Here Paul sums up all that he was trying to explain in the seven previous chapters. The summary being that we now have a Great High Priest in Jesus Christ. All previous priesthoods are now redundant. The Hebrews have no need to go back to their old religion, in fact it is dangerous to do so, for in God's eyes, that means you are rejecting the priestly work of His son Jesus. He, who is divine, became human. In his humanity he shares all our infirmities. In his work as a High priest he has offered himself as a sacrifice for our sins. He is now interceding for us as a priest after the order of Melchizadek. So this high priesthood, far outshines the priesthood of Aaron. In fact it makes the whole religion redundant because it was all about God providing a means whereby man could have access to God. Now through Jesus and the blood he shed on Calvary, God has established a new covenant with the Jews and indeed the whole of mankind is included in this new covenant.
So just to freshen minds and memories, here is a quick flashback over the previous seven chapters.
SUMMARY OF Hebrews chs 1-8 Ch.1. Jesus Christ, our High Priest is non other than the Son of God himself. He is not only a priest but a prophet and a king whose kingdom will last forever. Ch. 2. God became a man for this express reason- To become our High priest How was it possible? What is man? Express image of God- Humanity fitted like a glove: He did not become sinful like man, but Jesus made men Holy like Himself. Ch. 3. We are now Holy Brethren. Moses never made us holy. Jesus better than Moses. In the past the Jews had continually failed to enter into God's promised blessings, simply because they refused to enter in to them by faith. So it is now. The Hebrews to whom Paul is writing, still refuse to enter into the High priesthood of Jesus and to rest in his atoning work for their salvation and acceptance by God. Ch. CH.4. God’s goal is that we enter into His rest- rest from having to work for our salvation. Jesus has done it all. If we enter into Him and believe in Him as our high priest then, we enter rest. Therefore, to trust in the religious ceremonies of the old covenant is futile. There is no salvation in works of any kind. Salvation is only be faith. Good works are good if done in faith, but not if we do them to ease our conscience- They are dead works of conscience. God’s word- can discern the very motives for our good works. Under the covenant of the law, we feared to enter God’s presence, but under this new covenant of grace, we should fear NOT to enter- for that spells unbelief in the work of Jesus. Ch. 5. v 10. Jesus was called of God to be a priest forever after the order of Melchizadek- a better and higher priesthood than Aaron. Paul pondered on the thought of explaining why, but guessed they were so immature they would not appreciate the analogy with Melchizadek. As new spiritual babies in Christ, they were immature. They had never progressed from the Milk of the word to the meat of the word. They continued only in the basics, such as;- a, Saved and b, going to heaven - No progress in between. Ch.6. Dangerous not to progress is equal to going back (as the Jews had done)- They had never progressed to know Christ fully as their "Melchizadek" high priest. Paul wants to show that the Old is Old and finished. The New has come -. God wants to see our faith. Faith which should be just as good and strong as Abraham's. He didn’t just listen to the promises, he continued with patience and perseverance to believe them. Abraham had good reason to believe for the promise from God was endorsed by an oath from God. These two unchangable things, a promise and an oath from God, were as a sure anchor for his faith. Ch.7. Likewise our faith in Jesus as our high priest is anchored in the same two unchangable things, for he not only promised that Jesus was to be our high priest after the order of Melchisadek but he confirmed it with an oath that he would be our high priest forever. (Psalm 110) "The Lord swore “you are a priest forever….” Melchizadek is a type of Christ in many ways. King of righteousness & Peace- (Romans) Offers bread and wine, - by analogy the sacrifice of Christ's body and blood. No beginning nor end. By analogy he is eternal. Abraham gave tithes to Melchizadec- by analogy- Aaron gave tithes thus proving that his “order” of priesthood was inferior to those in the order of Melchizadek.. The Aaronic priests died and had to be replaced but Christ’s priesthood is Everlasting, he never dies. So we conclude at this stage that all things in the Law and Jewish religion points to and are a type of Christ and his work of salvation. Christ could not have been a priest under the Law as he came from the tribe of Judah, and priests came from the tribe of Levi. But the latter are but an illustration of the former. Moses built the earthly material tabernacle as a copy of the one he had seen in the heavenlies. It was important that every detail was built perfectly and correctly as God commanded, for Christ was to be the fulfilment of all that went on in the tabernacle. As the real is far superior to the copy so the ministry of Jesus Christ far outweighs the ministry of those who served in the tabernacle. Jesus became the Mediator of a better covenant, based upon better promises. This is exactly what God had promised through Jeremiah the prophet. (Jer: 31:31) The Old Testament clearly says that the Old Covenant had proved ineffective to save, as it relied upon sinful man, whose heart is opposed to God’s will. Therefore God promised a new Covenant where the law would be written on man’s heart- He would desire to do God’s will- Suggesting a massive spiritual change. Jesus called it “being born again” when he spoke to Nicodemus, who was the best of the law keepers. There can only be one conclusion, and that is that the Old must go, for the New has come.
