TODAY’S READING: HEBREWS 7-10
Christ’s priesthood superior to the Levitical priesthood; the old covenant was a shadow of the real; the old covenant sacrifices were temporary; Christ’s sacrifice is permanent.
HIGHLIGHTS & INSIGHTS:
The chapters in today’s reading provide one of the most complete explanations about the superiority of the Christ and the new covenant when compared with the old covenant. God begins by identifying Christ as a Priest after the order of Melchisedec. Notice, Christ is not a priest after the Levitical priesthood started with Aaron. The story of Melchisedec mentioned in chapter 7 is from Genesis 14:17-20. The Levitical priesthood was comprised of men who were sinners. These men first had to offer sacrifices for themselves, and then for the people. These men had to offer sacrifices daily. However, Christ was not from this priesthood! He is a High Priest after Melchisedec. Christ was not a sinner. Christ does not have to offer sacrifices daily. Christ is a High Priest forever because He lives forever and makes intercession for us. Perfection could never come from the Levitical priesthood; it could only come from a different priesthood and different priest. Our perfect!
ion comes from our High Priest, the Lord Jesus Christ.
God also reveals something very interesting in chapter 8. The sanctuary and tabernacle of the old covenant were merely a shadow of the real sanctuary and tabernacle inhabited by God. Think about the concept of a shadow. It can give an outline. It can help someone understand what something is – a person, a tree, a car, etc. However, it is not the real thing. Can you imagine someone wanting to have a conversation with your shadow? Sounds ridiculous, doesn’t it? That’s God’s point. He is the real thing. His sanctuary and tabernacle are the reality, not the shadow. His High Priest (Christ), is the perfect High Priest. Yet, many at that time still chose to hold on to a shadow instead of embracing the reality. Many do the same thing today. Religion is merely a shadow. There is nothing real in religion. It may make people feel better to go to church, to give their money, to sing nice songs, to be the best person they can be, but none of these things can change the re!
ality of their sin. People still embrace the shadow instead of embracing the reality, Jesus Christ.
The old covenant revealed in itself that it was not sufficient. The holy of holies in the old covenant could only be entered into one time per year on the Day of Atonement. This revealed that the way into the holiest of all (God’s tabernacle – not the earthly one) was not yet revealed. It was simply a figure, a shadow, imposed by the law until the “time of reformation”. Notice, none of this could perfect the conscience of even the high priest offering the gift, let alone the rest of the people. But then the “time of reformation” did come, and we’re not talking about Martin Luther! The real High Priest showed up. An everlasting High Priest. The High Priest of the true tabernacle. The blood offered by this High Priest was not the blood of bulls and goats, but was His own blood – the blood of God! This sacrifice can purge our conscience. This blood established a new covenant.
And how much greater this new covenant! The blood of bulls and goats (or anything else!) never could, never can, and never will be able to take away sin. But the blood and sacrifice of the new covenant is different because it was offered by a different High Priest. This Priest, this man, the Lord Jesus Christ offered ONE sacrifice for sins forever! There is no other sacrifice needed nor desired by God. You and I can’t offer any sacrifice for sins. Sometimes we think we can. We think we can “sacrifice for sins” by feeling really, really bad about our sin (almost trying to do penance), or, when we sin, we think we can “sacrifice” for it by giving more, reading more, praying more, or witnessing more. But, do you realize how much all of these “sacrifices” actually accomplish concerning our sin? NOTHING! We can’t add anything or take anything away from Christ’s one sacrifice! We must trust His sacrifice, not our own. That is precisely why the false gospel that is preach!
ed by Roman Catholicism cannot save. It is a message that says Christ is still being sacrificed for sin (the mass). It is a message that says that although you’re forgiven, you must still pay for your sin (purgatory). If someone wants to pay for their sin, they certainly have the option to do so. But God makes it clear what the payment is – DEATH! (Romans 6:23) That’s why Christ said those that trust in Him shall never see death. It’s not a physical death, but a spiritual death that has eternal consequences. May we simply trust the once offered sacrifice of our perfect High Priest, and rest completely in Him. May we proclaim the message of the new covenant so that others may hear.