The Tabernacle of Moses – God’s Heavenly Pattern for our Spiritual Transformation – Part VII: Our Great High Priest

With His mission to show us God the Father and make a New Covenant for us completed, Jesus the God-Man is revealed for who He is – our Mediator, Great High Priest of Priests,  King of Kings, and Lord of Lords! (1 Timothy 2:5. Revelation 1:10-18). He is robed in the garment of the Great High Priest, appearing as God was described in the Old Covenant (Ezekiel 1:27;8:2). That is, in the fiery beauty of Holiness! Therefore, since we have a great high priest who has passed through the heavens, Jesus the Son of God, let us hold fast to our confession. (Hebrews 4:14 NET)

The Old Covenant

There are two different orders of Priesthoods in the Old Covenant (Old Testament)(5):

The first order of priesthood was from Melchizedek:
Melchizedek king of Salem brought out bread and wine. (Now he was the priest of the Most High God.)  He blessed Abram, saying, "Blessed be Abram by the Most High God, Creator of heaven and earth.  Worthy of praise is the Most High God, who delivered your enemies into your hand." Abram gave Melchizedek a tenth of everything.  (Genesis 14:18-20 NET)
Now this Melchizedek, king of Salem, priest of the most high God, met Abraham as he was returning from defeating the kings and blessed him.  To him also Abraham apportioned a tithe of everything. His name first means king of righteousness, then king of Salem, that is, king of peace.  (Hebrews 7:1-2 NET)

Melchizedek (which means king of righteousness) appeared to Abraham, blessing him and revealing himself as the king of Salem (Salem means Peace and is believed to be ancient Jerusalem (Psalms 76:2)) and the priest of the Highest God. Putting those various names together, Melchizedek is a Priestly King of Righteousness and Peace, or Jesus is the giver of righteousness leading to peace with God the Father! (Romans 5:1,2)

Without father, without mother, without genealogy, he has neither beginning of days nor end of life but is like the son of God, and he remains a priest for all time. But see how great he must be, if Abraham the patriarch gave him a tithe of his plunder. And those of the sons of Levi who receive the priestly office have authorization according to the law to collect a tithe from the people, that is, from their fellow countrymen, although they too are descendants of Abraham. But Melchizedek who does not share their ancestry collected a tithe from Abraham and blessed the one who possessed the promise. Now without dispute the inferior is blessed by the superior, and in one case tithes are received by mortal men, while in the other by him who is affirmed to be alive. And it could be said that Levi himself, who receives tithes, paid a tithe through Abraham. For he was still in his ancestor Abraham's loins when Melchizedek met him.  (Hebrews 7:3-10 NET)

No genealogy was revealed for Melchizedek in the Old Covenant. Nevertheless, Melchizedek’s importance is revealed by Abraham, the father of faith (Romans 4:16), who gives him the tithe and receives a blessing.

The second order of priesthood was from Aaron:

“And you, bring near to you your brother Aaron and his sons with him from among the Israelites, so that they may minister as my priests– Aaron, Nadab, and Abihu, Eleazar and Ithamar, Aaron’s sons.  You must make holy garments for your brother Aaron, for glory and for beauty. (Exodus 28:1-2 NET)

You are to present Aaron and his sons at the entrance of the tent of meeting. You are to wash them with water and take the garments and clothe Aaron with the tunic, the robe of the ephod, the ephod, and the breastpiece; you are to fasten the ephod on him by using the skillfully woven waistband. You are to put the turban on his head and put the holy diadem on the turban. You are to take the anointing oil and pour it on his head and anoint him. You are to present his sons and clothe them with tunics and wrap the sashes around Aaron and his sons and put headbands on them, and so the ministry of priesthood will belong to them by a perpetual ordinance. Thus you are to consecrate Aaron and his sons. (Exodus 29:4-9 NET)

Aaron, the older brother of Moses (Exodus 6:20), was chosen by God as the first High Priest of this second order of the priesthood. Aaron’s sons were to wear holy garments (1) as priests unto God, with Aaron wearing holy garments for “glory and beauty” as the High Priest.

The sons of Levi: Gershon, Kohath, and Merari. The sons of Kohath: Amram, Izhar, Hebron, and Uzziel. The children of Amram: Aaron, Moses, and Miriam. The sons of Aaron: Nadab, Abihu, Eleazar, and Ithamar. (1 Chronicles 6:1-3 NET)

Aaron was descended from Levi (Exodus 6:16,18,20) and hence was a Levite by birth.

The sons of Amram: Aaron and Moses. Aaron and his descendants were chosen on a permanent basis to consecrate the most holy items, to offer sacrifices before the Lord, to serve him, and to praise his name. The descendants of Moses the man of God were considered Levites. (1 Chronicles 23:13–14 NET)

However, the descendants of Aaron were given the priesthood, and the descendants of Moses were considered the Levites who supported the priests in the daily operation and maintenance of the Tabernacle.

The New Covenant

There is one order of priesthood in the New Covenant (New Testament), the order of Melchizedek with Jesus as our Great High Priest over Christians who are now the Priests unto God! (Revelations 1:6; 5:10. 1 Peter 2:5)

So if perfection had in fact been possible through the Levitical priesthood– for on that basis the people received the law– what further need would there have been for another priest to arise, said to be in the order of Melchizedek and not in Aaron's order? For when the priesthood changes, a change in the law must come as well. Yet the one these things are spoken about belongs to a different tribe, and no one from that tribe has ever officiated at the altar. For it is clear that our Lord is descended from Judah, yet Moses said nothing about priests in connection with that tribe. (Hebrews 7:11-14 NET) (3)

So, what happened to the priesthood of the order of Aaron? I am glad you asked! The priesthood of Aaron, a priesthood under the law that could not make lost humanity righteous, ended at the trial of Jesus (1) and the Law as the way to righteousness (1) at the crucifixion of Jesus (1). Realize the purpose of the priesthood was to remove the obstacle of sin (Isaiah 59:2), which kept man from God and made a way of access for man to God. The Levitical priesthood and sacrifices could not do this in actuality but instead provided it in a figurative way, pointing to the Messiah and His substitutionary death on the Cross. The blood of animals could not pay for sin; however, the blood of Jesus (1) the Messiah could! 

Since the Levitical priesthood brought nothing to completion, not only was another priest needed, but another priest of a different kind. That is, it could not be another priest in the line of Aaron, but one of a different and superior order of priesthood – a new priest, Jesus the Messiah, after the order of Melchizedek had to be instituted.

Consequently, the priesthood after the order of Melchizedek replaced the priesthood after the order of Aaron, the New Covenant both supplanted and subsumed parts of the Old Covenant, and Jesus’ blood (the reality) replaced animal blood (the type). Since the Mosaic law required that the priests come from the tribe of Levi, a new priesthood, not of the order of Aaron, must set aside that law. The Messiah comes from the tribe of Judah, which is a tribe that was not specially set apart for priestly service. 

