Scripture: Hebrews 10:1-23
Text: For in Him dwells all the fullness of the Godhead bodily Col 2:9
Responsive Reading: Isaiah 53
Call to Worship: Hebrews 9:24-28
Psalms: 135B; 135C; 110; 22C
Three things are required for an acceptable atonement to God. The three are fundamental to the offering of any true sacrifice. The three are…
- A true or acceptable altar or place of sacrifice.
- An acceptable offering.
- A true priest officially consecrated to the task.
We shall see that the atonement offered by Christ to the Father not only meets all three requirements…
But, we shall also see that Christ in his very person is all three…
That he is our true altar, our sacrifice, and our high priest.
And that he is the true temple of God of which any earthly temple is only a shadow.
Christ the Tabernacle/Temple
The Scriptures teach that Christ himself was a temple of God. Christ alludes to this in his cryptic response to the Pharisees in search of a sign that he was the Messiah.
Jesus answered and said to them, “Destroy this temple, and in three days I will raise it up.” Then the Jews said, “It has taken forty-six years to build this temple, and will You raise it up in three days?” But He was speaking of the temple of His body. John 2:19-21
Temple =íáüò naos nah-os’ From a primary word íáßù naioô (to dwell)
Therefore it is frequently also translated as sanctuary
It is a sanctuary – a holy place – where God dwells with his people.
Now the scriptures clearly teach that in the tabernacle/temple sanctuary God dwelled with his people.
The presence of God was visibly demonstrated by the Shekinah glory that filled the tabernacle of Moses as well as Solomon’s temple. As the Scriptures record it…
And he raised up the court all around the tabernacle and the altar, and hung up the screen of the court gate. So Moses finished the work. Then the cloud covered the tabernacle of meeting, and the glory of the LORD filled the tabernacle. And Moses was not able to enter the tabernacle of meeting, because the cloud rested above it, and the glory of the LORD filled the tabernacle. Exodus 40:33-35
And it came to pass, when the priests came out of the holy place, that the cloud filled the house of the LORD, so that the priests could not continue ministering because of the cloud; for the glory of the LORD filled the house of the LORD. 1 Kings 8:10-11
But God also dwelled in a special way in the human nature of Jesus Christ.
The scriptures repeatedly point this out.
For in Him dwells all the fullness of the Godhead bodily Col 2:9
And the Word became flesh and dwelt among us, and we beheld His glory, the glory as of the only begotten of the Father, full of grace and truth. John 1:14
If we consider that our human bodies are considered tabernacles for our spirits as the Scriptures teach…
For we know that if our earthly house, this tent, is destroyed, we have a building from God, a house not made with hands, eternal in the heavens. For in this we groan, earnestly desiring to be clothed with our habitation which is from heaven, if indeed, having been clothed, we shall not be found naked. For we who are in this tent groan, being burdened, not because we want to be unclothed, but further clothed, that mortality may be swallowed up by life. Now He who has prepared us for this very thing is God, who also has given us the Spirit as a guarantee. 2 Corinthians 5:1-5
Yes, I think it is right, as long as I am in this tent, to stir you up by reminding you, knowing that shortly I must put off my tent, just as our Lord Jesus Christ showed me. 2 Peter 1:13-14
And if we consider that when we are born again and are indwelled by the Spirit of God we become a temple in an additional sense as Paul repeatedly tells us…
Do you not know that you are the temple of God and that the Spirit of God dwells in you? If anyone defiles the temple of God, God will destroy him. For the temple of God is holy, which temple you are. 1 Corinthians 3:16-17
Or do you not know that your body is the temple of the Holy Spirit who is in you, whom you have from God, and you are not your own? 1 Corinthians 6:19
And what agreement has the temple of God with idols? For you are the temple of the living God. As God has said: “I will dwell in them And walk among them. I will be their God, And they shall be My people.” 2 Corinthians 6:16
If this is true of us who have been redeemed and indwelled by the Spirit it was far more true of Christ.
