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Hebrews series Part 11
Better Blood By Pastor Jeff Wickwire
We closed out chapter 9 last time with the writer’s somber warning that it is destined for us all to die only once, and then we face our Maker. You will either face Him with your sins washed away by the blood of His Son, or you will face Him to answer for your sins at the judgment.
Now, before we jump into chapter 10, let’s do a little recap of what we’ve covered so far in this amazing book:
The Book of Hebrews is written to Jewish people who had been raised in the OT Mosaic system. This meant that they were totally acclimated to the OT Levitical Priesthood that sprang from Aaron when he was anointed the first High Priest at the inauguration of the Tabernacle under Moses.
Every High Priest after him for 1,200 years had gone once a year into the Holy of Holies to offer a sacrifice on the behalf of his own sins and the sins of the people. It was called the Day of Atonement.
Then we’re told the other priests “always went,” meaning every day; into the Tabernacle—the holy place; to do the service of God.
The “service of God” included burning the incense at the morning and evening sacrifice, dressing the lamps and supplying them with oil, changing the show-bread every sabbath morning, and so on.
This is what the Jews the writer is addressing had been raised in for 1,200 years!
Also, they viewed God fearfully. He was more a distant deity that only the High Priest could approach. The thought of having a personal relationship with Him was totally foreign to them. Later on in chapter 12, the writer describes the way God was viewed by the Hebrews:
Heb. 12:18-21 “You have not had to stand face to face with terror, flaming fire, gloom, darkness, and a terrible storm as the Israelites did at Mount Sinai when God gave them his laws. 19 For there was an awesome trumpet blast and a voice with a message so terrible that the people begged God to stop speaking. 20 They staggered back under God’s command that if even an animal touched the mountain it must die. 21 Moses himself was so frightened at the sight that he shook with terrible fear.”
This description of God hardly invited personal relationship!
So in his long letter to them, the writer of Hebrews is contrasting the OT God and system to the New Covenant that God cut for us through the shed blood of His Son, which is BETTER in every way.
In chapter 1 Jesus is better than the angels. In chapter 2 Jesus offers a better salvation. In chapter 3 Jesus is better than Moses.
In chapter 4 Jesus offers a better rest.
In chapter 5 Jesus is a better High Priest.
In chapter 6 Jesus offers a better promise and better hope. In chapter 7 Jesus is better than Melchizedek.
In chapter 8 Jesus authored a better covenant.
In chapter 9 Jesus is a better Mediator.
And today, chapter 10 informs us that Jesus offered a better sacrifice and better blood!
We’ve also seen that all the OT feasts and sacrifices and rituals, the ark, the manna, the festivals—all these things were types and shadows that pointed to the coming of Jesus.
You can think of the OT as a hall of mirrors reflecting Jesus, pointing to His coming and His death on the Cross where the pure, spotless, superior blood of the ultimate Lamb of God would be shed for our sins.
So the continual theme of Hebrews is to say to the Jewish people that were considering Jesus as Savior, or having already done so, “Don’t return to the shadows. You have the real thing. His name is Jesus!”
In fact, that’s how 10:1 begins, so let’s read it:
10:1- “The old system of Jewish laws gave only a dim foretaste of the good things Christ would do for us. The sacrifices under the old system were repeated again and again, year after year, but even so they could never save those who lived under their rules. 2 If they could have, one offering would have been enough; the worshipers would have been cleansed once for all and their feeling of guilt would be gone. 3 But just the opposite happened: those yearly sacrifices reminded them of their disobedience and guilt instead of relieving their minds. 4 For it is not possible for the blood of bulls and goats really to take away sins.”
So again, we see that the OT sacrificial system was insufficient in truly cleansing away the sins of the people. Every time yet another lamb was slain for their sins on yet another Day of Atonement, rather than feeling relieved, they were reminded of their ongoing sinfulness, and their guilt was not fully taken away.
So next the writer tells us that Christ’s death on the Cross was God’s final solution for sin, and that His death fulfilled God’s will. Notice how he quotes Ps. 40:6-8 as being prophetic of Jesus:
10:5-7 “Therefore, when He (Jesus) 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
the volume of the book it is written of Me—To do Your will, O God. ’
So even though David wrote these words, he was actually uttering Messianic prophecy that the writer applies to Jesus.
