The Book of Hebrews – Jesus the Perfect Sacrifice

Posted on Leave a commentPosted in The Book of Hebrews

“So, Christ has now become the High Priest over all the good things that have come. He has entered that greater, more perfect Tabernacle in heaven, which was not made by human hands and is not part of this created world. With his own blood—not the blood of goats and calves—he entered the Most Holy Place once for all time and secured our redemption forever.” Hebrews 9:11-12

One of the most amazing truths throughout the entire Bible and a marvelous theme in the book of Hebrews is that our sins are completely paid for, eternally forgiven, forgotten and removed from all records. Jesus has obtained eternal redemption for those who put saving faith in Him.

 We have been redeemed; it is important for us to understand what it is. In the Old Testament redemption was the process of buying something back. For instance, if a person sold a piece of property to another, by law, the seller or a family member could redeem their land so that no family would be without their inheritance. If they didn’t have the means for redemption, then everything was returned to them in the Year of Jubilee. This principle applied to land, people and possessions.  The Law made it possible for the next of kin, also known as “kinsman redeemer” to rescue a person or property. The term “Redemption” refers to the mystery of God’s deliverance of mankind from the evil of sin and His restoration of man to the state of grace by an act of divine power and merciful love.

Mankind was sold into slavery in the Garden of Eden. Adam, God’s representative for mankind, had been given full authority and possession of the earth. Everything belonged to him. He transferred this birthright to Satan when he ate from the tree that God instructed him not to. According to the Law of the Kinsman Redeemer only a relative could redeem or purchase back that which was lost or sold. In other words, mankind was the only one who could provide this redemption. This is why Jesus came in the flesh, fully God and fully man. Jesus became our brother so Adam and all mankind could be redeemed. Jesus came as the perfect sacrifice to pay our debt and return us to his family.

The Book of Hebrews – Rituals will not Save us

Posted on Leave a commentPosted in The Book of Hebrews

“This is an illustration pointing to the present time. For the gifts and sacrifices that the priests offer are not able to cleanse the consciences of the people who bring them. For that old system deals only with food and drink and various cleansing ceremonies—physical regulations that were in effect only until a better system could be established.” Hebrews 9:9-10

The old covenant was a list of rituals that had to be performed before you could be forgiven of your sins. A ritual is a sequence of activities involving gestures, words, actions, or objects, performed in a sequestered place and according to a set sequence. Rituals may be prescribed by the traditions of a community, including a religious community. Ritual has its roots in religion, and life’s fundamental passages are often traditionally accompanied by religious ritual. There is nothing wrong with rituals. We all have rituals that we do every day; most of them out of habit. We have rituals in the church that we perform. Communion is a great example of this. As we symbolically partake in the body and blood of Christ Jesus, we remind ourselves of the sacrifice God the Father and his son Jesus made on our behalf. We remind ourselves that His body was broken so that we may be whole. We remind ourselves that His blood was shed so that we can be forgiven.

In the same way, the Israelites experienced and celebrated certain rituals that were aimed at looking forward to the time of Christ Jesus. They were by no means an end unto themselves; they served as an illustration of the new order, the institution of Jesus’ eternal High Priesthood.

These rituals were carried out day after day, month after month, year after year. If this system of rituals could have worked, then the repetition would not have been needed, in other words, they would not have offered the same gifts and sacrifices over and over. Understanding this, we see why the entire system served as an illustration. The sacrifices made never cleared the conscience of the worshipper. What was offered was never able to renew the inner man because it only dealt with external rules and regulations for the body. This is why a new order was needed, one that dealt with the heart of mankind. Rituals will not save us. The only thing that will save us is the blood of Jesus Christ.

The Book of Hebrews – The Holy Place

Posted on Leave a commentPosted in The Book of Hebrews

“When these things were all in place, the priests regularly entered the first room as they performed their religious duties. But only the high priest ever entered the Most Holy Place, and only once a year. And he always offered blood for his own sins and for the sins the people had committed in ignorance. By these regulations the Holy Spirit revealed that the entrance to the Most Holy Place was not freely open as long as the Tabernacle and the system it represented were still in use.” Hebrews 9:6-8

To understand everything that Jesus completed for us as our High Priest we have examples from the earthly Levitical priesthood to guide us in our understanding. Hebrews 9 uses examples from this system to show us how Jesus performed the very same acts on our behalf in the presence of God the Father in the heavenly tabernacle. We can glean so much wonderful truth from these passages of Scripture.

