1. In the letter to the Hebrews, verses one to eight of chapter nine, we have a description of the sanctuary of Jehovah, a place of worship. There was a tabernacle, which contained the lampstand, the table, and the sacred bread. Beyond the second veil was the Holy of Holies where were the golden altar of incense and the Ark of the Covenant covered with gold, in which was a golden jar holding the manna, and Aaron’s rod, and the tables of the covenant of the law. Above the ark were the two cherubim of glory. These things were prepared, and the priests were continually entering the first tabernacle, performing the service; but into the second only the high priest entered, once a year, not without blood, which he offered for himself and for the sins of the people. In verse nine we read that those offerings and sacrifices of the old covenant never made anyone perfect, and that they consisted only of food and drink and various washings, and regulations for the body imposed until a time of reformation (Heb.9:1-10). IT WAS A COMEMORATION OF IMPERFECTION; AND IT WAS COMPLICATED, SO THAT IT WOULD BE MORE APPRECIATED.
2. In the eighth chapter we read of a true sanctuary, which Jesus pitched (Heb.8:1-2). The one that is not true is the one on earth, pitched by Jehovah (Heb.8:3-5) and built by men. The true one is in heaven, where Jesus entered to appear in the presence of God for us (Heb.9:24). The first one, where the sacrifices pleased Jehovah, was not perfect (Lev.1:9-13,17; 2:9; 3:5; Num. 15:3,14,24). And it was not perfect because it did not please God the Father: “You had no pleasure in whole burnt offerings and sacrifices for sin” (Heb.10:6). If they did not please the Father because they were imperfect, why did they please Jehovah?
3. In the same letter to the Hebrews we read: “Now if there was perfection through the Levitical priesthood (for under it the people have received the law), what further need was there for another priest to arise after the order of Melchizedek, and not be called after the order of Aaron?” (Heb.7:11). It is clearly written that the Levitical sacrifice, established by Jehovah, was and is imperfect. The text reveals also that the priesthood of Melchizedek is not the same as Aaron’s. They are of completely different orders. The following is written about this infinite difference: “For it is evident that our Lord has sprung out of Judah, about which tribe Moses spoke nothing concerning priesthood” (Heb.7:14); and more: “For the priesthood being changed, there is of necessity a change made also in the law” (Heb.7:12). The priesthood of Jehovah is not a type of the priesthood of Christ, for they are completely different. The apostle Peter, referring to the priesthood of Jesus Christ, which is of the New Testament and of the Church, says: “But you are a chosen race, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a people for God’s own possession, that you may proclaim the excellence of him who called you out of darkness into his marvelous light” (1 Pet. 2:9). Now, the priesthood of the Church is perfect (Heb.4:14-15), so the priesthood of Jehovah is imperfect. The priesthood of the Church is real; therefore the priesthood of Jehovah is a farce, in other words, a complicated and inefficient fantasy; for this reason the priesthood was changed.
The sacrifices ministered by those priests of Jehovah were imperfect. The letter to the Hebrews is the book that reveals the imperfections found in the Old Testament. Let us look at the imperfections of the sacrifices and holocausts: “For the law, having a shadow of the good to come, not the very image of the things, can never with the same sacrifices year by year, which they offer continually, make perfect those who draw near” (Heb.10:1). Then we ask: If they are imperfect, why did Jehovah forgive the sins through those sacrifices? If in the congregation of Israel someone committed error against any of the commandment of Jehovah, he then would bring a young bull for the atonement of sin (Lev.4:13-14). Then the anointed priest performed a complicated ritual, closing with a holocaust, and the sin was forgiven (Lev.4:15-20). If there was forgiveness, the sacrifice had to be perfect. Why do we read in the letter to the Hebrews that they were imperfect? That is because each sacrifice was worth the sin of that day— more exactly, the sin brought to the altar. But the people or the person would have to bring another young bull, if they committed the same sin again. Therefore, it is written: “Every priest indeed stands day by day serving and often offering the same sacrifices, which can never take away sins” (Heb.10:11). If an Israelite were addicted to any particular sin against the law of Jehovah, he would better be rich and possess a herd of young bulls, for if he did not offer sacrifices for the sins, he would die (Ezek.18:4). The imperfect sacrifice, then, consisted in the forgiving of the same sin every day, and the priests were fat from eating so much meat (1 Cor.10:18). Jehovah, the merciful, forgave the same sin day after day, but never removed from the heart of the sinner the addiction to the sin. The sacrifices and holocausts fed sin, for, if someone, being a slave to sin, was able to reach forgiveness, this person would spend all he possessed to gain the favor of Jehovah and maintain the morbid pleasure of the flesh.
We will now proceed to the teaching of our Lord Jesus Christ: “Previously saying, ‘Sacrifices and offerings and whole burnt offerings and sacrifices for sin you didn’t desire, neither had pleasure in them’ (those which are offered according to the law), then he has said, ‘Behold, I have come to do your will.’ He takes away the first, that he may establish the second, by which will we have been sanctified through the offering of the body of Jesus Christ once for all” (Heb.10:8-10). And goes on: “For by one offering he has perfected forever those who are being sanctified” (Heb. 10:14). “For Christ hasn’t entered into holy places made with hands, which are representations of the true, but into heaven itself, now to appear in the presence of God for us; nor yet that he should offer himself often, as the high priest enters into the holy place year by year with blood not his own, or else he must have suffered often since the foundation of the world. But now once at the end of the ages, he has been revealed to put away sin by the sacrifice of himself” (Heb.9:24-26). “Put away” means, “to wipe out”, “to destroy”. But sin has never been so alive as it is today. All Christians say: I sin and I am saved. Paul contends that man can be delivered from sin (Rom.6:18). And John says: “He who sins is of the devil, for the devil has been sinning from the beginning. To this end the Son of God was revealed, that He might destroy the works of the devil” (1 John 3:5-6). So, the slave of sin has to offer sacrifices of young bulls in the tabernacle of Jehovah, for it is included in Heb.10:11 — Do not annihilate the power of Jesus Christ for the pleasure of sinning. Always remember that the one who commits sin is of the devil (1 John 3:8). So that we do not become children of the devil, we have to believe in the delivering power of Jesus Christ and abominate sin.
By Pastor Olavo Silveira Pereira