Have you ever said to yourself,
Have you ever been doing a project and found yourself saying: “There has got to be a better way to do this!” It’s the feeling I have every time I go to the DMV. “Surely, there is a better way to do this!” Sometimes the better way eludes my intellect. Okay, more often that I’d like to admit. Other times, the better way eludes my ability. Sure, there’s a better way, but I would have to learn an entirely different way of doing things. Then sometimes the better way eludes my resources. There may be a better way, but I simply can’t afford it.
When Christ offered himself as a sacrifice for our sins in the better tabernacle, he was offering a better way. Actually, he was offering the only way. The old way had its place and served its function. In fact, Jesus fulfilled all the requirements of that old way. The old way required the shedding of blood to secure forgiveness. This was done with the sacrificing of bulls and goats. But, this only made people ceremonially set apart externally. It did nothing to address the real cause of rebellion: the heart. So, Jesus isn’t just the better way of doing things, He is the only way. The ritual of the old system was imperfect. The requirements of the covenant were never satisfied. So it had to keep being repeated over and over again.
But Christ through the eternal spirit, offered himself as an unblemished sacrifice.
“The Eternal Spirit.” From my best understanding, this is not referencing the Holy Spirit. Instead, it probably refers to the spirit of Christ. From my study, I would argue that the author is drawing a connection to the eternality of Christ being God’s son and his eternal spirit. The spirit being his heart, that part of him that was unblemished in contrast to our blemishes. Our hearts are constantly going astray, but Christ’s heart or spirit never did. His spirit was overwhelmed with grief about what he was about to face the night before his crucifixion. And yes, he desired not to go through with it. But, his eternal Spirit led him to be an obedient son.
He offered himself. He was not forced to the altar like the bulls and goats. He wasn’t brought to the altar like Isaac. He offered himself. He willingly laid down his life. He climbed up on the altar to make atonement for our sins. When he was wrestling in the garden, he could have chosen not to go through with it. He had the ability to reject God’s will and do His own thing. But, he chose to do the right thing where we would have chosen to do our thing.
He was unblemished. I’m sure Christ’s body was without blemish, though we do know from scripture that he wasn’t necessarily handsome and pleasing to look at. “He had no beauty or majesty to attract us to him, nothing in his appearance that we should desire him.” (Isa 53:2) I doubt that the unblemished aspect the author is referring do is limited to Jesus’ physical body. Rather, I think unblemished refers to the fact that Jesus’ heart was without blemish. Jesus’ heart was faultless and without blame. Jesus’ heart did not condemn him.
So the unblemished, eternal heart of Christ offered himself as a sacrifice for sins in the more perfect, heavenly tabernacle.
Now, what’s the deal with all this stuff about a will?
Well, another common word for will was covenant or testament. The author says, “in the case of a will, it is necessary to prove the death of the one who made it, because a will is in force only when somebody has died; It never takes effect while the one who made it is living.”
Jesus is the fulfillment of the first covenant. It was the death of Christ that satisfied God’s just demands for our rebellion against him. Because he offered his eternal heart of his own free will to satisfy the demands of the old covenant, that covenant is finished or complete. The word Jesus used on the cross is ’teleo’ which means finished, executed, complete. To carry out the contents of a command, do just as commanded.
When Jesus spoke those words on the cross, he was not merely talking about the end of his life. He was saying, “I have done what I was sent here to do. I have offered my life as a sacrifice to satisfy the Father. I have taken the wrath of God against humanity on myself. I have performed completely what was required of in the old testament.
Having brought this completion, he now sets aside the first to establish the second. And because he was the completion of the first, he has the privilege and responsibility to be the mediator of the new covenant. Jesus’ blood had to be shed to establish a new covenant. Without the shedding of blood there is no forgiveness. Without the shedding of Christ’s eternal, unblemished blood, there would need to be ongoing sacrifice.
But, because Jesus did this, we who believe and receive the requirements of the new covenant are set free from any sins committed under the first one and will now receive the promised eternal inheritance. We won’t receive the temporary inheritance that the Israelites received which was a type and shadow of God’s eternal rest. We will receive the actual eternal rest and eternal presence of God in our lives. We will actually get to be God’s people.
We have so much to be thankful for in Christ. He has done something we could never do. Without what He did for us, we would still be on the hook for our rebellion. But, because He did what He did, not only are we set free but we no longer have to live under the guilt of our conscience because the blood of Christ will cleanse our conscience from acts that lead us to death so that we may serve the living God!