Lesson 58

Leviticus 8–11

“Lesson 58: Leviticus 8–11,” Old Testament Seminary Teacher Manual (2014)


Introduction

Before they began their priesthood duties, Aaron and his sons were consecrated in front of all of Israel. As Aaron and his sons offered proper sacrifices, “the glory of the Lord appeared unto all the people” (Leviticus 9:23). When two of Aaron’s sons offered improper and unauthorized sacrifices, they were consumed by fire from the Lord. The Lord revealed dietary laws and practices of cleanliness that were considered part of the law of Moses.

Suggestions for Teaching

Leviticus 8–9

Aaron and his sons are consecrated before the people and then offer sacrifices

Before class, write the following question on the board: How might the way Aaronic Priesthood holders prepare, administer, and pass the sacrament affect your experience with this ordinance?

Begin the lesson by inviting students to respond to the question on the board. Consider writing their responses under the question.

Invite students to consider, as they study Leviticus 8–11, how the Lord desires priesthood holders to prepare for and administer His ordinances to His people.

Moses Gives Aaron the Priesthood

Display the picture Moses Gives Aaron the Priesthood (Gospel Art Book [2009], no. 15; see also LDS.org). Invite students to recall what they learned from Exodus 28–29 and explain what is happening in the picture.

Explain that after the Israelites had built the tabernacle and received the Lord’s instructions concerning sacrifices, the Lord commanded Moses to fulfill His instructions to consecrate Aaron and his sons for their service as priests in the tabernacle (see Exodus 28–29). Leviticus 8 records how Moses obeyed this instruction.

Before class, write each of the following statements on separate strips of paper (you will need to make several sets). Divide the class into pairs or small groups, and provide each group with a set of statements to put in order (they are in the correct order below). Alternatively, you could write these statements on the board before class, purposely putting them out of order. Ask students to use Leviticus 8 to determine the order in which these events occurred. After sufficient time, ask students to report the correct order of these events.

  • Moses gathered the children of Israel to the tabernacle.

  • Moses washed Aaron and his sons with water.

  • Moses clothed Aaron in the clothes of the priesthood.

  • Moses anointed the tabernacle and altar with oil and consecrated it to the Lord.

  • Moses anointed Aaron with oil.

  • Moses offered various sacrifices as an atonement for Aaron and his sons.

  • Aaron and his sons remained at the tabernacle for seven days.

Explain that Leviticus 9 records that Moses instructed Aaron to gather the people and offer sacrifices for himself and all of Israel. Invite a student to read Leviticus 9:6 aloud. Ask the class to follow along and look for what the Lord promised would happen if Aaron performed these ordinances for Israel. Ask students to report what they find. Remind them that they learned from Exodus 29 and Exodus 40 that obedience to the Lord and priesthood ordinances invites the guidance of the Lord and prepares us to be in His presence.

Summarize Leviticus 9:8–22 by explaining that Aaron offered the sacrifices for the people as the Lord had commanded.

Invite a student to read Leviticus 9:23–24 aloud. Ask the class to follow along and look for what happened after the people and their priesthood leaders had been obedient to the Lord in building the tabernacle and performing ordinances properly. Invite students to report what they find. Then ask:

  • What is a principle we can learn from verse 23? (Students may give a variety of principles, but be sure to emphasize the following: As those who hold the priesthood properly fulfill their responsibilities, they help people draw nearer to the Lord.)

Leviticus 10

Two of Aaron’s sons perform unauthorized sacrifices and are consumed by fire

Invite a student to read Leviticus 10:1–2 aloud. Ask the class to follow along, looking for what happened when two of the sons of Aaron did something inappropriate in their priesthood duties. Invite students to report what they find.

Explain that the Lord had previously explained the sacredness of priesthood ordinances and the serious consequences that would follow if priesthood holders did not prepare for and perform them worthily and with exactness (for examples, see Exodus 30:34–38; Leviticus 10:9). Although this passage does not fully explain what Nadab and Abihu did that was so serious, it is clear that they transgressed the Lord’s commandments regarding how sacred ordinances were to be performed.

  • Why do you think the Lord desires that priesthood ordinances be done properly?

  • How can priesthood holders make sure they prepare for and appropriately administer their priesthood duties?

Invite a student to read Leviticus 10:9–11 aloud. Ask the class to follow along, looking for how personal worthiness could affect the priests’ performance of their duties. Point out that verse 10, footnote a, explains that the phrase “put difference between holy and unholy” means “to distinguish between the holy and the profane, and between the impure and the pure.”

  • Why would it be important for a priesthood holder to be able to tell the difference between things that are holy and things that are unholy?

Explain that Leviticus 10:12–20 includes additional instructions that Moses gave to Aaron and Aaron’s two remaining sons about how to properly perform their duties.

Leviticus 11

The Lord reveals His dietary laws for the Israelites

Invite students to raise their hands if they have purchased something to eat from a food vendor or restaurant recently. You might ask what they ordered to eat.

  • Were there items on the menu you might choose not to eat or drink if they were placed in front of you? What are some of these items?

  • Which items on the menu would you choose not to eat or drink for religious reasons?

Explain that the law of Moses included commandments concerning which animals were considered clean and fit for the children of Israel to eat and which were unclean and not proper to eat. In our day, people refer to these laws as kosher laws (from a Hebrew word that means “fit” or “proper” [see Bible Dictionary, “Kosher”]).

