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Sunday, September 23, 2007

Leviticus - Introduction


For the next 7-8 weeks we will be studying through Leviticus. Actually it will a study of the OT Liturgical system, so we will include portions of Exodus and many NT passages such as Hebrews.

As a way of introduction let me review the 4 major ways that the Church Fathers read the OT (as well as all of Scripture).

-Ultimately we understand the OT through the person of Jesus. The story of the two disciples on the road to Emmaus is a good paradigm for this. Two disciples unknowingly met Jesus along the road, and Jesus it is said went through Moses and the prophets and revealed Himself (but they did not recognize Him until the breaking of bread).

4 Senses of Scripture
-compiled by John Cassian (360-435)
1. Literal Sense: this is just the plain, historical sense.
2. Typological/Allegorical: The is similar to the foreshadowing that one sees in liturgy. However, in Scripture a real historical event becomes a type or shadow of what is to be fulfilled in Christ. The beauty of this that a historical event becomes prophetic through the person of Christ. see Heb. 11:17-19.

As an example we have the OT readings at the Exaltation of the Cross. One of the readings is of the story of the waters at Marah. Israel reached an oasis of Marah but could not drink the waters. God told Moses to chop down a tree and through in the waters and it would become sweet. This is a type of the cross which enters our bitter life and sweetens it with God's grace. Jesus does something similar with the story of the brazen serpent. He applies it to Himself as type and says that the "Son of Man will raised up and draw all men to Himself."

3. Moral. This is sense of application. How does it apply to a person? The great example of this liturgicaly is the Canon of St. Andrew read at Lent. St. Andrew goes through all Scripture and applies each story to his life of repentance. For example: "Having rivaled the first-created Adam by my transgression, I realize that I am stripped naked of God and of the everlasting kingdom and bliss through my sins. (Genesis 3) Alas, wretched soul! Why are you like the first Eve? For you have wickedly looked and been bitterly wounded, and you have touched the tree and rashly tasted the forbidden food. The place of bodily Eve has been taken for me by the Eve of my mind in the shape of a passionate thought in the flesh, showing me sweet things, yet ever making me taste and swallow bitter things. Adam was rightly exiled from Eden for not keeping Thy one commandment, O Savior. But what shall I suffer who am always rejecting Thy living words? (Hebrews 12:25; Genesis 3:23)"

4. Anagogical/Heavenly/Eschatological. This refers to how a passage of Scripture relates to the "telos" or end of God's purpose for the cosmos.

Eg: Jerusalem: the literal city; the Christian Church; the faithful Christian; the heavenly kingdom

Here is a poem, used in early catechsims to teach these senses to the catechumens: The letter shows us what God and our fathers did;
The allegory shows us where our faith is hid;
The moral meaning gives us rules of daily life;
The anagogy shows us where we end our strife.

Example: Good Samaritan (Luke 10:29-37)

Literal - A story about a man attacked and helped out by an outcast Samaritan.

Moral sense - Jesus is teaching on compassion and the need to love your neighbor. Your neighbor being all me

Typological - the man: fallen humanity leaving the heavenly Jerusalem and traveling through the world.
The robbers: the demons who try to trap in sin and wound us with the consequences of sin
The priest and Levites: represent the OT law; because it could not save from sin
Good Samaritan: Christ who comes and has compassion on us
Wine and Oil: the NT and the Grace of God
The Inn: the Church
The Innkeeper: pastors and teachers of the Church
The Return: the second coming

Leviticus

1. Why study?

-Fr. Jon Braun calls this book a primer on the Eucharist; helps us understand the sacrifice that Jesus made; also helps us understand what God intends in worship.

-Heb. 8:1-6 – these things are type and shadow of the worship of God in heaven.

2. Outline of Study:

A. Tabernacle/Temple
- different parts: brazen alter, laver, holy place which included table of preparation, altar of incense, holy of holies which housed the ark of the covenant.

B. Sacrifices: burnt offering, grain offering, drink offering, peace offering, sin offering, guilt offering.

C. Ordinations: Priests, Levites, High Priests

3. Historical Background

- Egypt
- Exodus
- Wilderness
- Sinai

Ex. 25:1-9;

Ultimately it is about Worship. Worship is about coming into a right relationship with God. Does God need all the ritual and ordinances that He is proscribing in the OT for the people of Israel? No, man needs it. In order for man to participate in the life of God, man must be changed---he must be made like God. This is the purpose of all this OT regulations and even true of what we do today. One truth of man is “how we worship determines how we believe”. So it is important that we get worship right.

For example—what does it impress upon a person to have to kill one of their best animals when they sin?

Here’s what God says about the reason for their worship:

Ex 29:45-46

- One thing this teaches us is that to approach is to God on His terms. We don't make up worship as we go along. There is a definite sense of worship that forms man so that he can be made holy as God is holy.

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