Tuesday, April 22, 2003

Gleanings from Hebrews

Jesus and the New Covenant(3)

This marks the second division of a series that introduces the Book of Hebrews. To start at the beginning, click here.

One very central tenet in Hebrews is the superiority of Jesus and the New Covenant over Moses and the Old. This second section of Gleanings from Hebrews will cover this central message.

Jesus: The Builder of the House

I have posted the following verses several times in this series, already. But it is time to look at it again:

Since that time no prophet has risen in Israel like Moses, whom the Lord knew face to face, for all the signs and wonders which the Lord sent him to perform in the land of Egypt against Pharaoh, all his servants, and all his land, and for all the mighty power and for all the great terror which Moses performed in the sight of all Israel. (Deuteronomy 34:10-12, NASB)

No one in the Old Testament history of God's people was greater than Moses. From the Lord through Moses came the Law and the Tabernacle and the Covenant. He was there to oversee the birth of a nation from a band of slaves. The very laws of Christian societies are, in part, based on the Law of Moses.

But the writer to the Hebrews, tells us that Jesus outshines Moses. This, after all, is one of the principle themes within this book. The old was a shadow of the new, which shines more brightly.

Therefore, holy brethren, partakers of a heavenly calling, consider Jesus, the Apostle and High Priest of our confession; He was faithful to Him who appointed Him, as Moses also was in all His house. For He has been counted worthy of more glory than Moses, by just so much as the builder of the house has more honor than the house. For every house is built by someone, but the builder of all things is God. Now Moses was faithful in all His house as a servant, for a testimony of those things which were to be spoken later; but Christ was faithful as a Son over His house—whose house we are, if we hold fast our confidence and the boast of our hope firm until the end. (Hebrews 3:1-6)

Jesus is "worthy of more glory than Moses, by just so much as the builder of the house has more honor than the house." Moses brought the Law to the children of Israel. Jesus authored that Law. Moses could say, "Here is what the Lord says, 'Do not commit adultery.'" Jesus said, "You have heard that it was said, 'Do not commit adultery,' but I say to you..." Jesus' authority came from His own being. Moses could write of "eternal statutes." Jesus said, "Heaven and earth may pass away, but my words will never pass away." Jesus is the builder of the house in which Moses served as a servant.

Moses mediated the covenant of Law and the Tabernacle, but it was just a model of a heavenly reality that Jesus entered:

Now the main point in what has been said is this: we have such a high priest, who has taken His seat at the right hand of the throne of the Majesty in the heavens, a minister in the sanctuary and in the true tabernacle, which the Lord pitched, not man. For every high priest is appointed to offer both gifts and sacrifices; so it is necessary that this high priest also have something to offer. Now if He were on earth, He would not be a priest at all, since there are those who offer the gifts according to the Law; who serve a copy and shadow of the heavenly things, just as Moses was warned by God when he was about to erect the tabernacle; for, “See,” He says, “that you make all things according to the pattern which was shown you on the mountain.” But now He has obtained a more excellent ministry, by as much as He is also the mediator of a better covenant, which has been enacted on better promises. (Hebrews 8:1-6)

According to the Law of Moses the priests "serve a copy and shadow of heavenly things." Jesus, however, is "a minister in the sanctuary and the true tabernacle, which the Lord pitched, not man."

To recap: 

  • Jesus is the Greater Word
  • Jesus is the Greater Mediator

Thursday: The Greater Kinsman

<>< Test Everything. Cling to what is good. ><>


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