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Wednesday, June 09 2021

Contributors: Esther Ikpe & Isekhua Evborokhai

Today’s study provides a transition from focusing on the superiority of the priesthood of Jesus Christ to the superiority of His New Covenant ministry. Before we dive deeper into the particulars of the New Covenant, we need to follow the author’s argument in developing some of the major implications of Jesus’ current ministry in the heavenly sanctuary, His completed once-for-all sacrifice, and His mediation of a better covenant based on better promises.

Verses 1-2: Summarizing Points Previously Made About Jesus as Our High Priest
“Now this is the main point of the things we are saying: We have such a High Priest, who is seated at the right hand of the throne of the Majesty in the heavens, a Minister of the sanctuary and of the true tabernacle which the Lord erected, and not man.”

a. This is the main point of the things we are saying: Apostle Paul brings together the main point of the previous chapter. We have a High Priest – Jesus Christ – who serves us from a position of all authority in heaven (seated at the right hand of the throne of the Majesty).

b. Who is seated at the right hand of the throne: Additionally, Jesus is seated in heaven, in contrast to the continual service of the priesthood under the Law of Moses.

i. The tabernacle and the temple of the Old Covenant had beautiful furnishings, but no place for the priests to sit down because their work was never finished. The work of Jesus is finished; therefore, He is seated in heaven.

c. A Minister of the sanctuary and of the true tabernacle: Jesus doesn’t serve as a priest in an earthly tabernacle or temple. He serves in the true tabernacle which the Lord erected, the original made by God. The tabernacle of Moses was a copy of this original, and it was made by man (Exodus 25:8-9).

i. Some suppose the true tabernacle is the Church or Jesus’ earthly body. But it is best to understand it as the heavenly reality that the earthly tabernacle imitated.

Verse 3: Jesus’ Priesthood Had a Sacrifice – And A Better Sacrifice
“For every high priest is appointed to offer both gifts and sacrifices. Therefore, it is necessary that this One also have something to offer.”

a. Every high priest is appointed to offer both gifts and sacrifices: Sacrifice for sin is essential to the concept of priesthood. Jesus represented a superior priesthood and offered a superior sacrifice. He laid down His own life to atone for sin.

b. It is necessary that this One also have something to offer: Though Jesus never offered a sacrifice according to the Law of Moses He did offer a better sacrifice – the sacrifice of Himself.

Verses 4-5: Jesus’ Priesthood Had a Temple – And A Better Temple.
“For if He were on earth, He would not be a priest, since there are priests who offer the gifts according to the law; who serve the copy and shadow of the heavenly things, as Moses was divinely instructed when he was about to make the tabernacle. For He said, “See that you make all things according to the pattern shown you on the mountain.”

a. If He were on earth, He would not be a priest: Jesus was not qualified to serve in the inferior earthly priesthood. There are priests – plenty of them – who were qualified to serve in the priesthood according to the Law of Moses.

b. Who serve the copy and shadow of the heavenly things: There were plenty of priests who could serve in the copy and shadow on earth. Yet Jesus is the only One qualified to serve in the superior heavenly priesthood. The earthly service, though it was glorious in the eyes of man, was really only a copy and shadow of the superior heavenly service.

c. Copy and shadow of the heavenly things: Exodus 25:40 tells us that Moses’ tabernacle built on earth was made according to a pattern that existed in heaven. This was the pattern which was shown to you [Moses] on the mountain. Therefore, there is a heavenly temple that served as a pattern for the earthly tabernacle and temple. Jesus’ ministry as our High Priest takes place in this heavenly temple, not in the copy and shadow built on earth.

i. First century Jews took tremendous pride in the temple and did so for good reason: it was a spectacular architectural achievement. However glorious the Jerusalem temple was, it was of man (and mostly built by Herod the Great, a corrupt and ungodly man). Therefore, it was nothing compared to the glory of the heavenly temple that Jesus served in.

Verse 6: The result: Jesus presides over a superior priesthood with a better covenant and better promises.
“But now He has obtained a more excellent ministry, inasmuch as He is also Mediator of a better covenant, which was established on better promises.”

a. He has obtained a more excellent ministry: No earthly priest could take away sin the way Jesus did. Therefore, Jesus’ ministry is far better than the ministry of the priesthood under the Law of Moses.

b. Mediator of a better covenant: Jesus has mediated for us a better covenant, a covenant of grace and not of works, guaranteed for us by a cosigner (Hebrews 7:22). It is a covenant marked by believing and receiving instead of by earning and deserving.

i. Jesus is our Mediator for this greater covenant. Mediator is the ancient Greek word mesites, which means “one who stands in the middle between two people and brings them together.”
ii. Moses was the mediator of the Old Covenant because he “brought the two parties together.” Jesus is the Mediator of the New Covenant, a better covenant, bringing us to God the Father.
iii. Jesus’ covenant is a better covenant, better than any of the previous covenants God made with men. The covenant of Jesus fulfills the other covenants described in the Bible.
• There is an eternal covenant between the members of the Godhead that made possible the salvation of man (Hebrews 13:20).
• God’s redemptive plan was continued through the covenant He made with Abraham (Genesis 12:1-3).
• The Mosaic covenant was another step in God’s redemptive plan (Exodus 24:3-8).
• The Davidic covenant was yet another step in God’s redemptive plan (2 Samuel 7:1-16).
• The redemptive plan of God was fulfilled in the New Covenant (Luke 22:14-20).

c. Which was established on better promises: Jesus has better promises for us. These are promises to see us through the most desperate and dark times. These are promises that become alive to us through the Spirit of God. These are promises of blessing and undeserved favor instead of promises to curse and judge.

