Greek, the Greek Septuagint, the word flood [00:09:00] is translated with the Greek word “kataklusmos,” which is where we get our English word cataclysm.

Jon Collins: Where we get our ... Oh, I thought you were gonna say Santa Claus. (laughs)

Tim Mackie: No. (laughs)

Jon Collins: I'm joking. (laughs)

Tim Mackie: (laughs) 

Jon Collins: That's where we get Kris Kringle.

Tim Mackie: (laughs)

Jon Collins: Santa— (laughs)

Tim Mackie: Kataklusmos.

Jon Collins: Kataklusmos. Okay, I was way off.

Tim Mackie: Kataklusmos. Way—

Jon Collins: Way off.

Tim Mackie: Yeah, way off. Way off.

Jon Collins: Sorry.

Tim Mackie: Not Kris Kringle, but, uh, cataclysm.

Jon Collins: (laughs) Cataclysm.

Tim Mackie: Cataclysmic disaster.

Jon Collins: Oh, so [00:09:30] the word “flood,” that is a cataclysmic event.

Tim Mackie: The collapse of order in the cosmos. However, what God does is single out one family from among that kataklusmos, and through them, gives them a new chance to do the garden of Eden, rule the world as God's partner on the other side of the cataclysm. That's Noah, and Noah and his family replays the failure of Adam [00:10:00] and Eve and their children. The cycle starts beginning, where God keeps selecting one out of the many, gives them a chance to represent him and partner with him. They blow it, ushering their community, their family, their own lives, into violence, chaos, strife of some kind that God honors.

Jon Collins: What do you mean, he honors?

Tim Mackie: Oh. Well, God honors humans' decisions to screw up their lives.

Jon Collins: He doesn't step in [00:10:30] right away and—

Tim Mackie: Not all the time. Sometimes, but not all the time. Which is really annoying for a lot of biblical authors. That's why there are so many poems in the book of Psalms that begin with people frustrated with God. Like, "Why do you let it go on this long?"

Jon Collins: Oh, yeah.

Tim Mackie: "Do something."

Jon Collins: Yeah.

Tim Mackie: "Rise up, oh Lord. Deliver. Save." You know, that kind of things. Those are people that are watching the cascade of human violence and evil spiral.

Jon Collins: They're watching the flood begin.

Tim Mackie: Yeah. Well, they're, [00:11:00] they're watching innocent blood soak the land, like, before the flood.

Jon Collins: Oh, before the flood. Yeah.

Tim Mackie: And they're asking for God to rise up and do something.

Jon Collins: Yeah.

Tim Mackie: Bring evil to a cataclysmic end but save your chosen ones so that you can fulfill your promises through them. So this is a melody that's on replay over and over and over again. It replays many times through the Genesis scroll, through the Exodus scroll, and now in Leviticus. God's chosen one family out of all the nations, the family of Abraham, and appointed [00:11:30] them to be his kingdom of priests and a holy nation. He brought them out of slavery, through the wilderness, and then to the foot of this mountain, Mount Sinai.

Jon Collins: Yeah.

Tim Mackie: So there, God invited all of them ... Actually, this is really relevant for the section of Leviticus we're talking about. God said to all the people in Exodus 19 ... Here, I'll just read it. We read this passage many times over the years, but it is super important. This is Exodus chapter 19, verse 4. God says to the sons of Israel, "You [00:12:00] all have seen what I did to the Egyptians, that is, your oppressors, and how I bore you on eagles' wings that carries you through the wilderness, and I brought you here to myself at this sacred mountain. Now, then, if you will shema shema, listen listen to my voice, and keep my covenant." We're about to enter into a partnership.

Jon Collins: A sacred agreement.

Tim Mackie: Yeah, sacred agreement. Yeah. So, "Listen to my voice. [00:12:30] Honor the agreement that we're about to make, and then if you do that, you shall be my special possession among all the nations, because listen, all the land is mine. I could work with a lot of people here."

Jon Collins: (laughs)

Tim Mackie: "But I've chosen you. You'll be my special possession, and y'all will be to me a kingdom of priests and a holy nation." And those two concepts are key for this third and final movement of Leviticus.

Jon Collins: [00:13:00] Okay. Kingdom of priests. There are priests from the line of Aaron.

Tim Mackie: Yeah.

Jon Collins: Aaron is Moses's brother. He's the high priest. We met his four kiddos.

Tim Mackie: That's right. So God selected Moses's older brother and his four sons to be the priests within the kingdom of priests.

Jon Collins: Yeah.

Tim Mackie: So if all of Israel are priestly representatives for all the other nations, then within the kingdom of priests, there is a special [00:13:30] family of representatives, representatives within the representatives.

Jon Collins: Now, this idea of being priests within priests is that anywhere else thought about and talked about in the Hebrew Bible, that everyone's supposed to be a priest in some sense?

Tim Mackie: Uh, it is. It's actually explored on the other side of Leviticus in the stories of Numbers that we're gonna be looking at in future conversations.

Jon Collins: Okay.

Tim Mackie: But there, it's clear that God's desire is to pour [00:14:00] out his spirit on all of his people so that they all could speak the words of God to each other and listen to the voice of God. But because of Israel's continual cycle of failure and covenant betrayal, God keeps selecting out a smaller and smaller group among the family.

Jon Collins: Okay.

Tim Mackie: But still calling all. So it's the idea of within the many who are all together to be representative priests before the nations, [00:14:30] he selects one particular family, and they'll be the priests who work in and around the tent. And all of what they're doing is a ritual, liturgical drama that symbolically tells a story about who they are among the nations. So who the priests are among Israel is a ritual drama showing all the Israelites every day what Israel is to be among the nations.

Jon Collins: [00:15:00] That's cool. And that brings us up to speed too in where we're at in that God gave them designs for this tent … 

Tim Mackie: Yep. Yeah.

Jon Collins: ... the tabernacle.

Tim Mackie: Yeah.

Jon Collins: And this is where all this [00:15:30] ritual happens … 

Tim Mackie: That's right.

Jon Collins: ... and where God himself comes to dwell.

Tim Mackie: Yeah. And it's depicted as a portable, micro Eden.

Jon Collins: (laughs)

Tim Mackie: It's a micro cosmos, as it were.

Jon Collins: Yeah.

Tim Mackie: It's both Eden but also an image of all the Heaven and Earth. God came to live among his people in a fire cloud, and it's good, but it's also dangerous. And so when the cloud touches down over the tent at the end of the Exodus scroll, Moses, the one who has been [00:16:00] going in and out of the divine presence on the people's behalf, he can't go in. It's sort of like you buy a brand-new car … 

Jon Collins: And it won't start. (laughs)

Tim Mackie: ... and then the first day, right, that you, like, yeah, you go to drive, and it's yours, and, like, the doors won't unlock.

Jon Collins: Oh, okay.

Tim Mackie: That's more ... You can't get in.

Jon Collins: (laughs) You can't even get in.

Tim Mackie: You can't even get in.

Jon Collins: Yeah.

Tim Mackie: So how do I get in? This is how you—

Jon Collins: The fob batteries are dead.

Tim Mackie: Totally. Yeah. So Leviticus chapters 1 through 7, the first movement is God giving to Israel new batteries [00:16:30] for the key fob.

Jon Collins: You know they're actually ... There's a little key in the fob. Have you ever ... Have you used that?

Tim Mackie: Yes. There is in mine, too.

Jon Collins: Yeah.

Tim Mackie: Yes.

Jon Collins: I had to call a dealership, and they had to tell me about that. I was like, "How do I get in my car?" (laughs)

Tim Mackie: (laughs) A special key.

Jon Collins: "I don't have a battery." And they're like, "There's a key in there."

