Useful Bible Studies > Hebrews Commentary > chapter 10

The blood has special meaning

Hebrews 10:4

Of course it is impossible that the blood of animals should free people from their sins (evil deeds). Blood is essential for an animalís life. But when the animal is dead, its blood is not especially useful for anyone. It certainly cannot save people from the punishment for their sins. It cannot mend a personís broken relationship with God.

The author is referring to the blood that Israelís priests used in their ceremonies (Hebrews 9:21-22). Blood was necessary in those ceremonies. Because of those ceremonies and that blood, God could forgive his peopleís sins. But it was not the blood itself that achieved that result. The blood in those ceremonies was just a substance with a special meaning. The meaning was very important, but the blood itself was not. In other words, the blood of those animals did not have some secret power to take away sins. So we need to understand the special meaning of that blood.

That special meaning is the death of Christ. He died, even as those animals had died, for other peopleís sin. His death, like the deaths of those animals, made it possible for God to forgive sins. But the deaths of those animals was the copy; and Christís death was the reality. It is Christís death that really frees people from the power of sin. It is Christís death that gives people a right relationship with God.

The blood of those animals had a similar effect only because Christís death would really do it. Like a teacher, God used those copies to teach people about the reality.

Some people only cared about the ceremonies, and never learned about the reality. But other people understood what God was teaching, for example David (Psalm 51:16-17); Micah (Micah 6:6-8) and John the Baptist (John 1:35-36).

Next part: Psalm 40 and the Septuagint (Hebrews 10:5)


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© 2014, Keith Simons.