The Greatness of the Sacrifice of Christ
The Greatness of the Sacrifice of Christ
The Greatness of the Sacrifice of Christ
We are in the book of Hebrews and I hope that you have all enjoyed it so far. It is an interesting book despite the fact that we don't know who the author is. But always remember, the people who were reading it knew who sent it. We'll find out when we meet him or her in heaven. My money is on Barnabas just because.
Remember that we talked about Hebrews being made up essentially of three sections. shows and establishes the development of Jesus as God’s Son. will deal with the development of Jesus as God’s High Priest and deals with the development of Jesus as God’s Great King. We will be finishing up the longest part, Jesus as High Priest today. It is the most extensive section and it solidifies the purpose, the need for Jesus to be the Great High Priest for us.
This is the Gospel of Christ. This is why the second person of the Trinity came to earth and was born as a man, this very purpose; to be and to offer the final, perfect atonement for the sin of the world. Jesus paid for the sin, singular of the world. , Therefore, just as through one man sin entered the world, and death through sin, and thus death spread to all men, because all sinned. NKJV And we have John the Baptist, the forerunner of Jesus, make this declaration of Jesus' purpose here. , The next day John saw Jesus coming toward him, and said, “Behold! The Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world!” NKJV And we will find out in a bit as we read , He has appeared to put away sin by the sacrifice of Himself. NKJV
Why is the Great High Priesthood of Christ so important? Without it, we would all be doomed to hell but with it, we can spend eternity with God in Paradise!
, Then indeed, even the first covenant had ordinances of divine service and the earthly sanctuary. 2 For a tabernacle was prepared: the first part, in which was the lampstand, the table, and the showbread, which is called the sanctuary; 3 and behind the second veil, the part of the tabernacle which is called the Holiest of All, 4 which had the golden censer and the ark of the covenant overlaid on all sides with gold, in which were the golden pot that had the manna, Aaron's rod that budded, and the tablets of the covenant; 5 and above it were the cherubim of glory overshadowing the mercy seat. Of these things we cannot now speak in detail. NKJV
We get a great glimpse of the time of sacrifice and offering that came with the Old Testament, the Old Covenant, the First Contract that God made with man. This talks about the earthly sanctuary and describes parts of it. The Holy place where the priests were which held the lampstand, the table, and the showbread. The showbread or shewbread were 12 loaves of unleavened bread, representing the twelve tribes of Israel. They were put on the table fresh every Sabbath replacing the old which was to be eaten by the priests in the sanctuary.
Behind the second veil was the Holy of Holies, the Holiest of All, or the Most Holy Place. That was reserved for the High Priest alone to enter once a year. In it was the golden censer and the Ark of the Covenant. The golden censer was a golden vessel that was filled in the sanctuary with hot coals and brought into the Most Holy Place. Once there, the High Priest would put incense on top of the coals and present it before the Lord. This was a symbol of the prayers of the people. There was also the Ark and we see the contents of the Ark here. There was a golden pot that contained some of the manna that God supplied and the Israelites ate for the forty years in the wilderness. The stone tablets on which the original Ten Commandments were written and Moses carried down from Mount Sinai. And last, there is Aaron's staff that budded.
This is a great story you can read in & 17. Basically, the people were complaining against Moses and Aaron and God was getting tired of it. In Chapter 16 God killed a bunch that were thinking that they should be as great as Moses and Aaron themselves. Didn't work out well for them, the ground opened up and consumed them along with some fire. Now we have a group who are mad because they say that Moses and Aaron killed the people of the Lord. So God has Moses get the leaders of twelve tribes to each bring a staff, a rod and put their name on it. He had Aaron put his name on the rod for the house of Levi. Moses put them in the Tabernacle and the next day when they were taken out, Aaron's rod had sprouted and put forth buds, had produced blossoms and yielded ripe almonds. God had Moses put that rod in the Ark "to be kept as a sign against the rebels."
The Tabernacle was special. It was a representation of the throne room of heaven. And it was a representation of Christ our Lord Himself.
St. Cyril - Greek Christian theologian who lived in the 800's AD. He and his brother St. Methodius were called the Apostles to the Slavs, the Slavic nations. That would be the Polish, Czech, Russian, etc. St. Cyril and his brother are credited with the Cyrillic Alphabet which is the standard script for writing the Slavic languages according to all knowing internet. This was based off of the Greek alphabet with additional letters to represent sounds that were not found in the Greek.
