Hebrews – Lesson 8

Posted on: February 20, 2017 Written by
Hebrews – Lesson 8
Photography by: Mateusz Skalski from iStock          

WEEKLY WORD

 

 

INTRODUCTION

Often when we want to say that something can’t be easily changed we say it is “etched in stone.”  That phrase had a literal meaning for the Jewish people.  When Moses came down from the mountain, he was carrying stone tablets written by the finger of God.  Their covenant with God was the reason for their very existence as a nation.  To say there is no more need for sacrifices or that there is now a new covenant would be earthshaking news.

In addition, we are such creatures of habit that it is not easy to change our ways.  The Jews should have welcomed the end of animal sacrifices.  The whole process was costly, tedious, bloody and temporary.  But it was their life, and changing it required major convincing.  The writer of Hebrews now deals with this issue.  There is a new covenant with new realities and new practices brought in by their new high priest.

 

REVIEW

The author has established the qualifications for the high priesthood of Jesus.  God’s oath has guaranteed that He will be High Priest forever.  Now we are directed to keep our eyes on the main point.  Jesus has proved his superiority beyond a doubt by the fact that he is seated at the right hand of God (8:1) and now serves in the sanctuary set up by God.  This is a real person on a real throne in a real place.  (Jesus was seen by Stephen as he was being killed as the first Christian martyr — Acts 7:56)  So now we must look up and learn about the “new normal.”

 

 

DAY ONE:  OLD COVENANT IS REPLACED BY HEAVENLY REALITY. 

READ:  Hebrews 8

A. JESUS INITIATED A MORE PERFECT COVENANT.

Not everything in their lives was completely newThere are some similarities.  

  • The priests had a definite function — directed by God in the law. They spent their days offering up sacrifices for themselves, the nation and the people.
  • They served in an earthly tabernacle – designed by God in the Law of Moses.

 

Likewise:

  • Jesus is a priest. He must have a sacrifice to offer up for the nation and the people, a more perfect sacrifice.  (This will be discussed in Chapters Nine & Ten).
  • Jesus cannot serve in an earthly tabernacle (only descendants of Aaron could serve there), so He must serve in a heavenly tabernacle. (Also discussed in Chapter )

 

So there will continue to be a priesthood and a tabernacle and a sacrifice.

But the New Covenant offers a better priesthood, a better sacrifice, a better sanctuary, and better promises.  God prepared the people for this moment in time.  In Jeremiah 31:31-34, it was clearly revealed in prophecy that God would make a new covenant with Israel.

 

B. THE OLD COVENANT WAS DESIGNED TO BE TEMPORARY.

This reminds us of road construction that we often witness on America’s highways.  While the real road is being constructed, the engineers prepare a temporary route to serve the traffic needs until the better road is completed.  Although moving more slowly, the temporary road serves a good purpose, but it is obvious that something better is coming.  The signs tell us that this is only a temporary detour.  Likewise, Jeremiah presented a prophecy sign telling the nation that something new was coming and it would be more wonderful than the old.

 

The Old Covenant with God was good, but it served a limited purpose.

  • It provided only temporary forgiveness.
  • It couldn’t bring permanent change in the heart.
  • It dealt with outward behavior.
  • It didn’t freely open the way to fellowship with God.

 

The New Covenant with God provides a better hope.

  • Permanent forgiveness
  • A heart change
  • The indwelling Holy Spirit to change us from the inside.
  • Access to a loving, forgiving God

 

The New Covenant rendered the Old Covenant obsolete and it will soon disappear. (verse13).

 

SUMMARY

Just as the temporary road is closed when the new super highway is brought in, the old temporary system is ready to close.  The destruction of the temple is scheduled for A.D. 70!  The name of the new highway is GRACE.  It is God’s gift to man to redeem him from Adam’s curse!

 

C.   QUESTIONS FOR STUDY AND DISCUSSION

  1. From Jeremiah’s prophecy, with whom is the New Covenant made?
  1. List two of the advantages of the New Covenant from Hebrews 8:10-12.
  1. According to Hebrews 8, who set up the heavenly tabernacle?
  1. How did Moses get the pattern? (Exodus 25:1, 8-9, 40)

 

D.   APPLICATION

  1. How do we become a part of the New Covenant? (Hebrews 4:3; John 1:11-13)
  1. What are the advantages that you personally enjoy in the New Covenant?

