A New Established Order
1For since the law has but a shadow of the good things to come instead of the true form of these realities, it can never, by the same sacrifices that are continually offered every year, make perfect those who draw near. 2Otherwise, would they not have ceased to be offered, since the worshipers, having once been cleansed, would no longer have any consciousness of sins? 3But in these sacrifices there is a reminder of sins every year. 4For it is impossible for the blood of bulls and goats to take away sins. 5Consequently, when Christ came into the world, he said, “Sacrifices and offerings you have not desired, but a body have you prepared for me; 6in burnt offerings and sin offerings you have taken no pleasure. 7Then I said, ‘Behold, I have come to do your will, O God, as it is written of me in the scroll of the book.’” 8When he said above, “You have neither desired nor taken pleasure in sacrifices and offerings and burnt offerings and sin offerings” (these are offered according to the law), 9then he added, “Behold, I have come to do your will.” He does away with the first in order to establish the second. 10And by that will we have been sanctified through the offering of the body of Jesus Christ once for all. 11And every priest stands daily at his service, offering repeatedly the same sacrifices, which can never take away sins. 12But when Christ had offered for all time a single sacrifice for sins, he sat down at the right hand of God, 13waiting from that time until his enemies should be made a footstool for his feet. 14For by a single offering he has perfected for all time those who are being sanctified. 15And the Holy Spirit also bears witness to us; for after saying, 16“This is the covenant that I will make with them after those days, declares the Lord: I will put my laws on their hearts, and write them on their minds,” 17then he adds, “I will remember their sins and their lawless deeds no more.” 18Where there is forgiveness of these, there is no longer any offering for sin.
These verses are a summation of the theological exposition that began in Hebrews 5:1, weaving together the various strands of the argument Christ’s finished high-priestly work. Here we find the message of this book pulled together in summary of our salvation which is secure in the sacrifice of Jesus on the cross for our sins. These words point to prophetic passages in both Psalms and Jeremiah. What we learn in this theological treatise is that the animal sacrifices did not remove sin, they only pointed out our need for a Savior and foreshadowed God’s solution for that need, Jesus Christ crucified.
The sacrifices prescribed by the law prefigured Christ’s ultimate sacrifice. Thus they were repeated year after year, the very repetition bearing testimony that the perfect, sin-removing sacrifice had not yet been offered.
Hoeber, R. G. ©1997. Concordia Self-Study Bible (p.1886). St. Louis: Concordia Pub. House.
Throughout their worship lives, the Jewish people were reminded constantly that the Law (which included the sacrificial system) was unable to deliver the perfection necessary to enter God’s presence. Thus the need for the Day of Atonement on a yearly basis. They knew that their sin had not truly been dealt with permanently. The conscience was not cleansed. When David penned Psalm 40, he recognized that these animal sacrifices were not what God was looking for in His people and the writer of Hebrews makes note of that .
6In sacrifice and offering you have not delighted, but you have given me an open ear. Burnt offering and sin offering you have not required.
7Then I said, “Behold, I have come; in the scroll of the book it is written of me:
8I delight to do your will, O my God; your law is within my heart.”
The Jeremiah prophecy floats throughout Hebrews 5-10:18. Now having read the Hebrews exposition, we can easily see Jeremiah being fulfilled.
31 “Behold, the days are coming, declares the Lord, when I will make a new covenant with the house of Israel and the house of Judah, 32 not like the covenant that I made with their fathers on the day when I took them by the hand to bring them out of the land of Egypt, my covenant that they broke, though I was their husband, declares the Lord. 33 For this is the covenant that I will make with the house of Israel after those days, declares the Lord: I will put my law within them, and I will write it on their hearts. And I will be their God, and they shall be my people. 34 And no longer shall each one teach his neighbor and each his brother, saying, ‘Know the Lord,’ for they shall all know me, from the least of them to the greatest, declares the Lord. For I will forgive their iniquity, and I will remember their sin no more.”
As is always the case, the Scriptures (Old and New Testament) flow together perfectly, creating the perfect picture our promise-keeping God. Our salvation, made final in the perfect sacrifice of Jesus, is complete and irrevocable. All of God’s demands are met in His blood and we no longer go before God with an imperfect reminder of our sin with an animal sacrifice. He does away with the first in order to establish the second. And by that will we have been sanctified through the offering of the body of Jesus Christ once for all.