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Hebrews Chapter 8


Heb 8:1-2 …The point of what we are saying is this: We do have such a high priest, who sat down at the right hand of the throne of the Majesty in heaven, and who serves in the sanctuary, the true tabernacle set up by the Lord, not by man. (NIV)

I've no doubt it's impossible to even imagine what the interior of the true inner sanctum looks like. I'm always amazed at the creative genius of men like George Lucas and others of his genre, but even they couldn't possibly have a clue. The Aaronic tabernacle was patterned after the one in heaven; but it wasn't a duplicate, merely a symbolic icon of the real thing.

Jesus Christ is different in many ways compared to the other religious leaders. He not only revived after he died, but he's now immortal, and can't die ever again. And today, of all things, he's sitting right beside The True God representing his Jewish countrymen's best interests in matters pertaining to sin and judgment; and he himself— his own life and body —is the satisfaction of justice against them. I'm telling you; that is astounding.

Next.

Heb 8:3 …Every high priest is appointed to offer both gifts and sacrifices, and so it was necessary for this one also to have something to offer. (NIV)

The Aaronic priests are models of the heavenly priesthood. So it only stands to reason that if gifts and sacrifices are made by the earthly priesthood, then something has to be offered by the heavenly priesthood too. After all, the primary function of a priesthood is reconciliation— to protect its constituents from retribution, and to soothe irritations that exist between a righteous God and a rather unrighteous human race.

Next.

Heb 8:4-5 …If [Jesus] were on earth, he would not be a priest, for there are already men who offer the gifts prescribed by the law. They serve at a sanctuary that is a copy and shadow of what is in heaven. This is why Moses was warned when he was about to build the tabernacle: "See to it that you make everything according to the pattern shown you on the mountain." (NIV)

The Hebrews letter was apparently written sometime before 70 AD, which is when Titus destroyed the Temple because the author spoke of it as still fully functioning.

Think about this for a second: Jesus is the priest in the highest possible priesthood office there is. But if he were on the earth, he would not be permitted to officiate because his priesthood has no jurisdiction down here. The earth is Aaron's jurisdiction. Locale dictates the performance of Jesus' duties just as locale dictates the performance of Aaron's. His boys have to work in a temple at Jerusalem; and Jesus has to work in a temple at Heaven. They, and he, when away from their posts, are technically off duty; like a waitress who's gone home for the day.

So where does that leave Mormon men who claim membership in the priesthood order of Melchizedek? If you are reading this, and are an advanced Mormon. I mean you no harm and I certainly mean you no insult. I'm sure you are just as conscientious about your religion as everyone else is about theirs. But if Jesus cannot officiate as a priest in the order of Melchizedek down here on the planet, then neither can anyone else.

The earth is still the domain of Aaron's family in spite of Jesus' inherently superior priesthood. And one day, in Messiah's very kingdom itself, Aaron's family, and the Levites, will once again be at their posts discharging their official duties in a brand new Temple at Jerusalem.

Ex 40:12-16 ...You shall bring Aaron and his sons forward to the entrance of the Tent of Meeting and wash them with the water. Put the sacral vestments on Aaron, and anoint him and consecrate him, that he may serve Me as priest. Then bring his sons forward, put tunics on them, and anoint them as you have anointed their father, that they may serve Me as priests. This their anointing shall serve them for everlasting priesthood throughout the ages. This Moses did; just as the Lord had commanded him, so he did. (1985 JPS Tanakh)

Jer 33:17-22 ...For thus said the Lord: There shall never be an end to men of David’s line who sit upon the throne of the House of Israel. Nor shall there ever be an end to the line of the Levitical priests before Me, of those who present burnt offerings and turn the meal offering to smoke and perform sacrifices. The word of the Lord came to Jeremiah: Thus said the Lord: If you could break My covenant with the day and My covenant with the night, so that day and night should not come at their proper time, only then could My covenant with My servant David be broken— so that he would not have a descendant reigning upon his throne —or with My ministrants, the Levitical priests. Like the host of heaven which cannot be counted, and the sand of the sea which cannot be measured, so will I multiply the offspring of My servant David, and of the Levites who minister to Me. (1985 JPS Tanakh)

Next.

