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Sabbath School Lessons on The Sanctuary
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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 41 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 8: Christ, Our Priest *
Introduction: Two weeks, ago we discussed that everything has
changed. Instead of having a physical temple on earth where God lives
and humans approach God only through a priest, our bodies are now
temples ( 1 Corinthians 6:19-20) and God's Spirit lives in us (Romans
8:9). If everything has changed, then why does Hebrews extensively
discuss Jesus' current work as our High Priest? Let's dive into our
study of the Bible to find out what we can learn about what God is
- The Order of Melchizedek
- Read Hebrews 7:1. What do we immediately notice is
different about Melchizedek? (He is both a king and a
priest. In Israel, the king and priest were separate.)
- Read Hebrews 7:2-3. To whom is Melchizedek compared?
(Jesus, the Son of God.)
- How is Melchizedek like Jesus?
- Read Hebrews 7:4-8. We can see that the writer of Hebrews
is constructing an argument. What do you think the writer
is arguing? (He is asking the Jewish people familiar with
the sanctuary system on earth to consider that something
greater exists, something that pre-dated the sanctuary on
- Read Hebrews 7:11. Why is the Melchizedek system better
than the Levitical system? (Perfection! Perfection could
not be attained through the human priesthood.)
- Perfection for who? (Us! Praise God.)
- Let's contemplate this a bit. Did we change? (No.)
- What changed? (The system. That means that
perfection does not depend on us.)
- Read Hebrews 7:12. What has changed along with the
priesthood? (The law.)
- Read Hebrews 7:13-17. What aspects of the law changed?
(Hebrews says the rules about the priesthood changed.
Melchizedek and Jesus are not priests because of
regulations about ancestry, but because of "the power of
an indestructible life."
- Read Hebrews 7:18-19. How does this say the law changed?
(Recall that we decided a few minutes ago that the pursuit
of perfection is the difference between the new and old
priesthood. Hebrews tells us that the law is "weak and
useless" for making us perfect.)
- These are powerful words. What do they mean as a
practical matter for our daily living? (They mean
that we will never become prefect by trying to obey
the law. Such an effort is useless because it is too
weak to accomplish the goal. "Part-perfect" is an
- Read Hebrews 7:23-26. How does Jesus meet our need for
perfection? (He is "holy, blameless, pure, set apart from
sinners" and "He is able to save completely those who come
to God through Him.")
- How then, do you become perfect? How do I become
- Let's step back a moment. We started out saying that
everything is new. We are temples, and God's Spirit lives
in us. Is what Jesus is doing also new? (Yes! This tells
us that Jesus' priesthood is new and improved, but it is
not without precedent. The precedent is the Melchizedek
- If precedent is important, how can you fit precedent
into what is happening today? (The precedent is that
the forgiveness of sin was never through human
effort. It was through the death of an animal. The
precedent is that the sin transfer process was
handled by the priests. Now, Jesus died on our behalf
(we died with Him), and He is the one who now deals
with the sin transfer process. The precedent is that
God meets with humans in a special place. Now, God
meets with us - but He wants our temple to be a
- Read Hebrews 8:1-2. Have you every heard someone say, "Now
here is the point?" The writer of Hebrews is saying, "Now
here is the point!" What do you understand is the point?
(We have this fabulous, wonderfully superior priest who is
serving right now in heaven on our behalf!)
- Read Hebrews 9:24-26. In what way is Jesus our fabulous,
wonderfully superior priest? (He is in heaven, not earth,
He sacrificed once, not many times. He did away with sin
and appears on our behalf before God!)
- Read Romans 8:32-34. We noted in our discussion two weeks
ago that the Most Holy place in the sanctuary was a
"danger zone." People died if they entered the presence of
God at the wrong time in the wrong way. What do these
verses in Romans suggest about God's attitude toward us?
(He loves us so much that He gave us Jesus. God will
graciously give us "all things.")
- Who brings charges against us? (This suggests that no
one is sufficient to bring charges.)
- Read Revelation 12:10-11. Who is the accuser? (Satan.
He is defeated by the blood of the Lamb and the
testimony of believers.)
- Do you feel guilty about past sins? Sins you have
- If the answer is, "yes," what do these texts
suggest about this? (That it is the work of the
evil one to accuse you. No one is sufficient to
accuse you when Jesus is interceding on your
- Read Romans 8:26-27. Wait! Do we have a second
intercessor? (Yes! The Holy Spirit also intercedes for us!
This makes perfect sense in light of the doctrine of the
Trinity. All three Members of the Godhead are pulling for
- What, exactly, is the Holy Spirit doing for us that
is different than what Jesus is doing for us? (The
Holy Spirit "helps us in our weakness.")
- What weakness is this? (Jesus takes away our
sins, but the entire sanctuary system shows
that sin is the enemy. Thus, we need to
determine to live a life in accord with the
law. Our attitude and our acts are our
weakness, and the Holy Spirt helps us with
these. Again, our actions never save us, only
Jesus' work on our behalf. But, what saved
person wants to be an agent of Satan?)
- Romans 8:26 contains some strange language: "the
Spirit Himself intercedes for us with groans that
words cannot express." What kind of intercession is
this? (A close relative of mine may have a serious
medical problem. Have you had so desperate a prayer
need that you do not know how to put things into
words - words that will describe how much you need
God's help? That is another kind of human weakness.
The Holy Spirit intercedes for us to express the
deepest emotions - so deep we really cannot
adequately put them into words.)
- Romans 8:27 brings to mind another aspect of
intercession. Have you ever faced a need and were
uncertain about God's will in the matter? How can you
know God's will? (The Holy Spirit "intercedes for the
saints in accordance with God's will.")
- Re-read Romans 8:34 and read Romans 8:35-37. We have two
main problems in life. We are sinners, deserving death,
and we live in a sinful world. Jesus cured the death
problem and He continues to intercede on our behalf in
heaven. How do we deal with the living in a sinful world
problem? (This is the intercession of the Holy Spirit. The
Spirit helps us, guides us and directs us.)
- What do these two intercessions show? (God's great
love! You can decide to leave God, but nothing
external can take away Jesus' sacrifice for you and
the Holy Spirit's daily help to you! Praise God!)
- Friend, would you like Jesus and the Holy Spirit to
intercede for you? Would you like them to remove the
condemnation of the law, and give you comfort and guidance
in day to day problems? If so, why not invite Jesus into
your life right now? Why not confess your sins and accept
His sacrifice and the power of His Spirit?
- Next week: The Pre-Advent Judgment.
* Copr. 2013, 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.