Tim Mackie: Yeah, totally.

Jon Collins: I was like, "Oh, sweet."

Tim Mackie: Yeah.

Jon Collins: Sorry.

Tim Mackie: No, it was fine. 

Jon Collins: Moses didn't have the special key. (laughs)

Tim Mackie: He didn't have the key. God gave him, God gave, reveals to him in what we call Leviticus 1 through 7, a whole network of symbolic offerings. [00:17:00] They also tell a story of Israel's complete surrender to the presence and will of God, about fostering an attitude of constant gratefulness, giving back to God what God has given to me, but then also, an invitation from God. Even though the Israelites are morally flawed and betrayers of the covenant, God wants them to come near. And so he gives them these substitute animals whose [00:17:30] life can be offered up and surrendered on their behalf, a blameless life can die and so rise up to God in smoke into the heavenly throne room, and appeal to God on behalf of people who are not blameless. And God says, "I'll accept the intersession of that blameless substitute so that you all can live near me, my good and dangerous presence."

Jon Collins: The takeaway that I love to come back to on that is that while this was a normal ancient ritual, [00:18:00] the other nations that do this, they're trying to, like, appease the gods.

Tim Mackie: Hm. Oh.

Jon Collins: And they never know, like, "Is this enough? Like, am I sacrificing enough? Do I need to even, like, cut myself?"

Tim Mackie: Sure.

Jon Collins: "Do I need to sacrifice a kid?" Like, there's just kind of, like, all this drama around, like, "How do I know that this Elohim's actually gonna be on my side?"

Tim Mackie: That's right. Yeah.

Jon Collins: But these are presented as a gift from Yahweh saying, like, "Here's what you could do and know that [00:18:30] I will be with you."

Tim Mackie: Yeah. That's right. Yeah. God says in, actually, Leviticus 17, which we'll start with in this conversation, God says, "I have given you these sacrifices to cover for your failures."

Jon Collins: Yeah, which is backwards.

Tim Mackie: Yeah. Normally, it's a human offering a sacrifice to God. And God says, "No. I've given the sacrifices to you to give to me."

Jon Collins: (laughs)

Tim Mackie: "Because I want you to come near." And that's, yeah, that's the heart of God revealed here in the sacrifices and offerings.

Jon Collins: [00:19:00] So that's the first movement of Leviticus.

Tim Mackie: That's the first movement. Yep. And so the second movement begins with the tent being inaugurated, the priests being ordained in a seven-day ritual that echoes Genesis 1, so Aaron and his sons become, like, the new humanity re-created over seven days to work in the new Eden. And on the first day on the job, the eighth day, Aaron's sons decide to just rewrite the whole liturgy and take the place of their dad by [00:19:30] doing what God had asked their dad to do, but just deciding they're gonna do it on their own by taking unauthorized incense fire into the tent. And so in Leviticus chapter 10, those sons die. God's good and dangerous holiness consumes them in fire. And they did so by passing by the curtain with angelic cherubim on it, and then they're consumed by the divine fire.

Jon Collins: It's kind of a reflection on what would have happened to Adam and Eve if they'd tried to just crash back into Eden?

Tim Mackie: Yeah. [00:20:00] Yeah. The fire and cherubim that God stationed at the boundary of Eden are represented by the altar fire and the cherubim on the door to the tent. So they go in doing what's good in their eyes, and it does not go good for them. And so now you've got dead bodies inside the most sacred place dedicated to life and holiness and purity and goodness, so big problem there. So what God says to Aaron after that whole debacle is [00:20:30] first, "Hey. No drinking on this job."

Jon Collins: (laughs)

Tim Mackie: (laughs) "No alcohol. No drinking alcohol when you come in to do your priestly duties." So that's one thing. Reason being is, you need a right mind that's clear and is able to make sober and wise decisions about two fundamental categories that are important for Leviticus and for the biblical story. And this is Leviticus 10:10 and 11. "So that [00:21:00] you can make a distinction between what is holy and what is common, between what is pure and what is impure." Now watch this. What follows in Leviticus 11 through 15 is five long chapters about purity and impurity in particular, and it's all about how the priests are to teach the people about purity, impurity. We talked about that at length. Now, as Israel—

Jon Collins: This is like the priests becoming, like, the health teachers … 

Tim Mackie: Yeah, totally. [00:21:30] (laughs) Yeah, that's right. (laughs)

Jon Collins: ... for health class.

Tim Mackie: Yeah. That's yeah, kind of. And also, like, they're pastors.

Jon Collins: Slash pastors. (laughs)

Tim Mackie: Slash spiritual directors.

Jon Collins: (laughs)

Tim Mackie: And so, but here's the thing. Even if Israelites learn how to honor the laws of purity and impurity, there's a lot of impurity surrounding this sacred tent dedicated to life and purity in the middle of an impure people. And so what God also provides, climactically, is the Day of Atonement, that once a year, all of the impurities and covenant betrayal and sin of Israel [00:22:00] is atoned for, and that the tent is purified once a year from all of it. And you're like, "Okay. That purity, impurity thing? We've got a handle on how to deal with that."

But remember God told Aaron that you need to teach the people about two binary sets. The first is purity and impurity, but there's another one. Back to Leviticus 10:10. "So don't drink on the job so that you can make a distinction not just between the pure and [00:22:30] impure, but between the holy and the common." And that is the summary of Leviticus 17 to the end of the book.

Jon Collins: So the third movement is all about separating between holy and common.

Tim Mackie: Holy and common. So what's interesting is movement two begins with a story that prepared you for the whole rest of the book.

Jon Collins: All these new ancient laws, essentially.

Tim Mackie: Yeah. The rules about purity and impurity that launches Leviticus 11 through 16. And once impurity [00:23:00] has a set of guidelines around it, we come back to Leviticus 10:10 in that we learn that the priests are also to teach the people about what is holy and common, and that's the main theme of the third movement of the book. So it's kind of cool. Chapter 10 literally gives you the program.

Jon Collins: It's like a table of contents.

Tim Mackie: It's like a little table of contents.

Jon Collins: So you do the pure and impure, but then we pause and we look at the Day of the Lord. Or sorry, not the Day ... The Day of Atonement.

Tim Mackie: Yeah. That was Freudian slip, wasn't it? You're more right than you know.

Jon Collins: [00:23:30] Really? I wondered as soon as I said that if you were gonna say that.

Tim Mackie: Yeah. Oh, really? (laughs)

Jon Collins: (laughs)

Tim Mackie: Yeah. What is the Day of the Lord in the prophets except a cataclysm? Cataclysmic collapse of the cosmos on the forces of evil, whoever they happen to be, but then the preservation of a remnant out the other side to be the seed of a new, new humanity. Just as Isaiah, just as Jeremiah, as Ezekiel did. Hebrew battle song. So amazing. Anyway, yes, the Day of Atonement is much—

Jon Collins: Day of Atonement.

Tim Mackie: Yeah.

Jon Collins: And so [00:24:00] we just talked about that.

Tim Mackie: Yeah.

Jon Collins: And that's right in the center of the book. So we do the purity laws, Day of Atonement, and then on this back side of the book in the third movement is, like, focusing on … 

Tim Mackie: 17. Yeah.

Jon Collins: ... holiness and … 

Tim Mackie: Yep.

Jon Collins: ... the profane as the King James … 

Tim Mackie: Yep. Yeah, that's right.

Jon Collins: ... puts it.

Tim Mackie: Chapter 17 to 27, you know, right now, so this is a live project for me of discerning the literary design of this section. It's clear to me [00:24:30] it's a section, it's clear to many other Hebrew Bible scholars, too, 17 to 27 of Leviticus is a big climactic movement of the book. The debate is, what is the intended literary organization within that section?