Heb 8:6-7 …But the ministry Jesus has received is as superior to theirs as the covenant of which he is mediator is superior to the old one, and it is founded on better promises. For if there had been nothing wrong with that first covenant, no place would have been sought for another. (NIV)

Aaron's priesthood functions down here on the ground away from the true presence of God. Jesus' priesthood functions up in Heaven in the very presence of God. Aaron's tour of duty was interrupted by death. Jesus is immortal. Aaron's atonement system cannot atone for willful sins, nor for capital crimes. Jesus' atonement system effects reconciliation for all classifications of sins unintentional, willful, and capital.

Moses' covenant is an outstanding religious and civil code; but it not only lacks provisions to atone for willful sins and capital crimes, but it also sorely lacks provisions to cure the sinner's inclination to sin. Moses' covenant merely punishes sinners; it doesn't rehabilitate them in any way. But the new covenant does just that. We know from the wording of the new covenant that the new heart and the new spirit, promised in it, create a new personality within the sinner— a personality inclined to listen to God with a willingness to comply.

The new covenant works very well to the Jews' advantage; namely, it has the potential to remove the sinful urges resident in human nature. Not just to atone for them— but to surgically remove them so that they never occur again.

Moses' law demands a self-performed, inward circumcision.

Deut 10:16 ...Cut away, therefore, the thickening about your hearts and stiffen your necks no more. (1985 JPS Tanakh)

However, Moses promised that God would one day perform the operation Himself.

Deut 30:4-6 ...Even if your outcasts are at the ends of the world, from there the Lord your God will gather you, from there He will fetch you. And the Lord your God will bring you to the land that your fathers possessed, and you shall possess it; and He will make you more prosperous and more numerous than your fathers. Then the Lord your God will open up your heart and the hearts of your offspring to love the Lord your God with all your heart and soul, in order that you may live. (1985 JPS Tanakh)

The new covenant is the realization of that promise.

Ezk 11:19-20 …I will give them one heart and put a new spirit in them; I will remove the heart of stone from their bodies and give them a heart of flesh, that they may follow My laws and faithfully observe My rules. Then they shall be My people and I will be their God. (1985 JPS Tanakh)

Next.

Heb 8:8-12 …But God found fault with the people and said: "The time is coming, declares the Lord, when I will make a new covenant with the house of Israel and with the house of Judah. It will not be like the covenant I made with their forefathers when I took them by the hand to lead them out of Egypt, because they did not remain faithful to my covenant, and I turned away from them, declares the Lord. This is the covenant I will make with the house of Israel after that time, declares the Lord. I will put my laws in their minds and write them on their hearts. I will be their God, and they will be my people. No longer will a man teach his neighbor, or a man his brother, saying, 'Know the Lord,' because they will all know me, from the least of them to the greatest. For I will forgive their wickedness and will remember their sins no more."

That passage quotes Jer 31:31-34

Heb 8:13 ...By calling this covenant *new*, he has made the first one obsolete; and what is obsolete and aging will soon disappear. (NIV)

Although Moses' covenant is obsolete, and will soon disappear, it hasn't disappeared yet; no, not by a long sea mile. Millions of genetic Jews are still under its jurisdiction because that is their covenant by default. They're born into it. In point of fact, every genetic Jew is born under the jurisdiction of Moses' covenant (Deut 29:9-13) and can escape it only by exercising their option to follow Jesus and switch over to the new covenant.

Some time after the remnant's future return, the new covenant will become a national policy in Israel just as Moses' covenant was in its own heyday. Until then, the new covenant is being offered to Jews on an individual basis. They can elect to enroll in it now if they so desire; and us Gentiles can get in on it too if we want and thereby have a share in Israel's blessings.

Enrolling in the new covenant is not an easy thing for a genetic Jew because it means accepting Jesus' human atonement; an atonement which is totally illegal under the terms and conditions of Moses' covenant; ergo: switching means a complete break with traditional Judaism; and a whole new way of doing business with God. But when you think about it, the switch is inevitable because God found fault with *the people*, he didn't find fault with Moses' covenant. Since it's the people— the Jews themselves —that make Moses' covenant unworkable, then the Jews are what needs a make-over. And a make-over can't be obtained under the jurisdiction of Moses' covenant. It can be obtained only within the terms and conditions of another covenant.

 


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