The tenth chapter of Hebrews begins to deal with the realities of the typology we have been studying. For example, we have seen from the standpoint of types that the Holy of Holies was forbidden in the Old Testament as far as entrance was concerned. The one exception was that once a year after careful preparation the high priest was permitted to enter to sprinkle the blood of animals on the Mercy Seat, portraying the doctrine of Propitiation. However, no one else was ever permitted inside, and in effect it was where Jesus Christ dwelt in Old Testament times under the title of Shekinah Glory. The veil in the Tabernacle (Temple) was ripped when Jesus Christ was being judged for sin. This meant that a new dispensation was about to be introduced, which would interrupt the Age of Israel, temporarily. We live in that new dispensation called the Church Age (the Age of Grace). Positionally, at the moment of salvation, the Holy Spirit entered us into union with Christ (the true Holy of Holies). Therefore, in chapter ten we begin a transitional part of Hebrews where we start to see the reasons for the insertion of the Church Age. In this chapter the focus will be on the plan of God for believers.
The outline of the passage shows the direction in which this passage is going. Paragraph #1 deals with the transition of types to reality (verses 1-18). Paragraph #2 deals with the Royal Family of God in the plan of God. There are two concepts taught in that paragraph – the Royal Family has a new home (verses 19-21); the royal family has a new perspective (verses 22-25). Paragraph #3 deals with the subject of the failure to utilize the plan of God (verses 26-39). This is broken down into two concepts - failure to appropriate doctrine (verses 26-31) – failure to execute the Christian Way of Life (verses 32-39).
“For the Law, since it has only a shadow of the good things to come and not to the very form of things, can never, by the same sacrifices which they offer continually year by year, make perfect those who draw near.”
Keeping the Law of Moses was not the way of salvation but a way of human freedom and prosperity under divine establishment principles. (Galatians 2) The Law’s typology will always have significance. However, we do not function under those types but learn from them, they become great illustrations, and they teach us a great deal about Jesus Christ. The things that Moses wrote of are called “a shadow,” which was the type or image of the real thing. These were “shadows” because the historical reality of those types, the death of Christ on the Cross had not occurred. The “shadow” was not the reality but always portrayed reality. Jesus Christ is the reality and this truth was taught in “shadow form” (types).
Good things means good things of intrinsic value. The Greek word for good is “agathos” and it is used of gold in the Greek language because gold has intrinsic value. This is a descriptive word which portrays the good things of the reality of the Cross. The plural of the word things brings out everything pertaining to the Person and work of Christ; that is why it is in the plural.
To come recognizes that Christ would come in fulfillment of the types. The good of intrinsic value provided by the Cross is in view in this verse. Not the very form of things refers to the animal sacrifices, and not the reality of them. The animal blood on the altar was real, but it was an image portraying the reality on the Cross. Therefore it was a teaching aid. Since we are in the transitional phase from Law to grace in chapter ten, something of intrinsic value has to refer back to what we have been studying regarding the New Covenant to the Church. We will begin to see what the something of value is in the tenth chapter of Hebrews. The content has the potential to give us a new attitude on life from the viewpoint of the fact that something of value is our permanent possession as believers.
The Mosaic Law could not provide salvation, it could only reveal the way of salvation in Jesus Christ — Romans 3:20; Galatians 2:16; Romans 3:28. Making perfect refers first to salvation and a believer’s attitude to Bible doctrine. There is no way that the Mosaic Law could ever be seen as being permanent, because it was made up of types, and they pointed to the reality of Jesus Christ. It took a new covenant — the New Covenant to the Church — in order to fulfill the reality. So, all the Levitical offerings were meant to focus the attention on the future sacrifice of Christ on the Cross. Therefore, there was a reason for the repetition of the Levitical offerings. Drawing near to God has a twofold meaning: 1) faith in Christ for salvation and 2) execution of the Christian Way of Life.
“Otherwise, would they not have ceased to be offered, because the worshippers, having once been cleansed, would no longer have had consciousness of sins?”
The message of the verse is: types can teach the fact of reality but they cannot do the work of reality. Therefore Church Age believers are not required to do the worship of the Old Testament; we can however learn from it. The Levitical offerings were constantly being offered both to present the message of salvation and to act as a memorial to the coming work of Christ. The worshippers who offered the sacrifices and offerings were not saved by those types. Only the reality of the types, Jesus Christ, could provide salvation. It should have been obvious that offerings for sin could not provide salvation -otherwise a person could have ceased to offer them once they believed in Christ. And, if these sacrifices and offerings could have provided forgiveness for daily sin they would no longer have had to be conscience of their personal sins. The Greek word for consciousness is “suneidesis,” which means to be guiltless before God. A person becomes guiltless before God by the reality of the types of Jesus Christ, not by the types themselves. In other words, if the types could have produced the perfect righteousness demanded by the Law and forgiveness of personal sins after salvation, the person offering sacrifices would not have need for the fulfillment of the reality, Jesus Christ.
