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Hebrews chapter 8

DAILY DEVOTION

FOR

FRIDAY, OCTOBER 16

                                                     

SCRIPTURE:  HEBREWS 8

AUTHOR:  Joe Ligon

The chapter begins almost as a concluding statement of the previous chapter.  Jesus as our Great High Priest is unparalleled.  He alone is seated at the right of God in the true Temple that is in heaven. 

As we get to verse 4 we are reminded that according to the Levitical Law and Jewish tradition Jesus would not have been allowed to be a priest.  He was not of the tribe of Levi but of Judah.

When we get to verse 6, we find one of the main points of this chapter.  We find the comparison between the Old Covenant (the Mosaic Law) and the New Covenant.  The simple statement is the New Covenant is better because it is enacted on better promises.  In verse 7, we read that if the Old Covenant had been able to accomplish the main purpose of providing an eternal relationship with God through redemption and once for all forgiveness of sin, there would have been no need for a New Covenant. 

It is important to remember at this point that the Old Covenant accomplished what it was supposed to.  Because people could not keep it perfectly, the Old Covenant continuously pointed out their sin and then demanded continuous sacrifices be made not to remove the sin but to cover it.  The New Covenant, on the other hand, does indeed point out our sin but there is one sacrifice made at one moment in time that provides for redemption and forever forgiveness.  That redemption and forgiveness is the basis for our eternal relationship with God.

At the same time, it is important to remember that the New Covenant was no Plan B.  It was not something added to the process because Plan A failed.  The New Covenant was always Plan A.  God’s eternal plan was for the sacrifice of His Son once for all.

In verses 8-12 we encounter seven provisions of the New Covenant that are found actually in an Old Testament passage from Jeremiah.  (See!  The New Covenant was always the plan.)

In verses 8-9 we see again the first provision which is the New Covenant is separate and distinct from the Old Covenant it replaced.  It is “new” after all.  And it is “not like” the old one.

The second provision is found in verse 9.  The New Covenant will be characterized by the internalization of God’s Law.  The New Covenant is better because it changes us from the inside out.  It is not an external force that tries to change us from the outside in.

The third provision is found in verses 11-12.  It is the promise of regeneration.  The Old Covenant had no capability of making anything new.  The New Covenant speaks of new creations.  The fourth provision in verse 10 is the promise of a personal relationship.  The fifth provision in verse 12 is the promise of sins being forgiven, not covered but forgiven.  The sixth provision at the end of verse 11 is the New Covenant will be available to all.  The seventh provision is the covenantal relationship between God and His people which we read about at the end of verse 10.

As we end the chapter it is important to remember the Old Covenant was not bad.  People were bad.  The Old Covenant did exactly what God intended.  Part of that intention was to point people to the necessity of a new and better way.  That way, of course, is Jesus. 

 

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Hebrews chapter 7

DAILY DEVOTION

FOR

THURSDAY, OCTOBER 15

                                                     

SCRIPTURE:  HEBREWS 7

AUTHOR:  Joe Ligon

This chapter appears to be a lot about Melchizedek.  And while it is true that we do read quite a bit about him, once again this chapter is about Jesus being better.

The chapter opens by reminding of us the episode in the Book of Genesis in which Melchizedek appeared.  The name Melchizedek means King of Righteousness.  We also find where he is the King of Salem.  The word Salem comes from the word shalom which means peace.  So, Melchizedek was also the King of Peace.  By the way, Salem is a reference to Jerusalem. 

In verse 3 we find some other interesting things about this man.  There is no record of his parents or genealogy.  And there is neither a beginning nor an ending to his days.  The end of verse 3 says he resembles or “is like” the Son of God.

There are some that believe Melchizedek was a Christophany or an appearance of Jesus in the Old Testament.  And he may very well have been that.  But as we just read, the end of verse 3 says that this character was “like” the Son of God.  Regardless of whether Melchizedek was a Christophany or a mysterious character of the Old Testament, his story is important.  Part of the reason his story is important is his story points us to Jesus.

Another reason his story is important is his priesthood predates the establishment of the priesthood in the tribe of Levi and particularly in the family of Aaron.  This sets up the idea that Jesus, as our Great High Priest, was not of the tribe of Levi either.  His earthly dad and mom were both of the tribe of Judah.  In the Jewish mindset, it would have been possible to reject Jesus solely on the basis that He was not of the tribe of Levi.  And that would have made the Levitical priests more important than Jesus.

In verse 11, we are reminded that perfection could not be achieved the Levitical priesthood and corresponding Law.  The purpose of the Law was primarily to show people that they were hopeless sinners.  The more they tried to keep the Law, the more their inability to do that resulted in sin.  And the more they sinned, the more blood had to be spilled. 

Jesus is the only One who ever kept the Law perfectly.  As a result, He is better than all of the rest of humanity and He is better than all the Levitical priests. His sacrifice, by the way, was perfect and once for all.

In verse 23 we are reminded that it took a lot of Levitical priests to carry out all the sacrifices demanded by the Law.  And because none of those sacrifices were able to resolve the sin issue, they had to be repeated.  At the same time, Levitical priests were forced to retire at the age of 50 if they lived that long.  All of that adds up to a lot of priests.

We compare that to the fact that there is one Jesus and, therefore, one Great High Priest.  Because Jesus is eternal, His priesthood is permanent (v. 24).  Because His priesthood is permanent, He serves forever.

Because there is no end to Jesus or His priesthood, He is able to save to the uttermost (v. 25) or completely or forever.  But He only does that for those who draw near to God through Him.  Remember, the priest’s responsibility was to take the people to God.  What we know is the only way to God is through Jesus.  He is our Great High Priest, we get to God through Jesus and when we do, it is a forever relationship.

The chapter ends with some incredible descriptions of the nature and character of Jesus who is greater than all the Levitical priests.

 

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