Leviticus 22

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Read Leviticus 21

22 The Lord said to Moses, “Tell Aaron and his sons to treat with respect the sacred offerings the Israelites consecrate to me, so they will not profane my holy name. I am the Lord.

“Say to them: ‘For the generations to come, if any of your descendants is ceremonially unclean and yet comes near the sacred offerings that the Israelites consecrate to the Lord, that person must be cut off from my presence. I am the Lord.

“‘If a descendant of Aaron has a defiling skin disease or a bodily discharge,he may not eat the sacred offerings until he is cleansed. He will also be unclean if he touches something defiled by a corpse or by anyone who has an emission of semen, or if he touches any crawling thing that makes him unclean, or any person who makes him unclean, whatever the uncleanness may be. The one who touches any such thing will be unclean till evening.He must not eat any of the sacred offerings unless he has bathed himself with water. When the sun goes down, he will be clean, and after that he may eat the sacred offerings, for they are his food. He must not eat anything found dead or torn by wild animals, and so become uncleanthrough it. I am the Lord.

“‘The priests are to perform my service in such a way that they do not become guilty and die for treating it with contempt. I am the Lord, who makes them holy.

10 “‘No one outside a priest’s family may eat the sacred offering, nor may the guest of a priest or his hired worker eat it. 11 But if a priest buys a slave with money, or if slaves are born in his household, they may eat his food. 12 If a priest’s daughter marries anyone other than a priest, she may not eat any of the sacred contributions. 13 But if a priest’s daughter becomes a widow or is divorced, yet has no children, and she returns to live in her father’s household as in her youth, she may eat her father’s food. No unauthorized person, however, may eat it.

14 “‘Anyone who eats a sacred offering by mistake must make restitution to the priest for the offering and add a fifth of the value to it. 15 The priests must not desecrate the sacred offerings the Israelites present to the Lord16 by allowing them to eat the sacred offerings and so bring upon them guiltrequiring payment. I am the Lord, who makes them holy.’”

Unacceptable Sacrifices

17 The Lord said to Moses, 18 “Speak to Aaron and his sons and to all the Israelites and say to them: ‘If any of you—whether an Israelite or a foreigner residing in Israel—presents a gift for a burnt offering to the Lord, either to fulfill a vow or as a freewill offering, 19 you must present a male without defect from the cattle, sheep or goats in order that it may be accepted on your behalf. 20 Do not bring anything with a defect, because it will not be accepted on your behalf. 21 When anyone brings from the herd or flock a fellowship offering to the Lord to fulfill a special vow or as a freewill offering,it must be without defect or blemish to be acceptable. 22 Do not offer to the Lord the blind, the injured or the maimed, or anything with warts or festering or running sores. Do not place any of these on the altar as a food offering presented to the Lord. 23 You may, however, present as a freewill offering an ox or a sheep that is deformed or stunted, but it will not be accepted in fulfillment of a vow. 24 You must not offer to the Lord an animal whose testicles are bruised, crushed, torn or cut. You must not do this in your own land, 25 and you must not accept such animals from the hand of a foreigner and offer them as the food of your God. They will not be accepted on your behalf, because they are deformed and have defects.’”

26 The Lord said to Moses, 27 “When a calf, a lamb or a goat is born, it is to remain with its mother for seven days. From the eighth day on, it will be acceptable as a food offering presented to the Lord. 28 Do not slaughter a cow or a sheep and its young on the same day.

29 “When you sacrifice a thank offering to the Lord, sacrifice it in such a way that it will be accepted on your behalf. 30 It must be eaten that same day; leave none of it till morning. I am the Lord.

31 “Keep my commands and follow them. I am the Lord. 32 Do not profane my holy name, for I must be acknowledged as holy by the Israelites. I am the Lord, who made you holy 33 and who brought you out of Egypt to be your God. I am the Lord.”

Go Deeper

Leviticus 22 has Moses again giving very specific instructions to the priesthood on what and how to receive and proceed with offerings to God from the people. Whether they are peace, vow, free will, or thanksgiving offerings, those receiving and those offering must follow God’s instructions. The emphasis on “clean” and “pure” concerning the offering are evident throughout the chapter and it is a beautiful foreshadowing of the purity and holiness of Christ as the perfect sacrifice for us. 

The last three verses are interesting and vital to understanding this chapter. Let’s re-read them: 

31 “Keep my commands and follow them. I am the Lord. 32 Do not profane my holy name, for I must be acknowledged as holy by the Israelites. I am the Lord, who made you holy 33 and who brought you out of Egypt to be your God. I am the Lord.”

God says three times “I am the Lord, I am the Lord, I am the Lord!” This should be enough for all of us, but there are three better reasons to fear and honor the ways of God in our lives.

