Justified Confidence In Christ's Sacrifice, Hebrews 10:1-39

The sacrifices under the old covenant could not purge (cleanse) sin, they just reminded them of their sins, making the consequences of their sin null and postponed, until the real sacrifice of the Lamb of God could take place.  Because it was not possible for the blood of bulls and goats to take away sin. The repetition of the sacrifices is evidence to the author that they were inferior and served as a constant reminder to the Jews that their sins were not adequately dealt with.  As proof of the inadequacy of these sacrifices Psalm 40:6-8 is cited.  

Christ came to do His Father’s will and take away the sins of the world with His own blood.  In doing this, Christ satisfied all the requirements of the law, fulfilling it (Matt 5:17-18), removing the first covenant and establishing the new (second).  Now that sin has been sufficiently purged, man can be sanctified (to purify the soul and set us apart) so that we can now draw near to God. The Hebrew writer now establishes their confidence in Christ and the forgiveness of sin by reminding them of Jeremiah’s prophecy of God’s promise of a new covenant which was inspired by the Holy Spirit (Jer. 31:33,34; see notes ch. 8).  So when our sin is completely forgiven, there is no need for any more sacrifices. For the remainder of this letter, he pleads with them to draw near to God with full confidence, to remain steadfast in this new living way; he encourages spiritual maturity and love, and continues his warning of apostasy. We can now have complete confidence (boldness) in the ability to approach God because Christ has entered the Most Holy place for them, through the veil by His own blood. This ability to finally approach God through His Son’s sacrifice is the “new and living way”, 10:20. What did the veil represent?  When was it removed for us? (see Matt 27:50-51) 

Drawing back from this new covenant is the same as denying Christ, His great sacrifice and indeed God Himself. The writer provides us a familiar quote from Deut. 32:35. God will judge and repay them for their unrighteous deeds.  So our respect to the extent of awe is what helps our boldness in prayer, to be real, without becoming flippant and so casual that we talk to God, as if he is a “buddy”. He is not, but rather He is the Almighty and His Son is King of kings & Lord of lords.  The writer now reminds them of how zealous they were when they first received the truth. He exhorts them to remain patient and steadfast knowing in the end they will receive the promise. Therefore, do not draw back!

The phrase “as you see the day approaching” (10:25) has induced much controversy. It is not the destruction of Jerusalem, even though certainly this would be a calamitous time, but not a particular day and it would be accompanied by definite signs (Mt 24:4-28). Jerusalem’s destruction was between 14 April – 9 September 70AD, with a note from secular historians that the temple  stones were thrown in the streets on the 9th of August 70AD. But the warning about “the day”, is general, it could have reference to the day of judgment. But some object to this explanation on the grounds that no one will “see” that day approaching. But we understand that life is brief and uncertain (Jas 4:13-14), and spiritual maturity brings a sense of urgency. Truly “our salvation is nearer than when we first believed” (Rom 13:11).  So we should take advantage of every opportunity to encourage weaker Christians who are drifting away from the Lord. “The Day” is most likely the Lord’s Day, Sunday, Rev. 1:10. Get ready and stay ready in prayer!

The Best Sacrifice & Tabernacle, Hebrews 9.

The first Tabernacle from Moses was a sanctuary in a physical world, which became a Temple. Primarily and prayerfully sanctifying the spiritual activity & welfare of Hebrews and any proselytized foreigners, see 1st Kings 8:40-43 Isa. 56:7, 60:4-7.  Many things were made of, or overlaid with gold, it was still a man made, temporal structure – a far cry from heaven itself where our present High Priest currently serves. The Nation of Israel had very limited access to the Temple’s inner chamber, “The Holy of Holies”.  Only the high priest could enter, and then only once a year, and “not without blood” (Heb 9:7). These restrictions did more than signify the holiness of God; they indicated “that the way into the Holiest of All was not yet made manifest while the first tabernacle was still standing” (9:8). Not even the High Priest could enter without the blood of an animal. How would that make him,  “a human being”, clean? That is, on its own merits, the tabernacle worship “cannot make him who performed the service perfect in regard to the conscience” (9:9).  Spiritual access to heaven, as in full fellowship with God, was unattainable by the laws of Moses. A genuine Israelite should have been aware that ultimate forgiveness was yet in the future, and that in his present time he was granted a favorable position by God’s grace via these “fleshly ordinances.”  How this should have made him long for the “the Lamb of God” to take away his sins!

The nature and accomplishments of Christ Jesus make him “the Mediator of a new covenant” (9:15), a covenant of “better promises” about eternal redemption & inheritance (8:6; 9:12, 15).  But what is it exactly that sets the bloody sacrifice of Jesus apart from all others? It involved the free-will offering of an eternal spirit (9:14).  The blood of animals had nothing to do with free will, the spirit or moral purity.  They were fine physical specimens of no moral significance slaughtered against their own will.  While this satisfied God’s requirements of ritual purification (see, for example, Lev 12), there was no ultimate cleansing of the conscience from transgression.  The blood sacrifice of Jesus, on the other hand, was morally pure & an eternal spirit freely offering Himself for the sins of others. Not only was this offering effective, it was eternally effective – “once for all” (9:12).  This was the ultimate plan of God before the world began – to redeem sinful humanity to Himself by the blood of His Son. This blood would be unique, as biologically, there was no man involved in His conception. The Holy Spirit of God created his blood via the ovum of Mary. An astounding divine and human biological miracle!