However, if a change to a new and different order of priesthood was to be made, it must be because of a change to a new legal basis. The law governing the priesthood, as found in the Mosaic system, must be repealed in favor of another, which would provide an order of priesthood that would function successfully where the Aaronic priesthood failed. Enter the New Covenant, which is superior to and takes the place of the Old Covenant since the Old Covenant could not offer a sacrifice that paid for sin, whereas the New Covenant has paid once and for all time. Hallelujah!

And this is even clearer if another priest arises in the likeness of Melchizedek, who has become a priest not by a legal regulation about physical descent but by the power of an indestructible life. For here is the testimony about him: "You are a priest forever in the order of Melchizedek." [Psalms 110:4] On the one hand a former command is set aside because it is weak and useless, for the law made nothing perfect. On the other hand, a better hope is introduced, through which we draw near to God. (Hebrews 7:15-19) 

In the case of the Levitical priest, the priests had to come from a certain family, the Aaronic, with fitness for office even among the male members of this family, predominately determined by physical qualifications (e.g., without bodily blemish and ceremonially pure). However, no matter how ill-suited he was or reluctant to take office, the law made him a priest because of his Levitical pedigree. He did what he did so far as official duties were concerned because of an outside compulsion.

However, in the case of the High Priest after the order of Melchizedek, He performed His duties as High Priest, not because of the fact that any official necessity was laid upon Him, but by the power in His own nature compelling and enabling Him (John 3:16. Luke 22:42. Hebrews 10:17. John 15:13). The power of a life that even death could not dissolve for He raised Himself from the dead (1) (John 10:17). The life of the new High Priest is indissoluble and indestructible, not as eternally existing in the pre-incarnate Son, but as existing in Him while incarnate and fulfilling His priestly duties. Here, the term “indestructible” is applied, for He died on the Cross as the High Priest offering atonement (1). Still, it was necessary that He raise Himself from the dead (1) to the continuance and complete His priestly duties, thus manifesting the power and nature of His indestructible and indissoluble life. 

The Levitical system was perfect for the purpose for which it was instituted, pointing to the Great High Priest, Jesus the Messiah. But when it came to the place where a sacrifice would be demanded of it that would pay for sin, it was found to be weak and unprofitable. The Mosaic system could not offer a sacrifice that would pay for sin; therefore, it could not save anyone so they could draw near to God. Consequently, it was set aside, and in its place, there was brought in a better hope through which we can draw near to God. (3) 

And since this was not done without a sworn affirmation– for the others have become priests without a sworn affirmation, but Jesus did so with a sworn affirmation by the one who said to him, "The Lord has sworn and will not change his mind, 'You are a priest forever'"– accordingly Jesus has become the guarantee of a better covenant. (Hebrews 7:20-22 NET) 

The inferiority of the Aaronic priesthood to that of Melchizedek is understood because when the Levitical priests were inducted into office, God the Father did not take an oath. However, when Jesus the Messiah was made a High Priest, God the Father took an oath guaranteeing the unending character of His High Priesthood. Consequently, Jesus is the surety of a better covenant because God the Father took an oath that His priesthood would be an everlasting one. That is, since God the Father took an oath that Jesus would eternally be our Great High Priest, then Jesus becomes the guarantee of an eternal better covenant. God taking an oath means that there are no conditions to be fulfilled by humanity for Him to fulfill a promise. In this case, Jesus will be a Great High Priest independent of mankind’s actions or inactions.

And the others who became priests were numerous, because death prevented them from continuing in office, but he holds his priesthood permanently since he lives forever. So he is able to save completely those who come to God through him, because he always lives to intercede for them. For it is indeed fitting for us to have such a high priest: holy, innocent, undefiled, separate from sinners, and exalted above the heavens. (Hebrews 7:23-26 NET)

The Aaronic High Priest was hindered from continual intercession for the people by their death, requiring the transfer of their ministry to the next high priest in succession. However, Jesus, our Great High Priest, will exist forever, so there is no need or provision for another Great High Priest to succeed Him. Consequently, Jesus is able to make intervening intercession for the believer forever and thus able to save believers completely! That is, saved completely via justification in the new birth to glorification in the future. (Romans 8:29. 2 Timothy 1:12. Hebrews 12:2)

Furthermore, the Aaronic High Priest was also a sinner living amongst sinners and actually in need of Jesus the Great High Priest to mediate salvation for themselves. However, we sinners, being sinful, depend upon the mediation of a sinless high priest. We find this need met in Jesus, who is sinless (2 Corinthians 5:21. 1 Peter 2:22. 1 John 3:5. Hebrews 4:15) and serving as Great High Priest, is seated in His glorified state and body at the right hand of God the Father in the Heavenly Holy of Holies far removed from defilement from sinners and their sins. (Hebrews 12:2) 

He has no need to do every day what those priests do, to offer sacrifices first for their own sins and then for the sins of the people, since he did this in offering himself once for all. For the law appoints as high priests men subject to weakness [Hebrews 5:2], but the word of solemn affirmation that came after the law appoints a son made perfect forever. (Hebrews 7:27,28 NET)

The Aaronic priests had to offer repeated sacrifices because the blood of animals could not pay for sin but rather cover it. They did year by year when interceding with the blood of animals for the sins of the nation of Israel (Hebrews 9:6,7). While Jesus the Messiah’s intercession is continuous, He does not need day by day to renew His sacrifice as the lamb of God (Isaiah 53:7. John 1:29,36. 1 Peter 1:19) because His blood did not merely cover our sin debt but instead paid for our sin thus eliminating the debt (Colossians 2:14). Furthermore, Jesus the Messiah did not have to offer first for His own sins since He is, and always has and will be, sin-free.

For every high priest is taken from among the people and appointed to represent them before God, to offer both gifts and sacrifices for sins. He is able to deal compassionately with those who are ignorant and erring, since he also is subject to weakness, and for this reason he is obligated to make sin offerings for himself as well as for the people. And no one assumes this honor on his own initiative, but only when called to it by God, as in fact Aaron was. (Hebrews 5:1-4)

A high priest must be called by God and partake of the nature of the person for whom he officiates. For a high priest to officiate on behalf of mankind, he must be called by God from among mankind. The high priest’s work is to minister to mankind in things that involve mankind’s relation to God, which he does by offering gifts and blood sacrifices for his sins and the people’s sins. Furthermore, if the high priest is to do this effectively, he must have genuine compassion for the sinful without being too severe with those who sin intentionally or too tolerant of those who sin ignorantly. The Aaronic High Priest was called by God from among men. Hence, he was able to have compassion for his fellow sinners, but being a sinner, he had to effectively resist their own sinful nature’s desire to control them. (Genesis 4:7) Jesus the Messiah is superior to Aaron in that He, as High Priest, is not taken from among men but from among the members of the Godhead. Jesus was foreordained to be God’s sacrifice for our sin (1 Peter 1:18-20), for which He willingly obeys (Hebrews 10:6,7).

