I have to admit, reading Leviticus is really tough. Just so many rules. Now I see why so many people have chuckled when I mentioned that I am currently reading Leviticus. I recognize the importance of the chapter, but wow!
Leviticus 16: The chapter is about the day of Atonement. Aaron was charged with doing a lot. He had to offer and slaughter a bull as a “sin offering for himself, and shall make atonement for himself and his house” (Lev. 16.11). He had to slaughter a goat as a sin offering for the people. This allowed him to make atonement for the sanctuary and the full tabernacle because of the uncleanliness of the people as well as their sins. We learn that this is supposed to happen every year forever:
This shall be a statute to you forever: In the seventh month, on the tenth day of the month, you shall deny yourselves,d and shall do no work, neither the citizen nor the alien who resides among you. ³⁰ For on this day atonement shall be made for you, to cleanse you; from all your sins you shall be clean before the Lord. ³¹ It is a sabbath of complete rest to you, and you shall deny yourselves;d it is a statute forever. (Lev. 16.29-31)
I read in the notes that this day is Yom Kippur.
Leviticus 17: This chapter talks about eating again. It also sheds some light on why people aren’t allowed to eat blood. First, we learn that if anyone slaughters an animal and fails to present it to God as an offering at the entrance of the tent, “he shall be held guilty of bloodshed; he has shed blood, and he shall be cut off from the people” (Lev. 17.4). Same goes with a burnt offering. Now we get into the blood part: “For the life of every creature—its blood is its life; therefore I have said to the people of Israel: You shall not eat the blood of any creature, for the life of every creature is its blood; whoever eats it shall be cut off” (Lev. 17.14). I guess I missed where this was emphasized earlier.
Leviticus 18: God explains the things that people shouldn’t do, saying that these things are what the people in the land of Egypt and Canaan did and they were pretty much evil. Interesting point from the notes: “There is no evidence that the Canaanites actually engaged in these practices” (p. 169). Anyway, the people are told not to commit incest, don’t have sex with a woman who is menstruating, don’t have sex with your kinsman’s wife, don’t sacrifice our children, don’t participate in homosexuality, and don’t participate in beastiality. This may be the first time where homosexuality is addressed. I need to check on that. Just checked. It is.
Acts 7: There goes the first deacon. Stephen, one of the seven from chapter 6, pretty much gives a synopsis starting from the time of Abraham all the way to Jesus when he is asked if he is guilty of the things he was accused of. At the end he challenges them. He tells them (the priests) “You are the ones that received the law as ordained by angels, and yet you have not kept it” (Acts 7.53). Clearly that didn’t go very well. They took him out and stoned him to death. His final statement was a prayer to God: “Lord, do not hold this sin against them” (Acts 7.60).
As I’m unfamiliar with most of the Old Testament, I didn’t know some of what Stephen said. I look forward to reading it over the next year. One thing that did stand out was the sudden reference of Saul. I learned in the notes that he becomes Paul later in Acts.