The True Sacrifices

Vv. 10-17

Vv. 10ff. The author continues contrasting Christ’s sacrifice for sin with the temple sacrifice for sin. The Jews had an altar upon which the high priest offered the bodies and blood of various beasts for sin. And then the body of the sacrificial beasts had to be burned outside of the camp. Accordingly, the Hebrews who clung to the tabernacle had no right to eat at the Christian’s altar.

Outside the camp…

Are burned without the gate. #Le 4:12,21 16:27. The "camp" here refers to the time when the Israelites were in the wilderness, and lived in encampments. The same custom was observed after the temple was built, by conveying the body of the animal slain for a sin offering, on the great day of atonement, beyond the walls of Jerusalem to be consumed there. (Barnes)

The Hebrews are told that their altar, their sacrifice and their high priest is Jesus Christ, so those who were still committed to the Mosaic temple system had no right to the sacrifice of Christ for their sins. Those of the Gospel Church age who are still attached to their fallen and corrupt ideas concerning salvation have no right to Christ. What right do those who deny the all-sufficiency of Christ have to the “Lord’s Supper”?

“The body of the animal slain for the sin-offering, on the great day of atonement” was burned outside of the camp. In like manner, Divine Providence ordained that Jesus Christ be sacrificed “without the camp” for the sins of his people.

Accordingly, the context is clearly referring to the tabernacle, and tells the “wavering” Hebrews that they cannot have both the sacrifice of Christ and the tabernacle sacrifice. The application is that no man can have both the works of the flesh, Mosaic law, and the works of Christ. It is either Christ alone through Faith alone according to the Holy Scriptures alone, and according to the Spirit’s call alone, or eternal damnation.

V. 13. He was the object of contempt and scorn. He was held up to derision, and was taunted and reviled on his way to the place of death, and even on the cross. To be identified with him there, to follow him, to sympathize with him, to be regarded as his friend, would have subjected one to similar shame and reproach. (Barnes)

The author is speaking to Hebrews who when they identified with Christ, were seen as identifying with a criminal. They thus suffered much abuse at the hands of fellow Hebrews who still followed the Mosaic order of worship. Remember how Saul (Paul) felt about and treated his fellow Hebrews who turned from Moses?

We see a very real application of v. 13 as Muslims turn to Christ. The reproach they bear for Christ is beyond the comprehension of the Western “Christian” mind. But let us not be deceived, for the anti-Christians fervor in the “West” is just as real against Christians who are committed to the TRUTH as identified in the five “solas”. Thus far, public pressure has kept the unregenerate from following the Muslim example against FAITHFUL Christians. Unless the Spirit of Grace intervenes, we will see public pressure continue to increase against the Truth, both from the apostate pulpits, and from the general public.

That prospect of reproach has kept many on the broad road to destruction.

On the day of atonement, the sacrifice was to be burned outside the camp; similarly the atoning sacrifice of Jesus Christ took place outside the camp, outside the gate.

His people must “go outside the camp”, and leave the old life, including leaving behind the old religious life of false hopes. They are to join Christ Jesus in whatever reproach they must face.

V. 14.

The object of the writer seems to be to comfort the Hebrew Christians on the supposition that they would be driven by persecution from the city of Jerusalem, and doomed to wander as exiles. He tells them that their Lord was led from that city to be put to death, and they should be willing to go forth also; that their permanent home was not Jerusalem, but heaven; and they should be willing, in view of that blessed abode, to be exiled from the city where they dwelt, and made wanderers in the earth. (Barnes)

He reminds the Hebrews, and all the saints to follow, that “This World is not their home”, particularly Jerusalem to where they sought to return. They were, as are all saints, to be joined with Abraham as he looked “for a city which hath foundation, whose builder and maker is God.” (He. 11:10)

Christ replaced the old Jerusalem---that is, the old national Israel---with the New Jerusalem, the Gospel Church. He is the fountainhead, the cornerstone of the New Israel of God. (See Paul explanation with Hagar and Sarah in his letter to the Galatians.)

In order to keep peace with the rebellious Jews, Herod had made Jerusalem and its temple one of the most beautiful and appealing places on earth. Accordingly, its draw was very powerful to those who desired beautiful ordinances, rites and rituals in their approach to the Father. But God replaced that worldly beauty with the beauty of Christ, as He turned the temple into ashes.

Revelation 11:8 identifies that beautiful old city as Babylon, Sodom and Egypt. Therefore, it could not be a “continuing city”, for God’s judgment would soon turn it into a pile of burned out rubble as promised by Christ himself in Matthew 23:36.