 So also Christ did not glorify himself in becoming high priest, but the one who glorified him was God, who said to him, “You are my Son! Today I have fathered you,” [Psalms 2:7] as also in another place God says, “You are a priest forever in the order of Melchizedek.” [Psalms 110:4] During his earthly life Christ offered both requests and supplications, with loud cries and tears, to the one who was able to save him from death and he was heard because of his devotion. (Hebrews 5:5-7)

Jesus the Messiah did not ambitiously seek (1) the eternal office of the Great High Priest but rather was glorified by God the Father with this high honor not due to being a man but rather because He is the resurrected Son of God. The same Son of God that while on the cross, not in Gethsemane (4), asked God the Father via praying the 22nd Psalm (1) to save Him, not from dying, not to be saved out from among the dead like Lazurus (John 11:38-44), but rather to be saved out from within the dominion or grip of death (i.e., to be saved out of death or figuratively “the mouth of the lion” (Psalms 22:19-21. 1 Peter 5:8. cf 1 Timothy 4:17)). That is, Jesus prayed on the cross to be resurrected (1) and by that to destroy Satan and his works including sin and death, etc. (Hebrews 2:14. 1 John 3:8) (4)

Although he was a son, he learned obedience through the things he suffered. And by being perfected in this way, he became the source of eternal salvation to all who obey him, and he was designated by God as high priest in the order of Melchizedek [Psalms 110:4]. (Hebrews 5:8-10)

Jesus, the Word, omniscient God, knew what obedience was, but He never experienced it until He came to Earth in human flesh. Realize, before His incarnation, He owed obedience to no one as there was no one greater than Himself to whom He could have given obedience. However, God the Son became obedient to God the Father via the incarnation. It was not that He had to learn to obey, as He always did those things that pleased His Father. (John 8:29) Rather, He required the special discipline of suffering in severe human experiences as training for His office as a high priest who could be easily touched by the feeling of human infirmities. Jesus did not need to be disciplined out of any inclination to disobedience; however, through practicing obedience in His new role of a Son submitted to a Father, he acquired the understanding of obedience, thus perfecting Him as our Great High Priest. This was similar to Jesus, who is and always has been the wisdom of God (1 Corinthians 1:24),  growing in wisdom as a human (Luke 2:52). These growths in obedience and wisdom learned experientially as a human were an essential part of Jesus’ humanity.

Therefore since we have a great high priest who has passed through the heavens, Jesus the Son of God, let us hold fast to our confession. (Hebrews 4:14) (4)

Jesus the Messiah is a great high priest, greater than Aaron, since He has passed through the heavens and is in Heaven. Aaron, on the Day of Atonement, would pass through the outer court of the Tabernacle (1), through the Holy Place (1), and into the Holy of Holies (1), which were all types of realities in Heaven (Hebrews 8:5). Recall, in the Old Covenant, the atonement was not completed at the brazen altar, but rather the high priest had to carry the atoning animal blood into the Holy of Holies where it was sprinkled on the Mercy Seat, thus completing the atonement for another year.

However, Jesus the Messiah as High Priest of the New Testament passed through the first heaven (i.e., Earth’s atmosphere), the second heaven (i.e., outer space), and into the third heaven (God’s spiritual planet Heaven) (2 Corinthians 12:12). Consequentially, Jesus the Messiah ascended from the borrowed tomb to the third Heaven on Resurrection morning as High Priest having made atonement for sin at the Cross with His body being both the Earthly Temple of God (John 1:14;2:19,21. Mark 14:58. 1 Corinthians 6:19. Colossians 2:9) and its Mercy Seat (Romans 3:25). 

Furthermore, not only was Aaron unable to offer a sacrifice that would pay for sin, but he could not have passed through the heavens to mediate the New Covenant. This was not only due to the force of gravity that would have prevented Aaron from passing through the heavens but also the power of Satan and his demons that would have opposed his progress through this earth’s atmosphere. Note that the only time in the account of the six days of re-creation that God did NOT say it was good was when He re-created the atmosphere of the planet (1) (Genesis 1:6,7). I believe this is when Lucifer moved back to Earth and took up residence in the atmosphere. (Ephesians 6:12;2:2. Daniel 10:1-21) The atmosphere has since been the location where Satan has his kingdom of fallen angels and from where he coordinates them and his demons in an attempt to isolate and insulate the human race from God. This evil authority opposed the progress of the resurrected Jesus as He left the tomb and passed through the heavens to present Himself, along with the Old Testament saints (1), including Aaron, who were held captive in Paradise (1), as the High Priest who had made eternal atonement for sin at the Cross of Calvary via His blood. 

But now Christ has come as the high priest of the good things to come. He passed through the greater and more perfect tent not made with hands, that is, not of this creation, and he entered once for all into the most holy place not by the blood of goats and calves but by his own blood, and so he himself secured eternal redemption. For if the blood of goats and bulls and the ashes of a young cow sprinkled on those who are defiled consecrated them and provided ritual purity,how much more will the blood of Christ, who through the eternal Spirit offered himself without blemish to God, purify our consciences from dead works to worship the living God. (Hebrews 9:11–14 NET)

Although our Lord’s atonement was completed at the Cross, Jesus was still required to enter heaven (1) as our mediatorial High Priest after making an everlasting and eternal atonement for sin. Jesus entered into that more perfect Tabernacle in heaven. He went right into the heavenly Holy of Holies. Jesus presented Himself at the throne of God to His and our Father in His glorified flesh and bone (Luke 24:29) yet bloodless body, the evidence that mankind’s sin debt had been paid and the bill of debt obliterated through His blood that was freely and completely poured out. (Hebrews 9:12. Colossians 2:14. Acts 3:19. John 19:24)

In addition, Jesus’ blood also cleansed Heaven from the defilement by the sin of Adam, who apparently had access to Heaven via the Garden or, rather, the Orchard of God in Eden. This Orchard was not created but rather planted on Earth from Heaven (Genesis 2:8). When Adam sinned, it defiled the land of the Orchard, which resulted in defiling the Tabernacle in Heaven. Adam’s sin allowed Satan to re-enter Heaven (1) after being cast out. Nevertheless, after this cleansing by Jesus, Satan can no longer enter Heaven (1) as all authority in Heaven and on Earth has been given to Jesus. (1) (Matthew 28:18) Unfortunately, Satan still has authority in his world system (Acts 26:18) for a little while longer until he is thrown into the Lake of Fire. (1)

Not that Jesus needed to take His physical blood into the Heavenly Tabernacle since it had already been poured out on Himself as the living Tabernacle and Mercy Seat of God during His Passion. It was the real High Priest entering the real throne room of God as the real sacrifice. With His blood, He purchased our eternal salvation.

Now, the efficacy of our Lord’s blood rested not in the fact that it was human blood but that it was human blood of a unique kind. It flowed in the veins of One who was as to His humanity, sinless, and as to His Person, Deity. The combination of these two, sinless humanity and Deity, made it unique and efficacious. It was the only sacrificial blood that could be sprinkled on the Mercy Seat in the heavenly Holy of Holies, the only blood that the High Court of Heaven would accept as atonement for human sin. This blood poured out on Calvary’s Cross gave Messiah access as High Priest into the Holy of Holies of heaven. (17)

A Testament Demands Death
And so he is the mediator of a new covenant, so that those who are called may receive the eternal inheritance he has promised, since he died to set them free from the violations committed under the first covenant. For where there is a will, the death of the one who made it must be proven. For a will takes effect only at death, since it carries no force while the one who made it is alive.  (Hebrews 9:15-17 NET)

Nevertheless, Jesus the God-Man entered Heaven to take His rightful place at the right hand of the throne of God the Father. He is the one being in the universe who is uniquely qualified to be the mediator (Isaiah 42:6,7) between God and man. In addition, He is the executor that probates His own Last Will and Testament (aka, the New Covenant), which became effective upon His death on the cross.

