Hebrews Study #6 – "The Real Thing is always Better!"
Turns Out, Aaron’s Human Priesthood Was Only A Copy!
By Richard Allen – March 20, 2023
I hope I’m not being irreverent to point out that the Human Priesthood of Aaron – along with the earthly temple and all the vestments and furnishings, were inferior copies of the originals in Heaven. To help us understand this concept, I’m borrowing from a Comedic 1996 movie, Multiplicity to introduce this blog. Here’s a quick setup from the late movie critic, Roger Ebert:
“As Multiplicity opens, Doug Kinney is complaining that he's too busy to talk even to himself. He's a construction executive, saddled with a foreman who rips up the wrong driveways. Home is a place he visits between emergencies. When he tells his wife Laura that they need a schedule, she wails, ‘We don't need a schedule. We need a miracle!’ They get one. Doug (Michael Keaton) is working on a job one day at the Gemini Institute, one of those California think-tanks where no idea is too large to be enlarged. Its director, Dr. Leeds (Harris Yulin), listens to his complaints and offers a solution: Doug obviously needs to be cloned. Leeds explains his scientific method, and Doug gasps, “You Xerox people!” But if Doug -- or two Dougs – could be in two places at one time, think of the scheduling breakthroughs he could make. And so he agrees to be cloned” https://www.rogerebert.com/reviews/multiplicity-1996
On paper the idea of making copies sounds great – but it is fraught with problems. Doug uses his clone, Doug #2 to do much of his daily construction work while he is able to spend more time with his family. As it turns out, Doug #2 doesn’t want to do all the work either, so as the movie plot progresses, Doug #2 decides to clone himself, so Doug #3 can help Doug #2 and provide him some downtime as well. Each of the Dougs has different skills and orientations, which implies that we all have multiple layers to our personalities. So, when Doug #3 tries to clone himself, he ends up with Doug #4, who is a vastly inferior Doug. He is only capable of eating Pizza and hanging out. So the moral of this story is: “If you keep copying an original, the copy will be somewhat similar, but still inferior to the original.”
We’ve been working our way through the Book of Hebrews, with the express purpose of looking at the “Priestly function” of our Lord Jesus Christ – and how it is far superior to all human priestly functions and sacrifices. You are probably wondering why I am using so many blogs to look at the Priesthood of Jesus Christ – compared to the human priesthood of the Old Covenant Temple worship. The simple reason is: I’m spending considerable time – Because the writer of Hebrews does! Even if you’ve given Hebrews a cursory reading, you’ll notice that the High Priesthood of Christ is a dominant theme for the better part of the first ten chapters, and then it’s mentioned again in chapters 12 and 13. The writer wants to answer all questions about Jesus’ High Priesthood and its ability to save. He is on a mission to make sure his readers understand that Jesus’ Priesthood was Better because among other things, as our Resurrected Prophet, Priest and King from the Order of Melchizedek – Jesus’ ministry was not Temporary, but Eternal:
“This makes Jesus the guarantor of a better covenant. The former priests were many in number, because they were prevented by death from continuing in office, but he holds his priesthood permanently, because he continues forever. Consequently, he is able to save to the uttermost those who draw near to God through him, since he always lives to make intercession for them. For it was indeed fitting that we should have such a high priest, holy, innocent, unstained, separated from sinners, and exalted above the heavens. He has no need, like those high priests, to offer sacrifices daily, first for his own sins and then for those of the people, since he did this once for all when he offered up himself. For the law appoints men in their weakness as high priests, but the word of the oath, which came later than the law, appoints a Son who has been made perfect forever” (Hebrews 7:22-28).
Remember, Hebrews chapter one tells us that:
“After making purification for sins (i.e. completed, finished), He sat down at the right hand of the Majesty on high” (Hebrews 1:3b).
