Lessons in the Religious Observances

Plain Bible Study Guides

It is important that we remember the lessons for us in the regular observances the Israelites were given. Though we are no longer under the same law, the reminders are just as necessary.

  • The sabbath each week was a reminder of God’s work as the Creator (23:3; Exodus 20:8-11). We must also remember the lessons about God from the Creation (Romans 1:20).
  • The Passover was a reminder that God spared the Israelites from the plague of death (23:5; Exodus 12:24-27). Jesus is “our Passover” (1 Corinthians 5:7) who saves us from death (Romans 5:8-10).
  • The Feast of Unleavened Bread was observed with the removal of all leaven from their houses (23:6-8; Exodus 12:15). In the New Testament, leaven is used to symbolize sin (1 Corinthians 5:6-8). This reminds us of the need for purity as we are to remove sin from our lives (1 John 3:3).
  • The Feast of First Fruits required the people to bring the first of their produce (23:9-14). This is a reminder of the need to put God first in all things (Matthew 6:33).
  • The Feast of Weeks also required the people to offer to God of the fruit of the ground (23:15-22). It is a reminder of God’s ongoing providence as He blesses us with what we need in this life (Acts 14:17).
  • The day of atonement provided a yearly reminder of sin and the need for forgiveness (23:26-32; cf. 16:1-34). Jesus made atonement for us on the cross, making forgiveness possible (Romans 5:10-11; Matthew 26:28).
  • The Feast of Booths required the people to live in tents to remind them of their time in the wilderness after leaving Egypt (23:33-44). In the same way, we need to remember that our time on earth is only temporary (Matthew 6:19-21; 2 Corinthians 5:1).

The above post is an excerpt from the Leviticus Study Guide. Follow the link to learn more about the book and purchase your copy today!

Instructions About Sin

Plain Bible Study Guides

There are two main points to take from these instructions about sin that we can apply to us.

Avoid Sin

In these laws, we can see God’s attitude toward sin. He does not look favorably on sin and expects His people to strive avoid it. As Christians, we are to “consider [ourselves] to be dead to sin” (Romans 6:11) and strive to “be perfect, as [our] heavenly Father is perfect” (Matthew 5:48). We are not to have the attitude of the Romans who thought they could “continue in sin so that grace [would] increase” – Paul explicitly condemned that mentality since Christians have “died to sin” and must not “still live in it” (Romans 6:1-2). Some today are like those that Jude warned about – “ungodly people, who pervert the grace of our God into a license for immorality” (Jude 4, NIV). We are not to take God’s grace as permission to sin but as a call to repudiate sin (cf. Titus 2:11-12).

Be Distinct from the World

Just as the children of Israel were to be distinct from the nations around them, we must be distinct from the world. Paul said we must “not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of [our] mind” (Romans 12:2). He told the brethren in Corinth, “‘Come out from their midst and be separate,’ says the Lord, ‘And do not touch what is unclean; and I will welcome you’” (2 Corinthians 6:17). Just as the Israelites were called to be holy (19:1-2), we as Christians must be also. Peter wrote, “But like the Holy One who called you, be holy yourselves also in all your behavior; because it is written, ‘You shall be holy, for I am holy’” (1 Peter 1:15-16).


The above post is an excerpt from the Leviticus Study Guide. Follow the link to learn more about the book and purchase your copy today!

The Sin of Nadab and Abihu

Plain Bible Study Guides

It is important to understand that the end of chapter 9 describes an exciting and awe-inspiring time for the nation. The tabernacle had been built, the priests had been anointed, sacrifices were being offered, and God showed His approval of all of this by sending fire from above and consuming the burnt offering on the altar. But the example of Nadab and Abihu reminds us that excitement and emotion do not eliminate the need to carefully follow God’s instructions.

Nadab and Abihu’s sin involved offering “strange fire before the Lord, which He had not commanded them” (10:1). At first, “fire came out from the presence of the Lord and consumed the burnt offering” (9:24), showing God’s approval of the proceedings. Then, “fire came out from the presence of the Lord and consumed them” (10:2), clearly showing God’s disapproval of their actions. Their sin was lawlessness – doing something for which they had no authority. Moses indicated that by acting in this way, they failed to treat God as holy (10:3).

Application for Us

Many will argue that as long as the Scriptures do not specifically condemn a particular practice, then we are permitted to do it. This argument has been used to justify instrumental music in worship, building “fellowship” halls, church support of human institutions, observing the Lord’s Supper on Saturday evenings, and so on.

However, we learn from the example of Nadab and Abihu that God’s silence should not immediately be interpreted as permission. When God has specified something to be done, everything else is prohibited. The “strange fire” was condemned because God “had not commanded them” to use it (10:1), not because there was a specific prohibition against the particular fire source they used. By not being careful to do what God said to do in the way He said to do it, Nadab and Abihu failed to treat God as holy (10:3). We can be guilty of the same thing today.

We cannot allow emotions, convenience, or preference to determine what we do in religion. We must be able to cite book, chapter, and verse for our authority (cf. Colossians 3:17; Matthew 7:21-23).


The above post is an excerpt from the Leviticus Study Guide. Follow the link to learn more about the book and purchase your copy today!

NEW RELEASE: Leviticus Study Guide

Plain Bible Study Guides

We are excited to announce our new workbook on the book of Leviticus. This study guide contains 9 lessons with questions to aid in personal and group Bible studies. You can read more about it here: Leviticus Study Guide.

Leviticus Study Guide (cover)This is third of our Plain Bible Study Guides we are developing. Stay tuned for new releases in the future!

Plain Bible Study Guides are designed to help Christians engage in profitable studies of the Scriptures. The study guides include a straightforward explanation of the text and questions at the end of each lesson, making them useful for both individual and group Bible studies.

The Book of Leviticus

The overall theme of the book of Leviticus is holiness. To be holy is to be set apart for God’s purpose. The instructions about sacrifices, the priesthood, sin, cleanliness, and so on, were all based upon the idea of God’s people being holy as He is holy. Even though we are not living under the same law, there is much to learn from Leviticus. In it we see God’s expectations of holiness for His people and a foreshadowing of the perfect sacrifice of Christ.

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