Hebrews 8:1-6 The New Priestly Service

Written around A.D. 63 by an unknown author, a letter titled “To The Hebrews” was meant to strengthen Messianic Jews who found themselves under attack by the enemy in the form of persecution against Christians, or anyone else who pledged their support of Jesus. In its introduction, the author declared Jesus the exact representation of God in the flesh, a man who fulfilled all prophecies including living a perfect, sinless life that was taken on the cross, where the Savior died for our sins, then Christ’s presence among men concluded with His ascension to Heaven where a seat was reserved for Him, at the right hand of the Father, a position of power, authority and power over all other angels, appointed messengers of the Creator.

Next, the author established the difference between the angels and the Son of God, a title reserved to Jesus who was born of God, and unlike the angel who were created beings, Christ was begotten as the firstborn, and just as the heavenly Father, would be worshiped as such. After this, the letter’s focus shifted from the deity of Jesus to the importance of His message, calling on readers to pay close attention to the gospel taught by the Son of God or risk drifting away from the benefits associated with the truth spoken by the Messiah. Then, the author cited a Psalm of David, prompting his readers to identify this “man” as the physical body of Jesus, the part of Him that was created by God and exposed to temptation, to sin. In death, the human part of the Savior placed Him below angels, who have continuous access to Heaven, while Jesus was cast into a prison, then beaten and eventually, nailed to a cross where He died. After His death on the cross, the Messiah was resurrected from the dead, fulfilling prophecy and after 40 days, He ascended to Heaven where He continues to rejoice along side God, and with the angels whom He now is once again considered “above.” Then, the author pointed out how both Moses and Jesus were faithful to their respective ministry, and as such, those who rely on Christ for their salvation should remain faithful to Him with whom believers place their hope and trust. It is to those who stand fast and patiently continue to obediently serve the Lord who will inherit a place in the kingdom of God.

Following this, the Holy Spirit revealed to the author how God was angry with those He doomed for forty years in the wilderness, as their hearts were hardened toward God in spite of the countless miracles He performed, including delivering them from bondage in Egypt through Moses, one of His prophets. The author then reminded his readers of words shared by God through scripture, that He did indeed offer rest to those who believe and obey, those whose faith is accompanied by works done for the glory of the divine Father. Alternatively, God promised no rest to those who deny His divinity. Then, the author wrote about the prominence and omnipresence of God, the Almighty, the One who created all living creatures and He who knows our hearts, our thoughts. No one can hide from Yahweh, the One true God who is the final judge over His creation.

Next, the author of the letter to the Hebrews described how, just as the high priest of the Old Covenant, Jesus, the divine Priest ascended to His throne located in the most holy place by passing through 3 areas starting with the atmospheric heaven, the stellar heaven and finally, taking His place among the abode of God. It is in Him believers should place their hope, and through faith in the risen Savior believers must rely for salvation. Also, high priesthood was an appointment resulting from a calling from God, and that just as Aaron, the prophet and older brother of Moses, the ministry of the high priest is ordained by the divine Father, and should not be taken lightly or endeavored by anyone driven by profession or profit, a clear indication of a sinful heart not suited for spiritual leadership within the family of God. So it was that, Jesus, the divine High Priest was made perfect by living a perfect life, and dying a perfect death according to God’s perfect plan. In spite of this eternal perfection, the author of the letter to the Hebrews calls his audience “dull of hearing” as they seemingly chose to rebel against the truth, and opt to deviate from the narrow path the leads to eternal life. Because of this, they should seek spiritual maturity in the word, in fellowship and worship as each one strives to fulfill the great commission, bringing glory to God and advancing the gospel to the four corners of the earth.

Then, the author of the letter to the Hebrews called on his readers to evolve from the elementary principles of Christ which stem from works based salvation, the basis of Judaism, and focus on spiritual maturity in the way of salvation by faith in the risen Savior. Also, the Hebrews were to abide by God’s will and repent from their sin, promote water baptism, a public symbol of one’s re-birth as a believer, lay hands on those in need of miraculous healing and teach the concept of salvation by faith as well as warn of the ultimate price for those who choose to reject the truth about the life, death and resurrection of Jesus, the Christ.

