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Sermon No: 841-Hebrews 8-10 - A better covenant



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SERMON TOPIC: Hebrews 8-10 - A better covenant

Speaker: Gavin Paynter

Language: ENGLISH

Date: 29 April 2012

Topic Groups: HEBREWS, NEW COVENANT, BOOK STUDY

Sermon synopsis: With his death, Jesus introduced a New Covenant:
1 Cor 11:25 In the same way, after supper he took the cup, saying, 'This cup is the new covenant in my blood; do this whenever you drink it, in remembrance of me.'
Not only was it a New Covenant; it was a better covenant.
Heb 7:22 Because of this oath, Jesus has become the guarantee of a better covenant.

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SERMON OVERVIEW:

Hebrews 8-10:

A better

Covenant

In Hebrews 1 we saw that Jesus is not just a prophet - but greater than the prophets.

JESUS GREATER THAN

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We then saw that Jesus, the Son of God, is not an angel - but greater than the angels.

JESUS GREATER THAN

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In Hebrews 3 we saw that Jesus is greater than Moses, the mediator of the Old Covenant (Testament).

JESUS GREATER THAN

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In Hebrews 4 we saw that Jesus is greater than Joshua, because through him we enter the true rest (from works).

JESUS GREATER THAN

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In Hebrews 5-7 we saw that Jesus is greater than Aaron, having a better priesthood in the order of Melchizedek.

JESUS GREATER THAN

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In Hebrews 5-7 we also saw that Jesus is greater than Abraham.

JESUS GREATER THAN

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In Heb 8-10 we’ll see that Jesus was mediator of a better covenant, offering a better sacrifice in a better sanctuary.

JESUS GREATER THAN

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Covenant is a legal concept often used in the Bible as a metaphor to describe the relationship between God and humankind… The idea of a covenant between God and humankind lies at the heart of the Bible. This idea explains the selection of the word testament, a synonym for covenant, in naming the two parts of the Bible. 1

Moses was the mediator of the Old Covenant of LAW and Jesus was mediator of the New Covenant of GRACE.

John 1:17 For the law was given through Moses; grace and truth came through Jesus Christ.

1 New Grolier Multimedia Encyclopaedia

A BETTER COVENANT

LAW

GRACE

grace and truth came through Jesus Christ.

Old

T estamen t

New

T estamen t

John 1:17 For the law was given through Moses

The word “testament” (as in “last will and testament”) is aptly applied to God’s covenants because:

It indicates a specific type of covenant in which a single party stipulates all the conditions of an inheritance.

The use of the word “testament” is also significant in that a last will and testament is a specific covenant which is only put into effect “when somebody has died”.

Heb 9:16-17 In the case of a will, it is necessary to prove the death of the one who made it, because a will is in force only when somebody has died; it never takes effect while the one who made it is living.

A BETTER COVENANT

This is why blood (symbolic of a death) is so significant in both the New and Old Testaments (Covenants).

Heb 9:18-22 This is why even the first covenant was not put into effect without blood. When Moses had proclaimed every commandment of the law to all the people, he took the blood of calves, together with water, scarlet wool and branches of hyssop, and sprinkled the scroll and all the people. He said, “This is the blood of the covenant, which God has commanded you to keep.” In the same way, he sprinkled with the blood both the tabernacle and everything used in its ceremonies. In fact, the law requires that nearly everything be cleansed with blood, and without the shedding of blood there is no forgiveness.

A BETTER COVENANT

With his death, Jesus introduced a New Covenant:

1 Corinthians 11:23-26 For I received from the Lord what I also passed onto you; The Lord Jesus, on the night he was betrayed, took bread, and when He had given thanks, he broke it and said; “This is my body, which is broken for you; do this in remembrance of me.” In the same way, after supper he took the cup, saying, “This cup is the new covenant in my blood; do this whenever you drink it, in remembrance of me.” For whenever you eat this bread and drink this cup, you proclaim the Lord’s death until he comes.

Not only was it a New Covenant; it was a better covenant.

Hebrews 7:22 Because of this oath, Jesus has become the guarantee of a better covenant.

A BETTER COVENANT

The very fact that God established a New Covenant, indicates to us that there is something lacking or “wrong” with the Old Covenant.

Heb 8:7 For if there had been nothing wrong with that first covenant, no place would have been sought for another.

Q: WHAT WAS WRONG WITH THE OLD COVENANT?

A: It couldn’t save us – it could only expose our sinfulness.

Rom 3:20 Therefore no one will be declared righteous in his sight by observing the law; rather, through the law we become conscious of sin.

A BETTER COVENANT

The Law is like going to a doctor who diagnoses you as having a terminal (i.e. resulting in death) illness, but cannot give you anything to cure you.

Likewise the Law tells us that we are sinners, but then can do nothing to save us because of our sinful nature.

YOU’RE GOING TO DIE!

DOCTOR LAW

Rom 6:23 For the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life in a Christ Jesus our Lord.

YOU WOULD HAVE DIED, BUT I HAVE A CURE.

WHICH DOCTOR DO YOU PREFER?

DOCTOR JESUS

The New Covenant was already promised in the Old Testament. Let’s look at Heb 8:8-12 which is actually a quotation from Jeremiah 31:31-34.

Jer 31:31-34 “The time is coming,” declares the LORD, “when I will make a new covenant with the house of Israel and with the house of Judah. It will not be like the covenant I made with their forefathers when I took them by the hand to lead them out of Egypt, because they broke my covenant, though I was a husband to them,” declares the LORD. “This is the covenant I will make with the house of Israel after that time,” declares the LORD. “I will put my law in their minds and write it on their hearts. I will be their God, and they will be my people. No longer will a man teach his neighbour, or a man his brother, saying, ‘Know the LORD,’ because they will all know me, from the least of them to the greatest,” declares the LORD. “For I will forgive their wickedness and will remember their sins no more.”

A BETTER COVENANT

God is the initiator of the Covenant (remember that a single party stipulates all the conditions in a last will and testament):

Heb 8:8 “The time is coming,” declares the Lord, “when I will make a new covenant…”

The covenant is substantially different from the Old Covenant:

Heb 8:9a “It will not be like the covenant I made with their forefathers…”

A BETTER COVENANT

The Old Covenant was problematic in that it required legal perfection and man is naturally sinful.

Heb 8:9b “… because they did not remain faithful to my covenant, and I turned away from them”

The New Covenant compensated for the weakness of our sinful nature, by providing a perfect sin offering for us.

Rom 8:3-4 For what the law was powerless to do in that it was weakened by the sinful nature, God did by sending his own Son in the likeness of sinful man to be a sin offering. And so he condemned sin in sinful man, in order that the righteous requirements of the law might be fully met in us, who do not live according to the sinful nature but according to the Spirit.

A BETTER COVENANT

The Old Covenant focussed on external rules and regulations:

Heb 9:10 They are only a matter of food and drink and various ceremonial washings - external regulations applying until the time of the new order.

In contrast the New Covenant is based on an internal change:

Heb 8:10 “… I will put my laws in their minds and write them on their hearts.”

A BETTER COVENANT

There is a greater intimacy with God in the New Covenant. God is no longer distant, but our Father in heaven - and we are co-heirs with Jesus.

Heb 8:10-11 “I will be their God, and they will be my people. No longer will a man teach his neighbour, or a man his brother, saying, ‘Know the Lord,’ because they will all know me, from the least of them to the greatest.”

A BETTER COVENANT

While the sacrifices of the Old Covenant provided just a covering for sin, the New Covenant brought about forgiveness of sin.

Heb 8:12 “For I will forgive their wickedness and will remember their sins no more.”

If we could have been saved by the Old Covenant, then there was no need for Jesus to die on the cross:

Gal 2:21 I do not set aside the grace of God, for if righteousness could be gained through the law, Christ died for nothing!

A BETTER COVENANT

The Old Covenant could not clear the conscience

Heb 9:9 This is an illustration for the present time, indicating that the gifts and sacrifices being offered were not able to clear the conscience of the worshiper.

The Old Covenant was a temporary measure until the “new order”.

Heb 9:10 They are only a matter of food and drink and various ceremonial washings - external regulations applying until the time of the new order.

A BETTER COVENANT

The Law brings a curse to those who cannot keep it:

Gal 3:10-12 All who rely on observing the law are under a curse, for it is written: “Cursed is everyone who does not continue to do everything written in the Book of the Law.” Clearly no one is justified before God by the law, because, “The righteous will live by faith.” The law is not based on faith; on the contrary, “The man who does these things will live by them.”

Jesus redeemed us from the curse of the Law:

Gal 3:13 Christ redeemed us from the curse of the law by becoming a curse for us, for it is written: “Cursed is everyone who is hung on a tree.”

A BETTER COVENANT

The law was just a shadow, not the reality.

Col 2:16-17 Therefore do not let anyone judge you by what you eat or drink, or with regard to a religious festival, a New Moon celebration or a Sabbath day. These are a shadow of the things that were to come; the reality, however, is found in Christ.

Heb 10:1-2 The law is only a shadow of the good things that are coming - not the realities themselves. For this reason it can never, by the same sacrifices repeated endlessly year after year, make perfect those who draw near to worship. If it could, would they not have stopped being offered? For the worshipers would have been cleansed once for all, and would no longer have felt guilty for their sins.

SHADOWS

The religious festivals and Sabbath were “a shadow of the things that were to come; the reality, however, is found in Christ.” (Col 2:16-17)

We saw in a previous study how both religious festivals and the Sabbath are said to be shadows, the reality being found in Christ (Col 2:16-17). Just as we no longer keep the Jewish festivals which were simply typical of the realities in the NT, so the Sabbath is typical – being fulfilled in Christ who gives us the true rest (from works). The Passover was a shadow of Jesus’ death, Pentecost of the pouring out of Holy Spirit. The tabernacle was a shadow of Jesus. The high priest was a shadow of Christ as our High Priest.

The book of Hebrews shows clearly that the OT shadows pointed to the coming of the one who would fulfill them and thus end them. With Jesus’ work finished, the shadows were no longer needed.

SHADOWS

When a newer will or testament is made, the older one is automatically made obsolete:

Heb 8:13a By calling this covenant “new,” he has made the first one obsolete…

Rom 10:4 Christ is the end of the law so that there may be righteousness for everyone who believes.

The Jewish Christians who were the recipients of the letter of Hebrews were being tempted to renounce the New Covenant and return to the Old Covenant of the Law. The author shows that they will be going back to something that would disappear due to obsolescence.

Heb 8:13b … and what is obsolete and aging will soon disappear.

A BETTER COVENANT

“Mesites” (mes-ee’-tace) is the Greek word for mediator and means:

one who intervenes between two, either in order to make or restore peace and friendship, or form a compact, or for ratifying a covenant… arbitrator 1

The mediators of God’s covenants acted as an arbitrator between God and man.

As Moses was the mediator of the Old Covenant of Law, so Jesus is the mediator of the New Covenant of Grace.

Heb 9:15a For this reason Christ is the mediator of a new covenant, that those who are called may receive the promised eternal inheritance…

1 New Testament Greek Lexicon http:// www.biblestudytools.com/ lexicons/ greek/ kjv/ mesites.html

JESUS OUR MEDIATOR

A BETTER

SANCTUARY

With the Old Covenant, Moses was instructed to build a tabernacle where the priests would offer sacrifices to God on behalf of the people.

Moses had strict instructions to build it exactly according to a pattern God had given him, which was based on the temple in heaven. As Stephen related:

Acts 7:44 “Our forefathers had the tabernacle of the Testimony with them in the desert. It had been made as God directed Moses, according to the pattern he had seen.”

Heb 8:5b 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.”

THE OLD SANCTUARY

A full size model of the tabernacle located in Timna Park in the southern Negev Desert, just north of Eilat.

The outer room

Heb 9:6 When everything had been arranged like this, the priests entered regularly into the outer room to carry on their ministry.

The Holy Place

Heb 9:1-2 Now the first covenant had regulations for worship and also an earthly sanctuary. A tabernacle was set up. In its first room were the lampstand, the table and the consecrated bread; this was called the Holy Place.

THE OLD SANCTUARY

Inside the later Temple facing the Holy of Holies – normally the curtain was closed.

The Most Holy Place

Heb 9:3-5 Behind the second curtain was a room called the Most Holy Place, which had the golden altar of incense and the gold-covered ark of the covenant. This ark contained the gold jar of manna, Aaron’s staff that had budded, and the stone tablets of the covenant. Above the ark were the cherubim of the Glory, overshadowing the atonement cover. But we cannot discuss these things in detail now.

THE TABERNACLE

OUTER COURT

HOLY PLACE

HOLY OF HOLIES

LAVER

ARK OF THE COVENANT

BRAZEN ALTAR

LAMP

ALTAR OF INCENSE

TABLE OF SHEWBREAD

OUTER COURT

Once the Israelites had conquered Canaan, the tabernacle was housed at Shiloh (Joshua 18:1). This was where both Eli and Samuel served.

Later David requested to build God a more permanent and better sanctuary in the form of the temple in Jerusalem. This was ultimately built by David’s son Solomon - as Stephen explains:

Acts 7:45-47 “Having received the tabernacle, our fathers under Joshua brought it with them when they took the land from the nations God drove out before them. It remained in the land until the time of David, who enjoyed God’s favour and asked that he might provide a dwelling place for the God of Jacob. But it was Solomon who built the house for him.”

A BETTER TEMPLE

Solomon’s temple was based on the pattern of the tabernacle with an outer court, Holy Place and Holy of Holies (Most Holy Place). It was again patterned on the temple in heaven, the plan being revealed to David by God:

1 Chron 28:11 Then David gave his son Solomon the plans for the portico of the temple, its buildings, its storerooms, its upper parts, its inner rooms and the place of atonement… 19 “All this,” David said, “I have in writing from the hand of the LORD upon me, and he gave me understanding in all the details of the plan.”

TABERNACLE & TEMPLES

SANCTUARY

BUILT

DESTROYED

TABERNACLE

By Moses (c. 1445 BC)

Replaced by the temple (10th cent BC)

1st TEMPLE

By Solomon (10th cent BC)

Destroyed (586 BC)

by Nebuchadnezzar

2nd TEMPLE

By Zerubbabel (516 BC). Renovated by Herod (19 BC)

Destroyed (70 AD)

by Titus

The temple of Solomon was destroyed by the Babylonians and a second temple was later built by Zerubbabel in 516 BC and then renovated by Herod the Great in 19 BC.

In general it was patterned after the first Temple of Solomon.

2ND TEMPLE

HOLY PLACE

HOLY OF HOLIES

COURT OF THE PRIESTS

COURT OF THE WOMEN

COURT OF THE ISRAELITES

COURT OF THE GENTILES

THE VEIL

The Jews of Jesus’ day took great pride in their temple which was a spectacular achievement by Herod the Great, who was renowned for his architectural accomplishments.

Mark 13:1 As he was leaving the temple, one of his disciples said to him, “Look, Teacher! What massive stones! What magnificent buildings!”

A BETTER TEMPLE

A model of Jerusalem with the temple in King Herod’s time.

Reconstruction of the Temple built by Herod and the surrounding city of Jerusalem

But however impressive the temple in Jerusalem temple was, it was nothing compared to the temple in heaven that Jesus served in. Like the tabernacle, it was just “a copy and shadow of what is in heaven”.

Heb 8:2 and who serves in the sanctuary, the true tabernacle set up by the Lord, not by man… 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.”

So the pattern for the tabernacle and temples was based on the true temple of God in heaven.

A BETTER TEMPLE

Stephen relates how the earthly temple was not God’s actual dwelling place – rather it was in heaven:

Acts 7:47-50 “But it was Solomon who built the house for him. However, the Most High does not live in houses made by men. As the prophet says: ‘Heaven is my throne, and the earth is my footstool. What kind of house will you build for me? says the Lord. Or where will my resting place be? Has not my hand made all these things?’”

A BETTER TEMPLE

Isaiah saw the heavenly temple in a vision:

Isa 6:1 In the year that King Uzziah died, I saw the Lord seated on a throne, high and exalted, and the train of his robe filled the temple.

As did Ezekiel:

Ezek 10:3-5 Now the cherubim were standing on the south side of the temple when the man went in, and a cloud filled the inner court. Then the glory of the LORD rose from above the cherubim and moved to the threshold of the temple. The cloud filled the temple, and the court was full of the radiance of the glory of the LORD. The sound of the wings of the cherubim could be heard as far away as the outer court, like the voice of God Almighty when he speaks.

A BETTER TEMPLE

It was this heavenly temple that Jesus entered in his capacity as our great High Priest in the order of Melchizedek:

Heb 9:11 When Christ came as high priest of the good things that are already here, he went through the greater and more perfect tabernacle that is not man-made, that is to say, not a part of this creation.

Heb 9:24 For Christ did not enter a man-made sanctuary that was only a copy of the true one; he entered heaven itself, now to appear for us in God’s presence.

A BETTER TEMPLE

While there were many High Priests descended from Aaron who could serve in the copy on earth, Jesus alone is qualified to serve in the superior sanctuary in heaven.

A BETTER

SACRIFICE

Heb 8:6 But the ministry Jesus has received is as superior to theirs as the covenant of which he is mediator is superior to the old one, and it is founded on better promises.

Jesus:

has a superior ministry,

and is mediator of a superior covenant

which is founded on better promises.

SUPERIOR MINISTRY

As High Priest in the heavenly temple, Jesus needed a sacrifice:

Heb 8:3 Every high priest is appointed to offer both gifts and sacrifices, and so it was necessary for this one also to have something to offer.

The heavenly temple necessitated a better sacrifice than the earthly sanctuary:

Heb 9:23 It was necessary, then, for the copies of the heavenly things to be purified with these sacrifices, but the heavenly things themselves with better sacrifices than these.

A BETTER SACRIFICE

The sacrifices in the Old Covenant were just annual reminders of sin, because they couldn’t bring about forgiveness of sin:

Heb 10:3-4 But those sacrifices are an annual reminder of sins, because it is impossible for the blood of bulls and goats to take away sins.

A BETTER SACRIFICE

The better sacrifice was Jesus himself

Heb 9:26b But now he has appeared once for all at the end of the ages to do away with sin by the sacrifice of himself.

So Jesus was both the High Priest and the sacrifice.

1 Cor 5:7b For Christ, our Passover lamb, has been sacrificed.

And it was a far better sacrifice:

1 Pet 1:18-19 For you know that it was not with perishable things such as silver or gold that you were redeemed from the empty way of life handed down to you from your forefathers, but with the precious blood of Christ, a lamb without blemish or defect.

A BETTER SACRIFICE

John the Baptist called Jesus “the Lamb of God, who takes away the sin of the world!” (John 1:29)

When the Ethiopian eunuch asked who this passage of Scripture in Isaiah 53 applied to, Philip linked it to Jesus:

“He was led like a sheep to the slaughter, and as a lamb before the shearer is silent, so he did not open his mouth.” (Acts 8:32)

And the 24 elders sing a song to Jesus in heaven:

“You are worthy to take the scroll and to open its seals, because you were slain, and with your blood you purchased men for God from every tribe and language and people and nation.” (Rev 5:9)

A BETTER SACRIFICE

In the New Covenant Jesus recognised that the old sacrifices were inadequate for our redemption – and then he offers himself as the perfect sacrifice:

Heb 10:5-9 Therefore, when Christ came into the world, he said: “Sacrifice and offering you did not desire, but a body you prepared for me; with burnt offerings and sin offerings you were not pleased. Then I said, ‘Here I am - it is written about me in the scroll - I have come to do your will, O God.’” First he said, “Sacrifices and offerings, burnt offerings and sin offerings you did not desire, nor were you pleased with them” (although the law required them to be made). Then he said, “Here I am, I have come to do your will.” He sets aside the first to establish the second.

A BETTER SACRIFICE

The better blood of Jesus gives us eternal redemption:

Heb 9:12-14 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, having obtained 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!

A BETTER SACRIFICE

In our New Covenant Jesus not only freed us from sin; he paid the price for “sins committed under the first covenant.”

Heb 9:15 For this reason Christ is the mediator of a new covenant, that those who are called may receive the promised eternal inheritance - now that he has died as a ransom to set them free from the sins committed under the first covenant.

A BETTER SACRIFICE

Q: Why did Jesus warn Mary Magdalene not to touch him immediately after his resurrection?

DON’T TOUCH ME

TOUCH ME NOT

John 20:17 Jesus saith unto her, Touch me not; for I am not yet ascended to my Father: but go to my brethren, and say unto them, I ascend unto my Father, and your Father; and to my God, and your God. (KJV)

Yet later Jesus specifically tells Thomas to touch him saying, “Put your finger here; see my hands. Reach out your hand and put it into my side…” (John 20:27)

PUT YOUR FINGER HERE

We know that Mary Magdalene was the first person to see Jesus after his resurrection.

Mark 16:9 When Jesus rose early on the first day of the week, he appeared first to Mary Magdalene…

The OT High Priest had to make himself ceremonially clean before entering the Holy of Holies. If he even came into contact with something that was ceremonially unclean he himself would not be clean any more.

Likewise Jesus could not be touched straight after his resurrection because he had not yet presented the sacrifice to the Father in the heavenly temple.

That is why he told Mary, “Touch me not; for I am not yet ascended to my Father”.

DON’T TOUCH ME

In between appearing to Mary and appearing later to the other women and disciples, Jesus presented himself as the sacrifice in the heavenly temple.

HERE I AM - IT IS WRITTEN ABOUT ME IN THE SCROLL - I HAVE COME TO DO YOUR WILL, O GOD.

After offering himself as the perfect sacrifice to his Father in the heavenly Holy of Holies, Jesus was able to be touched again and didn’t impose any restriction in his future appearances to his disciples:

Matthew 28:8-9 So the women hurried away from the tomb, afraid yet filled with joy, and ran to tell his disciples. Suddenly Jesus met them. “Greetings,” he said. They came to him, clasped his feet and worshiped him.

DON’T TOUCH ME

A COMPLETED

WORK

Heb 9:2-4 A tabernacle was set up. In its first room were the lampstand, the table and the consecrated bread; this was called the Holy Place. Behind the second curtain was a room called the Most Holy Place, which had the golden altar of incense and the gold-covered ark of the covenant…

Notice that despite all the furnishings in the OT temple, there were no chairs. The priest’s work was never finished – he could never sit down. But we read of Jesus:

Heb 8:1 The point of what we are saying is this: we do have such a high priest, who sat down at the right hand of the throne of the majesty in heaven

HE SAT DOWN

The Old Covenant priests had to make a sacrifice in the Holy of Holies once a year for his own sins and the sins of the people.

