Hebrews 8 opens by underscoring the main point of the author’s remarks.
Now the main point in what we are saying is this: we have such a high priest, one who is seated at the right hand of the throne of the Majesty in the heavens,
A minister in the sanctuary and the true tent that the Lord, and not any mortal, has set up (Hebrews 8.1-2).
What is the main point that we should know?
Psalm 110.1 has been emphasized throughout the letter. The “main point” is the full significance of the Psalm.
The Lord says to my lord,
“Sit at my right hand
until I make your enemies your footstool.” (Psalm 110.1)
Jesus is seated at the right hand of Majesty. He ministers in the “sanctuary” on high, not in an earthly tent that was constructed by humans.
Like a good preacher, the author reminds his audience of what he has said earlier about Jesus.
He is the reflection of God’s glory and the exact imprint of God’s very being, and he sustains all things by his powerful word. When he had made purification for sins, he sat down at the right hand of the Majesty on high (Hebrews 1.3).
What does He do?
Jesus is in a place of ultimate authority. What does he do with the fact that he can say, “All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me” (Matthew 28.18)?
What Jesus does with his awesome power and authority is serve God and humans.
For every high priest is appointed to offer gifts and sacrifices; hence it is necessary for this priest also to have something to offer (Hebrews 8.3).
The Son of God is the Ultimate High Priest and high priests offer sacrifices. The “something” he offered was himself.
Later in the letter, Jesus’ sacrifice will be explored further.
How much more will the blood of Christ, who through the eternal Spirit offered himself without blemish to God, purify our conscience from dead works to worship the living God! (Hebrews 9:14)
The Earthly Tent
Verses 4-5 describe the function of the earthly tent. I recommend that you listen to today’s YouTube video.
Rudy Ross explains in detail each of the elements of the earthly tent, which is a “sketch and shadow of the heavenly one” (verse 5).
We can praise God for the sacrificial system and the earthly tent. Without these, we would not have a picture of what Jesus came to give us.
The old tent was given to show the people how to appreciate the heavenly sanctuary.
The tent prefigures the place of God’s presence, where Jesus has entered as a high priest for us.
However, the earthly tent was insufficient. Jeremiah prophesied a New Covenant that would replace what the old could only picture.
The days are surely coming, says the Lord, when I will make a new covenant with the house of Israel and the house of Judah.
It will not be like the covenant that I made with their ancestors when I took them by the hand to bring them out of the land of Egypt—a covenant that they broke, though I was their husband, says the Lord.
But this is the covenant that I will make with the house of Israel after those days, says the Lord: I will put my law within them, and I will write it on their hearts, and I will be their God, and they shall be my people.
No longer shall they teach one another or say to each other, “Know the Lord,” for they shall all know me, from the least of them to the greatest, says the Lord, for I will forgive their iniquity and remember their sin no more (Jeremiah 31:31-34).
All of the benefits of the New Covenant came through Jesus’ sacrifice and his presence in the heavenly sanctuary.
But Jesus has now obtained a more excellent ministry, and to that degree he is the mediator of a better covenant, which has been enacted on the basis of better promises (Hebrews 8.6).
Jesus is the Ultimate High Priest in the heavens who has established the new covenant and has made its benefits available to humans.
Rudy Ross and I talk about Hebrews today on YouTube. You can see the video on the Bob Spradling channel.
I am indebted to Gareth Lee Cockerill’s commentary on Hebrews for the information contained in this blog.
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