Next, the message changed from one of warning to one of encouragement, as the author of the letter to the Hebrews shifted focus from wrath to blessings, congratulating readers on their works driven by their faith in the risen Savior. Then, the author reminded his readers of the promise God, in the way of Melchizedek, the Lord in the flesh made to Abraham, the father of many nations, that he would have more descendants than can be counted.

The author then questioned the reason for a new priesthood, as the Levitical line of priests provided a reconciliation with God, made perfect through the law revealed to Moses, whose older brother Aaron was divinely appointed the first High Priest of the Israelites. It was through Aaron’s lineage that priests were chosen unlike Melchizedek, who was not an Israelite. And, unlike the 84 High Priests who served after Aaron, until A.D. 70 when the temple was destroyed, Jesus’ priesthood is eternal, having no end as He will live forever, and overcame death on the cross to walk among men and women for forty days before ascending to the right hand of God in Heaven.

“1 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, 2 a Minister of the sanctuary and of the true tabernacle which the Lord erected, and not man.” (Hebrews 8:1-2)

Now, the author of the letter to the Hebrews makes his point, pointing to Jesus as the Highest of all priests since His sanctuary is Heaven, the eternal place made by and ruled by God, where He and Jesus reign forever. Unlike the earthly Tabernacle, which was conceived by man to imitate the heavenly Tabernacle, the temple where Jesus rules was created by divine hands, by God Himself.

“3 For every high priest is appointed to offer both gifts and sacrifices. Therefore it is necessary that this One also have something to offer.” (Hebrews 8:3)

Before Jesus, it was the duty of the high priest to offer sacrifices to God by the way of blood for the sins of man. However, Jesus’ sacrifice was His own blood, shed on the cross for the sins of all repented believers. Christ died so we could live in spite of our sin, as we are made righteous through faith in His sacrifice and not of works.

“4 For if He were on earth, He would not be a priest, since there are priests who offer the gifts according to the law; 5 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.” (Hebrews 8:4-5)

Here, the author reiterates the fact that Jesus, if He were on earth today could not be considered a priest since He was not of the Levitical lineage, from which high priests were chosen to rule over the Israelites according to religious as well as civil affairs. Another important reason why Jesus would not be a high priest is the fact Levitical priests preached salvation through the law, while salvation through Jesus is attained by faith and through His grace.

“6 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.” (Hebrews 8:6)

Lastly, the author calls Jesus’ ministry superior to all others since His ministry is meant to have Him serve as the intercessor between man and God, the divine Creator who made a promise through Christ that anyone who believes will be saved from the wages of their sin, unlike the previous promise based on obedience to the law which Jesus came to fulfill, then by grace, free us from bondage. Let’s pray!

Father God;
We thank you for your blessings in our lives,
We praise you Lord for the wisdom found through the Letter to the Hebrews,
We ask you Lord to inspire us to use these verses in our lives
As we continue to learn more about you through your word.

Lord we ask you to strengthen us each day as we endure through battles,
Allow us to praise and love each other through faith in you Jesus,
Shield us from evil through truth, the gospel, salvation and prayer,
Guide us to abide by your word as we spread your gospel to one and all
Becoming examples of faith through our character as we walk the narrow path.

God we pray that you will continue to bless us, to bless our lives and fill us with hope
We ask you Lord to guide our footsteps and lead us to the way everlasting,
Through faith in you Lord we seek salvation and a place with you in heaven
According to your ways, your everlasting wisdom and strength.

May your will be done
In our lives, for your life.

We thank you for your love and all you bless us with each day.

Praise God,
Amen!

This message was written by Daniel St.Pierre
Email: danielstpierre@thrivethroughchrist.com

Posted in Bible Studies.

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