He was filled with the Holy Spirit beyond measure.
He was the second person of the Trinity incarnate.
He was the express image of the Father.
He was the true temple of God of which Herod’s temple was only a type.
This is very important.
For not only do we need a true sacrifice and a true High Priest, but we need a true temple in which to offer the sacrifice.
The children of Israel were repeatedly commanded and reminded that ONLY at the tabernacle/ temple could lawful sacrifices be brought to God.
‘If his offering is a burnt sacrifice of the herd, let him offer a male without blemish; he shall offer it of his own free will at the door of the tabernacle of meeting before the LORD. Leviticus 1:3
“Whatever man of the house of Israel who kills an ox or lamb or goat in the camp, or who kills it outside the camp, and does not bring it to the door of the tabernacle of meeting to offer an offering to the LORD before the tabernacle of the LORD, the guilt of bloodshed shall be imputed to that man. He has shed blood; and that man shall be cut off from among his people. Leviticus 17:3-4
“Also you shall say to them: ‘Whatever man of the house of Israel, or of the strangers who dwell among you, who offers a burnt offering or sacrifice, and does not bring it to the door of the tabernacle of meeting, to offer it to the LORD, that man shall be cut off from among his people. Leviticus 17:8-9
Then the LORD appeared to Solomon by night, and said to him: “I have heard your prayer, and have chosen this place for Myself as a house of sacrifice. 2 Chronicles 7:12
When the Israelites sinned in this regard and worshipped elsewhere with their sacrifices God continually complained about it to them. These incidents involved a number of sins. Sometimes they were worshipping other gods; sometimes they were worshipping Jahweh by means of images, but always they were worshipping in an unauthorized place, giving us the familiar refrain of sacrifices being performed on every high hill and under every green tree.
For they also built for themselves high places, sacred pillars, and wooden images on every high hill and under every green tree. 1 Kings 14:23
And he sacrificed and burned incense on the high places, on the hills, and under every green tree. 2 Kings 16:4
“For of old I have broken your yoke and burst your bonds; And you said, ‘I will not transgress,’ When on every high hill and under every green tree You lay down, playing the harlot. Jeremiah 2:20
The only true altar was the one that the Lord had commanded and consecrated, the altar in the tabernacle/temple. There were occasional exceptions, but they were authorized specifically for those situations by God himself. Gideon’s altar and Elijah’s on Mount Carmel come to mind. All other altars were unauthorized and the sacrifices brought there were rejected. Jereboam’s setting up of rival altars and places of worship in Bethel and Dan is one of the more notorious examples.
If these people go up to offer sacrifices in the house of the LORD at Jerusalem, then the heart of this people will turn back to their lord, Rehoboam king of Judah, and they will kill me and go back to Rehoboam king of Judah.” 1 Kings 12:27
God’s response to placing political expediency in the place of worship over his clear commands was swift…
And behold, a man of God went from Judah to Bethel by the word of the LORD, and Jeroboam stood by the altar to burn incense. Then he cried out against the altar by the word of the LORD, and said, “O altar, altar! Thus says the LORD: ‘Behold, a child, Josiah by name, shall be born to the house of David; and on you he shall sacrifice the priests of the high places who burn incense on you, and men’s bones shall be burned on you.’” And he gave a sign the same day, saying, “This is the sign which the LORD has spoken: Surely the altar shall split apart, and the ashes on it shall be poured out.”
So it came to pass when King Jeroboam heard the saying of the man of God, who cried out against the altar in Bethel, that he stretched out his hand from the altar, saying, “Arrest him!” Then his hand, which he stretched out toward him, withered, so that he could not pull it back to himself. The altar also was split apart, and the ashes poured out from the altar, according to the sign which the man of God had given by the word of the LORD. 1 Kings 13:1-5
We see from all this that God takes all the details of his worship seriously. And we see that the place of sacrifice is determined by God and not by man.
