Friday, February 12, 2016

WEEKLY SUNDAY SCHOOL LESSON
An international Sunday school lesson commentary
For Sunday February 14, 2016

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THE FEAST OF WEEKS
(It is important to thank GOD for HIS many blessings)
(Leviticus 23:15-22)

   In the first century the “Feast of Weeks”, celebrated in the month of “Sivan” on the Jewish calendar, was known as the day of “Pentecost”, because it was observed seven weeks and one day (50 days) after the “Wave Offering” of barley, during the “Feast of Unleavened Bread”. It is also known as the “Feast of Harvest” (Exodus 23:16), and the “Day of Firstfruits” (Numbers 28:26).  
    Jewish tradition has historically linked this feast day to the occasion when Moses received the Ten Commandments on Mount Sinai, however, nothing biblical links the Feast of Weeks to that occasion, nor is it linked to any of the fall festivals that occur in the seventh month of the Jewish calendar, which is “Tishri”. The Feast of Weeks, celebrated in the month of Sivan, would be during the time period of May/June on our Gregorian calendar, whereas all of the fall festivals are observed in the September/October period.
    During this festival, new grain is offered up in thanksgiving to the LORD and special sacrifices are also offered. It is a celebration to give thanks to GOD for HIS many blessings throughout the year. Here in verses 15-22 of Leviticus 23, we see the LORD handing down detailed instructions for when and how HE desires for the Feast of Weeks to be celebrated. Taking up at verse 15 the LORD says that;

    “From the day after the Sabbath, the day the bundle of grain was lifted up as an offering, count off seven weeks. Keep counting until the day after the seventh Sabbath, fifty days later, and bring an offering of new grain to the LORD. From wherever you live, bring two loaves of bread to be lifted up before the LORD as an offering. These loaves must be baked from three quarts of choice flour that contains yeast. They will be an offering to the LORD from the first of your crops” (Vs.15-17 - NLT).

    Here the LORD begins HIS instructions by specifying the exact time of year that HE wanted HIS people to observe the Feast of Weeks in HIS honor, and what preliminary item (leavened bread) they would bring to get started. Worshippers were to first provide two loaves of this leavened bread as a wave offering of firstfruit. It would be the only time of the year that leavened bread will be brought to the LORD as an offering, however, none of the bread was to be burned on the altar.
    In verses 18-20 the LORD instructs that, along with the bread, the people of Israel were to present seven one-year-old lambs with no physical defects, one bull, and two rams as a burnt offering. These whole burnt offerings together with a grain offering and a drink offering would be given to the LORD by fire.
    Afterwards a male goat must be offered up as a “sin offering” and two one-year-old male lambs must be presented as a “peace offering”. Portions of the lambs, along with the bread of the firstfruit are to be a wave offering that would be given to the officiating priests as their share for performing the ceremonies for the people. These offerings are to be considered “holy” to the LORD, but will belong to the priests.
    The day of the feast is designated as a holy day and no regular work will be done on this day. Everyone will meet together in a sacred assembly and it will be a permanent law to observe this day forever, and wherever, the Israelites may dwell.
    The LORD ends this passage with a reminder for the Israelites “not to harvest the grains on the edges of their field, or pick up the grains that the harvesters may let drop to the ground” (Leviticus 19:9-10 & Deuteronomy 24:19-21). It must all be left for those who are poor, and, for the foreigners who lived among them.
    And so, just as the priests needs were met by GOD through the sacrificial offerings of the feasts, so the needs of the poor and the strangers would be met by the people through the gleanings of the harvest. The lesson we take away from this passage is that, we are to, first, thank GOD for HIS blessings, and then, bless others with what we’ve been blessed with.

A Sunday school lesson by,
Larry D. Alexander





                                 
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