“Unit 12: Day 4, Leviticus 19–27,” Old Testament Study Guide for Home-Study Seminary Students (2014)
“Unit 12: Day 4,” Old Testament Study Guide
The Lord taught the children of Israel how to be holy. He emphasized that the priests were to perform their duties worthily. He also gave Israel instructions concerning certain feasts, rituals, and laws.
Sister Elaine S. Dalton, former Young Women general president, taught, “If you desire to make a difference in the world, you must be different from the world” (“Now Is the Time to Arise and Shine!” Ensign or Liahona, May 2012, 124).
Think about times when you have had chances to make a meaningful difference in someone’s life. Being the Lord’s covenant people includes the opportunity and responsibility to serve others and bring them closer to the Savior. In the book of Leviticus, the Lord explained to the Israelites how they were to live so they would be able to make a difference in the world.
Read Leviticus 19:1–2, looking for how the Lord wanted the children of Israel to live. You might want to mark what you find.
The term holy means “sacred, having a godly character, or spiritually and morally pure” (Guide to the Scriptures, “Holy”; scriptures.lds.org). It implies dedication to God and separating oneself from unholy practices that may be commonly accepted by the world.
- In your scripture study journal, write the following incomplete sentence: If we , then we can be holy like the Lord is holy. As you study the following verses in Leviticus 19, look for how the Lord instructed Israel to be separate or holy. In your scripture study journal, list ways the sentence could be completed.
Since the Israelites would soon be surrounded by the wicked practices of the world (the Canaanites), which of the commandments—the ways you listed to be holy—do you think would have separated the children of Israel the most from other nations? Why?
Generally speaking, Leviticus 20 sets forth the punishments for various sins under the law of Moses. Leviticus 20:1–6 contains the Lord’s warning to the Israelite parents to protect their families from superstitions, false gods, evils, and irreverence. Read Leviticus 20:7–8, 26, looking for the Lord’s summary of what we can do to be holy.
One principle we can learn from Leviticus 19–20 is that if we obey the Lord’s commandments, then we can be holy like the Lord is holy.
Which of the commandments, or ways to be holy that you listed in your journal, have you heard taught recently? How are these commandments helpful in keeping Latter-day Saints holy and separate from the world?
- Choose two or more of the following commandments from Leviticus 19, and answer the related questions in your scripture study journal:
Leviticus 19:3. “Fear [respect] every man his mother, and his father.” How does honoring our parents separate us from the world and make us more holy? Whom do you know who stands out because they honor their parents?
Leviticus 19:11–13. “Thou shalt not steal, … neither lie. … Thou shalt not defraud thy neighbor.” In what ways does a person who chooses not to steal, lie, swear, or gossip stand out among youth today? (Read pages 20–21 in For the Strength of Youth [booklet, 2011], looking for ways you can be more holy in your language.) How can obedience to these commandments help you be better able to serve others?
Leviticus 19:18. “Thou shalt love thy neighbor.” Consider whether or not you have unkind feelings toward someone. How might unkind feelings affect our ability to be influenced by the Holy Ghost? Why is it important to love our neighbors as ourselves before we can serve them in meaningful ways?
Leviticus 19:28. “Ye shall not make any cuttings in your flesh … nor print any marks upon you.” Why is it important not to follow worldly trends such as getting tattoos? How can respecting our bodies help us be holy? (Read pages 6–7 in For the Strength of Youth, looking for counsel the prophets have given concerning tattoos and body piercings.)
Consider copying Sister Dalton’s statement from the beginning of the lesson onto an index card or piece of paper and carrying it with you throughout the day to remind you to be holy, or different from the world, so you can better make a meaningful difference in the lives of others.
What should Aaronic Priesthood holders do with their hands before they administer the sacrament?
The following statement is from the Church handbook: “Priesthood holders should wash their hands thoroughly with soap, a disposable towelette, or another cleanser before preparing, blessing, or passing the sacrament” (Handbook 2: Administering the Church , 20.4.1).
Why should priesthood holders who participate in the sacrament wash their hands?
Along with the need for hands to be free from dirt and germs to protect the health of those who partake of the sacrament, what do you think having clean hands before administering the sacrament could symbolize?
Leviticus 21–22 contains instructions for the priests of ancient Israel. Read Leviticus 21:6, 8 and Leviticus 22:3, looking for the Lord’s requirement for priesthood holders to be able to participate in priesthood ordinances.
One truth we can learn from these verses is that priesthood holders must be worthy to officiate in priesthood ordinances.
Why is it important for priesthood holders to be worthy to officiate in their duties?
Read the following statement by Elder Dallin H. Oaks of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles, and mark what priesthood holders should do if they are not worthy to participate in priesthood ordinances: “If someone officiating in this sacred ordinance [the sacrament] is unworthy to participate, and this is known to anyone present, their participation is a serious distraction to that person. Young men, if any of you is unworthy, talk to your bishop without delay. Obtain his direction on what you should do to qualify yourself to participate in your priesthood duties worthily and appropriately” (“The Aaronic Priesthood and the Sacrament,” Ensign, Nov. 1998, 40).
Not only do priesthood holders need to be worthy to officiate in gospel ordinances, but members should also be worthy to participate in the ordinances.
In Leviticus 23–25 we learn that the Lord gave the children of Israel more instructions about how to be separate and holy. They were instructed to observe certain feasts, rituals, and laws that would remind them of their covenant with the Lord (see Bible Dictionary, “Feasts”).
A common part of covenant making in ancient times was listing the consequences for obeying or disobeying the covenant. Read the following passages from Leviticus 26, and in the space provided list the blessings for obedience and the consequences for disobedience to the Lord’s commandments:
Leviticus 26:3–4, 6, 9, 11–12. Blessings if the Israelites obeyed the Lord’s commandments:
Leviticus 26:14–19, 21, 24, 30–33. Consequences if the Israelites disobeyed the Lord’s commandments:
Look back at your list of blessings, and circle those that were spiritual blessings. Underline those that were physical or temporal blessings.
One principle we can learn when we see how the Lord blessed the Israelites for their obedience is that if we obey the Lord, we will be blessed both temporally and spiritually.
- Ponder how you have been blessed in your life by obeying the Lord’s commandments. In your scripture study journal, record one of the ways you have seen this principle manifested in your life or in the life of someone you know.
Leviticus 27 contains instructions the Lord gave about properties that are given to God. You may want to read and mark Leviticus 27:30, 32, which contains the Lord’s instructions to the Israelites about tithing.
- Write the following at the bottom of today’s assignments in your scripture study journal:
I have studied Leviticus 19–27 and completed this lesson on (date).
Additional questions, thoughts, and insights I would like to share with my teacher: