Study Notes

Hebrews 10:1-18


We have spent some weeks now on the book of Hebrews' main point, which is this: Everything about Jesus is superior to everything about the Old Testament system of Law and religion. Whether you're talking about angels, Moses, Joshua, the covenant, the sacrifices, the temple, or the priesthood, Jesus wins in every category.

The most recent subjects that the author focused on was the temple and the high priest's entrance into it. The Holy of Holies in the earthly temple could only be entered into once a year, after the high priest went through several sacrifices for his sin. But Jesus entered the heavenly Holy of Holies - the throne room of God.

The difference, as you may recall, is that the temple on earth was just a model of the throne room of heaven. It has been called,

Hebr. 8:5 ...a copy and shadow of the heavenly things...

Hebr. 9:23 ...copies of the things in the heavens...

Hebr. 9:24 ...a mere copy of the true one...

Now the author is about to show us something else that was just a model, just a copy.

10:1-2 A Shadow Can Never Make Us Perfect

The temple was just a shadow of the real thing. And now the author tells us that the Law itself - that book of religious rules given from God to Moses for the people - was a shadow as well. It had no real form, because it couldn't really do anything.

The author makes an irrefutable point in this: if the Law could make you perfect, if the sacrifices were able to cleanse you from sin, then they wouldn't need to keep being offered, would they? You would have been cleansed from sin, made perfect, and never have to do it again!

But the sacrifices don't take away sin - they don't have the ability to. You may recall that when King David was bringing the ark of the covenant from Keer-YATH Yeh-aw-REEM to Jerusalem, the convoy of people would take six steps, and then make a sacrifice. Six more steps, and another sacrifice. By the time they'd gotten to Jerusalem, were any of them perfect? Not a chance. It was after this event - five chapters later - that David lusted after Bathsheba, his neighbor's wife, and committed adultery with her.

Well, once David had sinned in this way, why not just offer another sacrifice? Won't that make it all go away? No. David realized that simply killing an animal would not affect the fact that he had sinned. He prayed to the Lord, saying,

Ps. 51:16-17 For Thou dost not delight in sacrifice, otherwise I would give it; Thou art not pleased with burnt offering. The sacrifices of God are a broken spirit; A broken and a contrite heart, O God, Thou wilt not despise.

All those thousands of animals sacrificed, and yet David hadn't been made sinless.

10:3-4 A Reminder Of Sins

This was the point of the Law - to remind the people that they were sinners. There was nothing spiritual or supernatural about the blood of these animals. The bloody, gory, disgusting mess of these sacrifices was supposed to be reminding them of their sinfulness.

Of course, the Jews got to the point where they got used to the gore. Instead of being brokenhearted over their sin and the constant death, they became jaded.

The Lord spoke to them through Isaiah, saying,

Isa. 1:11-13 "What are your multiplied sacrifices to Me?" Says the LORD. I have had enough of burnt offerings of rams, and the fat of fed cattle. And I take no pleasure in the blood of bulls, lambs, or goats. When you come to appear before Me, Who requires of you this trampling of My courts? Bring your worthless offerings no longer..."

And Malachi wrote,

Mal. 1:10 "Oh that there were one among you who would shut the gates, that you might not uselessly kindle {fire on} My altar! I am not pleased with you," says the LORD of hosts, "nor will I accept an offering from you."

The sacrifices came to mean nothing to them. God said, "Since you no longer care what your sin is causing, since you're no longer disgusted by the sacrifices you have cause, I'd just as soon you shut the temple gates - just close the place down."

Even as a reminder, the Law and sacrifices fell short - because the people fell short.

10:5-9 When He Comes Into The World

This was when Jesus was sent into the world - when the Law had proven to be utterly useless in perfecting the people. This was the perfect time for the Lamb of God to come and take away the sin of the world. A new sacrifice, a new covenant, a new relationship with God.

Sacrifices And Offerings

The author quotes from Psalm 40, which mentions these sacrifices and offerings by name - those that were given in the first seven chapters of Leviticus. Now, if you were with us during our study of the book of Leviticus, you are familiar with the sacrifices and offerings. Those five offerings were:

1) The Burnt Offering, which covered the worshipper's sinfulness and made him acceptable before God;

2) The Grain Offering, which acknowledged God as the Ultimate Provider and offered the worshipper's service to God;

3) The Peace Offering, for fellowship with God;

4) The Sin Offering, to make atonement for sin; and

5) The Guilt Offering, which was to make restitution for sin that was committed because of unfaithfulness, deception, robbery, lying, extortion, etc.

Jesus said prophetically in Psalm 40 that He came to do God's will, to accomplish what had been written in foreshadowing. In the gospels, He said,

John 5:39 "You search the Scriptures, because you think that in them you have eternal life; and it is these that bear witness of Me;

Matt. 5:17 "Do not think that I came to abolish the Law or the Prophets; I did not come to abolish, but to fulfill.

The whole Bible, the Law and the Prophets, pointed to Him, spoke of Him, prophesied about Him, painted a picture of Him. As we study the sacrifices and offerings, we see that they were pointing forward to Him.

Pictures Of Christ

Here's just one short example: Leviticus chapter one tells us about the burnt offering. Every detail given was a foreshadowing of the person and work of Jesus Christ. We'll look at just a few of them:

When the sacrifice was made by someone, he was to...

Lev. 1:10 ...offer it a male without defect.

Jesus perfectly personified this because He was a man completely without defect of sin. He...


Another requirement of this sacrifice was that it was to be slain...

Lev. 1:11 ...on the side of the altar northward before the LORD...

This Lamb was to be slain a certain place: north of the altar. This interests me greatly, because when Jesus was crucified, it was on a hill called Calvary, which is north of Jerusalem.

Lastly, if the offering made was a bird, then there was an additional requirement:

Lev. 1:15 ‘And the priest shall bring it to the altar and wring off its head

At first you may think, "Jesus didn't have His head removed. How exactly does this tie in?" But remember, at the sacrifice of Christ, the head was physically removed, separated from the body. Jesus is called several times,

Col. 1:18 He is also head of the body, the church...

At the death of Christ, there was a separation between Jesus the head, and the church, which is the body of Christ.

This was graphically pictured on the morning that He arose from the dead. Remember, John tells us that he and Peter entered the tomb that Sunday morning...

John 20:6-7 ...and he beheld the linen wrappings lying there, and the face-cloth, which had been on His head, not lying with the linen wrappings, but rolled up in a place by itself.

This was another picture that showed us the same thing: telling us that the body of Christ was now separated from the head.

Of course we don't have time this morning to discuss all five of these offerings and how Christ fulfilled every detail that they foreshadowed. I highly recommend that you pick up the first four tapes of our study in Leviticus to learn about these amazing and prophetic chapters. If you have not done this study before, you will truly be blessed.

10:10-13 Sat Down

Jesus came to do the Father's will - to accomplish a perfect sacrifice, to bring us into a one-on-one relationship with God. He accomplished this with one try, once for all. The Levitical priests' job never ended, and they never sat down. But Jesus offered Himself, and sat down at the right hand of the Father in heaven.

10:14-17 Perfected For All Time

Those animal sacrifices never made anyone perfect - but the crucifixion of Jesus did. "How?" you might ask. As 1Corinthians 6:11 says,

1Cor. 6:11 ...but you were washed, but you were sanctified, but you were justified in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ, and in the Spirit of our God.

Jesus' payment for your sin justified you - it's "just as if I'd" never sinned. He sanctified you - setting you apart for God's exclusive use. And as a result, we are continually being washed clean as we confess our sin and He cleanses us from the unrighteousness of it. We have truly been perfected for all time - God has forgotten our sins, and we walk after Him. Not because the Law is written in stone, but because God's righteousness has been written on our hearts and minds.

10:18 No Longer Any Offering For Sin

The author is saying, "Come on guys - Since Jesus has paid the price, why do you want to go back and kill more animals? Why do you want to practice religion when you have a relationship with God?" As we continue this chapter next week, we will see him encourage them to walk in that relationship - to enter into the real tabernacle with God.

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