Hebrews (2014) - Lesson 10A

Chapters 9:24-28; 10:1-10

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  • Over the New Year’s holiday, a lot of families like to go to the movies

    • And when you go to the movies, you are sure to see coming attractions of future movies

      • Sometimes, those trailers give away too much of the movie’s plot and sometimes, even spoil the ending

      • But if a movie trailer is done properly, it will tell you just enough to get you excited about seeing the movie when it’s released

    • You can think of the Old Covenant as God’s movie trailer of coming attractions

      • For example, the OC provided a place where God would dwell among men, but it wasn’t God’s true home

      • It allowed for sacrifices to address the problem of sin in Israel, but those sacrifices didn’t actually satisfy God

      • And the OC created a priestly order to intercede for the people of Israel, but that intercession wasn’t sufficient to appease God’s wrath

    • So what value did the OC serve? It was God’s coming attractions trailer for the New Covenant

      • The New Covenant cleansed a true, permanent dwelling place for God

      • The New Covenant provided a sacrifice to cover all sin

      • And the New Covenant works through a Priest Who can bridge the gap between men and God 

  • That’s what the writer of Hebrews wants his audience to understand, without confusing the movie trailer for the movie itself

    • Once a movie debuts at a theater, the trailer isn’t needed, nor does it provide value

      • Imagine if you saw a movie trailer for some exciting new movie, and you were so eager for the movie to appear in the theaters

      • And then after a long wait, the movie finally debuts

      • But if instead of rushing to the theater to see the movie, you just watched the movie trailer over and over again?

      • Someone would probably tell you to stop watching the trailer...just go see the movie

    • So it is with the Old and New Covenants

      • Once the New appeared, then the Old was no longer needed

      • But in a sense, that’s what these Jewish believers were trying to do

      • They were replaying the movie trailer over and over again instead of seeing the movie

      • They were continuing to participate in the practices of the Old Covenant, even though the New Covenant had debuted

    • That’s why we’ve seen the writer carefully walking his audience through various elements of the Old Covenant, so he can compare them to the New 

      • With each comparison, he shows from Scripture how the New Covenant is the full meal deal

      • While the Old Covenant was a preview of a coming attraction

  • So far, the writer has covered the better priesthood and a better tabernacle in the New Covenant, and now he’s ready to explain the better sacrifice of the New

    • That better sacrifice is Christ Himself, of course

      • At the end of Chapter 9, we saw that the true tabernacle of our High Priest Christ in Heaven had to prepared, just like the earthly tabernacle was

      • It required a cleansing of sin through an application of blood

      • The sin that contaminated the tabernacle was that of Satan’s rebellion, according to Ezekiel 28

      • And the only blood that could properly cleanse the Heavenly tabernacle was that of Christ Himself

      • So as Christ died and was resurrected, He brought His own blood into the Heavenly realm for application on the altar

    • Paul sums this up in Colossians 1

Col. 1:19  For it was the Father’s good pleasure for all the fullness to dwell in Him, 
Col. 1:20  and through Him to reconcile all things to Himself, having made peace through the blood of His cross; through Him, I say, whether things on earth or things in heaven. 
  • Let’s pick up at the end of chapter, where the writer begins to transition to his final comparison of Old and New sacrifices

Heb. 9:24  For Christ did not enter a holy place made with hands, a mere copy of the true one, but into heaven itself, now to appear in the presence of God for us; 
Heb. 9:25  nor was it that He would offer Himself often, as the high priest enters  the holy place year by year with blood that is not his own. 
Heb. 9:26  Otherwise, He would have needed to suffer often since the foundation of the world; but now once at the consummation of the ages He has been manifested to put away sin by the sacrifice of Himself. 
  • At some point following Christ’s resurrection, He ascended into Heaven in physical form, and in that form, He entered the Heavenly tabernacle

    • What an awesome and amazing spectacle it must have been when the victorious, glorified, death-conquering King returned to the Heavenly realm having completed the plan the Father assigned

      • Choirs of angels and all the saints Christ led free from captivity must have rejoiced like never before

      • The scene must have been as glorious as any we could possibly imagine, because God’s plan of redemption was reaching its climax

      • That’s the moment the writer is describing here

    • As Christ entered that tabernacle made of precious stones, brilliant shining glass and gold, He entered the Holy of Holies, the writer says

      • This is a place no human hand has ever touched, since it was made by Christ Himself, Who is the maker of all things

      • Our earthly tabernacle lined with gold and fine linen was a mere copy of this superior structure

      • It couldn’t compare to the glory of that Heavenly structure

    • And then, as the Son of God returned to His Heavenly home, now living in the form of a man, He entered with His own blood

      • How did the Lord deliver His blood into Heaven?