Jon Collins: Okay.

Tim Mackie: And you can make a very persuasive case that there are three parts to this final movement. You can also make a really persuasive case that there's two. So I'm on the fence as of the day we're recording this conversation, [00:25:00] and I hope to have more clarity on this in about a month or so after working on it more. But right now, I'm just gonna go with three. (laughs)

Jon Collins: (laughs) Okay. We're gonna talk about it in terms of three sections.

Tim Mackie: Three parts. Yeah. Leviticus 17 through 20, it does have a meaningful kind of organization and set of themes around it. What's interesting in this section, 17 to 20 of Leviticus, is it begins with a whole chapter on sacrifices and offerings.

Jon Collins: And we've seen a lot of these so far.

Tim Mackie: Totally. But it echoes the first [00:25:30] seven chapters of the book … 

Jon Collins: Okay.

Tim Mackie: ... which are all about that. And chapter 17 opens with the similar language as chapter 1 began with, so that's cool. And then what 17, 18, 19, and 20 all focus on are guidelines specifically for the priests and all of the people. This is the first time in Leviticus where all the Israelites are addressed by God. Everything before has been either to Moses or to Aaron and his sons, [00:26:00] the priests. So now we're moving out. This is now a calling that's gonna be placed on all of the Israelites.

Jon Collins: In a kingdom of priests.

Tim Mackie: Yeah. We're back to kingdom of priests. And if you are doing, like, word counts, the words for holiness just leap off the page in this section. They're in pink in my study notes, and there's just, like, pink everywhere, from all the way in this final movement.

Jon Collins: And we're not tracing holiness, though.

Tim Mackie: We're not.

Jon Collins: But you could.

Tim Mackie: You could.

Jon Collins: (laughs) [00:26:30] Very easily, it sounds like.

Tim Mackie: Because here's another factor for holiness, is the words for holiness are connected to God's commands, and this section is overwhelmingly dominated by the number seven in, like, every way you could imagine. 

So there are seven sets of commands for the priests and the people in chapter 17 to 22, and then within chapter 18, 19, 20, 21, [00:27:00] the middle of 21, first half of 22, the second half of 22, each of those has sets of laws that are all grouped together in numerals of seven.

Usually two times seven, but sometimes three times seven, so 14 or 21. And that leads to the last part of this movement, which is chapters 23 through 27, and it begins with a discussion of the Sabbath on the seventh day then outlines the seven annual feasts of Israel, and then the seven [00:27:30] lamps of the menorah that the priests are to light day and night, and then the Sabbath bread that's to go into the tent, and then the seventh year of the release of the land, and then the seven times seventh year of the Jubilee. So you can feel the crescendo, and this is a part of how the whole Leviticus scroll is architected on the pattern of Genesis 1, building up to a climactic seventh-day rest.

So that's the way we chose the Sabbath team, [00:28:00] is seven is an organizing principle for chapters 17 to 27.

And you, you could just summarize it this way. God has come to dwell among his people. The tent has been purified by the Day of Atonement.

Jon Collins: Okay. By purified, you mean ...?

Tim Mackie: The tent has been, according to the logic of chapters 11 through 16, it's been vandalized, polluted, by the sins and impurities of the Israelites. And so once [00:28:30] a year, the Day of Atonement washes clean.

Jon Collins: It's a reset.

Tim Mackie: It's a reset. Yeah. And the sins that have polluted Israel and polluted the tent are exiled in the form of a goat that's sent out of the camp.

Jon Collins: Yeah.

Tim Mackie: That having been accomplished, that's not the end of the story, though. All that accomplished is that God can live among his people.

Jon Collins: Yeah.

Tim Mackie: But what's the purpose of God living among his people? So that they can be a kingdom of priests and a holy nation. Remember, that's the program.

Jon Collins: [00:29:00] Holy meaning set, like … 

Tim Mackie: Set apart.

Jon Collins: ... set apart to be in proximity and service.

Tim Mackie: That's right. And if you're set apart to be in proximity to the source of all beauty and goodness and justice and purity and life, then that's gonna begin to transform every aspect of daily life among the Israelites. And that's why God starts to address all the people now. And so what we're gonna find here are laws about the daily lived, [00:29:30] communal experience of living in an ancient Israelite village (laughs) … 

Jon Collins: Yeah.

Tim Mackie: ... or camp and how people are to relate to God and how people are to relate to each other. This is the section where Jesus found the second most important command in the Torah, which is to love your neighbor as yourself.

Jon Collins: Okay.

Tim Mackie: That line comes from Leviticus chapter 19.

Jon Collins: These are community guidelines.

Tim Mackie: Yeah. Yeah. So lots of rules around marriage, around sex, around [00:30:00] treatment of the most vulnerable, especially the elderly, people with disabilities, the poor, and the immigrant and orphans, special focus on them. In the way Israelite society was structured, those were the groups of people that most often became vulnerable very quickly. There's gonna be laws to safeguard the holiness of the priests among the people, and then there's gonna be all woven into their lives these rhythms of time, [00:30:30] and all in patterns of seven.

Jon Collins: These are the feasts?

Tim Mackie: Yeah, the weekly Sabbath, and then the monthly annual rhythms of Sabbath teach the Israelites that their lives and their time are not their own, that their whole existence as a people is dedicated to the purpose of becoming holy. "Become holy, as I am holy."

Jon Collins: Quoting Jesus here.

Tim Mackie: Well, actually, and Jesus is quoting this section of Leviticus.

Jon Collins: Oh.

Tim Mackie: "Be holy, as I am holy," is a refrain in this [00:31:00] this movement of Leviticus that Jesus riffs on in the Sermon on the Mount by saying, "Be complete, as your heavenly Father is complete."

Jon Collins: You used a different word there, because he … 

Tim Mackie: Oh. (laughs) Well, our English translations say, "Be perfect …"

Jon Collins: Yeah.

Tim Mackie: "... as your heavenly Father is perfect."

Jon Collins: And it's translating the word, what, Greek word “teleios,” right?

Tim Mackie: The Greek word “teleois,” yeah, which means complete.

Jon Collins: Is that the way you would translate the Hebrew word “holy”? No. (laughs)

Tim Mackie: It's the way you translate the Hebrew word “blameless.”

Jon Collins: [00:31:30] Blameless. Oh, right. Right, right.

Tim Mackie: Yeah. What Jesus is doing, that's a hole rabbit hole.

Jon Collins: (laughs)

Tim Mackie: We'll, we'll get there, yeah, I don't know, one day. So maybe we can talk about it. So that's this section of the book. This is the holiness charter for all the people of Israel. Now that God has come to live among his people, and that causes a crisis, 'cause there's a collision between God's holiness and purity and the impurity and death among Israel. Day of Atonement resolved that. So now, what should it look like in the daily lived experience [00:32:00] of Israelites if the holy one, the source of all life and goodness and beauty, lives in the middle of our camp?

Jon Collins: Yeah.

Tim Mackie: How should we live?

Jon Collins: Yeah.

Tim Mackie: How should we treat each other? That's what this section is all about.

Jon Collins: [00:32:30] Now, this is kind of what many people hope the Bible will be for them … 

Tim Mackie: Oh, yeah.

Jon Collins: ... is, like, a holiness charter.

Tim Mackie: A holiness rule book.

Jon Collins: Yeah. Like—

Tim Mackie: Yeah. Okay.

Jon Collins: Tell me ... In my context, give me all the goods. [00:33:00] How do I do this right?

Tim Mackie: Totally. Give me the list of rules.

Jon Collins: The list of rules.

Tim Mackie: And so there's gonna be rules in here like, don't oppress the immigrant.

