Lesson 25

The Epistle to the Hebrews

World English Bible translation

 Today's Scripture

8:1 Now in the things which we are saying, the main point is this. We have such a high priest, who sat down on the right hand of the throne of the Majesty in the heavens, 8:2 a minister of the sanctuary, and of the true tabernacle, which the Lord pitched, not man. 8:3 For every high priest is appointed to offer both gifts and sacrifices. Therefore it is necessary that this high priest also have something to offer. 8:4 For if he were on earth, he would not be a priest at all, seeing there are priests who offer the gifts according to the law; 8:5 who serve a copy and shadow of the heavenly things, even as Moses was warned by God when he was about to make the tabernacle, for he said, "See, you shall make everything according to the pattern that was shown to you on the mountain." 8:6 But now he has obtained a more excellent ministry, by so much as he is also the mediator of a better covenant, which has been enacted on better promises. 8:7 For if that first covenant had been faultless, then no place would have been sought for a second.

Today's Lesson  

These scriptures begin a new section of the Epistle to the Hebrews. What follows for the next three chapters is an examination of the covenants, the sanctuaries and the sacrifices of the Law of Moses and the covenant of grace. It has been advanced and defended that Jesus is a high priest after the order of Melchizedek. The priesthood of Jesus is superior to that of the Levitical priest for many reasons and each of these has been advanced and supported through Old Testament Scriptures. Now, we begin to examine the new sanctuary and the new sacrifice of Christ.


After Jesus had made sacrifice for sin by laying down His life at Calvary, He was resurrected from the dead. After He had met with His disciples, He ascended into heaven and sat down on the right hand of the throne of God. He became a "minister of the sanctuary, and of the true tabernacle, which the Lord pitched, not man." When Moses when to Sinai to receive the Law and the commandments, he was given by God instructions on the design of an earthly tabernacle, or tent-like dwelling. This tabernacle was carried by the children of Israel in their wanderings in the wilderness. God dwelled in the tabernacle and it was in the tabernacle that Aaron did his work as Israel's first high priest.


This earthly tabernacle was patterned after a pure, perfect tabernacle that surrounded the throne of God. The heavenly tabernacle is permanent and unblemished. The earthly tabernacle was a copy - only a shadow of what was in heaven. God was the one who had created the heavenly tabernacle and it was the permanent dwelling of the Lord.


Now concerning the sacrifice that was offered in both these tabernacles, the epistle only hints at what they are in this passage. Here the author is content to say that in each tabernacle a sacrifice must be offered. It is the duty of the high priest to bring gifts and sacrifices before God in the name of the people. Jesus presented His gift and His sacrifice in the Holy of Holies in the heavenly tabernacle. When that one sacrifice was found to be perfect and acceptable to the Father, Jesus sat down beside the throne. In sitting down in the center of the sanctuary, Jesus was showing that there was no further sacrifice for sin. For this reason, the New Covenant is superior to the Old Covenant.


Now this lesson and these Scriptures are but a taste of what is to come in these next three chapters. Each of these points will be expounded on and established with sufficient detail. It is the goal of this letter to convince these Hebrew Christians of the superiority of the Covenant of grace and the priesthood of Christ. The old things were but a shadow of what was to come in Christ. It is time to grasp the reality of the New Covenant.


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