A little history before we go on. There are 27 books in the New Testament and 21 of those books are letters. It is noted that 13 of those 21 are of the Pauline collection. The Letter to the Hebrews is included in this collection. It is due to this inclusion that we have Hebrews in the New Testament today, only because of this attachment of Paul’s name was it accepted. Here in chapter 8 we have the key thought of this letter. Barclay had the best in a few words… The Perfect Priest and the Perfect Sacrifice…well wrote and to the point. The Greeks were looking for a way from the shadows of their minds to the reality of faith. The writer to Hebrews gives them just that…Jesus Christ.
The writer to Hebrews in previous chapters has described the Priesthood of Melchizedek in all its glory and assurance of a never-ending function within the faith. It was not one of legal appointments or racial qualifications, it is a Priesthood which death cannot touch. There are other qualifiers that make it so special a relationship with God and then the writer to Hebrews makes the claim “we already have such a Priest”…‘a priest precisely like that, we have in Jesus.’ Here at the very beginning of this chapter we are told that Jesus took his seat at the right hand of God, this being the final proof of his divinity. The writer of Hebrews tells us that Jesus is the minister of the sanctuary. He is both majesty and service.The point is made throughout this chapter that religion to the writer was access to God. Jesus does that, our supreme Priest opens the way to God, removes the barriers between God and his people. Jesus has become the bridge between men and women, all, who wish to be in the presence of God. Jesus is the reality that makes that possible.
The Greeks believed this world was only copy of a real much better world. In plain language they believed the world they lived in was an imperfect copy of something much better. The writer goes on to say that the earthly Temple is an inadequate copy of the real Temple of God and the earthly priesthood an inadequate shadow of the real priesthood. Much is said about the Temple and priesthood but to cut to the chase, so to speak, only Jesus can lead people to reality and into the presence of God. Given that day and time this was an argument, that of reality, this his contemporaries used and understood. Plato among many things called it an idea, to the Jews it was a form, the way you do it…we may call it what we will but the truth is that it is beyond anything we can find here in this world. Reconciliation between God and his people lies in the reality of Jesus Christ, Jesus is the only person who can bring us from the shadows to reality, real life. Greek, Jew, Gentile, it matters not… Chapter 8 then moves on to the covenant, the reality of a new relationship with God. The simple meaning of covenant, is it is an agreement entered into by two people. It is a mutual agreement and if either party breaks that agreement then the covenant is void. There were covenants made between Jews and other nations or even people but its distinctive use is to describe the relationship between Israel and God. New Testament use is best described as a relationship between God and men and women. But things take a turn here as the Greek word translated means a will. In the translations back and forth a covenant that is made between two is done so on equal terms. God and human beings do not meet on equal terms. I am on a limb here trying to get this across and the only way I know to do it is just some down home logic. We cannot bargain with God. So at this point we move from a covenant to a will. A will is not made on equal terms. The person who makes the will sets the terms, usually one sided and the other party cannot change or alter them. What do we receive from this will? Forgiveness of our sins, eternal life as per the covenant…or will…whichever you chose to call it. The writer to Hebrews continues to make his point…The argument of the writer to the Hebrews is that that old covenant is done away with and that Jesus has brought a new relationship with God.
There is much we did not get into as I tried to keep it simple, on the level of a layman who just wants to share the word…the Good News. Hebrews calls out the Good News, the divinity of Jesus, the path forward from the shadows to the reality that JESUS is Lord and the only way to God is through him.
Life is Good