“But in those sacrifices there is a reminder of sins year by year.
The Israelites had to be reminded constantly by repetitious sacrifices because the reality, Jesus Christ had not yet paid for their sins on the Cross. So God in His grace “covered their sins” until Christ came and died on the Cross. The Levitical offerings could teach the doctrine of sin (Hamartiology), they could teach that man and God were not reconciled, but they could not solve the enmity between God and man. To solve the enmity caused by spiritual death, the debt for sin had to be paid, man had to be reconciled to God and God the Father had to be propitiated. Therefore the types were not effective for salvation. This was exactly what the typology of the Mosaic Law taught over and over again.
“For it is impossible for the blood of bulls and goats to take away sins.”
The Levitical sacrifices were never designed to provide salvation. We have seen this many times in the book of Hebrews. What did take away sins and satisfy the righteous and justice of God was Christ’s substitutionary spiritual death on the Cross.
The Scriptures are clear that spiritual death is a result of Adam’s original sin, which is imputed at birth. It is therefore spiritual death that is the penalty for sin. It was Christ’s spiritual death on the Cross that paid the penalty for Adam’s original sin. This judgment satisfied the justice of God and faith in Christ secures forgiveness forever. The Bible says, “In Adam all die, but in Christ shall all be made alive.” (I Corinthians 15:22) “Death” in this passage refers to spiritual death and “alive” means spiritually alive.
Christ also paid the penalty for inherent sin (the nature passed to us from our fathers). The power of sin in the life of a believer can be broken, but only on the basis of Christ’s payment for inherent sin. Positionally, the believer is secure forever since he possesses eternal life and is kept by the power of God. However, experientially the believer still possesses a sin nature. (John 3:16; Romans 8:8-10; II Corinthians 5:17)
Since the sin nature is not eradicated at salvation, a believer continues to sin. (Romans 8; I John 1:8-10) These sins are called personal sins and were imputed to Christ and judged. At salvation personal sins were forgiven and forgotten by God. (I John 2:2; Ephesians 1:7) However, there must be a solution to post-salvation sinning. God, in His magnificent way, has provided the solution. After salvation, the believer simply names, admits, or acknowledges his personal sin directly to God and is forgiven and cleansed. Not only does He forgive the sins we name, He cleanses from any unknown or forgotten sins. (I John 1:9)
Jesus Christ was judged for all sin, imputed, inherent and personal. He paid the penalty by His substitutionary spiritual death on the Cross. (Matthew 27:26; John 19:30) Forgiveness of sin means deliverance from the penalty of sin and the complete removal of sin. The word in Greek for forgiveness is “aphiemi” and means “to send forth” or “to send away,” which is a perfect description of what God does with our sin.
The Greek word “huper,” translated for in Romans 5:8 is a preposition meaning “on behalf of” or “in place of.” The Greek word for us is “ego.” Combined in this passage and others, we see the substitutionary character of propitiation. Jesus Christ literally became sin “on behalf of us” or “in place of us.” It is the substitutionary spiritual death of Christ that completely satisfied the righteousness of God and provides eternal life for all who believe.
Christ’s sacrifice was complete and eternal. It was complete in that it never had to be repeated. Christ died once for all mankind. Any time a person attempts to secure eternal life by means of good works, the Bible declares that they are, in effect, attempting to crucify Christ over again (a blasphemous thought). It was eternal in that the results continue throughout the history of man and forever. God’s righteousness had to be satisfied in order for Him to be just in giving eternal life and the other spiritual assets to those who believe. The Doctrine of Propitiation explains how this was accomplished by Jesus Christ. (Romans 3:25; Hebrews 9:28)
Christ was a willing substitute. He was not forced by God the Father to become humanity and die in our place. Jesus willingly and joyfully fulfilled a plan that was designed in eternity past. This plan of salvation called for the substitutionary spiritual death of Christ, which would propitiate (satisfy) God’s righteous judgment of sin (a judgment carried out by God’s justice). (II Corinthians 5:21)
The penalty for sin (spiritual death) having been met by Christ, God is free to bestow all 40 spiritual assets upon all those who believe. These 40 assets are transferred to every believer at the moment of salvation. These assets are not seen nor are they felt. The instant a person believes in Christ as Savior all sins of the past are forgiven, he is in fellowship with God and is being controlled by the Holy Spirit. The potential then exists for the believer to execute the Christian Way of Life. (Romans 3:23-25)
When Christ became our substitute on the Cross and paid the penalty for the sin of the entire human race, the barrier of sin that previously existed between God and man was removed forever. The removal of this sin barrier means that sin is no longer an issue at salvation. The issue at salvation is whether a person will accept God’s free offer of eternal life through faith in Christ. It is because of propitiation that God is free to make this offer of eternal life.