But we note that though Christ was the true sacrifice, the true Passover Lamb, yet he was not slain and sacrificed in the temple courts. The Scriptures plainly teach that he was slain and offered up to God outside the city walls. We know that Christ was crucified on the hill known as Golgotha or Calvary, outside the city walls. As Paul taught…
Therefore Jesus also, that He might sanctify the people with His own blood, suffered outside the gate. Hebrews 13:12
To die outside the camp as a criminal rejected by the people of God was part of his suffering and humiliation for our sins. We see this from a number of Scriptures…
He shall be unclean. All the days he has the sore he shall be unclean. He is unclean, and he shall dwell alone; his dwelling shall be outside the camp. Leviticus 13:46
“Take outside the camp him who has cursed; then let all who heard him lay their hands on his head, and let all the congregation stone him. Leviticus 24:14
Then the LORD said to Moses, “The man must surely be put to death; all the congregation shall stone him with stones outside the camp.” So, as the LORD commanded Moses, all the congregation brought him outside the camp and stoned him with stones, and he died. Numbers 15:35-36
For the bodies of those animals, whose blood is brought into the sanctuary by the high priest for sin, are burned outside the camp. Therefore Jesus also, that He might sanctify the people with His own blood, suffered outside the gate. Hebrews 13:11-12
But if Christ bearing our sins had to die outside the camp as a criminal and an unclean person, what of the requirement that the sacrifice be brought to the tabernacle/temple and offered there???
The answer to this is of course in the fact that Christ himself, in his person, was the true temple of God.
Wherever Christ was that is where the true temple was.
When he went without the camp to suffer as an outcast for his people so we would not be not cast out in the Day of Judgment…
Then he took the True Temple of God with him.
And there, on Golgotha, in the true temple, Christ offered himself up for our sins. Hallelujah!
And when he did the veil in the typical temple was rent in two.
Then the veil of the temple was torn in two from top to bottom. Mark 15:38
Then the sun was darkened, and the veil of the temple was torn in two. Luke 23:45
The typical temple that symbolized Christ the true temple shared in his fate. The veil Paul tells us symbolized his flesh.
Therefore, brethren, having boldness to enter the Holiest by the blood of Jesus, by a new and living way which He consecrated for us, through the veil, that is, His flesh. Hebrews 10:19-20
And the typical temple that symbolized him was destroyed forever a generation later in 70 A.D. But the true temple rose again on the third day and ascended into heaven where he ever lives to make intercession for us as our Mediator and Advocate with God the Father. For that too we cry out Hallelujah!!!
Christ the Offering
The Old Testament were full of typical offerings and sacrifices of which Paul says that they could not take away sin. But the New Testament reveals in all its fulness the glorious news that there is a true sacrifice that can take away sin. And that ante-typical sacrifice is the sacrifice of Jesus Christ on the cross. Repeatedly the Scriptures reveal that Christ is the rue Passover lamb slain for our sins.
The next day John saw Jesus coming toward him, and said, “Behold! The Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world! John 1:29
Therefore purge out the old leaven, that you may be a new lump, since you truly are unleavened. For indeed Christ, our Passover, was sacrificed for us. 1 Corinthians 5:7
knowing that you were not redeemed with corruptible things, like silver or gold, from your aimless conduct received by tradition from your fathers, but with the precious blood of Christ, as of a lamb without blemish and without spot. 1 Peter 1:18-19
Paul is the most prolific in his inspired comments on the sacrifice of Christ for our sins.
And walk in love, as Christ also has loved us and given Himself for us, an offering and a sacrifice to God for a sweet-smelling aroma. Ephesians 5:2
Not with the blood of goats and calves, but with His own blood He entered the Most Holy Place once for all, having obtained eternal redemption. For if the blood of bulls and goats and the ashes of a heifer, sprinkling the unclean, sanctifies for the purifying of the flesh, how much more shall the blood of Christ, who through the eternal Spirit offered Himself without spot to God, cleanse your conscience from dead works to serve the living God?…so Christ was offered once to bear the sins of many. Hebrews 9:12-14,28
By that will we have been sanctified through the offering of the body of Jesus Christ once for all. Hebrews 10:10
Truly he was that one offering which has forever atoned for the sins of his people…Hallelujah!!!
