HEBREWS 7:25-8:7

The book of Hebrews ties the OT and NT together like no other book in the Bible. Under the old covenant the priesthood was the most central point, because the priest (mediator) under the Mosaic Law brought man together with God. So the Jewish believers who were being persecuted for their faith in Jesus, and seeing their unconverted friends and family going to the temple (the temple was not destroyed when Hebrews was written) were tempted to go back to the "shadow" (v.5) and forsake the "true tabernacle" (v.2) and the new and better covenant (V.6). Though the book of Hebrews speaks strongly to Jewish people, both in early NT times and today, its message is for everyone, Jew and Gentile, lost and saved.

"Therefore He (Jesus) is able also to save to the uttermost (completely, perfectly, finally, and for all time and eternity) those who come to God through Him, since He is always living to make petition to God and intercede with Him and intervene for them. [Here is] the High Priest [perfectly adapted] to our needs, as was fitting–holy, blameless, unstained by sin, separated from sinners, and exalted higher than the heavens. He has no day by day necessity, as [do each of these other] high priests, to offer sacrifice first of all for his own [personal] sins and then for those of the people, because He [met all the requirements] once for all when He brought Himself [as a sacrifice] which He offered up. For the Law sets up men in their weakness [frail, sinful, dying human beings] as high priests, but the word of [God's] oath, which [was spoken later] after the institution of the Law, [chooses and appoints as priest One Whose appointment is complete and permanent], a Son Who has been made perfect forever. NOW THE main point of what we have to say is this: We have such a High Priest, One Who is seated at the right hand of the majestic [God] in heaven, As officiating Priest, a Minister in the holy places and in the true tabernacle which is erected not by man but by the Lord. For every high priest is appointed to offer up gifts and sacrifices; so it is essential for this [High Priest] to have some offering to make also. If then He were still living on earth, He would not be a priest at all, for there are [already priests] who offer the gifts in accordance with the Law.[But these offer] service [merely] as a pattern and as a foreshadowing of [what has its true existence and reality in] the heavenly sanctuary. For when Moses was about to erect the tabernacle, he was warned by God, saying, See to it that you make it all [exactly] according to the copy (the model) which was shown to you on the mountain.  But as it now is, He [Christ] has acquired a [priestly] ministry which is as much superior and more excellent [than the old] as the covenant (the agreement) of which He is the Mediator (the Arbiter, Agent) is superior and more excellent, [because] it is enacted and rests upon more important (sublimer, higher, and nobler) promises. For if that first covenant had been without defect, there would have been no room for another one or an attempt to institute another one." (Heb. 7:25-8:7- Amp.)

From these verses and what we have already studied in Hebrews, I see several key points and messages that we can apply to our lives:

1) LOOK AT JESUS TO SEE GOD/REALITY – In and through Jesus we can "see" the unseen and permanent reality of God and heaven and not be pre-occupied or swept away by the visible but temporary things of this world. "Therefore do not let anyone judge you by what you eat or drink, or with regard to a religious festival, a New Moon celebration or a Sabbath day. These are a shadow of the things that were to come; the reality, however, is found in Christ (Col. 2:16-17; also see 2 Cor. 4:16-18). Jesus is God with a face (2 Cor. 4:6). Man can know the invisible God through the One who made Him visible. "He who has seen me has seen the Father." (John 14:9) All the OT "types" pointed to Jesus Who both revealed and fulfilled their true meaning; e.g., Lamb of God (Exodus 12, John 1:29, 1 Cor. 5:7); the temple spoke of His body (Heb. 8:2; John 2:19-21; Rev. 21:22); the serpent lifted up was Jesus lifted up on the cross (Numbers 24:1-9; John 3:14); water from the Rock (Exodus 17:1-7 John 4:10-14; 1 Cor. 10:4). Also Jesus is the true tabernacle, the true light, the true bread, the true vine and the true food and drink meaning He is the ultimate fulfillment of what these things pointed to. (Heb. 8:2; John 1:9, 6:30-33,15:1-2, 6:55). Thus Jesus is God’s provision for all we need from here to eternity and all who reject Him for the "shadows" (religion, man-made rules and traditions) will perish.

2) TRUST IN JESUS TO BE FORGIVEN AND TO BE TRANSFORMED – Law (the OT covenant) versus grace (the NT covenant). Even as the Jewish leaders loved legalistic self-righteousness and resisted the promised (in their OT) and better New Covenant of grace, (they stoned Stephen, Acts 6:13-15, and crucified Jesus over this) so we too are tempted to performance-based acceptance with God and man. "You stiff-necked people, with uncircumcised hearts and ears! You are just like your fathers: You always resist the Holy Spirit! Was there ever a prophet your fathers did not persecute? They even killed those who predicted the coming of the Righteous One. And now you have betrayed and murdered him— you who have received the law that was put into effect through angels but have not obeyed it" (Acts 7:51-53). But even we as believers still tend toward self-effort versus radical dependence on God for our spiritual growth as seen in Paul’s rebuke of the Galatians: "O YOU poor and silly and thoughtless and unreflecting and senseless Galatians! Who has fascinated or bewitched or cast a spell over you, unto whom–right before your very eyes–Jesus Christ (the Messiah) was openly and graphically set forth and portrayed as crucified? Let me ask you this one question: Did you receive the [Holy] Spirit as the result of obeying the Law and doing its works, or was it by hearing [the message of the Gospel] and believing [it]? [Was it from observing a law of rituals (EXTERNALS/SELF-EFFORT/PRIDE)  or from a message of faith (INTERNAL/DEPENDENCE ON JESUS/HUMILITY)?] Are you so foolish and so senseless and so silly? Having begun [your new life spiritually] with the [Holy] Spirit, are you now reaching perfection [by dependence] on the flesh? " (Gal. 3:1-3) May we all confess with Paul: "For I know that nothing good dwells within me, that is, in my flesh." (Rom. 7:18)   

