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Rays of Light Bible Lessons by Keith Holder

THIS IS THE SUM

Hebrews 8:1-5 Now of the things which we have spoken this is the sum: We have such an High Priest, who is set on the right hand of the throne of the Majesty in the heavens; a Minister of the sanctuary, and of the true tabernacle, which the Lord pitched, and not man. For every high priest is ordained to offer gifts and sacrifices: wherefore it is of necessity that this man have somewhat also to offer. For if He were on earth, He should not be a priest, seeing that there are priests that offer gifts according to the law: who serve unto the example and shadow of heavenly things, as Moses was admonished of God when he was about to make the tabernacle: for, See, saith He, that thou make all things according to the pattern shewed to thee in the mount.

The things which we have spoken, could possibly refer to the complete testimony that had been previously written to the Hebrew Christians in this epistle. It most certainly applies to the previous chapter where it says of Jesus, Thou art a Priest forever, after the order of Melchisedec. The priesthood of Melchisedec took place under the Patriarchal era. The priesthood of Aaron, through the tribe of Levi, served God under the Jewish Dispensation and the Old Testament law given by God through His servant Moses. Speaking of the Christian Dispensation, the writer of this epistle to the Hebrew Christians assures us that we have such an High Priest in Jesus Christ who was made a surety of a better testament (Heb. 7:22). That better testament is the New Testament gospel (good news), which revealed God's plan of eternal salvation through His Son, Jesus Christ, and His commandments that must be obeyed to attain it.

Previous covenants of God with mankind serve only as shadows, images, or patterns of the coming of Jesus Christ as the Messiah. The birth of Christ, His life, death, resurrection, and ascension back into heaven, was the fulfillment of all previous covenants. Our High Priest, Jesus Christ, after He had offered one sacrifice for sins forever (Heb. 10:12), is now set on the right hand of the throne of the Majesty in the heavens ruling over the kingdom of God in heaven and on earth. And we, as Christians, having risen with Christ from baptism, are told to seek those things, which are above, where Christ sitteth on the right hand of God (Col. 3:1).

Not only is Christ our King, but He also continues to serve the children of God as their High Priest. In this role, He is now, and forever will be,a Minister of the sanctuary, and of the true tabernacle, which the Lord pitched, and not man. As emphasis, the author repeats this truth in the following chapter by saying Jesus is our High Priest of good things to come, by a greater and more perfect tabernacle, not made with hands, that is to say, not of this building (Heb. 9:11). The sanctuary in which Jesus ministers is not an earthly temple or tabernacle, but rather the spiritual tabernacle made by God. An outer court, in which all Israelites gathered for sacrificial services on the brazen altar, surrounds the earthly tabernacle. The more perfect tabernacle is surrounded by all people of the world. All are called to pass by the altar of sacrifice, that is, the blood of Jesus Christ.

Through baptism for the remission of sins, we partake of God's sacrificial Lamb, Jesus Christ, and God adds us to His church. This portion of the more perfect tabernacle, His church, compares to the Holy Place of the earthly tabernacle. Finally, the earthly tabernacle contained the Most Holy Place, or the Holy of Holies, which, in the more perfect tabernacle, is typical of heaven itself. There our High Priest dwells and intercedes for all faithful Christians - children of God. The vail that separated the Holy Place from the Holy of Holies in the earthly tabernacle, has, in the more perfect tabernacle, been torn away so all faithful members of the body of Christ may enter the eternal haven of rest.

The pattern for the earthly tabernacle was given by God to Moses on Mount Sinai (Exodus 25:40). The more perfect tabernacle, the church of Christ, was built upon the foundation of the apostles and prophets, Jesus Christ Himself being the chief corner stone; in whom all the building fitly framed together groweth unto an holy temple in the Lord: in whom ye also are builded together for an habitation of God through the Spirit (Eph. 2:20-22). Jesus, as long as He was alive on earth, could not serve as High Priest, because He was not of the tribe of Levi. With His death and ascension into heaven, the Old Covenant was fulfilled, and Jesus became both Priest and King over His kingdom, which included both heaven and His church on earth. Of God's plan of eternal salvation, this is the sum.