The writer is showing how entrance to the Holy of Holies was not accessible under the Old Covenant. The priests were able to enter into the outer portion of the tabernacle to carry out their daily duties. However, only the High Priest could enter into the Holy of Holies and he could only enter once a year. The High Priest wore bells around his ephod so that the sound of bells could be heard when entering before the presence of the Lord.

“The gold bells and the pomegranates are to alternate around the hem of the robe. Aaron must wear it when he ministers. The sound of the bells will be heard when he enters the Holy Place before the LORD and when he comes out, so that he will not die” (Exodus 28:34-35). Bells were worn to give off sounds so everyone in the outer portions would know the High Priest’s status when ministering. The Cherubim of Glory circled around the atonement cover protecting the entrance to the Most Holy Place. So many guidelines were to be met before the Priest could even enter, so the confidence level was extremely low when entering.

The amazing truth in all of this is that Jesus has made it possible to enter into the presence of God the Father. This was never the case while the first tabernacle was standing. However Jesus’ blood has completely cleansed us so that we are able to enter into the throne room through the veil which is His body and boldly come before the Father. As believers, we are included in a wonderful heritage. Peter tells us, “But you are a chosen people, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a people belonging to God, that you may declare the praises of him who called you out of darkness into his wonderful light” (I Peter 2:9).  Now if we trust in Jesus Christ, we can now enter into the Holy Place.

The Book of Hebrews – Worship

Posted on Leave a commentPosted in The Book of Hebrews

The Book of Hebrews – Worship

“That first covenant between God and Israel had regulations for worship and a place of worship here on earth. There were two rooms in that Tabernacle. In the first room were a lampstand, a table, and sacred loaves of bread on the table. This room was called the Holy Place. Then there was a curtain, and behind the curtain was the second room called the Most Holy Place. In that room were a gold incense altar and a wooden chest called the Ark of the Covenant, which was covered with gold on all sides. Inside the Ark were a gold jar containing manna, Aaron’s staff that sprouted leaves, and the stone tablets of the covenant. Above the Ark were the cherubim of divine glory, whose wings stretched out over the Ark’s cover, the place of atonement. But we cannot explain these things in detail now.” Hebrews 9:1-5

Worship as directed under the first covenant was very detailed. Everything was laid out according to the pattern Moses was shown on the mountain. Everything included in the temple worship had special meanings and significance. Even the items themselves which were placed within the Most Holy Place represented God’s supernatural ability to care for and lead the Israelites.

Behind the second curtain was the Ark of the Covenant, where God dwelt with the people. Inside the Ark was the gold jar of manna, a reminder of the bread that fed the Israelites for years while wandering through the desert in disobedience, Aaron’s staff, which God used after a rebellion to show that Aaron and the Levites were His chosen priests. And lastly, the Ark contained the stone tablets of the Ten Commandments to remind the Israelites of their Covenant.

Guarding the ark and the Most Holy Place were cherubims of glory. The Israelites could not enter because these creatures protected this area. In fact, only the High Priest could enter this room, and only once a year with blood which He poured on the mercy seat making atonement for the sins of the people. The priest made this offering directly before God.

Jesus brought with Him a new way of approaching God. We can approach Him in faith washed clean by the body of Christ, unafraid of anything standing in our way because anything that could condemn or harm us has been removed by the blood of Jesus. Our covenant of grace is vastly superior and Jesus is the one who will forever protect and guarantee the way into the presence of the Father Himself.

Worship is the adoration, the lifting up of the redeemed spirit toward God in contemplation of His holy perfection. Because of Jesus Christ, we can now worship God anywhere.

The Book of Hebrews – Old Covenant is Out of Date

Posted on Leave a commentPosted in The Book of Hebrews

“When God speaks of a “new” covenant, it means he has made the first one obsolete. It is now out of date and will soon disappear.” Hebrews 8:13

