Here is the main point: We have a High Priest who sat down in the place of honour beside the throne of the majestic God in heaven. There he ministers in the heavenly Tabernacle, the true place of worship that was built by the Lord and not by human hands. And since every high priest is required to offer gifts and sacrifices, our High Priest must make an offering, too. If he were here on earth, he would not even be a priest, since there already are priests who offer the gifts required by the law. They serve in a system of worship that is only a copy, a shadow of the real one in heaven. For when Moses was getting ready to build the Tabernacle, God gave him this warning:
“BE SURE THAT YOU MAKE EVERYTHING ACCORDING TO THE PATTERN I HAVE SHOWN YOU HERE ON THE MOUNTAIN.” [Exodus 25:40]
But now Jesus, our High Priest, has been given a ministry that is far superior to the old priesthood, for he is the one who mediates for us a far better covenant with God, based on better promises. If the first covenant had been faultless, there would have been no need for a second covenant to replace it. But when God found fault with the people, he said:
“THE DAY IS COMING, SAYS THE LORD, WHEN I WILL MAKE A NEW COVENANT WITH THE PEOPLE OF ISRAEL AND JUDAH. THIS COVENANT WILL NOT BE LIKE THE ONE I MADE WITH THEIR ANCESTORS WHEN I TOOK THEM BY THE HAND AND LED THEM OUT OF THE LAND OF EGYPT. THEY DID NOT REMAIN FAITHFUL TO MY COVENANT, SO I TURNED MY BACK ON THEM, SAYS THE LORD. BUT THIS IS THE NEW COVENANT I WILL MAKE WITH THE PEOPLE OF ISRAEL ON THAT DAY, SAYS THE LORD: I WILL PUT MY LAWS IN THEIR MINDS, AND I WILL WRITE THEM ON THEIR HEARTS. I WILL BE THEIR GOD, AND THEY WILL BE MY PEOPLE. AND THEY WILL NOT NEED TO TEACH THEIR NEIGHBOURS, NOR WILL THEY NEED TO TEACH THEIR RELATIVES, SAYING, ‘YOU SHOULD KNOW THE LORD.’ FOR EVERYONE, FROM THE LEAST TO THE GREATEST, WILL KNOW ME ALREADY. AND I WILL FORGIVE THEIR WICKEDNESS, AND I WILL NEVER AGAIN REMEMBER THEIR SINS.” [Jeremiah 31:31-34]
When God speaks of a “new” covenant, it means he has made the first one obsolete. It is now out of date and will soon disappear.Hebrews 8:1-13
In the last Gem I told you that these three words:
are very important. Well, let me sum it up simply by pointing you to a very early past Gem, Gem 11 – He Tabernacled Among Us. In it I told an Ian Story, but I didn’t know to call them Ian stories back then. I looked for it in the stories but couldn’t find it. However I knew I had written it up somewhere. I typed in “caravan” and found it, and discovered that I had not turned it into an Ian Story. Read it and you will understand more. Do you see there is a big difference between god who is far off [Yashan] and God who is up close and personal, [Shākan, Shāken]? Do you understand that the Glory comes with the Presence of God? That is why we have the term the Shekinah Glory. [I am not even going to stop the flow by telling you why the e is superscripted; it just is.] It is all to do with the Tabernacle, the Sanctuary, the Tent and Presence. [The shadow I will explain in answer to Ross’ question in the comments on the previous Gem.]
Shekinah Glory is the Glory of the Presence. Tabernacles was all about camping out in the fields and waiting for the Presence of the LORD. After all, that is what happened at the Feast of Tabernacles. God presenced Himself among them much as He had done through the wilderness. Look at what God told Moses on Mt Sinai after Moses had asked to see God’s face and His glory and to know His ways.
If it is true that you look favourably on me, let me know your ways so I may understand you more fully and continue to enjoy your favour. And remember that this nation is your very own people.”
The LORD replied, “I will personally go with you, Moses, and I will give you rest—everything will be fine for you.”
Then Moses said, “If you don’t personally go with us, don’t make us leave this place. How will anyone know that you look favourably on me—on me and on your people—if you don’t go with us? For your presence among us sets your people and me apart from all other people on the earth.”
