Hebrews

Hebrews 7:26-8:6 – Our man in heaven

OUR MAN IN HEAVEN –

Hebrews 7:26-28, Christ meets our need.

 

26) Such a high priest meets our need– one who is holy, blameless, pure, set apart from sinners, exalted above the heavens.  27) Unlike the other high priests, he does not need to offer sacrifices day after day, first for his own sins, and then for the sins of the people. He sacrificed for their sins once for all when he offered himself.  28) For the law appoints as high priests men who are weak; but the oath, which came after the law, appointed the Son, who has been made perfect forever.  (NIV)

 

When we read the OT or even the NT – or imagine a person who has never read the Bible before read passages like we have just read in Hebrews.

Response “It doesn’t make any sense!” “I have no idea what it means!” “And how in the world is it of any relevance to me anyway?”

 

It is very understandable that a person who is not a Christian – who has never read the Bible will respond in this way BUT there are many people who claim to be Christians – not new Christians can’t expect to understand OT all at once – study/understanding take time!!! BUT many longstanding Christians who don’t even begin to understand these things AND seem to have no desire to either!

 

— a strong grasp of the Old Testament is a rarity among many Christians.  YET we frequently refer to is 2 Timothy 3:16, “All Scripture is God-breathed and is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness, so that the man [and woman – anthropos] of God may be thoroughly equipped for every good work.”  In other words, a person with a weak understanding of the Old Testament would not be very thoroughly equipped for serving the Lord. Remember that this verse, at the time of its writing, referred ONLY to the Old Testament.  The New Testament hadn’t been compiled yet into a recognised volume of Scripture.

 

  • Some people feel that the Old Testament is for the Jews, who were under the Law, and the New Testament is for Christians, who are under Grace.
  • Others feel it is so complicated and who needs to make the Gospel that difficult to understand.
  • Others simply say they’re so busy, it’s a miracle they can find something in the New Testament easy enough to understand, within their free-time frame.

In fact, we should be living under the command of 2 Timothy 2:15 every day of our lives,  “Do your best to present yourself to God as one approved, a workman who does not need to be ashamed and who correctly handles the Word of Truth.”   This deserves serious intention and strong desire.

 

Hebrews contrasts the Lord Jesus with various people, places and procedures. This section is dealing with the huge difference between Christ and other High Priests.  The moment one gives some ecclesiastical person the authority to forgive sins, we diminish the unique place Christ has in God’s plan of redemption.

In vs. 26 we are told that Christ ‘meets our need.’  We have someone before the throne of God who, Himself, is free from condemnation.  HE IS ABLE!!

 

OHP — Explain Tabernacle / Temple

 

It is interesting to note that on the Day of Atonement, a very High and Holy Day, the High Priest officiated.  And the first thing that was done in the ritual of the day was a sacrifice for the sins of the High Priest himself.  “He washed his hands and his feet; he put off his gorgeous robes; he clothed himself in spotless white linen. There was brought to him a bullock which he had purchased with his own money.  He laid both hands on the bullock’s head to transfer his sin to it; and thus he made confession:  ‘”Ah, Lord God, I have committed iniquity.  I have transgressed; I have sinned. I and my house.  O Lord, I beseech Thee, cover over the sins and transgressions which I have committed, transgressed and sinned before Thee.  I and my house.'” (The Daily Study Bible, Wm. Barclay, p.84).

 

And vs. 27 reminds us that such high-priests “need to offer sacrifices day after day, first for their own sins and then for the sins of the people.”  But Christ “sacrificed for our sins once for all WHEN HE OFFERED HIMSELF.”  We need to remind ourselves again and again that forgiveness of our sins does not come because of our frequent prayers or even because of the prayers of our pastor or discipler or Bible-teacher.

1 John 2:1-2         1 My dear children, I write this to you so that you will not sin. But if anybody does sin, we have one who speaks to the Father in our defence {an advocate with the Father} — Jesus Christ, the Righteous One. 2 He is the atoning sacrifice for our sins, and not only for ours but also for the sins of the whole world. (NIV)

Christ Himself lives forever to pray for us, because He has offered Himself for you and me.  I need to remind myself of this great truth regularly.  CHRIST ALONE IS ENOUGH!!

 

It is not the ritual that cleanses but the righteousness of God revealed in Christ alone that sets me free.  And when we read that Christ meets our needs…our minds are flooded with many other verses which say the same thing.

“If you spend yourselves in behalf of the hungry and satisfy the NEEDS of the oppressed, then your light will rise in the darkness, and your night will become like the noonday. The Lord will guide you always; He will satisfy your NEEDS in a sun-scorched land and will strengthen your frame.  You will be like a well-watered garden, like a spring whose waters never fail” (Isaiah 48:10,11).

 

Jesus says similar thing in Matt 25 talking about Day of Judgement.

Matthew 25:31-46 31 “When the Son of Man comes in his glory, and all the angels with him, he will sit on his throne in heavenly glory. 32 All the nations will be gathered before him, and he will separate the people one from another as a shepherd separates the sheep from the goats. 33 He will put the sheep on his right and the goats on his left.

34 “Then the King will say to those on his right, ‘Come, you who are blessed by my Father; take your inheritance, the kingdom prepared for you since the creation of the world. 35 For I was hungry and you gave me something to eat, I was thirsty and you gave me something to drink, I was a stranger and you invited me in, 36 I needed clothes and you clothed me, I was sick and you looked after me, I was in prison and you came to visit me.’

