March 30- April 5, 2003
MEMORY VERSE: “Now of the things which we have spoken [this is] the sum: We have such an high priest, who is set on the right hand of the throne of the Majesty in the heavens . . . .” Hebrews 8:1.
SUGGESTED READING: The Great Controversy, 413–417.
INTRODUCTION: “By His spotless life, His obedience, His death on the cross of Calvary, Christ interceded for the lost race. And now not as a mere petitioner does the Captain of our salvation intercede for us, but as a conqueror claiming His victory. His offering is complete, and as our intercessor He executes His self-appointed work, holding before God the censer containing His own spotless merits and the prayers, confessions, and thanksgiving of His people. Perfumed with the fragrance of His righteousness, the incense ascends to God as a sweet savor. The offering is wholly acceptable, and pardon covers all transgression. To the true believer Christ is indeed the minister of the sanctuary, officiating for him in the sanctuary, and speaking through God’s appointed agencies.
“Christ is able to save to the uttermost all who come to Him in faith. He will cleanse them from all defilement if they will let Him. But if they cling to their sins, they cannot possibly be saved; for Christ’s righteousness covers no sin unrepented of. God has declared that those who receive Christ as their Redeemer, accepting Him as the One who takes away all sin, will receive pardon for their transgressions. These are the terms of our election. Man’s salvation depends upon his receiving Christ by faith. Those who will not receive Him lose eternal life because they refused to avail themselves of the only means provided by the Father and the Son for the salvation of a perishing world (Manuscript 142, 1899).” “Ellen G. White Comments,” Seventh-day Adventist Bible Commentary, vol. 7, 930, 931.
1 How often did the priests of the order of Aaron offer up sacrifice? Hebrews 7:27, first part. Compare Exodus 29:38–42; Numbers 28:2–10.
NOTE: “The daily service consisted of the morning and evening burnt offering, the offering of sweet incense on the golden altar, and the special offerings for individual sins. And there were also offerings for sabbaths, new moons, and special feasts.” Patriarchs and Prophets, 352.
“As the priests morning and evening entered the holy place at the time of incense, the daily sacrifice was ready to be offered upon the altar in the court without. This was a time of intense interest to the worshipers who assembled at the tabernacle. Before entering into the presence of God through the ministration of the priest, they were to engage in earnest searching of heart and confession of sin. They united in silent prayer, with their faces toward the holy place. Thus their petitions ascended with the cloud of incense, while faith laid hold upon the merits of the promised Saviour prefigured by the atoning sacrifice. The hours appointed for the morning and the evening sacrifice were regarded as sacred, and they came to be observed as the set time for worship throughout the Jewish nation. And when in later times the Jews were scattered as captives in distant lands, they still at the appointed hour turned their faces toward Jerusalem and offered up their petitions to the God of Israel. In this custom Christians have an example for morning and evening prayer. While God condemns a mere round of ceremonies, without the spirit of worship, He looks with great pleasure upon those who love Him, bowing morning and evening to seek pardon for sins committed and to present their requests for needed blessings.” Ibid., 353.
2 For whom were the sacrifices offered? Hebrews 7:27, middle part; Leviticus 9:7.
NOTE: “In the typical service the high priest, having made the atonement for Israel, came forth and blessed the congregation.” The Great Controversy, 485.
3 How often did the High Priest of the new covenant offer sacrifice? Hebrews 7:27, last part; Hebrews 10:10.
NOTE: “Jesus is our atoning sacrifice. We can make no atonement for ourselves; but by faith we can accept the atonement that has been made. ‘For Christ also hath once suffered for sins, the just for the unjust, that he might bring us to God’ (1 Peter 3:18). . . . It was through infinite sacrifice and inexpressible suffering that our Redeemer placed redemption within our reach. He was in this world unhonored and unknown, that, through His wonderful condescension and humiliation, He might exalt man to receive eternal honors and immortal joys in the heavenly courts.” Selected Messages, Book 1, 321, 322.
