Sabbath School Lesson for February 26-March 4, 2022

Overview of Lesson 10

There is something else Jesus provides for us besides a perfect sacrifice. He opens the way for us to approach the Father. The temple veils are pulled back, revealing a very approachable God. Jesus, serving as our intermediary, stands at the throne of God, inviting us to enter through the veil. We consider these features of His invitation:

  • Just as Hebrew males were to “appear before the Lord” every year for three feasts, Jesus has gone to appear before the Father in heaven–Hebrews 9:24. (Sunday)
  • After the Exodus, the people’s fear and lack of faith caused them to call for Moses to be their intermediary, representing the role Jesus would play after His ascension–Hebrews 12:18-21. (Monday)
  • The earthly sanctuary had several veils which served as both entrances and boundaries–Exodus 26:31-35. (Tuesday)
  • The fact that Jesus has gone through the veil in the heavenly sanctuary indicates that a new covenant has begun for God’s people–Hebrews 10:19-22. (Wednesday)
  • Someday the faithful will enter “through the veil” and be able to dwell in the city “whose builder and maker is God”–Hebrews 11:10. (Thursday)

Our study this week is vital because it emphasizes how we approach God. We must go through the veil, which stands for Christ’s flesh (Hebrews 10:20). Jesus’ broken body on the cross was necessary for our salvation. Only through His sacrifice and intermediary work on our behalf can we beat back Satan’s attacks and attain eternal life.

Memory Text: “For Christ has not entered the holy places made with hands, which are copies of the true, but into heaven itself, now to appear in the presence of God for us.” Hebrews 9:24 NKJV

Understanding the new covenant and the work Jesus is accomplishing for us in the heavenly sanctuary is easier when we look back at the Old Testament services in the earthly sanctuary.

The book of Hebrews was intended to connect the old and the new and inspire confidence in the Christian faith that many had begun to drift away from. There were many reasons to look back and learn from past mistakes, but also from the forgotten symbols and ceremonies that pointed forward to the Messiah. Knowing the purpose of the veil helps us achieve the goal of growing our faith in the sacrifice of God’s Son.

Sunday: Jesus Before the Father

Jesus is described as going before the Father in Hebrews 9:24, our memory text. To get the full meaning of this, we remember that Hebrew males were required to “appear before the Lord” in Jerusalem three times a year. Exodus 23:14-17 and Deuteronomy 16:16 tell us these pilgrimages included the Feast of Unleavened Bread (the Passover), the Feast of Weeks or Harvest (later known as Pentecost), and the Feast of Tabernacles (or Booths).

Jesus died on the day of preparation for the Passover, at the same time the Passover lambs were sacrificed. He was resurrected on the third day, when the priest was to wave the sheaf of ripe barley as the firstfruits of the harvest. Forty days later, Jesus ascended back to heaven to sit at the right hand of God. This inaugurated the new covenant on the Day of Pentecost.

These amazing fulfillments of prophecy and accurate symbolic depictions are intended to build our faith in the plan of salvation God has made available through His Son. Someday we will journey to that heavenly Canaan, called a “better country” in Hebrews 11:16. We await that final pilgrimage with our Lord.

Bible Verses to Explore:

Hebrews 9:24

  • Why does Jesus appear before the Lord in heaven?

Exodus 23:14-17 and Deuteronomy 16:16

  • How did these pilgrimages point forward to the Messiah? What was their prophetic fulfillment?
  • What will the final pilgrimage be like when we make that long-awaited journey to heaven?

Monday: God’s Invitation

It has always been God’s desire to enjoy close, intimate communication with His creatures. He invited the children of Israel to meet Him on the mountain, but their faith was lacking. With sin still controlling many hearts, the encounter with God was too fearful for them and they begged Moses to go in their place. Even Moses admitted that he was “exceedingly afraid and trembling”. See Hebrews 12:18-21.

God instructed them to arm themselves by being newly consecrated. Even those who were not directly going before God on the mountain must prepare their hearts for the encounter Moses was to have. Cleansing their hearts was symbolically shown by washing their clothes (Exodus 19:10, 14).

We are to constantly renew our dedication to God as we serve Him now. We longingly look forward to the day when we personally can approach God face to face. His plan has never been to turn us away. Our lack of faith is what now prevents us from accepting His invitation.

Bible Verses to Explore:

Hebrews 12:18-21

  • Why were they terrified of God? What made their encounter so frightening?

Tuesday: The Need for a Veil

We must remember that veils (the ornate curtains that separated parts of the sanctuary) served two purposes. They were entrances, but they also served as boundaries to keep out those who were not consecrated and declared holy. They protected the holy articles and space where God’s presence was with them.