      • The only thing we have to guide us is the Old Covenant ceremony that pictured this moment

      • As the writer explains in v.25, the high priest entered the Holy of Holies carrying a basin with the blood of a bull

      • The blood was drained from the body of the bull while at the altar

      • And then, it was carried into the Holy of Holies to be applied to the mercy seat

  • Therefore, we should assume that as the Lord entered the earthly tabernacle, some of His blood was taken at the altar and then He Himself carried it into the Holy Place, as the writer says

    • In vs.25-26, the writer says Christ’s application of His blood in the Heavenly temple was superior to the point that it only needed to happen once to cleanse all men of sin

      • Unlike the priests in the Old Covenant, who repeated the sacrifices daily and annually, Christ’s sacrifice was a one-time event

      • Christ’s death and His application of blood in the tabernacle happens only once, at the consummation of the age

      • But the death of an innocent man is sufficient to cover the sin of any guilty man who accepts that payment

    • And Christ’s death has limitless power to save

      • Not just one person, but a multitude of humanity were redeemed with His single act of sacrifice

      • Because His act of sacrifice satisfies the Father as payment for the sins of those who believe

      • Paul describes this relationship in Ephesians

Eph. 1:18  I pray that the eyes of your heart may be enlightened, so that you will know what is the hope of His calling, what are the riches of the glory of His inheritance in the saints, 
Eph. 1:19  and what is the surpassing greatness of His power toward us who believe.  These are in accordance with the working of the strength of His might
Eph. 1:20  which He brought about in Christ, when He raised Him from the dead and seated Him at His right hand in the heavenly places,
Eph. 1:21  far above all rule and authority and power and dominion, and every name that is named, not only in this age but also in the one to come. 
Eph. 1:22  And He put all things in subjection under His feet, and gave Him as head over all things to the church, 
Eph. 1:23  which is His body, the fullness of Him who fills all in all. 
  •   Paul describes the saving power of Christ’s death for the sake of the elect

    • He asks the Church to know the hope of the calling we’ve receive from God

      • And then he describes the riches of glory of Christ’s inheritance in the saints

      • Christ’s inheritance refers to His resurrected life and the Kingdom He rules afterward, and that glory is also for us, the saints, those who believe

    • First, we have this surpassing greatness of God’s power to raise dead bodies back to life

      • And following His resurrection, Christ was seated in the Heavenly places, following His application of blood in the tabernacle

      • After His work in the tabernacle was complete, the Lord took His seat next to the Father

      • In eastern culture, sitting down designated that a servant had completed his work

      • So to be seated, means to cease from work

      • From this seated position of authority, Christ now may rule over all Creation, including over His Church

      • And By His Spirit, Christ indwells His Church

  • And all those Christ indwells are covered by His sacrifice as Paul goes on to explain  

Eph. 2:4  But God, being rich in mercy, because of His great love with which He loved us, 
Eph. 2:5  even when we were dead in our transgressions, made us alive together with Christ ( by grace you have been saved), 
Eph. 2:6  and raised us up with Him, and seated us with Him in the heavenly places in Christ Jesus, 
Eph. 2:7  so that in the ages to come He might show the surpassing riches of His grace in kindness toward us in Christ Jesus. 
  • The process of our redemption began while we were spiritually dead and not even looking for a Savior

    • Because the Lord loved us, He extended His grace to us to make us alive in Christ

      • We were born spiritually dead – no one saves themselves

      • No dead body can do anything to cause itself to come back to life

      • Similarly, no unbeliever can do anything to make themselves become spiritually alive – something outside yourself must do that to you

      • We were born-again by God’s Spirit

    • Then notice, Paul says we were raised and seated with Christ (past tense) in the Heavenly places

  • What Heavenly places is Paul taking about? And how can we be said to be raised there already?