3) LISTEN TO WHAT JESUS SAYS ABOUT WORSHIP  – "A time will come, however, indeed it is already here, when the true (genuine) worshipers will worship the Father in spirit and in truth (reality); for the Father is seeking just such people as these as His worshipers.  God is a Spirit (a spiritual Being) and those who worship Him must worship Him in spirit and in truth (reality)." (John 4:23-24)  WORSHIP GOD IN SPIRIT AND IN TRUTH, NOT PEOPLE, PLACES OR THINGS –  {"Now let me draw out some implications of this for the life of worship. The High Priesthood of Jesus—the coming of the reality instead of the shadow—fulfills and brings to an end the physical center of Old Testament worship, the tabernacle and the temple. It fulfills and brings to an end the official priesthood, the sacrificial offerings, the dietary laws, the priestly vestments and the seasonal acts of atonement and reconciliation. What this means, in essence, is that the entire worship life of the Old Testament has been radically refocused onto Jesus himself and has become a radically spiritual thing, as opposed to an external thing. The external is still important, but now the spiritual is so radically pervasive that virtually all of external life, not just church life, is the expression of worship. "Present your bodies as living sacrifices which is your reasonable service of worship" (Romans 12:1). That's all the time and everywhere. "Whether, then, you eat or drink or whatever you do, do all to the glory of God" (1 Corinthians 10:31)—all the time, everywhere. In the New Testament, all the focus is on the reality of the glory of Christ, not the shadow and copy of religious objects and forms. It is stunning how indifferent the New Testament is to such things: there is no authorization in the New Testament for worship buildings, or worship dress, or worship times, or worship music, or worship liturgy or worship size or thirty-five-minute sermons, or Advent poems or choirs or instruments or candles. In fact, the act of getting together as Christians in the New Testament to sing or pray or hear the word of God is never even called worship. I wonder if we do not distort the Biblical meaning of "worship" by using the word almost entirely for an event for which the New Testament never uses the word. But all of this makes us very free and, perhaps, very frightened. Free to find place and time and dress and size and music and elements and objects that help us orient radically toward the supremacy of God in Christ. And frightened, perhaps, because almost every worship tradition we have is culturally shaped rather than Biblically commanded. The command is a radical connection of love and trust and obedience to Jesus Christ in all of life. There’s a reason for this radical spirituality of worship in the New Testament. And the reason is this. The New Testament is a missionary document. The message of this book is meant to be carried to every people on earth and incarnated in every culture in the world. And that is why our High Priest came and ended tabernacle, and sacrifices and feasts and vestments and dietary laws and circumcision and priesthood. The Old Testament was mainly a come-and-see religion. The New Testament is mainly a go-and-tell religion. And to make that possible, the Son of God has not abolished worship, but made it the kind of radically spiritual engagement with God in Christ that can and must happen in every culture on the earth. Worship is not trivialized in the New Testament, but intensified, deepened, and made the radical fuel and goal of all missions. The frightening freedom of worship in the New Testament is a missionary mandate. We must not lock this gospel treasure in any cultural straitjacket. Rather let us find the place, the time, the dress, the forms, the music that kindles and carries a passion for the supremacy of God in all things. And may our communion with the living God be so real and the Spirit of God so powerfully present that the heart of what we do becomes the joy of all the peoples we are called to reach." John Piper, "Our High Priest is The Son of God – Perfect Forever."}


1) LOOK AT JESUS TO SEE GOD/REALITY – How can we "look" at Jesus? Do you know Him as the Lamb of God, temple/true tabernacle, the serpent lifted up, living water, true light, true bread, true vine and true food and drink? How do  many people miss ultimate Reality on earth and even think wrongly of the ultimate Reality of heaven? Read Psalm 73:25.

2) TRUST IN JESUS TO BE FORGIVEN AND TO BE TRANSFORMED – People are tempted to performance-based acceptance with God and man and even we as believers still tend toward self-effort versus radical dependence on God for our spiritual growth. Where have you seen people look to EXTERNALS and SELF-EFFORT that lead to PRIDE versus INTERNAL DEPENDENCE ON JESUS that leads to HUMILITY? Where have you done the same?

3) LISTEN TO WHAT JESUS SAYS ABOUT WORSHIP – WORSHIP GOD IN SPIRIT AND IN TRUTH, NOT PEOPLE, PLACES OR THINGS –   How can the church wrongly lead us to worship people, places or things? And how can we do the same?

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