Heb 9:6-7 When everything had been arranged like this, the priests entered regularly into the outer room to carry on their ministry. But only the high priest entered the inner room, and that only once a year, and never without blood, which he offered for himself and for the sins the people had committed in ignorance.

Jesus was perfect and didn’t need a sacrifice for his own sins. He completed the work of our salvation from sin with his perfect sacrifice. On the cross Jesus knew “that all was now completed” (John 19:28) and referring to the plan of salvation cries “It is finished.” (John 19:30)

HE SAT DOWN

IT IS FINISHED!

Because it was a perfect sacrifice, Jesus only needed to offer the sacrifice once:

Heb 9:25-28 Nor did he enter heaven to offer himself again and again, the way the high priest enters the Most Holy Place every year with blood that is not his own. Then Christ would have had to suffer many times since the creation of the world. But now he has appeared once for all at the end of the ages to do away with sin by the sacrifice of himself. Just as man is destined to die once, and after that to face judgment, so Christ was sacrificed once to take away the sins of many people; and he will appear a second time, not to bear sin, but to bring salvation to those who are waiting for him.

HE SAT DOWN

Because the work of salvation was “finished” and “complete” at Calvary, Jesus could sit down after the sacrifice – unlike the Old Testament priests.

Heb 10:10-14 And by that will, we have been made holy through the sacrifice of the body of Jesus Christ once for all. Day after day every priest stands and performs his religious duties; again and again he offers the same sacrifices, which can never take away sins. But when this priest had offered for all time one sacrifice for sins, he sat down at the right hand of God. Since that time he waits for his enemies to be made his footstool, because by one sacrifice he has made perfect forever those who are being made holy.

HE SAT DOWN

In the Old Covenant only the High Priest could enter the Holy of Holies (the inner room) and only once a year:

Heb 9:7 But only the high priest entered the inner room, and that only once a year…

The way into God’s very presence was not open to all under the previous covenant. God had to be accessed by the priests and prophets:

Heb9:8 The Holy Spirit was showing by this that the way into the Most Holy Place had not yet been disclosed as long as the first tabernacle was still standing.

THE TORN VEIL

When Jesus died the curtain (or veil) in the temple that led to the Holy of Holies was torn.

Matt 27:50-51 And when Jesus had cried out again in a loud voice, he gave up his spirit. At that moment the curtain of the temple was torn in two from top to bottom.

Q: Who tore the veil?

A: God did – that it why it was torn “from top to bottom”. God was showing that the way into the Holy of Holies (or Most Holy Place) was now opened – and that the lost relationship with God was restored. Our relationship with God was broken by sin which led to Adam and Eve being driven from God’s presence. Jesus as our mediator restored our relationship with God.

THE TORN VEIL

The tearing of the curtain was symbolic of the tearing of Jesus’ body on the cross which opened the way into God’s presence.

Heb 10:19-22 Therefore, brothers, since we have confidence to enter the Most Holy Place by the blood of Jesus, by a new and living way opened for us through the curtain, that is, his body, and since we have a great priest over the house of God, let us draw near to God with a sincere heart in full assurance of faith, having our hearts sprinkled to cleanse us from a guilty conscience and having our bodies washed with pure water.

THE TORN VEIL

Because we have forgiveness of sin, the tearing of the curtain which led into the area where the sin sacrifice was made – is symbolic of the fact that there is no longer a need for sacrifice.

Heb 10:15-18 The Holy Spirit also testifies to us about this. First he says: “This is the covenant I will make with them after that time, says the Lord. I will put my laws in their hearts, and I will write them on their minds.” Then he adds: “Their sins and lawless acts I will remember no more.” And where these have been forgiven, there is no longer any sacrifice for sin.

THE TORN VEIL

We have “confidence to enter the Most Holy Place by the blood of Jesus” (Heb 10:19) because our sins which alienated us from a righteous God have been removed.