The author makes three points to establish the necessity of the death of God’s Son – a huge stumbling block to the Jew.  First, having just described salvation as an “eternal inheritance,” he notes that a will only goes into effect when the testator dies (9:16-17).  This should further help the Jew accept why his Messiah had to die. Secondly, blood has always been associated with the dedication of holy things (9:18-21).  If the Jew could accept at face value the necessity of the Law, the tabernacle and its furnishings being dedicated with blood, could he not see the necessity of the new covenant and the heavenly tabernacle being dedicated with divine blood?  Thirdly, “without shedding of blood there is no remission” (9:22). The penalty for violating God’s law is death, Rom. 3:23 & 5:12.

The very idea of having a need for a Savior to return to earth for ongoing sins, indicates our reality in the Hebrew writer’s mind. Our reality is that the church is the spiritual body of Christ while simultaneously, the resurrected body of Christ sits by the Throne in Heaven, 9:23-28. “While we wait”, means much more than twiddling our thumbs; this waiting involves the body of Christ loving God and serving the lost as the true tabernacle on earth, while we look for his reappearance, 1st Corinthians 1:6-7 & Galatians 6:1-8.

Christ, the Perfect Mediator for the Best Covenant, Hebrews 8.

Being The High Priest and Minister of The True Tabernacle and sitting to the right of the Majestic Throne in Heaven, (v1-2)  means that Christ has been able and worthy to mediate the requests and needs of every soul in submission to Him, forever, since the day when The Spirit of Christ tore the Temple Veil open; breaking entrance between the Holy and Most Holy Place.. Matthew 27:51 & Luke 23:45. He meets our spiritual needs. Can you think of any greater Spiritual Needs than these three? Firstly;The need for forgiveness. Secondly;The need for our prayer to be heard. Thirdly;The need for our praise to be accepted.

Heb. 8:4-5 refer to The Law of Moses in and of itself was “holy and just and good” (Rom 7:12), but the weakness of man was so pervasive and chronic that none could perfectly observe it.  The “fault,” then, was that the Law provided no adequate restitution for violation. The author then offers a quote from Jeremiah 31:31-34 which indicates that the Law, itself, spoke of its own future eclipse by a new covenant (8:8).  This change of covenant was made possible by the faithlessness of the Jews, “because they did not continue in My covenant, and I disregarded them, says the Lord” (8:9). God was then freed from any obligation to maintain the first covenant. So since He made Christ the High Priest, he has now obtained a more excellent ministry.  He is now the mediator (intercessor) of this better covenant. Because this new covenant is superior and Christ is its negotiator, it is established on better promises (Gal 3:19, 20). The first covenant could not adequately bring men to God, it was weak and useless (Rom 8:3, Heb 7:18), it could not accomplish its purpose (Acts 13:39), it could not forgive sins (Heb 10:4,11). So, this is the reason for this new and better covenant. 

The global effect Christ has in the Church results in Jesus being known throughout the world as LORD, Heb. 8:10-12. But a Jew was a covenant member by heritage and circumstances of birth.  His “religion” was outward in the sense that he had no choice but to conform to God’s law with the nation. He was a Jew first, then a believer in God. But under the new covenant, God would first “put My laws in their mind and write them on their hearts” and then “I will be their God, and they shall be My people” (8:10).  Further, “None of them shall teach his neighbor, and none his brother, saying, ‘Know the Lord,’ for all shall know Me, from the least of them to the greatest of them” (8:11). In other words, one must first come to a knowledge of God and learn to appreciate Him; then he can enter a covenant relationship with Him. The sad history of the OT is the Jewish nation plummeting time and time again over the precipice of rebellion, immorality, idolatry and self-will.  All the promises and blessings offered them, could not make them faithful without individual conviction and commitment. The new covenant would begin with the individual, not the group. Did God expect the Law of Moses to be taken into the heart?  See Dueteronomy 6:4-9; 11:18.

The Hebrew writer says that the new covenant was established on “better promises” (Heb 8: 6).  Those promises are, in a word, forgiveness (8:12-13). Real permanent forgiveness, as in contrast to temporary annual and repetitive forgiveness from the annual day of atonement.  This is what the apostles went forth proclaiming to the Jews (Ac 2:38; 3:19, 26; 4:12, etc.). From Jeremiah’s viewpoint the first covenant was already obsolete; it was only a matter of time before it would vanish forever.  As the author indicates in various ways, that time has now come, and will never stop, till Jesus arrives again in Judgment.