What we have is the new covenant. It is "a better covenant, that is based on better promises" (Verses 6-8). The seed promise —the blessing of eternal life through Jesus Christ— was not delivered by the old covenant but the new. The new covenant is far superior as a unique ministry of eternal life in a heavenly kingdom foreseen in the blessing of Abraham, and believed in by him. (Galatians 3:15-18) says:
“Brethren, I say that even in human affairs nobody annuls or adds to a man-made covenant [a person’s last will and testament] once it has been ratified. 16Now the promises were made to Abraham and to his seed. It does not say, 'And to seeds' as though it meant the many. It refers to one alone, 'And to your seed,' meaning Christ. 17I say this: the law, which came 430 years afterward, does not annul a covenant previously ratified by God. The law does not void the promise [to Abraham]. 18For if the inheritance comes by the law, it no longer comes by promise! But God gave it to Abraham by a promise” AMP

The new covenant is also better because it was ratified by better blood (Hebrews 12:24) and finally, it is a better covenant because it came through a better Mediator.

Posted by: Isekhua Evborokhai AT 02:18 pm   |  Permalink   |  0 Comments  |  Email
Wednesday, June 02 2021

Contributor: Isekhua Evborokhai

INTRODUCTION: In last week’s study we were looking at the greatness of Jesus’ Priesthood as it compared with the Levitical priesthood; that it was a far better way between us and God. In today’s study Paul continues with his logical argument as to why this is the case by referring to the permanency and perfection of Jesus’ priesthood in contrast to the continuously changing and imperfect Levitical priesthood

1. An Unchanging Priesthood Means a Lasting Salvation (Verses 23-25)
“Also there were many priests, because they were prevented by death from continuing. But He, because He continues forever, has an unchangeable priesthood. Therefore, He is also able to save to the uttermost those who come to God through Him, since He always lives to make intercession for them.”

The Passion Translation kicks off verse 23 by saying: “As additional proof . . .” Paul, in these three verses presents additional proof is support of Jesus’ permanent and perfect priesthood.

Proof #1: He Continues Forever: There were many priests under the old system, for they eventually died and their office had to be filled by another but Jesus continues forever, as our High Priest even after He ascended into heaven.

Proof #2: An Unchangeable Priesthood: The priesthood under the Law of Moses constantly changed, and so it was either better or worse through the years depending on the character of the priest. But Jesus has an unchangeable permanent priesthood. He will never die and so we don’t need to worry about a “bad priest” replacing Him.

Proof #3: He Is Able to Save To the Uttermost: The unchanging nature of Jesus’ priesthood means that the salvation He gives is also unchanging, permanent, and secure. Jesus is able to save to the uttermost. Because He is our High Priest forever, He can save forever. He will save . . .

(i) Those who come to God through Him: This tells us whom Jesus is able to save. It means those who abide in the Son and have fellowship with the Father. It also shows where we have to come for salvation – to God. It is one thing to come to church; it is another thing to come to God. This shows the place of abiding in the security of the believer. When we come to God through Him, He saves us to the uttermost. In Jesus there is complete security of salvation.
And finally,

(ii) He Ever Lives to Make Intercession for Them: It is strengthening and reassuring to know that Jesus prays for us, and that He ever lives to pray for us. This is tremendous encouragement to anyone who feels like giving up. Jesus’ intercession on our behalf is not a matter of pacifying an angry Father who wants to destroy us. It means that He continually represents us before the Father so that we can draw near through Him, and that He defends us against Satan’s accusations and attacks. Like He did for Peter in Luke 22:31-32

2. Jesus Is Better Qualified to Be a High Priest Than Any Priest from The Order of the Law of Moses. (Verses 26-28)
For such a High Priest was fitting for us, who is holy, harmless, undefiled, separate from sinners, and has become higher than the heavens; who does not need daily, as those high priests, to offer up sacrifices, first for His own sins and then for the people’s, for this He did once for all when He offered up Himself. For the law appoints as high priests men who have weakness, but the word of the oath, which came after the law, appoints the Son who has been perfected forever.

The Levitical priests had to offer sacrifices for their own sins, but Jesus did not, because he had no sin. When he offered himself, it was not for himself, but for everyone else. He was the kind of sacrifice we really needed — without blemish, fit even for the holiest place in heaven. In these last three verses, Paul presents four reasons why Jesus’ Priesthood was a perfect one

Reason #1: He is a High Priest Best Fit for Us: The priests under the Law of Moses did not have the personal character of the Son of God. Jesus is holy, harmless (without guile or deception), undefiled, separate from sinners (in the sense of not sharing in their sin). Jesus is far superior in His personal character than any earthly priest.

Reason #2: He has become higher than the heavens: Two facts prove the perfect character of Jesus. First, His exaltation in heaven. Second, that He did not need to offer up sacrifices, first for His own sins – which the other priests needed to do daily.

Reason #3: He offered up Himself: This is totally unique. A priest may bring a sacrifice and offer it on the altar. But Jesus was both the priest and the sacrifice. This is the best sacrifice brought to God the Father by the best priest.

Reason #4: He has been Perfected Forever Verse 28 says: For the law appoints as high priests men who have weaknesses: Under the Law of Moses the priests were always men with weaknesses. But Jesus is a Son who has been perfected forever. Because He is a perfect High Priest, He was able to offer up Himself as a perfect sacrifice for our sin. Jesus is perfectly qualified to be our perfect High Priest – perfected forever.

Imagine for a moment the possible reaction of the Hebrews learning that the entire sacrificial system was no longer necessary and that it ended in this one sacrifice, Christ! It was therefore important for Paul to make this presentation that he had been on since chapter 1! In these last six verses he concluded the matter of the priesthood culminating in Jesus’ priesthood being perfected forever!

Parts of this study was culled from

Posted by: Isekhua Evborokhai AT 02:01 pm   |  Permalink   |  0 Comments  |  Email

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