Relevant Biblical Passages: Hebrews 8-9
New Covenant Sanctuary. In the official study guide, the lesson emphasizes Jesus mediatorial. role in the heavenly sanctuary, a focus which highlights the sacrificial aspects of Jesus’ death. Thus blood, mediation, and sanctuary play a central role. The following verses are central to that understanding:
Heb. 9:15: “Therefore he is the mediator of a new covenant, so that those who are called may receive the promised eternal inheritance”
Heb. 9:22: “Without the shedding of blood there is no forgiveness.”
- If blood, mediation, and sanctuary are of universal importance, then how did Israel worship God in captivity when there was no temple, sacrifice, or priesthood?
- Romans 2:12-16 suggests the standard of faithfulness to conscience is crucial for those who do not know the “law.” How can a person be saved apart from law if blood is “universally” required? Is it possible for a person to be saved through Jesus Christ and his sacrifice without ever knowing about Jesus?
- Even within the sanctuary model, it was possible for the very poor to make atonement for their sins without a blood sacrifice. They could substitute a meal offering, according to Lev. 5:11-13. What are the implications of such a non-bloody sacrifice for sin?
- If Jesus’ sacrifice was once for all, as Christians typically confess, how does this affect our understanding of sanctuary? In other words, Jesus’ sacrifice does not involve an on-going pre-occupation with blood every day, but one sacrifice for all time. Or is the Lord’s Supper a reminder of the “cost” of our salvation?
- Are there other models (besides the sacrifice model) which can enhance our understanding of the gift of salvation? In the family model, for example, suggested by the story of the Prodigal Son (Luke 15), no sacrifice was required, even though the returning son was completely covered by the “robe of Christ’s righteousness.”
George Knight, Professor of Church History at Andrews University, notes that there are 5 different biblical models which illustrate in different ways the before-and-after comparison which happens in salvation. How do these enrich our understanding? Are they complementary or exclusive?