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Sabbath School Lessons on His Wondrous Cross - The Story of Our Redemption
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Bruce N. Cameron, J.D.
is the author of these Sabbath School lesson study outlines. He is the Reed Larson Professor of Labor Law at Regent University School of Law. Professor Cameron has devoted his life to promoting the Gospel and defending believers. In addition to teaching at an overtly Christian law school, he continues his 37 year practice of law which is limited to the litigation of constitutional rights and religious freedom cases for employees. He holds an undergraduate degree from Andrews University and a Doctor of Law from Emory University School of Law.
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Lesson 3: Jesus and the Sanctuary *
Introduction: Consider one of the main arguments against Jesus being
God. He was born to an obscure couple, raised in a disreputable
village, and at an early age died the death of a criminal. For the
uneducated, this is not a resume that would seem to put you on the
fast track to being a hero of history, much less being God. It is the
qualifier "uneducated" that is so important here. For thousands of
years, God had been trying to educate humans that the Messiah was
coming to die. Let's jump into our lesson and learn more about God's
early education plan!
- Addressing the Sin Problem: Symbolically.
- Read Leviticus 4:22. Have you heard the expression,
"ignorance of the law is no excuse?" How does that apply
to God's law? (The text says that leaders are guilty even
of unintentional sins. You do not need to have intent to
be guilty of sin.)
- Read Leviticus 4:23. Does this next verse modify the
conclusion we just reached about being guilty of sin even
though we have no intent? (Perhaps this is just a rule of
commonsense. But, it seems to indicate that we have no
obligation to seek forgiveness of sin until we become
aware that what we are doing violates God's law.)
- Let's put Leviticus 4:24 together with Leviticus 4:23.
What is God's solution to the problem of those leaders who
sin? (Once you became aware of your sin, you had to make a
sin offering to God by sacrificing a male goat.)
- Read Leviticus 4:25-26. What else is required for
forgiveness? (The background for this is in Exodus. In
Exodus chapters 25-27, God gives Moses the instructions
for building a sanctuary (temple) so that God can dwell
with humans. ( Exodus 25:8.) In Exodus chapters 28-30, God
sets up a priesthood and a system of sacrifices for this
sanctuary. When Leviticus 4:25-26 refers to the "horns of
the altar of burnt offering" and the "priest," those
hearing the instructions would know it referred to the
sanctuary system God had set up in Exodus. Thus, the
forgiveness of sin required not simply the sacrifice of an
animal, but the blood of the sacrifice being applied at
the sanctuary in the proper way by the designated priest.)
- Read Leviticus 4:27-31. How are the sins of the average
person forgiven? (The same way as the sins of the leaders
are forgiven. Only the specifications for the animal
- Did you notice that all these texts refer to
"unintentional" sin? How does that make you feel? Is it
possible that God only set up a plan for forgiveness of
- Read Leviticus 5:1. Is this an unintentional sin?
- Read Leviticus 6:1-3. Are these unintentional sins?
(These are clearly intentional sins.)
- Read Leviticus 6:4-7. What must you do to be
forgiven of intentional sins? (It requires the
death of an animal, as with unintentional sins.
However, it also requires restitution when
property has been taken, along with a 20%
- What do you think about the 20% sin penalty?
- Why do you think God imposes it? (To deter
- Is restitution and this 20% penalty what
separates intentional from unintentional
- Read Leviticus 17:10-12. What role does blood play in the
sanctuary sacrificial system? ( Leviticus 17:11 tells us
that the "life" is in the blood, and it is the blood which
atones for our sins. Modern medical science has shown the
importance of the circulation of blood in bringing oxygen,
and thus life, to the cells of our bodies.)
- I can logically understand why God would say that the
Israelites could not eat the blood of the animal
which was being sacrificed. However, these verses
forbid eating the blood of any animal. What logic do
you see in this? (This shows that God is teaching us
something that goes beyond the sacrifice of the
animals. Linking the atonement in general to blood is
part of the unfolding of our education that the blood
of the Messiah atones for our sins.)
- If the blood atones for sin, why is restitution required
for intentional sins involving property? (Like "works,"
today, it reveals the attitude of the heart.)
- Addressing the Sin Problem: the Reality.
- Read Hebrews 9:19-22. What is the writer of Hebrews
describing here? (An aspect of the sanctuary part of the
Old Testament sacrificial system we have been studying.)
- What role does Hebrews say that the shedding of blood
plays in the forgiveness of sin? (Without the
shedding of blood there is no forgiveness of sin.)
- Read Hebrews 9:23-26. Whose blood did the blood of animals
in the Old Testament system symbolize? (Jesus.)
- Read Hebrews 9:27-28. How does this text say that
Jesus died? (He was sacrificed. Just like the animal
sacrifice of the Old Testament, Jesus shed His blood
for the forgiveness of our sins.)
- Addressing the Sin Problem: the Logic.
- Although the nature of Jesus' death was foretold thousands
of years in advance, explain logically why Jesus' death
was required for the forgiveness of sin? (Look again at
Hebrews 9:26. It says in part, "to do away with sin by the
sacrifice of Himself." Hebrews 9:28 says in part, "Christ
was sacrificed once to take away the sins of many people."
Jesus' sacrifice takes away our sins.)
- We can see the statement that Jesus' sacrifice takes
away our sins. But, tell me the reason why should
that be true? (The logic of this has always been
difficult for me. We start out with the rule that sin
causes death. ( Genesis 2:15-17.) Thus, those who sin,
die - that makes logical sense. The only logic I see
to Jesus' death is a very simple concept. Jesus
agreed to suffer the death penalty in our place. He
agreed to die for us.)
- Would Satan have to agree to this substitution -
instead of us dying, Jesus dies? (God is the one who
is offended by sin. Thus, it would be God who has
agreed to this.)
- Assume you are with me on the logic of Jesus' dying in our
place. Why was it necessary for Jesus to live a perfect
life? (Two suggestions. First, if Jesus had sinned, then
He would have had to die for His own sin. He could offer
to be our substitute only because He was not under a
sentence of death. Second, this whole "sin results in
death" concept would not be "fair" if humans had no choice
but to sin. Jesus shows that Adam and Eve had a choice.
Jesus shows that God's command to the first couple to obey
His law was both reasonable and possible. Thus, in Jesus'
life we see both a vindication of the law of God and the
payment of the penalty of sin which humans brought on
- Although you should read the entire chapter of Isaiah 53,
let's focus on Isaiah 53:1-5. Who is Isaiah writing about?
(This is a prophecy of Jesus.)
- As you consider these verses, do they describe power,
beauty or authority? (No.)
- Isaiah 53:1 calls the message of these verses the
"arm of the Lord." To what does the arm of the Lord
refer? (God's power. God's muscle.)
- How can this picture which lacks beauty, power
or authority be referred to as the power of God?
(This is part of God's logic. His "power" comes
through self-sacrifice. He wins against sin by
giving Himself up to benefit others.)
- Have you tried to apply this principle to your
- Friend, when you consider that the Old Testament
sacrificial system required the shedding of blood for the
forgiveness of sin, the nature of Jesus' death was
perfectly forecast. This is extraordinary evidence that
Jesus is the Messiah. However, the logic of this teaches
us an important lesson about life. Have you felt the power
- Next week: A Body You Have Prepared for Me.
* Copr. 2005, Bruce N. Cameron, J.D. All scripture references are to the New International Version (NIV), copr. 1973, 1978, 1984 International Bible Society, unless otherwise noted. Quotations from the NIV are used by permission of Zondervan Bible Publishers. Suggested answers are found within parentheses. The lesson assumes the teacher uses a blackboard or some other visual aid.