What the Schoolmaster Said…

Gal 3:24  Wherefore the law was our schoolmaster to bring us unto Christ, that we might be justified by faith.

Gal 3:25  But after that faith is come, we are no longer under a schoolmaster.

 

Col 2:16  Let no man therefore judge you in meat, or in drink, or in respect of an holyday, or of the new moon, or of the sabbath days:

Col 2:17  Which are a shadow of things to come; but the body is of Christ.

 

Heb 8:4  For if he were on earth, he should not be a priest, seeing that there are priests that offer gifts according to the law:

Heb 8:5  Who serve unto the example and shadow of heavenly things, as Moses was admonished of God when he was about to make the tabernacle: for, See, saith he, that thou make all things according to the pattern showed to thee in the mount.

 

Heb 10:1  For the law having a shadow of good things to come, and not the very image of the things, can never with those sacrifices which they offered year by year continually make the comers thereunto perfect.

 

The law was a schoolmaster. It helps prepare us for faith in Christ. Just as a schoolteacher prepares a child for life using illustrations and examples, so the law prepares us for faith.  The sacrifices in the law could not take away sin, but they could illustrate the true sacrifice of Christ so that we would recognize its significance and the teachings surrounding it when they are explained to us.

 

One thing the law should do is to sharpen our sensitivity between clean and unclean, holy and unholy, acceptable and unacceptable. In the law there were men who could serve as priests and there were men who could not serve as priests. There were sacrifices that were acceptable, and there were sacrifices that were unacceptable.  These things were foreshadowing truths about Christ the True High Priest and Christ the True Sacrifice. 

High Priests which have infirmity…Hebrews 7:28

 

Lev 21:17  Speak unto Aaron, saying, Whosoever he be of thy seed in their generations that hath any blemish, let him not approach to offer the bread of his God.

Lev 21:18  For whatsoever man he be that hath a blemish, he shall not approach: a blind man, or a lame, or he that hath a flat nose, or any thing superfluous,

Lev 21:19  Or a man that is brokenfooted, or brokenhanded,

Lev 21:20  Or crookbacked, or a dwarf, or that hath a blemish in his eye, or be scurvy, or scabbed, or hath his stones broken;

Lev 21:21  No man that hath a blemish of the seed of Aaron the priest shall come nigh to offer the offerings of the LORD made by fire: he hath a blemish; he shall not come nigh to offer the bread of his God.

 

In the law, in order to serve as a priest a man had to be physically whole.  He couldn’t be blind, or lame, or have crooked back. Why?  Is a man who is physically whole somehow more righteous than a man with limp?  No, of course not.  The answer to this lies in what the law was foreshadowing about the Son of God.

 

Heb 7:28  For the law maketh men high priests which have infirmity; but the word of the oath, which was since the law, maketh the Son, who is consecrated for evermore.

 

Christ is the true High Priest. The High Priests in the law foreshadowed Him.  Hebrews 7:28 teaches us that the key difference in the shadow and real thing is that the earthly priests who foreshadowed Christ had infirmity. 

 

Infirmity means weakness, sickness of the body.  The infirmity spoken of in this verse isn’t referring to sickness like the flu or palsy; it is speaking of the corruption of sin and death that is in Adam’s race[1]. We inherit the corruption of sin and death from our father Adam[2].  The True High Priest was not born into this infirmity; rather He came in the likeness of sinful flesh in an incorruptible body of power[3].  

 

The law foreshadowed the marvelous body of the True High Priest by prohibiting those with physical deformities from performing the office of priest. This was not to exalt being physically whole or to say physical deformity lowered you in the eyes of God.  This was portraying the truth of the God’s Son, our True High Priest.  The lesson was the True High Priest would not bear the infirmity of sin in His body.

 

There is also a lesson about the resurrection in this picture.  A goal of the overall work of Christ is to create a nation of priests that serves God forever[4].  Through the resurrection, we put off our sinful flesh and are raised in a body like Christ’s[5].   Relieved of the infirmity that causes us to sin, we will rule and reign in righteousness forever.


A lamb without blemish and without spot…1 Peter 1:19

 

1 Pet 1:18  Forasmuch as ye know that ye were not redeemed with corruptible things, as silver and gold, from your vain conversation received by tradition from your fathers;

1 Pet 1:19  But with the precious blood of Christ, as of a lamb without blemish and without spot:

 

Lev 22:18  Speak unto Aaron, and to his sons, and unto all the children of Israel, and say unto them, Whatsoever he be of the house of Israel, or of the strangers in Israel, that will offer his oblation for all his vows, and for all his freewill offerings, which they will offer unto the LORD for a burnt offering;

Lev 22:19  Ye shall offer at your own will a male without blemish, of the beeves, of the sheep, or of the goats.

