This study begins with the writer of Hebrews concluding his argument on the superiority of the priesthood of Yeshua (Jesus) the Messiah that began in chapter seven. He states in 10:1 that the Mosaic Law by its very nature could never accomplish what Messiah’s sacrifice accomplished, that is, making the believer acceptable to God. First, he says the Law was “a shadow of the good things to come and not the very form of things.” The Greek word skia, translated “shadow,” refers to the unreality of an object as contrasted with the reality. It is used to describe a rough sketch or outline as opposed to the final product.
The Levitical sacrificial system was a type or rough sketch of the finished work Messiah would accomplish on that horrible Roman cross. Since it was only a rough sketch it could never achieve what Messiah accomplished—full access to God by “making perfect those who draw near.” The Day of Atonement (Yom Kippur) was a continual yearly reminder to the Israelites that their sins needed removing so they could continue to have fellowship with God. The writer states in verse four that “it is impossible for the blood of bulls and goats to take away sins.” Today, we do not need a yearly reminder of sin because Yeshua’s sacrifice has made us perfect in God’s sight. Therefore, Yom Kippur is now a reminder to all who believe in Yeshua’s final sacrifice of what He has accomplished for us.
In Hebrews 10:5-10—the next section—the writer applies Psalm 40:6-8 to Yeshua’s incarnation with the phrase, “When He comes into the world.” The passage he quoted clearly shows Messiah’s commitment to offer His body as a sacrifice to God because animal sacrifices of all types were simply not adequate to God. God’s will was the sanctification of believers. Yeshua was not a mindless animal that offered its life unwillingly. Yeshua intentionally, consciously, and willingly offered His life in obedience to God’s will. Two times in this section, the writer states that God “had taken no pleasure” in the Old Covenant sacrifices. It’s important to state that this does not suggest that the old sacrificial system was wrong or that those bringing sacrifices with sincere hearts received no benefit from obeying God’s Law. It only means that God had no delight in sacrifices apart from the obedient hearts of the worshipers. No amount of sacrifices could substitute for obedience. And ultimately, the intent of the sacrifices was to point people to the Messiah. Hebrews 10:9 says, “He takes away the first in order to establish the second.”
Psalm 40 announced the abolition of the old, inadequate Levitical sacrificial system and in its place established the New Covenant, based on Messiah’s greater sacrifice. This was God’s will, and it satisfied Him. The writer’s view of sanctification in verse ten is positional rather than progressive. God sets aside all believers to Himself as they come to faith in Messiah. That is what is meant when it says, “By this will we have been sanctified.”
In Hebrews 10:11-18, these last verses, the writer of Hebrews stresses the finality of Yeshua’s offering. The Levitical priests never sat down because their work was never finished, but Yeshua sat down beside His Father because He “offered one sacrifice for sins for all time.” His work was done and now He awaits the last days and the destruction of His enemies. Quoting Jeremiah 31:33-34, the writer of Hebrews states in verses 16-17 that the New Covenant believer can say that his sins and iniquities are remembered no more. There is “no longer any offering for sin.” This is something the believers under the old Levitical system could never say. This is why Yeshua’s sacrifice is superior!