Monday, February 15, 2016

On 2-21-16, Leviticus 16:11-19 will be our Adult Sunday School/ Uniform Series/ International Sunday School Lesson, herein is my commentary. This lesson is known by some as Day of Atonement or A Clean Slate

Day of Atonement
A Clean Slate 
 Leviticus 16:11-19
February 21, 2016

Jed Greenough

It is always so interesting to read about the days when Aaron made the sacrifices or the later priests, especially the head priests, once the temple was built.

I find it fascinating that according to Hebrews 8:5, “They serve at a sanctuary that is a copy and shadow of what is in heaven.  This is why Moses was warned when he was about to build the tabernacle: “See to it that you make everything according to the pattern shown you on the mountain.”

A copy and shadow of what is in heaven is so intriguing to contemplate.  And so is that only the High Priest could enter into the most holy part or that he is to use two handfuls of incense and not one or three.  Or that this priest must conceal the atonement cover with the resulting smoke or he will die.

We could go on with the peculiarities of all that must be done.  Some make sense in that this priest must first atone for his own sins before he can do anything about the sins of the people.

So many things had to be cleansed from the person to the people to the tent to the alter.

Why is all this?  My best guess is because God is holy.  When one equates sin to darkness and we read in 1 John 1: 5 “in Him there is no darkness at all”.  One thinks about darkness being the absence of light and light being the absence of darkness.  That is God. 

But a people chosen or set apart had to aspire to be like God.  Leviticus 20:26 reads, “You are to be holy to me because I, the Lord, am holy, and I have set you apart from the nations to be my own.

Ultimately we know that all of the details no matter how well followed were insufficient to deal with sin.  They couldn’t even, according to Hebrews 9:9 “clear the conscience.”

And thus the necessity for Jesus.  

But when Christ came as high priest of the good things that are now already here, he went through the greater and more perfect tabernacle that is not made with human hands, that is to say, is not a part of this creation.  He did not enter by means of the blood of goats and calves; but he entered the Most Holy Place once for all by his own blood, thus obtaining eternal redemption. The blood of goats and bulls and the ashes of a heifer sprinkled on those who are ceremonially unclean sanctify them so that they are outwardly clean. How much more, then, will the blood of Christ, who through the eternal Spirit offered himself unblemished to God, cleanse our consciences from acts that lead to death,so that we may serve the living God!”  Hebrews 9:11-14

The book of Hebrews in it’s entirety is really integral to see why the blood of Christ was necessary.  And I don’t just mean to see how the sacrifices were used to purify the copies on earth and that Christ’s blood was necessary for the heavenly things but the bigger picture of one sacrifice once for all.

I don’t think we will ever really totally understand though while we are here but we can learn to accept God and His holiness and to accept that we no longer need have a guilty conscience and that we ourselves can enter that Most Holy Place (Hebrews 10) and draw near to God.

For Discussion:

  1. Discuss the fact that death could await the High Priest or anyone else entering the Most Holy Place that was a copy.
  2. Discuss how we can now, our little own selves, enter the Most Holy Place.
  3. Discuss if you can trying to wrap your brain around the idea of how God is holy and being in his presence  is just not done.  Except, that is, because of Jesus.
  4. Discuss the fine details that had to be followed in these sacrifices and offerings.
  5. Discuss that we may now come to God but do we do it with less awe and shaking knees than we should?
  6. Read all of Leviticus 16.
  7. Read Romans 3:21-26.

Upcoming Lessons

2-28-16     Heritage and Hope or Feast of Booths     Leviticus 23:33-43
3-6-16     Powerful Faith Mark 9:14-29

Scripture taken from the HOLY BIBLE, NEW INTERNATIONAL VERSION®. Copyright © 1973, 1978, 1984 Biblica. Used by permission of Zondervan. All rights reserved


  1. I am happy that Jesus came & gave Himself as the ultimate sacrifice so that I can enter into God's presence without someone having to "vouch" for me. Also His coming eliviated that long ceremonial process.