“Although Christ be but one, yet he is understood by us under a variety of forms. He is the Tabernacle, on account of the human body in which he dwelt. He is the Table, because he is our Bread of life. He is the Ark which has the law of God enclosed within, because he is the Word of the Father. He is the Candlestick, because he is our spiritual light. He is the Altar of incense, because he is the sweet-smelling odour of sanctification. He is the Altar of burnt-offering, because he in the victim, by death on the cross, for the sins of the whole world.”- by Cyril in Adam Clarke's Commentary
, Now when these things had been thus prepared, the priests always went into the first part of the tabernacle, performing the services. 7 But into the second part the high priest went alone once a year, not without blood, which he offered for himself and for the people's sins committed in ignorance; 8 the Holy Spirit indicating this, that the way into the Holiest of All was not yet made manifest while the first tabernacle was still standing. 9 It was symbolic for the present time in which both gifts and sacrifices are offered which cannot make him who performed the service perfect in regard to the conscience — 10 concerned only with foods and drinks, various washings, and fleshly ordinances imposed until the time of reformation. NKJV
As we have learned, the priests went into the first part, the Holy Place, the Sanctuary. But only the High Priest could go into the Holy of Holies and that was once a year on the Day of Atonement. In going in, he had to make atonement for himself also along with the people. Look at verse 8, the Holy Spirit indicating this, that the way into the Holiest of All was not yet made manifest while the first tabernacle was still standing. The Holy Spirit indicating at this point that those of the Old Covenant did not fully understand the way into the presence of God that exists now. They were only aware of the High Priest being in the presence or Moses but did not understand that there would come a time where we could ALL be in the presence by us becoming the Tabernacle of God individually. That path came through the Holiest of Holies, Christ and His sacrifice as Great High Priest, tearing down the veil that separated man from God. The Tabernacle was symbolic it says, in that time because all of the ceremonial washings, blood sacrifices and any offerings could not take away the guilt of the soul for the people nor the one offering the sacrifice.
This is good news for us! That means that now, we don't have to deal with the guilt of sin! That has washed away with the blood sacrifice of Christ on the cross. Remember what we said last week. Our sins are forgiven by God when we accept Him as Lord. He says He remembers them "no more." So we need to forget them also. Let us work on becoming more holy rather than being less sinful. The one will take care of the other.
, But Christ came as High Priest of the good things to come, with the greater and more perfect tabernacle not made with hands, that is, not of this creation. 12 Not with the blood of goats and calves, but with His own blood He entered the Most Holy Place once for all, having obtained eternal redemption. 13 For if the blood of bulls and goats and the ashes of a heifer, sprinkling the unclean, sanctifies for the purifying of the flesh, 14 how much more shall the blood of Christ, who through the eternal Spirit offered Himself without spot to God, cleanse your conscience from dead works to serve the living God? 15 And for this reason He is the Mediator of the new covenant, by means of death, for the redemption of the transgressions under the first covenant, that those who are called may receive the promise of the eternal inheritance. NKJV
Christ came not to deal with the present but with the future. The sacrifices that were made back in that day were temporary and were for that time but the sacrifice that Christ made was perfect and forever, bringing with it better promises of eternal inheritance, sonship for us and all the things hoped for. If the temporary sacrifices in the Tabernacle could sanctify people, 14 how much more shall the blood of Christ, who through the eternal Spirit offered Himself without spot to God, cleanse your conscience from dead works to serve the living God? Before this the attempt was to try to work for salvation instead of living for Christ...who is the Living God. He mediates for us now under the New Covenant of God's grace through faith in Him, for the redemption of our sins. To redeem us. The Greek word translated redemption means to “pay the ransom in full!” We were and many are, being help captive by sin, but Christ paid the ransom in full for each of us who would walk away from that captivity. Unfortunately, many chose to stay captive when their release has been made possible. The best part is, that Jesus (God) did all of this so that He could give us eternal life with Him and make us heirs to all He owns (which is everything). (Because He so loved the world.) What a great God we serve!
, For where there is a testament, there must also of necessity be the death of the testator. 17 For a testament is in force after men are dead, since it has no power at all while the testator lives. 18 Therefore not even the first covenant was dedicated without blood. 19 For when Moses had spoken every precept to all the people according to the law, he took the blood of calves and goats, with water, scarlet wool, and hyssop, and sprinkled both the book itself and all the people, 20 saying, “This is the blood of the covenant which God has commanded you.” 21 Then likewise he sprinkled with blood both the tabernacle and all the vessels of the ministry. 22 And according to the law almost all things are purified with blood, and without shedding of blood there is no remission. NKJV
OK, here is where it gets good. God made a promise to Abraham that he and his people would be His chosen people and inherit the Promised Land. That is a testament, a contract, a will if you please. God is willing what He owns to the people of God (His children). The only way that will takes effect is through the death of the one making the will. Well, God can't die so there is a problem. God confirms the terms of this agreement temporarily by the blood of animals (which He killed and walked between while Abraham was asleep). Moses reinforced that and the sacrifices were a remembrance of the covenant.