The High Priest; We would not be stretching things too far, in emphasising the word High, which describes his priesthood. For his priesthood has indeed such a dimension. In chapter 7 v 25 we read that He has ascended higher than the heavens. In verse one of chapter eight we have the same truth. We can only appreciate the “depth” or value of that truth in the realisation that the one who is seated at the right hand of the Majesty in heaven is indeed a man. The whole point of the emphasis upon his priesthood is in wonderment of the incarnation. In verse two of this chapter, one word lies heavily, like a golden nugget. The word describes the tabernacle in heaven, for it is the TRUE tabernacle. This surely puts all other tabernacles in their subordinate position. It surely infers that the others are false, or fake tabernacles. In similar fashion Jesus spoke of himself as the true vine. What does that imply? Surely, that everything on this earth has a spiritual counterpart. The bible is written in this type of language. Wine, corn, oil, water, horses, stars, all have obvious counterparts in the spiritual world. Jesus spoke in parables, because He understood this fact. It set the basis of future spiritual understanding, for the stories would easily be remembered. Then later as the spiritual perception of the disciples increased, the true meaning of the parables would be realised.. We are creatures of a natural world, we believe in things we see and can handle. Naturally enough we revere natural things, especially anything which had been influenced or indeed sanctified by the presence of the Almighty Holy God. You might think you have lifted your gaze from the earthly and the fake unto the reality of heavenly things. You might consider yourself to be amongst those who appreciate the truth of Hebrews, in that you esteem the unseen world and the spiritual world as all important and relevant. But just imagine if you can, what your reaction would be, should you discover, and gain possession of the Ark of the Covenant. The Jews are still hoping to find it, and some people claim to have it or know where it is. Some churches and their leaders would claim no allegiance to the visible, having no sacred altars, no icons, no holy tables, even the bread and the wine are only regarded in a physical dimension, they possess no special holiness in themselves. However, suppose they were fortunate enough to find, the Ark of the Covenant, it would be almost impossible not to feel in awe of such a piece of furniture. It would be hard not to give it a prime position in the church. It would be difficult not to set rules about who touched it and who cleaned it etc. Equally as difficult it would be to stop folk from paying homage to such a once glorious piece of furniture. No doubt similarly, if the very humble carpenter’s cottage where Jesus lived could be discovered, then millions would pay vast sums just for the privilege of gazing upon the mud floor. It would be hard for even the most enlightened “spiritual” Christian not to want to gaze in wonder at this earthen dwelling. For such is the nature of us mere earthlings, we marvel when that which is of above has touched something which is of earth, yet in reality we should be marvelling that something of earth (Jesus the man) has touched that which is above. We should be moving in our concepts and understandings from the natural to the REAL world of the spiritual. To pay too much respect to the copy is surely an insult to the real thing. Those with the greatest perception of spiritual things will move away completely from anything made by human hands, for almost by definition such things are ready to vanish away. We have been called to that which lasts forever. We have an everlasting priesthood, an everlasting sanctuary, and an everlasting mercy seat. The things which are in heaven are our inheritance by the will of Christ, the great Testator of the New Testament; the great Mediator of a better covenant;The great negotiator of a better agreement. We all appreciate the difference in value between a copy and the real thing. No-one with “the real thing” would need to bother with a copy. However although there might be half an excuse for not understanding the invisible and eternal realities of the heavenly kingdom, we surely have no excuse for not learning about the earthly copies, which are parables for our spiritual enlightenment. The Mercy seat in the tabernacle had the blood of the sacrifices sprinkled upon it. If there was no sacrifice, there was no mercy. *******************************************
BOARD SUMMARY CH 8. Throughout the epistle we are shown how the new covenant is better than the old covenant. The word better becomes a very significant word in this epistle Better Man .- ch 1:4. better messenger than angels • Better High Priest. ch 8:1 Better priesthood than Aaron • Better Sacrifice. ch 8:3. ch 9 :23 His Blood & Body • Better Tabernacle. ch 8:2. One in heaven- not made with hands • Better Promises ch 8:6 Sins remembered no more • Better Hope ch 6:18-20 ch 7:19 Eternal • Better Covenant ch 8:6 Grace • Better Ministry ch.8:6. / Ch 10:22- double cleansing • Better Country. ch 11:16 Heaven • Better substance ch 10:34 Riches of tested faith Better Resurrection ch 11:35