“A testament, by its very nature, requires the testator’s death. Covenant, or testament, is from the Greek diathēkē, the basic meaning of which corresponds closely to that of our present-day will. A will does not take effect until the one who made it dies. Until then, its benefits and provisions are only promises, not necessarily future.” (9)

Forgiveness Demands Blood
So even the first covenant was inaugurated with blood. For when Moses had spoken every command to all the people according to the law, he took the blood of calves and goats with water and scarlet wool and hyssop and sprinkled both the book itself and all the people, and said, “This is the blood of the covenant that God has commanded you to keep.”And both the tabernacle and all the utensils of worship he likewise sprinkled with blood. Indeed according to the law almost everything was purified with blood, and without the shedding of blood there is no forgiveness. So it was necessary for the sketches of the things in heaven to be purified with these sacrifices, but the heavenly things themselves required better sacrifices than these. For Christ did not enter a sanctuary made with hands—the representation of the true sanctuary—but into heaven itself, and he appears now in God’s presence for us. And he did not enter to offer himself again and again, the way the high priest enters the sanctuary year after year with blood that is not his own, for then he would have had to suffer again and again since the foundation of the world. But now he has appeared once for all at the consummation of the ages to put away sin by his sacrifice. (Hebrews 9:18–26 NET)

“It was not Jesus’ physical blood that saved us, but His dying on our behalf, which is symbolized by the shedding of His physical blood. If we could be saved by blood without death, the animals would have been bled, not killed, and it would have been the same with Jesus. Thus, bloodshed was the symbol of death when Moses ratified the covenant on Sinai. Likewise, when the Tabernacle was inaugurated, Moses sprinkled the Tabernacle and all the vessels of the ministry with the blood, again picturing the price to be paid for sin. The central lesson of the covenant was thus illustrated by the sprinkling of blood in the Tabernacle and Temple as long as that covenant stood. The purpose of the blood was to symbolize sacrifice for sin, which brought cleansing from sin. Therefore, without shedding blood, there is no forgiveness. (10)

Again, however, we must remember that the blood was a symbol. If Christ’s own physical blood does not cleanse from sin, how much less did the physical blood of animals. It is not surprising, then, that the Old Covenant allowed a symbol for a symbol. A Jew who was too poor to bring even a small animal for a sacrifice was allowed to bring one-tenth of an ephah (about two quarts) of fine flour instead (Leviticus 5:11). His sins were covered just as surely as those of the person who could afford to offer a lamb or goat or turtledove or pigeon (Leviticus 5:6–7). This exception is clear proof that the old cleansing was symbolic. (10)

Just as the animal blood symbolized Christ’s true atoning blood, the ephah of flour symbolized and represented the animal blood. This non-blood offering for sin was acceptable because the old sacrifice was entirely symbolic anyway. Yet this was the only exception. And even the exception represented a blood sacrifice. The basic symbol could not be changed because what it symbolized could not be changed. “For the life of the flesh is in the blood, and I have given it to you on the altar to make atonement for your souls; for it is the blood because of the life that makes atonement” (Leviticus 17:11). Since the penalty for sin is death, nothing but death, symbolized by shedding blood, can atone for sin. (10)

We cannot enter into God’s presence by self-effort to be righteous. If we, on our own, could be good, we would not need atonement. Nor can we enter His presence by being model citizens or religious. We cannot enter His presence by reading the Bible, attending church, giving generously to the Lord’s work, or even praying. We cannot enter His presence by thinking good thoughts about Him. The only way we can enter into God’s presence and participate in the New Covenant is through the atoning death of Jesus Christ, made effective for us when we trust in Him as the saving Lord. God has set the rules. The soul that sins will die. The saved soul will be saved through the sacrifice of God’s Son. There is no exception, no substitute for this sacrifice, for this is the real thing. Because they were symbols, God provided a limited and strictly qualified exception (flour) to the old sacrifices. But there can be no exception for the real sacrifice because it is the only way to God.” (10)

If God places no trust in his holy ones, if even the heavens are not pure in his eyes, (Job 15:15 NET)

Although our Lord’s atonement was completed at the Cross, Jesus was still required to enter heaven (1) as our mediatorial High Priest after making an everlasting and eternal atonement for sin. Jesus entered into that more perfect Tabernacle in heaven. He went right into the heavenly Holy of Holies. Jesus presented Himself at the throne of God to His and our Father in His glorified flesh and bone (Luke 24:29) yet bloodless body, the evidence that mankind’s sin debt had been paid and the bill of debt obliterated through His blood that was freely and completely poured out. (Hebrews 9:12. Colossians 2:14. Acts 3:19. John 19:24)

In addition, Jesus’ blood also cleansed Heaven from the defilement by the sin of Adam, who apparently had access to Heaven via the Garden of God called “Eden.” This access allowed Satan to re-enter Heaven (1) after being cast out. Nevertheless, after this cleansing, Satan can no longer enter Heaven (1) as all authority in Heaven and on Earth has been given to Jesus. (1) (Matthew 28:18) Unfortunately, Satan still has authority in his world system (Acts 26:18) for a little while longer until he is thrown into the Lake of Fire. (1)

Now, the efficacy of our Lord’s blood rested not in the fact that it was human blood but that it was human blood of a unique kind. It flowed in the veins of One who was as to His humanity, sinless, and as to His Person, Deity. The combination of these two, sinless humanity and Deity, made it unique and efficacious. It was the only sacrificial blood that could be sprinkled on the Mercy Seat in the heavenly Holy of Holies, the only blood that the High Court of Heaven would accept as atonement for human sin. It was this blood poured out on Calvary’s Cross that gave Messiah access as High Priest into the Holy of Holies of heaven. (6)

Not that Jesus needed to take His physical blood into the Heavenly Tabernacle since it had already been poured out on Himself as the living Tabernacle and Mercy Seat of God during His Passion, including the Cross. It was the real High Priest entering the actual throne room of God as the real sacrifice. With His blood, He purchased our eternal salvation. Our blessed Lord entered heaven in that bloodless, glorified human body, which is an eternal testimony that sin is paid for. (17)