The LORD replied to Moses, “I will indeed do what you have asked, for I look favourably on you, and I know you by name.”
Moses responded, “Then show me your glorious presence.”Exodus 33:13-18
Do you understand now why God told Moses to follow the cloud during the day and the pillar of fire by night?
Do you understand why each time God came to the Tent of Meeting, the Tabernacle and the Temple, the glory filled each place?
This what sets God apart from all else! It is the difference precious readers, between God being far off [Yashan] and God being ever present, up close and personal. That has been my experience ever since I began growing in my understanding of just WHO HE IS. That is what sets God apart from all else.
Test me in this,” says the LORD Almighty, “and see if I will not throw open the floodgates of heaven and pour out so much blessing that you will not have room enough for it.Malachi 3:10
In my desperation I prayed, and the LORD listened; he saved me from all my troubles.
For the angel of the LORD is a guard; he surrounds and defends all who fear him.
Taste and see that the LORD is good. Oh, the joys of those who take refuge in him!
Fear* the LORD, you his godly people, for those who fear* him will have all they need.Psalm 34:6-9
* – “fear” here has the sense of reverence.
Don’t be sucked into prosperity doctrine to believe that this is all to do with the blessings that will follow you and God will make you prosperous, healthy, wealthy and wise. That you will never have another sick day in your life again and riches and blessing will always follow you all the days of your life. God didn’t promise you an easy road when you follow Him. You will have to take up your cross and follow Him daily. Isn’t that what the writer is talking about as he reminds the Jewish Christians of the pending persecution in the time of the despotic Roman emperors Nero, Vespasian and Caligula? The full list of Roman emperors from the time of Christ until AD 96 were: Julius Caesar, Augustus, Tiberius, Caligula, Claudius, Nero, Galba, Otho, Vitellius, Vespasian, Titus and Domitian. (I have highlighted the bad ones.) This is what these early Christians faced and it hasn’t stopped until today.
Now take note of why the author of Hebrews quotes the passage from Jeremiah 31. (See the capital letter text in today’s quoted passage.) What an amazing promise! Are you personally aware of the significance of that promise?
Don’t you realize that all of you together are the temple of God and that the Spirit of God lives in you? God will destroy anyone who destroys this temple. For God’s temple is holy, and you are that temple.1 Corinthians 3:16-17
Don’t you realize that your body is the temple of the Holy Spirit, who lives in you and was given to you by God?1 Corinthians 6:19
That is exactly what God promised He would do. Across the breadth of the Bible the presence of God goes from the Garden of Eden to the summit of Sinai, to the Tent of Meeting, to the Tabernacle, to the Temple and finally to you if you are willing to sort things out with your Maker.
Come now, let us reason together, says the LORD: though your sins are like scarlet, they shall be as white as snow; though they are red like crimson, they shall become like wool.Isaiah 1:18
That is what the author of Hebrews is going to move on to next. There is huge significance in the words that are formed from the Hebrew words which come from the radicals (think consonants) SKN. All of those words are associated with the Presence of God, the Tabernacle and the Glory. You already know, because I have told you, the ultimate outcome of the wilderness journey according to God’s plan was to endow His people with His Glory. The journey from Horeb (desolation) // [Mt Sinai – synonymous with Glory] to Kadesh Barnea in the wilderness of Paran (to endow with glory). That God’s presence might rest and abide on them. Just imagine it.
You can do more than just imagine it. You can make it your experience too. That is what the Writer of Hebrews is on about. Stay with the Story; Stick with the Plan.Ian
Resolved first: that all men should live for the praise and glory of God. Resolved second: that whether others do or not, I will.Jonathan Edwards
A man can no more diminish God’s glory by refusing to worship Him than a lunatic can put out the sun by scribbling the word, ‘darkness’ on the walls of his cell.C S Lewis
When prayer is at its highest we wait in silence for God’s voice to us; we linger in His presence for His peace and power to flow over us.William Barclay
The secret of the Power is found in the intimacy of the Presence of God.Ian