“20 And inasmuch as He was not made priest without an oath 21 (for they have become priests without an oath, but He with an oath by Him who said to Him: ‘The Lord has sworn and will not relent, ‘You are a priest forever according to the order of Melchizedek’), 22 by so much more Jesus has become a surety of a better covenant. 23 Also there were many priests, because they were prevented by death from continuing. 24 But He, because He continues forever, has an unchangeable priesthood. 25 Therefore He is also able to save to the uttermost those who come to God through Him, since He always lives to make intercession for them.
26 For such a High Priest was fitting for us, who is holy, harmless, undefiled, separate from sinners, and has become higher than the heavens; 27 who does not need daily, as those high priests, to offer up sacrifices, first for His own sins and then for the people’s, for this He did once for all when He offered up Himself. 28 For the law appoints as high priests, men who have weakness, but the word of the oath, which came after the law, appoints the Son who has been perfected forever.”
Last week, we explored that we have a new permanent High priest, Jesus. He is our High Priest forever, and He has been a High Priest before God for us since the day of Abraham when we meet him in Genesis 14. He is called Melchizedek, and Abraham pays tithes to him after he comes back from a great military victory.
This week in our mid-week Bible study, we explored Numbers 28—29, and we actually tried to count out how many animals like bulls, goats, rams, and lambs had to be killed over the 1,500 years or so from the time of Moses until Jesus came and died on the cross. If you take the time, you will see that about 1,244,000 million bulls were killed over 1,500 years. I used a 360-day year, and it was at the time. I also considered only the mandatory sacrifices that God required under the priesthood. These two chapters cover the mandatory sacrifices that were needed each year as laid out by God to Moses. As you read the chapters, you can get the idea of the hundreds of thousands of animals that were required to be killed over the 1,500-year period.
- A Covenant of Death and Sin, 20-23
The first covenant was a covenant of death. We are told that the first covenant was there to remind us of sin and death; it was never designed to save us. Take a look at Hebrews 10: 1-4,
“For the law, having a shadow of the good things to come, and not the very image of the things, can never with these same sacrifices, which they offer continually year by year, make those who approach perfect. For then would they not have ceased to be offered? For the worshipers, once purified, would have had no more consciousness of sins. But in those sacrifices, there is a reminder of sins every year. For it is not possible that the blood of bulls and goats could take away sins.”
No one is saved by keeping the Law. No one is saved by killing millions of sacrifices, and no one is saved under the ministry of the Levitical Priests. These rituals were there to remind us that we need to substitute, as we see in verse three; the Law was just a reminder of sin. You will recall that there were no chairs in the Tabernacle or the Temple, and the priests were not allowed to sit down. Sitting was a sign that the work had been completed, and so under the Old Covenant, the Old Testament, the priest was never allowed to sit, as the work of redemption was not completed by the blood of bulls and goats. These offerings temporarily appeased God until the time of Jesus. See Hebrews 10: 11-12,
“Day after day every priest stands and performs his religious duties; again and again he offers the same sacrifices, which can never take away sins. But when this priest had offered for all time one sacrifice for sins, he sat down at the right hand of God.”
- A Covenant of Life, verses 24-28
Jesus, this Melchizedek of the Old Testament, was alive forever, and in Him, we have eternal life. The old high priests like Aaron died, and God made sure that we knew that by telling us when Aaron died, Numbers 20: 27-29,
“Moses did as the Lord commanded: They went up Mount Hor in the sight of the whole community. Moses removed Aaron’s garments and put them on his son Eleazar. And Aaron died there on top of the mountain. Then Moses and Eleazar came down from the mountain, and when the whole community learned that Aaron had died, all the Israelites mourned for him thirty days.”
Aaron had to pass the mantle to his son, and that son to his son, and so on for 1,500 years. These men toiled, one after another, passing the mantle from one generation to the next but never getting to the end of the sacrifices.
But one day Jesus came, our eternal High priest and our Lamb that was slain before the foundations of the earth. He shed His blood, and when He died, he said in John 19: 28-29,
“After this, Jesus, knowing that all things were now accomplished, that the Scripture might be fulfilled, said, ‘I thirst!’ Now a vessel full of sour wine was sitting there; and they filled a sponge with sour wine, put it on hyssop, and put it to His mouth. So when Jesus had received the sour wine, He said, ‘It is finished!’ And bowing His head, He gave up His spirit.”
Look, Jesus knew ‘all things were accomplished’ (verse 28 above), and He said, ‘it is finished.’ But to further put an exclamation to that, we see Him seated at the right hand of God. Our High Priest was seated, and we are told in Hebrews 1:3, Acts 7: 55-56, and Hebrews 12:2, to name a few, that Jesus is seated at the right hand of God. Jesus could only sit as our High Priest because the work was done. Thus, we have a new covenant in Jesus, a New Testament, one of life eternal and not death. One that removes our sins, and they are forgotten forever and forever. But all this is done in Jesus and Jesus alone.
Are you under the old covenant or the new covenant? Too many are still trying to work their way to Heaven, and this is impossible. Jesus did ALL the work, and He is the one who intercedes for us and secures us forever. Jesus is man’s only hope; all else is simply futile.
God bless you,
Dr. Sean Gooding
Pastor of Mississauga Missionary Baptist Church
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