Christ the High Priest
The Apostle Paul in the book of Hebrews repeatedly states that Christ was our High priest offering himself up for our sins.
Therefore, in all things He had to be made like His brethren, that He might be a merciful and faithful High Priest in things pertaining to God, to make propitiation for the sins of the people. Hebrews 2:17
Therefore, holy brethren, partakers of the heavenly calling, consider the Apostle and High Priest of our confession, Christ Jesus. Hebrews 3:1
Seeing then that we have a great High Priest who has passed through the heavens, Jesus the Son of God, let us hold fast our confession. Hebrews 4:14
called by God as High Priest “according to the order of Melchizedek,” Hebrews 5:10
For such a High Priest was fitting for us, who is holy, harmless, undefiled, separate from sinners, and has become higher than the heavens; who does not need daily, as those high priests, to offer up sacrifices, first for His own sins and then for the people’s, for this He did once for all when He offered up Himself. Hebrews 7:26-27
But Christ came as High Priest of the good things to come, with the greater and more perfect tabernacle not made with hands, that is, not of this creation. Not with the blood of goats and calves, but with His own blood He entered the Most Holy Place once for all, having obtained eternal redemption. For if the blood of bulls and goats and the ashes of a heifer, sprinkling the unclean, sanctifies for the purifying of the flesh, how much more shall the blood of Christ, who through the eternal Spirit offered Himself without spot to God, cleanse your conscience from dead works to serve the living God? Hebrews 9:11-14
Truly Christ was not only the true temple of God where the atonement must be presented, and he was not only the perfect and acceptable sacrifice, the true Lamb of God, but he was also the true High priest, able to make an offering of himself for the sins of the people. He did what the typical High Priests could not do. The current High priest had prophesied that “one man should die for the people” But only Christ could present that offering to the Father and have it accepted. The current high priests could only mock him and taunt him with his own words to come down from the cross and save himself. He the true High priest could lay down his life and take it up again and make an eternal atonement for his people. Hallelujah!!!
In the Old Testament the typical atonements were constantly being met with rejection from God.
First of all, when the sacrifice was offered in the wrong sanctuary on an unauthorized altar they were consistently rejected.
We have already seen God’s response to Jereboam’s use of the unauthorized altar in Bethel.
So it came to pass when King Jeroboam heard the saying of the man of God, who cried out against the altar in Bethel, that he stretched out his hand from the altar, saying, “Arrest him!” Then his hand, which he stretched out toward him, withered, so that he could not pull it back to himself. The altar also was split apart, and the ashes poured out from the altar, according to the sign which the man of God had given by the word of the LORD. 1 Kings 13:4-5
Secondly, the typical sacrifices, not being mixed with true faith and repentance were also constantly being rejected.
So Samuel said: “Has the LORD as great delight in burnt offerings and sacrifices, As in obeying the voice of the LORD? Behold, to obey is better than sacrifice, And to heed than the fat of rams. 1 Samuel 15:22
For You do not desire sacrifice, or else I would give it; You do not delight in burnt offering. Psalm 51:16
The sacrifice of the wicked is an abomination; How much more when he brings it with wicked intent! Proverbs 21:27
“To what purpose is the multitude of your sacrifices to Me?” Says the LORD. “I have had enough of burnt offerings of rams And the fat of fed cattle. I do not delight in the blood of bulls, Or of lambs or goats. “When you come to appear before Me, Who has required this from your hand, To trample My courts? Bring no more futile sacrifices; Incense is an abomination to Me. The New Moons, the Sabbaths, and the calling of assemblies—I cannot endure iniquity and the sacred meeting. Your New Moons and your appointed feasts My soul hates; They are a trouble to Me, I am weary of bearing them. Isaiah 1:11-14
For I desire mercy and not sacrifice, And the knowledge of God more than burnt offerings. Hosea 6:6
And to love Him with all the heart, with all the understanding, with all the soul, and with all the strength, and to love one’s neighbor as oneself, is more than all the whole burnt offerings and sacrifices.” Mark 12:33
And thirdly, the sacrifices of those who were unauthorized as priests were consistently rejected by God.