“In the depths of omnipotent wisdom and mercy the Father took the work of salvation into His own hand. He sent His only begotten Son into the world to live the law of Jehovah. The law, revealed in the character of Christ, was a perfect manifestation of the Father. And by His perfect obedience and the sacrifice of Himself, which He through the eternal Spirit once offered up unto God, He has fully satisfied the justice of the Father, and purchased not only reconciliation, but an everlasting inheritance in the kingdom of heaven for all those whom the Father has given Him.” The Bible Echo, November 20, 1899.
4 What sacrifice did Christ offer? Hebrews 7:27, last part.
NOTE: “Christ took upon Himself humanity, and laid down His life a sacrifice, that man, by becoming a partaker of the divine nature, might have eternal life. Not only was Christ the Sacrifice but He was also the Priest who offered the sacrifice. ‘The bread that I will give,’ said He, ‘is my flesh, which I will give for the life of the world’ (John 6:51).” Selected Messages, Book 3, 141.
“The great High Priest has made the only sacrifice that will be of any value. The incense that is offered now by men, the masses that are said for the deliverance of souls from purgatory, are not of the least avail with God. All the altars and sacrifices, the traditions and inventions whereby men hope to earn salvation, are fallacies. . . . Christ is the only sin-bearer, the only sin-offering. . . .” The Faith I Live By, 105.
5 Why did Christ not make a sacrifice for Himself, as the other priests had done for themselves? Hebrews 7:26, 27.
NOTE: “The priests who should have been teachers in Israel, were but machines for performing unmeaning ceremonies and repeating the law they did not themselves understand nor practice.” The Signs of the Times, May 10, 1883.
“Christ took human nature upon him, and became a debtor to do the whole law in behalf of those whom he represented. Had he failed in one jot or tittle, he would have been a transgressor of the law, and we would have had in him a sinful, unavailing offering. But he fulfilled every specification of the law, and condemned sin in the flesh; yet many ministers repeat the falsehoods of the scribes, priests, and Pharisees, and follow their example in turning the people away from the truth.” Ibid., January 16, 1896.
“He [Christ] was innocent of all guilt. He gave Himself in exchange for the people who had sold themselves to Satan by transgression of God’s law,—His life for the life of the human family, who thereby became His purchased possession.” Manuscript Releases, vol. 8, 38.
6 What characterized the high priests made by the law of Moses? Hebrews 7:28, first part. Compare Leviticus 4:3.
NOTE: “Had they [Eli’s sons] sinned ignorantly, the priest might have presented a sin-offering for them, and secured their pardon. But their sins were so interwoven with their ministration as priests of the Most High, in offering sacrifice for sin; the work of God was so profaned and dishonored before the people, that no expiation could be accepted for them.” The Signs of the Times, December 8, 1881.
“The Jewish nation were outwardly religious, priding themselves upon their sacred temple, the pomp of priests and the imposing ceremonies of the morning and evening services, gorgeous synagogues and sacrificial offerings. Here were abundant leaves, beautiful and bright, to cover the hollow hypocrisy, malice, and oppression at the heart of all this vain display.” Ibid., February 21, 1878.
“The mock trial of Christ shows how base the priesthood had become. The priests hired men to testify under oath to falsehoods.” Review and Herald, June 12, 1900.
7 What kind of priest was made by the oath, and what was the oath? Hebrews 7:28, last part, Psalm 110:4.
NOTE: “Christ is the Minister of the true tabernacle, the High Priest of all who believe in Him as a personal Saviour: and His office no other can take. He is the High Priest of the church, and He has a work to do which no other can perform. By His grace He is able to keep every man from transgression. His ambassadors, those who receive Him, are born again, and are thus fitted to represent Him. [Hebrews 7:26–28 quoted].” The Signs of the Times, February 14, 1900.