Lev 22:20  But whatsoever hath a blemish, that shall ye not offer: for it shall not be acceptable for you.

Lev 22:21  And whosoever offereth a sacrifice of peace offerings unto the LORD to accomplish his vow, or a freewill offering in beeves or sheep, it shall be perfect to be accepted; there shall be no blemish therein.

Lev 22:22  Blind, or broken, or maimed, or having a wen, or scurvy, or scabbed, ye shall not offer these unto the LORD, nor make an offering by fire of them upon the altar unto the LORD.

Lev 22:23  Either a bullock or a lamb that hath any thing superfluous or lacking in his parts, that mayest thou offer for a freewill offering; but for a vow it shall not be accepted.

Lev 22:24  Ye shall not offer unto the LORD that which is bruised, or crushed, or broken, or cut; neither shall ye make any offering thereof in your land.

Lev 22:25  Neither from a stranger’s hand shall ye offer the bread of your God of any of these; because their corruption is in them, and blemishes be in them: they shall not be accepted for you.

 

Just as men who served in the office of priest had to be physically whole, so the animals used in sacrifice had to be without blemish.  These unblemished animals portrayed the Lamb of God who would offer His body as an unblemished sacrifice.  It is in this unblemished sacrifice that we have hope. 

 

Some do violence to this truth by attempting to separate the blood of Christ from the body of Christ.  Saying in effect it is only the blood that matters.  The scriptures make no such distinction.  It is the offering of the whole Christ – His flesh and His blood – that sanctifies us.

 

Heb 10:5  Wherefore when he cometh into the world, he saith, Sacrifice and offering thou wouldest not, but a body hast thou prepared me:

Heb 10:6  In burnt offerings and sacrifices for sin thou hast had no pleasure.

Heb 10:7  Then said I, Lo, I come (in the volume of the book it is written of me,) to do thy will, O God.

Heb 10:8  Above when he said, Sacrifice and offering and burnt offerings and offering for sin thou wouldest not, neither hadst pleasure therein; which are offered by the law;

Heb 10:9  Then said he, Lo, I come to do thy will, O God. He taketh away the first, that he may establish the second.

Heb 10:10  By the which will we are sanctified through the offering of the body of Jesus Christ once for all.

 

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The law is a schoolmaster to bring us to faith in Christ. If the distinction between infirm and whole, blemished and unblemished, corruptible and incorruptible had not been important or had not had any significant fulfillment in Christ, God would not have gone to so much trouble to portray this in the law.  The law warns us that sacrifices in which there is corruption and blemishes will not be accepted.  If in our hearts we place Christ in a corruptible body of Mary’s flesh do we offer an unacceptable sacrifice? O Lord deliver us, keep our hearts pure in thy sight!

 

Christ was the neighborly close brother who redeemed us from sin.  He walked the path we walk and suffered as we suffer, but He was separate from sinners[6].  He wasn’t born into the sin sick corruptible bodies of death that we are born into[7]; rather He came in an incorruptible, unblemished body that could be offered as an acceptable sacrifice.  This truth about Christ is what the law portrayed with its unblemished sacrifices and its demand for physically whole priests.

 

Heb 7:26  For such an high priest became us, who is holy, harmless, undefiled, separate from sinners, and made higher than the heavens;

 

Let the scriptures speak.


[1] Sickness and other physical infirmities are consistently used in the scriptures to portray sin.  See for example, Isaiah 1:5-6 and Matthew 9:10-13. 

[2] 1 Corinthians 15:22, 1 Corinthians 15:42-45, Psalm 51:5, Romans 7:23-25

[3] See Romans 8:3, 1 Corinthians 15.  This is actually the significance of the virgin birth.  Christ was not born into the corruption of Adam’s flesh like we all are.

[4] Revelation 1:4-6

[5] Philippians 3:21

[6] Heb 7:26  For such an high priest became us, who is holy, harmless, undefiled, separate from sinners, and made higher than the heavens;

[7] Rom 7:23-24  But I see another law in my members, warring against the law of my mind, and bringing me into captivity to the law of sin which is in my members.  O wretched man that I am! who shall deliver me from the body of this death?

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