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Sabbath School Lessons on The Wonder of Jesus
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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 12: The Efficacy of His Priestly Ministry *
Introduction: Have you ever had someone ask you, "What have you done
for me lately?" Our studies for the last two weeks have been the
death and resurrection of Jesus. How glorious was Jesus' triumph over
death! But, that was over 2,000 years ago. Is that the end of the
story? What, if anything, is Jesus doing now? If He is doing
something, is He doing it for you and me? Let's plunge into our study
of the Bible and find out!
- The First Contract
- Read Hebrews 9:1. A "covenant" is a contract. What was
involved in this "first contract?" (It had rules for
worship and it had a special place for worship.)
- Who do you think are the parties to this first
contract? (God and humans had an agreement about how
humans should approach and worship God.)
- Read Hebrews 9:2-5. What is being described here? (The
place of worship and the articles used for worship in the
first contract. The "earthly sanctuary" started out as a
portable tabernacle that was constructed in the wilderness
journey of God's people from Egypt to Palestine. Later,
King Solomon built a permanent structure in Jerusalem
following this same general plan. Solomon's temple was
destroyed and a replacement built that lasted until its
final destruction by the Romans in 70 A.D.)
- What divided the "Holy Place" of the temple from the
"Most Holy Place?" (The "second curtain.")
- What was the purpose of the Most Holy Place? (The ark
represented the presence of God. It contained the Ten
Commandments. Above the cover of the ark, between the
two cherubim, was where God would come to give
directions to His people. Exodus 25:22.)
- Read Hebrews 9:6-7. How were these two compartments of the
temple used? (In the outer court, the "Holy Place," the
priests offered daily sacrifices for the sins of the
people. The priest sacrificed an animal because the person
bringing the animal had sinned. The blood of the animal
transferred the sin of the person to the temple(Leviticus
5). Once a year, on the Day of Atonement, the High Priest
entered the inner court, the Most Holy Place. He did this
to take the blood symbolizing the sins of the people to
God. By this annual ceremony the sins of the people and
the High Priests own sins were removed from the
- Read Hebrews 9:8. There is a lesson for us in this system.
It seems to say that we did not have an adequate map. What
does this mean? A map to what? (No one but the High
Priest could enter the Most Holy section of the temple,
and he could only do it once a year. The Most Holy Place
was where the Ten Commandments were kept and where God
would come. Therefore, this must mean that we (the
ordinary people) did not have an adequate map to find
obedience or find God.)
- The New Order, the Map and the Second Contract
- Read Matthew 27:50-51. This refers to the curtain
separating the Holy from the Most Holy sections of the
temple. Why are we told that it was ripped "from top to
bottom?" (Humans would start from where they were -
standing at the bottom. This was done supernaturally.)
- When did this happen? (At the time that Jesus died on
- Why would Jesus' death have anything to do with the
curtain in the temple? (Read Hebrews 10:19-20. Jesus
death opened up the way for ordinary people to
approach God. We now have "the map" to get to God!)
- Read Hebrews 9:8-10. The "time of the new order" has
arrived. What is the "new order?" Why does it have
anything to do with the existence of the place of worship
under the first contract?
- If the old place of worship is destroyed, how does
that help us with our "map" to find God?
- Read John 1:29. Here is a big hint about the new order and
the second contract. Why is Jesus called the "Lamb of
God?" What does He have to do with taking away the "sin of
the world?" (John the Baptist called Jesus the "Lamb of
God" from the very beginning of Jesus' ministry. Under the
old order, actual lambs were sacrificed to remove the sins
of the people. This was just a temporary arrangement
( Hebrews 9:9-10), one which did not really clear the
people of sin, but one which illustrated the new order in
which Jesus died for our sins!)
- Read Hebrews 9:11-12. Hebrews just explained that Jesus
was the Lamb. Now we are told Jesus is also the High
Priest. How can He be both?(Under the first contract, the
old order, a human High Priest carried the blood of an
animal into the Most Holy Place (where God would come)once
a year. This was the method of removing sin and it was
repeated annually. In the new order, the second contract,
Jesus carried His own blood into the presence of God.
Thus, He performed the role of both the sacrifice and the
High Priest. Jesus did this just once to make a one-time,
full payment for our sins.)
- Where is Jesus acting as the High Priest? The text
says Jesus "went through the greater and more perfect
tabernacle [temple]." We already discussed three
temples, which one is this? (Read Hebrews 8:5 and
Hebrews 9:24. Jesus is serving in the temple in
heaven! The heavenly temple was the pattern for the
temples here on earth.)
- Why would there be a temple in heaven before any
were built on earth? What purpose would it
- Read Hebrews 10:8-10. How is the new covenant (contract)
an improved version of the old?
- Why would God not be pleased with the first contract?
(God is never pleased with us sinning. He was less
pleased that animals died as the result. However, the
animals impressed on the people that sin caused
death. It symbolized the sin problem and what God
intended to do about the sin problem.)
- Why would the death of Jesus be more pleasing? (Jesus
fixed the sin problem in many ways. One is that He
died once for our sins so that we could become holy
and have eternal life.)
- Read Hebrews 10:19-22. We read this text earlier and noted
that Jesus was also compared to the curtain that separated
the Holy from the Most Holy place. How is Jesus like the
curtain that was ripped? How does this help us with the
"map" problem that we discussed earlier? (The curtain kept
everyone but the High Priest from entering or even seeing
the Most Holy place -- where God dwelled. Jesus gives us
access to God! When we died with Jesus for our sins, and
were washed in baptism, we have been given access to God!)
- We considered earlier why there would be a temple in
heaven before any were built on earth. Do you really think
there is a physical temple in heaven which looked like the
ones on earth? (No doubt there is a place in heaven where
God lives. But, when I read that Jesus is the Lamb, the
High Priest and the Curtain, I begin to think that the
physical temples on earth may be largely symbolic of what
is going on in heaven. What is done in heaven is very
real. It is the substance of what the earthly temples
- Confidence in Our Salvation
- When Hebrews 10:19 tells us to confidently enter the Most
Holy Place in heaven, what does that mean as a practical
matter? I'm not actually setting foot in heaven now. How
do I show my confidence? How do I enter? (Entering the
Most Holy Place was the means by which sin was removed.
You approached God with His Ten Commandments. I can only
understand this to mean that I must have confidence in my
salvation. If I confidently enter into the place where sin
is taken away, I know I have salvation.)
- Read Hebrews 10:26-27. Does my confidence include the
understanding that once I am saved I always will be saved?
- If you say "no," read Hebrews 10:14. How do you
explain this? (Jesus did make us perfect through His
life and death. We can, however, reject His gift of
perfection by choosing a sinful life.)
- How can I balance the great news of the new order,
the second contract and my map to God with the
reality of my daily struggle with sin? (Jesus paid
the price for our sins. We now have access to Father
God. But we must have the attitude that we want to
avoid sin. We must ask the Holy Spirit to help us be
obedient to God's will, the Ten Commandments.)
- Read Hebrews 10:15-16. What does this suggest about
our relationship to God's Ten Commandments and the
Holy Spirit? (Obedience becomes part of our attitude
through the power of the Holy Spirit.)
- Friend, now that you are part of the new order, the second
contract and a holder of the map, will you determine to
pursue holy living?
- Next week: His Return as King and Friend.
* Copr. 2008, 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.