Hebrews five verses one through four: Prior to the Word’s coming to earth as the Almighty’s Messiah (Jn. 1:1-4,14), the Israelites’ high priests were mortal men, having the same weaknesses and the same inability to resist Satan as did the people who looked to them. Because those high priests had to offer sacrifices and offerings for their own sins, they could permanently cleanse neither themselves nor the people of sin, nor could they bestow on them God’s Holy Spirit which would have enabled them to resist Satan’s temptation to sin. To cover their sins God required the shedding of blood. For this reason the people brought animals to be slain for that purpose.
In verse 2 the Apostle Paul writes that because the high priest was himself a sinner, he could expect nothing less from those he served. Sin was a way of life for both priest and parishioner. Therefore, the process of covering sin was prescribed in the sacrificial law that the Lord instituted several months following the announcement of His moral Law–the Ten Commandments–on Mt. Sinai. It must be noted that the Lord NEVER INTENDED TO INACT A SACRIFICIAL LAW. This fact is brought out in several passages. In Exodus 20 God told the Israelites that if they would obey His “voice”–Words that would become their moral guide–they would be His people and He would be their God. The people agreed to obey Him. He then audibly spoke the Ten Commandments, wrote them in stone and gave them to the people. Those ten statements would forever identify both righteousness and sin. Righteousness would characterize those who obeyed them; sin would characterize those who did not. Later, in Deuteronomy 5 we find Moses reminding the people of the Law their God had given them audibly and in stone on Mt. Sinai. Then in verse 22 said something that the church world has either failed to notice or has noticed and rejected. “These Words–the Ten Commandments–the Lord spake unto all your assembly in the mount out of the midst of the fire … with a great voice, AND HE ADDED NO MORE. And He wrote them on two tables of stone and delivered them unto me.”
The Lord intended that the people obey His perfect Ten Commandment Law which would keep them in good standing with Him–they would be His people and He would be their God. NOTHING MORE WAS NEEDED; THE TEN COMMANDMENTS WERE PERFECT. OBEDIENCE TO THEM WOULD MAKE THE PEOPLE RIGHTEOUS/SAINTLY. So why did He add the sacrificial law several months later? As with all questions, He gives us the answer: “Why did God add the (sacrificial) law? It was ADDED BECAUSE OF TRANSGRESSIONS (sins)” (Gal. 3:19). Here we are told that God ADDED the blood-letting law because the people refused to obey (transgressed) His moral, Ten Commandment Law. In 1 John 3:4 He shows us the connection between the Ten Commandment Law and sin: “To transgress the Law is sin, for sin is the transgression of the Law.” To nail the Ten Commandment Law to the cross is to eliminate sin. The elimination of sin eliminates man’s need for a Savior. The church has done both and blamed it on the very God Who gave us the Law and commanded us to obey it.
Because of His promise to Abraham that he would have many descendants, the Lord did not kill the people for transgressing the Ten Commandments, but rather enabled them to survive physically by providing the blood of animals to cover their inevitable transgressions. Such is the goodness and dependability of the Lord. But it must be noted that the use of animal blood and ritualistic acts was never God’s plan. Proof of this is found in Hebrews 10:1-9. Verse 8 summarizes the Lord’s attitude toward the sacrificial law He reluctantly instituted: “Sacrificial and burnt offerings for sin as prescribed by the (sacrificial) law You did not want.” Then Paul shows that the Lord took away–nailed to the cross–the sacrificial law that merely covered the peoples’ sins and replaced it with the blood of Jesus Christ that not only erased all of the believers’ past sins (Rom. 3:25), but through the Holy Spirit empowers them to remove sin from their lives, to “walk even as He walked” (1 Jn. 2:6) and to “… overcome (Satan) even as I overcame (him).” Christ’s shedding of His blood enables His saints to keep sin out of their lives, thereby enabling them to sit with Him on His throne in the coming Kingdom of God (Rev. 3:21). L.J.