The intent of the New Covenant was to completely replace the first because it was aging and obsolete. After all, God found fault and set about to establish the new one based on better promises. We are not to live under both Law and grace. We solely live in the Covenant God instituted through Jesus Christ. The New Covenant is a covenant of grace. We need an understanding of grace. There is a teaching going around that because we live in a covenant of grace that we do not have to change anything in our lives when we come to Jesus. Everything can just remain the same. There are two types of grace; cheap grace and costly grace. Cheap grace means the justification of sin without the justification of the sinner. Cheap grace is grace without discipleship, without the cross, without Jesus Christ. Costly grace is the New Covenant. Costly grace is costly because it calls us to follow Jesus Christ. It is costly because it cost a man his life and it gives a man the only true life. It is costly because it condemns sin. It is costly because it cost God the life of His Son. It is costly because it compels a man to submit to the yoke of Jesus Christ and follow Him. This is an exciting and amazing truth! We are truly blessed to be a part of this wonderful covenant of grace based on better promises and guaranteed through Jesus Christ. God saved the best for last. The first is ready to disappear but our covenant will be a lasting and eternal memorial to our wonderful and faithful God.

The Book of Hebrews – A Covenant of the Heart

Posted on Leave a commentPosted in The Book of Hebrews

“But this is the new covenant I will make with the people of Israel on that day, says the Lord: I will put my laws in their minds, and I will write them on their hearts. I will be their God, and they will be my people. And they will not need to teach their neighbors, nor will they need to teach their relatives, saying, ‘You should know the Lord.’ For everyone, from the least to the greatest, will know me already. And I will forgive their wickedness, and I will never again remember their sins.” Hebrews 8:10-12

“We are eternal beings experiencing a human journey. The course we choose to take can be driven by our minds based on our life experiences, or it can be one that unfolds from our hearts as we walk closely with the Creator, the One who is Love. We were created to know and experience this Love in relationship with Him, with each other, and within our own hearts.

Our hearts are the centerpieces of leading a life filled with love, joy, and meaning – they are the place where Jesus chooses to live in us. Unlike our minds, our hearts contain the essence of who we are. The Creator has deposited His DNA – Love – within each of us, and our connection with Him affirms our value and worth and enables us to love ourselves and others. His diverse nature is revealed in that no two people are alike, yet we often settle for becoming false images of our fellow man’s handiwork rather than discovering and embracing who He really made us to be.

Every one of us have wounded and broken parts of our hearts…and I mean everyone. It doesn’t matter how good our childhood was because no parent is perfect and often unintentionally wounded us with their words or actions. Even if our childhood years were somewhat safe and loving, the adult years often can be a whole different story. Our hearts can potentially be wounded every day by those around us or by ourselves. That’s why we call it a journey. It is all about loving ourselves in the midst of painful experiences in life, past or present.” (Dallas Willard)

God’s Covenant is a covenant of the heart. A covenant of love. God’s great cry is come to me and I will heal your heart.

The Book of Hebrews – A Better Covenant

Posted on Leave a commentPosted in The Book of Hebrews

“But now Jesus, our High Priest, has been given a ministry that is far superior to the old priesthood, for he is the one who mediates for us a far better covenant with God, based on better promises.” Hebrew 8:6

Jesus is the mediator or guarantor of the Covenant of grace. This covenant is far superior in every way imaginable to the Covenant of Law. This is because it is founded on better promises and backed by an oath between God and Jesus that it will be lasting and eternal. The covenant of the law was that you were keeping the law so that it was a covenant of works. The new covenant is a covenant of grace. You do not have to do anything except accept Jesus Christ as your Lord and Savior. In this chapter we see how this is a better covenant.  First, He put his laws in our hearts and minds so that we can be familiar and intimate with His ways and precepts. Secondly, He makes us His people, declaring that He will be our God. Third, He reveals himself to us so that we do not need someone to tell us about God, we can experience Him for ourselves. Lastly, He has forgiven our sins and goes a step further declaring that he will also forget them entirely. We have these amazing things as New Covenant believers, which is why our covenant is far superior than the previous one.

The Book of Hebrews – God is a Spirit

Posted on Leave a commentPosted in The Book of Hebrews

“And since every high priest is required to offer gifts and sacrifices, our High Priest must make an offering, too. If he were here on earth, he would not even be a priest, since there already are priests who offer the gifts required by the law. They serve in a system of worship that is only a copy, a shadow of the real one in heaven. For when Moses was getting ready to build the Tabernacle, God gave him this warning: “Be sure that you make everything according to the pattern I have shown you here on the mountain.” Hebrews 8:3-5

Hebrews talks a lot about copies and shadows on earth of things that are in heaven. God gave Moses the system for building the Tabernacle on earth and how the system was going to work. I can see why the people the writer of Hebrews was writing to was going back to the old ways of worship. They did not understand that God is a Spirit and the things in heaven are spiritual. “For God is Spirit, so those who worship him must worship in spirit and in truth.” (John 4:24) Until we can realize that there is a spiritual world that is all around us, we have a hard time understanding some of the Bible. Jesus taught us in parables because it was simpler for us to understand.