The need for this separation of God from the ungodly was illustrated when, after the episode of worshipping a golden calf, Moses moved the tent of meeting outside the camp. It was only after Moses’ intercession that the sanctuary was returned to the center of the camp. Read about this in Exodus 33.

God then set up a distinct plan for how and where the tent of meeting would be erected. It would be placed in the very center of the camp. Levites, those from the tribe who had stayed faithful and not participated in the worship of the golden calf, were to be its guardians and caretakers (Numbers 1:53). They would, in essence, serve as human veils to guard God’s dwelling place.

Bible Verses to Explore:

Exodus 26:31-35 and Hebrews 9:2, 3

  • Why were there two compartments in the sanctuary, the Holy and the Most Holy?
  • Why were these veils appropriate ways to separate them?

Numbers 1:53

  • In what way were the Levites to be human veils of the sanctuary?

John 1:14-18

  • In what way is Christ our veil when we approach God?

Wednesday: The New and Living Way Through the Veil

There were many rituals and ceremonies involved with the Day of Atonement, the only day of the year the High Priest would enter the Most Holy Place in the sanctuary. But Hebrews 10:19-23 describes “a new and living way” that we can boldly enter through the veil and commune with God.

Because of Jesus’ sacrifice, we can “draw near with a true heart”–one that has been “washed with pure water”. Through faith, “our hearts are sprinkled from an evil conscience”. We can confess our hope in God’s promises “without wavering”.

This is truly a new and living way to approach God and what a blessing it is to have Jesus and what He did for us as our ticket to do so. The covenant of God has never looked so appealing. With the sacrifice of our Lord, Satan’s judgment has begun (John 12:31). He has been cast out of heaven for good; his fate is assured.

The old covenant, described as old and obsolete (Hebrews 8:13), is replaced with the new covenant, a “new and living way” to commune with God and enjoy a fuller relationship with Him (Hebrews 10:20).

Bible Verses to Explore:

Hebrews 10:19-22

  • What are we invited to do and how are we to do it?

Hebrews 6:19, 20 and 12:2

  • When did our salvation actually begin (was assured) and when will it end?
  • Why is it safe to say that Jesus is “the author and finisher of our faith”? What does this mean?

Thursday: They Will See His Face

The resurrection and ascension of Jesus, witnessed by His disciples, elevated their faith and left them with no doubt about His place and ministry in heaven. For them, the surety of our salvation was a reality, a fact born out by a very real event (Hebrews 7:22).

The typology of two of the yearly pilgrimages, the Passover and Pentecost, was made crystal clear to them. No one questioned the meaning of these solemn symbols.

The third pilgrimage, when Jesus would accompany them to His heavenly homeland, was longingly anticipated (John 14:3). They would not have to build “booths”, or tents, on this journey. God’s booth would come down from heaven, and they would go to live with Him forever in the Promised Land, the New Jerusalem (Hebrews 11:10, 16).

With so much pain and suffering being experienced in our troubled world today, what greater news is there that Jesus will someday soon end it all. In our glorified, rejuvenated bodies, we will pass through the veil that has separated us and meet our Lord face to face.

Bible Verses to Explore:

Hebrews 11:1 and 8:24

  • How much faith do we need, as opposed to the disciples who saw so many miracles, including Jesus’ ascension, with their own eyes?
  • Why would the disciples still need faith after all they witnessed?

Hebrews 12:24, 11:28 and Genesis 4:10,

  • Why was the sprinkling of blood an important symbol?
  • How does this show that God has been reaching out to us from the very beginning, trying to explain what His sacrifice means?

Friday: Conclusion

Most of us don’t stop to think about how we approach God. Cain assumed that his offering of the fruits of his labor was enough and didn’t understand why God didn’t accept his attempt to approach Him.

Meditate on Hebrews 11:4 which tells about Abel presenting a more perfect offering than Cain. What was that offering, and why was it accepted? How was Abel seen as righteous? Was it through his own righteousness, or the symbolic lamb he so tenderly sacrificed on God’s altar? How does his offering still speak to us?

We, like Cain, often enter God’s presence with a presumptuous spirit, rather than a humble one. It humbles us to think that God has already provided an offering. Nothing we do will ever be enough to grant us the blessing of appearing in His presence. Only through the flesh of Christ, represented by the veil, are we allowed to see God face to face.

Coming “boldly to the throne of grace” does not mean with a spirit of pride. Only a humble spirit can stand before God. James 4:10 tells us to “humble yourselves in the sight of the Lord, and He will lift you up.” With this humble spirit, we long to see Him face to face, as we hear in this song…

Next Week: Jesus, Author and Perfecter of Our Faith

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