First, “keep my commands” is singularly spoken in verse 31. Christ’s words reveal the same command in John 14:15, “If you love me, you will keep my commandments.”  As we grow in our love for God, we will desire to follow His ways and commands. We respond, not from fear, but love. This is love for God and His ways. As we walk with Him in obedience, our love will deepen and strengthen.

Second, in verse 32, God says “do not profane my holy name for I must be acknowledged as holy by the Israelites. I am the Lord, who made you holy.” He is telling the priests that they represent God’s holiness to the people. God is holy and He sanctifies the people of Israel through the law and sacrifice. Hence, the Israelites saw and experienced His Holiness through the Law and commands in sacrifices. It is the same for us. In Christ, we are sanctified by Him, as we cooperate with His Spirit in our lives. Jeremiah 31:33 speaks to this saying, “This is the covenant I will make with Israel after that time…I will put the Law in their minds and write it on their hearts.”  This is the non-believers view of God through the lenses of our individual lives. All we meet will hopefully see and be touched by His holiness through us by our attitudes and behaviors.

Thirdly, in verse 33, God brought them out of Egypt to be their God, and He is their Lord! This is an important and joyous statement. He has brought them, and He has brought us out of our lands of Egypt as well full of false gods and bondages to be our God! In Christ, we are chosen to be His now and forever. We can only respond with humility and thankfulness before God. He sanctifies us now and throughout our lives as we daily commit to His loving ways. This life we are able to live is real, joyous, and powerful.


  1. Why did God Emphasize three times, “I am the Lord”?
  2. Why and how does keeping His commandments help us in living a sanctified life?
  3. What Egypt in your life that God has brought you out of? Be sure and thank Him for this today.

A Quote

George Williams, an early 1900’s commentary writer summarizes the idea of holiness beautifully saying, “Holiness becometh God’s House forever; and is true in all periods of time.”

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4 thoughts on “Leviticus 22”

  1. Throughout Leviticus a strong message is presented—God is holy and we are not. Words like unclean, guilt, desecrate, profane & cutoff are descriptive of a life lived apart from God. Priests in the day of Moses were commissioned to serve the people by drawing them near to God in worship. Specifications were designed to honor the sacred holy nature of God. Fast forward to the New Testament and the beautiful reality of Ephesians 2:13, “But now you belong to Christ Jesus. Though you once were far away from God, now you have been brought near to him by the blood of Christ.” This truth astounds & amazes me! “Amazing grace how sweet the sound that saved a wretch like me. I once was lost but now I’m found, was blind but now I see.” (John Newton)

  2. Whether or not you know it every day your life touches someone else. How we speak to each other, actions we show, how we drive, being courteous, and letting the God in Christ in us show through is how we can show holiness now. Do I do it, no not every time. My fuse is short and that is my Egypt that I pray for most moments. BUT GOD and endeavoring to to let Him drive and listen to Him.

    Thank you God for strengthening me by Your Spirit in my inner being. Thank you that Christ is dwelling in my heart by faith that I am rooted and grounded in Your love. Thank you that I may be able to understand and comprehend what is the breadth and length and height and depth of Your LOVE. And that I may really come to know practically the love of Christ which far surpasses mere knowledge. Thank you for being filled through all of my being with all the fullness of God. Thank you for becoming a body wholly filled and flooded with God Himself so that I can be what He has called me to be and do. Thank you for Your power that works within me to do Your will in and through my life God, in Jesus name amen.

  3. Some of y’all remember the scene where Charlton Heston comes down from the mountain holding the Ten Commandments, with his hair and beard white, and sees the idolatry and sexual acts the Israelites had subjected theirselves to. The scene where he threw the tablets onto the golden calf is stuck in my mind. (I’ll link a clip below for you youngins)
    Reading about Moses, it amazes me that he also could add “author” to his resume. On top of everything he accomplished, he had time to sit and write the very first accounts of the Bible. That’s a lot of alone time with God. It’s said that Moses had 3 seasons of life—40 yrs as a prince, 40 yrs as a shepherd, 40 yrs as a leader—and he didn’t die of old age! It makes me wonder what season of life I’m in…what about you? What is God trying to show or teach us in our seasons to prepare us for something great—to accomplish all He has for us to do? Moses died because he finished what God made him for. Deut 34:12 For no one has ever shown the mighty power or performed the awesome deeds that Moses did in the sight of all Israel.

    https://youtu.be/Id6oS3L-D9A—Ten Commandments

  4. Thank you for those insights, Christi!

    I’m particularly inspired by the description of the three seasons of Moses’s life, and what they represent:
    A time of exalted position and power;
    A time of humble service and sacrifice;
    A time when all culminates in God’s purpose for Moses AND His people.

    I’m reminded of hymn I sang growing up:
    “God is working His purpose out as year succeeds to year.”

    Father, may I trust you fully end serve you faithfully in every season of my life. I know you have plans I cannot yet see or understand!

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