Old Testament temple worship was just like this. It was based on a pattern of the real thing that took place in the heavenly tabernacle. Moses was shown the entire thing when he met with God on the mountain. Then God instructed Moses to recreate this tabernacle and its practices on earth with a warning to make it exactly as he was shown. The tabernacle, set up according to what takes place in heaven, was to serve as an illustration helping the people understand. The earthly system was a copy and a shadow of the heavenly system. It wasn’t a means in itself; it was a model or replica of the true system. It looked like it, it functioned like it, but it was merely a pattern and foreshadowing of the real thing. This is why Moses was told to make it exactly according to what he saw, because it was simply a model. The real thing is in the spiritual realm of heaven.

The Book of Hebrews – The True Tabernacle

Posted on Leave a commentPosted in The Book of Hebrews

“Here is the main point: We have a High Priest who sat down in the place of honor beside the throne of the majestic God in heaven. There he ministers in the heavenly Tabernacle, the true place of worship that was built by the Lord and not by human hands.” Hebrews 8:1-2

 Jesus serves in the true heavenly tabernacle. It’s easy to lose sight of the fact that tabernacle worship as illustrated and outlined in the law was fashioned after the true temple worship currently taking place in heaven. How else do you think Moses obtained the pattern for what he was instructed to build? The heavenly tabernacle was created, not by mankind, but by God which is why the earthly tabernacle only served as a type and shadow of the true one. The heavenly tabernacle is where Jesus poured His blood on the Mercy Seat for us. It was a perfect offering, not given according to the Law but according to the eternal priesthood that God ordained through Jesus.

These things summarize the main point the writer is making concerning everything he has said about Jesus’ High Priesthood in the last couple of chapters. First it was Jesus who carried out the plan of redemption and acted as our High Priest chosen by God. Secondly these things took place in the true heavenly tabernacle. Next, Jesus sat down because it was finished. And lastly Jesus has the place of honor and the name above every name because the job He was given to do was done so completely and perfectly. This shows how our covenant with the Lord is completely different and far superior to the Old Covenant and why Jesus’ priesthood is one of the best gifts we’ve ever received. Knowing these things equips us for a changed life overshadowed by the goodness of the Lord.

The Book of Hebrews – The Priest We Need

Posted on Leave a commentPosted in The Book of Hebrews

“He is the kind of high priest we need because he is holy and blameless, unstained by sin. He has been set apart from sinners and has been given the highest place of honor in heaven. Unlike those other high priests, he does not need to offer sacrifices every day. They did this for their own sins first and then for the sins of the people. But Jesus did this once for all when he offered himself as the sacrifice for the people’s sins. The law appointed high priests who were limited by human weakness. But after the law was given, God appointed his Son with an oath, and his Son has been made the perfect High Priest forever.” Hebrews 7:26-28

We all need a high priest. We have to have someone to go to the throne of God to make intercessions for us. We as sinful humans cannot appear before God. This is the reason we have a priest to appear before God for us. When we choose Jesus as our high priest, we have chosen the best. He is the priest we need.  God chose the very best for us. God did not withhold anything from us but sent Jesus who could perfectly fulfill the requirements of both the sacrifice needed for the forgiveness of sins and for the role of High Priest, who made offering and intercession for us. This is an amazing truth, mankind chose individuals based on ancestry who were subject to sin and death, and God chose Jesus, who was sinless and perfect.

One of the greatest goals of this letter to the Hebrews is to show the superiority of Christ’s eternal High Priesthood as being different and far superior to the Levitical office. In fact, the writer does everything to connect Jesus with the priesthood of Melchizedek. The reason is because the Levitical line was flawed by the sin and death of the priests. This is why there was a need for another priest. Jesus is perfect, sinless, pure, holy, blameless and set apart from sinners. These qualifications alone show His superiority over the Levitical priests. Not only that but they are also the elements of a perfect sacrifice. Unlike the earthly priests, Jesus did not have to first sacrifice for his own sins before making intercession. This is because He was perfect and sinless, which already qualified him to make intercession on our behalf. He was both the perfect sacrifice and the perfect intercessor.