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Dear Partner,

During the first century after the crucifixion of Christ, the Judaizers put great pressure upon Hebrew Christians to reject Christ and to return to the Law of Moses to save them. One of the arguments those Judaizers used was that, under Christianity, there was no high priest to offer sacrifices for their sins. The writer of Hebrews carefully explains to the Hebrew Christians that they do have a high priest in this new dispensation. The high priest is Jesus Christ Himself and the sacrifice that Jesus offers is His own blood shed for the remission of sin.

Heb 9:11-14  But Christ being come an high priest of good things to come, by a greater and more perfect tabernacle, not made with hands, that is to say, not of this building; Neither by the blood of goats and calves, but by his own blood he entered in once into the holy place, having obtained eternal redemption for us. For if the blood of bulls and of goats, and the ashes of an heifer sprinkling the unclean, sanctifieth to the purifying of the flesh: How much more shall the blood of Christ, who through the eternal Spirit offered himself without spot to God, purge your conscience from dead works to serve the living God?

The writer warns them that if they reject this high priest and turn back to trusting in the Law of Moses to save them, there is no more sacrifice for sin. In other words, now that the blood of Jesus has been offered on the true mercy seat in heaven, the blood of animals is no longer accepted by the high priest as a suitable sacrifice.

Heb 10:16-18  This is the covenant that I will make with them after those days, saith the Lord, I will put my laws into their hearts, and in their minds will I write them; And their sins and iniquities will I remember no more. Now where remission of these is, there is no more offering for sin.

I see Jesus as our high priest seated on the throne in heaven. The mercy seat is in front of Him, already stained with His blood. If a priest were to come and attempt to offer the blood of an animal as a sacrifice instead, that offering would be rejected by the high priest (Jesus). He would not allow any substitute sacrifice to be placed on the mercy seat in the place of, or in addition to, His own blood.

This reminds me of Cain and Abel. Abel offered the blood of an innocent animal after the manner prescribed by God in the garden when He clothed Adam and Eve with the bloody skin of an innocent animal that died in their place. Cain brought a different kind of sacrifice, an offering of the fruit of the ground that contained no blood. Cain's bloodless offering was rejected. No substitute sacrifice for blood was accepted. The blood of innocent animals was accepted in the Old Testament as "types and shadows," pointing toward the day when the spotless Lamb Of God, Jesus Christ, would shed His blood for us.

The blood of Jesus on the mercy seat represents not only the remission of sin, but also His full redemption for us regarding the three-fold curse of the Law. It represents Jesus finished work as he bore our sin, our sickness, and our poverty. If we bring a substitute sacrifice of money to place on that mercy seat, would that not be just as much an abomination as attempting to offer the blood of an animal there? There is only one sacrifice ... the blood of the spotless Lamb of God! Nothing else is allowed as a substitute sacrifice on the mercy seat!

The writer of Hebrews exhorts the Jewish Christians to enter into the "rest" of the finished work of the Lord Jesus Christ. There are no more "works" of the Law to be done by man as an offering to be placed on the mercy seat. We must simply have faith that the work is finished through Jesus Christ.

So what is left? The writer of Hebrews does mention a few things we can offer as sacrifices that are pleasing to God. They are not offered as a substitute for the blood of Jesus, but rather we offer them as a naturally flowing result because the blood has already been shed for us. The acceptable sacrifices mentioned in Hebrews are:

Heb 13:15-16  By him therefore let us offer the sacrifice of praise to God continually, that is, the fruit of our lips giving thanks to his name. But to do good and to communicate forget not: for with such sacrifices God is well pleased.

Because of the blood, we offer the "sacrifice" of praise and thanksgiving to God for His grace. Because the work has been finished and we are accepted in the beloved, as expressions of gratitude we "do good" and "give, distribute." None of these things are substitutes for the blood of Jesus, but rather, we do them as a result of the blood of Jesus having already been shed for us. Thank God for His great love for us, that while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us! We are to be a thank-full, prayer-full, praise-full and generous people!

Rom 8:31-32  What shall we then say to these things? If God be for us, who can be against us? He that spared not his own Son, but delivered him up for us all, how shall he not with him also freely give us all things?

Sue and I love you and appreciate you. We thank God for your generous and giving heart. God bless you!

Your friend and co-laborer,

Gary Carpenter

 

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