Tuesday, October 25, 2016

New Covenant People

Note from Jesus

Dear Child of the Father,

Today you are going to read excerpts from Hebrews chapters 7-10. The teaching in these chapters is challenging, especially for those not taught in the ways of Israel from the Torah. The Torah is what many of you call the Pentateuch, the five books of “law” that begin the Bible: Genesis, Exodus, Leviticus, Numbers, and Deuteronomy. I want to help you catch the gist of what these important chapters in Hebrews teach. I also want to remind you why this teaching was so important to early Jewish Christians.

Some of My early Jewish disciples were growing a bit discouraged by their new life as Christians. Many had faced times of hardship and persecution. Also, some of the original vibrancy of their new Christian faith was beginning to slip away from them. Some of these Jewish disciples were being lured back into their old ways of religious life. This life was built on the old covenant with the Torah and all the teaching about the covenant God made with Israel. Their experience with the covenant was rich in tradition with sacrifices, special places, significant heroes, and festivals rich in religious and social meaning.

The writer of Hebrews writes this section of his “word of exhortation” (Hebrews 13:22) to encourage My Jewish disciples not to go back to their old covenant practices. They must not surrender their faith in Me as their all-sufficient and once-and-good-forever sacrifice, their only true Savior, their perfect mediator of a better covenant, and their perfect High Priest in the presence of the Father forever. These principles are emphasized in the verses you are going to read today. The teaching in these verses includes several important lines of thought:

  • I AM the unique High Priest not descended from Levi like other priests, but a priest like Melchizedek — one of special origin, chosen by the Father. I AM the new High Priest — compassionate, blameless, and pure — and My priesthood lasts forever. I AM the “perfected Son, a High Priest for all time” (Hebrews 7:28).
  • As this eternal High Priest, I AM “the guarantee of a new and better covenant” (Hebrews 7:22) and “the Mediator of a better covenant established on better promises” (Hebrews 8:6).
  • If the first covenant had been perfect, there would not have been a need for My new and eternal covenant, but, in fact, since the time of Jeremiah, that covenant was fading away in its efficacy (Hebrews 7:11; Hebrews 7:18-20; Hebrews 8:7-13).
  • The first covenant was built on shadows and symbols — “simply a shadow of the good things to come” (Hebrews 10:1) — but I brought the substance of those shadows and symbols and fulfilled their meaning in every way to guarantee you the “good things” you find in heaven with the Father. (Hebrews 9:1-28; Hebrews 10:1-18).
  • Verses to Live

    As you read this collection of verses from the book of Hebrews, please notice the emphasis on My sacrifice. That personal act brings you the better High Priest (Me) and better promises of a new and better covenant. My sacrifice was once-for-all, meaning it is good forever. No other animal sacrifices would be needed. I brought a new and eternal covenant. I live to make intercession for you with the Father forever. You can know with assurance that your sins are forgiven and that you can always come to Me. Your troubles, trials, and temptations don’t separate you from Me. I shared in these same troubles, trials, and temptations in human flesh just as you do and overcame them all. You can come to Me and receive help from the One High Priest Who can sympathize, comfort, intercede, and deliver you! These are essential truths for you to know whether your background is in Judaism or not.

    If a perfect method of reconciling with God — a perfect priesthood — had been found in the sons of Levi (a priesthood that communicated God’s law to the people), then why would the Scriptures speak of another priest… Doesn’t it seem obvious? Jesus… is someone Who has become a priest, not because of some requirement about human lineage, but because of the power of a life without end. Remember, the psalmist says,
    You are a priest forever — in the honored order of Melchizedek.

    Because the earlier commandment was weak and did not reconcile us to God effectively, it was set aside — after all, the law could not make anyone or anything perfect. God has now introduced a new and better hope, through which we may draw near to Him…

    (Hebrews 7:11-19)

    So we can see that Jesus has become the guarantee of a new and better covenant. … He is able to save those who approach God through Him for all time because He will forever live to be their advocate in the presence of God.

    It is only fitting that we should have a High Priest Who is devoted to God, blameless, pure, compassionate toward but separate from sinners, and exalted by God to the highest place of honor. Unlike other high priests, He does not first need to make atonement every day for His own sins, and only then for His people’s, because He already made atonement, reconciling us with God once and forever when He offered Himself as a sacrifice. The law made imperfect men high priests; but after that law was given, God swore an oath that made His perfected Son a high priest for all time.

    (Hebrews 7:22-28)

    But now Jesus has taken on a new and improved priestly ministry; and in that respect, He has been made the Mediator of a better covenant established on better promises. Remember, if the first covenant had been able to reconcile everyone to God, there would be no reason for a second covenant.

    (Hebrews 8:6-7)

    With the words “a new covenant,” God made the first covenant old, and what is old and no longer effective will soon fade away completely.

    (Hebrews 8:13)

    When the Anointed One [Jesus Christ] arrived as High Priest of the good things that are to come, He entered through a greater and more perfect sanctuary that was not part of the earthly creation or made by human hands. He entered once for all time into the most holy place — entering, not with the blood of goats or calves or some other prescribed animal, but offering His own blood and thus obtaining redemption for us for all time.

    (Hebrews 9:11-12)

    This is why Jesus is the mediator of the new covenant: through His death, He delivered us from the sins that we had built up under the first covenant, and His death has made it possible for all who are called to receive God’s promised inheritance.

    (Hebrews 9:15)

    Just as mortals are appointed to die once and then to experience a judgment, so the Anointed One, our Liberating King, was offered once in death to bear the sins of many and will appear a second time, not to deal again with sin, but to rescue those who eagerly await His return.

    (Hebrews 9:27-28)

    By God’s will, we are made holy through the offering of the body of Jesus the Anointed once and for all time.

    (Hebrews 10:10)

    When there is forgiveness such as this, there is no longer any need to make an offering for sin.

    (Hebrews 10:18)

    Response in Prayer

    O God, I praise You. I praise You Father for Your boundless grace and for Your plan to redeem me from my sin. Thank You, Jesus, the Son. You took on flesh and blood, yet You were sinless. You gave Yourself as the perfect sacrifice for my sin, and now You are alive to make intercession for me before the Father. You provide grace to help me in my times of need. I thank You, Holy Spirit, for being the power and presence of the Almighty. You live in me to guide and lead me in the ways I should go. You help me understand the Scriptures and the will of the Father. I praise You O God — Father, Son, and Spirit — for Your awesome power, Your glory beyond description, Your holiness in perfection, and Your boundless grace that has made me Your own. Amen.

    ‘A Year with Jesus’ is written by Phil Ware.

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    All scripture quotations, unless otherwise indicated, are taken from The Voice™. © 2008 by Ecclesia Bible Society. Used by permission. All rights reserved.

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