Friday, May 20, 2005

It's All About Him: Hebrews -- Lesson 29

To start at the beginning of this series, click here.

Flame's Shadow

If you light a candle in a dark room, you will light to see and read. If you place a candle in front of a projection screen and shine a very bright light on it, you will see the shadow of the flame. This is what you must visualize as you read this next section of Hebrews:

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, NASB 95)

With these words, the Writer transitions from Jesus the better priest to his new and lengthy section on the better covenant. By now you should see why I have titled this series "It's all about Him." The Writer says, "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. " This is his summary of Psalm 110. It combines "sit at my right hand" with "you are a priest forever" and adds this, "a minister in the sanctuary and in the true tabernacle, which the Lord pitched, not man."

The tabernacle erected by Moses and the temple, which followed, are based on what Moses saw on Mt. Sinai. The Writer of Hebrews now tells us that Moses saw the real thing and came down and erected a copy. So the tabernacle/temple on earth and the annual calendar of offerings are merely pictures that model a heavenly reality. Jesus is the priest and central figure in that reality. The heavenly tabernacle and sanctuary and the High Priest Jesus are as light--the models on earth are the shadow.

You have to say one thing about the Writer--he knows how to draw a contrast. Earlier he wrote that "Jesus is greater than Moses by just so much as the builder of the house is greater than the house." Here the difference is light and substance over shadow and copies. What we have on earth in the Old Testament are the architectural drawings of heaven's edifices.

The amazing thing about what Jesus has provided mankind is that through His own offered blood, we have access to the inner rooms of the real thing! What religion on earth has granted such access to God. Indeed as the Writer said earlier, "How will we escape if we neglect so great a salvation?" With each topic on which he touches, we have become more and more aware of how wonderfully complete the New Covenant is.

It is very important that we apprehend these realities and truly and freely approach the throne of grace. We are free to enter there at the time of need--at the time of great temptation--at the time of imminent failure! At those times, there is our high priest and intercessor, sitting at the right hand of God, pleading for our rescue because we have come to Him. We tend to come after we have failed, and, of course, we obtain forgiveness and are given grace. But that is very Old Testament--the bring of a sin offering or a guilt offering after the fact. We have more!

The pillars of the Old Covenant have been superseded: The prophets, Moses, the priesthood. Now the Writer takes a look at the very covenant itself and compares it to the New Covenant. The next lesson will follow.

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2 Comments:

Blogger Milton Stanley said...

Manual trackback: I posted about your Hebrews series at my blog today. Peace.

12:24 PM  
Blogger Don said...

Milton,

Thank you for this.

For those who would like to know where Milton's site is, please visit: http://transformingsermons.blogspot.com

Don Curtis

1:12 PM  

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