For the law having a shadow of good things to come, and not the very image of the things, can never with those sacrifices which they offered year by year continually make the comers thereunto perfect.
The word shadow is from the Greek word Skia, (skee’-ah), meaning shade or adumbration. An adumbration is something that vaguely suggests, or a partial outline. So the law of Moses and its sacrifices was meant to give us a representation, or outline of how sanctification would ultimately be obtained.
Perfect in this text is from the Greek telios, (tel-i-os), bringing things to their final act or state, the uttermost condition. Perfection is the final state of consummating the individual to perfection. This first verse is important because it tells us that the Law was never intended to complete our sanctification, but rather it was to let us know that there is a penalty for sin and that penalty must be paid with blood. But perfection cannot be obtained by an imperfect sacrifice.
For then would they not have ceased to be offered? Because that the worshippers once purged should have had no more conscience of sins. But in those sacrifices there is a remembrance again made of sins every year. For it is not possible that the blood of bulls and of goats should take away sins.
If the Law of Moses and the Sacrifices could have cleaned the sin from man, then there would have not been a need to continuously make sacrifices year after year. Under the Levitical system, the Israelites knew that their sin was not removed, but covered by the blood of the sacrifice. They had to, at the end of the year, make sacrifices for sins they had committed, so it was a reminder to them that they were still in sin. Sin is a part of the human condition, it permeates us. Ezekiel 32:27 says, “They are gone down to Sheol… and their iniquities are upon their bones.”
Therefore when he comes into the world, He says, Sacrifice and offering You did not desire, but a body have You prepared me: In burnt offerings and sacrifices for sin You have had no pleasure, (PS 40:6) Then said I, Lo, I come (in the volume of the book it is written of Me,) to do Your will, O God. Above when he said, Sacrifice and offering and burnt offerings and offering for sin You would not, neither had pleasure therein; which are offered by the law;
The Lord God did not take pleasure in the killing of the animals for sacrifice. What the Lord seeks is the voluntary sacrifices offered in obedience. He wants those who serve Him to delight in His will and to keep His Word in their hearts. Jesus said that you have to worship God in spirit and in truth. The sacrifices were to remind the children of Israel that sin had a consequence of death, there was no escaping it, however, God loved them enough to provide a way to cover the sin, so they could enter his peace. This was a foreshadowing of what Christ was to provide for us in His selfless sacrifice that not only covers sin, but removes it from us. The crucifixion of Jesus was prepared for us as a final sin offering. A spotless lamb had to be offered. The only way for this to happen was for God (Jesus) to become flesh (man), and become the sacrifice for us all.
Then said He, Lo, I come to do Your will, O God. He takes away the first that He may establish the second.
Here we see that the “first” (sacrifices) offered according to the Law of Moses had to be removed so that the “second” (Christ’s sacrifice) can be established. The sacrifices under the law are removed and Jesus’ sacrifice is sufficient to remove all unrighteousness. So Jesus had to come and be a perfect sacrifice, to do God’s will, in order that the old sacrifices under the Mosaic Laws could be done away with. This perfect blood sacrifice established the method that God foretold of in the scriptures and established a new covenant. William R. Newell wrote, “Note then that this is the devotion to God’s will, abstractly considered, blessed as that is, that is here in view; but that express will of God by which Christ was offered up on the Cross.”
By the which will we are sanctified through the offering of the body of Jesus Christ once and for all. And every priest stands daily ministering and offering oftentimes the same sacrifices, which can never take away sins: But this man, after He had offered one sacrifice for sins for ever, sat down on the right hand of God; From hereafter expecting till His enemies be made His footstool. For by one offering He has perfected for ever them that are sanctified.
The result of Christ’s sacrifice is total redemption. There is no need for further sacrifices as made previously, by the Levitical priesthood. We are completely separated to God for His glorification. We are sanctified and bought with a terrible price. The ending that Christ is sat down is a demonstration that all work has been completed by Jesus.
Newell, William R. Hebrews, Verse by Verse. Grand Rapids, MI: Baker Book House, 1987. Print.
Strong, James. The New Strong’s Exhaustive Concordance of the Bible. Nashville, TN: T. Nelson, 1996. Print.
King James Easy-reading Study Bible. Goodyear, AZ, 2002. Print