Jon Collins: You're like, "Cool. I could use that one."

Tim Mackie: Yeah. Don't publicly shame a deaf person. Love your neighbor as yourself. You know?

Jon Collins: Great. Copy, paste.

Tim Mackie: Yeah. Exactly. (laughs)

Jon Collins: (laughs)

Tim Mackie: There are also gonna be laws in this section which are when you get an orchard, don't eat of the fruit for the first three years. [00:33:30] Dedicate it as holy to Yahweh for the first three years. You're like, "Uh, okay, I guess. What do I do with that one?" Yeah, don't get tattoos.

Jon Collins: Yeah.

Tim Mackie: That one's in here.

Jon Collins: Oh, that's in here.

Tim Mackie: Yep. Uh, right now in our culture, hotly debated statements about sexuality are found in here. Statements about not having sex with animals are in here. So what we need to remember, all biblical literature is ancient literature. This is part of our paradigm.

Jon Collins: Yeah. This is ancient literature.

Tim Mackie: It's ancient literature, and [00:34:00] it's wisdom for all later generations of God's people. So we are not the first audience of these commands. The audience of these commands are ancient Israelites, escaped slaves who are having their identity reformed in the transition between the Bronze and Iron Age. (laughs)

Jon Collins: (laughs)

Tim Mackie: You know? In the ancient Near East. And these laws are dialed into that context. And so to simply copy and paste without doing your [00:34:30] cultural background homework will likely lead in the long-term, or even in the short-term, to, I think, misapplication, misuse of these laws. So it's wisdom literature. There's divine wisdom for all of God's people of any place and any time, but we will hear that wisdom by learning to read these in context, literary context and ancient context. And you can see Jesus doing that, and you can see the apostle Paul doing that by how they draw upon and quote from this section.

Jon Collins: [00:35:00] You're talking about Jesus and the Sermon on the Mount, especially, doing that.

Tim Mackie: Yeah. That's right.

Jon Collins: And Paul when he, he did it kind of famously with don't muzzle the ox.

Tim Mackie: Yeah, he did it by quoting from a law in Deuteronomy about how to treat your animal. And he takes that as a wisdom reflection on how to compensate leaders in a local house church. (laughs)

Jon Collins: Yeah.

Tim Mackie: Which then Christians throughout history have taken as wisdom for how to compensate … 

Jon Collins: Clergy.

Tim Mackie: ... for clergy in other church structures. [00:35:30] So we're all using the Bible as wisdom literature. The point is to become hyper aware of it. So what we're gonna do in the rest of this conversation and then in the next two, I just want to camp us out in different parts to see how the themes of holiness and the Sabbath are intertwined. 'Cause we might think of, well, Sabbath rest is just, you know, it's something you're supposed to do so you get a break. (laughs)

Jon Collins: (laughs) Yeah.

Tim Mackie: And then also, there's, like, love your neighbor as yourself and be nice to people.

You [00:36:00] know. But within the storyline of the Torah in Leviticus, the practice of Sabbath, the practice of justice for the vulnerable, the practice of mercy and generosity and of personal moral integrity, they're all bound together as one way of life with one story underneath them. And so Sabbath and holiness are really inextricable here. And so that's kind of what I want to point out in this section.

Okay. Uh, real [00:36:30] quick, let's just read or touch down on the opening section of this movement, Leviticus 17, verse 1. Then Yahweh spoke to Moses, saying, "Speak to Aaron and speak to his sons, and speak to all of the sons of Israel." So again, this is the first time that, in Leviticus, that all of the Israelites are being addressed. Say to them, "This is what Yahweh has commanded. Anybody from the house of Israel who slaughters [00:37:00] an ox or a lamb or a goat in the camp, or anyone who slaughters it outside the camp but doesn't bring it to the door of the tent of meeting to give it as an offering to Yahweh in front of the dwelling place of Yahweh, that person will be reckoned as a murderer."

Jon Collins: Ooh. So you're not supposed to slaughter animals other than for sacrifices.

Tim Mackie: So this is to Israelites in [00:37:30] the wilderness. We can't just take this out of narrative context.

Jon Collins: Okay.

Tim Mackie: While they're in the wilderness traveling through the wilderness—

Jon Collins: There's one place to butcher animals.

Tim Mackie: Yeah. Well, we'll state it positively. Any animal that you do butcher, you need to present it first as an offering to Yahweh. And notice the list of animals, an ox, a lamb, or a goat. These are the three main categories of animals that are offered in all the offerings. So "Every life that you take to provide [00:38:00] for yourselves, first surrender it as an offering to me before you get any of the meat in return."

Jon Collins: Is this a different type of offering? This isn't like—

Tim Mackie: Yeah. It doesn't say what category of offering.

Jon Collins: Yeah.

Tim Mackie: 'Cause there's four different kinds.

Jon Collins: Right.

Tim Mackie: It just says, "Any time you slaughter an animal to provide for yourself as we travel through the wilderness, whether you do it outside the camp or inside the camp, first come and dedicate it to Yahweh."

Jon Collins: Is this why we pray before meals?

Tim Mackie: (laughs)

Jon Collins: This is the verse? (laughs)

Tim Mackie: [00:38:30] Okay. All right. Let's keep going. So the reason, verse 5, is that so the sons of Israel bring their sacrifices that they were sacrificing out there in the wilderness.

Jon Collins: Oh, because a lot of shady sacrifices were happening out there.

Tim Mackie: They need to bring all of that to the doorway of the tent and sacrifice them as ... Oh, and then here we get the category. Sorry, I forgot about this. As a peace offering. Peace offering is one of the main offerings where most of the meat is [00:39:00] for the person offering it.

Jon Collins: That's right. And it's a way to kind of reconcile with each other.

Tim Mackie: Yeah, or it's a way to offer an animal to say thank you to God, but then you take the meat of the animal and you invite people and have a big party and say, "Yahweh is good."

Jon Collins: When you slaughter an animal in the ancient world, you're not putting it in a deep freezer.

Tim Mackie: Totally.

Jon Collins: You're throwing a party, and everyone's gonna eat.

Tim Mackie: That's right. Yeah, you kill it to have a party.

Jon Collins: And are you gonna do that out in the shady … 

Tim Mackie: In the wilderness?

Jon Collins: ... parts of the wilderness (laughs) … 

Tim Mackie: Yes. Yeah.

Jon Collins: ... to some unknown god?

Tim Mackie: Yeah, [00:39:30] that's right.

Jon Collins: Or are you gonna do it here in the center of camp?

Tim Mackie: That's right.

Jon Collins: Okay.

Tim Mackie: And here's the reason why, verse 7, "so that they no longer sacrifice their sacrifices to the se’irim …”

Jon Collins: Ooh.

Tim Mackie: "... that they prostitute with out there in the wilderness."

Jon Collins: So who's this?

Tim Mackie: The se’irim.

Jon Collins: The se’irim?

Tim Mackie: The se’irim.

Jon Collins: We talked about ... What was the other guy? Azazel?

Tim Mackie: Azazel, in the previous chapter. Leviticus 16 mentions a wilderness spiritual being named Azazel.

Jon Collins: The powerful [00:40:00] god.

Tim Mackie: Yeah, whose name, Azazel, means a powerful el, a powerful spiritual being, who is out in the wilderness, and you send the goat loaded with the sins of Israel out to him like a garbage truck. Like, "Here, take the gar—"

Jon Collins: Toxic waste. "Take our sins."

Tim Mackie: "Take our garbage."

Jon Collins: "You'll enjoy this."

Tim Mackie: "Send it back to where it came from."

