Vayikra

Leviticus 1:1 – 5:26; Haftarah:  Isaiah 43:21 – 44:23 (this year also: Ezekiel 45:16 – 46:18)

Synopsis –

As we enter into the book of Leviticus this week, we transition through the last chapter of Exodus where – since the entire book of Exodus is based upon the account of creation – Moses plays the role of God in creation and ‘finished all the work’ (Ex 40:33). The book of Leviticus begins with a call from the Tabernacle – which is also an invitation to us – to enter into a state of holiness that will be with us throughout this book. This is followed by a list of sacrifices (by “Adam”, then by “a soul” then “of peace”) a progression that leads us again through creation of Adam, the “living soul” and the peace of the eternal tabernacle. Finally, we meet the first time where “the Messiah” is mentioned in Scripture (the Messiah, with the article) is only ever mentioned in Scripture in chapters 4 and 6 of Leviticus and only in reference to the High-Priest. This of course has profound Christological implications which we study here and continue next week.

Scripture References

John 2:18-22 

So the Jews said to him, “What sign do you show us for doing these things?” Jesus answered them, “Destroy this temple, and in three days I will raise it up.” The Jews then said, “It has taken forty-six years to build this temple, and will you raise it up in three days?” But he was speaking about the temple of his body. When therefore he was raised from the dead, his disciples remembered that he had said this, and they believed the Scripture and the word that Jesus had spoken.

External Sources

(Lev 1:11) Cyril of Alexandria – Commentary on the Gospel according to S. John 4.5

The things therefore we have said being thus, we shall find that north of it lies the neighbour of Judæa, Galilee, that is, the country of the Gentiles, as it is written, Galilee of the Gentiles,* Since then our Lord Jesus Christ was about, after His saving Passion, to depart out of the country of the Jews, and go into Galilee, that is, to the church of the Gentiles, the sheep that was taken in type as a sacrifice, was slain at the side of the Altar so as to look northward, according as it is spoken by the Psalmist of Christ,* His eyes look unto the nations.

(Lev 2:13) 

      Origen – Homilies on Numbers 27:12.6

Just as meat, if it is not sprinkled with salt, no matter how great and special it is, becomes rotten, so also the soul, unless it is somehow salted with constant temptations, immediately becomes feeble and soft. For this reason the saying is established that every sacrifice shall be salted with salt. 

      Methodius – Banquet of the Ten Virgins 1.1.8 

Hence in Leviticus every gift, unless it is seasoned with salt, is forbidden to be offered as an oblation to the Lord God. Now the whole spiritual meditation of the Scriptures is given to us as salt which stings in order to benefit and which disinfects. Without [this] it is impossible for a soul, by means of reason, to be brought to the Almighty; for “you are the salt of the earth,” said the Lord to the apostles. 

      Jerome – Letter 125.1.11

Salt is good, and every offering must be sprinkled with it. Therefore also the apostle has given the commandment: “Let your speech be always with grace, seasoned with salt.” But “if the salt have lost his savor,” it is cast out. 

(Lev 4:5) Cyril of Jerusalem – Catechetical Lecture 10.11.4

He is called by two names, Jesus Christ; Jesus because he is a savior, Christ because he is a priest. With this in mind the divinely inspired prophet Moses gave these two titles to two men eminent above all, changing the name of his own successor in the sovereignty, Auses, to Jesus, (Num 13:16) and giving his own brother, Aaron, the surname Christ,3 that through these two chosen men he might represent at once the high priesthood and the kingship of the one Jesus Christ who was to come. 

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