The writer of Hebrews is continuing his thesis that we have been reading: that the once for all sacrifice of Jesus Christ to cleanse from sin, is superior to the multiple and continuing animal sacrifices which could not cleanse but merely cover over sins:
Heb 10:1-14 chiastic structure:
1a) Heb 10:1-3, The Law, a shadow of Messiah, cannot with sacrifices offered continually, make perfect;
1a) Heb 10:1a, For the Law, having a shadow of the good things to come, and not the very image of the things, can never with these same sacrifices, which they offer continually year by year;
1b) Heb 10:1b, Make those who approach perfect;
central axis) Heb 10:2a, For then would they not have ceased to be offered?
2b) Heb 10:2b, For the worshipers, once purified, would have had no more consciousness of sins;
2a) Heb 10:3, But in those sacrifices there is a reminder of sins every year;
1b) Heb 10:4, For it is not possible that the blood of bulls + goats could take away sins;
central axis) Heb 10:5-10, Two-part theme repeated twice for emphasis;
1.1) Heb 10:5-6, Sacrifice + offering You did not desire + have pleasure, but a body You have prepared for Me;
1.2) Heb 10:7, Then I said: Behold, I have come—in the volume of the book it is written of Me— to do Your will, O God;
2.1) Heb 10:8a, Previously saying: Sacrifice + offering, burnt offerings + offerings for sin You did not desire, nor had pleasure in them;
2.2) Heb 10:8b-10, Then He said: Behold, I have come to Your will, O God: that is, sanctification through the single offering in the body of Jesus Christ;
1a) Heb 10:8b, Which are offered according to the Law;
1b) Heb 10:9a, Then He said: Behold, I have come to do Your will, O God;
central axis) Heb 10:9b, He takes away the first that He may establish the second;
2b) Heb 10:10a, By that will we have been sanctified;
2a) Heb 10:10b, Through the offering of the body of Jesus Christ once for all;
2b) Heb 10:11, Every priest stands ministering daily + offering repeatedly the same sacrifices, which can never take away sins;
2a) Heb 10:12-14, Messiah Himself with one sacrifice offered once for all, perfected forever those who are being sanctified;
1a) Heb 10:12a, But this Man, after He had offered one sacrifice for sins forever;
1b) Heb 10:12b, Sat down at the right hand of God;
central axis) Heb 10:13a, From that time waiting till His enemies;
2b) Heb 10:13b, Are made His footstool;
2a) Heb 10:14, For by one offering He has perfected forever those who are being sanctified.
Did you note the two-part repeated theme of the central axis? God took no pleasure in continual sacrifices, but prepared a body for Jesus Christ as an offering once for all to accomplish sanctification from the heart, therefore He has taken away the animal sacrifices for sin upon the establishment of His better sacrifice.
In saying, He has taken away the first that He may establish the second: The first what? The second what? The first system of continual animal sacrifice which cannot perfect the heart. He instead established the second system, still the same in principle – that a substitutionary perfect sacrifice of blood is accepted instead of the blood of the sinner – but different in practice: one perfect sacrifice of the spotless Lamb of God, offered once for all, instead of continual sacrifices of bulls and goats.
History – His Story – then confirms the change in practice, in that the Temple was destroyed in 70 AD, after Messiah Himself completed His sacrifice, so that the blood of bulls and goats is no more offered nor has been for the past 2000 years. I do know that some teachers teach animal sacrifices will be reestablished in the Millennial Kingdom. I disagree that Scripture teaches that (although I could be wrong). But I read those Scriptures differently. I have more to write about that coming up …
So this is a snag for the Torah observant. If the first Law can be taken away that the second may be established, then how are the ordinances of the Lord everlasting?
Yeshua Himself said:
“For assuredly, I say to you, till heaven and earth pass away, one jot or one tittle will by no means pass from the Law till all is fulfilled.” Mat 5:18.
All that is in the Law will one day be fulfilled. Granted, it will not be until heaven and earth pass away, but one day all that is in the Law will be fulfilled. How do we know what has been fulfilled? Really, all that Hebrews is saying has been fulfilled in Messiah Yeshua, is the service of the priests in the Temple in offering the animal sacrifices for sin. We don’t offer animal sacrifices in the Temple. This is why. Please note that the principle of substitutionary perfect sacrifice, that life is in the blood, or any of the other principles of Torah, have not been taken away, all remain permanently in effect. It is on the basis of these permanent and everlasting Torah principles that we witness and plead with others, to accept the substitutionary sacrifice of the perfect blood of Yeshua, setting them free from sin and creating in them a new heart. Amen?
The author of Hebrews then reaffirms the permanency of the Law in the new covenant, quoting from Jeremiah:
“This is the covenant that I will make with them after those days, says the Lord: I will put My laws into their hearts, and in their minds I will write them,” then He adds, “Their sins and their lawless deeds I will remember no more.” Heb 10:16-17
No longer written solely on tablets of stone or on the pages of the Torah, He has not erased His Law, but wrote it additionally on the tablets of the human heart. Thus obedience is not now solely from outward compulsion, but from inward desire.
So then what is the value of the written Law, if that Law has also been written on the heart? There is great value … for the verb tense in the Greek in these chapters, speaking of the sanctification and perfection of the worshipers from the heart, is one of continuing action. Salvation or justification, right- standing before God in regard to legal status, takes place in a moment in time; sanctification or purifying the life of dead and unrighteous works, takes place over the lifetime. The written code is our plumb line in a crooked and perverse world, which instructs us in righteousness and sin. As we learn, we adjust our life and practice, out of a joyful heart of love toward God and our neighbor.