He entered once into the Holy of Holies. The word is ephapax (ἐφαπαξ), “once for all,” in distinction to the Aaronic high priest who entered into the earthly Holy of Holies annually. The writer says that the Messiah obtained eternal redemption for lost sinners by entering into the Holy of Holies. The word “obtained” is the translation of heurisko (εὑρισκο). The writer could have used lambano (λαμβανο), which is the general word for the idea of obtaining or procuring something. But he uses a specialized word. Heurisko (ἑυρισκο) means “to find, to come upon, to find a thing sought, to discover.” In the middle voice it means “to find for one’s self, to acquire, obtain, procure.” The word thus speaks of the act, not merely of obtaining something, but of seeking for something, of finding it, and then of appropriating it. The problem of how a just God could require that justice be satisfied in the case of the human breaking of His law and mercy be offered to the evil-doer was solved by substitutionary atonement. In this case, the Judge steps down from His judgment throne to take upon Himself the guilt and penalty of the sinner. In this way, justice was satisfied, His government maintained, and the floodgates of mercy opened, resulting in the righteous bestowal of salvation. The Messiah found and procured salvation by means of His outpoured blood. This is also told us in the Greek word translated as “redemption,” lutrosis (λυτροσις). The verbal form of this word means “to release on receipt of ransom, to redeem or liberate by payment of a ransom.” The word “ransom,” lutron (λυτρον), was used for the ransom money that was paid in freeing a slave. Sinners are slaves of sin and Satan. Messiah, by His sacrifice on the Cross, paid for their liberation, the ransom money, His blood, for the wages of sin is death, and death means outpoured blood. Thus, the primal necessity of the Cross was to satisfy the claims of outraged justice, of paying the penalty for man’s sin. Having placed his faith in Messiah as his High Priest, the sinner is forever liberated from sin’s penalty. This is given to us in the word “eternal.” The believing sinner, saved by the blood of Jesus, is saved for time and for eternity. He can never be lost. The Lord Jesus, by His outpoured blood, procured for mankind not probation but salvation. (6)

Judgment Demands a Substitute
And just as people are appointed to die once, and then to face judgment, so also, after Christ was offered once to bear the sins of many, to those who eagerly await him he will appear a second time, not to bear sin but to bring salvation. (Hebrews 9:27–28 NET)

“After death comes judgment, which is also appointed by God. And since men cannot atone for their own sins, God’s justice demands that they pay or have a substitute pay for them. Like all men, Jesus Christ was divinely appointed to die once. But unlike all other men, He will never face judgment. Because He took our sins upon Himself, He took our judgment upon Himself. But the judgment was for our sins, not for His, for He had none. God “made Him who knew no sin to be sin on our behalf, that we might become the righteousness of God in Him” (2 Corinthians 5:21). He died the one death that judgment demanded.” (11)

Furthermore, all humans are appointed to die at least once (Hebrews 9:27), which means that those who have not died yet will have that opportunity before or during His second appearance when the Lord returns for His Church. (1) (7)

Now the main point of what we are saying is this: We have such a high priest, one who sat down at the right hand of the throne of the Majesty in heaven, a minister in the sanctuary and the true tabernacle that the Lord, not man, set up. For every high priest is appointed to offer both gifts and sacrifices. So this one too had to have something to offer. Now if he were on earth, he would not be a priest, since there are already priests who offer the gifts prescribed by the law. The place where they serve is a sketch and shadow of the heavenly sanctuary, just as Moses was warned by God as he was about to complete the tabernacle. For he says, "See that you make everything according to the design shown to you on the mountain." [Exodus 25:40] (Hebrews 8:1-5 NET)

Jesus, our High Priest, is seated at the right hand of God the Father in the heavens, a place that Aaron could never occupy, indicating that His work of offering a sacrifice for sin was forever finished at the cross. There Jesus, in His Great High Priest role, ministers or serves both God the Father and humanity (Matthew 20:28. Mark 10:45). Jesus could not be a priest offering gifts prescribed by the law since He is not of the tribe of Levi and the order of Aaron but of the tribe of Judah.  Consequently, Jesus the Messiah ministers in the genuine holy places of the heavenly sanctuary where He offers our gifts and sacrifices (Hebrews 13:15) and not in an imperfect representation of the heavenly like Aaron. Nevertheless, the fact that there is a representation of the Heavenly Tabernacle on Earth provides evidence that there is a real one in Heaven.

But now Jesus has obtained a superior ministry, since the covenant that he mediates is also better and is enacted on better promises. (Hebrews 8:6 NET)

Jesus is superior to Aaron since He serves in a superior sanctuary. Because He is superior to Aaron, the New Testament, which He inaugurated, is superior to the First or Old Testament under which Aaron served. Realize the Letter of Hebrews was written to prove that the New Covenant (aka, New Testament) ratified by Jesus’ blood is superior to and takes the place of the First or Old Covenant (aka, First or Old Testament) ratified by animal blood. The logical argument utilized for this proof was that a superior artisan produces a superior product. The writer has shown that Jesus, the Messiah, the Founder of the New Testament, is better than the founders of the First Testament (i.e., the Prophets, Holy Angels, Moses, Joshua, and Aaron). Consequently, the New Testament that Jesus brought in is superior to and replaces the Old Testament. (3)

For if that first covenant had been faultless, no one would have looked for a second one. But showing its fault, God says to them, "Look, the days are coming, says the Lord, when I will complete a new covenant with the house of Israel and with the house of Judah. "It will not be like the covenant that I made with their fathers, on the day when I took them by the hand to lead them out of Egypt, because they did not continue in my covenant and I had no regard for them, says the Lord. "For this is the covenant that I will establish with the house of Israel after those days, says the Lord. I will put my laws in their minds and I will inscribe them on their hearts. And I will be their God and they will be my people. "And there will be no need at all for each one to teach his countryman or each one to teach his brother saying, 'Know the Lord,' since they will all know me, from the least to the greatest. "For I will be merciful toward their evil deeds, and their sins I will remember no longer." When he speaks of a new covenant, he makes the first obsolete. Now what is growing obsolete and aging is about to disappear. (Hebrews 8:7-13 NET)

Since God instituted the First Testament, it was perfect for the purpose for which it was planned, and that was it pointed to Jesus the Messiah and His substitutionary atonement. However, the First Testament was faulty when it came to providing an atonement for sin, which is the reason for searching for a new or second Testament. However, the actual cause of its failure resided in the people’s character and not the law, which is perfect. (Psalms 19:7,8; 119:159,160. Romans 7:7-12) The old covenant was faulty because it did not enable the people to overcome their inherent faultiness and live up to its terms and conditions. Again, the search for a New Testament would not have been necessary if the First Testament had been faultless.

