Summary: Contrasts between the Old Testament and New
What a contrast!
Col 2:17 which are a shadow of things to come, but the substance is of Christ.
How much more shall the blood of Christ, who through the eternal Spirit offered Himself without spot to God, cleanse your conscience from dead works to serve the living God? Heb 9:14.
I struggled with the next sections of chapters 9 and 10 for some time, not really knowing how to approach them. Not because there is so little to consider, but that there is so much and it is all tangled up so that it is hard to know where to begin and how to unravel the threads. When I read FB Meyer’s consideration of this section in his book: “The way into the holiest” I was impressed with the way that he approached it.
He said: “In this marvellous paragraph (vv. 6-14) there are five striking contrasts between the picture symbols of Leviticus, and the realities revealed in the New Testament Scriptures. And to their consideration we will at once proceed, thanking God as we do so that we live in the very midst of the heavenly things themselves, rather than in the shadows, which, though they doubtless helped and nourished the devout souls of an earlier age, were confessedly inadequate to supply the deeper demands of man’s spiritual life.” In our considerations today I have borrowed heavily from FB Meyer’s thoughts.
The first tabernacle is contrasted with the true (vv. 6, 8, 11)
As we know from our earlier studies of the tabernacle the original tabernacle with its golden furniture and stunning embroidery must have been glorious to see as they were assembled on the plains of Sinai. No doubt even the angels were impressed with the design as they tried to understand the significance.
Like all man-made things though, it was eventually destined to wear out – no matter how lovingly it was constructed and cared for. It must have shown signs of wear when it was carried across the Jordan into the Promised Land. In David’s days the reverence for it could not blind him to the need to replace it.
How different is the true tabernacle – the greater and more perfect tabernacle not made with hands v11, which Moses tabernacle pictured. But what is this greater tabernacle? Have you ever felt that the whole universe is one great temple? In a sense it is; the lofty mountains, the vast oceans, the infinite starry heavens. Truly The heavens declare the glory of God; the skies proclaim the work of his hands. Ps 19:1 NIV. But, wonderful as the universe is, it is not what the writer was thinking of, for the more perfect tabernacle is, not of this creation v11. You won’t find it anywhere on the earth, nor even in the furthest reaches of space for it is heaven itself, God’s own special dwelling place.
There now, His work completed, our great High Priest 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. Ch 8. So the tabernacle gives us a picture of heaven itself and the eternal temple, though we don’t have time to look at that today.
The high-priests are contrasted with Christ (vv.7,11).
Ordinary Israelites were allowed into the outer part of the Tabernacle; but it was the Levites and priests who looked after the Tabernacle and performed the sacrifices and rituals. At their head was the high-priest with his beautiful garments. On his shoulders, he carried two precious stones, engraved with the names of the tribes of Israel. On his chest, nearest to his heart, he carried twelve more precious stones, again engraved with the names of the tribes of Israel. What a grand spectacle he must have presented to his people!
And yet there were two fatal flaws. They were prevented by death from continuing 7v23 and they were sinful men, who needed to offer sacrifices for their own sin 9v7. As we saw last time, on the Day of Atonement, he couldn’t even go into the HoH until he had made a sacrifice for his own sin and that of his family (Lev 16:11-13).
How different is our great High-Priest! Death tried to master him; but God raised Him up, because it was not possible that He should be held by it Acts 2:24. And because He continues forever, has an unchangeable priesthood Heb 7:24. Truly He is a priest for ever 7:17&21. We looked at this in some detail when we studied the seventh chapter. Ch 9 adds that He offered Himself without spot to God v14. Even at His mock trial they were unable to convince Pilate that He had done any wrong. Judas, His betrayer, was compelled to confess that it was innocent blood (Mt 27:4). Peter, His closest companion declared that He committed no sin, Nor was deceit found in His mouth 1Pe 2:22.