International Sunday School Lesson
For Sunday February 21, 2016
Purpose: To accept and respond to God’s offer of forgiveness and atonement as individuals and as a community
Bible Lesson: Leviticus 16:11-19
Background Scripture: Leviticus 16; 23:26-32; Numbers 29:7-11; Hebrews 7:26-28; 9:24; 10:4-18
Key Verse: In this way, he will make reconciliation for the inner holy area because of the pollution of the Israelites and because of their rebellious sins, as well as for all their other sins. Aaron must do the same for the meeting tent, which is with them among their pollution. (Leviticus 16:16)
Leviticus 16:11-19 (CEB)
(11) Aaron will offer the bull for his purification offering to make reconciliation for himself and his household. He will slaughter the bull for his purification offering. (12) Then he will take an incense pan full of burning coals from the altar, from before the Lord, and two handfuls of finely ground perfumed incense and bring them inside the inner curtain. (13) He will put the incense on the fire before the Lord so that the cloud of incense conceals the cover that is on top of the covenant document, or else he will die. (14) He will take some of the bull’s blood and sprinkle it with his finger on the cover from the east side. He will then sprinkle some of the blood with his finger seven times in front of the cover. (15) Then he will slaughter the goat for the people’s purification offering, bring the blood inside the inner curtain, and do with it as he did with the bull’s blood: he will sprinkle it on the cover and in front of the cover. (16) In this way, he will make reconciliation for the inner holy area because of the pollution of the Israelites and because of their rebellious sins, as well as for all their other sins. Aaron must do the same for the meeting tent, which is with them among their pollution. (17) No one can be in the meeting tent from the time Aaron enters to make reconciliation in the inner holy area until the time he comes out. He will make reconciliation for himself, for his household, and for the whole assembly of Israel. (18) Aaron will then go to the altar that is before the Lord and make reconciliation for it: He will take some of the bull’s blood and some of the goat’s blood and put it on each of the altar’s horns. (19) He will sprinkle some of the blood on the altar with his finger seven times. In this way, he will purify it and make it holy again from the Israelites’ pollution.
Some thoughts by Burgess Walter
Today, this Holy Day is called “Yom Kippur” or the “Day of Covering.” It is a day when sins are confessed and the Lord’s forgiveness is asked for. It is usually called the “Day of Atonement.”
The meaning of atonement is literally “at one ment” or reconciliation. As such, it represents overcoming the alienation that exists between two parties, God and humanity, due to the serious effects of sin. The work of the mediator, Jesus Christ, in our case, who is truly God and truly human, is therefore necessary to bring about this reconciliation.
As God in the flesh, Christ reveals at Calvary the humble sacrificial love of God, a love that can melt away the stubborn resistance of the sinner. As truly human, Christ satisfies the justice of God precisely by standing in the place of sinful humanity, with the result that all humanity can be free from the guilt of sin due to the sacrifice of Jesus Christ.
The above paragraph is a core statement from John Wesley, I think it explains atonement, or as the CEB calls it “reconciliation.”
Since the destruction of the Temple in 70 A.D. there has not been animals sacrificed. Now days it is usually a monetary offering on “Yom Kippur”. And Yom Kippur is always a day of fasting along with being a Sabbath Day.
I guess the hymn that comes to mind for this lesson is “Is Your all on the Altar of Sacrifice Laid.”