Jon Collins: (laughs)

Tim Mackie: So now we get an image in the next chapter. This is a good meditation literature technique, where you're like, "Who's Azazel, and, like, what's that all about?" Well, in the next [00:40:30] chapter you find out. Like, well, you know, the Israelites have just been really tempted to go out to the wilderness and offer sacrifices out there to the se’irim. So the se’irim—

Jon Collins: Sara-eem. 

Tim Mackie: No. Se’irim. Sorry, I've been unclear. Se’irim.

Jon Collins: (laughs) You're being clear, I just don't understand how to say it.

Tim Mackie: (laughs) How to pronounce it. Se’irim.

Jon Collins: Se’irim.

Tim Mackie: It's the word “sa’ir.”

Jon Collins: Sa’ir.

Tim Mackie: [00:41:00] Sa’ir means goat.

Jon Collins: Uh-huh.

Tim Mackie: Or it's the word for “hairy.”

Jon Collins: Oh. And this is what, like, Jacob and Esau?

Tim Mackie: What Esau was called.

Jon Collins: Yeah.

Tim Mackie: And so to dress up like his sa’ir brother … 

Jon Collins: Oh.

Tim Mackie: ... Jacob puts on the animal skin of a sa’ir.

Jon Collins: Of a sa’ir.

Tim Mackie: That's right. So it's some sort of spiritual being.

Jon Collins: It's a spiritual being referred to as a goat. And when you put an -im at the end of something like this, seraphim—

Tim Mackie: It's plural.

Jon Collins: Plural. Okay.

Tim Mackie: Yeah, that's right. So lots of debate [00:41:30] about the se’irim, and they are mentioned as desert dwellers, dangerous desert dwellers elsewhere in the Hebrew Bible where it seems like it's just referring to, like, goats who take up residence in the wilderness. But here, it seems like these goat figures refer to something more.

Jon Collins: Yeah, so, like, I would be tempted as an ancient Israelite to go like, "Hey, let's go bring this animal out into the wilderness [00:42:00] and sacrifice it to—"

Tim Mackie: Yeah.

Jon Collins: "... this goat god thing."

Tim Mackie: It's dangerous out there.

Jon Collins: Oh.

Tim Mackie: We're, here we are.

Jon Collins: Let's appease the danger gods.

Tim Mackie: Yes. Yes.

Jon Collins: Oh.

Tim Mackie: Here we are in this little camp, a little place of order with a little Eden at the center, but out there, it's dark just dangerous. We've been out here for a long time, and Yahweh keeps providing for us. The sky-goo bread, the mana.

Jon Collins: Yeah.

Tim Mackie: What is it from the skies, and he'll lead us to oases. But you know, we could cover our bases and appease [00:42:30] the wilderness gods.

Jon Collins: Yeah, we got the priests doing the Yahweh thing. Let's go take care of the goat gods.

Tim Mackie: That's right. So that's it. So the Israelites are tempted to shore up their own security by offering animals to the gods of the wilderness, Azazel. And so Yahweh's like, "Okay. What, how do we deal with this? Okay. Everybody, any animal that ever gets killed for any reason—"

Jon Collins: Always bring them here.

Tim Mackie: Yeah. So just the whole narrative, when we're opening to the theme [00:43:00] of sacrifices and offerings, so this is a link back to chapter 1 … 

Jon Collins: Okay.

Tim Mackie: ... but also now for the people, everything that I consume first been dedicated to Yahweh, who is my sole security and, and provider. This is a habit Yahweh's asking the people to engage in, but it's a formative habit. And so you made this joke about, "Is this what praying before meals is about," but it, that's kind of true. (laughs)

Jon Collins: Yeah. Right. Because—

Tim Mackie: That's a wisdom [00:43:30] response to this strange ancient law.

Jon Collins: Yeah, because we don't have the temptation to go and sacrifice things to, like, goat demons … 

Tim Mackie: Sure.

Jon Collins: ... per se.

Tim Mackie: Yeah.

Jon Collins: But there is a propensity towards saying, "Okay, Yahweh provides. But I should cover my bases."

Tim Mackie: That's right. Yeah.

Jon Collins: "And I should make sure that I'm diversified in, like, all these [00:44:00] other ways," and, which means chasing after all sorts of other things potentially.

Tim Mackie: Yeah. Even things that contradict my loyalty to Yahweh.

Jon Collins: Yeah. I know that the way that I'm making money is a little shady. But you know, you got to butter your bread somehow.

Tim Mackie: (laughs) Yeah. Totally. Yeah. And it provides, and it allows me to do good things for my family and my community.

Jon Collins: Yeah.

Tim Mackie: So what you're doing there is you're meditating [00:44:30] on the core issue of the heart, right, the motivations of the heart … 

Jon Collins: Right.

Tim Mackie: ... of the Israelites that are exposed here, and you are creating a wisdom principle, as it were.

Jon Collins: And what does it mean to bring everything to Yahweh first?

Tim Mackie: Yeah. That's right. And so this is why it sounds crazy, but, like, any animal that you don't dedicate to Yahweh and kill it and eat it … 

Jon Collins: It was murdered?

Tim Mackie: ... is like murder. This is like where Jesus quotes the law, the Ten Commandments in the Sermon on the Mount. "Do not murder."

Jon Collins: [00:45:00] Yeah.

Tim Mackie: And then he says, "I tell you what. Anybody who insults their brother saying, 'You empty head,’ will be guilty of murder."

Jon Collins: That was a Tim Mackie translation.

Tim Mackie: Before the ... Oh, yeah. Yeah.

Jon Collins: You empty head.

Tim Mackie: Empty head. So where did Jesus get this idea that you could equate something that's not a capital crime with murder?

Jon Collins: Well, yeah. I guess ...

Tim Mackie: Here we are. If you take the life of an animal but use it in your own eyes and dedicate [00:45:30] it to something that actually—

Jon Collins: You're improperly taking the life of the animal.

Tim Mackie: Yeah. And you're dedicating the life of a precious animal to some force or ideology or something in the world that is actually a part of the problem … 

Jon Collins: Yeah.

Tim Mackie: ... that won't bring life. It actually brings death.

Jon Collins: Yeah. The, you know, the sacrificial system back then, there was a high respect for animals.

Tim Mackie: Oh, totally. Yeah.

Jon Collins: I mean, these animals … 

Tim Mackie: Yeah.

Jon Collins: ... are, like, enacting this really important role for you. And they're nourishing you.

Tim Mackie: And part of the reason [00:46:00] why this improper sacrifice is akin to murder is in the next statement here, which is in Leviticus 17:11, which is another law about, "Any Israelite who consumes blood …”

Jon Collins: Oh.

Tim Mackie: "... will be cut off from the people of Israel."

Jon Collins: And this is kind of core to kosher law, draining the blood from the meat.

Tim Mackie: That's right. Leviticus 17:11, "For the life of the flesh is the blood."

Jon Collins: Yeah.

Tim Mackie: "And I, Yahweh, have given to y'all [00:46:30] on the altar the blood to cover for and purify you from your sins." It's because of the blood being the life. That's what makes it atone. So the blood is life, so don't consume the life of a creature as if it's yours. First, drain the blood from it on the ground. But if you do that, then you're like Cain, spilling blood on the ground. So what you do is you take that life and you dedicate it to Yahweh, [00:47:00] and you say, "Yahweh, you gave this animal to me."

Jon Collins: Wow.

Tim Mackie: "This animal really belongs to you. Its life is yours, not mine. And I receive it as a gift, and I take what you've given me as a gift and I have a party."

Jon Collins: This is the peace offering.

Tim Mackie: The peace offering, and I invite all the people around my tent and share with what God has given to me. And that ritual forms you to see the world in a certain way that's different than just I can do what I want. I can take the life of these creatures and [00:47:30] dedicate it to some other loyalty.

Jon Collins: Yeah.

Tim Mackie: And that's what this chapter is about. It's pretty profound. So [00:48:00] that's Leviticus 17. We haven't gotten to Sabbath yet. (laughs)

Jon Collins: Yeah, no.

Tim Mackie: But it'll pay dividends for what happens after this. Okay. So what follows is a three-chapter unit, what we call Leviticus 18, 19, and 20. And it's a triad organized as a symmetry. [00:48:30] In fact, most of the rules articulated in chapter 18 are restated almost verbatim in chapter 20.

Jon Collins: Okay.

Tim Mackie: It's like, "Wait a minute. I just read this."

Jon Collins: Huh.

Tim Mackie: But it has this effect of surrounding chapter 19, and we'll just read the opening and closing of 18. Chapter 18 begins, "Speak to the sons of Israel and say to them, 'I am Yahweh, your God. You shall not do what is done in the land of Egypt where you lived, [00:49:00] nor are you to do what is done in the land of Canaan, where I'm bringing you. You shall not walk in their statutes.'" So you came from an empire … 

Jon Collins: That has their own rituals.

Tim Mackie: ... that has their statutes, their way of walking, and you are going into a culture of Canaan that has also an established way of living in the world. "And you are to be a kingdom of priests and a holy nation, so you are to perform my justice and my statutes. [00:49:30] Live in accordance with them. I am Yahweh, your God. And you shall keep my statutes and my justice because the human who lives by them will have life," Leviticus 18:5, Paul the apostle loved this line. He quotes it a few times in his letters.

Jon Collins: Okay.

Tim Mackie: So people who follow the word of God, who live by the will and command of God will have life. I mean, the garden of Eden teaches you that story.

Jon Collins: This isn't [00:50:00] just talking about the specific rules that Yahweh's giving them in this context. It's also a reflection on this meta theme of when God gives a command, following the command brings life.

Tim Mackie: Brings life. Yep. That's right. And here, Yahweh's commands are set in contrast to the commands or the ways of life from Egypt and the way of life in Canaan. And so that's the frame for this list of rules about marriage and sex that are about [00:50:30] to follow. So that's really important. Like you were joking earlier about, "Oh, just copy and paste these rules." Well, why are these rules stated the way that they are? They're in dialogue with active culture practices and norms in both Egypt and in Canaan.

Jon Collins: And they speak to a wisdom of how to act instead.

Tim Mackie: That's right. It's not that they have nothing to say to us, but what they say to us is through wisdom reflection, which might [00:51:00] mean that we respond to this through a different surface expression of the command. Copying and pasting the command might misdirect us for how to respond to it as wisdom. So there's 14 laws that follow about people that it's inappropriate to have sex with.

And it's essentially drawing the boundary lines around the nuclear family, the extended family, and how many degrees out from aunts, uncles, second [00:51:30] cousins, third cousins is it appropriate to marry within. So this is a deep rabbit hole, but what's really fascinating here is God wants to safeguard the sexual integrity and reputation of his people, 'cause he's calling them to be fruitful and multiply. And that's one of the blessings of the covenant. But apparently, there are more appropriate and less appropriate ways to do that as a community, and so these laws represent a way that honor the wisdom of Yahweh but that set in contrast [00:52:00] to both Egyptian and Canaanite practice. So some of them might strike us as really strange, like don't sleep with your dad's wife. Let's say it's your stepmom. Don't marry your sister. Don't marry your father's wife's daughter. So every one of these has some kind of cultural issue in its ancient context that it's addressing, but what these 14 laws are about.

Jon Collins: Is this a Hebrew idiom—

Tim Mackie: Okay, so this is what's fascinating.

Jon Collins: ... right here?

Tim Mackie: The phrase [00:52:30] used for sex is the phrase to uncover the nakedness … 

Jon Collins: Yeah.

Tim Mackie: ... or to look upon the nakedness.

Jon Collins: Okay.

Tim Mackie: It's a figure of speech.

Jon Collins: Oh. Is this why, then, with Noah's tent, it's kind of like … 

Tim Mackie: Yes.

Jon Collins: ... oh, something sexual is happening?

Tim Mackie: Yeah. So this is all parallel to after the cataclysm of the flood.

Jon Collins: Yeah.

Tim Mackie: And God delivers the family of Noah. Noah plants a garden with a tent in the garden. He eats the fruit of the garden, gets drunk and exposed. And then his son comes in, and [00:53:00] the phrase is "looks upon the nakedness of his father." So if you read Leviticus 18, verse 7, "Do not uncover the nakedness of your father, namely, the nakedness of your mother. She is your mother. Don't uncover her nakedness."

In other words, to look upon the nakedness of your father here is a figure of speech for having sex with your own mom.

Jon Collins: With his wife.

Tim Mackie: So to sleep with your mom is to expose the nakedness of both your mom … 

Jon Collins: Huh.

Tim Mackie: ... [00:53:30] and your dad, 'cause it's his wife, and she's his husband.

Jon Collins: Okay.

Tim Mackie: So this is a great meditation literature example.

Jon Collins: So now you go back to that story and you're like, "Oh."

Tim Mackie: Oh. Yes. In other words, it's a puzzle. It's a riddle.

Jon Collins: Yeah.

Tim Mackie: Back in Genesis chapter 9, and the key to the riddle you don't come across till Leviticus chapter 18. (laughs)

Jon Collins: Is that because we're not native Hebrew thinkers, or is this a really obscure Hebrew idiom?

Tim Mackie: Oh. Well, just [00:54:00] within the collection of the Hebrew Bible, it's the idiom that's used right here and then there.

Jon Collins: Oh, okay. Yeah.

Tim Mackie: Yeah. Yeah. And it also makes sense of why after Noah's son does that, it's Noah's grandson, Canaan, through Ham that bears through the consequences of Ham's sin. In other words, Ham wrongs his father by looking upon his nakedness, but it's Ham's grandson, Canaan, that bears the brunt. Oh, Canaan.

Jon Collins: [00:54:30] Where they're gonna be going.

Tim Mackie: Where they're going, and God just said, "Don't act like Canaanites." That's what this chapter is about. So don't sleep with your mom like the Canaanites do. And what is Genesis 9 about but a guy named Ham who does this to his dad?

Jon Collins: Origin story of Canaan.

Tim Mackie: It's the origin story of Canaan.

Jon Collins: Interesting.

Tim Mackie: Yeah. So that's Leviticus 18. Two other things I want to draw attention to here. One is chapter 21, which illuminates [00:55:00] a little bit more the mysterious Azazel and the goat demons.

Jon Collins: Verse 21.

Tim Mackie: Verse 21, yeah, of chapter 18.

Jon Collins: Chapter 18.

Tim Mackie: Yeah. "You shall not give any of your children or offspring to offer them up to Molech and so profane the name of your God. I am Yahweh."

Jon Collins: Hm. There's another elohim in the mix.

Tim Mackie: Yeah. Yeah. Except this time, it's not offering an animal.

Jon Collins: Yeah.

Tim Mackie: [00:55:30] It's sacrificing children.

Jon Collins: Child sacrifice.

Tim Mackie: Yeah.

Jon Collins: Yeah.

Tim Mackie: So the identity of Molech is a big rabbit hole. It's spelled with the same letters as the Hebrew word “melek,” which is the word “king.” And it's for sure some sort of deity that claimed to have royal authority to demand the life of people's children if you want to have this deity on your side.

Jon Collins: Like, wait, a Canaanite deity?

Tim Mackie: Mm-hmm. 

Jon Collins: Okay.

Tim Mackie: Yeah. And again, the rabbit hole's deep on Molech and why that title. It seems like a title.

