He entered the holy place once for all, having obtained eternal redemption.
The book of Hebrews was written to a group of first-century Jewish Christians. They had left Judaism, they had embraced Jesus Christ, but because of persecution they were thinking about giving up their faith in Christ and going back to that which was familiar. They were saying, “We want a priest we can actually see, not one up there in the heavens that is invisible. We want a real temple where we see our priest go in and make atonement for our sins. We do not want some invisible temple in Heaven. We want to see sacrifices that have actual blood dripping down from the altar instead of some invisible sacrifice that Christ made on our behalf.” They were in danger of trading in the truth for the symbol behind that truth. So the writer of Hebrews said, in essence: “Don’t do it. If you give up Christianity and go back into Judaism, you are worshipping the shadow instead of the substance.” That is what the book of Hebrews is all about, how Jesus is the reality of which the Old Testament was just a shadow.
In Hebrews 9-10, the writer showed that Jesus Christ has offered a superior sacrifice. To understand what Jesus did for us, let’s look at the setting of the old covenant, the old agreement, in verses 1 to 5. The heart of the Jewish religion was the sacrificial system, because it answered the question of how a person can be made right with God. The answer was that because of sin, we have to have something to cover our sin. And that was what the sacrificial system offered, a covering, an atonement for sin.
To have a sacrificial system you need three things. You have to have an authentic priest, who offers the sacrifice. You have to have an acceptable sacrifice to be offered, something that God has prescribed. Finally, you have to have an authorized location. You cannot offer the sacrifice just anywhere. It has to be a place that God has authorized.
In the Old Testament, the authorized location was the tabernacle, which later became the temple, a permanent worship structure in Jerusalem. But the first sacrifices were offered in the tabernacle. The tabernacle was basically a portable worship center that the Israelites and Moses lugged around with them in the wilderness wanderings. Every time the Israelites moved, they would set up the tent, with the outer perimeter made of animal skins.
Why is it important to know about the tabernacle? As we look at the Bible, it is interesting that there are only two chapters devoted to the creation of the universe. Do you realize that? Just two chapters in the entire Bible are about the creation. Yet there are 50 chapters about the tabernacle. Do you know why there is so much emphasis on the tabernacle? Because the tabernacle was a picture of how God forgives our sins. And the most important issue in the universe is not how the universe got here. We know God did that. The most important issue is, “How I can be reconciled to the Creator of the Universe? How can I have a relationship with God?” It is all pictured in the tabernacle.
Today’s devotion is excerpted from “A Memo To Jerry Jones” by Dr. Robert Jeffress, 2018.
Scripture taken from the NEW AMERICAN STANDARD BIBLE®, Copyright © 1960,1962,1963,1968,1971,1972,1973,1975,1977,1995 by The Lockman Foundation. Used by permission.