But when he (King Uzziah) was strong his heart was lifted up, to his destruction, for he transgressed against the LORD his God by entering the temple of the LORD to burn incense on the altar of incense. So Azariah the priest went in after him, and with him were eighty priests of the LORD—valiant men. And they withstood King Uzziah, and said to him, “It is not for you, Uzziah, to burn incense to the LORD, but for the priests, the sons of Aaron, who are consecrated to burn incense. Get out of the sanctuary, for you have trespassed! You shall have no honor from the LORD God.”
Then Uzziah became furious; and he had a censer in his hand to burn incense. And while he was angry with the priests, leprosy broke out on his forehead, before the priests in the house of the LORD, beside the incense altar. And Azariah the chief priest and all the priests looked at him, and there, on his forehead, he was leprous; so they thrust him out of that place. Indeed he also hurried to get out, because the LORD had struck him.
King Uzziah was a leper until the day of his death. He dwelt in an isolated house, because he was a leper; for he was cut off from the house of the LORD. Then Jotham his son was over the king’s house, judging the people of the land. 2 Chronicles 26:16-21
And frequently even God’s appointed High priest was also rejected for his sin.
-Aaron and the golden calf at Sinai
-Eli for not restraining the wickedness of his sons who served in the tabernacle.
Annas and Caiaphas who being rejected of God were given over to the great apostasy of rejecting their Messiah and taking his life.
Constantly the typical atonements were met with rejection by God because of their insufficiency and imperfection.
But when we come to the work of Jesus Christ we find everything totally different…
We find nothing but complete acceptance on the part of God the Father with the atoning work of his Son Jesus Christ.
When Christ said It is finished he commended his spirit into the hands of the Father.
We know that he was that day, along with the repentant thief, in paradise with the Father.
Christ was our sin-bearer, our sins were imputed to him.
Unless the atonement that he made for our sins was accepted he could not have gone into the presence of the Father.
And God raised up the true temple after three days
He accepted the true sacrifice.
And he took the true High priest and ascended him to heaven and seated him at his right hand in power and glory.
And as his reward he is going to give him the Kingdom for all eternity.
This is the true temple where we must bring our sacrifice of praise and the sacrifice a broken and a contrite heart.
This is the true sacrifice whose merits we should constantly plead when we beseech the Father for his mercies and the forgiveness of our sins.
And this is the true High priest that we can trust in to reconcile us to God through his atoning work
Let us worship him for all eternity…Hallelujah!!!
The Pharisees and Sadducees, Christ’s enemies, remembered his words. When he hung on the cross they taunted him with his saying.
And those who passed by blasphemed Him, wagging their heads and saying, “Aha! You who destroy the temple and build it in three days, save Yourself, and come down from the cross!” Likewise the chief priests also, mocking among themselves with the scribes, said, “He saved others; Himself He cannot save. Mark 15:29-31
If they can remember his words how much more should we who have been redeemed by the atonement they witnessed. We who were delivered from sin and death and hell when that true temple was destroyed on the cross. We who have hope because that true temple was raised up again after three days and three nights in the heart of the earth. We who should rejoice that He did not come down but he persevered in making a complete atonement for all our sins.
For Christ did make the most complete atonement for our sins…
He was the True Temple…where the True Sacrifice…was offered up by the True High Priest.
He was all three.
He was the Temple of God where He as our High Priest offered himself up for our sins.
Truly Christ is our all…and he has done it all for his people.
Let us remember that.
And let us rejoice in that.
And let us give thanks for that for all eternity…