Hebrews 10:14 “For by a single offering he has perfected for all time those who are being sanctified.“
Imagine with me for a moment the frustration of the old practice of the law.
Everyday people we reminded of their failures. If it wasn’t for the Pharisees coming along and subjecting the people to stringent, fabricated, or exaggerated aspects of God’s laws, it was the constant reminder from seeing the law written everywhere. Kids were taught the importance of upholding the law at the earliest of ages. The law was written on doorposts and repeated in synagogues for centuries, a continuous reminder of how no one measures up to God’s standard of Holiness.
Daily the temple priests would offer up sacrifices at the altar. People would make pilgrimages to Jerusalem for annual feast days and bring their own sacrifice to be given. The smoke was continually rising, the animals being prepared were making their sounds as if they knew their death was imminent.
If mankind hadn’t been so careless in the garden, none of this would have been necessary. The world became subjected to futility at the hands of mankind and now it groans under the weight of sin.
Hebrews 10:1 “For since the law has but a shadow of the good things to come instead of the true form of these realities, it can never, by the same sacrifices that are continually offered every year, make perfect those who draw near.”
Good Things are coming..
The law, was good but it could never satisfy the dilemma of man; namely restoring mankind from the destructive nature of sin.
The futility of trying to live perfectly before the law became a burden that ultimately brought shame. Imagine the hope of a coming Messiah, one who could redeem mankind from the scourge of sin and death, for those who lived under its constant reminder, this hope became a lifeline by which to grasp and hold onto.
Hebrews 10:2 “If it could, would not the offerings have ceased? For the worshipers would have been cleansed once for all, and would no longer have felt the guilt of their sins.”
If the daily sacrifice had made people perfect, then they wouldn’t have had to continue in this pattern of offering. The animals would have been spared and the earth might have began to recover some of the majesty that it once knew.
But the sacrifice was incomplete…
The Promised One
The blood of bulls and goats could not remove sin, therefore the people were left incomplete at the altar. It’s no wonder David longed for the coming Messiah:
Psalm 16:5-11 “O Lord, You are the portion of my inheritance and my cup;
You maintain my lot.
The lines have fallen to me in pleasant places;
Yes, I have a good inheritance.
I will bless the Lord who has given me counsel;
My heart also instructs me in the night seasons.
I have set the Lord always before me;
Because He is at my right hand I shall not be moved.
Therefore my heart is glad, and my glory rejoices;
My flesh also will rest in hope.
For You will not leave my soul in Sheol,
Nor will You allow Your Holy One to see corruption.
You will show me the path of life;
In Your presence is fullness of joy;
At Your right hand are pleasures forevermore.
The inheritance of sin is death. In Christ the inheritance of hope is found in Him.
- He leads in the path to life.
- He keeps us in His hands.
- Our inheritance will be in a land that is good.
- He strengthens us.
- Our hope rests in Him.
- We will not see spiritual death, He conquered death by His life.
- He is Life.
The coming Messiah was longed for by the jewish people and the feasts they celebrated mirrored that which was to come.
Yom Kippur required action from both the high priest and the people—the high priest was to make atonement through sacrifice, and the people for their part were to practice self-denial and refrain from work. Thus, all Israelites had to do their part during this collective Day of Atonement.
By God’s commandment, the high priest followed a specific protocol on Yom Kippur. He bathed and dressed in white linen raiments, an act of purification, before entering the Holy of Holies. There the high priest made two sin offerings: a bull for his house and a goat for the people. The priest would lay the sins of the people on the head of a second goat, which had been chosen by lot as the “scapegoat”. After the high priest spoke the sins and iniquities of the people and put them on its head, the scapegoat would be removed into the wilderness.
Hebrews 10:5-7 Consequently, when Christ came into the world, he said,
“Sacrifices and offerings you have not desired,
but a body have you prepared for me;
in burnt offerings and sin offerings
you have taken no pleasure.
Then I said, ‘Behold, I have come to do your will, O God,
as it is written of me in the scroll of the book.’”
The Sacrifice and the Scapegoat
Jesus became not only our perfect sacrifice, He was our scapegoat who took away our sin and remembered them no more.
Isaiah 53:5 “Surely He took on our infirmities and carried our sorrows; yet we considered Him stricken by God, struck down and afflicted.”
The sacrifice and the scapegoat are symbolic representations of what Christ has done for us.
- The one goat providing a sacrifice for sin
- The scapegoat representing the putting away of sin.
When Jesus was brought before Pontius Pilate and presented to the people, He was forced to face His accusers and yet did not utter a word. Broken and beaten, He carried the full weight of our sin and ended once and for all the need for the daily sacrifice.
Hebrews 10:8-10 “When he said above, “You have neither desired nor taken pleasure in sacrifices and offerings and burnt offerings and sin offerings” (these are offered according to the law), then he added, “Behold, I have come to do your will.” He does away with the first in order to establish the second. And by that will we have been sanctified through the offering of the body of Jesus Christ once for all.”
The pleasure God once took in His Creation was brought back in Christ. The sacrifices were a necessity for mankind until the perfect sacrifice could be made.
When the sacrificial goat and scapegoats were presented before the people, a scarlet-red cloth was tied around the throat of the goat designated for the Lord, and a scarlet-red cloth was tied to one of the horns of the goat designated as scapegoat.
Meanwhile, the scapegoat is turned around to face the people. After the one goat has been slain, the high priest returns to the other goat, facing the people he solemnly lays both hands on the head of this scapegoat, as we read in Leviticus 16:21: “and confess(es) over him all the iniquities of the children of Israel, and all their transgressions in all their sins, putting them upon the head of the goat.” All the iniquities of the people are laid upon this scapegoat.
Jesus’ single offering fulfilled everything.
You have a choice today, whether to accept Christ’s freewill offering by offering Him your own, or continuing on under the guilt of sin and shame.
If you give Him your life, you gain a newness of life you never thought possible.
You’ve heard the call, it’s up to you to respond.