“Indeed, a time is coming,” says the Lord, “when I will make a new covenant with the people of Israel and Judah. It will not be like the old covenant that I made with their ancestors when I delivered them from Egypt. For they violated that covenant, even though I was like a faithful husband to them,” says the Lord.“ But I will make a new covenant with the whole nation of Israel after I plant them back in the land,” says the Lord. “I will put my law within them and write it on their hearts and minds. I will be their God and they will be my people. “People will no longer need to teach their neighbors and relatives to know me. For all of them, from the least important to the most important, will know me,” says the Lord. “For I will forgive their sin and will no longer call to mind the wrong they have done.” (Jeremiah 31:31–34 NET)
I will make a lasting covenant with them that I will never stop doing good to them. I will fill their hearts and minds with respect for me so that they will never again turn away from me. (Jeremiah 32:40 NET)

Furthermore, the Old Testament prophet Jeremiah prophesied that there would be a new covenant made with Israel and Judah because the first one was faulty. The two names, Israel and Judah, refer here to the two parts of the divided nation, Israel, the northern kingdom, and Judah, the southern. The First Testament was a covenant made with Israel, and the New Testament is also a covenant made with Israel. Realize God makes no covenants with the Gentiles as Israel is the chosen channel through which He brings salvation to the human race. (John 4:22-26. Romans 9:3,4) The First Testament consisted of a system of symbolic sacrifices in their meaning, whereas the New Testament has the need for only one actual sacrifice, the Lord Jesus at the Cross. The First Testament began with the shedding of animal blood to make a covering for Adam and Eve (Genesis 3:21) and ended at the Cross. The New Testament began at the Cross and is an everlasting one. Hallelujah! (Hebrews 13:20) 

The words “took them by the hand” speak of the fact that the First Testament was given to the people of Israel, who were treated as minors. God put it under laws and regulations, and if Israel behaved itself, it was rewarded, and if it misbehaved, it was punished. Furthermore, Israel was taught by object lessons as one would teach a child, for instance, the tabernacle, priesthood, offerings, and the gorgeous vestments of the high priest. In the case of the First Testament, God wrote His laws on tables of stone to be obeyed by the regenerated Israelites. In the case of the New Testament, He writes them on the mind and heart in the sense that He not only regenerates the individual, but He provides for the personal indwelling of the Holy Spirit (1) in the believer, in whose ministry is added resources of grace which give the believer both the desire and the ability or power to do God’s will (Philippians. 2:12,13). The inward acceptance of God’s will involves the knowledge of God.

In the new covenant, all are to be ‘taught of God’ (Isaiah 54:13; John 6:45) and independent of the instruction of a privileged class. Under the old covenant, none but the educated scribe could understand the minutiae of the law with which religion was identified. The elaborate ritual made it impossible for the private individual to know whether a ram or a pigeon was the appropriate sacrifice for his sin or whether his sin was mortal or venial without consulting a priest. Under the new covenant, intermediates were to be abolished as the knowledge of God was to lie in the heart alongside the love of a parent or friend and would demand its expression no more external instruction than those primal, instinctive, and home-grown affections. 

In the First Testament, sins were brought to mind every year because of the constant repetition of the sacrifices. Under the New Testament, sins are forgotten, and for the reason that they have been paid for. God remembers them no more. In saying the word “new,” God, through the prophet Jeremiah had even at that time made the First Testament old (Jeremiah 31:31-34). Even in Jeremiah’s time, the insufficiency of the First Testament was recognized, and the need for a new one was proclaimed.

For we do not have a high priest incapable of sympathizing with our weaknesses, but one who has been tempted in every way just as we are, yet without sin. Therefore let us confidently approach the throne of grace to receive mercy and find grace whenever we need help. (Hebrews 4:15,16 NET)

Jesus the Messiah is our exalted and victorious High Priest (Hebrews 4:14) who is both God and Glorified Man. Furthermore, He is approachable and compassionate with an empathetic nature to the extent of entering into our experience and personally feeling our heartache and suffering. That is, our Lord’s appreciation of our weaknesses is an experiential one because, during His ministry on Earth, He was tempted like we are but never sinned. Those who had only given intellectual assent to the New Testament truth, specifically the Hebrews at the time this letter was written, are encouraged to obtain salvation at the throne of grace (i.e., unmerited favor) since they had not yet obtained mercy (i.e., any and everything needed for saving humanity). Mercy was offered based on Jesus the Messiah’s atonement, and God, our Father, patiently waits for people to come by faith and appropriate it before it is everlasting too late! (1)) Amen (6)

An Exhortation to Holy Confidence

Therefore, brothers and sisters, since we have confidence to enter the sanctuary by the blood of Jesus, by the fresh and living way that he inaugurated for us through the curtain, that is, through his flesh,and since we have a great priest over the house of God, let us draw near with a sincere heart in the assurance that faith brings, because we have had our hearts sprinkled clean from an evil conscience and our bodies washed in pure water. And let us hold unwaveringly to the hope that we confess, for the one who made the promise is trustworthy. And let us take thought of how to spur one another on to love and good works,not abandoning our own meetings, as some are in the habit of doing, but encouraging each other, and even more so because you see the day drawing near. (Hebrews 10:19–25 NET)

“Approach with holy confidence!” The basis of the exhortation is we have the “confidence” and the “High Priest.” (14)

1. Confidence (parrēsian) indicates freedom of speech, permission to approach an authority without fear, with plainness and openness, and therefore confidence without anxiety or cowering. Notice the contrast in this word to the fear mentioned in Hebrews 12:18–19 when the law was given to Moses on the mount in the aura of terror and trembling. Again, compare it to the fear of the people regarding the Most Holy Place as the abiding place of God among the people (Hebrews 9:7–8). What has caused the radical transformation of attitude? It is a result of Christ’s cleansing of our consciences so that no vestige of guilt remains to cause us to cower before an all-holy God. The witness of the Holy Spirit so fills us with the assurance of the love of our Father God that there remains no residue of fear. Instead, we are filled with joyful freedom and confidence to come into the presence of God as a child running to a father she trusts completely and with whom she has shared a warm and tender relationship. Only under the conditions of forgiveness and cleansing dare we have such confidence and boldness to enter the Holy Place without being destroyed by the holiness of God. Our exhorter is saying—we have that confidence! (14)

He goes on to declare the basis of this confidence. It is the blood of Jesus, an obvious allusion to the blood of the sacrificial offering referred to in Hebrews 9, where it was stated that nothing could be cleansed without the shedding and sprinkling of blood. By this method, things used in the Holy Place were made ceremonially clean for the liturgy. Now, we also are made clean to be in the presence of God in the holy liturgy of worship. (14)

For us to enter, Christ has consecrated or provided a “way.” The Greek word is one which suggests a means of entrance, a place of entering, or an entrance. Compare 2 Peter 1:11, “For so an entrance will be supplied to you abundantly into the everlasting kingdom of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.” This way (Hebrews 10:20) is a “new and living way” (prosphaton kai zōsan). These two terms appear to be in direct contrast to one another. Prosphaton has as one of its meanings “freshly slain.” No sacrifice could be brought that had died somewhere else of causes other than the sacrificial slaughter; it had to be freshly slain. Jesus is that freshly slain sacrifice. Obviously, we are dealing in the realm of death. Now our teacher uses the contrasting word zōsan, “living.” Yes, Jesus has been slain, the one perfect sacrifice, but He has also been raised from the dead by the power of God. He is both slain and living! Once dead and buried, now alive and risen (Hebrews 7:27; Hebrews 9:12,26,28; Hebrews 10:10). He was slain in the sacrificial environment of the Cross but is alive in the power of the Resurrection. By that death, a way has now been opened and consecrated; at the time of His death, the veil of the temple was torn from the top to the bottom (Matthew 27:51). There no longer exists an impediment to entering the presence of God if one goes through Jesus Christ. His flesh, slain and risen, becomes the way or entrance into the Most Holy Place. (14)