8 In Hebrews 7 Paul has been contrasting the priest-hood order of Aaron with the priesthood of Christ. How does he summarize this? Hebrews 8:1, 2.
NOTE: “As you near the cross of Calvary there is seen love that is without a parallel. As you by faith grasp the meaning of the sacrifice, you see yourself a sinner, condemned by a broken law. This is repentance. As you come with humble heart, you find pardon, for Christ Jesus is represented as continually standing at the altar, momentarily offering up the sacrifice for the sins of the world. He is a minister of the true tabernacle which the Lord pitched and not man. The typical shadows of the Jewish tabernacle no longer possess any virtue. A daily and yearly typical atonement is no longer to be made, but the atoning sacrifice through a mediator is essential because of the constant commission of sin. Jesus is officiating in the presence of God, offering up His shed blood, as it had been a lamb slain. Jesus presents the oblation offered for every offense and every shortcoming of the sinner.” Selected Messages, Book 1, 343.
9 Where is our High Priest and of what is He a minister? Hebrews 8:1, 2.
NOTE: “While Christ is the minister in the sanctuary above, he is also, through his delegates, the minister of his church on earth. He speaks to the people through chosen men, and carries forward his work through them, as when, in the days of his humiliation, he moved visibly upon the earth. Although centuries have passed, the lapse of time has not changed his parting promise to his disciples. ‘Lo, I am with you alway, even unto the end of the world.’ [Matthew 28:20.] From Christ’s ascension to the present day, men ordained of God, deriving their authority from him, have become teachers of the faith. Christ, the True Shepherd, superintends his work through the instrumentality of these under-shepherds. Thus the position of those who labor in word and doctrine becomes very important. In Christ’s stead they beseech the people to be reconciled to God.” Gospel Workers (1892), 11.
10 Where do we first learn of the sanctuary? Exodus 25:1–8.
NOTE: “God Himself gave to Moses the plan of that structure [the sanctuary], with particular directions as to its size and form, the materials to be employed, and every article of furniture which it was to contain. The holy places made with hands were to be ‘figures of the true’ (Hebrews 9:24), ‘patterns of things in the heavens’ (Hebrews 9:23)—a miniature representation of the heavenly temple where Christ, our great high priest, after offering His life as a sacrifice, was to minister in the sinner’s behalf. . . .” The Faith I Live By, 193.
11 How many apartments or rooms did the sanctuary have, and what were the rooms called? Exodus 26:33.
NOTE: “The Israelites were journeying through the wilderness, and the tabernacle was so constructed that it could be removed from place to place; yet it was a structure of great magnificence. Its walls consisted of upright boards heavily plated with gold and set in sockets of silver, while the roof was formed of a series of curtains, or coverings, the outer of skins, the innermost of fine linen beautifully wrought with figures of cherubim. Besides the outer court, which contained the altar of burnt offering, the tabernacle itself consisted of two apartments called the holy and the most holy place, separated by a rich and beautiful curtain, or veil; a similar veil closed the entrance to the first apartment.” The Great Controversy, 411, 412.
12 According to what pattern was the earthly sanctuary built? Exodus 25:9, 40.
NOTE: “In the wisdom of God the particulars of this work [the ministry of the earthly sanctuary] were given us that we might, by looking to them, understand the work of Jesus in the heavenly sanctuary.
“As Jesus died on Calvary, He cried, ‘It is finished,’ and the veil of the temple was rent in twain, from the top to the bottom. This was to show that the services of the earthly sanctuary were forever finished, and that God would no more meet with the priests in their earthly temple, to accept their sacrifices. The blood of Jesus was then shed, which was to be offered by Himself in the heavenly sanctuary. As the priest entered the most holy once a year to cleanse the earthly sanctuary, so Jesus entered the most holy of the heavenly, at the end of the 2300 days of Daniel 8, in 1844, to make a final atonement for all who could be benefited by His mediation, and thus to cleanse the sanctuary.” Early Writings, 252, 253.