God intended for the sacrifice of His Son to perfectly fulfill and replace the animal sacrifices of the Old Testament. In Hebrews 10, the author demonstrates that Jesus’ death on the cross fulfills those very sacrifices as the perfect substitute. Because our sin calls for death and God’s justice must be satisfied, someone must die. The reality is either you have to die and be punished forever by God, or somebody, who is worthy, has to die in your place.
Hebrews 10:5–7 says, “Therefore, when He comes into the world, He says, "SACRIFICE AND OFFERING YOU HAVE NOT DESIRED, BUT A BODY YOU HAVE PREPARED FOR ME; IN WHOLE BURNT OFFERINGS AND SACRIFICES FOR SIN YOU HAVE TAKEN NO PLEASURE. THEN I SAID, 'BEHOLD I HAVE COME (IN THE SCROLL OF THE BOOK IT IS WRITTEN OF ME) TO DO YOUR WILL, O GOD.”
You’ll notice that almost all of verses 5–7 are in capital letters (NASB) identifying the text as a quotation from the Old Testament, specifically, Psalm 40:6–8. The writer of Hebrews quotes the psalmist as the words of Jesus Christ from when He came into the world. Referring to animal sacrifices in verse 5 explains that He did not desire them or take pleasure in them. Notice the clear contrast between those animal sacrifices and what the writer of Hebrews says in the latter half of verse 5: “A BODY YOU HAVE PREPARED FOR ME.” In other words, Christ’s own body would provide the sacrifice that God desires and one that would ultimately please Him. The apostle Peter affirms this reality when he writes “And He Himself bore our sins in His body (italics mine) on the cross, so that we might die to sin and live to righteousness; for by His wounds you were healed” (1 Pet. 2:24).
In addition to the bodily fulfillment of Psalm 40, Jesus lived in perfect obedience to the Father as Hebrews 10:7 states: “I HAVE COME … TO DO YOUR WILL.” It was Jesus’ perfect obedience to the will of God that made Him the perfect sacrifice.
The author of Hebrews continues with a monumental statement of divine fulfillment in verse 9: “He takes away the first in order to establish the second.” The first being the Levitical sacrifices in the Old Testament, and the second being the sacrifice of Christ’s body on the cross. The author shows that Jesus’ sacrifice of His own body replaces and fulfills all of the previous sacrificial system.
Ephesians 5:2 says, “And walk in love, just as Christ also loved you and gave Himself up for us, an offering and a sacrifice to God as a fragrant aroma.”
1 Peter 1:18–19 adds, “Knowing that you were not redeemed with perishable things like silver or gold from your futile way of life inherited from your forefathers, but with precious blood, as of a lamb unblemished and spotless, the blood of Christ.”
Christ—in the sacrifice of His own body—completely demolishes the entire Old Testament sacrificial system. However, at the same time, He fully establishes the second.