How was Jesus' sacrifice better than the Levitical sacrifices?
The Levite priests in the Old Testament were required by the Mosaic law to offer sacrifices to atone for the people's sins, but after Jesus' death on the cross this system was no longer needed because Jesus' sacrifice was that much better in every way. His death was so powerful that it abolished a system that lasted for hundreds of years. Jesus' death meant more than the sacrifice of thousands of animals for a simple reason: Jesus had a divine nature. He was perfectly sinless and eternal. His sacrifice accomplished once and for all what the Levitical sacrifices only foreshadowed.
The book of Hebrews describes how the new covenant in Christ is better than the old covenant of the Mosaic law. Here are a few ways that Jesus' sacrifice was better than the sacrifices that the Levites performed:
Jesus' sacrifice was better because He was made High Priest in an oath, "The Lord has sworn and will not change his mind, 'You are a priest forever'" (Hebrews 7:21), whereas the Levites were priests because of their lineage (Hebrews 7:11–22).
Jesus' sacrifice was better because He lives forever, allowing Him to continually make intercession for His people, but the Levitical priests' ministry ended when they died and had to be replaced (Hebrews 7:23–25).
Jesus' sacrifice was better because He was sinless and did not have to atone for His own sins, unlike the Levitical priests, who first had to offer sacrifices for their own sins (Hebrews 7:26–27).
Jesus' sacrifice was better because He is currently seated at the right hand of God, a minister in the holy places set up by God and not by man, whereas the Levites served on earth, "a copy and shadow of the heavenly things" (Hebrews 8:1–5).
Jesus' sacrifice was better because it operates under the new covenant which was "enacted on better promises", but the Levites worked under the old covenant, which they and the rest of the Israelites did not follow faithfully (Hebrews 8:6–13).
Jesus sacrifice was better because He entered the holy places in heaven once for all, but the Levitical priests were only allowed to enter the earthly holy place once a year (Hebrews 9:11–24).
Jesus' sacrifice was better because He only had to die once, but the Levitical priests had to continually make sacrifices (Hebrews 9:25—10:4).
Jesus is able to save to the uttermost, but the Levitical sacrifices only temporarily covered sins (Hebrews 7:25).
Unlike the Levitical priests, Jesus merited the right to be our High Priest (Hebrews 7:26, 28).
Jesus was infinitely the greater sacrifice than any of the animals sacrificed under Levitical law. Jesus was able to fulfill the law and allow us access to God (Hebrews 4:14–16; 10:19–25). Jesus is fully human and fully God. He was not stained by sin and He is eternally serving as our High Priest. Jesus' sacrifice was able to fulfill the requirements of the Old Testament Law once and for all: "But when Christ had offered for all time a single sacrifice for sins, he sat down at the right hand of God, waiting from that time until his enemies should be made a footstool for his feet. For by a single offering he has perfected for all time those who are being sanctified" (Hebrews 10:12–14).
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