It tells us Jesus knew that OT sacrifices and offerings were not what God desired to fully deal with sin. He required the body of His only Son.
Look at verses 8-10:
10:8-10 “After Christ said this about not being satisfied with the various sacrifices and offerings required under the old system, 9 he then added, “Here I am. I have come to give my life.”
You had no pleasure. 7 Then I said, ‘
Behold, I have come—In
In reading this in preparation for this teaching, I was struck deeply by what Jesus did. Knowing the unimaginable suffering He would experience on the Cross, He still said, “Here I am. I have come to give my life.”
To quote Hebrews again, “how shall we escape if we ignore so great a salvation?” (2:3)
It goes on to say in verse 9:
“He cancels the first system in favor of a far better one.
10 Under this new plan we have been forgiven and made clean
So along with all the other “betters” of Hebrews, here is another one—Christ offered a better sacrifice, one that truly cleanses us of our sin!
The writer continues in vs. 11 with once again comparing the superiority of Jesus to the OT priests:
10:11-14 “And every (OT) 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.
s dying for us once and for all.”
14 For by one offering He has perfected forever those who are being sanctified.”
Thank God, Jesus’ death on the Cross doesn’t ever have to be repeated. It was a perfect, “once for all” sacrifice for our sins! And we have been “perfected forever,” not just until the next animal sacrifice is made.
Next, the writer quotes Jeremiah and calls his writings the “witness of the Holy Spirit.”
10:15-17 “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.”
This prediction of Jeremiah was fulfilled in Jesus Christ, who brought us the New Covenant written in the ink of His own blood.
It contains the glorious promise, not only of our sins being washed away, but of our receiving a BRAND NEW NATURE where His law would be written on the tablets of our heart, not tablets of stone as it was under Moses.
Then look at verse 18:
10:18 “Now where there is remission of these (our sins), there
is no longer an offering for sin.”
In other words, if the pardon is complete under Jesus (and it is), there is no longer a need for the Levitical sacrifices. This is what we might call the grand finale of the writer’s argument: The OT system of sacrifices is NO LONGER NEEDED!
The writer next shows us how to respond to this incredible news:
10:19-22 “Therefore, brethren, having boldness to enter the Holiest by the blood of Jesus, 20 by a new and living way which He consecrated for us, through the veil, that is, His flesh,
21 and having a High Priest over the house of God, 22 let us draw near with a true heart in full assurance of faith, having our hearts sprinkled from an evil conscience and our bodies washed with pure water.”
Now we can do what those under the Old Covenant could not imagine—confidently and boldly draw near to God with hearts sprinkled with the blood of Jesus that has cleansed our guilty conscience.
Earlier in chapter 4, he’s already told us that the blood of Jesus has made possible a “bold entrance” on our part into God’s presence:
Hebrews 4:16 “Let us therefore come boldly to the throne of grace, that we may obtain mercy and find grace to help in time of need.”
And so in verse 19 he reiterates this amazing liberty: “Therefore, brethren, having boldness to enter the Holiest by the blood of Jesus...”
Because of Jesus’ totally efficacious shed blood, we need fear NOTHING in God’s presence regarding our sin—it is washed away!
In verse 22 he adds, “And our bodies washed with pure water,” which points to water baptism symbolizing our brand new life!
Then the writer repeats an exhortation very familiar to Hebrews:
10:23 “Let us hold fast the confession of our hope without wavering, for He who promised is faithful.”
In 3:6 he’s already said “hold firmly;” in 3:14 “hold your conviction firmly;” in 4:14 “hold firmly to the faith.” And now in 10:23 he exhorts us to “Hold fast our confession.”
So...we’re exhorted to hold our conviction, hold our faith, and hold our confession.
In other words, we’re called to keep a tight grip on Jesus and everything His shed blood has accomplished for us!
Well, that’s it for now.
Next time we’re going to finish chapter 10 where the writer will turn our focus on caring for one another.
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