It appears that the phrase “through His flesh” is in apposition to the curtain (katapetasmatos, “that which is spread out”), but the context of the epistle and Gospels would lead us to say that Christ’s flesh was not to be an instrument of hiding God or separating us from God, but rather a means of revealing God and of our entrance into His presence. Upon the basis of Christ’s slain and risen flesh, we have the confidence to enter the Holiest. (14)

2. We have a basis for holding fast our confession in the fact of having a High Priest who is over the house of God. This basis was mentioned previously in Hebrews 2:5–7:28, establishing the four necessary qualities of a high priest and showing how Christ fulfilled them all (1). We have such a Great High Priest! (14)

On the basis of confidence and a Great High Priest, we are exhorted to three actions: (14)

1) “Let us draw near.” In Hebrews 10:22, our author desires us to use the open way and come close to God’s presence. After all, that is the true purpose of religion: to reestablish the relationship between God and us humans. Now he says, “Use the way!” “Draw near!” And do it with a heart that is “true” (alēthinēs, “candid, transparent”), with no guile or shame. Moreover, let it be a heart that is in “full assurance of faith” (plērophoria, from plēroō, “to fill full, satiate, or glut”)—glutted with faith, filled until it can hold no more as in the words of Richard Blanchard in his hymn “Fill My Cup, Lord,” “Fill me ’til I want no more.” Faith must always have an object or it is sheer sentimentality. In this case, the object of faith is described in the next phrase, “having our hearts sprinkled from an evil conscience and our bodies washed with pure water.” Our hearts have been sprinkled with sacrificial blood that purified liturgical components. No longer are we bothered by an evil conscience. Our consciences have been cleansed of an evil motivation, of any guilt or memory of wrongdoing. God has forgiven us and forgotten the misdoing according to His new covenant (Hebrews 8:12, from Jeremiah 31:34). That covenant has been fulfilled and the Holy Spirit bears witness to us that that is the fact. In addition, just as the priests and the sacrificial animals had to be washed with pure water, so we have assurance that our bodies have been washed with pure water. The reference might well be to the water of baptism. (14)

2) “Let us hold fast the confession.” Verse 23, our writer’s second exhortation to hold fast our confession, is reminiscent of Hebrews 2:1 (“give earnest heed”) or Hebrews 3:6b and following (“hold fast” our confidence and pride in our hope). The Greek verb translated “hold fast” has the sense of holding firm, securing, or tightening down our confession of hope. This we must do without wavering (aklinē from klinō, “to lean, to slope, or to be off balance”). We must not go off balance or become unlevel, as does a faulty foundation. We must not bend or yield to winds of pressure that blow upon us from a seductive yet hostile world. There is reason to hold firm even though the circumstances of life appear to be laughing at us, even though things have become difficult, and at the moment, we feel there is little reason for keeping on. The One who made the promise is faithful and will not disappoint us. He does not count time in the short segments by which we count; therefore, we should not let momentary discouragement cause us to turn away. Tragically, Christian history has too many instances in which pressures of persecution caused the church to turn away and be wiped out, as in China or North Africa during the Muslim conquest. Only now, in the last decades, has there been modest growth of the church of China. This growth is evidence of the very characteristic our exhorter wished to see in the lives of his people, that of holding fast to their confession. The very thing our author warned against has happened in Christian history. Hang on; God is on His way with resources for endurance. Things might even become more difficult (see Hebrews 12:3–4); in the very process of enduring, discipline and strength will grow as rich fruit in your life, and today’s tragedies will become tomorrow’s triumphs (Romans 8:26–39). God can take even the burned-out cinders of devastation and make building blocks of them. God is faithful but He is not indulgent. (14)

3) “Let us consider one another.” Verses Hebrews 10:24,25 give us the third and final exhortation in this passage. Katanōmen allēlous, “consider one another,” might well be translated as “observe well or understand one another in a reciprocal relationship.” The emphasis is not upon unilateral observation but on getting to know one another in the intimacy of a community of faith. This combination of words leads us to a powerful truth in line with much of what we have learned in this day and age from the human relations movement. As we understand one another in a reciprocal relationship, there results in a creative interchange that leads to provocative stimulation of both love and good works. The koinōnia (a sense of community resulting from having something in common) created by knowing one another deeply or perceiving intimately creates and releases attitudes of love and stimulates the actions of good works done together. “Creativity rises out of relationships” is a powerful adage. When a person is known for all he or she is, with all the wrinkles and foibles, and yet is loved, trust is engendered and creative risk becomes a possibility. We can say, “So what if I fail at a good attempt? I will be loved. I am confident of that. He or she knows and still loves me; I can try my idea.” This then makes possible one of the goals of the Christian life—good works; it should be a natural result of the cleansed conscience (Hebrews 9:14), one of the fruits of salvation (Ephesians 2:10; James 2:14–18). As Paul discovered in the lives of the Corinthian Christians, such good works do not always come naturally or automatically. Our exhorter encourages his readers to both love and good works. (14)

Next, he says they should not abandon (egkataliepontes, “forsake, leave behind, or desert”) their gathering together, their worship. How many times have we seen people who, for the sake of the relational groups, have left the worship of the church? Or, from the other side, people who, being involved in works of social justice and the rough and tumble of social confrontation, have considered worship with the other saints a bit too mild? Whether from the sentiment of “warm-fuzzies” or judgmentalism rising out of radical mentality, some have left off worship; it has become their lifestyle, or as verse Hebrews 10:25 puts it, it “is the manner of some.” Notice again, our author will not permit us to separate our works from our worship. He is in concurrence with Isaiah, who will not let us separate worship and justice (Isaiah 1:12–17). (14)

Why is there such importance placed on tying the two together? We Christians are like objects that are coated with a glow-in-the-dark coating. We have a very short time that we glow after exposure to light. Worship is an event in which our glow-in-the-dark coating is exposed to Jesus, the Light of the World (John 8:12;9:5)! When we are not in the collective worship with God’s people, we have missed exposure to His Light, and having missed it, our Heavenly glow dissipates over time. Consequently, we lose our effective luminance to a dark and dying world. Jesus said that we are now the light of the World (Matthew 5:14), and we must constantly be in a worshiping relationship with Him and with other Christians to shine as lights in the world (Philippians 2:15).

Instead of forsaking the worship, let us instead encourage (parakalountes) one another and all the more so as we “see the Day approaching” (Hebrews 10:25). Is that Day a day of heightened persecution or is it the last day of history which the early church thought was close at hand? I think the latter is less probable because much of the author’s concern is for the coming time of persecution in which he wants his believers to stand firmly, not casting aside their faith and confidence in the face of severe pressure. (14)

The Tabernacle of Moses Series:
Sacrifices and Offerings of the Old Covenant Series:

(Security, Wholeness, Success)

Then he said to them, “Therefore every expert in the law who has been trained for the kingdom of heaven is like the owner of a house who brings out of his treasure what is new and old.” (Matthew 13:52 NET)

(1) Select the link to open another article with additional information in a new tab.


