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Rays of Light Bible Lessons by Keith Holder

THE GREATEST SACRIFICE OF ALL

Hebrews 10:9-10 Then said He, Lo, I come to do Thy will, O God. He taketh away the first, that He may establish the second. By the which will we are sanctified through the offering of the body of Jesus Christ once for all.

God's law, given to the children of Israel through His servant Moses on Mount Sinai, is described as a shadow of good things to come, and not of the very image of the things (Heb. 10:1). This was the purpose of the Old Testament. It was to foreshadow the good things to come that would be available to all mankind through the Messiah. The Old Testament was the blueprint, the sketch, and the rough draft, while the New Testament contained the completed building plan, the finished picture, and the final essay to be written. God, through His Son Jesus Christ, taketh away the first, that He may establish the second. The purpose of God calling the nation of Israel was to establish the linage of the Messiah through the seed of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob (See Gen. 22:18; 26:4; 28:14). This being accomplished in Jesus Christ, the promises made in the Old Covenant were fulfilled giving way to the gospel of Christ - the New Covenant.

The Old Testament law was imperfect in that the animal sacrifices required for the atonement of sins were offered year by year continually (Vs. 1b). From this fact we know that the forgiveness of sins by animal sacrifices, even though in compliance to Old Testament law, was not permanent. Had they been "perfect" sacrifices, there would have been no need to continue them each year for every Jewish person, because once purged (they) should have had no more conscience of sins (Vs. 2). The writer then told the Hebrew Christians, as well as us today, that ...in those sacrifices there is a remembrance again made of sins every year (Vs. 3). Although there were other sacrifices made more frequently, the yearly sacrifice referred to here is on the Day of Atonement. The sinner will probably always remember the guilt of each sin. However, it is the sin itself for which one needs atonement. These animal sacrifices, required by Old Testament law, could not clear their conscience of God's just punishment for committing them. There was no permanency in animal sacrifices. Sins needed to be atoned for each year. Here we are told why. For it is not possible that the blood of bulls and of goats should take away sins (Vs. 4).

Because sacrifices under the Old Testament law were not permanent, Jesus was sent into the world to do the will of God, His heavenly Father, to be the final, perfect sacrifice for the sins of mankind (Vss. 7 & 9). It is through the will of God that we are sanctified, through the offering of the body of Jesus Christ once for all (Vs. 10). Under the Law of Moses, priests continually offered animal sacrifices that could never take away sins (permanently). But this man (Jesus Christ), after he had offered one sacrifice (His own body) for sins, forever sat down on the right hand of God (Vss. 11-12). This assures us that once this ultimate sacrifice was made, no additional offerings were necessary. His mission being completed, Jesus ascended back into heaven, and assumed His position on the right hand of God,as Monarch of the kingdom of God in heaven and on earth.

Jesus, through His resurrection from the grave, conquered death - death that sin had ushered into the world through Satan. Jesus currently reigns over the kingdom of God from His throne in heaven. He will do so until the end of time, that is the Day of Judgment. On this day all enemies of Christ will be conquered and symbolically will become His footstool (Vs. 13, also see 1 Cor. 15:25). Death, the power of Satan over all mankind, will be defeated. All will be resurrected from the grave and will submit to righteous judgment by God through His Son, Jesus Christ. On that last day every knee should bow, and every tongue should confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father (Phil. 2:10-11).

Jesus Christ, indeed, became the greatest sacrifice of all. His sacrifice was the greatest because He was the Son of God; because it fulfilled God's promise to the world through the seed of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob; because it fulfilled the Old Covenant between God and the children of Israel; because it was the perfect, permanent atonement for the sins of the world. The atoning power of the blood of Jesus Christ will reconcile all men and women of the world to God, who are earnestly seeking eternal life in heaven (Rom. 5:10). To avail oneself of the soul cleansing power of the blood of Christ, these acts are necessary: Repent, and be baptized every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins (Acts 2:38). The greatest sacrifice of all was made for you and me. In it is eternal salvation!