 

 

DAY TWO:   EARTHLY SANCTUARY REPLACED BY HEAVENLY SANCTUARY.

READ:  Hebrews 9:1-14

A. CHRIST ENTERED THE HEAVENLY SANCTUARY.

The writer of Hebrews remembers the beauty of the tabernacle.  It was small but exquisite with all of its gold appointments and grand design.  It was not only grand in its design and its materials but also in its symbolism.  There was no other tabernacle like it in the world for its beauty in design and its beauty in worship.

However, in verse 7 we come to the word “BUT.”  Something is missing!  The way to God is not yet opened.  This system had its limitations.  Only the high priest could enter the Most Holy Place and even then only once a year on the Day of Atonement – carrying blood as a sin offering for himself and the nation.  This had to be repeated perpetually.  A better road to God is needed.

 

B. NEW WAY TO GOD IS OPENED.

Enter Jesus Christ.  Jesus lived a sinless life and died for the sins of man to provide a permanent atonement for sin.  His human death (blood) provided the permanent sacrifice that provided eternal redemption.  After Jesus rose from the dead, He entered the heavenly sanctuary to present his own blood as an offering before Holy God.  Human sin requires human death.

This human sacrifice took away the sins.  The animal sacrifices only covered the sins and provided a temporary outward cleansing.  The removal of sin purified our consciences by taking away the sin.

Now God can send the Holy Spirit to indwell and change our hearts.  A new day has dawned.  The new road is open!!

 

C.   QUESTIONS FOR STUDY AND DISCUSSION

  1. What items were housed in the Ark of the Covenant? (Hebrews 9:4)
  1. The High Priest could only enter the Most Holy Place once a year. What did he bring into this throne room of God?
  1. What did this presentation to God symbolize?
  1. What did this limited access symbolize? (Give verse)

 

D.   APPLICATION

  1. How was Jesus’ offering different?
  1. How do you personally take advantage of this new access to God?

 

 

DAY THREE:   NEW COVENANT BECOMES LEGAL.

 READ:  Hebrews 9:15-27

A. CHRIST RATIFIED A NEW COVENANT WITH HUMAN BLOOD.

At the moment Jesus died, the heavy veil in the tabernacle was split from top to bottom.  This was a dramatic statement.  It must have been quite a shock to the priests serving in the adjacent room at that moment!  Had they known what it meant, there would have been great rejoicing.

What has happened?

  • Jesus’ death satisfied God’s requirement and his legal edict. Human sin brings human death and eternal separation from God.
  • Now the price has been paid. When Jesus presented His own blood before the altar in the heavenly sanctuary it signified that a death had occurred.
  • Jesus’ death paved the way for the ratification of a new will or covenant. For a will to be put into effect, it requires the death of the one who made it.

 

Since men can only die once, Jesus’ death was a one-time event – effective for all   believers.  I don’t have to die for my sins; Jesus died for me.  Since He had no sin, He didn’t have to die for himself.

If the old covenant was to be replaced by a new and better covenant, it had to be done legally.  After all, their original covenant was done in a legal manner and agreed upon by the nation.  It was ratified by blood.

  • At the last supper Jesus announced that he was about to die. He poured the wine and said, “This is my blood of the new covenant which is shed for many for the remission of sins.” (Matthew 26:28)  Then He went out to die.
  • He left a will to replace the old covenant. It could not take effect until His death had occurred.   Both covenants could not be in effect – only the one designated by the testator.

 

B. A NEW DATING SYSTEM WAS BEGUN.

This is the defining moment in history.  Even our dating system reflects this momentous change – B.C. and A.D. suggest that every thing on earth revolved around the coming of Jesus to become the savior of the world.  The new covenant of grace is a perfect, permanent reality – that brings true forgiveness and a new heart.

 

C.   QUESTIONS FOR STUDY AND DISCUSSION

  1. What did the blood of Jesus do for us? (I Peter 1:18-19)
  1. Read the following passages and find phrases about being cleansed:
  • I Corinthians 6:9-11
  • Ephesians 5:25-27
  • Titus 3:5

 

D. APPLICATION

  1. The author speaks of physical death of all men in Hebrews 9: 27. What does this verse tells us about death?
  1. What does the believer face at that moment?