It says, “Without the shedding of blood, there is no remission of sin.” Remember , The wages of sin is death. NKJV
, Therefore it was necessary that the copies of the things in the heavens should be purified with these, but the heavenly things themselves with better sacrifices than these. 24 For Christ has not entered the holy places made with hands, which are copies of the true, but into heaven itself, now to appear in the presence of God for us; 25 not that He should offer Himself often, as the high priest enters the Most Holy Place every year with blood of another — 26 He then would have had to suffer often since the foundation of the world; but now, once at the end of the ages, He has appeared to put away sin by the sacrifice of Himself. 27 And as it is appointed for men to die once, but after this the judgment, 28 so Christ was offered once to bear the sins of many. To those who eagerly wait for Him He will appear a second time, apart from sin, for salvation. NKJV
The tabernacle and the Temple were copies of things in heaven and so were the sacrifices. They had to be purified by the temporary offerings that were made. Christ didn't enter the earthly Holy of Holies, the copy, but instead He entered the true Holiest of Places. The High priest would sacrifice the animals and bring the blood behind the veil into the presence of the earthly throne of God, the Ark of the Covenant with the Mercy Seat. Jesus offered the sacrifice of Himself and brought it directly to the real throne of God, presenting it to the Father. He only had to do it once because it established the New Covenant. , For where there is a testament, there must also of necessity be the death of the testator. NKJV
27 And as it is appointed for men to die once, but after this the judgment, 28 so Christ was offered once to bear the sins of many. To those who eagerly wait for Him He will appear a second time, apart from sin, for salvation. NKJV Christ died and was judged as innocent but in His death, He bore the sins of all who would believe. Those who EAGERLY wait for Him to return a second time, free from having to sacrifice for sin because it was dealt with once and for all on the cross. He comes back to complete salvation. We were saved, we are saved and we will be saved. Barnes says, He will come to save them from all their sins and temptations; to raise them from their graves; to place them at his right hand in glory, and to confirm them in the everlasting inheritance which he has promised to all who truly love him, and who wait for his appearing. Barnes' Notes
, For the law, having a shadow of the good things to come, and not the very image of the things, can never with these same sacrifices, which they offer continually year by year, make those who approach perfect. 2 For then would they not have ceased to be offered? For the worshipers, once purified, would have had no more consciousness of sins. 3 But in those sacrifices there is a reminder of sins every year. 4 For it is not possible that the blood of bulls and goats could take away sins. NKJV
If the earthly sacrifices under the law had been sufficient, they would not have been done year after year. But it is impossible for the blood of bulls and goats to take away the sins of man. They can merely cover them. (Garden of Eden).
, Therefore, when He came into the world, He said: “Sacrifice and offering You did not desire, But a body You have prepared for Me. 6 In burnt offerings and sacrifices for sin You had no pleasure. 7 Then I said, ‘Behold, I have come — In the volume of the book it is written of Me — To do Your will, O God.’” Previously saying, “Sacrifice and offering, burnt offerings, and offerings for sin You did not desire, nor had pleasure in them” (which are offered according to the law), 9 then He said, “Behold, I have come to do Your will, O God.” He takes away the first that He may establish the second. 10 By that will we have been sanctified through the offering of the body of Jesus Christ once for all. NKJV
God took no pleasure in the sacrifices of bulls and goats but was merely waiting for the time to come when the ultimate sacrifice would be made. The only reason Jesus came to earth was to do God's will to make a way for us to be with Him. This was the prophecy from .
, And every priest stands ministering daily and offering repeatedly the same sacrifices, which can never take away sins. 12 But this Man, after He had offered one sacrifice for sins forever, sat down at the right hand of God, 13 from that time waiting till His enemies are made His footstool. 14 For by one offering He has perfected forever those who are being sanctified. NKJV
The priests did what they could day, day after day, year after year but they could never in a million sacrifices take away sin. But Jesus one perfect sacrifice and no sits at the right hand of the Father waiting until His enemies have been made His footstool. Again, Barnes says, The enemies of the Redeemer are Satan, the wicked of the earth, and all the evil passions of the heart. The idea is, that all things are yet to be made subject to his will-either by a cheerful and cordial submission to his authority, or by being crushed beneath his power. The Redeemer, having performed his great work of redemption by giving himself as a sacrifice on the cross, is represented now as calmly waiting until this glorious triumph is achieved, and this promise is fulfilled. We are not to suppose that he is inactive, or that he takes no share in the agency by which this is to be done. but the meaning is, that he looks to the certain fulfillment of the promise. Barnes' Notes
In one offering, Himself, He has perfected (completed, accomplished) forever those being sanctified. That's us by the way.
We finish with this. , But the Holy Spirit also witnesses to us; for after He had said before, 16 “This is the covenant that I will make with them after those days, says the Lord: I will put My laws into their hearts, and in their minds I will write them,” 17 then He adds, “Their sins and their lawless deeds I will remember no more.” 18 Now where there is remission (freedom or pardon) of these, there is no longer an offering for sin. NKJV
The Holy Spirit witnesses, testifies to us. It is the Holy Spirit that dwells within the saved person and that Spirit testifies, makes known to us...what? What comes after the promise from God that we find in of this new covenant. One not written in stone tablets but written on the hearts and minds of the people.
We have God's laws known TO us through the conviction of the Holy Spirit IN us. And to those who are in covenant… “Their sins and their lawless deeds I will remember no more.”
Where there is remission, pardon, freedom, there is no more need for sacrifice, there is no more offering for sin. It was made at the cross and none is needed. Sin is no longer our problem, righteousness is. When God looks at us, He doesn't look at the sin that needs to be corrected, He looks at how far we have come with our righteousness. We are covered by Jesus' righteousness while we work on our own.