Our covenant has “a new and living way” which allows us to “draw near to God with a sincere heart in full assurance of faith, having our hearts sprinkled to cleanse us from a guilty conscience and having our bodies washed with pure water” (Heb 10:19-22)

SO GOD IS IN EFFECT SAYING, “THE DOOR IS NOW OPEN. COME ON IN AND MEET ME.”

THE TORN VEIL

We no longer need a priest to access God; Jesus has made us all priests:

Rev 1:5-6 …To him who loves us and has freed us from our sins by his blood, and has made us to be a kingdom and priests to serve his God and Father - to him be glory and power for ever and ever! Amen.

THE TORN VEIL

AND SO THE NEW TESTAMENT TEACHES THE PRIESTHOOD OF ALL BELIEVERS.

GREATER PENALTY

Heb 10:23-25 Let us hold unswervingly to the hope we profess, for he who promised is faithful. And let us consider how we may spur one another on toward love and good deeds. Let us not give up meeting together, as some are in the habit of doing, but let us encourage one another - and all the more as you see the Day approaching.

We are encouraged to:

hold unswervingly to the hope we profess

consider how we may spur one another on toward love and good deeds

not give up meeting together

encourage one another

ENCOURAGEMENT

What many don’t realise is that the promise to not give up fellowshipping was made to Christians who were being persecuted for their faith. Note the context:

Heb 10:32-34 Remember those earlier days after you had received the light, when you stood your ground in a great contest in the face of suffering. Sometimes you were publicly exposed to insult and persecution; at other times you stood side by side with those who were so treated. You sympathized with those in prison and joyfully accepted the confiscation of your property, because you knew that you yourselves had better and lasting possessions.

Yet we have to use this Scripture to encourage Christians in a free country who are too lazy to fellowship.

ENCOURAGEMENT

The Hebrew Christians were being tempted to apostatize and give up fellowship because of persecution – and to return to the Old Covenant. But they are given a most severe warning:

Heb 10:26-27 If we deliberately keep on sinning after we have received the knowledge of the truth, no sacrifice for sins is left, but only a fearful expectation of judgment and of raging fire that will consume the enemies of God.

GREATER PENALTY

The sobering reality is that while we have a far greater covenant, it carries with it a greater penalty than the Old Covenant.

Heb 10:28-31 Anyone who rejected the law of Moses died without mercy on the testimony of two or three witnesses. How much more severely do you think a man deserves to be punished who has trampled the Son of God under foot, who has treated as an unholy thing the blood of the covenant that sanctified him, and who has insulted the Spirit of grace? For we know him who said, “It is mine to avenge; I will repay,” and again, “The Lord will judge his people.” It is a dreadful thing to fall into the hands of the living God.

GREATER PENALTY

And so we are encouraged to persevere until the coming of Jesus:

Heb 10:35-39 So do not throw away your confidence; it will be richly rewarded. You need to persevere so that when you have done the will of God, you will receive what he has promised. For in just a very little while, “He who is coming will come and will not delay. But my righteous one will live by faith. And if he shrinks back, I will not be pleased with him.” But we are not of those who shrink back and are destroyed, but of those who believe and are saved.

ENCOURAGEMENT

COPYRIGHT INFORMATION

Unless otherwise stated, Scripture quotations are taken from the NIV:

THE HOLY BIBLE, NEW INTERNATIONAL VERSION®, NIV® Copyright © 1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc.™ Used by permission. All rights reserved worldwide.

Scripture quotations taken from the NASB:

New American Standard Bible®, Copyright © 1960, 1962, 1963, 1968, 1971, 1972, 1973, 1975, 1977, 1995 by The Lockman Foundation Used by permission. ("http:// www.lockman.org/ ">www.Lockman.org)

Scripture taken from The Message ("http:// www.biblegateway.com/ versions/ Message-MSG-Bible/ ">http:// www.biblegateway.com/ versions/ Message-MSG-Bible/ )

Copyright © 1993, 1994, 1995, 1996, 2000, 2001, 2002 Used by permission of NavPress Publishing Group.


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