Read 56.) Leviticus 21:1 thru 23:44. Coming to the end of Leviticus, we’ve 7 more chapters. We look into 3 of those with this reading. 21:1 thru 22:16 is directed to Israel’s priesthood, but it is highly instructive to us for at least this reason. Note 21:7 thru 14. No priest was permitted to marry a divorced woman. God was holding Israel’s priests to a higher standard, but what else does this mean, if it does not mean that the average Israelite could marry a divorced woman? A good many say this was changed by Jesus in the New Testament, was it? We will note that when we get there. But, note here, divorce and remarriage was permissible, and did take place under Old Testament Judaism. Chapter 22:13 confirms that divorce took place. Regulations concerning sacrifices that were not acceptable, begins at 22:17, to the end of the chapter. Since the sacrifices prefigured Christ, they were to be without defect, even as He would be.
With chapter 23, we have The Holy Days and Festivals of the Judaism of the Hebrew Bible; the dates of which still stand today, some 3,400 years later. Verse 3 is an expression of The 4th Commandment. Under the New Testament, we believe that we may substitute the first day of the week, Sundays, for this purpose; as it appeared to have become the first century New Testament church practice in the Book of Acts, and we find extra-Biblical early support for it as well. Passover and Unleavened Bread is in the Spring, a March/April time frame, according to verses 4 thru 8. Firstfruits took place at the beginning of their harvest, later in the Spring, says verses 9 thru 14. The Feast of Weeks, or Pentecost, was 50 days after Unleavened Bread, and is in our May/June period. It involved some of the grain of their harvest. The Feast of Trumpets, or Rosh Hashanah, was the Jewish New Year, according to their civic, not religious, calendar. This is in September/October. Then came The Day of Atonement, Israel’s highest, holiest day of their year, from verses 26 thru 32. This follows Trumpets by 10 days within our Sept./Oct. time period. And, finally, Tabernacles, 5 days after the Day of Atonement, in verses 33 thru 44. This was partly in celebration of the end of all their harvest, and partly as a reminder of their time in the wilderness, after the Lord had brought them out of Egypt. If you count them, Passover, Unleavened Bread, Firstfruits, Feast of Weeks, Feast of Trumpets, Day of Atonement and Tabernacles, you have a total of 7 feasts and holy days prescribed by the Lord unto Israel. Of special importance to us is this: Israel later added, un-commanded by their God, 2 more holidays, the Festival of Lights, or Hanukkah and Purim. The first typically falls in December, and the latter in February/March, toward the end of their religious calendar year. I point this out, as Jehovah’s Witnesses are all uptight about holidays. Apparently, the Lord and Israel never were. Jesus went to Jerusalem during Hanukkah, says John 10:22. Since He didn’t denounce it, it would seem to have been okay with God! We have such freedom in Christ, too, says Romans 14:1, 5+6a. It’s what the Book is all about!
Harold F Crowell