[00:56:00] So offering up your children as a sacrifice profanes the name of your God. So you're an Israelite. People look at you and say, "Oh, those are the people of Yahweh. Oh. But they sacrifice their kids to Molech, too. Oh. Okay." So people will see you, and the name of Yahweh will be considered like the name of any other deity.

'Cause you can worship Molech, you can worship Yahweh. It's cool. It's like a degrading of Yahweh's reputation. [00:56:30] So it's just important 'cause this chapter isn't just, like, rules about sex and then there's rules about worship. This is all about not living like an Egyptian or a Canaanite. It's about how your family is structured. It's about your sexual ethic. (laughs) It's about what you do with your animals. It's about what you do with your children. It's all woven together as one thing here. So that's chapter 18.

There's other things we could explore there. And it's matched on the other side by chapter [00:57:00] 20, and then in the middle is chapter 19, Leviticus 19. So let's just read some of this. Then Yahweh said to Moses, "Speak to all the congregation of the sons of Israel. Say to them, 'Y'all shall be holy because I, Yahweh, your God, am holy. Become like me. Every one of you—'"

Jon Collins: Become a source of life and light, like I am a source of life and light?

Tim Mackie: Oh, yeah. Yeah. Yes.

Jon Collins: Yeah.

Tim Mackie: Become like me. Yeah. Isn't that interesting? I mean, it makes sense if these people are living near [00:57:30] the fire cloud of Yahweh's glory and life and light that they would begin to take on the characteristics of that, like Moses did up on Mount Sinai.

Jon Collins: Yeah.

Tim Mackie: Verse 3, "Every one of you shall fear his mother and father." You're like, "Oh, that kind of sounds like Ten Commandments."

Jon Collins: Honor.

Tim Mackie: Honor your father and mother. Yeah.

Jon Collins: Here are the words fear?

Tim Mackie: Fear. Yeah.

Jon Collins: Oh. So fear and honor is a synonym?

Tim Mackie: Yeah. "Fear [00:58:00] your father and mother and keep my Sabbaths. I am Yahweh, your God. You should not make any idols or any molten gods. I am Yahweh, your God." Those are three of the Ten Commandments right there, but reworded here.

So honoring your parents who are images of God to you, keeping the Sabbaths, plural, and not making any idol images of God. So it's a little [00:58:30] sandwich. We're quoting three of the Ten Commandments, but we've reordered them to create a little symmetrical sandwich here. So fear your parents who are images of God to you. Matching that on the other side is, don't make any images that are your own making. And then in the middle is, "Make sure you keep my Sabbaths."

Jon Collins: Right. The middle is the Sabbath.

Tim Mackie: Yes.

Jon Collins: It's an important idea, Sabbath. Apparently.

Tim Mackie: Apparently. Yeah. Okay. So I'm just [00:59:00] trying to put the picture, like, we might read a section of a book like this and be like, "Okay, random rules for being holy, I guess."

Jon Collins: It does feel often when you're reading through these like, "Wow, this is random."

Tim Mackie: Yeah. Yeah. So yeah, so I'm just trying to sample different sections and see they're all cohesive together. This is about forming a contrast community that's different than Egypt, different than Canaan. It's the people of Yahweh. So these are not the people of Molech. These are the people of Yahweh. And these are people [00:59:30] who honor the sexual dignity of every other member of the community in a very unique way, to a degree that their neighbors were not doing. These are people who dedicate everything they have to Yahweh, even their every meal, every food, all their food. These are people who honor their parents. They don't give their loyalty to the gods that we all here in Canaan think are normal. [01:00:00] And man, they even surrender all of their time to Yahweh by resting every seventh day. It's crazy. Why would you do that? There's work that needs to be done.

Jon Collins: Yeah.

Tim Mackie: There's fields, there's sheep that needs to be tended. And you're just gonna let them graze the field an extra day and not—

Jon Collins: (laughs) Move them around?

Tim Mackie: Yeah. So I guess what's cool about this section of Leviticus is that Sabbath is woven into all these other commands. And just, you know, Leviticus 19 [01:00:30] is—"When you reap the harvest of your land, don't harvest the corners of the field, but leave the corners.” Don't milk your land for maximum profit. Leave whole sections of it so that the vulnerable in your community can come and generate value and work and earn a living, too. So that's Leviticus 19, alongside don't steal.

Jon Collins: Right.

Tim Mackie: Don't deal falsely.

Jon Collins: Some more Ten Commandments.

Tim Mackie: Don't [01:01:00] oppress your neighbor. Don't withhold the wages of somebody that you've hired. Don't curse someone who's deaf. Don't take advantage of the blind. Do justice in judgment. Don't be partial to the poor or the rich. Don't hate your fellow countrymen in your heart. Don't take vengeance. Don't bear a grudge, but love your neighbor as yourself.

Jon Collins: Wow.

Tim Mackie: And then keep going. The list continues, and it culminates again [01:01:30] down here in verse 30. "You shall keep my Sabbath and honor my sanctuary. I am Yahweh." You know, there's this theme, if I had more time in my life ... I always, I struggle with time scarcity.

Jon Collins: (laughs)

Tim Mackie: But I've always wanted to go and just take, like, a few months and just read all of the classic Greek philosophers. I just kind of know them in hodgepodge. But, so as I understand, and maybe l—There's probably listeners of the [01:02:00] podcast who are like, this is their jam. But as I understand it, a big motif in classical Greek philosophy was striving for a fully integrated life, where every decision you make is directed by some core principle that you've determined your life is about. I guess it's very similar to, like, inspirational speakers today.

Jon Collins: (laughs)

Tim Mackie: (laughs) But it's how to make your life fully integrated so that everything you do with [01:02:30] your time, your energy, your money, your relationships is all in service of some … 

Jon Collins: It's all working towards the one goal.

Tim Mackie: ... goal.

Jon Collins: Yeah.

Tim Mackie: Yeah. And I just—And I know it's a temperamental thing, you know? Some temperaments are more like that than others. My wife's kind of like that in some ways, but not in others. And I'm kind of like that in other ways, and not in some. And ours are mismatched. (laughs)

But that's essentially, like, what a section of Leviticus like this is about. These might seem all disparate and random, but they're [01:03:00] really all in service. Love God and love your neighbor as an image of God. But the way that translates into every aspect of life, each law gives us this wisdom principle. And the Sabbath is the key piece here that's gonna just keep ramping up in importance as you read throughout this section of the book. But that's at least what I'm reflecting on at this point in our conversation.

Jon Collins: Say that back to you. These can feel like a hodgepodge, but [01:03:30] there is a coherent symmetry and order and logic behind how they're presented within the narrative and even within themselves.

Tim Mackie: Yeah.

Jon Collins: But then also, it's a big selection of just, like, all of life.

Tim Mackie: That's right.

Jon Collins: And it's giving you wisdom for how to live in right relationships with people in, like, this coherent, integrated way.

Tim Mackie: Yeah. Coherent and complete in that ... I forgot to mention this. Chapter 18 has two times seven laws. Chapter 19 [01:04:00] has three times seven laws. Chapter 20 has two times seven laws. So we're clearly—

Jon Collins: Seven times seven laws.

Tim Mackie: Yeah, for a total of seven times seven laws. So we're clearly selecting from some larger body … 

Jon Collins: Yes.

Tim Mackie: ... of laws.

Jon Collins: This isn't the entire covenant law code that they would have had.

Tim Mackie: Yeah.

Jon Collins: These are selections.

Tim Mackie: That's right.

Jon Collins: And this section even repeats some. So instead of giving you the complete list, they chose to repeat certain ones to make a certain point.