(3) Having shown that Jesus our Messiah a Prophet, Priest, and King is superior to all other Prophets (Hebrews 1:1-3), the Holy Angels (Hebrews 1:4-2:18), Moses (Hebrews 3:1-6), and Joshua (Hebrews 3:7-13), in the first part of this book of Hebrews the writer proceeds to prove on the basis of Old Testament Scripture that Jesus is better than Aaron (Hebrews 4:14-8:6). Note these arguments ascended in importance from the prophets who gave the Word to Israel, the Word was given to the prophets through the disposition of the Holy Angels, Moses led Israel out of Egypt, and Joshua led the nation into Canaan. But all this would be of no avail if Israel did not have a high priest to mediate salvation. The High Priest Aaron and his levitical lineage in the First Covenant occupy the pinnacle of importance among the servants of God in Israel. The Book of Hebrews is not an argument the purpose of which is to prove that Christianity is superior to Judaism as seen in its Founder, Jesus Christ. Christianity refers to the Mystical Body of Christ of which He is the Head with the Body composed of all who are saved from Pentecost to the Rapture. It is important to note that the New Testament is not Christianity but rather it is the New Testament that made Christianity possible. The saints of the Church Age are saved through the Blood of the Sacrifice which was offered under the New Testament and that is the relationship between the New Testament and Christianity. Wuest, K. S. (1997). Wuest’s word studies from the Greek New Testament: for the English reader (Vol. 10). Grand Rapids: Eerdmans.

(4) The recipients of the letter of Hebrews were being tempted to renounce their professed faith in Jesus the Messiah as High Priest, due to the persecution from apostate Judaism, and to return to the repealed sacrifices of the Jerusalem temple. The writer of the Letter of Hebrews, by the Holy Spirit, is exhorting them retain that faith which they confessed to possess in view of the greatness of their High Priest. But now the inspired writer confronts his Jewish readers with a most puzzling conception. It is found in the phrase, “Jesus the Son of God.” It is the same thing with which our Lord confronted the Pharisees when they asserted that Messiah would be the Son of David. He asked, “How then does David in spirit call Him Lord?” (Matthew 22:43). That which was involved in our Lord’s question was the incarnation of the Jewish Jehovah in the Person of the Messiah. Here the word Iesous (Ἰεσους), the Greek transliteration of the Hebrew Jehoshua, would speak to the Jew of his God, the God of the Old Testament. But the name Iesous (Ἰεσους) had by this time acquired another particular significance, designating a particular Person, Jesus of Nazareth, the Messiah. Jehoshua, his (Israel’s) God was the Son of God, thus, God the Son. How could that be except there be more than one Person in the Godhead; and that Person become incarnate in human flesh as Jesus of Nazareth, Deity and humanity united in one Person, the Jewish Messiah. Not only was He the High Priest, but He was Son of God, God the Son, Jesus of Nazareth, the One who was rejected and crucified by the nation Israel, its Messiah. Could the Jewish mind give adherence to such doctrine and the Jewish heart give entrance to this Messiah? The test would be an encouragement to those of his Jewish readers whose hearts were ripe for salvation, to go on to a real saving faith in the Lamb of God, and would be the means of turning back to the act of apostasy, those whose sin hardened hearts would have none of the salvation Messiah had provided. As it is the same sun that melts the wax which hardens the clay, so it is the same Word of God that leads some on to salvation, and turns others who will have none of it away into outer darkness. (Wuest, K. S. (1997). Wuest’s word studies from the Greek New Testament: for the English reader (Vol. 10). Grand Rapids: Eerdmans).

(5) A covenant is an arrangement between two parties where a testament, in the sense of a last will or testament, is the legal instrument by which something is bequeathed to someone. The words “covenant” or “testament” are from the same Greek words and refer in this epistle to one thing, the act of God providing for the salvation of the believing sinner through the blood atonement offered on Calvary’s Cross by the Lord Jesus. It is a covenant in the sense that it is an agreement on God’s part that He will give salvation to the sinner who will receive it by faith in the High Priest He has appointed. It is a last will or testament in the sense that God bequeaths salvation to the sinner who will receive it on the terms of the will, faith in the blood of Jesus. God, the divine Testator, dies to make the will effective. That is, the words “covenant” and “testament” are used of one thing in this book, viewed from two angles. (Wuest’s word studies from the Greek New Testament: for the English reader (Vol. 10). Grand Rapids: Eerdmans).

(6) This article is informed by; Wuest, K. S. (1997). Wuest’s word studies from the Greek New Testament: for the English reader (Vol. 10). Grand Rapids: Eerdmans.

(7) However, that leaves Enoch (Genesis 5:24. Hebrew 11:5,13. Jude 1:14-16) and Elijah (2 Kings 2:11) in non-compliance with scripture since they went to Heaven without dying. In addition, it is probable that God raised Moses from the dead and took him to heaven as well (Deuteronomy 34:5,6. Jude 1:9). I believe this because it was Moses and Elijah that appeared during the transfiguration (Mark 9:1-8) which implies that they both were already in Heaven (i.e., Moses was not in Paradise (1) with all the other pre-resurrection saints that had died). I believe that Moses and Elijah are the two witnesses that will prophesy, be killed, resurrected, and caught up to Heaven during the Great Tribulation thus complying with every person must die once requirement. Note that the miracles the two prophets perform resemble those that Moses and Elijah performed during there time on Earth. (Revelations 11:1-12)

(8) The same Greek word is translated by both the words expiation and propitiation from time to time. But there is a slight difference in the terms. Expiation is the act that results in the change of God’s disposition toward us. It is what Christ did on the cross, and the result of Christ’s work of expiation is propitiation—God’s anger is turned away. The distinction is the same as that between the ransom that is paid and the attitude of the one who receives the ransom. For the word expiation the prefix ex means “out of” or “from,” so expiation has to do with removing something or taking something away. In biblical terms, it has to do with taking away guilt through the payment of a penalty or the offering of an atonement. By contrast, propitiation has to do with the object of the expiation. The prefix pro means “for,” so propitiation brings about a change in God’s attitude, so that He moves from being at enmity with us to being for us. Through the process of propitiation, we are restored into fellowship and favor with Him. Together, expiation and propitiation constitute an act of placation. Christ did His work on the cross to placate the wrath of God.            

(9)  MacArthur, J. F., Jr. (1983). Hebrews (p. 236). Chicago: Moody Press.

(10) MacArthur, J. F., Jr. (1983). Hebrews (pp. 237–238). Chicago: Moody Press.

(11) MacArthur, J. F., Jr. (1983). Hebrews (p. 242). Chicago: Moody Press. (9)

Hal has taught the Bible for over three decades. Through an interdenominational ministry dedicated to helping the local church build men for Jesus, Hal trained men, the leaders of men’s ministries, and provided pulpit supply. Before that, he was a Men’s Ministry Leader and an Adult Bible Fellowship teacher of a seventy-five-member class at a denominational megachurch. Presently, Hal desires to honor Jesus Christ through this Internet teaching ministry, thereby glorifying the Heavenly Father in the power and presence of the Holy Spirit. He believes, second to cultivating his relationship with God that raising his family unto the Lord is the most significant task for him while on Earth. Furthermore, Hal believes that being a successful leader in the church or workplace is no substitute for failing to be a successful leader at home.  DOULOS HAL'S TOPICAL INDEX

Leave a Reply