Lesson #4


The"Better" Sacrifice

Text: Hebrews 10:1-31

     The tenth chapter of Hebrews emphasizes the perfect sacrifice of
Jesus Christ, in contrast with the imperfect sacrifices that were offered
under the Old Covenant.  Our Lord's superior priesthood belongs to
a better order--Melchizedek's and not Aaron's.  It functions on the
basis of a better covenant-- the New Covenant-- and in a better
sanctuary, in heaven.  But all of this depends on the better sacrifice.

              1.  Christ's Sacrifice Takes Away Sin  (10:1-10)

     Sin is man's greatest problem.  Religion is of no value if it cannot
deal with sin.

     1)   The need for a better sacrifice 10:1-4.  Why were the Old
Covenant sacrifices inferior?  After all, they were ordained by the
Lord.  For ages many sincere people brought their offerings to God
and were blessed.  But their sacrifices were "a shadow of good things
to come" and not the reality itself.

          The sacrificial system was a type or picture of the work our
Lord would accomplish on the cross.  This meant that they system
was temporary, and could accomplish nothing permanent.  The very
repetition of the sacrifices day after day, and the Day of Atonement
year after year, pointed out the entire system's weakness.

          If the worshippers under the Old Covenant had been "once
purged" they would never again have had to offer another sacrifice. 
So the annual Day of Atonement did not accomplish "remission of
sins" but only "reminder of sin."  The annual repetition of the
ceremony was evidence that the previous year's sacrifices had not
done the job.

          True, the nation's sins were covered; but they were not
cleansed.  There was a desperate need for a better sacrifice because
the blood of bulls and goats could not take away sins.

     2)   The provision of the better sacrifice (10:5-9).  It was God who
provided the "better" sacrifice and not man.  The word sacrifice refers
to any of the animal sacrifices and offering covers the meal and the
drink offerings.  Each of these typified the sacrifice of Christ and
revealed some aspect of His work on the cross (see Leviticus 1-7).

          Twice the writer stated that God "had no pleasure" in the Old
Covenant sacrifices (vs. 6, 8).  This didn't mean that the old sacrifices
were wrong, or that the worshippers received no benefit from obeying
God's Law.  It only means that God didn't delight in such sacrifices
apart from the obedient hearts of the worshippers.  No amount of
sacrifices could substitute for obedience (1 Samuel 15:22; Psalms

          Jesus came to establish the Father's will.  This will is the New
Covenant that has replaced the Old Covenant.  Through his death and
resurrection, Jesus Christ has taken away the first covenant and
established the second (vs. 9-10).  The original readers of Hebrews
would get the message, Why go back to sacrifices that are inferior?

    2.  Christ's Sacrifices Need Not Be Repeated 10:11-18.

     Again the writer contrasts the old covenant high priest with Jesus
Christ, our great High Priest.  The fact that Jesus sat down after He
ascended to the Father is proof that His word was completed (1:3, 13;
8:1).  The ministry of the priests in the tabernacle and temple was
never done and never different:  they offered the same sacrifices day
after day.  This constant repetition was proof that their sacrifices did
not take away sins.  What tens of thousand of animal sacrifices could
not accomplish, Jesus accomplished with one sacrifice forever!

     The phrase "sat down" refers us again to Psalm 110:1 "Sit Thou
at My right hand, until I make Thine enemies They footstool."  After
his resurrection Jesus ascended to the right hand of God and sits in the
place of exaltation and victory. (See also 1 Corinthians 15:24,25).

     The Old Covenant worshipper could not say that he had "no more
consciousness of sins" (10:2).  But the New Covenant worshipper can
say that his sins and iniquities are remember no more (v.17).

      3.  Christ's Sacrifice Opens the Way to God 10:19-39

     No Old Covenant worshipper would have been bold enough to try
to enter the holy of holies in the tabernacle.  Even the high priest
entered the holy of holies only one day a year.  The veil that separated
the holy place from the holy of holies was a barrier between people
and God.  Only the death of Christ could tear that veil away (Mark
15:38) and open the way into the heavenly sanctuary where God

     "Let us draw near ... Let us hold fast ... Let us consider one
another ..."  (10:22, 23, 24-25).  There is a bold three-fold invitation
given to those with "boldness to enter into the holiest by the blood of
Jesus."  This boldness rests on the finished work of Christ.  He opened
into God's presence a "new and living way" (v.20) ["recent, fresh"]. 
It is "living" because Christ "ever liveth to make intercession" for us

     1)   "Let us draw near ..." (v.22).
          As the priests did under the Old Covenant, so much we
prepare ourselves spiritually to enter into this fellowship with God. 
The Old Testament priest went through the application of the blood
on the Day of Atonement and washed his body in the laver before the
Sanctuary before entering.  Some see in this a figure of baptism,
wherein the blood of Christ cleanses us from sin as we enter into the
kingdom of God (the holy place) on our way to heaven (the holy of

     2)   "Let us hold fast ..." (v.23).
          The readers of the epistle were being tempted to forsake their
confession of Jesus Christ by going back to the Old Covenant

     3)   "Let us consider one another ..."  (v.24-25).
          As we fellowship with God in the New Covenant we also
fellowship with others in the local assembly.  It seems that some of the
wavering disciples had been absenting themselves from the fellowship
of the assembly.  It is interesting to note that the emphasis here is not
on what a Christians gets from the assembly, but rather on what he
can contribute to the assembly.

          Faithfulness to the assembly of the church encourages others
and provokes them to love and good works.

     The three great Christian virtues are evidenced here:  faith (v.22); 
hope  (v.23); and love (v.24).


     The major theme of Hebrews is "God has spoken ..."  And our
response should be, "How an I responding to His Word?"  When the
nation of Israel refused to believe and obey His Word, God chastened
them.  The writer uses this fact (ch. 10) to warn us against sin and
refusing to hear God.


1.   What is the great contrast made in the book of Hebrews?

2.   Why were the Old Covenant sacrifices inferior?

3.   Why is the sacrifice of the New Covenant "better"?

4.   Why did Jesus come according to Hebrews 10:9-10?

5.   Why does the sacrifice of Christ not need to be repeated?

6.   Why three-fold invitation is given in chapter 10?

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