Tim Mackie: In patterns of seven, [01:04:30] which is a common Hebrew way of making a complete statement about something. And in the middle of that block of seven times seven laws, in the beginning and ending of chapter 19 is, "Keep my Sabbath," which is leveled up just as much importance as doing justice to your neighbor and sexual integrity and dedicating everything you have to Yahweh is—

Jon Collins: Is resting every seventh day.

Tim Mackie: Yeah, dedicating the time that you have [01:05:00] to Yahweh.

Jon Collins: Yeah, because if you're gonna be fully integrated, one big block that you need to integrate … 

Tim Mackie: Yes.

Jon Collins: ... is your time, how you think of just … 

Tim Mackie: Yes.

Jon Collins: ... (laughs) being a human living through time.

Tim Mackie: Yeah. Yeah. Who or what determines how you use your time, spend your time, invest your time?

Jon Collins: (laughs)

Tim Mackie: It's all from the … 

Jon Collins: Time is a metaphor.

Tim Mackie: ... time is money … 

Jon Collins: Time is money.

Tim Mackie: ... metaphor. So we haven't talked about everything that we could talk about here, [01:05:30] but it introduces the Sabbath theme, this section, Leviticus 17 through 20. Everything's organized in sevens. And then that intensity of the number seven is just gonna keep ramping up to the final part of the book, which we'll look at next, which is all about honoring not just the Sabbath, but the seven annual feasts, and then the seventh year, and then the seven times seventh year. And all of a sudden, huge amounts of your life, your entire lifetime [01:06:00] is dedicated to Yahweh in cycles of time. And this is a whole part of what it means to be a kingdom of priests and a nation that is holy set apart for the service of Yahweh.

Jon Collins: Thanks for listening to this episode of BibleProject's podcast. Next week, we continue reading the third movement of Leviticus.

Tim Mackie: If the tabernacle represents an actual piece of real estate, this belongs to Yahweh. And in this space, he will take up residence and [01:06:30] fill it with his presence, and I can go there and meet with him. In the same way, there's set times that are appointed to meet with Yahweh, because Yahweh fills that time in a unique way, and I can find God there in that time in a special way.

Jon Collins: Today's show was produced by Cooper Peltz, edited by Dan Gummel and Tyler Bailey. Show notes by Lindsey Ponder. Ashlyn Heise and MacKenzie Buxman provided the annotations for our annotated podcast in our app. BibleProject is a crowdfunded [01:07:00] nonprofit. We exist to experience the Bible as a unified story that leads to Jesus. Everything that we make is free because of the generous support of thousands of people just like you, so thank you for being a part of this with us.

Coleman: Hi. This is Coleman, and I'm from Georgia.

Charles: Hello. This is Charles, and I am from the Philippines. I first heard about the BibleProject around two years ago when I was starting out my walk with God.

Coleman: I first heard about the BibleProject at my church. I use the BibleProject for whenever I'm explaining the Scriptures. My favorite [01:07:30] thing about the BibleProject is how relatable the drawings are.

Charles: It's a creative guide for us to go deeper in our relationship with God.

Coleman: We believe that the Bible is a unified story that leads to Jesus.

Charles: We are a crowdfunded project by people like me.

Coleman: Find free videos, study notes, podcasts, classes, and more—

Charles: At bibleproject.com.

10 Episodes

Episode 10
What Does Leviticus Teach Us About Jesus?
How do you clean a tabernacle? What does “laying of hands” represent? Is the scapegoat a hyperlink to Cain and Abel? How was it even possible for Israelites to follow the law? In this episode, Tim and Jon respond to your questions about the Leviticus scroll. Thanks to our audience for your insightful questions!
59m • Oct 12, 2022
Episode 9
The Law of the Blasphemer
Blasphemy, principles of restitution, jubilee, exile, and the mercy and justice of God—it’s all there in the final lines of the scroll of Leviticus. Join Tim and Jon as they talk about the great gift and responsibility of carrying Yahweh’s name and discuss the wisdom and surprising hope of the Law that’s finally fulfilled in Jesus.
1hr 9m • Jul 25, 2022
Episode 8
What Israel's Feasts Teach Us
Are there specific times humans can meet with God in special ways? For ancient Israel, the answer was yes. In this episode, join Tim and Jon as they explore the final movement of Leviticus, talk about the Sabbaths and festivals ancient Israelites celebrated every year, and discuss the significance of rituals and liturgies that allow us to see our time as a significant part of God’s story.
1hr 1m • Jul 18, 2022
Episode 7
Why Is the Sabbath So Important?
Throughout the Leviticus scroll, Yahweh instructs Israel, “Be holy as I am holy.” But what does that actually mean? As we enter into the third and final movement of Leviticus, we’ll find that living holy lives had everything to do with how Israel treated others and utilized their time, a theme reinforced by the continual command to honor the Sabbath. Join Jon and Tim as they explore the wisdom we can find in these ancient laws.
1hr 9m • Jul 11, 2022
Episode 6
What Is the Day of Atonement?
At the center of the center of the Torah is the Day of Atonement. What is the significance of this day the biblical authors have placed at the heart of the Torah? What does this day accomplish? And what’s with the sacrificial goat and the scapegoat? In this episode, Tim and Jon explore the Day of Atonement and the ultimate atonement accomplished by Jesus on the cross.
1hr 9m • Jul 4, 2022
Episode 5
Purity and Impurity in Leviticus
Childbirth, non-kosher food, sex, death, disease—they’re all considered impure in the book of Leviticus. In this episode, join Tim and Jon as they discuss the levitical laws of purity and impurity and how they create a way for humanity to share in God’s own life and form a surprisingly beautiful backdrop for Jesus’ miraculous healings.
1hr 6m • Jun 27, 2022
Episode 4
The Dangerous Gift of God’s Presence
In the second movement of Leviticus, Aaron and his sons agree to the terms of their covenant with Yahweh, signing up to be the gatekeepers of Heaven and Earth. But then Aaron’s sons offer unholy fire before Yahweh—and then they die. What’s going on here? A seven-day ceremony of consecration and celebration ends with everything going terribly wrong. Join Tim and Jon as they kick off the second movement of Leviticus, discussing the theme of holiness and a very difficult part of the story.
1hr 4m • Jun 20, 2022
Episode 3
What Did the Burnt Offerings Really Mean?
What is the significance of the offerings described in Leviticus? In this episode, join Tim and Jon as they walk through the five offerings ancient Israelites made to Yahweh and see how the purpose of these practices sound a lot like the teachings of Jesus. Even here in Leviticus, Yahweh’s hope for his people is the same: love God and love your neighbor.
53m • Jun 13, 2022
Episode 2
What Is Atonement?
A God who wants nothing more than to dwell with humanity, a way forward to a repaired relationship between Heaven and Earth, atoning sacrifices meant to communicate grace (not punishment)—you’ll find all of this in Leviticus. While the laws governing Israel’s sacrificial system can be some of the most challenging parts of the Bible to read, they’re an integral part of the unfolding story of the Bible. In this episode, Tim and Jon discuss the surprising beauty of sacrifice and atonement in the opening movement of Leviticus.
1hr 14m • Jun 6, 2022
Episode 1
How God Reveals Himself in Leviticus
"Holiness" is a word we frequently associate with the Bible, but what does it mean? As we pick up the story from where we left off in Exodus, we find even Moses unable to enter God’s presence—and a whole bunch of laws about situations many of us have never considered. What is going on in the scroll of Leviticus? And why is it important? In this episode, join Tim and Jon as they dive into the first movement of the Leviticus scroll, where we’ll trace the theme of sacrifice.
1hr 5m • May 30, 2022
For advanced bible reading tools:
Login  or  Join
Which language would you like?