So some might ask the question, “If Jesus’ Priesthood is Eternal (that is, unending), what work is He now performing for the people of God?” They further ask: “Wouldn’t it be fair to say He offers Himself continually as a sacrifice for sins to the Father?” It’s here that the writer of Hebrews gives us a crystal clear answer of what Jesus’ current Priestly duties are. Please be aware that Jesus’ priestly work has been going on since He ascended to God’s right hand almost 2,000 years ago: “He ever lives to MAKE INTERCESSION for us” (Hebrews 7:25). So, after Jesus offered Himself without spot or blemish in the Real Tabernacle in Heaven before the presence of God (Hebrews 9:24), His Priesthood changed from one of “making purification” (i.e. atonement for sin ) to one of “interceding with God the Father for His people” (Romans 8:34). If we compare Jesus’ offering to the repeated sacrifices of the earthly priesthood, it’s clear Jesus’ sacrifice was completely effective and FINAL. “It put our sins away as far as the East is from the West” (Psalm 106:12). This is why the earthly priesthood, temple, furnishings, vestments and sacrifices HAD TO BE DONE AWAY. THEY WERE JUST COPIES. Here’s how the writer explains it to the Jewish Christian Believers to whom he was writing:
“Now the point in what we are saying is this: we have such a high priest, one who is seated at the right hand of the throne of the Majesty in heaven, a minister in the holy places, in the true tent that the Lord set up, not man. For every high priest is appointed to offer gifts and sacrifices; thus it is necessary for this priest also to have something to offer. Now if he were on earth, he would not be a priest at all, since there are priests who offer gifts according to the law. They serve a copy and shadow of the heavenly things. For when Moses was about to erect the tent, he was instructed by God, saying, ‘See that you make everything according to the pattern that was shown you on the mountain.’ But as it is, Christ has obtained a ministry that is as much more excellent than the old as the covenant he mediates is better, since it is enacted on better promises. For if that first covenant had been faultless, there would have been no occasion to look for a second” (Hebrews 8:1-7).
This is an amazing revelation! Turns out that the Temple in the Old Testament, whether in the form of a Tent or in a physical structure, was “just a copy” of the “heavenly things,” that is the real temple in Heaven. And as we’ll see later, it was our High Priest, Jesus, who alone could enter in to make full atonement for our sins! And when He had finished, He sat down at the right hand of God the Father (Mark 16:19; Hebrews 1:3; 10:12). It’s important for us to understand that the earthly Temple, Priesthood, Furnishings, Vestments and Sacrifices were only a temporary measure, until Jesus came as God the Son, and entered into the “Real Sanctuary” in Heaven for us. The other sacrifices only gave a temporary cover to our sin to maintain an “arms-length-relationship” with God. And that only occurred “once a year” as the High Priest offered sacrifice on Yom Kippur, The Day of Atonement. For those mistaken churches, who either knowingly or unknowingly think they can go back and copy the copies of an Old Testament Priesthood with all the props, allow me to provide this caution. Just like the movie mentioned above, the best they can do is to create an “inferior copy,” like Doug Number Four in Multiplicity. The saddest thing of all is, God will never, never accept these inferior copies again now that Christ: “has appeared once for all at the end of the ages to put away sin by the sacrifice of himself” (Hebrews 9:26).
The sacrifice itself was inferior and loaded with “fault” to use Biblical language. God Himself had found fault with that sacrifice and sought another, based on “Better Promises” that would restore His relationship with His people, remove the Veil that served as a barrier to the Holy Place, and once again have full fellowship with His redeemed people! And, hoping not to confuse you, the HEAVENLY TEMPLE HAS AN EXPIRATION DATE IN THE FUTURE! Yes, you heard me right, the Temple in Heaven is for these “last days” in which the Son is ministering for His children on earth, making intercession before the Father for them. In the future, once the people of God have been fully redeemed, that is, their bodies have been raised, then all God’s Children will “FOREVER BE WITH THE LORD” (I Thessalonians 4:17). The TEMPLE’S FUNCTION WILL CEASE! Here’s what John, the writer of the Book of Revelation says about that future day in a New Heaven and a New Earth, watching the Heavenly City of Jerusalem descending from Heaven:
“And I saw no temple in the city, for its temple is the Lord God the Almighty and the Lamb. And the city has no need of sun or moon to shine on it, for the glory of God gives it light, and its lamp is the Lamb. By its light will the nations walk, and the kings of the earth will bring their glory into it, and its gates will never be shut by day, and there will be no night there. They will bring into it the glory and the honor of the nations. But nothing unclean will ever enter it, nor anyone who does what is detestable or false, but only those who are written in the Lamb's book of life” (Revelation 21:22-27).
Wow, there is definitely a new day approaching, when things will be very different. Jesus’ High Priestly role as our Mediator, ever-living to “intercede for us” WILL CEASE, BECAUSE GOD WILL BE PLEASED TO DWELL AGAIN WITH HIS PEOPLE! (Revelation 21:3). The writer of Hebrews will later remind us of this coming day, letting us know that even now, “BY FAITH” we have already “come to this Heavenly City” (Hebrews 12:22-24). All I can say is:
“Even so, come Lord Jesus!” (Revelation 22:20).