37 “Then the righteous will answer him, ‘Lord, when did we see you hungry and feed you, or thirsty and give you something to drink? 38 When did we see you a stranger and invite you in, or needing clothes and clothe you? 39 When did we see you sick or in prison and go to visit you?’

40 “The King will reply, ‘I tell you the truth, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers of mine, you did for me.’

41 “Then he will say to those on his left, ‘Depart from me, you who are cursed, into the eternal fire prepared for the devil and his angels. 42 For I was hungry and you gave me nothing to eat, I was thirsty and you gave me nothing to drink, 43 I was a stranger and you did not invite me in, I needed clothes and you did not clothe me, I was sick and in prison and you did not look after me.’

44 “They also will answer, ‘Lord, when did we see you hungry or thirsty or a stranger or needing clothes or sick or in prison, and did not help you?’

45 “He will reply, ‘I tell you the truth, whatever you did not do for one of the least of these, you did not do for me.’

46 “Then they will go away to eternal punishment, but the righteous to eternal life.” (NIV)

 

Does that mean we are saved by good works? NO! BUT re; James Faith without works is dead!

As we allow God to meet others needs through our involvement and love, He meets our own needs through His compassion and Grace.  We become channels of His blessings.  What a wonderful encouragement!

 

Philippians 4:19 stresses the same truth.  “And my God will meet all our NEEDS, according to His glorious riches in Christ Jesus.”  We remind ourselves of that great verse we’ve looked at (Heb.4:16), “Let us then approach the throne of Grace with confidence, so that we may receive mercy and find Grace to help us in our time of NEED.”  Oh, how important it is to acknowledge our needs, whatever they are, and sing with the old hymn-writer, “I need Thee every hour in joy or pain; come quickly and abide or life is vain.  I need Thee every hour, most Holy One; O make me Thine indeed, Thou blessed Son.”

 

Part 2 – Hebrews 8:1-6, Christ sat down!

 

1) The point of what we are saying is this: We do have such a high priest, who sat down at the right hand of the throne of the Majesty in heaven, 2) and who serves in the sanctuary, the true tabernacle set up by the Lord, not by man.  3) Every high priest is appointed to offer both gifts and sacrifices, and so it was necessary for this one also to have something to offer.  4) If he were on earth, he would not be a priest, for there are already men who offer the gifts prescribed by the law.  5) They serve at a sanctuary that is a copy and shadow of what is in heaven. This is why Moses was warned when he was about to build the tabernacle: “See to it that you make everything according to the pattern shown you on the mountain.”  6) But the ministry Jesus has received is as superior to theirs as the covenant of which he is mediator is superior to the old one, and it is founded on better promises.  (NIV)

 

 

 

I want to stress that it is an intricate chapter, and can easily be brushed over.  But there are three things emphasised in these six verses.

 

  1. WE HAVE A HIGH-PRIEST WHO HAS SAT DOWN IN THE HEAVENLIES.

This was something the OT high priests could never do – they always stood as they served at the altar.  There was actually nowhere for them to sit.  They were there representing a priesthood that by its very nature was temporary.  On the edge of their robes were a series of bells which kept ringing as they served, token that they were still alive and the offering was being accepted (Ex.28:35)  Hebrew tradition says they had a rope tied to their ankle so their bodies could be removed, in case the offering was inadequate.  What fragile priestly representatives they were.  Their priestly service was never complete.

 

  1. THEIR SANCTUARY WAS BUT A SHADOW OF WHAT IS IN HEAVEN.

We are often puzzled by the intricacies of the details given Moses for the structure of the Tabernacle.  But as we continue into chapter 9 and 10, we will see how marvellously the intricacies of the Old Testament Tabernacle are pictures or ‘shadows’ of what would be fulfilled in Christ, as recorded in the New Testament.

  • Bronze altar for sacrifice – cross … Jesus’ death – 1 Jn.2v2 atonong sacrifice”.
  • Laver / Basin – cleansed by blood of Christ / washing through the word of Christ
  • Table of Shewbread – Jesus …”I am the Bread of Life”
  • Lampstand – Jesus … “I am the light of the world”
  • Altar of incense – prayers rising – “Jesus ever lives to make intercession for us”
  • Curtain – Jesus body [Heb 10v20] – through which we gain access
  • Arc of Covenant – Cherubim – mearcyseat – blood sprinkled – Sacrificed accepted – CHRIST our Mercyseat!

As someone has said, “The NT is in the OT concealed, the OT is in the NT revealed.”  How diligently we need to study both.

 

  1. MOSES WAS WARNED, AS ARE WE, TO OBEY EVERY DETAIL.

NOW one High Priest = Jesus  AND every true believer a priest! With responsibility to be the bridge-builders [what words means – pontif .. pontifact = bridge in Latin] between God and the world

God warns Moses to obey every detail … SO TOO ….

Jesus said to His disciples, “You are my friends if you do what I command…you do not belong to the world…I have chosen you out of the world.” (John 15:14,19).  It is freedom to allow the Holy Spirit to convict us of sin and righteousness (John 16:8).  We need to diligently seek the Lord in the smallest details of the Word and of our lives.  He deserves our best!

Then he sends us back into the world – NOT isolation, NOT Integration BUT incarnation.

We have a great High Priest who meets our need – Who is seated in the Throne-room of Heaven.

 

Jesus is King and we will exalt him.

l

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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