The warning here is for the Gospel era saints to turn from the beautiful and appealing things of this world, particularly man’s ideas of approach to the Father. We must turn our backs on those trinkets, and move our “conversation” to the heavens, regardless of the reproach. (Philippians 3:20) The things of this world will soon pass away just as sure as did the old city in 70 AD, where some of the Hebrew Christians wanted to continue to place their hope. They were and we are encouraged to leave the old temporal attachments behind, and seek the new city of God, the new eternal Israel, “whose builder and maker is God”.

The Hebrews/Jews are told that they must not fix their attention and hope on earthly things, that is, Jerusalem, for it will soon pass away. Rather, they must bear the reproach, and identify with Christ and seek the one to come, the heavenly Jerusalem.

Josephus recounts the great amount of weeping and wailing as the old Jerusalem passed away in 70 A.D.

Hebrews 11:13, The Hebrew/Jewish saints had been told that the old Jerusalem was not their home, and their new home was in the New Jerusalem. Peter issues the same exhortation; we must see ourselves as strangers and pilgrims here, and leave all the things that war against the soul behind, and accept the world’s reproach of Christ. (1 Peter 2:11)

V. 15. The Hebrews are told that the animal sacrifices in the temple not only displease God, but now have his curse against them. (See 1 Sam 15:22) But he does desire two continuing sacrifices: 1) our lips and 2) our hands.

First, the fruit of our lips. Because our future home, our eternal city is found in Jesus Christ, “let us offer the sacrifice of praise to God continually”.

1 Peter 2:5 Ye also, as lively stones, are built up a spiritual house, an holy priesthood, to offer up spiritual sacrifices, acceptable to God by Jesus Christ.

Psalms 69:30 I will praise the name of God with a song, and will magnify him with thanksgiving. 31 This also shall please the LORD better than an ox or bullock that hath horns and hoofs. (See Ps 136, 145, &c.)

1 Thessalonians 5:18 In every thing give thanks: for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus concerning you.(Eph 1:16, Cease not to given thanks…, 2 Thes 2:13, give alway…)

God desires from us the continual sacrifice of praise and gratefulness.

V. 16. The first sacrifice of his people is in relationship to God. The second sacrifice required of his people is in relationship to men. His people are told to do good and to communicate; that is, impart to others, share with them want we have. We are warned to take special care not to forget the duty to show liberality to those who are in need. (See Gal 6:10. “Do good” because of our assurance of membership in that Eternal City, not in order to enter that Eternal City.)

The meaning is, that if we wish to sacrifice to God, we must call on him and acknowledge his goodness by thanksgiving, and further, that we must do good to our brethren; these are the true sacrifices which Christians ought to offer; and as to other sacrifices, there is neither time nor place for them. (Calvin.)

The Saviour went about “doing good,” whose example we are to follow. The Hebrews are told that the true sacrifice that is well pleasing to God does not take place in the Temple, but in the heart. That is, true religion loves God with all the heart and loves one’s neighbor as one’s self.

We have seen and have been in “worship services” where the congregation is urged to offer up praise offerings to God in various ways. But do those “offerings” fulfill Hebrews 13:15, 16? How do those “worshipers” treat their fellow man after they leave their “worship” service? Do they open their heart and purse to those in need throughout the week, or are their “offerings” pure vanity and hypocrisy?

Believers must show they have accepted the truth by applying the truth in all our actions. Believers should be known for their adherence to truth. Our actions should be truthful and unselfish. Remember Ananias and Sapphira. (Alderman)

Let us be true and above reproach.

V. 17, tells us that obeying the truth involves obeying those faithful and godly religious leaders whom God has set over us. In the context, as faithful leaders spoke the truth of Christ, there were Hebrews who wanted to flee from the truth, and return to the rites and rituals of the Jews’ religion.

We have seen numerous “Christians” move from one church to another looking for “truth” with which they can agree.

We are surrounded with the message “Follow your heart”, but the heart is desperately wicked, so who can know it? The Lord tries the heart, but many professed Christians do not want their heart tried, so they move on.

Pastors see men who are looking for truth, and who even welcome it. Those seeking men find a church where the truth is preached, but their wives do not like the truth, so they move on. I have only known one man who stuck with the truth, though his wife would not follow him.

“If we wish to sacrifice to God, we must call on him and acknowledge his goodness by thanksgiving, and further, that we must do good to our brethren; these are the true sacrifices which Christians ought to offer; and as to other sacrifices, there is neither time nor place for them.”

Psalms 66:16 Come and hear, all ye that fear God, and I will declare what he hath done for my soul.
Ecclesiastes 8:12 Though a sinner do evil an hundred times, and his days be prolonged, yet surely I know that it shall be well with them that fear God, which fear before him:12:13 Let us hear the conclusion of the whole matter: Fear God, and keep his commandments: for this is the whole duty of man.

Revelation 14:7 Saying with a loud voice, Fear God, and give glory to him; for the hour of his judgment is come: and worship him that made heaven, and earth, and the sea, and the fountains of waters.