Hebrews 8: 1 – 13
As we continue to study closely one of the most important books of the Bible – the Book of Hebrews, one may be forced to think that the writer was over emphasizing the point he had been trying to make from the onset if we are not careful and patient to read. For the mind that desires to know and understand, one will find out that the writer is systematic in his writings; blending history with the life that Jesus lived, all in the quest of trying to convince his fellow Jews that Jesus is the Messiah they were waiting for; and that they ought to make a quality decision for Him, knowing that there had been a paradigm shift from the Law to Grace.
The writer knew that the people couldn’t get saved by him saying to them “God told me to tell you to be saved” like we do today. He (the writer) knew that he had a responsibility to engage the mind of his audience. The mind is a very important factor in the life of anyone. To set someone free or put him or her in bondage, is a process that would have to start from the mind. If you give me access to your mind, then it would be very possible to either set you free or plunge you into bondage. The writer knew this and decided to engage the mind of his audience so that they are able to make a quality and wise decision for God, by responding to the Gospel of Christ.
The Apostle (Paul) puts it this way, “Don’t become so well adjusted to your culture that you fit into it without even thinking. Instead, fix your attention on God. You’ll be changed from the inside out. Readily recognize what he wants from you, and quickly respond to it. Unlike the culture around you, always dragging you down to its level of immaturity, God brings the best out of you, develops well-formed maturity in you.” In other words, miracles, signs and wonders would not change us; only the pure and undiluted Word of God has that power to cause a change on the inside of us that would eventually be reflected on the outside.
Your mind is a gift from God and you should aim to make proper use of it.
What angle did the writer pick his discussion from?
He started in the first verse of chapter 8 by giving a summary of all he had been discussing with them and pinned it down to the Levitical system and priesthood. He is trying to put his focus on Moses and the instruction he got from God when he was about to construct the Tabernacle. The story in the Book of Exodus was that God took him to the mountain to see the real Tabernacle and then instructed him to build the same pattern or copy on Earth. To put this in clear terms, Moses was given an opportunity to see the real and TRUE Tabernacle (verse 2) by God and was commanded to build a copy on Earth in accordance to what he had seen.
The writer then compared the Old Testament Tabernacle to the New Tabernacle which is in Heaven – where Jesus is presenting our gifts and interceding for us before our Father. Going back to the Nation of Israel and how they presented their gifts and sacrifices to God, they couldn’t offer any gifts or sacrifice to God without the High Priest. Their access to God had to be through the High Priest. This was the reason why there was no chair in the Tabernacle because the High Priest was busy 24 hours a day and 365 days a year. It then means that, if I have to get through to God, it has to be through Jesus because He is the High Priest of the true Tabernacle representing you and I before God in Heaven. No wonder Jesus said, “no man can come unto the Father except by me.”
Another reason why the Jews should focus on this High Priest is because Jesus has fulfilled the requirements once and for all. He does not have to offer sacrifices once a year. He has done it and was described as the MEDIATOR between MANKIND and God, having obtained a more excellent ministry through His death, burial and resurrection. He became the harbinger of the New Covenant, based upon PROMISES and no more rituals; and therefore He is seated on the right hand of God forever more.
Does it mean that the Old Testament was FAKE?
NO, it wasn’t. God would never have associated with it. The Old Testament was Holy in all its ramifications but then it had a FAULT (verse 7). The Apostle succinctly puts it this way; “The law of Moses was unable to save us because of the weakness of our sinful nature. So God did what the law could not do. He sent His own Son in a body like the bodies we sinners have. And in that body God declared an end to sin’s control over us by giving His Son as a sacrifice for our sins. He did this so that the just requirement of the law would be fully satisfied for us, who no longer follow our sinful nature but instead follow the Spirit.
The writer also went back in history to remind his audience that Jeremiah had first warned them by prophesying that a New Covenant would eventually be initiated, again for the people of Israel. Jeremiah prophesied saying, “The day is coming, says the Lord, when I will make a new covenant with the people of Israel and Judah. This covenant will not be like the one I made with their ancestors when I took them by the hand and led them out of the land of Egypt. They did not remain faithful to my covenant, so I turned my back on them, says the Lord. 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.”
The question that would then come to the mind is why are the Jews stalling then; why are they having problems shifting from the Old to the New?
God had spoken about a New Testament and the requirement was for His people to move from the Old to the New because by coming up with a new plan, a new covenant between God and His people, God put the old plan on the shelf. And there it stays, gathering dust.
I can imagine the look on the faces of the Jews listening to this writer; it might just be that some of them would respond to the message of the Gospel while some would need more proof that indeed Jesus was the Messiah they had been waiting for. The presentation of Hebrews continues.
“The first link between my soul and Christ is, not my goodness, but my badness; not my merit, but my misery; not my standing, but my falling; not my riches, but my need. He comes to visit His people, yet not to admire their beauties, but to remove their deformities; not to reward their virtues, but to forgive their sins. God never clothes men until He has first stripped them, nor does He quicken them by the gospel till first they are slain by the law.” – C.H Spurgeon
Keep it right here and be refreshed!