Central to the structure of God’s relationship with men was the concept of the covenant. A covenant was more than just a treaty. It was both a legal contract and a formalized bond of life and death sealed with an oath.
The mediator of such a covenant was the priest. He was the one who would represent man to God and God to men. He officiated over the sacrifice and he brought the blood to the altar. He went into the presence of God on behalf of men.
In the last chapter, we saw that Jesus was our high priest. His priesthood was not of the Aaronic priesthood, for he was not a descendant of Levi. His priesthood was of a much older line of priests — one that went all the way back to the days of Abraham. His was of the Melchizedek priesthood.
A BETTER HIGH PRIEST
Now the main point in what has been said is this: we have such a high priest, who has taken His seat at the right hand of the throne of the Majesty in the heavens, 2 a minister in the sanctuary and in the true tabernacle, which the Lord pitched, not man. (Hebrews 8:1-2).
Everything that has been said in Hebrews up to this point has been to bring us to this one main point — we have a high priest in the person of Jesus. We saw at the very beginning of this epistle that God has spoken in a Son who sat down at the right hand of the Majesty on high. This is now repeated nearly word for word. We have come full circle to see Jesus.
It is one thing to see Jesus as our high priest. It is quite another to see Him as our high priest who has taken His seat. The one thing that no Old Testament priest ever did was to take his seat. Priests in the temple always stood. There were no seats in the temple or the tabernacle. The only seat was God’s seat - the mercy seat. This was the lid of the Ark of the Covenant and no priest would ever have dreamed of even touching the Ark let alone actually sitting on it. But Jesus did exactly that. He is the priest who sat down. And notice where it was that He sat — at the right hand of the throne of the Majesty in the heavens.
Just in case you didn’t hear that, it is repeated for us in verse two. The place where Jesus sat as our high priest was not in any earthly tabernacle or temple. His place of honor was in heaven itself.
We will be seeing a contrast in the next two chapters between that which is in heaven verses that which in on earth.
High priest after the order of Aaron
High priest after the order of Melchizedek
Never sat down, but was constantly ministering in the temple
He has taken His seat at the right hand of the throne of the Majesty in the heavens
An earthly temple built by human hands
The true tabernacle, which the Lord pitched, not man
There are two things of which we ought to take note with regard to Jesus sitting at the right hand of God.
1. To be seated at the right hand was to be seated in the place of honor. The right hand was used for fellowship and for eating. The left hand was used for more mundane tasks. Jesus has been given the place of honor in heaven.
2. In the Sanhedrin, the supreme court of Israel, it was the custom for two scribes to sit on either side of the judges of that court. The scribe who sat on the right hand side would write the acquittals. The scribe who sat on the left hand side would write the condemnations.
Jesus has been given the seat of pardon. His ministry has been one of bringing pardon and forgiveness to men.
But that is not all. In Revelation 3:21 Jesus promises that to Him who overcomes, I will grant to sit with Me in My throne. There is coming a day when we shall not only see Jesus seated at the right hand of God, but when we shall sit with Him. This is not because we are good or deserving, but because He has been good and deserving in our place.
The place of Christ’s ministry is in the sanctuary and in the true tabernacle, which the Lord pitched, not man (8:2). This is in contrast to the tabernacle which Moses erected in the wilderness.
The Earthly Tabernacle
The Heavenly Tabernacle
The sanctuary and tabernacle which Moses pitched in the wilderness
The sanctuary and in the true tabernacle, which the Lord pitched, not man