Summary: Shows how Christ has fulfilled and/or will fulfill all of the Feasts/Festivals required of God for His people prior to Christ's death and resurrection.
We cannot accurately understand this passage until we have first looked at and understand Leviticus 17-27. In the Law there were certain feasts and Sabbaths that the Jews were suppose to keep each year. First, what I want to do this morning is show you what is required for holy living. Then I want to show you how Jesus, and what He did while He was on Earth, and what He has done since His ascension, and what He continues to do now, and what His second coming will accomplish—how all of these things, fulfills and has replaced all of those Jewish celebrations. I want to speak to you this morning on “The Holiness Code of Leviticus.” So if you want to follow along with me turn back to Leviticus chapter seventeen.
So why study Leviticus? It’s the Old Testament Law; it doesn’t apply any more, right? Well, maybe not in the same way that it used to. There are a lot of sacrifices, rules, and feasts. Each one of them had a certain part in keeping the Israelites in line, and compatible with God. As I was studying the holiness code chapters (that’s the name given for Leviticus chapters 17-27 by a man named Klostermann in 1877; I wonder is that the same man who made that bread?—never mind); I’ve found it best to compare and contrast the three main topics. We will compare which parts of each topic are still applicable today, and look at the differences that exist between the Israelites and us. The main thing is they had to be holy. Leviticus 19:2 says: "Speak to the entire assembly of Israel and say to them: ‘Be holy because I, the LORD your God, am holy.’” There is a path to holiness in Leviticus, the three things that I will expound upon: forgiveness of sins, living by certain laws, rules, and regulations, and living in community with each other and God. Holiness, though not in the same form as the law, is still a requirement today.
First, before anything else, they had to be forgiven of sins. So how did they go about doing this? They needed a lamb without blemish to bring to the priest at the temple. This was done for any number of things. You made a sacrifice to the Lord when you sinned knowingly, when you wronged someone on purpose, and even when you hurt them by accident. In chapter seventeen of Leviticus we have commands against nonsacrificial slaughter. Adam Clarke in his commentary on the Bible says: “As sacrifice was ever deemed essential to true religion. It was necessary that it should be performed in such a way as to ensure God alone could show how this should be done so as to be pleasing in His sight, and therefore He has given the most plain and particular directions concerning it…That no blood should be offered to idols, God commands every animal used for food or sacrifice to be slain at the door of the tabernacle.” They were not allowed to make a sacrifice to the Lord away from the tabernacle. If they killed an animal that was supposed to be brought to the Lord as a sacrifice, they were cut off from their people. Blood was so important that it could only be used for one thing, and one thing only, forgiveness. “In fact, the law requires that nearly everything be cleansed with blood, and without the shedding of blood there is no forgiveness.”
They could not eat any blood; because blood is the life of everything. It flows through us. The act of sacrificing the ox, lamb, goat, by slitting its throat, in fact stops its life flow, and that poor innocent animal, which had done nothing wrong, was killed in their place for the forgiveness of their sins. Blood shed was necessary for the forgiveness of sins. Leviticus 17:11 says: “It is the blood that removes the sins, because it is life.” Blood shed has always been, and always will be necessary for the forgiveness of sins. At one time millions of animals were given for sins, and each time a new one had to be offered for an offence, it couldn’t be reused. That animal only had the power, and the ability to be used for forgiveness of each instance of transgression against the Lord. It was not a lasing sacrifice, and it wasn’t able to forgive forever, it had to be performed annually. The writer of Hebrews asks this question:
2If it could [remove sins forever], would they not have stopped being offered? For the worshipers would have been cleansed once for all, and would no longer have felt guilty for their sins. 3But those sacrifices are an annual reminder of sins, 4because it is impossible for the blood of bulls and goats to take away sins.