 

 

DAY FOUR: OLD SACRIFICES REPLACED BY PERMANENT SACRIFICE.

 READ:  Hebrews 10:1-14

A. JESUS RESTED AFTER HIS PERMANENT SACRIFICE.

The Old Testament sacrifices didn’t remove the sins of the people.  They were only temporarily covered.  Everyone who had lived and died before Christ was awaiting the real sacrifice.  When Jesus said, “It is finished,” thousands were redeemed and could join in the rejoicing in heaven.

Psalm 40:6-8 shows how God anticipated Jesus coming into the world to offer His body as an atonement for sin.  The animal sacrifices were never enough to satisfy God’s requirement for sin and death.

When Christ had finished His salvation work He sat down at the right hand of God.  This showed that there was now nothing more to be done.  It took only one human sacrifice by the Messiah to perfect for all time those who are being made holy.

 

B. JESUS’ SACRIFICE BRINGS SUPERIOR REALITY.

We have our new reality:

  • Jesus is our king and priest. He has all power.
  • He has opened the way to God.
  • He lives to serve us as mediator forever. We pray to God through Him.
  • He serves from the heavenly tabernacle in the very presence of God.
  • He ratified a New Covenant of Grace.

 

C.   QUESTIONS FOR STUDY AND DISCUSSION

  1. Which of the items in our new reality is most impressive to you?
  1. What other benefits of Christ’s triumph are given in Romans 5:17-21?
  1. What is Jesus waiting for that is mentioned in Hebrews 10:13 and also in Psalm 110:1?

 

D.   APPLICATION

  1. What does Jesus interceding to God on your behalf mean to you personally?
  1. How have you experienced God’s grace this week?

 

 

DAY FIVE:   NEW COVENANT PROVIDES PERMANENT CHANGED HEART.

READ:  Hebrews 10:15-18

A. CHRIST REMOVED OUR HEARTS OF STONE.

Finally the author proves his point again by quoting from the Old Testament prophet Jeremiah.  He speaks of a new covenant that will change everything.  God can begin a work in man that will prepare man for the coming kingdom.  In effect man can now have a “heart transplant.”  The old heart of stone now can become a heart softened to respond favorably to the word of God.  The word of God sinks into our hearts and transforms our minds.  As our minds are transformed, our behavior changes and we are increasingly made into the image of Christ.

 

B. CHRIST REMOVED OUR SINS FOREVER.

Again the author uses a quote from Jeremiah to reveal why this is made possible.  It took only one sacrifice by the Messiah to remove our sins forever.  We are forever righteous in the eyes of God.  There is no need for further sacrifices.

 

C. QUESTIONS FOR STUDY AND DISCUSSION

  1. Why do you think no further sacrifices are needed?
  1. How do we handle our daily sins? (I John 1:9)

 

D.   APPLICATION

  1. How much progress have you made on the “new road” to holiness?

 

 

CONCLUSION

This summary of the work of Jesus Christ is almost too grand to comprehend.  The whole earth and heaven waited for Christ’s incarnation so that He could live a perfect life and die for the sins of man.  The prophets spoke of it, the shadows pictured it, and the angels longed to look into it.  Do we take it for granted?  It is the most amazing story in all of history.  That is why it is often called the “GREATEST STORY EVER TOLD.”  It is etched in stoneThe road is open.

 

PRINCIPLE FOR THE WEEK:

The best that God has to offer is freely available to those who want it. (John 3:16-17)

 

CHALLENGE:

Use your High Priest.  Daily bring your sins before Him.  (Have a period of confession each day.)  He keeps the blessings flowing and the fellowship vital.  Travel the road to peace and joy.  God’s new super highway is filled with abundant life.

 

 

©2017 Thrive.



About the author

LaWanda Neel is a lifelong Bible student. She has served as a Teaching Leader for Bible Study Fellowship and has conducted studies for neighborhood and church groups. She is now retired and lives with her husband in Lakewood, Colorado. She spends time reading, studying, teaching, writing, traveling all around the world and entertaining her five grandchildren. This is her third Weekly Word series for Thrive Ministries. Contact her for questions or comments at [email protected]

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