Epistle to the Hebrews (8:3-5)   Leave a comment

Epistle to the Hebrews

And since every high priest is required to offer gifts and sacrifices, our High Priest must make an offering, too.If he were here on earth, he would not even be a priest, since there already are priests who offer the gifts required by the law. They serve in a system of worship that is only a copy, a shadow of the real one in heaven. For when Moses was getting ready to build the Tabernacle, God gave him this warning: “Be sure that you make everything according to the pattern I have shown you here on the mountain” Hebrews 8:3-5

If we take the 5 books of the Old testament, the Pentateuch, we see God giving the people of Israel many laws. According to some rabbis, there’re about 613 laws of which 365 of them are negative commandments. These laws taught people how to respect God and people.

Since the destruction of the second temple, there’re now 271 laws which can be observed of which 77 of them are positive commandments. More than half of the law can no longer be observed by the Jews. If the Mosaic law and its system of worship permitted people to get right with God, why is it that many of them can no longer be observed since the destruction of the temple? Could that mean that they were not indispensable? Did not God give Moses the delicate task of building the tabernacle as a shadow of heaven’s tabernacle? It was a solemn moment when God’s presence came in the newly dedicated temple.  This same temple was destroyed but does that mean God could no longer show His presence? Jesus does not minister in a temple which needs to be rebuilt when destroyed. If God’s dwelling place was still in the temple of Jerusalem, I guess it would have already been destroyed by a neighborhood rocket.

Sacrifices were made because “without blood there is no forgiveness”

In fact, according to the law of Moses, nearly everything was purified with blood. For without the shedding of blood, there is no forgiveness.” Hebrews 9:22

The reason for the need of blood is given in Leviticus:

For the life of a creature is in the blood, and I have given it to you to make atonement for yourselves on the altar; it is the blood that makes atonement for one’s life” Leviticus 17:11

The sacrifice could not be made anywhere either. If an Israelite sacrificed a lamb or bull anywhere inside or outside the camp, he was as guilty as a murderer. The sacrifice should only be done at the entrance of the tabernacle as an offering visibly dedicated to God(Leviticus 17:3).

Slaughtering the best animal in God’s presence showed the importance of one’s sins. Death, death of an animal, showed the seriousness and consequences of sins. The lies, thefts one did required blood to be shed. The tabernacle in which the Levites ministered was temporary, it was just a man-made imitation of the original tabernacle in heaven. This is why our Good Lord made a whip out of cords and chased those who were selling animals in the temple courts. The Son of God knows the Holiness of the Heavenly tabernacle and this is why He zealously drove these merchants out.

The author asks why did Jesus came as High Priest if there were already priests who were fulfilling the priesthood duties. The reason given is : “They serve in a system of worship that is only a copy, a shadow of the real one in heaven

God could not accept forgiveness of sins without doing it the proper way. This is why Moses had to build the temple as directed by God(Exodus 25-29).

When Solomon dedicated the temple, his prayer was : “But will God really live on earth among people? Why, even the highest heavens cannot contain you. How much less this Temple I have built!” 2 Chr 6:18

Chapter 8 and 9 of the Epistle to the Hebrews give life to the book of Leviticus and Exodus. We’ll go through some details in the next verses.

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