Invite students to imagine they lived during the time of Moses and planned to eat at an ancient restaurant. Provide students with copies of the following menu:

Menu

handout, menu list

Appetizers

Main Dishes

Raven

Stork

Lizard

Ferret

Locust

Pig (Pork, Bacon)

Camel

Mouse

Coney

Octopus

Eagle

Beetles

Tortoise

Tuna

Cow (Beef, Steak)

Snails

Divide students into pairs. Invite each pair to search Leviticus 11:1–43, looking for the characteristics of clean and unclean beasts. They should use what they learn to select one item from each category of the menu that they would be allowed to eat under the law of Moses. If needed, you could provide an example by inviting a student to read Leviticus 11:2–4 aloud. Ask the class to follow along and identify the characteristics of clean and unclean beasts. (From these verses, students could discover that cattle were fit for Israel to eat.) After sufficient time, ask students to report what their menu choices should be according to Leviticus 11. (Answers include locusts, tuna, beef, steak, and beetles.)

Invite a student to read Leviticus 11:24–27 aloud. Ask the class to follow along and look for what else could make an Israelite unclean.

  • Why do you think the Israelites were to avoid even touching the carcasses of unclean animals?

  • What principle could we identify from this command to not even touch the carcasses of unclean animals? (Students may use different words, but they should identify the following principle: If we associate with unclean influences, they can cause us to become unclean. Write this principle on the board.)

Although the Bible does not record detailed reasons for why the Lord gave these dietary laws, faithful Israelites showed their belief in and obedience to the Lord by following them even though they may not have known all the reasons for them.

  • What dietary laws has the Lord given us through living prophets in our day? What substances has the Lord commanded us not to take into our bodies? What foods has He encouraged us to use?

Read Leviticus 11:44–45 to the class. Ask students to follow along, looking for one reason the Lord commanded the Israelites not to eat certain animals.

  • What was one purpose of the Lord’s dietary laws for the Israelites?

  • What does it mean to be holy?

  • Based on what we have learned about the purpose of Israel’s law of health, what can happen to us as we obey the Lord’s law of health in our day? (Students may identify a variety of principles, but make sure it is clear that following the Lord’s health commandments helps us become holy.)

  • How can obedience to the Word of Wisdom help us to become more holy?

To help students answer the previous question, invite a student to read aloud the following statement by President Boyd K. Packer of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles. Ask the class to listen for how obeying the Word of Wisdom allows us to be more sensitive to the delicate feelings of the Holy Ghost and thus helps us become holy.

President Boyd K. Packer

“Our physical body is the instrument of our spirit. In that marvelous revelation, the Word of Wisdom, we are told how to keep our bodies free from impurities which might dull, even destroy, those delicate physical senses which have to do with spiritual communication. …

“… [The Word of Wisdom] is [our] armor and will protect [us] from habits which obstruct the channels of personal revelation” (“Revelation in a Changing World,” Ensign, Nov. 1989, 14).

  • How has living the Word of Wisdom helped you to not defile yourself?

  • Why is it important for us to become holy?

  • In what other ways have you or those you know been blessed by living the Word of Wisdom?

Ask students if they have ever had to explain the Word of Wisdom to someone who is not a member of the Church. Allow two or three students to share their experiences.

Invite two students to come to the front of the class and participate in a role play. Ask one student to act as though he or she does not know about the Word of Wisdom, and ask the other student to explain why Latter-day Saints follow specific dietary rules. Invite the student answering the question to use Leviticus 11 to help explain the law of health the Lord has given in our day.

Invite one or two students to share their feelings about how the Lord’s law of health blesses those who obey it. You may also want to share your testimony and encourage students to strictly obey the Word of Wisdom.

Commentary and Background Information

Leviticus 11. Why did the Lord designate “clean” and “unclean” animals?

“Doubtless sanitary and nutritional factors were among the criteria for designating clean and unclean flesh, but all the reasons are not known. Almost all the ‘unclean’ beasts and fowl were carnivores. Some flesh can cause diseases unless it is thoroughly cooked, and that may have been a factor” (Ellis T. Rasmussen, A Latter-day Saint Commentary on the Old Testament [1993], 132).

However, as with the Lord’s laws of health in our day, there are also spiritual implications. In the revelation establishing the Word of Wisdom, the Lord explained that those who obey this law of health “shall find wisdom and great treasures of knowledge, even hidden treasures” (D&C 89:19) and that “the destroying angel shall pass by them” (D&C 89:21). Though the Lord does not always explain the exact reasons why He gives laws of health, it is evident that He expects us to follow them and thereby demonstrate our faith in Him.

Leviticus 11. The Lord will bless those who obey His commandments on health

President Ezra Taft Benson taught:

“The Word of Wisdom is one of the recognized and distinctive practices of members of the Church. Generally, others not of our faith acknowledge that members in good standing abstain from tobacco, coffee, tea, and all alcoholic beverages. …

“One principle of the gospel that all young people of the Church should understand is this: God, our Heavenly Father, governs His children by law. He has instituted laws for our perfection. If we obey His laws, we receive the blessings pertaining to those laws. If we do not obey, we receive the consequences.

“The Word of Wisdom is a law—a principle with promise. If we obey the provisions of the law, we receive the promises. If we do not, there will be both temporal and spiritual consequences” (“A Principle with a Promise,” Ensign, May 1983, 53).

Elder Dallin H. Oaks of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles taught:

“The Lord gave one dietary direction to ancient Israel. Much later, because of the ‘evils and designs’ that exist in these ‘last days’ (D&C 89:4), He has given us a Word of Wisdom suited to the circumstances of our time, accompanied by the promised blessings we need in our time” (“Timing” [Brigham Young University devotional, Jan. 29, 2002], 3; speeches.byu.edu).