    • Paul’s referring to the moment Christ entered the Heavenly tabernacle and the Holy Place on our behalf to make intercession for us with His blood

    • Remember the Old Testament high priest? He entered the tabernacle on behalf of Israel, because they weren’t allowed to enter on account of their sin

    • He was the nation’s representative, so He entered there in their place

  • Likewise, Christ was our representative and High Priest when He ascended and entered the Heavenly tabernacle

    • As He entered, He applied His blood to the mercy seat

    • By His work of sacrifice, He was assuring us of a resurrected life

    • After Christ’s blood cleansed the tabernacle, the Lord’s wrath for our sin was appeased

    • We can say we have been raised with Christ, because nothing stands in the way of our resurrection

    • He conquered death on our behalf, so He assures us we will be raised

  • Finally, we have been seated with Christ, in the sense that we have ceased working for our salvation, by our faith in Christ

    • We are seated, in the sense that we have no more work we can perform to assure ourselves salvation

    • In that sense, Paul says we have been raised and seated with Christ

    • His work in the Heavenly tabernacle has accomplished everything we needed

    • It’s as good as done

  • Christ only offered a single sacrifice in the tabernacle, and yet that one-time sacrifice is sufficient to save many

    • This is very different than the Old Testament sacrifices, which happened over and over again

      • The reason for the difference is Old Testament sacrifices were never acceptable payment for the sins of mankind

      • Those sacrifices were only sufficient to forgive the nation of Israel for breaking the terms of the Old Covenant

      • They maintained fellowship between the nation of Israel and God under the Old Covenant

      • They couldn’t reconcile a man to God, nor satisfy God’s wrath for sin 

    • But the sacrifice of the New Covenant does reconcile us to God and satisfies the wrath of God

      • In past weeks, I explained that the New Covenant sacrifice was better in this way, because it was the death of an innocent man in our place

      • While the sacrifices of the Old Covenant merely offered animal blood – and an animal can’t substitute for a man

      • And to help explain why, the writer draws our attention to why all men die

Heb. 9:27  And inasmuch as it is appointed for men to die once and after this comes judgment, 
Heb. 9:28  so Christ also, having been offered once to bear the sins of many, will appear a second time for salvation without reference to sin, to those who eagerly await Him. 
  • The opening phrase in v.27 connects this thought to the previous discussion through a comparison

    • The writer taught that Christ’s one-time death was enough to cover our sins

      • Christ didn’t have to die multiple times, once for each person or each sin 

      • Because Christ’s death was a payment that the Father accepted on behalf of those Who are in the New Covenant

    • And the explanation for why that works is found in the reason each of us must die in the first place

      • Inasmuch...or in accordance with

      • God has appointed men to die, and then comes judgment

      • He means that the death we experience is a consequence of our sin, which God requires as a judgment for sin

      • As Paul says in Romans, the wages of sin is death

      • So each man dies, because we all have sinned

    • This is the relationship God established, that the sin of a man requires the death of a man

      • It’s because of this relationship that Christ could die just once and save many by that sacrifice

      • In v.28, the writer says Christ was offered once to bear the sins of many

      • The word “offer” means someone had to give something to somebody else

      • Christ’s death was an offering, a sacrifice Christ made of Himself to the Father

      • If the Father is pleased with what Christ offered, then that will be sufficient to satisfy the wrath of God, who is the author of the plan

    • The Father has said, that for every man who has sin, I expect a death

      • Those who do not accept the opportunity in Christ, will pay for their sin with their own death

      • On the other hand, if they accept Christ, God has determined that He will accept the offering of Christ as payment for their sins

      • As Jesus said in John’s Gospel

John 10:14  “I am the good shepherd, and I know My own and My own know Me,
John 10:15  even as the Father knows Me and I know the Father; and I lay down My life for the sheep.
John 10:16  “I have other sheep, which are not of this fold; I must bring them also, and they will hear My voice; and they will become one flock with one shepherd.
John 10:17  “For this reason the Father loves Me, because I lay down My life so that I may take it again.
John 10:18  “No one has taken it away from Me, but I lay it down on My own initiative. I have authority to lay it down, and I have authority to take it up again.  This commandment I received from My Father.”
  • Jesus, as our Good Shepherd, came to earth on a mission to rescue His sheep, those the Father has given to Christ, the elect

    • And His plan of rescue depends on the Shepherd laying His life down for  His own, both those in the fold of Israel and for Gentiles of another fold

      • And the Father loves the Son because the Son is willing to lay His life down

      • He lays His life down, intending to live again, Jesus says

      • And the Son will also take up His life again

      • And then notice, no one took Christ’s life...Jesus put his own life down

    • Jesus made Himself a sacrifice in order to please the Father, according to John 10:17, and this He did, according to the Father’s command

      • That means the Father was prepared to accept the Son’s death as a suitable payment for the sins of those who are Christ’s sheep

      • It makes sense...the Father commanded Christ to lay down His life to save the sheep the Father was giving Him

