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Sabbath School Lessons on Hebrews
About the Author
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 9: Jesus' Ministry and the Sanctuary *
Introduction: "Faster access." Since GoBible is an Internet ministry,
all of you who read this lesson no doubt want the fastest possible
access to your Internet data. Have you ever given thought to "faster
access," or "better access," when it comes to your relationship with
God? The book of Hebrews has been teaching us about the parallel
between the earthly and heavenly sanctuaries. This parallel has a lot
to teach us about our access to God. Let's dive into our lesson and
see what we can learn!
- The Shadow
- Read Hebrews 10:1. When you think of a "shadow," what
comes to mind?
- How would you define the word "shadow?"
- How is shadow used in this text? (As something that
generally resembles the original.)
- In your experience, how close is a shadow to the
reality? (My shadow is generally a distortion of
the way I actually appear. My shadow makes me
appear either very tall or very short.)
- How is "the law" a shadow of the good things ahead?
(The Greek word translated "law" can mean "the
principle." The writer of Hebrews seems to be
telling us that the principles of the Old Testament
sanctuary service are a reflection, but a distorted
reflection, of the ultimate principles of God's
- In this case, what is wrong with "the shadow?" How
does it distort the true image? (One major problem is
that the sanctuary service did not make perfect those
who participated in the system.)
- Are there other ways in which the Old Testament
sanctuary service distorts our ultimate picture of
God? (A very significant distortion has to do with
our access to God. Sins were only forgiven through
the help of the priest. Only the High Priest was in
the presence of God, and then only one day a year. As
we will see later in this study, that gives us a
distorted picture of our present access to God.)
- Read Hebrews 10:2-4. How do we know that the Old Testament
sanctuary service did not make the people perfect? What
logical argument is made by the writer of Hebrews?(He has
three arguments: 1) If just one sacrifice could cleanse
the people from their sins, they would not need to keep
sacrificing. 2) If just one sacrifice would have
eliminated sin, then the people would no longer have any
feelings of guilt. 3) The sacrifices were just a reminder
of sin, not a solution to sin, because animal blood cannot
- Now that we are under the New Covenant, should the
opposite now be true? We have been studying that
Jesus was sacrificed just once for our sins. See
- If you said, "yes, the opposite is now true" why
does the sanctuary service in heaven continue?
- If the opposite is now true, would we need to
continue to feel guilty?
- If the opposite is true, would we need to
continue to be reminded of our sins? (Only one
sacrifice by Jesus was needed. As we consider
the parallel between the Old Testament sanctuary
service, and the one in heaven, Jesus, our High
Priest, is now in that part of the sanctuary
service where He is in the presence of God the
Father. He is there on our behalf. That should
release us from feeling guilt for sins which
have been confessed to Jesus.)
- What God Wants
- Read Hebrews 10:5-7. What does God NOT want? (Burnt
offerings and sacrifices.)
- Why not? God set the sanctuary sacrificial system up,
didn't He? The Old Testament sanctuary service was
not just some "brain storm" that Moses had one day,
right? (The key to the answer is in verse 7. Jesus
says "I have come to do your will." God's will is
that we obey. What Jesus did for us is to perfectly
obey the law on our behalf. The sacrifices were not
the goal of the sanctuary system. The goal of the
system was obedience to the law. That comes only
- Read Hebrews 10:8-10. What ultimately made us holy? (Verse
10 tells us that God's will, through Jesus' sacrifice, has
made us holy.)
- What does this tell us about God's desire for us to
be saved? (God's will is that we be saved. That is
- What is "the first" that Jesus has set aside? What is
"the second" that Jesus has established?
- Are you holy now?
- We have learned so far that the sanctuary system was
intended to draw our attention to the better principles
that govern God's kingdom. One of those principles is that
the life and death of Jesus is intended to make us holy.
Let's explore this a bit more. Read Hebrews 7:23-25. What
kind of salvation is available to us? (Complete
- What do we have to do to obtain this complete
salvation? (Come to God through Jesus.)
- What does Jesus do when we come to Him seeking
salvation? (He intercedes for us.)
- We see that God is "on board" with this program. It
is God's will that we be saved. It is His will that
we be holy. Why, then, would Jesus have to intercede,
or mediate for us? If God is "on our side" why do we
need a mediator?
- Read Colossians 1:19-22. What is the problem
between God and humans? (Because of sin, we were
in a state of hostility to God.)
- How does the work of Jesus change that?
(Jesus' sacrifice has "reconciled" us to
God the Father.)
- What do you think this reconciliation has
done for your access to God?
- New Mountain
- Read Hebrews 12:18-21. What is being described here? (This
is a description of the giving of the Ten Commandments to
the Israelites at Mount Sinai. See Exodus 19.)
- Even Moses was trembling with fear. Why did God
approach the people in such a way? (This reflects the
hostility between God and man that was created
because of sin. God wanted to "put the fear of God"
in their hearts.)
- Read Hebrews 12:22-24. Describe how the reception at Mount
Zion is better than the reception at Mount Sinai? How are
- Why are things different? (Jesus has defeated sin. He
has overcome evil. He has reconciled us to God. He
has been working as our mediator under the new
covenant. Instead of fire, brimstone and terror, we
face a happy, joyous heavenly host to welcome us
- How would you describe this access to God? (Imagine
the difference between entering a home where the head
of the household had some serious problems with you,
as opposed to where the head of the household felt
joy because of you.)
- In the context of all of this happiness, why is the
"blood of Abel" mentioned? (Both Jesus and Abel died
as a result of sin. The difference is that Abel's
death shows us the natural outworking of sin. While
Jesus gave us the opportunity to claim the victory
over sin. We do not face the natural, ultimate
consequences of sin because of Jesus. One of those
natural consequences of sin is that it is repugnant
to a Holy God. Jesus, however, has made us holy.)
- What kind of attitude should we have as a
result? (We can rejoice. Jesus has made us holy.
Jesus is mediating on our behalf. Heaven looks
forward to us arriving. What access we now
- Friend, it that the reception you want to have in heaven?
Do you want heavenly beings to have joy at your arrival?
If so, repent, accept Jesus as your substitute, and He
will make you holy.
- Next week: Jesus, Our Sacrifice and Salvation.
* Copr. 2003, 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.