      • And then Christ did that very thing

      • So naturally, we would expect the Father to be satisfied by that payment for all who are Christ’s sheep

      • That’s why one death is sufficient to pay for the sins of many

      • Because the Father directed that He was willing to accept that payment 

  • So now that Christ has met the payment requirement that the Father stipulated, He can return, the writer says, without respect to judgment for His sheep

    • We can look forward to the return of Christ without fear of judgment because we know the Father has already been satisfied by Christ’s sacrifice

      • The requirement that our sin be followed by judgment has already been met 

      • So now Christ’s return is a cause of eager anticipation by those who have been saved by His sacrifice

      • We don’t fear a God Who is pleased in us

    • Of course, not all men have accepted the atoning work of Christ

      • Some are still in their sins because they have not placed their trust in Christ

      • All those who die in their own sins will not look forward to the day He puts all His enemies under His feet

      • Instead, they are among the enemies who Christ defeats at His appearing at the Great White Throne of judgment 

  • Now we reach Chapter 10, in which we find the writer offering proofs from the Old Testament that the sacrifices of the Old were never God’s desire

Heb. 10:1  For the Law, since it has only a shadow of the good things to come and not the very form of things, can never, by the same sacrifices which they offer continually year by year, make perfect those who draw near. 
Heb. 10:2  Otherwise, would they not have ceased to be offered, because the worshipers, having once been cleansed, would no longer have had consciousness of sins? 
Heb. 10:3  But in those sacrifices there is a reminder of sins year by year. 
Heb. 10:4  For it is impossible for the blood of bulls and goats to take away sins. 
Heb. 10:5  Therefore, when He comes into the world, He says, 
           TO DO YOUR WILL, O GOD.’” 
Heb. 10:8  After saying above, “ SACRIFICES AND OFFERINGS AND WHOLE BURNT OFFERINGS AND sacrifices FOR SIN YOU HAVE NOT DESIRED, NOR HAVE YOU TAKEN PLEASURE in them” (which are offered according to the Law), 
Heb. 10:9  then He said, “ BEHOLD, I HAVE COME TO DO YOUR WILL.” He takes away the first in order to establish the second. 
Heb. 10:10  By this will we have been sanctified through the offering of the body of Jesus Christ once for all. 
  • The Law God gave to Israel was designed to expose its weakness and its purpose as a shadow, or a trailer, of coming attractions

    • First, it required that sacrifices for sins be repeated over and over again

      • That repetitiveness emphasized that the sacrifices weren’t solving the problem of sin

      • And that’s why the worshippers in Israel never felt their conscience cleansed by those sacrifices

      • They lacked the power to bring men into a right relationship with God

    • Instead, they just reminded men over and over again that sin requires death and the Law isn’t solving that problem

      • The problem, as we said earlier, is that the blood of animals isn’t sufficient to solve the problem of our sin

      • Because the sin of a man requires the death of a man

      • Yet, we see that God designed the Old Covenant to use animal sacrifices

      • Then obviously, God never intended the Old Covenant sacrifices to address our sin 

  • And since God never intended to solve our sin through the Old Covenant sacrifices, He told Israel in the scriptures, that the solution was the Messiah

    • In Psa. 40, the Lord says He didn’t desire sacrifices to solve the problem of sin

      • Instead, the Lord had prepared a human body for His Son to occupy

      • And in that body, the Son of God would do the will of the Father

      • And in pleasing the Father, by laying down His life, the Son would provide us with the true solution to our sin

        • He could become a sacrifice that can please the Father 

    • Then in vs.8-9, the writer concludes with powerful logic

      • If the Lord says He has not taken pleasure in sacrifices offered for sin

      • And then later, the Lord says He is doing the will of God by dying as a sacrifice for men

      • Then logically, we must conclude that any later sacrifice that pleases God must take priority over any earlier sacrifices that God said didn’t please Him

  • So it is with us now, as believers

    • As v.10 tells us, we have ben sanctified – made holy – by the offering of the body of Christ

      • Once and for all, we’ve been made holy

      • You cannot be more holy than you are in Christ’s sacrifice

      • You cannot be more acceptable to God than you are when you accept the death of Christ in your place

      • You cannot add any work or perform any sacrifice to improve on your position

    • But if you have not accepted the sacrifice of Christ, then there is nothing you can ever offer God…

      • Not work, no sacrifice, no prayer, no chant

      • Nothing will satisfy God’s wrath for your sin, except the death of a man

      • That death can either be your own

      • Or it can be Christ’s death in your place